Halfway through!

This post will be potentially triggering as it has a scan photo.


So, I’m halfway through now. In fact, I am 20 weeks plus 1 day today so I am actually slightly over halfway! The other day I caught my reflection side on in the one mirror we have in our house as I was washing my hands in the bathroom. Already my body has changed a lot- my boobs ARE FREAKING GINORMOUS and my belly is now bigger than them! It’s all hard too and I love poking it- Paul wondered today if it’s a bit like tapping on the side of an aquarium… I know it’s pretty noisy in there but in these weeks, Blob’s hearing is really developing so hopefully it won’t be too scared by Paul’s and my taps!

Bump at 19 weeks

Bump at 19 weeks

In the past three days, we’ve hit a few landmarks: the anomaly scan, allowing people to start buying things and Paul feeling movement.

Firstly, I didn’t retch before the scan! There was a bit of drama surrounding it as it was meant to be Wednesday this week but I received a letter on last Wednesday asking me to come in the first week back of school. I had a mini breakdown, as is my wont, and begged the ultrasound team to try and fit me in before I went back to school. I knew I wouldn’t manage to last that long not knowing what was going on in there. The kicks and the growing bump are lovely but it’s better to see that it doesn’t have eight limbs and that the heart is still beating. Anyway, the first lady I spoke to said the number was wrong on the letter and gave me the extension number to ring and so ring, I did. Something like 36 times before I got through (yes, I am one of those). They were very apologetic for moving me-the issue being a lack of sonographers for anomalies next week and asked if I could do two days time on Friday at 2pm. *Insert holy crap face* I asked if it was ok to have it done before I was 20 weeks and of course it was! I then had to jump on the phone to Paul to ask him to come with me and let my mum and my mother in law know that everything had moved forward.

Friday morning arrived in super quick fashion as they always do. I had tutoring at 10 which broke up the panic and then went in search of food for Paul’s and my lunch. We took the bus over to the QE and our bums had just hit the chairs after I got one of those stamp things to have a scan photo (felt like I was tempting fate even though when I sit down I get beaten up from the inside!) when my name was called. I didn’t get seen in the normal ultrasound bit. No, I got taken to EPU… And of all the places to be seen, it was the same room that I had been told that my fourth pregnancy was not viable. I kept thinking there had to be some kind of irony in this and tried to be grateful for Blob, who was kicking away, ignoring the nagging ache deep in my throat. On top of this, we had the WORST SONOGRAPHER ON THIS PLANET. Ok she wasn’t quite that bad but my goodness, she could do with some training on how to speak to people! She ummed and ahhed her way through the scan, every now and then deigning to tell us what we were seeing on the screen(even though it was bloody obvious!) She then went the other side of the curtain where once I had sobbed and wailed whilst Paul just held me, and did the calculations on a computer, hmmmed again and then came back around saying, “I need to do another scan.” Didn’t tell us what for (I think it was to see the second kidney as Blob had decided to go to sleep and refused to move enough to get a clear view). then I was told to dress myself and come and sit down. No idea at the time if things were good or bad! Anyway, she finally said that everything was fine and that I was measuring dead on for my EDD so all systems go for the 11th of January!

That was the gloomy side of Friday. Actually, it was pretty fucking amazing. Blob is no longer a Blob, it is definitely a baby. Not a puppy, a baby (sorry Max!). It was a real mini human with a clear rib cage, four atria to its heart, two hemispheres to its brain, a straight spine with clear vertebrae, bones in its arms and legs, tiny feet and hands and the best thing, it had a face. Two huge eyes, a tiny snub nose, pouty lips and a pointy chin. Our baby has a face! All the losses were faceless but this one has a face. Probably way too early to tell but I think it was Paul’s nose and my chin! It’s nice imagining these things even if it’s not exactly based on fact! 

Oh and Blob is possibly a girl! They weren’t sure as its legs were crossed but the sonographer had a guess as Blob being a girl. Here he, she, it is:

Blob now looking less like a blob at 19+5 weeks

Blob now looking less like a blob at 19+5 weeks

So anomaly ticked off even if my alien didn’t exactly co-operate with us in regards to the sex, everything is the right shape and size and doing the things it should so go Blob go!

We then shared the news with our parents- everyone was over the moon and then came the question… Can I start buying things? I answered yes, even though the loss part of my brain was screaming, “NO NO NO! Take your baby home wrapped in hospital towels and don’t have anything baby related in the house until after the birth!” The thing is, there is no such thing as jinxes. Shit goes wrong but jinxes are not real. After all, I have had Asda baby socks thanks to the Bounty pack since I was about 13 weeks. Now I have the tiniest baby hat, a sleeping bag and a bunny with a comforter. They’re on my bedside table still in the wrapping and the bag as I don’t want black fur all over them! So my mum has started things rolling. It feels right. I have told people that we are possibly having a girl and even our possible name choices- I wasn’t going to as I have such strong feelings about constantly dressing small children and babies in gendered clothing but everything about this pregnancy has been about celebrating each tiny step Blob and I have managed to make together. That’s why I decided to tell people as soon as I had the results from the CVS. 

As for the third bit of excitement. Last night when we got home from my mum’s, Blob was getting its rave on in my tummy and Paul put his hands where I said the movement was happening and he felt Blob kick! Think I sort of ruined a romantic, sweet movement by trying to high five Paul! I think it’s all becoming quite real for him with Blob looking like a human and now kicking him. There might just be a baby in January!


Self-induced lunacy

Yeah and add to that picture, unicorns, rainbows and marshmallow clouds!

Yeah and add to that picture, unicorns, rainbows and marshmallow clouds!

Hi my name is Sarah and I have an extremely over-active imagination. Not only is it over-active but it also imagines the worst case scenarios. Like a few months ago, I had to walk over to the cash point early in the morning to get some money out for the dog walker. At the time, there was this man who had escaped prison called the Skull Cracker as he like to mug people and cave in their skulls and obviously because he was on the loose in South East London, I would be attacked by him whilst I walked over to the ATM with Max. Actually no, the anti-fantasy was worse than that, I imagined Max being attacked or him attacking Max, after he attacked me. Obviously, this didn’t happen. The Skull Cracker was in fact caught later that day  but perhaps this shows you a little of how much crazy there is inside my head. 

If I receive criticism, it’s not that someone is trying to make me better. Criticism means that I am the worst person on this planet and don’t deserve to walk amongst the regular humans. I know that this should mean that I shouldn’t really leave the house due to nerves and a lot of the time, I don’t! However, I have learnt good survival techniques and if you know me, you’ll probably think that I am the most confident and bubbly person you’ve ever met. I would like to use the swan analogy but there is nothing swan-like about me! I do work very hard at hiding my fear of the world. I still Crimewatch narrate late night sole walks and dread meeting up with friends I have known for years. For example, I met up with friends from my old school last week- the day before and the morning of, I was panicking chronically! What if they actually hated me? What if I became that person who kept coming back to see old workmates when they had moved one (think David Brent in the Office)? Of course, I was being utterly stupid letting my brain get ahead of me- I was welcomed back with so many hugs and lemonades!

Obviously given my past successful pregnancies, I have come with some baggage to this one. Paul doesn’t let me wallow too much though which is possibly the healthiest thing ever. He listens to the crazy, then takes the piss and we both fall about the place laughing! Best medicine ever. I’ve been doing a bit of fear fire fighting today- I managed to book Paul and myself on the NCT course so we can laugh through the breastfeeding fails and huffing exercises together. This was a big anxiety as after all, will there be a baby? I think the hardest bit of what’s happening at the moment is that I now have to wait until the end of the summer for my next scan. When you’ve been scanned pretty much every other week, waiting four more seems like a century. I also bought some maternity clothes today and another bra (freaking H cup!!!). whilst things are becoming tighter, I could have probably gone another month or two if it wasn’t for the fact that all my clothes have either been eaten by Max or falling to pieces- like ladders in leggings, teeth marks in dresses. There are obvious reasons why I was scared to buy maternity clothes. I am starting to get a bump but it is very tiny! I mean, if Blob is doing ok in there, it’s about the size of a large orange right now and apparently in the next four weeks, it will do some crazy growth to being the length of a banana by the end of the summer holidays. This again is absolutely terror fraught. Anti-fantasy galore!!! 

I guess it doesn’t help when you feel a bit of a fraud and you’re waiting for someone to say, “I’m so sorry…” My imagination is beating me up right now! I just need to beat it back into a more positive shape.


Panic Stations!


Yes, this should be on every tube map.

Yes, this should be on every tube map.

I realise that perhaps for a highly anxious person such as myself, having a baby isn’t the best thing to do. My anxiety has been pretty much life-long- my first recollection of having an anxiety attack was my mum going into  hospital to have my brother. Knowing that she always came back sad from the hospital, there was no way I was going to allow her to go. Another early panic episode was when outside an old house, a taxi flipped because it was travelling too fast- my medic parents told me to stay indoors as they ran outside to check over the people inside the cab and I remember wrapping my arms around my then Bassett (Choti) and not being able to breathe.

My panic attacks start off pretty straight forward- I get tingling in my extremities (hands and feet) like I need to run or cartwheel away from my perceived danger. This then travels inwards to my arms and and legs (which I start to flex and stretch) and I start to gasp for air, beginning with yawning and over-the-top sighs. When I panic, I can’t think straight (obviously!) and I certainly don’t take in information properly. Today was such a case. It’s only now that I look back at it with hindsight that I can see what actually happened.

This was my first appointment in this pregnancy that I have had to go to by myself (cue alarm bells). My midwife had made lots of appointments for me to see obstetricians and psychs due to the losses and my past mental health and today was the first. I had to go and see the obstetrician at the hospital up the road. First I was seen by a lovely nurse, who told me I deserved a gold star for my urine sample and my blood pressure and then I sat there, in front of the empty fish tank, imagining I could smell the tiny bit of dank water that was lying still at the bottom. Finally it was my turn with the doctor, who was wearing the most beautiful outfit. She asked all the usual questions about what had happened so far, how I was doing and explained why the Time Team would be getting in touch (for those of you with a knowledge of British telly- sadly, this doesn’t mean that Tony Robinson will be excavating my uterus to check for historical evidence of cavorting elephants.) She also owned up that she felt that the CVS anaesthesia was purely psychological in her view (I bloody thought so!) After all the usual questions and the normal blank mind about what questions to ask her (got to start writing them down), she then wanted to have a listen to Blob’s heartbeat.

She couldn’t find it.

I think she poured on about a tonne of gel in the hope that there’d be a better connection but it didn’t make much of a difference. She sent me to drink some more as she thought she’d heard something but wanted to hear it more clearly. I left my bags in her room (BIGGEST FUCKING MISTAKE EVER) to run around trying to find a water dispenser that worked and ended up in ultrasound next door where lo and behold, I bump into one of my former teaching course mates whose wife is now expecting their second, three days after my due date! It was nice to see him, he’s truly a lovely guy and I didn’t feel like such a lemon standing there glugging back icy cold water (total brain freeze)- it gave a sense of normalcy to the panic that had set in.

Once I had drunk a lot of water, I went back thinking that I’d be able to go back in straight away but someone else was in there, meaning that I sat without any contact to the outside world in that bloody fish-less waiting room. My hand went instantly to my Jizo necklace and I sat there praying and rubbing it, feeling its big ears and tiny grooves, hoping that this wasn’t the end. After what seemed like an age (read five minutes), I was called back in. 

There was still no clear heartbeat. I think she said that all she could hear was the baby moving around but to me I hear that as being the doppler was moving the baby around. Every now and then there was a slight sound of a heartbeat but for milliseconds, nothing substantial. The Dr didn’t seem to perturbed but said that she wanted to scan me to put my mind at rest as she didn’t want me going home and worrying about it. At the time I heard that she couldn’t find a heartbeat and that she wanted to scan me to make sure everything was ok. 

See what panic does?

I walked in a daze through to the café in the hospital and sat at a wonky table outside to make the phone call to Paul. I told him what I thought had happened and he pretty much told me to stay where I was and he’d be there as soon as possible. Towards the end of the conversation, my voice started to crack and that was it, I had a few tears in the hospital café. Everyone was being really lovely on twitter- reminding me that it was perfectly normal to struggle to find a heartbeat at this stage (I think the Dr said something too…), I then saw that I’d received a message from work asking me about what time I’d get in- I texted my Head as I thought I might be a bit too teary to talk, didn’t hear anything so rang and no one picked up so I rang the main school office and spoke to our lovely secretary and told her that I was being scanned at one and that I’d try to get in afterwards. A few minutes after that, the Head rang. I was so worried that she’d think I was taking the piss- I mean it’s bad enough that she hires me and I get knocked up in the holidays before I start, let alone a high risk pregnancy that requires lots of appointments.

I needn’t have worried. She was utterly wonderful and even offered to be at the end of the phone during the scan if Paul didn’t make it in time. Apparently, one of her pregnancies was high risk so she gets it. As it got ever closer to 1 o’clock,  I decided a loo trip and then a trip back to ultrasound’s brain freeze water was in order so I texted Paul to tell him my change of location and he dutifully turned up to ultrasound just as I was walking out, about to walk over to the fetal medical unit. After a quick kiss and me accusing him of smelling like beans, he held my hand as we walked over to FMU. It’s terrible that we both know women’s services so well! A lovely lady behind the desk took my notes and ushered me into a side room, which kind of made me think the worst… Good news doesn’t come in side rooms so panic rose even more. Right to the point where when I lay down to have the scan, I started retching to be sick… Just like I’d done two weeks beforehand at Tommies.

After a few minutes of being upright, the doctor started to examine me- in fact she exclaimed, “Well, I have never seen such a wriggly baby! This explains an awful lot! No wonder I could only hear movement noises!” The baby was flexing its legs and propelling itself off the walls of the placenta- seriously, it was bouncing off the walls! Arms and legs were flailing around, its back was curling and stretching- we had to wait for it to calm down and spin itself into a better position to see its heartbeat. Paul was wide eyed at seeing it bounce around so much! I was just relieved that things were ok. In seeing the doctor again, I got to ask the questions that I’d forgot to ask before- about headaches and taking paracetamol for them and my dizzy spells. She okayed the paracetamol straight away, saying that it is no more toxic to you when pregnant than when not and then checked my notes for my haemoglobin levels and laughed! Apparently, I’m definitely not anaemic!

We caught the bus back home (with the worst driver known to man- he didn’t believe in pulling over to the bus stops, just stopping in the middle of the road near to the stop) and slowly shuffled the 10 footsteps to our home. Both of us relieved and exhausted all at once. We’ve both fallen fast asleep this afternoon (mine might be due to an extremely over active baby).

So my next appointment is in two weeks on the 30th of July… Paul’s coming.