Today I’m 19 weeks! Hurrah. The baby has morphed from a sweet potato to a mango. Much better – I actually like mangoes. For one thing, they don’t look like dehydrated excrement.
This has been an eventful week. I had another midwife appointment to collect the results of a blood test I had ages ago, that checked me for various things, including syphilis, HIV, whether or not I was immune to rubella, and whether or not I was anaemic.
I have not been enjoying my pregnancy hospital visits. St George’s, the goliath teaching hospital just down the road from me in Tooting (so close I can see it over the rooftops from my back garden), is MASSIVE. So massive that for my first appointment, I went to the wrong wing and it took me half an hour to navigate my way to the right place.
Also, it’s old. Like, really old and sad. Like a smelly, neglected sofa that’s been ravaged by dogs. Here are some snapshots from my appointment last week…
I mean, what a place to be born! Welcome to the world baby. This is London. It ain’t pretty.
Anyway, at this appointment, the midwife explained she would be giving me my blood test results, told me my blood group (O positive, very common and unremarkable – sigh) and started looking through some paperwork. Then she looked up:
‘Did Michael our blood specialist contact you about your HIV results?’
No, Michael your blood specialist did not contact me about my HIV results.
‘No,’ I spluttered.
‘Interesting,’ she said, furrowing her brow. ‘There’s something on here I don’t understand.’
Excellent. Just what you want to hear from your midwife ABOUT YOUR HIV TEST RESULTS.
‘Hmm. He’s signed it…’ she went on, staring at the slip of paper. ‘I guess that means everything’s OK.’
I guess that means everything’s OK?
‘Right,’ I squeaked. ‘Um… Could you… maybe… er…’
‘Hmm,’ she said, staring harder, which we both knew was not going to make a blind bit of difference. I thought to suggest she Google whatever was written on the paper, but wondered if that might seem patronising. ‘Let me look on your file on the computer.’
She went over to the screen and started clicking away. The pressure in the room was temporarily relieved that something was now happening. Results would be obtained. It was all going to be OK.
‘I’ve never had HIV before,’ I mumbled, before remembering it wasn’t an ear infection or a bout of flu. ‘I mean, I’ve been tested for everything before a few times and never had anything…’
‘Hmm,’ she continued, scrolling through pages. ‘No, there’s nothing marked on here. NAD. I’m sure it’s fine. Or he would have called you.’
And that was that.
(NAD is another confusing bit of medical jargon, which made my head jerk when a midwife proclaimed it about my first ever urine sample. It means ‘no abnormalities detected’ which is GOOD).
Of course when I got home, I Googled what was written on the paper – HIV 1/2 Ab/Ag, Centaur – low reactivity, ND in VIDAS and Architect…* I tried to unscramble the ridiculously confusing medical terminology, before concluding that they’d run three different HIV tests, one of which had been a bit unusual, the other two of which were negative. I probably don’t have HIV. It was probably a dirty test tube on the first test. Right?
Other than that, this week has been quite nice. I have realised that if I lie on my stomach, the mango doesn’t like it and starts squirming about. Fair enough, I wouldn’t want to have someone of my (new, ever-increasing) weight pressed on top of me either if I was the size of a mango.
This is less like something from Alien that I imagined and actually really rather nice.
I have also finally found a use for my
surrogate partner maternity pillow. I bullied O into buying me one at around 9 weeks: ‘All the Youtube vloggers’ partners bought them a maternity pillow! You have to buy me one!’, when to be honest I really didn’t need one. When it arrived, we were both a bit horrified. It looks like a giant sausage, and takes up half the bed. It works quite well as an effective barrier between you, but thankfully as O is on tour at the moment I’m alone most nights anyway, and so it makes a good substitute lump to pull the duvet away from. Anyway, this was the week my hips finally started to hurt, and so I wheeled out the maternity pillow and dutifully wrapped my legs around it. It does help, even if the arm that I have to stuff underneath it inevitably goes dead.
Another interesting pregnancy fact: you’re meant to sleep on your left-hand side. Bossy huh? Apparently this way the baby gets more blood. Or something. Something to do with a major artery that runs down your back. Sleeping on your back is now a HUGE no-no and sleeping on your right-hand side earns you a ‘could try harder’ in the ‘doing-the-best-for-your-baby’ stakes.
I also had my first prenatal yoga session this week, which was amazing. The yoga teacher is exactly what you’d expect for a yoga teacher who lives in Richmond and only does yoga for expectant mums and people who’ve recently given birth. She has an awesome name (Bobbie Challenger) and pink hair. I’m a bit in love with her. She also had a homebirth for her first baby. And after my experiences this week, I am now considering the same…
* if anyone reading this knows what the heck it means, you’ll be my best friend forever!