Wednesday 19 May 2010

Josh playing

A video taken today of Josh playing with one of his toys (taken with Tessa's camera). This is really the first time they've shown any interest in anything! He's 3 and a half weeks old. Check out the head-holding action - he's got the neck of a prop.

Saturday 8 May 2010

The arrival of Joshua and Felix

We're over the moon to announce the arrival of our twin boys! They are: Joshua William Jackson, born at 5:33pm on Sunday 25th April and weighing 5lb 12oz, and his younger brother Felix Samuel Ferguson, born at 5:59pm the same day and weighing 5lb 8oz. The weights are bang on average for twins, Sarah is doing great, and everyone is now at home.

Apparently the first couple of weeks are the easiest, but I think we've both been hallucinating from lack of sleep already! I think (hope?) that we'll get better at coping with it.

Hope you'll be able to come and see them before long, either here in Hong Kong or back in the UK (or even elsewhere?!).

Thanks so much to all of you who have sent us messages over the last week and a bit, we really appreciate your thoughts.

Ross and Sarah and Josh and Felix.

Thursday 6 May 2010

Saturday 24 April 2010

37 and a bit weeks...

Just a quick update from me. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning, at 38 weeks (can you believe I got this far?!) and at that appointment we'll set a time for me to be induced early next week, maybe Monday or Tuesday. Although I was very keen to avoid induction, I am getting a bit desperate now. I have had a heavy cold since last weekend (what's that all about?!) and I'm just so uncomfortable and heavy and tired and sleepless. Anyway, I'm very pleased that the boys are happy and healthy enough to stay where they are this long, but enough's enough.

I'm really excited now (in between the bouts of insomnia) and I'll definitely let you all know how it goes. Ross has always predicted that I'll get as far as the day I'm due to be induced, then I'll go into labour spontaneously, so we'll see! For now, every twinge or strange feeling makes me think it's all starting, but it's all wishful thinking.

Thinking of you all, hope I have some useful tips (and a couple of minutes to write to you all) in a week's time.

Monday 19 April 2010


15th November 2009

13th December 2009

28th February 2010 - 30 weeks

33 weeks

37 weeks

37 weeks - this week I have been mostly...

...speaking from home!

I am finally on maternity leave, which is great. So far I have realised that a) going to work was way too much, not least for my poor cankles and b) just because you do nothing all day doesn't mean you still have bad days. Even I must admit that I look huge today, and somehow yesterday was really hard. Never mind, today's a new day. I think that the 1 night in hospital was a bit of a watershed for me, after that I kind of admitted for the first time that this is getting bloody hard. Luckily after that I had a few days off, then the long Easter and Ching Ming weekend, so didn't work much since that time.

...getting impatient...

It's got to the stage now where I am contemplating the curry / leg massage / sex / grapefruit options! I just feel like I CAN'T WAIT ANY LONGER! I'm sure I'll regret this in a few weeks, as they're undoubtedly a lot easier to manage inside than out. Dr's appointment tomorrow, where we will talk about induction.

...thinking about labour again...

I have read a book about coping mechanisms which is great. It's Aussie, but many of the best things are here! Seems really practical and realistic. Of course when the time comes, I can't quite predict how I (and we) will turn this theory into practice, but I feel pretty well prepared now.

...worrying a little bit about breast-feeding...

I had my friend Millie with her 7 week old daughter Jemima around for tea the other day, and also Gretchen came over with 6 week old Thomas. Both have had problems to some extent with feeding, so I'm a bit nervous about that. There are lactation consultants in the hospital, but I have been told that they are a bit variable and don't speak English. I have a back-up plan if I get nowhere with them, I'm sure it'll work out one way or another. I have a special twin feeding cushion, which is great - it was 2nd hand like most of our things. That's one great thing about the lack of space here, everyone wants to get rid of baby stuff asap! The only things we have bought new are a small number of tiny baby clothes and sheets/blankets/Moses basket mattresses.

...having a baby shower...

Which was lovely! I totally wasn't planning to have one, until I went to Gretchen's and Millie's a couple of months ago. It was really good fun – everyone came to our flat and brought cupcakes / fruit / cookies / quiches / egg tarts, lots of yummy stuff! Lynette was here, which was kind of weird – she just sat on her bed, with the door open, staring into space... she likes to help (which is her job after all) but I find it pretty annoying when “helpful” people won't let me do such strenuous tasks as getting some plates out of the cupboard. Anyway, it'll all settle down. Lynette's back in the Philippines now as her visa ran out, and she'll be back in 4-6 weeks. My mum arrives on the 11th May, hurrah!

Sunday 18 April 2010

Wednesday 31 March 2010

34 and a half weeks

The twins moving inside!

Monday 29 March 2010

34 ½ weeks - this week I have been mostly...

…trying to keep calm!
Yes, I am getting very close now, and have had a bit of a wobbly weekend. Realised that I have generally been pretty ungrateful when people tell me I’m looking well because I don’t really feel like it means anything, what do they expect me to look like? But that’s a bit mean really, it’s nice to have people compliment you, especially when you feel dreadful.
I am nervous about the following, in no particular order…

  • I will have a medical team that I have never met (and it will be a team, as there’ll be 2 of everyone!)
  • that the babies will arrive before I feel ready (but quite how I ever think I’ll be ready, I don’t know) My friend who was due with twins 2 days before me (ie 5 May) gave birth at about 32 weeks
  • that the babies won’t arrive on time, which means induction, which I don’t want. I have to keep an open mind though, to both induction and c section as I am “high risk”
  • giving birth lying on my back. All the books I have been reading about pain management techniques talk about how lucky we are that the dark ages of giving birth on your back are over. Clearly, they have never been to Hong Kong. Induction = “strapped to the bed” according to the midwife.

…feeling the strain…
The boys are just over 2kg each now, so what with two placentas, a giant uterus and 50% more blood I am getting heavy, and it’s blinking painful. I am not amused when people say “Wow, you’re getting huge!” a) I know and b) I’m not sure that is an acceptable thing to say to anyone ever! While I am obviously not dieting or anything, “huge” kind of equals “unhealthy” in my brain, which I don’t like. I have also been having a lot of trouble sleeping, mostly because I have lost muscle tone and fat from my thighs, so my hip joints don’t have so much padding as I sleep on my side. I have a folded up blanket under the sheet, which helps a bit. I am slightly concerned though that this is spreading across my pelvis and down my thighs. One to ask the doc about today!

…having my last scan, thank God!
Last week was the last one, yay! It lasted about 1hr 20 mins, and was probably the most painful yet. Now that I have met a few other twin mums, I know that I am not alone in finding this really painful. Again, I feel ungrateful because we have been lucky to have so many really. For a singleton, people generally get a scan at 12 weeks, and one at 20 (same as the UK I think) We got a fantastic look at Lee’s face, because he was just in the right position (which is precisely the wrong position for measuring the circumference of his head!) They are both head down now, and Bruce is “very engaged”. While this doesn’t necessarily mean anything’s happening soon, it does mean they are good to go! Surely no space to turn around now boys?!

…touring the obs unit…
This was good, the midwife was nice and friendly, and it was great to see where it’ll all happen and what the process is. I will not move into the delivery suite til I’m 3cm dilated, so I will be without Ross until that point, as he’s not allowed on the ward, only in the delivery suite. Having said that, you have to be in the delivery suite for an epidural to be administered, which is likely to happen relatively early for me (again, because of the twin thing). I was well impressed to hear that they have a tens machine and a birthing ball! Very 21st century. No shower / bath / birthing pool though.

…wandering about work…
I’m at work another 2 weeks, and I really don't know if I will make it. I will be so angry if I go home one evening and give birth! The way that I feel at the moment, I need a couple of days at least to rest before the fun begins. My last day is April 12th so I’ll be working till 36 + 3. The doc has said that I will most likely be induced at 38 weeks, and average natural gestation for twins is 37. You can see my concern! For mat leave they have offered me 10 weeks (the standard) +all my annual leave (15 days) + 4 weeks unpaid. Not quite the 4 months that I asked for….

…getting a helper…again
We are in the process of hiring Lynette, which is a relief. Unfortunately because the whole malarkey has taken so long, she probably won’t start till mid-May or so, but I’m sure we can cope until then. My mum will be here for a while during that time, so I am trying to convince myself that it’ll be ok. I am strangely worried about eating, as if cooking and washing up are two tasks that we just can’t manage…weird.

Saturday 20 March 2010

Growing by the day

Sarah has been continuing to grow our 2 babies. I think they're both pretty good sizes still even for singletons. I think she looks about ready to go into labour now, but we've still got 7 weeks in theory... Here's our latest picture:
We're still searching for a helper, but have had a second interview with a helper just today which we went very well. Just a couple more to see this weekend - but we're beginning to feel confident that we'll get the kind of person that we want. Whether they'll be able to start in time is another matter - but I'm sure we'll manage for a few weeks on our own. Maybe. Gulp.

We've also had a big delivery of furniture (not sure if Sarah has already mentioned that?), so anyone who has already seen our flat will barely recognise it now! I'll post some new pictures soon.

Thursday 4 March 2010

31 weeks - this week I have been mostly...

…having lots of appointments…
With mixed success. My hospital is a teaching hospital, so sometimes I get eager young students doing my scans. This time around I told her I needed to stop and have a rest on my side, she stopped for a minute, then just sneakily carried on, as if I wouldn’t notice! I objected though, and eventually the “real” dr finished the scan. Much better J Also she spoke to us in English - there’s nothing freakier than someone talking about your babies’ development in a language you don’t understand. Actually, for all I know, she was talking about the weather, but it’s the not knowing that’s weird.

The doc said this week that I will not go to 40 weeks - they will induce at 38, and if for some reason I have a C section it’ll be in week 38 or possibly 39. It’s mighty strange to have an absolute end date, seriously focuses the mind! So even with my maternity leave starting 4 weeks before my “due date”, I will only have 2 weeks. No update on the maternity leave situation…

…finding it easier to imagine them…
Lee is now transverse and face down, with his spine up against my ribs, and his head on my right. Bruce is head down, spine outwards on my left. It’s lovely to know where they are, and I definitely feel them move independently. The other day they both had hiccups at the same time!

…giving up on hypnobirthing…
I went to a breathing class last week, at which I nearly passed out twice. Too relaxed la! Anyway, the book that Katharine recommended + some visualizations = much more effective than hypno. I’m sure hypnobirthing is great for some people, but just didn’t seem to work for me. I tried to use it at stressful times, but it didn’t really seem to help.

…having our final ante-natal class…
Another corker! It was the nurse from the 1st class again, one of this week’s gems was “Don’t kill your baby!” (in relation to cutting the cord the wrong side of the clamp). She recommended that the boys go to the wet market and buy themselves some pig intestines to practice on. We also watched a heavily-edited video of someone giving birth too. Nobody fainted, which was good.

…getting stares….
I’m quite big now. The boys are 1.4kg each, and my friend just gave birth to her daughter who was 2.95kg. Even I can figure out the maths of that! So essentially I look full term already. People stare at me a lot, which I don’t like much. On the plus side, I may bitch and moan a lot about people being selfish here, but I always get a seat and a smile on the MTR these days.

…continuing the helper hunt….
The deal with Lorna fell through, on the very day that we were due to sign the contract. The agent, Joey called me that day (a Wednesday), here’s how the convo went:
Joey: “Lorna’s day off has changed, it’s not today, it’s Sunday this week. So are you interested in the 54 year old maid you met?”
Me: “um, well, no, we’re interested in Lorna. That’s ok, we can come and sign the contract on Sunday instead.”
Joey: “So you didn’t like the 54 year old maid? Because she is very interested in your job”
Me: “no, we would like Lorna to work with us” and so on…..
Essentially, Lorna’s current employer wants to take her with them to Singapore for the last week of her contract. This means that her contract (and therefore visa) will expire outside HK - we (and she) would have to pay a lot more, and wait around 2 months longer to process her as a “foreign worker”, because she will not be allowed back to HK without a visa. Anyway, I think there may be a way round…watch this space.

…meeting lots of people….
We went to meet someone the other day who Ross met at the parents-of-multiples thing he went to. They are called Simon and Caitlin, and they have 8 month-old twin boys, who are completely adorable and very smiley. If ours are like that, I will be super-chuffed! Lucky Caitlin gets 1 year off work, since she works for the Ozzie Consulate. They gave us some great tips about getting around in HK with twins, and the practicalities of getting taxis with 2 babies.

Also met someone who moved here from Cambridge a few months ago with 3 year old twin boys, and have been emailing someone who is expecting twins 2 days before me and is giving birth in the same hospital. She has already spent a night in the hosp under observation, and has been signed off work for a week because she’s so tired. Hmmm….it’s actually a bit nerve-wracking to have another twin pregnancy to compare my ever-accelerating growth with!

Sunday 28 February 2010

The babies moving about

at 30 weeks

15th November 2009

13th December 2009

28th February 2010 - 30 weeks

33 weeks

37 weeks

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Twin Pregnancy in Hong Kong

So for a little while now I have been exchanging notes with my friends at home about how our pregnancies are progressing. Since this is taking up all my writing time, the blog has been slightly neglected, so I thought I'd put stuff on here too.

28 weeks - this week I have been mostly...

(Thanks to for the image)

…starting the third trimester…
Very pleased that I’ve made it this far - somehow I never quite believed it would happen. The babies are just under 15 inches long, from head to toe - hard to imagine that there are two of those in me! They’re about a kilo each now.

…feeling much less back pain…
I started sleeping with two pillows (under my head) instead of one for the first time ever, and somehow it seems to have done the trick! No longer in agony when I wake up, and much better for the rest of the day. However, sleeping in general is still not great, and I’m disturbing Ross quite a lot…whoops. I’m secretly glad we haven’t got round to buying another bed, so he has to stay with me, because it would be very sad-making to wake up in an empty bed. I will try to get one of those bean-filled pillow this weekend, because I’m taking up ¾ of the bed with all the pillows at the moment. Still getting leg cramps, but circling my feet lots, and standing on the little spiky ball before bedtime help to minimize them.

…trialing a helper…
Actually this will happen tomorrow. Luningning is coming over for a few hours, so I can check that we get on well together, We still have another couple of interviews set up over the weekend too. It’s Chinese New Year, so two days off next week, yippee!! Kung hei fat choi everyone!

UPDATE: since I wrote this, Luningning has been - she was ok, very cheery and thorough, but absolutely no concept of time passing, or of how to do tasks a, b and c by 5.00. In fact she left about 6.30…We also had Lorna over for the same thing - bit less cheery, but much more efficient. Watch this space.

…going to our first ante-natal class at the TsanYuk hospital…
The class was hilarious - funny mix of waaay too much (gynae) detail for all the boys (I know more than I ever thought I would about the difference between a Caucasian perineum and a Chinese perineum), and really dumb advice on how to be a good human being, like "when you visit your wife in hospital, be nice to her". Anyway, it was v funny, and the nurse didn't really get sarcasm, so she asked all the husbands if they had noticed that their wives had different moods now that they were pregnant. All the boys laughed nervously and said jokingly "No, can't imagine what you are talking about!" and shifted a bit further away from their wives. The nurse obviously thought they were all super-insensitive for not paying attention to their poor hormonal wives. So funny. She also advised against fashionable clothes, and showed us several hilarious vids from the early 80s (you can imagine the perms) which seemed to have very old nutrition advice, nothing about 5-a-day, plenty about 8-portions-of-bread-a-day! It turned out to be not a class so much as a talk, we all just sat there on v uncomfy seats for 2 hours while she talked at us.
Also found out that the visiting hours are 6pm-8pm - which seems quite rubbish to me. What's the standard in the UK? I’ll be in for 3-5 days, and Ross can only see me and the babies for 2 hours a day - I can go out of the ward to meet him at other times (once I’m up and about) but the babies cannot leave the ward. There’s a giant, scary alarm system attached to all babies (there was an “incident” a couple of years ago when a baby was abducted, so now they are very cautious)

…handing in my maternity leave proposal…
This was tricky. Things are very emotional here, no easy open discussion, lots of guessing how people will react / think / feel. It would be much more straightforward if I didn’t get on so well with my boss. I feel a bit like I am letting her down. I have asked for 6 months in total, so my standard 10 weeks, plus 16 weeks’ unpaid. I don’t think she was expecting to get any cover for me while I was off, so 6 months is probably a bit of a shock. She stayed v neutral when I gave her the proposal, but she hasn’t really spoken to me since, and we usually chat lots. Anyway, it’s ok, I owe it to the babies to make sure that they are happy and safe, and that the arrangement suits everybody. But that doesn’t stop me feeling guilty.

27 weeks - this week I have been mostly...

…feeling like a gigantic burden…
Not in any way because Ross is complaining, just because I am not blind, I see how much he is looking after me (and cooking for me) and it makes me feel guilty. I should probably get over it, but I can’t help thinking that life is not much fun for him right now (unless you call getting 4 stitches in your chin fun)

…finding out I need another Glucose Test…
Eugh. Not looking forward to that. I don’t know if everyone has these, I’m sure it’s no big deal, but me and needles don’t mix very well.

…having a scan without passing out…
Yay! This ultrasound lady was much more considerate and gentle, and she let me have a few breaks too. We got to see Lee’s face, which was good, because Bruce’s big ole head was in the way last time.

…having a doctor’s appointment…
Somehow I was feeling fragile anyway, and the bossiness and utter lack of care coupled with the complete absence of the English language, made me burst into tears and feel very home sick. Of course, as with so many things about living abroad, it’s easy to think that the grass is always greener back home, but I’m sure there are plenty of rude and miserable nurses / midwives working for the NHS, or any other healthcare system in the world for that matter. Anyway, once I had got over my issues, I had my appointment. The Queen Mary is a teaching hospital, so I had one dr plus one student, both male (which I wasn't expecting). They tried to chat and cheer me up a bit, which was appreciated, and I had to give in and smile by the end! However, they were not all that gentle, so I was very sore by the time I left, having been dopplered and fundal heighted. FH is 11 inches, (28 cm) so a bit big for a single pregnancy but OK for twins I think. This is based on my investigation today, which informs me that from 24 weeks on, your FH in cm should be similar to the number of weeks. All the poking and prodding somehow made the boys very active and I think they turned into an awkward position. For the rest of the day, it felt like both of them were back-to-front, instead of up-and-down. They settled overnight, and I feel fine now, but I was seriously uncomfortable all afternoon and evening.

...feeling the less desirable side-effects for the first time…
Until now, everything has felt relatively normal - other than being very tired, and a slightly strange shape, I was still me. But this last week or so, I have really noticed that my lungs are a bit squished, I am getting heavy, I have frequent leg cramps, I sleep very badly, I’m getting a bit of heartburn at night, and I cry lots! I think I have been very lucky until now, but it does make me feel different.

...feeling shapes push out of my belly…
Think I have someone’s bottom under my ribs right now. Fairly certain it’s not Ross ;-)

…going to a twins class…
It was great to find out lots about what’s different with twins. The midwife who did the class (she set up a private midwifery clinic here) has loads of experience, so she can tell you exactly what the procedure is for twin labour at any hospital in HK. The other two couples on the course seemed pretty nervous about the whole thing. I came out of the class feeling very confident - I learned lots, but didn’t feel completely overwhelmed, Ross asked loads of questions (so he was paying attention after all!) and the midwife said that if she was having another baby herself, she’d go to the Queen Mary without hesitation. Which is v reassuring. Essentially Ross’ job is to chase after the babies - as there are 2, it’s more likely that they’ll need attention, even for a short time, so they’ll probably be wheeled off somewhere. He also has to be very insistent that they are not formula-fed (80%+ of local mothers never try to breast feed) and that they come to me, or me to them for feeding. I’ll be in hospital about 3-5 days. One thing that worried me slightly Is that she said epidurals lower your blood pressure, and since mine is always low already, I wonder if this will effect whether I have one.
Actually I think the best thing about this class was the step by step descriptions - I realized I had no idea about how much I can move around in labour, then after the birth where I will be, where the babies will be, whether I will get to hold them straightaway, who’ll be in the room (2 paeds, 2 obs and a midwife-type person) etc.

25 weeks - this week I have been mostly...

…feeling the wrigglers hiccup (I think)…
My mum says I hiccupped lots before I was born, so no surprises! Also I think Lee might have turned. I feel them very often now, and someone has a foot on my bladder.

…getting backache…
Oh my god, sooo bad this week. I have been doing lots of gentle stretching, which really helps, but only for an hour or so, then it starts again. I have a really good chair at work, and have even bought a new chair for home, but not much helps. I’ve also had cramps in my calves during the night, which wake me up and I have to use my hands to grab hold of my feet and move them to stop the cramp!

…watching the height of my bump rise and fall…
Some days, it feels well supported, some days it seems to be pulling me down and sapping all my energy. What I wear makes a bit of a difference, but it’s still a bit weird that sometimes the most sticky-out part is my belly button, but sometimes it’s below that.

…waiting for the results of my glucose tolerance test…
I had my oral glucose tolerance test a couple of weeks ago, it's pretty horrible. Essentially you don't eat for 12 hours, and you have your blood taken twice in 2 hours, from the SAME ARM! Outrageous.

…feeling a bit down in general…
But I am going to my first coffee morning! In the absence of the NCT, I think a lot of these things are done through the Geobaby forums. I’m pretty nervous, but at least I can be sure we won’t run out of things to talk about! I’m a bit worried that lots of the people on the forum meet regularly in the middle of the day, so I imagine they have a v different life from me. On the other hand, after my talk with HR this week, seems like I might be free in the middle of the day, any day soon enough.

UPDATE: OK, so I went (very bravely) to the coffee morning, which was at a bar in Central. It was great actually, lots of really friendly people, around 12 of us, mostly Asian (but not HK-born for the most part) Lots of them worked full-time too, so that was a relief. In true HK style, by chance there was someone there who I know quite well, and someone else who's good friends with two friends of mine from work. It's a small island.

I also went to yoga after the coffee thingy, which was really good, I enjoyed it lots. I think my problem before was that when someone treats you like you are very easily breakable, and have to do everything verrrrry slowly and gently (like my Pilates teacher) you begin to believe them. This was pre-natal yoga, most people in 2nd trimester, but it was a great feeling to push myself a bit (as much as I wanted anyway) and feel really good about it afterwards, not sore or exhausted, but feeling like I had done myself some good.

..interviewing a helper...
Liz knows that this topic has occupied my thoughts for a long time... So, the current thinking is that we will get 1 helper (not 2 as many people have insisted) and that she will help with the housework, laundry, shopping (which they call marketing :-) etc, leaving me to do the childcare. Obviously she would help out too by watching Bruce while I bathe Lee, for example, but she would not have sole care all day. Hiring a helper is very tricky – not least because it never occurred to us that we would get one. I am aware that it's a huge luxury in the grand scheme of things, and help is super-affordable here. However, the major downside, in my eyes, is that it's a legal requirement for your helper to live with you. There are (illegal) ways around this, like paying for your helper to live in a hostel / flat, but I haven't yet got a sense of how feasible this is.

I've got some tips and references from people at work. I think the most unsettling thing is the tone of communications with potential helpers, they are polite to the point of subservience. I just don't know if I can get used to someone calling me “Madam” all day. The helper we interviewed on Sunday (this is their statutory day off) complained non-stop about her current employer for 20 minutes, which kind of put us off...While I know that we are very lucky to be able to afford help like this, it's important to remember that the majority of helpers have no qualifications, so it's not like hiring a nanny. Hmm. To be continued...

24 weeks - this week I have been mostly...

…putting on weight…
After not putting on any weight for the first 20 weeks or so, I’m making up for it now! I think this is a good thing, although it’s still quite weird to let go and acknowledge that you have no control. I actually had not weighed myself since I had to (to put on my blade after bumping in Torpids in 2000…) It’s a bit like when you first realise that your shape is changing. It may be good and healthy, but it's still a bit hard to get used to.

…getting a bit of a phobia about ultrasounds…
I passed out during a scan in November, then when the dr doppler’d me in the UK I went v faint, and again at my scan last week I had to stop early before I passed out. I think it’s a combo of the pressure of the babies on my vena cava (thanks for telling me about that Liz!) and my squeamishness. Apart from which, it’s pretty blooming painful. And since the last scan was for all sorts of measurements, and they need to measure 2 babies, it lasted quite a long time. Anyway, I am sad that something I looked forward to at the beginning has now become something a bit traumatic.

…thinking about hypno-birthing…
I am under no illusion that this labour business is going to be pain-free. However, I reason that it can’t hurt to have some official relaxation and visualization techniques to help cope. So Ross has “acquired” the Maggie Howell CDs from the Interweb, and I’ll be giving them a go soon. I’ll let you know. I chose this particular one because it’s English, and as you need to listen to it 30+ times, I didn’t really want an American one.

...getting annoyed with the disorganization of the Tsan Yuk hospital…
The Queen Mary (and associated clinic and Tsan Yuk) is the (public) hospital that is popular with Westerners, although that is not to say that most of the signs / announcements are in English. All medical appointments in HK go like this: Arrive. Hand over HKID card. Sit down. Get weighed. Sit down. Do pee test. Get told to sit somewhere else. Get called to room 1. Answer questions re: family history, general health and due dates for the 5th time. Sit down. Get called to room 2….you get the picture. After they mucked up my scan appt the other day (actually it turned out to be yet another appointment to answer those questions again) we insisted on having a scan then and there. It worked. They may be disorganized and unclear, but if you threaten to make a fuss the staff are usually pretty helpful. Feel a bit guilty about that though.

…not retching every time I brush my teeth…
Which is nice. About bloomin’ time.

…wondering about my back…
I have heard that when you are pregnant, you shouldn’t twist your torso – on the other hand, I have read that a good exercise to open up your back is to lie on your side, then sweep your top arm up and around your head (snow angel-stylee. What’s the deal? I am getting serious back pain, and massages help a bit, but still v sore in the mornings. Cat stretch and opposite-of-cat stretch seem to help.

Week 22 - this week I have been mostly...

...outgrowing my body again
I have read that newborns have growth spurts about every 3 weeks - I wonder if this is what is happening to Bruce and Lee now? Before Christmas, I felt like my body had finally caught up with the rapid growth rate of the babies, but now I feel all stretched and achey again. I imagine the 13 hour flights to the UK didn't help much.

...finding out that the average gestation for twins is 37 weeks
which puts my due date of the 7th May back to 16th April. And means I have 15 weeks left.

...trying to work out a good way to work out
I have suspended my gym membership (actually I did that a couple of months ago, back in the days when it didn't really feel real yet) but I can feel my muscles turning to jelly. There must be something I can do...Walking is pretty exhausting, so I reckon that's keeping the cardio aspect more or less under control, but I'm going to need lots of upper body strength to carry around two tigers.

...(re)realising quite how quickly my 10 weeks' maternity leave will go
If recovery from a C-section is 6 weeks (and I need to / choose to have one), that would only leave me 4 weeks at home once I have got over the surgery.

...learning how to talk about babies!
Seeing so many pregnant friends and new mothers over Christmas made me practice a bit, despite my reluctance. It's hard when you have never been one of the people who coos over babies and used to babysit for pocket money, and has lots of little relatives to look after, but I think I am getting there!

...trying to be calm about my labour fears
I bought a magazine which helps a bit. Somehow it all feels a bit detached though, since the stories are generally bound up with NHS procedures, or the Australian equivalent. So only a certain portion relates to me. I'm pretty certain that I will spend a lot of time post-birth alone, as the Queen Mary is renowned for having crap visiting hours. That will be sad. But at least it'll be less lonely than the almost-exclusively-Cantonese Pamela Nethersole Eastern Hospital. And cheaper than the HK Sanatorium!

...trying not to get too freaked out about leaking
It's normal, I know, but it is still mighty strange for stuff to come out of your boobs halfway through pregnancy. And while we're on the subject, why are maternity bras so uncomfortable?

...eating plenty of fruit and veg
And of course, downing prune juice by the litre, yuck.

...keeping my fingers crossed that stretchmarks WON'T be appearing in the next couple of weeks
Not really going to happen huh? I already look like I'm about a million weeks pregnant, and I'm only halfway through incubating TWO babies. I should probably give up hope, and just embrace the battle scars. Authorities on such matters say that stretchmarks affect 60% of women, Bio Oil or no Bio Oil. Regardless, I am slathering it on, because it eases the itching a bit!

...finding it increasingly difficult to focus on work
The concept of prioritising tasks seems laughable now. As if I could possibly have any other priorities! I went through a long and worrying phase of wondering whether this was really what I wanted...but now I just want them here already. As all expectant mothers say in the magazines, I can't wait to meet the boys, and I want to focus all my energy and love on them. I feel guilty if an hour passes when I don't think about them, but to be honest that probably doesn't happen very often!