Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hi Mom! Hi Dad!

Yesterday afternoon Mr Green and I had our first face-to-face encounter with Little Green, and all I can say is WOW. I hadn't expected the visibility to be quite so clear or for it to be moving around so much already. Most early ultrasound pictures I've seen are little more than a silhouette of a large shrimp-like head and body that are really only exciting or interesting to the parents-to-be. But on the side profile I could make out an ear and a small shaded area that was the heart fluttering on screen. The arms were windmilling, or waving perhaps (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!). And from the front not only were both brain hemispheres visible - reassuring, considering Mr Green is the father! - so were the eye sockets, nose and mouth so it looked like a real face looking out at us. We all know the nuts and bolts of how nature works from science class 101 but until it happens to you, in your own body, it is impossible to grasp what a truly amazing and indescribable feeling it is. A 7.6cm miracle.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Before (6 weeks) & After (12 weeks)

Met with the midwife again this week to undergo the standard blood and urine tests. She took my blood pressure but did not weigh me. (Personally, I think I'm gaining too much too quickly - see above pics for proof in the pudding, literally. But she obviously isn't concerned because I was not grossly obese to begin with.) One exciting thing happened during the visit, though. She asked if I wanted to hear the heartbeat. Did I? She then produced what looked like a small wireless radio, placed a prod on my uterus and felt around. Static like you get in between stations, and a moment that smacked of E.T. and his Speak N' Spell. I half expected a young Drew Barrymore to appear carrying a geranium.

'Did you hear that?' she said. I shook my head, and she prodded some more until at last a very fast pulsating came over the airwaves. Less like a heartbeat than a sign, a telegram from the other side. My first communication with Little Green, albeit one-sided and strange, was still very cool nonetheless. Can't wait for the dating scan next week when Mr Green and I will get to see and hear him/her close up...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

You're what? Grrrr...

So the cat's out of the bag at work, the bombshell officially dropped. Pick your cliche. It happened somewhat sooner than I was expecting, too. I happened to go for an impromptu lunch with one of my bosses, to a sushi place, when I quickly realised (and had to explain) why I couldn't eat three-quarters of the raw, slimy things on the menu. He was thrilled since he will be retiring at the end of next month anyway and won't miss my services when I go off on mat leave in the fall. Unfortunately he is also the worst kind of office gossip, and I knew it was only a matter of hours - if not minutes - before word spread around the floodlit cubicles. In a way this made the telling easier - namely because I wouldn't have to do much of the telling myself.

I did, however, make a point of informing a few crucial people: my direct bosses and my job share. Then nothing. Stone cold silence ensued. I'm not sure what reaction I was expecting but it certainly wasn't that. Okay, so perhaps email wasn't the best format, I'll concede that much. But it seemed the most non-intrusive means at the time and preferable to banging on closed doors. The first reply came over an hour later, even though I knew they had all read the email immediately. Funnily enough, it came from my only female boss, who has only recently returned to work from her own mat leave. I can understand and to some extent, sympathise, with the plight of employers these days. Hiring a twenty- or thirty-something woman is a gamble that can potentially cause expense and inconvenience if and when she decides to procreate. But I have to say the overall reaction (or lack thereof) in my department shocked me. After all, I have been with this firm for over three and a half years, not three and a half months. And yet women are still made to feel, at whatever stage in their career, they are deliberately duping their employer by undertaking what is the most natural and wonderful decision a woman of that age can make.

First and foremost congratulations, how ever grudging or insincere they may be, are in order. That is the bottom line.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The great name debate

Already the great name debate has begun. This, after some deliberation about finding out whether or not Little Green will be in possession of an all-important "little winkie". Some parents-to-be specifically request that their baby's gender be kept from them at scan time, thereby saving an element of surprise for the birthing suite. Personally, I've come to the conclusion that I am not a fan of surprises - or not surprises on this kind of scale at least - surprise chocolates, surprise roses I can deal with, no problemo. To be honest, at this point surprise would consist of being handed a baby with ten fingers and ten toes, devoid of any clandestine numbers tattooed on its teensy-weensy scalp. At this point I am acquiescent to my role as mere vessel, as "hostess with the mostess", being gatecrashed and trashed from the inside, used and abused by a grape-sized being.

Focusing on something as inane as names at this early stage helps preserve my sanity if nothing else. But I got off track there. Aside from the obvious practicalities of pink vs blue, knowing your baby's gender early on is said to allow you to bond with the little critter, to visualise its (human) face and (human) features. As long as it's healthy...

Due to Mr Green's lineage, we were tossing around Irish names. Well, the pronounceable, spellable ones at least, which narrows the list considerably. So far there is little consensus. My Jake or Jacob was swiftly poo-pooed. We sort of agree on Aidan but Jack is always a lad so we might give that a miss. Girls' names, though, draw a blank. There is the option of honouring either great granny - Una or Aledra, respectively - but the main thing is not to cripple your child with a name so unusual they limp around with it for the rest of their days, bitter and shamed to the core. After all, it's all about giving them the best possible start in life, isn't it?

If all else fails, there's always deed poll. As long as he's not called Damian...