Brooklyn Baby

It’s been a really long time since I posted but it’s been hard to think of something to say when there’s been a big, white elephant (or in this case, blue and stripy) standing on top of my keyboard.

The H1B and I are having a baby – we’re about three months along.

Superstition made us keep it to ourselves until now. I previously thought that the tradition of keeping mum until the 12 week mark was something to do with getting through the first trimester because of high miscarriage risks but now I know that it’s because you need three months to get your head around how much something that is so innocuous as to be frequently described in fruit terms (‘at eight weeks, your baby is the size of a grape’, ‘at 11 weeks, your baby is the size of a kumquat’, ‘at 13 weeks, your baby is the size of a lime’…), actually takes over your life.

Here are ten things that people don’t tell you about getting pregnant:

1. You’ll fall asleep on the subway at 10am despite having slept for 14 hours the night before. (In New York, this doesn’t matter as you’ll blend in like a local.) You’ll also need a nap when you get home for about another four hours. It will be the deepest sleep you’ve had in years.

2. “Morning” sickness doesn’t kick in until about six weeks. I had nothing and felt rather smug about it until I panicked that there must be something wrong with the baby. The day I googled ‘Why don’t I have morning sickness at six weeks?’ it hit me like a truck. I spent all Christmas and New Year and most of January feeling like every tequila I’d ever drunk had come back to haunt me. All day.

3. Your appetite becomes like that of a 14-year-old boy. I drink about two litres of milk every two and a half days. Nesquik has become by best friend. I hate anything ‘fancy’ like pesto (previously loved), hummus (ditto), salads (same). I like: creamy pasta, bread, peanut butter, toasted sandwiches, baked beans, baked/mashed/little/big potatoes, more potatoes. I’m not sure where I’d be without porridge. Your body’s demands are immediate and final. If you wake up thinking ‘cheese!, tuna!’, you better get it and damn quick.

4. The first time you have good sex (ie: an orgasm) you will experience a cramp like you have never suffered before. It bloody hurt, which is a shame because the rest of it felt really good.

5. Other side-effects of pregnancy include: nose bleeds, sneezing, continuous low-level tinnitus in my right year only, waking at 4am every day, itchy skin, weeping with love and joy. They come at random and the explanation for all of them is a slightly inconclusive and unsatisfactory ‘rise in progesterone’.

6. Your relationship with your mother has never be better.

7. Your partner’s sense of patience is being thoroughly tested as you rapidly oscillate between conflicting but very strong thoughts and opinions.

8. You can’t read the news without feeling the pain of everyone and everything that was involved in that latest corner store raid. Movies that involve war, missing loved ones, cruelty towards animals (even putting a dog out in a cold night), or gratuitous acts of violence like car crashes or cop shootings are off limits. War Horse? Forget. It.

9. You develop a sixth sense. That clichéd ability your mother had to see out of the back of her head is real. It kicks in with conception. The other day, I busted the H1B eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon even though there was a wall between us. I don’t actually really mind if he does that – but I’m not sure I would have been able to tell before.

10. You have scary dreams – quite violent, mad ones, that leave you a bit shaken in the morning. Can’t actually go into them as they are too disturbing (and also immediately forgotten), but putting the whole thing down to my body and mind trying to ‘cleanse’ the baggage out before I deal with raising a child. Brr. (You also have good dreams too, often involving puppies and kittens and fat-bottomed babies.)

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