1. The Baby Centre
When we’d decided to have children, I confided in a dear friend who happens to work for The Baby Centre UK and she pointed me in their direction and sent me useful links from time to time. It’s a wonderful resource for good, common sense advice for every possible topic and stage of pregnancy, right up to your child starting school.
2. Finally finding out that I was pregnant! When we got married four and a half years ago, we made the decision to let nature take its course. We weren’t actively “trying” but in all honesty, with my hours, his shifts and my stress levels, chances were pretty slim.
3. Seeing my husband’s face when he realised that, “You are going to be a Daddy” wasn’t referring to the fostering application that we’d submitted.
4. Seeing your baby for the first time on the 12 week scan.
5. Getting the letter that says that your baby is at low risk of having Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s Syndromes.
6. Hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time at your second appointment with the midwife.
7. Being able to share your news with the people that you love.
8. Starting baby’s “bottom drawer”.
9. Feeling baby move, from the little flutters to the little kicks and dance routines. The best bit of this is that you can really share baby with your husband because up until now, she’s been more of an intellectual concept for him.
10. Seeing baby move during the 20 week scan (she was waving her little fingers in this pic) and, if it’s possible on the day and you want to know, finding out if baby is pink flavour or blue flavour (no gender stereotypes here, just helpful for Nanna-Bear and the Fairy Godmothers who are knitting).
11. Realising that your kitten is responding to your baby so you won’t have one wake you at Midnight, 02:00 and 04:00 and the other wake you at 01:00, 03:00 and 05:00. She cuddles up to my belly for sleeps when baby is asleep and runs around like a loon when baby is dancing!
12. Being able to love having a belly! Mine appeared from nowhere at about 20 weeks and now it’s huge but it is probably the only time in your life that you can enjoy having a massive belly.
13. Free prescriptions and dental care – you’ve got to love the NHS!
14. The feeling that you get when you put on your first pair of maternity trousers *ahhhhh*.
The jeans were too big but just recently, the waistband has started to cut into your belly; your leggings and joggers sit under your belly (or roll down) and baby doesn’t like the cold and the only things that have been really comfy are your ice-skating leggings and pyjama bottoms, neither of which is appropriate for work, shopping and other activities!
15. Having a truly wonderful Osteopath.
16. The cessation of menstruation! As someone who loved being on Depo-Provera because of shift work and horrendous period pains, it is such a relief to be without one’s “curse”.
17. Discovering the “Baby Wish List” function on Amazon when people have been asking you to provide a list. It’s like a wedding list, you get exactly what you need and/or want, delivered to your door!
18. Realising that in x weeks, you are going to be holding the tiny human that you both made.
1. My lovely Midwife baffled me a little. Maybe because I’m an old first time mum or maybe because she has so many mums who have had more than one baby, I’m not sure but she occasionally says something and I’m clueless. The first time she said: “Right, it’s time to check baby now” and looked a bit surprised that I didn’t realise that I needed to take my jeans down to my knicker line and lie on the bed. Mr PinQ was talking to our neighbour about this (soon to have her second baby) and she recommended that we sign up for ante-natal classes with the NCT.
I went online and nearly fell over when I saw the prices. Money is tight since my redundancy and even if we fall into the cheapest price band, £10:30 an hour is way more than we can afford. There are enough mothers in our lives who would undoubtedly share their experiences and common sense advice freely and with love.
We then planned to attend a sale of pre-loved baby things that was organised by the NCT. One of the organisers (our neighbour) and the venue gave us the times for the event as 10:00 till 14:00 and we planned our day around it. We arrived at 12:20 and were shocked to see the sign segregating Members and Non-Members and then even more shocked to see a note at the bottom of the sandwich board declaring, “NO BUGGIES”. Seriously? We know the venue, we are members, they ask that you don’t leave buggies by the door as they could prevent easy egress in the event of a fire but they do allow buggies in. If that wasn’t enough, they were charging £1 per person entry fee because they clearly don’t make enough money with their astronomical costs for classes/workshops. The final insult was the NCT representative that “welcomed” us at the door.
Abruptly: “Are you here for the sale” Looking me up and down like I was filth
Glancing at my obvious baby belly a little incredulously, “Yes”
Abruptly: “It finishes at 12:30”
“Oh! Two independent sources: the venue and one of the NCT organisers (our neighbour) told us that it was ten till two” peering hopefully over her shoulder at the full stalls with mums stood attentively in the hopes of making a little money from the things that their babies had grown out of.
Abruptly: “No, it definitely finishes at 12:30” and ushered us out of the door, stopping short of actually pushing us.
I warm smile with: “I’m sorry for any confusion/misunderstanding but the sale is only on until 12:30” would have been the right way to represent her organisation. I wouldn’t really expect a: “It finishes at 12:30 but you’ve got 10 minutes for a quick look” although I’m quite sure that the chance to make a few extra £s would have been appreciated by the mums doing the actual selling.
I’m so glad that I have The Baby Centre, a great Midwife and lots of lovely friends – if I had to rely on the NCT I’d be in a mess!
2. Being told that the £60 per hour job is yours during interview and then having that swiftly retracted when you tell the interviewer that you are pregnant.
It had been advertised as a 3-6 month contract and I applied when I was 5 weeks. The company then changed the job spec and delayed the interviews by a few of months.
Realising that it sounded like a longer contract, I asked how long he envisioned it continuing and when he said a year, I knew that I had to tell him.
To be fair, he did say that my telling him said an awful lot about my integrity and that in a couple of years, he would be looking to grow the team so I should keep in touch but I was pretty gutted and I know deep down that my lack of continuation training and current experience & knowledge will be an issue in a couple of years.
3. Being lectured to and patronised.
4. Discovering that someone you love dearly has lost their baby when you were only about four weeks apart.
The Not So Pretty:
1. The sickness. A step up from “normal” morning sickness, Hyperemisis Gradivarium is not fun! Eighteen weeks of being violently sick 4-8 times a day, evil dehydration headaches, learning what it feels like to choke on your own vomit and just the total wipe-out that it brings is horrendous.
With the tough fitness regime just prior to pregnancy, followed by the 1st 8lb weight loss in weeks 6 – 12 and ongoing sickness since, I am half expecting to come out of this pregnancy thinner than when I went in!
At 23 weeks, the sickness is largely down to once a day most of the time with just a few bad days at 4/5 times a day.
Now that baby is now starting to hear and have been trying to sing to her but my vocal cords are wrecked because of the sickness – I hope they get better!
2. Belching. It’s embarrassing! I have never belched so much in all my life. Imagine drinking a can of fizzy pop in a one-er… Well, the resulting belch is my constant companion. I get that baby has squished up all of my innards so things are bound to be a bit peculiar but she is so rude with all the belching and burping – because believe me when I say that it is ALL her.
3. Realising that you can no longer power through a 17 mile+ bike ride when 7 miles wipes you out for a day. On the plus side, I am still happily cycling, Tai Chi-ing and doing gentle ballet warm-ups before skating; I’ve just had to learn my new limitations, so: no jumps on the ice, no running, stop when I’m tired even if it is a only fraction of my normal time/mileage and take it easy – gentle exercise is good for baby too!
4. Tiredness. Not just when exercising but day-to-day. I’m not sleeping as much or as well and with the sickness draining my energy too, I find that I am getting tired really easily. An afternoon nap helps when I can get one.
5. Maternity bras. At 5 weeks, I went from a FF to an H cup – because I really needed bigger boobs! My fabulous Freya sports bras and pretty lacy ones had to be put into storage and maternity bras purchased. Several that arrived are underwired – if I could wear underwired, I wouldn’t be buying goddamn maternity bras! The wires are the cause of much pain now that I am pregnant. Instead, I now have these massive boobs that are not properly supported in something that looks like a piece of kit for a Russian shot-putter.
6. The constant feeling of having a cold, caused by the swelling of your mucous membranes. This also brings with it a whole new level of snoring that drives your hubby to sleep in the guest bedroom. Well, one of us has to sleep!
7. The changes to your senses of taste and smell. Nothing tastes right any more and you are enjoying food less and less but the impact on the sense of smell is far worse.
Having spent several years trying different antiperspirants that your beloved can use that won’t affect your psoriasis and eczema whilst effectively preventing him from smelling like a men’s locker room and that actually smells nice; you suddenly find it unbearably cloying and nauseating and find yourself sitting and shivering because you’ve had to open all of the windows to air the house following his morning shower.
8. Not being able to do everything that you used to. Bending to tie your laces is uncomfortable. You can’t lift that heavy box out of the way. Some housework tasks are proving difficult. You can’t empty the litter tray and aren’t sure about the safety of even handling all of the animals. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find a comfortable position to sit/sleep in.
9. Your brain doesn’t seem to be quite as high-functioning as it was.
Don’t get me wrong, whilst I was always reasonably bright and very good at thinking on my feet, I have always been a bit dizzy/dippy but I have achieved new levels of dizziness that astound even me. Is baby eating my brain?
10. Loose ligaments. One of the dogs that we babysit from time-to-time is not very good on the lead and pulls dreadfully so it is getting to a point where I am struggling to walk him because he pulls even my good shoulder out of the socket a little.
This is actually a good candidate for the evolution or design argument. You see, if we were designed, the ligament loosening would be targeted to the pelvic area where it is actually going to be needed when it is time to give birth and wouldn’t affect the whole body, offering you up more readily to injury at a time when you need to be strongest.
I am grateful not to have experienced the spreading of the feet though, another size up wouldn’t work with my height.
The Slightly Weird:
1. People asking to touch your belly. To be fair, that is preferable to them just touching it but still…