Telling everyone is the fun bit. Whether you’ve waited the whole first trimester or sent a ‘blue lines’ selfie to your bestie before the pee had even dried, delivering the news that you are about to bring new life into the world is magic.
Our plan was to tell our parents first then siblings then everybody else but on the day of our scan I managed to have a little cry before we even left the house because we were headed to a wedding all weekend and I was going to run out of time to tell all of my sisters in a fun way (the ones guaranteed to be the MOST excited) and I was feeling guilty about avoiding them all .. sniff sniff… blub blub. So we agreed we should tell all of my family that evening and his family the next night.
We had to wait about ten weeks for our professional wedding photos after the big day itself, so hadn’t managed to get our ‘Thank You’ cards ordered and out until the week before our scan, the perfect opportunity to sneak that announcement into unsuspecting hands! After MUCH googling, Pinterest-ing and looking at various ways to announce pregnancy to family in a fun way, I gave up on trying to be cool about it. So much of it relies on the people you are surprising actually being surprised, not suspicious and doing the things you expect in an exact sequence and I just maxed out on trying to make anything cool work. It was exhausting and I didn’t really care how the news got delivered as long as it wasn’t forced out of me and I got to tell people when I was ready.
So armed with Thank You cards signed off as Mr & Mrs (+ Bump!), we went to tell everyone the good news!
Family: Everyone reacted in a slightly different but equally happy way (some had guessed or were suspicious…. It’s no secret that I love a glass of red or two and wine selfies had been mostly absent from the family whats app group!) – I felt happy because we got to tell people the news in our own way and finally be able to stop being secretive (I am a terrible liar).
Everyone else: I toyed with the idea of a social media announcement for various reasons and decided that actually, once family had been told by us and we knew all was well that I did want to share the news to everyone else because this is a special time in our lives and I use social media as a journal of sorts so documenting my pregnancy was definitely something I wanted to do.
Also because it’s a fast way to inform literally everyone you know but also because I wanted to have some keepsakes for our memory box when life got busy and tough and the baby got older. I’m glad I did. We took a cute photo and kept it simple. It was perfect.
The news is officially out, everyone knows you had sex with your husband (and will happily start a conversation with this fact… sometimes a ‘’Well Done Hubs’’ comment too because congratulating a man on his ability to impregnate isn’t inappropriate at all!!), the ovulation gods were on your side and you have probably spent three months with your head down the toilet. Except this isn’t the bit that anybody wants to discuss of course, puke, piles and the less glamorous side of creating humans is just no fun to discuss. So instead of people asking ‘How are you feeling?’ they ask ‘Are you going to find out the sex?’ or ‘Have you decided on any names?!’ or in our case ‘That was quick!’……..
Now I do appreciate this is all with the best intentions so please don’t think I haven’t also been the exact same idiot asking a, most likely, exhausted, hormonal and bloated AF woman if she wants to share the very personal details she has probably only shared with her husband, with me – regardless of who the hell I am to this woman.
Once everyone has got over the initial excitement, parents or not, they start to give you advice in waves; I’m not even exaggerating when I say that my poor little introvert brain crumbled under the pressure of said advice quite quickly and the tears came. I’d love to say it’s easy to nod and smile and say thank you (as hubs suggested) then choose to either ignore or take on board what every single person wants to share with you but it’s not that simple.
You MUST get one of those cribs that attaches to the bed so you can feed constantly… you are going to breast feed of course?!’’ *insert unblinking stare here*
‘’You MUST get the baby into the nursery as quickly as possible, you don’t want it in your room’’
‘’You MUST go to NCT classes’’
‘’You MUST get one of these absurdly expensive *delete as appropriate* pregnancy pillows/breast pumps/sleepyheads/cots/swaddles/white noise machines – it was an absolute lifesaver for us’’
All of this came from practical strangers! Family are even more well intentioned but of course they also want to give you all of this second hand crap that you didn’t even know existed let alone needed (until the Amazon algorithm got wind of your pregnancy and started scare mongering you with a list as long as the River Nile of so much shit this tiny human was going to apparently ‘need’ that you genuinely thought you’d have to move house to fit everything into your flat!).
I absolutely DO appreciate advice, if I am asking someone I know and trust and respect to give me a well rounded, unbiased view on a product/method of something that worked or didn’t work for them.; I really do appreciate this valuable time and wisdom and have sought this out more than once during the mere months I have been pregnant but that is maybe 8% of the actual advice that you get. The other 92% is unsolicited, unwanted, forced on you when you are least suspecting it and not even remotely fucking helpful when it’s given because BABY BRAIN IS A REAL THING! Honestly, there is no point naming the brand of one of these life saving products that I simply MUST get while I am sipping my sparkling water (and pretending it’s actually Prosecco) at someone’s birthday lunch surrounded by screaming toddlers and family members I can’t even remember the names of let alone this thing I’m not even going to need until the baby can walk! Just stop!
Aside from the product/feeding advice you then start getting actual BIRTH advice. Now if someone has birthed seven children and happened to have had every type of delivery imaginable then I am absolutely quizzing that person on what worked for them, what they found most useful and how each delivery differed but in all honesty I am not accepting advice from a single person who has only given birth once. Aside from the fact that every pregnancy is different and every birth is different and what works for you might not work for me, as long as that baby comes out (any which way!) safe and healthy then I don’t care how it happens. This is the most natural process in the world and our bodies have literally been designed to procreate, so everything that happens from feeling horny AF prior to conception all the way through to your kid fleeing the nest and starting a family of their own, is the universe’s way of telling us to keep surviving.
But then you feel the baby move!
Week 15 + 1 – Sat in the car in The Elan Valley, Wales and I feel what I can only describe as bubbles in my lower tummy, then a swoosh and a sharp jab on my left side. A few more minutes of bubbles and butterflies and I’ve managed to work out that I just felt my baby move for the first time. Try not to cry and then stay super still for an age to see if it happens again. It didn’t that day but mostly every day after that at least once.
(N.B – I am told this is mega early for most so please don’t be disheartened if you haven’t felt anything before even week 20. I also have a tiny frame and my midwife explain this is why… if you’re worried please speak to your health professional and don’t take advice from bloggers!)
By week 20 those movements are regular and by week 25 they have a rhythm, are super strong and hubs can not only feel them but see them as well. This babe is double busy in there.
I won’t preach the ‘Go get your smear test ladies’ rant but seriously, please don’t avoid your smear test. I was back at the antenatal clinic at 16 weeks for a consultant appointment (not a standard appointment) as I have had surgery on my cervix which my midwife wanted a gynae consultant to review. The surgery was ten years ago, following my first smear at 25 years old they found pre-cancerous cells which needed removing. If they hadn’t removed them it would have most likely developed into cervical cancer shortly afterwards. The surgery was completed under general anaesthetic and they basically removed a few centimeters of cervical wall to ensure they had removed all dangerous cells. It was very successful and I have had a smear test every year since which has come back clear. Please don’t avoid your smear test.
In pregnancy, if the cervical lining is shorter than normal, it can lead to babies arriving too early and some intervention to keep the baby in the womb for as long as possible.
The consultant wanted me to have a scan to investigate the length so that they could decide on the next course of action. I went back a few days later for a normal sonogram which was super fun because I got to see baby again (always reassuring) but a little less enjoyable because the only way to get the cervical measurement they needed was by using a super long dildo type thing inserted into my vagina while they took several measurements (In other words, not for a brief length of time). To be fair, after more smears than most girls my age, this did not phase me much and I was acutely aware of how much I would be getting my bits out over the next six months or so.
Thankfully the measurement was long enough for them to say I could head home and was signed off back to Midwife led care which meant more options and less monitoring. Phew!
And all the other stuff
I have been very lucky with my pregnancy aches and pains to be honest but that doesn’t stop the ones that I have had being so bloody debilitating and making me miserable.
Everyone I meet seems to promise me that I’m ‘Going to feel amazing any day now’ but I’m still waiting.. (As I write this at now 27 weeks……)
To be fair I still feel 50% better than I did in those first three months because that was a new level of exhausted but I’m still completely knackered all the time, especially when babe seems to be going through a growth spurt (I can tell because I am eternally HUNGRY and my belly feels even more stretched than normal… FYI – ligaments stretching is painful!).
Unfortunately I’m also struggling with constant chronic back & rib pains. I say chronic, I’m sure there are millions who suffer a hell of a lot more than I do but when you’ve never suffered from back pain of any kind it can come as a bit of a shock. Especially when my job is so sedentary which makes it so much worse and I find myself needing to do 100 things to get comfortable after a day at work! I’ll talk more about how I’ve tackled this in another post (and a more positive way!)
It’s safe to say I am looking forward to getting to the Third Trimester (Week 28 onwards) and being able to start counting down the days until babe arrives!
Mrs G x