28-week update, or What I’m Up To When I’m Not Getting Kicked In The Cervix.

I just published an entire blog post about how much it hurts when your baby kicks you in the cervix, because that kind of suffering deserves its own post. This is the more general update now I’m at 28 weeks. General symptoms: lots of acid reflux, I’ve started taking a nasty-tasting syrup for it which I think only works because I become so scared of having to taste it again that my stomach decides to behave (sometimes). Fatigue. I’m hot all the time, and even when I’m not, my boyfriend insists that I’ve got a permanent fever (I haven’t, I’m fine). Feet have become slightly swollen – he actually noticed before me, it doesn’t hurt or anything. Low blood pressure. My gyno wants me to get compression stockings, and says I should be careful not to get up too quickly. Otherwise (and apart from the aforementioned cervical kicking), I’m fine.

First major thing that’s happened is that we’ve moved from our large-but-rapidly-deteriorating flat into a house. Here’s what you need to know about the house: it has romantic-looking wooden ceiling beams in nearly every room, it’s in the quietest street the town center has to offer, and the fucking demon-ice-cream-van (who was on the local news yesterday because people have complained about it) doesn’t pass here. Also, it’s about five degrees cooler inside than it is outside right now, which is a godsend in this weather.

Here’s what you need to know about moving house when pregnant:
– It’s going to be a nightmare.
– It’ll be slightly less of a nightmare if you’re sensible enough not to do it right after you’ve had a friend over for a week, because although that was a lot of fun, it was also exhausting.
– You will need more friends than usual to help.
– Said friends will find your little book about bondage with the cute cartoon illustrations and free novelty handcuffs in your bedside table, because you were too busy showing off all the local tourist attractions to your other friend last week and forgot to pack that shit.
– By this point, you won’t even care any more.
– Of course the lift isn’t going to work that day and they’ll have to carry everything down those claustrophobia-inducing stairs with faulty lighting and the skin-ripping stucco walls, while you wait back upstairs with sticking plasters and antiseptic, secretly glad you’re not allowed to carry anything heavy.
– Lifting your arms repeatedly in order to take down pictures, crockery etc. can strain your abdominals and cause contractions according to that one friend who also moved when she was six months pregnant, so don’t do it.
– Your relief will turn to frustration when you realise how utterly useless you are.
– You’ll somehow end up exhausted anyway, and get little sympathy for it.
– It’ll take at least a week just to get all the furniture up and the boxes unpacked, because you have to wait for your boyfriend to do most of it. God help you if you’re a single mother.
– Let’s not even think about the work that still needs to be done in the old flat right now.
– Basically, if possible, try not to move while pregnant.

To be fair, although moving right after my friend’s visit was not my idea, I don’t regret it because this place is really cool. There must be some bad vibe thing going on back at the old flat, because every time we go back to get some of our stuff and wash our clothes (we don’t have a washing machine here yet), we come out all snappy and tense. This house is peaceful. It feels like a good place to raise a child in.

It’s also 30 seconds walk away from the lab where I get my monthly blood test, which is cool because this month there was the gestational diabetes test to go with it, for which I had to be fasting (ugh), and it would last two hours (OMFG THE BASTARDS). So instead of getting up way too early and having to deal with the stress that any car journey at all implies for me, I got up slightly less early (but still way too early), got there while I was still groggy with sleep, and thus managed not to have any panic attacks. Even the waiting went better than anticipated. After the first test they make you drink a syrupy substance that tastes like concentrated fanta before they put the fizzy water in it, and then they take blood two more times at hour-long intervals, during which you’re better off having something to read with you (which I did). They don’t take that much blood, and they took it from three different veins for me – the third test was from a vein that was close to the first one, but nearer the side of my arm.

I thought I’d be starving by the time I got out, and in fact that’s the part I was dreading the most, because you normally can’t even talk to me before breakfast, and the hungrier I am, the worse my mood gets, until I actually start turning green and muscle-bursting through my shirt (ok maybe that’s just my imagination). Somehow I managed not to devour my boyfriend before we got to the café where I’d insisted on being treated to breakfast afterwards, nor did I go the other way and throw up everything I stuffed my face with once there. It all went a lot better than expected, and I passed. Yay!

Speaking of food, I’ve started eating beef.

No, see this is a Big Deal. I hate beef. I was brought up a veggie until my parents realised (when I was 10) that my immense loathing of vegetables wasn’t compatible with a diet based mainly upon them, by which time it was too late – my tastebuds also rejected meat in most of its forms, taking a particular dislike to red meat and anything that felt greasy, apart from bacon (and then only crunchy bacon).

Nearly twenty years on, age and quite a lot of personal effort have forced my tastebuds to evolve so that I’m not perpetually underweight, but I still couldn’t stand the taste of beef in any shape or form. Until now.

Bear in mind that this isn’t rare steak I’m eating (I wouldn’t be allowed it anyway), but a Belgian specialty called “carbonnades”: lean chunks of meat that have simmered in a sauce made out of onions, carrots, ale or stout beer, meat juice, pain d’épices and some other delicious thing I can never remember. The meat is tender but well cooked, and tastes mostly of the sauce it’s marinated in, rather than the metally blood taste that usually makes me gag, and which I can usually taste behind all sauces and flavourings. This means I can incorporate beef into my diet (where it will replace chicken, which is currently still in the doghouse), giving me a source of heme iron I can actually eat. Woohoo!

First coffee, now beef. What else will my pregnant body suddenly decide it likes after several years of pickiness?


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