My journey into Motherhood; Pregnancy
When I think back to my pregnancy there is only one word that comes into my mind; Journey.
Not only was it the start of my journey into motherhood but it was also because it was full of lots of highs and lows coupled with challenges. I do however count myself very lucky that although it wasn’t as straightforward as I would have liked everything turned out just perfectly and all those challenges and worrying moments were forgotten when my little girl was placed in my arms.
F I R S T T R I M E S T E R
We found out I was pregnant when I was around 5 weeks. It was just before Christmas and during prime time party season. Steve and I had decided that we would “not” not try for a baby so when I started to feel under the weather during party season for a small moment it did cross my mind. I had taken a test a couple of days previous and it had come back negative so I was adamant that it couldn’t be that. After 3 days of not feeling myself I was out shopping in B&M and they had some pregnancy test strips on sale for £1 so I thought why not! I had been a pregnancy test snob up to that point and purchased some Clearblue and Superdrug Early response tests (all were at least double what these strips cost me!). In all honesty I didn’t think that they would come back positive so I just thought that there wasn’t anything to lose. That night I took a test and a very faint line appeared on the strip. Now for anyone that has taken a pregnancy test you will understand what I mean when I say you start to question whether that is a line or not. For someone who wanted there to be a line so badly I had actually kid myself that I had imagined it there. I started to doubt whether it was shadow and then moved onto trying to find out whether my line was an evaporation line or if it was a true positive. Several messages with my only friend who knew that I had bought the tests we had decided that we would get some more tests to prove or disprove that positive result. I decided to wait to tell Steve and looking back I wish I had told him there and then. Don’t get me wrong it was really nice to be able to surprise him but I think if we were to have another child then I would want to be with him when that positive result came through.
Lo and behold, 24 hours later and too many positive pregnancy tests to admit to I told Steve that we were expecting our first child. One of the best experiences of my life to date next to my wedding and giving birth to Amelia.
The first trimester for me was quite tricky as I really suffered quite badly with morning sickness. I went off food quite dramatically barely eating more than a handful all day. The constant nauseous feeling coupled with not eating meant that I just felt really rubbish and had dropped a stone and a half in weight. I couldn’t face a cuppa or even chocolate which over Christmas was quite hard to hide from friends and family which made me feel quite anxious. I just remember the first trimester leading up to the scan as being quite an anxious time where I was constantly worried that something would happen to Amelia. The time between the positive pregnancy test and my Booking appointment, and then my 12 week scan felt like a lifetime. My booking appointment took place when I was 10 weeks however I had to wait until I was 13 weeks for my scan. During the booking appointment I was told because my BMI was within a certain range I would need to be tested for Gestational Diabetes in my second trimester.
The morning of my 12 week scan I was a bag of nerves and convinced myself that there wasn’t going to be a baby. I had also got it into my head that because I was a larger lady that they wouldn’t be able to see Amelia on the screen through my fat. Looking back now I was such a hormonal mess and feel quite sorry for Steve. I was a size 16-18 and curvy so there was no reason why they wouldn’t be able to see Amelia however this did not stop me from drinking lots of orange juice before my scan (a little tip a friend told me as it fills up your bladder more than water apparently and therefore pushes the uterus out of your pelvis for a clearer picture).
Seeing our baby girl on the screen reduced me to tears. Listening to that heartbeat was just my favourite sound and I could have been there for days listening to it. Amelia’s nuchal translucency results came back extremely low and all her measurements were just perfect with a strong heartbeat. Seeing our little one rolling around on the screen just made the last 8 weeks of nausea and tiredness just disappear. They did identify that I had a small placenta issue where my placenta was low covering part of my cervix which they referred to as Low Anterior Placenta. Due to this I would need to have another scan in my second trimester to see if the placenta had moved out of the way of the cervix to allow me to have a natural birth. If not, I would need to have a C section, which if I am being honest I really didn’t want to have if I could avoid it. We left clutching a photo of gorgeous baby and we couldn’t wait to tell our wider family the news.
S E C O N D T R I M E S T E R
It took me until I was nearly 15 weeks before I could face a cup of tea and until I was about 20 weeks before my appetite returned. I lost sight of my toes at 19 weeks and had full pregnancy insomnia. I just felt so tired all day at work yet I got home and was wide awake. On the plus side I did manage to get through some books that have been on my reading list for a while. Bump went to their first concert; front row seats Postmodern Jukebox. It felt like we were sitting with the band and to this day I swear this is why she is such a music lover. By 20 weeks I had started to gain some of the weight I had lost at the beginning and was a stone lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight. We had our anomaly scan at 20 weeks and our baby girl was measuring just perfectly. My placenta was still in an anterior low position but looked like it was moving upwards. We had decided to keep the sex of the baby a surprise so didn’t find out at this scan although it was very tempting.
Each week as I got bigger the pressure on my pelvis and hips got worse and I was referred for physio due to SPD. My joints already suffer with hypermobility and that coupled with the hormone relaxin meant there just wasn’t any support. I was given some exercises and tips on how to manage the pain until I gave birth.
The second trimester for us involved visiting lots of friends and family around the UK. We regularly visit our friends and family and travelling has never been an issue but we knew with a baby that this might not be as easy. From Scotland to Wales, from Yeovil to Christchurch, and back through Enfield and Uxbridge, bump had their first little adventure. Steve and I also booked a little “babymoon” to Edinburgh which was just lovely. We walked lots, ate our body weight in food, explored secret bars and spoke about the future but mostly we just enjoyed “us” time which we both knew would be a rarity when Amelia came along.
T H I R D T R I M E S T E R
From my bump measuring too big to then too small and reduced movements from her it felt like there was always something to be concerned with in the third trimester. At 25 weeks we went to another concert; Ed Sheeran at the O2. This baby definitely got to see some cool live music while I was cooking it! At 28 weeks pregnant I was tested for Gestational Diabetes due to being high risk because of my weight.
The test itself was pretty harmless and the not eating part would have been probably the worst part of it if I hadn’t had an adverse reaction. As I sat in the waiting room with 3 other couples doing the same test I came over all lightheaded and dizzy and just felt like I was going to pass out. Thankfully I was able to get myself to a nurse who kept me monitored for the remainder of the test. We had also decided to have 4D scans of our baby and we managed to find a great deal at Window to the Womb in Chessington. I was a bag of nerves going to the appointment which was crazy as I had seen our her a number of times but this time was different; I’d get to see a snippet into what she will look like. Unfortunately she decided to not play ball and had her hands covering her face for the whole scan. I of course was a little disappointed but it was so nice to hear her heartbeat again. We returned back at 31 weeks and it was so magical seeing our little one on screen; the most perfect face with my nose!
At 30 weeks we had a check up with our midwife and my bump was measuring too big so I was sent to the hospital for a scan to check everything was okay with baby. After a couple of hours in the antenatal ward I got to see her on the screen again and everything was measuring just perfectly.
At 33 weeks I celebrated my birthday in style and bump got to go to their third live music concert – Adele at Wembley Arena. At 34 weeks I had a midwife appointment and due to showing some symptoms for Pre-Eclampsia and Obstetric Cholestasis she had to run some extra blood tests but thankfully I was clear for both. At 35 weeks I had a scheduled scan to check the position of my placenta. Seeing my baby on the screen again was just magical and this time my mum came with me. As it was so near my due date it was a completely different view of the scan that I had previously. I was able to see most of the body and body parts in my other scans whereas now our little baby had grown so much we could only individual body parts at a time. Placenta had moved from my cervix so I was given the all clear to give birth naturally and our little one was estimated to weigh around 5lbs 2oz. It was so nice for my mum to be able to experience the scan and we were so lucky to have an amazing sonographer who took the time explaining what everything was. We came away clutching some more photos of our baby and even a 3D scan to show Steve.
I also spent some time in the Maternal Assessment Unit (MAU) this week after feeling reduced movement. I had tried everything at home to get her to move but nothing seemed to work so I called in and they asked me to come in for monitoring. An afternoon spent listening to my baby’s heartbeat was all the reassurance I needed to know everything was okay.
At 37 weeks we had some more monitoring in the MAU after experiencing headaches and patches of vision missing. Again I am very lucky and thankful to say that it was due to the heat and dehydration rather than anything more serious.
At my 39 week check up with my midwife she performed the usual checks but my bump was measuring too small so I was sent for another ultrasound to check on our little cub. Seeing our little one on the screen this close to our due date was just surreal. All checks complete and she was measuring just perfectly; naughty bump!
Our due date came and went and although she was engaged we still had no movement. It’s funny really, when you’re pregnant you think I have just got to get to this date and I’ll have a baby but in reality its not like that. I was completely open minded during my pregnancy about when this little one was going to arrive. As a premature baby myself who was born at 32 weeks I tried to not think about the due date and just about keeping this baby warm and safe until it was ready to meet us. This was a lot easier said than done in 30 degree heat!
At my 40 week midwife check up my midwife offered me a sweep but unfortunately this baby had other ideas. I had been 3/5 engaged from around 36 weeks but my midwife couldn’t feel her engaged in my pelvis and was worried that she might have had a bit of a wriggle around and now facing diagonal. Off to hospital I went again for another scan to check if this was the case. I loved seeing her on the screen so tried to not worry too much but look it as a bonus. It seems the stern words I had with my bump on the way to hospital worked and she had wriggled back into my pelvis!
At 40+4 weeks I had a sweep at my hospital and after a bit of an emotional chat with a midwife my induction was booked for 41+2 weeks. I nervously waited for something to happen after the sweep to try and avoid induction but our little one was just too comfy to budge.
At 41+2 I arrived at hospital with Steve to start the induction process and we both were a bag of nerves so just so excited that in a couple of days we would be holding our baby in our arms. I was physically and mentally drained but ready for the next chapter.
To be continued in my “Birth Story” post… coming soon!
Written by Lauren for her blog, Making a Mum.