Tag Archives: Pregnancy

With love, to Liz Jones

I wasn’t going to write about the Liz Jones article [non-Daily Mail link] and the fuss it caused all over Twitter yesterday. Fuss? It had Twitter chortling and gasping in waves of indignant amusement and horror at the Daily Mail columnist’s latest confession about how she tried to steal some sperm from a couple of men. It wasn’t just general sperm theft. It was all about making a baby without the man’s consent or knowledge.

Is this what brought on the righteous indignation of a lot of people? Not entirely, apart from some angry women who thought to add a little warning to men to be careful. It was Jones’ admonition that this unilateral baby-making was what every mid-30s non-attached woman was up to.

This made me a bit angry, then sad for her, then I took it personally and got even more sad. Now I’m a little less sad and more peeved. I became pregnant outside of a relationship in my early 30s. We made a baby without either of us intending to. Keeping the baby, our beautiful 8-month old daughter, was solely up to me.

My first, and constant, priority since finding out about the baby was to be as loving about the process as possible. To think, even for a second, that it was because I tricked someone is such an abhorrent accusation that it made me quite upset. I wasn’t going to write about it because others in the New Statesman and the Guardian had already written some lovely heartfelt pieces about feeling sorry for Jones and about how brave she was and that she needed compassion. I agree with the sentiments but I also think that her position of being paid to write about something which millions of people will read is one of responsibility.

My pregnancy was not the easiest both physically and emotionally. The last two weeks were a particularly trying time where I had to make a huge effort to keep in mind my goal of making this a loving experience but I did my best. I always had compassion and love as my goals for raising our daughter and I intend to stick to that.

If I can do that for the sake of one person’s life then Liz Jones who is an adult and affects many peoples’ lives can also put a little thought behind what she is doing. Her accusations and actions are so unpleasant and full of unhappiness that she can’t help but pass those feelings on to other people who read her. She certainly passed on the unhappiness to me, albeit briefly, yesterday.

She may not get paid if she focuses on love and happiness but she will be helping the world. So why did I write about it in the end? I was walking along with a friend and was explaining to him how I felt about the article when he lost interest and set about looking at a shop window. That didn’t make me feel very listened to, so I resolved to fulfil the function of my blog which was to express myself.

I can feel a lot of compassion for someone, like Jones, who wants to be heard but I won’t feel bad for wanting to have a baby. I’m not sure she should either. Doing anything in a sneaky and selfish way would understandably feel bad. Doing something out of love however is a whole different matter.

Progression: bump to baby

12 Weeks, July 2010

20 Weeks, September 2010

September 2010

November 2010

February 2011

Day 0 – February 14

Day 1, 15 February 2011

Day 5, 19 February 2011

Day 9, 23 February 2011

Day 13, 27 February 2011

Day 14, 28 February 2011

Day 18, 4 March 2011

Day 19, 5 March 2011 – with auntie Alia

Day 20, 6 March 2011

Something with which I struggled in 2010

Physical mobility was my biggest challenge in 2010. Near the end of January I over exercised my right knee, while running with poor form, and I hurt / irritated the area.

This was pretty bad news because I had just signed up for the London Marathon and I needed the training. On the plus side though, my running technique needed work and my muscles needed a lot of building up. I may not have been able to run the marathon at all without the injury getting me to see a physiotherapist.

Mobility issues were a big part of my life until the end of April. I couldn’t climb stairs, couldn’t walk more than 10 minutes without hurting, limping, needing to rest. Once the damage had healed I started to face different issues, namely my body having to handle the long runs and then build itself up again. Black toe nails, swollen toes, damaged knees, hamstring injuries (well, just one), general aches and pains.

It was fascinating. The only suffering, as opposed to pain, I remember, was the frustration at not being able to run. The pain itself was manageable and even enjoyable since it seemed worthwhile.

Once the marathon was over, there was the Bristol 10k on 9 May and I’m not sure if it was too soon or not but I completed it in 1:00:17 but with a painful, spongy feeling in my right ankle. The pain started at around 3kms in to the run and didn’t let up until the end. The physiotherapist said to give my body some time to get back to normal before we started to look at what to do.

On the 1st of June however I found out I was pregnant. I was fatigued for the first few weeks and went to the doctor to find out if I was anaemic or if I had caught some other kind of bug but no, it was a baby.

The next few weeks / months were taken up with fatigue and morning sickness. My body was completely unwilling to run and in the first six months I ran twice because I only felt well for two days. I had a month or so when I felt ok and then once I got to seven / eight months I started to struggle with walking again.

I am now 39 weeks pregnant and walking, sitting and sleeping are pretty painful. Standing isn’t much fun and bending down to pick things up is barely feasible.

I have been back to see the physiotherapist because of pelvic problems. My tendons and ligaments that keep the pelvis fused together have been relaxing to prepare for labour. This means that the bones have no support and the pain can once again be immobilising. I was offered crutches and told not to do too much and I told her I barely do anything. Two – three hours of the house every couple of days isn’t much.

She told me to try to stick to five minutes walking since I would have to walk another five minutes back. No housework and nothing like vacuuming or anything strenuous. I was a bit shocked. Five minutes? I couldn’t even picture that.

Once again, the suffering is from frustration and not from the pain but it has made me think a lot about immobility and patience.

To The Left

Baby: Acquisitions, Visitors and So Much Silence

38 weeks, four days

The bump and I had visitors this week. Two of my colleagues came over with their little ones, 11 week old Juliette and 16 week old James, and we caught up on gossip while I tried to see how I felt about having little babies around. It may be a little late to back out now but curious is curious and I’d been looking forward to seeing them since I went on maternity leave.

I’d first held little James when he weighed just six lbs and nine ounces, so tiny. Baby B probably weighs more than that now. He was two – three weeks old then and now he’s a completely different baby full of smiles and curiosity. I think he spent most of his time enjoying everything around him.

Juliette enjoyed herself calmly until it was feeding time and then she made her displeasure known to mama, who was preparing her bottle, while I walked around the kitchen with her. Tiny fingers sported tiny nails which scratched across me now and then in response to her wails. James looked on quite unaffected.

Some feeding, some nappy changing and then the babies were dozy and getting grumpy. For a little while there was a chorus of cries which sounded so normal that I felt little bereft with the silent little person inside me.

It’s not that baby is totally invisible, not with this protrudence in front of me and all the movements which make me cry out with surprise and occasional physical shock. Yesterday, in the middle of the night, baby decided to stretch and did it so violently that I’m sure I heard a snap of some kind. I had to stretch out myself to provide more space for this languid little person who seems a little crowded in there.

Soon the stretching will be taking place either in the Moses basket that is waiting to be occupied or the pram which was brought over last Wednesday. There is a car seat in the house too and although I don’t have a car, I just wanted to be sure that I had everything in case of you never know what.

For now, I have an active bump and a stretchy baby and lots of silence. I am sure I won’t look upon the noise as a lovely thing but the baby’s first cry is one thing I can’t wait to hear. I’ll see how I feel about the rest after that.

Baby: Four Weeks Sitting Around

35 weeks, four days

Four weeks and three days left until my due date but only 10 days until the baby’s arrival becomes imminent. Sounds like soon and getting ‘sooner’ every moment. For a while I was stressing a lot about nappies. Must get nappies. Nappies. Nappies. Nappies. I only had one packet of newborn ones and have now bought two more. On to the next mantra.

What do I do about the baby wipes I bought? We were warned at the class not to use them on newborns. Babies should need nothing more than water apparently and the midwives had seen some terrible rashes from those beastly wipes. Get rid of wipes. The cot is still in its box against the wall in the living room. Cot. Cot. Cot. It weighs 20kg and the delivery guy didn’t bring it upstairs. The lovely Tesco delivery guy brought the microwave and vacuum cleaner right into the flat. Mothercare you failed big time.

The mattress is resting against the bottom of my bed. I need to pack my hospital bag by next week according to the recommended advice and I probably won’t be able to tweet too much from the hospital. The phone only has about 12 hours battery life and we’re not allowed to plug anything in. I have my ipod though and I’ll load up some videos just in case I’m there for a very long time. Is it silly to think I’ll be bored?

I’ll need to bring some food and remember my toothbrush, toiletries, dressing gown and slippers. I need a nightgown or an oversized t-shirt or something. It may be get a bit a messy so I don’t plan to keep it.

At 35 weeks the baby is not growing any longer but is putting on fat instead. The movements are much more obvious and I could feel a little hand or foot yesterday, bony little thing, right up against the surface of my tummy. The bump is now all the way over my ribs and things like sitting up and sitting back down are starting to be more painful than uncomfortable.

On the plus side, the little one has full-length fingernails and toenails and a fully developed pair of kidneys. My hemoglobin levels have increased to 9.8mg / l from 8.4mg two months ago but that’s still anaemic. I am breathless often and my heart starts racing with most activities. I have been referred to the physiotherapist because my walking became too painful but there’s not long too go and I should be back to normal after that.

So I’ll be putting together furniture and clearing out space in the next four weeks but mostly I’ll be sitting down. It’s not all restful though. The only comfortable position these days is lying down and I can’t be doing that all day.

Baby: Are You Sure?

34 weeks, four days

The bump measures 35 inches from pelvis to the top and I look more like Humpty Dumpty than ever. I am gaining lots of respect for his sitting on a wall since I can barely get comfortable on the couch these days. I’m growing daily and am meant to be gaining a lb a week in weight – I refuse to weigh myself and figure I will get more interested in that once baby arrives and I start training again.

The baby is arriving soon. There is a five week window of time when the arrival is expected as normal and two weeks beyond my due date I believe that they induce birth. That period of time begins in two and a half weeks and the baby will definitely be born by seven and a half weeks from now at the latest. That doesn’t sound too long to me.

Last night I dreamt that I was in a sporting goods store and wanted some clothes for running in the snow. I was planning to also go skiing and thought I should start seeing a physiotherapist again since my right ankle starts to hurt after about 3kms. Then I remembered I was pregnant.

My maternity leave started on Friday 24 December and people were asking whether I was getting excited. I’m waiting until I set up the cot before I get excited, I would reply. Before that I would say that I’m waiting for maternity leave to start before I start thinking about the baby. I’m now at home for a while and I have started to make a list of things to do before the arrival: read books, write up a review or two of some previous books, work on my shorthand, watch movies, knit, meditate, finishing my pregnancy books and another 20 or so items. Maybe after all that I will be ready?

I received five newsletters telling me I was 34 weeks pregnant and updating me on what’s going on. The baby should be running out of space right about now at around 45cm long and over 2kg in weight. The baby’s eyes are now blue regardless of what they will be in later life although I think they will probably remain light. Dad has blue eyes and I have grey-ish ones and both colours are genetically recessive. The baby’s brain is now apparently fully developed and while the lungs aren’t quite complete, the rest of the organs are fully mature and the hearing is fully developed [song choices: Motorhead, Britney, Pearl Jam, Kings of Convenience, Alphabeat? Must choose].

Some mornings, however, I wake up and am quite confused about what’s going on. Me? A baby? Are you sure?

Baby B: and Iron

Third trimester, 29 weeks, four days

I had some blood tests at my 28 week midwife appointment and one of them was to check my iron levels. Five days later I received a phone call informing me that they were too low and that I should contact my GP. The midwife spent the next couple of minutes telling me the kind of foods I should be eating and that orange juice should be drunk with meals to help absorb vitamin c. I wrote some of it down but took more time researching it on the internet.

The baby is having a growth spurt apparently and I’m now entitled to 200 more calories a day.

The baby needs iron to help it form red blood cells. How much extra did I need however? Apart from knowing that it was about double the ordinary intake, I wasn’t too sure. The normal levels are 12 to 15 mg and my levels were down to 8.4 from 12 in June.

As the volume of blood increases in the body so the nutrients are diluted. My nose bleeds had stopped the past couple of weeks and the GP paused a moment when I told him. I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or not. I was told that the breathlessness and the heart racing were probably due to the low iron levels. The last few days, I have had to go back to bed after eating because my heart just wouldn’t slow down from its breakneck speed. My normal heart rate is just over 90 these days.

I was given iron supplements and told to continue with my pregnancy multi-vitamins. I went shopping. I changed my whole diet, primarily adding lots of meats, cereals, juice, leafy greens, chickpeas, black pudding and Marmite to it.

On that first night after the phone call I had an iron rich meal.

240gms of chick peas
250 gms of beef steak
1 slice of black pudding 4.4mg iron

And on a personal note it was my birthday last week. The first birthday where the baby exists.

Celebratory Birthday Menu
Sultana Bran – around 80gms – with soy milk – 200 mls
Starbucks Venti soy latte 20ozs (1.8mg iron, 10gms protein, 80mg calcium, for 8oz)

2 rashers of bacon
1 slice of black pudding 4.9mgs iron
1 bak choi
some carrots / sweetcorn / green beans

20 dried apricots
1 small brownie

Happy Birthday.