Thursday, 3 December 2015

Sausages, surfing and a little bit of news.

On a cool Wednesday morning at the end of August, as I prepared our evening meal, I was struck by a thought. Just a fleeting one, but odd enough to make me wonder. I was making roasted sweet tomato and sausage bake, and had just finished browning the sausages. As the aroma of freshly cooked meat wafted around my kitchen, I thought, 'gosh, those sausages really smell like a dead animal.' I realise that sausages are exactly that. But normally I think about how delicious the meat smells.

Two days later and I am leaving the house to take Ruby to the park. I pick up two bunches of keys, ready to return one set to our neighbour who kindly lent me the key to our shared gate when the plumber needed access. I run through my usual mental checklist to ensure I have all that I need for our trip out: Ruby - check. Snacks - check. Water - check. Phone, keys, purse - check x 3. The moment I pull the front door shut, I realise I have left my house keys inside, and only picked up the neighbours' keys and our car key. I'm locked out, because of course, I chose today of all days to get our spare key back from one of our other neighbours who has had it for the last few months.

The following weekend, we are enjoying a very slow paced Sunday morning, after a five hour trip with Ruby to hospital the night before. We are watching a programme about the Severn Bore - a large surge wave that travels along the River Severn and runs through Bristol - that people like to try and surf. The programme is about a Blue Peter presenter who desperately wants to surf the Severn Bore. He only has three attempts, and fails every try. The boat crew who are helping him decide to race to get ahead of the wave to give him one final attempt, and he does it! He rides the wave and stands up on that surf board with all the giddy excitement that you might expect. And I find tears welling up in my eyes. Tears. Over a grown man catching a wave.

Tears at surfing.....sausages that smell like death....locking myself out of the house....oh....I'm pregnant. Of course. And that right there is the explanation for these slightly odd stories. There are incredibly subtle changes that happen when I am pregnant. I don't get sick at all. I just get teary and forgetful and develop a nose like a bloodhound.

I have just looked back at the post I wrote to announce my pregnancy with Ruby, and laughed quietly to myself as I thought of how these words written by C.S Lewis that I shared on my first pregnancy blog post still ring so true:

First, I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind.  If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive to write about it…we do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.” ~ C. Day Lewis

I stopped writing on this blog as a regular part of my life a few months ago, and I suppose it is partly for that reason that I find the words to be a little stuck as I try to write now. Not free flowing. But I will try, because I need to write in order to understand, and to remember what life was like as the years go by. Also, I loved writing letters to Ruby while I was pregnant with her, and would like to do the same this time around too. So, I will probably share those letters here. 

I am eighteen weeks pregnant with our second baby. Here are a few notes...

+ My bump started showing much earlier in this pregnancy compared to my first. By ten weeks, my clothes didn't fit and I had to dig out my maternity clothes.

+ Everything about this pregnancy in terms of symptoms, or lack of, has been remarkably similar to when I carried Ruby. (No cravings, no morning sickness, no real food aversions although I went off meat a bit.) The first trimester was characterised by tiredness and emotion more than anything else. The tiredness is like no other tiredness I have experienced. Where even your bones feel weary. On many occasions, I would fall asleep on Ruby's bedroom floor at her bedtime, and John would have to come and wake me up for dinner. On one occasion while John was working in Taiwan for a couple of weeks, I fell asleep on her floor at 7.30pm and woke up at 11pm. It felt like I had been asleep for five minutes. 

+ Last pregnancy, I managed to keep running regularly until I was 26 weeks pregnant. This time around, running only tends to happen when I am running because I am late somewhere! 

+ The first trimester felt very long - after losing a baby earlier this year at 9 weeks gestation, making it through those first twelve weeks felt like such a precious and fragile time. It was a huge relief to have the first scan at twelve weeks + five days and find out that we had a healthy baby with a strong heartbeat. Since then, time has felt like it has passed by much quicker. To think we only have a week to wait until the second scan is amazing. 

+ I am looking forward to giving birth again. As odd as that might sound, this time around the anticipation of the unknown nature of what it's actually like to be in labour is no longer there. I realise that every labour and delivery is different, but I know how I coped last time, and that helps me to feel calm about doing it again. With Ruby, I laboured for seventeen hours at home (with the intention of having a home birth), before needing to be transferred to hospital for an assisted delivery, and so I am hoping that this time around, I might just be able to deliver the baby myself. 

+ I felt the baby's first kicks and flutters at around 16 weeks. What an incredible feeling it is to know that there is this tiny human inside of me, moving around in a barely detectable, yet totally unmistakable way.

+ Since locking myself out of the house that first time very early on in pregnancy, I have locked us out at least once more and left my keys in the front door about three times. I am not at all surprised by this, because I did all kinds of crazy things with keys when pregnant with Ruby, but it is still slightly concerning, nonetheless!

+ The miracle of pregnancy and marvel of growing a tiny human is no less great this pregnancy than it was the first time around. I find it completely mind blowing and totally normal, all at the same time. If anything, I think I feel an even greater awe and reverence for the process of growing and birthing babies. In the time since having Ruby, we have had a lot of friends experience some extremely painful times in pregnancy and childbirth, and it is truly humbling when all is well so far in this pregnancy. 

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