Monday, 16 April 2012

Sick list

I thought the sickness had passed.  I was mostly right.  Until Friday when I decided that the very thing would be to eat most of a large packet of KP dry roasted peanuts.  In retrospect, this wasn't one of my better ideas.

I can now categorically state though, that throwing up dry roasted peanuts is an awful lot like eating peanut butter in reverse.

Here are my top five foodstuffs I don't recommend throwing up:

5.  Peanuts.  See above.

4.  Spaghetti Bolognese.  Wraps itself around your tonsils.

3.  Tomato juice.  Looks like you're vomiting blood.

2.  Milk.  Comes out in gross lumps and tastes like death in reverse.

1. Ginger beer.  Stings like fuck when it comes out of your nose.

Hope this helps.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Doctor, doctor... I can't stop making jokes

So the nausea and sickness is finally easing off.  Yay!  I haven't been sick for a couple of weeks now, though I sometimes feel a bit icky, especially when I've just got up.

Today I had an appointment with the consultant, as I have a minor medical condition (hypermobility) that can interfere with pain relief during labour.

"It shouldn't be a problem," she said.  "We just need to make sure that when you're in labour, the midwives don't take advantage of your hypermobility to put you in positions that put stress on your joints."

"OK," I said.

"For example," she continued, "we wouldn't want you to have your legs wide open - one over here and one over here."

"No," I mused.  "That's how I got into this trouble in the first place."

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

If your name's not down...

So I'm currently registered at Whipps Cross hospital in Leytonstone.  When the traffic is good, it's about a 15 minute drive from our house.  When the traffic is bad, it can be an hour.  Hey ho, I guess that's London.

We actually have a nearer hospital - King George's.  But my GP was reluctant to refer me there, because when they get full, they overspill to Romford, which has a bit of a crap history of accidentally killing quite a lot of women in labour.

So, as I've hardly been wowed so far by Whipps Cross, I thought the most sensible thing to do would to be to do a tour of both of them.  I'm already booked in with Whipps Cross, so I called King George's this morning.

"Hello," I said.  "I'd like to book a tour of your maternity wards."

"Are you a patient here?" the member of staff asked.

"No, not yet, but I might be interested in registering," I said.

"I'm sorry," she replied, "but our tours are only for patients who are registered with us."

"But I would like to see the facilities before deciding if I'd like to become a patient or not," I reasoned.

"You can do our virtual tour online," she said.

"Yes," I said through gritted teeth, "but I'd like to have the opportunity to ask questions and to see what it's really like rather than just a series of photos."

"I'm sorry, we don't do that."

"So you're telling me," I argued, losing my temper just a tiny bit, "that although you are my nearest hospital, that I live in your borough and pay taxes... you're telling me I'm forbidden from entering this public building to see facilities I might want to use?"

"Let me get a manager," she said.

And she did.  The manager also tried to dissuade me, explaining they didn't have any tours available for "non-patients" for ages (mid-April as it turns out), but she did at least (albeit reluctantly) book me on a tour.

I'm not impressed with either hospital at the moment.  Whipps Cross has a switchboard system meaning you need to get through to main reception before dialling your extension.  For the last three days, this switchboard has been engaged constantly.  I don't mean occasionally.  I mean it is literally impossible to speak to anyone at the hospital because there are no direct dial numbers and the switchboard is jammed.

When I finally got through at 4.57 p.m. I got a two-minute recorded message telling me which wards were closed owing to norovirus (great), and then found out all the maternity staff had clocked off early.


Home birth, anyone?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Online and on edge

I find the pregnancy forums a mixed bag.  On one hand, it’s an absolutely lifesaver to be able to turn my laptop on, ask a question about a strange symptom and have reassurance from others in the same situation within minutes.  Everyone is very kind and supportive to each other, and on the particular forum I visit, there doesn’t seem to be too much scaremongering (“Oh, you ate a piece of brie?  You’ve probably killed your baby.  I’d go to A&E to be on the safe side.”)  On the other hand, it’s a bit... odd.
First of all, there’s the lingo to get to grips with.  No-one talks about their husband, their partner, their children, it’s all DH, DS, DD (which apparently stand for Dear Husband, Dear Son, Dear Daughter – vom).  People wish each other happy V-Day, which is apparently the date the baby turns “viable” at about 24 weeks (vom).  There is MS (Morning Sickness, not Multiple Sclerosis), BFP (Big Fat Positive on a pregnancy test – vom) and pregnancies are universally referred to as “bumps”, “bubs”, “bubba”, in short, vom, vom, vom.
Everyone calls each other “hun”.  “Don’t worry hun!”, “You’ll be fine, hun”.  Kindly meant, I’m sure, but seriously?  Vom, vom, vom, vom, vom.
My least favourite of all expressions is reserved for talking about the gender of the unborn baby.  Apparently you are either Team Pink, Team Blue, or if you choose not to know, Team Green. 
Now this may be a personal pet hate, but I cannot stand the way babies’ genders are assigned colours, which is the first step in discrimination and differentiation they’ll face throughout their lives.  This excellent blog says it better than I can.  But seriously?  An unborn blank canvas is already being painted either blue or pink based on its genitals.
People decorate their nurseries in pinks or blues, buy buggies in these colours, clothing, the whole lot.  It makes me a little bit nauseous.
In short, for someone who’s still suffering from MS (Morning Sickness, not Multiple Sclerosis), looking at the forums is pretty much the fastest way to make myself vomit.
I did suggest we renamed to “Team Penis” or “Team Vagina”, but I think the other forumites think I’m a bit strange.  They might be right.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Labour force

So, Blogger helpfully decided to delete my entire blog for no apparent reason.  But I'm back.  I've kept blogging, so will backdate some entries for you.

Work is – as ever – restructuring.  In the past this has never particularly bothered me.  I’ve always been a reasonably high performer, and, if the worst came to the very worst, I’d be happy enough to take redundancy money and get a job somewhere else.   I’m pretty employable.
But this time is different.  I’m very worried that when I tell them I’m pregnant, suddenly this will be an excuse a) to avoid paying me maternity pay and b) to avoid any awkward flexible working arrangements down the line.  I know legally they’re not allowed to make me redundant because of pregnancy, but if they’re making cuts anyway, it wouldn’t be too difficult to “justify” why my position is no longer open.
Last week I saw my mentor – an old manager who I catch up with every month or so to talk through any work issues or sticking points with projects.  She’s a rare combination of someone who is both extremely good with people – and frighteningly good at her job.
“Congratulations!” she said.  And in the very next breath, “Don’t tell anyone.”
She too thinks that (although it’s disgusting) there’s a chance this could affect my future employment with the firm, which is terrifying.  She’s a mother herself and has seen first hand how the industry treats working mothers.
I’ve always been sensible financially, but it’s worrying to think the firm could just pull the rug on me, send me on my way with six weeks’ pay... and that’s my lot.  And of course it’s not easy to find a job when you’re pregnant – and you can forget any kind of company maternity leave.
It IS worrying.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Scanning the horizon

So long since the last update!  Apologies.

So the hospital scan appointment...

For once the hospital was running vaguely to schedule, and after their ridiculous car park layout, their idiotic car payment meters and their torturous check-in process, we pretty much went straight in for the scan.  I was nervous, but trying not to dwell on it too much.

The cold jelly went on my tummy, and the screen was pointed away from me, although my husband could see it from where he was sitting.  Then the sonographer turned the screen round to me, and there was the baby, dancing away!  I've seen people's scan photos before, and to be honest, I find them quite dull, but to see it actually waving its arms and legs around was something really different.

Then it started sticking its tongue out.  Apparently it was swallowing amniotic fluid.  I thought this was a bit gross, especially apparently as it also pees into the fluid.  Each to their own, I guess.

I then had the blood test (again an administrative fiasco), which in conjunction with the scan gives an estimated chance of Downs Syndrome.  I got the results a week later; a 1:7400 chance, which was classed as low risk.  I felt very pleased with this until I Googled it and found that others had been given a 1:65000 chance.  My maths is poor, but not bad enough to seriously start worrying about this; I mean, it's still a 1:7400 chance, right?

In terms of how I'm feeling, I think I'm getting a bit more energy back (though given half the chance, will still indulge in an afternoon nap), but I'm still being sick.  Only a couple of times a week, but I'm feeling nauseous pretty much all the time.  I haven't weighed myself recently, but when I did a couple of weeks back, I'd lost about 4 lbs.  I'm not too worried though; I'm taking my Pregnacare, so hopefully the baby is getting the vitamins it needs - even if it's leaving me a bit drained.

It was great to see the scan - and great to be able to tell some of our closest friends.  I'm still not telling work yet, as I'm worried that there mysteriously may no longer be a job available for me.  Perhaps I'm overreacting.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Fencing with words

After another enjoyable evening of vomiting ginger beer through my nose, I decided to work from home this morning.  Despite me moaning about the investment banking culture being unfair to women (which it absolutely is), I'm a trusted enough member of staff that I can manage my own time, so it's not the end of the world if I come in at midday, or work from home from time-to-time.  They get their money's worth out of me in other ways.  Besides which, my manager is based in New York, so is fast asleep until about 1 p.m. UK time anyway.  Result.

I felt lousy all morning, but I was running an important meeting this afternoon so had to be in the office.  I was too sick to put make-up on.  I barely managed a shower.  I crawled out of the house looking desperately unpleasant, wearing my "Baby On Board" badge from Transport for London.

Two doors down are having their fence replaced.  The two workmen were taking up almost all the pavement whilst doing this, but the road isn't busy and it wasn't hard to walk round.  However, instead of making small movements to minimise the amount of space they were taking up, both of them just stopped and stared at me.

They waited until I'd just walked past, and then one of them said, whilst dry-humping the fencepost, "Do you want to stroke my post?"

Now, normally I'd have been straight back with the witty riposte:  "I assume you're talking to your mate; he looks like he does.  I'm so glad you two can be open about your sexuality" would have sufficed.  Or maybe the less subtle, "No thanks - I saw you on that syphilis documentary last week", or even (whilst stroking the fencepost), "That'd be great thanks, but keep your tiny, tiny penis away from me."  I even considered the bitchy, "It must be hard for you to get any action.  Perhaps if you'd learned to read in school, you might have a job that's a bit more attractive to women."

But I was just so shocked.  I'm 32; it's been at least 5 years since any workman has bothered shouting at me - generally they didn't even bother then, as I dress very conservatively, and whilst I'm not a total minger, I'm nothing special in the looks department.

Additionally this was our next-door but one neighbour - it would have been so easy just to knock on their door and report them.

But finally - I looked like crap, I felt like crap, I was clearly pregnant... they must have been absolutely desperate for entertainment.

The weird thing was I actually felt quite vulnerable.  Don't get me wrong - I wasn't in (and didn't feel in) any danger; this was the middle of the day on a residential street.  But I felt violated in a way that wouldn't normally matter. That's a first for me.

We have the 12 week scan tomorrow.  Wish me luck.