A is for Archie: How to Grow a Baby #1
This post is all about how I discovered I was pregnant and the 40(+5) week-long journey I endured! The whole experience was absolutely amazing, though it had it's ups & downs, and I still miss being pregnant 15 months on. For a while now I've been wanting to write a post and revisit all of my bump pics and tell our story, so I'll start from the beginning.
Around a month or two before my pregnancy, I had a scare. We weren't trying for a baby, having just moved in together into a flat for the first time (though we'd been together for 7 years) and although we'd discussed it in the past, we'd always said that we'd own our own house before even considering children. So, I took a pregnancy test after being 5 days late and it was negative. Instead of the immense sense of relief I'm used to after getting the all-clear, I cried. I felt devastated, and it was completely unexpected. I'd never felt the need for a baby before, so why was I feeling this way now? What had changed?
I did speak to Mr J about what had happened and we decided that we'd wait at least a year and start thinking about buying a house, then we could consider babies; I felt sad, but it made complete sense. I've always wanted to feel safe, secure and know that we had enough money to give our baby a comfortable life, owning our own home was the last step, plus our second-floor, rickety old (but beautiful) flat was no place to bring up a child.
2 months later, 6 days late, and after a queasy day out at a vintage car show (and a mile-long walk with Dad, thanks for that!) I took a pregnancy test to rule it out, being late had become the norm and wasn't unusual anymore. I glanced down and saw 1 line, thought 'that's that', washed my hands, looked again, and saw the second line. Did I feel excitement? No, my first emotion felt was crippling fear, I was absolutely terrified, followed by complete and utter shock.
I ran into the bedroom and told Mr J, who was completely underwhelmed and unsurprised, unlike myself. I couldn't stop talking and asking him 'Is this okay? Are we ready for this? How do you feel about it?' He was absolutely fine with it as I realised, was I, and that's when the excitement flooded in and the overwhelming feeling of happiness, I was so ready for this baby.
I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of pride and excitement from that point on; I had been blessed with carrying a beautiful little baby, how exciting! I felt on top of the world carrying our little secret, but I had to tell my parents (almost) right away. That memory is one I'll never forget, they were ecstatically happy, as was I and from then on, time just seemed to drag, I wanted to meet my baby!
I found out I was pregnant at around 6 weeks, and around 7-8 weeks, I started to experience pre-natal depression, something of a taboo subject that isn't widely discussed, but should be. I felt completely detached from my baby, the complete opposite to how I'd felt a couple of weeks previous. I broke down at work one day and thankfully my colleagues are wonderful and completely understood, they knew that I wasn't a heartless woman who purposely felt nothing for my baby, just scared & shocked, confused as to why I was feeling so sad.
My doctor told me what I expected to hear, probably a surge in hormones due to the pregnancy and that all she could offer were anti-depressants but she wouldn't recommend them. I knew I didn't want anti-depressants, I'd never experienced depression before (and it is awful, certainly not something you can snap out of) and I hoped that it was just the pregnancy hormones and that it would pass. I also expressed my extreme fear of losing the baby – it was odd feeling completely detached but also knowing I wanted nothing more than for this baby to arrive safe & healthy – she explained that unfortunately there was nothing she could say to ease my fears but recommended an early scan.
I was signed off with stress for 2 weeks and I booked a private early scan to try and ease my mind. The day of the scan was amazing and terrifying, I drank so much water I thought my bladder was going to burst and soak everyone in the room. It was great seeing my little jellybean and hearing the heartbeat was the strangest feeling! The sonographer was lovely and told me that the baby was 5 days behind what we originally thought, at around 8 weeks, 3 days gestation - my due date was December 16th.
Thankfully, the depression soon ebbed and on returning back to work, I felt completely myself again, but that feeling will be something I'll never forget.
The rest of my first trimester dragged along slowly, I was aching for the weeks to pass until I could see my baby again at the 12-week NHS ultrasound. I experienced lots of evening nausea (but no sickness, woo!) that could only be dulled by a steady stream of ice pops, I'd have at least 2-3 each night. I can't remember all of the symptoms I experienced at the time, besides aching boobs (one of the very first signs), and a huge aversion to sweet potatoes – something I'd loved before – just the smell of them made me sick.
I was constantly googling symptoms of the first trimester, what did it mean when symptoms subsided? How big was the baby now? What were the chances I'd lose him or her? And then finally, after weeks of waiting, came the 12 week ultrasound..
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