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


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.


Ten Reasons To Own a Cat


1. No more clothing dilemmas

You will never need to worry about what to wear ever again. From now on, everything will be covered in a furry sheen of cat hair so everything will match!

2. Easily co-ordinate with others

You will also be able to coordinate with your friends, family, co-workers and fellow commuters, everyone you come into contact with will also sport the Jasper Spring/Summer/Autumn and Winter look for every year, whether they want to or not.

matching cat hair - bp image3. Convenient excuses

You can use them as an excuse to get out of things you don’t want to as in ‘I’d love to come to the International Paint-Drying festival’ but I have to get home and feed the cat. However, if you do want to go to the International Paint-Drying Festival you can just give them extra biscuits in the morning and they’ll be alright if don’t get fed again until the next day.

4. Affection

Cats are very affectionate and love to jump on your lap for cuddles and head scritches. Often whilst you are in the middle of something else like sewing, reading a book or trying to work from home. Probably not recommended to have them loose in the car when driving.

5. Cats like to share

Sometimes, in the middle of head-scritching session, Jasper likes to violently fling his head about from side to side and cover you and your nearby possessions in cat snot. Sharing is caring. He must care a lot.

cat snot - bp image6. Presents

Cat’s bring you presents and not just some ball or stick you throw away but things they have lovingly prepared themselves. That dead bird was carefully stalked, brutally murdered and covered in the perfect amount of cat saliva before being deposited somewhere fun for you to find.

7. They keep you healthy

Cats love playing chase the scrunched up train ticket from one end of the flat to the other. Because they are concerned about your health they won’t bring back the train ticket but will expect you to constantly walk from one end of the flat to the other to continue the game for as long as they determine you need to exercise. If they think you are eating inappropriate things, they will lick that butter, eat those chocolates and chew up those peanuts to save you from yourself.

8. Musical enrichment

Not only do they have wonderful singing voices but they like to improvise musical instruments with ordinary household items. Like banging on the cupboard door, or playing the blinds in your room like a Xylophone. They are often at their most creative at 3am in the morning and will gladly wake you up to share this with you.

9. R.E.S.P.E.C.T that is what you mean to me (says the cat in his own way)

Cats show you respect by saluting you each day. They like to do this, coincidentally around their breakfast time, by gently nudging you awake, flicking their tales in your face and then doing a bottom salute at eyes and nose level.

Cat salute - bp images

10. No need for an alarm clock

With a cat you’ll have no need to own an alarm clock, they will be sure to wake you for work each day by scratching at your arm, meowing in your ears or scratching the walls until you are ready to rise and start the day. If they think you might need extra time to get ready in the morning, they can provide an extra early morning wake-up call at 4am.