Dr M down was my gynae during my first pregnancy. Despite coining preposterous terms such as “psychological epidurals”, I loved her. She understood The Husband and my neuroses, our need to have absolute clarity on absolutely everything as well as The Husband’s need to have all risks laid out in statistical terms. She got us. She even gave herself away a little when she told us that our names had come up when she’d been talking shop with her professional neighbour who was our newly appointed paediatrician:
“They’re very nice,” she claimed that she’d told the paed. “They ask ALOT of questions but they’re very nice.”
The Husband also loved her – partly because she is an avid cyclist. She’d give us information and advice about the developmental progress of our baby in utero and The Husband would give her information and advice on the best bike to buy. Honestly. This included e-mails of 500 words in length, with advice on things like: frames, component sets (including brakes, gear shifters and cranks); wheels (including “clinchers” and “tubbies” or “deep section”, “non-deep section” and “semi-deep section) and, finally, advice on cleats. Here’s an extract from an e-mail on the latter, just to illustrate the attention to detail:
…The next decision is whether you get mountain biking or road biking cleats. Mountain biking cleats are much easier to walk in at the coffee shop but have the disadvantage of not distributing your power in as perfect a manner as road biking cleats. I would recommend mountain biking cleats and then up-grading to road biking cleats at a later stage.
What can I say? Just an everyday e-mail exchange between two specialists in their fields…
Unfortunately, Dr M decided to give up obstetrics just as I was thinking about falling pregnant for a second time. Highly inconvenient. I have actually overheard The Husband telling our friends that she made this professional decision in order to free up more time for cycling. I think he honestly believes it to be the case.
The point is, when I found out I was pregnant late last year, I had to find a new gynae. Normally, you can’t get an appointment with a gynae for love or money in this town, but fortunately you are afforded a form of priority status when you’re preggers, so I managed to get in at my gynae of choice.
The Husband was in Russia for business at my eight week check-up so I went alone. All was going well until Dr C told me to please “step on the scale”. Now, since I’d found I’d I was pregnant four weeks earlier, I gone into a high-fat feeding frenzy. I knew I should not be obliterating 15 months of dieting in favour of yellow cheese, butter, pasta, crisps and chocolate but I simple had no desire to be logical at this point.
Dr C: I need to weigh you.
Me: Thanks, but I’d rather not.
Dr C: Perhaps. Still, I must.
Me: No, really. I really don’t want to get on that scale. Can I tell you what I weighed before I fell pregnant and then you can just weigh me right at the end and if things look like they’re going pear-shaped in between, then you can say something… but don’t be too harsh…
Dr C: (looking ever so slightly irritable). That’s not going to work. I need to monitor your weight on a continuous basis.
Me: Really? Why? Isn’t this the time when all women balloon? I’ll lose it afterwards, I promise.
Dr C: You need to get on the scale now. Don’t look – I’ll take down your weight.
Other perks of pregnancy which I seem to enjoy every time include the grow of new tufts of hair on the edge of my hairline, just above my forehead. I suspect it’s that purple box full of ridiculously expensive Preg Omega vitamin tablets that seem to have cornered the pregnancy vitamin market. I wouldn’t mind more hair, but of course that depends entirely where… I don’t feel that tufts growing heavenward from my temples frame my face in quite the manner I’d like them to. On the plus side, these vitamins seem to turn my usually paper-thin nails into super strong talons and I can easily live with that.
I am fortunately (mostly) over the very hormonal moodiness of the first trimester when I was irrationally angry with the world and all its inhabitants. Hormones are scary things. At least the neurotic Anglophone world hasn’t yet completely banned pregnant women from eating chocolate, else I don’t know how I would have coped. When one thinks that our mothers smoked and drank during pregnancy. And now, a mere thirty-something years on, we are not supposed to let smoked salmon, beef carpaccio or camembert pass our lips… I already feel sorry for the Princess’ generation… imagine how long the list of food and drinks to avoid will be then.
Which reminds me. We’ve been in Franschhoek for the past five days for a cycle race. Franschhoek is a village that Woolworths Foods has evidently not yet discovered, meaning that I’ve had to forego my Chuckles fix for nearly a week. Luckily, we are now back in Jozi and I’m off to indulge in the last few remaining permissible indulgences for pregnant women…