My pregnancy diary- the first trimester

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At twenty-two weeks pregnant this post is somewhat belated, but as I’m finding the pregnancy is absolutely racing by, and although I will never say never, it could be the last time I get to experience this, I want to document and remember all the magical moments, good and bad.

From the very beginning

I knew I was pregnant pretty much instantly. Well, within a few days, when this little peach would have been a mere dot of cells, I simply felt different. Of course, it could have all been in my mind, as we were trying and hoping that I would get pregnant, but the month before I felt like I knew it hadn’t happened before my period actually arrived. One change I noticed was my appetite – I went off food, and whilst I didn’t feel nauseous yet, I found myself turning my nose up at lots of foods that I usually like, and also coffee: this also happened very early in my pregnancy with Oscar and set little nostalgic alarm bells off in my head. My breasts also felt very tender after only a week or so, and I just felt… pregnant! I pre-warned Ben, and he shrugged, telling me with his eyes, “well, we’ll have to wait a couple more weeks to find out,” but also flashing me an excited smile.

I waited until a Saturday morning when Ben would be at home with us, a few days after my period was due, and took a test. Unlike last time, I didn’t feel at all nervous, as I felt so sure that I knew it would be positive, but I still felt my stomach flip with butterflies when I saw the second line appear. We ate breakfast together, and I tried hard not to grin the whole while. When Ben was brushing his teeth, I handed Oscar the test and whispered to him, “go and give this to Daddy”. He toddled over, and held it out. Ben, slightly suspiciously said, “Oscar, what have you got there?” -thinking he’d got his hands on something he shouldn’t have. As he looked at the test, I peeked my head around the door watching him. His brain computed what it was that he was holding for several seconds before his face broke into a huge smile and he looked up, searching for me. As we hugged, Oscar ran over, never wanting to feel left out, and wrapped his arms around our legs. It was a wonderful moment.

The first 14 weeks

The early weeks were very similar to last time for me: unpleasant, but not awful. I felt mildly queasy all day long, and didn’t want to eat. I was ready for bed by 8pm every night, and had random moments of feeling emotional and tearful for no reason. I had frequent niggling fears of having a miscarriage; coming from a medical background I couldn’t help but be rationally aware that they are really common in early pregnancy. We kept the pregnancy a secret (other than our parents), and I really disliked having symptoms, and knowing I was pregnant, but not feeling able to shout it from the rooftops or having anything to ‘show’ for it. Having said all of this, it was wonderful to know that I was growing a new life inside me, and I felt more relaxed and able to enjoy it than the first time around, when I felt like the first trimester dragged on for an absolute lifetime!

At 10 weeks, we chose to have a private early pregnancy scan, as we had booked our holiday to Mallorca already, and I knew that the dates fell right when my 12-week scan should be. Due to the aforementioned anxiety of things simply being OK with the pregnancy, I really wanted to go on holiday and be able to relax in the knowledge that it was all so far, so good. It was well worth it – the scan was really thorough and it was completely magical to see the little peach, looking like a fully-formed tiny human, wriggling and kicking away.

By about 12-13 weeks not only did I start feeling a whole lot better in myself, but I could tell that I was starting to show! To others, I was definitely at that awkward stage of simply looking like I had eaten a really big meal! This was so exciting to me, as I adored having a bump the first time around, and it really didn’t appear until 16-17 weeks with Oscar. When we had our dating scan, my due date was put forward by five days – exactly the same as with Oscar. It’s always nice to find out you’re a little further on (according to the baby’s size, at least) but to me it means I’m absolutely sure I’ll go over my due date again. Oscar was born at 12 days overdue, and I found the last two weeks of the pregnancy really hard. I’m very impatient and the anticipation nearly killed me, not to mention that I was dreading the thought of being induced. This time around I feel a LOT more relaxed about it all, and in my mind my real ‘due date’, that I’m going by, is when I’ll actually be 41 weeks pregnant.

My top tips for coping with morning sickness

Although I was really lucky and didn’t get severe nausea, my personal sickness self-help tips would be:

  • Sleep! My nausea was always worse if I’d had a bad night up with Oscar
  • De-stress! I had a really big exam when I was 7 weeks pregnant, and the stress surrounding it made my nausea so much worse. I think relaxation methods (mindfulness, meditation, yoga, massage) can help the physical feeling of early pregnancy sickness more than you would imagine
  • Never have an empty stomach – it makes morning sickness worse; I chose to nibble on plain rice cakes or biscuits in between what meals I could manage
  • Keep well hydrated with regular sips of water

The second trimester

The things I’m most looking forward to: (kind of cheating as I’m writing this halfway through my second trimester, but they were all true!)

  • Having a bump – the bigger the better!
  • Feeling slightly less exhausted all the time
  • Feeling those magical baby flutters and kicks
  • Seeing our peach again at the 20 week scan
  • Finding out the sex of the baby
  • Getting to wear comfy maternity clothes again – especially my maternity jeans!

Image of tiny knitted baby booties

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I completely forgot about this moment here until I was looking on my phone for some photos to accompany this post. On the day I took the pregnancy test and we officially found out we were expecting, Ben and Oscar came back from the shops with this big bunch of blooms, which Oscar proudly presented to me. I don’t often share candid, everyday photos (laundry basket and washing machine on show, grainy/blurry images!!) but these were just so sweet.

Please do pop a comment below if you liked this, and if you’re pregnant at the moment, please say hello! When are you due? During my first pregnancy I absolutely loved following along with other mums’ pregnancy journeys through Instagram or their blogs.

Hannah x

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Mallorca – our first summer holiday with a toddler

Last month, Ben, Oscar and I travelled to Mallorca for a much needed 9-day holiday together. It wasn’t the first time we’ve been away as a family – last year we went to Cornwall, a long weekend in Copenhagen for my 30th birthday and Poland to visit my extended family; and earlier this year we went skiing in France with both our families — but it was the first time that Oscar was old enough to really enjoy and appreciate the trip himself, and boy did it make for a magical experience for us all. With your first child, every single thing is a ‘first’, and that unexpectedness brings so much excitement: seeing how awestruck Oscar was to travel on an airplane, watching his boyish joy at the novelty of ‘living’ somewhere different, and his daily thrilled squeals when we brought out his little swimsuit.

We stayed in Sa Rota in Mallorca, which we booked through Tots To Travel. It’s a rural farmhouse in the centre of Mallorca converted into self-catered apartments, set in gardens of lemon and clementine trees, and surrounded by farms and wheat fields. It’s in the middle of nowhere, and provided us with the perfect balance of convenience (all baby equipment, kitchen, outdoor private dining area, swimming pool included) and calm. We hired a car – a must for this place – and visited a few beaches, the mountains in the north and some old towns and markets, as well as popping out for our morning coffees and pastries in the nearest village. We were craving an escape, and to avoid crowds and busy streets as much as possible, as as much as Mallorca may seem an odd choice for this, being a super popular holiday destination, this is exactly what we got.

On our last day, we met a couple at the swimming pool where we were staying; they were a similar age to Ben and I, but didn’t have any children yet. They lay sunbathing, sipping cool drinks, while we played with Oscar in the pool. He was shrieking with joy, asking to be thrown up into the air, getting out to jump in again repeatedly, forgetting he couldn’t swim and diving to reach a ball and needing a quick scoop up — you can imagine the scene. Toddlers are non-stop. They don’t stop moving. They are masters at finding danger and need a constant watchful eye. But one look at our bananas little boy and you could plainly see that he was in seventh heaven, beaming from ear to ear, giggling hysterically, smothering Ben and I with cuddles and kisses every time we caught him in the water, and just to see that was truly the best feeling in the world. How lucky and proud I felt that another little human was absolutely loving being alive, and that it was all down to us – that feeling is difficult to put into words, but it caught my breath. The couple were sweet, and commented how funny and happy our little man was, followed by “it looks like hard work – I bet holidays are never the same again with children!” And I thought, well – it is hard work, and no, holidays aren’t the same, and yes, sometimes I would really like to read a book by the pool in peace, or go out for dinner to a fancy restaurant. But this, this is a million times better.

I have some absolutely incredible memories of holidays that Ben and I took together, before Oscar came along. From this holiday, I’ll remember watching Oscar standing on Ben’s feet, dancing to buskers in the square. I’ll remember the heavy weight of carrying him to the house from the car, groggy with sleep, his face buried into my shoulder and his arms around my neck. I’ll remember his evening ritual of visiting the frogs in the pond where we were staying, tip-toeing quietly and shushing us, so as not to disturb them, then forgetting and shrieking FROG!! every single time – then “night night frogs”. I’ll remember his overexcited airplane sound effects and wild gesticulation when we boarded the plane, that looked a lot like an airplane crashing, and made everyone on board laugh out loud – and look slightly alarmed too! I’ll remember salty eyelashes and little sandy toes. For me, these kinds of memories are of a different league altogether, and ones I’ll treasure forever.

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I’ve compiled a little film of our memories, and would absolutely love for you to have a look at it. I’m still very much a beginner at editing these films, but everything I have learnt is from Xanthe Berkeley’s Make Films course that I took two years ago.

Have you got any holidays coming up soon? What are your thoughts on travelling pre vs post-children? Do you long for a child-free holiday again, or do you love the craziness and joy of it all? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Hannah x

 

 

A little bit about myself…

Hello there!

I wanted to start my blog by telling you a little about me and how this space came about. Whether we’ve met, or chatted on Instagram about our respective motherhood dramas; if you’ve followed my story through those little squares over the past year or so, or if I’m new to you: thank you so much for reading and please do pop me a message to say hi, I’m new to this game and it’s a little daunting for me!

I’m Hannah; a 31 year old wife and mother.

I met Ben, a tall, handsome Devon boy 10 years ago, in the library at University, whilst we were supposed to be studying for our exams. After a few days of bumping into each other and hushed chatting in the reference aisles, he offered to walk me home at the end of the day. Ben walked me home every day that week, and one evening on the way home we ended up getting an impromptu drink in a pub garden. Neither of us knew that it was our first date at the time, but the rest is history. At our wedding (which, despite the cliché, was truly the best day of my life) our first dance was to ‘Walking My Baby Back Home’ by Nat King Cole.

I grew up in Cambridge, spent my University years in Leeds and then settled in York, doing the job that I had dreamed of since my childhood. Then, in October 2015 my life changed forever when our beautiful little boy, Oscar, arrived. Motherhood challenged me in every way possible, it made me question my priorities in life, what kind of person I am; what kind of person I wanted to be. The year away from a career that I had invested in for 10 years was hugely refreshing for me, and I was enthused to make the most of it: I re-learned how to knit, attempted to teach myself calligraphy, reignited my passion for photography and took an online film making course. Trying to do all of this whilst looking after a new baby was a struggle (especially one who seemingly didn’t sleep much and never wanted to be put down) and there were many days when I longed for five minutes to pee in peace, let alone half an hour relaxing with a knitting project.

I made contacts on a little app called Instagram; other mothers at very similar stages to me, going through the same troubles. These contacts developed into friendships, and this was the start for me of a bit of a love affair with Instagram. There were messages pinged back and forth whilst nursing in the dark in the early hours, comments of support and encouragement when I admitted how hard I’d found the early weeks, and private messages from mothers of younger babies, just to let me know that my raw admission of my rock bottom moments; the kind that there is a strong temptation to keep to oneself in order to appear as though everything is going swimmingly, had made them cry with relief as they had believed that everyone else was coping except for them. Instagram has not only been a little diary of my first two years as a mother and introduced me to some incredible women, but its wealth of inspiration has kept my enthusiasm for indulging my creative side going — and led to this blog.

Here you’ll find a bit of a mix that’s an honest reflection of me: my thoughts on motherhood, places we’ve been, some photography, creative outlets and day to day life finds that are too good not to share! I can’t thank you enough for stopping by to have a look, and I would absolutely love to hear from you – leave a comment or send me an email, for me it’s what this is all about!

You can find me on Instagram: @hannah.straughan or you can contact me via email: straughan.hannah@gmail.com

Hannah x

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