There exist way too many clichés in the business of becoming and being pregnant. If FRIENDS misled audiences on how embryo transfers work, the average conversations around pregnancy & related ‘morning sickness’ are equally inaccurate. I became pregnant and learned that fatigue impacts every single pregnant person. Nausea and sickness may or not accompany that fatigue. And there are MANY other associated experiences that nobody talks about unless you find yourself in a group of five more pregnant people.
Somewhere along the way I decided to start documenting my experience. Part of it was in retrospect and some in real time (therefore the tenses). I have seen many women build platforms to discuss pregnancy for this very reason of expanding the dialogue beyond a few stereotypes. So I wouldn’t endeavour to do that. This is for my three readers and my future self to get a full picture of several weeks that are packed with excitement, anxiety, nervousness and a lot of physical discomfort.
4 weeks in – so exhausted I sat down by the road while walking from the car to a restaurant.
6-9 weeks – sooo breathless all the time. Picked up shoes to wear and ran out of breath. Midwife stopped short of saying heart attack. *Eye roll*
7 weeks – anal fissure. Joy.
8 weeks – next level of exhaustion. A leisurely walk around the neighbourhood and I came back and fell to the bed (jacket on) as though I’d run a marathon.
8/9 weeks – every sneeze, cough and movement led to pains in the lower belly. Apparently absolutely normal with expanding ligaments. Fine.
Up to 12 weeks – I peed 3 times a night. And stayed up several hours in between. So basically I was tired and sleep deprived and ultra cranky.
14 weeks – migraines took over life. I had to start a paracetamol diary because the head hurt almost every day.
14 weeks – nasal congestion. I didn’t know that was also a thing. It came and stayed (till the day of publishing here). So I toss around in bed all night – from one blocked nostril to the other.
16/17 weeks – lower back pain. What a bitch. I couldn’t stand or walk. We were in Tenerife and I would hand over my ice cream to C so I could bend forward and get some temporary relief.
17 weeks – more constipation. This one keeps visiting every few days. As it has the last 35 years.
18 weeks – a weird pain in the left leg: I could feel the nerves or muscles or whatever straight bands exist inside in a burning, jerky way. Self diagnosed a pinched nerve under the uterus. The pain comes and goes. Bugger.
19 weeks – I suddenly lost my appetite. Don’t remember the last time I skipped dinner, forced breakfast the next day, and then skipped lunch again. Shocking!
19 weeks – I am clearly very impatient and angry now. Heard saying I’ll knock out someone’s teeth.
19 weeks – there’s a flutter. It’s faint and could be the stomach. But I think there’s a flutter.
20 weeks – the baby definitely doesn’t like the scan business. It curls up into a ball. The sonographer gave up at one point, asked me to go for a walk and eat something sweet to see if baby moves after that. It didn’t. But I was very pleased with my black forest cake.
21-22 weeks – I ate a lot. And the leg pain, tickling etc have been pretty bad. But the breast pain has definitely gone down.
23 weeks – the baby truly raided my iron reserves. They’re abysmally low. So I’m low on energy. On the other hand, its movements have gained power. It’s like my stomach is fitted with a woofer inside. Big kicks, punches, rolling going on inside.
24 weeks – while docs here have said they don’t care about my weight, I’ve been monitoring it and reading online about ideal gains. I am now underweight. First time in life. Ironic. And scary. Oh, and I screamed “SHUT UP” at George Costanza on the TV. Yup.
25 weeks – I’ve started bumping into door frames because the bump is now bigger than I am used to being. So the mind miscalculates the amount of space needed to navigate a small area.
25 weeks – the midwife appointment involved listening to its heartbeat. Sounded like a galloping horse.
25 weeks – after all the recent anxiety around lack of weight gain, watching the scales go past 69kg was a rather happy moment. Seriously never imagined being happy about increasing weight!
26 weeks – two croissants for breakfast. Yeah baby!
26 weeks – erm, so doubling down on the food has led to a sudden spike in weight. Over 70 kgs now and this last kilo came on in the blink of an eye. Maybe I need to calm down with the croissants.
26 weeks – I ran across a street to catch a bus. I think I was a sight to behold. It was a slow and clumsy wobble at best. C puts it best, ” old habits die hard”. We’ve ALWAYS run after buses.
27 weeks – I went back to UCLH to thank the reproductive medicine unit team. Emotion overtook me like I couldn’t have expected. I couldn’t get any words out. Just so much gratitude!!
28 weeks – officially cannot see my feet anymore while standing.
28 weeks – the doctor did a mini scan to check all was ok. I saw a spine and ribs. What a work of beauty!
29 weeks – placebo effect! I had 0% gin and felt a buzz. It got me a bit concerned but nothing to worry about. 0 alcohol cannot possibly be harmful.
29 weeks – the day after a fun and tiring baby shower, the baby decided to go into long slumber. That caused much stress and a 24 hour stay at the hospital. Not fun at all!
30 weeks – it’s like a switch has gone off in my mind. I’m preparing for labour. Buying pads, preparing the hospital bag, etc. It better not come for another 8 weeks!
30 weeks – I have lost all control over my sugar intake and C is going crazy trying to guilt me out of it. It’s like I have truly gone back in time with sugar addiction and weighing over 70 kgs.
30 weeks – I kept feeling like the baby would come any time now. It certainly wouldn’t wait till any time near the due date.
31 weeks – I have swollen hands now. Puffy and painful, mornings are particularly hard because I can’t even grip my toothbrush. C keeps giving me little massages.
31 weeks – that little niggle in the leg from the early days has been a full-on pelvic issue all this time. Hip spasms and ‘lightning crotch’ which stops my universe every time it strikes. I’m honestly tired of it. And therefore super grateful on the days it doesn’t bother me.
32 weeks – I can no longer reach my bum for a wash. Hmmm.
32 weeks – the hand swelling is carpal tunnel. More joy.
32 weeks – The baby has gone from being at the 16th centile so far to 35th centile now. I am proud.
33 weeks – it’s over 30 degrees in London, I’m feeling sweaty and baked, and the only thing fitting over the bump at night time is C’s baniyan. Go me!
34 weeks – 74 kilos, and the bump has gone past the stage of looking cute.
34 weeks – energy levels feel like they’ve dropped off a cliff. I am SO TIRED.
35 weeks – hand swelling and pain are relentless. After making rounds of osteo, doctor, GP, physio I finally went to an acupuncturist with some hope. Three needles in and I nearly fainted. So gotta live with this shit show for up to 6 more weeks. Effing hell.
35 weeks – baby’s movements are now not limited to kicks. I feel entire waves as though its body is swimming inside.
35 weeks – really enjoying my pregnancy hair! Not losing a single strand these days and the lustre is like what I used to have 15 years ago. I don’t like the women who keep trying to burst my bubble about how this is short lived.
36 weeks – I feel SO hot these days it’s unbelievable. 20 degrees outside and I’m sweaty and uncomfortable. Next week is supposed to be 30 degrees again. *gulp*
36 weeks – the 30 degrees are as uncomfortable as I’d imagined. Feet and hands are swelling up, face is constantly sweaty (don’t ask how it is when under a mask), and I can have icy drinks all day.
37 weeks – the doctor replaced my iron tablets with a slightly modified iron syrup in the hope of helping ease it all for my stomach. Things have actually got worse and I feel like a cow now.
I’m hoping the baby takes its time inside before making an appearance. I am very nervous about the process despite fully realising millions of people go through it and emerge okay on the other side. Here’s hoping things go as well as they can so I can sign up to an app that tracks baby poop.