Time to be Honest with your Employer?

Nice article on The Pool yesterday (which is an excellent website, by the way), on new research that shows it ‘pays to be honest’ about what we want with potential employers – particularly related to flexible working and childcare.

Earlier this year, a CEO from Deloitte admitted they were losing talent because they were not giving young women what they needed. A chat with my fellow blogger The Eco Feminist highlighted the rather pathetic situation in the US related to mandated maternity leave, described in this New Yorker article as ‘America’s Family Leave Disgrace‘. Despite our own issues we’re still pretty lucky in Europe compared to the US – that’s for sure.

The Pool article links to an interesting campaign called ‘Hire me My Way‘ , which has been launched to ‘offer candidates visibility on who the UK’s best flexible employers’ are. This is good news not just for parents, but also for employees who look after relatives, are disabled or who have mobility issues. Most new jobs are not advertised with part time or flexible options – perhaps this campaign will help fill the gap.

 

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25 weeks – Monster Trucks R Us

I completed my last work trip PB (pre babies) yesterday – 36 hours in Germany, done! Boom, yay, Ka-ching etc

Very pleased not to be doing any more flights. I’m not worried about flying; I’m just getting big and lazy and not in the mood for faffing around at airports. My tolerance levels have plummeted to an all time low. I got irrationally angry with a man eating soup in airport lounge last night. It went like this:

  • SLURP soup
  • DUNK bread
  • CHEW wet bread with mouth open
  • REPEAT

I was fuming. I stared at him but he didn’t care. He was in a soup stupor.

Anger management issues.

We had a scan last week and both babies are doing fine. They don’t really like to be photographed but this pic of twin 1 is a good’un:

baby

You can see lips! And a hand waving! She looks pretty crammed in there. Whenever I look at this picture I can hear Adele singing ‘HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE’. Aww. Not long now, squashed little baby.

We haven’t really bought much for the babies yet but we have chosen a pram. We don’t have a car and we use legs, two wheels and the bus as our transport so it was a tough decision. Most twin prams are enormous side by side monster trucks.

What is the least annoying pram available? How can we take up the smallest amount of room on the pavement and on the bus? How the bloody hell are we going to get an enormous twin pram up the Victorian stair cases of London tube stations? How…in fact…are we going to fit a twin pram through our front door?!

I introduce you to the Peach Blossom 3:

Peach3-Bloosom-Azure

Yes, one of the twins (our least favourite one?!) will have a rubbish view. That’s ok…they can take it in turns. We’re buying it in a darker colour of course, to hide the inevitable stains. Prams are ridiculously expensive, this one costs about as much as a second hand car.

However no need to feel down. Just imagine the alternative! We could be expecting quads! No way you could get this bad boy on the 137 bus without attracting some very British tuts and eyerolls….

quad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 weeks – big foot

I’m learning a few things about pregnancy they don’t tell you in the movies:

  • My feet have got bigger. Why? Who knows but I am developing sausage feet. Birkenstocks are my new friend – I have decided they are appropriate for work, home, weekends, shopping, going out, staying in, basically all aspects of life.
  • ‘Restless leg syndrome’ is a thing. Unfortunately I have that thing and it is keeping me awake at night like a mad, twitching lunatic.
  • I have dropped a few IQ points. Today I panicked at the cash point because I realised I had lost my bank card. Guess where it was? Inside the cash machine. Where I had put it 5 seconds beforehand.
  • Having a massive belly and humungaboobs hurts your back.

Anyway aside from all of the above I am feeling good. Had another cervical scan this week and my rubber ring/pessary is doing its job. Cervix is still 27mm which is short, but it’s not getting any worse. Ha! In your face, cervix! You cannot defeat my giant bright blue rubber friend.

Speaking of enormous, check me out. The horizontal stripes probably don’t help.


I still can’t quite believe we’ve made it to 23 weeks. This is really happening. The doc says we need to get to 28 weeks which is ONLY 5 MORE WEEKS. Obviously I’m determined to get to 37 weeks or thereabouts but I guess it’s time to get serious and buy a pram and stuff. There will be no Pinterest nursery mood boards from this blogger – our twins will be sharing a cot in the corner of our room until they are 16 or something. Space is at a premium in London, folks 😐

On the non-baby front my husband and I spent a fantastic weekend in Amsterdam last week. The weather was fab (27c) and we had a lovely time wandering around the canals and eating great food. Unfortunately we had to forgo bikes due to my dodgy centre of gravity but it was still nice. Check it out:

The myth and misappropriation of the ‘biological clock’

Great long read article in The Guardian today on the ‘Foul Reign of the Biological Clock’. The term was applied to female fertility in the late 70s (by way of a single newspaper article) and has been manipulated and misused ever since.

There’s so much bogus bad science related to IVF and infertility. Why does nobody talk about age-related male infertility?  Why aren’t men pressured to freeze their sperm in the same way that women are encouraged to do so with their eggs? How has infertility become linked to selfish ‘career women’ and women desperate to ‘have it all’?

Anyway, good article. Made me annoyed, sad and depressed all rolled into one.

21 weeks 

Babies

The three of us are doing well. I have another cervical scan this Wednesday but I’m feeling quietly confident that my cervical ‘helmet’ is doing its job. Things feel pretty calm down there. Yes, I have started self diagnosing my own plumbing. No, I haven’t been to med school.

I had my 20 week anomaly scan last week and it was good to see that both babies have the requisite number of arms, brains, legs, noses and heart ventricles. 

Big Val still has plenty of room and is in a rather comfortable feet down position. Check her out – she even has a pillow. She’s doing the uterine equivalent of ‘Netflix and chill’:


Richie McCaw though…..is not a Richie McCaw after all! The sonographer is pretty sure that he’s actually another girl. It’s hard to tell because he’s tucked away behind his sister and he’s rather squashed and mysterious. He’s head down and we saw Big Val kick him in the face live on (scan) TV. Poor little guy/girl. Anyway I guess we need to come up with a new name as she probably won’t be the captain of the All Black rugby team in real life anymore. Here she is – cute nose:


Bump

I have given up on wearing trousers unless they are of the elasticated waist variety. I bought 2 maternity dresses in Topshop as I can’t really go to work in sweat pants. There is a lot of terrible maternity wear out there ladies ….plenty of florals and wrap around tops (think Kate Middleton in pastels). Topshop, COS and Asos are still good. Anyway, my belly is expanding and people keep moving their hands towards me to touch it. In the words of Missy Elliott, keep your hands off my ba bump ba bump bump:


General Zen

Overall I’m feeling good. We have some stressful stuff going on related to husband’s job situation but I am trying not to wallow in it too much. In the meantime I’m saving as much as possible and figuring out ways to squeeze the maximum amount of ££ from my rather stingy (by British standards) maternity leave allocation. It’s tough – living in London is expensive. Luckily my mum is retiring soon and has offered to come and help us once the babies are born. I’m hoping to take 6 months off work…which I know must seem like loads to American readers. It’s easy to get bogged down in negative thoughts at the moment – probably a combination of hormones, anxiety and weird nesting instinct. Sleep is interrupted by midnight worries about money, jobs and if we have room in this flat for the minimum amount of baby stuff. So I keep reminding myself that:

  • I am bloody lucky to be pregnant after all the years of trying
  • Plenty of families in London manage every day in much worse circumstances than us
  • I could be living in a mud hut in Africa with no water, sanitation and certainly no maternity leave
  • Nobody likes a moaner

19+3 weeks – Hungry and Cervical Helmets

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Here’s a 19 week update from twin pregnancy towers – London branch.

I’m growing. I’m growing BIG. Some of this is related  to the two 6 inch humans resident inside me and some is related the amount of food I am eating (or thinking about eating….all….day…..long). It’s ridiculous. I’ve never been so hungry in my life. When I’m eating I’m thinking about what to eat next. There is nothing I will not eat. Nothing! Mmm, now I’m thinking about food again. Some toast would be nice. Lovely, lovely hot buttered toast. Yay for food.

I haven’t weighed myself so I have no idea how much I’ve stacked on but I can tell you that my waist was 27 inches in December. That waist has now completely disappeared and been replaced by a 38 inch road bump.

In the words of Mike Myers, GET IN MAH BELLY!

What else is happening? Well, my cervix is a bit short. It was 35mm two weeks ago and it was 32mm on Monday. That’s not a great number, particularly for a relatively small person who is only 19 weeks pregnant. Anything under 35mm is worrisome and can point towards pre-term delivery. However the good news is that my fibronectin number is very low, only 1/500. This is a very good sign, despite the shortening cervix.

So… my doctor decided to err on the side of caution and insert an ‘arabin pessary’ to help keep my cervix closed. Sounds exotic doesn’t it? It isn’t. He described it as a ‘lot like an old fashioned diaphragm’. I nodded wisely, picturing (for some reason) a rolled up condom. Fact is, I’m a 38 year old modern-day person living in 2016 so I have no idea what a diaphragm looks like. So, I was a little shocked when he produced a bright blue rubber ring that looked like the end of a plunger –  about 10cm across and 5cm deep. Yeah…not really like a rolled up condom.

Anyway he kindly let me know that he would ‘fold it in half’ before ‘popping it up there’, which I thought was nice.

He popped it up there and it was fine. I can’t feel it. It needs to stay in until I deliver the babies. The magic number is 28 weeks (when early babies have the best chance of survival), but I am determined to bake them until 37 weeks. Come on cervix, you can do it!! Especially now you have your arabin hard hat on!!

pessary 3

2 free hours in Amsterdam – in pictures

I’m in Amsterdam on a business trip.  I had a couple of hours spare this afternoon so what did I do? Well I…. ate chips, saw some tulips, checked out Nintjie (aka Miffy), blew some Euros on unnecessary but cute baby stuff and put my feet up for 10 minutes. I’m getting cankles by the way.

Tomorrow – Munich!