So earlier this year, I announced that I was pregnant with my third little baby bean!
And I thought that I would share with you my pregnancy diary along the way. Today I’m going back to the beginning…
Planning Baby No.3
I always knew that I wanted to have another baby (same with Paul – phewf! That made things easier) but I wasn’t ready, ready until this year. Our first two babies were only 2 years apart, we had little to no physical family support around, we were both studying tons of hours or working and had some very difficult personal circumstances to deal with. Throw in two interstate moves as well and I’m kinda relieved I didn’t fall pregnant anywhere in that 5 year period.
Paul and I have always talked about the hypothetical 3rd child (and we haven’t ruled out baby no.4 either but one of the great things about starting a family young is there’s no crazy rush and I have NO self imposed expectations or pressures about how many kids I should have or by when!)
At the end of last year, we packed up our life in Melbourne. It had been a short stint, something we wanted to try because why not? After two years of fantastic food, artsy cafes down alley ways and the most unpredictable weather I’ve ever lived with, we realised that our hearts were still set on Sydney so we committed ourselves to the idea of moving here permanently. Paul and I fell in love in Sydney and had always loved it as a place (plus the beachy lifestyle and nice weather!)
It took a few months to get acquainted with our new home but Paul and I finally felt settled. I don’t think we’ve felt as settled in a place for a long time. And so naturally, the conversation became more real about having a third child and we both agreed that we were happy and ready for that to happen if it did. We’re not the best planners at the best of times, so at this stage there wasn’t going to be any ovulation tracking for me or scheduling in baby making time (unless it came to that down the track). We both like to let things happen organically and go from there.
Finding Out I Was Pregnant
Well, as soon as we had that conversation, I pretty much got pregnant straightaway. I almost had only just got used to the idea of baby no.3 coming and in my head I thought it would happen within 3 months+ (I don’t know why this number). To say I was surprised it happened so quickly was an understatement. Our first two babies weren’t ‘planned’ as such – just very happy surprises so the whole ‘planning a baby’ was a little strange to me but to anticipate a potential positive pregnancy test was exciting. I can see how this would drive you crazy though wondering if you were pregnant each month and counting down to ‘Aunty Flow’ coming to visit (will she? Won’t she?)
I’ve always known my body like clockwork with all of my pregnancies. I knew on the dot of 4 weeks (but with this pregnancy, I just ‘knew’ a few days before my period was due as I was aware there was a high chance I could be pregnant).
I don’t take synthetic hormones as contraception so this has always helped me be in tune with my body’s natural cycle.
The day I did a pregnancy test, I was at home by myself. The faintest line came up and I couldn’t believe it. I was excited and then had a mini panic attack thinking “oh my God, it’s real now..am I really ready?!”
To be honest, I don’t think you’re ever ‘ready’ to have a baby. I waited until Paul came home and showed him the test and he was over the moon. He’s always had the best reactions to finding out I’m pregnant.
(The faintest second line)
Telling Family & Close Friends
I’m a slow processor with some things and like to take my time to let them sink in and feel settled within my mind and body. I also wanted to try and tell my parents in a special way because they’re on the other side of the world and I knew they would be ecstatic that another grand baby was on their way.
Telling our eldest kids was the ABSOLUTE best though. I’m so glad we filmed their reaction and took photos! They were so sweet.
When it came time to tell the grandparents, we scheduled a Skype call with the whole family. I had the kids draw pictures for them of our family (the four of us) but with a baby inside my stick figure belly. My excitable 5 year old however blurted out the news to my Mum and Dad before we could get the Skype camera working and so they found out without seeing the pictures first. I think it was pretty accurate to find out that way – kids are imperfectly perfect.
I texted or phoned my best friends in the days after that and let them know too. I didn’t post anything on social media (because it’s social media) but I’ve never stuck to the secrecy of the first three months, even when I’ve had a miscarriage in the past. For me personally, I like to share the good and the bad with those closest to me because they’re the first ones around to celebrate with or to help support me through a difficult time.
The Freight Train of “Morning Sickness”
I’ve always suffered from pretty bad morning sickness in my pregnancies so I knew that this was most likely heading my way (hey, I still hoped that I’d have one of those pregnancies where it never hit me. Glass half full outlook, right?)
I started to have waves of nausea towards the end of my 4th week. I felt a little concerned that it was so early but put it down to being super aware of my body and the whole ‘planning a baby’ thing. By week 5 I started vomiting pretty badly. Again, I thought it kinda sucked that the sickness had hit so early but I also know that it can be a sign of a strong pregnancy so this reassured me (when I had a miscarriage at 8 weeks, I didn’t have any nausea or vomiting).
By the time week 6 came, I was physically exhausted and throwing up multiple times a day. I’d never experienced sickness with such velocity that I almost thought I must have forgotten what it was like because it had been so long between my last pregnancies. The main difference this time though was being so ill in the morning (I’d experienced this before), then the worst nausea I’ve ever had during every waking hour in between vomiting before the return of intense vomiting periods again at night. It felt relentless.
By 6 weeks I couldn’t eat or drink anything and absolutely detested even drinking water (it made me feel sick). There wasn’t much I could do to ease it and as I stared at a print out of how to deal with morning sickness I felt like rugby tackling the next person who said to me “just try some ginger and dry crackers.” That’s if I had enough energy to rugby tackle someone in the first place.
Paul had called an after hours GP to the house at one point because I couldn’t stop vomiting and this GP prescribed a script of anti-vomiting tablets that apparently helped pregnant women with relentless vomiting (the magic that is known as ‘Ondansetron’ and typically only comes with 4 wafers in each box. And costs an arm and a leg). These magic wafers helped me so much even though they didn’t completely stop my vomiting.
I didn’t have a regular GP at this stage and when I went to see one during normal business hours he refused to write me a script for more than 4 wafers because “morning sickness was normal.” In other words, suck it up princess. I felt like saying “I wish you had a fucking uterus” but instead left dejected and bawling my eyes out in the car on the drive home – right before throwing up again of course. One script of Ondansetron lasts you two days and I felt so much despair at the thought of feeling as ill as I had been for the rest of the trimester. I’d never needed medication to help me with vomiting in my other pregnancies so this level of sickness was completely new to me.
It all came to a head for me by the time I got to 7.5 weeks. I’d just vomited for the 15th (or 16th?) time that morning and went to have a shower to wash my own vomit off myself as I didn’t quite make it in time to my trusty bucket. Real classy stuff. While I was in the shower, I had the biggest breakdown. I bent down at one point to wash my feet and nearly fell over in the shower which triggered me sobbing and begging any higher power out there to give me relief from the constant vomiting and sickness. I felt so weak and light headed and just completely defeated. I felt betrayed by my own body. I couldn’t take it anymore. It was too much for me and my mental health was taking as much of a hit as my physical self.
I phoned one of my best friends (Paul was at a really important job and I knew if I rang him first, he’d come home straight away. He’d already been missing work to take care of me and the kids and financially it was adding more stress). My friend was the voice of reason I needed. I just needed someone to be my brain and tell me what to do. She told me to go straight to the hospital and to call a taxi to pick me up (because I was in no state to drive). I did exactly that then let Paul know what I was doing and that I was ok (he still wanted to leave work to come with me but I managed to convince him to stay).
When I got to the hospital, I was taken straight through and put on a drip. They had no beds available until the evening so for 6 hours I sat slumped in a chair, half asleep and half trying to stay aware of my surroundings but I really felt like I just gave up and gave in to the whole process. I’d mistakenly believed I had to just power through this aspect of pregnancy because morning sickness is a normal part of pregnancy. However, what I learned from that first hospital visit was that the type of ‘morning sickness’ I had was not considered normal at all and in fact had a very fancy name known as ‘Hyperemesis Gravidarum.’ I was eventually moved to a bed and by the time I left hospital that evening, I felt so much better from the medication they gave me and the fluids. My medical tests showed I had a high number of ketones present in my urine due to dehydration and not being able to eat. It was also the first time I’d had a scan to see my baby. When I saw that little egg sac blob flashing up on the black screen I felt a strange sense of connection returning back to my body. There was a real little life in there growing. I needed to see that. I could get through this.
Coping with Hyperemesis
Up until 16 weeks of pregnancy, I continued to vomit each day and deal with severe levels of nausea. I’d managed to find a fantastic GP during this time who very reasonably would give me repeat scripts of the medication I needed so I didn’t have to keep coming into the doctors every two days. I had what I called ‘good’ sick days and ‘bad sick days.’ Good sick days meant I managed to eat and drink in between my vomiting. Bad sick days usually involved far less food or fluids, being completely bed ridden and relentless vomiting (I even started vomiting blood on one particularly bad day). I ended up in hospital on another two occasions but really started to dread having to go in (and probably needed to go more than I did). I hated sleeping overnight there because there were so many interruptions and sharing with other people around you was hard (one night, an old lady regularly had diarrhea into her bed pan. The smell and the sound did not help my nausea and vomiting at all).
The only thing that got me through was “one day at a time.” I couldn’t think of anything beyond the day I was in and every time I reached a pregnancy milestone of another week I felt so proud of my body for getting through it. Paul still had to take a lot of time off work to help take care of me and the children. I became disturbingly addicted to The Bachelor (the entire season was pretty much during the worst of my sickness) as well as watching movies and TV shows on Netflix because I was bed ridden most of the time. As a chronic busy person, being stuck in bed drove me crazy but I did a lot of sleeping during this time as well (I didn’t have to deal with frequent urination as an early pregnancy symptom because I was dehydrated most of the time!)
One highlight however, was winning tickets to an AMAZING blogging conference I had wanted to go to. I didn’t want to let any sickness stop me from going and did everything I could to make it possible to attend the 2 day conference. I upped my dosage of medication to get through the days. I was still very sick around the conference and had to go straight to bed at the end of each day (even vomiting in the car before driving home) but it gave me a lot of joy to be able to attend something I was so excited about.
Meeting some of my fellow bloggers after an amazing conference. Straight after this photo, I was in my hire car puking my guts up!
Any outings were few and far between but when it came to my kids having dance concerts at school or winning awards at assembly, I would drag myself out of bed and make sure I was there. I definitely became quite the recluse during the peak of this sickness but if I could manage to get out, I would.
The 12 Week Scan
My doctor was a little concerned that my HCG levels were so high and wanted me to have my dates double checked (and to make sure I definitely wasn’t carrying twins!) I knew from my very early hospital scan that there was only one baby in there but I put the high HCG levels down to the reason why I was so sick.
Once again, seeing my little baby for the first time at my scan during such an incredibly sick period made me feel better. I loved seeing that there was a real little person growing in there and a very valid reason for being so ill. I found it hard to cope with my sickness, I’m not going to lie about that and somedays I really did wish it wasn’t so bad. If I could sum up how the first 12 weeks were for me I would say they were unbearable some days, relentless and mentally, emotionally and physically draining. It was not an easy run at all.
Getting through the first trimester felt like an achievement. My vomiting and nausea didn’t ease up but my baby appeared healthy and growing well in all my tests and scans and I knew that I was closer to (hopefully) feeling better (which I can say has been the case now that I’m 20 weeks and haven’t vomited for 10 days now!)
Can’t wait to meet you little baby bean <3