Hello one and all, and welcome to a post from Mahj. A post about the first trimester of pregnancy, the madness, the secrecy, the loneliness and the madness that comes with what is, in practical terms, weeing on a stick, and in biological terms is THE START OF HUMAN LIFE. No matter how much I think about it, it doesn’t start to make any more sense. Over to you, Mahj:
It was a sunny Saturday morning and I was awake at 6am. I knew what I had to do today and as I lay there thinking about it, I realised that 1) I was really nervous and 2) I desperately needed to wee! Unfortunately the first test I did didn’t work properly and so it was back to bed. Sigh.
The second test I did was one of those fancy pants digital ones. This test worked and as the egg timer was spinning around, I deliberately avoided looking at it, washing my hands and not looking down. Until I looked down and saw it. ‘Pregnant’. My stomach swooped (in a good way) and I ran from the bathroom to tell Martin whose response was “shit me!” (He would like me to clarify that this was with excitement!). He then ran back to the bathroom with me whilst we looked again at the test in disbelief, delight and shock. I don’t know why we were so shocked; this is what we had wanted. But still, seeing that one little word, at that very moment, literally changed everything.
And so it began. All that weekend was spent gazing at the stick (with the cap firmly back on fyi!) until the 24 hours of it were up. I must have spent a good 20 minutes at one point just staring at it. Looking back now, that may have been a touch weird of me. The next day I told my sister because, well, obvs! And over the coming week or two, we (as in I) told a very small but trustworthy couple of friends. It was too exciting not to.
And I spent the next however many weeks wondering and worrying. I don’t think I was kind to myself, I think I worried A LOT. I was extremely lucky in that I had hardly any symptoms. Some tiredness some days, some days where I felt a bit nauseous but then I ate something and was fine. I kept waiting for the tired-to-my-bones feeling, the all-day sickness, the supersonic sense of smell, something. But no. Nothing. Not a peep . And so I worried some more (and did another test) and played the Super Cautious Game with Martin (who was Mr Positive). I wouldn’t commit to anything. Everything hinged on the 12 week scan. Every conversation about it ended with a “hopefully” from me.
Around 2 weeks or so after we found out, we also found out that Martin’s Dad was ill. He was then diagnosed with cancer and this wonderful little secret we’d been carrying around with us suddenly seemed quite small in comparison of this potential shitstorm. It was a hard time, Martin was extremely concerned about his Dad and those weeks were a flurry of tests and consultant appointments that seemed never ending. And then our beloved Bertie dog hurt his back quite badly which lead to a bazillion vets appointments. But we kept moving forward.
In terms of keeping The Secret, I didn’t struggle, mainly as there was so much else going on. Sometimes I quite liked having a little secret to carry around with me, hidden away. Where I almost came undone was talking about something cheese or wine related! Quite naturally I’d almost say “well golly, I sure do miss blue cheese” (or something like it) and I’d stop myself just in time. Maybe this is more an indication that I talk about cheese to much more than anything else…?!
By the time the 12 week scan came around I’d had every emotion that week. Our scan was on a Friday and I spent the week wishing the time away and when Friday did roll around, I found myself silently begging time to slow down. Naturally it did not. It was boiling hot that day and driving home I found a radio station playing Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams. I naturally started singing along like my life depended on it and then promptly burst into snotty, heaving tears!
I was told that we’d be waiting at least half an hour for our appointment as they are always running behind but oh no, not today! We’d arrived early and barely sat down before we were called in. I lay down, had that gel stuff slathered all over my stomach and once the sonographer had finished telling me how full my bladder was (!) she moved over and there it was. All potato shaped. An actual real life teeny tiny baby. With a beating heart. And moving arms and legs. It wriggled. It kicked its legs around. And I promptly burst into tears for the second time that day.
I have learned a few things since becoming pregnant, some of which I already knew and some I didn’t. The outpouring of love, kindness and congratulations we had on telling people was overwhelming. People are awesome.
Really Good News is the most excellent kind of medicine and although Martin’s Dad was doing well before and continues to be, he is now bound and determined to keep staying as well as he can for as long as he can. Excuse me whilst I weep quietly over in the corner.
People are also extremely generous and right off the bat we were offered baby-related items including a pram which is now safely stowed in our loft.
Babies are expensive and so is all the shizz you have to get for their arrival into your world. We found that making an essentials list was really helpful (Mothercare and the NHS website had the best two lists for us). Now that we have our list, we’re enjoying crossing things off it. Ok, I’m enjoying crossing things off it. Martin’s doesn’t really care about crossing things off lists. Pfft.
Google is a mean and scary place and should be avoided at all costs throughout your pregnancy. I fell down a Google rabbit hole many times during my first 12 weeks and 90% of what I read scared me, made me paranoid and filled me with doubt. I think it was Anna K Wise Owl who recommended only the NHS Choices website and I wholeheartedly agree. I made a deal with myself that if everything was ok at the scan, I would stop with the Googling. And I have done.
People will ask you the most extraordinarily personal questions and think that it’s perfectly reasonable to. Real life examples “how long have you been trying for” some people don’t mind this question, I however do as its essentially asking for how long my husband and I have been having unprotected sex for. “Will you breastfeed” was asked by a colleague at work who I know well enough to say hi to but beyond that, not a great deal.
And lastly, I expected Martin and I’s relationship, our marriage, would adapt to the new arrival. But I didn’t anticipate how things would actually change. That I could love him possibly more than I did before. That sharing this with him has been the second best thing about being pregnant after actually being pregnant! That he would get so smushy and loving when I started to show, how over the moon excited he is. It feels like an utterly wonderful part of our lives is just beginning. Now if I can just get my head around the labour part…