Extract from OMG Baby!
Classic symptoms of pregnancy
Missed period. This is the earliest and most reliable sign if you have a regular monthly cycle.
Feeling tired. You may feel unusually tired in the first few weeks of pregnancy.
Feeling sick. You may start feeling sick, and even vomit, between about the second and eighth week of pregnancy.
Changes in your breasts. You may notice your breasts getting larger, feeling tender or tingling in the early weeks of pregnancy.
Mood swings and stress. You may feel rapid changes in mood in the early stages of pregnancy, and even start to cry sometimes, without knowing why.
Changing tastes in food. You may find you go off certain things, like tea, coffee or fatty food. Some women also feel cravings for types of food they don’t usually like.
‘I am not pregnant,’ I say this and duck behind the laptop screen scrolling down the list again. For a start, my period is reliably random, but I know it will be coming any day because my boobs hurt. I’m not sick – just had a double-shot coffee. I love fatty food . . . ‘What a relief,’ I sigh aloud, and then burst into tears. Now, where can I get a rollmop herring in this airport?
I shut down the search. ‘No symptoms,’ I whisper doing a double fist pump and begin to pack away the computer. Just then a knowing voice starts up in my head, sounding something like an angel from a film.
‘YOU! Yes you, Vivienne Summers are with child,’ it booms, ‘and you know you are.’
I sit bolt upright. Let’s just remain calm and think back over the last two months. It is true that for most July I had a lot of sex with a guy named Max. It’s also true that I didn’t actually personally put a condom on him, but I think I definitely saw one, on the floor. The fact is, at the time I was a broken-hearted husk of a person and didn’t care what happened to me so long as I stopped feeling bad, and although I didn’t know it at the time, I was distracted by falling in love with Max. I threw myself into the hands of Fate. Irresponsible, careless, I know. But, God, it was good.
Anyhoo . . .
Now I’m about to board a flight to Spain. I’m on the way to see Max again and I can not deal with a pregnancy situation. I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to have a lovely little baby one day, one of those good, fat, smiley ones, and sooner rather than later, what with the ‘fertility cliff at thirty-five’ thing looming, but I’m only thirty-two. I don’t have a secure job, or any job. I have none of the trappings of adulthood: don’t own a home, have no concrete relationship and am not at all sensible. I can barely meet the needs of my foster cat. I’m not even that healthy: I only eat fruit when there’s nothing else, and I drink too much. Recently I’ve been drinking a lot. If I’m pregnant, I could have pickled the baby. It could be a misshapen thing with teeth and hair in the wrong places. I imagine doctors telling me it can’t survive and me stoically arguing and feeding the twisted ball with a teat pipette and dressing it up with a jaunty little hat with something like ‘Cool guy’ written on; people on the street saying, ‘Oh, a baby!’ then recoiling from the pram, hands clutching at their throats, gasping, ‘What’s wrong with that baby?’
Oh my God. I get up and jerkily walk around the airport in a panic. I wander into the duty-free shop and try some eyeshadow testers to distract myself. I contemplate getting one of those big bricks of cigarettes, even though I don’t smoke, just to have them, just to rebel.
‘Not those!’ the angel voice hisses.
I examine my tummy. OK, so it’s bloated, but that’ll be that water retention. A lot of people get it – ankles like balloons, some of them. I stand frozen by a mountain of Marlboro Reds.
Look, the thing to remember is, I’ll be back in London next week, because I am to be best woman at my friend Lucy’s wedding, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to ensnare Max and drag him home with me. If there is anything to deal with (which there isn’t), I’ll deal with it then. Good. Sorted.
‘Get chocolate now,’ says the voice, and I feel a powerful lust for Toblerone.