You guys are probably as shocked as I am about the fact that you’re reading [and I’m writing] a post about being pregnant but … alas, here we are! Guys … I AM PREGNANT! It still blows my mind. I still feel like there’s no way I could possibly be at this point in my life, that it’s my turn but, again, here we are, and while I’m absolutely terrified … this baby is already so deeply loved and I am beyond excited to finally have this news out there and to share this chapter in my life with all of you!
Okay, where do I even begin? I feel like we have so much to go over in this post and usually I know exactly how I want to beautifully divide up each topic but, today, I don’t know … I feel a bit overwhelmed, ha! Let’s start with the basics and then we’ll get into details …
I am 14 weeks and 6 days today and I am due March 8, 2021.
Now, on to everything else …
HOW / WHEN WE FOUND OUT
Let’s back up to the month of July. We had just moved into our new place. Boxes were everywhere. I was uploading YouTube videos keeping you guys in the loop on the move as well as continuing to keep the blog and IG stories updated. I was spending multiple hours a day researching, coordinating and managing the boys’ move to the UK on top of trying to get as many boxes unpacked as possible before they arrived. After welcoming them to their new ‘home’, I basically hit a bit of a wall. I remember telling you guys that, instead of writing and sharing the Friday Five, I was going to spend the day cuddling with the boys. I ended up sleeping a good majority of the day which I chocked up to me putting so much mental energy into getting the boys here and all that it had taken to get moved into our new place. I thought maybe the rest was just something my body needed. [For reference, this was Friday, July 10th]
Fast forward to the next week, and although I had had the energy to do quite a few normal things [picnic in the park with friends, going to get Botox and my nails done, etc], there was always an underlying feeling of fatigue. I was also losing motivation to tackle things I normally do / would. I would also get overwhelmed at the thought of new tasks. For example, John hated the lights that we had in our living and dining room areas in the new home. He mentioned that he’d like to get them switched out in a few weeks’ time [before we had people over for a small barbecue at ours] and I remember that was extremely overwhelming for me, which was weird because that’s not something that would normally overwhelm or annoy me. I think it was because 1. I knew that it was something that I’d need to spend time looking for and 2. I just barely had the energy to do normal tasks and get them done. This was when I started to think something weird was going on. I had also had a fleeting feeling of nausea one afternoon but it went away quickly so I brushed it off.
On Thursday [the 16th], I woke up extremely, extremely exhausted after sleeping 9 hours. I got up to go make coffee and I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I let the boys out, go to grab the oat milk, and had an overwhelming warmth rush over me and my eyesight started to feel super sensitive to light. I needed to lay down or I was going to pass out. So, I do and I told John how weird that was. This was when the thought of potentially being pregnant hit me but I truly doubted it so I just brushed it off. I think I was in denial.
It subsided and I try to push through. I go sit at the table in our living room, open my laptop to attempt to get some work done and I just … didn’t have any energy to entertain anything in front of me. I went in to the second bedroom, where John was working, and I just started crying really hard. Like, I haven’t cried like this in … a really long time. I told him that every day this week I have felt so off and unlike myself. I thought maybe it was because we were in a new place and I was struggling to adjust to this new life. I wasn’t exactly sure what was wrong. Normally, I’m someone who handles change very well so these feelings were so strange and out of the ordinary for me … which was confusing and frustrating. All I knew was that I was a mess and I didn’t know why and it was started to really affect me.
I told John that I’m either experiencing some sort of mild depression [I do not say this lightly] or I am pregnant. We didn’t have any pregnancy tests so John took me to get one. On the way, I remember thinking … there’s no way I’m pregnant. There’s absolutely no way but let’s just rule it out so I can at least know I might need to find a therapist to walk through how I’m feeling.
So, we get one that comes with two where you find out in 45 seconds. That’s perfect because I don’t wait well. I take it and I’m teaching myself what to look for. One line – not pregnant. Two lines [no matter how faint the second line is] – pregnant.
First line, very pink. And a faint second line.
I show it to John and ask him if I’m seeing things.
He agrees there is a line.
I leave it for five minutes, convinced it’ll go away.
I come back.
This can’t be right.
I tell John we are going back to the store because I need it to be more clear.
We get ClearBlue tests that say ‘pregnant’ or ‘not pregnant’, which take 3 minutes. They also say how far along you are up to 3 weeks.
For the record, three minutes feels like a lifetime when you’re extremely nervous you’re going to see the same result.
And I do.
PREGNANT, 3+ weeks.
John came in and I showed it to him. He looked at me, clearly shocked but trying to conceal his happiness while searching my face for any hint of how I feel, and I just started crying. He pulls me in to him, gives me the biggest bear hug, and assures me that everything is going to be okay. I was sad because I always imagined that I would be over-the-moon and extremely excited to find out I was pregnant and here I was overwhelmed with … fear … and not just of one thing but many.
I pulled away from John, composed myself a little and asked him how he felt about it and he was like ‘honestly? I know this wasn’t planned and it’s scary but this is the best news of 2020. I’m personally really excited!’. I hugged him again because, even though I was still really freaked out, I needed one of us to be excited. Buried deep down, I knew that this was exciting news. I just had a lot I needed to process before really getting to that emotion.
DISCLAIMER: Pregnancy can be such a happy topic but it can also be a very sensitive topic and, while I may not do this perfectly, I want to do my best to be respectful to those whose experiences were different to mine. With that said, I don’t want to withhold my honest experience because I do believe that sharing your experience can help someone else out there feel less alone. When it comes to family planning, fertility, conception, pregnancy, postpartum, miscarriage, etc., there are so many out there looking to find other people who have had similar experiences because they are topics we typically aren’t super open about unless it’s extremely positive. So, please know … my honesty isn’t meant to be insensitive. My heart truly goes out to anyone who is currently struggling to conceive. Please know it is NOT lost on me how difficult conceiving a child is for so many and that the beautiful blessing I am carrying is something so many are hoping to celebrate for themselves one day. While fear was my first initial reaction, it does not mean that I never made it to the feelings of gratitude. I talk more about this later.
I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE ALL WONDERING: HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
I know you guys know the answer to this question. We all know how babies are made. But, I’m sure you’re wondering how this happened and why it happened when … [I know you’re all thinking it] … John and I aren’t married. In the UK, marriage isn’t seen as a necessary precursor to starting a family with someone and I know there are many in the States that feel the same way. However, traditionally speaking, many people do. In my mind, I always thought I’d get married before I had kids. I’ll get more into this eventually but, let me just answer the question from a more literal standpoint first.
Truthfully, when I came to the UK, I only brought one months’ worth of my birth control with me because I fully expected to go back to the States at the end of March and refill my prescription. That would give me three months’ worth to use and plenty of time to get in to my new general practitioner [my GP, as they are called here] to get a new prescription through the NHS [the UK’s health system]. But … Covid had other plans.
When I ran out and realized I wasn’t going back to the States to fill said prescription, I could have gone to a GP in Fleet, where we were living prior to our move to London. That was available to me but, remember, this was in the height of Covid — back in April. At the time, we were encouraged to stay home as much as possible and there was a lot of talk about not overwhelming the NHS so I decided to hold off. We were careful especially around certain times of the month in between my period. However, clearly … there was some room for improvement in the ‘careful interventions’ we were putting in place for birth control, ha, because yeah … sometime in June, we conceived a baby. It feels weird to be so open about this part of my life and I think that’s more than enough. I’m going to leave it there.
MY FIRST TRIMESTER EXPERIENCE
Gosh, where do I even begin? I feel like I have so much to share.
First, I guess I’ll say … I was VERY naive to what the experience of the first trimester of pregnancy would be like. I knew it could involve morning sickness but, as the term insinuates, I thought that was something that subsided [I can hear almost everyone whose been pregnant before laughing]. I also knew it was a very sensitive time as the risk for miscarriage is at its highest so I knew that pregnancies are typically kept quiet until you reached your second trimester. That was literally my only understanding of it. [Remember, it’s been over ten years since I learned about it in nursing school] I had seen plenty of fellow bloggers share their big pregnancy news and I literally had no idea because they were able to hide it so well on their instagram and stories, taking trips, and staying just as present online as they normally do, etc.
So, my experience kind of threw me.
In hindsight, I think it should be said that I have a lot to be thankful for. There were many things I did not experience that would probably have made it worse but, for me, this experience was tough.
When we first found out, I was very lost and very overwhelmed. So many thoughts … so many questions …
‘How far along am I?’
‘When was my last period?’
‘Is this really happening? I’m not ready’
‘Am I really equipped to do this? To be a parent?’
‘Who am I supposed to make an appointment with here? I don’t have a general practitioner let alone an OB.’
‘I always thought I’d have a baby after I got married. Oh my gosh, people are going to be so judgmental & nasty.’ [sadly, this is the one that felt the heaviest]
‘This house is wonderful but this isn’t where I would have picked if I knew we were pregnant.’
‘When am I due?’
‘How am I going to do this?’
‘I never imagined that this would be how my story unfolded.’
‘I want my Mom.’
‘Is this a dream?’
‘I thought I’d own a home before I had a baby with plenty of room. This home is wonderful but there’s not a room for a nursery.’
‘What do I do next?’
‘Does this mean I won’t be able to travel anymore? I am going to miss traveling!’
‘I still need my Dad on the phone when I go see an insurance person and when I buy a car. I essentially still need someone to parent me sometimes. How in the world am I going to be responsible for parenting someone else?’
‘How could I let this happen?’
‘This is not how I imagined this moment was going to look.’
‘John and I have only been together for a year and a half. He IS my future husband. I know he is. I don’t doubt anything about us but, I thought we’d have more one-on-one time together making memories together before we had kids.’
‘Oh my gosh, I got Botox the other day not-to-mention I had a little too much wine on multiple occasions lately.’
‘I’m hungry. I’ll make a sandwich. Wait … cold cuts. I feel like I’ve heard that’s not allowed. What are the rules?!?’
You get the picture. AND YOU GUYS KNOW I’M A CONTROL FREAK … A PLANNER. This was Earth-shattering for someone like me.
With all of this so heavy on my mind and heart, I basically unraveled and had a meltdown. ** hello hormones!! ** I’ve always been someone who has to let their emotions out. I can’t just tuck them away and ignore them. I have to talk things out and, once I have, the load feels so much lighter. Thankfully, John is such a great support and I have such great friends who just let me get it all out and offered so much amazing insight that is sometimes hard to get to when you’re emotionally and mentally overwhelmed.
So, clearly emotional and a bit moody were two of my symptoms, hah!
Aside from that, I had the lightheadedness and nausea in the mornings for two or so weeks. Glad that didn’t last the whole time.
My sense of smell became extremely sensitive. We had mold develop in our master bathroom at this time and I could literally smell it even if the door was closed. I also could barely handle the smell of the boys. They don’t smell terrible by any stretch but, there was something about their smell that I could almost not handle. Thank goodness they’re cute or else I wouldn’t have been able to be around them!
My taste for things also changed. John brought me an iced honey latte in bed a few mornings after we found out and I turned my nose up at it after taking a sip. It just didn’t do it for me and you know it takes SOMETHING BIG for me to say that. I love my iced honey latte’s! The next day, John was making himself a coffee, and I couldn’t handle the smell! I was never so glad that he typically prefers tea over coffee, ha! I also couldn’t handle red meat. I found this out when we went to a really nice Brazilian steakhouse for John’s birthday. I typically love steak but I took one bite of mine and was so turned off by it. It was the strangest thing! Thankfully, that was the extent of my aversions. Bread was really all I wanted. I basically wanted avocado toast or pasta for every single meal.
One thing I didn’t mind was how big my boobs were becoming! I never thought my A-cups had it in them but they grew and they became really sore. The soreness isn’t fun but I do kind of love having a fuller bust for a change! I will say, though … it did pose as an issue as time went on and I had zero energy and needed new bras but, thankfully, I’ve gotten that taken care of now that I’m in my second trimester, ha!
The most difficult aspect of my first trimester was how fatigued I was and how I had a complete lack of energy and / or interest in doing literally anything but, most especially, what I love to do – which is my job! [Again, this might not seem like a big deal to others and I realized that vomiting in the toilet everyday might very well be ‘worse’ but, let’s just remember, to each their own.] I mean … I literally would wake up, after sleeping ten hours, and not be able to keep my eyes open. I would go from the bed to the couch and wanted to stay horizontal as much as possible. It was the only position I felt safe, unless I had a plate full of pasta in front of me, in which case I could somehow sit upright.
At first, I thought, you know what … I can do this. I am knitting together a human. My body is doing hard work. I can slow down. I can take some time off. The sacrifice is worth it. And, as the weeks went by, I still believed those things. They weren’t lost on me AND … it was still hard. I began to worry about whether this level of fatigue and energy loss was normal. I searched for it on blogs everywhere and couldn’t find anyone whose experience was similar. Another week goes by and I start feeling like this has to be getting pretty obvious now because, literally … everyday, I don’t have the energy to ‘pull myself together’. There was no energy to give to putting makeup on, showing up on stories, or even getting back to emails some days. When I did have energy, I wanted to give it to John or the small community of people I have here in London. That’s what I did and I felt like I was honoring the energy I have by giving it to them AND it was still hard. What I do for a living is a passion of mine and I missed it. I missed the connection that I have with you guys. I missed finding and sharing things I love. I missed … myself.
A month of this, day after day, went by and I started feeling like this can’t be normal. I knew being fatigued is normal but … like, this fatigued? I literally slept 85% of the day. Other pregnant women still have to show up for work and I am only able to get blog posts up, which is just a very small portion of my job. I’m willing to take time off but I started to become concerned that I could potentially have perinatal depression. I literally had no interest in the things that normally brought me joy. In the UK, pregnancies are led by midwives, by and large, through the NHS. I had spoken with one during my registration appointment and she kindly directed me to a mental health telephone line to speak with someone but I really wanted to meet with an OB. I wanted confirmation that the pregnancy was viable [because I got in my head about not having heard the heartbeat at this point, either; this was around week 11?] and also needed someone to tell me if this level of fatigue was normal.
Thankfully, a friend of mine here in the UK knew of an OB that she couldn’t say nicer things about so, I made an appointment and jumped for joy [figuratively] when I only had to wait a day to see her. You guys …. this woman was an actual angel. She was so kind, so engaged, and – honestly – so motherly … and I think I just really needed that. When you don’t have your Mom to go through this with, there’s just something that your heart is really yearning for and I didn’t really realize that until I started talking to her. I literally just unraveled again. I cried and cried and cried. She validated every one of my fears and promised me that … even though ‘I feel like a shell of myself’ right now …. it will pass and I will get back to her. She was like ‘darling, you have taken on three out of four of life’s biggest changes and taken them all on within six months of each other and, with Covid on top of that, I would be worried if you weren’t a little overwhelmed and mentally exhausted’. She encouraged me to be good to myself, to listen to what my body needs, and to allow myself to step away from what normally consumes my everyday mental space because this is a big change and it’s important to really allow yourself to feel and process the weight of that in order to enjoy the baby when he or she is here. She also encouraged me to continue to lean on the supportive community of women I have around me here in London and beyond because life isn’t meant to be lived alone [and pregnancies, she said, can be especially hard on women who don’t have their mothers or who have strained relationships with their mother] and she was happy to know I wasn’t closing myself off from them.
Y’all … she cost a pretty penny to go and see but what I left with was absolutely priceless. My soul needed to hear everything she said. Moreover, she recommended a wonderful psychotherapist, who specializes in perinatal and postpartum mental health, to speak with just to be sure. Of course, I ended up speaking with the therapist the week that the fog started to lift. We had an hour and a half slot booked and she pretty much only needed half of that amount of time to basically confirm what the OB told me, which was very comforting as her rationale made complete sense.
I started to feel more myself around week thirteen. I slowly started to notice that I didn’t need as much sleep as I did before and I started to feel a little more motivated each day. This was also the week I had my first ultrasound, which is called the Harmony Test here in the UK [tests for genetic disorders and the sex of the baby through bloodwork and an ultrasound]. For anyone who lives in the UK, this was done privately – not through the NHS. I don’t want to confuse anyone. I had my first ultrasound through the NHS the following week [last week].
John was not able to go to either ultrasound. At the Harmony test, I got to see the baby for the first time and – as a visual person – it all just became super real! I tried to keep it together and did a pretty decent job but, oh my gosh, it was so emotional. I was shocked at how big he or she was – maybe it was just the screen, maybe it was zoomed in but wow! It looked like a little human. It’s like you know what your body is growing … but you don’t really know until you see it. It was so cool! My sonographer was great. He confirmed that he or she was measuring just fine and everything looked great. I asked if he could refrain from disclosing the sex, if he was able to tell as it can be difficult to be certain at this stage, because I couldn’t bare the thought of finding out without John. We get the paperwork next week and have some fun plans on how we’ll find out and reveal it to you guys!
Earlier this week, I had my NHS scan and the sonographer took even more measurements and gave me an exact prediction on how far along I am and when I’m due, which I shared in the beginning. I was really only four days off my original prediction, which was March 12, 2020. That was actually such a good day because she told me I was exactly 14 weeks and had made it into my second trimester!
HALLELUJAH! I MADE IT!
While those two moments were so exciting, I will say it was really heartbreaking that John couldn’t have that experience with me and for himself. It’s just as exciting for the Dad’s and I wish he could have been there. Of course, I understand it’s a hard decision hospitals have to implement right now but, it doesn’t mean it isn’t sad.
Speaking of John, here I am talking about all of these things that have been hard about pregnancy … I need to sing this man’s praises because, honestly, I am beyond blessed to have him in this with me. He has been the absolute best – dealing with my moods like a champ, helping keep the house clean when all I can do is sleep, making sure I have anything and everything that I need, cooking every meal, etc. He has gone above and beyond and I feel so so so fortunate. This baby and I are incredibly lucky. He is going to be such an amazing Dad!
WHY I’VE BEEN QUIET
I think it goes without saying as to why I didn’t share the news sooner but I hope that sharing my first trimester experience explains why I’ve been so absent on stories and inconsistent here on the blog.
Like everyone else, 2020 has been a doozy. My life – personally and professionally – looks night and day different. While so much of my reality today is what I was yearning for a year ago does not make the changes any easier to handle when it feels like you’re drinking from a firehose. Regardless, it’s important to keep your perspective in check during times like this. I remember I used to really lean on a quote I heard one time and it gave me a lot of peace: “It all is the way it should be”. During these uncertain and overwhelming times, I know God is at work. And I know because there have been so many times in my life where I have felt sad about how life was unfolding because I didn’t see the blessing that was coming. Then, when the blessing comes, no matter how long it takes to present itself, it all makes sense.
“He makes everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
I think I’ve needed a year like 2020. While all of these changes are happening at once, and it does feel like a lot to process, I know this is part of what will make the blessings that are on the horizon feel that much sweeter. I needed to slow down, honor these changes, mourn my old life, mourn the way I thought mine and John’s story would unfold, and allow myself to just be away from what would otherwise distract me.
That doesn’t mean it wasn’t difficult. I don’t do sitting still well, ha! But it was necessary.
And, oh my gosh, I missed you guys! I value you so much and I enjoy sharing myself with you all so much that it has felt very strange to not feel like sharing stuff with you. Let’s be honest — this platform was built on me sharing myself with you and keeping quiet about this and taking time away [all for good reason] … has probably been one of the hardest chapters of my professional career. Sounds dramatic but I am VERY tied to you all and I felt really sad without having y’all in my life. That connection that I love so much as a Peacemaker was missing and I couldn’t wait for this day … when I could FINALLY make it make sense as to where I was and what was going on! And, let me tell you … it feels freeing.
I feel like I’ve come to so many revelations and I’m finally entering into my most exciting part of this pregnancy.
• I realize that my feelings are valid. There’s no ONE way to feel when you find out you’re pregnant. It’s also okay for you and your partner to feel different things. Just be there for each other.
• Almost every woman has some level of fear when they find out they’re pregnant. Babies change everything! But you learn to adapt and meeting your baby makes it all melt away … so I’ve been told!
• There’s also no one way for a family to be born. While I may have envisioned being married before having a baby, sometimes … variety is the spice of life and it doesn’t mean marriage isn’t in our future. While there’s beauty in traditional timelines, there is beauty in untraditional ones, too. We’re in the age of modern families so, while the control freak in me has been triggered, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with my story.
• I realize that things could ALWAYS be worse so, count the blessings in front of you. My baby is healthy. My partner is supportive, not going anywhere, and in love with me and this baby. This could have been the hardest part of my pregnancy and, if that’s the case, I’ve done well and should be proud of myself. I will VERY MUCH be okay.
• I’ve always said ‘the best is yet to come’ and here I am sitting in one of those moments I knew was going to be ‘the best’ in life that I couldn’t wait ‘to come’ … it’s time to start enjoying it.
• It’s okay to take time to mourn that life you have lived up until this point. It’s okay to be sad that it won’t ever look like that again AND to simultaneously be happy that there are so many good and sweet things on the horizon. Those two feelings can simultaneously exist.
And oh my gosh – it feels so good to finally have it all out there! I’m not sure what you’d like to see pertaining to pregnancy. When I was single, I never swiped up on a pregnancy blog post so I totally get it if it doesn’t interest you whatsoever! I’m going to try to stick to non-maternity clothes if I can help it but, I am a little nervous about styling the bump – not going to lie! If you have any tips – leave them below! I’d also LOVE any ‘must-have’ pregnancy or baby items! I’m all ears! I literally feel so lost in a lot of ways still but, yeah, I’ll try not to overwhelm you guys with baby stuff – except I will have a little first trimester must-have’s post and I’ll be answering your questions for me pertaining to pregnancy in tomorrow’s post! Leave them below! But, after that, I promise – it’ll be back to style focused content! Love y’all! xo.