It took me a long time to realise that once that little blue line appears (or, in our case, when a small digital screen shouts ‘PREGNANT’ at you 4 seconds after you wee on it), a huge chain of events has already begun. It wasn’t really until the 12 week scan that I really realised that this was a real, proper, experienced by millions of women pregnancy. I’m not saying that I didn’t connect the word ‘pregnant’ with having a baby, I mean that I kept thinking that everyone was taking me very seriously. When you’ve never been in a situation before that so many others have – be it pregnancy, engagement, your first job, university, that sort of thing – it’s quite hard to actually engage with the moment and understand the enormity of what’s happening Right. Now. So when I phoned the doctors surgery to say that I had taken a pregnancy test, it was positive and ask what I should do now, it wasn’t that it was surprising that the ‘official’ test I did also came back positive, it’s what happened after that. I knew I was pregnant, but I didn’t really know what that meant. Turns out it means that you get a letter with a date of your first midwife appointment, it means that you will get over your fear of needles pretty quickly, it means that you can’t take any blimin’ medicine at all. One thing after another happened so fast in those first few weeks that I couldn’t take it in: was this really all connected to me saying that one simple test, taken early on a Saturday morning was positive? As it happens, yes it was.
I really didn’t have too bad a time of the first trimester (weeks 1 – 13, in case you were wondering). The first few weeks were uncomfortable, but the nausea didn’t really kick in until about week 7/8. I was tired, but that’s not surprising given we moved house and I had also started a new job. I managed to keep the sickness at bay by constantly eating rice cakes at my desk and really concentrating on my breathing when even walking felt just a little bit too much (one evening, walking home from the train station after work I actually walked straight into a man because I was concentrating so hard on breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth), but I managed to go to work every day, not run out of any meetings to throw-up and even survived a weekend in Spain for a wedding where only one person guessed why I wasn’t drinking. I ate as healthily as I could, only occasionally (*cough* every other day *cough*) giving into my need for chocolate and chips, and did some pilates every morning as usual. The maternity tights were purchased pretty early, along with a new bra a bit later, but other than that there weren’t many obvious changes.
Looking back at those weeks now (at the lofty heights of 15 weeks + 4 days), they were all about surviving. We couldn’t relax and get excited about the fact that we were going to be having a baby (a baby!) because of the worry of miscarriage, we had so much else to contend with, with the house and the job, that it was all we could do not to just sit in a complete haze and shake our heads at the insanity of this period of our lives. We kept reminding each other that this was the biggest, most significant month we would probably ever experience (we were so, very aware of that), but we still had to keep going. I was very, very lucky in that I wasn’t as ill as I could have been and that Tom took over EVERTHING that he possibly could: he sorted the whole house move (no exaggeration), cooked dinner almost every night and would have carried me to the train station if he could have. He was amazing.
With everything at home being looked after by the other half (his way of surviving, I think), I did my best to get through it too. Even though I had an easy first trimester by many standards, I can’t say that I found it easy. I was so aware of being pregnant right from the beginning that it was a real struggle not to talk about it all the time. I felt alone and scared and worried and there was nothing Tom or my Mum or my best friend could do about it. I know it was largely down to hormones and not feeling 100% (and having So. Much. Happening. At. The. Same. Time) but it was overwhelming at times. All I wanted to do was to speak to someone else who was going through the same thing or had done recently, so that they could tell me it was going to be alright. I very seriously asked Tom whether he would take over being pregnant, just for two weeks so that I could concentrate on my new job and have a few cups of tea (one of the only things I went off. Tea and salad, which was mainly because salad was the exact opposite to what I really wanted to be eating, which was chips). All this was not to say that I was constantly in tears or gripped with complete fear, just that it seems to me that pregnancy – especially first pregnancies – can be lonely.
At the 12 week scan we found out that everything was fine, both with me and the baby. That was a HUGE relief. There may have been a few tears as we watched our little person wave at us from the monitor. The following two weeks saw us breaking the news, which really helped bring it home to us. To be able to say that the baby was fine and show people a scan picture made the previous weeks of keeping it a secret worth it. We had survived the first trimester!