About being pregnant
We found out that we were expecting on Easter Sunday. We took one test in the morning, which we didn’t quite believe, and so took another in the evening (after having spent a lovely but lengthy day with family!). That was the time we started to let the happiness, surprise, confusion, disbelief and glee wash over us. Finding out you’re growing a tiny, little human, is such an overwhelming feeling!
The week before, I’d not felt quite myself and had, had a pretty rough week on placement. When I went back to placement on my next shift, it felt like nothing else really mattered apart from the baby and Jack and me; that it felt so wonderful to be making a family. I had to tell some mentors and colleagues (to keep the baby and myself safe – being a student midwife involves lots of moving and handling!) which felt very peculiar, both to be telling people so early on and also to be telling people who I didn’t know very well or even had only just met. It felt like forever and ever until we finally told family and friends.
I already treasure the memories of just Jack and myself knowing that we were having a baby. It’s so precious, being able to share that secret with the person you love with all your heart.
It’s also an unwieldy wall of emotions; many people in my life have suffered from miscarriages and I felt so timid and cautious to feel too much joy. When a baby is so tiny, every emotion feels so fragile. Each day ticked off the calendar, turning into weeks I felt a bit stronger, knowing that the little baby inside of me would be growing and feeling stronger too. When we went for our very first scan, it really hit home that there was this magical person growing right there, as we watched it swim about and wriggle and react to the sonographer sliding the transducer across my belly. Afterwards, we drove to visit family and spread the good news – it felt more and more real with every passing second, then!
People seem to always say that the first trimester is hard, and I can report back that during this pregnancy the first trimester was indeed, pretty darned difficult. I was fully prepared to have morning sickness (when I get ill my body tends to react by vomiting, so it made sense to me that this is exactly what would happen for me during pregnancy!) but for some reason I had glossed over the immense fatigue that people also mention. A lot of the time I felt like I’d worked seven days of consecutive night shifts whilst functioning on a mere four hours of sleep. Trying to function as a normal human was really hard just due to these things alone – picture me, the afternoon of a 13 hour shift with the sleepiest brain, my morning sickness curled up calm but alert in the back of my brain, on one of my many non-midwifery placements, trying to help clean and care for a lady whose colostomy bag has just started leaking…
Placements aside, I spent a lot of time flopped on our sofa being loved by our two cats, Barnabee and Ginger. The internet seems to have pages and pages of information about how cats can sense pregnancy, and it certainly feels like that from my perspective. They have spent more and more time clambering over me, often fighting for my attention (they don’t usually sleep near each other, but they’ve started doing so! As long as I’m what they’re sleeping on, of course) and snuggling up to my belly.
Initially, lounging around on the sofa between shifts was pretty rad, but after a few days spending all my waking hours watching television was already grating and I longed to be able to sit at my PC for more than 20 minutes without feeling the inevitable motion sickness which would trigger a bout of nausea, sending me straight for the toilet and then back to my refuge on the sofa… Alas! The morning sickness lasted until week 17/18, before I finally started to be able to edit photos, catch-up on my Bloglovin’ feed and play some games! Sweet relief, you guys, sweet relief.
Catch-22, of course, as soon as the nausea stopped, I began to fret constantly that if I had no symptoms, how would I know that the baby was okay? Fast forward to week 19, where bubbles gave way to flutters, gave way to what was undeniably a little baby wriggling up a storm. When Jack felt the baby move for the first time I felt so ridiculously happy – it felt longer in waiting purely because I could feel it and he couldn’t. His smile when he felt it was the most perfect thing. I’m so very lucky to have him!
People have asked how being a student midwife has been impacting pregnancy for me, and I have to say I feel pretty privileged to be in the position I’m in. Lots of literature I’ve read throughout my course bemoans the fact that most women who are pregnant for the first time have no real experience of pregnancy, childbirth or newborn babies; before starting this course I would have no doubt counted myself among these women, but two years in I have a lot of experience under my belt and whilst I’m not exactly “prepared for anything” I do feel like I have mountains of knowledge, and also access to good sources of information! Small things, like knowing cramps when I made sudden movements were likely to be round ligament pain, really helped me to not be as anxious as I know I would have been if I had not had prior knowledge. Jack can attest that I’ve been pretty anxious throughout the pregnancy thus far anyway!
Bits and bobs:
- I have an extremely sensitive nose right now, which for someone who was practically anosmic pre-pregnancy, was a bit of a revelation. I can smell cigarette smoke from seemingly a mile away, which sucks because I hate, hate, hate the smell of it, and also apparently every single person in the world has taken up smoking recently (I half jest: it just seems that when I walk outside my front door I’m inundated by people dragging cigarettes – boo, hiss, boo!).
- My emotions haven’t really been rollercoaster-esque, moreso I just want cuddles constantly. I’m sure Jack was overjoyed when my friend Lisa (who gave birth to her gorgeous daughter Edie in May) told him that it would only get worse. Ha!
- My vision has become slightly blurred. I thought that perhaps this was my eye surgery wearing off but have since discovered that hormone production during pregnancy causes an increased curvature in the eyes, which of course alters your vision. Thankfully, it’s one of the many temporary changes that the human body goes through during pregnancy, so my eyesight should go back to normal after birth!
So there, that’s a big enough update on being pregnant I expect. It feels good to finally write about it, another step to it feeling increasingly more real. We noticed my belly has breached the telling expanse – it’s now jutting past my breasts in a very prominent fashion! I’m so happy right now, pregnancy at this stage feels pretty glorious. Each night when we go to bed, I snuggle my back into Jack and he cradles my growing belly with his warm hand, and sometimes we feel the baby settling in too and I just feel like I could burst with love for them both.