I’m sure that if you’re following me over on social media, you’ll know by now that I’m expecting a baby! At the time of writing this, I’m around 23 and a half weeks pregnant, and I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a blog post about this for some time. A few reasons have held me back from chatting about this, one being that my blog has taken a back seat over the past few months, mainly down to the fact that since finding out the news, I’ve lacked any motivation to write or share photos of myself as it’s taken me a while to come to terms with how my body is changing. Another reason is that I know I’m incredibly lucky to be in this position, and I’m very conscious of the fact that me posting about pregnancy could be a trigger or upsetting topic for someone else. And finally, I’ve actually found pregnancy a lot more difficult that I expected it to be, so I’ve worried about coming across a bit too negative when I know I should be over the moon!
Here I am though, and I feel like I’m ready to share some more of my experience so far than just an occasional bump photo on Instagram! I’ve realised that before I got pregnant, I knew so little about what to expect! The symptoms I’ve experienced have often completely floored me and have been so different to what we’re often led to believe. I wanted to talk openly about what pregnancy has been like for me so far in the hope that I can help someone else going through the same thing. Obviously though it’s not all been bad, so don’t panic!
As I said I’m now 23 weeks, so over half way which is complete madness to me. I found out I was pregnant very early on, around 4 weeks, which when I think back feels like forever ago, but somehow at the same time the past 19 weeks has passed so quickly! I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I saw the (very faint) lines on the test, and so took another 6 or 7 over the few weeks that followed, but I didn’t really have any symptoms for at least another 2 weeks so was completely convinced I’d made the whole thing up!
To put our minds at ease we booked in for a private 8 week ‘early reassurance’ scan (we paid around £70 for this at a local private clinic), as I couldn’t handle the wait for the NHS 12 week one, and I’m so glad we did! Our private scan fell a week or two before the lockdown was put into place, just before partners were asked not to attend any appointments, so had we not had this one, Dan wouldn’t have been there for our 12 week scan. The private scan was really positive – we saw our little blob on the screen in front of us and from that point on, things became very real. Having the confirmation that those test sticks were correct and seeing the little heartbeat flutter was such a surreal yet comforting feeling, and I left feeling so happy and relieved.
We had intended on keeping things under wraps with our families until 12 weeks, but by 7 weeks I had started to experience some symptoms that were getting very hard to hide – excessive tiredness and wanting to sleep ALL the time, waves of nausea and quite a lot of sickness – so at a family gathering that evening we decided to let the cat out of the bag. We told my family that evening and everyone was really pleased for us – albeit very shocked! – and then we told Dan’s side a few days later. I have videos we sneakily recorded whilst we told a couple of people and I love watching them back – everyone was so happy!
Again, I’m so glad we decided to tell our families when we did. It was the last time all of my family have been in the same room because of the lockdown, and the only chance we would have had to do it face to face! That has probably been one of the things I’ve found the most challenging so far (aside from the sickness which I’ll get on to in a mo), but going through this for the first time without being able to see family and friends has been an incredibly lonely experience. As I’m sure other mums-to-be right now will know, it feels as though you’ve lost your support system. I’d always imagined pregnancy being something I could share and enjoy with my family and close friends but in reality, the current situation has made me feel very isolated. That’s just the way the world is at the moment so it really can’t be helped, and luckily things are starting to ease which means I can finally see more of the people I love!
So, on to the symptoms! Before pregnancy I had absolutely no idea of just how many symptoms to expect, or how intense they could be. It’s also worth noting that everyone is different, and whilst I know many women who have had an easier time, I also know there are so many women who have things so much worse than I have. I actually kept a diary of symptoms throughout the first trimester (when they are typically at their worst), and I found writing things down at the end of each day really helped me to not only keep track of how I was feeling but also remind myself of the positives too!
My first symptom was excessive tiredness. I wanted to sleep all day, every day. I struggled to hold a conversation as I was so exhausted, and found myself sleeping whenever I could. Long lay-ins on the weekends, falling asleep on trains when I travelled for work, napping on the sofa when I got home and being tucked in bed by 9pm at night. I knew I would get tired, but had no idea how much! This lasted for maybe four or five weeks and eventually eased off, but I’m still partial to an afternoon nap at the weekends!
Then, the dreaded sickness began (notice how I said ‘sickness’ and not ‘morning sickness’? Whoever decided to call it that was a huge liar). At first, from about 6-7 weeks, I was experiencing waves of nausea throughout the day, and would randomly need to be sick out of the blue. Sometimes after waking up, sometimes after eating, and sometimes in the middle of the night, but it was pretty sporadic and although I felt rough, I was managing okay. Then at around the 9-10 week mark, things started to really ramp up. I would be sick at least 10 times throughout the day or night, I couldn’t keep any food or liquids down, I couldn’t bare the smell of any cooking and I had absolutely zero energy. I’d be stuck in bed for 4 or 5 days, moving only to go to the bathroom and it was horrendous. This would clear up for a week and then come back, and the same thing happened again and again up until about week 17. I had one particularly horrific day where I lost count somewhere after 12 trips to the bathroom, and had been sick so much that I was vomiting blood. I was crying on the bathroom floor in hysterics at the sight of it, and Dan quite rightly made me call my GP to get some form of anti sickness medicine. Thank god he did! I was given some medication that helps stop nausea and sickness, and whilst it didn’t clear mine up completely, it’s helped to control it massively.
Most people will tell you that sickness clears up around 12 weeks, but that’s not always the case! I thought there was something seriously wrong with me, but I’ve taken great comfort in chatting to friends who have been through similar, and reading about other women’s experiences on forums. Turns out, severe morning sickness ( or Hyperemesis Gravidarum) is a thing, and so many women suffer with it. It seems to be something that is brushed under the carpet though, and no one seems to speak about it or warn you of the severity of it! Thankfully things have eased off massively now, and whilst I still have random bouts of sickness every now and again, it’s over pretty quickly and my appetite is back after a day or so.
Other random symptoms I’ve experienced so far include hip ache and leg ache in the night, a tingling sensation in my left hip when I sleep on that side (super annoying!), a red nose (?!), stuffy sinuses, so much bloating and gas, and a hell of a lot of tears! My emotions have been all over the place which is obviously to be expected with the changes in hormones in my body, so it’s fair to say I’ve been an absolute TREAT to live with (sorry Dan if you’re reading this!). Another thing that I’ve really struggled with lately is my hay fever. Sadly there isn’t a great deal you can take for allergies in pregnancy as many tablets and nasal sprays are a no-go. If anyone has found anything that’s worked for them then please tell me! I will try anything!
I know a lot of this sounds like hell, and on some days it truly is, but just knowing that our little one is well and healthy and will be here in no time makes everything worthwhile. From around 20 weeks I started to feel the first little flutters of movement, which have got stronger and stronger as the weeks go by! It’s such a strange sensation but a lovely reminder of how amazing this whole thing is and what our bodies are capable of.
So that’s where I’m at right now! Nearing 24 weeks, having good days and bad days, (more good than bad now, thankfully!) but feeling so grateful to be in the position I am. I’ve been spending a small fortune buying everything from nursery furniture to the cutest little outfits, which is so exciting. This little human I’m growing is going to be so, so loved and I can’t wait to meet them in around 17 weeks time! (Let’s not think about labour just yet… HELP!)