Week 4 – 8
Firstly, what I didn’t know was that once you find out you are pregnant you are actually not 1 week; you are 4 weeks pregnant as it counted from the first day of your last period! Bonus!
Never underestimate how well you know your own body. I had just arrived home from honeymoon and told my husband I just didn’t feel right and he told me that it was just jet lag and to not be silly. When I even mentioned getting a pregnancy test, he thought it was utter madness that I could have fallen pregnant so quickly. We were supposed to be out at a music festival that evening, and my mind couldn’t rest without taking one, knowing that I would be potentially indulging in a prosecco or two! So off I went to the supermarket and bought just one of the really cheap basic tests, just to put my mind at rest. I did the test, left it with my husband and went upstairs to get ready for a night out… and then I hear “Err what does the cross mean”… and that was it. We were pregnant. We were so shocked that the following day I also had to do one of the super expensive ones that literally spells it out for you!
The first challenge was, what do I do next?! I did some googling and realised I needed to ring my GP and let them know. They asked for a urine sample to confirm and then booked me in to see the doctor (not the midwife). This appointment was about 6 weeks for me but might be a little later for others. The doctor just asked lots of questions and had a feel of my abdomen to check I wasn’t further along that I thought. Next steps were to book in a midwife appointment, called a booking appointment, to officially log me on to the journey.
The next week was my birthday, to which I woke up and cried for 2 hours before having to force myself to go in to work. My emotions were just all over the place, and this was only the start of it…
Week 8 – 12
These weeks were just a complete write off. Sickness and zero energy. You let friends and family down cancelling plans and have to make up all sorts of weird and wonderful excuses as to why I couldn’t have a glass of wine when I did rustle up the energy to leave the house.
I suffered really badly with the sickness and felt queasy from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep. I tried everything I could google, from ginger biscuits to dry crackers, but nothing seemed to help. I also tried to fight the tiredness, but my advice now would be just to embrace it, as it will take over no matter what, so getting angry and upset about not feeling yourself only makes it worse.
We paid and went for an early reassurance scan as I found it a really long time from finding out (maybe because we found out quite quickly) to the 12-week scan for reassurance that everything was ok. Baby was like a little pea, but it was lovely to be reassured that baby was starting life well and that it wasn’t twins like my husband had been hoping for!
At this stage you also have your booking appointment with the midwife (around 10 weeks). At this appointment they ask you a million questions (some very personal) and they take your blood to check for any anomalies. They explain a little, not a lot, about the process and ask you where you would like to give birth.
The 12-week mark was lovely. Going to the scan was exciting and made it all feel real. Telling family and friends was not only exciting but a huge relief. Most of the people close to us had already guessed (I had been so tired and not myself) so it didn’t come as too much of a surprise.
After about the 13 weeks point, my constant sickness started to ease, and it just feels so amazing to start feeling a little more like yourself. I had been terrible at attending my weekly gym sessions, but I managed to get back into the swing of them and started to really enjoy how they made me feel (even if I did cry after a lot of the sessions, it was happy tears!). Its important to tell your personal trainer (or class teacher etc) that you are pregnant to they can tailor anything needed to make it safe (even if this is before 12 weeks, my PT was the first person to know!).
The next appointment with your midwife is 16 weeks. This is a lovely appointment as the midwife uses a doppler to hear babies’ heartbeat. My tip is to record it on your phone so you can have another listen and share with family and friends, and even play the game where you guess if the heartbeat sounds like steam train (boy) or horse (girl) game if you believe in the suspicion! You also run through your blood tests results. I found out I have rhesus negative blood type, which is a little rarer. It means that if baby isn’t my blood type and we were to swap antibodies then my body could reject the baby. This all sounds very scary and left me feeling deflated and a little worried. However, speaking to friends, colleagues and having a good old google reassured me that its nothing to be fear and just means a couple more injections than other people!
Towards week 16 you will start to feel “chubby”. My clothes were getting tighter and feeling uncomfy but without any bump. You are outgrowing your “normal” clothes but are not quite filling maternity gear yet, so a really awkward stage, especially if you have any social commitment requiring you to dress up!
Week 16 – 20
This is a great stage… people know, the sickness has passed, energy levels are good, and you start to get a lovely little bump!
Behind all that excitement, there was a little bit of uncertainty too. I felt as though everyone knew but it was still at a stage that anything could happen, including something bad. I was just hoping and praying to get to 20 weeks as I had told myself that there would hopefully be less uncertainty after this milestone.
This is definitely the time to start investing in some maternity gear. Maternity leggings are just a lifesaver as being comfy is so important. I found lots of tops and jumpers still fit and looks ok with a bump, but trousers and jeans just needed to be comfortable. I am an over the bump girl as I loved being able to pull them up high, but I know some people feel restricted by this and like the under the bump trousers, the best thing is to order one of each and see how you feel! Most high streets stores have maternity but it isn’t readily available in store, so you tend to have to do a big order, try on and then send half of it back.
Week 20 -24
And like a flash, it’s time for another scan at the 20-week mark! It was lovely to see baby as they are much more defined at this stage and look like a proper little person. At this scan they take a lot of measurements to make sure baby is on track and look for any anomalies etc. You also get to buy more photos… unless you little one is as wriggly as mine, then they manage to get literally one and then all the rest are just blurs! We chose not to find out the gender and have a surprise, but if you wanted to this would be your opportunity. This scan revealed I had a low-lying placenta, which is really common and just means that if it doesn’t move out the way of your cervix (which it often does), I would need to have to have a caesarean. This didn’t bother me too much as I knew it might move and was of the opinion that as long as baby entered the world healthily, I didn’t mind how it entered.
I had felt a few little flutters from baby at around 18 weeks, but it was around 21 weeks before I started to feel some defined movements from baby. It is really surreal at first, but you soon get used to it and it becomes a lovely reassurance when you can feel little one having a bit of a wiggle around.
We had a trip planned to Geneva when I was 22 weeks pregnant for my father in laws birthday. I felt a little hesitant to go, however once I read up it seemed perfectly ok for me to do a short flight, so I decided to go ahead. On the first night I had my first big scare, after a long day and a late meal out I went to bed and experienced the worst pains in my lower right side, to the point I couldn’t bare to move. This immediately sent me in to a panic that something was really wrong, and I was in a foreign place not knowing where I could get help. After some frantic googling and an hour of hysterical crying, my husband had persuaded me to get dressed and go for a little walk, which revealed it was just a really bad case of trapped wind. This is common for this stage of pregnancy, especially after a flight and a large, late meal out, but scary none the less. We had a lovely time and my husband felt baby move for the first time, but I was really glad to get home and was definitely not wanting to go far from home again.
From this stage you see your midwife every 3 weeks for routine check-ups. They check your urine, blood pressure, pulse and listen baby’s heartbeat. At the 28 weeks appointment they will retest your bloods to check for any significant changes to iron levels or any signs of problems like gestational diabetes and or pre-eclampsia. Luckily mine were all clear. I was also booked in for a routine anti-d injection for the rhesus negative blood type, which meant I went to the hospital where I would give birth, which was really interesting to see!
I suffered with restless legs at this stage which just means you cannot get comfy and feel really on edge, but thankfully it was temporary. As your bump grows your skin can also get really itchy (to the point it drives you wild), but a really good moisturiser should help (I use bio oil daily but when the this stretching related itch appears you need a heavy duty cream!).
All the way through I have had episodes of random crying, to which my husband would find strange but funny. I occasionally would just burst out in tears for no reason at all and would just have a big cry to let it all out. I blame hormones, tried to embrace it and normally ended up laughing about it (whilst still crying at the same time!).
Week 28 – 32
At my 31 weeks midwife appointment I was measuring large on my bump, so they sent me for a growth scan. For this you go to the hospital and then scan and measure to create a rough estimate of baby’s size. It turned out my baby was just over average but was laid across my belly like a banana making my bump look a lot bigger.
I also had yet another scan at 32 weeks (a routine one) to check on the position of my placenta. It had moved meaning I was cleared of needing a c-section and needed no more routine scans.
The waddle arrived at around 30 weeks and I was down to only one pair of shoes that fit my swollen feet. It was the time I realised I wasn’t capable of doing everything I used to and really had to tell myself to take it easy. The bath was my best friend after a day at work, doing the housework and walking the dog, there was nothing better than a long bubble bath before bed. I also started to suffer some hip pain so a bath before bad helped to ease the discomfort, meaning I had more chance of sleeping. Big kicks can disturb your sleep and wake you up in the mornings, but I loved the reassurance of my little boy or girl have a little dance around.
TO BE CONTINUED… 😊