Wednesday, June 30, 2010

7w6d: doing better

In the last few days the hormones have settled down a bit, and I haven't been so tired (largely because I'm sleeping till 11am), so I'm feeling a bit more positive. My sister, whose youngest baby is five months old, gave us some old newborn clothes, and we had a lot of fun squeeing over them. I still can't fathom how a human being can be SO TINY OMG.

I've had some very light spotting, which I know is normal but it still made me nervous. In the end I decided it would help put my mind at rest if I could get a scan and just confirm that there was a heartbeat -- I know if it gets to that stage, the chances are good. So I rang a clinic and I have a scan set for next Tuesday. I'm so excited about getting to see our little blobby person!

Also I got a letter from the hospital; my first appointment with the midwives is in early August, much sooner than the GP said it would be. I'm very relieved about this.

Monday, June 28, 2010

7w 4d: but on the plus side, I'm now extremely busty

To backtrack a little: I spent the time from age 15 to age 22 on the Pill. I still feel angry when I think about those years, which should have been some of the best of my life, and instead passed in a haze. I was often depressed -- sometimes severely -- and just couldn't handle the challenges of ordinary life. I thought that was just my personality, until I finally came off the Pill. It was like waking from a nightmare, and I never looked back. There have been bad days since then, but nothing on that scale.

So, you know the way the Pill works by simulating the hormones of pregnancy?


These hormones just don't agree with me. I'm not as bad as I was back in those days, but I've been steadily getting more depressed for a few weeks now. Everyone says it will get better in the second trimester, and I'm just waiting for the days to pass. I was hesitant to write about feeling this way, because I know how lucky I was to get pregnant so quickly, and I don't mean to seem ungrateful, but it just wouldn't be honest of me to pretend everything is fine. I am, at least, experienced enough to recognise these feelings for what they are and to ask the people around me for help. But mostly it's just a case of waiting it out.

Friday, June 18, 2010

6w 1d...

...and the hormones are kicking my ass.

I've been feeling a lot of nausea -- some days I'm ok, but some days, eating anything (or just standing up and moving around) makes me feel really sick and miserable. I can't figure out any pattern to what foods cause it, and I'm so sick of feeling this way that on bad days I'm reluctant to eat anything except really plain foods like rice and pretzels. These foods get a little bit boring after a while.

Partly because this is stressful, partly because of low blood sugar (well, it's hard to meet all your caloric needs when you're living on rice), and I think largely because of hormones, I haven't been very pleasant company the last few days. I'm crabby and moody; sometimes I wake up in a boiling rage, and the other night I ended up crying bitterly for some reason I can't even remember now. It's like PMS, only I haven't had PMS like this since I was 15.

In other words, I'm a stereotypical pregnant woman. All I'm missing is a desperate longing for some obscure food.


In other news, I've been looking through my options for medical care. This has been awfully confusing, as it's hard to find out exactly what the different types of care are like, and what my insurance will cover. Eventually I figured out that I can't really afford private care, so it was between semi-private and public. I was all set to go semi-private, because regular hospital care in Ireland is the stuff of nightmares* and I was afraid I'd have to wait a day to be admitted and then give birth on a trolley in a corridor, attended by some frazzled nurse at the end of a 72-hour shift. But I talked to my sisters, who've all given birth several times, and they said the maternity hospitals are different and not nearly as bad as the regular ones. (Although apparently the hospital staff are disturbingly polite if you go private.) So, I've decided to go public after all. I'm still nervous (maternity care here is still not without its share of terrifying scandals -- you may want to skip these links if you're actually pregnant, they're fairly upsetting). But my sisters have put most of my fears at rest, and I'm reasonably happy with this choice.

What it means, in practical terms, is that I'll be seen entirely by midwives, and the birth will be attended only by midwives, unless there's a problem (I'll be right in the hospital, so there'll be doctors around if I need one). I'm fine with that. And the money we're saving will buy a lot of nappies.

 *For the record, I'm very pro-public healthcare in principle. I spent three years in England and got great care on the NHS -- I had the best GP I've ever known, had a great physiotherapist when I needed one, and received prompt treatment in a clean and quiet A&E department on a Friday night, which is just not something that happens in Dublin. So yeah, public healthcare can work really well; it just happens to be terrible where I live.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cover stories

So, in the past week or two I've had to turn down quite a few social invitations. Between the bouts of dizziness/queasiness and the unpredictable sleepiness, I just don't feel much like going out, and probably wouldn't be great company anyway. It doesn't actually bother me -- I'm pretty introverted and often don't really enjoy late nights out anyway (Dublin city centre on a Friday night will do that to a person). But generally, I need to give people a reason why I'm not going to their party/barbecue/box social/drinks with the gang/other form of shindig. I can't tell the truth, but I don't like lying unneccessarily either. So far, I've come up with the following half-truths:

I'm not feeling too well. (Ranges from not strictly true to oh so very true. But if I overuse it, people will think I'm either dying or... pregnant.)
I have a family thing on. (Pregnancy is the ultimate family thing!)
I'm babysitting. (Well, I'm taking care of a baby, right? And this one's really well-behaved!)
I'm working on a big crafting project. (It's going to take ages, and you're not allowed look till it's done.) (Ok, I haven't actually used this excuse. Yet.)

So, anyone else have any good cover stories?


Nothing much new in the way of pregnancy symptoms -- although I did start crying at a camera ad on TV, so I suspect I may be getting more hormonal. Another good sign! If deeply embarrassing.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

5 weeks!

So, today I'm five weeks pregnant. The queasiness and dizziness have improved, but I'm still peeing a lot, and my boobs are SO SORE. Hugging anyone, especially a skinny person, is a bad idea! I would very much like a protective steel bra, lol. Or that boob-armour the chicks wear on the covers of RPGs. I'm also feeling more tired; I did a gentle half-hour walk yesterday and arrived home exhausted and out of breath. Even I'm not usually that unfit! Oh, and my sense of smell is still doing odd things -- I seem to have developed a phenomenal ability to smell bins from a distance.

I'm nervous about everything going ok -- I think I'd be more confident if I was feeling worse. But I did another test the other day and it turned positive really quickly (there was a test line before the control line even appeared), and I'm definitely having some symptoms every day, so I'm trying to relax. I'm just a natural worrier! But with every day that goes by, I'm believing in this pregnancy more, and I'm falling in love with this baby more. I say hello to it every morning and goodnight every evening (although in the absence of a bump, I've had to resort to talking to a small freckle on my belly, which is probably bigger than the baby at this stage, but it gives me something to focus on).

I met up with a friend who doesn't know I'm pregnant. But she started grilling me on whether I was pregnant, whether we were trying, what did "we'll see" mean, etc. I gave one polite non-answer after another, and she just kept pushing. I didn't feel like answering any of her questions, and I know how painful this line of questioning can be for a lot of people, and part of me really wanted to explain to her that none of these questions are appropriate unless the other person actually seems to want to talk about the issue. Most of me, though, just wanted to change the subject. She's not someone I'd want to tell if anything went wrong early on, and so there was no way I was going to tell her I was actually pregnant. I think I may steer clear of her for a while.

Anyway, annoying people aside, things are going well.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dinner with the family

We had already arranged to meet with my family for dinner on Saturday so we decided it would be a good time to tell them that Betty was pregnant. My parents, my brother and one of my sisters were in town (my other sister is working in Turkey), so we reserved a table at a Moroccan restaurant we like. When we arrived we discovered that two of our friends were also at the restaurant. This put us in an awkward position - if we told my folks about the baby then our friends were bound to notice (we were expecting an OTT response from my sister). Betty and I gave each other a look and decided to wait it out, hoping our friends would leave soon. Thankfully they were already on desserts when we arrived....

About an hour and a half later they left. After dessert they had the longest chat ever, while we sat at a nearby table trying to come up with something else to talk about with my family. Just before they left my dad left the table to get some fresh air (I'm guessing to have a quick smoke... seriously, who starts smoking at 48?), so we had to wait for him to get back. As he sat down we breathed a sigh of relief and told them the good news.

My sister started squeeing and shouting "I knew it I knew it I knew it!!!" straight away. She also drummed her feet under the table with excitement - I've never seen that in real life before. Everyone was pleased (though my mother insists that the kids will have to refer to her by name, none of this 'granny' nonsense. We'll see about that. My sister then began thinking about what she could do to insure her status as the 'cool auntie'.

My dad gave us a lift home in his car. This meant four of us squashed into the backseat. This freaked Betty out a bit, as there weren't enough seat belts for everyone. We've both gotten a lot more leery of taking chances with road safety 'n stuff of late. We got home safely, of course.

I'm considering telling one of my friends (the guy at the restaurant, actually), but haven't quite made up my mind yet. I probably will, but at this point so many people know that I'm reluctant to tell any more.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pregnant! Part 2

So, after I got the test result I hesitated for a moment. It didn't seem very nice to wake up Don at five in the morning, but I couldn't wait to tell him the news. Neither of us got very much sleep after that :) He left for work early so he could come home early, and I had breakfast and went out to the doctor.

The doctor visit was not at all what I was expecting. I was expecting to get weighed and prodded and stuck with needles, but he didn't do any of that stuff -- just congratulated me and talked me quickly through my healthcare options. (I'll probably do another post on that at some point.) It turns out my GP visits will be free now, which is really nice, because €50 a visit can add up quickly! And he confirmed that I can't take my hayfever meds, which is... less nice.

I'd had the impression that there'd be a scan fairly early on, but it seems here they don't routinely scan you until 14-16 weeks. I'm a little disappointed but ah well.

Yesterday evening we told my family, who were all really excited (except for my currently 7 months pregnant sister, who texted "Congrats... It's like being in prison..."). I had thought my mother would be a bit underwhelmed because she already has a gazillion grandchildren, but she was delighted. And my dad was thrilled because this is his first grandchild! This afternoon I told my best friend, who was super-excited, and tomorrow we'll tell Don's family. That's all the people we're telling for now, though. You know, aside from the internet.

Emotionally I'm feeling good! I feel a little bit teary-eyed occasionally, but in a good way. (At one point I saw some 13-year-olds on a day trip from summer camp, thought, "My baby will one day go to summer camp!" and nearly started crying in the middle of O'Connell Street. I got a grip on myself after that.)

Physically I do feel odd -- a bit tired, a bit queasy on and off, more prone to motion-sickness than usual (and periodically dizzy in the way I usually am after a long train trip or flight). I'm rather thirsty and also peeing more,* and my boobs are sore all of a sudden (about the same level as when I'm PMSing). I'm having some crampy pains like period pains... they do make me a little nervous but The Books say that they're normal, just caused by my womb growing. I think I'm noticing some smells more -- someone on the bus yesterday smelled so badly of cigarettes that I had to change my seat, and I could smell someone's beer from the other side of the garden at Yamamori tonight.

 All in all it's been a good couple of days.

*I've already realised I'm going to be one of those TMI-ish pregnant women. Might as well embrace it.

Worked like a charm!

So, we had decided that I'd do one more test yesterday (day 28) and then officially give up on this cycle because, though I've felt a little bit off, I'd already had two negative tests and wasn't feeling anything dramatic enough to contradict them. I woke up yesterday morning at 5am needing to pee, and thought I'd better do the test then.

So, still half asleep, I peed on the stick, and squinted at it blearily as the window started to darken. Here comes the control line... no test line yet... oh hello there... wait, what? That's too easy, it can't be right. I must have just zoned out for twenty minutes or something... I actually had to check the time; three minutes hadn't even passed and there was a light but definite second line.

I'm pregnant!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

How is a baby like a suitcase?

I'm not usually superstitious, but I bought pads today.

How is this superstitious? Well, to backtrack a little: when we went on our honeymoon, our luggage went missing. It didn't turn up the first evening, and it wasn't there the following morning. We were starting to get anxious (as well as feeling grim from wearing the same clothes and not brushing our teeth two days running), and finally we said, "You know what? If we start buying replacement supplies, our luggage will definitely turn up." And so it happened: we went to the chemist, bought new toothbrushes and deodorant and sunblock, and returned to the hotel to find our suitcases waiting for us. I've had airlines lose my luggage many times, and this technique always works: buy some replacement stuff, and your cases will magically return to you.

So I was at the supermarket this afternoon, and when I was going through the pharmacy aisle, I thought, "Hm, am I going to need pads this month? If I don't buy them, I'm definitely going to get my period. If I do buy them, luggage logic predicts that they'll sit unused in the bathroom cupboard for nine months." Worth a try, right? ;)
(If it doesn't work this time, I'm going to fork out €30 for a Mooncup next month. That should get me knocked up with twins.)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Just confused now

I'm stumped. Another test yesterday (11dpo) was negative, but I am so tired the last couple days, and I felt really sick and dizzy for hours yesterday evening. Could be I'm just not well, or could be I'm PMSing; I just don't know.