My secret trimester

I know, I know.  The title of this post screams B.A.B.Y.  And we’ve had quite a few baby posts recently.  But, as we’ve said before, we aren’t going to become a baby blog.  We remain a blog that talks about issues that women face, one of which is being pregnant and having children.  And when Steff told me she wanted to write this post, (and I’d stopped squealing with excitement for her), I realised that yes, it should be written, it should be discussed.  

I’ve never had a baby, but I’ve never once questioned the taboo around the first twelve weeks of being pregnant.  In my head, it is a Mystical Time Where Secret Womb Stuff Happens and we shall not speak of it.  Which, frankly, is ridiculous.  It means you end up with a lot of lonely mothers-to-be with big life changes that they can’t share.  Steff challenges this.  I’d love to know what you think, readers.  Down with Secret Womb Stuff.  And I defy you not to gasp at the end.  It’s magic, that is:      

It started with a chicken dinner a the Mother In-Law’s followed by a 2 hour car journey and a stop off at the chippy as my rumbling stomach was becoming distracting.  Looking back, that should have been the first sign. Over dinner on Saturday night we mused about the future, about kids, travelling and just generally how awesome life will be in our new house which we move into the following week.  Dinner just didn’t cut it for me that night, I wanted cheese to finish off – specifically stilton – and salt and vinegar crisps to finish off the evening.  That was sign number two.  All that talk of kids over dinner got me thinking, was I a little late? I sent G to boots to pick up what he called “one of those things that people do when they’re not sure” on the Monday as I watched Juno while packing and figured if it can happen to her it can happen to me.

As we watched that little pink line develop a myriad of emotions washed over me, the overriding one being ‘OMG I’ve wanted this for so long but now that it’s really happening it’s the single most scariest thing ever’.  G was already bouncing about like a loon, I took slightly longer to believe it. I wanted to take a second test… it just didn’t feel real somehow.  I googled false positives and found that they occur very rarely, still I didn’t believe it.  We were like a giddy pair of school kids looking at each other with wide eyes and giggling nervously.  We’d talked about this moment for so long, wanted it and willed it to come sooner and now it’s finally here… and I’ve got an entire flat to pack up for the big move on Friday!  Fun times.

And so I packed up the flat, all our belongings went into boxes and bags and we said goodbye to the flat which had seen us through uni and into newlywed-dom and moved into the house which our kids will grow up in.

Life is good, the new house is busy with visitors and the BBQ barely got a chance to cool down. Slowly but surely we shared our news with both families, we shared secret smiles as we decided how we would tell them all and there were tears when we did.  Happy ones.  Mainly mine.  The first grandchild on his side, the 10th on mine but no less excitement on either side.

And then morning sickness and exhaustion kicked in with a BANG!

Mornings were hell, between hayfever crippling my vision and a hypersensitive sense of smell rendering the kitchen out of bounds lest I want to bring up everything in my stomach I really struggled to start each day.  Recommendations of toast in bed before rising to settle the stomach meant that G’s alarm was set 20 mins earlier than mine to make my breakfast every morning.  It helped, but I still found myself puking up in the car park after the 40-minute commute.

Evenings weren’t much better, after struggling through the working day most evenings saw us arriving home from work and me heading straight to bed leaving G to get the dinner on, do the washing and tidying up.  Granted he also got to shoot zombies for hours on end without me disturbing him though so it wasn’t without its perks.

I read on a forum that the first 12 weeks of pregnancy feel like you’ve got 2 stomachs, one which wants to constantly throw up and one that is constantly wondering where its next meal is coming from.  I honestly couldn’t have put it better, I ate like a horse craving anything starchy, baked potato, waffles, crisps, toast, chips – if it had carbs in it I was all over it.  And sweeties, and fizzy juice… so basically everything they tell you not to eat.  But I got through it and now, on the other side I’m craving salads and veggies and fruit so my advice to others would be to go with it, embrace it and if you can’t find Arctic Roll anywhere jammie doughnuts and ice cream are a good enough substitute.

By 8 weeks I couldn’t fit into any of my jeans anymore, I was living in the 1 pair of maternity jeans my sister had already handed down to me and I’d spent £60 on a bra to contain my rapidly growing boobs as most of mine were giving me double cleavage by now.  A note to all those considering crossing the bridge, invest in a full length mirror – we don’t have one in the new house which meant that my first shopping experience (at about 9 weeks) involved me seeing myself full length with with very little on for the first time in about a month.  The less said about that the better but you have been warned.

Inevitably there had to come the dreaded event where alcohol would need to be avoided and surely that’s the time the alarm would be raised?  Being that I love to complicate even the simplest of events I had several such times throughout my secret trimester.  House warming BBQs where I drank “gin” & tonic, a rugby night out and a hen party where I had to drive because I had “family commitments” the following day, a graduation dinner involving a sneaky switch of a full glass for an empty one and a gaming weekend where I decided that boys are so unobservant none of them would notice – they didn’t but their ladies were all over it like a rash grilling them over the phone about what I’d had to drink.  When we finally told them all (at 2am on a Saturday night as we were getting ready to head home because G had been waiting for the perfect moment all night and failing) the reaction was, as tends to be from most people, “I KNEW IT”.  The did, and they were over the moon.

There is definitely something in the water just now, there are so many pregnancy announcements, so many of us due within months of each other.  I feel like I’m being left behind, like the wimpy kid who’s never picked for sports at school.  As if everyone is experiencing the amazing feeling of being able to tell everyone and discuss their pregnancy but I’m still hiding behind a mask, trying to be subtle when I’m barfing up my breakfast in the toilets at work and rooting out every “hide the fat” top that I own.  I’m counting down the days until our first scan when we’ll get to say hello to little Pea for the first time.

My first midwife appointment is a breeze, most straightforward she’s ever done she tells me! Bonus.  I check the mat every day in earnest waiting for the scan date to arrive, it feels like it’s taking forever.  I’ve started making lists (for list lovers have a gander at Trello!) in preparation for little Pea making an appearance.  So far my lists are;  Things to Buy/Acquire, To Do, Hospital Bag, Midwife Stuff, Girls Names, Boys Names, Notes and Recommendations, Freebies and Clubs, Nursery, Paperwork.  Girls Names has 3 at the moment, Boys Names has 2 – both of which G hates but I’m tirelessly trying to warm him to.  Freebies and clubs is one I’m super excited about, loves me a freebie.  My first freebies come in the form of a Bounty pack from Boots to keep me entertained and set about joining all the online forums and due date clubs that I can get my grubby little paws on.  I research buggies, cots, baby monitors, changing bags and I download app after app trying to find the perfect one.  I even spent an hour on eBay looking for the perfect diary to record all my pregnancy events in!  Discovering that “maternity” has the same impact on prices as “wedding” does.  Leggings for £13 a pair just because they’ve got a bit more material round the belly?? Aye, pull the other one.  All the while wondering what this scan is going to bring when it rolls around.

Hospital Bag, quite frankly, is a list that scares the living shit out of me right now.

Opening the letter from the hospital with the scan date was comforting and terrifying at the same time.  On one hand we get to meet Pea for the first time, wave to him/her as they jive about on the screen in response to being prodded by the midwife but on the other hand the scan could confirm all my worst fears, what if something has gone wrong in there? What if all that junk food I’ve eaten has hurt my baby? What if I’m already a rubbish mum and I’m only 10 weeks in?? Opening that letter opened up a whole new can of “keep you awake at night” worms. There’s absolutely nothing I can do either way though, and that’s actually something which puts my mind at rest, the answers will be the same whether I worry about them or not.   Before now, until it was happening to me, I never thought of the scan as being a potential source of worry for a mum to be.  As an outsider you only see the joy of the announcement that follows.  Miscarriage is such a taboo subject and, as I get closer to my scan I can understand why women limit the people they tell as a result of this fear.  It’s crippling at times.

There have been meltdowns, oh have there been meltdowns.  I rationalise, it’s just the hormones, that doesn’t make it any easier however… the hormones rage on regardless.  The dog didn’t quite know what to make of his sobbing wreck of an owner at first but, as animals magically do, managed to make me giggle trying to lick the tears off my face and suddenly everything was better.  Hiding such a big secret from so many people is mentally exhausting and so, so lonely.  Before I’d been through it myself I never fully appreciated just how hard this time can be.  Close friends and family know, we decided together to tell them as if anything, god forbid, went wrong we’d tell them anyway but it became harder and harder to be around people who didn’t know, to be on Facebook and twitter and keep quiet about it.  At times I thought about just telling everyone, if anything were to happen why be ashamed about it? But it’s not about being ashamed about it, it’s about hurting and about limiting the number of times that you have to deal with the sympathetic head nod and arm pat.  It’s about not being confident that people will appreciate your boundaries and perhaps understand that you don’t want to discuss the details with them.  And so we decided, as is the norm, to wait until the scan had confirmed that all was fine.

It’s finally here – scan day! We’re up, we have breakfast in bed chatting about what we’ll see and how awesome it will be to meet little Pea, I laugh and ask G what he’ll say if the midwife says it’s twins.  ”lets cross that bridge when we come to it” he says.  I laugh quietly to myself thinking about Sarah’s post.  We have showers and we hop in the car to the hospital, the butterflies in my stomach are multiplying by the second and I’m downing water like I’ve lived in the desert for the past year.  We’re finally there, in the waiting room.  The midwife brings us into the scan room, dims the lights, squidges out the jelly and starts the scan.  ”Of course, sometimes we get surprises” she says with a sly grin.  This was one of those times.

First…

Second…

Both!

 

Categories: Becoming a Mother, Life Experience
43 interesting thoughts on this

43 Comments

  1. Carly
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!

    What amazing news for a Monday morning. Do you know if the twins are identical? I can assure you that being a twin is the best thing in the whole world and your beautiful little babies will have such a bond. Don’t worry either, Mum always says we were easier than one baby ‘cos we just kept each other entertained!

    So pleased for you (and also slightly jealous, I would love to have twins when it’s
    our turn!)

    X

    • Posted September 3, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      I love that the first two comments are from twins! Hello Carly!

      • Carly
        Posted September 3, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        Hello Rachel!

        X

      • Steff
        Posted September 3, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        Hah that’s brilliant!! xx

  2. Posted September 3, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Yay!! I’m a twin & I love it, though also don’t know anything different. Congratulations to you all x

  3. Posted September 3, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Pea! And Pea! Two peas in a pod and oh my how gorgeous!

    Congratulations to you all-incredible news!

    X

  4. Vivienne
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Eeeeeeeep! Two babies! Two teeny tiny little humans!!! Twins blow my mind – they really do.

    I hear you on first trimester – if a man suffered all that indignity, the world and his wife would know about it, yet we just have to get on with it ourselves the majority of the time!

    Xxx

  5. Clare
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    TWO BABIES!! Two of them!! You’re growing twenty toes! How awesome are you?!

    Congratulations Steff, such lovely news! Welcome to the Any Other Baby club (which appears to be rapidly growing!) xx

    • Steff
      Posted September 3, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      20 toes… I had not thought of it like that, that’s kind of awesome! x

  6. Katielase
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    STEFF!! Oh my gosh, wow! This is such amazing news, I’m so excited for you!! CONGRATULATIONS! *does happy happy double Pea dance*

    And I totally agree with the rest of the post, it’s a shame that woman don’t get to draw their own boundaries, like as soon as you tell the world, your news becomes public property. No. You should be able to talk about being pregnant as much or as little as you like, whatever suits you, and then do exactly the same if, god forbid, anything happened.

    K xx

    • Steff
      Posted September 3, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      I know, totally, anyone we did tell before the scan I felt compelled to follow it up with “I know it’s early to be telling people BUT…” which always jarred a little. But we’re there now and I can shout it from the roof tops and it feels amazing! xx

  7. Posted September 3, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    TWINS! AMAZING! CONGRATULATIONS!

    Oh Steph I loved reading this and so happy for you x

  8. Roz
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Amazing news!!!! I am the only one that thought it might be triplets when the third picture popped up?? Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy growing 2 little peas :D xxx

    • Carly
      Posted September 3, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      No, I thought it too!

    • Frances
      Posted September 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Me too!

  9. Mahj
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Yippeeee! This is brilliant news! Also Roz I thought the same thing!

    xoxo

  10. Posted September 3, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    TWINS!! Oh my, Steff and G – how exciting – I am over the moon for you both!!! xxx

  11. Posted September 3, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Double congratulations, Steff! How very, very exciting for you two. xx

  12. Steff
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Thank you ladies :) it was a brilliant, albeit terrifying, surprise which turned just about everything that I know about having babies on its head. Now that we’ve got our heads around it we just can’t wait to meet them!!

    No triplets though, just the two in there – I made them check! Apparently it’s not very common for a third to be hiding in there but it has been known to happen.

    xx

    • Lara Blue
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Congratulations! :) And good luck :) thank you for the insight into what those first few weeks are like- having never been in this position myself, posts like these help to give me a better understanding of what one of my friends is probably about to go through…

  13. Zan
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Fabulous post and CONGRATULATIONS Steff!!

  14. Cat B
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Woop Woop!!!!!! That is such wonderful news – huge congratulations to you both! I identify so much with your post although at 22 weeks I’m still struggling to eat anything other than pizza and chips – oh and cake – lots of cake! I know that sounds like a pregnant woman kidding herself but at the moment I can’t physically keep down any meat, fish or vegetables :( .

    But one of the best things about the timing of this post is that my sister is pregnant with twins and she has her 12 week scan today :)

    Really hope you have a smooth, trouble free pregnancy. Wishing you and G all the very best. Xx

    • Steff
      Posted September 3, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Oh I hear you, loud and clear! I still have days when all I eat are skips and potato waffles!!

      Amazing news about your sister, wish her all the best from me! She’s only 2 weeks behind me. xx

      • Cat B
        Posted September 3, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Mmmm skips! I can’t get enough of them. And our freezer is stocked with potato waffles. Really hope time passes quickly until your next scan. My sis is an equine vet so is sneaking her scanning equipment home and doing DIY scans! That’s how we found out at the beginning – went to stay with her and she scanned me ( whilst lying on the sofa) then I scanned her and there they both were! X

        • Posted September 3, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          I genuinely cannot imagine how excitedyoumust have been!

        • Sarah
          Posted September 3, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          Haha! That’s brilliant! How funny! x

        • Steff
          Posted September 3, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          OMG that’s amazing!! Was it expected or a complete surprise? xx

          • Cat B
            Posted September 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

            Clare – we were in total shock! My sis especially! Steff – it was a complete shock as no history of twins on either side and no fertility treatment. In fact she got pregnant first month of trying so double shock!
            So nice though that the cousins will be born within a couple of months of each other. When’s your due date? xx

            • Steff
              Posted September 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

              Feb 28th but, being twins, they should be here a bit earlier. Consultant told us that they’d look to delivery them about 37 weeks!

              It was our first month of “trying” too, definitely something in the water!! So exciting for you going through it all together too! xx

  15. Posted September 3, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Such lovely news, Steff, I’m over the moon for you! Will you get bonus scans as there are two peas? Two whole babies, awesome xx

    • Steff
      Posted September 3, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Thanks Sarah :)

      Yeah, we get the normal 12 and 20 week scans then we get a scan every 3-4 weeks after that to check that they’re growing ok. Next scan isn’t until mid October, feels aaaaaaaaages away!! x

  16. Rach
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Congratulations Steff and G!!! such wonderful news – twins! Great post xx

  17. Posted September 3, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Two babies! As if one baby isn’t miracle enough, I’m so pleased for you Steff, congratulations! x

  18. Liz
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Double babies!! How exciting – congratulations!!
    Your post sums up pretty much everything that I went through in 1st trimester, although without the extra baby! Have a 32 week scan tomorrow, having kept gender a surprise to date I am currently fighting the urge to find out – must be strict with myself!!
    xx

  19. Posted September 3, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Yaaaaaay Steff!! I know I’ve said it before but HUGE congratulations to you and G, it is just so bloomin’ exciting! I know twins came as a bit of a surprise to you both, but wow how extra special and magical does it all feel now? I bet you can’t imagine it any other way now.

    On a more selfish note I’m not only totally thrilled to have somebody to share this all with, but also relieved that I no longer have to panic about sending public tweets instead of DM’s to you about all things baby. I was terrified I might give the game away earlier than you wanted and ruin the lovely surprise.

    Oh and totally embrace the waffle and skip eating – it’s the best excuse you’re ever going to have!

    xx

    • Steff
      Posted September 3, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      YAY the stress is over, public tweets allowed :) it is awesome to have someone else at relatively the same stage and a first timer too!! Many more discussions to be had me thinks… for now though, I’m off to feed my face, again. xx

  20. Sharon L
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Its just absolutely amazing news, huge congratulations xxxxx

  21. Posted September 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    So delighted for you Steff, I can’t imagine how tough these past few weeks have been with trying to keep a lid on the news! Hoping the nausea is well and truly out of the way for you soon

    Px

  22. Frances
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Actual magic! This is very exciting – so many congratulations to you both! x

  23. Mrs Jones
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Eeeek! Congratulations! I hope you have a really successful pregnancy :)

  24. Lucie
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Wow, massive congratulations – how exciting!! So sweet that you’d named baby Pea, I love it! Hope all goes really well for all of you! x

  25. Tracy
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    CONGRATULATIONS! I’m a little late to this but had to reply as I’ve just waved my twin identical boys off to their first day of school this morning!

    Twins truly are a blessing, and be prepared for a lot of attention when they are born because people are fascinated by them! I always get the comment ‘double trouble’ and while that can be true sometimes, I always say back ‘no, double the fun!’.

    I would be happy to chat if you have any questions about what you might face in the future! How lovely, you’ve taken me right back to when I first found out, I feel all fluffy now! x

    • Steff
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Ah Tracy that’s amazing!! Lots of people have commented about double trouble already which, to be fair, for the first few weeks it was!

      Any advice you have would be very welcome, I don’t know many twin mums so have been trawling the internet so far! My email is steffibaby@gmail.com if you want to get in touch :) thanks! xx

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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