Pregnancy // My First Trimester Diary

January 06, 2019

This is a pretty long post, I wanted to write everything down that happened over each fortnight along with how I was feeling throughout and the things that helped/hindered during that important first trimester. It's such an incredible stage for the key first development of your baby from a tiny little poppy seed sized embryo to a plum sized fetus with a placenta that your body has grown too by the end of it. Luckily for me it went fairly quickly and then all of a sudden I was 1/3 of the way through already! I'm sure I'll want to look back on this time and I'm sure there will be lots that I'd forget if I hadn't written it down. Such a special time and now that this first trimester is out the way and we saw the baby kicking it's little legs around on a screen, it feels so real. I just want time to slow down all of a sudden, as with the upcoming more frequent medical appointments and things to think about soon like hypnobirthing/nursery planning/pregnancy pillows to keep me laying the right way at night, I'm sure this next stage is going to fly by!

// Week 4. 
Baby is as big as a poppyseed.

Up until I got the positive test, I kind of refused to believe any symptoms of that cycle. I felt like in the months before, I’d had a mix of everything which turned out to be negative so I really wasn’t expecting a positive. The first few months that we were trying though had the pill to come out of my system. The third month, before this positive cycle, had no symptoms at all. So in hindsight, this month’s signals were very real and not just confused hormones. A few things I noticed in the dreaded ‘two week wait’;  I was really thirsty and hot at night. I had wild, vivid nightmares. I had two very strong, definite implantation cramps that took my breath away. I can remember the exact time that this happened! I felt tearful and I guess looking back, not as angry as I'd usually be in the usual build up to my period. 

After getting the positive test, and feeling so so elated and like all my dreams had come true. But after this, it kind of felt like a little bit of an anticlimax as I didn’t particularly feel pregnant at that stage. I woke up feeling slightly hungrier than usual and had waves of tiredness that would hit, my breasts/nipples had changed but weren't sore yet, I had a few twinges around my uterus but I was kind of worried that I had no symptoms. And felt a bit anxious about the next 8 weeks ahead until the official scan. What if the baby just fades away. Would I even know?! A big part of me just wanted real symptoms or a bump with a moving baby to know this is real and happening. I just focused on looking after myself during the early stages. Making sure I ate really well, got enough sleep and switched my pre conception vitamins over to these Wild Nutrition food grown pregnancy supplements and started taking their omegas too for healthy brain development in a baby. 

I loved that first month as you're only actually 2 'real' weeks pregnant but as the hospital dates it from the first day of your last period, you actually get to skip 2 weeks and become 4 weeks pregnant! It felt like some board game, here's a card to advance by 2 weeks {and don't pass go}... 

I booked a doctors appointment to confirm the pregnancy and get the booking in appointment arranged. But other than that, I felt like I just had to wait for the next 8 weeks. Luckily it was the run up to Christmas which I was sure would go quickly. It was fun going to our first appointment together. The first appointment is at your local GP surgery and you just go in and say 'Hi, I'm pregnant!'. They don't ask you to do another test, they just take details of your last period to work out a rough due date and then they just brief you on all the things you shouldn't eat, vitamins to take and ask about your job to make sure you'll be ok to carry on with things. They asked about exercise and luckily said I can continue with most things I'd been used to doing already but to avoid some of the hardcore HIIT classes and to be aware that my muscles will start to relax so not overstretch/be careful basically. I had to fill in a form to get booked in with the midwife and then waited for the booking in appointment to come through the post. 


Week 6 

Baby is as big as a sweet pea! 

Around the 6th week, the nausea sure did kick in. A symptom that I’d kind of wanted in those first two weeks to prove I was actually pregnant quickly made me regret that wish. I felt like I had this curse following me. Whatever I’d eaten the day before/that week just made me feel so queasy and like I could never think about eating that again - even now when editing this blog post, if I think about fajitas or slow cooked beef ragu that we had, I want to barf. It’s weird because normally when you feel sick, you don’t want to eat but I found that my sickness was worse when I was hungry. It was just a challenge to know what to eat to feel better. And I was kind of scared to eat things I normally loved in case I’d curse them! Breakfast and lunch were particularly grim for me. Despite not actually ever being sick, all the healthy things I normally loved made me gag {the amount of times I spat out my green smoothie or vitamins when trying to swallow them!}. Beige food quickly became my friend. I started to feel a bit tired at this stage too and had a cold that took longer to shift - which apparently is quite common at this stage, and I quickly realised how little you can take for colds when pregnant, and even high doses of vitamin C which I'd usually use aren't recommended.

My sense of smell went through the roof and I could barely open our fridge door without gagging. We'd grown all of these squashes to use through the Autumn but I didn't want to eat any squash or anything remotely healthy. Also, I never realised just how many food photos you see on instagram until I felt sick and didn’t want to see ANY. Boak. Skip. Not today thanks. Even going round to my parents I couldn't deal with some of their kitchen smells, and walking near my Mum wearing perfume was too much! 

I felt pleased in a way though as feeling sick is a good sign HCG hormone wise. Statistically, feeling sick can mean a reduced rate of miscarriage. But of course, don't worry if you don't feel sick at all. And I know so many women have it a lot, lot worse than I did.

We went to Norfolk for a long weekend {this post} around this time and I felt so sick and tired for that whole weekend! Even now, looking back at it - although the weekend itself was so lovely, I only have sick feeling memories about it! 


Week 8

Baby is as big as a raspberry! 

I just cried at a Boots Christmas advert. Real tears coming down my face. ‘This is what it means to be pregnant’ I told Ben. Him shaking his head at me 😂. See also the John Lewis advert, which wasn't even that sad this year, and anything with the slightest hint of emotion like an advert on the radio!  

Around this time we had our first hospital appointment with our midwife for the 8 week booking in appointment. Ben came with me to this, I love how he doesn't want to miss a thing. It was a long appointment, I think an hour and a half? We met our lovely local midwife Geraldine who seems really lovely and should be there for all of our appointments and then they go through a huge questionnaire asking everything from your background to your husband's family history to your height/weight to whether you smoke/drink, to whether you're ok mentally {they asked me about my previous eating disorders} and can keep a closer eye on you if you need, to which hospital you want to give birth in to whether you'd accept a blood transfusion etc etc. It's really detailed and then you have a set of blood tests before coming home with your huge green folder of pregnancy notes! You're meant to take these with you if you'll be away from home from now on, and to all future appointments. This felt really exciting getting our notes and definitely made it all feel more real. It was also the day that we got our Christmas tree so felt extra special.

The 7th and 8th week went by really fast as I was so crazy with work projects and shoots around Black Friday and pre Christmas. It flew by, and took my mind off the sickness, but definitely made me feel even more tired. Around this time, my boobs starting to ache so badly. I hadn't experienced it yet although knew it was a common early symptom for most people. 

// a note on exercise.

Over this time, I slowed down with exercise. In fact pretty much from the minute I found out, I cut out my usual weekly HIIT class as felt it was probably a bit too intense. I still carried on with running whenever I felt awake enough in the morning {mornings were tough to get up most days!} which made me feel amazing and gave me a real buzz. But often I'd go for days without running which was unusual for me. I kept going to my two pilates classes a week, one of them reformer, but I dropped down a level from the advanced mat to regular to focus more on the quality of the movement rather than a workout. I have a lordotic spine which I know will get worse with pregnancy so need to focus on keeping my core and back strong. I also tried to go to one spin/box class a week to keep my cardio up. I cut down on my ab work as from the 2nd trimester in particular this can create a problem called diastatis recti which can be really problematic later on post-birth. Around my 2nd trimester I'll move into the pregnancy pilates class and unfortunately have to give up my reformer classes when I can no longer lay on my back or front anymore. I still focused on getting a minimum of 10,000 steps each day - even if this was all I did - as I really wanted to keep active and know how beneficial walking, and getting outside is for me for so many reasons. I hope to keep running for a while longer although I'm definitely a lot slower, and hill running makes me feel SO unfit {I think it's because I'm more out of breath generally as my body is producing more oxygen for the baby} and so I definitely don't mind how much I walk. I've cut down on my route length too, focusing on just getting out there and listening to music to feel good and maintain fitness rather than breaking any records. 


Week 9
Baby is as big as a cherry!

A couple of big things happened this week. We went to Boston! Which I had been feeling a bit apprehensive about in case I would feel really tired/sick out there and it was my first time travelling far away from home. In the end, it was great and I actually felt really good out there, especially as all I wanted to eat was red meat {hello cheeseburgers and American meatballs...} I was definitely tired but that was partly jet lag as well so had lots of early nights. But also, I got a letter through from my blood test results saying that I'm one of the 15% of people who have Rhesus Negative blood. This means that if my baby has positive blood, I'll need Anti D injections throughout pregnancy and labour to stop my body making antibodies against the baby. There's still a chance the baby could have the same blood type in which case it would be fine, but I think I'd still need the injections in labour to stop anything happening to future pregnancies. At first, I cried my eyes out to Ben, and called my Mum, when reading the letter and the leaflets attached, especially with some of the risks they warn you about, but in time I've got my head around it and realised that a lot of women have it and with the injections, it should all be fine. I have a green card to carry around in case of any trauma where my blood and the babies could mix. I think around 16 weeks I'll have the test to check the baby's blood type. Not a huge deal but just one of those things you'd rather not have when I'd been told that everything else was looking low risk for my pregnancy. Again, the boob and nipple pain continued to be real!

// Food 

Over this whole time, the cravings had really kicked in. The nausea definitely got a little better for a week or so, although then came back with a vengeance in week 10/11. But I was feeling a lot more hungry at this point. A few things I was craving badly;

  • Cheese. Give me allll the cheese pretty much all day long.
  • Wotsits {something I'd never normally eat but suddenly wanted a minimum of 1 bag a day, a few times I literally wolfed down 2 back to back. My friend Carolyn joked that the baby would come out orange}.
  • Sausage rolls {again, I hadn't eaten a sausage roll in YEARS, probably since before my eating disorder which put me off pastry, but all of a sudden all I wanted to eat were sausage rolls! Mmn so good. My husband actually took photos of me going into Gregg's one day to send to my family and laugh at as it was so unlike me}. The M&S ones were the best and I went from not eating one a year to having to stop myself eating more than one per day.
  • Red meat {all I wanted to eat was meatballs, especially in Boston, or cheeseburgers, or bolognese. I think it might have had something to do with iron?}
  • Silverskin pickled onions {I went through a few jars in one week}
  • Kidney beans. The only healthy thing on this list.

I just went with these cravings, I haven't stopped myself eating anything that I fancied really and knew that it was an important time to be eating well and as much as I could {without going crazy of course, that old eating for two thing is a myth}. But I didn't want to deny myself something that my body, I guess, was telling me that it needed/wanted. It was really good for me to stop feeling guilty too around food, which is something I have suffered with in the past, and to just accept this change and being healthy to support this growing baby.

Weirdly, I went off ice cream. Which is SO unlike me. And the aforementioned vegetables. I found that when I liked a dinner, I inhaled it and found it to be the best thing I'd ever eaten as I was just so happy to have found something I liked. Luckily I really loved stir-fries so felt glad to have at least one healthy dinner I could still stomach! I was just relying so much on the vitamins I was taking to hope I was getting just about enough nutrition. And tried to eat 3 portions of fish each week for the baby's brain development. It was tough to plan out my meals for the week though like I'd usually do with a food shop and my poor husband was just resigned to saying 'whatever you can stomach for dinner' rather than choosing what he wanted. I didn't even want to eat out which was so unlike me. Normally I'm always planning the next meal/deciding where we'll go at the weekend but I couldn't bear the thought of going anywhere. We did go to The Ivy around week 8 as had a voucher to use but I realised it was a big mistake and came home feeling like I was going to be sick :(. I was still extra thirsty throughout this time too.

// Nightmares

Another thing throughout all of these weeks were the nightmares that I had every single night. The vivid dreams, and quite frankly awful nightmares {although none baby related/or that made me fear pregnancy/birth}, were a common occurrence. Every morning as I woke up, Ben would ask how I was and I'd say 'had awful dreams and my throat feels dry'. Every single morning! I also woke up at least once in the night to have to pee, and then drink a huge glass of water, around 4am, which I'd never done before. I never had to go to bed at say 7pm that I'd heard some women do from tiredness, but I definitely felt more lethargic in the days and if I sat down to do some emails or something, couldn't peel myself back off the sofa. I'd just be stuck in this scrolling through my phone, I can't be bothered to do anything, phase. I felt lazy but as a few people reminded me, I was growing a human!

Over this time we told a few more close friends and it was SO good to have them to talk to about everything. I'm going to write a whole separate post about the 'to tell/not tell' debate for the first 12 weeks about our thoughts on this and what we did/who we told from early on and why we felt this was so valuable.

- In the first few weeks of finding out, I wanted to immerse myself in reading. I read Mother of Daughter's book How To Grow a Baby, my Mum bought me this pregnancy day by day guide, and I had Henrietta Norton's Wild Nutrition Pregnancy book given to me by a friend. These were all really great. Although I remember being fascinated by the nutrition guide, and the way that epi-genetics {the things you do when the baby is in the womb} can play a huge role in the way your baby develops, one week and vowing to do everything it said, but then the following week the sickness kicked in and I kind of had to force it out of my mind as I just couldn't stomach any of that and didn't want to make myself feel bad. I need to pick the books back up now I'm into the second stage.
- Each week I found the Bump website, here, really useful and accurate along with both the Ovia Pregnancy app and the Pregnancy + app {which has amazing photos of scans each week/size comparisons}. My Mum followed along with these too and would say each week 'how's my little raspberry doing' which was super cute. The way that the baby doubles in weight each week is so cool, and just a marvel when you think about it.
- I took these Wild Nutrition supplements, both the food grown prenatal and the Pure Strength Omega 3, which meant 7 tablets in total a day and cost a pretty penny each month but I felt like this was really important to me. They're all food grown nutrients which again, was important. Especially the folic acid, there's been studies recently about folic acid and the fact you should have natural food grown folate rather than synthetic folic acid.
- I loved finding inspiring pregnancy/birth instagram accounts to follow and a local friend Em runs a Hypnobirthing course which we look forward to booking later in the day but in the meantime loved her mindful instagram posts here along with the guides that she's developed with other experts in nutrition etc called Mamahood & Me. I'd really recommend these.
- Along with loving and wanting to educate myself so much on natural birth - the Modern Midwife's instagram account to learn about oxytocin etc - grateful for my friend Faye also so much for introducing me to all of these fab accounts after going through pregnancy a year before we did and for me messaging her so much in those first few weeks about everything.
- I also loved podcasts' like Giovanna Fletcher's Happy Mum Happy Baby series and the Parenthood series.
- I started watching Emma Willis' series called Delivering Babies. I wasn't overly thinking about birth at this point as we still have a long way to go, and I don't want to stress/worry too soon, but I know when the time comes for starting to think about that in a few weeks that we'll definitely do Hypnobirthing and keep hearing amazing things. I'm avoiding One Born Every Minute as have heard it's a bit dramatised??

// Weeks 10-12

Baby is as big as a strawberry {week 10}, a lime {week 11} and a plum {week 12}! 

In this time, my boobs definitely grew even more, I really need to book to get re-measured I think. This is definitely TMI but a common symptom nonetheless, I had a lot more discharge than normal - which is totally normal. And I had a few more twinges around my lower tummy on each side, I guess things stretching. Sneezing is the worst, I think it's called round ligament pain and makes me go all funny! 

But mainly over the past couple of weeks I've felt ok {still a little sick but not as bad}, and we were just counting down to our first scan. We booked a private scan as part of the Harmony test at the Portland Hospital in London. It's a non-invasive prenatal screening blood test, which analyses the DNA in your blood from the baby and gives a strong indication {around 99% accurate} of the risk of your baby having a chromosomal abnormality like Down's Syndrome/Edwards amongst others. This was fairly pricey but we figured in the scheme of things that it was something we wanted to pay for and were super impressed with the service offered. It also meant we could have our first scan privately, which made it alll the more special, having that luxury kind of treatment and a gorgeous sonographer with high tech equipment that gave us so much time. I must admit that I felt sick with nerves before our first scan, so scared of discovering a missed miscarriage. But we went in and I was greased up with the ultrasound gel and there was our baby with such a strong heartbeat! I had tears falling down my face, it was more incredible than I ever could have imagined. I think as well because I had been so fearful, I hadn't had a chance to think about what it would be like if there was indeed a baby there. To see them kicking around as well, and doing this cute cross over thing with their legs, was the icing on the cake. My husband couldn't take his eyes off the screen. It was the best thing we have ever experienced and seen, I'm tearing up again just thinking about that morning. The photos and images were so amazingly clear too. Then we had the blood test, and specified that we didn't want to find out the gender. A lot of people take the test as it's the earliest you can find out the gender, but we hadn't decided at that point so figured it was better not to know at this stage. Will share more about this soon. A few days later we got an email to say that the blood test results were back and I again felt all the nerves when calling to receive them. Luckily we were told that everything is low risk. We'll still have the NHS nuchal screening tests in addition. 

The first scan actually pushed my due date forward by a few days too which was nice to know I was a bit further along than we first thought. Ben and I then went around London for a little Christmassy date and felt fit to bursting all day with happiness and excitement. We also finalised our name choices that afternoon too, but that's for another post.

Unfortunately, our local NHS hospital that would normally do the 12 week dating scan is unprecedentedly busy so has passed me onto another hospital for the scan! {which will be the hospital where I'll have the baby}, and then with the Christmas bank holidays, they can't see me until I'll almost be 14 weeks just after Christmas. I felt a little anxious about how over stretched they are, and if they're that busy with scans now, will that mean that they won't have any spare beds when I'm due in the summer?! But for now I'm just so glad we had the Portland scan already to feel reassured and now can't wait until that next one to see the baby again. I wish there was a way you could just lift up your jumper and check in on them in there whenever you felt like it!

And that's where we're up to right now as I write this, at 12 weeks, just before Christmas! I've had lots of stretching/aching kind of pains around my tummy this week, it definitely feels like I'm ready to expand and I guess the muscles have to start accommodating that. We've just gone on a babymoon {this post} and having my first maternity spa treatment was heavenly. Mostly my sickness has gone, and I'm ok with eating most things - definitely still off lots of healthy stuff though :/ and as long as I get a sausage roll every day and a good night's sleep, I'm happy!

Will share lots more soon including some things that have really helped in pregnancy so far and now that I'm moving into the second trimester, have started thinking about oils to rub into my growing tummy - so far I'm loving and have heard great things about Elemis' camellia oil which is what Victoria Beckham used throughout - if it's good enough for VB!. I'd love to hear your thoughts, if you had similar experiences? - will share a photo on Instagram today that will be easier to comment on.

R <3 xx 

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  1. Another amazingly insightful and honest post. Thanks Rebecca xxxx

  2. First time poster here, although I've loved your blog for years and have drooled over your beautiful homes so many times!

    I just wanted to congratulate you and your husband on your pregnancy, and thank you for writing so honestly and thoroughly about it. I know that some people might be put off as they might only read for the DIY content, but I love that you're writing about this aspect of your life too. As a mum of two young children (aged 6 and 3) myself, I must admit that I'm also really looking forward to seeing what solutions you come up with for making your home a fun, safe place for your baby while also keeping it somewhere you and your husband think is beautiful! (My own solution is to have as much attractive storage as I
    can so that toys can be hidden away at the end of the day, and to modify children's furniture as much as possible so that it fits in with the style of our existing furniture. For example, I painted a set of drawers from Ikea in F&B Downpipe and added castors and a stained, oiled wooden surface to make a functional yet attractive LEGO / drawing table. My children love it, and I love that it isn't made of bright plastic! :-D I can't wait to see your ideas!)

    Some of the things you've described from your pregnancy are already very much like my own - I was SO anxious both times (especially early on, while waiting for the test results and anomaly scan) as I just wanted my babies to be healthy (they were, thankfully). And just wanting to EAT, despite feeling incredibly sick, definitely rings a bell! (I found that chewing sugar-free spearmint gum helped with the nausea a bit.)

    I also wanted to congratulate you for having such a healthy attitude towards food during your pregnancy, despite having dealt with eating disorders in the past. Gaining weight and watching your body change can be stressful enough for any pregnant woman, let alone one who has previously struggled with food. You should feel really proud of yourself for how far you've come, and for being able to discuss such a sensitive subject.

    Take care - I hope you and your baby continue to have a healthy, happy pregnancy. xxx

    PS. I know it's still a way off, but I had a water birth with my daughter (second baby) and it really was lovely (despite the extreme pain, of course!). I think being in the water definitely helped to speed things up, plus being able to move around easily in the water and twist my body into a more comfortable position was SO good! I'd wanted a water birth with my son too, but unfortunately he was overdue and I had to be induced, then have an episiotomy and ventouse assistance. I felt upset about my first labour for a long time as it didn't go as I'd hoped for - however, I learned to get past the negative feelings and am just SO grateful that my son was delivered safely. So, in the same way that it's the marriage not the wedding that's important, it really is the baby that matters, not the birth. Things don't always go to plan but, ultimately, as long as you and your baby are safe, that's all that matters. xxx


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