First and foremost, I will be eternally grateful that I was able to conceive, carry and deliver a healthy baby and my heart goes out to every woman who is not so fortunate. I cannot begin to understand the sadness, disappointment and frustration when things don’t go to plan, so for those who have lived/live that reality please accept this virtual hug and my apologies if this post comes across as though I am in any way ungrateful for my ability to conceive, I truly am grateful. The truth is though (for me at least) pregnancy is bloody hard! When I look back on my pregnancy I can’t recall too many moments when I ‘glowed.’ Although my hair got very long and shiny (thank you pregnacare supplements), I spent the majority of my pregnancy looking and feeling like a mess due to morning sickness, cruelly named as it definitely lasts past midday.
My pregnancy journey started on 27th July 2015 when I took a spur of the moment pregnancy test, I whole heartedly believed it would be negative. It wasn’t. I remember this warmth of excitement, anticipation and surprise taking over my body…and then I threw up. I should have known then that that was a sign of things to come! I had to wait 3 hours before my partner Daniel was home from work so I could tell him the news; so the obvious thing to do was to go to Mothercare and look at baby clothes! Talk about jumping the gun. I bought two more tests and both were positive, this was it, we were having a baby and we were head over heels excited.
Telling friends and family was great fun, particularly explaining to my mum that there would be an additional guest at her wedding the following May in the shape of her first grandchild; a priceless, precious moment. 2 weeks passed in an excitable bubble and then it hit me, the brutal, relentless nausea, vomiting and fatigue which continued daily for 5 and a half months. It was physically and emotionally tough and not pretty. Ironically in the midst of this I posted a pregnant profile picture on Facebook and received lovely comments of how well I suited pregnancy – ah the power of a good filter! In addition I was just starting my first nursing placements, 12 hour shifts and working nights nearly broke me. All the while I was trying to learn an entirely new skill set, be proactive and seem enthusiastic. I’m not sure I pulled it off but thankfully made it through my first year and I now have a year’s maternity leave (woop!)
I’m sure I experienced other symptoms but the sickness over shadows them all. If you’re currently suffering, or do so in the future, these items gave me some mild relief…
– cooling migraine strips
– mini twister ice lollies
– bread sticks
– chicken super noodles
– travel sickness bands (more a placebo!)
And try to resist the temptation to slap the person round the face who suggests you try ginger biscuits for the millionth time. Sorry, that’s mean. They only wish you well.
Despite the various unpleasant side affects, pregnancy really is an incredible experience. I felt so special and important carrying a little life around everywhere I went. The kicks, or full on karate chops in Grace’s case, hiccups, flips and turns are truly amazing to experience and I was more than happy for people to grope my belly and show off her funky gymnastics at every opportunity. I also experienced insanely strong nesting impulses. So much so that I pretty much redecorated the house at 8 months pregnant. I say I, Daniel kindly followed my instructions (and mood boards, yep I made mood boards!) and redecorated the house without the matching enthusiasm. Each day there would be a new picture on the wall or new scatter cushions (I LOVE scatter cushions). In hindsight I think it was my way of preparing and trying to feel in control. Which is the same reason Grace’s wardrobe and draws were re-organised many, many times. One emotion I did not expect to feel was a mild sense of grief when it was all over. Don’t get me wrong I was overjoyed to have my baby girl safely in my arms, but being pregnant was an identity I associated with entirely and to suddenly shift into the new identity of ‘mum’ took time and adjustment.
Grace; I will treasure the 9 months you were wholly mine, but it is nice to go out and not have to carry around a carrier bag in case of impromptu voms!
One last note…I can’t write a post about pregnancy without mentioning and thanking Daniel for the amazing support he gave me. He not once made me feel guilty for moaning and had an excellent technique when it came to holding back my hair. Thanks babe x
love Hannah x