petite anglaise

June 15, 2009

knocked update

Filed under: knocked up — petiteanglaiseparis @ 5:52 pm

My first trimester blues (and headaches, and tummy aches, and indigestion) began to fade once I’d got the first three and a half months behind me. Now, just clear of the halfway mark, I’m starting to feel much more energetic and an awful lot happier, something for which I suspect The Boy is just as grateful as I am.

The fun part of pregnancy – feeling baby’s movements – began much earlier this time around. With Tadpole, I remember feeling the first flutters while wallowing in the full-length bath (oh the luxury! If only Parisian apartments had proper baths!) at my parents’ place on New Year’s Eve 2002, helpful timing which conveniently allows me to date the event with some accuracy. But I’d barely passed the three month mark with #2 when I detected the first twists, kicks and flutters. I think there are several reasons for this. First of all, I knew what to look for (and, above all, knew better than to confuse these faint manifestations of life within with more prosaic complaints, such as the aforementioned indigestion). Secondly, my tummy ‘popped’ much earlier this time around, letting it all hang out, as it were, so that, to my mind, I already look more like a woman nearing the end of her sixth month. And, last of all, the first scan showed that, this time, the placenta is placed towards my back, effectively removing a potential frontal shock absorber from the equation.

But at first, whenever I sought Tadpole or The Boy’s hand and plonked it across my bare belly so that they could share the spooky internal thudding sensations with me, baby invariably stopped moving, prompting sceptical looks from The Boy and impatient scowls from Tadpole. Her attempts to spur baby into action – mostly by shouting things into my tummy button as though it were a megaphone – were futile and, for a while afterwards, she couldn’t be prevailed upon come and touch my belly at all. ‘No thank you, mummy,’ she would reply firmly. ‘It never works.’ Or ‘it’s too boring.’

But a couple of weeks ago the baby got a whole lot more active, enjoying long bouts of hiccups and putting a lot more oomph into those kicks and punches, causing visible tremors. So now my belly is providing free, wholesome entertainment for the entire family. Who needs a TV?

I still have some unspeakably annoying little pregnancy-related complaints – nothing, I realise, compared to the real medical complications some unfortunate folks suffer from – most of which come into full force shortly before bedtime. Late in the evening, my skin often begins to itch ferociously, causing me to scratch up a storm, remove my bra (the main culprit, often not helped by the fact that stray food particles seem to find their way into the cleft between my newly ample bosoms at dinnertime) and wriggle about on the sofa like a woman possessed. From what I’ve been able to glean online, it’s a hormonal thing, and no amount of soaking in emollient baths seems to make a blind bit of difference. There’s no alternative, I fear, but to scratch and bear it.

Another complaint I often suffer from at bedtime is what I call ‘fidgety leg syndrome’. Suddenly there is no comfortable position and I have to keep moving my legs in order to avoid a kind of dull, heavy aching. Perhaps I have finally succumbed to the famous French malady known as ‘heavy legs’ or jambes lourdes which I hitherto assumed to be a fictitious complaint. Whatever it is, it’s unbelievably annoying and calls to mind those episodes of Grey’s Anatomy or Dr House where a healthy patient tries to convince the doctors that he wants to have his legs removed because of a phantom pain.

Last but not least, there are the increased levels of clumsiness to contend with, which have seen me head-butting open kitchen cupboards, stubbing my toes and causing myself all manner of minor injuries. In today’s example of cack-handedness, I managed to gash my forearm open while attempting to open a parcel from DHL with a pair of not particularly sharp scissors, narrowly missing a major artery. This resulted in a rather surreal scene in which I found myself holding the offending arm above my head, blood slowly trickling down my arm, while I one-handedly googled “how do I know if I need stitches?”


  1. On a tangent, but one of the things I really like about your writing is the feel. When Tadpole says “‘No thank you, mummy,’ she would reply firmly. ‘It never works.’ Or ‘it’s too boring.’” one can just see her saying it, with a rather composed french air.

    Hope you have not managed to send yourself to accident and emergency, or whatever it is called in Paris.

    Comment by John Norris — June 15, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

  2. In relation to the ‘jambes lourdes’, its something I get too and used to think I must be imagining, but
    I would always know I was over tired when I got what I called ‘kicky legs’. Then one day I heard someone discussing it on a radio chat show, and realised other people have this. Apparently its a diagnosed condition called ‘Restless Leg Syndrome’. Check it out on Google or have a look here

    Comment by Debs — June 15, 2009 @ 6:12 pm

  3. There are always so many funny stories relating to womens pregnancies…

    I remember when my mum was pregnant with one of my brothers and had to rush to the toilet one afternoon…
    After a couple of minutes we heard her furiously screaming in the bathroom about who forgot to change the toilet paper when it finished. I went into the hall, grabbed a roll and handed to her in the bathroom.

    A minute later she came out with the roll in hand and told us that we should feel how she had felt when she got into the bathroom and had no paper, so she put that roll back into the hall.

    The funny thing is that with her pregnant she had to go to the toilet so much more often then the rest of the family did… So half an hour later we heard her again in the bathroom..

    but well, at least she was laughing this time at her own stupid stupidity..!

    Comment by OneFromIceland — June 15, 2009 @ 7:04 pm

  4. I remember my mom being pregnant with my brother years ago and suddenly his hand popped up through her skin like a ghostly outline, we all freaked out and gave him a high five. It was amazing. I am sure tadpole will remember these days fondly.

    Comment by haitian-american family of three — June 15, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

  5. Hi,

    Doesn’t pregnancy sound like an absolute ball ? I’ve heard that putting your legs higher than your heart for a while every day helps with heavy legs. Something to do with lymphatic drainage. Don’t know if it helps in pregnancy but I guess it can’t hurt ?

    I have no such excuses for clumsiness but last week still managed to scrape the white of my eye with a cardboard box I was trying to open, much as you were with the fairly un-sharp scizzors.

    Comment by Elise — June 15, 2009 @ 7:52 pm

  6. ‘knocked update’ – rofl.

    ‘This resulted in a rather surreal scene in which I found myself holding the offending arm above my head, blood slowly trickling down my arm, while I one-handedly googled “how do I know if I need stitches?”‘. Brings a whole new meaning to the bloody Mac…

    Pathologist report: The patient appeared to have bled to death whilst browsing through 13 million search results, trying to find out how to stop bleeding! ;-)

    Comment by Steve... — June 15, 2009 @ 8:22 pm

  7. Excellent post, Petite. Nice to see you back in full swing. Hope pregnancy is treating you well, besides the initial accidental moments.(oh dear)

    To put your mind at ease, the luckiness of only being clumsy when pregnant will be a weight off your mind in a couple of months time. Try being a clumsy, accident-prone teenage girl who always manages to wait until she’s in the spotlight before she trips over a flat surface and destroys her knees yet again!

    Great post! :)

    Comment by minettestupide — June 15, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

  8. I am often very clumsy; skirt tucked into panties in bar, falling down stairs, tomato soup on white blouse, etc. Unfortunately I cannot blame pregnancy for this.
    My male colleague once told me that he finds clumsy women charming. This has been my motto ever since…

    Btw, how is your second book coming along?

    Comment by Olga — June 15, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

  9. Oddly enough your comments on this pregnancy mirror those of Heather Armstrong (

    She has just had her baby (also her second), and she said she got bigger far quicker, that the baby kicked a lot and that she was constantly injuring herself and stubbed her toe so hard she broke it.

    So at least you’re not the only one to suffer some of these indignities!

    Comment by Doug — June 15, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

  10. Glad to know the worst 1st trim. symptoms are over.
    I had the itching in my first pregnancy and I found cool showers gave me some relief. Be careful not to scratch too much, it can bring on/ worsen stretchmarks :(. Try applying pure cocoa butter or shea butter, keep it in the fridge so it’s nice and cool…
    As for the legs, have you ever tried lymphatic massage? Some places have special lymph. massages for pregnant women, great for improving circulation…

    Comment by happyforyou — June 15, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

  11. I’m seven months pregnant now and have struggled with restless leg syndrome throughout- seriously frustrating! I think taking magnesium supplements before bed helps and I also sometimes take valerian herbal supplements as well which help to relax. Starting tonight I will be adding a banana before bed to the regime as I’ve heard that increasing potassium can alleviate it as well. Hopefully yours won’t get as bad as mine has. At this point just can’t wait to give birth so that I won’t have to try and sleep while feeling as though the lower half of my body is possessed by a member of the cast of Riverdance.

    Comment by Johanna — June 15, 2009 @ 9:52 pm

  12. Ravie de lire que ta grossesse se passe aussi bien. <
    Bonne suite à l'émission.

    Comment by marie-Hélène — June 15, 2009 @ 10:02 pm

  13. Hi Petite, Although I’m not pregnant, I get that leg thing and it drives me absolutely mad. I read up loads about it and tried everything. Some tips : eat a couple of bananas a day and drink a big mug of warm milk before bed. These really help. I also read by putting an open bar of soap in bed near your feet that this helps too. In desparation, I tried this too (not sure if it was reallt effective although it is reassuring and keeps the sheets smelling nice!). Bon courage! Claire

    Comment by LaPetiteMarseillaise — June 15, 2009 @ 10:08 pm

  14. Question: “How do I know if I need stitches?”

    Answer: “If you are asking that question!”

    Comment by cellybelly — June 15, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

  15. Oh I can understand your frustration with the Restless Leg Syndrome… I had that too. Tonic water w/ Quinine is an old-fashioned cure. I would drink a small glass of it while pacing during my first pregnancy. It’s the only thing that helped

    Comment by Noel — June 15, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

  16. I had the restless leg syndrome with all four of my pregnancies. What helped me was taking magnesium that my doctor gave me. I took up to three a day if I remember correctly. The pills contained calcium as well.

    I always loved the first time the kids saw their new sister or brother at the hospital. I still get teary eyed looking at the photos.

    Congrats on the baby and your growing family!

    Comment by Pumpkin — June 15, 2009 @ 11:07 pm

  17. I second what happyforyou suggests — cocoa butter really helped my itchiness during my pregnancy, and shea butter is similar (only without the chocolate-y smell).

    Comment by Caryn — June 15, 2009 @ 11:50 pm

  18. More info on the leg thing if you are interested (and other later pregnancy stuff).

    Comment by another outspoken female — June 16, 2009 @ 12:45 am

  19. I ALWAYS got food crumbs in my bra, it was awful. When you undress at night you suddenly see this feast falling down… so embarassing. lol.

    Comment by Margarita — June 16, 2009 @ 5:16 am

  20. Ha ha, I used to get the itchy/bra area thing too. Especially across my back. Husband knew already, if he was anywhere near me, then he was required to scratch with much vigour!

    Comment by Ness @ Drovers Run — June 16, 2009 @ 6:22 am

  21. @1, @14 – I actually managed to use steri-strips to hold the wound closed (on the advice of my pharmacist who took a look), although it wasn’t easy to apply them with one hand.

    Now I’m just really sore…

    Comment by petite — June 16, 2009 @ 9:43 am

  22. Clumsiness in pregnancy is so frustrating.
    Once I was preparing a smoothie with several different fruits and I suppose all the neurons in my pregnant brain must have been occupied with marvelling at how many vitamins the baby would be getting that morning, because I forgot to take my hand out and blended the tip off one of my fingers. The mixture went bright red with blood, there was a lot of hysterical screaming and a mad dash to the chemist on the corner. I couldn’t bring myself to even look at my hand, convinced as I was that it had been severely mutilated, but apparently I was still clutching a peeled peach between my bloodied fingers…;)
    So you were remarkably collected to be able to remember to hold your arm up and then google with your other hand…. Hope it heals soon!

    Comment by happyforyou — June 16, 2009 @ 10:00 am

  23. I expect those crumbs are well-appreciated during Boy’s bouts of late night snacking.

    Comment by Meg — June 16, 2009 @ 10:51 am

  24. ahem, hi,
    i dont think i’m supposed to be here, since i’m interrupting the conversation, but i have a question that i cant find the answer to.
    trying to find petite’s email, but never was good with technology and still haven’t set up a mac email account so can’t access it.
    whoops. i apologise. i’m from essex.
    anyway, if anyone can access it, bravo and could you share with me…

    Comment by Charlie in Bali — June 16, 2009 @ 11:16 am

  25. My email address is It’s on the site somewhere, but I can’t remember where…

    Comment by petite — June 16, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

  26. Nice to read your post this morning, how did the party go?

    Comment by Tiffany — June 16, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

  27. Ooh thats not good hope your forearm is ok now. Take care of yourself cherie

    Comment by La Chat Noir — June 16, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

  28. my wife and i are a few weeks behind you now at that slightly earlier stage where she can feel the kicking but i can’t… i’ve tried telling it to knock once for yes and twice for no… but to no avail. the only thing that seems to get its attention at the moment is chocolate and getting up too quickly… plenty to look forward to then!

    Comment by tom hagen — June 16, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

  29. Gawd, I know what you mean with the restless legs. I’m 5 months along and am in the thralls of it. It makes sleeping impossible. My stomach popped early, too, which I guess isn’t too surprising since my son is only 13 months old :/ In an effort to (perhaps fruitlessly) stave off stretch marks, I’m ordering some cream from your side of the pond that my OB swears by– supposedly her friend had triplets yet no stretch marks while using this cream.

    Anyways, would love to know if you (or any readers) have suggestions for some lovely girl’s names? I’m stumped and getting nervous. So much that I’m having a giveaway on my blog in exchange for name suggestions.

    Plenty of boys’ names on file, though, in case you’re in need ; )

    Comment by Broady — June 16, 2009 @ 6:53 pm

  30. I posted a little update on the party post below ;-)

    Comment by petite — June 16, 2009 @ 7:33 pm

  31. no! no quinine. it is used to induce labor.
    how about a lavendar bath or lavender oil rub.

    Comment by debbie — June 16, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

  32. hey broady,
    here in america people like to name their girls with last names,… tyler, madison, mackenzie. how about atlee or churchhill or even disraili?

    Comment by debbie — June 16, 2009 @ 10:27 pm

  33. At least the sickness thing is gone. I guess hot weather doesn’t help either, my mum hated the weather when she was expecting my sister.

    Any cravings yet?
    best wishes xxx

    Comment by Poser — June 16, 2009 @ 10:54 pm

  34. Indeed check out Restless Leg Syndrome at validated (i.e., not Wikipedia) sites on the Internet. It is a recognized condition that can be treated with medication, including Neurontyn, though possibly not while you are pregnant. But failing medication, there are some things that can be done.

    The National Institutes of Health (USA) and the Mayo Clinic have good information:

    Comment by Passante — June 17, 2009 @ 1:20 am

  35. A midwife gave me a tip re the legs, and it worked like a charm. Have a milky drink at bedtime. Apparently it a lack of calcium that makes the legs ache. Worth a try? As I say, it worked for me.

    Comment by Iota — June 17, 2009 @ 3:07 am

  36. For restless achy legs, try putting a pillow between your legs.

    Comment by Elle — June 17, 2009 @ 4:51 am

  37. You need some tonic water !! its got quinine in it , and is meant to help with restless legs x so glad to hear your pregnancy is going well and you are blooming!

    Comment by Lisa — June 17, 2009 @ 12:25 pm

  38. Very funny, on the subject of “heavy legs”…

    Comment by happyforyou — June 17, 2009 @ 4:19 pm

  39. FWIW, we just had a baby and when my wife was in this phase we got a cheap zero gravity chair for her to sleep in. Helped with the ‘I can’t find a comfortable position to sleep in’. It was like $250 from Walmart, so not sure if you can find something similar in Paris, but it might be worth looking for…

    Comment by Neepster — June 17, 2009 @ 9:52 pm

  40. I had the hormonal itching also – I scratched myself raw – it was a nightmare – pauvre petite!

    Comment by Biddy — June 18, 2009 @ 12:40 am

  41. petite: are you finding out if its a boy or girl?

    Comment by kara — June 18, 2009 @ 5:23 am

  42. Haha.. I’m 18 weeks pregnant, and I itch all the time. When I go out, I put on my jacket and … my bra.

    Comment by Anja — June 18, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

  43. Calcium, but sometimes also magnesium. I’m right there with you, though.

    Comment by BeanMa — June 18, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

  44. Glad you have got over those first few months. Your writing made me remember things I had forgotten about.

    Continued luck over the coming months.

    Comment by Googlebear — June 18, 2009 @ 8:10 pm

  45. Aiiii aii aiiii!

    And you’re not going to tell us if you did?

    My friend was all off balance in her 2nd pregnancy. She fell on her wrist while walking her dog, and then she required some special surgery for pregnant ladies whereby the drugs go straight to the baby creating a little junky.

    Comment by ellie — June 19, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

  46. It sounds like you have restless legs syndrome (RLS)- it’s common in pregnancy and is more prevalent with the number of pregnancies. It is strongly related to iron deficiency – get your ferritin checked! There is an association in France for patients, and in Paris there are specialists at Pitié Salpètrière. It is NOT advisable to take quinine – RLS is often misdiagnosed and mistreated; google “Patterns of treatment for restless legs syndrome in primary care in the United Kingdom.” by Martinez. Quinine is for cramps. If you’re interested in reading medical literature on it you can google Manconi who has studied it in pregnancy, or RLS reviews by authors such as D. Garcia-Borreguero, C. Trenkwalder, or B. Högl – all renowned European RLS experts.
    The RLS diagnostic criteria are here.

    Comment by Hannah — June 20, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

  47. I call it “jumpy legs”, and I discovered (thanks to an “Ask the Doctor” column in a local paper) that a glass of cold water at bedtime helps. I don’t know why–and the doctor hadn’t heard of the treatment–but something that always drove me insane has been abated. Of course, now that you’re expecting I don’t know how you feel about filling your bladder at bedtime…

    Comment by Jennifer — June 20, 2009 @ 11:19 pm

  48. In my family we have an “old wive’s tale” that says your baby will be born 5 months to the day from the first time you feel the baby move. It works for us!

    Comment by Danna — June 21, 2009 @ 10:48 pm

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