I was 28 when a faint blue line in the test window confirmed that I was indeed, as suspected, pregnant. Feelings of “Oh yes” versus “Oh shit” battled it out for a few hours in my head until I finally set about looking at what I needed to do next.
A quick search on a friendly mums’ site gave me the following advice: Book an appointment to see your doctor (I knew this much); don’t eat raw eggs, blue cheese, liver, shark (Who would even want to?); take folic acid; sleep a lot; eat well and don’t drink wine or smoke fags. In a nutshell.
I shut the laptop and felt immediately optimistic. I might be about to grow as fat as a small house, I figured, but at least I’d have had a damn good body detox in the meantime. And how hard could that be? Piece of p***, I’m sure.
In the days that followed, I began to notice new mums, pregnant women and their babies everywhere.
I was sitting in a café in town and a group of women were sitting behind me with their prams. One of the mums was complaining about her baby’s rash. And fever. And drooling. She thought she might be teething. One of her mummy friends had worse problems; her t*** were leaking milk. The third mum, who wasn’t about to be outdone, then began holding her hands out wide as if to demonstrate how big something was. What on earth could it be? I wondered, nosily. The size of her baby’s moses basket? The size of her vagina after the birth? Oh Lordy. After they’d spent over an hour swapping notes about their own precious bundles, I made a mental note to myself never to turn into one of those boring mums who bored the shit out of everyone else by talking about her baby all day. ( I later fell foul – we all do).
Anyway. I’d decided that I was only going to share my news with my nearest and dearest until after the ceremonial 12 week mark. Until then, the pregnancy would be my little secret. It would be a doddle, I thought. It’s not as if there’d be any obvious tell-tale signs. I wasn’t waddling like Id been riding a horse just yet. What on earth would give the game away? Apart from needing to sit next to a fan blowing freezing cold air on my face.to stop myself from nodding off at work. Oh, and heaving whenever Moira made me my morning brew in the staff-room. And ordering a grape juice during Friday night drinks after work. Oh. And then…hellooooooo morning sickness.
Or rather, relentless, never ending, all day sickness.
I was walking through town one afternoon when the smell from a coffee shop sent me hurling and I turned quickly down an alcove where I subsequently chucked my guts up. Two women came running to my rescue and escorted me to a nearby bench where they helped me to sit down. I was convinced they thought I was an alchoholic and I wondered whether it might be appropriate around this time to spill the beans?
I held off.
The following day, I was driving to work when I was forced to lean out of the window to throw up down the side of my car. It happened again an hour later in the office. I couldn’t just be sick all over the floor so I had to be sick in my handbag . It stunk and I had to walk out of the office past about 50 people all gawping at me whilst I walked past them carrying a handbag full of my own spew.
‘Ok, fess up’ someone piped up. ’You’re preggers aren’t ya?’
I couldn’t hold it anymore (literally). ‘Yes. Yes, I am’, I confessed, feeling suddenly and immediately relieved that I could now vomit to my hearts content into my collection of nearby supermarket carrier bags. The ladies at work were fabulous. They fed me ginger biscuits until I reached 16 weeks, when I finally woke up one day to find that running to the bathroom to be sick wasn’t the first thing that I did.
Suddenly, I felt great. People were finally able to use the common pregnancy phrase ‘You’re glowing’ without sniggering into their wine glasses.
At this stage, my body had also began to change shape. I’d lost a stone in weight due to the constant morning sickness, but I’d began to wonder if my eventual body shape would ever return to normal after pregnancy. I was confident that it would. I wasn’t going to fall foul to the common act of staying fat forever after having kids. What did bother me slightly though, was –what would my boobs look like? Were they doomed for saggy sock status or was there a way I could retain my current perky ones
forever for just a few more years?
I logged onto a mums’ site for advice.
I found a thread that had already been started by another woman who appeared to share my concern. One of the responses was a bit cut-throat. “Do you care more about your t*** that you do about your baby’s milk?” one member implied. Crikey. Poor Lynn from Norfolk was only asking. And here was I thinking us women from St. Helens were tough.
I scrolled down to another thread that had also been occupying my mind a lot lately.That to do with baby names.
‘What do you think of my baby name for a boy? Cameron.’ one member had asked. Some of the responses seemed a lot sweeter but it wasn’t long before a warrior came along with her wisdom again. ‘Do you know that the name Cameron means ‘crooked nose’? Do you really want your child to have to grow up being called crooked nose??!
Erm, well no, she doesn’t. Because that’s not his name. Otherwise she would have said -What do you think of my baby boys name -crooked nose?
I went to Whiston Hospital for my scans and everything looked well.A healthy baby, a growing tum. All I had to do now was get plenty of rest until the baby arrived before the sleepless nights kicked in.
I swear I cursed myself.
Because for every f***** night that followed hereinafter, I had sleepless nights. Nights filled with insomnia and restless legs and weird dreams.
At least it’s preparation for when the sleepless nights with the baby kick in, I thought, settling down onto the sofa and popping the t.v on at 3am again for the 5th night running.
All I could find was phone in gambling shows and re-runs of Jeremy Kyle. (It was nothing like my teen years in the 90’s where late night t.v was all about weird horror shows and creepy documentaries. The twilight zone anyone?)
This is shit, I thought…
And then things got even shitter.
I kept losing my keys and then finding them in the fridge.
I had to run to the loo every hour because the growing baby was pressing on my bladder.
I began to sniff all of my washing because I had a craving for washing powder and I couldn’t get enough crushed ice down my throat for the life of me.
I began to get increasingly nervous that I would do a big poo on the birthing table when I pushed the baby out.
I didn’t want to speak to any real life friends about this one, so tentatively, I consulted the mums’ site again. ‘Do you really care more about whether you do a shit on the birthing table that you do about your helpless baby?’ came a response. Oh, forget it.
I logged off.
Anyway. Eventually, I went two weeks over and I had to be induced. I was informed that I might be in for a couple of days or so, so I took a holdall of activities as though I was going on a long haul flight. Playing cards. Snacks. Magazines. That sort of thing.
‘Ooooooh. This is like going abroad’, I said to Chris, as we landed at the hospital.
‘It’s nothing like going abroad’, said Chris, who was right. It was certainly no holiday. Six hours later and I was overdosing on gas and air; the contractions came thick and fast and I felt so very afraid. ‘I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want to have a baby’ I declared, trying to get off the birthing table. I don’t know where I thought I was going.
‘The only way is out now, love’ said the midwife. ‘One big last push now’.
And about 2 minutes later, my beautiful little girl was born.
All I needed to do now was to log onto the mums’site to find out how on earth I was supposed to look after her!