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My pregnancy diary: part one

My pregnancy diary: part one

Author Sophie Sharp
Categories   First Trimester

The Edit

A year after receiving her positive pregnancy test result, new mum Sophie shares her pregnancy diary with The Edit. Here, in part one, she recalls her first trimester - from hearing baby’s heartbeat for the very first time, to coping with morning sickness and battling mum guilt.

23rd April 2022 – The day we found out we were pregnant. Two of my closest friends, who I didn’t even need to tell the news.  I just poured myself an elderflower instead of a prosecco! 

Finding out

Looking down at the two pink lines staring back at me, I had to give myself a moment to realise this wasn’t a Covid test!

I shouted downstairs to my husband Sam, telling him I needed a second opinion. I didn’t at all, I just couldn’t quite believe what I was looking at! There were many reasons I thought it would take us a while to fall pregnant – my recent LLETZ procedure, my often irregular periods, that niggling voice in the back of my mind that had always told me I couldn’t do it.

We had decided we wouldn’t exactly ‘try’ to have a baby, but that we would stop trying not to. So given my doubts, we were pretty shocked to see those two little lines within the first month.

We had spent a small fortune on early pregnancy tests that week, all of which showed up negative. But when I woke up on that Saturday morning after 15 hours sleep, with sore boobs, a sore back and feeling slightly nauseous – I decided to pick up a cheap test from the pharmacy while we were in town. “It can’t be” said one half of my brain, while the other half knew exactly what was going on.

We were meeting friends for drinks that afternoon, so I thought I better just check again beforehand. Sure enough, we had it confirmed – we were going to be parents!

“Right then, now what?” said Sam, “I’m just going to cut the grass!”

Now what?

By chance, I had a phone call scheduled on the Monday morning with a doctor. I thought I’d had a urine infection and needed a prescription. I’ll never know whether I did, or whether it was one of the many weird and not so wonderful symptoms of early pregnancy.

I told her the news and she was lovely to speak to. She checked how I felt about being pregnant and gave me the number to call the local midwifery team.

We also cancelled the smear test I was due to have later that week, which was a follow up to check my LLETZ procedure had been successful. I made a mental note to book this back in for a year’s time.

I then had a call a few days later from an administrator on the midwifery team. The lady asked me which hospital I would like to give birth in. Oh! I hadn’t thought that far ahead. In fact, it hadn’t yet crossed my mind that I was going to need to give birth!

I named our local hospital and thought I could always update them if we changed our mind. She then gave me the name of the midwife assigned to us and suddenly it felt very real. She also booked me in for another call, this time with a midwife to cover things in more depth.

That next call came a few weeks later and took almost an hour. Again, the lady on the phone was lovely, but I was finding myself tied in knots by all the different appointments, checks and vaccines I was going to need. I nodded along and thought I’d just figure it out as it happened.

She asked me all about my physical and mental health, my family’s health history, if I felt safe and supported at home. Answering these questions, I suddenly realised how lucky I am.

14th May 2022 – Our first scan at 7 weeks. It’s crazy to think our gorgeous girl was once that tiny dot on the screen! 

Early scans and sharing the news

At 7 weeks pregnant, we booked an appointment at a private baby scanning studio. We were travelling to see close friends that weekend and knew we wanted to tell them but wanted some reassurance first. Part of me still thought I was dreaming!

We were warned that with such an early scan, there was a high chance we wouldn’t be able to see anything. I drank gallons of water to give us our best shot and sure enough, there was a tiny little blob with a strong heartbeat. Our hearts melted as we stared at the screen, somehow in shock and awe all over again.

I attended my first midwife appointment at eight weeks, which I later learned was the ‘booking in appointment’. It wasn’t our assigned midwife, but another lady and a student midwife. They checked through all of my notes, tested a urine sample, took my height and weight and measured my blood pressure. I then had a blood test.

I’ve never been very good with these, but I do have a strong mind and can usually think my way outside of a situation. Not this time. The student midwife struggled to take my blood, I looked away and counted three attempts before my vision started to go. I didn’t want her to feel she’d done a bad job, but there was absolutely no way of hiding the fact I was about to pass out.

I felt completely pathetic as they laid me down on the bed, put the fan on me and got me some water. Within seconds I was fine, but as I got back in the car and called Sam, I burst into tears of panic. “They can’t even get blood out of me, how the hell are we going to get a human out?”.

By eight weeks, we had told our parents, siblings and closest friends. Our logic was that if anything did go wrong in those early weeks, these would be the people we would lean on anyway. So why not share the happy news while we had it?

Emotions, hormones and sickness

I’ve always been someone who can see things from every possible angle. Sometimes it’s a blessing, other times it’s a curse. I had started to question why I wasn’t over the moon. I was feeling intense guilt that some people struggle for years without luck, and yet we just fell pregnant without even trying.

I felt some sort of grief that my days of packing a backpack and heading off to a random country were well and truly over. We had just a few months left of spontaneous nights out and last-minute dinners for just the two of us. There were times I felt disappointment in myself - that if I’m not excited to be a mum then I don’t deserve to be and surely our child deserves better.

By this point, baby had me feeling well and truly horrendous. My morning sickness was non-stop, it was like being seriously hungover every single day but without any of the fun of the night before. Most days I would eat very little other than crackers, rice cakes and salt and vinegar crisps. I couldn’t even face a glass of water. It was ginger beer, ginger tea or nothing. I usually eat very healthily, so my sudden switch to a beige diet only added to my mum guilt as I forced down my multivitamins. I swore to myself that I would never be doing this again.

People would ask “are you being physically sick?” and when I told them I wasn’t, they’d shrug it off as though I didn’t have it that bad. I honestly don’t think vomiting would have made me feel any worse. In fact, I often wished I could be sick in the hope it would clear out whatever was making me feel like this. The only saving grace was that it was easier to hide my pregnancy from colleagues and clients.

Looking back, it was most likely my morning sickness that staved off my excitement. I laugh now about how many pork pies I must have eaten in those few weeks and how, bizarrely, I am still haunted by the thought of green peppers – something I absolutely could not stand the thought of at the time.

21st June 2022 – The very start of my baby bump.

Girls’ holiday

Before falling pregnant, I had booked a week in Ibiza with friends. Luckily, this fell just after 12 weeks so we felt it was safe enough to travel. My first scan with the NHS didn’t fall until after the holiday when I would be almost 14 weeks, so we decided to book another private scan before I went away.

At just short of 12 weeks pregnant, we could now see the most perfect little baby. No longer a little blob, but a tiny little person kicking their arms and legs. Suddenly the last few weeks of feeling horrendous all seemed more than worth it. I burst into tears of relief and love, we’ll never forget that moment.

It was around this time that my morning sickness disappeared overnight. I found this really worrying, but the scan then reassured us everything was fine. The timing couldn’t have been better as I set off on holiday with friends.

We had the most gorgeous week in the sun with good food, lots of laughing and some much-needed down time. I usually love the heat but found I was really struggling to adjust to it. I guess my hormones already had me feeling hot, so I just made sure I stayed out of the sun and drank plenty of water.

Getting ready to go out one night, we were all in and out of our bedrooms, switching outfits and gathering around the big mirror in the hall. It gave me such nostalgia of getting ready for teenage nights out and I just felt so much love for these ladies and the power of female friendship. I made a little wish to myself that our son or daughter would one day make memories with friends like ours.

Body-wise, I felt in a bit of a ‘no man’s land’ - I didn’t look obviously pregnant but I didn’t look like myself. I borrowed a skirt from Katie as I decided I didn’t like my dress, we had an obligatory photoshoot and headed out to Pacha! I drank sparkling water from a can and danced for hours before driving us all home at 5am in our hire car!

My tips for the first trimester...

1. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere. You may find you are very thirsty, all of the time! Of course if this becomes a problem, make sure you are checked out for gestational diabetes.

2. Snacks. Snacks. More snacks. If you’re anything like me, you’ll need to keep a good stock of your go-to hangover supplies nearby. If that means carrying cream crackers around in your handbag, go for it.

3. Don’t beat yourself up about how you feel about your pregnancy. Your reaction may not be what you’d expected of yourself, that is fine, it’s probably the biggest news you’ve ever had.

4. Enjoy telling your friends and family when you’re ready, they’re such special moments. With a lot of hindsight, I would advise telling people your due month, not your due date – especially if, like me, you’re ‘due’ on Christmas Day!

5. Capture as much as you can – the first little outfit you buy, the first pram you test out, the way your beautiful body looks at the start of this incredible journey. It’s details like this that you can so easily forget and that you will love to look back on.

Good luck mama, you’ve got this!

Read part two – my labour story – here.

Author Sophie Sharp

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