Just a few additional pregnancy/birth related items before moving on with my life (there’s a whole new little person at my house to talk about, yo!):
Stephan was (and is) pretty amazing. There was only really the one hiccup along the way, when I was in the midst of my 8 or 10 solid weeks of 24/7 “morning” sickness and he tried to have a Come To Jesus with me regarding my complete lack of attempt to lift a solitary finger around the house. [Contemporaneous aside: I got your solitary lifted finger right here, buddy!] But he managed to live through that misstep, and was greatly relieved when the second trimester rolled around and the nesting kicked in.
He also come to the realization all on his own that maybe I could use some more looking after, but unfortunately for me, this didn’t hit until literally the day before Alice was born. But like I said, he was overall amazing and brought me breakfast in bed and helped me with my shoes and carrying the laundry up and down the stairs and made me eat food and take baths and stuff after Alice arrived (and did I mention the cleaning of the entire house? Of his own volition? He is never going to live that down).
Since my greatest fear in life (besides that I will one day accidentally let go of the stroller whilst pushing Alice down the very steep hill atop which we live) is disappointing him, it was a great help to have him in the delivery room telling me to keep doing things that I knew I should but didn’t necessarily feel like keeping doing.
Morning sickness. Blech. I had some other common pregnancy problems like heartburn and achy joints, but none of them made me reconsider the possibility of having any more kids like the morning sickness. As mentioned, it lasted for a really long time and was constant. “Oh, just eat a cracker before you get out of bed in the morning,” says the Internet, when it wants to get punched right in the face.
The only thing that (marginally) helped was keeping food in my stomach at all times. I was also still working full-time and hadn’t told anyone I was pregnant yet, so I had to sit at my desk—almost literally as far as possible from the bathroom, which I had to walk through the entire cubicle area to reach—nibbling away, trying not to puke, all day. It didn’t help that the tea-making facilities were right by my desk and I couldn’t stand the smell of warm milk—I had to get up and leave my desk just to escape the smell at least twice a day.
I also couldn’t stand the smell of scented candles. Or plastic grocery bags. Or (awesome!) the inside of my car. But I did discover early on that a good cough would trigger things, so I took to coughing as a preemptive measure just before I got in the car or brushed my teeth. Those were some good, good times.
I wouldn’t say that I really had any cravings, but I ate a lot of Swiss cheese and popsicles. And there was a week or two of heavy sauerkraut. And I really wanted a big ol’ onion burger from a street vendor in town, but I think that was mostly because I couldn’t have it (didn’t want to risk any food-borne illness for the little Indeterminate Lifeform Onboard).
Once we drove approximately 1.5 hours just to go to one of the UK’s three Taco Bells (where we ate, walked around the mall for a while, then got more Taco Bell for the road), but we were mostly just pretending that that was all the crazy hormonal pregnant lady’s idea. I stopped liking wasabi almonds and chocolate(!) and started liking sparkling water and salmon. The sparkling water stuck, but everything else is back to normal (I can’t believe I liked salmon!).
And finally, ice chips. Most of what I know about childbirth in the US I learned from the movies and 16 and Pregnant, but I am under the impression that they’re a little more heavy handed with medication and medical intervention overall. And my understanding is that since there is always a chance that you’re going to be delivering by C-section, they don’t want you eating anything during labor in case they have to administer anesthesia to conduct the surgery (I could be wrong about this, but I can’t be bothered to check [see: cinematic education]). Hence, ice chips.
This is not the case here: they encourage eating small snacks throughout early labor to keep your strength up. (They also natter on constantly about how glad you will be to have that first cup of tea after labo(u)r and how it will be the best cup of tea you have ever tasted. Um, no thanks, weirdos.)
The point is, I happen to love chewing ice. LOVE IT. Sometimes Stephan and I share a fountain drink by him drinking the soda and me eating the ice. So the ice chips were what I was most looking forward to with the whole “propel another human being into existence” thing (that and the promised baby, I guess).
Suffice to say, I was not well pleased to discover that there was not an ice chip to be had in that delivery room. They encouraged me to drink water, but I’d be damned if I was going to go through all that without the ice chips I’d been salivating after for 9 months! They did FINALLY manage to locate some regular old ice cubes from some forgotten corridor of the hospital, but insisted on putting them in a cup with water. At this point, I did not scream anything about “incompetent boobs” whilst slamming a cup of ice water against the wall, but instead Stephan soon sorted things out, and (SPOILER), in a few short hours there was Alice.
Tune in next time for more than you ever wanted to know about my experience with the NHS.