In the early hyperemesis days, Jas had a bad train trip to work, where she was forced to stand when she was unwell, and then had promptly passed out. Since then I’d become more aware of pregnant passengers in search of a seat on my daily commute. One day I looked up from my book to see a young lass moving down the carriage with a cargo that looked like it would be delivered before we arrived at London Blackfriars. I stood up so quickly – without thinking - that it was as though I had just sat on something very pointy. She was grateful for the seat, and I hoped Jas would have pregnancy-aware chaps on her train, however unlikely that may be.
On another occasion I was again about to leap out of my seat at the sight of a slightly protruding undercarriage moving towards me, when I checked myself and thought, “Is she or isn’t she...pregnant?” Predicament: Do I stay seated and risk being rude and inconsiderate, or stand up with the chance of being offensive?
The little mans’ movements is something amazing and entertaining for me, something I can tap into when I want to. But Jas feels it all the time - little jiggles or slides at any time of the day or night. It’s something I find hard to imagine, having something living inside you that can interrupt anything you are doing, wherever you might be doing it, without warning. The closest sensation I could think of was the day after a bad curry. It would be distracting, say, in a meeting at work, or performing something important or precise. I could imagine female laser eye surgeons being unable to work during advanced pregnancy! I heard an exclamation from our bathroom one evening: kicks during a toilet visit. I guess it could help things along.
We’d started doing a lot of online searching for the growing list baby of essentials we had to buy. Well, ok, Jas had...I was just viewing the odd thing of interest, a potential bargain, that she’d found. One day she emailed me a link of an item to have a look at while I was at work. I replied: “Ok, will look at this at home. Checking out breast pump websites at work will probably raise eyebrows.”
And those breast pumps – have you seen them!? They look like something from Dr Who, not something you’d have suctioned against your tender bits. I was certainly glad I didn’t view the sites at work, with the images showing the “operational side” of the devices, and phrases like: “Change your pumping rhythm any time you wish. Relax and enjoy the experience...”
We began to learn that we had certain post-birthing practices to consider. “What shall we do with the placenta?” I asked one day. Jas looked at me as though I’d just told her I fancied having a pet lizard. I told her that different cultures have certain rituals: fathers in Peru bury the placenta in a far-off location so it doesn’t become “jealous” of the attention paid to the baby; some Philippinos bury it with a book to increase the intelligence of the child; I’d heard of some families freezing it to cook as part of a roast for a special occasion (“Afterbirth or gravy, nan?”); in the UK, most hospitals actually sell it to cosmetic companies. Jas said: “Let’s leave it to the hospital to recycle”. Those L’Oreal advertisements won’t ever look the same...