Friday, 31 May 2013

Big things and exciting plans

So if I know you in real life, or if we're facebook/twitter friends, then you will know that I am pregnant. It feels pretty strange to be writing down, as it has felt like a half-secret for so long that actually saying it feels like standing up after a long flight; stiff and awkward but ultimately a relief. I do feel like I should also confess that I am terrible at keeping secrets, so rather a lot of people have known for quite a long time. I have been operating on a 'tell people when I see them' basis, which meant the vast majority of our friends and family found out when we went home for 3 weeks. I am now safely back in California, soaking in the sunshine (getting sunburnt) and eating In n Out burger more often than anyone strictly should. Our baby is due to appear on St. Andrew's Day*, the 30th of November.

Being pregnant a second time has been a strange experience. In some ways, it has been surprisingly easy. People dread the worst case scenario, but we'd already lived through it and discovered that while it sucked, it was not that bad.** In other ways, it's been harder than the first time. Every appointment has been a MASSIVE stress, the scale of which varied but peaked into 'meltdown' proportions yesterday, before my 12 week scan (due to travelling, this ended up being at 14 weeks). This was the big one. I know people worry about abnormalities, I just really wanted a baby in there. Everyone at the Ultrasound clinic seemed fairly convinced there would be, and they were right. It was just hanging out, flip flopping around like a fish out of water. It managed to flip onto its front and stayed there, kicking its legs off the bottom of my uterus like it was an Early Learning Centre trampoline. It is exactly as it should be at this stage. It has a brain (this might sound silly, but Anencephaly was one of my biggest fears) and an abdomen and two feet and at least some fingers and all sorts of other things one needs to function. It wasn't just ok, it was thriving, measuring a whopping 5 days bigger than it should.

This is in spite of the Hyperemesis Gravidarum that seemed to haunt me for the first half of the first trimester. Thankfully I don't need to explain it much to people since Kate Middleton and the resultant media coverage means its a bit more widely understood, but it is rotten. I was lucky and had instant access to amazing medication that made INSANE vomiting stop pretty sharp-ish. Before the medication, I had days where moving my head in either direction was enough to make me vomit. It reminded me of the extreme hangovers I had a few times in University after drinking a bottle of vodka/jack daniels/gin. Except it never ended. It just went on and on and on until I ended up in the ER. It was decidedly crappy. I slept for hours at a time, and stopped eating pretty much everything that wasn't baked potatoes. The smell of toast would make me sick. With the meds (Zofran, or Ondansetron in the UK, for those interested parties) I started to feel a lot better at 11 weeks, after arriving at my parent's house. 

Ultrasounds through the weeks (can't remember the exact size on the last one- sorry!)
Also, sorry, the paper is REALLY shiny- too hard to get a good picture!

Today, I didn't take any medication. I have eaten breakfast (and half a packet of leftover salt and vinegar McCoys) and had 2 cups of tea. This felt completely out of the realm of possibility a few short weeks ago. I'm not eating tons- I ended up 13lbs (a stone) lighter over the three months, and have managed to gain a solitary pound since I started eating again. It is going to be a slow process. But I now have an appropriate amount of envy that my neighbour appears to be cooking delicious chilli rather than locking myself in the bathroom and crying.

Today is the first day we have started planning a future with a baby in it. At my doctor's appointment this morning, we discussed her philosophy on Labour and Dellivery. Turns out she likes to do things as naturally as possible- she won't be inducing me on my due date, as is pretty common here (booo) and believes strongly in it being a natural process, but with sensible risk minimisation. This is essentially where I think we are, more or less. I'm definitely not aiming to do it completely naturally though. I am a TOTAL WUSS and will take paracetamol at the first sign of a headache, so pain relief (and lots of it) is definitely in my dream delivery. It was awesome to hear her talk about her experiences in hippy-ish Seattle, where she said she learnt to really trust the experience and wisdom of the midwives in her team and to hold back on interventions where possible. She sent us away with a form to guide creating a birth plan, and to get us talking about what we want (I'm saying we to be polite, but honestly, I'm the one pushing it out- I'm going to be making most of the decisions). 

I really love our doctor, she has been the most amazing mix of sympathetic, supportive and hilarious through violent sickness and miscarriage fear. She is pretty irreverent about pregnancy and birth, which is awesome. Most importantly, however, she loved my handbag enough to write down where I got it, so I trust her judgement implicitly.

My stomach is starting to develop a weird lump in it that feels a bit creepy and hard  So the weekend has a trip to the Old Navy sale for a maxi dress and some maternity shorts (I have lost so much weight nothing fits me anywhere except the stomach. The bum, thighs and most of the waist are hanging off me. It's pretty dispiriting) as well as a 'scoping out, non-purchasing' trip to Babies R Us on the cards (on the basis that if we go and look when their is zero pressure/time constraints it will be easier down the line. I've heard the first trip is the worst- I'd rather do it feeling excited and full of energy...) Plans and more plans. And for the first time in 3 months, I'm not worrying.

*The patron saint of Scotland. It's a public holiday, sort of the FAR less drunken Scottish equivalent of St Patrick's Day.
**Should clarify that this was just our experience, miscarriage is totally different for everyone.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

In a few hours I will be heading to hell on earth, also known as LAX, to jump on an aeroplane to take me all the way to London. I'll spend some time catching up with friends in London, then jump on the train that will take me to Edinburgh. I want to cry when I think about how much I will enjoy watching the scenery change as I travel through the south east of England, then the more rugged north before crossing the border to Scotland, and my beautiful home, Edinburgh.

A long weekend of catching up with all my best girls at Dr Kennedy's hen party* where we will tell stories of when we were all young and wild, and chat about our settled domesticity as old married ladies with mortgages and children. Then back to my home town, Paisley for lazy days with my mummy, daddy and the siblings, as well as Aunts and Uncles and cousins and my wonderful wee granny. The same TV shows will be playing- old detective dramas, my sister will sing too loudly and it'll annoy everyone. My brother will corner me to show me 'funny' youtube videos and talk about baseball. Daddy will worry I don't like his cooking and mummy will fall asleep on the sofa in the evenings.

After a week there, husband will join me and we'll head to the tiny seaside village of Aberdour for niece and nephew cuddles and games. I can't wait to run around on the sand in my jacket, scarf and boots, to paint big pictures and watch hours of CBeebies**. I'll get soaked at bath times and cuddle up in my sister-in-law's enormous bed to tell stories.

After that, it's St. Andrew's, husband's alma mater and the much anticipated, hard-earned MacWalter-Kennedy wedding. A night in a fancy hotel, then the drive to Manchester we have made a hundred times before, so I know each stop and quirk of the road all ready. I know we'll stop at Abingdon Services and I'll eat a cheese and bacon burger from Burger King (and lament the fact it's not 'In n Out') then we'll drive through the rain to Scotch Corner. It always rains at Scotch Corner. From there, we'll drive to the next stop, Westmoreland farm shop where we'll get coffee and some sort of meat pie, which will serve as a reminder that my husband is from the North of England and loves pies in ways I don't understand. The last part of the journey is usually sunnier, as we weave our way down the M6. We will get stuck in Traffic at Blackpool. 

From Manchester, it's back to LA. We'll fall out at the airport, as husband will fuss and panic about tickets and passports and making it to the gate on time and I'll get annoyed and say 'it's FINE' and dawdle and he'll get annoyed with me. Once we're on the plane it'll all be forgotten about.

I have adored all the new experiences in California. We do new things all the time. It's my favourite thing about living here. But for the next three weeks, I'm only going to do old, well-worn things. It will be a marvellous rest. I hope to blog and take lots of pictures, but I can't really make promises. I might be too full of tea and scones...

*A British Bachelorette party, American friends.
** THE British children's TV channel for the under 5 set. My 6 year old niece would be very annoyed if I didn't explain that she just watches it for her 4 year old brother. She is far too grown up for it.