This is going to very pregnancy-heavy, so feel free to skip it if you wish. I have some crochet pictures to share tomorrow or Tuesday, so call back then if you're child-free, child-uninterested or just plain sick of tales of bumpiness.
You probably don't know this, but there are inter-cultural differences between German and Irish airport luggage trolleys (or baggage carts - see, even the terminology differs from place to place!) German luggage trolleys are in a permanent state of braking: in order to move the trolley, you have to press a lever and the trolley allows itself to roll. If, say, distracted by something shiny in an airport shop, you happen to release the lever, you'll find yourself wrapped around your suitcases, your trolley glued to the floor by the incontrovertible staying power of a set of German brakes. Irish trolleys, on the other hand, can be braked by pressing down on the lever; the rest of the time, they are free to roll about as they please - if the building tipped sideways or someone gave them a careless push.
The luggage trolleys are rather indicative of how the German medical system works, I think. This week I had the pleasure of conducting a new little science experiment on myself: I got a blood sugar reader, a pricker and a little box of test strips and was sent off to check my blood sugar levels. See, Grandmother Gingerbread probably had gestational diabetes (we say "probably" because back in rural Ireland in the 1950s, prenatal care included such gems as "Drink a glass of Guinness every day to keep up your iron levels!" and "Smoking helps the baby's lungs to develop!") and later in life developed Type 2 diabetes. So I asked to have a diabetes test done as early as possible ... and one of the readings was a little high. No cause for worry, all of the doctors reassured me, and continued to reassure me of the same when all of my self-conducted blood tests came back quite normal. BUT ...
... but I now have "suspected gestational diabetes", which means that I don't actually have diabetes, but it is maybe - possibly - slumbering inside me, waiting to be unleashed by a slice of chocolate cake or a good nosh-up at MacDonald's. I am a German luggage trolley with a permanent brake on: we will prevent disaster by expecting the worst. Adieu, Black Forest Gateau - come October, I'll wrap my lips around your chocolatey goodness with impunity.
This week also had a more pleasant pregnancy experience: we got to see a 3D scan of the Gingerbread Baby to check that all of his organs were as they should be and where they should be. Our doctor even gave us a photo of his little face, hand bunched up under his chin.
Now, let me be honest with you: these photos are generally quite creepy. The baby is inside you - yes, dwell on that for a minute: in your interior - and something akin to a hightech supermarket scanner takes a photo of its face. Very often, the babies look like little aliens or something from a horror film.
Except my child. My child is a stunner.
"He looks gorgeous," I pronounced, with all the certainty of a hormonal spike. "That baby looks just beautiful."
There was a diplomatic silence from my husband at my side. The doctor made non-committal murmury noises: she was more concerned with making sure it had kidneys and a liver.
"Seriously," I said, in the direction of the not-adoring-enough father-to-be, "Isn't he lovely?"
"He looks like ..."
"Don't say it!" I hissed, "That. Is. Your. Child!"
I can't say for sure because I was too busy fixing my husband with a gimlet stare, but there might have been some eye-contact between doctor and father, and wisely, he shut up.
But let me tell you, readers, my baby looks amazing - far more handsome than any other baby I've ever seen. Never before has there been a more beautiful child.
And that is my unbiased, impartial and totally objective opinion.