Thursday, 14 January 2016

Things I've learnt in the first trimester...

I can't quite believe that I've made it to almost 18 weeks in this pregnancy. The last 6 weeks have absolutely flown by and I'm now starting to plan those all important baby purchases for the last trimester.

The second trimester seems for the most part to be quite relaxing. I seem to have more energy and for the most part the horrible taste in my mouth and all day nausea has disappeared. My bloat is turning into quite frankly a massive bump already and all my "I'll never fit into that again" clothes have been vacuum packed and put into storage.

I'm not really planning on doing a week by week diary, but I did want to keep some memory of my thoughts and observations throughout this pregnancy - so what did I learn in the first trimester?

DO NOT become obsessed with pregnancy forums or Google, in those early weeks these are not your friends. I joined an antenatal group when I was 6 weeks pregnant and spent the next seven weeks fearfully reading everyone's symptoms, worries and concerns. So much so they became my symptoms. Now I'm in my second trimester the talk is more around Team Blue or Team Pink, or the best pushchair, making for a much more relaxing lunch break! 

Everyone is an obstetrics expert! I've had two miscarriages and have a sub septate uterus. The lady sat next to me in the waiting room may well have a different history to me. Someone's sister/auntie/friend/work colleague/wife almost certainly has a different history to me. Just because something happened to them, doesn't mean it will happen to me or won't happen to me. When a pregnant lady talks about what she is feeling, your best response is to nod, offer a hug or to just listen.

Babies on early scan pictures DO NOT look like babies. I've had five scans so far...our baby has looked like a Haribo jelly bear, a fish and a bird. It was only at our 13 week scan that things started looking in proportion. The scan picture still shows baby's arm appearing to come out of Baby's face. If your hospital charges for scan photos your best bet will probably be to only get one. I saw a proud Dad feed in enough coins for 8 scan photos...only to realise that they were all the same image!

If you find a food item that does not make you feel sick STICK WITH IT. Thankfully I only had to deal with feeling nauseous although there were a few close calls when brushing my teeth and a particularly emotional time dealing with a stinky kitchen bin. What I enjoyed one day however was likely to make me feel ill the following day...chicken, ham, cheese, fruit, sweet drinks, milk & tea all fell foul to "morning sickness". My one constant was Salt & Vinegar crisps. One day I ate four packets...and so I just made sure I took my vitamin tablet each & every day. Now I'm pretty much back to eating everything I enjoyed before. One other tip is to try chewing gum if you feel ill. I found if I had any kind of taste in my mouth I would feel ill - chewing gum seemed to get rid of this for me.

Bleeding does NOT ALWAYS mean the worst. I had a number of bleeding episodes throughout my first trimester. It wasn't a little bit of spotting, or light bleeding, but sudden, heavy bleeding with no notice or reason. On three occasions I also passed clots while I sat shaking and afraid at what was happening to me. It was enough for me to bypass calling my GP or midwife and head straight to A&E. Each & every time I would be scanned as soon as possible and there Baby would be, heart fluttering away as it should. I'm not suggesting for one moment that if you suffer bleeding that you shouldn't seek medical advice, of course you should. But until that moment that you are in the room with the sonographer, nothing is certain.

Your body clock will screw up. I work full time and keep myself busy into the evenings and weekends. I thought I knew what it felt like to be tired...I knew nothing until first trimester tiredness hit. I was ready for bed at 11am, perked up again early afternoon and then kept myself awake for long enough to eat dinner before curling up on the sofa with a duvet for the evening. I remember turning to Sion one evening and saying proudly to him "I'm feeling quite sprightly tonight, I must be coming out of the tiredness stage". It was 7:20, I was asleep by 7:45. Normally I'd be awake for 16 hours, asleep for 8...pregnant this flips on it's head!

The person who knows your body and symptoms best is you AND YOU ALONE. If you don't feel right, ask a professional for advice. If you feel like taking it easy, take it easy. If you feel like cleaning the bathroom, before tackling the washing and squeezing in the food shop come round to my house.

Most of all I've learnt that the human body is an incredible thing. I can't believe that we have been able to produce this little being, currently growing away. Despite all my setbacks in the past I've seen our baby wave to us, heard their heart beating and felt their first subtle, tiny flutters.

Hold tight Little One, we can't wait to meet you.

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