For the actual anniversary of my dad’s death, I went to Bath with my mum and sister. At the airport we were delayed, and we got a voucher for a free drink, and my mum had gin and tonic and I had a tea and I had to sneak away to call the GP and get the results of my urine test.
That’s come back positive, the receptionist said, so I’ve got to make you an appointment with the GP. She said nothing else but there was a smile in her voice – she knew what she was telling me. I stood in the middle of Edinburgh airport and listened to her words and thought, wow, this is really happening, it’s really there. And then our flight was finally called and I walked onto the plane, me, my hand luggage and a tiny, tiny secret.
On the plane, I read my first pregnancy hit – “Expecting Better” by Emily Oster. (You can read more about this book here.) In secret, on my kindle. When I first got my kindle, I was slightly surprised to see how much erotica (or is that just plain porn?) was on the top selling lists. But then it made sense – no embarrassing cover, no title proclaiming for all to see that you’re reading “Naughty Tales for Wet Girls” or whatever, and the joy of that delete button once you’re finished. Suddenly I saw the massive advantage for the newly-pregnant lady. I sat on the plane reading about how it was actually OK to eat brie, and change the cat litter tray, but not do gardening, whilst my mum sat next to me, oblivious. The secret stayed safe!
Actually, to spa or not to spa was one of my first pregnancy problems. It’s not safe to have hot baths! I’d read. The jacuzzi at my gym is off limits to those of a pregnant disposition. I called Bath Spa, and they said that they recommended pregnant ladies stay out of the hottest areas. “You know your own body,” the receptionist cooed down the line at me. I don’t, actually, I wanted to say. Not this new body and this new need to protect a life which is little more than a glimmering, tucked far, far away in the middle of my abdomen somewhere. I don’t know if I can cope with a hot tub or not. Also, Jim and I don’t have a bath, so I normally seize any chance I can get to relax in hot water. I googled it. “My midwife says hot baths are fine!” says one woman. “It’s best to stick to warm baths only,” the NHS say. But when does a warm bath become a hot bath? I googled and googled and googled and eventually I hit upon a great resource: the guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. There's a whole section on the website which provides information for pregnant women. No scare stories, no crap about celebrating the glow of pregnancy, just facts, evidence, and advice. Avoid water over 37 degrees, they say, and I checked out the Bath Spa website and decided that I better give the thermal bath a miss. And I sighed at that, because how beautiful does this look?
In the end, we ran out of time and never even got to the spa. I was kind of relieved, as it meant I didn't have to make weird excuses about not going into the hot water. But I was also sad at the thought of nine months without any wallowing in luxurious roof top pools.