I've been a little bit busy as you can see. I am 17 weeks pregnant (we had a scan a few weeks ago to confirm it wasn't a big bowl of porridge in there after all ) and I'm happy to say my second trimester is proving much better than my first.
This blog will take a little shift as I can't help but talk about the things that I'm doing or interested in so I apologize in advance as posts may get increasingly candid as pregnancy holds rare words that you wouldn't find in regular conversation, e.g. swollen breasts, itchy nipples, discharge (shudders).
I've got a lot to share but there's two things that always hold me back, you may have experienced this yourself:
1. I'm worried something is going to go horribly wrong with my pregnancy and I'll lose the baby - I had all the same feelings with Alexiia and so I didn't share anything. Plus I had a miscarriage a number of years ago.
2. I have a lot to share! Which means I can waffle on, seamlessly jumping from one subject to another and you'll probably hate reading my posts because you'll be scratching your head wondering what the heck I'm talking about. Yeah I'm that kind of annoying friend.
However, the another part of me says, 'just write and press post because let's face it, only my sister will read this (or pretend to) so it's ok'.
The First Trimester = hell
I can't help but compare pregnancies, it's my guide as to what's 'normal' or what's different this time round.
When I was pregnant with Alexiia, I felt nauseous and experienced sickness from 8 to 13/14 weeks. I was sick whilst we were in Iceland about 3 times. After making a trip to the bathroom, I would eat a few bites of a cookie, sip water and carry on. We had an active trip and thankfully it didn't ruin our plans, I was still able to enjoy our time out there. It just meant I had to eat little and often.
Nausea continued when we came home for a few weeks but I was able to keep it at bay with crackers, oat cookies, ginger sweets and biscuits, Wheetabix, plain meals, smaller portions and long walks. Pretty standard.
Is Pregnacare making me sick?!
This pregnancy, I decided to take Vitabiotics Pregnacare and I took them from when I was 5 weeks pregnant. Last pregnancy, I took Terra Nova's Prenatal Vitamins all the way through. I wanted to start taking the prenatal supplements right away so before work I dived into Holland and Barrett and bought (as it's quoted), the 'UK's No.1 pregnancy supplement brand'.
From 5 weeks, I spent most of my time in the bathroom. It didn't matter if it was 4pm or 4am, I was sick all day, everyday. Not only was I puking but I had all the symptoms of a weekend in Bangkok; constant headaches, nausea, shaking, going between hot and cold, back pain and lack of energy. It got to the point where I was sick countless times a day and I wondered if I was impending some sort of doom or perhaps it was all a life test.
I missed Alexiia's school play - twice. One occasion spending half of the play throwing up in the school car park, then shown to the toilet in reception by a lovely woman, and the next opportunity to see the play I was crawling to the bathroom looking like that girl from The Ring. This first trimester was really messing up my life. I tried hard to carry on as usual, in between work commitments and Alexiia but I felt like I was failing miserably. I realized I was at a real low point when I was wondering whether to set up camp at 2am in my bathroom or not.
No amount of 'morning sickness remedies' helped and I was so desperate, I tried everything. I also kept a food diary to see if I could find any triggers but it didn't matter what I ate, it would come back up.
When I started seeing the Pregnacare tablets come back up, I would take another because I wanted to absorb the vitamins for the baby. Oh, how stupid I was.
After an eventful 6/7 weeks, it finally dawned on me that it might be the pregnancy supplements that was actually causing me to be ill.
In the early morning of Christmas eve, I woke up feeling somewhat normal, like my usual self, not ill for a change. I knew it might not last long but it felt so good, like a visit from an old friend. I actually fancied a cup of coffee and so I made one, sat down in the dark and sipped away. I was thinking I should have something to eat and have my vitamins but when I went to the kitchen, I wasn't hungry and I put the packet of Pregnacare away.
We were travelling to see family for a Christmas meal that day. I was dreading everything from the drive (sick bag at the ready and travel bands on), the meal (I hope the bathroom is nearby) and having conversation with family (I've been studying toilets a lot recently, how's things with you?).
Surprisingly, the drive wasn't that bad. I felt a little car sick but nothing like what I had been experiencing, I ate most of the 3 course meal and I got to enjoy hanging out with family - sick free! What on earth had the past month and a half been all about?! It was so good feeling like my old self again, it made me realize how ill I actually was.
When I arrived home, I happily threw the Pregnacare tablets away. I took folic acid for a week whilst I was waiting for my trusty Terra Nova Prenatal Tablets to arrive in the post.
From that day of waving bye to those tablets, I would say I've been feeling pretty similar to how I felt being pregnant with Alexiia and I'm just so glad I stopped taking them. I'm sure there are women out there that have had no trouble with that brand of prenatal supplements but it unfortunately they didn't agree with me. I Googled to see if any other women experienced what I did and there were quite a few that did. Some women were taking it in their second and third trimester still experiencing all those horrid side effects.
In a weird way, not that I would wish any of that on anyone, reading their experiences made me feel like I wasn't alone and going crazy.
Nausea continued for a bit after coming off Pregnacare but it was all the same as when I had Alexiia. Nothing like the Pregnacare episode!
To any woman experiencing first trimester hell or issues with Pregnacare, hang in there! You will get through this and if you're unsure about the supplements you're taking, have a chat to your midwife or GP.
For me, support was my biggest comfort. I carefully told some of my friends what was going on and how I was actually feeling, anticipating hate or rolling of the eyes, and instead I was met with lashings of support, love and understanding. One of my friends popped by with an emergency anti-sickness kit containing several herbal teas, supplements and travel bands. At the time, I personally felt like she should have brought over a Priest for an exorcism.
Our first scan just after Christmas revealed I was a week ahead than they calculated and so far, baby is healthy - phew! Seeing bubba moving and drinking on that screen put me at so much ease. It was like the past 2 months of hell just melted off of me right there.
Since having Alexiia I learnt that behind every woman is an array of experiences and strength. This experience made me more grateful, compassionate and amazed by what women can handle. I'm also amazed at my selective memory - first trimester hell?? Alexiia came out Supergirl style ffs and my bits looked like a tropical plant left on the M1!
On that note, let's call that a wrap. We can chat about itchy nipples later.