Here’s a blurry picture of the creature to be known henceforth as NB. Those are the initials of its in utero name, but could equally stand for New Born, Next Baby, Nota Bene or, optimistically, No Bother. (Or Nasal Bone, which may be why NB is stamped next to its Nasal Bone.)
I’m twelve weeks pregnant, so I’ve finally given myself permission to write about it. You may have been wondering – or you may not have, I do realise you have other things on your mind – why this blog has been so quiet of late, and why the posts have mainly been alternating between ‘OH MY GOD THE STATE OF THIS HOUSE’ and ‘Hurrah for soup!’ in tone. It’s because for the last eight weeks all I have wanted to write was ‘Dear Blog, I feel sick.’
Because pregnancy, quite frankly, is a disgusting business. I know people who disagree, and feel great when they’re knocked up, from the first positive wee test to the baby being placed on their chest after delivery. I try to avoid these people when I am pregnant. Some of my dearest friends number among these folk, but they make me feel very black thoughts. I do better with people who agree that it is wrong and horrible that suddenly all day every day the taste of your own mouth makes you gag; that the smell of your own husband, which presumably you didn’t object to in any serious way before, hence how you got in the family way in the first place, now makes you recoil.
According to some theories, the point of ‘morning’ sickness (don’t make me laugh), which in my case is composed of nausea, heightened sense of smell and food aversions, is to protect the gestating woman from eating things that might harm the foetus. Trust me, I’m not planning to eat my own tongue or my daughter’s nappies. You can settle down, tummy and nose. No need to overreact.
But overreacting is what my body excels at during pregnancy. During both pregnancies, my body has leapt to attention within the first couple of weeks, preparing for the birth of the child. What if it comes early and needs to breastfeed at once? Quick, breasts, expand by two cup sizes! Quick, arse and thighs, lay down fat stores! Five kilos in the first trimester ought to do it, for starters. For that we’ll need to let out some seams, so bring on the stretchmarks. We can use the same ones we had last time, just give them a yank and they’ll go from silver to pink in no time.
And then there’s the ridiculous hormone called relaxin. No, Microsoft Word, I don’t mean relaxing. I really, really don’t. Relaxin is produced so that on one day in six months’ time, my ligaments will be soft and stretchy enough for a giant baby head to stretch through my pelvis. Leaving aside the fact that in two generations no baby on my side of the family has shown the remotest inclination of heading south EVER, let alone near their due date, and have had to be surgically removed or we’d all still be like a giant babushka doll, there is no good reason I can see for the relaxin to come flooding in during the first trimester. All that brings is back pain. And it will just get worse.
Still, at the end of it all there will, with a bit of luck, be another baby. And if it’s even a hundredth as excellent as the one I’ve already got I will be a very happy girl. With two kids. Holy crap. Two kids.