Am an avid fan of the blog Cup of Jo. From time to time, she had people contributing to their experiences being an American mother in a different country. It’s quite interesting reading on different cultures and systems, but what’s great it’s how its new to them too.
So I thought i’ll write about my experience being a mum here.
I found out I was pregnant by using those pregnancy tests from Boots. I knew you have to book an appointment with the mid wife in your local GP practice. When I was with Zayan, for some reason, I didn’t go until I was 14 or 15 weeks or something like that. Partly due to procrastination and partly cos we went to travel. needed to get my first ultrasound scan before I turn 16 weeks so I can be tested for Down syndrome risk and they couldn’t get me a scan before that under the NHS. I ended up having to go private- can’t remember how much but it was more than 60 pounds. An expensive cost to procrastination!
With Ayman, I was very good and booked it in good time. Had my booking scan at 13 weeks and then the anomaly scan at 20 weeks. You don’t have another scan unless they want to monitor you for any other reason (multiple pregnancies, small babies, too much or too little amniotic fluid). When you go for the scan, you have to pay for ONE scan pic. Think it’s four pounds a picture, so expensive!
You see the midwives a few times during pregnancy. Something like at 13 weeks, 16 weeks, 28 weeks, 32 and 36 weeks. And that’s if it’s a straightforward pregnancy.
You also get what’s called Bounty pack during and after pregnancy. You basically get freebies including mini bottles of body wash, nappy cream, packet of nipple creaam, baby towel and endless paper adverts. They also include a pregnancy magazine with advice for each week of gestation. Of course the magazine had many ads on strollers, cribs and other baby themed gadgets. I devoured that magazine in the first pregnancy, happy taking note of other mums having similar symptoms (constipation and back pain for me) and going ‘ooo my baby’s the size of a grapefruit this week!’. I was also over whelmed with the many choices we had to make ( Crib or Moses basket? Simple stroller or proper travel system? Disposable or reusable nappies?)
I got to know of this massive baby store that sells things at wholesale price. It was an hour away and oh boy, it didnt disappoint! It has three storeys of merchandise. It has everything from strollers to cots to baby bags. It has everything except for baby clothes (limited variety on clothing). There’s a whole storey on furniture for the nursery. There’s a whole row of just maternity bags. If I didnt have a clue what to get, that store gave me a heads up on what to buy. We bought Zayan’s cot and baby carrier from there, wholesale massive box of nappies and bits and bobs – like nappy bags. Mostly we bought from mothercare and toys r us. I like to buy baby clothes from Next and when I want to splash out, Zara kids.
Asda (the equivalent to Hua Ho) sells their own onesies and short vests and I know lotsa people buy from there as it’s quite cheap. I’m sure I’ve bought a pack or two there as well. Apa jua inner vest, inda payah mahal2. Kamah kana kamihi/beria/muntah jua saja.
Reading the books and mags and baby forums (yes I’m that type of mum), I feel like I have to be careful with what I eat. Raw stuff is a no-no. I really really wanted sushi and I did ended up eating sushi after extensive research (research saying raw salmon is ok but some fish like tuna has high amount of mercury and so best to avoid. Also to make sure you go to good japanese restaurant that sells fresh stuff and not dodgy ones). I did feel guilty after – scared my kid will have deformed face or I’ll have a miscarriage (no evidence saying this but my paranoid brain likes to stretch worst case scenarios). Each time I go as well, I keep thinking someone will pounce at me and tell me off for risking my pregnancy/baby. This has never happened but I couldnt shake the feeling that people are judging me!
People aren’t that nice to you in public places, no more than when I’m not pregnant I mean. I was obviously showing one time (30’weeks!) and the people near me in the tube didnt offer me their seats. Do I sound righteous? I’m sorry when you have backache and aching legs, it does help to sit a lot!! Especially when walking around London.
On the other hand, in my workplace, theyre very kind, telling me to sit as often as I can, looking out for me generally. One time, I entered the nurses station and there was no empty chair for me to sit on and the registrar there said “Ugh I hate it when this pregnant one comes along. I have to offer her my chair…” as he gives the chair and sits on the floor. Hahaha! LOVE it. Saying it as it is. It’s ok we have this kind of banter when we’re working (I mess up the papers in the gas room during our night shifts just to irk him).
What else about pregnancy … basically you just get on with it here. There’s pregnancy yoga and aerobic classes. I’ve never been because I never had time but you have to pay for the whole few weeks of sessions even if you miss a few. What I did do was go swimming when I was with Zayan. There’s women only sessions in the local swimming pool, so I went during that time. Such a relief for my backache!
I went on leave at 34 weeks for both Zayan and Ayman. I initially wanted to go at 36 weeks but my supervisor looked at me weirdly and said people usually go earlier like 30-32 weeks. With zayan, I opted to 34 weeks in the end, which I partly regretted because I was so bored after awhile. I did all my oncalls up until I finished and even didnnights at 32 weeks. I didnt know you can ask to stop doing oncalls! Theres no set rules of when to stop. Most people ask after 28 weeks. Some hospitals ask for midwife/GP to give a letter for this. With Ayman, I stopped oncalls at 32 weeks and nights at 28 weeks. I wanted to go on leave at 36 weeks but because of exam,’finished work at 34 weeks so I could revise and did my exam at 36 weeks on the dot!
Ok I’m tired now. Will talk re labour in next post….if I can be bothered!