And one day, the morning sickness was gone. And that was a good day.

I have not written since February. There has been good reason for that. The morning sickness I’d mentioned before got worse, to the point I couldn’t sit at my desk and work.

But, befittingly for the glimpse of spring we’ve had, things are looking up. I’ve been sick-free for ten days and am home dry into my second trimester. To say I’m relieved… well. Let’s just say the first trimester has been a tough one. It’s been full of conflicting emotions; of being over the moon about being pregnant, but then also feeling (and, let’s face it, looking) like crap physically because of it. The joy of my 12 week scan was muted by violently throwing up for the rest of the day. It’s been an up-and-down time; nothing has prepared me for my first pregnancy. Perhaps nothing really can.

Various things got me through. Things like Jacob’s crackers, which I nibbled on sadly and slowly for days for sustenance, and fizzy drinks, sour sweets and sugary icy mints – all the unhealthy crap I’d sworn off years ago. And people got me through. People like my back-rubbing husband, who made me orange-flavoured ice cubes to soothe my raw, vomit-ravaged throat. People like my mum, who caught the train down to London, held my hair back over the toilet bowl and boiled me fresh cardamom and fennel tea in the middle of one horrid Friday night, while I sobbed and whispered in bed that I just didn’t have the strength to be sick anymore.

But then, ten days ago, it just stopped. Kaboom. It just stopped. I still can’t quite believe it. I thought it might happen gradually, that eventually my body would adjust to the changes going on inside it. But it all happened at once.

So to any first trimester sisters who happen to be reading this and going through a hellish time, take heart. It will get better.

You may cry over the toilet, you may shiver from a lack of energy, you may long for food or loathe it and you may wonder why no one else you know got sick like you did too. You wonder whether you’re one of the unlucky sods who will be like this for the whole nine months. You resign yourself to it. The days will go slowly. You feel sorry for yourself, and then you feel guilty, because you’re pregnant goddamn it and not everyone who wants to be can be, so you get hard on yourself, tell yourself to be stronger and not such a wuss. You think about the baby, and you tell yourself it doesn’t matter what you go through as long as the baby is healthy and happy and okay, and for a while the idea of this baby inside your stomach which isn’t even showing yet doesn’t seem as abstract as it first did (and sometimes still does). You think about the baby, about him or her, and you know this awkward time is worth it. Some days you give up on work, watching romcoms on Love Film or sitcoms on E4 all day instead. Sometimes the rest helps, sometimes it doesn’t. You resign yourself some more.

But then, One Fine Day, you wake up and the fog of lethargy which usually clouds over you, isn’t there. You know, because you’ve got the strength to get out of bed. You feel like yourself. Mostly, you’re ravenous because you’ve not eaten properly for weeks. So eat. Eat slowly, carefully, but eat. Get your strength up. You’re getting back to being you. And then, suddenly you realise being pregnant isn’t just about enduring being sick anymore. Time is moving on, and being pregnant is big news you can finally, finally share with your friends. And that day, when the sickness and the nausea and the ice cubes and the crackers are behind you; that day is a good, good day.

Morning sickness, cravings, etc

I’ve not posted for a few days. Guess why: yep, morning sickness. Still. Again. And again.

I’m just thankful that I work for myself and not in an office – I’m not sure how burping like a disgusting drunk before running out to the loo with my hand clasped over my mouth would go down in that environment. Still, it’s been difficult. I’ve had a couple of face-to-face interviews for magazine features and every time, I’ve felt rotten. I feel rotten on the tube. I feel rotten on the bus. Just, general, all-round rotten.

But things changed yesterday (hoorah!). I took a long walk (which helps with this nausea thing), and landed in front of the bakery at Waitrose. I’m not sure how this happened, other than after eating dry crackers for about three days, I was yearning to at least look at something nice. And suddenly, I had this urge. And no, it wasn’t an urge to be sick! It was an urge to eat! A lemon and sultana danish promptly cured me of my sickness. Yesterday was the first day in about a week that I’ve not either been sick or felt that awful nausea that makes you think constantly that you are going to be sick. The lemon icing just melted in my mouth and it was like “BANG! NO MORE NAUSEA” and so far, it sure as hell ain’t come back.

Was my lemon danish a craving? I don’t know. Ah, who am I kidding. All I know is I saw it, wanted it, bought it, scoffed it. I can’t say that this is entirely out of character. Either way, it’s better than a plain dry sorry-looking cracker.

My first (pregnant) meltdown

I’ll be honest. I have work related meltdowns all the time. Okay, so not like all the time, but enough times for self-doubt to pretty much be a part of my general existence. In fact, self-doubt is probably ingrained in my DNA.

So when I had a meltdown over the weekend, about an editor *still* not getting back to me over a feature I filed two months ago which I could, to be totally honest, really do with being paid for, it wasn’t exactly new territory.

I vented to my husband – “SHE commissioned me” – and he, patient as ever, told me these things aren’t personal and that I’ve been doing this for long enough now to know that it’s not the quality of my work that’s being judged, it’s just bad timing for something to go in a newspaper, that’s all. We have this conversation quite a lot.

Normally, this is where the conversation ends – me, sniffing and saying “Okay then”, and then a few days later, hey presto, an email from whichever editor I’m dealing with at the time pops in, apologises for the delay and suddenly my day is made and all angst forgotten (temporarily) and he says “See? I told you so!” knowingly and I say “Yeah, yeah, whatevs” and it holds there until the next time.

But not this time. This time, instead of the conversation winding down, I paused for a moment and then:

“BUT IF I CAN’T EVEN BE IN CONTROL OVER WORK, HOW CAN I TAKE CARE OF A BABY?”

Well. This is new. Talk about off-topic.

Cue loads of unprecedented tears that literally came out of nowhere. This was like some sort of out-of-body experience – like I was crying but also at the same time, a voice in my head was saying: “Okay. So this is unexpected. Where the hell did this come from? What the hell are you doing?”

Eventually I calmed down. I put it down to hormones. Pregnancy, eh? Can’t beat it.

Morning sickness

…Should not be called morning sickness. It should be called all-day, all-night, lurking-in-the-back-of-your-throat-and-the-pocket-of- your-cheek-sickness.

Today, in about three hours, I have an interview lined up with a film actress. It’s in one of those swanky west London hotels. The kind of piece that, if I was feeling exceptionally lazy, would start with how she’s wearing no make up and is effortlessly beautiful, casually dressed, only running a few minutes late and apologising profusely for it (blahblahblah).

Not that I normally start my pieces like that. Ordinarily, I’m very enthusiastic about my job and also highly original in my intros. But not today. Because I spent all of last night having nausea-inducing thoughts about beetroot (even just typing the word; oh, please), among other things, and excusing myself for burping like a drunkard (and I don’t even drink even when I’m not pregnant) to my poor husband in between running to the loo and clutching my hair back over the toilet willing for it to just all come out and leave me be.*

I may have three hours to go but it’s taken me like two hours just to pull myself out of bed. I’ve managed a shower, but here I am in my dressing robe. The thought of getting changed… the thought of leaving the house… the thought of just about ANYTHING other than lemonade is making me sick.

On the upside, at least I know that the apple pip inside is fine and dandy doing its thing by making me feel thus. Right? Oh and yeah! Before I forget: happy Valentine’s.

*You may think I’m being disgusting, but these things need to be said.

The 8.30pm slump

Ok. I’m beginning to get that you never know anything about being pregnant until you are pregnant yourself.

I’ve heard it – from friends, relatives; “I’ve just been so tired,” they used to say, while I, non-pregnant would nod and smile, thinking unsympathetically, “Aren’t we all, aren’t we all…”

But now, I get it. I get what pregnant women mean when they say they just fall alseep on the sofa, wham, just like that. I get why S still hasn’t watched The Killing properly, because she keeps falling alseep everytime she tries to. I nearly fell asleep in The Good Wife. This is serious.*

Oh well. At least Homeland and Borgen and so on have all finished already. Because otherwise, I’d need to have words with the alleged apple pip inside me.

*Also: drool. Nobody tells you you start salivating all over the place before you get pregnant. No, no, they leave it for you to Google and figure it out for yourself.

New house, new beginnings

My husband and I moved house a week before I found out I was pregnant.

I’m in love with our new place (and feel very lucky). But it goes without saying that our new, slightly roomier, slightly more grown-up surroundings have everyone and their handbags asking what “prompted” the move. So suspicious!

HA.

Little do they know.

At the time we started talking about moving, which was oh so many months ago, the idea of having a baby was hypothetical and in the future. We decided we’d move and settle in and be ready for it whenever pregnancy  might pop up.

I didn’t think it would be as soon as seven days after we moved house. This means I was pregnant while we were moving – all those heavy boxes, ouch – which for some reason I find hilarious.

I don’t know why I find it so funny.

Anyway. For all those nosey-parkers, the answer is: YES, the spare room will be a nursery. Yes. Yes. Yes.

My cramping paranoia

My friend, S, is expecting her second baby. I asked her how she felt – she told me that it was just a big relief that the first 12 weeks were up. Apparently some other friends had been having a hard time with their pregnancies, with miscarriages. And that’s why, more so than the first time round, she just wanted the first trimester and the first scan done.

I couldn’t stop thinking about our conversation all the way home, and in the days after. Even now, I’m thinking about it. I’m thinking that I’ve not thought about the possibility of miscarrying. Call me naive, but it’s not the first thing that really crossed my mind in the days soon after. Now, every little cramp I feel (for, I feel them) is making me worry. It worries me, that’s all.

I’m absolutely not blaming S for my worrying, by the way – it’s entirely correct for me to face the possibility that this first attempt may be nothing more than just that, an attempt. I’m glad she spoke truthfully about how it felt for her and, after all, she doesn’t know I’m pregnant. But I have no idea how I might react if it is nothing. So I just don’t want to think about it too much. But then again, I feel I should, like it’s the mature thing to do, to prepare myself for all possibilities and not get my hopes up. The thing is, when you’re talking about a baby, it’s sort of impossible to do.

The same night I spoke to S, my husband said I looked a little spaced out. I told him I wanted to do another pregnancy test. I have no rational explanation for this whatsoever. I’m aware it sounds slightly crazed. But I just felt like I wanted to be sure, have some reassurance, that there’s something there, no matter how tiny it may be. So I took another test. I’m still pregnant.

My paranoia is over for now. But I suspect it will keep hitting me in waves with each and every cramp.

Keeping schtum

Last night, I went out for dinner with my uni mates. The four of us have been friends for what feels like forever.

S had some news to share. She already has a toddler and casually popped into the conversation… “And now we’re having another one!” It’s exciting news. She’s 13 weeks and her baby is due in August. “That’s two months before me!” I wanted to say.

But of course, I couldn’t actually say it. Because I still have two whole months until I can come clean.

The thing is, I’m dying to tell people. Other than me, there are only two people who know – my husband (obviously) and my mum.*

I’m also not very good at pretending, so it’s entirely possible I may give the game away.

AGH! How do you do it? How do you *not* tell your siblings or your best friend that you’re pregnant?

Any tips on how to keep a poker face? Please. I’m all ears.

*I told my mum because, well, she’s my mum, and also she works in a maternity unit and is therefore an expert in this stuff. Right now, I am loving her advice, which mostly consists of: “Look after yourself. Don’t overdo it,” which is working out to be a great way to justify ending my work day earlier than usual. (In case anyone thinks I’m taking liberties, I’m self-employed, ergo I can).

Um, I’m pregnant

Well. That was quick.

A couple of months after my husband and I had That Discussion about trying for kids, I’m pregnant.

Seven days after my period was due, we figured, over breakfast, that maybe I should do a test. It’s weird how in the last few weeks my menstruation has become something we talk about over breakfast – me cheerily announcing that no, no bleeding yet, him assessing my forehead for tell-tale pre-menstrual spots (no periods for nine months! I can definitely live with this).

So we hotfooted it to the nearest place to buy a pregnancy test. I downed my green tea and two glasses of water, peed on the £12 test stick (I have issues with how extortionate Clearblue is) and what do you know: “Pregnant.”

I headed back into the kitchen, waving the stick a bit manically. “Look! LOOK!” I said, thrusting it in my husband’s face. “Bl-oo-dy hell” was his response. “We friggin did it!”

My big reveal was pretty low key. We laughed, jumped on the spot, high-fived and hugged like the not-sure-really-how-to-do-this-but-we’ll-make-it-up-as-we-go-along pair that we are. Then we went about our day as normal. We are happy and I’m incredibly grateful to get pregnant so soon. I don’t want to take that for granted. We’ve been wonderfully lucky or blessed, or both.

But even so, it doesn’t really feel like this big, life-changing deal, yet. In a way, because it’s still so early, I don’t want to think about it too much (does that make sense?). Maybe that’s some sort of self-defence mechanism, in reserve just in case. I suspect it won’t feel real until we cross that 12-weeks line, and then I can breathe. I imagine that when I get fat, the message that there is a baby growing inside of me, for whom we will be jointly responsible for the rest of our lives, will probably be quite clear.

So far, I don’t physically feel anything – a few cramps, a knot in my stomach. Hours after I took the test, I started feeling dizzy. I have no idea if it’s pregnancy related; rationally, from everything I’ve read, it’s way too soon to be feeling the effects, so maybe it’s just my paranoia. Yesterday, I Googled some of the basics of pregnancy. All these what to eat, what not to eat articles. I can see how easy it will be to feel overwhelmed.

Still, we are quietly, incredibly happy while being cautious at the same time, because I know as much as anyone else that these are early days, and anything may yet happen.

And that’s sort of why I’m writing this blog – because the first three months are so secretive, there’s hardly anyone out there talking about how it feels. I am very much aware of the risks until the first trimester passes. And I’ve made a commitment to be honest, come what may. But it feels strange doing it on our own. It’s strange not feeling like you can ask friends who’ve been through it before because you’re not supposed to say anything yet. It is hard to know what to do and what to expect when you have to sit tight for what feels like a long, long time until you can tell anyone else.

As well as sharing my journey, I’d love to hear from you too. What was it like when you first found out you were pregnant?