I just wanted to start this off with a little disclaimer. I know pregnancy diaries aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and this is very different to my usual content but I’ve found reading about other people’s experiences during my pregnancy so helpful. Especially those of bloggers I know personally or I’ve followed for a long time. Anyway that being said feel free to skip these updates and please do continue coming back for my usual content which I promise will still be regular.
If you read my pregnancy announcement than you’ll know I found out about our impending arrival quite late on in the first trimester. This was a double edged sword to be honest as finding out late meant I was panicky about not having adapted my lifestyle properly to pregnancy but at the same time I only had 2 /3 weeks left of the first trimester which is the most anxiety-inducing time due to risk of miscarriage. The couple of weeks I did experience of the first trimester were a very high anxiety period for me and so I can imagine finding out at 4 weeks or so (as many people do) and having 8 or 9 weeks of that anxiety is very difficult. Reading other people’s pregnancy diaries and watching vlogs has a been very reassuring in helping me feel that I’m not alone and many people also feel this way.
Let’s go back to that first scan which I briefly mentioned in my first post. As I said it was the GP who told me I was pregnant (I didn’t believe her at first but it was confirmed by a blood test and two Clearblue tests!), sensing my anxiety, she suggested I go in for an early scan to help alleviate my fears. As the NHS offers the first scan at around 12 weeks, if you’re looking for an early scans, chances are you will have to go down the private route. We booked our early dating scan at The Portland Hospital, a private maternity hospital on Great Portland Street. If you’re wondering, I won’t be having the baby at The Portland and I’ll go into further details about our hospital choice in my next post.
Admittedly Mr S and I were both a bundle of nerves going into the scan but soon we heard the beautiful sound of the heart beat and saw a baby shaped object swimming around on the screen… but we were told that the baby was 11 weeks instead of the expected 8 weeks. As I mentioned it was at this point I burst into tears worrying that I hadn’t adapted my lifestyle to pregnancy. The sonographer was very kind and said, though she wasn’t a doctor, she could reassure me that what she was seeing was an absolutely perfect baby that was measuring exactly as he or she should.
Speaking of which… she than suggested a prenatal screening test which tests for Downs Syndrome and other chromosome conditions. At the Portland they offer the Harmony Test or the Panorama test both of which are simple blood tests that are entirely non-invasive and no risk to the baby. We opted for the Panorama test as it checks for more conditions than the Harmony test (the names of the tests don’t really mean anything by the way, they’re just the company names) neither of which are currently offered to everyone on the NHS and are a little pricey but of course worth it for peace of mind. The Panorama test also allows you to know the gender of the baby with almost 100% accuracy very early on if you choose to find out. The tests are carried out in the USA so we were told it would take two weeks to get the results.
We had the early scan two days after the positive test result and before then we hadn’t told a soul and we kept our secret as something special between ourselves. The ‘rule’ is don’t tell people before 12 weeks in case of miscarriage but we didn’t adhere strictly to the rule and after the scan told a few close family and friends. I text my sister saying I had something important to tell her and met her that afternoon on the way to pick up her son Charlie from school. Of course she was delighted! Her first niece or nephew plus a cousin for Jackson and Charlie! While I was telling my sister, Mr S told his brother Paul who he’s very close to and works alongside. That evening we drove to North London to tell Mr S’s parents where we had more tears of joy. Over the weekend we also told my parents, Mr S’s other brother and sister and I told my best friend. We were careful not to tell our nieces and nephews just in case something happened.
The following weekend was our trip to Berlin and we decided to tell all our friends on the trip (another five people) to avoid lying and dancing around the fact that I wasn’t drinking, avoiding certain foods and going to bed early. I loved the trip and it was just what I needed to distract me from the anxiety of awaiting our test results but I had to admit I did feel a little vulnerable with the snowy weather conditions and flying for the first time knowing I was pregnant. Of course our little bean had already been on several flights without me knowing yet that he existed.
After our fab trip to Berlin, it was back to reality and waiting for those test results, with a trip to Luxembourg the next week for another 40th we were hoping to get them soon so we could just relax on our weekend away. At about 10am, four days earlier that expected, an email popped into my inbox with the subject title ‘Panorama test results’ and immediately my heart started pounding, questioning all sorts of things especially why the result was early. I called Mr S who promised to come home from work at lunch time so we could get the test results together. A very nervous morning ensued with plenty of diagnostic googling but after what felt like eternity Mr S returned home.
Opening the email simply led to another portal, and opening that portal instructed you to call your hospital. Within seconds we had the Portland on speaker phone hearing the voice of the lady who’s taken our first ultrasound.
‘You are low risk for every chromosome condition tested for’ – hooray! This meant our baby had a 1 in 100,000 chance of having one of the conditions.
‘Now do you want to know the gender?’
Now it’s different for everyone but I always knew I’d want to know the my baby’s gender before the birth. It felt like a slight anticlimax to get the news sat at home over speaker phone rather than seeing in on a scan for the first time … but really I couldn’t wait…
‘It’s a boy!’ she told us… I think Mr S’s mind immediately filled with bonding experiences with his son (aka football games and ski trips) while I thought of my little boy, decorating his nursery and buying his first clothes.
The very next day we had our 12 week scan (though it was around 13 weeks and I was about to say goodbye to the first trimester). The sonographer looked at the screen and told us the baby was growing perfectly and passed every test with flying colours including the nuchal translucency which is another test for Down’s Syndrome. We could happily go to Luxembourg the next day knowing everything was progressing well.
So that’s everything regarding the baby’s development in the first trimester and I how I was feeling mentally and emotionally. But how was I physically? Well looks wise at around twelve weeks I wasn’t looking much different, all my clothes still fit even my very fitted stuff so there’s not much to report there! The purple photos above were taken at 22 weeks. Here’s a few photos of me in Luxembourg in week twelve.
In terms of pregnancy symptoms, they remained pretty mild throughout the first trimester – hence me finding out late – so I could kind of count myself lucky. I was never sick though often nauseous and queasy (sometimes all day) and except for the extreme tiredness of week six I was only slightly more tired than usual. Once I found out, the main changes in the way I was feeling were mental – great anxiety and a heightened sense of emotion. Any tiny twinge immediately worried me and admittedly I referred to Dr Google a lot – face palm! I think you can tell that I suffer from health anxiety, something that I’ve never revealed on this blog but will become more apparent as I chronicle the pregnancy!
The question I’ve been asked most is ‘do you have any food cravings’ and I have to say not really. It sounds a little smug (sorry!) but I’ve just been wanted healthy stuff like fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. I’ve had more aversions than cravings and sometimes just looking at something can make me feel a little nauseous – on those days plain pasta with tomato sauce or tomato soup with a bread roll has been my staple diet. Salt and vinegar crisps, rice cakes and ginger biscuits have staved off bouts of queasiness but other wise my diet hasn’t changed much. I’m avoiding rich food as much as possible as that just brings on more queasiness, heart burn, indigestion and the like. What food am I missing? Well I’ve been advised to avoid too much fish which is quite hard as it was a major staple in my diet but I haven’t been too sad to give up sushi and I’m still having it in avocado or veggie form. As I don’t eat much meat, I’m not missing a rare steak and soft cheeses are also something I don’t eat that often so that’s not too hard either. I’m enjoying time off alcohol and still exercising frequently but at a much lower intensity.
The beginning of the second trimester saw my first appointment with my chosen obstetrician, selecting our hospital and starting to think about life changes such as the baby’s bedroom. I’m cover this in my next post!