So, I got the cold.
I always knew I’d get the cold – or possibly even the flu – at some point during this pregnancy (I mean, the odds of going a full nine months without so much as a sniffle must be pretty low, right?), and I even knew it would probably happen this week, too, on account of how this current variety of lurgy had already gone through most of my family, leaving me and Terry firmly in its sights. I was so worried about it, in fact, that I even messaged my midwife to ask her if I should just lock myself away now until the birth. (Answer: no, just wash your hands more often and don’t be an idiot, Amber. Only in nicer wording than that, obviously…).
Since then, I’ve been careful to the point of paranoia about hygiene: washing my hands frequently, using hand sanitiser constantly, doing my best to avoid social kissing/hugging etc. (Full disclosure: that last one is mostly just because, GOD, I HATE social kissing. Please don’t make me…) In fact, we’ve been visiting Terry’s mum in hospital every day for weeks now (She finally got out last weekend, after almost four weeks: which is another story, for another day…), and my attempts to get through that hospital without touching any of the surfaces would be comical, if they hadn’t been borderline insane.
In other words, I’ve done absolutely everything in my power – short of literally just barricading myself in the house and refusing to leave, obviously – to avoid catching the cold, or anything else.
And I got it anyway.
Which actually makes barricading myself in the house seem like a pretty good idea, to be honest.
It started on Monday. Sore throat. Runny nose. The absolute conviction that, having somehow managed to keep this baby alive for 23 weeks, I was now about to kill it with the cold. Terry was assigned the task of typing variations on the words, “Will a head cold kill my baby?” into Google (I’m not allowed to symptom surf, and don’t recommend that ANYONE with health anxiety ever consult Google on anything, because it will always, ALWAYS give you the worst possible case scenario. Like, if you were to actually type that sentence into Google, Google would say, “Yes, and it will also give you cancer!” Because, on Google, all searches eventually lead to cancer…), but no amount of reassurance from him that there was really no chance of my runny nose hurting my baby could calm me down.
So I messaged the midwife again, to say, “You know that cold I was worried about catching? Well, I caught it! Will you just meet me at the hospital, or is all hope already lost?”
Or words to that effect.
Honestly, even in the midst of my panic, and even although the midwife has encouraged me to contact her any time at all, I felt like a prize idiot for doing it. I know approximately NONE of you are going to believe me now, but I’m actually NOT the kind of hypochondriac that runs to the doctor every time she sneezes. (Because the doctor would send me to the hospital, and in the hospital I would either die, or be diagnosed with cancer, obviously. Probs both.) No, really, I’m not. But I was so worried that my sore throat would kill my baby that I needed the extra reassurance. And then, when it came (Unsurprisingly, she just told me to keep my fluids up, and not to worry because my baby is well protected…), I totally didn’t believe it, because how COULD I be feeling SO bad, without it having effect on a teeny-tiny baby that was totally relying on me? GAH.
So, that’s been my week, basically. Symptom wise, it hasn’t been too bad: I mean, I haven’t slept properly in three days now, and would quite happily just rip my head off my neck if that were an option, but as long as the baby is OK, I can deal with it. Unfortunately, though, it’s also been a bit of a pain in other ways: my uncle has been visiting from Canada, and my brother and sister-in-law arrived from Kent on Tuesday, and I’ve been having to avoid all of them: my uncle at first, for fear of catching the cold myself (both he and my dad had it), and then Terry’s side of the family because his mum’s immune system is obviously lowered due to chemotherapy and generally being so ill (She ended up with severe kidney damage, which she got while she was in hospital – yeah, it’s a story all right…), so there’s been a lot of sitting around the house on my own, feeling sorry for myself this week. The usual then.
Here’s what else happened in week 23…
Week 23 Pregnancy Highlights
Lots of little baby kicks, which still make me laugh every time I feel them, although I still don’t really know why. Granted, those periods of kicking are still interspersed with long periods of absolutely nothing at all, which are totally panic-inducing, but the kicks, when they come, are much stronger, and provide me with so much reassurance… for a little while, at least.
Week 23 Pregnancy Symptoms
Crying. Oh my God, the crying. I feel like I’ve quite literally cried all week – probably because I HAVE – and it’s all been over absolutely nothing at all… which is super-awkward, seriously. In fact, sitting around the house on my own has probably been a good thing, actually, considering that I’m liable to burst into tears as soon as someone says, “Hello” to me…
Week 23 Pregnancy Purchases/ Preparations
Still no baby-related purchases (still feels too early for those!), but I DID order a new bag for my hospital stuff, having realised that I’m definitely not going to be able to fit all of my things AND all of the baby things into the one I’d planned on using, so at least that’s something!
As for the rest of my list, I’ve made no progress at all on that this week, because, hey, did I mention I’ve been ill? Because I’m not sure I made that quite clear enough? Oh, I did? Well, OK: in ‘list’ terms I suppose the biggest issue has been that it’s completely zapped my energy, so I’ve just been doing the absolute minimum every day (She says, writing this in her nightie, surrounded by empty mugs that once held copious amounts of honey and lemon…) and then falling into bed: again, pretty standard for this pregnancy lately.
Week 23 Pregnancy Fears
As well as all of my stupid cold-related worries, I’ve been getting more and more scared about childbirth, snd the prospect of being in hospital. Unfortunately, visiting the place every day for almost four weeks has only increased my anxiety about it all, so I’ve been worrying about that, in between all of the OTHER worrying I’ve been doing. Seriously, if ‘Professional Worrier’ was a legitimate career path, I’d be at the very top of my game right now, and probably earning a small fortune from after-dinner speaking and the like. I kinda wish there was a way to make that happen, actually.
As it happens, though, at roughly the same time this post goes live, I’ll be meeting with my consultant for the first time, to talk about my various fears, and see if she can help me figure a way through them. My midwife tells me this particular doctor is really lovely, and very understanding of mental health issues, so I’m not too worried about the meeting, although time will tell. And so will next week’s pregnancy diary update – because I think I’ve complained enough for this week, don’t you?
[P.S. Sorry to have to do this, but I’m going to have to once again ask you to kindly refrain from posting medical information in the comments section, as no matter how carefully you word it, or how good your intentions are, it’s likely to be really, really triggering for me. Thanks so much!]