At the moment, I don’t really feel pregnant. I don’t feel sick, I don’t feel tired. I don’t have any physical evidence that I am ‘with child’ except for three peed-on sticks hidden in my dresser drawer. I have to get those sticks out and look at them every couple of days just to reassure myself that I am not making this whole thing up.
I’ve had a few symptoms. At about 4 weeks I had a few dizzy spells over a couple of days and felt really tired. At about 4.5 weeks my boobs felt weird and heavy for a day or two. I’ve been smelling stuff a lot more vividly than usual. I also went through a few days of experiencing desperate, insatiable hunger. But now I’m at 5.5 weeks, all those symptoms have gone! Poof! I think it’s quite common for women to feel totally normal at this point in pregnancy (and I didn’t throw up once when I was pregnant with my son) but it’s making me feel really fraudulent!
Unsurprisingly, I’m also already catastrophising. What if I have a missed miscarriage? What if the screening results are bad? What if I get cancer while I’m pregnant? (Yep, honestly, my brain went there already.) Now, I know these thoughts are likely to be because my hormones are out of whack and my anxiety is up and my brain’s trying to scramble for control over a situation I can’t really control. I also know that they’re not that crazy – lots of people have thoughts like this in early pregnancy. I was spiralling out of control worrying about things earlier today, and I just told myself: Stop. If something bad happens, you will deal with it. Until then, you don’t need to do anything at all. Sounds obvious – to cross a bridge only when you come to it – but sometimes my overactive imagination needs reminding that it is only that: imagination. Not reality.
I’ve decided to have a Harmony test, which screens for Trisomy disorders (Downs, Edwards and Patau Syndrome), at around 10 or 11 weeks. Last pregnancy we had one at 14 weeks, after receiving ‘low risk’ odds on the NHS that didn’t actually seem all that low to us (about 1:1000). We found it extremely reassuring to have the more accurate screening test done, and we have decided that this time we would like it done as early as possible. My mind has obviously already gone to: What if it’s a positive result? But… Bridges. Cross when you come to them, yes?
Struggling to hide my pregnancy from the in-laws who I live with. For those who haven’t read earlier in the blog, my husband and I and our son have bought a house jointly with some of his relatives, so we are living in a four-generation household. At the moment we are all sharing a kitchen and meals together, which means I am frequently being offered wine that I have to turn down! It also means that my in-laws bore witness to my ravenous phase a few days ago, and are probably also noticing my heightened anxiety around kitchen cleanliness (I’ve got a bit of a fear of getting food poisoning while pregnant). I think my mother-in-law may already have guessed. We are considering telling them soon, just because trying to hide it from people we live with is an added stress. And also because I think it’s important not to keep the first trimester a total secret: if something went wrong I wouldn’t want to grieve in silence.
In between all the worries and the wonderings, though, it’s been magical to just take the odd minute to rest my hand low on my belly and think about all the amazing biology going on down there. To envisage the first scan in a few weeks’ time. To imagine being heavily pregnant again. To run baby names through my head, and to imagine my son’s face the first time he meets his baby sibling. I’ve been crying over pregnancy announcements on YouTube – such a good way to waste time on the internet! – and wondering how we might tell our loved ones about this burgeoning new life. Happy times to come – fingers crossed.