Pregnancy Second Time Around
Well it’s not fun I can tell you. Then again, I’m not sure fun is how I would describe it first time around either. But at least then there was the ‘firstness’ of it all, the excitement and sheer wonder that we had managed to get pregnant in the first place, and didn’t miscarry or have scary test results. Every little twinge was pored upon and researched and joyously reported to the other half as confirmation that Things Are OK. There was the joining of the club, of knowing looks with other pregnant ladies and indulgent smiles from checkout girls and grannies on the bus. And the questions and the statements and proffering of seats and such, ah, all the attention one gets.
This time I have suffered, but not quite in the same way. Hilariously, Pete kept declaring ‘you weren’t sick with Alfie at all, were you?’ as if repeating it would make it true, until I showed him my pregnancy diary entry which read ‘threw up bile this morning…’ which finally shut him up. So yes, I was sick this time too, not so much throwing up as last time but a heavy, constant nausea which somehow seemed more debilitating (and a lot less exciting I can tell you). Headaches and fatigue of course, the heat and humidity of Myanmar not helping and a craving for sour and salt but thankfully, nothing specific (salt and vinegar crisps would have caused an interesting conundrum, for example).
But most of all I suffered with depression. Oooh, I don’t think you’re supposed to say that when you’re pregnant. But there it is, I was, (and in all likelihood am still) quite depressed and only now coming up the foggy ramp into reality and perspective, leaving the black dogs and demons behind. I’m an old hand at this and should know all the symptoms but of course in the best tradition it took me quite a while to work through the excuses (many and varied though they are) and come up with the verdict. The debilitating heaviness was not all humidity, neither was the overwhelming desire to sit on my bed and sob every day just hormonal weepiness. No, this was (is?) full-on, irrational, overblown, emotional rollercoaster, perspective-all-out-of-kilter depression. I didn’t think about the baby at all, for days on end. Despite wanting this child so very much, and being so very scared we might have left it too late/lived too unhealthy a lifestyle, I couldn’t somehow think about it. Him or her, as it were. Except, now and again, to feel a bit, um, resentful.
Mostly I felt old. Too old to have a baby. Too old to have a baby and a toddler to cope with (and I have staff, for chrissakes, which just goes to show how irrational depressive thinking is). There was/is a genuine fear that I will be as big as I was last time (not bigger, surely? That would surely not be possible?) and suffer the agony I did towards the end (but you know, it was the FIRST one so it didn’t matter so much, suffering and agony were somehow rites of passage and worn as a badge of honour). But this time, being 42 years old and a billion kilos? I’m already getting deranged with lack of sleep because Alfie wakes up at 5am, having a baby will make me quite mad. And of course I must be mad for thinking about all this (another lovely feature of depression, the sure certainty that you are a) the only one suffering and b) therefore certifiably mad).
Then there were the external factors. The logistics of having a baby abroad seemed, at first (oh that FIRST again!) quite exciting but have proved over time, just a complete nightmare. Pete found something to worry about and worry about it he did, spending the best part of 4 months worrying about every aspect of moving us to Bangkok for up to 3 months while we wait to have the baby, have the baby, get a passport for the baby and apply for a visa for the baby. I see his point but whereas I like to make a decision and stick to it, his modus operandi is more terrier-like, worrying and worrying at it and then coming back and circling all the other options just one more time, before getting back to the worrying. And it all kind of snowballed; yucky first trimester, rainy season, mother-in-law visiting (delightful and hard work), pete’s workload tripling, new friends jetting off home for the summer, homesickness, alfie’s dawn wake-up time… and to cap it all, Pete’s organisation announced that yes, they had f***d up on our insurance cover and no, our maternity costs won’t be covered. Cheers.
And then there’s Alfie. When I first realised I was pregnant I couldn’t get enough of him. Like some biological urge making me hold him more and have physical contact while we can, before I have someone else taking up my time. One of the first things Pete said was how hard it is to imagine loving someone else like we love Alfie. True, I still can’t get my head around it. And I savour this time we have now, as a unit of 3, before we become 4 and everything changes. There’s a bit of grief involved in that too. And fear, that I will somehow lose my son or that baby and I will be marginalised while everone else goes off and has fun with Alfie and how much he will prefer them to me. See? Irrational!
Still, it is improving. The last minute trip home and subsequent English summer is helping no end and of course I have reached out to my friends who have welcomed me home with open arms and even some yipping with excitement and a flurry of calls to arrange visits. Lovely. I even advertised for some pregnant friends before I left Yangon and found a few mums with bumps to meet up with when I get back. I’ve also written a stern email to Pete’s organisation and they have come back with an offer we are considering. Plus, most of all, I feel physically great. Apart from daily headaches and the taking of daily naps, I feel fit as a fiddle and seem suddenly to have ‘grown into’ my body. I’m no longer a borderline fatty (is she or isn’t she?) but very definitely pregnant thank you very much. Pregnant and proud, as it goes. Just watch the mood swings mate, anything sets me off these days…