I can’t believe that at 16 weeks I am still feeling seasick. Everyone tells you this is meant to pass at three months. “You’re obviously having a girl,” say other women I bump into. “They make you far more sick.” I don’t want to dwell on the sex of my child too much, especially as I am secretly hoping for a girl. Meanwhile, every time I hop on the tube to go to work I find myself retching like a mad thing. Disapproving glances from fellow commuters betray the fact they think I am still pissed from the night before or incredibly hung over. If only…
I have just been to the hospital to have my blood tests with my partner. I am rather freaked about having an HIV test. Deep down I know I have nothing to fear, but there is a niggling doubt adding to my worries. The tests are straightforward and it is now a waiting game. The serum tests will only inform us if the baby has a low or high risk of being born with Down’s Syndrome or neural tube defects (spina bifida and anencephaly). If the tests show a high risk, then I can choose whether to take more conclusive but more invasive tests.
My midwife has come to visit me at home and recommends wearing sea bands – little elastic bands with small studs that correctly positioned are meant to pressure an acupuncture point that will stop me feeling sick. I’ll try anything to feel normal again. I rush to the chemist to get some.
I am waiting for my test results with some trepidation. At last I receive a letter telling me that I am low risk, although my midwife is to give me the result of the HIV test. But when I see her, she informs me that the hospital has lost my blood and I have to go back to be tested again.
I have now worn my sea bands for three days as they dig into my wrists. No change. I have not taken homeopathic remedies for fear they might affect the foetus. But I am getting very anxious about my week-long intensive driving course. How will I cope with the stress of a driving test adding to my nausea? But if I don’t pass it once and for all, I feel I will never get the chance after the baby is born.
Meanwhile, it’s high time to tell my work colleagues. They are unashamedly thrilled for me, despite the fact that most of them are male. They have also decided to start a sweepstake on the sex and name of my baby. More importantly, the publisher has imposed a smoking ban in the office and I am grateful. One less smell to make me nauseous. In fact my sense of smell has been so heightened I feel I could retrain as a police sniffer dog.
My midwife has phoned to tell me that my HIV test is negative. I feel I have jumped all the screening hurdles successfully. I have a spring in my step again…
I don’t want to talk about it: I have just failed my driving test.