If you’re not interested in pregnancy, babies and the ‘joys’ of everything in between then I suggest you keep on scrolling, this post is not for you! This is more of a mind dump for my anxious brain, a journal of my first trimester told in all it’s unflattering glory.
TTC (Trying To Conceive)
When we started talking about trying for a baby, I spent hours and hours searching for anything and everything that would help me to a) get pregnant as quickly as possible and b) find out what was in store for me if I managed to achieve this seemingly impossible task. I don’t say this to be dramatic, I have watched many couples; friends, friends of friends, family of friends, famous people and ‘not so famous but kind of on insta famous’ people struggle with fertility, baby loss and long journey’s to parenthood. It’s brilliant that there are so many brave souls out there who are willing to talk so openly about there struggles. I can’t help but think that it must help so many people going through that same struggle to not feel so alone and persecuted by nature. Therefore, I assumed and prepared for a wait and was fierce about not getting prematurely excited, not allowing family members to make assumptions or even talk too much about ‘when’, I was very much an ‘if’ person.
Naturally I spent the months leading up to our NYE wedding (more on this in another post), not only planning every last detail of the ceremony and end of year celebrations but also plotting, charting and reading up on everything I needed to do to maximise our chances of conceiving quickly. There are lots of things you can pay attention to so that you do the deed on the rights days but (unfortunately) your body is the only one that can decide if and when you conceive, you can’t really influence this. I’ll talk more about this another day for anyone about to embark on a similar journey as I found the other peoples experiences to be invaluable when finding out the best and worst case eventualities.
So we started ‘trying’…
We were insanely lucky. I can’t possibly explain how grateful we are so please don’t, especially if you are going through a long journey to parenthood yourself, think that I am not aware of how blessed we are and have been so far. It doesn’t necessarily mean we would be so lucky again but this time we have had an easy ride and we couldn’t be more thankful.
As the two week wait for my period came to a close (10 Days Post Ovulation – DPO / About 5 Weeks Post Wedding), I’d had a crappy day at work and was filled with the RAGE that only comes with PMT. I had also broken out in spots and felt sure my period was imminent so I was also disheartened that we clearly weren’t pregnant. (I checked about 7 DPO and got a big fat negative result!) The next day my boobies felt like water balloons pinned to my chest with small knives and I was gutted that all my plotting and planning hadn’t meant we would conceive on our first go which in hindsight was dramatic considering how many years some couples spend trying but I’m a planner by obsession and I was still optimistic that my plan could work out. Disappointed and feeling pre-menstrual, I went into the weekend with some wine and chocolate and started plotting dates that we could try again.
On the Sunday that my period was due (14 DPO) I woke up at about 6:30am (relevant) and popped to the loo. Despite being convinced Aunt Flo was imminent, I had an early response pregnancy test handy so I thought it was worth a go. I did the thing and popped the test on the edge of the tub while I brushed my teeth, not even eager to see the result because I knew it was going to be negative and was already planning a trip to buy wine to go with dinner. Maybe even a chocolate based desert, you know, anything to feed the hormones and acne that were about to ambush me.
Turn round to take a peak (toothbrush still in mouth) and there is, what feels like, a bloody claxon going off, neon flashing lights and a Big Fat Positive pregnancy test result!
Mid brushing teeth I was tempted to gallop back into the bedroom, arms waving the stick with my pee on it in the face of the husband while screaming ‘THE FERTILITY GODS HAVE BLESSED US WITH AN EMBRYO!’. I managed to hold it together for atleast 45 seconds to spit, rinse and flush the loo (it’s possible I didn’t even wash my hands…. suddenly unimportant basic hygiene standing in the way of my excitement!)
Darling Husband was awoken at about 6:45am on Sunday 10th Feb to his brand new wife literally shouting ‘I’M PREGNANT!’
(Don’t worry, he was pretty happy about it too).
As Sod’s law would have it, we were due at my sisters for a boozy brunch in a few hours and sirens would go off if I said I wasn’t drinking so this was the start of my trail of big fat lies to keep this baby a secret until we were 100% confident everything was OK. It was early days, I was barely 4 weeks by my calculations and so much could go wrong so we agreed to not go nuts or tell anyone until that first scan. Then I swore quite alot and we hugged a lot. We were ecstatic, nervous, elated, overjoyed and utterly shocked but so incredibly happy.
So the next few weeks went as follows…
Suddenly exhausted from basically from the following day. It took me 3 days to work out that it was actually ‘growing a baby’ tired and not ‘normal me tired’. Napped like a boss most days or was in my PJ’s and asleep by 8pm. Have never known exhaustion like it and have never slept so much in all my adult years (Coming from an insomniac this was quite a treat!)
Ridiculously sore boobies. Mid Week 4 I bought soft sports bras to sleep in because my boobies felt so engorged I couldn’t face sleeping without one on. TMI I know but again, not anything I’ve ever experienced to such a degree.
Skin breakouts, much like PMS spots but for a few more days than normal.
Dry skin. Like the seasons had changed overnight and I hadn’t moisturised in a year. I literally had skin flaking off my legs by the end of Week 4. Upped my moisturiser game at this point.
Metallic taste in mouth which only went away with a packet of Polo’s and LOTS of water. Went away after a few days…
Crazy thirsty all the time, constantly, even during the night.
Peeing 1000 times a day, partly more water, partly hormones but the urge is painful quickly and I nearly had to pee in a lay bay on the M4 at the end of Week 4 because I didn’t think I could hold it.
Actually shared photos on social media this week that ‘suggested’ I was drinking but actually wasn’t…. (e.g. strategic bottle of red in trolley as below… actually put back on shelf after pic taken!)
Bloated AF. Also still holding post wedding/honeymoon pounds and no longer allowed to diet so poss also heavier than normal. Scales banished to collect dust for the next 8 months!
Number of social events ‘invented’ to get out of attending drinking related social events where I am incapable of being able to discreetly not drink = 3
Number of fake ‘Gin & Tonic’s’ drunk that were actually soda water and cucumber in a fancy glass = 4
Number of hotels stayed in where I was lucky enough to grab a beautiful room with a beautiful Jacuzzi bath tub but being pregnant meant I wasn’t allowed to use said Jacuzzi = 1
Mostly feeling the same as the last few weeks; constantly tired, mega sore boobs, peeing constantly and mega thirsty but with the added joy of aversions to foods (none specific, it’s more timely) and feeling nauseous A LOT of the time.
Thankfully yet to actually throw up, it’s a different kind of nausea, more like when you need to eat so bad that your blood sugar hits the floor and you think you might puke. Yeah… that, but all day. Comfort eating is a real thing because it seems the only way to get rid of it is to eat…. constantly.
First Midwife Appointment
We had our first midwife appointment, where we officially joined the list of parents-to-be with babies expected in October 2019. We also booked further appointments for blood tests and first scans etc. Nothing too exciting but naturally all VERY exciting for us as first timers. Midwife was lovely and really happy to answer all of my mental questions (like: ‘Why, when I cough does it feel like the glands in my tummy are going to burst?’ – Answer: During pregnancy we create a chemical/hormone that relaxes our muscles/joints etc. so that we can easily make space for baby, coughing can cause force I wouldn’t normally feel as everything is very relaxed down there. Also: ‘Can I eat Camembert?’ – Answer: YES! As long as it’s baked …. mega win)
First Pregnancy Yoga Class
As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I went into overdrive stressing about exercising. I have always been active in fits and spurts (i.e. sometimes with a lot of dedication, other times because I just need to get out of my own head) but I was suddenly really worried about the types of exercise I was doing and the risks associated with over exerting. So I stopped. Literally everything for a few weeks. After a lot of googling, a chat with the midwife and some sensible chats with myself, I booked into an antenatal yoga class to give me an idea of what was safe for my pregnancy. I also stopped running on the treadmill and switched to the cross trainer. Possibly over cautious? Probably, but it felt right for me to take it a lot easier than I had been so no more intense spin classes or sprinting on the treadmill. After the first trimester has passed without incident, I will worry less, but for now this is just right. Hilariously I haven’t been back to this class since (pregnancy symptoms cranked up a notch shortly afterwards) but have found lots and lots of brilliant pre and post natal yoga classes on You Tube, like this one.
First scan appointment has landed on the door mat! We are both so excited to be able to share the news, just another month or so to get through. The lies are coming out of my mouth thick and fast now,who knew you had to be such a good fibber to hide a pregnancy for a few months!
Sister asked me if I was pregnant yet, I lied. Mum invited me for a G&T, I lied. Other sister made reference to me and him becoming parents one day… said nothing. Lying is NOT my forte, I get found out too easily (you can read everything on my face) so this was tough! The only way to keep this one a secret was to go into hiding and avoid everyone!
Still feeling pretty exhausted, I’m lucky if I make it to 8:30pm every night let alone anything after 9pm! Have tried to keep going to the gym but honestly I just don’t have the spare energy. Have found that eating small meals throughout the day much better for the nausea so am basically a grazing cow, nibbling on fruit, nuts, crisps, toast and various fridge findings throughout the day. A big meal is too much for me so I’ve been cooking meals that I can easily have a small amount of and DG can have a normal portion. The best advice I read at this stage was not to worry too much if you’re getting your usual 5 a day or enjoying a good balance of nutrients, whatever keeps the sickness at bay and the energy levels up is OK. You’ve got plenty of time to focus on your nutrition and weight later. (Regardless of all that ‘Don’t gain too much weight’ pressure – just do what feels right!
Much the same as previous weeks with the added joy of blood tests at the hospital. I got lost trying to find the right place, ended up in the non-pregnancy related blood tests department and they weren’t particularly helpful so by the time I arrived in the Ante-Natal Clinic, I was in floods of pregnant-hormonal-tears and unable to talk. Looking back, this is hilarious, very unlike me and clearly not unusual as the ladies at the clinic didn’t even bat an eyelid, they just handed me tissues and told me everything was OK. Blood test left me with massive ugly bruises all the way up my forearm (something to do with all the extra blood you get during pregnancy maybe?). Anyway, I had to hide them from people, photos shared or yoga videos so as to avoid any questions! Feel like I’m getting my energy back this week so me and DG managed a big ass hike on Sunday which felt so good!
I’ve never been more wrong, I have NOT got my energy back – I am exhausted like never before! I read that this week there are some big changes happening and next week baby is officially classed as a fetus and not an embryo anymore so this explains the sudden smack in the face with all the tired. Nausea has also joined in and I am eating cereal by the bucket load. I must be not getting enough calcium in my normal diet as I don’t drink milk at all and have been through a box of Cheerios with a gallon of milk in the last week.
I wake up starving and in need of some food urgently before the bile starts to get to my throat. You will mostly find me eating marmite on toast in bed at 6:30am before demolishing a hearty bowl of porridge, two glasses of Orange Juice and some fruit before I’ve even arrived at work! (TBF I’m impressed there is fruit in my diet at all but actually it’s quite refreshing!)
OK, things are getting easier? I think…. We are creeping ever closer to the crucial 12 weeks when (I might) start to relax. We have even discussed names! That game is hilarious in itself, you never quite realise how many people you don’t like until you try and find a name for your unborn child! We (I mean me) are being mega cautious about over planning or buying things, I am acutely aware of the fact that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage and know so many people who have struggled with this and fertility that we are very much not putting all our eggs in one basket until we are sure everything is OK. Just a couple more weeks to go.
Definitely seeing some improvements in energy and appetite. Actually can’t believe how rotten I was feeling and I was so lucky!! I actually never threw up but nausea, exhaustion and constant indigestion is gross at the best of times. Now that I’m starting to come out the other side I am feeling much better, more positive about the next few weeks and starting to getting really excited about telling everyone. I’ve spent countless hours googling cute pregnancy announcements then deciding they are all awful and I’m just gonna call people. It’s a bloody minefield. All social media channel algorithms have got the news in their grubby little mitts and I can’t even scroll safely, without checking who can see my screen, for the sheer mass of pregnancy/birth/maternity related crap that fills my feeds! It’s no wonder so many people find pregnancy stressful, it’s overwhelming in itself without the world telling you that you need to buy a thousand things you never knew existed.
Standing on a rooftop screaming at the world “IT’S HERE! WE MADE IT! THE FIRST TRIMESTER IS ALMOST OVER”. The milestone I was so desperate to reach without incident and we are finally here. Anxiety levels returning to normal ‘manic but not fraught’ mode and just TWO DAYS away from our first scan. Holy crap. Shits got real.
I was so excited on the morning of the start of week 12, I text DG to say congratulations to us for keeping our baby alive and well for this long. I feel this requires celebration. Shame the Prosecco is off limits for now!
Family are starting to get suspicious (or maybe I’m just paranoid), pretty confident they all think I’m ignoring them! I feel terrible but also very keen to have that confirmation from the sonographer that there is a healthy heartbeat and an actual baby in there before we give anyone the good news. I think I might been a teeny bit sad to leave our little pregnancy bubble when we announce the news. Me & DG have been hibernating since we found out and it’s actually (despite the obvious grossness of the first trimester) been really nice after the chaos of wedding planning, Christmas and our NYE wedding.
I spent a fair amount of the weekend before this milestone googling week 12 bump pics because I’m pretty confident I’m already showing, although it is hard to tell because the only way to keep on top of the nausea (for me) was to EAT! So I have most certainly gained as few pounds as well but my jeans are no longer my friend and I don’t think I could hide this baby belly (or my giant jugs) for much longer even if I wanted to.
The Dating Scan
‘Please come to your appointment with a full bladder’ the letter said. ‘You have a massive bladder’ the sonographer said. ‘Please go and have a 10 second wee’… Have you every tried to stop a wee, from a full bladder, midway through? No? Well let me tell you, it’s tricky! And I basically carried on leaking wee all over my knickers as I tried to stop (TMI!), wipe and stand up quickly in a very British ‘’mustn’t keep the medical professional waiting now!’’ Sort of way. I did this twice more before she was happy and could get all of the measurements she needed.
What they don’t tell you about this whole secretive bit of pregnancy is that dating scans are mental! I mean obviously the important things need to be done and you’ve been waiting patiently (and probably had your head down the loo gratefully vomiting your thankfulness that you managed to conceive or maybe cursing your other half mid up-chuck perhaps) to check that:
A) there is only one baby in there
B) all is well
C) nothing is broken, missing or strange
D) you haven’t made it up and really are pregnant!
And then you can feel that reassurance and pop straight on over to Instagram to share the news. We’ll get to that bit but let me just share this surreal 30 minutes of prodding and bladder emptying/filling dependent on whether you have a massive bladder like me!
At our Booking Appointment, the midwife had already forewarned us that the sonographer is there to do a job and won’t be gushing with excitement for us, despite the fact that we have spent two nervous months waiting for this day to come round and I woke up at 5am to spend hours imagining every disaster scenario that could await us. They are super professional and proper.
When called through we went into a semi-dark room, I was asked to confirm some details and ‘hop’ on the bed (with a full bladder… pfffttt), and show her my tummy. The sonographer works on her little computer to my side and a screen on the wall, like a lounge TV on a bracket shows her screen so parents-to-be can see what she sees. As soon as she popped the gel (warm, thank god) on my tummy and started moving that wand around my jaw fell on the floor. There is a fucking baby in there! An actual real baby that looks like a baby and is MOVING! It was literally having a party in there and I felt nothing!
I don’t know why I was so shocked by this tiny little thing partying away in my tummy but my god that is quite a sight to see! I just kept saying ‘wow!’.
Casually trying not to cry (had already cried that morning before we left) she then said ‘There you go, look at that little heart pumping away’… On screen is this little blob quite clearly beating at a rate of knots and very clearly in the right place and looking good. I couldn’t hold them back then. The tears came and flowed. Only when I inhaled again did my husband and the sonographer notice the blubbering mess that I was and hand me some tissues. But my goodness, what a sight. There is nothing quite like it. When you hear people saying those cliches about thier kids, don’t scoff, I get it I truly do. Seeing a grainy grey image of something no bigger than a lime that you made and grew and managed to protect for a couple months so far, well that’s it right there and then – you’re in love!
So there you have it! A long read but a very real, blow by blow account of my first trimester experience. If you’re still here, thank you for reading! I hope it was helpful!