I found the first trimester the hardest.

Constant nausea is horrible. We were in France one week (luckily I wasn’t working that week) and I couldn’t get up off the couch. I could just about drink tea. Usually when I’m at home in France I love cooking and going for walks with Simon and trawling through the local shops but I couldn’t do any of it. The only thing that I could do was dunk myself in Lac St Pardoux in the cold water for a bit of renewed energy. I tried the ginger tea and crackers-the whole nine yards – nothing worked. I expected things to be bad when you are visibly pregnant but it’s when you don’t look pregnant that it can be the toughest. You hear of pregnant women getting chastised on the London Tube for taking up seats reserved for pregnant women when they don’t have a bump but for me that’s when I was most fatigued and weak.

We had a big roadtrip planned from Los Angeles to Ashland in Oregon last summer and I was totally dreading it. To my horror we got upgraded at the airport to a convertible rental car. Simon was delighted and I was a slightly dark shade of greeny yellow! By the time we got to Santa Cruz the Ford Mustang was handed back.  The only thing I ever found useful to beat the nausea were the pressure wrist bands -thanks Andrea!

I was shocked at how much my bladder let me down.

Not exaggerating but about three or four trips to the bathroom every night. A baby literally sitting on your bladder is horrendous. Laughing too hard was a walk on the wild side! Thankfully it all returns back to normal the second you give birth, well it did for me anyway thank god!

I didn’t ‘show’ for the first 5 months.

I stayed in this awkward phase of looking like I’d had too many doughnuts over the summer but not quite pregos, and that stage lasted for a whopping five or six months so most people only figured out I was expecting towards the end. This happens to a lot of people but I just assumed that you look pregnant the whole way through a pregnancy! My sister will remember the time we went to get our nails done and the salon owner found out that I too was 5 months pregnant, she was at least triple my size-I don’t know who was more worried, me or her!

I had a romantic idea of pregnancy that involved kale smoothies and pre natal yoga.

The reality is more like salt and vinegar crisps and bed straight after work. I swapped my usual porridge and honey and chia seeds for cornflakes because they were the only things that would stay down at work. Pregnancy does really weird and unexplained things to you.

 Brushing my teeth became a dreaded experience.

I love flossing and brushing my teeth and I’m one of the few people that loves going to the dentist for a check up but almost every time I brushed my teeth for TEN MONTHS I was nauseous, it was horrible.

Caffeine was my best friend.

Everyone asked me if I cut out coffee, even people who knew nothing about pregnancy and didn’t really care were asking me if I’d given up coffee.  I just couldn’t part with my best friend. In fact, I was so tired that even when I would read things like caffeine in pregnancy is linked to ADHD; I didn’t give a rats ass. If I was going to haul a baby around and teach all day then a cup of coffee was going to help me through it.

 I never thought I would miss lying on my back so much.

So apparently there’s a large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the middle of your body to the heart that prevents you from lying on your back as it can lead to problems with blood return or decreased cardiac output which can ultimately harm the baby. Try lying on your side ONLY for nearly a year-torture. Ironically after lying on my back for three days in hospital after giving birth I couldn’t wait to get back on my side!

Trying to get out of bed in the final weeks is like watching a slug haul itself down a mountain.

Those final weeks *sigh*. Only those who have been there will understand.  You see first time moms saying they are thirty two weeks pregnant and “nearly there” and you’re thinking honey you’ve about two months of the real crap to get through-and that’s if the baby doesn’t decide to stay in for another two weeks!

Picking up something you dropped in the third trimester is just not worth it.

Even if it is your phone.

Round ligament pains are scary.

In the first trimester any twinges you feel may lead to a freak out. Some of the “twinges” can be quite painful, apparently this is the ligaments in the uterus stretching out but you can find yourself constantly worried something is going wrong with the baby. And nobody really gives you the heads up. Thank god for google!

Germs are everywhere

I’m blessed with good health-I’ve only been on antibiotics once in my life and I’m rarely sick but during pregnancy my immune system was low. I work in a school of four and a half thousand pupils so germs everywhere basically. I avoided door handles, banisters, shared markers, and other peoples books- because a cold would knock me back for a week where ordinarily I would have an iron clad immune system.

Random vomiting.

Simon and I went on a romantic stroll through the Eastern Mangroves in Abu Dhabi one December evening only for me to start projectile vomiting as I crossed the road. It came out of nowhere and there was no logical explanation. It went as suddenly as it came. Needless to say I looked like I was going to kill Simon when he exclaimed “That’s disgusting Johanna!” as if I had had some control over it! Pregnancy is weird.

Conflicting Advice.

There is so much conflicting advice. Some people said not to stretch upwards or the cord will get wrapped around the baby’s neck (I didn’t and the cord ended up around his neck twice anyway) whilst others say that’s rubbish. You exercise because that’s what it says all over Pinterest and then someone will say “Don’t exercise! Take it easy”, so you go swimming and then someone will ask you “How will you know if your waters break?” Eat this; don’t eat that.I had shooting pains one day at work and the doctor told me it’s because I was going up and down the stairs too often, someone else told me the stairs is good for pelvic floor exercises in preparation for birth. In the end you just do what your body is telling you and what feels right and ignore everyone.

 

Pregnancy gives people a licence to ask inappropriate things.

People think it’s their business how you eat, how you will birth, where you will give birth, how much time off you will take –whatever they feel like asking you or telling you. No matter what your response is, it will more than likely be the wrong one. Nod and smile and do whatever suits you.

A hot bath can really send you spinning.

I love baths but I found myself sometimes feeling faint or nauseous after them, it’s something to do with baths lowering your blood pressure. This came as a surprise because a hot bath and a cup of tea has always been my solution to every problem!

Being overdue is seriously frustrating.

Aside from the fact that I looked like a hamster storing food in my cheeks, it is super frustrating waiting for a baby that you have already waited so long to meet. I never knew why there was so much talk of natural induction and I honestly thought that a few days or weeks wouldn’t make a difference when you’ve already waited for so long but the last few days of pregnancy are tough. I luckily got away with just a bit of swelling and discomfort but I’ve had friends who had to give up work because back pain was so bad and all sorts of other issues that quite frankly you just don’t want to know about! Let’s just say I had a lucky escape on a lot of fronts.

Appointments are so annoying.

In the UAE you go to the doctor constantly. In the last month of pregnancy you have weekly appointments. Blood work, glucose tests, scans, cervical checks-it’s exhausting if you are pregnant and working and having to go to all these appointments. Then it’s the two week check, paediatricians appointment, six week check, vaccinations-it never ends I guess.

Your feet can grow during pregnancy.

I’ve always been a UK size 5.5 but now I’m a definitive 6. Some women I know have gone up by two whole sizes! Imagine that. A new shoe collection doesn’t seem so bad but come on!

Heartburn made me cry.

I never knew what heartburn was even though Simon pops Rennies like they’re Smarties. Boy did I find out! Waking up in the middle of the night with acid so bad in your throat that no amount of Gaviscon can cure-nasty. It’s an oldwives tale that women who experience heartburn in pregnancy have hairier babies.

You can get pregnant while you are pregnant.

This is not a joke. It’s super rare but it does happen and it’s called superfetation.

Baby kicks can be really sore!

There are times when the kicking can be super intense! I always thought it was super gentle little flutters but towards the end Harry really let me know he was in there. It was super weird in meetings when you are trying to concentrate or speak and you are literally getting kicked from the inside. Because no one else can see anything, it’s kind of weird if you start making random noises so you just have to act like you are not being internally beaten up. When he came out at 58 centimetres I wasn’t at all surprised, there were times when I thought his foot must be in my lung.

Feeling the baby hiccup is the cutest thing ever.

That is all!

Pyogenic Granuloma

Pregnancy brings about all kinds of weird new issues and Pyogenic Granuloma was mine. It came about at a brunch when I started bleeding from the back of my neck. I thought I’d cut myself by accident with my ring and I just applied pressure until the bleeding stopped. I remember commenting that it bled for noticeably longer than normal and the blood was quite thick. I got my doctor to take a look at the little thing that had formed (for all intents and purposes it looked like a little red mole) on the back of my neck  at my next visit and she confirmed it was a pyogenic granuloma aka “a pregnancy tumor”which is basically just an overgrowth of tissue that results from a trauma to the area, irritation or hormones. Apparently most pregos who get this find it in the gums so I was glad mine was at the back of the neck (even if my sisters referred to it as my little extra brain!) I’m hoping mine will go away naturally otherwise I’ll have to concoct some sort of baking soda/apple cider vinegar mix! If anyone has had this and can help that would be great.

I didn’t shave my legs for 6 months

I’m not a particularly hairy person anyway but by some weird miracle I didn’t have any hair growth on my legs for the last two trimesters. Weird but a definite plus!

No matter how hard it is, there is always a pregnant lady who has it worse.

You think you have it bad until you hear of some other pregnant lady someone knows who is suffering from piles or sciatica or there’s an issue with the baby and you thank your lucky stars you are getting through it all in one piece. Every week is a milestone: checking for an ectopic pregnancy, hearing the baby’s heart beat for the first time, the 20 week scan, the foetal anomaly scan, the baby finally becomes viable outside of the womb, you breath a sigh of relief as you pass the premature stage, you finally reach your due date, the hopefully safe birth where you both make it out ok, the first check by the doctor to see if he’s all good. Then the penny drops that you are going to spend the rest of your life worrying about him and wondering if he’s ok.