Tommy's guest blog, 12/10/2017, by Cat Tierney
I am by nature a cautious person when it comes to me! I love to celebrate when other people achieve something but tend to be quite reserved to the point of self-deprecating about my own accomplishment’s, I apologise for my education but am quick to point out I failed my driving test four times! It suits me being able to focus on others and not myself. As a result, I struggle to write about how I feel about the situation I’m in.
I am 19 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Way further than I’ve ever got before (hoorah!) and within touching distance of what I perceive as the biggest milestone along the way, the 20 week scan! To me the 20 week scan is like finding the answer to where the Holy Grail is hidden. I have three friends who have come to this stage of their pregnancy and tragically it has not been possible to continue and right now this is my biggest fear.
I have had very normal pregnancy symptoms throughout the last (almost) five months and I have been really focused on not complaining about them as I am so grateful to have got to this stage...although it may have been nice to have a good old whinge about itchy nipples, especially when it strikes in the middle of the High Street. We are all far too British to ask each other about such symptoms, however, and instead focus on nausea and fatigue and traditional remedies that really don’t work but are less taboo! When I say normal, I have fibroids and, with three failed pregnancies in my wake, I am actually classed as high risk but on a day-to-day basis I don’t feel like I’m a particular risk.
I’m cautious but I’m not totally paranoid everything will go wrong all of the time.
I stopped checking for blood every time I went for a wee after my 12 week scan but until then I most certainly was – I just don’t like to think beyond the next few months. I have created coping strategies and milestones to mark my pregnancy; for example, I associate trips to our local DGH with failed attempts at or failed pregnancies. In my head they are always going to issue bad news. I have bought a Doppler so before each appointment I can listen to the baby’s heartbeat. That way I know I can go there and not be told that he or she has died. A few friends have said to me that Doppler’s make them more paranoid as sometimes they couldn’t find a heartbeat at all when they tried to use one during their pregnancies, but the ex-nurse in me kicks in and I deal with it all in a terribly practical way and so far it has worked and I have felt much calmer an less stressed.
Side effect wise my back has given up playing ball a bit earlier than expected, largely due to a crushed disc injury I sustained 4 years ago, and I’m experiencing a bit of fibroid pain. I think it may be because I’m being punched or head butted by Leicester as it tends to happen more at night but I have some codeine and that seems to be allowing me around 4 or 5 hours sleep a night.
**NB Leicester is the name my husband gave to my bump in the very early stages (he loves a football analogy) and it meant we could talk openly in public without anyone having a clue what we were on about. It’s Leicester, for the non-football fans out there, because if we actually make it through to the end of this pregnancy it will be like a dream come true and against all odds, just like Leicester winning the Premier League last season**
All in all I’ve been really well and I am determined to enjoy this pregnancy as much as I can.
This may be the only time I ever experience being pregnant so I take none of it for granted and tick off each day as it goes. Even the fibroid pain is a healthy sign as it equals movement and growth. Yes it hurts, but it’s not forever.
I don’t want to be someone so wary that I suddenly find myself with a baby that I’ve never considered, but equally I take nothing for granted so I tend to set myself goals along the way. With the exception of jeans I am still wearing all my own clothes. Providing my scan on Friday goes well I will start wearing more maternity clothes - they are, after all, much more comfortable.
I’ve mentally planned the nursery. Over the next two months, clearing the room and having it painted a light shade of grey is an acceptable step in my head as it doesn’t herald the start of anything (although one friend did ask me if I wanted my child to grow up inside a battle ship; I was thinking grey white and yellow = Scandi’ Chic but hey, there’s no pleasing everyone!)
There are aspects of pregnancy I find funny too – not laugh out loud funny, but quirky, ironic or slightly amusing.
I have suddenly, especially in recent weeks, become public property and people feel they have the right to approach me and cop a feel of my boobs and/or bump without so much as an introduction let alone consent - admittedly they tend to be elderly ladies, but still!
Everyone has become psychic as they predict the sex of my bump - for the record I am not finding out. I like surprises (well nice ones) and I feel it will make it that bit more special if, indeed it could ever be any more special. They tell me what symptoms I should be experiencing, and if I am not follow it up with, “well you will be next week” and conversations often get started with “I assume”.
'I assume you are having a hypno birth/drug free birth, join NCT/not join NCT, will breast feed, use organic reusable nappies'
...and so it goes on. I will actually do whatever is right when the time comes for me and my baby. That doesn’t make me a bad person, nor does it mean I’m not prepared. I just don’t have either an egotistical or altruistic desire to please myself or others.
I consider pregnancy a very personal journey for both parents. I usually share everything I’m doing on social media, sitting round chatting to friends and on the phone to the point my Mum will say I’m like an open book! Whilst it is really important to talk about pregnancy and how people are feeling, it isn’t something that people can impart their knowledge of (whilst they do with the best possible intentions) and expect you to have an experience identical to theirs.
I’m over halfway now and as I am not short in the tooth, to put it politely, I have crammed a lot into life and been lucky to have experienced many amazing things but pregnancy has been by far the most incredible thing that I have done.
However, I am still me and I think that is an important fact to hold onto. Writing this has been quite cathartic for me as it makes me realise how far I have come in such a short time from the paranoia of those first weeks constantly checking for blood, to feeling happier talking about the stage I am at now.
There’s more than a glimmer of hope. The odds are in my favour. Yes it can all still go wrong but the chances are it won’t and it is that chance that I am holding onto with a focus and determination like none I have had before.
Theo Samuel Tierney was born on the 3rd of January weighing 8lb 6oz at 11.18am.
Read Cat's original blog here
Read about pregnancy after a miscarriage here
Read about your partner's feelings here
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