How the heck is it only sixteen weeks? It feels like Jess has been pregnant for decades. Her bump is now a proper pregnancy bump, but that doesn’t stop her worrying about muffin tops, bat wings or turkey neck because well, let’s face it, she’s a woman; and the only women who don’t fret on a daily basis about their appearance are either stunningly gorgeous supermodels, two year-olds or those who are so incredibly ugly there’s no point even trying.
Around this time you should have another midwife appointment, for which your mrs will need to once again pee into a small tube without either the aid of a funnel or the convenience of a penis. During this appointment they will check the heartbeat and measure the baby. Our midwife did neither of these things for some reason, instead confining us to her stuffy overheated office whilst she mumbled through her notes and answered questions with hazy and wayward answers. We will now have to wait for another fortnight until our sexing scan to know for sure that everything’s OK, which is very exciting because we find out whether our baby has a dinkle or a tuppence.
At some point you and your partner will need to talk about and agree on a birthing plan – and by agree on, I mean that you object pathetically before eventually giving in with much less fight than you should have. With Isaac, our firstborn, we opted for a hospital birth, as many mothers do, and rightly so; if you’re having a new experience such as childbirth, you want to be in the safest place possible. With this baby, Jess is really excited about the prospect of a home birth; me, not so much. However, I think I have reacted in the same way as most people: a home birth is all well and good, but if something goes wrong, you want to be in a hospital. Plus, when your mrs spurts goo, blood and the occasional turd within a three-foot radius I would much rather it be some underpaid person with a mop cleaning it up off a smooth hospital floor instead of me with a can of Vanish trying to grind it out of a deep pile carpet.
A bit of research was needed, and it yielded some interesting results: about 2% of women have a home birth, mostly due to the fact that it was discouraged in the 1950s due to poor general health in the country and unhygienic housing conditions. However, there are many benefits of a home birth, including a less painful labour, one-to-one care, more privacy and lower rates of postnatal infections for mother and baby.
If any doctor, nurse or midwife thinks at any point during your pregnancy that you are at higher risk of complications, they will encourage a hospital birth. Similarly, if you opt for a home birth and there are difficulties, they will get her to a hospital straight away instead of attempting to coax the child out of your mrs using a pair of BBQ tongs, your finest salad spoons, or a vacuum cleaner.
If it means that Jess is more relaxed and therefore the labour is a bit easier, then it’s fine with me, as long as I’m happy in my own mind. I just hope I have enough time to put a tarpaulin down first.
Jess’ sciatica is really playing up this week, and she’s hobbling around like an arthritic pensioner. Hot baths relieve it for a bit, as do – allegedly – two bowls of Coco Pops, but in the end she has given up and requested physio appointments through our local doctors’ surgery. She’s a bit grumpy today – or should I say grumpier – as she was approached by someone in the park who commented on how ill she looks, even though she feels OK apart from the painful back and leg. Talk about playing with fire: I’ve no idea how that woman didn’t end up entwined in the chains of a swing, or crushed beneath a see-saw. “You’re beautiful on the inside.” I tell her, soothingly. It doesn’t help.
Your baby’s up to almost five inches long now from crown to rump, and the development of facial muscles means that your baby can now pull expressions such as squinting and frowning, although I don’t know what it’s got to frown about – unless it can understand bad jokes, in which case it would have good reason to pull a face; or perhaps it could be the fact that it is peeing every 40-45 minutes. Nothing new; whenever I have a bath I pee way more times than that.