There is nothing on television! There really isn’t. It’s Friday night and I’ve got a choice between Celebrity Come Dine With Me (if you consider Rory McIlroy’s trampy ex-girlfriend a ‘celebrity’), the news (which I find stressful) and a type of This Is Your Life show hosted by Piers Morgan which is tonight featuring Ken Barlow from Coronation Street. It’s pretty grim.
I get very excited about nights where I have nothing to do and nowhere to go and then when I’m actually right slap bang in the middle of them I realise that I have nothing to do and nowhere to go and Ken Barlow is the best thing on telly. I feel like I should be gainfully relaxing rather than just lolling around the place like this. Lying lopsidedly on the sofa licking a large chocolate easter egg is not, I suspect, relaxation time well spent. [Just to explain myself, I was unable to break the egg open with my hands and it was too big for me to get a grip with my teeth and bite so I had to resort to licking it. The alternative was stabbing it with a pen which I thought might be perceived as uncouth].
My options of things to do are limited. I could watch another episode of The Tudors but there really is a limit to the amount of gratuitiously starkers Jonathan Rhys Meyers frolicking in a loosely historical context that a person can watch in a week. Everything else (reading, yoga, cooking, finally sorting out my online tax affairs) is too tiring. I’m fully updated on celebrity gossip (Brangelina is engaged - yawn), I’ve no particular desire to talk to anyone and it’s too early to go to sleep. I have no idea what to do. I feel like I’m wasting precious minutes of relaxation by doing nothing. Resting is proving to be stress.ful, I may shortly return to licking the chocolate egg.
I’ve also added ‘talking to unborn baby’ to my pastimes. The benefits of this are multiple. A - baby cannot talk back. B - baby cannot go anywhere. C - baby cannot slam doors or say ‘i hate you’. On the downside, baby can kick. Sometimes I get nice light fluttery kicks around the belly button (usually when baby’s father is around). When baby and I are alone, it likes to kick my bladder.
Despite my increasing suspicion that my baby is hyper-active, willful and unlikely to eat broccoli , I’m very fond of it. Baby (who we have this week nicknamed Hu Jintao) and I spend all day together and I think it’s starting to show signs of a personality. For example, baby likes milk, ice cream and dried mango. Baby does not like fish, loud noises or the bus. Baby likes swimming but finds walking tedious. It likes banjo music but not rap music. One might say that these are obviously things that I like and have nothing to do with the personality of my unborn baby. I’m not so sure. I now drink gallons of milk a day where previously I never drank milk. Even Mr Oh is shocked. He tried to prevent me from buying a 3-litre carton of milk last week on the grounds that ‘there are only two of us, we are not the target market for 3-litre cartons of milk’. It turned out that we needed to go back the next day to get another 3-litre carton of milk once I devoured the first one like a hungry lactose vampire.
It is interesting that the baby seems to react to different types of music. Some make it dance, or thrash about wildly in a type of early onset moshing, classical music seems to calm it down and whenever Mr Oh plays A Tribe Called Quest in a frantic and disturbing attempt to become a tall-white-beardy-rap-connoisseur I can hardly stay in the room so intense is my physical revulsion to the sound. This happens with all kinds of music with heavy beats and only the slight imaginings of a melody. While I wouldn’t exactly call myself a fan of this type of music, I’ve never had such an inability to tolerate it before. My brothers went through a similar phase of loud politically incorrect noise adherence (albeit at a more age appropriate time in their lives) so I’m quite familiar with the genre. I have quite a soft spot for the Wu Tang Clan but these days I can’t play it out loud because I just don’t like it but strangely, I don’t have the same negative reaction when I listen through my headphones. My conclusion....baby does not like the Wu Tang Clan.
Baby Hu Jintao - so named because my bump is now HuJ(inTao) - is now fully formed but still has another three months of practicing his or her step dancing atop my bladder. I am slightly nervous about how much growing there is still left to do. I always knew that I was unlikely to be one of those pregnant women who looks like she woke up one morning and discovered, to her great surprise, someone had implanted a melon behind her belly button, but I really want to avoid the ‘inflated by a tank of helium and about to float off into to the stratosphere if not tethered firmly to earth’ look.
Someone said to me yesterday ‘Are you not due soon? It seems like you’ve been pregnant forever’. I was not offended, I too feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. I always knew that pregnancy lasted 9-months but what I never really considered before was that 9-months is essentially the best part of a year. I have now been unable to eat blue cheese for half a year. I originally thought that this - and a bit of tiredness and maybe some nausea - would be what would define pregnancy for me. No one tells you that it is entirely all-consuming and dominates every second of your life and thought process.
I usually feel ok waking up in the morning. I have to eat straight away, often having my breakfast at 4 or 5 am before going back to sleep because I get light headed and faint if I don’t get my mini-fruity-wheats straight away. I used to be able to run for the bus when we could see it coming down the road but now when Mr Oh turns to me like an impatient puppy wanting to break free from his lead and sprint so he’ll make the bus, I scowl at him and continue plodding forward at what is genuinely my top speed thinking he should be grateful that I’m walking at all and not lying down on the pavement for a nap which is what I would do if the pavement were warm and made of grass. The bus usually makes me feel nauseous and sometimes faint and by the time I get into work I’m ready to go back and would consider it if that didn’t necessitate getting back on a bus. Work itself isn’t too bad but by the end of the day I’m usually limping on account of the fact that one (or both) of my hips is trying to detach itself from the pelvis and fall away from my body entirely (this is normal apparently). Also normal is the heartburn, stomach pains, swollen ankles, lower back pain and constant desire to sleep. I always try to plan a dinner to make when I get home but its a 50/50 chance whether I have enough energy to do anything other than curl onto the sofa. Once on the sofa, it’s hard to get back up, not just mentally but because if Mr Oh is not there to physically ‘wench’ me up I have to perform this kind of scrabbling, rolling type maneuver which thankfully no other living soul has ever seen. When it’s time to sleep, I arrange an impressive collection of pillows like sandbags around and under my body in the hope that it will stop things aching and waking me up in the middle of the night. Mr Oh refers to his small remaining scrap of bed where he has to eek out a solitary and lonely slumber as the Gaza Strip. Sometimes he talks to me through the barricades. Last night, despite being entirely consumed by a mass of pillows, I still woke up at 3am to find that my entire left side from shoulder to ankle had gone numb. Stupid pillow fail.
The point of this rant is not to whine about the discomforts of pregnancy (well, not really). This happens to everyone and I am in no way unique. I only found out about it all though once I started reading about pregnancy and talking to women in my yoga class. I think there’s some oath of silence that women who have had children take, to never speak of it again, or maybe they just forget. I’ve already forgotten morning sickness. What I find amazing though is that despite the fact that I have the silhouette of an oversized pygmy buffalo hunter, the bathroom habits of an incontinent octogenarian and the mobility of a Soviet-era locomotive - I’m really quite pleased with pregnancy. As long as I get to rest a lot and drink my body weight in milk - it’s not too bad. We’ll see if this changes over the next twelve weeks or so...