Friday, 31 July 2009

'Baby Gaga' for me

I had to laugh this morning while I slogged it out on the stationary gym bike watching Lady Gaga's 'Paparazzi' music video and Ciara "driving her body" around Justin Timberlake in 'Love Sex Magic.' I was out of bed before work, faithfully trying to do my expanding body good and ironically seeking motivation through the music and gyrations of these two lithe and ostentatious superstars.

I don't have illusions, delusions, aspirations, whatever about trying to look like the toned and primped celebs of today, but I've always secretly wanted to star in a music video. How cool would that be? It wouldn't be saucy and I'd be fully clothed, but it would tell a good story and feature me dolled up for the camera. Maybe I'd even dance in it....

How could my bump and I ever compare to the glamorous musicians before me? You know what - I can honestly say I didn't give a damn! There's so much pressure put on women to "look the part." While I'm never too concerned with this and think I have my own style, pedaling away I felt fit and blossoming.

They say some women feel unattractive as their pregnancy progresses and others feel extra sexy; I wouldn't say that I fall cleanly into either category and I still have a long journey ahead, but I'd have to say I'm leaning toward the latter. Pregnant ladies may be growing out, but we're growing babies and that is a beautiful thing. I plan to stay healthy and active for general fitness, but I hope my transformation makes me all the more attractive. I mean who really wants to parade in a leopard catsuit or look like a half naked droid on crutches anyway? Maybe I can star in some classy video featuring a pregnant girl :)

I'm 17 weeks today and I my little bump is on the rise. It's satisfying. Apparently the baby is now the size of a turnip - 5 ounces. I had my second midwife appointment this afternoon and she said baby's growth looks on track. I heard his/her heartbeat (150 beats/minute) and was sent on my merry way.

I'm a little conflicted about the community midwifery approach here in the UK. On one hand, people have been giving birth since the start of time before organised care and continue to do so in many places around the globe. On the other, I do like idea of the American personalized experience of choosing an obstetrician that cares for you over the course of your pregnancy. There is no choice on the NHS, but there is also no cost. I guess as long as I do my research and know what I want, it's my responsibility to communicate my questions/wants/needs to the midwives I see so that my maternity notes tell my story. And then hope when I do give birth that the midwife on duty actually pays attention to them! Though that's also why it's important to have a supportive, firm and knowledgeable birth partner - I'll have that in Chris (no pressure).

My 17 week picture will soon follow!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

What happened to a simple story?

I just received this NPR link from both pregnant E and my mom. It's all about "Blog-ola" or the free goodies, products, trips and perks many marketers are giving mommy bloggers in return for favorable publicity and positive product reviews. Mommy bloggers by and large admit to only posting positive reviews so they can cash in on freebies and now the "ethical nature" of these blogs has come under fire.

Now I have added AdSense to this blog, and my focus is pregnancy (I have no clue about the million baby products on the market) but I never thought of using this forum as a PR/marketing tool. Maybe I don't have enough of a commercial hat....maybe I'm just too traditional and am writing to share an honest story...Though sometimes it seems this world is social networking, online marketing crazy that can easily spiral out of control. I'm happy to keep it simple.

I'm pleased to report that my blues of yesterday are now a distant memory - I think it had just been a long day...and those hormones....I'm still blaming them for all irrational feelings!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Belly, Blues and Benefits

I'm going to blame the frightening nature of this picture as the reason that it took me so long to get it posted online! Note to self: remember to take belly shot in the morning when freshly dressed and looking put together, not before bed! That's my cat Rico I'm holding. I think he leaped out of my arms about a second after this shot was taken! As you can see, I don't really have a baby bump yet but my waist is inflating.... If you see me every day or know me well, you might notice but I don't think you would if you walked past me on the street. I went to pregnant B's flat on Saturday night and feasted a fantastic dinner, however in the midst of stuffing my face I started to feel really bloated. This sometimes happens now if I eat a lot in one sitting. I suspect this is only going to happen more as my insides get squished together.

When I was walking to the train station after work, I started feeling down. I'm not really sure why. I'll blame it on the hormones. My post-work walk is usually a time for me to peacefully unwind, but today I began reviewing the "administrative logistics" of our post baby life.....the financials, returning to work, child care, etc. All things Chris and I have thought about and planned for, but today it all seemed a overwhelming. Then I remembered that I left our car on the other side of town by a different train station since I went to the dentist this morning. So did I go on longer train ride and get the car, or just head home and hope I could convince Chris to take his evening run to the car to bring it home? Then my phone went dead. Then my work XDA went dead. So I couldn’t call Chris to discuss. Why all this got to me, I don't know, but in the moment, it did. So what did I do? I made a spur of the moment beeline into a candy shop and bought some candy. Ah the power of a cherry truffle. Then I bought a vanilla shake from Burger King. Then I stopped thinking and felt a little better. Then I remembered what I'd just eaten and felt like a pig. I'm not sure why I'm sharing this - I guess it's honest insight into my wacked out thought patterns.....again, I'll blame this all on my raging hormones.

On the issue of financials, I've been doing some research on the financial support options I may qualify for while on maternity leave. Chris and I both work, and even though I should receive statutory maternity pay (SMP) for up to 39 weeks, we'll have a bit of a financial hole where my salary used to be. Here is my quick overview of the financial support available to new moms/dads in the UK. (Looking beyond SMP, paternity pay and maternity allowance). Some or all may apply to you, though note this is my quick digest and full official details can be found by surfing the links below.

* £190 Health in Pregnancy Grant: available to all pregnant moms. Get a claim form from your midwife at your 25 week appointment, ensure the midwife fills out her part of the form and then make your claim as instructed on the form within 31 days.

* Child Benefit: available to all parents with children up to 16, or 18 if still in full-time education. You'll receive £20/week for your first child and a bit less for subsequent kids. You should receive a claim form in the hospital once your baby is born or you can download it online. Make this claim as soon as your baby is born!

* Child Trust Fund (CTF): £250 voucher from the Government that you can invest on behalf of your child. It is for your child only, but can't be touched until they are 18. Once you register for Child Benefit, you will receive the CTF voucher.

* Salary Sacrifice/Childcare Vouchers: You can elect that the first £55/week of your salary can be converted to childcare vouchers free of National Insurance and tax. (You will then pay NI and tax on your reduced salary)

* Child Tax Credit: Paid out if your household income falls below £66,350 for a child under one or £58,175 for children over one. It is based on your household income from the previous tax year, but will be adjusted to account for your reduced salary while on maternity leave (ie, if your income is usually over the bracket but falls under while you are on mat leave, you can make this claim)

* Working Tax Credit: Additional tax credit for families on with low household incomes. More details site listed above for Child Tax Credit.

* Sure Start Maternity Grant: One off payment for families on low incomes. A number of conditions apply that you can read about on this link.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

16 Weeks and Counting

I'm now 16 weeks pregnant and my baby is the size of an avocado! I'm a visual person and I like my fruit so I'm loving these analogies. Apparently a growth spurt is on the cards, and I can expect our little one to double in weight over the next three weeks. Maybe that is why my stomach feels tender and is just starting to pop out...everything is stretching. I usually put lotion on my arms and legs morning and night, but I've now taken to rubbing Palmers Cocoa Butter on my stomach, sides and butt in an effort to stave off stretch marks. I think my mom escaped that - I hope that genetics work in my favor here but I guess we'll see.

I woke up early Thursday morning to the sound of me shouting about a really annoying leg cramp. Apparently these are also common in pregnancy because of the excess weight on your legs and/or the pressure of your expanding uterus on nerves leading to the legs. I fortunately kept it at bay by straightening my leg and flexing my foot a few times. I have a good routine down since I can be prone to leg cramps, probably because I'm often on my feet. I also read that stretching before bed is a good way to avoid cramping, so that's a tip worth noting.

Aside from that, nothing major to report. I just finished a fantastic book called 'A Confederacy of Dunces' by John Kennedy Toole. Join the educated, foul sloth Ignatius J. Reilly crudsade against modern society....If you're looking for something to add to your reading list, check it out.

I'll post a new 16 weeks picture tomorrow.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

I didn't sign up for language lessons

My visit to Babycenter’s Community Bulletin Board yesterday left me feeling worse for wear. As my old boss once aptly described a hangover, I felt as through my brain had been run over by a piece of industrial machinery. I didn’t expect this feeling in my sober state after a trip to a cosy baby community.

I’ve previously visited the Babycenter bulletin boards briefly and found out some helpful little tidbits. I enjoyed the opportunity to mix with some other pregnant girls who share my hopes, fears, questions, confusion and joys... My main mission for this visit, in fact, was to post a message about this blog in hopes of drawing in some additional readership from those near and dear to its primary subject matter. Mission accomplished, I did some further perusing...

Upon clicking through a host of messages, I began encountering a host of strange terms like "DH" and "DD." What was this? I felt like everyone was privy to some kind of club that I didn't have membership to.... It seemed like the women were sometimes referring to their significant other with regard to "DH" but why.....and what in the world was "AF and "FWIW?" As my confusion mounted, I found more and more acronyms and my headache set in. But now I was hooked and I wanted answers.

Further exploring finally brought me to the 'ABC of Bulletin Board Terms' guide. Hallelujah, I think. At least my ignorance was abated through this guide, a lengthy list of the pregnancy bulletin board terms I'd seen peppered throughout the messages plus many many more.

Seriously? I deal with enough acronyms at work. Why the new online cryptic terminology? Apparently "DH" means "dear husband/partner." "DD" is, can you guess, "dear daughter." "AF" is "Aunt Flow" and "FWIW" is "for what it's worth." Geez, it was like a new that I didn't sign up for....I have enough other relevant things to learn about what is happening to my body, the child I am growing and how I'm going to introduce a balanced little person into this world - not to mention living my regular life - to have time to sit in front of my computer and process all that.

I've decided that bulletin boards may be for some, but I think I'd rather seek advice and wisdom through friends and family and other pregnant ladies I meet rather than subjecting myself to the community bulletin board vortex and its special tongue.

As an aside, I am starting to feel more pregnant. I did have a lot to eat last night, but as I stood in front of the mirror this morning, I decided this was not a food baby I was witnessing but actually the thickening of a proper little bump. I feel like I'm sitting at the apex of a roller coaster and things are just about to really take off.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009


I am tired. More to come tomorrow. Maybe it is because I have felt bloated all day. One thing I have learned is when to listen to my body and take a break when needed.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Pregnancy Shots: Weeks 14.5 - 15

I promised a couple of pregnancy shots so finally, here ya go. Please ignore my non-matching outfits and ever so stylish headband thing....these were both taken soon before bed!

The one on the left is at 15 weeks and the one on the right is at 14.5

Thank you to all that have been following and commenting on this blog. I love hearing your thoughts, so please keep them coming and if possible, click on the widget on the right sidebar and become one of my 'official' followers.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

And you call yourselves experts...

I am not feeling love for the Royal College of Midwives (RCM)- more irritation and mild dislike. You would think the official "professional" body for UK midwifery could issue more balanced and thoughtful advice with regard to pregnant woman and swine flu than:

"all expectant mothers should avoid crowded places and unnecessary travel."

Thanks for that piece of enlightenment. My first reaction mirrors that of the following BBC reader, who wrote in this response:

"This is such stupid advice. I am pregnant and travel to work every day on a packed Tube. How am I supposed to avoid crowded places and unnecessary travel? It's impossible. I can't just stop going to work can I?" - Laura, Hertfordshire

The RCM's knee-jerk response comes following the attention surrounding a 39 year-old pregnant woman who died of swine flu shortly after giving birth. The resulting media bandwagon fueled public concern, which prompted the Department of Health to re-clarify its guidelines for expectant mothers and parents with children under five on how best to avoid swine flu.

Officially classed as the first flu pandemic in 40 years, swine flu is concerning for everyone. It's no surprise that pregnant women fall into the the "increased risk" category for swine flu and a host of other things because of our suppressed immune systems. But impractical advice like that from the RCM only feeds fear, and is just not helpful. As my father-in-law said, you could sit at home all day and catch something on your weekly trip to the local shop up the road. Viruses can lurk anywhere and we can't become immobilized by them.

Close to the time of the initial swine flu outbreak, I wrote on this blog that people should be more concerned with maintaining basic hygiene and common courtesy rather getting caught up in scaremongering and media hype. I'm all for being aware, with a focus on prevention, knowing symptoms and how to seek care when needed rather than falling victim to scare stories and misguided advice. The Department of Health seems to agree and has developed a "catchy" little slogan in this respect: Catch it, Bin It, Kill It. Check out this link to read their reissued swine flu guidelines for expectant moms and parents of young children. Try to ignore the fact that they've peppered their advice with absurd little sayings like "flu friend," ie the poor soul/kind friend that picks up your antiviral meds for you and delivers it into your bastion of pestilence. Geez.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Distractions of a busy mind

I’m a thinker, not in a Socratic sense but in a ‘multiple thoughts running through my mind’ sense. It’s not that I can’t focus (one of the best compliments I have received is that I’m a good listener), but more that my mind is always drawing parallels and taking me down a number of seemingly random trajectories, often prolonging my stories or causing me to take awhile to get from point A to point B. If you’ve spoken to me, you probably know what I mean.

I’ve accepted this is how I am, and I embrace myself generally. I hope you do too. (Obviously the female mind in general is a very busy place). My beef, however, is when my mental sojourns lead to unnecessary time wasting.

Take this morning for example. I decided I was going to go to the gym, shower and then head off to the supermarket for our weekly food shop. I needed to put to pack my gym bag and write a grocery list. So what did I do? In the process of packing my gym bag, I audited my clean workout clothes, refolded some of the other clothes in my drawer, pondered if I was soon to have a drawer of clothes that didn’t fit me and if I should put the smaller, tighter tops towards the bottom of the drawer, rifled through the fridge and cabinets, tried to plan out dinners for the next week to inform my grocery list, got out my cookbook and started looking at some recipes I’ve had my eye on and then getting annoyed because I’ll have to convert a ton of US measurements to grams......

Chris often accuses me of taking too long to get out the door and at times like this, I’m guilty as charged. If it takes me this long to cross the threshold on my own, how long is it going to take me to get a move on with baby in tow? At the rate I was moving, baby will be ready for its next feed and a change by the time I get my booty in gear. Maybe this is incentive for a change.......

Friday, 17 July 2009

Apple the Acrobat

I’m 15 weeks pregnant today and according to, my baby is the size of an apple. Yum, I do like apples.

I’m excited to be approaching the 16-20 week mark when women often feel slight movement from the baby otherwise known as ‘quickening.’ Pretty cool. Supposedly you often feel this earlier in subsequent pregnancies as you are more in tune with what to look out for. The experts describe it as “butterfly wings” or “trapped gas.” I prefer the butterfly image. Bottom line, if I feel what I think is my stomach rumbling, it might really be my little apple doing some back flips – my own little acrobat.

Even though I’m now anticipating this sensation, I have a feeling expecting it will do me no good so I just have to wait for it to happen….I am just 15 weeks today after all. This decided, I temporarily moved on, but later found myself standing in my office bathroom stall, poking at my stomach and murmuring a few coaxing words to my belly. Then I snapped out of my reverie and checked to make sure I didn’t have an audience, which fortunately, I didn’t. That was a close call. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m cuckoo, because really, I’m not…..

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Head Dump

The BBC today reports that ‘Killings are lowest in 20 years.’ Apparently, the numbers of murders, child killings and manslaughters has dropped 17% to a 20 year low. That’s a small comfort when you’re on the verge on bringing a baby into greater London’s suburban jungle. The news is not all rosy though – theft, burglary and shoplifting have also risen and the British Crime Survey indicates the risk of being a victim of crime has risen from 22% to 23%. We still have far to go, particularly in the midst of the current ‘credit crunch’ where people may not want to kill you as much, just rob you. Sigh.

I have another, lighter issue, perhaps heavier for me. I need to buy some new underwear. I’m getting some, errr, some overflow at the tops of my bras that ain't too pretty. I won’t develop the image, but it’s enough to send me searching for some new maternity bras on the Internet.

It’s not like my underwear is on popular show, but I generally like to match and I like it to be pretty. With everyone from GAP to Victoria’s Secret, M&S and Macy’s doing underwear, I don’t usually struggle to find some nice pieces. But the maternity underwear I’m viewing is not too pretty. Maybe that’s not fair, maybe some of it is alright. Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s designed to support mountain sized breasts means it has to be that little bit less sexy. Apparently there are some good bras at Bravado Designs so I’m going to check that out but please let me know if you have any suggestions. Somehow I feel like maternity bra shopping is going to engender those feelings I had first time bra shopping with my mom – clueless, awkward and embarrassed. Party on!

I’m going to start adding some pics to this blog that will document my growing bump without totally embarrassing me (if that is possible) so watch this space. For now, above is a picture of me taken a couple of weeks ago at M&J’s wedding in NY. I was a bridesmaid and this shot is of me at 13 weeks with three of my dearest friends from way back when. Take a good look at me and remember me as I am now before I’m stretched to new proportions!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

When "Cheers" becomes Fears - Alcohol in Pregnancy

I know that in general, drinking alcohol is a ‘no no’ in pregnancy. It doesn’t take an obstetrician or experienced mama to know that heavy drinking is strongly linked to babies with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) or full blown Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I'd be reckless to put my unborn child at such risk.

Yet here in the UK I have heard and read that light drinking during pregnancy is not clinically proven to precipitate ill effects in babies. The definition of "light drinking" is hazy, but the general understanding is that if you employ common sense and have, say, one drink/week, there is no evidence to show you will be doing your child a disservice. Is there still a slight risk involved? Yes. But there is a risk in doing pretty much everything when you are pregnant: eating a hot dog at a baseball game, stretching before and after exercise, crossing the street on unsteady feet with a big belly……

I thought this seemed like sensible advice, so throughout my first trimester I had a sip, or small glass of wine, now and again. Particularly before we broke our news, this was an easy way to keep suspicion at bay. It’s not like I’m a heavy drinker, but when girls my age who usually enjoy a glass of wine at the pub after work turn to OJ and start making excuses about being on antibiotics, covers are quickly blown.

When I was recently in NY on vacation I received my own sacred copy of Heidi Murkoff’s ‘What to Expect When You're Expecting.’ Woooeee! Heidi is the goddess of pregnancy advice and I am finding her book very helpful, however, her commentary on alcohol in pregnancy freaked me out! I can’t remember the advice verbatim, but it was something to the affect of “You should not drink at all during pregnancy. The alcohol in your system will cross the placenta and will have harsher effects on your baby than you – so you may not even feel buzzed, but your baby could be drunk!” Oh crap.

I thought I’d been so careful. I felt guilty and concerned. Then the fear set in and I started counting up the number of drinks I’d had over the previous weeks and asking my friends and family if they thought baby would be alright. Everyone agreed they thought I was fine. Some commented they’d heard it’s safer to drink lightly after the first trimester, but first trimester was where I was. Ironically, those on both sides of the pond, including Heidi, tell you not to worry about the alcohol you drank before you were pregnant. Well some girls would probably have drunk more without knowing than I did while in the know! But fear wreaks havoc with logic.

I’m pleased to say that after my initial guilt/fear, I didn’t freak and concluded rationally that what was done was done. But I did tell myself that I’d probably not drink at all going forward, and if I did, only in little sips. Heidi’s words had made their mark.

Since returning to England I’ve done some reading on the respective attitudes/advice toward alcohol consumption in pregnancy in both the UK and USA. Experts from both call for abstinence with regard to alcohol, however it seems this zero tolerance attitude is born more out of the uncertainty that surrounds light drinking in pregnancy rather than any actual grim fact. Bearing this in mind, the general advice and subsequent attitude toward alcohol in pregnancy seems more chilled out and less heavy handed in the UK. For example, check out the slightly contradictory commentary on 'Alcohol in Pregnancy' from versus These are excerpts but give the general gist/tone of the article:

“There is no doubt that heavy drinking, particularly binge drinking (five or more units of alcohol on one occasion), during pregnancy is not safe. It can seriously affect your developing baby.

The risks of drinking at much lower levels, however, are not clear cut. Nevertheless, it is now recommended that pregnant women completely abstain from drinking alcohol. Some experts recommend abstaining completely during the first three months, while others advise staying tee-total for the whole pregnancy.

If you do decide to drink during pregnancy, it is recommended that you limit your intake to no more than one or two units of alcohol, no more than once or twice per week. The RCOG advise women that there is no evidence of harm from drinking at this low level. However, binge drinking or getting drunk is dangerous for your developing baby.”

“Alcohol and pregnancy don't mix. No one knows exactly what harmful effects even the smallest amount of alcohol has on a developing baby.

All public health officials in the United States recommend that pregnant women, as well as women who are trying to conceive, play it safe by steering clear of alcohol entirely.

Expectant moms who have as little as one drink a week are more likely than non-drinkers to have children who later exhibit aggressive and delinquent behavior. poor growth (in the womb, after birth, or both), abnormal facial features, and damage to the central nervous system."

Although we are looking at the same organisation, it’s apparent that professional and cultural biases are reflected in each country's specific website. I should also note that the US site does not cite the studies that back up its remark on expectant moms drinking 1 drink/week.

On the flipside, check out this article from Zoe Williams, Guardian columnist who writes an ante-natal series. It's a little dated from 2007 but gives an amusing tirade about all the things pregnant women are NOT supposed to. Here's an excerpt:

"Physiologically and sociologically, it just does not make sense that small amounts of alcohol are bad for you when pregnant. As Dr Eric Jauniaux, professor of obstetrics and foetal medicine at the Royal Free hospital in London, points out: "Alcohol is mainly metabolised by the liver, and only what's left will be met by the placenta. The amount that could reach the foetus in a glass of beer or a glass of wine is negligible. I would be much more concerned with breastfeeding and drinking." Jauniaux, incidentally, has been studying transfer through the placenta for the past 20 years, is one of the leading national experts on the matter and yet is never quoted in connection with any of the scare stories you read on alcohol and unborn babies. And sociologically, of course, Jauniaux reminds us: "How long have people been drinking wine or beer, thousands of years?"

The full article made me laugh:

I don't know the right answer on this one. Are you surprised that I know of more girls who have drunk lightly in pregnancy in the UK than in the USA? Judging from the tone and content of advice given in each country, I’m not.

It seems reasonable to me that a small drink every now and then won't hurt based on the current research.....and that experts often use scare tactics to cover their backs should a preggars lady go haywire with drink. But as my brother in law, the trader, would say, it all comes down to "risk/reward." Is the reward of a drink worth the slim risk or will it cause more mental aggravation? For me it's probably not, but that's for each pregnant girl to decide.

Published on Blog Nosh Magazine

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Google = Crazy Brigade

My pregnant friend E suggested I read Teresa Strasser's blog, 'Exploiting My Baby.' E knows that I love TMI, and Teresa tells it straight. For those that don't know her (I didn't), she is now 6 months+ pregnant, a successful journalist and co-host on the Adam Carolla show. To me she looks pretty damn glamorous and put together, but her honest and witty blog is a first hand account that even seemingly calm, cool and collected celebs don't always feel that way, particularly when slightly unhinged by a surge of pregnancy hormones.

I especially related to Teresa's forays into the genius turned devil that is google. It's my first pregnancy and I'm a novice who needs to learn fast as the 9 months quickly recede before me. Trying to stay informed throughout my first trimester I found myself googling a host of pregnancy issues/topics/conditions.....'avoiding varicose veins'....'avoiding constipation'.....'signs of miscarriage'....'are essential oils dangerous in pregnancy'.....'are herbal teas safe'.....'running in pregnancy'.....'toxoplasmosis'......'toxoplasmosis and cats'.....and on and on an on until I had the urge to throw my computer out the window in a mix of fear/disgust/worry. Fortunately I avoided defenestration, and instead tested the patience of Chris and my dear mother by asking ridiculous questions based on my online adventures to which I was given a swift reality check.

Google searches take you to all sorts of crazy articles and forums that may not be credible and usually lead to scare mongering. So if you are a pregnant lady seeking insights through google, I suggest you stop now before you cross the fine line between being aware and a being a little more crazy than you already are. Otherwise before you know it, you'll be throwing out all your lotions and herbal teas, washing your hands every time you touch the cat and sitting at home in a 'safe' bubble missing the world go by. Let's hope I can keep my own advice....information overload is dangerous craving for many of us pregnant gals.

Teresa also mentions in her blog that she gained 14 pounds during her first trimester, which made me reconsider my remarks about not having a baby bump and kind of wanting one so I can really 'feel' pregnant. I guess I should be grateful that I still fit into my regular clothes and can sleep without discomfort. I reflected on this during my lunch break as I popped a couple of rollos in my mouth and then polished off a 'small' bag of fizzy laces, taking comfort in the fact the laces had no artificial colors or flavorings. At that rate, I won't be far behind.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Poke, poke....Anyone in there?

I snuck through my first trimester without morning sickness, my worst symptoms being increased tiredness and a sudden aversion to salmon and asparagus. I'm not complaining or pining for nausea, however without some of the stereotypical tell-tale signs of pregnancy, sometimes I wondered if there really was a little one in there. Girls that were holding their head over a toilet bowl 4 times/day may want to scoff at me, but it's how I felt.  With no bump and nothing but tender and slightly enlarged breasts to show for my new status, at first I found it hard to connect with our baby.

I've since read that by now our little lemon (according to that is the size of our baby this week) can feel it if I poke my belly, so I've been poking away and encouraging Chris to do the same. He doesn't like to poke too hard, but I take a more firm approach. I want to let the lemon know that mom and dad are saying hello. So we're now starting to connect.

I'm also just starting to show. I'd say around 13 weeks my waist began to "thicken," with no blatantly visible bump in regular clothes but with a new fullness that is more visible in tighter outfits. There hasn't been any great change in the last week, however today I got my first "I thought you could be pregnant comment." Lucky that I am.

I was waiting to ask my pilates teacher a question after class and decided to share my news with another woman who was about to hear my pregnancy related question. She smiled at me and said something like: "I thought you might be pregnant. You are usually so small with a flat waist, but today I thought you looked either pregnant or like you'd had a big meal." Whew that I actually am pregnant, or else clearly all the pizza, bagels, dinners out and home cooked food a la mama had taken their toll on my body! At least she waited for me to share the news at the risk of deflating my perceived body image.

Maybe one of these days one of the kind folk on the train will take similar notice and offer me a seat on the way into work? I do love standing in sweaty manpits but think I could make the sacrifice without too many tears. I think I may still have a little way to go there though. And I suspect I may have to not be so British about it and just ask for a seat if I need it. Hey, I've been standing for years and will stand in future - my time in a guaranteed seat is surely dawning!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

The Cat is out of the Bag

Yes, it’s definitely the bag the cat is out of, not the fridge. You may know the lamentable tale of our several month old kitten getting locked in our fridge while Chris and I went to work and then enjoyed a Friday night on the town. Before you report us to Cats Protection, let me clarify that our fridge door doesn’t always close firmly and we surmise that opportunistic little Rico sealed his cold fate when curiosity got the better of him. We can smile about it now because even though we arrived home to discover him curled up in the vegetable drawer shaking like a leaf, he turned out to be 100% fine once we warmed him up at the advice of the emergency night vet. Checking our refrigerator door is now a top item on our “daily obsessive” list.

Now that I’ve painted such an inspiring picture of our ability to care for the young and dependent, it’s opportune for me to share that I’m pregnant – 14 weeks pregnant Friday! We are thrilled to have finally started sharing the news with our family and friends over the last few weeks following our “first” and “second” ‘12’ week sonograms, or scans as they are commonly referred to in the UK. (It turned out I was only about 10 weeks 5 days at the first scan so we booked in for a second one three weeks later).

Even if you are hoping to get pregnant, nothing totally prepares you for first viewing that faint blue line that indicates that there is now officially a little person growing inside of you. It takes the wind out of you, and in my case I realized that I don’t really have a clue about pregnancy and what I should/should not be doing to develop the bun in my oven. I don’t have any siblings or many friends who have taken this journey and if it weren’t for my two girlfriends E and B are both currently pregnant, I would be even more lost.

So I’m learning. I’ve survived my first trimester without real morning sickness. I’m more tired but that’s fading a little now. Chris is kindly cleaning out Rico’s litter tray and I’m toning down my running, avoiding sushi, soft cheeses and the breast stroke. I’m taking tips and reading things from the UK and the USA in an effort to get a clue and stay informed, but there is an awful lot, too much, information out there and you could drown in it if you’re not careful. I’m trying to stay sensible, but sometimes Chris has to pull me up for air and I expect I’ll both succeed and temporarily fail in this department as this journey continues. I hope you will join me for the ride.