Archive for July, 2009

Faking It

The day we found out I was pregnant, we went to a friend’s birthday party in a bar. I asked for an alcohol-free beer, and was just about to pour it into my glass when I spotted the name on the label- “Evil Imp” or similar. Alarm bells rang,; there’s nowt evil or impish about boring 0% lager. A quick check of the alcohol volume revealed it was in fact 6%. I informed the barmaid who apologised profusely, said the labels of the teetotal beer and the super-strength one were deceptively similar,  and said “it could be worse- I gave one to a pregnant woman the other day”.  I raised my eyebrows in a “yikes! imagine that!” way, thinking, but I am pregnant. Of course she wouldn’t have been able to tell- The Bean was barely an embryo at that stage- but I did sort of feel like I was tricking myself into thinking I was really knocked up.

And thus began my career of feeling like a big fat pregnancy fraud.

For the first weeks, nothing really happens. After the initial midwife appointment, it’s a hugely uneventful time during which everyone (and by everyone, I mean the internet) reminds you frequently that the pregnancy is not a Done Deal yet and that it would be foolish to utter the words “we’re having a baby”.  Given my previous miscarriage- which I didn’t blog about, but did happen last year- I spent much of this time believing that the embryo had died and it was just a case of waiting to find out. That I wasn’t really pregnant at all. At the scan, the sonographer said “there’s the baby” to which I shrieked “but is it beating? Is it alive?”.  It’s as though I was holding my breath until that moment, feeling like it wasn’t really happening, couldn’t be happening.

On top of this, quite a few people presume that, since we’re not married, The Bean is a happy accident, when it fact this is very much a planned baby. When people express surprise when I tell them  (and believe, they do ask), I feel sort of sheepish and delinquenty, like I’m not really qualified to have a baby, or like I’m pretending.

Look, I know I am not rational. I think we established this some time ago.

And now I’m embarking on the second trimester, Bump Envy has taken hold. A friend of a friend reportedly has, at nine days further on than me, a noticeable bump. A woman in my office three weeks ahead is positively blooming.  I am jealous.  I’m certainly bigger round the middle than usual; I have a sort of pillowy, distended stomach that sort of might be becoming something like a bump, but it’s unlikely you’d look at me and think I was anything other than fond of pastry. And even though I’ve seen The Bean on screen, it makes it harder for me to believe he/she is in there.

I can’t wait for a bona fide bump . Partly because it will be exciting, but mostly because it will be visual evidence which proves to me and those around me that yes, I really am with child, and not spinning some sort of elaborate hoax in order to get free dental care and prescriptions.


Yes, sir…

13 weeks

13 weeks

…that’s my baby!

G and I are very excited and happy to introduce The Bean! S/he’s been cooking for over 13 weeks now, and should be done by 29th Jan.

How’s that for a “new direction”, huh? How’s that for a relaunch? How could I possibly write any blog posts before I reached the magical second trimester, without talking about the thing that’s on my mind 24/7?

I am delighted. Delighted. And being the cautious, slightly doomish creature that I am, it is rare for me to be purely happy about something. But despite the rather immense prospect of raising a human child (“who let us have a baby?!” we ask each other regularly), not to mention birthing it, I’m not scared or anxious or trepidatious about that side of things. My only worry is for The Bean’s safety and health. And though one is never out of the woods, so to speak, when it comes to a successful pregnancy,  I’m beyond relieved to get past the three month mark.

The first trimester was Not Magical. After the initial elation, weeks and weeks of anxiety, panic and a couple of scary hospital trips ground by in almost backwards motion. The isolation of feeling constantly bilious, exhausted and overwhelmed without being able to tell anyone, is quite difficult to deal with actually. Nobody tells you this. It’s a conspiracy (it IS! I’ll elaborate in time).

But oh, ho. The second trimester (officially Magical) has been nothing but squeeing and smiling thus far- well, plus a monster migraine and a UTI, but never mind.  I went to the hospital for our 12 week scan (which turned out to be a 13 week scan- thanks, baby!) last Friday, utterly convinced that it would be bad news . But once we had seen The Bean executing a dazzling array of kicking, waving, leg-crossing, womb-bouncing, rolling over and adorable face-clasping skills, I dared to hope and believe that all would be OK.

Then commenced one of the best tasks we’ve ever had: phoning friends and family to tell them the news.  And although billions of babies have been born before, and our news is being repeated in the words of millions of years,  although The Bean is so tiny (6.9cm from crown to rump, with a pair of long spindly legs on top) and isn’t even half baked, it has the ability to generate such unbridled joy, such shrieking and cheering and happy tears, that I’m sort of in awe of it.

There will be more- much, much more.  But for now, all filled up with love, this happy pregnut will sign off.


**This post was written this morning, finished tonight. Just so you know I don’t take my lunchbreak at 9pm**

So I promised a relaunch of sorts, and this ain’t it. And it’s not my lunchbreak yet and heaven knows I have work to do. But it’s that time of year again, when emotions tend to throw a blanket of “meh” over any work motivation I may try to muster. I find myself staring blankly at my to-do list, and drawn to this place.

It’s the fifth- the FIFTH- anniversary of Helen’s death on Friday, and it’s on my mind and heart, moreso than the demanding deadlines of British TV. So I’m back, for today, with the sad song of the long bereaved. Too gone, too long.

I watched the Michael Jackson memorial extravaganza last night, along with the rest of the world . I wasn’t a superfan; I loved the man’s music and couldn’t quite decide on his character. Who are we to know who he was, really?

There was pomp and performance, and preachers yelling, and hyperbole. But I found it moving. And despite rather obvious differences in scale and tone, it made me think of Helen’s funeral.  The preacher didn’t yell that day in 2004- instead, my beloved late Grandpa in his vicar’s robes signed the cross with a heavy hand and spoke for the family. And Helen didn’t pack out a stadium with thousands of mourners- though the church was bursting with hundreds of her fans. But the flower-laden casket at the front of MJ’s memorial reminded me of Helen’s day, with her willow woven casket heaped with pink and white at the front, love and watered eyes turned towards it. The video montages of his work reminded me of the video we played on a not-quite-so-large screen at the front of the church, of beautiful Helen dancing. She was better though, of course.

Most of all, Jackson’s siblings sitting in the front row  brought to mind my own family, bearing the weight of the day. Janet Jackson in particular….. I know that place she is in. Her teeth gritted against the awfulness of her loss, moving mechanically through the motions. Lost. Clinging to her surviving siblings to stop herself spinning forever into the weightless endless darkness of despair.

People criticised her and the rest of the family for laying on this public spectacle. Those people haven’t felt it, I can only assume, that shock of unexpected grief. God I wish that Helen could have 15,000 people (and millions worldwide) to bear witness to her loveliness, Stevie Wonder singing her a mournful song, hours of speeches and mountains of flowers. I’d organise it for her if I could. The Taj Mahal was built as a monument to a lost wife; I’d build a shining marble palace to dwarf the whole of India if I had the time and resources, and if I thought it would capture anything of her dancing spirit in its walls. It helps, this public testament.

But I know, as  Janet Jackson knows- I could see it in her face- that you can’t build your loved one from marble or words of sorrow, or songs, or blooms. You can’t magic them into life again, no matter how many pairs of eyes you train on their image. It’s a comfort to try, but it won’t work. And though I wouldn’t go back to the crushing days of early grief, where the Jacksons are right now, the realisation that none of these things are possible grows more bitter as the years pass.

Once again….

… I  can only apologise for my loooong absence here. I guess I lost my blogging mojo.


I have been plotting a new direction for this blog. I’m fiddling and diddling with the plans at the moment and hope to be back in the next few weeks, if there’s anybody left reading (hi, Mum!). It will be more of the same, and yet different…