Tuesday 24 July 2012

Human nature

So you'll glean from my recent entries that the Boy and I are still to move house, despite having our purchase completed (bar the financial transaction) since the first weekend in June. Pencilled in exchange and completion dates have passed us by, and here we are still in London. Ho hum.

We have been seemingly unfortunate in our buyer - who drags her heels at every turn, and when chased reacts like a stubborn toddler and refuses to budge. The process has been stressful at times. It's not an ideal time to move when you're pregnant, and while I know lots of people do it, we definitely won't be doing it again. Things began well - if you recall we secured a buyer for a flat within a matter of weeks, and had an offer accepted on a house we love not long afterwards. Solicitors began speaking and initial paperwork was exchanged. It's therefore somewhat bizarre that four months (to the day) since we accepted the offer on our flat, nothing has actually happened, except for all involved having a few less pennies in their purses.

However it's not the delay that has been difficult - if we have to have Baby Beans in London then that's fine by me, because all that really matters to me is the Boy and my baby. And having a few extra weeks to enjoy our time in the big smoke has been really good - we've had quite a few nice extra dates together at the theatre, galleries and our favourite restaurants. No, it's been the 'unusual' personalities that we have encountered along the way that have made the Boy and I at times regret the position we are in. I think we are pretty standard, decent people. We are fair, honest, polite and treat people with respect - regardless of whether they deserve it. The same could be said for most of the people in our circle of connections, and because this is the case, I have tended to assume all people are similar.

Well sadly they are not. We have had the misfortune to encounter a very demanding and aggressive buyer, constantly in touch with our solicitors and asking the estate agents to ring the Boy almost daily for updates - and threatening to pull out of the transaction several times. The tone and manner of her language has been intimidating and threatening, putting a lot of extra pressure on us. At the same time, we have a buyer who is incredibly detached from the process. We've been pushing for completion dates for the last few weeks as I am now more than seven months pregnant and currently have no idea where I will be having this baby - the buyer's response is that she finds our requests for a timescale 'irritating' and they make her consider pulling out.

I am quite surprised and saddened by the behaviour of those either side of us in the chain. I do anticipate to be treated politely and professionally - and this has not been the case at all. As it is, the Boy and I have been left as a 'piggy in the middle' trying to placate both sides - and that's a position I really, really don't like.

Friday 20 July 2012

Heart-shaped box

At my 20-week scan back in May, the sonographer pointed out to me that I have a heart-shaped (or bicornuate) uterus. At the time I didn't think much of it - apart from it sounded quite sweet and I was rather touched by the image. I would even go as far as to say I felt quite special and unique as the sonographer mentioned it is quite uncommon.

Last night on the way to (yet another!) NCT class down in Kent, I was flicking absent-mindedly through a pregnancy magazine when I came across an interview with a woman with a bicornuate uterus - who because of this condition had been through a succession of miscarriages. As my eyes devoured the page I was interested to see that - while research remains a little inconclusive, as it seemingly does with so many areas of miscarriage and child birth - there is a far higher chance of miscarriage if you have a uterus that is this shape.

The reasons are unclear and there are quite a few different and contradictory theories. But at the moment that doesn't matter, because what this means to me is that perhaps there was a reason... Readers of the blog will know it has been hard for me to accept losing two of the three babies the Boy and I have made together, and while for the most part I believe and understand that it's just a twist of fate and a throw of the dice, it feels helpful to know that there might be a physical reason why these losses have occurred - and that I didn't do anything wrong.

I'm not going to dwell on this too much, as today feels like a good day - great NCT class last night where I felt much closer to the rest of the group, and started to believe I was making some friends and that I can be a good Mum - but it's food for thought when I want to come back to this.

Thursday 19 July 2012


So today I am 31 weeks pregnant. Tomorrow it will be just two months until our baby's estimated due date, although I know that means diddly squat in real terms! But in my head it's another little marker at any rate. I am so delighted to have made it this far... back in the early days it didn't seem to be possible I could be lucky enough to have a successful pregnacy, but (touch some wood, rub your lucky rabbit's foot and toss that salt over your shoulder please!) all appears to be going fairly well. I could gush on for paragraphs about how much I love my baby - but suffice to say, I am one very thankful lady that fate seems to be smiling on us this time. Considering I first fell pregnant back in February 2011, this baby seems to have been a long time coming - but I know many other folk have it much harder than us.

We had a bit of a scare earlier in the week - it seems I am carrying just slightly too much amniotic fluid. It's only marginally above normal levels, but this can be a cause for concern. I got whipped into St Thomas's Hospital for some (more) blood tests but everything came back normal - in fact, better than normal, my blood sugar and iron were both at excellent levels. And as Baby Beans is measuring normally and not on the large side, the health professionals don't seem especially worried that it is anything more serious. However, because it isn't exactly normal I do need monitoring, as it's quite likely if I continue to have this level of water that the baby will come early - partly due to the amount of water around baby making it more likely for my waters to break, and for the weight of the bump to become an issue so it's possible I may be induced (gulp). So it's back into Hospital next week for me for another scan and a chat with the consultant about what might happen. Of course it's entirely possible my levels will sort themselves out before then, and no decisions need to be made right now - but I am open to doing whatever is best and right for us, and now that Baby Beans is getting closer to the due date I know that there is a lot that can be done on the outside if an early delivery is what lies ahead.

Pics of me and the 31 week bump - excuse the tired eyes! Baby Beans doesn't like sleeping when I do...

Write on

I got my fourth letter of rejection from a publishing house yesterday for my novel. It's always disappointing to get a 'no', but I do expect it. I was a bit surprised as I'd actually forgotten I was strill awaiting a response from a firm - I checked the date of the letter and I'd sent the manuscript in back in February. I guess I have been somewhat distracted since then! However, the letter has spurred me into action as I have been woefully neglectful of my writing here. I rather think that the 'baby' that was my novel has been superceded by the real baby that I am nurturing inside me.

So - I still have two months (hopefully - it might be less, more on that another time!) until the baby should arrive so I have plenty of time to make some more submissions. So far, I have been very particular about which editorial agencies I have sent my work to, and I have only sent in one submission at a time. But no more. I've got my Writers and Artists Yearbook on my desk in front of me and I'm going to start working my way through the agencies with blanket applications - wish me luck!

In some ways it feels a pity my creative juices have somewhat dried up as I have ideas for three more novels. But I think there is only so much you can do at once - and at the moment work (12 days to go!), the baby and the inordinately long and boring process which is our move to Kent are zapping all my resources.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Ed Sheeran on miscarriage

I've been thinking about the past as well as the future this week, so I suppose it's no surprise my eyes and ears are more open to reminders of loss. I stumbled across this beautiful song from Ed Sheeran - which touchingly describes his experience of a teenage miscarriage.

It's hard for me to listen to this song without shedding a tear or two, as I think he so accurately captures those feelings, hopes and fantasies you have when you first fall pregnant and how difficult it can be to accept that has all gone, often for no tangible reason.

I'm not a particular fan of Ed Sheeran but for me, there's a very honest and truthful resonance in this song, particularly from a young man, that I find refreshing. The music industry seems to detail so many of our life experiences, but I think miscarriage and loss of a child is still something of a taboo subject in music - although I'm hopeful this will begin to change now mega stars like Jay-Z are daring to bare their scars. Full marks Ed.

Monday 16 July 2012


I'm dusting the cobwebs off my computer as I sit down to write this. Forgive me once more for my absence. The Boy and I had a week away on the stunning Gower Coast in Wales, and since then have been increasingly pre-occupied with work, finalising our move of house, and getting ourselves prepared for the arrival of Baby Beans.

It's been quite an emotional time for me - just for a change! For the majority of the time I am beside myself, pinching myself that we are in this situation and in just a few months will become a family, and unable to believe my luck. However, there have been a few sadder days and the baby we lost in this pregnancy as well as the one we said goodbye to last year have been on my mind a little.

I suppose these losses never go away, and perhaps it's not surprising that as my emotions flutter around now more than ever, that some of the sadness we have felt in the past will be a part of that rich melting pot. And as we approach the end of the pregnancy - I am 31 weeks now and doing a good impression of a mammal belonging on display at Sea World, just call me Shamu! - I begin to feel a little concern once again that all will continue well for us. The thought of losing another baby remains far too much for me to bear.

But - I know it is incredibly unlikely that will happen and the longer the pregnancy progresses the more happy and confident I feel. We had a 4D scan of the Baby on Friday after work - scans are one of my least favourite things given the mixed blessings they've brought us in the past, but I'm so glad we did it because I really enjoyed it - hurrah, a breakthrough for me!

It was great to see Baby Beans progressing well - bang on average in terms of weight and measurements, and I am more than happy to be 'average' in anything baby-related! We saw the baby wiggle about, open its eyes, smile, frown when poked by the sonographer to encourage movement, drink some amniotic fluid (with a scarily long tongue!) and whack itself in the eyes several times with its toes. Hmm. Well - at least it's flexible! We think the baby has my nose and the Boy's mouth - and the Boy says Baby Beans has my frown! How rude! I guess we will see in time. A little picture below - suffice to say I am even more smitten than I was before, and it took me a long time to come back down to Earth! Weirdly, as we left the appointment we passed the actor Christopher Ecclestone pushing a little baby boy in a pushchair - every where we look it's babies at the moment!

And it has been a very baby-focused weekend. We had our first NCT classes on Saturday down in our new area in Kent. It all went very well - very middle class though, and the other couples were all white, married, and in their 30s and 40s. I think perhaps West Kent is not rich in diversity! That is something I will really miss about living in central London. But it was good to meet other couples in similar situations to us, and the tutor was lovely - very realistic and not to forceful with her opinions, which is something I had been worried about. Of the seven couples, our baby is the fifth due so we're quite near the end of the group which I feel pleased about - I find it useful to talk to people a few weeks ahead of me to get a bit more of an idea about what to expect, although I know every pregnancy is different.

I also had a private chat with the tutor after the class. We'd been focusing on contractions and labour, and my curiosity was arisen as to how my experience of delivering a 14 week old baby would compare to delivering one at full-term (as I hope will happen this time). I was encouraged to hear that the contractions I felt last time would be similar this time round, and perhaps not even as bad as my body has been through the process before. She suggested while I may not have dilated to 10cm last time, I certainly would have opened my womb some way, so she didn't forsee any reasons for that part of the labour to be much different to what I already know. So that brought some relief for me - although at this stage I'm not too concerned about the labour. I know what it is to go into hospital and deliver a baby and leave with empty arms, so - at present - all I care about is that Baby Beans gets here safely and can come home with us. We are so in love already.

The old adage about nesting is certainly coming into play for us as well. We are gearing up to move in early August so we can't do too much until that happens, but the Boy and I had fun this weekend choosing and ordering the remaining bits on our baby list. I think we've done well with a combination of new and second hand purchases, and I don't think we have gone overboard on anything - yet! Baby Beans definitely has some nice outfits (the Boy complains our baby has a better wardrobe than he does) but I have been quite restrained - for me! - so there will be plenty of time, and room, to spoil the baby with things when the time comes. I can't wait!