What else to expect when you’re expecting (let’s get practical)

May – I made it to you! I had my ‘What to expect when you’re expecting’ iPhone app that I read every day, and gleaned some practical advice from (posture tips, snack ideas, not to freak out when your toothbrush is covered in blood), but also some unintentionally hilarious wisdom (what to do when you're not gaining enough weight, telling the Dad to “go easy on those giganto breasts”..) Every week, along with a countdown till birth, as a point of reference, the kid was a different fruit or veg in size. Whatever it was, on any given week, was suddenly my Mama’s favourite produce ever.

After I woke up one night with a buzzing sensation in one wrist, I watched as two mosquito bites morphed into a) the itchiest patch of skin known to man b) a bruise c) a faint scar. And the only solution the pharmacist could safely recommend was an unwelcome blast from the past - calamine lotion. Can it really be true that the formula for this stuff is still the same? Still only available in an unstylish unmarked bottle, still the colour and consistency of forgotten melted strawberry ice cream, and still capable of splashing everywhere when you attempt to dump a small amount onto some Kleenex to swab your arm, which then turns into a sodden sticky lump that leaves tiny patches of Kleenex stuck to your arm, and then you remember why when you were little you preferred to stay itchy than play with this shit. How can there not be a thicker lotion or cream variant available all these years later? C’mon Science.

And after this little itch fest and many other little aches, pains, nose bleeds and uncertainties, I realized seeing my MD for 7 minutes every 4 weeks sucked. I had a friend whose expectant friend was seeing a team of midwives, and I listened to a story she told me about an appointment where, for over an hour, they asked a million questions; and then a co-worker told me about her group of midwives experience, and then I realized I was dumb. I had written off the practice as airy fairy placenta smoothie without doing any type of research. Our government will cover you under MSP for either a Doctor or a midwife. That’s an endorsement you can’t touch.

I know this is not wholly correct, but I suddenly saw them as like birthing fairy godmothers; someone you could call or email at any time to ask what you think is surely a dumb question, but you wouldn’t feel dumb or pesky asking it. A friend that knows the exact path you’re on like the back of their hand, and will take your hand if you need it. I was quite sad for a few days, and then mad at myself for, once again, making assumptions abut something I knew not a lick about, and not doing any type of research before jumping into a project as life-altering as this. Again, I know this is candy coating and generalizing the whole profession, but if I could do this all over again, I would have a midwife.

Next instalment: Getting to know you