|I know I should post a bump picture but I am more fascinated by this picture I found earlier today of me in Venice in March of this year. I am not a woman mountain! A relatively flat stomach, I can't even imagine it.|
I've tried to write this post a few times over the last few weeks, but always had to stop halfway as it turned into too big a moan-fest. You might have noticed I haven't posted for a while. (Well, other than a sponsored post, the proceeds of which bought me a much-needed new coffee machine, OK?)
The thing is, I have been absolutely, totally kiboshed by this pregnancy. I'll admit something now that won't cast me in a particularly flattering light: I used to be one of those people who thought pregnants shouldn't moan. Like, you chose to get knocked-up, so deal with it, Bumpy. I remember reading this article about not wanting children by Polly Vernon and guiltily agreeing with a lot of what she wrote. I would always be the first to offer my tube seat to a pregnant lady, or dash to help carry their pram down the steps – well brought up, me – but a small part of me would be grudgingly thinking, 'Mehhhh, I'm tired too! I've got a hangover and I've been at work all day, we all make our choices!'
Well, I would like to publicly declare: I Was Wrong. Yeah, you might knowingly decide to get knocked up. But, if it's your first pregnancy, like me, you will not know about the insane exhaustion, constant sickness and myriad random other symptoms that you will have to deal with. Your right hand appears to have clenched into an agonising claw that you can't straighten out? Yeah. Deal. That popping noise? Oh, it was just your hip joint. You probably won't be able to walk properly now, sorry. Every time you eat the smallest morsel of food, a snake of stomach acid slithers up your throat? Ambassador, you are spoiling us.
And on top of that, you still have to deliver at work, cook, maintain friendships, clean the house. Y'know, just life as normal.
In my case, on top of the generic pregnancy symptoms, I have also managed to be the lucky one in a hundred women that develops a strange liver complaint which means I itch. Constantly. And have done since 10 weeks. I'm now 32 weeks. I haven't slept more than 3 hours in 22 weeks. Some nights I don't sleep at all. That's nearly six months of hardly any sleep. And itching. Constantly.
I mean, not to obsess about it, but I am absolutely EXHAUSTED. I've had to leave work ahead of my planned leave date which, as a self-employed person, sucks. Poor husband is knackered, as he tries to sleep through a mess of itching, scratching, wriggling, spraying of products, rubbing-in of creams and general nocturnal comings-and-goings. (Oh yeah, there's also the constant weeing, as babies love using bladders as cushions.)
I have to go to hospital three times a week, for monitoring and tests. As I progressively feel worse, they threaten progressively harder to throw me in the labour ward to be monitored until I'm ready to birth; a scenario that I am naturally keen to avoid. (As lovely as the midwives are, I'll take my perfectly calibrated home comforts and fridge access, please! Don't make me go to the labour ward!)
But. BUT! Of course it is not all bad. We get more and more excited as the due date gets closer. We had a scan at the weekend and saw a blinking eye. Another scan showed him asleep, with one hand resting on top of his head, just like his dad. We've got a huge chest full of neatly-folded onesies, mittens and bear suits, waiting for his arrival. The Bugaboo – yeah, cliché – is nestled in the corner, ready for action. I'm more excited than I have been since Christmas as a kid. Or, maybe since my first trip to New York.
I'm just amazed at the shift between where I am now and my attitude before. So yeah, if you're on the tube and a pregnant hobbles on, face as grey as the British summer sky and holding on for dear life...you know what to do.
[I'm as big as a house, and probably have about five weeks left, as I will be delivering early due to the itch sitch – it brings an increased risk of still-birth if left to go full-term. I've almost totally given up work now, with just a replacement to find and a hand-over to do. I'm learning to drive, with my test booked about a week before the arrival date! And other than that, I'm planning to do a lot of reading. In bed. Between naps. Currently loving the new Amy Sohn, Motherland- awesome Brooklyn trash-lit. And this Ruth Reichl book, Garlic And Sapphires, about being the New York Times restaurant critic, as recommended on A Cup of Jo.]