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On Friday I shared the exciting news that I’m pregnant! After over seven weeks of having to keep quiet, it was such a relief to be able to tell you. I am the worst secret keeper at the best of times and of course this is one of the biggest pieces of news that I’ve ever had to share. I thought it might be nice to chat to you once a month, sharing a little pregnancy update. My first trimester has just finished and so that is the best place to start. This post is a long one, so make sure to grab a cuppa!
Preparing for Pregnancy
When my husband and I first decided that we were ready to start a family, we took some time to read up on the best ways to prepare for pregnancy. We had no idea at this stage how easy or difficult this process might be for us and didn’t want to over think it. We did realise however, that there were a couple of things that I could do to help the process.
Around seven or eight months ago I began tracking my menstrual cycle. This allowed me to become familiar with simple things like the length of my cycle and whether or not it was regular. I was totally out of tune with this after nine years of taking a contraceptive pill. It also gave me an idea of more pregnancy specific things such as when I was likely to be ovulating. My choice of app was Clue which I found so easy to use. There are of course so many other options available. Have a look around and find the one that works best for you!
Adding folic acid to my daily routine was the other key thing I did to prepare for pregnancy. It’s a supplement which is recommended by the NHS and all other health organisations as it supports healthy development during the early stages of pregnancy. As advised, I began taking it around two to three months before conceiving and still take it now as part of a pregnancy suitable multi-vitamin.
Finding Out I Was Pregnant
As this is my first pregnancy, this moment was all sorts of strange for me. To begin with I had no idea how long you had to wait before taking a pregnancy test. It turns out, two days is not long enough…try telling that to a super impatient Emma. Secondly, I was so excited about the prospect of getting pregnant I had never actually considered how I might feel if I actually saw a positive result. Queue lots of tears and me crying out “what does this mean?!”. My husband, whilst laughing, cried back “it means we’re having a baby!”
This incredible result was then followed by the realisation that neither of us had any idea about how the date of a pregnancy is actually calculated. When I took the test I was estimating the beginning of my pregnancy from the most likely time of conception and was sure that I was around two weeks. When we took the digital test however, it showed as 3+ weeks. I was floored; that was almost a month! Then we read the leaflet. Your pregnancy doesn’t begin at conception. It begins on the first day of your last period…I was over five weeks pregnant. WHAT?! Why does no one tell you these things?!
Of course, once I had scraped myself off the ceiling and returned safely to earth the news really began to sink in and we were both over the moon. We were incredibly lucky to get a positive test result after just one month of trying. Whilst in a haze of disbelief, I was also filled with so much gratitude.
Morning Sickness and Other Fun Symptoms
Firstly, whoever decided to name pregnancy nausea “morning sickness” needs their ears clipped. What a load of misleading nonsense. It’s not in the morning. It is all of the time. For me, most of the time it hasn’t even been real sickness. Just that wonderful (yes, this is sarcasm) I think I could be sick at any time feeling. It arrived when I woke up, when I was hungry, as soon as I had eaten and regularly in between too.
Along with the sickness came a huge knock to my appetite and eating habits. Despite feeling painfully hungry before meals, I could only handle very small portions of each meal before feelings full. No wonder midwives suggest eating little and often. If you’re struggling with this, try having something small every hour or two. Even pop some biscuits or something else plain next to your bed for first thing in the morning. It really helps!
My food cravings have definitely changed too. Normally I am huge chocolate fiend and would rarely go a day without it. Since becoming pregnant at the beginning of February, I’ve probably only eaten chocolate six or seven times. It’s so strange. Instead my main cravings are crisps and olives. I think it is something to do with the salt and the crunch. I’m so interested to see if this changes over the coming months.
Whilst sickness and food have been the most prominent symptoms for me, tiredness follows very close behind. At 13 weeks, each morning I now wake up feeling bright and ready for the day. By the middle of the afternoon though, I’m ready for my bed. I become such a slug and my motivation for doing anything disappears completely. I’ve also been struggling a bit with sore boobs, but thankfully that’s quite manageable and will be helped a lot by a good maternity bra. If you have any recommendations please leave them in the comments!
Although I complain, I really need to add that I’m also very grateful for my experience. Whilst I did feel pretty rotten for four or five weeks, I know that many women have to suffer varying levels of sickness throughout their entire pregnancy. Yes I felt crap, but I’m back to relative normality now. Tiredness and sore boobs aside, I can look back on my first trimester symptoms and know that they were acting as a reminder that I am growing a human. That’s pretty incredible.
Beginning My Antenatal Care
Shortly after finding out I was pregnant it occurred to both my husband and myself that we didn’t actually know what the next step was. Who were we supposed to tell? Thinking logically we booked an appointment with my doctor the following week. We sat down and told him “we’re pregnant”. He responded with “that’s wonderful, congratulations” then handed us the number for the antenatal team at the local hospital. Apparently doctors don’t actually need to know anything!
Later that day I reached out to the antenatal team and everything has been nice and easy from there. I had my introductory appointment over the phone, in which I gave all my important information and medical history. I had imagined this would be a very formal call, however it was a lovely chat with one of the members of the midwife team and really relaxed me into the whole process. The majority of my appointments will be over the phone for the first half of my pregnancy due to the Coronavirus.
The pandemic has also had an impact on my first scan, which I will talk about in another post in the coming weeks. Long story short, Mike wasn’t allowed to come with me to the hospital. Of course I wanted him to be with me the first time I saw our baby, so we made the decision to book a private 12 week scan. I’m pleased to say that the clinic we chose did an incredible job of keeping everyone safe and were very welcoming. Most importantly, my husband and I saw our baby’s heartbeat for the first time together. I’m now ready to face the hospital appointments by myself, feeling calm and reassured.
It feels so bizarre to say that my first trimester is already over as it feels like I just took my first pregnancy test last week. All the while, I’m so excited that time is moving on. Now that the initial “oh my goodness, can I do this” moment is over, I’m feeling calm and ready to become a mum. Just six months to go!
I’ll be sharing a pregnancy update with you each month until the birth, so make sure to check back soon!