I’m now 20 weeks pregnant and seeing my baby’s heart beating on screen last week was a moment I’ll never forget. I’m not even the tiniest bit at all embarrassed to admit that I became a little emotional. I felt like the luckiest woman alive.
However, the thing is this, whilst being all things wonderful and miraculous, I just never realised how tough pregnancy can be, especially in those first few nervewracking months.
Sure, I’d heard all the horror stories that are passed on from one woman to the next, the brutally honest Chinese whispers that put fear into the hearts of all women, but I honestly thought that when push came to shove (see what I did there) I’d be just fine.
That of course was my mistake. ‘Fine?’ My pregnancy hormones mocked. We’ll show you fine!
From the moment the word ‘pregnant’ popped up boldly in the test window, my little bean showed me just how hard pregnancy can actually be. (I say can, because there are some woman who sail through without so much as a nauseous day or a fleeting moment of tiredness. They’re known as the lucky ones.)
The first thing I noticed was the overwhelming tiredness. And when I say tiredness, I mean tiredness. I’ve suffered from severe jetlag before and even experienced a long bout of insomnia many moons ago but nothing, NOTHING, has come close to the tiredness I felt in my first trimester. It was, in one word – brutal.
To put it into context, there were days when just the simple, everyday task of washing my hair in the shower was too much because I was that exhausted. That’s how bad it was. I could have slept for England and came close to it often, for no matter how hard I would try and fight it, the tiredness would come and get me.
With the tiredness, came another unwelcome pregnancy guest – ‘morning’ sickness. And I say ‘morning’ with sarcasm because for me, like for many other women, it was all day long.
From the crack of dawn to way past my bedtime, I constantly felt or was sick. Pleasant I know. Every day I awoke to what felt like that the worst hangover in the world, apart from this time, it just didn’t get any better. Every day, the same old routine. Every day, the same old sickness.
Finally, after about two months of feeling like the living dead, things did start to improve, as I’d read that they might. (Again I say might, because not all women are so lucky.) The sickness vanished (Yay!) and the tiredness eased off just enough so that I finally felt human again.
But, just as I was thinking, “wooo hoo, that’s it, I’m through the worst!” my pregnancy threw another unexpected surprise at me – I hurt my back and I did it in style.
The timing couldn’t have been worse. Three days before New Year and one day before my first scan, I sat up in bed, sneezed and it all went wrong.
For the next four weeks I was out of action. I struggled to move, get out of bed or even make it to the toilet. It was horrible, depressing and worst of all, completely unexpected. Those pesky pregnancy hormones had softened all of my bones and that together with a bit of a bad luck, was enough to create one nasty back problem.
But what now you may ask? Have things improved?
Well, (*touches wood quickly*) I’m delighted to say that I’m currently feeling pretty damn good. As long as I don’t overdo things, I’m fine and I’m even beginning to actually enjoy being pregnant!
People keep telling me that the second trimester is the best of all, so I’m just trying to relish this happy time as much as I can.
In the midst of all the rottenness of the first trimester, I remember saying to my husband Jamie, “I’m NEVER doing this again” and was deadly serious. But fast forward just a few months and here I am typing this thinking, actually, it wasn’t so bad! Amazing how quickly your brain ‘forgets’ things isn’t it?!
There’s no doubt that my pregnancy so far (and I’ve still got a long way to go!) has been one hell of a learning curve but oddly, I feel a better person for it.
It’s left me amazed at how women can tolerate even the most extreme levels of discomfort and illness to have a a baby and has certainly made me appreciate my Mum a whole lot more. (To think she went through all of that for me!)
For every woman who’s been through first trimester hell, I take my heels off to you and to anyone who is going through it right now, I say this – JUST HANG ON IN THERE.
It may not seem like it now but chances are it WILL get better and soon you’ll be saying to your partner, exactly what I’ve recently said to mine:
“You know that thing I said a while ago about never going through it again, well actually I wouldn’t mind. Looking back it wasn’t really that bad was it?” ;-)
Till the next time,
P.S If anyone has any fabulous pregnancy tips for mums-to-be on how to battle those first few brutal months, please do share in the comments box below.