Pregnancy Diaries: 1st - 3rd Trimester!
Tee suspected first that I was pregnant. That's because my body pretty much works like a clock, and well he knows the settings. So when it seemed slightly off, he raised it.
But I knew that I was 99% pregnant the day I craved sushi! I mean, sushi. I'd probably only eaten it twice in my life and I wasn't a huge fan. But not only did I crave it, I stopped at the restaurant on the way home from work, ordered sushi, sat alone and ate it.
Throughout all of the pregnancy this was probably the only craving I had, and just that one time.
Anyway, we finally decided to do a test after my sushi craving. I took the test right there in Tee's presence (made me think about over-familiarity in relationships, but for me it wasn't a big deal) so I didn't have to tell him in any fancy way.
Well well, the plus (+) sign came on and it read 5+ weeks pregnant. That was the most specific the test could tell, and we'd require a blood test for any further details.
I made a mental note to get some folic acid tablets as I recalled that that should be taken in the first 12 weeks! Few days after the positive sign, we excitedly decided to go into the GP, as we were clueless as to next steps and all of that. I even made a mini video recording our drive to the clinic.
But, it was such an anti-climax; I couldn't believe it. Essentially, we were informed that no tests could be done and we didn't have to see any doctor or midwife. This was because as long as I wasn't in pains or anything suspect was happening, the first appointment would be at about 10 weeks!
The first thing I thought to myself was "what if the person isn't really pregnant and the test was wrong? Such person would have to hang on to such hopes till 10 weeks or so?".
Anyway after confirming the date of my last cycle, they booked me in for a 10 week / first appointment. There was nothing left to do but wait and there was so much going on at that time anyway - including our house move.
Life carried on as normal as can be but with the constant thought that I was growing a little human - although at 5 weeks the baby is really the size of an apple seed from which all body systems will grow. Mind blowing.
Well the first appointment came towards the end of March and I went in for what was a daily long session with the midwife. We went through a lot such as mental and physical wellness including depression and anxiety, diet & exercise; relationship with partner; family health history and allergies; social habits like drinking & smoking, employment and social assememnts, ethnic origin; previous pregnancies and births; and an overview of the further appointments/ expected tests & vaccines. It was an overload of information, leaflets and tickboxing.
But the most exciting information that day was that I'd have a 12 week scan where we actually get to see the baby. It's the dating scan as well, so that's where they confirm the due date, as well as the number of kids in the womb. I love twins, but I hoped it was just one kid in there.
Sometime at this point, I didn't want to feel like I wasn't being proactive, so I bought the book "What To Expect When You're Expecting". It's one of those books many people often advise mums-to-be to purchase. And yes, it was quite a handy guide.
Understandably, I'd also started getting interested in mummy experiences. So I ran this feature involving 9 Mummy Bloggers on Being Ready to Have Kids. The awesome responses showed that no one was ever really ready and you just learn on the go!
Before the dating scan, we had a short trip to South Africa. I was advised to get flight socks and drink lots of water and walk around during the flight. It was interesting because I couldn't have any alcohol. Of course people asked why I wasn't drinking any alcohol but it was Lent anyway, and I just said I'd given up alcohol for Lent! It was such a good excuse - and it was true!
We arrived in the UK in time for the 12 week scan & the beginning of the second Trimester! I had gone through this first stage really well. No sicknesses or spittle not even for one day. No weird feelings. No sore boobs. I was incredibly thankful.
The Second Trimester (Weeks 13-28)
Seeing an image of a little human in your stomach could change your life; and it was at this dating scan that it most definitely really dawned on us. Especially Tee. I recall him saying he never saw the baby on people's scan photos and it was all so blurry. So it was surprising when he claimed to see the baby features so well. Of course we got a photo as well, and the due date was also pegged for end of October.
We had a photo of our lil baby. We'd look at it pretty much everyday. We had been praying for the child previously, but this really just made us intensify our prayers & gratitude to God.
At the 16th week appointment I heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time. It was so loud & so fast almost like the little one had been running a marathon.
We also broke the news to family and close friends. Understandably everyone was pretty ecstatic - albeit a few surprises about how late we had kept the news. A few friends also recommended the book "Super Natural Child Birth". I read the initial pages and immediately held on the faith and belief that pregnancy need not be an extremely tough journey. I didn't finish the book, but that one affirmation was enough for me.
At about 19 weeks, we had a holiday to the US, and same rules applied. All my drinks were sadly virgin and I clearly felt a bit more comfortably in free clothes as first outlines of the bump may just have started to form.
"Your baby isn't shy at all. His legs are wide open". That's what the sonographer said to us at the 20 week scan, and confirmed our suspicions that we were having a lil boy! You can just imagine how much more real it became. We were loaded with a folder and information overload dealing with routine stuff like feeding, nappy changing, fun stuff like freebie samples and voucher and deeper stuff like information on life insurance considering we were now going to be responsible for another human!
In terms of timing, we were 20 weeks and half way done! I also thought it was a good time to incorporate exercises into the mix. The pages relating to pregnancy exercises in the "What to Expect" book was actually quite good and easy to do at home. The intention was for this to be a fit fam pregnancy (or at least be a lil better than my couch loving self!). So nothing too fancy, just bits of dumb bell workouts (remember my bingo wings?), squats and leg lifts.
I also finally applied for the "baby on board" pin for my commute into work. Technically this ensures that people give you priority to get a seat on the London Underground. I never wore it though. First my commute was relatively short and I was okay to stand as long as the space was not too crowded.
We had our third year wedding anniversary in July at about 24 weeks and Tee arranged a pregnancy spa day for me. I guess it was real - 6 months already. It was also at the point that most of my photos began avoiding the bump. Because except it was a rather free outfit, the bump was almost sure to show.
By end of July and the end of the second trimester, I realised it was probably a good time to start a bit of research and plans into baby needs & list. I hadn't bought a pin and by this time some people had the entire baby gear set up! So to convince myself and seem a little serious, we popped into the baby shop and told them we were clueless! We spent ages trying to figure out how the baby push chair; car seat & pram worked and only left the store slightly less clueless. Who knew that in a couple of months, we'd be able to spot the different brands of strollers a mile away!
I also ordered the first items! A baby bath and hooded towels. I also started drawing up an excel spread sheet - categorising all of the needs: bathing; feeding; clothing; etc
The glucose test was also scheduled for this time to check my blood sugar level. Being of African heritage, my understanding is that we're more prone to gestational diabetes. And although I'm not much of a sweet tooth person, my normal diet consists heavily of rice, yam and other carbs all of which have sugar. I was also following someone on Instagram who had gestational diabetes and had to make huge changes to her diet. Thankfully after so much poking to find my veins and draw my blood, my results came out all clear.
The Third Trimester: (Week 29-40)
Yes, pregnancy is typically pegged at 40 weeks. i.e 10 months. Not too sure why it's often called a 9 month journey. The third trimester is often the point where the pregnancy begins to feel like a drag. Particularly because in terms of the baby's development, baby is fully formed - it's mostly growth & not much exciting new happenings. For me, I hadn't taken a lot of bump photos previously so I started a weekly photo session (often photographed by Tee) from the 29th week. We had the official pregnancy photoshoot shoot at 31 weeks. And Tee threw me a surprise baby shower at about 35 weeks!
I was still sleeping well, although sometimes it got uncomfortable and I'll prefer to sleep in reverse with my head at the bottom of the bed. Although I wasn't spitting, I realised that I started drooling at night - which was a bit annoying. But thankfully it was only at night & while I slept! I also had little but frequent bleeding from my nose & gums. At the later part of this period, I had a full blown excel spreadsheet for the baby's needs & had actively shopped for most items.
After 34 weeks, the hospital appointments became every two weeks. So there was one at 34,36 & 38 weeks all of which followed the same pattern. First, urine sample is tested for infection, blood pressure is checked, baby's heart beat is listened to and finally the size of the baby is measured using a tape rule. If the baby's measurement isn't as expected i.e. If the baby is seemingly too small or too big you were sent for a growth scan. At 34 weeks I had to do a growth scan. Because the tape rule measurement can be so inaccurate, it's usually nothing to worry about and we were just glad that we'd see him again via the scan. Interestingly though, the bigger the baby the less image you can see so the scan wasn't too clear although we did see his tiny hands. We had to repeat the growth scan at 36 weeks as well.
The most exciting bits of the third trimester was definitely the feeling the baby's movements. It was so often and you could feel every move. We could even feel his hiccups!
At my 38 week check up, I hoped that was to be the last. We were very ready to welcome the lil man and I had my hospital bags packed up. I wasn't too keen to make it to my 40 week appointment which was for the 1st week in November.
As you already know he arrived on the 29th of October!
I don't think words can ever do justice to explaining pregnancy. The anxiety; the hopes; the excitement; the awe.
There's hardly any guarantees about how pregnancy would go, and of course I had those worries, but always maintained positive affirmations. So I'm so thankful that my pregnancy was a rather uneventful one. The one thing I then hoped for was a very easy birth where the baby just slides out! My labour & birth story was however a different tale... and I'll share all of that soon.
If there's anything else I missed out that you'd love to know especially for first time mums-to-be please feel free to ask!