I'M PREGNANT! (Again)

Hello readers, its been 6 months! What’s new I hear you ask, well, I’m 7 months pregnant! Kept that one quiet didn’t I! Actually, I didn’t - trying to keep your second pregnancy a secret for the first 12 weeks is near impossible. I’m pregnant became my word vomit, along with actual vomit. Five long months of vomit. Morning sickness - you bitch. 

I’m over the moon to share with you that we’re having a little girl (I’ve had it triple checked) and believe it or not she is due on exactly Oscar’s second birthday. For what could be a week, a day, an hour, I will have two under two. And then once that’s over I assume the sympathy stops and you have to get on with just like any Tom, Dick and Harry with two kids.

Before you ask, NO we didn’t plan for the baby to be due on Oscar’s birthday (oh, and the week before Christmas - what on earth were we thinking) it just so happened that we felt we were ready and fell pregnant on the second month of trying which coincidentally meant a baby due around the end of December. I’ve had more than a handful of people make jokes about what happens 9 months before December 19th that we keep ‘celebrating’ and making babies on - but if you remember rightly, Oscar was due on the 22nd of January he just came early, so no, March 19th isn’t an annual thing for us (Oh crap - Luke’s birthday is the 12th… maybe it is) 

It took a lot of umm-ing and arr-ing about an age gap and deciding to have a second. I will look to blame my three friends with small age gaps for persuading me into it if it all goes to pot. I knew I wanted two kids, two for me is the perfect number. I was in a position to have a second maternity leave (in fact, for a wedding make-up artist, winter couldn’t be a more perfect time to have another maternity leave), our house was already littered with multi-coloured, annoying toys and nappies left right and centre and I’d stopped breastfeeding and lost the baby weight and felt like why not go again, better now when I’m young and can evidently get back to the old me. We had survived the first year and hey - they say if you can survive that you can survive anything. Even shark attacks.

I had a few brutally honest comments saying I was mad and not to do it (I mean really, who gets involved in someone else’s decision to have children) and honestly it just spurred me on more to prove them wrong. Just kidding - it installed total fear and anxiety. But hey - I love being a Mum, I’ve never felt more meant to do anything in my life, nothing else I’ve put my hand to has come as naturally as motherhood. I’m so lucky to have enough family around me that are happy and able to help us with childcare and we’re even luckier to be finically ready for two children (well kind of, we just kept everything from Oscar’s first year so we just need nappies for this whipper snapper - that counts right?)

So here we are, 7 months deep. It’s taken a long ass time to feel human again and this pregnancy has honestly put me off having any more children. Having to look after a toddler part/full time and be heavily pregnant is tough, and getting tougher everyday not to mention. I cannot imagine being pregnant again only to have TWO children to look after. The sickness was a bitch and this time I was greeted by mine and several others fair share of migraines. I would seriously rather be glued to a toilet than have a migraine - atleast if one or both of your ends is exploding you still have time to check Facebook. With a migraine you just want to curl up into a ball and wither away into the darkness as quickly as possible.

This pregnancy is going so quickly, life is flashing by and within no time she will be here. We have a mere few months until Christmas so why not cram some posts in before life gets that much more chaotic? This blog will be a place for someone considering two children to find tips, truths and my honest experience. Or someone without kids to read while they sip their chilled Pinot Grigio after a relaxing day of wiping only their own butt - relishing in the glory that is ‘life before kids.’ You smug bastards!

Keeping it secret

I chose to keep my pregnancy to myself until the 12 week scan. I told two friends and of course, Luke knew. For me, this was the perfect amount. I knew neither of my friends would tell other people so I didn't have to worry about it 'getting out' and I knew they wouldn't any preconceptions about my decision to have a baby.

As I'm sure you will gather throughout these blog posts - I am a massive other thinker. I thought that maybe some of my other close friends may think it was too soon in my relationship or that I was too young or that I should have been married first but if you live your life based on what others will or may not even think, you will not be living the life you want. I knew I wanted a baby, I knew we were ready and I knew being married didn't make you a better Mother or your relationship any stronger. Over the past year I had tested the waters with friends by mentioning that we definitely wanted kids together some day and the overwhelming response was that I was too young and had 'too much partying that I would miss out on'. A few friends pointed out how kids was not on their mind at all and was years and years in the future for them as though that meant the same applied to me. Despite this, every single friend has been so happy for me. Those who I were nervous to tell the most - actually happened to be the most excited. I'm so glad I chose to trust myself and my relationship. I know that this was the right time for us and am so happy with our decision to start a family. Friends will come and go but family is forever.

Over the first 12 weeks it is constantly on your mind whether your baby is okay, as miscarriages are most common in the first trimester. So as something could still happen, a part of me wanted to tell as few people as possible so that if anything were to happen it wouldn't become 'gossip' but something that I could grieve/deal with privately with the support of Luke and my two close friends that knew. It was really difficult keeping it from a lot of my friends as I have a large number of friends I consider close, but to tell one meant to tell the other so I thought it only fair to tell two and just hope that the others didn't take it personally. A lot of friends live far away and only keep in contract through Facetiming/Skype or messaging and the thought of explaining I had lost the baby over the Internet was an unbearable thought and I also thought it would put them in a difficult position as some are a million miles away and wouldn't be able to be there to give me a hug if needed!

After the 12 week scan I then chose to tell those that were close to me our news as the baby was healthy and everything looked good. It had also taken me this long to pluck up the courage to tell my parents, as they had no idea we were trying. We went to theirs the day of the scan and simply took the ultrasound photos out my purse and let them do the talking. Of course it went really well but there was still a part of me that pictured them being so shocked they didn't show any happiness. Of course I knew that would never happen but I always let the mind wonder!

I chose to tell my close friends that lived away from me by Facetiming them and instead of my face appearing on their screen, the baby scan did. That was so exciting as all I could hear were screams and them losing their minds! It was honestly so exciting telling people the news as I found it so funny watching all their reactions. Most friends I met up with and told over dinner, admittedly it took me until the end of the dinner to tell them. Firstly, because I couldn't find the time to slip it into conversation - how to you mention you're having a baby amongst normal conversation? And secondly, because I already knew I didn't want to be that friend that never shut up about babies and never asked about what was going on in their friends lives - so I spent the whole dinner catching up on their news so they felt important too and then shared my news. There were loads of tears shed and excited hugs.

For the Facebook announcement, for some reason I wanted to wait a few more weeks, just to give the baby a better chance at being okay, as I was quite terrified that once it went on Facebook and hundreds of people saw it, we then couldn't take that news back. Plus, everyone is so attentive on social media these days, people always ask questions if you don't post regularly and moan if you do! I would have to have posted that we were expecting and then had something happened, I obviously then wouldn't be posting photos - so the whole world (well, our Facebook world) would be wondering why! We took a photo of both our dogs with chalk board saying 'We are getting a human' which when we posted the photo - our phones both went crazy! We were sat on the sofa watching TV and every five or so minutes would say - how many likes now? It was so exciting and we got so many messages from people saying 'Congratulations' and all our friends shared the post saying how excited they were too. From what I gathered, I don't think there was anybody that seemed upset that they had found out the way that they did. Everyone close to me knew before hand so it was just 'acquaintances' and old friends that found out via Facebook.


It was then that my friends started to piece things together about why I wasn't drinking or going out and just generally being boring. As I was always one for a drink beforehand, I knew it would be tricky to hide - especially at birthdays when the girls were going 'out out'! A few ways I hid it from them were as follows:  At one meal I ordered a cider with ice so nobody was suspicious, I then pretended to forget about it so all the ice melted. I think someone then asked why I hadn't drunk it and I said 'Oh I forgot I ordered that!' Took a sip and said, 'Bleugh! All the ice has melted it tastes gross, I can't be bothered to order another one now I'll just have water!' Another time we were at a Caribbean restaurant, when they asked what drinks we wanted I said I'll have tap water and choose a cocktail later. I then ordered spicy prawns for a starter, so when the waitress came back to check on the food, I said it was so spicy I needed something milky as my mouth was on fire - and ordered just a vanilla shake. Then said I was amazed it tasted exactly like a Pina Colada but was £4.50 cheaper - so I ordered another one! As I said before, at the BBQ the day I found out I was pregnant, the girls had Pimms and chopped fruit and I ran inside, tipped mine down the sink and had a Ribena, lemonade and chopped fruit instead!

 In terms of not going out, even if I wasn't pregnant I had gone off going out anyway as the nights were getting repetitive and I was sick of hangovers so it wasn't as though I suddenly stopped going out - I had already stopped showing my face in town! But it was tricky getting out of birthday nights out as these are always a big deal, so I made lame excuses like not feeling very well and felt like a totally crap friend! Sometimes I would go out for an hour or so and just drink lemonade then make my excuses and go home, but I generally didn't like doing that as I always worried there would be a bar fight and someone would shove into me and I would fall and lose the baby - so I definitely didn't go anywhere too busy!! All in all it was quite fun being sneaky. I remember the evening I told one of my friends, we went for a steak dinner and I ordered mine Medium-Well Done. I was a rare girl through and through so she knew something was up but didn't say anything, then when I told her the news she said 'I wondered why you ordered your steak medium!!!!' 

It was crazy keeping it from my parents, I know they'll read this so, WHOOPS Ma'bad! I remember my Mum doing my nails and saying my natural nails had gotten long and it was so tempting to just blurt out - 'Yes! Common side effect of PREGNANCY' I had so many ideas and attempts to tell but ultimately I just chickened out every single time. I had bought, and written in, a card on Father's day saying Happy Grandfathers Day and was going to give it to my Dad, but was a complete wuss and just left it in the car. I, also, bought a frame with the same type of wood that matched the existing frames on their mantelpiece, and put an image of a baby holding its hands in a heart shape, and wrote 'due in January' in the frame. That, again, is just sat in a draw. 

A few of Luke's friends found out before the 12 weeks. I had put the pregnancy test packet in a random pile of rubbish in the garden thinking that if I put it in the normal rubbish someone would see it. But, unsurprisingly, Milo our naughty dog fished it out and dropped it at one of Luke's friends feet at a BBQ. Then and there, two of his friends found out. He told a couple of his good friends but I definitely think the reaction amongst a group of 23 year old women that one of us is pregnant definitely got a lot more attention than a group of older guys, a few of which already have kids!

 

The 12 week scan

The 12 week scan is when sh*t gets real. Oh boy, is it surreal. You don't have a bump, you haven't felt the baby kick, nothing much has really happen so you expect it to look like a little blob. But the fact that there is already tiny hands, tiny arms, tiny feet, a heart pumping, a brain - it is insane. We even got the best picture of him waving. I will never forget the 12 week scan. It was the first time I ever saw my baby. It was just as exciting as it was scary and I prayed everything was going to look okay.

The date of the 12 week scan is calculated by your last period and will be a rough estimate at the baby being 12 weeks old. By the measurements they made at our 12 week scan we were actually 13 weeks and 1 day, this then gives you your due date - ours was 22nd January! This is based on 40 weeks of pregnancy, the start date being when the egg was released, not when the egg was fertilized. I have been told that when it's your first baby you literally count down the days until your due date thinking that's the exact day the baby will come (I did exactly this), but by your second baby you know this baby is coming whenever the hell it wants so you pay no attention to the due date and just take a rough estimate that it'll be some time that month.

I had read in a book that you get a clearer image if you go to the scan with a full bladder, which doesn't make sitting in the waiting room any fun! The waiting room is full of women at all different stages of their pregnancy. Some are sat with their scan photos kissing their partner and taking photos of the scan to send to friends and family. Some are sat not talking to their partner as they wait for the scan. Some have bumps, some you couldn't tell were pregnant at all. Some, I believe, must have been waiting to have their baby's heartbeat monitored for reduced movements as this is where I sat and waited the two times I did, though both were at 11pm so the waiting room was nearly empty.Tiny newborn babies in prams and exhausted looking mums were walking in and out. We were called after about 15 minutes waiting and went into the room to have the scan.

When we walked in we were so excited but both quite nervous as we didn't want to get our hopes up that everything was perfect. Up until this point, the only 'proof' I had that I was pregnant for the last 2 and a half months was a test from Tescos, a Clear Blue test, some vomcano's and feeling tired. It's crazy to think that they let you go on for 3 months having no idea whether your baby even exists, is okay, is growing, is twins... the list is endless. I know it's possible to get an 8 week scan, but this wasn't offered with our hospital so it was a long wait to find out.

To think, I could have referred myself to have a scan, gone to a family history appointment and be ready for my scan 12 weeks later, despite no professional, medical confirmation that I was pregnant before this point. I could have in fact just made it up out of thin air but managed to 'trap my boyfriend' for another 13 weeks. Just kidding. (You technically could though!?)

The specialist didn't crack a smile when we walked in and was very straight-forward with us. I got the impression that with her job, if she greeted couples with a huge grin and a bubbly personality and then had to deliver news they weren't expecting, the change in her tone would have made the news all that more upsetting. I was expecting the gel to be cold as it always is on TV, but they had warmed it up so it was like a really hot syrup. You lie down on the bed and on the wall in front of you is the screen. As soon as she put the doppler on my stomach the baby appeared straight away. For some reason we both thought it would take some fiddling around and it would appear bit by bit but within seconds this baby was on the screen. Huge head with an arched back, arms and some short curled up legs. It was so surreal, it doesn't register that that is the image the doppler is creating inside your belly. As soon as the baby appeared it was like a different woman was performing the scan, she immediately beamed 'OK!!!!! We've got two legs, two arms, a lovely big head and one healthy baby. Heart is looking good, brain too' it was so amazing we were both so speechless. AND IT WASN'T TWINS!!!! (Me and my lady end let out a big sigh of relief) Throughout my entire pregnancy watching other people receive good news and have their babies I would be in tears, but when it's your own you're just in total shock that you don't register quite what's going on.

We then got the photos printed 5 for £10 and sat back in the waiting room so I could wait to have my blood test. We couldn't believe we were sat looking at photographs of our baby. Luke's parents already knew so he messaged them over and they were so happy. It was then off to my parents straight away to tell them as I could not wait any longer!!! I was so excited the next day I went to Tescos and got 10 more bundle copies of the prints... I'm not sure why I thought I knew 10 people that wanted these photos. I gave one to my Granny who then brought them over the next week and said 'You left your photos at my house'. I think with social media these days and everyone has a picture phone, I definitely got over excited with the copies! (My bad!)

After the scan you have to go back to the waiting room and collect a number and wait to be called to go for your bloodwork. As explained in my previous blog post, I had never had a blood test before and was crapping my little pantaloons. We then waited a whole hour for the blood test. By this point I was a nervous wreck. I was sat, in hospital, with the photographs of my unborn child, thinking how the f*ck I was going to tell my parents and sat panicking about the needle that was about to go in my arm. Anyway, I went in the room (finally) and led down on the bed. It had stirrups for your legs like it was some kind of birthing chair but whatever, I just sat normally. It went fine and I was of course being a huge baby. I had to lie down for a while as I got myself so worked up that I felt really faint and lightheaded so had to take a second to compose my self. After the blood test I then sat down with the same nurse as we went over some details. 

The conversation went as follows:

Nurse "Would you like to take a Chlamydia test?"
Me "Do I have to? I know that I don't have it, I'm in a relationship"
N: "No you don't have to but would you like to?"
M: "Well do I need to, does it need to say on my form that I don't have it?"
N: "No, but would you like to take a test?"
M: "No... should I?"
N: "Not if you don't want to"
M: "Ok just give me the test." 

What the bloody hell was that all about? Why would anyone in a (healthy) relationship randomly want to know for their own peace of mind that they don't have it, if it doesn't need to be in your medical records? Surely you would do that off your own back if you had any concerns. Why was it my decision whether I needed to be tested? Why were we even talking about it if she didn't need to know? When I met with my Midwife for the first time I informed her that I got the text with the negative results back and she couldn't care less, and to be honest looked a little confused as to why I was telling her. What a confusing world of Chlamydia politics. 

After the scan you get this big white folder with a big white file inside and you must take this to everything you do when you're pregnant so they can get to know your pregnancy history. It gets pretty bulky. I remember flicking through the pages and seeing the last section was details of your 'Labour and Baby'. Baby's birthweight, length... I couldn't believe that in 6 months there would be details of MY baby and MY labour, but now they were just blank sheets of paper.

NB: I've heard of plenty of women going to their scan and not being able to see much so I think we were really lucky that we got such good pictures! They often ask people to drink something, go for a walk around the hospital and come back, and others are just asked to come back another day. And our hospital allows us to buy 2 for £5 or 5 for £10 which isn't a guarantee at every hospital so glad they didn't try to rip us off!

Morning Sickness

If reading about someone being sick makes you feel sick... stop reading now!

Morning sickness should not be called morning sickness. It's no secret that you can get it at any time of the day, but I had no idea that the feeling of sickness would last all day and all night and being physically sick only took up 20 minutes of my day. I found that my day would either begin with puking in the morning and feeling sick the entire day until the sweet release of going to sleep. Or that I would feel sick all day and have my head in the toilet just in time for bed - I'm not sure which was worse.

Factoring in the two PregnaCare tablets a day I took that I picked up the same time I got my Clear Blue test - that were Omega 3 and Folic Acid among other vitamins that were for good development in the early stages - my situation was about to get so much worse. I can usually knock back tablets like no tomorrow and have never made a fuss. But deciding what time of day to take these tablets in order to avoid my gag reflex going insane and puking was the most difficult part of my day. If I took the tablets when I was feeling sick, it would induce sickness and the tablets would come straight back up... but if I took them after I'd just been sick, it would take about 10 attempts not to spit the tablets back out as I was still traumatised by the puking to swallow anything that dry. I tried for two days (yes two whole days) to put the tablets in a smoothie every morning but I do not have the patience, organisation or love for kale to be a 'morning smoothie' kinda gal. I found the best thing was to eat something heavy in carbs such as a thick sliced ham and cheese sandwich (I without a doubt had one of these everyday throughout my pregnancy) to settle and stodge out my stomach and then take the tablets with an enormous gulp of the thickest milkshake I could find - the Frijj milkshakes I found worked best. The liquid was so thick that I couldn't even feel that I was swallowing the tablets.

Brushing my teeth I found made me really sick and couldn't even hold toothpaste in my mouth for longer than a second before it made me gag. Your sense of smell also becomes incredible. I couldn't feed the dogs in the morning because the smell of raw meat made me vomit. I struggled to cook dinner with raw meats. And old people with hideous breath became unbearable. Not to mention having pedicure clients and the smell of other people's feet drove me insane - I was lucky I didn't puke into the foot spa.

I didn't find anything that helped me stop feeling sick, but found that the odds of being physically sick was reduced dramatically if I ate as many carbs as I possibly could... bread, crackers, cereal bars, cakes, biscuits... good job I didn't get hung up on worrying about the baby weight. I even used to take plain Jacobs water crackers around with me in a tub just to make sure I was constantly full and stocked up with carbs.

Luke and I were lucky enough to go on holiday twice during my pregnancy, the first holiday was when my sickness started. I was about 11 weeks pregnant and was armed with my pregnancy books to read around the pool. I was feeling pretty smug up until 11 weeks as the only symptom I had had was tiredness. Not the sort of tiredness that I felt like I needed sleep but that my body was really weak and I had no energy. I felt really sluggish and didn't want to do anything other than watch TV (or maybe that part was just me being lazy). It was on our third night on holiday that at 4am I woke up and immediately had to be sick, I was then sick again in the morning around 9am and felt like crap the whole day. I put this off as maybe just dodgy Spanish food but it continued when we got home and felt like it was never going to end.

I had morning sickness from end of month 3 to end of month 5 as I remember reading all the books saying morning sickness would end by the end of the first trimester and I was nearly at the end of the second wondering when it would ever end! I wish I hadn't of been so naive to think that if a book told me my morning sickness would be over by the end of the first trimester. I had 8 weeks of 'THE BOOK SAID!!!!' as I continued to be violently sick. I was so fed up and thought I would be sick for the rest of my pregnancy. The first month was the worst as I couldn't explain to anyone why I wasn't leaving the house as much as normal and was missing so much. I ended up being a pretty crappy friend on some occasions as 'being sick' was so uncommon to make you cancel your plans ten minutes before, but I never knew when it was coming so ended up cancelling a bunch of plans.

The sickness finally started to curb and I got a new lease of life and was full of energy. Months 6 and 7 were probably my favourite as you’re confident everything is OK with the baby, you’ve seen your baby twice, your bump is obvious so you look pregnant not just fat, labour and birth are far away enough that you don’t need to worry too much and for me, it was just coming into the end of summer so I was getting bigger as the sun was going in so I was far more comfortable. I can’t imagine being in blistering heat with a huge bump!!

I know lots of pregnant women who had no morning sickness, but that got acne, their hair became straw-like, their bladder turned to pure crap, etc, etc. So I really do think you win some, you lose some. I may have had morning sickness but my hair was amazing, my nails grew super fast, my spots all cleared up, my boobs got bigger - I really was the best version of myself I've ever been - plus a bump and a few stone!! (More on weight gain later!)

I can remember being sick in the toilet so much and Luke, bless him, just stood next to me, either holding my hair back or standing from a distance saying, "I love you!". Watching or hearing someone else be sick makes Luke gag so it really wasn't ideal for him. But we got through it together ;) It's really made me think about baby number 2. Was my morning sickness so bad because I had all day to sit around and think about how bad I felt? If I was in a 9-5 job would I have just got on with it? What if my morning sickness is bad with my second pregnancy but I've got to run around after a toddler, take care of two dogs and keep together a household!

After the morning sickness stopped, I only vomited once between then and the end of my pregnancy but boy was it crazy different having a huge, huge bump and being sick and not being able to keep anything down. We were on holiday in Greece and I was roughly 6 months pregnant. I had awful sickness and diarrhea  (TMI) and honestly thought I was going to die. I have never felt so uncomfortable sat on a toilet with my bump meaning I can't sit comfortably, am terrified because I'm in another country, thinking is my baby OK or have I eaten some dodgy meat and being 100 degrees because I have twice as much blood in my body as normal (a lovely pregnancy side effect) and we're in a hot, humid country! 

Despite the nightmare of my morning sickness, I still think I got off pretty lightly. I was used to having my head in a toilet from all my nights out previous to getting pregnant and having one too many tequila shots. This part of my pregnancy definitely felt like a big, fat hangover. But one that you couldn't tell your friends about. A big, fat, secret hangover.

The first 11 weeks

The first 11 weeks are a surreal experience. I say 11 weeks, because it's only at 12 weeks that any medical professional will want anything to do with you. I could not believe how blasé the first trimester was. I always thought that you would take a pregnancy test, see that it read positive and then book a blood test with your GP to confirm and it all went from there. It took until you believed you were 6 weeks pregnant until you were even able to refer yourself to the local hospital online. They then rang you at 8 weeks. And the first time you meet with anyone is 11 weeks.

I took a Clear Blue test which said 2-3 weeks pregnant. Now - the confusing part that NO ONE EVER TELLS YOU ABOUT is the timing of your pregnancy.  Your pregnancy is dated from the moment an egg is released - this is Day 1. It then takes a few weeks for this egg to mosey on down and the sperm to fertilize said egg, lets call this day 14, the egg is then fertilised, lets call this day 16. So, as it clearly explains (not) in the Clear Blue test leaflet, that if the test reads '2-3 weeks' this is 2-3 weeks from when sperm met egg and NOT when the egg was released. So add 2 weeks to whatever the Clear Blue test reads. Are you still with me?

So you refer yourself to the hospital and you get a phone call when you are 8 weeks pregnant to arrange an 11 week appointment to discuss family history. Believe it or not, a childhood friends Mum who I had no knowledge of them even being a midwife, rang my mobile at 8 weeks to make the appointment - at first when she introduced herself I had no idea it was the hospital and thought she was ringing personally to book in an eyebrow wax! When she told me she was ringing from the Maternity Ward, baring in mind she was a family friend and had known her since I was 4 years old, the first words out my mouth were 'I haven't told my Mum yet!!!!!!' I immediately pictured my Mum bumping into her at the local Co-op and her congratulating her on my news! But she said even if she wanted to, she can't share patient information so my news wasn't going any further. That was a real shit-your-pants moment and I won't lie my palms did sweat.

At the family history appointment, I was a bag of nerves. Not for the appointment - but I was told I would be having a blood test. I was always the kid at school that fainted and they needed the gigantic crash mat for me when we had immunisations and every jab I had before I went travelling I spent the following ten minutes with my legs in the air so I didn't faint. I had never had a blood test before and the thought of a standard vaccination needle in my arm injecting fluids freaked me out enough - let alone a needle in my paper thin arm into a vein to take out my own blood - the thought made me want to be sick. I spent the entire appointment sweating and wondering at what point she was going to pop me up on the bed and poke me. I was wearing leather sandals as it was hot and I actually nearly slipped over when I got up to be weighed due to the sweat my feet had produced with fear. It got to the end of the appointment and she had asked a ton of boring questions to Luke and I about our medical history and family backgrounds but not mentioned the blood test. 'Is my blood test today?' 'Oh no sweetheart that's at your 12 week scan' Well I never, I had a squeaky bumhole the entire appointment for no reason!

The first 11 weeks I felt really really strange. Its a feeling of being tired but not that sleeping will help you, you just feel heavy and weak and the smallest of tasks completely drains you. I had morning sickness start on our holiday at 10 weeks, but more on that on another post for those with a strong stomach! I had the scent of a bloodhound and could smell things from a mile away and had a seriously weak gag reflex and would heave at the smell of anything meaty.

11 weeks pregnant in this photo - can you believe it? You almost feel like you're imagining it...

11 weeks pregnant in this photo - can you believe it? You almost feel like you're imagining it...

Although it may feel pointless taking photos of your belly, you can't spam your Instagram followers with comparison photos if you don't have your 'before' photo! You never realise how big you/your baby gets until you put them next to a photo of 4 weeks previous. I’m glad I took a ton of photos even when, to me, it looked like I wasn't even pregnant. My stomach has always been the only bit of my body I liked. It was flat and I seemed to gain weight everywhere else on my body and it always stayed intact. So the first signs of my 'bump' was a little pouch under my belly button. It took a while for my entire stomach to bloat but the first sign was the small bump above my jeans. I was working in a bar at this time and my first 'bump' photo is downstairs hiding in the cellar with a ton of beer barrels in the background - hardly appropriate! I, soon after finding out I was pregnant, left this bar job as I had ridiculous paranoia about being in a bar fight with a rowdy customer (like that would ever happen) or people getting suspicious when I stopped having a drink after work or accepting drinks from customers. Working in a bar is no place for someone hiding their pregnancy - there was also a terrifying flight of stairs down to the cellar and I would always put off being the one to collect stock as I thought I'd trip tit over arse down the stairs and lose the baby - again, not something I regularly or in fact ever did, but better safe than sorry!

I downloaded the App Pregnancy + which I found was plenty of information and had the cute progress pic on the homescreen of what your baby looked like at that week of pregnancy. I also got a ton of pregnancy books from my ONLY friend with a baby. Some were jokey (Pregnancy for Dummies) and some were far more serious (Childbirth by Ina May). Looking back, I think the only things worth reading about are labour/birth and how to take care of a baby. Anything that happens during a standard pregnancy you will find out about day by day in your App and anything specific happening in your pregnancy you can Google (if you dare) or ask your Midwife/friends with babies. I had a really straight forward low risk pregnancy and I will never get back the time I wasted reading about side effects that never happened to me. I remember finding a breakdown week by week of pregnancy and it listed every single thing that could go wrong, it was the most terrifying thing and didn't help at all. It would be like booking an EasyJet flight and reading 'The plane will explode, the staff will be rude, your seat will be uncomfortable, the food will taste shit, your flight will be delayed and your luggage will get lost' errrrr okay why would you want to read that? I would seriously advise to just 'cross that bridge when you get to it'. Only research symptoms you are actually having if you're concerned - why waste your time.

I had every intention of telling my parents early on so that they could be excited for our 12 week scan, however every chance I got I bottled it. I knew they would be nothing but happy but didn't want them to worry about me. It was silly really, as telling them was inevitable so there was no point putting it off as it's not like I couldn't not tell them. I decided to wait until they had got back from their week long holiday sailing so that they didn't spend their holiday wondering if I was okay or having a million questions and worries preventing them from being able to enjoy their holiday (that's what I told myself anyway - when really I was just being a complete wuss). Luke's parents found out before the scan as we had all planned to go for lunch and I was having terrible morning sickness so didn't want to go. And when explaining I was sick to his parents, they asked Luke jokingly if I was pregnant and his face couldn't hide the truth! During my first 11 weeks of pregnancy I told two of my friends - which I think was the perfect amount. One friend I met through Luke, that is married with a daughter to his best friend and then my best friend of 8 years who is my age with no children but in a long term relationship (this part definitely helped as she could tell my partying days were over so was happy for me implicitly).

I had told my friend with a baby that Luke and I were going to start trying, but by the next time I met up with her, everything had happened so quickly that when she asked how it was going I couldn't hide the huge smile on my face. I told my best friend the day she came round to have her eyebrows tinted (as I am a qualified beautician) and I had stuck a piece of paper saying 'Surprise! I'm 6 weeks pregnant' on the hand mirror, so after her lying on the couch for half an hour unbeknown to her my news, when I handed her the mirror for her to check her eyebrows - she was TOTALLY gobsmacked and so happy for me - so that was really special! I wished I had told Luke in a way like that but having said that I don't think I could keep it a secret for longer than a second that I was pregnant with his baby!