Monday, 22 February 2010

Things that happen here that never happen in the UK

1) You're pregnant, you've just been to the supermarket, and you're wheeling your trolley to your car. Out of nowhere a supermarket worker takes it from you and unloads everything into your car, free of charge. Oh, and takes the trolley back for you...

2) On the subject of trolleys - you leave them anywhere you like in the car park, because a) There's nowhere actually to put them and b) That's what everyone else does.

3) When you're at the doctor and they ask how long you've been married, they take that to be the length of time you've been trying for a baby.

(On a related note, I had to have an anti-D injection the other day for our rhesus incompatibility - I'm neg, my husband's positive. A British friend was telling me that a UK hospital tried to persuade her to have the same injection, despite both her and her husband being negative, on the grounds that 10% of babies born in the UK actually have a different father from the one on the birth certificate! Quite shocking. And that DEFINITELY wouldn't happen here. You'd find yourself in jail first!)

4) You have a minor traffic accident, and the police are so concerned that you're a) a woman and b) pregnant that they process everything at the speed of light so that you can go home and rest. And they spend half the time asking about your baby, whether it's a boy or a girl, etc, etc.

5) You sit at traffic lights and there's a goat on the back seat of the 4x4 parked next to you.

6) You sit at traffic lights and see that there are at least four toddlers unrestrained in the car beside you. Shocking. They do sell car seats for children here, it's just that people aren't keen to use them!

7) You never have to get out of your car at a petrol station to fill your own tank. Ever.

8) People look at you in amazement when you tell them you don't have a cleaner/maid/driver/nanny.

9) You drive to a beach, and it's completely empty... That is, until the next person arrives, and despite having the choice of the whole beach to park on, parks right next to you.

10) Your local park often has more security guards in it than people, and must consequently be the safest park in the WHOLE WORLD. I swear that there's a whole team of them who just keep an eye on the safety of the ducks and fish. (And no, that's not a joke... they keep watch at close quarters as children feed the ducks...!)

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Three months to go

Incredibly, I'm now 27 weeks pregnant, and just three months away from my due date. 12 weeks! Wow, this has all gone so quickly. Bump is kicking me very consistently now, which is so wonderful, and other people can feel (and see!) the kicks from the outside, which is very fun indeed. The downside is that my bladder seems to be a key kicking target. I'm considering counting my loo visits every day, to see if I can reach a world record. Right now I'm keeping an exciting novel in the bathroom to entertain me. I'm also becoming best friends with every toilet attendant in every shop and restaurant in the city...

There was good news on the gestational diabetes front. I don't have it! Hooray. One less thing to worry about.

Last week I was involved in a car accident, not a rare occurrence for anyone here, sadly. Luckily it was very minor, but I was still worried about bump, so went along to the A&E to get checked out. Everything turned out to be fine, but it was still a nasty time (as hospital visits usually are). At one point they put me in the trauma department in a cubicle next to several people who were seriously injured and in a lot of pain. Very stressful all round, particularly as my husband landed back from a USA trip a few hours after I was admitted and so had to come straight to the hospital from the airport, and it was all complicated by the fact that I got transferred to the Women's Hospital A&E, where he wasn't allowed inside to check on me. That sort of cultural difference is quite hard to accept under those sort of circumstances, but we managed. At least the care was excellent, which is the most important thing.

I was amazed to see last night on a forum I read regularly that a woman with the same due date as me has just delivered her baby girl, severely premature, but alive and well so far. Her waters broke early, and she went into labour a week later. It's so amazing to think that bump might be able to survive outside of the womb even now.

We've been thinking a lot recently about the birth. We've found a British midwife who's going to come to do some private birth preparation classes with us (unfortunately with my husband's roster, group classes have proved impossible). We're also thinking of asking her to be on standby for me in case I go into labour when my husband's away flying - I think it would be very reassuring having her with me if he couldn't be there (God forbid, but you never know with this business!)

I had some very sad news from a friend last week. She's a neighbour of mine on the compound, and recently told me that she was 12 weeks pregnant. I was overjoyed for her. Sadly, however, the 12 week ultrasound NT test found suggestions of genetic abnormality, so she went ahead with an amnio, which confirmed Down's Syndrome. Her age was a factor - she is over 40, and knew it was a possibility, but it was still a horrible shock. I know it was a very difficult decision for her, but she and her husband decided to terminate the pregnancy. I'm so sad for her.

I have no idea what I'd have done if I'd been in her shoes. Pregnancy is such a gamble in every way. Even now, all we know is that things are fine with bump *so far*. As I've said before, I take nothing for granted. I'm just praying things will work out ok in the end.



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