The upside to pregnancy

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Merry Christmas from the Bump!

I’m not going to say that EVERYTHING about pregnancy is great. I’ve had a jammed sciatic nerve on and off for the past four months or so and it is definitely not something I am grateful for. I had a massage a month ago that really relieved the nagging pain but it’s come back the last few nights to haunt my sleep once again and the pregnancy massage lady is finished for the year, damn and blast it all!

But there are a few things I do enjoy about pregnancy. My hair, for instance.

Usually, you could collect the shed hair on the bathroom floor on a weekly basis and weave a decent sized rug from it … if you were that way inclined.

I had to wash it every couple of days (further exacerbating the shedding issue) as it would quickly become stringy and flat and generally cruddy-looking.  If I had the time, the inclination and the moon in proper alignment (and a red-hot hair curler), it would get a bit of wave and look halfway decent for a day and a half. But for all intents and purposes, my hair and I are generally not great mates.

But how do I love pregnancy hair? Let me count the ways …

  1. I don’t have to wash it for at least seven days … once I even stretched it out to nine days by putting it up for the last two.
  2. When I do wash it, I just let it dry naturally and voila! It looks glossy and wavy for days.
  3. A simple brush in the morning and I’m ready for the outside world.
  4. No great handfuls plugging up the shower drain.
  5. No bathroom floor coated with masses of shed hair.

Another thing I love is my bump. Even though she’s getting rather heavy to carry around all day and turning in my sleep resembles a walrus flopping from one side to the other whilst suntanning on a rock, it is a very physical reminder of our good fortune.

And I don’t have to worry about sucking my gut in when out in public …

I also adore her kicks and wriggles –  and lately what I am pretty sure are hiccups. Even the hectic jumping around like a frog in a sock last thing at night and first thing in the morning is lovely … even if my internal organs do get the occasional breath-taking wallop!

My nails should also get an honorable mention. Strong and quick to grow, they’ve never looked so good! I’m pretty sure my toenails are not bad as well … although it’s hard to see them now.

Oh, and there’s my skin. I’m pretty sure a fair percentage of my wrinkles have smoothed out on my face.  At first I thought it was just that my eyesight was getting crappier (which it is, to be honest) but even with my glasses on, the crows feet and forehead wrinkles are definitely fainter than six months ago. Woo!

So there you go. Whilst I look like a giant eggplant in my new purple maternity swimwear, there are bonuses to being pregnant!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Becoming the fairytale

I’ve only just realised we’ve become the fairytale we’d often heard about while desperately hoping and wishing and jabbing stomachs with needles.

Those of you who have travelled (or are still navigating) that rocky road of infertility know what I’m talking about. The story you’re often told about someone’s sister’s best friend’s neighbour’s god-daughter who struggled for years then POOF magically became pregnant and had a delightful baby girl/boy/gender yet to be fully determined. The story usually has a point, outlining something they did/swallowed/wrapped around themselves, and is retold in good faith to give you hope that maybe if you do the same, the magic will rub off.

Well folks, I am not here to give you that story.

I don’t believe it’s just a matter of changing our environment; of deciding to focus on other things. I don’t think that we’d stopped stressing about it or that we’d simply given up. 

For those of you still navigating, waiting and hoping, I would feel like a fraud explaining how a miracle like this happens in terms so simple … and ultimately so false.

Because you and I both know you never truly stop thinking about it. It’s a special kind of grief – grief for a life unrealised. An ache for something you didn’t get to have. The ache may dull with time but it never truly goes away. 

You just learn to carry it better.

We would watch small children playing; smile back at smiling babies; commiserate with struggling parents – all with a wistfulness we hoped was concealed from all but each other.

Even when we got those two pink lines, we did not celebrate. We’d been here far too many times before to know it was a done deal. We shrugged and said “We’ll see what happens.” It truly wasn’t until we saw that tiny little blob with the heartbeat at 9 weeks that we started to let ourselves hope that maybe … this time … we’d get the fairytale ending.

Now that she’s kicking so often (shades of her older sister!) I’ve got a lovely reminder that she’s here, she’s real and she’s on her way. It’s such a comfort to me, even if there’s the occasional kick to the bladder or pushing against my ribs!

I had my monthly visit with the midwife this afternoon and she was talking about how from now on, this baby is considered ‘viable’. Although it’s rare, babies born at 24 weeks can survive. And every week after that, their chances jump dramatically. As she put it, my pregnancy has turned a corner and from now on, any issues are treated differently.

So, no, I don’t have any sage advice or miracle cures. Honestly, the more you look into the mechanics of baby making, the more you wonder how any of us actually got here in the first place. Miraculous is the only word that adequately describes the spark of life.

I’m still coming to terms with the fact that in 16 weeks’ time (or thereabouts) we’ll actually get to meet this little person. 

It still feels surreal. Like a fairytale.

Better start buying some baby gear ….