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The journey begins ..

And there it was, plain to see, something you always fear seeing throughout your teenage years. I don’t even think mystic meg could have prepared me well enough for seeing them Two blue lines. Fate was sealed. Holy shit. I’m pregnant. As if picking up the test from my small local village chemist without the local butcher, baker and hop maker seeing wasn’t a mission enough! I never thought I’d think it but Thank god the ‘genuine leather’ bumbag my father had donated to me for dog walking was big enough to host and conceal the alien purchase. It was like carrying the ring of mordor around with me!

My first thoughts, utter shock and the echoing of my mothers voice down my ear “you better not get pregnant, you’ve got your whole life ahead of you”. Christ, I’m 29 and yet in that moment I felt like a little school girl again. Crapping my pants for fear of rejection and hearing my mothers voice as if I’d been sent a Howler by the very own Mrs Weasley! It’s an odd feeling to be thrust back in time over something so present and momentous.

In the moment I remembered once with a past partner, I thought I was pregnant…. In fact his man member had barely skimmed the surface of my inner thigh on a whistle stop tour but extreme paranoia and the resounding sound of your mothers commands does strange things to the mind! Luckily for me though the immaculate conception theory was proven wrong. At least the sexual health clinic had a laugh on me that day.

So back to the moment, I didn’t feel elated nor distressed but just open mouthed and unable to process the information. If any of you have seen the clip from Me, Myself and Irene where Jim Carey takes his tablets and gets severe Cotton mouth– this is is exactly what I was experiencing. A saliva drout. A severe and brutal lack of moisture in my mouth and an inability to stop pacing round the garden like a resident nuthouse inmate. When something as big as this is not expected or planned your mind goes into overdrive some things rational.. Is it ok? What will partner say? How will it affect me? How will my body cope? ..and perhaps the not so rational.. If I squeeze when having a poo will I push the baby out by mistake too? Shit, I downed a huge gin fishbowl last weekend will the kid come out with gin fins! The torrent of emotion is like no other.

So, my partner gets to find out on his birthday, lucky lad. The three pissy sticks and an undying thirst for a rhubarb gin later they all get stuffed into a birthday card with the words “this is a birthday you’re never going to forget” . Sweet right?? Problem was, he didn’t understand what the reading meant. I mean I’d understand if it read NOT PREGNANT on the stick.. Then I’d be the odd one for pissing on a stick and presenting it as a gift to treasure. But three sticks in situ, you would think the lad would have a minor inkling. Note to self: next time wrap with instructions.

He was happy. Especially because he got to test out the new local Turkish cuisine to facilitate his birthday/happy eggo day celebrations. Maybe I was just odd to have my feelings trussed up in limbo. See for women, we’re plunged into a quarry of emotions almost as soon as that bastard smiley face appears on the stick. Where as men have it good for at least another 8 months in a blissful state of baby ignorance.

Until all the moaning kicks in….

The Babymoon

I’m currently away enjoying the aptly named “baby moon”.. aka the calm before the storm! We chose Skiathos through numerous recommendations, one of the smaller Greek islands, a quiet and relaxing little getaway for the two of us and the resident stomach dweller.

We are having a fabulous time escaping from the day to day routines of life. It’s nice to actually spend time with my partner without the pressure of work and the smell of London grime on him! The simple pleasures of lounging in bed, enjoying the breakfast spread (whilst not having to lift a finger to either prepare or clean away!) but most of all soaking up some rays of the golden stuff whilst on a beach – this is what I’m talking about! The only thing missing from the picture is a cocktail or two, month 5 out of 9 of the involuntary detox. Christmas is going to be a big mulled wine blur …

I treated myself to some new swimwear in preparation as I couldn’t bear to bare all- Tesco sale rail – brilliant bargains to be had! Letting my partner observe my ever expanding life boat is one thing but I definitely didn’t feel ready for a wider multinational audience! Especially considering some of the Greek Goddesses that were strutting around with thong in ass and a tight knit waists! Goodbye bikini hello the cozzie! They are a wonderful body mask right up until the point where you need the loo and with the whole ‘I can’t hold my bladder’ saga continuing, it dawned on me quite early the challenge of peeing with a costume on. It took me back to my uni days when I was wearing a jumpsuit and you literally had to strip naked in the club bogs in order to relieve yourself. Putting it on the right way and zipping it up whilst filled from top to toe with cocktails and sambuca and trying to avoid making skin contact with the sticky walls and floor is no easy task let me tell you!

We decided to rent out a speed boat for the day and go and check out the surrounding islands and beaches – all sounds very romantic and idealistic and it was except two things… I’m pretty sure the baby will exit the womb and be a champion bucking bronco the way it was being scrambled out on the open ocean. Secondly and much more embarrassingly..Relieving myself, the plights of costume/jumpsuit peeing had come back to haunt me all over again!

So the number 1’s I could deal with. Just a quick dip into the sea once docked and let it flow, no big deal. We had dropped anchor at a gorgeous picturesque little island which not only looked stunning but it also had facilities. Brilliant I thought. After an hour or so of soaking up the glorious scenes, a number 2 wanted to make an appearance and the panic set in. I swam the 15 metres or so to the shore getting slightly hot and bothered over the imminent and speedy arrival but trying to keep my cool. Having survived the swim to shore without popping I commenced the walk along the beach towards some huts, only realising half way how jeffing hot the sand was and that the souls of my feet were on fire! I was literally baking a loaf in 3 independent biological departments: bum, tum and trotters! I began desperately hip hopping in and out of peoples umberallas apologising profusely as I went, I must have resembled something like this: Click here! Anyway, two hurdling jumps away from the finish line and I got far too hasty thinking I was bloody Usain Bolt and landed in the lap of an elderly couple! Red raw with embarrassment and still trying to hold in my unwanted guest, I bumbled a Mr Bean style sorry and made for a swift exit with my final destination in sight. Well, the bog was far from desirable! I mean I didn’t expect a sanctuary containing a golden seat of relief but Christ, no lock on the door, no visible bum fodder but also no water in the loo?? A bucket outside and an exposed cistern were all the clues I was provided with. Now I’m by no means a thick person but in my delirious poo focused state I literally couldn’t put two and two together. There was no way I was facing the embarrassment of leaving behind any parcels in the pan in fear there was a growing queue outside. A very likely scenario with the amount of time I’d spent flapping around in the blasted hut wishing I’d have listened to dad on one of his childhood tutorials on how to plumb a toilet! All this time and my ticking time bomb was not getting any slower, I really bloody regretted trying that odd pasta souflet with cold cut egg in, you know, that well known dish 🤔, it wanted out! Having slowly subsided to the idea that my shit may have to come out au naturel, minus the assistance and comforts of the modern lavvy, I made a runner. I decided the best route home was to swim the length of the beach to avoid scolding my feet any further only I didn’t appreciate how far it was or how unfit I had become in my 29 years of no formal endurance exercise. Tears were forming at the sight of the boat still being about 30 metres away from my failing and stiffening body that was desperately still trying to hold in the blasted shit and stay afloat. After what felt like hours, I alerted my partner with a cry for help and a statement about my wilting limbs and he hauled me out of the water. Whilst he was having a jolly old time snorkelling and bathing I had undertaken the biggest physical endurance test to date since being eggo and still hadn’t been alleviated of my ailment 30 mins from when my epic journey commenced!

My only remaining viable option was to deposit in the deep blue. We arrived at a spot where there was no one in sight except a few boats and lodging seagulls in the far distance. Safe and alone at last and at one with nature ..only I hate the open ocean. Still what I was facing bowel wise was much worse. I hung off the side of the boat and there we found ourselves in an awkward human seasaw, him holding one arm whilst my other is shanking my costume to the side to gracelessly allow the goods to pass, bobbing up and down on our little sea voyager. Never, NEVER have I ever felt either so vulnerable or mortified. Between worrying about crapping down the side of the boat, getting my arse bitten off by jaws and thinking about them poor people on the boats if they were sight seeing with binoculars, it was the swiftest deposit and run I’d ever undertaken. To top it off we saw the contents of my bowel float by the side of the boat. To Sir David Attenborough, a whole new aquatic species for you to research. The whole experience brought a whole new meaning to dropping the kids off at the pool but the torture had finally ceased after about 45 mins of inhuman suffering.

Lessons learnt on holiday:

  • When you wear a partially netted costume, apply lotion where the holes are or you end up with odd crop field markings on your belly, which when tanned look like your partner has thrown a few heavies your way.
  • Empty the contents of your bowel in hotel before embarking on a sea voyage to avoid prolonged biological torture and emotional distress. A deep blue poo must only ever be a one time experience.
  • Teach future baby how to plumb a toilet for them occasional emergency situations.
  • Don’t think you’re a champion athlete capable of partaking in a multi stage, sequential aquatic and land endurance discipline. You’re not.
  • Thinking about doing the Mobot having completed the sand hop challenge is not acceptable in any given circumstance.
  • Don’t eat intriguing hotel pasta souflet with cold cut egg. The aftermath is not worth it.
  • At least warm up unborn baby on a power plate before fully scrambling it on a choppy open sea.
  • Try to find your zen zone when hanging your arse off the side of a boat in the middle of ocean. Control your overactive imagination.
  • Never go anywhere without your trusty genuine leather Dog Walking bumbag😂

Happy holidays!!

The scans

I am a chronic overthinker by nature meaning my pregnancy has been filled with an abundance of ‘what ifs’.

What if I just don’t feel maternal?

What if it’s not ok?

What if I’m not ready for a baby yet.

We booked an early scan, at 9 weeks, because of the neurotic state I found myself in at times and just to prove something was actually brewing away in there. I would quite easily say up until this point I was in a state of denial, not quite accepting what was happening despite feeling like I was level pegging with the dead.

We rocked up to the clinic in my partners new toy – his blue ken doll convertible MG ..Christ..🙈 (which I had almost emptied the entire contents of my bladder in) carrying with me a torrent of nerves and anxious emotions. It was a very surreal experience. The first time I saw its little heart beat.. I felt it. The connection that I’m sure a good majority of women feel from the start. It took for me to see the little bundle squirming around and the beating of its heart to fully accept that this whole experience is real and not someone else’s story. I was quite shocked at how fairly well formed it was even at that young age. Ok, it had paddles for feet and arms and an odd little alien head but the basics were there. I was happy. Happy it was ok, happy I had felt a connection to it. Happy it was happening. The best bit though was when the sonographer identified the biggest fart ready and waiting to be released….bloody hell I had been clipping that one in for the last 15 mins or so! Whoever would have known I’d be busted via ultrasound.. whoever scanned it planned it though right? Seriously my jokes are not my strong point.

In between this scan and the 12 week standard NHS scan I had reverted back to the denial stage so I was grateful to be able to see a live feed of the little beastie once again. However, the sonographer this time unlike the previous lady, was quite cold and whether consciously or not very unemotional towards us. If we hadn’t have seen the baby first time round I would have been quite upset that our first meeting was of a lady shouting a bunch of meaningless measurements of it. We even had to ask at the end whether everything seemed ok. Bloods were taken for the combined tests that we had opted for and that was that. All quite a clinical experience. Still, a reassurance that it was doing well and I hadn’t consumed too many Yorkshire teas and scared it away.

At 16 weeks we had yet another private scan done to find out the gender…EEEEEEKKKKK!!! It turned out to be a little earlier than planned only because I was a little concerned about some discolouration I had – all turned out ok and only me probably being a flappyanski again!

So ….. Filly Or Fella?!?

I wasn’t bothered at all. I had a strong feeling it was a filly at the start but then wavered at the end and had a thought it was a fella… My partner was set on it being a lad, but then every dad wants a team of lads for his mini fantasy footie team! Between family and friends it was a 50/50 split…

This was the verdict:

Having instantly clapped my hawk eyes on the mini man jewels I was waiting for the penny to drop for my partner … only it didn’t … you couldn’t have got a clearer shot, ok it was only about 4mm at the time but we had a zoomed in shot of between the legs of the little pogo stick! When he finally realised he was literally clicking his heels all the way out the clinic to Nando’s!

Next up we have the 20 week scan and for a heads up for all them worry wart mummy vessels out there…. the 20 weeks scan is also formally known as the Foetal Anomaly Scan!!

An entirely NORMAL and procedural scan!!

Early Symptoms

So as a women, I somehow feel I should naturally be equipped to deal with anything that this mad stomach dwelling beastie throws at me. Aided by One Born Every Minute, films like Knocked Up and of course a little help from Google – I feel I should be ready and armed with the most exaggerated stories of pregnancy then surely mine can’t be quite as bad.

Truth is there is no method in the madness.

Building a mini human is one amazing feat. True.

Everyone experiences differering symptoms. True.

People that say they enjoy pregnancy? Gotta be a bullshit right? Or at least for the first few months anyway!

The nausea & exhaustion:

Is indescribable. It’s like having your head in a continuous hangover cloud. I don’t even think 5 shots of tequila, 2 dirty pints, a few rounds of ring of fire and a strawpedo of wine consumed at uni would put me on a fair playing field as pregnancy nausea. I would take drinking a shot from the dirtiest pan in the kitchen at uni than taking a nausea battering and trust me that’s no easy feat considering the way my student life was conducted.

It’s like doing the stay awake at school as a kid and pretending to be functioning well to your peers and friends to look cool and tough but all you wanna do is curl up in a ball and wish you were back at home staring at your glow in the dark stars on the ceiling. If only life were that simple!

You gain irrational hatred for even the simplest of tasks – chopping Garlic. Simple task no question. It was like I had been asked to prepare a Michelin star meal. The mini tantrum going on in my mind was unreal. I had reverted back to a 3 year old self in protest, all over a bastard clove of Garlic. I’ll never look a garlic bulb in the same way again.

Exhaustion was probably one of my hardest early pregnancy challenges.

Peeing:

I mean, pre pregnancy I was always partial to a toilet trip. If nothing else but to squeeze every last drop out so I can enjoy a glass of gin and orange that bit longer without interruption! As a kid I always loved going to see other people’s thrones – quite an odd fascination considering. What is it about the lavvy that kids get so magnetised towards?

Pregnancy peeing has taken new extremes.

I have become accustomed to peeing in the wilderness – don’t worry I don’t work in an office and actively opt for the local park rhododendron for a pee.. my work is outdoors. Meaning, yet again, my genuine leather and beautifully crafted Dog Walking bumbag can now play host to toilet roll and savlon. Toilet roll for the obvious and savlon for when you get caught by the bastard sneaky nettles in an area you were so sure you had scaled and deemed as a threat free zone. Savlon helps soothe the pain on your little lady sandwich.

Sneezing and laughing. Never an issue and yet in pregnancy never so often have a peed myself during these activities.

I recently visited home for dad’s 60th. I was designated a simple task.. get the desserts out the packaging and place on the table. Now, I can’t take full blame for this, my auntie was also party to the downfall of the Citroen tart. Out of the box it came, straightforward. Next it had to come out of the tin foil, again a slightly intoxicated version of myself could still achieve this. But what did baby brain think was the wisest idea? To flip it upside down supporting the whole tart with only 5 finger tips and give it a shake. By the time it was served up there was only a biscuit base to feast your eyes on. The lemon counterpart had long departed and was dispensed on the side in a suspect looking pile. The laughter was uncontrollable, probably only fully appreciated in the moment, but we were in stitches. All well and good until pee seepage got the better of me and I whaled with both hilarity and shock that “Christ I’ve just wet myself!” Thankfully my family and I all find it oddly natural to discuss toilet habits.

Whilst I’m at it – constipation. Jesus. The one little segment you do manage to shit out after a full weeks gorging is like the golden nugget that you want to worship forever. There’s no quick cure in my opinion for this, drink until you’re flooded inside out and eat fruit like it was a kinder bueno. Want the toy? Each the chocolate at pace. Want a shit? Eat fruit at pace. The concept is simple.

Still after all this I don’t think I can quite commit to panty liners. They will forever and always remind me of rummaging through my grandmas cupboard when I first started my periods in search of anything that will help stem my embarrassing monthly woman de- shedding. Reaching out for help was not my forte!

Nipples:

Something I had never really paid attention to, except perhaps for them odd stray hairs that sometimes have the audacity to rear their ugly heads.

Pregnant nipples are a whole new ball game.

Not only do they expand beyond what is seemingly possible and resemble a Mc Donald’s McMuffin but they also develop lumps and bumps that even the blind would be able to interpret. I mean I know they’re going through some stuff at the moment but I’ve even thought about naming them and drafting a dot to dot puzzle they’re taking that much of a front Seat!

I also have one, namely the right, which has decided to shed a layer of skin. Christ I’m a human not a bloody reptile. What on Earth is all that about!? If it was a caterpillar into butterfly scenario perhaps I would endorse it, but I can’t see my nipple metamorphosing into anything more than just a milking udder. Shame really.

The worst, however, is the pain. The slightest touch or drying of the towel would trigger an instantaneous yelp of “shit me!”

Talking of towels, I went to Italy for my brother in laws wedding a couple of weekends ago. My beautifully wonderful mother in law asked if I was going to breast feed. I answered, if I am able then yes of course I would definitely breast feed. The simple response was advice I will never forget “well I would start roughing them up now. Take a rough towel to them after your shower to get them prepared”. Well I don’t think I’ve ever been so mortified and amused all at the same time. What a comment! Brilliant. I mean I’m all for preparation is the key to success but turning my nipples into pumice stones may well just tip me over the edge. That little theory is going to remain untested.

In the end, every woman experiences pregnancy differently. For me, I think I got away with it all pretty lightly. I still went about my day to day with minor hinderance but even I needed a little bit of support and this came in the form of my wonderful friends and mum. See you can read all sorts on the internet about every symptom under the sun and whilst it does help you understand the physical changes, it was having those that are closest to me for reassurance and emotional support that pulled me through the most. So my best advice is accept what is happening to you, listen to your wonderful friends and family and don’t be afraid to indulge in a siesta whenever and wherever you need one. Sleep is also a hell of a cure.

Pregnancy is a wonderful thing, so long as you remember your body will constantly be howling a big FUCK YOU at you! Pregnant woman with symptoms no matter how minor or jeffing awful, I salute you all.