dina and the bump: the first trimester
Most people who follow my blog come here from my Instagram, in which case many of you will now be aware that myself and Shane are expecting a babba on New Year’s Day. We like many chose not to announce it to anyone but our nearest and dearest until we had hit the 12-week mark and knew we were out of that ‘danger zone’ that is associated with the first three months of pregnancy. Not talking about something that is literally all-consuming is tough, especially when you’re going through a lot of crazy changes physically, mentally and emotionally. For this reason and a few others, I thought I would start sharing a bit more about my pregnancy journey on my blog, it only seems right to talk about something that is currently the single biggest thing happening in my life.
Although we were trying for a baby I was still shocked when the test showed a positive result. The main reason being that I didn’t really feel any different, or at least I didn’t feel the way I thought I was supposed to feel. The reason I even took a test in the first place was that my period was being stubborn and was late; I thought seeing a negative test might hurry it along – ladies, you’ll understand this. So when that line appeared, I genuinely wasn’t expecting it. With hindsight looking back on the few weeks before there were one or two subtle signs that something was changing. My boobs which have always barely existed suddenly became, not bigger, but fuller. I had also noticed the day before that the 5-minute walk to Tesco left me breathless. There were also two other quite strange things that happened. First was a dramatic change in my mood. I for no reason I could identify became quiet. Those who know me well would testify to my usual chattiness and Shane noticed a dramatic change in my demeanour. I didn’t feel sad or down, I wasn’t distracted or worried about anything going on in our life, I just stopped talking. With that, I also started going over a lot of things that had happened in the previous 3 years. I had made a lot of decisions during those years that I was only now starting to really come to terms with and I spent a lot of time attempting to work out how I felt about it all. The last bizarre thing to happen was the night before I did the pregnancy test when I had a prophetic dream in which I found out I was pregnant. Isn’t our subconscious a funny thing?
I have wanted to be a Mum for as long as I can remember, it was never negotiable for me. I’ve always loved babies and children and watching my youngest brother grow from a newborn to a teenager has been incredible. Perhaps because of this, I always thought that when I did finally become pregnant I would be the happiest person in the world. I would take to pregnancy like a duck to water. It would be easy because I was simply born to be a Mother. I could not have been more wrong. My first trimester tested me in ways I was just not prepared for. My morning sickness was insanely bad and looking back I probably should have gone to the hospital for dehydration. I lost a stone in less than 3 weeks and was on the verge of passing out whenever I had to stand for more than 2 minutes. People can shout about how awful morning sickness is until their blue in the face but until you actually have it you cannot even imagine how awful you’ll feel. Not only was I physically drained but it started to take it’s toll on my mental health too – this is something I intend to explore further in future posts so I won’t go into huge detail now. I wasn’t seeing anyone because I felt so sick and I became horribly isolated. I became anxious about leaving the house in case I needed to get sick in public or fainted and hurt myself. It took me weeks to get over it and Shane had to gently coax me out into the fresh air whenever he felt I’d been inside for too long.
On top of that, I also found it incredibly difficult to share the excitement our families were feeling. Constant pain in one side of my abdomen led to a scan at the Early Pregnancy Unit to rule out an Ectopic pregnancy. Although the scan reassured us there was a pregnancy and it was in the right place, the embryo couldn’t be seen. For this reason, I was scheduled for a rescan two weeks later. I was given a leaflet (I really feel this information should have been given to me face to face by the nurse so I could ask questions) that explained the scan would either show that I was pregnant but perhaps not as far along as we thought, or that I had suffered a missed miscarriage – where the pregnancy stops developing but your body basically doesn’t realise and continues to give all the symptoms of an ordinary pregnancy. Those two weeks were hell for me. I was still getting sick but couldn’t guarantee it was genuine morning sickness. I was absolutely terrified. I had already had a very early miscarriage back in November, and although the pregnancy wasn’t planned it hurt more than I thought it would when it didn’t stick. Thankfully the second scan showed the pregnancy was progressing and my initial due date was out by roughly two weeks. The Christmas baby became a New Year’s Day baby.
Now I’m into my second-trimester things have become significantly less difficult, I’ve stopped being sick and am up and about without fear of passing out, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Although the initial fear of miscarrying has passed, it has now been replaced by a different set of fears. I’m scared about how my body will change, I’m scared about how mine and Shane’s relationship will be affected, I’m scared I won’t be a good Mum, but none of these is worrying me as much as the fears I have surrounding my mental health. As someone who is already hyper-aware of my mental health due to my history and struggles, I am even more terrified about how I will cope with a newborn in tow. Our baby will be born in January, usually my lowest point of the year, we will, for the most part, be on our own and according to the NHS more than 1 in 10 women suffer postnatal depression – and that’s only the reported cases. On the other hand, I may actually be fine, but I think it would be naive of me to not consider how my well being could be affected.
Finally here are 5 things I couldn’t have lived without during those first 12 weeks:
- Ice cubes – when I could keep liquids down they needed to be ice cold, also if you get migraines like I do I found wrapping ice up in a towel and putting on the back of my neck took the edge off.
- Straws – bizarrely I couldn’t sip my drinks like normal human being and found the only way I could get enough liquid into me was through a straw. We could only find plastic at the time and I was far too dehydrated to be fussy but if possible please get some paper ones or a reusable steel one.
- Baths – because I didn’t have the energy to stand I found showering pretty traumatic so instead, I would spend ages soaking in a tepid bath. I did make the mistake a few times of making it too hot and having to get out and lie on the cold tiles until the world stopped spinning.
- Books – I spent a lot of time reading because I didn’t have the energy to walk from the bed to the living room most days to watch TV. Sounds utterly ridiculous but those who know, know.
- Shane – my absolute hero. He rubbed my back when the nausea was too much, he walked to Tesco to get my latest craving in the hope I’d be able to eat it, he was my rock during those two weeks when I didn’t know if the baby was even in there. Without him, I’m honestly not sure how I’d have got through.
I’m going to try my best to keep a little diary on this blog of my pregnancy so it can serve as a reminder for me when I look back at it all but also just in case it’s helpful to anyone else.