I decided to combine weeks 1 - 4 as the bizarre way that doctors determine how many weeks pregnant you are (from the first day of your last period) means that by the day you generally find out you are pregnant - normally around the day you were due to start your next period - you suddenly find yourself 4 weeks pregnant!
Ron and I only started trying this month and I expected it to take a few months before anything happened so leading up to the pregnancy test, I was fairly confident I wasn't pregnant. People always say that when you are pregnant, you just know it. I honestly didn't. The annoying thing, particularly for people who have been trying for a long time unsuccessfully, is that most of the symptoms of pregnancy are the same as the symptoms of a period arriving. I was experiencing the usual bloatedness you get when you are due to start your period and although it was more severe than I had experienced before, I thought nothing of it. So much so in fact, and I'm not proud to admit this, that Ron and I pretty much had an all day drinking session the day before we found out (mmmmmm - cider in the pub garden).
I had bought a test that day (the all day drinking session day), more for the future really, but as it was a couple of days after my period was due and my bloated tummy wasn't turning in to the arrival of Aunt Flo, I decided to do a test the next morning just to satisfy my curiosity. Bleary eyed, at about 4am (a time I now see regularly), I woke up and took the test. My heart was racing as fairly promptly, a very clear, dark blue cross appeared in the pregnancy window. I was sure that meant I must be pregnant but I checked the paperwork and the test repeatedly - staring back and forth - for about a minute. I ran in to the bedroom and jumped on Ron and made him check too. He confirmed I wasn't seeing things and I think we both sat there in shock for a few moments! And then we had a cuddle.
I was delighted of course but it took a few days for it to sink in and as I approach week 5, I still can't quite believe it. I think until I see it with my own eyes at the first scan, I won't really believe there is anything in there.
Slightly unprepared for it to happen so quickly, I realised I didn't really know what to expect, what to do and what not to do. I knew immediately that I would have to give up drinking and smoking. The drinking thing was actually not a difficult prospect to come to terms with but I feared I would find giving up smoking completely very difficult. I had cut down significantly over the past few years but had never managed to completely kick the habit and knew it would take something big (or small as it turned out) to make me do it. I had been wanting to quit for years anyway so in a way, I was kind of looking forward to it and I have to say, it's a week on, and it really hasn't been as bad as I expected. In just a few days, I felt significantly better for it and continue to feel more healthy by the day so fingers crossed the cravings continue to be bearable. I know for certain I wouldn't have a cigarette now but that won't stop me wanting one every now and then and invariably getting a little grouchy at times.
Furthering my research, I decided to check with a pregnancy calendar on-line when the baby would be due if all went smoothly and was shocked to discover that the due date is New Year's Eve! Having spent all my life celebrating a birthday right around Christmas and always feeling a little short-changed that Jesus got more attention than me, I swore I would try to avoid having my own children around Christmas or New Year. Oops! I guess you can't plan too much for these things and I am sure my child will forgive me one day, as I have my own mother.
I then decided I wouldn't read any books about what to do and what not to do as they seem to be quite contradictory on the whole (but if you are a good friend reading this retrospectively having bought me said book - I loved it and read every last word!) and I also wanted to follow in the footsteps of those of my friends who had remained very relaxed and chilled out throughout their entire pregnancies, mostly refusing to read the very many varying views on what mothers-to-be should do. The now mums I know who did this all had healthy babies and continue to be relaxed about the whole thing in to motherhood, which really reflects in their little ones. I did decide that I would go by what the NHS says you should avoid / cut down though and, for the first time, I had a proper look at the list. This consisted of:
- Avoid mouldy blue cheese (no problem - mouldy blue cheese is pretty skankeroo anyway)
- Avoid raw eggs (again, not too difficult to follow - I'm not really a fan of raw eggs anyway)
- Avoid unpasteurised milk (sure thing - I think you'd have to search pretty hard to find milk that is unpasteurised these days)
- Avoid pate (WTF?! I love pate - I'm not really following the logic here but OK)
- Avoid raw or undercooked meat (OK, I'm down with the raw meat thing but if you think I'm giving up rare steaks, you've got another thing coming)
- Avoid liver (bleurgh - excuse me while I vomit - sure, I think I can handle that!)
- Avoid raw shellfish (again - bleurgh - no problem)
- Avoid alcohol (or limit to 2 units once or twice a week which is definitely the path I'm planning on taking)
- Limit caffeine to 200mg a day, which equates to about two cups of coffee (hmm, again, tricky, but certainly doable)
So, I'm thinking, this might not be too hard but oh, wine, my precious red wine, how I miss you already. Still, in all seriousness, what makes it easier is that you have a constant reminder of why you need to do these things and, whilst it's easy to abuse your own body, when it comes to doing harm to a little living thing in your tummy, no matter how tiny it currently is, there's just no question.
I'm struggling a little with telling people also, well, specifically the not telling people part. I'm useless at keeping secrets (unless I am strictly informed something is a secret and not to blab in which case I am most excellent at keeping schtum) and in many ways, for close friends and family, the 12 week rule goes out the window a bit for me anyway as even if something goes wrong and I miscarry, I'll need those close friends and family members around me so I'm afraid I've told a few more people than I planned to. I promise not to officially announce it of course until 12 weeks (by officially, I probably mean facebookicially), unless my tummy continues to get bigger at the crazy pace it already seems to be and it becomes impossible to hide that I am not a fat cow, I am pregnant (I like to drop that in every now and then by the way, it helps me to believe it)!
I leave you now, moving swiftly in to week 5 with the realisation dawning on me that because of the naturally occurring shape of my body, I really am going to look like a giant egg on sticks. Crap.
- Extremely bloated tummy
- Slightly sore boobs
- Slightly bigger boobs
- Sensitive teeth
- Trips to the toilet (for wee wee) constantly and often through the night
- Excess wind
- Variable mood swings
- A general intolerance of most people
... wait, those last three were pre-existing.
Well ... it's a little bit difficult starting out here without repeating everything that Natalie has written; it certainly sets the context for the blog and sets the scene for where we are now. The difference for me is that I've been here before (I have three children from a previous marriage) so although the next 40 weeks have plenty of surprises in store, everything won't be completely unfamiliar - I hope. Many things have changed since I had my first child seventeen and a bit years ago but I'm sure the fundamentals are all the same since we, as a species, have been doing this for quite a long time.
So far, everything seems very calm from my perspective. Unlike Natalie, I was pretty sure that we would conceive really quickly. I don't have a good reason why; just a hunch as many of the early things are. I was a bit surprised when - at four in the morning - Natalie woke me up with a pregnancy test in hand saying "how would you interpret this?". Since it was quite clearly a positive result (based on the bright blue plus sign) I assumed that it was a bit more of a shock to Natalie than I expected. After repeating the test with digital technology there is no doubt now and after the first scan everything will seem much more real.
I'm very excited about the next few weeks and I'll be busy preparing for all the things I know I won't have too much time for later on in the pregnancy. The main thing on my mind now is how to go about telling my other children that they're going to have a new sister (or brother).
On the day we found out, we had a browse through the market in Faversham and I bought a nice silver bell for Natalie. It only cost £3 and seemed like a great idea for those times in the future when Natalie might need something and I'm downstairs or something. It was kind of a lark but I have a terrible feeling that it may have been a mistake. Is that the bell ringing again? More tea already? Geez ...
I have only just been created and am but a gestational sac at the moment (but astonishingly I can already type).