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Monthly Archives: May 2014

So my body’s now five months in to putting together lots of skin and bones and cells and nerves, I’ve emerged unscathed from twelve weeks of sickness and am now fully immersed in the throws of ‘blooming’. While it’s great that mums and baby books portray how fabulous this stage can be and hint at a few niggles, I thought I’d pop down a few of the ailments I’ve personally experienced that most definitely crop up and most definitely make pregnancy an adventure.  

1) The Allergies.

There’s the frequent sneezing, the mini cough, the runny nose, the dry eyes and the occasional rash. But the best thing happened three months in, when I treated myself to a spray tan just on from my 12 week scan, in what I thought was a well-ventilated room. Fast forward an hour and a half, I was lying in bed feeling like I’d swallowed a family of piranhas and was struggling to speak. My mum (and Greg via Facetime in The States weren’t too helpful);

Mum: “I can’t believe you’d be so stupid, you’ve clearly had a reaction! Did you even Google it to check you can have spray tans done?”

Greg: “I’m checking now Sue, I’m gonna presume she just went ahead & booked it”

Me: “N…”

Greg: “Says here the room HAS to be properly ventilated. PROPERLY. VENTILATED. Was it properly ventilated Suz?”

Me: Ye…”

Mum: “This is ridiculous, we’re ringing 111, she can barely speak”

Me: “N…”

Greg: “Yep, ring 111. Explain everything that’s happened, she might need to go to hospital”

Me: “I…”

Mum: “Yes, hello. My daughter’s pregnant and STUPIDLY had a spray tan”

Greg: *shouting* “In a room that probably wasn’t properly ventilated”

Mum: “In a very small room, and now can’t speak. She’s really struggling. *pause* No, her airways seem fine. *pause* No she’s not coughing. *pause* Let me just ask her. Are you feeling agitated Susie?”

Me: “Well I wasn’t until you both starting driving me insane”

Mum: “She says yes but for other reasons. *pause*. Ok, Susie I need to feel if you’re clamm… OH MY GOSH YES, YES SHE’S CLAMMY”

Greg: “Brilliant”

Me: “THAT’S MY FAKE TAN”

Mum: “Oh that’s just her stupid tan”

And end scene. Neeeeext!

2) Restless Legs

You plop into bed super snoozy, get mega comfy and then while your torso’s quite happy to sleep, your legs are acting as though they’re a Directioner trying to chase after Harry Styles with a knob-on. 

3) Body Temperature

You get more red-faced than Tilda Swinton in a sauna, then suddenly colder than Nigel Farage’s heart at the drop of a hat. There appears to be no middle ground, which can be a bit of a pickle in the British summer time when it’s both drizzly and sticky mcstickerson. 

4) Sciatica

Now this can be a real bummer and I presumed it’d be something I’d struggle with during pregnancy because I get it in every day life anyway. Last time it struck I had to cha-cha slide away from a post-office counter while trying not to squeal like a horny pig. 

5) Bleeding Gums

I look like I’ve had a Chelsea Smile forced upon me every time I finish brushing my teeth. At least it makes my toothpaste suds a nice girlie pink, that’s always quite a pretty treat. Sometimes it creates a marble effect.  

6) Wind

This, in fairness, has disappeared now and thankfully the worst of it struck while Greg was away otherwise he may have had no eyebrows left. Every single afternoon/night in the first three months of pregnancy I’d have a balloon gut. People would gush ‘Oh look! You’re actually showing now!’ and I’d politely smile, all the while very aware that if I stepped a few metres out of earshot I could fart the ‘baby’ into the stratosphere. 

7) No Sense Of Balance, Direction or Space

When I first read this I very much doubted it would happen. I presumed clumsier women would probably suffer, while me? I’d still easily be able to trot along a balance beam should life require me to. 

Yep.

The other day I tried to twice step over a printer cable. The first attempt saw me wedge it between two toes and the second, fall arse over tit. Every day while walking the dogs I trip over at least seven tree roots and I nearly knocked myself out on my bedroom wall last week because my brain didn’t register I couldn’t just walk straight through. I’ve also shut my own breast in a car door. Hip-butted the washing machine more times than I care to remember. Nearly knee-capped my dogs. The list is endless.

8) Baby Brain

It really does exist! I made Greg pretend to be a baby the other day so I could put a pair of trousers on him (not as part of a weird Channel 4 sex documentary, just because it seemed funny at the time) and I spent a few minutes trying to get his flailing legs in trakkies. Once completed, he stood up and began heading for the stairs while I sorted out some washing. I shouted “Oh, did you find some trousers to wear for training or do you need me to grab you some?”. He slowly walked back in the room, muttering “You do remember just putting these on me don’t you? Like, just now…”. Ah, that 12 seconds is a right bitch on the memory. 

 

 Obviously aside from all these moans and groans, pregnancy can be lovely. My hair is fuller and bouncier and people have been mentioning how well I look (although that might be the Tilda Swinton sweats as opposed to a healthy blush). I just think before we actually experience it for ourselves, all the buzz words fly around and we take it for granted that’s how we’re going to feel. There’s the glowing, the blooming, the feeling womanly, the rush of femininity and it can be a bit of a surprise to find, no, a lot of the time you feel the exact opposite. It’s all a very small price to pay considering I’m building an actual human inside my own body and I’m very much aware of that, I’d just quite have liked a heads-up that there was a possibility once every so often I’d look in the mirror and think ‘oh YUCK!’ as opposed to the Mother Earth-y ‘Yes, I’m growing but it’s MARVELLOUS’. I disagree that you have to take everything pregnancy offers as a gift, some elements should just be what you tolerate to gain an amazing, life-changing reward at the end. When you’re walking round your house with what feels like jetlag, one nipple hanging out your boring maternity bra because it’s already too small, along with blood for gums you don’t want to be smiling like the women in the Boots Parenting Club leaflet, you’re just happy to be a bit gross and one step closer to being a mum. 

 

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It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post, so big ol’ apologies if it’s tripe.

As some people know, when I first started writing this, I tended to wang on about the fun that came with being single, only to become very much attached. Then I wanged on about Daily Mail features but got a bit preoccupied writing a book and moving house. And now I’m four months pregnant which means I have to be pure and calm and not talk about willies or vaginas ’til my offspring have left for uni or work or a gap year around Thailand if they fancy being a massive stereotypical 18 year old twat.

On the subject of being with child, when I was spending the first couple of months in bed dying of what some people call ‘morning sickness’ and what I like to call ‘eight weeks of feeling like I’d rather be buried alive with fifteen furious stoats and an emotional Michael Barrymore’, I tried to spend as much time as possible researching impending motherhood, plus what surprises I might be in store for throughout pregnancy.

The information available wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

Just in case you’re curious, not got anything better to do tonight, your porn won’t load, you unfortunately stumbled across this by chance; here’s what I’ve learned while being preggers so far, from both the cyber and actual real-life worlds. I can’t promise I won’t mention baby-related stuff again in the next few years I’m alive, but I do here solemnly swear to not become one of those women who post daily “AW BABY KAYDEN JAYDEN BO JUST DID A SMILE!” with the photo of what looks like a red-faced, scrunched up alien trying to work out if they left the iron on.

 

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Pregnant women think they’re dying a lot.

“I had this twitchy eye thing going on so I went to A&E and they said it was just where I was tired”

“I kept waking up in the middle of the night feeling hot but when I went to hospital they said it was nothing to worry about”

“I sometimes need to go for a wee, IS THIS OK?”

Gosh. If you want to pat yourself on the back for being quite a normal person, read up on what pregnant women go to hospital for. I appreciate some expectant ladies have previously had complications or are extra cautious thanks to pre-existing medical conditions but some are just mental. For about a month I had what felt like a constant lump in my throat. Not nice, but I gathered it was probably a symptom of nausea/acid reflux and battled with drinking plenty of water to help ignore the sensation. One night I thought I’d Google it, which turned out to be a bigger mistake than turning up to a Halloween party, age 12, as a coffin. Every single woman who’d written about her experience had visited A&E, every single one. The same happened when I Googled ‘tummy spasms’. After that I stopped Googling.

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Step away from me. Now.

I didn’t think constant belly touching would bother me, I thought it would be all cute. As it turns out I’m whittling a wooden/barbed wire tummy contraption while having my boyfriend train up an attack hawk.

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Everyone loves a horror story.

You’ve bumped into someone and they’ve just been made aware you’re pregnant. “Oh AMAZING!”, they’ll gush. “Eugh, I hope you don’t have a thirty six hour labour like me”, *cue descriptions about flaps going flying and anal tearing*

Strangely enough, I’m aware childbirth isn’t likely to be as fun as going on Professor Burp’s Bubbleworks. I know having a small human smash through my clunk might bother me a bit so I probably won’t make any plans to go raving or eat out at Hawksmoor. Just, y’know, in case I can’t give everything my full attention.

Please don’t go into the details of your labour. The baby has to come out, so why scare other women just for the hell of it? Also, you’re not in full-blown labour for aaaaaalllll the hours you’ve listed, you’re just being dramatic and no-one likes a drama queen. So please move away and leave me and my currently still-intact vajayjay in peace.

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You can’t afford everything. 

HEY IF YOU’RE HAVING A BABY THEN YOU’LL NEED TO SPEND TWENTY EIGHT THOUSAND POUNDS BEFORE IT’S EVEN HERE YES OF COURSE YOU NEED THIS RAINBOW COLOURED PORTABLE BABY MONITOR WITH WIFI, BUILT-IN MASSAGE FUNCTION AND VIBRATING JET PACK ARE YOU SOME SORT OF KAREN MATTHEWS FAILURE?

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Yep, bodies are likely to change. Thank you for taking black and white photos.

I couldn’t be more pleased to see ‘normal’ women championing each other’s bodies. Especially post-baby as I’m sure quite a few struggle with stretch marks, weight gain, weeing when they sneeze etc, but I’ve found a few of the articles a bit… cringe. I’m not here to harp on about what I don’t know, or berate knackered mums for not doing their best, far from it. But I do struggle to sympathise with those who state pregnancy’s an excuse to pile on the pounds and be lazy, only to cry their figures aren’t what they used to be. Nowadays all evidence points away from eating for two and instead states regular, gentle exercise is useful along with a balanced diet, so why not just do that? Of COURSE if you fancy chocolate or a doughnut go ahead and eat it, but if developing cellulite after sitting on your bum for 9 months alarms you then I haven’t really got a response you’ll want to hear.

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Cry baby

For the entirety of pregnancy, if you dine out/go shopping/wander round a park and hear the dulcet tones of an infant screaming, everyone in your company will utter the dreaded words “oooh, that’ll be you soon”. No-one ever does it when a baby’s happily gurgling or looking cheerful… nope. See that baby over there crapping itself and having a shit fit about in public? That’s what you’re experiencing for the next 18 years and your life’s going to be miserable and you best not feel sad about it because you shouldn’t have got pregnant should you?

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Oh good. Plain again.

Maternity clothes were apparently designed for my boring cousins Helen and Teresa, who spend a lot of time at garden centres and have probably never been within ten metres of a penis. If you like shapeless t-shirts and nautical stripes then you can blow the budget. If you like anything that makes you feel sassy with confidence and be all Tyra Banks then you’re screwed. I nearly box-kicked a Topshop employee into a rack of statement jewellery two weeks ago because she simpered ‘it’s just, no-one really cares about what pregnant women wear’.

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Keep names to yourself.

We’ve decided not to tell anyone names we’ve got in mind anymore because whenever we do, there’s always at least one option people like to hate as much as they hate Fred West. And tell us so. Complete with pulling an expression that resembles a confused Ed Miliband in a choke hold.

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And lastly, oh my giddy aunt. Morning sickness.

‘Morning’ sickness for me was more 23 hours and 40 minutes sickness. There was the constant sweating, the constant retching, having to eat dry crackers to stop feeling like I had the world’s worst hangover to the point my mouth would bleed, the aforementioned acid reflux and huge mouth ulcers. Because I felt poorly all hours I also only had a maximum of two hours’ sleep for just under two months and spent most nights sweating on the sofa, crying and gnawing on anything that stopped me feeling like I wanted to die. Now, I can’t really remember how horrific it was, but know the feeling of utter helplessness teamed with exhaustion isn’t one I want to experience again any time soon. Having what’s technically a two month stomach bug is literally the crappiest thing in the world and anyone who goes through it and keeps a full-time job deserves a medal. I, luckily, work from home and even venturing into the garden made me want to bawl. I would say that’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far. Morning sickness is a big ball of arse so give your wives and girlfriends plenty of pats on the head and don’t expect them to look anything more than a 2/10 for the duration of the first trimester.

 

So there you have it, the wonderful knowledge and wisdom I’ve acquired so far on my journey into being a mum. Hopefully my next instalment will be ‘Wow, the rest of pregnancy makes you feel dead sexy!’ and ‘psssssh, it turns out contractions are a bucket of piss’. Fingers, toes and umbilical chords crossed (although not in a harmful way).