March Milestones


It’s March. Spring has sprung, the tiny bean is now allegedly the size of an axolotl and is very much making it’s presence known! As of today, the beastie is 20 weeks old. Some milestones since January:-

Signing up for Antenatal Care

This didn’t quite go as I’d anticipated. I was expecting a full MOT and a blood test to at least check that I wasn’t making the whole thing up.  Instead, I was in and out of the GP’s room within the NHS-allotted 10 minutes. My blood pressure was taken (116 / 68), and I was told it was too low; it’s always around that level, but the doctor was having none of it. At all subsequent appointments, my low-end-of-normal blood pressure has caused no consternation; it’s apparently a good thing to start from a lower base, given it’s likely to rise toward the end of this adventure. That, together with a weight check and a pile of leaflets and forms was all I was given before I was on my way home.

The pile of paperwork from the GP included a list of things I already knew re taking care of myself, and very little on what I needed, ie what to do next and properly checking that all was well with me and the bean. One helpful thing on the GP leaflet was the list of hospitals for nearby antenatal care, and confirmation that I could self-refer (and a further GP trip was not therefore vital). In the hope that I will continue to have a straightforward pregnancy, I have chosen what appears to be a wonderful, birth centre to look after me and in which the creature will hopefully make it’s first appearance.

First Scan

Having had a pretty easy first trimester and feeling unworried by the whole thing, I was somewhat late in signing up for antenatal care, so this wasn’t done until I was circa 14 weeks along. I’d actually had so few symptoms (and having had no confirmation of the pregnancy other than the home test), I was half expectng the sonographer to report that they could see nothing other than gas, and I was imagining the whole thing! Once in the darkened room with a very glamorous pair of sonographers and the lovely husband, I failed to suppress a squeak when the unmistakeable outline of a tiny human appeared in all its fuzzy monochrome glory on the screen. Although I couldn’t feel it, the creature was wriggling merrily throughout the scan.  The pre-scan instructions stated that I should arrive with a full bladder to ensure the creature was pushed into a position where it could be seen. I followed this a little too closely, and was asked, mid-scan to go to the loo, as the sonographer couldn’t press down enough to take the required measurements! I was most relieved that all appeared to be well with the bean, but frustrated that I wouldn’t see it again for another month or so. I seriously considered booking a private scan so I could see it again, but just about managed to exercise restraint.

First Midwife Appointment

Like the GP visit, this wasn’t quite what I was expecting, albeit it was a longer appointment. An hour or so of form-filling, followed by some most exciting blood and urine samples. Not much time for any general discussion, but I finally felt I’d properly started the formalities of this adventure. Even more so, now that I’d been given the Bounty folder for my notes, which I’d seen all the other expectant parents carrying around. It was not dissimilar to the first day and school, and gathering all the equipment needed to get you through term.  All I have to do now is apply myself to my studies …

Telling Family, Friends and Work

I’ve always promised myself that if I have a child, it would not be until I felt comfortable in myself, my life and with my partner. I didn’t reach that point until I was in my late ’30s, and as such (without prompting from me), certain members of my family reached their own conclusions that I would never have children and was happier with my dog and career. I’m as big a fan of changing perceptions as I am of lists, so I took great joy in telling them the bean-related news. One proponent of the “dog / career” theory was my own mother, who has spent many years dining out on having put me into this box, (and my sister into a “caring / outdoorsy” box – she works for the NHS, has a son and likes running). This was great in one respect, as I was not subjected to any expectations while I was enjoying other aspects of my life, but grossly reductionist in all other respects.  I could almost hear the cogs in her brain grinding to a halt as they struggled to assimilate this new information, and she even tried insisting that I had once told her (allegedly circa 20 years ago) that I didn’t want children, and that this was justification for the reality she had constructed.  I resisted the urge to respond “oops, yes; you’re quite right. I shall amend this situation immediately”. Few things irk me more than people thinking they know my own mind better than I do!

In general though, telling everyone (even my mother) was a lovely way to spend an evening. It’s nice to be able to now talk about it, and not have to attempt to disguise the fact that I’m not drinking.

Telling my work was something that I was almost more concerned about than ensuring the little bean was healthy. I’m working on a complex and long-term housing project, which can’t easily be handed over to someone on a short-term contract while I’m on leave, hence I wanted to ensure it’s given to the right person, and also that I leave it in a good state for that person. I wasn’t expecting any animosity to the fact that I was having a child, but that didn’t stop me from getting a terrible case of the shakes before making the announcement. As is good practice, I told my boss first, and he was really lovely; in fact I think he might have been more excited than me! Having got caught up in my work, it was a few hours before I told anyone else, and I kept getting excited looks and whispers from him, checking if I’d told anyone else yet. The poor chap looked like he might pop, so I duly told everyone else, to the receipt of many congratulations, hugs and, of course, various bits of advice.

First Kicks

Not long after making my work announcement, I felt the creature re-positioning iteself; an odd sensation, comparable to a particularly animated bowel movement! This has continued for the past few weeks, and is particularly amusing first thing in the morning, where, if I’ve been sleeping on my side, the bean has curled up on the corresponding side. If I then lie on my back when I wake up, I have a comedy lopsided bump until the beast wakes up and resumes normal service in the middle of my belly. A week or so ago, I was kicked (or perhaps punched or elbowed) by the little person. Who’d have thought that being thumped from the innards could bring such joy?! It wasn’t the”popping” or “rolling sensation” that some describe; my experience was that it feels exactly like what it is, ie small limbs thrashing around. The kicks have been getting stronger, and can now just about be felt from the outside. I was therefore able to share this fun experience with the lovely husband the other day. He was less impressed than me. Will have to train the bean to punch him on the nose next …

Beginnings …

… in which listmaking is advocated, a bean appears and there is cheese consternation …

My poor little blog, neglected after but two posts! Well it’s the 2nd of January, and I resolve to remedy that.

Actually, I’m not a fan of resolutions at all and I do not resolve to remedy anything. In my experience, they tend (after the initial enthusiasm) to become little more than a measure of failure. See? This ne has been retracted before it even got going! I still berate myself regularly for my failure to practice yoga daily. It’s not that I don’t do other things, or even that I don’t do yoga sometimes, but not sticking to my own resolution has almost made me avoid it when I might otherwise just get on and fold myself into a pretzel.

I much prefer lists.  Find something I’d like to do, break it down into a beautiful list of it’s component parts, and tick them off at a non-prescribed pace, but edging ever closer to whatever it is I want to get done. I have made lists of all the things we need to fix in the house over however long such things take. I have completed a list of the numerous silly bits and pieces needed to be good hosts to our darling outlaws for Xmas, and I will add my blog at least to my monthly to-do list.  Most recently, I have made a list of the things I need to sort out before going on maternity leave.

Yes, dear blog; in the couple of months I have left you to fend for yourself, I appear to have acquired a small human in me. Having successfully avoided being pregnant for my entire adult life, it turns out doing so, even with my great enthusiam for planning, isn’t that easy.  The first attempt was just due to completely wrong timing. Attempt 2 was a mis-calculation of my (then very carefully calculated. or so I thought) fertile window.  The lucky 3rd time was actually down to another miscalculation and ovulating a little earlier than expected. As a result, I now have an 8 week-old little bean in me! Said bean appears to have been conceived in Budapest, so I shall name it Krampampuli, in honour of the delightful hot booze that was flowing at the time.

So what’s this new experience like?  Well it feels a lot like dreadful indigestion! I am most grateful to have escaped the worst of the early symptoms. No significant nausea so far, and if anything, I’m a little more energised than usual. Any food does however, seem to quickly develop into an enormous balloon. Despite little Krampampuli being far too tiny to be making a baby bump just yet, I do look somewhat pregnant several times a day! To my (rather flatulent) husband’s great amusement, I have been burping extravagantly after every meal. Perhaps soon I will be able to burp the alphabet as a party trick …

Oh, and the saliva! That is a really odd one! Even prior to the successful stick-peeing, I noticed this had increased significantly.  It’s really strange. On arriving home to the smell of delicious home-cooked chilli the other day, my mouth watered like a Pavlovian dog!

In light of this exciting new development, I have had my first sober Xmas and New Year in forever. The lack of hangovers is actually quite a revelation.  I have also discovered that M&S do a wonderful non-alcoholic Mulled Punch (which I have been found swigging stright from the bottle, such is my love for it!)

On the flipside is the seemingly ever-changing list of what is and is not safe to eat.  I have no plans to be over-strict with this or get too caught up in the paranoia (I even had half a glass of prosecco on Xmas day – rock and / or roll!) I am however, pretty cautious about cheese; some years back I spent a delightful week doing a level 4 food safety qualification (nothing to do with my work), and know that listeriosis is a very nasty thing. As such, I have been avoiding all cheeses that are runny, mouldy or unpasteurised. I love cheese though, and this saddens me greatly. This led to a terrible incident the other day, when my dear husband was making a fondue, and I saw that the lovely gruyere he had found (and I was enthusiastically eating while he was grating) was unpasteurised. It was abandoned, and we served a somewhat odd cheddar fondue (without explanation) to our (lovely, unquestioning) guests instead.

I have since read yet more (NHS supported) advice that says that hard cheeses such as Gruyere are ok, even if made with unpasteurised milk, as they don’t hold enough moisture to be a danger.  The Gruyere was then gleefully spread across a turkey, leek and ham pie on receipt of this wonderful news!

So that’s my start of 2017: Sober, bloated and list-writing furiously to ensure that all is in place to welcome a small human into our abode (the dog is going to be VERY confused!)

Autumnal Ramblings


I love it when the seasons shift. The summer has been long and generous, and the newly-crisp air is a novel contrast, as well as the perfect excuse to liberate the boots and knitwear from the wardrobe. Today was a rugged brown boots and woollen cape type of day; I do love a good cape!

The household is in full-nesting mode. Having finally procured an audience with the elusive Ikea kitchen planner, we confidently smashed the mouldy old kitchen to smithereens and have dragged it all to the local recycling centre. We now have a week or two of surviving on bread and cheese (and takeaway, no doubt) before the new one arrives. The horror …

Last time around on this little blog, there was much excitement (and armchair research) on implantation bleeding. I’d convinced myself it was all happening. Until I peed (pee has a very unsatisfactory past tense, don’t you think?) on a stick, and the stick said no. It was just my normal period, back to it’s usual schedule.  Ho hum …

Rather than becoming dismayed, I celebrated my (hopefully temporary) non-pregnant status with a pint of wine and some runny cheese. I’ve noticed a trend on the various baby-making forums of a thread starting with someone who’s convinced themselves that something’s happening. Lots of people then relate their own experiences and offer myriad nuggets of advice and the thread escalates until someone wonders: “Hey thread-starter, are you still here? How did things turn out?” Often, the instigator doesn’t resurface, and I wonder if, like me, their mind had led them on a trail of excitement and wild speculation, but ultimately, nothing was afoot.

Immediately after my stick-peeing, my inner voice annunced “of course I’m not pregnant; I feel completely normal!”. Immediately prior though, the same voice (which coerced me into buying the bloody sticks in the first place) was saying “This definitely is not business as usual – this must be it!” Of course, I know the mind is a powerful thing, but mine is clearly also very treacherous!

I hate not being good at things. Although getting pregnant on the very first go (and in under a month) was somewhat optimistic, I still felt somewhat disappointed when it didn’t happen.  Determination undented though, I resolved to undertake a more scientific approach to the next month’s efforts.  Several minutes of in-depth research on the App Store persuaded me that the Ovia app was worth a try.  The level of detail required as I log my daily biological observations makes me feel like a concerted effort is being made, and there is palpable anticipation as it annouces that it is analyzing my cycle. My lovely husband is also most entertained by my morning announcements of my fertility score. It has at least overtaken my regular monitoring of our ancient flat’s humidity level and updating him on the amount of water that the dehumidifier has sucked from the air!

Stay tuned for the next exciting instalment of “What The Fuck Is My Body Up To?”…


Blood, Gore, TMI and Laundry


Sitting in a London launderette in the hottest September since 1920-something, learning all there is to know (or at least all I can glean via gratuitous Googling) about implantation bleeding …

Pretty glamorous, I know. The fact is, our washing machine started making an alarming scraping noise and dancing across the room during the spin cycle over a month ago. We haven’t repaired it because we want to replace it, along with the entire kitchen (which is dreadful, mouldy and seemingly installed by someone who graduated straight from making a Blue Peter cardboard Tracy Island to kitchen design … ). We haven’t yet replaced the entire kitchen because we’ve been busy getting married. Twice. Also, getting an appointment with an Ikea kitchen planner is a near-impossible endeavour.

Oh, and we’re trying to make a baby.

I’m a proud aunt and godmother. I’ve never been desperate to have a child of my own. Rather, I’ve always thought of it more as a fascinating endurance test I’d be interested in signing up to if it is with someone I could rely on to absolutely share all the good, bad and monotonous things with me. Now, I’m there. We’re there, and we both are trying to conjure a tiny person.

We’be been actively trying for all of 3 weeks; well, not constantly. We’ve had things like work, cooking and dog coiffuring to do too! Yesterday though (a week before expected), something resembling my period started. Today though, it stopped. That’s different to the usual order of things. It also looked different (yes, the Carrie-esque gore; if you’re of a nervous disposition, look away now!) It also felt different. At least, I think it did …

There is also the added complication that my last period was a week late. It arrived the morning of our wedding; imagine how pleased I was! I put the delay down to wedding planning stress. Could this latest dose of gore therefore just be my normal period, back on schedule after last month’s glitch, or the mysterious bleeding from the beginnings of a little human burrowing into my innards, right on time, a week before the next period? I have no fucking idea. I therefore turned my friend the lazyweb for a clue.

My launderette research session yielded the following information:-

– Only 1 in 3 women experience implantation bleeding.

– It’s usually lighter and shorter in duration than a period (tick!)

– But it can look and feel exactly the same (hmmm)

– It’s usually a week before the usual period (tick, I think …)

– But some people seem to have had it at exactly the same time (oh …)

– You have to wait until your scheduled period is actually late for the relevant hormones (if present) to have a reasonable chance of giving a positive pregnancy test result.

– There are a lot of acronyms flying around the forums discussing these things that make what’s being said very hard to decipher.

– There is a lot of bad spelling in the world.

– There is a lot of wild speculation in the world, which, despite my best intentions, I was getting sucked into. And so soon!

None the wiser really, I abandoned my search, sat back and listened to my body (trying very hard not to over-analyse every last thing). I now know that Mr Sloane is a pretty promising piece of televisual distraction. Also, beer and pizza make me pretty bloated and are an effective sedative for my adorable husband.