Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mother's wise words

I am being increasingly convinced, watching more experienced Mums, that there is an unexplainable bond between mother and child (especially daughters) that kicks in at the most appropriate times, regardless of distance and time. How then, to explain the below extract from an email from my Mum, I think written before my posting yesterday?

"If you are wondering what to do with all that spare time after the birth can I remind you that - Jana Rawlinson won the world championships gold medal this year in August for the 400 m hurdles having given birth eight months previously, Liz McColgan won gold in Tokyo in 1991 nine months after first child's birth and Ingrid Kristiansen finished first in 1984 London Marathon, seven months post birthing. This means that we shall look forward to a single sculls attempt at Beijing, a mere 7 months following the birth, but we don't expect the medal necessarily to be a gold one."

Reality bites (or rather, she kicks)

I have been working some fairly long hours recently, and weekends. It's a busy time of year and I have a major project finishing this week, so I've been neglecting all manner of important things (hair, nails, small slave feeding me peeled grapes), but also the love of my life - sport.

So tonight I made it to the gym and have had a happy time flogging myself on the machines. It was lovely. I reminded myself what a rowing machine is, and scarily that I really rather like it, and stepped my way to heaven. Negotiating bump is, as always, amusing. I look something akin to a frog in a mating ritual on the rowing machine (think legs wide open and not at all flattering). Tonight, once she had found herself a comfortable position where she wouldn't get squished, bump happily kicked and jumped along with me while I exercised. It was all rather nice.

But then, as I was getting changed, a frightening thought hit me slap in the face. In 3 months time I won't be able to do this. No more working late and then flogging myself at the gym until I de-stress. No more Saturday mornings rowing then jumping on the motorbike and heading off for a two hour canoe on the sea. Will I ever see a sub 7.30 2k ergo test again (that's for the rowers amongst you)?

I know this might sound odd, and I know that I have had 6 months to get used to the idea of being pregnant and how much my life will change. I know that with the support of the Boy and the luxury of a full time nanny I will have much more of an independent life than most of my friends in other countries. But for some reason tonight, sweating after a session in the gym, it hit me.

Now I am very, very scared.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Nocturnal mind tricks

According to one of the baby books given to me by my friend K (mother of two) at the moment it is not unexpected for me to be having dreams and nightmares about the baby - things that could go wrong, her being hurt and so on. It is perfectly normal anxiety apparently.

So, how then to explain last night when I dreamt an awful lot about one of my cats (who sadly passed on to kitty heaven a couple of weeks ago) in various nasty and painful death-related scenarios. It was all rather horrid.

I've not had a single dream about bump.

The Boy is a bit worried about this being another sign of the onset of my pregnancy related insanity.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I have been doing yoga for a few years now, since a friend of mine from work introduced me to it. After too many years of flogging my muscles in various forms of boats, it provides a particularly nice antidote to the fact I am getting a bit older and maybe need to stretch out sometimes. It is also a lovely time when I really do think about little else other than breathing and trying to stand on one leg, foot in the air, hand behind my head, and not fall over.

Until recently I have been doggedly attending my usual yoga classes and having a vague guess about what I shouldn't do. Twisting bad, upside down bad, lying on my side "meditating" (or snoring quietly) good. However, bump is now getting to such a size that I felt I needed some expert instruction. So to my first prenatal yoga class.

For anyone who has ever attended a yoga class (except Mum and Dad, who have their class over a pub) there are certain rules. You are lithe and flexible, you keep quiet, you don't leave the room, you don't fall over the person next to you, you wear appropriately tight yet loose atire. However, in prenatal classes these all go out of the window.

Firstly, a prenatal class is anti-yoga. Gone are the lithe and flexible babes of my other classes, and in come ladies who find it difficult to walk, let alone pretend to be a tree. We waddle, roll, and generally wobble our way through class. We are told not to stretch too much because the relaxin in our bodies now means we might go that little bit too far and turn into floppy bits of string. We spend a lot of time sitting on the floor and breathing.

Secondly, we talk, and laugh and generally discuss what is happening. At the start of my class yesterday we introduced ourselves, shared with others how fat (sorry, pregnant) we are, and a bit out what we thought of yoga. When one of us falls over, we all giggle. When our instructor says anything about our pelvis being the "gates" for our baby (which she does, an awful lot), we grimace and I think someone may have shreaked.

There is a fair bit of coming and going during the class as we all need to head to the loo. So frequent is this that the instructor now tells us all, for the newbies, at the start of each class that we are allowed to head off to leave because "pregnant women need the loo an awful lot". Really? I hadn't noticed.

The studio I go to puts us in the largest room, despite there never being more than 15 of us. However, any casual observer would realise the importance of this - balance, or lack of it. Balancing on one leg is a challenge for me at the best of times. However, add about 14 pounds of stuff stuck on my front, which sits slightly more to one side than the other, and then put me on one leg and it is a recipe for bruises. Then add in 14 other women who are the same. We all leave at least one or two mats between us and the next person, and often one in front and behind. Even the most innocuous poses cause one of us to wobble and tip.

The bump surpassed herself yesterday as she managed to move from one side to the other during my tree pose (standing on one leg, arms in the air) causing me to wobble initially to the left, then right, then fall into the wall. I think I felt her giggling inside me.

However, the most amusing thing about the class is my instructor, E. E informed us all that she loves teaching prenatal yoga and finds the whole process of pregnancy wonderful and exciting. It took all of us fat ladies about 30 seconds to realise this could only have come from a woman who had never actually been pregnant. She also told us that she has worked a lot with women who choose to use yoga rather than hard drugs during labour. Hmmm, clearly a nutter.

She is highly amusing in how she describes things to us. At 29 weeks I feel about as lithe and sexy as a large walrus, but she insists on using hilariously inappropriate imagery. We were told to imagine our baby as a blooming flower inside us. Bump was being especially active at this point and the only image she was bringing to mind was Sly Stallone in the original Rocky movie. I tried, really hard, to think of her as a sunflower, really I did, but the banging on my bladder made it pretty hard.

Then to our pelvic floor exercises, and she told is to imagine a hot air balloon lifting up and down inside us (while we counted breaths). There isn't enough room for my colon down there anymore, so where the hell am I supposed to put a bloody hot air balloon?!

Despite all this, E is actually an excellent instructor. She knows her stuff, cares a lot about her wobbling charges, and I genuinely feel amazing when I leave. I also think I'll write down which random animals I will try to be during the early stages of labour to make myself a bit more comfy. Just making sure I don't feel compelling to moo or miaow along at the same time.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A little bit of slap and tickle

Another trip to Dr D today to have the bump checked and scanned for two heads and a tail. She does, in fact, appear to be human so all is OK.

I did, however, have to have an injection today. I have a rare blood type that means I need to be injected with something to ensure that I don't reject future babies (future babies?! I can't see me doing this again). I am petrified of needles, and it was a rather big one so Dr D suggested he inject me in my bottom.

Or rather what he actually said was "Go over to the bed, pull up your skirt and bend over".

This was a bit more funny, but not much, than him reading out the lot number and expiry date of the stuff he had just given me, as he wrote it in my notes, and reading the expiry date as 04/07 (rather than 04/10 which is what it is). Apparently no-one ever notices his little gag and he seemed quite upset that neither did I.

I guess when you've been delivering babies for 40 odd years you find amusement where you can.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Things not to do when you're pregnant # 20091 and #200092

Normal, everyday, life takes on a whole new slant when you're pregnant and normal things like, say, walking, take on a new comical turn. So, today I found myself in two perfectly normal situations that were somewhat altered by the presence of bump.

Firstly, I went to Church at lunchtime. I do this every Thursday with the god-father-to-be G. It is always a slightly comical event, partly because it is held in a small chapel and usually only 6 or 7 people attend. A few weeks ago the sermon was about a saint who seemed to be beatified for nothing more than mistaken identity (he was on a polynesian island and was mistaken for a slave trader and killed before, presumably, he could preach any part of the gospel). There are also a few odd characters, such as the gentleman who over-ennunicates every t, and slightly out of time with the rest of us. There is also the man who insists, during prayers, on shouting the name of every person he is praying for at the appropriate (or inappropriate) time. So, it is always a rather amusing affair. Today during the prayers, which for those heathens among you (including the Boy) are the quietest time in the service, the bump started thumping me. I am still at the stage where I find this rather amusing so, during a particularly boring point when we were praying for lawyers (only in HK, what on earth do lawyers need our prayers for??) I found myself staring down at the gymnastics all too visable through my top. It made me smile and, as she managed to tickle me, I had to supress giggles. Unfortunately I got very distracted by this and was still smiling and giggling my way through the prayers when we got to the bit about the sick and departed. This is clearly something that is not funny and in rather poor taste. When I realised where I was and looked up, I found Matt the friendly vicar looking quizically at me. He has three children and so clearly put it down to hormonal madness.

The second event came at the end of a rather fun post-work shoe shopping trip with LottieP. After trying, and failing, to find any shoes in my size (for which my bank balance is very grateful) we popped along to an event at Harvey Nics to which she had an invitation. We were hoping for a glass of something sparkling and a bit of canto-pop starlet watching. Sadly, it was the launch of a new version of a rather poor whiskey beloved of those who don't know any better and have only a hazy idea of where Scotland is. This was the only drink on offer, and despite being obviously heavily pregnant the waiters kept on cornering me and insisting that I try some. It seemed ungrateful to ask for a nice glass of water. Perhaps the launch party of a high alcohol content spirit is not the best place for a pregnant woman to be. The bump made my choice about how long to stay when a man playing the bagpipes walked past me (subtlety not being a strong feature of events in HK) and the bump reacted so violently that I thought I was going into labour.

LottieP and I scarpered and I have come home to more normal pregnancy things like eating jaffa cakes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Aunty again

My sister had her second child yesterday, so I am now an Aunty again. I sat in bed last night feeling fat, tired and miserable (bad day at work and the Boy is away) and gave her a call.

She sounded sickeningly calm and happy. She had a c-section (for medical reasons rather than because she is too posh to push - although she is of course!), and seemed to be perky, rested, and generally quite pragmatic about the whole thing.

I, on the other hand, will be a blithering mess crying in pain and demanding champagne.

We're not very alike me and my sis.

The wonders of ancient science

As I progress through the pregancy, I find I am increasingly impressed by how brilliantly my body is preparing me for the bump coming into my life. I know this sounds a little bit stupid, I mean of course my body is designed for this, but as someone who has been obsessed with pushing her body to its limits and slightly beyond through sport, I am rather curious about what is happening without me putting in any effort. It's a bit like watching some sort of alien creature pupate in a film (I watched Gremlins last night), and I find it all rather weird and fascinating.

Let's, for the moment, leave aside all the obvious weird stuff. The fact that my hips are widening (ick - will I ever be able to get back into my Hugo Boss suit?), that my chest is doing something rather unflateringly described in pregnancy books as "engorging", or that I have developed a rather pathetic slow wiggle better suited to pushing a buggy than striding down a catwalk. It's the other clever stuff that I find so interesting.

Take for example, the way in which I am being nicely prepared for never sleeping through the night again and travelling around with the bump. I now have, as my Aussie rowing coach so delicately put it a "bladder the size of a budgie's" (go on, if you say it with an Aussie accent it sounds almost funny). This essentially means that I need to go to the loo every 90 minutes - including all night. As a result I have developed an uncanny ability to get up, half asleep, perform a task that needs a bit of coordination in the dark, and struggle back to bed and fall asleep immediately. Clearly all useful skills to be put to good use in three months time. Another interesting event this has prepared me for is an intimate knowledge of each and every public loo (and therefore changing facility) in Hong Kong. Clearly useful for outings with bump, or publishing a helpful map.

For anyone who has ever even seen a baby, I need not tell you how effective being knackered all the time is at preparing me for the big day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Transporting a heavy load

There has been much talk in the HK press about a recent survey that hailed London as having a better public transport system than HK. As one who has experienced both, I am siding with the people of HK. Despite London's undeniable range of coverage (unless you live in South London), HK public transport is a beauty to behold. It is frequent, safe and very clean thanks to a ban on eating and drinking on any mode of transport - what a brilliant idea. In addition to all of the usual public transport options, taxis are also dirt cheap and plentiful. Red Ken would be green with envy.

However, one London tradition has not come to HK, that of politeness on transport. It is a lot of fun watching tourists on the MTR (metro in HK) as they go to the doors to get off only to find a wall of people pushing and shoving past to get on. It is especially amusing if the tourists have rucksacks as they become stuck between a door and a rabid old granny intent on getting her exact spot inside the train. When I go home Mum has to physically restrain me on the Tube as people start to mutter and tut at my HK-born habit of failing to let people off first.

Absent too from HK is the tradition of giving up ones seat on a bus or train to a pregnant woman. I know from my London mummy friends that this is by no means a universal habit in London, but that at least one can shove your bump into the face of a seated businessman and most will give up their seat. Not true in HK. I travel quite freqently on buses and trains and, while people are happy to gawp at the bump stuck in their face, not one has felt compelled to give up their seat.

Until that is, the weekend. On our way from one traumatic shopping experience to another, we got the MTR. I was moaning to the Boy about how I've never been offered a seat (I think he was nodding and ignoring yet another hard-done-by story from his wife) as we boarded. I surveyed the carriage and not only were there no seats but someone had pushed past me to get the one remaining one. I was about to start another moan (the Boy was rapidly struggling to find his ipod to fend off the inevitable onslaught) when a lady poked the man next to her in the ribs, nodded in my direction, and with a sigh he got up and gave me his seat. I was profusely over-energetic in my thanks in two languages, and utterly shocked at the turn of events.

It was only when the couple got up to get off that I saw she had a good sized pregnancy bump too.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Born to shop

Shopping is a national pastime in Hong Kong, however I have never been one to "enjoy" the process of shopping unless it involves very expensive shoes or handbags and a suitably deferential shop assistant who brings me things, thus negating the need for me to move. I generally find the whole experience quite traumatic and unfulfilling, and would rather be sitting in a nice bar somewhere (drinking soft drinks, of course).

So, it was with some surprise that I found myself this afternoon in the worst possible combination of places. Firstly, I was in Causeway Bay. CWB is the busiest shopping area in the world and the mecca for all shoppers in HK on a weekend. It is hectic, hot, busy and generally horribly unfriendly as people cram onto the streets and push each other out of the way to rush to the next shop. Secondly, I was in IKEA. IKEA is a truly frightening place, designed to ensure you have to walk slowly around things you had no intention of buying before you went in, becoming increasingly frustrated with both the slow moving traffic and the inability to actually find what you went on for in the first place. Despite the best of intentions to only buy one or two items, you invariably come out with something plastic and colourful that you don't need. The Boy has it worse as the HK store insists on hanging key signs from the ceiling at head height if you are 6 feet or taller. So, while being shoved and slowed and generally hassled, he has the added benefit of hitting his head constantly. In the end all we discovered was that IKEA don't stock a bed of the right size for the room our new nanny will live in. And that we don't need a green plastic stool.

So, to the second task of the day, buying baby "essentials". Already very frazzled, we went to a baby "store" (if someone had told me I could have simply bought one in a shop, I could have avoided all this sickness and fatigue!). We thought we were prepared, we had read websites, books, asked the advice of friends. We knew what we wanted. Right until we got to a wall full of car seats. We did what any slightly bemused new parents to be when faced with this, we clicked the belts, we rocked them, we pushed the padding as if in some way the tablets of stone with the magic solution would appear to us. Choosing the cot had been easy, we went for the cheapest one that did what we wanted - but car seats are a more technical and costly purchase if you get it wrong. After a fair bit of squishing and rocking, we realised we needed professional help. In the absence of a man in a white coat with prozac, we found a shop assistant. So grateful were we that we then spent half an hour following her around the store as she told us what we needed. Two normally sensible, critical people blindly nodded and smiled as she informed us of the most popular brands of a range of items, why we needed a sprung matress for the cot rather than a foam one, and flashed a series of pink, yellow and blue items in front of us. Thankfully the Boy took over on the technical specs of baby monitors, by this time I had a strong urge to flee or find a dark quiet space and rock myself gently.

To say I fled once the credit card slip had been signed by the Boy would be an understatement. All I could think of was getting home to normality. There is now a very large bag hidden in a cupboard in the spare room, I am a bit scared of it if the truth be known, and think it will stay there until the Bump actually enters the world, preferably under lock and key. I am not quite sure what we actually bought in the end. I think there is a box with the word "nipple" on it, and something called a gro-bag. I am a bit worried about the latter, as formerly I always thought this was something you grew tomatoes in. I am not sure why my Bump needs fresh veggies, but I am sure it will all beome clear.

I am now going to have a little lie down before two friends, who have no intention of ever having children, come round tonight for supper to drag me back to normality.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

One for the rugby fans

Do we lost to the Saffa's, so the video judge was blind, so we were playing mainly a B team. All very sad but let's look on the bright side.

At least my unborn will not have to be named after the England fly half.

Although my friend C did come up with the very fetching name of something like Jonny WIlkinson Stamper Thumper. I can't imagine my Mum being best pleased about that (although my Dad might!)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A serious one

I was rudely awakened by the bump doing somersaults this morning so thought I'd check out the news online while the Boy slept. What I found humbled and shocked me. Almost 300,000 women in 2005 died due to childbirth complications, almost all of them preventable. In a world with so many sad stories and causes at the moment, this one hit home for me as it crosses nationalities and circumstances. I won't prattle on but for more infomation I strongly urge you to head to http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/7049598.stm (sorry, can't embed the link as I am at home on the Mac and can't figure out how to do it)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Working Mums and career women

I was at the gym last night with a good friend, trying to convince myself I wasn't pregnant and can still pull decent splits on the ergo. During one of our chats while I was swinging a large weight around my head, she mentioned that she was becoming increasingly annoyed with the term "career woman". Nobody defines a man in such a way, "career man" sounds faintly ridiculous. This got me thinking about how I will be defined come January when bump comes into my life.

I intend to head back to my job after I have spent the pitiful amount of time at home that HK law demands. I actually rather like my job and the people I work with. Most mornings I look forward to going in and find it intellectually and socially stimulating.

However, it has been increasingly worrying me lately that once bump comes the whole definition of who I am will change, I will become what is defined as a "working mum".

This term annoys me for the simple fact that it implies a deviation from the accepted norm, the need to qualify the statement of "mum". The Boy will not defined as a "working Dad" although he will take less time off when bump is born, and most likely spend less time with the bump than I do purely because he tends to travel more for his job. So, why when I am being (in terms of time) a parent for more of my time than he is do I need the qualification and he doesn't?

I am increasingly grappling with society's perception of me going back to work. Unlike the UK, where almost everyone I know has to go back to work for financial reasons, the ridiculously low tax rate in HK means that I do actually have the choice of not working. Quite a considerable number of expat Mums here don't work when they have children and although most of my Chinese friends do, they have their extended family to help look after the children and cultural norms are different.

About a year ago I was out with some expat friends of different nationalities. The two other women in the group had small children and still work, but in part time or flexible jobs. They, without any thought for the judgements they were making, were happily criticising women who work in law firms and banks for working full time and long hours. They seemed to think that doing so is bad for the child and means you love your child less. This really hit me, what if my child grows up to be unhappy or have problems, will I always link this back to me working when she was small?

Of course there is a huge amount of guilt around this issue, and almost exclusively directed at women. Rarely, if ever, does someone criticise the father for working longs hours and travelling. Indeed most of the men I work with hardly see their children but little blame is laid at their doors. Much as I try to tell myself I am as responsible for this child as the Boy is and these are choices we make together, I can't help feeling that society puts a huge amount of pressure on mothers leaving the fathers largely unscathed.

The issue was finally resolved when I spoke to my mother-in-law, who I expected would be the first to judge me because she is of a generation where women stayed at home. She happily informed me that being at home with her boys, although lovely, had her climbing the walls by the time her youngest was 3 and she dashed, nay, sprinted back to a job as soon as she could. She also told me that if work is important to me then I should quite happily get some additional help in the form of a nanny, because I can’t do it all.

So, I guess this is where I have come to. Everyone is different. The Boy is not fundamentally less well adjusted than me because his Mum went back to work and his Dad worked long hours and travelled a lot. Although I was very lucky in that Dad was always at home by 5 and Mum didn’t go back to full time work until I was aged 9, I don’t think I would have felt less loved had it been different.

I also look at the twins to whom I was a nanny for three years, whose parents both have senior jobs and work long hours. They are two of the most well-adjusted, lovely, polite and clever 17 year olds I have ever met.

So, no more guilt… well, until next week.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Guilt for the day

Just when I was starting to feel a bit better about the glass of white wine I had on Sunday night with dinner, another social ill for which us pregnant women or mothers of newborns are guilty of - obesity. In an article on BBC news today I found the following summary of a new report saying that obesity is not the fault of the individual but society's and, it would seem, mothers in particular.

"From planning our towns to encourage more physical activity to placing more pressure on mothers to breast feed - believed to slow down infant weight gain - the report highlighted a range of policy options without making any concrete recommendations."

I have been reading about the guilty brainwashing of mums to think that not breastfeeding makes them spawn of the devil (but that's for another post), but blaming women who don't breastfeed for the obesity epidemic in the UK - now that is stretching things.

I was bottle fed, so was my ridiculously tall, thin, and stunningly beautiful sister.


A life under canvas

Hong Kong is, as anyone living here will know, the place where the term "fashion" has a wide definition. Mostly this involves every single one of this season's fashions occuring all at once on one person. Only in HK can one see, as I did at the weekend, a girl wearing those odd ankle boot things designed to look like trainers but with high heels, with black leggings, a puffball skirt and an off the shoulder baggy top. This subject has been covered at length by my good friend LottieP in her blog so I shall not go into more detail other than to set the scene.

While you at least have to admire the creativity, if not sense, of your average 16 year old Hong Konger in her attempt to be up to date, your average pregnant woman in Hong Kong sits at the opposite end of the spectrum. No yummy mummies for you here, it seems that almost every pregnant woman in Hong Kong decides to don a large, cheap, cotton, smock-type dress as soon as she shows a bump. Prior to coming to HK the only person I had seen wear such a garment was Homer Simpson in the episode where he decided to become clinically obsese to get benefits. Sexy and gorgeous they are not.

Which confuses me even more. The women who, overnight, try to turn themselves into a pale pink or pale blue scout campsite are in the main gorgeous. Your average Hong Kong woman is stunning, so why they seem so keen to adopt these hideous afronts to fashion is beyond me.

I am most certainly not looking at my best at the moment. Although Greenpeace have yet to come to repatriate this particular beached whale back into the sea, it is only a matter of time. But even I, in my largesse, can't see why I would want to look like something you would erect in your back garden for a wedding (although the rapidly increasing size of bump means I am available to hire should you be looking).

There are exceptions. S, who I work with and is due in 4 weeks, has adopted a series of lovely tight tops and sexy trousers and looks amazing whenever she comes to work. P turned up at a ball, 8 months pregnant in a gorgeous silk pleated number showing her toned curves and lushious bump - and proceeded to boogie with her husband until the wee small hours. However, these are the exceptions and you will still see the majority of pregnant women of any nationality in this city adopting this shapeless, unappealing, almost unisex, uniform.

And of course, they are always wearing flat shoes.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mr Tickle

For those of your reading outside HK, or those who have not had children inside HK, the whole process of having a child here is strangely absent of midwives. Having had a sister and sister in-law who are either on or about to get their second child I have heard stories of the supremacy of midwives and the largely redundant role of men in white coats.

However, HK is the city which is almost entirely designed for everyone to make money and no more so is this true when you have a baby. As a result, the whole process is being taken care of by my obstetrician, Dr D. He does all my antenatal checks and will deliver my baby at a hospital of my choice (you pay for everything but at least get what you pay for in terms of a doctor on call pretty much 24 hours a day and a nice private room - I am hanging out for a facial and getting my nails done during the labour but have yet to find this clause in my health insurance).

Dr D was recommended to me by two friends who between them have had 4 babies delivered by Dr D. He is atypical of most practioners here in that he is deeply pragmatic and doesn't put up with any silly fads or nonsense. I adore him because he tells it like it is, and has a distinctly British sense of humour - sarcasm in the extreme. When I was about 12 weeks gone I had a panic after reading in a book that I was not supposed to get my heart rate too high (I had been dragon boat racing the previous weekend). Without even looking up from the notes he was making he said "oh, they did those tests on mice. You don't look much like a mouse to me so I wouldn't worry about it". It was the perfect response.

He doesn't seem to take too many patients anymore, he doesn't really need to and seems to prefer giving a lot of attention to fewer people, so you can always get an appointment or get hold of him. However, with his experience and care and attention also comes a few quirks. I will admit that, at 70ish, going to see him is a bit like going to see ones Dad - he has the same kind of cheeky, naughty side to him that your Dad gets once he retires.

So, to my experience last week. I was having a check up and lying on my back on the table, top pulled up and pants pulled down a bit so he could give the bump her scan and check on the size of all the stuff inside me. I am horribly ticklish so giggled as he poked and prodded. He looked at me, a little concerned, so I told him I was very ticklish. He promptly dug his fingers into my sides, causing me to curl up (bump allowing) in fits of giggles. Then, with an evil grin on his face said "Sorry, I can't resist doing that when I know someone is ticklish". He chuckled to himself and continued to poke, prod and scan.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The new social leper # 2

Another whinge about everyone having an opinion about my bump.

A harmless look at the BBC news website last week informed me that the UK government has revised its guidance on drinking booze during pregnancy to say that you could drink, maybe, sometimes, but only a glass, or maybe two. There then are comments from all sorts of people, mostly male, who in the absence of any actual evidence say that drinking anything during pregnancy causes behavioural problems in young children. That's right ladies, no actual factual information, but best not do it just in case. We don’t know the impact of living on the 23rd floor of my apartment block because no one has done a conclusive study on it, but am I supposed to not do that in case it's harmful too? I am sick of being made to feel guilty for even breathing at the moment, and this kind of thing really annoys me. I am so annoyed that I may need a large glass of whisky to calm me down.

So, onto my second pregnancy leper-related amusement. I have a couple of trips to take in the next month or two for work and to see some friends in Thailand and after checking my super-duper tell you everything UK baby website I found out that a lot of travel insurance doesn't cover you late in pregnancy. So I checked a couple of policies this morning. Basically, if you are pregnant you are an insurance leper, I will taking that up with the Boy who works in a large insurance company.

What amused me most, though, is the policy that we already have from the world's local bank. It took me a while to find the pregnancy exclusion because it was at the bottom of a list of other conditions that exclude you from being insurable. This list was: insanity, alcoholism, drug abuse, terminal illness, pregnancy.

You couldn’t make it up.

Baby rugby love

Final post of today...

Like all English worth anything, I have been watching England's unexpected and gradual progress to the rugby world cup final. In HK this means getting up at around 3am to watch the games. This happily coincides with when bump decides to kick me for an hour each night so is no major hardship. Especially not after last night's game against the French which was nail biting and amazing.

However, the rugby world cup has unexpectedly revealed two things to me about my unborn bump.

The first is that every time Jason Robinson gets the ball she kicks me. I am not joking, it is quite uncanny. I am more of a fan of Josh Lewsey myself but perhaps Jason is a bit closer to the bump's size and she feels more affinity with him.

The second thing is that, no matter how excited you are about England beating Australia, and how sure you are there is no chance of them winning the world cup because they can't possibly beat France in the semi, you should not promise your best friend that you will call your unborn daughter Jonny Wilkinson if England win the cup again. The Boy is both deeply impressed by my sporting commitment, and slightly worried.

The new social leper #1 - the mum to be

I hate to start my new blog on a whinge, but the most annoying thing about being pregnant (well, perhaps not the most annoying thing, that would be the large bump, being tired all the time, and your body doing and leaking things it really shouldn't) is the way other people treat you. You become public property and a social leper.

A pregnant woman, as my mummy friends also tell me, means that you have now been elevated to the divine status of nurturing the next generation. I quite like this idea, and my bump kicks me regularly to inform me of her importance. However, I feel that I am nurturing MY next generation - and the Boy's - not the wider world's. Despite being in the cosmopolitan city that is HK, and most of the people I know are pretty high powered career people, I seem get as much attention and unsolicited advice as if I was living in a small village community up a hillside in Vietnam.

Amongst the "should you be eating that?", and "should you still be running/rowing/swimming?" is my favourite "should you be wearing high heels?".

It's not just my friends and colleagues. Every baby book I have read seems to tell you that around about 5 months I should be in flat, comfortable, Clarks shoes. Preferably of the horrible black and brown ilk that my Mum used to make me wear to school when I would rather have been wearing a pair of Kickers.

Apparently it has something to do with my sense of balance, or lack of it now, and fear I might fall over. How utterly ridiculous! The most walking I do in this city is when the Boy drops me off each morning at the bottom of the escalator that leads to my office. I can manage to get in and out of a single scull or outrigger canoe, and move the damn things with quite a high degree of balance and poise so I am not sure why high heels are supposed to be a problem. I have been wearing high heels since I left school (being the shortest in my family and the Boy well in excess of 6 feet, I have no option unless I want to look like a dwarf) and the only time I have ever turned an ankle I was in flats.

One my my lovely friends, who is a lover as I am of all things high and spindly that one can place on ones feet, has been happily supporting me (not physically, however) as I continue to totter around HK on the highest heels in my wardrobe. Now, whenever anyone has a sharp intake of breath and asks me whether I should be in heels, I am wide-eyed and innocent and ask them why. So far, no-one has given me a reason.

The beginning

About 27 weeks ago, over the Easter weekend, I got drunk. In fact, I think it was the night that one of my friends told me that getting drunk was a sure fire way to ensure I didn't manage to get pregnant (the first of many opinions I have had from various people about what pregnant women can and can't do).

27 weeks later I am sitting on my sofa in my apartment in Hong Kong, wondering whether I should email the aforementioned friend (he has since left Hong Kong) to tell him he couldn't habe been more wrong.

Although planned and much loved, pregnancy is not something I had aspired to. My work, marriage, sports and, well, a whole host of other things seem to be complicated by bringing a new being into my world. The boy (as my husband is known) had seemed to like the idea of having a child, but as one of my wise friends once said, men tend to look upon children as entertainment, they don't do maintenance.

Anyway, after a bit of convincing from blog minded friends, I thought I would start this as a record to my as yet unborn daughter as to what her mummy went through and how her early months and maybe years progressed.

Welcome to my inane rantings.

I think I might have had a cheeky ciggie that night too...