The Preggie Diaries: 8- 13 weeks- Spilling the Beans

Telling my family was so exciting and they were so wonderfully supportive and equally excited. I was travelling to be with my family over a sad time, as my uncle had just passed away and we were going to attend his memorial and be with our grieving family. Since I was going to see my family, I thought it would be best to tell them while I was there because receiving that kind of news is so much better in person. And if anything went wrong in my pregnancy, especially early on, I knew I would have great love and support from them.

When it comes to telling your family, it’s best done in person, if possible. And I didn’t want to get everyone together and announce it to everyone in one go, but preferred telling each member of my family individually, which was easier for me and more enjoyable for the person receiving the news.

I spilled the beans to my mom first. I am not one for making a big fuss, I’m simple and honest, and that’s just what my mom got. It was scary and oh so exciting to finally tell another person of this wonderful secret. Getting to watch the reaction and have someone else share in your joy is thrilling and full of wonder. After my mom, I told my aunt, sisters and gran. Most of them were in person, except telling my sister in England, where a Skype call was needed. I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders, carrying that secret was hard work, and now I could share my thoughts, excitement and worries with the women I know intimately, trust and who had been through this before.

Because my gran can’t hear so well, this is how I told her, especially since she loves Scrabble!

Once I came back to Cape Town, my husband and I got the opportunity to tell people together, which is so great. It was lovely to tell people once we had been to our first prenatal appointment, because then we had more assurance that everything was okay so far and we had a scan to show people, to make it more real for them.

Steve slipped up when telling his parents, which was hilarious, as he said, “Mom and Dad, would you like to be grandchildren?”. His parents looked quite confused until they realised what was happening. Next came his sisters, brother and sister-in-law. It was such a relief to not be offered wine anymore and have to think of some excuse to decline.

The questions

I never realised just how many questions people could ask. And I understand why, they are excited and rightly so. Soon after telling people, we would get a flood of questions ranging from how I have been feeling, to what multivitamin I’m taking, to whether we will find out the gender, to what colours our nursery will be. To be honest, I knew the questions would come, but I wasn’t ready for them so soon. I felt a little overwhelmed trying my best to answer. Many of the questions asked were not things Steve and I had even discussed yet!

I think if I could do that part over again, I would prepare a little better for some of the questions, by talking through things with Steve beforehand, to get a few answers ready. And now I know that I can expect a wide variety of questions, and it’s totally okay to say “I don’t know”, or “we haven’t decided yet”

I better get used to it, because the questions and suggestions will keep coming!

Getting some new clothes

I am very grateful for a sister of similar size, shape and that has recently been through a pregnancy. She is a wealth of knowledge, support and of clothes! She gave me a few maternity clothes and bras that I could wear, which has been lovely. Maternity clothes are so expensive, and many of the clothes aren’t practical when you’re going to be breastfeeding. You don’t really think about breast feeding in your early pregnancy, but it’s normally the time when you buy a few things, so it’s important to keep that in mind because you will use those clothes once you have your baby.

You do not need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe! There are many things in your cupboard that you can wear throughout your pregnancy, try them on before you disregard them, you might be surprised. Something like button shirts are great, during the early days you can wear them normally and then wear them open later on.

A friend suggested I invest in a pair of comfy maternity jeans and/or shorts for summer, especially if you have always loved wearing jeans, and the rest I should just try borrow, or just find those loose clothes hidden in your cupboard. I think this was great advice.

Surviving social events

Probably the hardest social event to survive through in your early pregnancy if you’re trying to keep things quiet is a wedding. It’s the one time you have loads of people offering you wine and champagne as part of the celebrations. I am normally one who loves a glass or two of wine and my friends know that. Starting out with a bit of water was acceptable, but at dinner time when not many other drinks are offered, having water was a challenge. Luckily I had water in a wine glass, and people seemed to pay more attention to the type of glass than its contents. Another trick is get your partner to order you a drink that looks like an alcoholic beverage.

Choosing clothes was also a challenge, my loose fitting cocktail dresses were not appropriate because it wasn’t hot and I needed something a bit warmer. I managed to find my tulip style wrap skirt that fitted above my curvy belly, which worked out well.

At Jono and Sophia’s wedding, hiding the bump well!

I was lucky as we didn’t go out to many dinner parties during this time, so it made things easier.

The joys of gas and other lovely things

While reading up on the internet, and reading my pregnancy book, I would read what symptoms were common at each stage so I knew what things were considered normal. I know that every pregnancy is different, but there are many symptoms that are experienced by most pregnant women, and others that are less common.

After about 8 weeks, things started changing.  My typical morning sickness feelings were decreasing, and I started getting more energy, but I got a whole range of other things. These things included a stuffy nose (weird, right?), frequent wee-ing and migraine type headaches. Probably the worst symptom was the bloating, the build up of gas, constipation and abdominal discomfort. Bleh. Not something you like talking about, but these things seriously affect your comfort and sleep levels. The night time was the worst. I could never find a comfortable position that eased my tummy’s discomfort. The increase in farts had my husband wonder if I were eating a whole lot of eggs and beans that I haven’t told him about. Desperately wanting coffee, not because it tastes so good, but  because it’s the one thing that helps with the constipation.

Another of those lovely symptoms is the mood swings. I have turned into someone with many personalities and they switch from one to the other with ease and without my knowledge. I go from joyfully happy to manically depressed and crying in minutes. I want to cry at things I never even considered to even be emotional before I was pregnant.

A few people have asked me if I have had any cravings, normally I would say no not yet, but I’ve realised that I’ve been craving savory, especially salty foods. I normally have a sweet tooth and buy chocolates and cookies, but lately I found myself buying Bovril. Probably my favourite thing to eat at the moment is cheese and Bovril on toast. Best thing ever. And the funny thing is that maybe in a few weeks/months, I might hate it.

Probably the weirdest symptom for me is an increase in vivid dreams. Apparently this can be normal, but it seems anything goes during pregnancy! I have been having dreams every night, my dreams are detailed and I can normally change what’s happening in my dream, which is fun. I don’t dream of anything particularly weird, generally just interactions with specific people, and sometimes I even dream of birth and life with a baby. Maybe it’s my brain wrapping it’s head around being a mother and what that might entail. As though this is my brain’s way of preparing psychologically. Psychologists, please feel free to explain this! My mom told me that she also experienced this when she was pregnant.

I know now to expect anything and everything to happen to me, and I know it will get get worse as my belly grows and my baby starts putting pressure on all my internal structures. Oh the joys of pregnancy!

The official bump has started

It is common for women, especially those who are slimmer, to start showing around 10-15 weeks. At 10 weeks, you could clearly see that roundness around my lower abdomen that was distinctly a baby bump and not just another layer of fat. Just above my pelvic bone, you could feel a hardness that wasn’t there before, and that is the uterus growing in preparation for your baby’s growth. Once all the major organs are in place at the end of week 9, the baby starts growing quite rapidly.

I am so glad that we have been recording my ‘bump’ progression with weekly photos. I went to compare my first photo at week 7 with my week 10 photo and you can already see such a big difference!

Although no one other than me and my husband really notice the bump, and I’m looking forward to actually looking pregnant and not just fat.

Some love and appreciation for my husband!

As soon as a woman finds out she is pregnant, there is an immediate shift and she becomes a mother. The paternal instinct may take sometime to develop, naturally so, as men are not the ones carrying a growing baby in their bellies.

I had been wondering how pregnancy would affect my husband. The prospect of becoming a parent is daunting for anyone. He has been so helpful and caring over the past few weeks, sometimes cooking when I just didn’t have the energy, making sure I was drinking enough water, and kept regular tabs on me. He often tells me that he has 2 people to worry about now, already picking up his responsibility as a husband and father. I have watched him become more interested in babies and children, asking more questions and spending more time with the tiny humans around us. He has become more compassionate, understanding and loving in new ways.

When we got to see our baby for the first time, I could see pride and joy in his eyes. And when I sent him photos from our first trimester scan, he quickly showed his friends, so proud of his growing baby. I cannot imagine doing this without him.

I am so excited that we are on this journey together. I can’t think of anything more wonderful than watching your partner change into a parent, while you are going through the same changes. This experience is best shared, best when you are supporting and communicating to each other. It also requires something deeper. Since the moment you meet, start dating, and finally marry, God is with you and guides the two of you through life together. As we go through the preparation for this baby, we lean on God everyday for love, growth, health and experiences that help us become the best parents we are able to be. After all, God is the best Father to learn from.

I will share my experiences of my first prenatal appointment as well as my first trimester scan in separate posts. But for now, I have questions for my readers… Feel free to answer any or all of these. Did you have any strange symptoms during your early pregnancy? Do you have any funny stories of sharing you news with friends or family? When did you start showing? How did you and your partner prepare to be parents? Or if you have any questions for me, I would love to try answer you!

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