At the start of the year, who could have imagined I’d be spending the majority of 2019 pregnant and marking the start of maternity leave by writing a baby announcement blog post! Sure, as I’m now a married lady it probably won’t come as much of a shock to you but life still has a way of surprising us and here we are: 40 weeks pregnant, blessed and counting down the days until we meet our baby for the first time.
It’s certainly easy to be sentimental when writing about babies, especially before they arrive and after following the journeys of so many close friends as they’ve welcomed their little ones to the world. Being honest, it still feels like a whole new world we’ve yet to fathom and one that we’re both trying to wrap our heads around – if it wasn’t for a lumbering, large bump then I think I’d still be in denial!
Our Pregnancy Story
Most people make new year’s resolutions at the start of a year, but how many people decide to start trying to conceive? Judging by the amount of birthdays in October (of which John and I are also included in) it seems quite a lot of people try for a baby in January. We decided it was our time to try – we thought it could take us anywhere from months to years. So, we planned our dates and got lucky, very lucky. We know how incredibly blessed we are to have conceived so quickly.
It was the start of February when I realized there was a slight possibility that we could be pregnant, we were enjoying a city break in Bulgaria (an almost too good to be true deal I’d found on Holiday Pirates months before) and like most women, the first sign I was pregnant was that my period was late, very late. Having been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome in my early twenties, a late period wasn’t an instant indicator that we were pregnant. My energy levels were high, I was still enjoying flat whites and I didn’t feel any different – I abstained from Bulgarian beers, just to be on the safe side, and planned to do a pregnancy test when we returned. No big deal.
Landing in Liverpool late on a Sunday evening, I went back to work on Monday morning and immersed myself back into the daily humdrum of a digital marketer with buying a pregnancy test on the long list of things to do. With Valentine’s Day approaching (our first as a married couple), I thought it would make such a romantic surprise if we were indeed, pregnant. I decided to pop by Boots and buy a twin pack of Clear Blue pregnancy testers (it had to be Clear Blue, I needed the result in words and I also needed to do more than one test: do I like to be in control, or what?) Seeing the words ‘pregnant’ flash up, I was naturally thrilled although, it came as little surprise to me – somehow I just knew.
It was our first Valentine’s day as a married couple, so being a sentimental romantic I simply wrote the result of the test inside his card ready for the morning of Valentine’s Day (with the second pregnancy test nestled safely under my pillow, lid firmly attached, for proof). With the knowledge that John was soon to be a father, I remember looking at him the evening before realizing how much this would change his life too. When he opened the card, he stared at me in disbelief, asking really? Really?
Really! Before long, the classic symptoms of first trimester pregnancy started: sickness, tiredness, food aversions. Again, I was fortunate: I didn’t vomit (thanks to dry bagels and ginger biscuits) and although I was eternally tired, I could still function at work until I returned home and could sleep straight through for a whole 12 hours. I disappeared from social media and focused on growing a tiny human, while hiding it from everyone.
Turns out hiding a pregnancy in the first twelve weeks isn’t easy when the mere smell of once beloved coffee and pizza makes you visibly balk – two things that I’ve always held close to my heart. I started to wear a uniform of oversized pinafore dresses most days teamed with stretchy striped tops and sought out looser fitting, smock dresses in charity shops as my bloat and bump started to grow and we grew closer to our first scan.
Nothing prepares you for the first scan, also referred to as the dating scan. We had ours at 12+6 and discovered our dates were right. We thought it was slightly surreal that we’d managed to get further than three months without any professional questioning our word: at times I questioned myself, had I imagined it? First trimester sickness answered that question every time with a resounding no. Those dreadful symptoms were all worthwhile when we discovered that all was fine and well.
Following our first scan, we felt as though we had all the time in the world. The sickness, food aversions and tiredness started to lift and I was left with a revived sense of energy. We spent Easter in Berlin (John’s birthday present) and laughed at how my emerging bump looked like a food baby blaming it on all the ice cream I was enjoying a bit too much. I continued to work 40 hour weeks, not even batting an eyelid at long days or days travelling to London. The second trimester was kind to me!
So the weeks rolled by, only marked by reassuring community midwife appointments and necessary vaccinations. Of course, the highlight of second trimester being our 20 week scan when we would of course have the opportunity to discover our baby’s gender. Right from the beginning, I wanted to know because of my a practical nature – I felt that knowing baby’s gender would help me to fully prepare. John had the opposite feeling. We always said that if we couldn’t agree we wouldn’t find out – in the end, it was me who changed my mind based on these words: “There aren’t many surprises, in life, which are positive either way.”
Visiting my mum after the scan, I unwittingly referred to baby using male pronouns. That certainly did not go unnoticed. From the moment I knew I was pregnant I’ve had a feeling that baby will be born male – had this feeling crept into my subconscious making me use he, his and him? And so, the questioning has continued periodically, ‘Are you sure you don’t know the sex of the baby?’ The answer is still no although we have had further opportunities to find out. On subsequent growth scans, we have quickly pointed out to the sonographer that we don’t know the baby’s gender and we don’t yet wish to find out.
Thrown into the mix of preparing for a newborn, I’ve been surprised with not one but three separate baby showers by my close family and friends. I always said I didn’t want any fuss (listing a baby shower as unnecessary) but I am so glad that my friends and family had other ideas because each get together has been filled with thought and it’s clear to see how much Baby Davis is loved already!
Apart from pelvic girdle pain (PGP) and carpal tunnel syndrome (both pregnancy induced), the third trimester has brought discomfort but nothing that can’t be managed. I’ve been able to work my usual hours right up to 38+1 weeks, although having a desk job has certainly helped – it’s not like I’ve been spending 40 hours on my feet. Again, Baby Davis was spoiled by my work colleagues and my last day in the office was spent with cake and coffee.
While the start of maternity leave has been filled with more scans, monitoring and consultant appointments than I expected, it’s treating us well. At 36 weeks, Baby Davis was identified as being on the 95th centile and estimated to be a bigger baby. Since then, baby has continued to grow steadily – with no diagnosed reason. I was offered induction at 39+5, but with only a growth chart indicating a big baby (at that point, under 9lbs), I didn’t feel this was a reason for induction before term.
Having not been tested for gestational diabetes during the entirety of our pregnancy, John and I have decided to follow the advice of consultants (as well as relevant guidelines) and have opted to be induced at the advised later date (for those with gestational diabetes) of 40+5 weeks. We made the decision in the hope that Baby Davis would make their way here naturally, allowing for a water birth and for us to welcome baby calmly following the hypnobirthing principles that we learned with friend, and teacher, Ruth of Down to Birth Hypnobirthing.
Now, we wait. We simply wait and remain positive in the hope for spontaneous labour, embrace the nesting instinct and enjoy our final days as a two before we embark on the most important role of our lives: parenthood!