Monday 28 February 2011

Due date

Six weeks pregnant today! Just a quick update as I had my appointment with Dr H this morning and it went really well. He's very reassuring and understanding, and I feel much more relaxed now. Obviously anything could still go wrong with the baby, but he helped me understand that there's not a lot I can do about that. I just need to be healthy and do my best, and if anything happens it's nature's way of saying the baby wasn't meant to be born.

It all felt more real as he explained to me that I would now be referred to a midwife, he talked me through antenatal classes and what else will be on offer, and asked whether we'd thought about having a hospital birth or a home birth. We haven't got that far at all - I'm almost scared to think that far ahead in case somehow I jinx everything. It was difficult not to get excited though when he told me our due date - 24 October 2011! I know hardly any babies are born on their due date (and I don't care what date the baby arrives as long as it does) but I couldn't help but smile. It's just a few days after the Boy's birthday. What a cracking birthday present that would be!

Doctor doctor

Another day, another early wake-up... I guess I should start getting used to this! I'm a bit nervous this morning as I've got an appointment with our GP at 9.25am. I'm sure it's all pretty routine but I want everything to go well, and I think some of the nerves are excitement / butterflies as I'm looking forward to getting a midwife appointment and for everything to start to feel more real. And more safe.

The eight weeks goal is really in my mind, I understand that if we get to that point and the doctor or midwife has heard the baby's heart beat, then the chances of losing the baby become much reduced. The longer time goes on the more I know that I really want this baby. I've caught myself daydreaming a few times over the weekend about whether we'd have a boy or a girl, what they'd be like, what we'd call them, how our life would be... it's hard not to run away with my thoughts, hopes and dreams. Every now and then I see the Boy out of the corner of my eye and I know he's doing the same.

I still can't quite believe how lucky we might be, which is probably why I feel nervous. It almost feels too good to be true and I want every appointment to go as well as it can, so I can start to relax and believe this will happen for us.

Sunday 27 February 2011

Moving on up

Another lovely weekend draws to a close prematurely as I write this. It's been a really happy one, time spent with a school friend on Friday evening, and I saw my sister yesterday for an afternoon of cupcake decorating in Hampstead (darling!) and a meal at Empire Towers with her and her boyfriend. A very girly afternoon and special time with my little sister which I enjoyed very much.

I've had a lazy day with the Boy today - lunch out, when I finally lost my Nandos virginity, and a pleasant cinema trip. We're both in our pyjamas already and getting a few bits sorted for tomorrow before we enjoy a Sunday night evening snuggled up on the sofa together.

It's also been a weekend of planning. Having fallen pregnant so much sooner than the Boy and I thought we would, our plans for moving are coming into the forefront of our minds. We'd casually talked about putting our Borough flat on the market in the Autumn and we've been doing a little bit of house hunting on the internet, but now the move is much more of a priority.

We have a beautiful home at the moment. A sunny, large and nicely finished one bedroom flat in a modern block just behind Borough High Street and the market. I bought the flat just a few months before I met the Boy, so it's a flat filled with happiness and love, and memories of our relationship together from the early days, through our engagement and wedding day - and beyond. It's been such a sociable flat. We've had so many wild parties here that I've lost count of the various friends who've slept here planned or unplanned - on the sofa, in the bed, on the floor - even in the bath! We've had more than our fair share of drunken dinner parties and silly and spontaneous nights just the two of us, and we'll both be sad to leave Empire Towers behind. But we've been outgrowing the flat for the best part of a year, and it's not big enough to cope with any additions to our family.

The Boy has an appointment with a mortgage advisor on Friday, so this morning while he was sleeping in (I can't sleep at all any more despite not drinking which is hugely unfair but I assume is pregnancy-related so will forgive!) I went through all the original paperwork from when I bought the flat to dig out anything useful.

Hard to believe I had my offer on the place accepted in August 2006, four and a half years ago. I was 28, but it feels like a lifetime ago. I reminisced looking through the paperwork - I had no idea what lay ahead of me when I moved in. I was so scared doing it all on my own. I worried whether I could afford it, and if I was responsible enough to run a home alone with no one to fall back on. I managed it - just about! And I'm very proud of myself for that. It was a big ask of a girl who was having a bit of a crazy time when I signed on the dotted line, and spending way too much time and money in various bars in Shoreditch and not enough time in bed sleeping and being sensible! But somewhere along the line I grew up (finally) and everything fell into place.

We'll see what the mortgage advisor says to the Boy on Friday and I guess start to make more serious plans then. Saturday could well be a day of checking out our potential new area - East Greenwich / Charlton slopes. And we need to get the flat valued in the next few weeks as well. It's exciting. We're yet to see the firm figures of what we can afford, but it looks at a superficial level as if we can afford a three-bed flat or maisonette with a garden, which would be a great next step. We're ready for more of a 'home'.

I feel very excited although scared at the same time about the move. Much like I do about the baby. 2011 could be such a momentous year for us - a new home and a new baby. It's almost too much to take in. It seems everything I want from life as I grow older comes with greater responsibility, as it should be I suppose. And at least my gut instinct is to run to the Boy's arms for support and reassurance, not to the various landlords of East End boozers! That's got to be progress!

Friday 25 February 2011

Mad about the Boy

The sun is streaming through the window as I write this, and my mood today is certainly a sunny one. The Boy and I had a lovely evening together last night and this morning I am reminded how happy I am to have such a wonderful and supportive partner. I've never had this before in a relationship and even four years on I still find it incredible and almost too good to be true. I suppose bad experiences in the past made me doubt this kind of 'happy ending' - if you want to call it that - was possible and that I have everything I dreamed of with the Boy.

He has really come into his own lately and been so supportive of me, and caring towards me, as we have begun to start a family. Since we found out I was pregnant he has been so affectionate and loving, and last night he was talking about how he wants to protect me. He had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday and it sounds like he spent most of it talking to our GP about what would happen at my appointment with him on Monday. And we were reading more of the pregnancy book I bought together in bed this morning, and it is great to have so much input from him in everything.

I don't feel scared or alone as it feels like he really wants to share every stage of this with me - day by day, week by week. It is really something to have this level of care and concern from someone else and I count my blessings that we found each other and have such a strong relationship. I suspect we will need this as time goes on - whether this baby decides to stay with us or not.

Thursday 24 February 2011

Mummy was an alcoholic?!

So - four days since our positive pregnancy test and three people have asked me if I'm pregnant! My sister, one of my oldest friends, and a newer girlfriend. All because I've been laying off the sauce... Keeping this QT for seven more weeks is going to be difficult!

I don't know whether to laugh or cry that I was obviously such a big drinker before that folks can't believe I'd abstain on booze for any other reason. I guess I have worn out my party shoes several times over, so people close to me will notice me calming down and wonder about the reasons why. Even if I wasn't pregnant, I'd have almost cut out booze - it hasn't agreed with me a lot lately, has made me feel sad, maudlin and anxious, and I've had trouble sleeping. It also hasn't done my waistline any favours!

So... seven weeks of secrecy to go. I know other people share their news earlier than their first scan, but I am nervous and superstitious about pregnancy. I'd rather wait until we are in a slightly safer position before I share our news, and also it gives the Boy and I some time to ourself to think about it and explore how we feel and what's ahead together.

I bought The Rough Guide to Pregnancy on Tuesday (honestly!) and yesterday the Boy and I flicked through it cuddled up in bed together - reading what we can expect at the stage we're at. It was a special and happy moment, and if keeping my mouth shut for a bit longer means we get a few more of them, then that's ok by me.


I work as a press officer full-time in the busy campaigns department of a large voluntary organisation. I've been in PR for nine years (how did I get so old?) after starting out as a trainee on my local regional newspaper. My first communications job was for a tiny skin health charity, and from there I moved on to roles with a couple of national children's charities.  I've been in my current job for four years and I love it - it's busy, challenging, exciting and every day is always different - but I also enjoy volunteering in my spare time.

A few years ago I qualified as a counsellor, and for the last four years I have been volunteering at a bereavement counselling charity in North London. I go once a week and see a couple of regular clients, and help them work through their bereavement process. The work is completely different to what I do in my professional life, but is as - if not more - stimulating and rewarding, and I often find it very re-energising. For me there is nothing more meaningful than being with a person in their darkest times and playing a small role in their coming to terms with their grief and sadness, and beginning to be able to move on.

I had a session last night with a client that I have been seeing for 18 months, and during the session the client expressed real emotion at being able to feel hope for the first time - that the future could be better and that there could be a happy ending. I was very touched to share this revelation and after a week which has been filled with sad news, I felt a strong burst of hope again myself.

I have been very worried since we found out I was pregnant that I would lose the baby or that something would go wrong. It's been on my mind non-stop that 'I am pregnant' and every time I go to the toilet I expect to find that my lady has arrived, and the baby has been lost. But yesterday, and this morning, there have been times when I've completely forgotten I'm pregnant. I've thrown myself into work and been sociable with colleagues, and by doing that I've managed to relax a little.

I've also managed to have (slightly) more of a laissez-faire attitude. If this baby is meant to stay, it will, if it isn't, it won't. I can't do anything but follow the guidelines and treat the baby and my body as well as I can, and use my burst of hope to pray for the best. I want to relax and enjoy this time, and not feel stressed the entire time that something bad might happen. I have to hope that it won't. And if it does, I have hope that the Boy and I can take care of each other and move on.

Monday 21 February 2011

Secret smile

Today is my first day in work since we found out that I'm pregnant. And it's the first day I've been in contact with my friends as we spent a long weekend spending Mr and Mrs time together celebrating our anniversary.

It feels strange. I want to tell everyone our news, but I know that I can't. It's five weeks today since the first date of my last period, so that means a seven more weeks of secrecy until we can let the cat out of the bag. And that depends on our baby staying with us until that precious 12-week scan. I had a funny bleed in December that the Boy and I think may have been a miscarriage, so we don't want to rush ahead of ourselves just yet. There's still a long way to go.

My diary is bulging with social commitments during that time. Some I can cancel, but some are going to be a bit more tricky to get out of without upsetting people. I've been starting to tell friends I'm going to have a dry March to try and lose a bit of weight and save some money - although my little sister, bless her, is already suspicious and has been texting me asking whether I'm pregnant. I've denied it, but I'm not sure she believes me!

I don't like hiding the truth from her, but hopefully she'll forgive me if a little nephew or niece comes along. I don't want to tell people and then have them get their hopes up, only to let them also be shattered if this little baby isn't meant to stay with me and the Boy.

I'm finding it very difficult not to get beyond myself and start thinking ahead - is it a boy or a girl (well, I know it's neither just yet!) and will it look like me or the Boy... I want this so very much it's taking every bit of effort to keep my feet on the ground. I know the Boy feels the same. I know it's terrible to wish your life away but I wish I could fast forward until April when it would be scan-time...

Hopefully it will get easier when the news sinks in and ask the weeks go by, it's all still so new at the moment. I feel different all the time - I had a real bout of nausea earlier, and I seem hyper sensitive to every change in my body. I keep wondering if everything is ok and going as it should. Everytime I go to the toilet I wonder what I will find. I guess all this is pretty common though, and all we can do is try and relax and enjoy this special time, and accept that what will be will be.

One great comfort is that even if this little baby isn't meant to stay with us and things don't work out this time, together the Boy and I can make a baby. And that gives me heart that we made this one, so we could hopefully make another. Everything works as it should individually and between us, and that's something we had concerns about when starting out.

So, I'll start humming Don't Worry, Be Happy quietly to myself and hope that at least some of the lyrics sink in...

Sunday 20 February 2011

Maybe baby...

I'm so excited as I write this - so please forgive any overuse of the exclamation mark in the next few lines! After an anxious day yesterday of wondering the Boy and I decided to do another test this morning. We both had a sleepless night and were awake early with anticipation - whatever the result both of us wanted to know one way or the other, the uncertainty has been one of the most tricky bits to deal with. And the test said I was pregnant! I think the odds of getting two 'false positive' results must be pretty small, so... it looks like me and the Boy are on the way to having a baby! I am so happy!!

I had really made myself be aware of how difficult it can be to conceive, especially at my age and having not led the most healthy of lifestyles. I was prepared for it to take months, even years - but here we are, the first month we've properly tried, and we're already a step closer to our dreams. It feels unbelievable.

But I'm trying to stay grounded and bring myself back down to Cloud 8. There's still a long way to go, and the literature I've consumed in the last few months has made me aware how important this first trimester is. We've no idea if this little baby - if I can even really think of it as that - will be well enough and healthy enough to stay with me and the Boy for these first 12 weeks. We dearly hope so, but miscarriage is a sad fact of life, and one from which me and the Boy are most definitely not immune.

So - it's about little steps. We're taking in one enjoyable moment at a time, I think you have to. I've got an appointment with my doctor in a week's time, so that's the next tentative step on our road to becoming parents. For now, the Boy and I can just enjoy our little secret, that we've made a new life together. And that's probably the best anniversary present either of us could ever have wanted.

Friday 18 February 2011

Are we?

Last night on the way home from our anniversary celebrations, the Boy and I picked up our second pregnancy test. I took it this morning, pretty convinced it would be negative - and it came back with '1-2 weeks pregnant'! I was really surprised and felt really happy - I rushed back through to the bedroom to show the Boy, who was just as happy. I was so excited, and a little bit scared... it seemed to good to be true, especially with the negative test just a couple of days ago.

But when the Boy left to go to work I decided to take another test - perhaps as proof that the first test was right, as I can't believe we could be so lucky that it's happened so quickly after all the horror stories that I've heard. This test - confusingly - came back negative, which has left me feeling very unsure about whether we are pregnant or not. The second test I'd drunk lots of water just before and didn't really need to go to the toilet, so I wonder if that was a misleading result. I know it's best to take a test first thing as that's when your pregnancy hormone levels are the highest... so I don't know what to believe and whether to be excited or not just yet.

So - next stop doctors I think, before I drive myself bananas, and spend a small fortune on pregnancy tests! The first appointment I could get with my GP is for over a week away. By then if my lady still hasn't arrived (am a couple of days late) I'll have a good indication that I might be pregnant, and if it arrives in the interim I'll know that I'm not! I'm not keen on this waiting game. It's very difficult for someone like me - patience isn't exactly a virtue I possess in abundance! - but I know it has to be done.

Thursday 17 February 2011

We can Rule the World

Today is a happy day in the Beans household - it's the anniversary of when we met. Four years ago today I was accosted by a random drunk man in the Ladybird Bar in Upper Street - he forgot my name, called me a thief, fell  over at my feet, told me I looked like 'the blonde one from S Club 7' and then asked to kiss me. Rather a memorable - if somewhat different - pick-up! And bizarrely it worked.

We've had four happy years together now. It's gone so quickly, and I feel very lucky to have the Boy in my life. I would truly be lost without him, and cliched as it is he really is my best friend, my lover, and my partner in crime. I feel very blessed and still can't quite believe we found each other.

Life hadn't always been so happy pre the Boy. I'd had three serious pretenders for the role of Mr Beans and more than one had 'a few issues'. One in particular was a very dark, destructive relationship that brought out the absolute worst in both of us and drove me to despair. When I think back to the dark times when I only had a small smattering of hope in me that things could be better, it's hard to believe how much my life has changed since then and how contented I am, and how much joy and light is in my life. I wish I could tell the old me, sobbing at how unhappy I was, that everything would work ok in the end.

Today is also the day my lady is due to come and visit. Even after the negative pregnancy test, there's still that small smattering of hope left in me that she might not be coming to stay... I'll keep you posted!

Tonight I'll enjoy a meal and some special time with the Boy, and maybe a little dance round the living room to Rule the World by Take That, our wedding song...

You light, the skies up above me
A star, so bright you blind me
Don't close your eyes
Don't fade away
Don't fade away

Yeah you and me we can ride on a star
If you stay with me girl, we can rule the world
Yeah you and me we can light up the sky
If you stay by my side, we can rule the world.

If walls break down, I will comfort you
If angels cry, oh I'll be there for you
You've saved my soul
Don't leave me now
Don't leave me now

Yeah you and me we can ride on a star
If you stay with me girl, we can rule the world
Yeah you and me we can light up the sky
If you stay by my side, we can rule the world.

All the stars are coming out tonight
They're lighting up the sky tonight
For you
For you

Yeah you and me we can ride on a star
If you stay with me girl, we can rule the world
Yeah you and me we can light up the sky
If you stay by my side, we can rule the world.

All the stars are coming out tonight
They're lighting up the sky tonight
For you
For you

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Tragic times at Empire Square

Our cosy little world was shocked last night by the news that two young children have been murdered by their father in our block of flats, just a few doors along from where we live. The Boy and I have been knocked sideways by the tragic news. Such a terrible story and such an awful thing to have happened. My heart absolutely goes out to the mother of the children, and the rest of the family and their friends.

I picked up an Evening Standard on the way home from work last night and it was on the front page. I thought I recognised the two children pictured and as my eyes worked their way down the copy I realised I knew them from our block of flats. Two quiet, polite children who we saw playing in the square, or who shared lift journeys with us. I feel so sad that they have met such a brutal and senseless end, when they should have had their whole lives stretching ahead of them.

I can never understand stories like this, what drives a parent to kill their children as a way of wounding an ex-parter... I can't comprehend how bad things must be to be driven to these dark depths of desperation. How both parents begin to deal with what's happened and move on is beyond my comprehension.

I shed some tears last night at this seemingly meaningless destruction of life, and the Boy woke in the early hours and found it very difficult to settle again. It's so far away from our world we can't begin to contain it - we are so desperate to begin a family and watch our children learn and grow. For these children that time is over, and all their families can do is remember and mourn.

Monday 14 February 2011

Love is all around

So, today is Valentine's Day and - as Wet Wet Wet reminded us for 15 long weeks in 1994 - love is all around. Except I'm not feeling much love today.

My lady is due on Thursday (three days away) so I decided to take a pregnancy test when I woke up this morning - partly spurred on by superstition, as I dreamt last night I took two tests which showed as I was pregnant (it was my second best dream, after the dream where I got the job reading the football results on Match of the Day!), and as I thought it might be nice Valentine's news for the Boy if it came back positive. But the single horizontal line let me know that it wasn't to be. This time.

I'm trying not to be too disappointed, I know it's important to stay happy, relaxed and positive. This was the first month I'd worked out what dates were best for us for 'baby dancing' (new phrase I have learnt reading parenting chat boards!) so it was a bit much for me to expect it would work that quickly. But I am a little sad. I think last week's nausea had given me some false hope that 'we' might be about to become 'three'.

The Boy and I talked about it snuggled in bed this morning after we'd exchanged our Valentine's cards. He had hoped for the same result as me, and the good thing we can take from this is the genuine disappointment we've had so far that we've not been successful in getting pregnant. If we'd had any doubt we want to extend our family, then this morning has put paid to that.

So, for now, we content ourselves with having each other and in that we are more blessed than many. The Boy is a fabulous partner in every way and I'm so lucky I get to be with my best friend, my lover, and the funniest man I've ever met. And we get to enjoy the roller coaster all over again over the next month. Might even get cracking tonight - I read in one of the more salubrious red tops that if you conceive today you're in with a shout of having your baby on 11-11-11, that's got to be worth a try!

Thursday 10 February 2011

Feeling gloomy...

Today has been one of those 'funny old days' and I've been a bit all over the place emotionally. I've been like a puppy, chasing my tail all day. I felt hyper sensitive to everything that happened at work; gentle teasing got my hackles rising - not that I know what my hackles are - and by the time I got to my tube station for my welcome journey home and found the station inexplicably closed (lord love London!) I was almost inconsolable and it was all I could do to hold back the tears. I'm putting this down to PMT, my lady is due next week, but maybe it is the other P... there's only a flip of a coin or a toss of a dice between them.

The Boy is out tonight - on a lovely boys adventure to a local beer festival with both our Dads and the Boy's brother - and I'm taking a little bit of time to indulge myself in thinking about my feelings, and also my ebay habit! I'm a bit of a mixed bag of nuts at the best of times. Today I must just be a little bit extra salted.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Sick as a dog

I had a very sudden bout of nausea yesterday that caught me by surprise (and has left me wondering a bit more than I want to be, and getting my hopes up a bit more than I'd like!). It came on around lunchtime and I felt very dizzy and faint. It didn't improve after a couple of glasses of water and a bit of concentrating on my breathing - normally works when I feel like that - and I had a couple of false alarm trips to the toilet, so I ended up coming home from work early and spending the rest of the afternoon in bed. If I've got to talk to the big white telephone, I'd rather do it in the relative comfort of my own bathroom than the work toilets!

I rang the Boy and the first thing he asked me was whether I thought I could be pregnant. I guess bizarrely it hadn't crossed my mind, although of course it is a possibility given that we're trying. I don't want to get my hopes up though as I think it's probably too early for any symptoms, and a work colleague is off with a sickness bug so I suspect it's far more likely to be that. Still, it's a possibility - and that's a nice feeling.

I had a look at early symptoms of pregnancy on the internet - what a mistake! Symptoms of early pregnancy seem to be how I feel most days! Tired, bloated, aching... yep that sounds like how I feel during the working week, although I must admit my job doesn't normally make me want to throw up. Oh the perils of internet self-diagnosis. Researching pregnancy on the internet usually leaves me feeling depressed that it seems to hard to get pregnant and we'll never manage it. This time it was starting to make me feel so excited that I had to move away from the PC before I convinced myself that the pitter patter of tiny feet were on their way. I can't hear any footsteps just yet.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying...

The Boy and I bought our first pregnancy test last night which feels exciting! We met for a pre-cinema drink after work, and got into a very long and impromptu conversation about pregnancy. We had a very thorough chat about our feelings about starting a family - I was surprised but also really touched to hear his disappointment at the arrival of my last period had mirrored my own.

I had assumed that having a baby and being a mum is more my desire, and somehow because I'm a woman and because it's happening to my body I'll have the stronger feelings about this. But I was very touched as the Boy opened up about his disappointment we hadn't managed to conceive this time round, and his desires for us to take pregnancy tests regularly so we don't have to wait until my period - or my 'lady' as I've always called it! - arrives each month. We talked about the options of having a fertility test in the near future, and in the long-term if we're not successful we're both very drawn to adoption. More on that another time.

I'm pretty sure I won't be pregnant this month. We've only just started really trying to get pregnant, and matching up dates with our desires! I know from friends, and bits and pieces I've read online and in magazines that conception normally doesn't happen overnight. That was a bit of a shock when I first found that out - patience isn't exactly a quality I possess in abundance - but I'm encouraged to read that 95 per cent of couples trying for a baby fall pregnant within a year. I have everything crossed - except my legs! - that we're in this category.

I can't quite believe I've got to 33 without ever taking a pregnancy test. I was always so scared of getting pregnant in my late teens, early twenties... until now, that I have been rigorous in my approach to birth control. I've never even had a pregnancy scare, which I was quite proud of - although now that makes me wonder a bit. I feel butterflies at the thought of doing the test. While I know in my head it's very unlikely to be positive, I know that in my heart I really want it to be. And I imagine that desire will increase as the months pass.

My 'lady' is due on the 17 February, which is, by a funny twist of fate, our four year anniversary. So on Sunday I can take the test, my first pregnancy test! I'm pretty sure it won't be my last...