So. Pregnancy. It’s a bizarre thing. From the moment you pee on that stick (or in the little pot in my case!) & get that positive result, everything changes. Not a lot to begin with but it changes. For some people it’s a positive feeling but for others it may be a whole different kettle of fish.
As someone who’d been longing to get pregnant for some time, I felt amazing & so excited about the whole experience but I’ve spoken to some women who felt like they’d been invaded, that they no longer owned their own body. I’m not going to pretend to you that it’s all a wonderful, beautiful experience because its not. Not even for someone like me who, looking back, had a pretty easy time with pregnancy. Nobody tells you about the unattractive, unpleasant side of pregnancy. It’s all glowing, thick hair & amazing skin. Bullshit.
We found out very early on, probably round the 5 week point. I felt pretty good, if a little tired, to begin with. I rang my GP practice who then passed on my details to the midwife who contacted me to arrange a ‘booking appointment’ for us at about 8 or 10 weeks.
This is where things got interesting for us. There were things I needed to stop doing due to the pregnancy but getting out of them without telling everyone was certainly interesting! I was having pole dancing lessons at the fabulous Pole Palais but I had to give them up as throwing myself at a metal pole was hardly the most sensible thing to be doing (I will definitely be going back once I’m allowed to after having Bean!). And I had to give up spinning as its not advisable to get too warm when you’re pregnant & I used to get WARM when I was spinning! I have to thank the few friends who new during the early weeks for helping me get of things without having to spill the beans before we were ready 🙂
Then at 7 weeks we had a bleed. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever had to go through, I inevitably thought the worst & feared I was losing the baby. We had to attend the ‘pregnancy assessment unit’ where we had a scan & it was confirmed that everything was all going well! I’ve never been to relieved in my life. In fact I didn’t even see the screen because I couldn’t bear to look in case of the worst & once we were told everything was ok then I just welled up with relief.
The ‘booking appointment’ is a pretty long winded one. It’s where I was given the green notes that accompanied me right the way through pregnancy. And when I say accompanied I mean it, you have to take them everywhere & to every appointment for everything. They get filled in at each midwife visit & they contain information about all sorts of different things about your health, the fathers health & even family history, there’s a lot of information needed for them! You also have to have blood tests done for a whole host of things as well 😦 I’m not a lover of blood tests & I don’t give the blood up easily so I ended up having to go to the phlebotomy department at the hospital to have mine done!
The next memorable thing about my pregnancy was the appearance of the delight which is morning sickness. Everyone who tells you it disappears at 12 weeks…lying. Big fat lies. Mine arrived at 11 weeks & didn’t subside until 17 weeks! It’s strange because its not like any other sickness I’ve ever experienced. Normally, me & being sick don’t get on. It’s not pretty, we’re talking snot, tears & the works. Morning sickness on the other hand was just a case of be sick & then just get on with whatever I was doing beforehand, I even managed to throw up & then eat a full meal 5 minutes later! There weren’t many things that help ease it. The main thing was eating little & often as it seemed to stave off any sicky feeling. The other was gingerbread men which helped as apparently ginger is a natural sickness remedy. I don’t know how true it is but it worked!
And then it was the 12 week scan. That point where everyone breathes a little sigh of relief because you’ve passed that magic 12 week marker. It was the first time I really remember seeing Bean as baby came to be known 🙂 I can’t explain how amazing a feeling it is but seeing that little life on the screen was amazing!
We decided to tell family & close friends at this point but decided not to announce it on Facebook. In fact we never announced the pregnancy on Facebook. It came out when a photo of me looking rather pregnant was posted after a meal out with friends!
The next few weeks were just me plodding on, getting on with being pregnant, living with morning sickness & getting to know my growing belly. Until at 17 weeks & 4 days, on my birthday of all days, I felt little Bean move for the first time! We were in the car, on our way out for birthday tea, wearing the Vivienne Westwood dress Rob had bought me for my birthday (having squeezed my expanding belly into it!) & there it was, that little flutter that I’d been longing to feel for so long. It made my day!
The next big decision to be made was did we want to know what colour Bean was; pink or blue? We ummed & ahhhed for weeks over this one. Everyone you talk to will have a different opinion & no one can tell you which way to choose. We finally made the decision whilst I was laid on the bed, having the scan, when the sonographer turned & asked did we want to know! We decided that we wanted to know & we found out that Bean was in fact a blue, little boy Bean.
I feel like we really bonded with him from that point on, knowing that he was a ‘he’ as opposed to an ‘it’. That said, it’s not 100% as we found out when a friend due a month or so before us were expecting a little girl & actually ended up with a little boy!
During the second half of my pregnancy we had 4 episodes of reduced movement which resulted in us making the trip up to the hospital to me checked over. It was difficult as I had an anterior placenta which can apparently make it more difficult to feel movement & you don’t want to seem like an irrational, first-time mum but the words of the midwife the first time we went stuck in my head that if we needed to go we should go, better that than a problem lie undiscovered. We always tried the usual things to get him to move like a cold drink, lying down, sweet things but sometimes there was no shifting him. Until you get hooked up to a monitor & then he’d go mad! We actually ended up with an extra scan at 30 weeks because of all the episodes & he was described as a ‘very active foetus’!
I actually really enjoyed the third trimester. I enjoyed getting bigger, really feeling & looking pregnant instead of just a bit fat! I enjoyed feeling & sometimes seeing Bean move about. I didn’t enjoy the indigestion but figured if that was as bad as it got then I could deal with it although we may as well have had shares in a certain brand of milk by the time I had him as I was going through roughly 12 pints or more a week! Everyone one kept saying how big I was & how I’d never make 40 weeks, when I told people however many weeks I was I’d get raised eyebrows!
At 36 weeks we had a bump shoot done with a fabulous local company called Venus Boudoir who I’d previously done boudoir shoots with & who’ve also photographed our cats & our wedding! It was as late as we dared leave it with what everyone had been saying. The images were fabulous & something we’ll treasure forever. I definitely recommend having a boudoir shoot to any woman (pregnant or not!) & Venus are a fabulous company who I’ll definitely be revisiting! Check them out here or visit them on Facebook & if you do book a shoot, tell them I sent you!
Two days before my due date, I had possibly the toughest time I had during my entire pregnancy. We were having a lazy Sunday morning in bed, making the most of our chance to lie-in before Bean arrived (it was a rare occurrence anyway!) when Rob had a phone call from my Dad to check I wasn’t on my own & told us that my Grandad had died. I completely fell to pieces. I’ve never had a panic attack into life but I think that’s the closest I’ve ever come. My biggest nightmare was being induced & that morning I actually wanted it to happen. I was so scared I would hurt our baby by getting into such a state or that I’d miss the funeral I just wanted our baby boy here safe & sound.
When the midwife came on my due date I still wasn’t on the best place mentally. I had a sweep done at home that day to try & induce labour. Apparently it’s standard practice locally to sweep on your due date & for it to be done at home which surprised me a little but I wasn’t complaining. I was apparently 1-2cm dilated but my cervix was still thick & far back. I was hoping the fact I was dilated meant something was happening. The midwife then arranged to come on Friday of the same week to see how I was coping & to perform a second sweep which isn’t normally done until 41 weeks, unless I’d gone into labour before then.
Friday came. Second sweep done. Cervix still 1-2cm, thick & far back. Nothing had changed. Funeral arranged for the following Friday by which point I’d either have our little boy or be 10 days overdue. The midwife then arranged to come when I was 41 weeks to perform a third sweep but had her fingers crossed that I’d already have had the baby by that point.
You’ve guessed it. 41 weeks. Sweep three. Still no change in my cervix & an induction booked for the 11th February. By this point I just wanted our baby boy to stay put. If I went into labour now there was no way I’d make the funeral. And he did. I attended my Grandads funeral on the Friday, 10 days overdue & raised a lot of eyebrows in the process! Bean even got a mention in the speech my Dad did for having the terrible timing of all males in my family & never turning up when they’re supposed to!
There are very few pictures of me taken in the late stages of pregnancy. I wish we’d taken more bump pictures right the way through, maybe weekly ones to show how my bump grew. This is one of the last ones we took & I think it was around 41 weeks…
I spent the weekend after the funeral relaxing at home, preparing myself for my nightmare of induction. I really wanted a water birth but its not normally permitted with induction so I was just trying to get my head around everything that had happened & everything that was about to happen. Rob was at work Saturday & Sunday but he had an early shift on the Sunday so we could spend our last night together before being induced at 41+6 on the Monday morning. I realised at 9pm, just as I was about to get in the shower that I’d not waxed my underarms! A strange thing to be worried about considering but I made Rob put on the wax pot & help me out 🙂 We waxed my underarms, I had a shower, I blow dried my hair (properly, with a brush & everything!) because I figured if I had to be induced & I wasn’t getting my water birth then I was going to look bloody good in the process!
And then that was it. The realisation that actually, that niggly & uncomfortable feeling I’d been dismissing on & off all weekend was getting worse, I was far more comfortable on my ball & this might actually be it, I might actually be in labour. Was our baby boy going to put in an appearance of his own accord?
To be continued…