Guys, we have a heartbeat!
(Er, the title of this post kinda gave that away, didn’t it? Now you know why my career as a suspense writer never took off…)
A proper, official heartbeat, as verified by a properly trained midwife, that is: as opposed to the DIY, better-not-tell-the-internet, heartbeat we’ve been picking up on our home doppler for the past few weeks. Ahem. And, I mean, I know it was a bit of a controversial decision at the time, and now that I’ve finally reached a stage where the midwife is happy to listen herself, I won’t be using it any more, but given that there was literally no other support available to me at the time, I honestly don’t know how I’d have gotten through the past couple of weeks without that little bit of reassurance.
It’s been tough, folks.
To put it mildly.
I think a large part of the problem is that
I’m a complete basket case I still haven’t felt any definite movement yet. I know that’s totally normal, but people keep on excitedly asking if I can feel the baby move yet, and then recoiling in horror when I say no, and on Tuesday morning I opened up Twitter and the first thing I saw was a conversation between two people at roughly the same stage as me, talking about how awesome it is to feel those baby kicks, so… yeah. No matter how much you read about the “average” time for people to feel movement, it’s hard (read: impossible) not to compare yourself to other people, and end up thinking, “WTF is wrong with me?” Or it is for me, anyway – and I’m not just talking about pregnancy, either.
Yesterday morning I had my 18 week midwife appointment. I was super-anxious going into this: not just because I knew she’d be listening to the heartbeat, and I was terrified it wouldn’t be there, but also because I’d gotten it into my head that there would also be another blood test involved, and all of the recent cancer-related medical experiences we’ve had have really triggered my health anxiety, so I was basically convinced that I’d be spending the next few days waiting on bad news. More so than usual, I mean.
Well, there was no blood test: PHEW!
There was, however, a student in the room: GAH.
As soon as I laid eyes on her, sitting in the corner like a Dementor, my heart sank. (I know you can request not to have students in the room, but we weren’t actually asked, and I was already too worked up to cause a fuss in front of the girl…) This actually happened to me once before, at a counselling appointment, and honestly, having to pour out my innermost thoughts and deepest fears in front of an openly hostile teenager was one of the reasons I never went back. I get that students have to be trained, but it’s hard enough for me to discuss medical issues with one person, let alone having to do it in front of an obviously bored audience (Actually, my mum tells me I was BORN in front of an audience, so you’d think I’d be used to it: one of her last memories as they wheeled her into surgery was of someone calling out, “Hey, anyone want to see a C-section?!”), you know?
It seems, however, that that is to be my fate, so I had to not only expose my deepest, darkest fears (plus my palest, palest stomach) in front of yet another surly teenager, I ALSO had to sheepishly hand over a tube of urine in front of one, too. It was a real ‘Dear Diary’ moment, to be sure, especially given that, just like the last time, the student, a) Looked about 15 years old (I’m seriously not exaggerating, either: these look more like high school students than medical students to me, and they behave like it, too…), and b) obviously just hated her life, and thought it was, like, SO UNFAIR that she was having to sit in a doctor’s office on a nice summer’s day, listening to some idiot of a woman drone about about her health anxiety. To prove it, she sat with her shoulders slumped, glowering at me the whole time as if it was ALL MY FAULT and I had TOTALLY RUINED HER LIFE, and I know this is totally ridiculous, but by the time we left, I felt so, SO stupid that I kind of wanted to cry a bit.
I didn’t, though, because as I said at the start of this post (Hey, remember the start of this post? I just about do…)…
We heard the heartbeat!
It was very loud, and very strong, and OMG guys, there is an actual BABY in there! Like, a real, live baby! It’s NOT just all of those mashed potatoes I’ve been eating! And, no, none of the various aches and pains I’ve has over the last few weeks have been a sign of something catastrophic happening – phew! It was all very emotional and exciting, but, because my surly teenage audience was looking particularly pissed off at that point, I felt I had to be all British about it, so, rather than leaping up and punching the air, which is what I WANTED to do, I just kind of lay there, going, “Well, isn’t that just marvellous?!” and other things that totally didn’t sound like me. I DID buy a cake afterwards, to celebrate, though: and I will definitely request that there be no teenagers in the room for my next appointment, in a few weeks time, even although I know that makes me a terrible, terrible person, who is hampering the NHS in its bid to educate young minds… or whatever it thinks it’s achieving by allowing bored teenagers to roll their eyes at pregnant ladies.
Week 17 Pregnancy Symptoms:
Er, nothing, really. I’ve had a few random aches and some round ligament pain, and I’ve noticed that my lower back gets quite sore if I sit down for too long in the same position: walking helps with this, though, so we’ve been trying to go out for walks as often as possible. This is proving a bit tricky, unfortunately, as our time is taken up with work, and with visiting Terry’s mum (Who’s doing much better this week, thankfully!), but it does help with the back situation, so I’ll do my best to keep it up.
Week 17 Pregnancy Aversions:
Again, not much, really: in fact, if it wasn’t for the giant bump, and, well, the non-stop anxiety, I’d probably be able to forget that I was pregnant right now: how weird is THAT? I’m still not drinking coffee, but I DID find myself enjoying the smell of it a couple of times this week, which made me panic a bit in that, “OMG, I HAVE LOST MY LAST REMAINING PREGNANCY SYMPTOM, SOUND THE PANIC KLAXON!” kind of way, but, thankfully, hearing the heartbeat has reassured me that the baby can continue to survive even if its idiot mother does quite enjoy the scent of coffee beans again, so I’m trying not to worry too much about it. And, although the smell of freshly brewed coffee did remind me of the days when my biggest worry in life was… all of the many other things I used to worry about in life… the thought of the instant decaf sitting in the cupboard still does absolutely nothing for me, so there IS that…
Week 17 Pregnancy Cravings:
I’m not sure I’d call it a “craving” exactly, because I could definitely live without it, but, if you were to bring me a vat of creamy mashed potatoes, say, I’d probably jump right into it, while making little moaning sounds of pleasure. God, I love me some potatoey goodness…
Week 17 Pregnancy Fears:
Other than the continued, “Why am I the only pregnant woman alive who hasn’t felt a freaking butterfly flap its wings in her stomach?” scenario, the newest entry to the worry files this week is the state of the bumpy, bumpy roads where we live. You don’t really realise quite how bumpy roads are until you’re pregnant, and while I’m pretty sure I can drive over a speed bump without, like, having the baby just drop out of my body or something, I bet I’m not the first person to wonder if that’s possible.