Friday, 23 October 2020

Pregnancy Diaries; The First Trimester

The First Trimester; Weeks One to Twelve 

We found out at around six weeks that we were very unexpectedly expecting a baby whilst waiting (with numerous delays) for fertility operations and treatment to begin via the NHS. 

Midway through my pregnancy, I found myself googling pregnancy and birth diaries of my favourite bloggers, and also seeking out other stories, which then prompted me to start my own. I figured I wanted to document and remember as much of this pregnancy as possible and even though I had a few ways of documenting my pregnancy offline such as your traditional baby book etc, I wanted to write my own little accounts on this space to look back on in the future. 

I wrote these diaries back in Spring 2020 - I'm posting them delayed, as if you know from Instagram, I didn't announce my pregnancy due to previous infertility and then birth trauma, however I've now decided I absolutely loved writing pregnancy and motherhood content whilst pregnant, and it just didn't feel right hitting delete on this series. 

The baby has been the same size as … 
One of the first things Brad did was download the 'What To Expect' app on his phone and this marked a weekly tradition of checking the growth of our baby every Sunday morning and reading up on the changes in development each week. On the app they have 3 different growths to compare to; fruits, 90s nostalgia and film and tv. We often swapped between the three. Someone I follow on Instagram took photographs of the fruit compared to her bump each week as a growth project which I loved! (but only saw as I was late into the second trimester, so definitely something I'll do if there is ever a baby #2!) 

Here's a selection of our favourite comparisons: a gummy bear, a hot wheels car 🏎️, an orange seed 🍊, a blueberry, a large strawberry 🍓 & a lime. 

The curry & quiz night where I first felt something wasn't quite right! 
In the first six weeks I had very few symptoms. Before finding out, I had two instances where I felt not quite right but was used to false symptoms surfacing in previous months of trying! I actually took a pregnancy test at 5 weeks after my period was getting later and later (but really that was nothing too unusual in the infertility game) and it was negative... so by the six week mark when after two drinks on a curry & quiz night I felt weirdly off, when I bought one of the fancy pregnancy tests just to be sure the next day and it came back positive, it was a right old shock! 
After finding out, I had about a week and a half of no symptoms and then I got one; the nausea came. 

A little family selfie when the nausea was at it's worse and I was pale a lot of the time! 

It was horrendous. There's something to be said for feeling nauseous and not actually being sick. Every meal, I worried that'd be the meal I'd end up throwing back up. I found travelling quite hard, especially in cars. I tried a variety of methods too to combat the nausea. I bought sickness travel bands for acupressure and a variety of foods with ginger in it. I ate small meals and I drank a lot of lemonade to try and settle my stomach. In my first trimester, I'd started a new job and was commuting long hours, so by the time I got to the GP to tell him I was pregnant, I was also asking him to very kindly prescribe me an anti-sickness medication if he thought it would help. My GP always explores the natural remedies first, pre-prescribing something; after I listed everything I'd tried to ease it, he was more than satisfied that I'd been trying to manage the nausea myself. Asking for medication wasn't an easy choice after navigating many forums and advice articles on Dr Google, but my GP was very clear that as long as taking medication when it was needed wasn't going to increase my anxiety, then that's a choice I could make.  I ended up taking 3 tablets in total when the nausea felt really bad, and then luckily the nausea went away. 

Other than lemonade, my major craving was ice lollies - preferably Jubblies! In the first trimester I ended up going off so many foods I loved - chorizo, eggs & toast, aka my favourite brunch was a big no go. I went off chocolate and snacks. I could stomach plain foods - ready salted crisps and plain crackers were a saviour. With Christmas coming up, all I kept saying to Brad was 'I hope I can eat my Christmas dinner' (a meal I look forward to far too much each year!) 

Antenatal Appointments
Overall, I didn't end up having a lot of appointments within my first trimester for a variety of reasons. First up was the fact I couldn't get a doctor's appointment from 8 weeks due to the fact it was Christmas, winter and generally GP appointments were like gold dust! I managed to get to my see GP in early January at around 11 weeks ... who then told me I needed to self refer to my hospital anyway. A nice takeaway from the appointment though, was how happy my GP was that I was pregnant after the rocky journey my infertility and mental health had taken that year. My doctor has always been fantastic at adapting my mental health treatment, and addressing my numerous worries regarding my fertility. 

I had a private scan at six to seven weeks; after lots of fertility anxieties in the past, one of my key worries was making sure the baby was in the right place, not ectopic and had a heartbeat. We booked at a clinic which had the earliest available date for a weekend day to be scanned. I'm honestly so glad I booked the scan; the sonographer was the nicest man and took so much care and time with the scan. He kept referring to the little blob on the screen as 'the beautiful baby' and just generally was a bloody lovely human being. He went through all the possible measurements that he could, and also took snapshots of my ovaries and measured cysts - this may be a bit TMI, but I thought it was worth noting as due to previous fertility investigations, I've had many scans and had images taken and been told to wait x amount of days for results and write ups... at this scan, I came away with not only a photograph of our baby, but detailed notes of my reproductive system on the spot. I would wholeheartedly recommend if you want extra care and detail and can afford it, go and have a private scan. I knew unless I had serious concerns something was wrong, this would be the only scan I paid for privately and I wouldn't hesitate to pay private again if I'm lucky enough to have a second pregnancy in the future. 

I had my twelve week dating scan at just after twelve weeks at our local hospital - ironically it's in the gynaecology department where I'd spent many a time having scans for fertility reasons. I knew the protocol with NHS scans - they are a lot quicker! The baby wasn't in a great position for the scan, but they managed to get the dating and screening tests that needed to be done. 

I also had my booking appointment at the hospital; I was with a midwife and a student midwife. This appointment was around an hour, and we went through previous medical history and also discussed mental health; due to mental health history the midwives suggested that I had obstetrician led care incase of any relapse in my mental wellbeing and to be able to provide support if I felt I needed it, which I was really happy and grateful to be given the option to choose this. 

Mental Wellbeing; 
For the first trimester, I actually had no issues whatsoever with my mental wellbeing. When I spoke to my GP, I told him quite matter of factly that I felt so grateful to be pregnant without having had to go through the hycosy operation that was due that January or then potentially IVF that in my head I was happy to take each day as it comes. I knew the services which were available for my area and through Mind should I need them, but generally I felt quite balanced. 

Physical Changes; 
There were quite little physical changes in the first trimester. The only thing I can say I had towards the end of the first trimester was needing to wearing maternity bras as my usual laced M&S structured ones were becoming a bit snug! 
This photo was taken about 2 hours before we found out! 

  • Finding out we were pregnant was the first highlight - we sat in stunned silence for a whole evening and it was just the weirdest feeling. 
  • Going to our early scan and knowing everything was okay. 
  • Telling our families at Christmas;  it was such a special and lovely time telling our families. I expressed very early on to Brad, given everything we had been through that I didn't want excess people knowing I was pregnant. There was the fear that something could go wrong and after seeing the heartbreak in the infertility community, I wanted to keep our pregnancy close knit. My preference in the end was if I see a family member or friend, then I'd tell them. If I didn't see them within 9 months of pregnancy - did they need to know? We did tell our families before the 'twelve week mark' - mainly as we just felt if something did go wrong, they would be there to support us. Also after a tough year, it felt right to make Christmas extra special with the news.
Well this post has rambled on well over 1,500 words! If there is anything you have questions on or any comments etc, feel free to reach out over my socials or pop me over an e-mail! I'd love to hear from you. The second trimester post is coming up soon! 
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