The highs and Lows of pregnancy- the secrets behind the pregnancy glow
Pregnancy (noun): an emotional rollercoaster fuelled by hormones, with the potential of a tiny human (or multiple tiny humans) as the outcome.
Ok, so that isn’t the oxford dictionary version, but I think it is more accurate.
Those of you who have found out that you are expecting your first baby, will soon learn that pregnancy comes with 50,000 appointments, these continue after birth. Scans, midwife appointments, health visitor, more midwife appointments... I lost track of how many times I had to visit the hospital (more than I have in my whole life).
Some visits were more pleasant than others, scans were a particular highlight! Our first scan confirmed in my mind that I wasn't making it up! There was an actual baby in there! It was relieving to see our little bubba, healthy and strong, growing in my tummy.
We had our scans at Kings hospital in London. Top tip: they don't print your scan photos, you have to take photos with your phone, so make sure that your phone is charged and has space! On the upside, the quality of the scans are amazing.
For our second scan, we saw a clear outline of Harper's skeleton, and everything was so much more clear. She showed off her biceps and made the Sonographer work to scan her brain, the heart, however, was quick to find (apparently, normally it is the other way around). At this scan, they can confirm the gender of your baby. We chose to wait to find out!
The third scan... We didn't quite make that one! You are supposed to have your third scan (not all hospitals offer this) at around 36 weeks, but Harper decided to arrive at 35+2 weeks, so we missed out on our last scan. As happy as I was to have my baby, I am a bit sad that we didn't get to experience all of the scans!
You can choose to have a 3D (or I think even 4D scans are available now) Scan done at a private scanning facility. This can give you peace of mind that the gender is definitely correct!
Midwife appointments are regular, and normally only 5 minutes long. It is reassuring to hear the heartbeat of your baby, but they do remind you that they may not be able to find the heartbeat, not because something is wrong, but possibly the way baby is lying. These appointments are most regular the closer it is to your due date. They'll go through details of your birth plan, can answer any questions you have, and are nice people.
You'll have scheduled midwife appointments once your baby is born; they check baby's weight, whether they are jaundice etc. The first one we had scheduled after Harper was born was forgotten, they didn't turn up. We had to ring and get them to come out. Be prepared to wait the day away...
The joys of pregnancy... there are limited medicines that you can take... Illness hits you hard when you have a tiny human inside of you stealing all of your energy! Something that I was unaware of at the beginning- you can take paracetamol. Early on in pregnancy, I had a banging headache, I didn't take anything because I didn't think you could, I suffered for no reason...
I caught a sickness bug whilst pregnant, this was one of the most horrific ill feeling of my life. I could not keep water or food down. I ended up going to A&E and was transferred to the maternity ward where they gave me anti-sickness medication and tried to get me to eat. They wanted to keep me in, but I refused as once I had had the medication, I felt a lot better and just needed to rest.
Pregnancy can lead to swelling, particularly at your ankles (hello cankles!). Aches and pains are all part of the rollercoaster.
Vomiting is also common in pregnancy, it can hit some women hard! I was lucky to not to really have this particular side effect, but I know plenty of women who have!
The three Bs; boobs, bumps and bums
I was once told that the weight that clings to your hips and bum, during pregnancy, is to provide a counter-weight to your bump. Whether it is true or not, I have no clue, but the fat certainly found my hips and bum!
Your bump grows, and grows and grows. Your centre of gravity shifts, making everyday activities harder. I recall in my latter stage of pregnancy, feeling as though I would fall down the stairs whilst carrying a washing basket. Front heavy is not as easy as I thought it would be. Clothes don't fit anymore- H&M do the comfiest maternity tracksuit bottoms!
Boobs. Leaky, huge, veiny boobs. Pregnancy is like having a boob job, giving birth makes you go up 2 sizes, then whilst feeding, you end up with one boob being a B, whilst the other is an F... I was forever unsure of what size I was. I found that the H&M bras were affordable and comfortable for breast feeding. Re-usable breast pads were a waste of time, stock up on the ones you throw away.
Sleep, or should I say, somersault until you get comfortable and attempt to sleep
Sleeping ends up being super uncomfortable. They say that you shouldn't sleep on your back and I think it was the right side that is better to sleep on. Ofcourse, sleeping on your tummy is almost impossible. Get yourself a long cushion. They help! A lot! I got mine from Lidl, it was cheap as chips and I used it a lot whilst breast feeding my little girl.
Those first kicks feel like butterflies dancing in your tummy. They are reassuring and help bonding with baby. You feel constantly in company as your baby gives you a nudge from the inside. They are amazing, until it is 12pm and your baby decides to do an Irish dance on your ribs! (obviously better that then no movement, but they could pick a better time!) Babies like to wake up most when you are relaxing, the movement you make in the day is their favourite time to snooze.
Kicks count is a great website if you are interested or worried about your baby's movements:
If you are like me, and interested on how big your baby is, how developed they have got, there are loads of apps available to download. Most of them are free! My favourite app was BabyCentre, and I actually still use it, as it carries on after baby is born.
Becoming high risk meant that I had to give birth lying down on a bed, strapped to machines. I had hoped to have a home birth, or even a water birth, but those hopes went when my waters broke early. You are monitored more and most likely are due to have your baby like me.
Putting on weight is inevitable, you just have to go with it, you'll soon have a baby! I'm a pear shape, I never carried much weight on my tummy, all on my legs and bum. Pregnancy hit me hard, I just ended up big everywhere! It was hard to accept until my bump looked like an actual bump. I spent a long time in the "just looks fat" period. It was all worth it though!
Make friends with the bathroom
Baby pushes on your bladder, especially the closer to your due date you are. Your body is so amazing, it facilitates the growth of your baby by pushing your organs out of the way. You will soon realise that you can't eat as much in one go and you can take multiple trips to the toilet, in a 5 minute period.
So... to summarise... pregnancy is uncomfortable, full of hospital visits and being kicked by a tiny human. BUT, you bond and carry your baby, something indescribable. Meeting your newborn for the first time is euphoric, unlike anything I have experienced before. The moment of awe in the room, the absolute love you have for your baby... Even if you are a grumpy pregnant woman like I was, picture the feeling you will have when you finally meet your creation!