I’m publishing this at 40 weeks pregnant, almost done, but during my second trimester I kept a rough diary. Partly to stop myself going insane at the world around me, and partly for me to look back on in the future. Like all good bloggers and over sharers I thought I’d share it with you.
You might have read my post on the stress of my first trimester, where in the final week Ben caught COVID…
Well, despite our best efforts, and my protests that it was ‘just a sore throat’, the second trimester started with me getting a positive PCR test too, after the NHS told me to do one, despite negative lateral flows.
I was ok, really (just bad cold symptoms), it was more the mental toll of being 12 weeks pregnant and having to stay indoors, not knowing if and how the COVID would affect my baby. Combined with the mad hormones, and the situation, it wasn’t a good time.
Week 13: I got COVID
The positive COVID result wasn’t just annoying and worrying for me, it also meant I wasn’t allowed in a hospital. And my growing feotus had appointments. I was devastated. Mostly for the 12 week scan appointment we had to reschedule for 13 weeks and 6 – massively pushing it to do the tests that have to be done before 14 weeks.
I couldn’t get through to the hospital. I phoned and phoned and phones and no one was picking up. I just sat crying listening to the dial tone run out. I was hysterical when someone finally answered. Editing my ramblings now (at 39 weeks) I know I was totally OTT, but at the time I’d read too much about how no one knows how COVID affects babies, how I’d now be considered high risk, and how I couldn’t even get my baby to its first tests. Also, the hormones and need to protect this life inside me took over.
I looked back on the past week and realised I’d been pretty stupid – in denial. I’d had a sore throat, a heavy chest, and no energy – I’d put them down to pregnancy rhinitis, swabbing my throat too much with allergen tests (which all came out negative) and the heat. We were in the middle of a heat wave in England, with temperatures around 30+ on the south coast. Ben was spending day and night in his office, and I was spending as much time as possible in our garden to keep my distance.
We failed in avoiding transmission though, despite both being double vaccinated.
I repeatedly thanked past Vicky for getting the vaccine when she did, although technically, I’d only got it a week ago and so wasn’t fully covered by both as yet.
According to the news we were at a peak in transmission, thanks to last week’s Euro football finals.
This week was meant to be a big one for me, getting out to see friends again. But no, I had to stay in and isolate for the next two weeks.
I cancelled my Oxfordshire paddleboarding weekend with friends, the celebrations we’d planned for my friends’ 40th in London, and a press trip to Guernsey too.
All that fun planned but I just had to sit in my house and worry. I knew a lot of people in England were in the same boat. I just threw myself into work as a distraction.
Week 14: and they’re 15 weeks!
Over the next week the hospital phoned me every day to check I was ok. They told me if you have COVID in pregnancy, you’re more likely to get blood clots. I needed to drink 3 litres of water a day for the rest of my pregnancy and make sure I got up every hour. Something else to worry about!
As soon as I was allowed my friend Chloe came round for coffee. Ben encouraged me to tell her our news, the first person. I felt really bad it not being my family, [REALLY, REALLY BAD MUM & DAD, if you’re reading this] but I wanted to tell them in person in Greece (if we ever got there).
Telling her was a release.
I feel like I didn’t stop talking and she was a reassuring listener to it all. I’d bottled up so much over the past 14 weeks and it wasn’t helping me. We talked for hours about her experiences with her two young sons and the more I heard the more I realised what a crappy friend I’d been over the years with my friends popping all these sprogs and me not understanding how worrying it is, or how much you have to go through to have the beautiful babies / children they have today.
She told me I needed to stop worrying and enjoy the experience.
That afternoon Ben and I went for the ’12-week scan’, at 13+6, to be told we were actually 15 weeks. So, no health screening for us – the ones I’d been so upset about not having the week before. It was too late for the tests I’d been so worried we wouldn’t have – for Patau’s and Edward’s (affecting 1 in 5000 births).
We just had to hope and believe it’d be ok.
I tried to push down the worry of not having the scans, hide them under the joy of seeing our apparently ‘very active’ baby on the screen.
That weekend we saw a few friends and their love and positivity to us was something I will treasure forever. Promises of babysitting and just overall joy at our news. The fact we could finally actually see people, combined with their reactions to our news made these some of the best few days we’d had in ages.
Week 16: Should we go to Greece?
In all the worry I convinced myself we couldn’t go to Greece. It wasn’t just a holiday, it was to see my brother and his family who live out there, and to meet my 9-month old niece for the first time.
I was worried about the blood clots, about the flight, about us getting in and out of Greece after our positive diagnoses, and about infecting the little island of Samos and my so far unvaccinated brother and sister in law, and my niece. My sister in law’s parents had had COVID badly in January, and been on respirators. We all knew how bad it can be and I didn’t want to fuel anyone’s fear.
I did SO much research. Hours and hours and hours of research into whether we should / could / would travel. As I felt better my positivity came back. I made a plan and it was only the Friday before the Thursday we were due to go that I decided that we definitely would go and try.
I posted on Instagram Stories about our experience of COVID and the lovely responses I got and the chats I had made me feel so much better about going. Instagram gets a bad rep, often from me, but it really does bring people together and is a great source of advice.
The 5 days spent getting ready for Greece was a welcome distraction.
The morning before we were due to fly. I went and did a paddleboard Yoga class with my friend Alex and felt more zen than I had in a long time.
Driving back though, I got a call from the midwife saying they’d found a problem in the tests and I needed to come back for more. With 7 hours to go before I left for the airport hotel, there was nothing I could do about it now.
Ben was amazing at calming me down, and we booked the tests for the day I got back, which the midwife told us would be fine. We decided to ignore this latest news for the week, and carry on with the excitement of telling my family and being in Greece. It was at the back of my mind though, of course.
Week 17: Telling my family in Greece
Our week in Samos in Greece was amazing. Just what I needed and so bloody good to get away from the familiar, to my family. Meeting my niece was so special, and I’m so pleased for my brother and his wife Xanthi that they’re all so happy.
We waited till the second day to tell them, mainly because of how busy they were planning my niece’s baptism, but also waiting for an opportunity for us to be together calmly. All too exciting on the first day!
We were drinking Freddo Cappuccinos around our hotel pool on the second day. I was so nervous and my hands were shaking with adrenaline as I stood up in front of them on their sunbeds.
“Me and Ben have been keeping a secret… we’re pregnant!” I just blurted it out.
There was seconds of silence as they processed what I’d said, and the disbelief passed.
I could see Ben bracing himself for the incoming excitement, and I passed around the scan as proof.
Big hugs of congratulations from Matt (still looking shocked) and Xanthi, Dad had a big smile saying what wonderful news it was, and Mum was crying into her sarong on her sun lounger. Seeing all their beaming smiles, behind the tears, was so lovely. None of them expected that news!
I love this memory, and am glad I waited (although got in trouble for that later).
After that the week went so quickly. Lots of advice from Matt and Xanthi, no alcohol, still a reduced appetite but a love of ice cream, offers to go to the local clinic and find out the sex, celebratory meals, and general all round loveliness from my family, and Xanthi’s family too.
And my niece Eliana’s baptism was a lovely day too.
It was hard not telling my family earlier, but I’m so glad I waited until now, when we could be together, share in the joy, and I was feeling more mentally stable to soak up the loving vibes!
Week 18: Writing my book and relaxing
The day after we flew back, we went for the tests. They take two weeks to come through, so it was time to just get my head down, think positively and not waste time thinking about what could be. We got to hear the heartbeat for the first time which made it all very real!
I was genuinely staying pretty positive about it, but there was always that niggling thought.
I don’t take the baby’s health for granted. I know too many female friends who’ve had issues with fertility and babies, and continue to do so. Women who it’s affected for life. I guess there’s a part of me who feels like I don’t deserve for it to be straightforward, and like this will be my time to struggle. I don’t know why. I’d always thought I’d have problems conceiving, or carrying to term. Strange. Like my job and family and friendships are all so brilliant, something will go wrong, and I seem to have told myself this will be it.
When I told my friend Kayte about this, weeks later, she said it could be because I was one of the last to get pregnant, out of all my friendship groups really, and so had heard all the sad stories from them, and then passed on from their other friends too. I knew too much – and I think she was right.
Over the last few weeks it’d been so reassuring to see all the news about pregnant women being called for the COVID jab, there were big signs in the waiting room. This was such a scary decision for me a few weeks ago, and it felt like there wasn’t definitive advice. The recent push has definitely shown me I made the right decision, and the fact I got COVID relatively mildly a few weeks later of course.
After the excitement of Greece, and telling friends and family, I took the week to just sit around, and write my book about festivals that I’d recently been commissioned for. It was a good distraction, and a taste of my past, simpler life!
Week 19: Negative result
The week starts with a negative result on the tests, the baby was ok. I just needed to relax and enjoy the pregnancy now, if possible.
Except, I can’t, because anything I eat that’s not cereal, yogurt, ice lollies, sandwiches and crisps makes me gag. The last two dinners have ended with me eating half and running to the bin to heave.
I didn’t know this then, but after just a few weeks of respite since the first trimester, this would continue until the end. TWENTY ONE WEEKS LATER.
Week 20: Victorious Festival and Guernsey
This week it was my annual pilgrimage to Victorious Festival, just a few miles from my house. Four of my friends were staying over and it was time to reveal why I wasn’t drinking last time we met up, and why I wouldn’t be this weekend either.
They arrived and I still wasn’t massively showing. I’d already poured myself a secret ‘Nosecco’, in anticipation of them getting their Prosecco out in the kitchen. We went to do a toast and a cheers and I just blurted it out – “I’m not drinking, I’m pregnant!”
“WE KNEWWWWW IT!”
Ha, I totally thought I’d managed to keep that secret. Turns out me not drinking alcohol is too much of a giveaway!
I had a fabulous weekend with them all – and no hangover!
It’s making me smile so much remembering this weekend. If anyone came near me my friend Mel would shout ‘huddle’, and they’d all huddle round me to protect my (very small) bump. Mel kept insisting on ‘maternity photo shoots’ (like the one above) and they were just all round lovely. Also, Kelly bought me surprise chips when I was too tired to queue up. What a hero.
They left on the Bank Holiday Monday and I flew to Guernsey for a press trip on the Tuesday. Exhausted!
Had a lovely time by myself though, and a good few days to process this huge shift in my life. Think it’ll be my last solo press trip for a few years!
Week 21: It’s a boy!
This week we found out we were having a boy.
I was convinced it was a girl, but, also, really wasn’t bothered. As long as he’s healthy and ok in there!
I went to London to see some more of my favourite people, and telling them was wonderful too. I just can’t get over how happy everyone is for us, and take a secret thrill in seeing their shocked faces.
No one expected this from me!
Week 22 to 24: Preparing to travel
I didn’t write much about these weeks – they just passed quickly and kinda the same.
Sometimes I can eat, sometimes not. But all my thoughts and energy were in prep for our BIG TRIP to Canada, and again, whether we should actually go.
It all seemed a good idea when we booked it. But as the costs added up, and the worry of travelling during COVID, and why I’d done this to us AGAIN after Greece, it was kind of tainted.
Couldn’t wait to just be there.
Week 25 & 26: Canada babymoon!
The last weeks of my Second Trimester were spent in Canada.
It was blummin exhausting though.
With neither of us being anywhere near used to walking that far (15-20,000 steps a day) in the past few months, being pregnant, and all the stimulation of new cities by day 8 we just spent the afternoon in bed. I would NEVER have done that on a city trip before, but god it was good.
If you’re going to travel while pregnant it’s said that now is the best time, at week 25. And I’d agree. Any later and I’d feel too big on the plane, and any earlier it’s more likely you’ll feel tired and unwell.
With all the COVID restrictions, my feeling ill around food and never wanting dinner, and of course, not drinking, it was a little different to the city holidays I’d normally take, but a unique experience for both of us.
Glad we went on this last trip, just the two of us.
Week 27: We’re back, it’s my birthday
I announced our future BabyFlipFlop on Instagram and the responses were lovely. Kept me busy for an intense day and night of jetlag anyway!
Had my most low key birthday ever, with a chill morning and then meeting Alex for donuts in the afternoon. That was about it… but we had just been to Canada for two weeks, so I’ll let it go.
The end of my Second Trimester
The Second Trimester was another rollercoaster really. I never knew before getting pregnant how many hospital appointments you had to have, or midwife consultations.
I’m so glad we managed to get the two trips in, to Greece and Canada, and feel very lucky that we did.
The love and joy from friends and family over the past three months has just been magical and some of my favourite memories for life. My lovely friend and fellow travel blogger Dan’s first reaction was that ‘the baby would be lucky to have a mum like me’… well, after he’d repeatedly questioned if I was being serious. In any moments of doubt I’ll remember his support. Hope I can live up to it!
My Third Trimester
I haven’t written one of these for my Third Trimester, which is coming to an end as I publish this. I feel I’ve been very lucky with my pregnancy and although I’ve experienced most of the pregnancy symptoms, they’ve only been for a few days. Heartburn, headaches, fatigue, crazy dreams, back ache, worsening vision, aching bones, aching teeth, pelvic girdle pain… the list goes on.
The biggest problem for me though has been nausea and a heightened sense of smell for way too long. Too many dinners have ended in me having a few mouthfuls and then desperately trying to eat the veg and protein for my baby, while heaving at the same time. Evening sickness has been a real problem, rather than morning sickness – I cannot WAIT to enjoy a dinner.
Apart from that, it’s been… ok. I know I’m lucky to have conceived, carried, and be looking forward to the birth, but I genuinely can’t believe people do this multiple times!
Once more, maybe. We’ll see how the labour goes.
The third trimester saw Omicron ruin Christmas and my maternity leave (too worried to see people, apart from Chloe and Alex), we went to NCT classes, had a last-minute trip to Bath, spent NYE in the lounge (like most of England) and did lots of house prep. We’re now the proud owners of a tumble dryer!
Today is actually the due date (January 21st 2022), and this week we found out the baby is predicted to be huge, so that’s something to look forward to…
I’m so ready to meet him (if a little nervous), and definitely ready to start the next chapter of our lives together. I’ll let you know when he arrives!