The Pregnancy Diaries: Part 3 – The Potato File

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I’ve never been much of an obvious baby person, if there is such a thing, but by that I mean I have never found myself cooing over random children and marveling at the babies of people I barely know.

Show me a kitten or full grown cat for that matter and it’s a different story, I feel an instant desire to win it’s friendship and shower it with whatever affection that particular creature will allow me to bestow. I might even say hello to its owner.

Animal babies are adorable, human babies are a bit, well, meh.

My thinking has always been that most babies, particularly the really new ones, tend to resemble badly carved potatoes and I’ve had as much desire to get to know them as I would want to pick up and cradle your average root vegetable, which suffice to say isn’t much, unless said veggie has been baked and topped with tuna mayo and cheese.

Although if someone said to me ‘ooh look at my marvellous potato, don’t you want to hold it?’ I would think it a bid odd, but would probably look at it and maybe even pick it up out of politeness. This has, on the whole, been my experience with babies. Although to be very clear no-one has ever offered me a baked baby topped with tuna mayo and cheese. I hope if they did that my first instinct would not be to eat it.

In defence to my lack of naturally-occurring baby-loving genes I haven’t been around babies a lot and still don’t know that many people with tiny living replicas of themselves. Where my friends have had children, they’ll no doubt be pleased to know, I do hold them in higher regard than a potato, and can marvel at them as much as if said friends had got a new pet. These babies are wonderful and exciting and interesting because they are the product of people I love. Other babies continue to resemble badly carved potatoes.

Since our quest for a spud of our own has been on the agenda the bearded one and I have found other people’s babies to be much more interesting. It’s just that years of the vegetable comparison has stuck and we still have a tendency to refer to other people’s mini-them’s as ‘taters. Except now if we see someone with a stroller we tend to nudge each other excitedly and point out the ‘little potato’ in a definite gesture of good will rather than the perhaps less flattering way we used to apply the term previously.

At first we were referring to our own minion brewing within by the size of it as compared to some kind of edible substance (as our baby app updated us on a weekly basis): e.g. it’s a mustard seed, now it’s a kidney bean and now a small lime, etc.. However that got quite confusing because when speaking with my parents they’d ask me how the blueberry was, etc., but it kept outgrowing these references and we’d have so many conversations about poppy seeds, lentils and kidney beans I wasn’t sure if we were talking about the pregnancy or if I was supposed to be noting down a recipe.

So it became ‘the potato’. This has also been good size comparison-wise as these root veggies come in all shapes so it has probably been the proportion of some sort of spud for several weeks now.

Our doctor told us to keep a file with all the scans, test results and any other pregnancy related paraphernalia that we have collected and will continue to collect from our various appointments. I drew a picture of a pomme-de-terre on the front and the potato file was born.

It’s also a lot easier to refer to our own abstract ‘baby’ (I use the quotation marks to make it less real) as something decidedly less demanding. Thinking of it as an actual child has just been too hard (and thinking of it as a kitten is definitely too weird).

In those worrying early stages when the thought it might go away was all too prevalent, making it seem a little less human was a way to try to insulate ourselves against potential loss. However, even when I got past that stage I still find myself uncomfortable with the thought of an actual ‘baby’ (note the redeployment of the quotation marks there). Probably because I’m too busy trying to focus on the whole getting through the pregnancy malarkey that I don’t want to think about what comes after these 40 weeks are up, i.e. actually having to deal with a kid.

A potato is so much less threatening: I am definitely capable of looking after a potato, but a baby? Well that’s another story. For one thing I’m not sure I have a big enough baking tray.

 

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The Pregnancy Diaries: Part 2 – Accepting (or not) the unreality of being pregnant

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A couple of days after the first test we took another one, just to be sure. I kept waiting for the euphoria to kick in and told myself that it was buried within me somewhere I just hadn’t found it yet!

In reality, the overriding emotion was fear. Mostly fear that the pregnancy that we had wanted would go away (odds of miscarriage being fairly high in first few weeks), but also some fear that it wouldn’t, that we would have to deal with the reality of the situation and accept that our lives would be forever changed. I wasn’t sure I was ready for this.

Coincidentally, my pregnancy rudely kicked off a hormonal party without informing the host, invited an overwhelming number of unwanted guests and nobody bought me any gifts I might actually want.

Instead of the Hollywood promised radiant glow and smug inner pregnantyness I’m left with some weird-ass cramps (feeding into the primary fear) accompanied by a constant feeling of hungoverness! Perhaps it’s hardly surprising that the innate joy of impending motherhood hasn’t exactly made itself known to me.

So there’s all this crazy stuff going on and no-one to talk to beside the bearded man, and even that’s problematic.

On the one hand I want him to suffer all the physical rubbish I’m going through so tell him far too frequently and only half-jokingly that this is all his fault. On the other, I don’t want to rain on what I’m assuming (incorrectly as it turns out) is his blissful parade, by sharing my deep dark fears that this isn’t real, it’s not going to last and having no idea whether I’d actually be all that disappointed if it didn’t.

I assume that my emotional response to the situation is ‘wrong’ and that sharing this would at best earn me disapproving judgment and at worst would justify those American male lawmakers from the deep South in their assumptions that women aren’t too be trusted with reproductive choices.

(For the record there may have been some mixed feelings going on in my brain at this point but experiencing emotions doesn’t render me incapable, inferior, infantile or any other negative ‘in’ connotation that idiotic men would like to apply to my gender…Oh dear, and I was so hoping I’d be able to contain the feminist within for at least a few more posts…)

Anyhoo…I don’t really know what I’m logistically supposed to do now the reality of pregnancy is upon me and there isn’t anyone the bearded one and I can ask right now so we do what any sensible 21st century human with a decent internet connection would do and turn to Google.

We gather I will need to see a gynaecologist so using the powers vested in me by technology I track one down using the criteria of ‘english speaking’ and conveniently located. I’ve no idea what else I’m supposed to look for.

It takes me a few days to build up the courage to call the office and make an appointment. I assume it’ll be too early to make an appointment now, but having never been to see a doctor in Geneva previously I’ve no idea how long the wait is for these sorts of things and I’m keen to try and book an appointment before we go home for Christmas in a few weeks. To my surprise I manage to successfully parlay with the French speaking receptionist and am allowed an appointment for later that week.

A few days later the bearded man and I find ourselves in a medical centre sat outside the gynaecologist’s office waiting for our first appointment. Anxiety sets in.

We’d had discussions about what happens if the pregnancy has gone away and I’ve been having some uncomfortable cramps for much of the preceding week. On top of that I generally get nervous going to see doctors.

The doctor is late. We start to wonder if we are in the wrong place, if I’ve misunderstood the receptionist’s explanations about where to go or otherwise done something wrong. This doesn’t help alleviate the stress.

About 30 minutes late the doctor shows up, we take our seats from the desk across from him and set out what we think is going on. Asked if my periods are regular I answer ‘yes’, which confirms we should be about six weeks. Only later do I remember I’ve no idea what my regular period pattern is having only had one non Pill-controlled period prior to falling pregnant.

I’m asked to go into the back office, take off my clothes, take my weight and prepare for the medical exam. Bearded one is waiting by the desk.

Stripping off in front of a stranger and weighing myself doesn’t do much to calm the nerves so I’m not wholly surprised when my blood pressure reading comes back high. ‘Hmm, we’ll take this again in a little while just to see’ the doctor explains. Great, I think, even my blood pressure is wrong.

Bearded man comes in to join us as the doctor does a vaginal ultrasound. At about six weeks, so the internet says, we should be able to hear a heartbeat and see an undefinable yet nonetheless distinct blob on the screen. What we see is a tiny black smudge that is apparently the egg sack where the embryo probably is.

The almost nothingness we are looking at suggests to the doctor that we are probably only four weeks pregnant so he suggests we come back again a few weeks from now.

I don’t remember what he told us at the end of the appointment, but I remember the disappointment as an almost physical weight pressing down on both of us.

But there isn’t much we can do aside from attempt to suppress the bitter dismay, try to avoid spending too much time online looking up miscarriage statistics and hold up for another few weeks until the next appointment.

Still no sign of that elusive euphoria.

(Return of the blog) The Pregnancy Diaries: Part 1 – Discovering I’m Pregnant

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About a year ago I decided to abandon this blog. I thought I would take the time saved from the blog commitment and apply this to other projects, but instead I got sucked into the mire of Netflix, Twitter and other time-wasting distractions and I still haven’t gotten around to channeling my liberated time into something more productive.

Alas, the best laid plans of wombat and women and all that…

In short, I’m back to the blog. I’m also about 4 months pregnant so I decided to marry the two and start the pregnancy diaries. Although I reserve the right to right about anything else as the hormonal whims (or should that be winds) take me!


The Pregnancy Diaries: Discovering I’m pregnant

I should start with the disclaimer that the pregnancy was planned and was theoretically something that was hoped for and desired. However, in spite all of this it took me by surprise in a way that I really hadn’t counted on. For the record, I am also very aware of how incredibly fortunate we are not to have encountered any difficulties in becoming pregnant and I wish it could be as simple for others as it has been for us.


It seems that the bearded man and I know more couples that have had difficulties in conceiving than we know couples that have easily (or so it seems) had kids. To be totally honest it never occurred to me that we might have serious problems, although I suppose it probably doesn’t occur to most couples until they find themselves in that situation. However, I had thought that it would take us a good few months of trying and being disappointed every time my period arrived before what I imagined would be that euphoric moment when we finally took the pregnancy test and realised I was pregnant.

This is not what happened.

I came off the Pill I’d been taking for the last 15 years, I had my period the following month but was neither surprised nor particularly disappointed by this as that month I’d been travelling a fair amount and otherwise busy with work. I also assumed it might take a while for my body to readjust to a non regulated routine.

The following month, I was fairly sure my period was on its way. I’d had an over-flow of emotions that I horrifically thought was what it must be like to have a normal period without the drug dependency (trying not burst into tears when my colleague asked me a simple question) and fully expected the monthly joy to kick in that weekend.

Then I realised that I’d miscounted. It wasn’t 4 weeks since my last period, it was 5. I still wasn’t convinced this meant anything of note, I wasn’t sure what my regular pattern was supposed to be since I’d stopped regulating with the daily chemicals I’d been taking for the previous 5,500 days or so. But it at least meant buying a pregnancy test was a sensible option.

Buying the test I found myself subject to the same sense of shame I’d imagined would have enshrouded me had I needed to buy a test when a teenager and clearly not expecting or wanting to be mother material.

Why this was so I’ve no idea, but nonetheless I found myself furtively in the line at the pharmacy trying to surreptitiously had the packet behind a handful of other random items I’d picked up as cover (you know, I’ll have a packet of chewing gum, some shampoo, a multipack of chapsticks and…adoublepackofpregnancytests…and some moisturiser, and some paracetamol…).

I got the tests home and decided to get it over with straight away, I glanced at the instructions got the gist drank two big glasses of water to fuel my bladder and toddled off to the toilet, test in hand.

I waited the two minutes; the bearded man anxiously looking at me waiting for me to flip the stick and view the results. There was a straight line instead of the cross. Not pregnant. Oh well.

Then I noticed there was some other part of the test that hadn’t done anything, the control window next to the results window. Nothing in that either. I reread the instructions which clearly stated that if no line appears in the control window then the test has failed. Alright the control line didn’t show up but the original result still said not pregnant so presumably that was more likely to be the real result?

However, I’d bought a double pack and had the spare test but rather than fuelling the bladder and going again immediately I thought it would be better to wait until the following morning and do the whole thing properly. I decided to get back to the rest of the afternoon and evening. Have some dinner, watch some Netflix, go to bed.

The following morning I found myself more awake than usual on a Sunday (can’t imagine why) so when the cats wake me just before 7, rather than doing what I usually do which is to shake the bearded one awake and demand he feed them, I got my lazy bottom up to to distribute the morning biscuits myself and then headed to the bathroom.

I took the test properly, held the stick at the right angle for the precise amount of time. I waited the two minutes and looked to see a very strong cross in the results window and a line in the control window appear. No mistaking this result: I’m pregnant.

I thought I don’t really want to deal with this right now so I’ll just go back to sleep and pretend this isn’t really happening. Safely ensconced back under the duvet, bearded man responding to my re-entry into bed by rolling over and throwing an arm around me, I lay wide-eyed in the dark staring at nothing.

After a few moments of realising sleep was not forthcoming I thought this probably isn’t something I should keep to myself so I sort of angrily muttered ‘Well, I’m pregnant’ to the half dreaming man beside me. ‘What?’ he murmurs back at me. ‘I took the test and I’m pregnant’. He’s fully alert now. ‘We’re having a baby?’ ‘Yup’ I respond. Neither of us says anything. I suspect both of us are now wide-eyed in the dark and staring.

Waiting for the euphoria to kick in.

To be continued…