Just back from a check-up with the GP and all is good (and lively) on the Western front. As I mentioned before, I’m doing shared-care with my GP. That basically means that I see him monthly and attend the ante-natal clinic in the maternity every few months at the start, and more regularly in the last 6 to 8 weeks. Essentially, I’m a public patient or have ‘gone public’ as the mom squad seem to call it. Some friends and colleagues find this an odd choice (‘you won’t know your gynaecologist’/ ‘you need to buy peace of mind’ etc.) but for me, it worked the last time so I’m happy to roll with again. A few things informed my choice: Firstly, I really like my GP. He’s a father of four (maybe five) children himself, is laid back and works beside a really nice practice nurse. They’re both very easy to talk to so nothing every feels likes an issue or hassle. They know me, I know them – it’s just easy. Secondly, a friend of mine is a gynaecologist who did his residency in Limerick. He assured me that because it is such a busy maternity hospital, there is nothing they haven’t dealt with and that the midwives are second to none (which I can now testify to). Lastly, the ‘who’ of delivering the baby has never really worried me. As long as they are qualified and experienced, work away. Similarly, sharing a room in the hospital doesn’t unsettle me in the slightest. For the couple of nights I will be a guest of the HSE Hilton, I’ll happily share my space with other equally excited new parents.
I realise that some women have this choice taken away because of complications and others prefer to be under a designated gynaecologist but like everything else, it comes down to personal preference. The best choice for you is what feels right for you.
I avoided stretch marks on my first pregnancy and have (fingers crossed!) done so this far. I don’t know why this is such a point of obsession for me. It’s not like I’m a fan of bikinis or crop tops but there is some control freak deep within me that would just get so annoyed to see red marks take up camp across my belly. Nausea, leg cramps and the inability to pee anything more than half a teaspoon at a go are my contributions at the altar of pregnancy sacrifice. Do I really need stretch marks as my badge of honour as well? I’m fully aware of how ridiculous this is on the list of pregnancy-related worries but there’s no accounting for our individual bug bears. It turns out that in my effort to keep myself stripe free, I have marked just about everything else in the house. My love affair with Bio Oil means that every duvet cover, towel and top that I own is now covered in greasy marks that look like I took a bag of vinegar-soaked chips into the bed with me (not completely beyond the realm of possibility). After two months of cursing the washing machine, I finally figured it out when I spilled a bottle of the oily stuff on Saturday morning and watched the familiar greasy shadow spread across my favourite cardigan. So, to continue slathering on Bio Oil or to surrender to common sense that dictates (a) if stretch marks are going to appear, they’re going to appear and (b) genetics play a deciding role?
Our child minder (nicest woman in the world and love of my son’s life) has taken to greeting me with ‘wow, you’re really putting it on everywhere now, God bless you’ when I come in the door from work. She means it in the most complimentary way imaginable but the result is a vow never to wear a certain dress or skirt again. At this rate, my wardrobe is down to about four staples. Yes, like stretch marks, this could be seen as a completely frivolous concern but guess what? When your chest weighs more than your weekly shop and a tiny human spends an incredible amount of time booting you from the inside and bouncing on your bladder, you are fully entitled to focus on the smaller details. Feeling like a beached whale and looking like one are two completely different things. Older people (ahem) love telling me that I’m looking ‘fine and strong’ but luckily my friends counteract that with ‘sure, it’s only all belly. You don’t have an ounce anywhere else.’ Yes, I have great friends and yes, I’m completely delusional.
The baby has taken to very regular bouts of movement that you could set your clock by, which is equal parts reassuring and enjoyable. At 6am, lunchtime, 6pm and then around midnight, el bambino likes to trip the light fantastic for about 45 minutes at a go. While I’m loving it, it has set off a small alarm bell in my head. During my last pregnancy, one of my main concerns was irregular and hard-to-feel movement. The midwives reassured me that I was having a ‘docile baby’ and ……..they were right. He slept 12 hours a night from 6 weeks and still does (don’t hate me – he also had reflux and was a nightmare to feed). Applying that logic to this pregnancy, I’m due a new born version of the Duracell bunny. It looks like I’ll be getting well acquainted with middle-of-the-night TV in a few months. Still, to feel regular and strong movement has the same effect as having a scan. It gives you that little extra reassurance that things are ticking along nicely and makes you marvel at the fact that you are, in fact, ferrying around another little person.