Now that we’re 12 weeks along I thought it was time to share my experiences. There is so much information on the internet, yet women still have no idea what to expect and wonder if what is happening to them is “normal”. So I thought I would make a post to point out that, indeed, every pregnancy is different, people will give you advice, and tell you what to expect, but at the end of the day you have to take it as it comes, and have some great friends or family to talk to when you feel insecure and need a sounding board.
The first thing I noticed when we started to tell people about our pregnancy after the congratulations were expectations of morning sickness. I imagine this is quite hard for a lot of women, but I haven’t had any, the closest I came was a migraine headache that made me unwell until I did finally vomit. I learned to tell them I was just tired and lethargic, and to those who asked wasn’t I tired working double shifts at work, I just told them I was exhausted when I arrived, and even more so by the time it was over. I didn’t also tell them how I can’t always get decent sleep, and I have a sore and swollen chest to the point at 9 weeks along I went out to buy some feeding bras and singlets, and how (warning TMI!) I have had spotting throughout my first trimester since 6 weeks. The next thing I noticed was the questions. How far a long are you? Are you going to have the baby in the public or private system? Do you want to find out if you’re having a boy or a girl? Have you had a scan yet? Are you having a gender reveal? I hadn’t realised so many people would be interested.
The thing is this is an IVF pregnancy, we had already been pregnant last year. We had thought about a lot of things during that period, we had an idea of the type of parents we wanted to be, we had an idea of a few things we wanted to purchase, and we’re happy that we live in a small house despite being told we will one day grow out of it. Which we may one day, but we don’t think you need to have a huge yard and big kitchen to effectively raise a baby or two. After all there are people who live in apartments, we live in a townhouse, 3 bedrooms and a small yard, but it’s ours and we really like it. So we had actually thought about it. We already had a rough idea of how we had planned things would go, but we were already finding things hard to get too excited about, even now (at 14 weeks as I write this) we will worry at every turn, get anxious before the scans that something might be wrong, even after the 12 week ultrasound where everything looks perfect, I still recall the stories of women losing their babies after seeing a perfectly healthy baby at the 12 week scan.
After a miscarriage comes with it a lot of fears on the next pregnancy. We stressed and worried about the numbers of the first test, but they were great, that was a relief, but only a minor one, for next came the fear that the numbers wouldn’t increase the way they should. I instantly got excited when they did more than double, they were double what they should have been, but then I scheduled the next test, and more worry as I wondered about how things were going. Are my symptoms still there? My breasts aren’t as sore as they were, they don’t feel as swollen as they did, why aren’t I getting morning sickness? This was my week 5 after finding out at week 4. There’s something to be said for parents who find out later, we just had more time to fuss over what could go wrong, and with me doing a lot of over time at work, if something did go wrong was it all my fault? More and more people were finding out at work, and what will I do if I miscarry again? Last time maybe 5 people knew, but to be honest the support and understanding was amazing, and the staff who know this time around have been accommodating and asking how everything has been. Then week 6! Blergh! I had a slight nausea/more of an aversion to eating about mid morning to early afternoon, and at first I sort of rejoiced. Feeling tired and exhausted, sore and swollen breasts, constipation, pelvic sensations, food restrictions – sadly we were kind of relieved!
The second month:
Then I started to experience some spotting, which of course reminded me immediately of miscarriage. I went straight to a drop in doctor the next day, who arranged an ultrasound finding a heart beat! Our soon to be baby was measuring at 6 weeks 2 days and had a heart rate of 103. However, the celebrations were short lived, we felt relieved of course, and the spotting settled for 2 days, and started again. More alarm bells, I stressed for 2 days until I finally decided to have another scan thinking this time it must be all over for sure. Surprise! Heart beat 124 and baby now measuring 6 weeks 5 days as it should have. We felt reassured for a short time again, before I got online and started reading about the haematoma they found, which can be common but can also end in miscarriage.
The third month:
The spotting never finished although it seemed a lot lighter at week 11, instead it came and went. I found I didn’t fit into upper-under garments anymore and had to purchase the first of my maternity wear. I found myself waking up really early, unable to get back to sleep for what felt like an eternity, only to feel tired during the day, or some mornings, I never got back to sleep at all. During week 10 I found I was really flat emotionally, I was teary especially in that first day week 10, I don’t know if that was the hormones, or the amount of pressure I felt I had on me. Struggling to get through working fulltime, plus double shifts, night shifts, finding time to work on my masters degree, barely balancing simple tasks at home and then trying to fit in friends and family. I felt exhausted and tired in the afternoons, and all I wanted to do was be at home. Eventually this passed, mostly when my assessment was handed in, but I found from week 11 to week 12 I kind of felt like I had settled into the new feelings, only now to question whether it was too early to have a slight belly bulge, or if this was bloating or have I eaten too much “comfort” food, and started some walking and gentle yoga at home. Now at 13 weeks, I have more energy back, and realised I have a slight bump!
A few tools I have and plan to use:
As part of our journey we decided to document this pregnancy after losing the last one. We bought a pregnancy journal from a website called write to me, we liked this one because it allowed us to document weekly journal entries, stick photos in for each week, and document questions and answers and appointments. Hubby and I both make a journal entry each week, about what we’ve done, what we’re feeling or thinking, addressed to the baby. We also purchased the HP Sprocket little printer, so we could stick in photos of the things we’ve been up to each week. We thought this might be a nice keepsake.
I also use an app called baby centre. It’s a forum for pregnant women, and fathers to be to talk about their pregnancy experiences, everyone asks questions about their insecurities, concerns and celebrate reassurances. It also gives updates on articles regarding things that will be relevant to the progress of your pregnancy, it has a log for names, a record for bump photos and there are different groups you can join.
We have also purchased a few books too. Of course we bought “What to expect when you’re expecting”, I also bought “Baby love”, and I was advised to get an app called the wonder weeks, which I then learned was a book as well. This book and app is for learning what to expect as your baby grows, it talks about “leaps” babies go through that explains their development, behaviour, disturbances in sleep and unhappy moments and how long until they will pass. I’m told it’s incredibly accurate, so we’re looking forward to seeing how our baby progresses in comparison to the book, and we bought the journal that goes with it to track the babies first year.
We have also bought some milestone disks for documenting the pregnancy and babies first year and milestones, I got these from Hello Fern. We wanted to use them to make an album or photo book, we thought they were a nice addition in place of the cards I see other Mums use as I think they will last for future babies and as a keepsake also.
We are also in discussions about whether we will use cloth or disposable nappies. I have been doing some research, so far I have found a few items I like on Designer bums and Eco naps. I have come to realise cloth nappies aren’t just harder work, but they are an expensive outlay, however I imagine the savings will come next year when we don’t have to buy as many nappies. Designer bums also have an inside/outside playmat that has a waterproof side, so we’re thinking about purchasing one of these too, in addition to the wet bag and changing mat.
Despite all the stress baby is fine!
The final chapter for this trimester is our 12 week scan. Bubba is healthy and we are continuing to tick all the boxes despite the stressed start. We have been chipping away at preparing the house, clearing the nursery, clearing the spare room for a play room, and soon to empty the cupboards and organise the garage to make room for some of the clutter we’ve been keeping in the house. It might seem like we’ve been a little premature about preparing, but our baby is due in summer, and I want to get everything ready before I have a big bump and lose the motivation. There’s something about having everything organised that makes me feel calmer. For me having a house that’s tidy and organised is psychologically pleasing.
Now back to the study!
NB: I am in no way getting any benefits for endorsing these products, they stood out for me and were things my husband and I liked the look or functionality of, and I thought I could share if anyone else was interested. 🙂