The easiest place to start is why I stopped blogging: I'm pregnant. For a while there, it was all I wanted to talk about but I wasn't ready to tell the world yet* so I didn't blog. It's just as well really as it would have been one "Yay, I'm pregnant!" post followed by two and a half months of "I feel so terrible, I've never felt this terrible in my life, I'm constantly nauseas, how could feeling like this have possibly been selected for, oh, I feel terrible." Looking at my computer (or phone, or television) screen made the terrible feelings worse, and knitting gave me headaches (the kind that make one nauseas, of course) so mostly I spent that time in bed reading, and trying to sleep. You weren't missing much.
Around our twelve-week ultrasound (of which I posted a picture but half the internet missed it) I started feeling better. Better is in no way related to "good" mind you, but I was mostly able to spend the day out of bed and had learned how to eat enough, in small portions, to not wish I could have my entire digestive system removed and live on an IV. Computers still made me woozy and knitting was off the agenda, but there was at least reason to hope everyone would be correct about the second trimester being easier. Oh, wow, has it been. I felt good. My skin and hair are doing weird things, my finger and toe nails are growing too fast, but everything else was finally behaving itself. Until a fortnight ago when work went to heck in a handbasket** and I found myself working lots of hours and, oh yeah, that exhaustion and post-nasal drip? Not just pregnancy symptoms*** - after a few days my husband turned to me and said, I feel like you described. I think we're sick. Oddly enough this came as a relief. Being sick meant I wasn't a wimp and Most Pathetic Pregnant Lady Ever. I was really worried that there's no way I'd make it through Christmas at work 'cause when one works in retail Christmas is a big deal. So yeah, being sick was a relief because a cold would go away and I'd feel better. Right? Um, not so much. I was increasingly exhausted for a couple of days, then miserable and congested for a few days, and then I slowly felt better. The exhausted and first of the miserable days were while working, then I had the (English) Bank Holiday weekend off and my rota got changed giving me a few extra days off, and by the time I was back at work I was feeling pretty good. I'd be exhausted about 6hrs into my shift but feel better once I got to sit down and put my feet against a hot water bottle so I was doing okay. On my fourth day of working in a row, I started coughing. Not bad, just a little bit throughout the day. That night, as we were drifting to sleep, I suddenly had a huge racking coughing fit, the kind where I cough so hard I throw up and still can't stop coughing. We eventually got to sleep but I slept restlessly and every time I turned over there was more coughing. Dear Husband reports that I was coughing a lot even when I was asleep, and I woke up feeling fairly terrible.
It got worse through the morning and by noon I was on the phone to the GP, convinced I was having asthma attacks that wouldn't stop. I was on hold for over 10 minutes before someone finally answered (and in panicked tears by that point) and was told to come right there. I got my neighbour to drive me, was seen within minutes and, after a thorough examination, told that it wasn't asthma (which is good, because the oral steroids for treating major asthma attacks are Not Good for developing a developing fetus), it's just a viral infection that's triggering light asthma attacks and I just need to wait it out. Antibiotics, obviously, were out of the question but I was given a script for a preventative steroid inhaler and granted permission to take 6 puffs on my rescue inhaler as needed (previously 2).
The best part was having time to fill the script, eat food for the first time that day, and collect Dear Husband in time to make our twenty-week ultrasound appointment. Part of the panicked tears was needed to get to the ATM to get cash to pay for a taxi to and from the hospital when the buses were against me (half a mile to go and it would take two hours round-trip) and I couldn't breathe and now I also needed money to take a taxi to the GP and I wasn't even sure if I should call the GP or just go straight to A&E (ER). I was a bit of a mess. But it all worked out and we got to the obstetrics ultrasound department 15 minutes early and despite being warned that they were running late we were seen before our appointment time, in an out faster than either of our previous appointments.
And what an amazing appointment it was. We're convinced we got the most talented technician that time as she whipped around Little Djinn's body, measuring bones and brains, blood flow and who knows what all else. We saw all of Little Djinn's bones, even its little spine, and the major organs, got good looks at the limbs and the face. Little Djinn wiggled and waved and was sucking in fluid. I've been able to feel Little Djinn kicking for about a week but being able to see it on the screen is just incredible. I feel very blessed to live in a country where I get these peaks at Little Djinn's development, these reassurances about its health and mine, and its all paid for. I've had three ultrasounds so far with at least another two to come and all I have to pay for are the taxi trips. When I was panicked about not being able to breathe, I got an appointment in minutes and a script and the one thing I wasn't freaking out about was how much it would cost me. When I compare the NHS in Scotland to the US system I feel like the luckiest woman in the world.
Two days later and I still feel just as poorly but no longer panicked. The euphoria of seeing Little Djinn held out a few hours against the misery of coughing. Its picture is in a place of honour on the mantel and I even cast on a new baby sweater.
* Our window cleaner did that for us. We told Aged Parent, Aged Parent told Window Cleaner and he told, as near as we can tell, everyone he knew. After the first couple of people responded to the announcement with "yeah, Window Cleaner told me. Congratulations" we stopped telling people.
** not in a FUBAR way, just in a confluence of events leading to staffing issues way
*** though they are pregnancy symptoms. I have trouble believing how random pregnancy symptoms can be. I swear people got drunk, took all the pages out of a symptom diagnosis book, and threw trimester-coloured darts at them to get this random collection of ways gestating can make one feel poorly