That's reading, as in books and blogs, not Reading, which I'm sure is a lovely place to live.
Being the silly little first-time-mum-to-be-with-far-too-much-time-on-her-hands that I am, I hopped onto Amazon as soon as I saw that 2nd purple line and got me a "Your Pregnancy Week by Week" book to salivate over. Then, because this all has to be a great big secret until we get to the all important 12-week scan and find out that all is well, I realised that this book is just not enough - I have to be able to share this experience with someone, anyone.....well, actually several random strangers who happened to have peed on a stick around the same time as me. So, I joined a pregnancy "Due in March 2010" internet forum where I could try to forget that I should actually be busy working on clinical trial strategies, and instead spend my days sharing all the niggles and fears with a lot of other similarly petrified people.
This all seemed like a really marvelous idea until I got impatient with the "Your baby currently looks like a tadpole and measures 0.5mm" pages in my book, and decided to read on. To the Miscarriage chapter. As you do - it's like driving past a car crash after you've been queuing for 2 hours on the M25 with no idea why. You know you shouldn't look as you pass, and that if you do see anything you're going to wish that you hadn't but...you just can't help rubbernecking all the same. So, I read on....and can I just see a show of hands for anyone who has heard of a "missed miscarriage" before?? I had no idea. I thought that if you lost your baby, you would know about it. That's what the movies told me - you wake up in the middle of the night to discover that your white bed sheets are now red, you go to the bathroom and crumple onto the cold tiles without turning the light on, cry for a month and, well, that's what a miscarriage looks like.
Nobody warned me that you could merrily go on your way, choosing names, mentally decorating the nursery and trying not to kill your husband while your raging hormones have you leaping from ecstatic "ohmygodwe'rehavingababy" joy to "if he breathes that way one more time I swear I'm going to beat him to a bloody pulp with this wooden spoon"....only to get to the 12 week scan and be told that your little bean died 6 weeks ago. How could that be? You've been puking for England, your boobs are starting to make Pamela Anderson look positively flat-chested and Blinky has a name, godammit!
Add to this the heartwarming statistic that one in six pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, and here you have a very petrified pregnant Pepper indeed.
Then in just one day, three of the Due in March women went for an early scan to find their little ones were no more. Two days later it happened to another two. Completely ignoring that fact that the majority of women on this website had progressed from the "Miscarriage" to the "Trying to Conceive" to the "Due in March" forums...i.e. they all had previous history and underlying health issues. None of that mattered to me - my little bean was clearly in jeopardy and there was no way I could wait another month to hear what is bound to be just terrible news.
So....I threw rationality (and money) to the wind and booked us in for an 8 week reassurance scan at Clinic Nine.
They tell you to arrive with a full bladder at least 10 minutes before your appointment, which was at 7pm. So at 5.30 I made a big mug of decaff tea. Followed by a can of diet coke. Then I got in the car and went to pick up Damyan from work, taking a 1.5L bottle of water with me and slugging from it at every red traffic light. We arrived at quarter to seven, and felt like complete frauds when we saw the two very obviously pregnant girls in there for their posh 4D scans! 7pm came and went. I couldn't sit down because it put pressure on my bladder, but standing up and walking around the tiny white waiting room wasn't a huge help either. 7.10pm came and went. PEOPLE, hello!?! - pregnant lady really really really needs to pee right now!!! 7.20 I decided that maybe I could go to the loo and pee just a little bit, just enough to stop me bursting. At which point the sonographer came out and said "Kerstin??". Bugger!
The thought of someone pressing down on my stomach was a bit of a worry, but in we went nonetheless, excited but nervous. Had to confess that the reason we were there was "because, um, I read the miscarriage chapter in my baby book". Silly. Silly, silly. Oh, and at this point being told that my bladder was too full now was not helpful. Thanks.
Anyway, the long and short of it is that we saw our little bean. Which was really all it looked like - our fuzzy little bean with the most amazing, fluttering crazy train heartbeat. It even did a little flip, rolled right over on the screen. So. Very. Cool !!! Little Ethelred measured at 8 weeks and 4 days, which in case you're wondering equates to 20.8mm from crown to rump. Our teeny tiny little bean.
So I am not going to read about any more horror stories, and instead am going to gaze adoringly at our teeny one and wait impatiently for the 12-week scan on 24th August - which thanks to £95 well (and maybe a little bit frivolously) spent, we can now look forward to rather than being a little frightened of it.
Reading is bad - a little ignorance can be a very good thing!