Can I just start by saying that this time around things seem so different? I kind of thought that having had two babies already, that I had this whole pregnancy thing down, that I knew exactly how I was when I'm carrying a baby, that I had it all figured out. Well let me just say that all ready this pregnancy is proving to be a big lesson for me in relinquishing control, in letting go, in listening to my body, and as corny as it sounds, in 'finding myself' as a mother all over again.
Having had the pleasure of already growing a baby boy and a baby girl in this belly of mine, I would have thought I'd "seen it all" with respects to my body and how I "do pregnancy". Turns out that to assume anything when it comes to motherhood is a big mistake, and this pregnancy has been so different again from my previous two that it's made my head spin. With Dollop and Splodge (his and her bumps respectively) I had slightly different quirky little symptoms each time, but on the most part pretty much breezed through all three trimesters both times. This time it feels like all the symptoms that I should have been having in my previous ones have all come to play at once.
I have had nausea... oh the nausea. I had about two weeks of mild 10.30-in-the-morning isolated nausea with the little miss, but none otherwise. This time it has been most of the day; awful when I first wake up, awful again mid morning, before striking again mid afternoon until dinner time. And plenty of days it's just basically been there the whole time and peeking at those specific times of day. Feeding it helps... sometimes, but not always. Sleeping it off helps... sometimes, but not always. I have developed an obsession with Ready Salted French Fries which are just about the only thing really guaranteed to kick it, albeit sometimes only for as long as it takes to chew and swallow them.
I have actually had morning sickness, which is a whole new first trimester pregnancy low for me. The first time was the morning I went to Wembley to do the Comic Relief Danceathon, leaving Rich asking me if I was actually insane to be considering dancing for six hours when I was growing a little human. Him spraying on his aftershave was without doubt the trigger on that occasion, so the poor guy has been apply his aftershave in the car the last couple of months when he wants to wear it. And the other times I've been sick have been smell triggered too; a pheromone plug in we have for our cats did it, as did a particularly weird 'fridge smell' one afternoon. So I think it's fair to say that that well known pregnancy symptom of bloodhound senses is alive and well (I had this particularly strongly in my first pregnancy, but not so much in the second.)
I think most women complain of first trimester tiredness, and that one has been here too but thankfully not as badly as I did the second time around when I felt permanently shattered. I'm managing that one with a lot of help from a hubby who jumps out of bed with the kids practically every morning, allowing me the luxury of a little more time between the sheets and the chance to sleep off the nausea I wake up with. Although strangely enough, while I am hitting the sack a lot earlier in the evenings, I actually still feel pretty full of energy in the days. I have the pretty active part time job of 'dance teacher' to keep up with this time around, as well as the two kiddies to chase after. And as I fell pregnant in the midst of a big health kick where I was exercising plenty (swimming, dancing and yoga) I've been trying to keep that up as much as I can, and it definitely seems to be ringing true that exercising is actually keeping my energy levels up. It's also a really good nausea distraction....!
So yeah, some new to me pregnancy symptoms, but nothing very 'new' in the realms of being pregnant generally. On top of those big ones, I've had some crazy breaking out skin (which I enjoyed with my second pregnancy too) but which has thankfully settled down now and I am getting that lovely 'glow' that all pregnant women aspire to have. I have delightfully ridged toenails (which is a weird symptom I enjoyed first time around, and didn't miss the second time around... how am I supposed to face a summer of open toed shoes with such weird looking feet?) But by far the newest of pregnancy symptoms for me has been the ones going on inside my head and my heart.
This pregnancy has not been easy for me on an emotional level... at all! And having been so nervously full of excitement the two previous times, it has been a real wake up call for me that for most of this pregnancy so far the overriding emotion for me has been denial. It's hard for me to confess to, knowing that one day the little Flump I'm growing in my tummy may one day read this, but at eleven weeks I finally began to feel like the cloud was lifting and the excitement is creeping in, and I feel like, now I'm safely "through to the other side" that I owe it to myself, and to Flump too, to be honest about it.
Those closest to me know how much I've struggled to find excitement, which for someone who usually gets excited about the idea of a new day most mornings, just didn't feel 'right'. From when I found out at about five weeks for the following six weeks I just felt, well, nothing. I didn't want to talk about it, I didn't feel excited, I didn't feel nervous, I just didn't really feel anything. I didn't tell my parents until I was way past 8 weeks (and they knew within days of me knowing on previous times). I didn't call the doctor in order to be transferred to maternity services until 11 weeks. I went about business as usual, shooting down basically any comments from Rich about a baby and saying we'd talk about it another time. At the darkest point I really did think that maybe I needed to speak to someone about my lack of feelings. I tend to be someone who 'feels' pretty big, I'm an emotional kind of person, and this feeling of emptiness just felt really strange for me.
Looking at it now, I think that maybe it was a bit of coping mechanism. I'm not the best person when it comes to surprises... and this is one of hell of a big life changing surprise. When I finally went for my booking in appointment with the midwife yesterday (at 12+2) I did talk to her about it. One of her many questions to tick off was whether this pregnancy was planned; to which I replied "Yes and No. It is a much wanted third baby, but not at the time we were expecting." She assured me that it's natural to feel a little confused about such a big surprise, and that sometimes, the fact that we so often like to keep pregnancies secret in the first trimester, means that we can't really allow them to sink in properly.
But now I am really looking forward to seeing our little Flump at my scan. I am looking forward to really enjoying and embracing this last pregnancy, to savouring every second of how amazing it is to grow a little person inside your body. And I am looking forward to finally being able to tell people, especially a pair of little people who are about to become big brother and sister to the new addition. And I think that making the news public may just be the final nail in the coffin of the dark little nagging thoughts that have been creeping around in my mind. Because I am so ready to get excited now, about becoming a family of five and getting to have a new baby all over again.