I really miss my bump. There wasn't one day where I found it annoying, painful, in the way or inconvenient and think I was so lucky, as you can get bad back/hip pain. I never knew much about 'having a bump'. I thought that a baby kicked once or twice during an entire pregnancy and it was really exciting and a rare moment. I also thought every other pregnant person could see baby kicks as clearly as I did throughout my pregnancy. Turns out you can have an anterior or posterior placenta. I had a posterior placenta which meant that my placenta had attached to the back wall of my uterus, so when the baby kicked he was kicking right against the skin of my bump. He was easy to feel and his bum would stick out all the time. Not only this but he would kick like crazy. It was like watching an alien moving around in my belly. Oscar used to kick a little bit in the mornings, a few kicks around lunch and in the afternoon and then between 7 and 10pm EVERY NIGHT from about 30 weeks, he would kick like no tomorrow.
If you have an anterior placenta, when the baby kicks it just kicks the placenta - if this is you, you may be able to feel the kicks but because the placenta is between the baby and the wall of the uterus against the skin, but they aren't really visible. I quickly learnt not to brag about watching the huge kicks I could see as some Mums/Dads didn't have the same experience to be excited about. (Your notes from the 12 week scan should say anterior/posterior placenta but they don't point it out to you or explain.)
It's really important to try to figure out the daily routine of your baby, when they're asleep, when they kick the most. So many women posted on my baby Facebook group saying 'Haven't felt the baby kick all day - should I call the hospital?' YES - no matter how small or insignificant your doubts may seem why risk it, the worse thing that can happen is you go into hospital to be monitored to check the baby's heartbeat and that everything is ok and they send you home. The reason Oscar came early was because I felt reduced movements and went into hospital to be monitored and had an emergency c-section, imagine if I had just gone to bed instead thinking it would be O.K. in the morning? I can't even think what could have happened.
The first kick was at 18 weeks. I was wondering why I hadn't felt any kicks yet as a few people asked if the baby had yet - I searched #babykicks on Instagram and found a bunch of videos of peoples babies kicking at 18 weeks. So I lifted my shirt up and began to poke my belly wondering if something was wrong and why the baby wasn't kicking. And then one little kick popped out my stomach. It was so magical, I couldn't believe it. I then tried all afternoon to get a video of this little kick but had no such luck. Babies definitely know when you have the camera out. My camera roll would have rows and rows of videos of my stomach doing nothing. It was only at about 22 weeks that I started to have frequent kicks and was able to get a few on video. They would still only be darts of the skin moving at a second like it was a kick or a punch. In the third trimester when the baby is much bigger, the kicks turned to entire limbs rolling up and out the skin. I would sit in front of the TV for hours and watch him tumble and turn, over and over.
As a Mum-to-be, it's so exciting being able to almost have the first point of communication by being able to tap your belly with two fingers and have a reply back with a kick or a hand poking you back. At first, and so many Mums I'm sure will agree with, it was so difficult to get Luke to feel a kick, there was no way of knowing when the baby was going to kick early on so it would just be a matter of, 'Quick!!!! The baby's kicking!' only for him to then hold his hand on my belly for five minutes and feel nothing, for him to then stop and he would kick 10 seconds after!
I took so many photos myself of my bump and how big it got and loved the baby apps that put how big the baby was as an overlay. I got to 35 weeks which was as big as a bunch of carrots or a coconut. I knew when I was only a few weeks pregnant that it seemed pointless taking pictures as I didn't have a bump or certainly not a noticeable bump and just looked bloated for a bit - but those pictures are so good to look back on and compare how big your bump gets, so I'm glad I took them. No matter how small or insignificant you think your bump or lack of bump is, take a photo anyway because it all counts! I made a few videos of a full 360 view and can't believe the times I thought I was big - I really had no idea what was in store. I definitely had a big bump which I guess was lucky as Oscar came out a healthy size for 35 weeks.
If you're brave enough or bothered about how your body is going to look after having a baby, take a few photos of your body without a bump from a few angles. You might want them as a goal to get back to your pre-baby weight. I don't think it would make much sense to find a photo of a random fitness model and say this is my goal weight as that person isn't you and probably hasn't had a baby. So I'm working towards exactly how I was before I had Oscar and then if I want to go even further I can. But I see no point trying to get a six pack and be super skinny - I never looked like that before so what makes me think this time around I'm magically going to love exercise and eating healthy - because I don't!
At 26 weeks pregnant and with a pretty huge bump, I had some maternity photos taken as I had been a makeup artist for a local photographer Simon Ackerman on some of his shoots, who had very little maternity photos in his portfolio and asked if I wanted some. I agreed because I always think it's better to do something and wish you hadn't than to wonder or regret having never done it. Part of me wanted to wear the most incredible outfits like something out of a magazine or a celebrity photoshoot, and take it really seriously. And part of me thought 'Who was I kidding' and would just wear a maxi dress or something and smile sweetly. I knew I wanted them to be tasteful shots that showed off my bump without looking like I was doing a half naked underwear shoot - which in reality I was. I had seen some pretty lame maternity shoots that just made me cringe and I had no idea how I would look on camera as I am no model so I went with my expectations pretty low.
I had a flower wreath made for my hair and went with it down and curled. I took a few outfits, one that I made myself from white lace and a bandeau as I had seen dresses that split and draped either side of your bump but that were £50 on Etsy so knew I could make one myself much cheaper, especially since it was just for a set of photos so didn't want to spend a fortune. I'm really happy with the photos, although I think I would've liked some smiley ones as all the ones we took/I got back were the serious pouty ones, as Simon is a Fashion Photographer so understandably they were more serious than sweet. I was a little dubious about posting them to social media as I didn't want people to think I did the photos because I was full of myself - but posted them anyway as I really like them. I wont lie I did request my double chin be Photoshopped out of one just because I was looking down and it doubled over - so embarrassing!!