Yes it’s true…we’re having a baby! I am pregnant. Baby on board. Saying those phrases still feels surreal to me. I have been pretty nervous to write this post, as sharing our precious secret to the whole world suddenly makes it all seem a lot more real. But it also feels like a huge weight off my shoulders because I won’t have to hide it anymore. There were 100 ways I could have approached this post, but as always, I think that honesty is key. So you’re about to get a completely honest account of my fertility and pregnancy story so far, which, let me tell you, has been far from one of those idealistic Clear Blue adverts.
Since telling my family and friends that Scott and I are having a baby, I’ve come to realise there are a few stock questions that always get asked without fail. They’re probably the exact same things you’re wondering right now, so I am going to go right ahead and answer them all for you! As I write this, I am 13 weeks and 5 days pregnant, but when I publish it I will be 14 weeks and 5 days. The baby’s due date is the 6th February 2019 (hello sober Christmas 2018). I’ll reach the 20 week mark towards the end of September, when we’ve chosen to find out the gender of the baby. Eeek!
A Bit of Background
Now let me take you all back to how this all happened (excluding the birds and the bees part which I am sure you’re all fully up to speed on). All my life, I have never had regular periods. On no hormonal contraception, I’d only have about 6 periods a year at best. This never really bothered me until I began to reach an age where having a baby was on my distant radar. PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) also runs in my family. After showing a few typical symptoms of PCOS I decided to get tested for it and although the results said I didn’t have PCOS, it still played on my mind. So I did the maths and assumed if an average woman has 12 chances a year to get pregnant, I may only have 6. I concluded that if it can take woman over a year to get pregnant, it could take me over 2. I am no fertility expert, but simple maths and logic brought me to this conclusion. This conclusion then manifested a huge internal fear about my own fertility and whether it may take me years of trying to have a baby.
I’ve always felt I’d love to become a mum by the time I am 30. I’m now 28. So with my potential ‘up to 2 years of trying’ in my head, I decided to come off the pill earlier this year. Scott and I discussed it together but I knew this would be OK with Scott because he’s been ready for a baby for about a year, so the ball has very much been in my court. We never said we were officially trying for a baby, more just allowing fate to take its course. It was much less scary to think of it that way. Of course, I knew there was a chance I could get pregnant, but because of my fertility fears I was convinced that wouldn’t happen until we were actively trying in a Monica Geller-ovulation-tracker type of way.
Assumption is a funny old thing isn’t it? It turns out I had created this entire fertility issue in my head, and that my years of internally stressing about fertility issues were totally unnecessary. I came off the pill at the end of March and was pregnant by mid May.
Taking the Test
There were a couple of out-of-character things that resulted in me going to Boots and buying some tests. Firstly, I remember walking back to my car after running some errands in Leeds and I felt an overwhelming sense of tiredness wash over me. I could have fallen asleep on the pavement right then and there. I had no reason to feel even mildly tired, so this really threw me and I even ended up taking a nap on a Friday night as I was just so exhausted. Not like me at all. Secondly, I began to have an unquenchable thirst and the type of dry mouth you get after waking up from a huge session on the booze. This was pretty unlike me, so on a whim I decided to Google ‘symptoms of early pregnancy’.
Almost right at the top of the snappy listicle was fatigue and dry mouth / unquenchable thirst. *Right*…I calmly thought. It felt nothing more than a funny coincidence. I never truly thought I would be pregnant, but I thought I’d go and get a test just to be sure. You know, so I could drink my next G&T with absolute peace of mind.
The following day I bought some tests, then forgot about them. That evening Scott was cooking dinner for us at home (an indulgent Saturday night meal of fillet steak and homemade mac ’n’ cheese). He’s the best! Anyway, I was about to mix myself said G&T when I remembered the tests in my bag. ‘I’ll just go and quickly do one of those tests for peace of mind, then make the drink’, I thought to myself, still convinced it would come out negative. Its safe to say I am still waiting for that G&T.
I started in disbelief as two faint pink lines appeared on the test strip (two means pregnant, one means not pregnant). My general relaxed disposition was suddenly drenched by a wave of intense adrenaline and my heart felt like it was beating out of its chest. This didn’t feel real. I quickly took the other 2 tests I had bought and lined all 3 up next to each other on the ledge of the bathroom window. I stared in silence. I stared some more. It was undeniable. They all said the same thing. I was pregnant, and I was in complete shock.
This is the moment that the women in the adverts burst out crying in pure joy and elation. Well, that certainly didn’t happen for me. Even though I have known I have wanted babies my whole life, stressed about my fertility and made the decision to come off the pill, I was completely thrown. ‘I’m not ready to have a baby yet’, ‘I thought it was going to take me years’, ‘I’m so stupid for allowing this to happen’ were the general sentiments that were racing through my mind. I also felt extreme guilt that fear very much trumped any joy or happiness I was feeling, especially as its something I’ve always wanted.
I went downstairs in an almost trance-like state. Scott was putting the finishing touches on (what would have been) a cracking meal, completely oblivious to the silent drama that had just unfolded upstairs. ‘I’m pregnant’, I said as I walked into the room. ‘What? No you’re not’, he said, confused. ‘I am, I’ve just done 3 tests upstairs’. He put down the pans and came over and gave me a massive hug. We hugged in silence for a few minutes. After seeing how shocked I was, I could tell he didn’t really know how to react. But I know he was happy.
Getting Through the First Trimester
The weeks that followed were hard. I started to feel incredibly sick and tired every day, but had to continue to carry on with life as normal. Luckily I work from home so I was able to take it easy and nap when I needed to. I seriously take my hat off to women who get through the first trimester in a workplace. But it wasn’t plain sailing. I had 3 trips to complete for work in the third trimester. You might remember me visiting The Black Forest, Austria and Scotland.
I was pregnant for all of these trips, and the intense itineraries felt 10 times harder with the tiredness and erratic sickness. I also took a step back from social media during this time as it felt really hard to share honest and genuine content with you all when I was hiding such a life-changing piece of information. Throwing up on the plane on the way to Austria and on the 3-hour transfer to my hotel was definitely a low point, but that’s probably worth a separate blog post in itself!
How I’m Feeling Now
Fast forward 10 weeks and things are very different. The sickness and tiredness is easing off and I’ve had some real time to process the shock of the pregnancy and the exciting, mind-blowing reality that I am currently growing a human and I am going to become a Mum. I feel like I have a new purpose in life and a responsibility to look after this tiny life inside me. Whilst this momentous occasion may have come a year or so earlier than I was ready for, I still feel so completely lucky that this has happened to me. I am amazed by what my body has already been capable of, and will be capable of in the months to come. We’ve taken huge pleasure in finally telling our family and friends in person, and seeing all of their different reactions (all very happy and positive I am glad to say).
I’ve also had time to reflect on my mixed emotions at the time of finding out I was pregnant, and I’ve come to accept that all of my feelings were entirely valid. We all know the adverts we see on TV and the photos we see on Instagram are not reality, so we should in no way punish ourselves if our reality does not equate to the media. I don’t want to compare myself to anyone else, whether its the woman in the Clear Blue advert or my best friend. Comparison is the thief of joy. We are all running our own race in life, at our own pace, and that is absolutely fine with me.
I can see that Scott is so incredibly excited and is already head-over-heels in love with our baby, and that just makes me so much more assured of the situation. He’s been so amazing and caring with me on my off-days. On the whole I think its brought us even closer together.
The Future of The Travelista
Of course the next big question everyone seems to ask me after finding out I am pregnant is…’what will you do with your blog?’. It’s a question I couldn’t possibly begin to answer in one sentence, but I’ve certainly spent a lot of time thinking about it and how having a baby will make an impact. I always knew this was going to be a conundrum when the time came to having a baby, but after much soul-searching and in-depth conversations with friends, I feel like I am starting to make sense of what I want. In short, you’ll be pleased to know that The Travelista isn’t going anywhere. I want my blog to evolve with me as I enter this new stage in my life, just as it has done for the past 5 years.
I’m not about to become a mummy blogger and abandon travelling all together. Travel is the thing that has given me so much joy, independence and personal growth over the past 5 years and there’s no way I am about to give it up. But at the same time I am under no illusion that my life isn’t about to change (for the better I think). My baby will be a huge part of my life, so I am sure it will naturally become a part of The Travelista too. After taking some time out for maternity leave early next year, I plan to continue blogging full time and feature a combination of trips both with and without the baby. I am aware that some of my followers will be interested baby-related posts and some won’t, and thats A-OK with me. I’m going to write a full blog post about The Future of The Travelista once the dust of this announcement has settled, so stay tuned for that 🙂
I feel as if I could keep adding paragraphs to this blog post for hours, but all good things must come to an end. You can expect to read more personal pregnancy-related posts in the coming months, along with all the usual travel-related posts. I’m heading to Cornwall this week, followed by Almunecar and Florida in September. I’ve also booked trip for Scotts 30th in October, which is going to double up as a bit of a babymoon now! I can’t say where we’re off to yet as the destination is a surprise, but trust me its a goodie!
If you’re still reading this, thanks for staying with me til the bitter end! I hope that you all continue to stay on this journey with me and follow me as I enter this new and exciting stage of my life.
Love Jess x