Alcohol units: o (vg) cigarettes: 0 (vg) pregnancy tests: 2 (better)
baby outfits purchased 5 (excellent)
Hurrah! Have found lovely soothing website about prenatal paternity testing,
featuring joyous black and white picture of pregnant madonna-like woman
(as in Virgin Mary, not country-house falling-off-horse pop goddess), with
swarthy mysterious sex-god in the background: "If you have had more
than one partner, it's natural for you to want to know who the father is."
Love the way they put this: as if this is a completely normal dilemma
which every woman faces at one time or another. Find self hurriedly
double-checking that website is not called "Pregnantslag.com" but it is
"You may feel the need to collect financial or emotional support," it
goes on encouragingly. V. keen on idea of going round to "collect" emotional
support, like on Poppy Day with a tin or for Comic Relief with a plastic
bucket. Would be handy to be sick in, anyway.
"... or simply for the piece of mind which accompanies knowing for
Whilst worrying that the "i-awomanhealth" team don't know how to spell,
I do find this a curiously apt image: pieces of my mind all over the place,
some of them accompanying knowing for sure, others collecting emotional
support in buckets, others accompanying Tory leadership hopefuls to conference
events in shiny Tory-wife dresses.
Aha! There is a DNA test they can do at three months. "Results are
usually given in 14 business days or less." Hmm ... 14 business days. Does that
Was bloody Richard Finch, leaning over my shoulder, peering at my
screen as I hurriedly pressed Force Quit.
"What was that? It was a pregnant woman wasn't it? Does that mean
"... researching the new report about the effects of alcohol on unborn
babies," I said smoothly. "Why yes, Richard, I am!" (I mean sometimes I
literally think I am a genius).
"That's a good one," he guffawed. "Well, we'll find out in nine months,
The phone rang. I lunged at it gratefully.
"Bridget, it's Magda. I assume you haven't told either Mark or Daniel
that you're pregnant or worked out which one is the father," a Sloaney voice
boomed out of the earpiece." I want you to know that we're all sick of
you behaving like a child."
Because I was feeling sick and having a child the whole concept she was
trying to put across got mixed up with what was happening in real life
and made me want to be sick with Richard Finch still standing there trying
"Thank you so much, Dr Fletcher, I'll whizz over to the fax and grab
those figures!" I said, putting the phone down and heading off in the
direction of the loos/imaginary fax, flashing a backwards smile over my shoulder at
Richard whilst praying that sick wasn't squelching through my teeth
like in The Exorcist.
When got back to my desk Magda was on the phone again. "Now listen,
You're in denial. I've made contact with a friend of a friend who's
going to help you."
"Not a backstreet abortionist?" I said, horrified.
"No, Bridget. She's a medical/legal expert in these sorts of cases."
'What sort of cases?" I said, indignantly. "Honestly, I mean I've been
to the doctor, haven't I? And I've bought loads of baby clothes."
"Paternity. I've arranged for you to see her at 8 o'clock tomorrow
Suppose had better go. I mean, it would be useful to know who is the
It's just that now I am actually having the baby it doesn't seem all
that important. Oh goody, Lunchtime! Think will just pop out to John Lewis
and look at Moses baskets.
Tuesday Oct 4th
8.45am. Actually Magda's paternity woman was quite nice.
"I'm glad you don't think I'm a crack whore," I said.
"Heavens, no. You'd be amazed how many people get themselves into this
sort of situation. Now: timing," she said, crisply whipping out her Palm
"It would be nice to be exact about dates, but if we could, we wouldn't
need to be doing a paternity test. So we're going to err on the side of
caution and make it a week on Thursday. Think you're up to it?"
"Isn't it risky to the baby?"
"Oh, God no. They don't do the amnio needle thing any more. DNA science
is moving so fast these days. No risk to the baby at all."
"How am I going to get the DNA?" I said, suddenly realising it might be
difficult to get both Mark and Daniel to turn up to meet me in the
first place, let alone covertly extract DNA from them.
"The first choice is saliva, of course. Clean, sterile swab inside the
cheek. Next best is blood."
"And then hair."
"That might be all right," I said doubtfully, wondering if Mark or
Daniel would buy it, if I said I needed a lock to remember them by.
"The important thing with hair is that the follicle should still be
attached. Fifteen to twenty strands, pulled straight from the head."
"Any other options?" I gulped.
"A tooth would be good."
Jesus. "Oh, that should be easy enough!"
"Some people hold on to their baby teeth," she laughed.
Yeah, right. I could really see Mark Darcy or Daniel Cleaver peeking
fondly into a little box looking at their old baby teeth.
"... or you could go for a toenail or a fingernail or a skin sample.
in this bag. Oh, I was forgetting. You'll need two bags, of course, for
both potential fathers! Get them over to us as quickly as possible. I've put
you some swabs in as well."
"Jolly good," I said, wandering out unsteadily. "Right"
What am I going to do? Lunge at Daniel, knock one of his teeth out and
then swab the wound with a sterile cotton puff? Invite Mark Darcy to come
for a mani/pedi with me? Oh fuck it. Wonder if Baby Gap will be open at 9am?
Published: 06 October 2005