How does that work? I was perfectly fine the day before I took the test. And then, a mere 24 hours later, I was feeling a little bit weak at the knees. Two days on, I felt like The Gods had located my ‘off’ switch, and were using it at random for their own amusement. On Saturday, for example, I got into bed for a lunchtime nap, reached down to take my socks off, and woke up an hour later with both socks still in my hand.
What’s more, I am treading the tightrope between feeling sick because my stomach is empty, and feeling sick because I’ve eaten something. Yesterday, I had to take to the sofa in groaning nausea because I’d eaten a salad. It’s a wonder I’m finding the time to continually take pregnancy tests, just to check it’s still there.
Anyway, amongst all of this, I have been reminded that I’m supposed to be a sex blogger. People keep telling me how rampant I’ll feel after these trying first thirteen weeks (THIRTEEN WEEKS?!?), but for now it’s hard to see the appeal. Still, it was Herbert’s 40th birthday on Monday, and seeing as the matter of sex hadn’t even been mentioned since that second red line appeared (a whole fortnight ago), I thought I ought to make him an offer.
Sex in pregnancy is a complicated matter. One gets the sense that it’s not really supposed to be at the forefront of your mind. After all, as soon as egg meets sperm, we’re supposed to turn into sanctified beings – all martyrdom and delicacy. Some of the (many) books I’ve bought tell you not to have sex at all in the first trimester – although most tell you to go right ahead.
What’s more, it feels a bit counterintuitive to generally prod, squash and jiggle the container that holds your precious embryo (which, this week, is the size of a blueberry and is busy growing a face, arms and legs, a bit like a Ribena berry). How come you’re not allowed to eat soft cheese, take a hot bath or roller skate (I imagine), but you’re allowed to do that?
But it is his birthday. He kindly volunteers to have a shower before he gets into bed (given that my sense of smell is currently so sensitive that I am tormented by the odour of other people’s hair, this is wise), and then snuggles in beside me. I am watching telly in my new voluminous Victorian nightie.
‘Shall I take this off?’ I say.
‘No, leave it on. It’s got a kind of Hammer House of Horror vibe.’
‘Is that good?’
‘Yeah. Sure. Why not.’ I can’t help but feel pleased that he’s never seen Rosemary’s Baby.
We begin to kiss. Then we stop. ‘That’s making me feel sick,’ I say.
H winces. ‘I’m guessing a blow job’s out of the question then.’
Too right, Herbert. Right at this moment, you activate my gag reflex at your peril. He’s looking distinctly put-off. ‘Look!’ I say by means of distraction, ‘You can entertain yourself with my enormous boobs.’
‘When do they start producing milk?’
‘When the baby comes. Don’t worry, they’re not full of anything. They won’t leak. They’re just big because…I don’t know. Because they are.’
I can’t tell whether he’s reassured or disappointed. Actually, I think he’s mainly scared. I don’t blame him. Neither of us are particularly convinced that this little berry has stuck fast yet. We’re doing all we can. But suddenly my body has become a great deal more mysterious to both of us. I’m sure we’ll get the hang of this eventually, but in the meantime, it feels a bit like learning all over again.