(almost) 20 week update

I’m sure my silence and slightly random blog posts of late have left you hankering for an update of the pregnancy variety. Well hanker no longer, my dear friend, for here is ALL the lowdown on the mundanities of the last few weeks. 


Appointments, appointments… I had my 16-week midwife appointment almost four weeks ago now. It was fine – the usual check of blood pressure and urine, plus a nice listen to the baby’s heartbeat (which sounded more like galloping horses than a train which, accordingly to a meaningless old wives’ tale, means it’s a girl). I was SO looking forward to an appointment where I didn’t get stuck with a needle as I’m pretty sure that the crook of my left arm is almost 100% scar tissue after the past few months; sadly, I got a letter through a couple of weeks beforehand saying that my blood group sample had been ‘mislabelled’ and needed to be repeated, so there was no respite for my poor veins. I also made the mistake of giving my left arm some time off for good behaviour, and offered up my right for the sticking – this was a mistake. I looked away (as I always do – I’m fine with needles but the little vials filling up with blood make me want to hurl) but Matt’s half grimace-half curious gaze told me all was not well; the midwife had to poke around for a while to find a satisfactory vein, leaving a bruise and an ouchy feeling. 


While we’re on the topic of bodily fluids, can they please make those pee pots a leeeeettle more easy to aim into? Does anyone have a knack for this? ‘Cos I am aaaaallllll ears (and flabby bump). No, seriously – is there a way to do this without peeing all over your hand, the pot and the toilet seat? At both my 10 and 16-week appointments, I’ve been so ashamed of the hash I’ve made of it all and the resulting pee-soaked label that I’ve poured it into a second pot and thrown away the first one. Luckily, my hospital keeps all the pee pots in the bathrooms so I can do this, but I’m starting to feel guilty about my overconsumption of NHS resources. 


I’m now in the wilderness between midwife appointments – my next one isn’t until 28 weeks (!) but I have a doctors’ appointment in lieu of one at 22ish weeks (the wonders of ‘shared care’). That doesn’t exactly fill me with excitement as, while my doctor is THE nicest woman on earth, she is a bit vague and disorganised at times. When I went to see her at 5 and a half weeks to get the pregnancy ball rolling, she gave me a copy of Emma’s Diary* dated Spring 2013. Hmmm. I don’t hold out much hope for her giving me my MATB1 form, which has to be handed into work a couple of weeks afterwards… 


*at this point, I should probably enlighten the as-yet-childless among my readers as to what Emma’s Diary is. Emma is THE smuggest woman on earth. She’s a persona invented by, I guess, the NHS, to help guide women through pregnancy slash make them feel like crap for having a life less fabulous than Emma’s. I HATE Emma. She’s such a stereotype (slim, pretty white woman with similarly average white husband – yes, husband) who sails through pregnancy without any of the complaints that the world at large ‘forgets’ to tell you about – Emma doesn’t suffer from excessive belching or swollen cankles or piles. And, of course, she gives birth precisely on her due date without a hint of an induction or an epidural. She probably just breathed out her fictitious baby. I threw my outdated version of Smug Emma and her stupid diary into the recycling pretty much as soon as I got home. And don’t get me started on the crappy free packs you get with Emma’s Nonsense and the Bounty stuff – don’t bother, unless you particularly need 50 leaflets for things you’ll never buy to pad out your recycling, and a free pen. If you’re very lucky, you might get the world’s tiniest pot of sudocrem, but the trade-off is that you’ll also get your email and postal addresses added to EVERY baby-related marketing database in the country. Just don’t. 


Anyway, back to the contents of my uterus… After being completely convinced until about 13 weeks that I was host to a boy-by, I spent a few weeks feeling entirely undecided and gave in to the temptation of a private gender scan. To the Mumsnet police: yes, I know that gender can’t be determined until many years after birth and that it’s an entirely different concept to sex, but that’s what Babybond call the scan type, so I’m sticking with it. We’d (I’d) attempted to ascertain our baby’s ‘flavour’ from the 12 week ultrasound pics using a combination of ‘nub theory’, ‘skull theory’ and blind guesswork, but was none the wiser - baby has a boy-ish skull, sort of girly nub (though I can’t work out what I’m supposed to be looking at) and every old wives’ tale and Chinese gender prediction chart say boy. And so off we went, to discover that we’re having a… difficult and uncooperative child. The baby spent most of the time hiding, turned away from the sonographer’s wand thing-a-ma-jig and clamping its legs tightly shut. I was sent off to drink lots of cold water and walk up and down the stairs a few times while she scanned the next patient. I added in a few lunges up the stairs, star jumps, squats and running on the spot for good measure. But baby was being only slightly more amenable – (s)he did open his/her legs a bit, and showed us the side of his/her face, and the sonographer pronounced it “95% a girl”. Matt declared it looked like me, which made me feel very sorry for the little mite. I’m still not entirely convinced that Jon Snow/DuckFace isn’t a Mr DuckFace (come on, you can’t tell me that you looked at the 12 week scan pics and weren’t immediately drawn to the mahussive pouty upper lip. Perhaps I’ll name him Donald.) so we’re waiting until our 20 week scan to find out with a bit more certainty. 


But our 20 week scan is only blinkin’ tomorrow! How exciting is that? Actually, it’s pretty terrifying. I’ve known two couples recently who’ve got bad news at the 20 week scan (heart and kidney problems) so I’m probably warier than most. I’m trying to psych myself up for the scan – apparently, it’s done in low light and the sonographer doesn’t speak for aaaages because they’re doing the (very important) job of checking all the organs and measurements. I really, really, really hope everything is ok.   


In pregnancy symptoms-land, I’m still experiencing snot that’s 90% blood, a ‘temperamental’ digestive system and waking to pee in the night, as well as last week’s scary addition – a very swollen left leg. I had to ring the antenatal clinic and everything. It’s all glamour, this pregnancy malarkey – I’m debating a ‘warts and all’ post detailing its delights, but I don’t want to scare those of my friends who have yet to procreate. And I haven’t even got to the worst bit yet! I’m burying my head in the sand and pretending babies are delivered by storks, rather than scalpels and forceps… 


Oh, and here’s a bump/flab pic for anyone who cares. Taken yesterday at 19+5 – please ignore smeary mirror and very dirty bathroom. 

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