Friday, December 30, 2011

A festive freak-out

It’s Christmas – the one day of the year everyone eats so much that we all look 31 weeks’ pregnant. Hooray!

A good week, winding down to a fortnight off from work – fantastic! It suddenly dawned on me that I will be coming back to work for a little less than a month, and that will be quite tricky I imagine.

Only because I am now starting to feel the weight of, not the world on my shoulders, but this baby girl on my girth.

Good Lord, it’s difficult getting around and the sudden effort required to do so catches you quite by surprise.

Want to vacuum the house? Awesome, not a problem. Until you get half-way through and need to sit down and get your breath back, while saying to yourself that you’ll finish the other half after you’ve had a nap.

Want to drive to work? Easy. Do it most days a week. Until you try and get the seatbelt in a comfortable position below your enormous belly, all the while wondering what the hell might go wrong if you were in an accident and that belt snapped across your abdomen.

And getting out of the car? Just give me 10 minutes to pry myself loose from the driver’s seat. Brace against steering wheel, swivel, swing legs onto ground, grunt, push upwards, grunt louder, stand upright, grimace. I feel 108.

Then my lower back twinges, or my hips go numb, and I feel 208.

I am also starting to get some practical things done, like getting the car seat fitted, packing a bag for hospital (waa!) and finally organising maternity leave through Centrelink.

Doing these things, apart from making it all so bloody real, also reinforces how momentous the change will be for our family in 2012.

Soon and within the space of about six weeks, J leaves day care after four years, starts kindy and we welcome his new baby sister into the world.

I stop work for an extended period for the first time in my life and I become the main carer of a tiny baby girl.

I discard a comfortable routine that involved supreme organisation, accomplishing a stimulating variety of duties at work, multi-tasking and basically having control over every aspect of my life for what is likely to be a chaotic mess of sleeplessness, a crying baby I fear I won’t be able to understand and patronising piles of washing.

Oh. My. God.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The real and the realest

So this is getting realer.

I think hitting 30 weeks makes it so.

That is, like, 10 weeks until go time. When it all happens. The really real part.

Say 10 weeks, and my mind is instantly hurtling on the express train to Freak Out Town.

Say two and a half months, and it sounds so far in the distance, I can’t even begin to think about hospital bags or birth plans.

And it might not even be 10 weeks, it could be eight. It could be four. It could be...NOW!


We started our five-week course of ante-natal classes this week.

There are eight couples in our group. As always, it’s the usual completely random group of people who wouldn’t normally ever end up in the same room as each other, but who have been thrown together by some miraculous clash of family planning.

And as always, the first week is a true study in the awkwardness of human social interaction.

“So, we’re going to start by going around the room and introducing ourselves,” the midwife announces in the beginning.

The groan is only slightly muffled by a general waftage of frightened politness settling over everyone in the room.

The women in each couple do the talking, telling us how many weeks they are, who their OB/GYN is and why they chose that doctor.

I am among the smaller bumps in the room and instantly find myself doing that terrible thing that is rife among parents: comparing. As much as you rail against it, you just cannot help casting a furtive glance down at your average-sized 30-week-old bump when the lady across the room from you says she is 26 weeks and is clearly ENORMOUS compared to you.

We talk about when to ring the hospital, what to pack in your bag (shit, better do that soon), what complications can happen and we watch two videos which both carry misleading soundtracks (soothing massage music, not blood-curdling screams), a misleading cast (disturbingly hairy-down-there German women in baggy jumpers) and misleading lengths (evil editing making them run for less than seven minutes: yes please!).

Can someone PLEASE produce a birthing video that is newer than 1987, can someone please NOT overlay a ridiculous audio track composed by Swami Shanda and his wailing whale orchestra and can someone please in god’s name shave these women before filming them!

And apart from an emotional weekend where I felt quite sorry for myself and longed for: silence, sleep, massages on the hour, a new spine, exquisite food, a quiet house minus a four-year-old and more sleep – all in equal measure, preferably at once, not much else of note to report this week.

I got a bit teary and snappy over the weekend, which I find is unfortunately a regular-ish occurrence as the lack of sleep catches up. In a big yucky wave.

Something tells me I better get used to that feeling...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dog bites neurotic woman

At last, an eventful week!

Maybe it’s the journo in me, but I have felt quite bad for the two people who read this blog that I have not provided anything very exciting – or newsworthy – in this little nano-millimetre of information superhighway asphalt.

Well how does a sudden decrease in foetal movement scare and dog bite grab you? Huh?

I reckon the News of the World or any other quality News Ltd tabloid would just eat that stuff up for breakfast.

The baby has been moving like crazy every day for about three or four weeks now.

Most nights, during bouts of insomnia, I will feel her bump and bubble around under my skin.

Every day without fail after I have my mid-morning cup of tea, she will move; and if I have a particularly big lunch, or anything cold, she will continue her featherweight boxing training inside my abdomen.

They aren’t flutters or little wispy movements, they are normally pretty intense whacks that are often visible from the outside.

One day last week, it got to midday and none of this had happened.

It got to 2pm and I rang T to ask what I should do.

I had felt one, maybe two, tiny flutters down really low, but nowhere near as much movement as
she had displayed every day for the past month.

I was worried. And my mind wasn’t helping.

I rang our hospital. The midwife told me to see how I went for the next few hours and come in after work.

At 2.10pm I realised I couldn’t concentrate on work, thinking the worst about what was, or what was not, going on inside my uterus.

I left work and drove the 25 minutes up to the hospital, through torrential rain, I might add.

It was a terrible drive. I was sobbing, desperate at the anxiety of it all. Convinced there would be no heartbeat to find.

I had gathered myself by the time I arrived and thankfully found the last park in the parking lot.

I had also seen six garbage trucks on the highway on the drive up, which I was madly trying to tell myself was a good omen, as our four-year-old son is quite the garbage truck fanatic.

The same midwife I spoke to was at the desk. She efficiently put her paperwork down and immediately took me into a room before hooking me up to two transponder things, one to measure the heartbeat and the other to measure kicks.

She got another ultra-sound wand thing to locate the heartbeat.

“It might take me a while to find,” she said, fully aware of the tension in the room.

I held my breath.

There it was. A heartbeat.

And, seven seconds later, what was that?

A kick.

I was now lying down – for the first time that day – and she kicked.

Why didn’t I bloody lie down at work and save myself all this worry!

They hook you up for at least 20 minutes to chart movement and heart rates and I am pretty sure she had kicked no less than 25 times in the first three minutes.


I look like a neurotic who is plainly having a very naughty, troublesome child!

The midwife was really good and while I was certainly looking for it, was not patronising at all.

They must see that sort of stuff a lot, right?

And we both agreed, we would rather it was confirmed, one way or the other, instead of wondering, all the while consumed with rising panic.

“So what do I do next time, to save me coming up here every week freaking out (in case it happens again),” I asked, thinking that actually it would be kind of nice to have an informal weekly appointment with the heartbeat monitor. Are they available to purchase for home use??

The midwife just told me to watch for an entire day and if there was no movement into the night, definitely call again and come on up. Good lord, what a fright.

Of course, in context of losing a baby last year, this sort of thing is reasonable and to be expected. But bloody hell it frightens the life right out of you at the time.

As for the damn dog bite, and ensuing tetanus shot... we have had a certain breed of dog my entire life. Growing up, we had three Miniature Schnauzers, adorable things.

We plan on getting one - look at that face: wouldn't you? -when the baby is about one and not on the floor crawling. I happened to drive past an old man walking a beautiful one on my way home from work one evening.

I pulled into a side street and walked back to him to ask if he got the dog locally.

I should have seen the crazy glint in that dog’s eye from the beginning. She startled as soon as I came into view and looked on edge immediately. But she was on a lead and he held onto her while we chatted for about 10 minutes about the breed, where he got her and previous Schnauzers we had both had.

Clearly, I was no threat to her master. So I asked if I could pat her. Stupidly, I did not wait for the answer and just bent down to offer the back of my hand for her to sniff.

That movement coincided with him saying “Ah well now, I would be a bit careful about doing that” and BANG! She sniffed and then immediately nipped at my knuckles, prompting a small circular bruise and three puncture marks to show up on the skin at once.

Yep, puncture marks. No blood, but puncture marks. Great. This was going to mean tetanus.

I scurried off after the old man offered a belated and half-hearted apology and called a health advice info line when I got home. The RN on the line advised me to go to emergency within four hours and that tetanus was a Category A drug, and therefore completely safe in pregnancy.

So, with no real time to Google – and I am thankful now for that blessing – T and I took ourselves off to the local hospital. We went in at 7pm and came out at 7.25pm, which must be a new record for an emergency department. Me with a makeshift bandaid covering the day’s fourth puncture mark, this one from a tetanus needle and T with the car keys to drive the patient home.

I asked the doctor, who was American and looked to be about 11, four times if tetanus was safe. On each occasion he said yes. It was only a really minor bite, but we all thought it would be better to be safe than sorry.

Mum asked later if the baby was now immunised and I have no idea. Is she?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's the same old song...

Well, groovers, we are going to go way back to 1965 for the soundtrack to this blog post and hit you with one of that era’s classics.

Here is The Four Tops singing It’s The Same Old Song.

Ok so upon reading the actual lyrics of that song, I see that it is actually about a girl leaving a guy and leaving him with nothing but their favourite song. At least it wasn’t a medical condition that required topical cream and a course of antibiotics.

The song doesn’t, in fact, have that much to do with an Australian woman who is seven months pregnant, trying in vain to come up with new topics for her weekly blog and being quite surprised that she is feeling so consistently well...hence the sameness of the song she is merrily singing in her head.

Not that there is a song about pregnancy that I am singing per se, and no one wants to hear me sing, but...oh, Nirvana’s second studio album.

Oh, how I wish I could complain and make these posts interesting! Haha.

I feel freaking fantastic and even moreso with lots of people telling me that. Such reinforcement.

I feel like Nigella Lawson. I am huge, but people are loving it and flattering my fattening left, right and centre!

Sure I am tired, almost like the first trimester, and sure I have a sore back...but who cares when people are paying you compliments?

I saw the midwife today – I am seeing my doc, a midwife or hospital nurse every fortnight from here on in.

The heartbeat was 146, the lowest so far, but perfectly fine; and my blood pressure was 110 over 70 (just in case you were thinking of asking).

She said the tightening I had been feeling may be Braxton Hicks (what?), and I just thought they were the baby pushing her little body out against my belly.

I had three things to ask her. The first was my quite irrational fear of the bay being choked by the umbilical cord.

She moves a lot and for the first 10 seconds, I smile. I love it. Then that bloody annoying receptor in my brain goes haywire: she’s moving a lot, therefore the chances of her getting tangled are greater. Quick, worry, panic!

The midwife, of course, could not completely reassure me. Yes it happens, no she hasn’t seen it happen, unless in actual labour, at which point monitoring would pick it up.

Clearly, I just have to deal with that and try not to waste so much time worrying about it.

Secondly I asked about whooping cough. Apparently where I live in Queensland, whooping cough is “rife”, she said. Weirdly enough, it is also a region with one of the lowest rates of whooping cough immunisation.

T and I have been talking about quarantining our baby for the first six weeks. We are asking family who will be visiting to get immunised and now trying to deal with what we will do if neighbours or others randomly pop in during those first six weeks.

Clearly, after today, I am not taking any chances. You want to see the baby and you aren’t immunised? I will hold her up at the front window. Otherwise, it’s not long to wait.

I am guessing those six weeks will be a complete and utter blur anyway, so I am not going to be desperate to take her shopping on day five anyway.

And the third question was about the Vitamin K and Hepatitis B vaccines they ask parents for permission to give newborns in hospital. I am pretty sure J had Vitamin K, but the Hep B was a new one.

Part of me does worry about putting these things in a pure, new body, but a greater part of me worries more about the alternative of not doing it.

So we have agreed to tick yes to both.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Third trimester, here I am

Welcome to the third trimester. 27 weeks. Eeek.

Feeling really well still, although alarmingly like I have been pregnant for about 15 years.

I think it’s just the anticipation of meeting our baby.

Now that my family and I are feeling her kick (a lot), there is a renewed sense of impatience at seeing what this little thing causing such comedic belly protuberances actually looks like.

It’s human nature, isn’t it? You hear a noise, you feel something brushing against you – your need to know needs to be satiated, your curiosity must be satisfied, no matter the cat-killing consequences! And besides, I've always been a dog person anyway.

To that end, we are psyched to have a 3D scan done at 30 weeks. The last time we saw our baby in 3D was at the 18-week morphology scan and, frankly, she looked like an embryonic kangaroo.

Mama, can you hear me?

So, personally, I would like these new, updated images for a teeny bit of peace of mind and some assurance that I am not, in fact, giving birth to a hopping marsupial. Although I am sure I will be able to provide it a roomy pouch, given the frightening stretch of my stomach skin right now.

We often say how J looks so like his 3D images even today, when we might sneak a stare at him while he’s sleeping or watching TV.

So it would be nice to recreate that with our daughter.

I am not feeling uncomfortable really at all – even while camping in some pretty stinky humidity and near-summer yuckness over the weekend. It was camping with benefits (ensuite, swimming pools, convenience store 40 seconds away etc) but camping nonetheless.

My head almost exploded while helping to put the tent up and I was worried that I hadn’t felt the baby move much that day, but as T reminded me: think of the pregnant women in Africa hauling clay pots of water or rocks or whatever they do at sun-up and sundown, while sweeping their huts out with stick-brooms so short they are forced to bend at an inhumane waisty angle while picking cotton or delivering blocks of salt up 25 flights of stairs or...actually she didn’t say that, but I got her point.

A few minutes’ exertion hammering in three tent pegs in the midday sun was not going to harm my baby.

I am experiencing a bit of heartburn but it’s probably a good reminder to ix-nay on the alarming quantities of Milo I am consuming.

Straight. Neat. Out of the can. I cannot get enough of it.

I am seeing a physio every few weeks, who is giving me new stretches to do each time I visit.

I am really forcing myself to take some time, even if it’s 10 minutes a day, to do these exercises strengthening my pelvic floor, transverse abdominal, back and leg muscles.

I squat, I pull my legs up and out in very unattractive hip-widening positions, I do yoga’s child, happy baby and cat and I sit on the fit ball while doing bicep curls with hand weights (must do that tonight) because I am convinced that it will make some sort of difference when it comes time for the labour.

And it is certainly making a difference in terms of managing my back pain in the meantime, so I think it’s a good thing. I probably should be doing more, but it’s better than nothing.

Plus I am wearing an SI belt, which stands for the fascinating term “sacroiliac”, a joint in the pelvis that supports the spine. I wear it all day at work and when I exercise after work. Sure it looks kinda funny under some clothes, but I reckon you can get away with a hell of a lot when you are pregnant – and I don’t much care that I have this thick beige elastic band sitting low around my hips: it has helped support that dodgy left pelvic bone.

Otherwise, there is enormous relief at reaching this point of the pregnancy. The point where, if something disastrous happened, our baby would have a very good chance of survival outside the womb.

But, of course, anything can happen.

I can never have 100% faith that all will be well, certainly not after what happened to us last year.

But every day that passes in this pregnancy makes that uncertainty a little less intense. And that is truly wonderful.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A letter of complaint

Dear Sir/Madam,

I write to complain about the human body, female model.

I am the owner of the above product and I wish to draw the manufacturer’s attention to the fact that it is not well-equipped at all to deal with the rigours of pregnancy.

The User Manual lists pregnancy as one of the Extra Conditions the basic model can withstand perfectly well. It is right there, in black and white, alongside puberty, ageing, the entire decade from age 18 to 28 sustaining varying degrees of alcohol or ridiculous footwear-related injury, permanent stomach constriction from too much elastic belt wear in the 1980s or scalp tear from hair-teasing in the same decade.

I fully admit my particular model rolled off the production line some 35 years ago. Perhaps in some markets, this could be seen as too old to be shouldering, or wombing, the burden of a baby.

But no one, body manufacturer or not, would dare to suggest in polite, 2011 company that women should get their child-bearing duties done before the age of 25.

And actually, I doubt younger versions of your product do any better at this pregnancy game either.

The fact is the female human body is not well-designed at all when it comes to having a baby.

Even the moments before conception are fraught.

The female body is equipped with the Uterine Attack Force (my term) designed to seek and destroy sperm, making it a medical miracle that fertilisation even happens in the first place.

Fortunately I am in a same-sex relationship and conceived via IVF, so the closest I came to having live sperm in my body was sitting next to my male work colleague at the neighouring desk.

And thank goodness for that.

There are clear exterior appearance indicators, also, that the female body cannot deal with pregnancy.

Stretch marks blister otherwise-normal skin (even moreso in younger, more taut models – not me); water is retained causing unattractive bloating and an alarming inability to wear shoes, while necks thicken and the walking gait of a pregnant lady becomes a Waddlegate of presidential and scandalous proportions.

Then there’s the extra weight gained. Strangely enough, they tell you that 90% of that weight is fluid, not the actual baby. SO WHAT IS THE POINT? What the hell is that fluid for and why is there so much of it? Baby, in the real world, you want a house with a pool, you've got to WORK for it! You don't get it just like that *snap*.

Knowing the extra weight is predominantly liquid is cold comfort when you stand gingerly on the scales and see you’ve stacked on 30 kilos. Actually, not me, I have put on 10 so far, but I am eating Milo by the kilo and there’s still time!

Internally, many hormones wreak havoc with emotions and acceptable levels of the universally applied mental health Crazy Scale. Often within the space of mere seconds, pregnant women will explode with rage at being woken from a nap, before sobbing into their seventh bowl of cereal after watching a Huggies ad.

Control, support and dignity functions are ALL compromised. Surely, these are structural basics when designing a product of such importance?

The hormone relaxin is conveniently released during pregnancy. No doubt this is some male engineer’s brilliant idea. He probably thought he was doing something nice, by making the body release a hormone designed to make everything musculo-skeletal more stretchy as the body expands.


Get thee to your drawing board.

Then there’s the whole watermelon and garden hose thing.

I don’t know which genius decided that a 50-centimetre round circle can fit through a “thing” roughly seven centimetres in diameter. And let me tell you, Googling “average circumference of a vagina” just now has really put me off my dinner.

Alright, it stretches during delivery. Fine. But with that amount of stretching, there are little drawbacks like PAIN and TEARING!

You remember the drawing board?

So, in closing, I would like to urgently urge the entire manufacturing team to begin designing a new model that can safely and easily accommodate pregnancy.

This model should have a penis.


Rebecca Marshall.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tell me what it's going to be like


Don’t add hormones if you want it.

I think we have safely covered the fact previously that I am a worrier.

I analyse, I anticipate, I role play a variety of scenarios and I lay awake at night with a brain racing like a nitrous-fuelled Lamborghini at a time of day when my conscience should either be driving this Miss Daisy to sleep, or put that damn Buick in the garage for good, Earl!

I also consume large amounts of what I shall call twaffle related to anything I happen to be interested in at any given time. Twaffle is any and all manner of “information”, so questionable that it must come with its own set of inverted commas in this context.

It is most commonly derived from such respected sources as the internet, magazinary assortments of flippy book-type things often positioned near the check-out in supermarkets, the television, discussions with friends and any pop culture reference that I may notice.

Despite my sometime-intellectual logic shrouding this twaffle in wrapping paper made from many grains of salt, one other part of me also takes it as gospel to be believed unequivocally – until a new piece of twaffle comes along to dispel/replace it.

So, consequently, I am consuming many baby-related things: a documentary series on TV called One Born Every Minute, I am talking lots to women about their birth experiences (not their own, obviously, at least I don’t think that’s what we were talking about) and reading lots of baby books, magazines and – worst of all – the internet forum.

I even read a tabloid glossy story about some random Entertainment Tonight reporter in the US I had never heard of, just because she had a horrific IVF story.

It’s only human, I suppose, and perfectly natural to want to find things to relate to. Especially at a time when you are on a long-haul flight OUT of Comfort Zone, scared, vulnerable and trying vainly to set the scene in the role play in your head of your own baby’s delivery!

Blocking, we need blocking people!

There are some horrible labour stories out there. I have watched some of them on TV and heard others in person.

There are also some great ones. But they are like headlines (I am a journalist) – the worst ones sell, the worst ones stick in your memory.

And perspective is almost impossible here – damn it, just when you need it most! – because birth is such a subjective thing.

Even if you could duplicate a delivery, every woman would describe a different experience. Because every woman is different.

Pain thresholds, transition speed, dilation rates, complications, interventions, time lapsed, music, hypnobirth, water, knees, gas...every single thing is different for each woman.

So how the fuck do you prepare?? I expect it to be one of life’s most memorable flight-or-fight moments. Will I soar or punch someone in the head?

I know it probably sounds ridiculous to waste so much head space thinking about something that on the day will be beyond my control. But it’s in my nature to prepare as much as I can, even if it is mentally. Hard to do when all you can visualise is informed solely by dodgy twaffle.

I keep asking T what the pain is like, where exactly it can be felt, during a contraction. I take comfort in the fact that she says she can’t really remember, even though I suspect she is deliberately lying.

And I also cling to her words when she tells me that feeling of release and relief when the baby’s head and then its body eventually do come out is the best in the world.

I also had my glucose screen test for gestational diabetes this week. I get the results in a few days and even though I feel enormous, I don’t think I am abnormally obese with a big sugary baby, so hopefully that means I’ll be clear.

I have stopped taking Elevit daily and now only take one or two a week. It saves both money and my bowel, frankly. Iron and I aren’t so much firm friends as firm enemies, if you get my drift, and Elevit contains a whopping 60mg per tab.

I had a bit of a scare today when I hardly felt the baby move at all. Triggers for movement are normally after I eat, when I lie down or exercise. But by about lunchtime today I realised I hadn’t felt much at all. I called T and expressed some worry, hung up and then felt the baby move.

It was much lighter than before, and certainly much less than we had both felt last night when I thought I was channelling John Hurt in Alien and expected to see our baby bursting through my skin.

The “trusty” old internet forum came to my rescue, saying babies can have quiet days, but that no movement is obviously a concern after a day or more.

Actually, that was the third forum I found. You’ve got to keep Googling until you find a diagnosis you like.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Comfortable? For now

I am starting to enjoy the feeling of being pregnant right now. Of course, shortly I shall be changing my name to Orca the Slightly Tanned Whale from the village of Greater Thighs, and will be waddle-wallowing about in 85% humidity during a summer in the sub-tropics at the height of my pregnancy.

So I kinda figure I should make the most of feeling well. Larg-ish, but well, and certainly not uncomfortable. Yet.

Plus as I think I mentioned before, I now look unmistakably pregnant. And I know this is crazy, but I am kind of relieved that people are telling me my baby bump is now well and truly out there and obvious. Crazy because, as a woman, regardless of the fact there is a very good reason why it is so, it can be damn confronting watching your belly expand at such a rate of knots.

Putting this much weight on (seven kilos so far), and subsequently watching your shape grow before your eyes, is a sight designed to stir panic and fear in the average woman, raised inherently or due to society to feel a certain way about their body image. and how it compares to some ridiculous, manufactured ideal.

It is quite strange. Rationally, you know why it’s happening. And it’s happening for the world’s most amazing and incredible reason. But emotionally, there is still some vulnerable girl freaking out as she looks in the mirror at the third pair of pants that just won’t do up.

Plus everyone is noticing and commenting, because that’s what we do. And you know 100% of the time when they say “wow, you are really popping out now”; that is not code for “Jesus H. Christ, girl, lay off the cake, and by the way, here is the number for Jenny Craig”.

This is not something I lay awake thinking about, don’t worry, but it is an interesting emotional side effect for me being pregnant. Especially as it comes at a time when you are eating more than you should, and exercising less than you normally would.

Otherwise, I am putting the name Nadia on the list of possibilities as I am convinced I have a Romanian gymnast growing inside me.

Good lord. I have gone from worrying that I wouldn’t feel enough kicking (10-12 movements a day, 10-12 movements a day!!) to now worrying she is in some distress because she is moving double that. And quite strongly.

It’s freaky now as I can see my belly move from the outside as well as feel it from the inside. I put the remote control on it sometimes and watch it lever and wobble about. Weird. I must try a Malteser to see if that ad was real or not. Plus it's a good excuse to buy Maltesers.

When I say Week 25, it seems like an age before my due date. And I get impatient. Then I realise I am over six months, almost seven. And seven is almost the end. Waah!

This week I have to finalise my paperwork for maternity leave at work, including the all-important letter stating I am in fact, um, pregnant. I am hoping to have six months off work, provided we can save enough to add to our savings and leave entitlements between now and my due date, February 20.

Bloody money. I wish it wasn’t so necessary. I wish we could revert to the simple bartering system from the olden days (I forget the actual period in history, but figure olden days should cover it. Maybe I should have capitalised Olden Days. Actually, yes, that looks better.) Bartering could work really well for me. I have about a kilo of sugar snap peas and mangoes ripening on my tree as we speak. My tomato seedlings are growing really well, plus we have some leftover tiles from when we recently renovated our bathroom.

To Do: ring the bank and see if they would consider accepting legumes and white gloss ceramics in place of cash this mortgage repayment cycle.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Calculate this

I stopped maths at Year 10.

I had hitherto been doing what was commonly called “veggie maths”; as in, the maths you do when your brain is essentially a vegetable when it comes to calculating any sum trickier than five plus five.

And, the fact that I managed to squeeze in the word “hitherto” in the previous sentence should give you some clue that words were/are more my thing, not numbers. And we all know humankind is broken into two distinctly different parts: those who can write and those who can calculate without the aid of a product from Casio (showing my age, they have calculators on mobile phones now, right?).

But beyond Year 10, there was no veggie maths on offer, so it was time for me to skip merrily off into the garden of wondrous humanities, gleefully shunning Venn diagrams, long division and fractions.

By the way, algebra proved confusing. Lo, what’s this, said my brain? A stream of maths that actually uses letters? This should be a cinch.

Sadly, A plus B equalled wrong and I could never, ever make those stupid letters-dressed-as-numbers make sense. They walked like ducks and sounded like ducks, but weirdly were not the ducks I had come to love. It was quite shocking.

The reason I am waxing so lyrical about my mathematical ineptitude is to tell you how floored I was to suddenly realise this week that I am six months’ pregnant.

Six months. That is, like, almost the end.

The problem is you get so caught up in talking in weeks, that you forget to count the months. And while most people can easily (or I think, by some magic) work out the weeks and months equivalent within seconds in their heads, I cannot.

I have not been sleeping much lately thanks to wake-up calls from either intensely weird dreams, my sore back or my knee pillow slipping off the bed or up my shirt (must get some velcro for the inside of my knees to stop that problem). So I have had lots of time to think about random things.

Like how many months pregnant I am.

Six months.

I feel great. Apart from the lack of sleep making me extremely Snappy Tom (we do not have a cat) and ready for an enormous cat nap at about 3pm EVERY DAY.

I am really popped out now and trying to figure out how to function with a bloody big belly (must buy more slip-on shoes).

I am sitting on the fitball at night to get the lower ab and thigh muscles moving a bit, as well as trying to do my pelvic floor as often as possible and contemplating the awful reality of perineal massage.

Frankly, I would prefer just a back massage at this point. Must get onto that as well.

All is well and our little girl is moving around like crazy. Last night, I thought she was trying to get out, so low were the kicks.

I have figured out she likes chocolate, as she jerks around the most in the minutes after I eat some.

So, whatever baby wants...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Into week 23...

A tricky week this one.

The whole seven days were shrouded in an unfortunate stinky blanket courtesy of some terrible news from T’s family – news too personal for me to go into here.

It sort of set the mood for the week, and trust me, it wasn’t a good one.

We were both beyond exhausted and at that horrible point where you are too tired to sleep properly. Of course, it’s the weight of crap on your mind keeping your eyes open at 2, 3 and 4am but surely the very bone-weary state of your body should be enough to tip you into unconsciousness for a few precious hours?

If it wasn’t the crap on my mind, it was my bladder keeping me up at night.

I have now reached the point where I feel like I am about to burst if I do not get to a toilet, oh, about every two hours. When I get to the toilet, an amount measuring less than a teaspoon comes out.

It is truly the wee who cried wolf that has me pondering which idiot designed the female body?

I have also begun to feel incredible tightness and weight in my belly.

It is now just uncomfortable for some periods during the day. And I know I am not the first pregnant woman in history to complain about being uncomfortable, but this was the first time I had felt it enough to notice it as being, well, rather annoying.

A trip to the midwife this morning went some way to explaining the tautness in the abdominal region.

My placenta is sitting at the back of my uterus, about two-thirds up. That is completely fine and normal, but it means I have no buffer (in the shape and size of a liver, apparently) between my belly skin and the baby’s bumps.

Which would explain why it felt like I had either Rocky Balboa or Jackie Chan doing some quickfire boxing and/or sidekick training last night.

It is lovely to feel the movement though...and she better keep going. I need peace of mind.

The whole awful business we dealt with last week also got me thinking about being a mum. Well, another kind of mum. A mum to a child I will give birth to.

I wondered if that was any different to the mum I am now. Part of me thinks, of course it is – there is a genetic and physiological bond there, let alone a potentially deeper connection given the fact she started life in my belly.

But then part of me asks why it should be any different. I cannot imagine loving anyone more than Jay...but will I with our little girl?

I am also thinking a lot about how our family dynamic will change when she is born. I am worried about my relationship with J and scared it might be diluted as a result.

I can already picture his hurt little eyes when I am forced to feed, bathe or change our new baby first instead of playing monster trucks with him immediately.

I don’t want to hurt him!

Will he understand how vulnerable and dependent a new baby is and how that means he will have to do more either by himself or with T instead of me.

T had a great idea about me having special things or time with him – like a Jay date – regularly. Whether it’s Thursday afternoon dominoes or painting or Sunday morning bike rides or garbage truck games, I promise to do that.

Otherwise all well in our world. And I already feel better this week.

Also at the midwife, incidentally, was news that I will need an anti-D injection at 28, 34 and birth so my own body does not reject the baby. Again, who the hell designed the female body??

I still don’t understand A) how it can even happen that you can create something inside you that you are pre-programmed to biologically destroy and B) how the baby could have survived this far without being attacked by my own system already.

Weird. I also got a yoga video, that’s right – video, for pregnant mums. Hopefully that will help a bit with my back pain. But that has eased a bit since I started sleeping with a pillow between my knees.

Plus the weather is turning and I reckon we will be swimming in the pool within the next week, so laps, here I come. Cannot wait. I need to investigate massage also, but I might save that up for the last six or so weeks.

Monday, October 17, 2011

On top of the world, and bottoms

This past week I have felt incredibly well.

I am probably the healthiest – and funnily enough, the heaviest – I have been in my entire life.

I managed to have an entire week of stunningly wholesome lunches. There were kidney beans, nuts, tuna, herbs, bran, grains, a mountain of salad and vegetables and very little dodgy snack food.

In fact I think we went an entire 10 days straight without having cake in the office...clearly the petty cash reserves for sweet treats are dwindling. If that isn’t proof that the GFC is well and truly still with us, I don’t know what is.

The cake sits right next to my desk. Like, RIGHT NEXT TO IT. I do not have to move anything but my right arm if I wish to partake in a slice of something containing more sugar and preservatives than a hot dog in a Coke factory.

So thankfully, no temptations this week.

I felt like I was buzzing with vitality and it was noticeable. I remember driving home one day actually saying that to myself, “I feel fantastic”.

I must also get my paperwork in order for my maternity leave stuff at work.

According to an email I got from my manager, this is what I have to provide: 10 weeks notice in writing of my intention to take maternity leave (seems a little extreme), four weeks notice in writing stating when I wish to start the leave (um, how will I know that?? when the baby is born, d’uh, hopefully a week before), a medical certificate stating I am pregnant (and not doing a Beyonce) and giving the expected due date, if my spouse is taking paternity leave and a stat dec if they are taking more than one week (so we don’t double dip on the system) plus any accrued leave entitlements.

You want to know why I have put this off for so long? READ ALL OF THE ABOVE.

I hate paperwork. I am allergic to it. I detest trying to put my hands on membership numbers and passwords and credit limits and usernames. I know my birthday and my tax file number by heart, but ask me for any other personal information and this is the soundtrack in my mind: “beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep”. I am the person who has my own mobile phone number listed in my own mobile phone under “Me”. I am the person who always has to check what the bloody name of our bank account is.

I don’t even know what my salary is, let alone my damn leave entitlements. You’re the pay office, you find out!

Anyway. My favourite is the certificate stating I am in fact pregnant. Just take a look at me, take a picture, I am expanding before your eyes! No woman would ever fake this! Beyonce, respect. (I think that’s total crap, by the way, of course she is pregnant. See girlfriend waddle?? Hello!)

This past weekend was the first time I actually felt uncomfortable about my girth, physically. Australians all, let us rejoice, for I am girt by me. There is me, then there is this whole other layer of me, bellium rapido expandius.

Also, I have experienced heartburn and indigestion for the first, quite revolting, time. Stomach acids rising in my throat are trying to send me a clear message: six small meals a day, rather than three big ones, just like the books say.

But I don’t listen.

Exhibit A. Lunch, Sunday: chicken, hommus and salad grain roll, quarter packet leftover sweet chilli chips, handful peanut M&Ms, two bowls cereal.
Afternoon, Sunday: overfed stupor-induced nap for 1.45 hours.

It’s weird. I eat perfectly good meals and then feel quite hungry seconds later.

I am incredibly conscious of being active to balance all this, so I walk most days or ride my bike. Plus we went kayaking yesterday and I pulled J around on the body board in the lake shallows for a while.

This second trimester I am discovering is all about extremes. Extremes of mood, eating, sleeping, feeling fabulous, then feeling like shit when you don’t sleep for various reasons.

Oh, and extreme back pain. What’s with that? I have never ever had back problems at all. Good lord, I now pity all of you who have.

Extreme emotions too, but that’s a given. We moved all our bedroom furniture out over the weekend to get the carpets cleaned. Stacked under a tallboy was all the scan images, paperwork and condolence cards from the time we lost the baby last year.

We only had a 3D scan done for this pregnancy three weeks ago and I picked up one folder that looked like it, only to flip it open and suddenly see a 3D image of our baby boy.

I snapped it shut straight away, confronted. Bloody hell, he was gorgeous.
That hurt, that really hurt.

But it’s in the past and happier memories are forming protectively around it, fairy floss enveloping a dark jagged rock.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Pants Gazette

A week filled with music, family, the beach, laughs and cake.

Oh, and a three-dimensional movie of our baby currently growing inside my belly.

We got a few discs from the doctor when we had our 18-week scan but we hadn’t watched them until my mum visited for her birthday over the weekend.

Doesn’t that sound terrible? We hadn’t watched them.

The reason? 99% because life just takes over and we had seen our baby girl wiggling around on screen before our eyes anyway while the scan was happening, and 1% because I think I am still a teeny bit afraid of bonding.

I know this is a boring, tired old theme – and I am sick of it myself – but I cannot deny what I am feeling. And that is still an element of anxiety.

Anyway, 1% or .000001%, let’s accept it is just there.

The baby is moving quite a bit, although I rue the day I read on the hospital admission forms that I could call the midwives at any time if I had certain concerns, among them reduced movement from my baby (less than 10 – 12 movements per day).

It actually said that, in brackets, in black and white. 10 – 12 movements. Per day.

Why did they write a number? Don’t give me a number! Don’t set me medical parameters that cause me to either relax if I comply or freak out if I don’t!

Now I am bloody counting all day! If I wasn’t so busy at work, and mostly sane for the majority of my waking hours, I would keep a running tally sheet every time I felt a flutter and then either collapse in a heap or rejoice in happiness at the end of the day once I had revised that day’s count.

But mostly it’s all good. The sun has started shining with a bit more intensity, the damn bugs and spiders are coming out and we are forced yet again to utter our Spring refrain “when is the bloody pest control man due again?”: a sure sign summer is on its way.

I am suddenly asking myself seriously what type of attire I shall be able to wear when swimming at the beach and pondering whether I can be brave enough to just let my bare belly see the sun’s rays, unburdened by the ubiquitous rashie I have felt compelled to wear since my late 20s when beer and fine food of the brown, chocolatey variety conspired to gift me a generous spare tyre.

T and I went to the local music festival on the weekend and spent a glorious eight full hours together without our three-year-old.

How strange it was to sit and read the paper in the shade while we waited for bands to set up. How unusually peaceful it was to place a lazy body on the grass and stare at the cloudless sky until even lazier eyes dozed shut for a few precious minutes.

How bizarre to not have to endlessly ask each other if one of us needed to go to the toilet, if we had brushed our teeth or, over dinner, if we could please eat two more spoons of rice before we could have any sweets.

The festival was awesome. We saw The Baby Animals, Missy Higgins, Paris Wells, Watussi, Diesel and Little Red. Bloody brilliant. Although tough to do sober!

Speaking of pregnancy wardrobe, and I know this has emerged as a common theme, but let me leave you with some more news on pants.

The festival marked the second time in a fortnight I had ventured to a public event with my pants undone.

Not just a fly open, or a button missing its loopy mate by mistake. Pants completely and utterly open.

See, I have jeans that fit well, leg-wise and length-wise. But from the bottom of the zipper to the top, there is no way on this earth those two flaps of material will ever meet across my belly.


Where they should be the letter I, they are doggedly the letter V, with __ leanings.

But luckily, or not, the good lord of genetics has afforded me with quite a sizeable inner thigh circumference, such expanse of skin that acts as quite a handy magnet to most pants at that point of fabric join. Pants are at their most taut at that stage of my leg, let’s put it that way. Like most humans I guess. Um.

And thankfully, the good lord of fashion has brought back enormously long shirt lengths, hopefully thereby banishing for good those atrocious midriff tops we all wore in the 80s when we had waists and zero belly flab.

Put on one of those 80s length shirts now, after the inevitable middle-age torso spread has woven its wretched magic, and people think you are wearing a scarf with sleeves.

So, I am fortunate for the moment to be able to couple my undone jeans with an almost knee-length top, add a few more layers and whether monster trucks or music festivals, no one knows the difference!


Until the wind blows...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Movement At The Station

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
The Marshall baby girl had got away
She had joined the wild in utero babies – she was worth more than any treasure found
So all the expert doctors gathered at the fray.
All the confusing and noted feelings in the belly these past few weeks
Had fluttered authentically at last overnight
For the hopeful mum loves to feel the tiny form inside her tweak
As she finally and happily realises possibility with delight.

Thank you for the inspiration, Banjo Patterson. His original first verse below. I decided against reworking the remaining 12 verses – you’re welcome.

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

In case you didn’t already gather, I am finally feeling movement for the first time.

There have been flutters and weird lumpy shifts in my lower belly these past few weeks, but in the most recent four days, there have been full-blown liquidy bumps. Obviously baby.

And even T felt one for the first time last night. I can't wait for J to feel it too.

At this point, they are most common mid-way through the day and late at night, just before I go to sleep. She almost always moves when I am on my back, a position I do not hold for long as I feel like I am stretching my belly skin like a centimetre of glad wrap over an elephant, frankly.

Today also marks the half-way point, weee. 20 weeks. Last night I filled out my hospital pre-admission forms – and briefly contemplated establishing a business consulting with others that require people to fill in forms, to overhaul their form templates to ensure people can, gasp, actually understand and complete them easily – and sent them off today. Whether the condition is bullshit or not, you are dealing with people who are in the peak phase of baby brain, do not ask them what their private health cover excess is (who ever knows that?), when exactly any previous surgeries were, what their freaking GP’s fax number is and if they had ever been to a SARS country. Yes I have, but it was four years ago, do I really need to “immediately inform the Infectious Diseases Co-Ordinator”?

And another thing, is it really necessary to use that daggy old shiny paper? It has the type of texture that any pen you use instantly smudges if you so much as look at the words the wrong way. God help you if you, like I do, leave some sections blank to return to later after you have filled out the remainder.

You’d better leave the form in a hermetically-sealed drying room for up to five days unless you want to smear every word and number you’ve ever written across the great expanse of white shininess.

Sigh. I considered attaching a note to the form to eliminate the possiblity that the nurse reading my form and trying to enter my blotchy details onto a computer might temporarily fear I had been assaulted as I filled it in and was dragged, clutching vainly at the paper, across pages two through six.

Anyway. Weeee. It’s all becoming a bit real. A reality I wouldn’t have dared to contemplate even a fortnight ago.

This is pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Best Week Yet

Easily one of the best weeks of my life, even if it featured the ubiquitous emotional rollercoaster.

We had our 18-week scan last week and one word sums it up: normal.

I tell you, after the hell we endured last year, that is the best and only six-letter combination we wanted to hear.

The fact that we also found out it’s a girl was icing on the cake, really, and we are just so happy.

I was incredibly nervous in the days leading up to the scan. The day before, I had even readied myself for bad news. Looking back I cannot believe I wasted so much energy imagining the detail of being ushered into a side room to be told there was a growth or an abnormality or that something anatomical wasn’t where it should be.

I didn’t think it would be as bad as before (Downs Syndrome, serious heart defect), but I did honestly think it would be something big enough to cause us to worry for the next six months.

Something even that might require surgery in utero – yep, these are the extreme places my mind goes at night.

I think I have to accept that worry is unfortunately part of my make-up now. It is how I am drawn.

Day to day, I just need to learn how to handle it, control it, not let it get the best of me. But this time, I just expected something else to give me reason to worry.

The three of us finally entered the scan room, late, and our baby suddenly appeared on the screen on the wall.

This was exactly the same room I was in a year ago to have my amnio. This was almost exactly the same image I was looking at back then when I suddenly caught myself and told myself to look away, not get too attached or connect with this tiny being’s movement too much, because I just knew it would all be taken away.

A year ago, on the very day we went in for our scan, we were in the same hospital a few hundred metres away preparing to terminate the pregnancy. (More freaky coincidences here.)

And yet that day, last week, I was trying to push those thoughts far away with as much force as I was remembering them.

The tug-of-war had me exhausted at the end of the day, utterly depleted.

But there was much to celebrate as the three of us sat in silence watching the doctor measure and scan and press popping buttons on a computer.

J was intrigued, T was in awe and I, after asking if everything was alright (give me something!), burst into tears. Of course.

The scan was temporarily interrupted as my stomach heaved as I let out a particularly intense sob, causing the wand thing to lose contact with my contracting belly. But all was well.

Later at home, J and I played while T went to work. I noticed J started getting a few of his toys and calling them his own babies, holding them and feeding them bottles. It was so damn adorable, the little man.

I took him to our local lake by the beach and we had the best time splashing in the shallows and building sand pools and castles. I think I was still walking on happy air at that point and he no doubt picked up on the vibe.

Just then, as the sun set and the light in the sky changed, the unmistakable squawk of the black cockatoo emerged from overhead.

I looked up and five of the massive, majestic birds silhouetted the clouds, right over our heads, their yellow cheeks flashing like war-plane markings as they flooshed through the air.

These are the same birds that appeared a year before when our baby died. I have felt a strong, ethereal connection to them ever since.

And here they were again.

Letting me know everything was right in the world.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Elastic waistband

Well I am finally starting to look like a pregnant woman.

And about time too!

I was starting to get worried people at work, watching me consume large amounts of food every two hours (at least), were simply beginning to think I was channelling Toni Collette: the Muriel’s Wedding version, not United States of Tara one.

I am eating a lot. Mostly it is good things, as we are healthy ordinarily anyway. We have a veggie garden out the front with everything from herbs and peas to broccoli and citrus (not yet fruiting, but soon).

I remember my appetite being crazy in the first trimester, and while it’s nowhere near as extreme as back then, I do feel it’s returned with about 75% vengeance now.

We went to relatives for dinner last night. There was roast chicken, approximately 345 vegetables and gravy, all followed by meringue nests with fruit salad.

On the way out, they gave us four marzipan tarts they did not like. It’s marzipan, are they nuts? I adore the stuff.

Anyway, we get home to put the little mister to bed and we have a cup of tea. I would say within less than two minutes, I had eaten three of the tarts before sheepishly asking Trace if she wanted one.

I will often get to the end of dinner, and quite a large dinner, and inexplicably drift towards the pantry to fix myself one or two bowls of cereal. It is crazy.

So, obviously, my belly is popping out, but I think (I hope) it has a decidedly pregnancy-inspired rotundness.

Initially, I made the stupid assumption that some clothes I had pre-pregnancy that were on the hipster side, and sat low on the belly anyway, would be fine to wear even as my belly grew.

I think that was back in the days when I was convinced I would be one of those Posh or Nicole Richie pregnant ladies: essentially a toothpick with an apricot belly. Fat nowhere else.

It was really hot today, spring’s first blush, and I put on shorts that fit the above category. I could just get the button done up, but they were painful and they bunched uncomfortably toward the zipper, a zipper that about 10 minutes later gave up trying to play along with my charade and eventually burst.

They were my oldest, most favourite pair of denim shorts. I had literally had them for about 15 years. And your body changes with age, a lot, in that time, but I could always count on them to fit perfectly. Old reliable.

As I tried to unzip the broken zipper, the little metal tab that had opened and shut that faithful, ingenious fastener more than a thousand times in its life, gave a last gasping snap as it came free in my hands. Broken.

I was shattered. Then I was confused and then I was scared as to how to extricate myself from already-tightly fitting shorts that had been zippered up when the zipper broke.

Somehow, I managed to peel them off, but I will leave it up to your imagination if my knickers came on or off at the same time.

Other than hilarious sartorial adventures, no movement from the baby that I can discern as yet. There have been tiny little lumpy feelings, like a pulse in my abdomen or like food moving through intestines. But who knows? That could actually be my pulse or digestion...

This week is enormous for me. This Thursday is the one-year anniversary of the day we lost the baby.

It is also the day we have our 18-week full morphology (anatomy) scan.

The coincidences continue.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Milestones and mill stones

This is going to sound riveting, but I have a whole lot of nothing to report from this past week.

Wow, what a way to entice you to keep reading, huh?

I have been trying to deal with this in limbo time until the next peace-of-mind scan by distracting myself with work and family stuff.

And I thought I was doing alright until I had a meltdown over the weekend. I am pretty sure you can put it all down to tiredness, hormonal-ness and general freaked out-ed-ness at surpassing at last the 16 weeks and four day mark of this pregnancy.

Oh, and Jay was sick. Throwing up sick. Which is never nice.

I was worried about reaching that date in the days leading up to it, but funnily enough, on the day, it wasn’t until about 2pm that I realised and remembered. And then I kind of felt nothing; a little relief, but not the huge emotional tsunami I was expecting.

A few days later though and perhaps it hit. First of all, let me say, Saturday it blew like a howling gale, all day, very destructive winds. And Saturday night was a full moon. Both of those things make people crazy – just ask the cops. Hell, our local paper on Sunday had a front-page story about a guy who randomly walked up to the scene of a car accident and threw a python at police.

That’s right, a python. Like I said, last weekend just made people go loco.

I felt disconnected from things, from happiness, and very irritable. Jay was up well before 6am both days, and he was sick. Normally I can go back and grab a few extra hours to catch up, but I could not switch my brain off from thinking dark thoughts if I tried to nap.

I was dazed, headachey and nauseous but strangely unable to really feel any of that truly. It was a really bizarre state of mind. It’s happened in varying degrees before, but pregnancy and that “milestone” exacerbated it this time.

Anyway, I feel much better now, although I have had a headache for two days, but it’s dissipating. But I think I know why I felt nothing. Because even though it is great that I held onto this pregnancy for longer than the last one, so far, there is no great woot-woot celebration that comes with that.

This is a completely different pregnancy and a completely different baby inside. It is unfair to compare and hopefully I can stop now.

Well, I have never experienced a pregnancy this far in as I might as well try and enjoy, rather than curse, the changes in my body and feeling the baby kick for the first time (nothing yet).

Trace and I also agreed on a new girl’s name after I panicked and realised the one we had chosen was really not suitable for a girl beyond the age of five. But we are keeping this new name a secret, although we will tell people the gender when we find out next week.

Next week! Eeek.

Hmm, I did have stuff to report after all. Put it down to the scrambled eggs currently disguising themselves as my brain matter right now.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Coincidence much?

I remember being really struck by a particular book when I was in my teens.

Sure, there was Shakespeare and George Orwell and Harper Lee, but one of the most memorable was a bizarre little paperback with a light blue cover all about coincidence.

It was a dog-eared collection of anecdotes from around the world about the unexplained phenomenon. Some called it fate, the book’s intro said, others thought it more mystical than that, but the stories of coincidence it contained proved that whatever it was, it was real and quite jaw-dropping.

I think I found it for 50 cents in a second-hand shop somewhere random. The ominous lightning strike on its cover appealed to my teenage mind. Back then, I probably thought it was edgy and hoped mum would think I was into the occult.

There were all sorts of stories of a long-lost family heirloom that is suddenly found after a relative’s favourite flower grows in the exact spot where it’s buried; or the twin feeling the other twin’s pain at the same moment, on the other side of the world; or of certain meaningful things happening on key dates, centuries later, auspicious and freaky.

In the years since, I do pay particular attention to those moments that happen in someone popping into your thoughts minutes before they ring you on the phone, dreaming about something a few days before it happens and things like that.

With this pregnancy – see, there is a link in here somewhere – I know how real coincidence is in my life, but I am not sure of its meaning. Or even if it has one.

By some random eventuality, the embryo that is now the baby I am carrying was implanted in me on the very same date as our little boy’s was in Tracey, four years ago.

To the day.

There is no way we could have orchestrated that or manipulated that if we tried by lining up cycles and doctor’s visits and hospital theatre schedules and chance.

I am due on my partner’s birthday.

I found out today that our OBGYN is taking a week off right around my due date. The number three came up a lot early in my pregnancy. I was in theatre three, we sat at table three the night we had our embryo transfer to celebrate with dinner out and our little boy is three. It prompted T to surmise that I would probably go past my due date and give birth on the 3rd of the 3rd.

Our OBGYN is due back from his leave on the 3rd of the 3rd.

Over the weekend, we realised another freaky coincidence.

Our 18-week scan – the one we are counting down to so desperately – is on September 22. They day we lost our baby last year.

Tracey said to me “Do you think it’s trying to tell us something, that everything will be ok this time?”

I don't know what in tarnation "it" is, but sweet lord, I hope that's what it's saying!

Monday, August 29, 2011

15 weeks today

We are in countdown mode until our 18-week scan and we don’t see our OB-GYN until the week after that and I am not too sure what to feel until then.

I try not to place too much weight on that scan, but it really will be momentous for us. For me anyway. I think of it like the final locked door that we can either open to happiness and surety, or leave painted shut to yet more sadness and fear. A bit dramatic, but when all you can do is wait, the imagination unfortunately has ample time to manipulate intuition.

That’s when we will get a detailed scan of our baby’s anatomy. That’s when we will get the most comprehensive indication so far that all is well, some is well, or none is well at all.

In the meantime, I feel in limbo a little. I have started thought-talking to my little baby at night, just telling it that we love it and hope it is safe and warm and happy in there. I put my hand on my lower belly and repeat the mantra: stay safe, healthy and strong, all through the pregnancy and beyond.

But always, always, a thought slams my reverie and reminds me to be careful. Don’t form a bond, don’t get too close. Just in case.

I am also thinking a lot not only about the one-year anniversary of the day my last pregnancy was induced, but also surpassing the term I reached last time. 16 weeks and four days.

By some strange coincidence, the two dates fall within about a fortnight of each other. I have felt weightier with the same sadness we experienced back then...or maybe it’s all that water retention? I guess I am flashing back to all the horrific emotions we felt last September. And wondering if we will have to endure them again this time.

But then I remind myself that this is now and that was then. The past. Hopefully we have a new and happier future in store.

Otherwise, I wore my first maternity top last week. It was actually to hide a regular pair of pants I put on to go to work. Oops, I noticed as I pulled them up, can’t quite get those top buttons done up. Cue the safety pin and a mental note to buy one of those belly belt things, and before you could say baby bump, I had an enormous random flap of fabric sticking out the front of my stomach that would stand out like a redhead in China if I tried to hide it with a regular top. I needed to hide it, so reached for the pile of maternity gear a lovely friend had given to me just weeks before.

It felt a bit tenty, but it was a relief to actually place pieces of clothing on my person that didn’t cling as tightly as everything else seems to.

I really must start researching safe exercises and yoga for pregnancy!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Almost time for tea

I went back to work last week after a fortnight off.

It was a blissful two weeks featuring a visit from my mum from interstate, lots of eating holiday food, shopping, movies and afternoon naps almost daily. My ideal life and the one I would readily subscribe to if I didn’t need to work!

I sensed a real change in my state of being pregnancy-wise this week.

I don’t know if it’s psychological because I know the consensus is that most women leave the worst of the nausea/morning sickness behind them in the second trimester, but I do feel well. Better than I have in months. Almost like my old self again.

The smell of my partner’s coffee in the evening still makes my stomach turn, but generally throughout the day, I am not feeling that constant “I could vomit at any time” sensation.

A big step of progress came just a few days ago.

My ultimate favourite thing to do in winter is consume enormous and bountiful cups of tea...English Breakfast is my poison, or Irish Breakfast if I am that way inclined. I might be tempted by an Earl Grey, a green or a chai on the odd occasion as well.

But not this winter. All because my tastebuds have been hijacked by my pregnancy. For some bizarre reason I will never understand, my most favourite hot beverage has been relegated in my mind to the same place where sardines, tripe, runny eggs, blue steaks, hot chips without sauce and offal go: the revolting pile.

I have not been able to stomach the thought of a cup of tea these past three months. It’s been terrible – and quite surreal.

Part of the old me is on one shoulder going “ooh, it’s a bit grey outside, perfect weather for a nice hot cup of tea – or seven”; but the new me is on the other saying “if you even so much as move to switch on the kettle, that bile you feel rising in your throat will quadruple in size and come up spewing, projectile style”.

But recently, it has been very grey, and cold and rainy and perfect tea weather. Add the fact that I am feeling a bit better about matters digestive and I thought, to hell with it, give it a go.

I have to say it was nice. It warmed me up and tasted ok, but funnily enough, was not overly enjoyable.

I’m sure it will return in time.

Other than that, my partner and I have been talking a lot this week about what it will be like having another baby in the house again, three years after we were up to our necks in bottles and nappies with our son.

God, it will be weird. I was holding a friend’s baby at soccer yesterday and while I was certainly being careful, I noticed I was a little bit rougher in the tickle play, only because just moments before I had been wrestling with Jay. You sort of get used to a certain level of physicality with your kids at that particular age...and it affects the way you deal with all other kids. It’s like dog people going up to a cat and patting it by way of a friendly whack on the back, just as they would with their much bigger, more robust canines at home. Meanwhile, poor pussy slinks off disdainfully to the feline chiropractor.

The other thing that will take some adjustment is looking after a little being who cannot talk for so many months. Again, with Jay, we are used to having conversations with him. Is he hungry, does he need to go to the toilet, does he want a drink of water? We don’t need to guess – he tells us.

Whatever happens, I think it will be fascinating to see how the whole “second child” thing plays out in our house, especially as while this baby will be our second, it will be my first.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Good early news

Ok, this will be quick as I am about to race out the door.

But I wanted to let you know that my results are good, very good.

Our nuchal scan plus bloods revealed a one in 1482 chance of having a baby with Downs.

To put that into perspective, my number last time was one in 29 and anything above 300 is considered good.

Our ob-gyn said that figure was a very good result and the number he would see in a 20 year old woman (discounting my history).

Happy with that!

Of course we could still have an amnio for 100% peace of mind, but there is a one in 200 risk of miscarriage there. So, weighing up the numbers and despite the fact that maths was never my strong point, I think it's ok if we hang on and avoid an amnio.

We can have an advanced anatomy scan at a special place (not the ordinary ultrasound places) where they can search for Downs features at 18 weeks.

If, worst case and for some horrific reason, it looks like we have another Downs baby, we can still have an amnio.

If that comes back positive, the process of termination is much the same at 16 weeks as it is at 19 weeks.

But I honestly do not feel we will have to go down that path. I am so encouraged by that initial number. Of course, all the docs are hedging their bets and cannot tell me anything for certain. But we can breathe a tiny bit easier now.

Hooray. Maybe my stressed shoulders can drop a little as the tension eases.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

And so, we meet again, 12 weeks

Almost 12 weeks. Yeep, do I dare get excited? Well certainly not until we cross this bloody monumental nuchal scan barrier. I have it tomorrow, and we find out the results Wednesday.

Here, by way of a recap, is the first entry of my journal over at StorkNet. Give it a few days before I am loaded on there, allowing for time difference and all. Back to regular programming later this week. In the meantime, good vibes welcome from you all!

TWELVE WEEKS WAS ALWAYSthe standard mark most pregnant women waited for before they announced the news publicly, right? The “safe” point after which all would be well? First trimester over = happy days!

We thought so too, until last year. Until our 12-week scan revealed Down Syndrome and a serious heart defect...that ultimately resulted in us losing the baby. Our hearts broke as we made the call to terminate at 16 weeks and four days – not a decision everyone would agree with, but one that thankfully my partner Tracey and I were in unison about. It was partly that we knew we weren’t strong enough to cope and partly that we were worried about the strain it would place on our family, but mostly we felt paralysed with grief at the thought of knowingly bringing a new little life into the world that would be burdened with such a poor quality of life.

My pregnancy was too far advanced for a hospital procedure that would have mercifully knocked me out with a general anaesthetic, so I was induced. I won’t go into any details about those 26 hours...funny, I think I have blocked many of them out anyway (even though they are here on this entry I have real trouble re-visiting). But even though I have erased them from my mind, they aren’t permanently deleted like you can do with emails and trash in your computer recycle bin.

The memories are like the lead pencil impressions left carved on paper even after you try so hard to rub and rub them out. Just like this is something we won’t get over, that is something we will never truly forget.

I am sorry to dwell on such maudlin matters in this, my first entry. But I need you to know some of the back story, because unfortunately – while I wish it wouldn’t – it indelibly taints every second of this pregnancy. Whether that is through pretty regular bouts of uncertainty, anxiety and stressful moments that take my breath away, or through seemingly unstoppable tears at 2.30am while I lie awake, unable to sleep, thinking. “What if it happens again?”

I try and think of the baby growing inside me and remember I have to protect it and nurture it with love and positivity, but sometimes the damn worry wins.

So, that’s where we find ourselves at this very moment. Tomorrow I will have a 12-week scan. The same procedure that last time sparked such a catastrophic crumbling of our world. The same scan that triggered such tragedy last August.

I am petrified. What if it happens again?

I saw our OBGYN, the same one we had last time, last week. It was our first appointment back, as we had been to another IVF doctor in Brisbane to this point. I was shocked to hear what he had to say. As I sat down he, knowing my history, asked me if I was thinking about going straight for an amnio. I admitted that thought had not crossed my mind at all. He said in his experience, women who had had a similar experience just wanted that peace of mind and immediately by-passed the nuchal, which is purely indicative and educated guesswork really, whereas the amnio is 100% clear.

Instantly I felt unprepared and silly for not considering this. But then I said that I actually did want to do the nuchal. Firstly, it is less intrusive and less risky. And why have an amnio if you don’t need it?

Then he shocked me for a second time. He said that because of my history, the ratio used to calculate the likelihood of me having another Downs baby was reduced. So instead of a woman my age starting at a point of one in 400, I start at one in 100.

Holy shit. I was gobsmacked.

To this point, we had been convinced that Downs was a genetic anomaly. It is not hereditary and even if both sides of the tree have zero family history with the syndrome, for some random reason, it can strike. It is inexplicable and impossible to trace/predict. Even our IVF doctor said we would be bloody unlucky for this terrible lightning to strike in the same place twice. And yet, the possibility now seemed to be opening up.

So, with this in mind, I am now readying myself for what I believe to be an almost-certain amnio. Especially given my numbers are going to be so drastically skewed downwards. But, on the other hand, we won’t know until we know. And even then we won't know for certain - the nuchal result is just a guide. I just hope my number is high, and there is no room for doubt over whether or not we need an amnio.

Roll on Wednesday, that's when we can get the results.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

First things first

What a relief.

T, J and I went to Brisbane on Monday for bubbalina’s first scan.

In the days before, I had shut part of myself down a bit, fearing there would be nothing to see.

The more I searched for a symptom, the less pregnant I felt.

The more I worried, the less confident I became.

The more the limbo of waiting progressed, the less deserving I felt of joy, or good news.

The mind can be an awful and shamefully powerful thing.

But then, at 9.30am on Monday, there it was. A perfect, seven week and two day-old foetus. Our little peanut bubbalina.

“Oh gee,” the doctor said as it came into focus.

Good god, I thought. J, the little bugger, was right. He had been predicting twins for the past few weeks, sometimes cheekily and sometimes seriously.

“That’s a large one. That is textbook, actually, I could teach off that.”

Phew. One, he said one, right?


Phew. It’s there, it’s textbook, it’s ok.

Thank every goddamn religious and non-religious entity in the known universe.

I smiled, T grinned, J looked a bit bewildered at the screen.

Poor guy. He is three. He has seen babies in books and in real life. That little 11.2 millimetre blob on a black-and-white TV screen does not look anything like that.

Then a bit more shuffling around and we see the heartbeat. A little flutter, flickering away at 140 beats per minute.


And then, more good news, as T and I mumble words of relief and guarded hope.

The doctor tells us that once a heartbeat is found, the chance of miscarriage drops from 12% to 2%.

It is only until later that day, that I realise how much I have shifted and how differently I view those statistics now.

I remembered similar numbers being thrown at us in the lead-up to the nuchal scan. In those days of bliss and ignorance. The chance of bad stuff always seems so remote, so small and is regularly thrown in as an after-thought when the doctor explains the process.

I remembered not ever conceiving of the possibility that we could fall within the miniscule boundaries of that one, tiny statistic.

And yet we did.

So, 2%. It’s better than 12%, but it’s still 2%.

Sometimes I feel cheated that I cannot truly experience the wonder of this time, that I cannot abandon myself to the joy of it.

But mostly, I feel grateful for being pregnant again less than a year later and grateful for the amazing support around me.

And grateful that all hope has not deserted me, that I still really wish the odds will be with us this time. They’ve got to be, don’t they?

A year ago, I would never have asked that question, or if I did, it would have been a statement (“They’ve got to be – full stop”) with no vulnerable upward inflection tacked on to the end.

But that’s how it’s changed me. And I still grieve that, as much as for everything else, because it has eroded my strength. Maybe one day, it will make me stronger.

In the meantime, the cliche continues and we progress through a one-day-at-a-time effort, daring to lift our gaze slightly to small milestones along future’s way.

But never placing too much importance on them and always imagining the either way.

Always wondering if it will happen again.

Heads up now to our first appointment with our local OB-GYN – on my birthday – in two weeks. And then to the nuchal scan.

First things first.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How to retrain the brain. Seriously, how?

The internet should and must be avoided at all costs, except for blog reading.

We lost our baby at 16.4 weeks last September and I am now three weeks pregnant, the first time I have been pregnant since that horrible time.

I cannot begin to list the emotions racing through my heart and head at this point.
Lurching. That’s a good word. I am lurching all over the place, from a diluted type of joy and happiness that doesn’t last long once the anxiety and palpable fear takes hold.

And it takes hold 98% of the time, both in my conscious and sub-conscious.
Everybody tells me I will be ok this time and I have to believe it will all be fine, and that’s great. But that’s exactly what everyone else told me last year. I even believed it.

And look how that turned out.

You can’t know, you can never know for 100% sure that things will turn out well, not well or in between.

I get that, but I really do need to know this time and it’s not fair that I can’t.
Coupled with all of these emotions is another feeling, or rather, a distinct lack of feeling. I don’t feel overly pregnant. I know that’s perfectly normal, but it does not help mitigate the anxiety!

When you go through IVF, you are keenly aware of times, dates and places. You know when the embryo went in, you know exactly when you can get a blood test and you are in permanent count-down mode.

As soon as I was able, I tested – both at home and at the path lab. And as soon as I was able, I knew. We knew. Most people at work knew.

So when most other women are blissfully ignorant of the tiny being forming inside them – happily consuming vast quantities of coffee, wine and soft cheese (bitches!) - I am trudging drearily to the kettle with my decaffeinated tea bag in hand.

I know, I shouldn’t whinge...I am drinking decaf tea and shunning leftovers for a bloody good reason. A bloody fantastic, happy reason.

Back to the internet. I started reading the What To Expect book a little and had some awful flashing back at the part about testing for abnormalities, Down Syndrome etc. I read and re-read the lines that said abnormal results were extremely rare, or complications were almost unheard of in most women and mentally crossed my fingers.

At work I have been distracted these past few days with internet sites that show foetal development week by week.

On one I read today, was this: Do not panic if you do not have pregnancy symptoms, although you should contact your care provider if you suddenly lose your pregnancy symptoms.

That sentence is two things: written by someone of Irish persuasion and THE VERY DEFINITION OF AMBIGUITY!

Read it again. If you can make sense of it, please comment below.

I shall now stop time-wasting internettery and keep counting down until our first scan on July 11.

After then, no doubt the count-down will be until our 12-week nuchal scan, and after then, a new count-down will take its place, and so on. Little milestones along the way.

I can’t get too far ahead but that doesn’t mitigate the anxiety in between each one!

And the whole time I feel scared that the stress will harm my baby and worried that I am somehow sending it a biochemical message that I am ungrateful because I am spending far too much time freaking out as opposed to enjoying this wonderful news and enjoying the fact that it is there and growing.

For the first time since we found out, I actually felt tingles of warm excitement as I was going off to sleep last night, about how cool this was going to be. The first time.

It has been like I cannot allow myself to fully let this great news wash over me completely. I’ve got glad wrap over bits of me that I need to protect and keep dry.

I’ve used duct tape and plastic bags to waterproof my heart. Which is stupid, because this is good, it’s great, it’s amazing. Why wouldn’t I want this all over me, drowning me?

Simple. Because it might not last. It might not last. And no one can tell me that it will or it won’t.

But I have to accept that and just hope for the best.

So far I have been too focused on the stress and the fear and telling people “hopefully everything will be alright this time” to stop and respect how incredibly lucky we are.

Lucky for now, at least.

I told our little boy’s day care lady and another mum this week. Instantly both of them put their hands up to their faces and sort of held their breath while twisting their faces into a worried sympathy.

No congratulations, no real broad smiles.

It must be said that these two women were also there last year when I collapsed in tears while picking up my son, as it was just after we had the awful news confirmed.

They no doubt had that raw memory in mind. As I do.

My mobile rang at work today. It was a nurse from the fertility clinic following up on the transfer.

“I am pregnant,” I told her.

“Oh, that’s wonderful! You needed that good news, especially after...well, you’ve had a hard life, my dear,” she said, no doubt casting a glance at my file, sitting open on the desk in front of her.

We have to hope for the best. What is the alternative?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

News - on the day the Dalai Lama visited my town

I am pregnant.


I found out just after 1pm today. My HCG is 300 and something and I am pregnant.

I am still a bit numb and not quite sure it's real yet.

Our little boy wet the bed at 2am so, as we were up, we decided to do the test then.

It showed two lines after an eternity, but the second line was quite faint and I went back to bed not thinking anything of it really. (And also preparing myself for bad news.)

I had always said whatever the home test result, I wouldn't place too much weight on it, and wait for the blood instead.

Then morning came, the sun rose, and I noticed the lines were a little darker, but still not conclusive. Then I read the bottom of the box, it expired in April.

I started to allow myself to feel some glimmer of hope again.

I had a blood test and what would normally have taken literally three minutes took me 35 minutes as the universe conspired to put four people suddenly ahead of me in the queue. And then when it was finally my turn, this crazy old lady's wallker wheel thing was blocking my way and it took, oh, about 17 YEARS FOR HER TO MOVE IT. I was quite breathless with nerves and anticipation by this point. Particularly as I wanted the test to be done ASAP, so it could get on the earliest courier to Brisbane so I could get the results, um, ASAP!

The blood guy looked sceptical as he wrote Urgent on the form and said the results normally take a couple of days. My face dropped, I told him that I was sure he could appreciate that we would be sweating on these results.

He circled the word Urgent, but I could not relax. I scurried back to the car, thankfully warmed from its morning chill after being parked in full sunlight, and burst into tears.

I think I had been counting down so fervently to this day, being 14 days and all, that I expected a result as soon as the sun rose. And to hear that I may have to wait another day, or even through the weekend...well, it broke my heart.

I went to work, tried unsuccessfully to concentrate and watched the clock tick over every hour.

At 1pm, I couldn't stand it any longer and took a punt by calling the doc's office in Brisbane.

"Hi there, I know this is a long shot, but just wondering if you have any results back yet." Wait, expecting a dismissive "Oh no, we wouldn't see those results on a Thursday until at least 3, maybe later."

But instead, a curt "Yes, we've got something here."

I held my breath. What followed was five minutes of utter confusion on my part, but I imagine total jaded going through the motions on behalf of the doctor's receptionist. She started going on about my HCG number, how they hadn't sent the progesterone results with the HCG results and wasn't that strange, did I still have enough pessaries, let me just put you on hold while I check with the doctor... WHAT????!!!!

She came back on hold and continued with this gibberish until I stopped her, exasperated and said point blank: "Sorry, am I pregnant or not?"

"Oh yes," she said, sounding temporarily self-conscious. "The doctor is quite happy with those numbers and we will see you for a scan in three and a half weeks."

I could barely utter goodbye before I crouched to the floor near a remote exit at work, where no one could see me, and cried my heart out.

Oh, my, god. Thank god. It has happened. What a relief, what a joy, what a fright, what a brilliant bloody result.

Each night for the past 14 terrible waiting nights, I have laid in bed just before I went off to sleep and placed my hand on my lower belly. In the still and the quiet, I have repeated the same words over and over in my mind: "Stay safe, healthy and strong, all the way to the birth and beyond."

Please god, make it so.

Friday, June 10, 2011

And time drags on

There is a stack of books sitting on one of the tallboys in our bedroom.

There’s Kaz Cooke’s Up The Duff and that classic, What To Expect When You’re Expecting.

They have stayed there untouched and unnoticed since the awfulness of last September.

This week I have longed to creep up, take one in my hands and tenderly wipe the fuzzy film of dust from its cover.

I have really wanted to flick through the pages once again; I yearn to have been given cause to do so.

I almost did that last night, but then I checked myself, and told myself to be patient. To wait.

We are just over half-way through our two-week wait and I am longing for so much.

Of course, longing to be pregnant this time and longing for caffeine and red wine on these cold winter nights; but also longing for some feeling in my belly, screw how early it is.

The first four days after the transfer I felt sick, and then this Monday afternoon,

I went back to normal. I have felt fine and completely normal ever since.

And I don’t like it.

I wish to be nauseous, vomity and bone-weary tired, thank you very much. Stat!

I can’t remember if I felt anything during the last two-week wait. I don’t think I did, just worry and vulnerability.

They are certainly back again, but I wish I felt more. Alright I don’t expect baby kicks per se, but something would be nice.

Plus I am also still taking progesterone, so even though I might get abdominal tiny twinges, every time I pass them off as some weird effect of that stuff.

I am due for my period in the middle of next week, and we can do a test on the Thursday. I also wonder what effect the progesterone will have on my period, if it will delay I am cautious not to think about getting to excited if my period doesn’t come.

During some moments in the day, I will temporarily forget the limbo we are in, and then it will flick back into the forefront of my mind.

When that happens, a little part of me is disappointed because I wish I was back in that blissfully-ignorant state from a few seconds before.

The problem is that we know the precise minute the embryo is implanted.

The problem is that we have been counting the hours and the days since...a practice that only makes them hitch a ride with the Torture Tortoise.

No alternative but to wait.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Rule of three

I could be pregnant right now, as I sit here typing these words.

But I won’t know for sure until 13 more days have passed.

We went to Brisbane yesterday for a frozen embryo transfer (FET). It happened just before 12.30pm.

They thawed three embryos.
Earlier, we happened to randomly choose locker three to secure our stuff while we changed into hospital theatre garb, and we were in hospital theatre three.
Later that night when we went out for dinner, our table number was 133 and our son is 3. He often notices it on street signs or on TV and will proclaim it is “his” number.

Just sayin’.

And you know the other completely freaky thing? The transfer that resulted in our son happened on June 2 also. The very same date. We had no idea until T looked in her phone calendar last night.

One of the embryos didn’t survive the thaw, the other two did.

One performed ok, but the clear “leading embryo” had divided into eight cells and was a Grade 4, which the scientist told us was above average.

Five minutes later when he came in with the long white syringey thing containing the embryo, he said it had divided into another cell just that it is very strong.

As for the remaining embryo, I will ring on Monday to see if it will survive another freeze, as they like to wait until about day five before making that call.

The mood was quite jovial in the theatre, with many a joke about the speculum, Noosa, car parks and idiot former patients our doctor had had.

And if you can’t laugh about a speculum, what can you laugh at?

In a few minutes it was done, and the scientist’s voice through the theatre intercom signalled the end of the procedure: “Catheter is clear”.

Well I suppose you wouldn’t want to hop down and leave without some check that the minuscule embryo had in fact been ejected from the syringe to its womby home.

My head is certainly spinning to be back in this position again, shouldering the burden of losing our baby last year.

I wish I had a camera inside me so I could monitor it and see what it’s doing. That is reality TV I would gladly watch! 24 hours. A day.

But I am excited. I noticed yesterday that I often absent-mindedly started speeding while on the highway to our appointment.

I am taking progesterone pessaries, one at night, and will most likely go straight for a blood test in a fortnight, as the progesterone can confuse the home pregnancy test kits and I really don’t want to have my hopes unfairly raised!

In the meantime, it’s no coffee, alcohol, sushi, soft cheese, barbecued chicken and all that other good stuff.

It’s suddenly remembering the whole baby phase that toddler-hood evaporates from memory...the nappies, sterilising bottles, smashed food, lack of sleep, injections, crawling and tiny humans that cannot talk to you. Holy shit!

While we wait.

God I hope this one sticks.