Ok, so I kind of fell off the grid a little bit in the last few months. And it isn’t just the blogosphere I’ve abandoned. Since 16th Jan, when I woke up, decided ‘what the heck, I might as well use up this last pregnancy test’, and our world was turned upside down by the faintest of little pink lines, I’ve become something of a social recluse. Navigating morning sickness, mood swings and a myriad of emotions, here’s a little bit of what we have been up to, and the role the first trimester has played in strengthening our marriage.
Us, plus 1…
As I said, on the 16th January I got up, decided I might as well give it a go, did my business and left the white stick to brew on the side as I went about my normal daily routine of feeding and fussing the cats. When I came back to the bathroom I was fully expecting the emptiness I had come to associate with taking these tests, expecting nothing more than one lonesome line that was as lonely as my belly. But not this morning. Staring back at me was a perfect cross. I’d taken one of those tests that shows a positive or a negative sign, but I hadn’t realised that at the time. To me it was a plus sign. Plus 1. Me plus 1. Us plus 1 more. Our growing family.
I had always thought about how I might react on finding out we were pregnant. Having been trying for just over a year, I’d had plenty of time to daydream about running and screaming into the bedroom to tell Andrew the great news. But my reaction was uncharacteristically much calmer than that. Staring at the results for a good 5 minutes, my eyes brimming with tears, enjoying this special secret that only me and my plus 1 knew, I felt beyond any emotion I can describe.
When I did finally tear myself away from the little ‘plus 1’ window, I tiptoed back downstairs, rummaged around the cupboards for a grain of rice (I thought this was a master plan at the time, just go with me a moment…), and stepped back upstairs into bed.
Andrew was just stirring. “Put your glasses on”, I said. Mumble, mumble. “Put the light on”, I said. Grumble grumble. “What do you think that is?” I asked, presenting the tiny grain to him on my fingertip. This display of wit was met with a blank face, a bit like showing a dog a card trick (one of Andrew’s favourite sayings!) “I dunno, what is it?”
“That’s about the size of our baby”, I said, beaming. The blank expression got somewhat more confused before I revealed the white stick and introduced our ‘plus 1’ dream.
And that’s how it all started.
Emotional turbulence and time to reflect
Since then disbelief turned to serenity which quickly turned to panic which turned to fear which turned to excitement which turned back to fear a few more times which turned back to disbelief and so on. It’s only now, 10 weeks later, at the beginning of our second trimester, that the reality is slowly sinking in, and we are allowing ourselves to believe that our dream is coming true.
Those first few days weren’t quite what I expected from movies and books I’d read. I had expected we would be more ‘together’. Joyfully skipping along hand in hand harbouring our private little secret. And even though we did take a few trips out together, we weren’t ever both fully there. Consumed by our own private thoughts, letting the news sink in at its own pace, personally coming to terms with our emotions.
I was excited and all I could do was think about it. I didn’t want to talk about it too much as if saying it our loud might jinx it and I’d wake up one morning to a shattered dream. Andrew just seemed tense. I was concerned at one point that he wasn’t happy, but a few days later I realised he had just hit the panic and fear stage sooner than I had. What about work, finances, living etc etc…
What I came to realise in this early stage was that even though we are embarking on this incredible journey together, there are still times in marriage when it’s ok (well, more than ok) to have your own thoughts and process your own set of emotions separately. Not everything has to be experienced together, all the time.
Reconnecting miles from home
Just several weeks later we set off to our first trip of the year, which we had booked way back in November. Morning sickness now in full swing, along with all the other symptoms nobody seems to tell you about, like severe bloating and the kind of wind that turns your insides, we set off on our road trip.
Our trip to Stirling and Loch Lomond was not like any of the trips we had taken before. Looking back we didn’t seem to do much. I was either feeling too sick or too uncomfortable, but the wash out weather seemed to restrict us a little too.
Stirling was a lovely city, and from what we did see of it we really enjoyed. We managed a tour around the castle… motion sickness bands tightly secured on my wrists to quell the nausea.
Loch Lomond was stunning, and in all honesty I was actually pleased of the wet weather as it meant we could just sit in the hotel and read a book. A much needed peaceful retreat.
Although we didn’t do much, the rest and getting away from it all just by ourselves really did wonders for breaking up those first few weeks. It was in Scotland that we really started to talk about what was happening, and I saw the first sparks of excitement from Andrew.
That trip away really helped us to reconnect, after weeks of just being in our own heads.
A team effort
In the passed few weeks, the morning sickness has (thankfully) subsided, only making way for a wave of new, unexpected symptoms. My sense of smell is something akin to a cat or dog (I imagine), and with it there is something in our kitchen which I just cannot stand. We’ve tried everything to investigate, but to no avail. I’ve struggled with fatigue and severe headaches, just about making it through a full working day before collapsing when I get home at night.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am to my husband for keeping the household ticking over (and taking pics of me when I’m sleeping – thanks for that!). He really has stepped up, stepping in to cook our meals, clean our house, and bundle me off to bed when I droop off the side of the sofa.
At times (lots of times) I’ve felt guilty that I’m not doing enough, that I’m not pulling my weight. I get upset (again those pesky hormones) and I feel like I’m failing as a wife, that I’m not showing him or our home enough attention. I worry about how it will be when the baby does arrive, when I’m even more fatigued from late night feeds and everything else that goes with it. But Andrew, in a way that only he can do, calms my fears and tells me we’re a team. I’m making a human, so he’s making a home.
I think we’ll do just fine.
And in a nutshell, that just about sums up the first trimester. It’s been tough. Tougher than I thought it would be at this stage, but mostly from the pressure I’ve put on myself. As a couple, we’ve had time to reflect together, and apart, and we’ve both come to understand what having a baby means to us, and how we can work together to keep our little world ticking over, and prepare for the arrival of our plus 1.
What affect did pregnancy have on your marriage? I’d love to hear your stories. Comment below or join me on Twitter @LoveinMindBlog