Willow's birth story

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Disclaimer: If you're pregnant at the moment you may not want to read this right now - a;though my birth was really positive, a great memory for us and weirdly enjoyable (never thought I'd say that), I still talk about things being different to what I expected and the pain I experienced.

In the days after giving birth we recounted our birth story countless times together to our friends and relatives. Willow's birth was long and intense, but also the most empowering moment of my life. Matt was incredible and was just the most amazing birth partner I could have ever wished for. 

On the day of October 8th I felt a little odd and extremely exhausted. I even told Matt 'I felt different' but we still didn't think too much of it. I spent most the day listening to my body and I stayed in bed, watching Emily in Paris and cat napping. That evening Matt ordered a Pizza Express takeaway and we took it easy and went to bed fairly early, little did we know that this was the last night of just the two of us. 

At 12.30am I woke up suddenly to a massive gush of warm fluid leaking out of me and covering our bed. It was such a shock - I really didn't think my waters would break before I went into labour as lots of people had said it's more likely that they would go once I was in established labour. I woke Matt up with a quite dead pan 'Oh shit. my waters have just broken' - he woke with a start and laid down a path of towels to the bathroom so I could dry up, strangely we felt fairly relaxed but in a slight tizz from the sudden wake up call and the prospect of our baby arriving!


I called Maternity Triage (followed by our parents) who informed me to go into hospital to be checked and have our baby monitored. I was booked in for a possible induction for the evening in case I didn't go into labour spontaneously, this all took a couple of hours whilst Matt sat in the carpark biting his nails. By the time we got home from the hospital it was 3.30am and I still wasn't experiencing any contractions yet. We returned to (a freshly changed!) bed to try and get some rest and after an hour or so I started to get intense cramps lasting for about 5 minutes, 20 minutes apart (it wasn't how I thought it would really feel though as I had cramp throughout) I got Matt to pop my tens machine on and tried to shut my eyes but I soon admitted defeat and went into the living room to eat some sweets, bounce on my yoga ball and watch some TV. I wanted Matt to try and get as much rest as possible whilst the pain was manageable and they were spaced quite far apart. I was keen to encourage the contractions and to get into active labour as soon as possible to avoid induction.

My surges stayed spaced out for some time, with the interval decreasing to 15 minutes, then 10 minutes apart and so on. Once I felt they were getting closer I started to time them seriously on my contraction counter app and took a nice deep relaxing bath. As the sun started to rise and light up our home, Matt got working his magic on making the living room our oxytocin producing labour cave, lighting candles, putting up fairy lights, providing me with lots of snacks and drinks. During this time we managed to be able to talk lots, have a laugh and eat normally until I needed to boost my tens machine when they became more intense.

Towards the end of my pregnancy I had asked some of my closest friends and family to write me and baby a letter or card so that I could either read them when I was in early labour or on my due date if she had still not made an appearance. Matt retrieved my letters so I could read them as I sat bouncing on my ball,  I opened them  and read all the lovely words people had written, making me feel pretty emotional - I even felt my contractions come thicker and stronger at this point! I'm so glad I did this and really recommend any expectant Mummas to do so as it will be so nice to look back on and to show Willow when she's older.

When I was starting to struggle more and I didn't want to watch funny or my favourite TV shows  anymore, what I needed was zen spa like music to really get into the zone and wash over me. I leant against Matt on the sofa and he would rub my back or shoulders every time a contraction came. I couldn't decide if I wanted the tens machine on or massage instead. I started to feel a bit all over the place and Matt really kept me calm during this time. The tens machine kept coming unstuck but I found it invaluable as a distraction during the time of labouring at home and would recommend 100 times over. I never went pass the 3rd level though (it goes up to 8!) I had to walk around from room to room, leaning against door frames and counters to help keep control.  Eventually the app told us we were in established labour and I was struggling more to talk when Matt was trying to engage with me. Matt called triage who advised it sounded like I should come in if we thought things had ramped up - we gave it another hour or so and then decided to make our way there. I was still able to walk at this point but had to take breaks on the way down to the car, the journey in was awful and typically had to be at school pick up time! I was still in pain but things had eased off a little as we got into the hospital and I noticed everyone around us - a midwife went through my notes and some questions with me, they didn't want to do an internal examination just yet due to my waters already breaking and it looking like I wasn't quite as far along as we has first suspected. It was suggested I go back home to get myself back to that zone and progress, which I was happy to do because I wanted to as get as far as possible while I knew I could still be with Matt. I could no longer sit down in the car to make the journey home instead I had to hug the back of my seat and face backwards which must have been entertaining for the other commuters.

When we got home things had already started to intensify again. Matt ran me a bath with candles and stayed by my side, holding my hand as I laid submerged trying to cover my entire bump. My contractions were  relentless now and I had no relief  even when one had passed. I still had intense pain and every movement I made it came even sharper. Matt decided we would give it 45 minutes and then we'd think seriously about heading back in as he could see a visible change in me. As he helped me out of the bath I projectile vomited (luckily right into the tub) and we decided it was time to get ourselves back to the midwife led unit. The car ride was just about the worse thing and just so happened to be rush hour again (baby picking the worse timings!) so the 10 minute ride took 30-40 minutes. We made the mistake of putting the front seat down so I could go on all fours but this just left me feeling unsteady and without support, I'm seriously surprised I didn't end up being sick all over the interior. When we got to the hospital Matt had to run in to get a wheelchair as I was unable to walk, he ended up nearly tipping me out of it when he didn't realise the curb wasn't as softly dipped as he thought! 100% do not recommend.

This time they could see a change in my whole demeanor and I didn't notice people around or feel distracted by anyone. I was given an internal examination this time which and was told I was only 2cm! I was pretty devastated to hear that considering how long it had already been and the level of pain I was in. She explained that all the hard work had been done though and my lining was paper thin and high and she could feel babies head. I was also giving gas and air at this point, it made me feel a bit giddy and was a great distraction but definitely didn't ease anything. She asked how I felt about going home to progress further, I said I would rather that if I had to be alone, but with how the contractions feeling so constant, I just didn't feel like I could face getting back in the car. She then noticed as well in my notes a few weeks ago I was advised to go to triage due to bump measuring the same as the previous week (I was monitored and they were happy with me without scanning) and asked if I had a recent scan report which I didn't she then measured me again and it was still measuring the same so she had to speak to the Dr. 

We where left for a while so we assumed they had decided I should stay and it looked like it was fine that Matt was still there. Matt went and got all our bits from the car so he could start setting the scene in the room, dimming the lights, putting out battery tealights, spritzing relaxing room spray, playing generic yoga music. After a while the midwife came back and said that the Dr wanted me on labour ward once I was 4cm dilated for constant monitoring. This is something I stipulated that I only wanted if 100% necessary and would be best for me and baby, we said we needed to discuss it together and we used our BRAIN (Benefits, risks, alternatives, instinct, nothing) personally it was something neither of us were too worried about as my bump had been consistent and I think the measurement would have stalled due to baby dropping the week before and now that my waters had broken as well we decided that if it was necessary then we wanted a private room with a pool and wireless monitoring so I could stay moving (not that I was able to move much and in the end I didn't care about being in a pool haha!) whilst we were left and midwives changed over I throw up all over myself and the bed so this is when Matt changed me into my rather fetching nightie and it all felt very real. 


In many ways things are a bit hazy for me here as I was so much in a zone, time feels a bit like it went fast and slowed right down all at the same time. For a long time I stayed on the bed apart from if I felt I needed to go to the toilet with a lot of assistance from Matt the whole way. Because I was still in the MLU I wasn't allowed to use a pool whilst I was there as they still wanted me on the ward but at this point I didn't even think I would be able to get in or have it help me and I really didn't care. Luckily for us at the midwife change over they could see how we had set up the room and how I was progressing well and how it might be counter productive to move so without us really knowing one of my midwives kept holding out for us so in the end we didn't have to leave the room we had and I was never examined again to know how far a long I was in terms of cm which was great. We were pretty much left to labour alone unless we needed them and occasionally having a midwife come in and check baby's heart rate without me realising and all communication going through Matt (three things that were also on my birth preferences) this really helped to not disturb me and keep focus. Because I didn't have the pool, Matt ran me a bath and we were given portable gas and air so I could still puff away to my hearts content whilst having Matt swish water over me. I distinctly remember gas and air machine was making the wackiest noises that made it sound a bit like a saxophone and was making us both giggle, I also had my eye mask on so I couldn't see anything and the bright lights didn't put me off. I remember at one point being sat on the toilet, not being able to see anything but hearing people coming in and out to help with the bath and there I was just sat trying to go to the toilet, dignity completely goes out the window whilst labouring. 

I can't really remember if the bath helped at all but once I got out I started to projectile vomit again but Matt had cat like reflexes to catch it in a bowl - he had become quite the pro. I think it was a bit from experiencing particularly intense contractions and the g & a  making me woozy. It was shortly after this that I spoke to Matt and said I needed some pain management to help me get some rest because I was completely shattered from being awake and in agony for so long. He spoke to the midwives and they suggested some pethidine and that it would be good to administer it soon. I really wanted to be able to do the whole thing as naturally as I could but this was 100% the right thing for me to do. The pethidine basically knocked me out for 2 hours and I can't remember this whole period of time it allowed me to get a little bit of shut eye and some painless rest even though I was still contracting and progressing. Matt said this was one of the hardest parts for him as he could tell I was out of it but I still looked in pain and he couldn't do anything or speak to me. Apparently I was still chugging down on the gas and air during (even though I definitely didn't need it when I was as high as a kite) and he was too scared to take it away because of my vice like grip on it. I was so thankful for packing my lip balm as it really dries your mouth and lips up!


After the pethidine had worn off everything started to ramp up and Matt had noticed some changes so he called for the midwives who came in and had a quick look and remarked 'this is good, things are happening' and then left us to it again. When the time came and I was fully dilated and our baby was almost ready to come - I was still on my back and knew I wouldn't be able to birth her like this as I needed gravity to help me, but I was in extreme pain every move I made triggered it but eventually everyone helped me into a position on my front holding on to the back of the bed and this really didn't feel right for me either (I was sure this would be how I would give birth too!) I remember the whole time of the up stage before this thinking to myself  'I can't wait for the pushing stage, surely its going to be a cinch after this!' I'm glad I thought that to help me through, I found the pushing stage just as hard although it was though the shortest bit  at a couple of hours long. I can't really remember a sensation of feeling her coming down the birth canal like some people say they feel a bobbing sensation of up and down but I just felt a real pressure sensation.   

We could identify that I had hit the transition stage when I was saying things like 'I can't do this' (like I had a choice!) 'it's hard' (duh!) and 'i'm dying!' (dramatic, but I really did feel like that) I also was asking if it was too late to have more medication - I was doing it completely naturally now and had thrown away the gas and air because it was annoying me too much.The midwives got me up to lean against Matt but my legs were in too much pain and heavy feeling for that to work. I ended up on the floor with a bean bag against my back so that I was propped upright and leaning with Matt sat behind me rubbing my shoulders and talking to me. I had to be given antibiotics injected into my hand at midnight as it had been 24 hours since my waters breaking. Matt had taken a look and the midwives also told me that her head was right there. I didn't really believe them but I felt down and touched her hair which spurred me on. They got Matt's phone to show me as well and this was really surreal and out of body feeling - its funny as Matt thought he would be squeamish as well and I didn't think it would be something I would want to see happening to my own body either but that's all just forgotten in the moment. I had to be helped and coached to push but my midwives did it in such an empowering and supportive way which I just appreciated so much and really needed to help get her out as in the moment I felt like I had just completely forgotten what I needed to do and I was holding my breath to much and just generally doubting myself and feeling like I couldn't do it. I also felt like contractions had really slowed down and I wasn't able to feel them in the same way. Because of how long it was taking and to prevent me tearing too much I was given an episiotomy and then shortly after this I got in a groove and a second wind, with a few more panting pushes I gave birth to Willow at 3.15am 10/10/20. 

I still felt like I was tearing though whilst experiencing the famous ring of fire but mostly all north of my perineum... you honestly don't care in the moment as you're just so focused on getting your baby out and know you are so close to it happening. She came out making funny little noises but no crying until much later in the day. I always thought I'd cry when I saw and held her but I think I was too shell shocked and just so relieved. I will never forget the moment of seeing her for the first time though and seeing Matt's (who did the fair share of crying for the both of us) reaction to his daughter. Matt cut the cord as I watched. Those precious few minutes of holding her in my arms after all that hard work, being in agony but also feeling on top of the world was incredible (you really do feel like super woman) knowing we had made this perfect little girl. I birthed my placenta not too long after and I thought after giving birth I wouldn't even notice but it still felt really icky and bizarre! I really wanted to see it though and was pretty fascinated by it, that had kept our baby alive! Matt got to have his precious skin to skin with he whilst I was stitched up (ouch... kind of wish I had took up the gas and air again at this point) and I was told how internally bruised I was so I was really struggling to keep my legs apart at this point. I knew there would be blood, but I was still shocked by just how much. Whilst we were left and transferred to a larger family room, it all felt very surreal. time was already going so quickly in a blink of an eye she had already been earth side for 2 hours. After not eating for so long I started chowing down on jelly beans and when we finally got the famous NHS tea and toast it tasted like the best thing I had ever eaten.

We were lucky that we got five golden hours post birth, Matt stayed until 8am then I stayed with Willow until about 5pm then we were lucky enough to be able to go home. I probably managed a total of 20 minutes of sleep whilst Matt was still with us but after that it was pretty impossible to get any sleep as people were in and out every half hour or so to check on Willow (due to me having to have antibiotics) and helping me trying to get her to feed and changed, plus the adrenaline rush and wanting to look at my precious little girl was completely overriding the exhaustion.

The whole time during labour I was using my hypnobirthing techniques and Matt was continually reminding me and cheering me on. I was thinking over and saying the affirmations whether in my head or out loud 'Each surge brings me closer to my baby' 'Surges cannot be stronger then me as they are me' and 'My baby is the perfect size for my body' were some of my favourites. I was determined to stay calm (even if I didn't feel it but Matt and the Midwives after said we seemed very chilled) as I knew adrenaline would hinder me. I'm pretty sure I kept my eyes closed for most of the time as well. Even if a lot of the things I thought I would want didn't really happen like staying mobile, remaining upwards and forward, not wanting to be coached to push... everything that panned out was right for us and what was needed at the time to make it a very positive experience for us. I still can't quite believe I did it and it is something that will always make me very proud, I find it crazy how a body can go through so much trauma and pain yet come out on the other side with the most amazing gift.




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Baby Holland: The third trimester

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We officially have a fully cooked baby on board as 37 weeks is considered 'full term' and we're now at week 38 and knowing she could come at anytime so thought this was a good opportunity to get this last part written down before baby had landed! It's the oddest thing waiting for something so huge to happen but not knowing quiet how and when it will happen. The third trimester has certainly been interesting... for me the first trimester was definitely still the worst - although the third has lots more challenges to overcome and is hard in a whole different way. I've found the exhaustion from those first few months has truly returned but it's so much harder to sleep at night, trying to get comfortable, the multiple trips to the toilet mixed with the general feeling of feeling uncomfortable and very heavy all the time.

Symptoms
From about 28 weeks I was suffering with extreme lower back pain on the right side and I've never experienced anything quite like that before. I was so slow at walking even though I felt I had a little more energy at this period of time so it was definitely rubbing salt into the wound. I felt pain on every step and for about three weeks I winced every time I moved. I had been having normal aches and pains in my back for a while but this was agony. I tried various different things to help ease it, acupuncture, pregnancy massage and warm baths but it just didn't seem to help. I was also experiencing some night leg cramps in my right leg at this time too and the tightness and pain would stay in the leg for about 5 days and really exasperated all the aches on that side when I had to walk or move. Then suddenly one morning I just woke up and felt pretty much normal and could walk without pain and much faster. I'm unsure if maybe this was to do with my sciatica nerve or baby's position but I was so so happy to feel more myself again. 

I found myself getting fuller quicker as all my organs squished together as baby Holland grew in size. The last couple of weeks though annoyingly I'm finding I'm getting hungrier again (hoped my weight gain had seized by now wah!) and can eat more comfortably which I'm hoping means she has dropped/ partly engaged now getting - herself ready to be born but who knows maybe I've just turned into a little piggy again. I have been getting occasional fanny daggers (as lovely as they sound!) and feeling much more pressure down below in both my pelvis and bum which is also meant to suggest that she has dropped. 

Acid reflux (ew) touch wood I've not had awful indigestion or heartburn recently but for weeks I've had that burning post being sick type feeling in my throat/ chest and the only thing that seems to help it is chewing gum or having it in my mouth constantly. There's been quite a few occasions I had to fall asleep with it still in there and hoping it doesn't fall out of my mouth and get stuck in my hair or something during the night! I also made my throat hella sore by coughing when it was at it's worse and I noticed I had tonsil stones and kept trying to remove them with a cotton bud or clean finger again further scratching up my throat - so I suggest you don't do this!

I had my whooping cough vaccine and felt fine for a week then had a delayed reaction where my arm was so heavy, hurt to lift or move in certain angles and really unpleasant to sleep on this seemed to also last about 2-3 weeks and even now occasionally when I move it I'll feel that pain in my muscle. I've had my flu jab today so hoping I don't get a similar reaction and  also hope that bubba stays in a little longer so that the vaccine can work it's way into her blood stream too.  

Third trimester highlights
Firstly the main highlight for me is the fact that things started to feel all that bit more 'normal' and we were able to see people easier and catch up much more with family and friends.




4D Bonding Scan
This was probably one of my favourite days as we went to Columbia road flower market for the first time since lockdown before our scan in the morning and then after it we went to my parents for my Mums birthday and I spent the night and quality time with my Mum, Dad and Sister, so I have a really nice glowing feeling whenever I think of this day. My parent's treated us to a 4D bonding scan as they knew how upset and hard it had been for us not sharing the experience. Matt could attend and be by my side, holding my hand throughout. It was so special and knowing now how amazing and in-depth they are, even if Matt had been able to be at all my appointments and scans I would still definitely do a 4D private. Seeing your baby move in real time, reacting and to have video footage you can save is just really incredible. 

Baby shower
I might not of had the baby shower or gathering that I had imagined and I had to plan the majority of it whilst not knowing if or how it could go ahead. In an ideal world my Mum, Sister and some of my friends would have had a bigger input to make it a special day and surprise. We ended up having to do it in two halves having a few people who are family friends and Essex based as well as my Mum, Sister and best friend at my parent in laws garden for nibbles, nosecco, a couple of silly games and catching up after months of not seeing each other. We were super lucky with the weather (if not a bit too hot!) Then later on in the evening we had a few of my London based friends and my friend who travelled down from the Lake district over for the evening of cake, drinks, photos, games and chatting. I had been wavering between feeling like I didn't really want to do anything but Matt persuaded me that it would still be nice to celebrate and we got to share the whole day together which made it that much more special.

Change of scenery
Our first trip away since Lockdown and we found a beautiful secluded wood cabin in the middle of nowhere in a field on Air Bnb. We spent our time visiting the nearby Winchester, Matt found a cute quiet beach to sit in the sun for an afternoon and we went home via the New Forest to see the beautiful wild horses. It was so restorative to get away from our home and relax in such a calming setting, to escape our home after being stuck indoors for so long and to be away from London in general. We appreciated it that much more after not being able to do it for so long and hope to never take it for guaranteed again. 



Babymoon
We went on our last trip as a two at the beginning of this month. This time we found a lovely little shepherds hut in Kent on Canopy and stars. We were very lucky with the weather and managed some trips to some of our favourite Kent places like Margate, Botany Bay and Whitstable. On our last morning the owner of the hut took us on a short pregnancy friendly Llama trek through the woods, we also had a funny time to herd and get some rescued chickens back into a coop! It felt quite bitter sweet knowing that this was the last trip we would be taking just as Jaymie and Matt I think especially heightened after the year we've had and all the things missed out on.

Fake-versary
We celebrated our wedding anniversary a month early on 12th September as our very special delivery is due around the real date. We spent the morning in East London, looking around Broadway market, enjoying a coffee at Diddy's and some short walks through London fields and Clissold park before we picked up a cake as we treated ourselves to a beautiful coven bakery one (vegan spiced chai, so good) which we enjoyed with coffee at home. We exchanged some small presents, but this years real present is the biggest I probably will ever make or give hehe. 

The final countdown
We started re-watching our hypnobirthing course making sure to work moreon the relaxation techniques as due date approaches. I try to play a track every time I have a bath as well and when practicing some breathing techniques. I found when I did it early on it got me in such a good place with feeling positive and looking forward to the birth experience but as time creeps forward and the big day approaches I started feeling more wobbly about the unknown, I'm a mix of excited and nervous for our new life and the monumental change which I know is very normal too. I know I'm stronger then I believe, capable and have a body that has made and sustained our baby during pregnancy and was made to do this though!

We started doing perenial massage from 35 weeks, it's definitely not the sexiest or most seductive thing we've ever done together (I like to call it fingering with purpose haha!) it's recommended to help try stretch and build up more resilience so that when that crowning of the head happens hopefully it will prevent or not cause as much tearing. It's really helpful to help practice the down breathing and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles which I'm hoping will help me ease up during internal examinations as well as I know what I need to do mentally to make it not as unpleasant!

I've been drinking at least 2-3 cups of raspberry leaf tea for last few weeks and Matts picked up some packets of dates and pineapple (which is one of my favourite fruits anyways) all things which aren't necessarily meant to help bring on labour but are more to help soften the cervix and make it work more effectively during contractions in hopes for a shorter labour - even if it's only a placebo it's quite fun to do all these old wives tales, we will definitely be partaking in more of them!

Towards the end of September we are effectively self isolating, not seeing friends or family or going  into shops (only very late at night if needs be) etc, just to help eliminate being in close proximity to people and strangers whilst allowing us to really wind down, conserve energy and watching feel good movies.

When you find out your pregnant you have the whole pregnancy and 9 months ahead of you and I just couldn't imagine or think this far ahead at that early stage. This journey has zoomed by as has the year which I find strange as would have thought Covid, lockdown and the fact  we did so much less then we had planned or would have done. 

From about 35 weeks I have found myself worrying so much more about everything. Thinking every little thing is a sign of labour (constant sense of being on edge and on the lookout) wanting her to just be here now but also wondering if I'm ready, worried about our baby's health, our health - the rise in cases and more restrictions being added really doesn't help. I still can't really picture actually going into labour either (I guess because I've never experienced it before!) or delivering our baby and it's so strange. I thought by now I may have started to have stress dreams - I had these in the weeks leading up to our wedding but I haven't really dreamt that much about pregnancy or our baby (it would have been nice to have pictured her more and experience pleasant dreams about her though) especially during this trimester, I remember having very vivid and whacky dreams in the first and second tri. 


If you want to catch up on my first trimester and second trimester blog post click the titles. I found these types of diary posts really helpful and interesting when I found out I was pregnant and it's something I also wanted to get down for myself to look back on and remember all those little details. Not long to go now... if you follow me on Instagram you'll be able to catch up on more of these last few days/ weeks. 

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Baby Holland: The second trimester

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So I'm now currently 30 weeks (can you believe it?!) and a couple weeks into the 3rd trimester now. The second trimester has been a real mixed bag for me. In so many ways it's felt like it went by in a flash, even with the lack of structure, plans and being able to see loved ones for the majority.  I only just started working again at the weekends for the duration of July to ease me back in to the swing of things and reintegrate me in to some normality and social interaction, which has done me the world of good.




I touched on this a little bit in my first trimester post but I started noticing at about 13 weeks that I had the small starts of a bump and feel like I've been showing from fairly early on and not just feeling like it was just bloat anymore. I must admit I've struggled a bit with my changing body, it is both a pleasure seeing the way your bump gets bigger week by week to make space for your baby that you are growing and also be in awe of what an incredible and magical thing it is doing - but I've also found it hard to accept the way in which it is changing and it not really feeling all that familiar anymore. Comparing myself to other expectant Mums bodies, wondering if my bumps too big or not big enough, have I put too much weight on already, feeling guilty for not being active or exercising like I would normally. I really didn't expect to feel like that so it's been a pretty weird thing to navigate. I know this is such a trivial thing in the scheme of things because I'm very lucky to be experiencing pregnancy and it is such a pleasure and it really is a wonderful experience - it's even worth all the negative symptoms 100 times over.


It's been a struggle with clothes as well as whilst my body expanded and grew out of my wardrobe I wasn't able to browse shops or try anything on. It was okay to start with as majority of the time I was wearing sweats, pj bottoms and jumpers but as the weather got hotter and I wanted to start dressing nicer again and feeling more like myself -  I was getting to big for most my waistbands and most dresses. feeling very unattractive and frumpy the majority of the time. 




Emotional wreck

I've found my emotions and hormones have been way more off kilter and heightened in this trimester. I think in the first trimester I was just too happy with our news and letting it really sink in. I was still occupied with work, consumed by sickness, fatigue and worries of the pains I was experiencing. Whereas I've had so much more time with my thoughts, feelings and the added extra of everything else happening in the world that I've cried, sobbed, teared up at the drop of the hat (like really ugly cry) so much more and been worried and let anxiety in from things such as is our baby okay in there (even more so before feeling movements and the 20 week scan) will we be good parents, how will we save as much when baby comes along, when will we be able to move and find our ideal house, nobody cares about me, when will I see family and friends, about life post lockdown and how strange and alien everything will be. I keep thinking and reflecting about the things we have missed out on and will never get back and I even know this won't change anything and nothing I can do about it but it's still hard, being pregnant in a pandemic has been a bit of an experience.






Symptoms

From about 14-16 weeks I felt the nausea lift (hallelujah!) and one day just realised I felt normal and okay again with my appetite returning to wanting to stock up on vegetables, salads and get all my nutrients in which has been great but also from about 20 weeks I've had days were I just feel constantly hungry which is when growth spurts must be happening I assume?


I've felt more energy and been able to participate more in exercise and going for longer walks. I don't really think I've had that 'pregnancy glow' that is so famously mentioned... I think that one missed me but I must admit after feeling so rubbish for what felt like forever it was amazing to feel my personality come back and feel more alive again.




I have also started with the back and body pains, sharp round ligament twinges but it's nothing like I experienced at 9 weeks when we had to go A&E. Sleeping on my side has been interesting (I'm usually a tummy sleeper) I've been sleeping with a pregnancy pillow, a cushion between my legs and one usually wedged under my back/bum whilst on top of the duvet under a blanket as I find it easier as I am still tossing and turning (mostly trying to sleep on my left side though) a lot to find a comfortable position . Matt can barely get near me anymore...! I'm waking up most the time with hip, leg and bum pain so that's not been very pleasant. I feel I have become way more of a light sleeper, I guess preparing me for what is to come.


From 25 weeks I definitely could feel myself edging closer to the third trimester and starting to feel very fatigued once again.  I've also started working at weekends and every time I seem to have a busy day or couple of days (as they had been so few and far between for a long time)I feel a kind of hangover effect the following day where I think the overwhelm, build up of anxiety and being overstimulated really hits me and I seem to be low all day and really tired. Feeling occasional mild nausea, stomach cramps, bleeding gums and bleeding nose all these weird and wonderful things!




First Movements

23/05 the date I started to first feel our babies first movements also known as 'quickening' one of the most wonderful feelings and I will forever remember it. It was only a couple of days before my 20 week scan and I was starting to get more and more anxious that I hadn't felt anything definite and couldn't be sure if it has just been gas or my own heartbeat. Then on that Saturday evening I was just laying on the sofa watching ninja warrior (lockdown life for you!) and felt this gentle thud on my left side, followed shortly by little bubbles and a kind of ripple effect. I remember always thinking  how weird and alien it must be to feel something move within you but because it starts so gradually and builds up to becoming stronger and more intense that you get used to it. It really is something I look forward to and find so reassuring if not a little uncomfortable sometimes.



20 week scan

Just a couple of days after I started feeling movement I had my 20 week scan. My appointments from 16 weeks have been at Tottenham Hotspur football stadium! Unfortunately again I had to attend my appointment alone and Matt didn't get to be there for the special moment. Sadness about being alone and anxiety of what was to come (as it is a really important scan to see if baby has any abnormalities and all organs growing as expected etc) overshadowed any excitement at first. That was until I saw our little baby that was made by us move around on the screen and feeling corresponding kicks when prodded. I told the sonographer as soon as I got up on the bed that I wanted the gender to be written down so that I could share it with my Husband later on. The scan was so special, really in-depth and I left feeling on such a high.


We managed to be patient enough for about 8 hours without peeking at the gender so that in the evening we could take my notebook to the park with a little picnic and reveal the gender together, we face timed some family and celebrated.


And if you don't follow me on instagram or haven't seen well we're having a girl!




Fun stuff

Some of the things we've been enjoying doing this trimester is thinking of potential names, especially as we could fine tune after finding out the gender. We have a few on the agenda that we like the most and even one of our favourites is from when we first started dating and we said if we ever had a daughter then we would want to name her that (typically it's a pretty popular name this year...) but we are waiting until we meet her to make any decisions.




Buying things has been really fun, exciting and something we could share together. The majority of the times we popped into Sainsbury or Marks and Spencer we would head to the baby aisle and pick something up as this was pretty much the only option until 15th June when shops reopened and it doesn't feel quite the same purchasing things online (although we did order a few things too) We are all sorted with our big items like the next to me crib, travel system (some very kind gifts from my parent in laws) a little rocker chair, play mat etc.


We've started to nest and redecorate our spare room for her arrival. It's been painted a sage green colour, we've bought some of the new furniture, washed her clothes and stored them in drawers and we are awaiting new carpet. I can't wait to do the exciting part of finding prints, filling it with cute teddies, trinkets etc and that's definitely a less stressful part too.


One of my all time favourite things is having Matt be able to feel and see her movements, the way sometimes she will respond to touch and rubs or Matt speaking - sometimes when he's reading me a hypnobirthing relaxation and rests his hand on my stomach she will go crazy flipping around. The feel of her gentle hiccups pulsing in the same spot always makes me picture what she must look like experiencing them. 


I can't quite believe in about 2 months our lives will be so different and fuller, I'll try and update a third trimester post to be finished just before 40 weeks but we can never know how these things will go!



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