Our scary pregnancy moment

my scary pregnancy moment

First, I’d like to say that everything was absolutely fine. It was a really scary pregnancy moment but it’s all okay.

Secondly, I’m saying this is one of my scariest pregnancy moments – so far. I know that the last few weeks of pregnancy could serve up all kinds of trouble for me. I hope they don’t, but I don’t want to tempt fate! So I’m adding “so far” onto the end of everything I say here.

I was 16 weeks pregnant, it was a Monday, and I’d just dropped my husband off at the train station. I was on my way to work, baby wasn’t moving yet but hey, only 16 weeks. Not expecting movement for quite a while yet. (Goodness, to think of not feeling movement now…)

It’s about 10 miles to my office from the train station and I was driving along as normal when suddenly a bus pulled out from its stop without indicating, right in front of me. Obviously I slammed on my brakes like mad. Managed not to hit anything. But I had that long moment where you are so certain you will hit the vehicle in front of you, you’re imagining what you’re going to say to them, you just know it’s going to happen. It didn’t. Wonderful.

A bit shaky, I should just drive on, right?

Except, the seatbelt had tightened across my belly like anything, and it hurt.

Shaky, very shaky.

I checked the clock and my husband’s train wouldn’t have left yet, so I decided to give him a call to help me calm down. I really did think that he’d just laugh it off and everything would be okay. But he took it very seriously and convinced me to go home at the very least. Go to the hospital, preferably.

So I called my boss, explained the situation (he also took it very seriously), and drove home. I’d have gone straight to the hospital if it hadn’t been for the fact that my pregnancy notes were at home – it was still early enough that I wasn’t carrying them everywhere. So, pro-tip for the pregnant ladies: take your notes everywhere with you, even if it feels early. Even if you have to buy an extra big handbag to fit them in!

I got home and called the 24-hour midwife line as it was still really early. They were very reassuring – “No bleeding? No leaking? Is your belly tender to the touch?” But they still told me to come in and get checked out.

So I drove to the hospital. Slowly. A bit paranoid about driving now. I could have walked – the hospital is only five minutes away – but by this point I was incredibly shaky. Everyone is treating this as a really serious thing, and I’m now terrified.

Walking up the stairs in the maternity department, I sort of imagined this might be where my life has a line drawn – before and after. Before this horrible day and after, when nothing is quite the same again.

I thought that again ten minutes later when the midwife had been listening for a few minutes and couldn’t find a heartbeat. She was trying so hard to stay upbeat, but it didn’t feel good when she went down the hall to find a colleague and suddenly I’m being ushered in for a scan and there are three people other than me in the room.

They were throwing all kinds of acronyms and whispers around, and standing in front of the screen so I couldn’t see what was there. And I was shaking, just willing that baby to still be there.

And it was. Just chilling, whacking itself happily in the face. Apparently hiding from the doppler, not wanting to show off a heartbeat but definitely still alive.

The atmosphere in the room changed immediately. From scary pregnancy nightmare to suddenly it’s all quite nice, really. There was more laughter than I was expecting – despite their reassurances earlier, I think they were prepared for the worst.

Shaking again, but happily this time.

Belly still a bit sore, but cleared to go back to work.

As a bonus, we got a free scan picture! At our hospital you usually pay £5 for a picture. It turns out that when you turn up in an absolute panic, you get a free one. And it’s so incredibly cute!

16 week scan - a bonus from the scary pregnancy moment!

I did most of my processing of the stress that night, when my husband was a little late home from work. I was a crying crazy mess by the time he got home. But everything was okay. Look at that little face!

I can’t be the only one who’s had a horrible scary pregnancy experience like this – what was yours?

A pregnant woman’s vow

A pregnant woman's vow

As you may have heard, I am currently a very pregnant woman. Do I go on about it too much?

I am a very pregnant woman!Baby is due in November, which means I’m eight months pregnant right now. That means it’s fairly obvious and I really can’t hide it any more!

And apparently that means that everyone who so much as catches a glimpse of me gets to have an opinion about my life.

From talking to pregnant and previously pregnant friends, it seems like this happens to everyone. But why? It makes no sense!

So, I hereby vow the following.

My vows to all future pregnant women

I will not comment on a pregnant woman’s size.

Yes, I know I’m measuring a bit small. My husband is short and I am too – did you think we were going to create a giant Amazon baby? It doesn’t mean that I have my dates wrong, or that there’s anything wrong with my baby. If there were, the person to tell me would be my midwife, doctor or the scan technician. Not Jane in HR.

But pregnant women are often big balls of worry to start off with, so when you put the idea in my head that there might be something wrong with my baby, I will worry until my next midwife appointment. Which could be three weeks away. Thanks.

Also, I’ve lost weight because I was pretty sick at the start of pregnancy. That’s not too pleasant of a memory, and no one wants to hear about it. But if you keep on asking, I’ll tell you all the details. (When I had a UTI and discovered I couldn’t swallow my amoxicillin pills, that was fun!)

Alternatively, I hear other women also hate the comments about “You must be ready to pop! Are you sure it’s not twins?”

And I absolutely hate the comments that compare me to other pregnant women. “You’re so tiny – it looks great. Not at all like Mary, she’s huge! Have you seen her?” What exactly am I meant to say to that? “Oh, sucks to be Mary”? Also, she’s not huge. She’s pregnant and looks amazing.

How about we just don’t comment on people’s weight, okay? That’s a good rule for most of the time, to be honest.

I will not criticise what a pregnant woman is eating or drinking.

You want to go to McDonald’s? Go for it. Coffee? Sometimes you need some caffeine to get you through the day.

This baby allowed me one meal a day for the first three months. It was either a cheese sandwich or a crisp sandwich. On white bread. Sometimes I had an ice lolly afterwards. I lost a lot of weight.

You know what? My midwife didn’t worry! She said as long as I was keeping water or juice down and was eating something, just to have what I fancied. Take pregnancy vitamins, she added, and baby is a very efficient little parasite. It’ll get what it needs.

Well, it must have done, because I’m currently sitting here at eight months pregnant with a little dance party going on in my belly. I’ve eaten pizza, gone to McDonald’s, had caffeine, and it doesn’t seem to have affected my efficient little parasite!

Also, you really don’t always know the full story. Did you hear about the pregnancy judgement I got recently?

I will not tell a pregnant woman that her perfectly usual symptoms are odd or that there must be something wrong with her.

It’s perfectly normal to be tired a lot. Morning sickness does not have to occur in the morning. Yes, you probably will have a stiff back towards the end. A bit of cramping in the first trimester is often normal (and when they say “a bit”, that can mean “seriously, it feels like my period is about to start any second now”).

Unless someone has specifically come to you to ask if something sounds normal, trust that they know their own body. They’ve probably spoken to their midwife or doctor.

Being told that I shouldn’t feel so awful when I felt like death warmed up in those first 15 weeks or so only made me feel worse. Offer sympathy, not judgement.

On the other hand, also try not to say that you don’t think they have enough symptoms! I might not be vomiting every day for nine months like you did, but I’m still very pregnant. Baby is still growing fine, thanks.

I will not ask “was it planned?”

Do you want to see my temperature charts? Do ya? I have them. They’re on my phone. I can show them to you!

Fertility Friend chart

No? Then why ask? You do realise you are literally asking about my sex life? How’s yours going?

I will not share scary birth stories.

I don’t need to hear that your labour lasted 72 gazillion hours and you still had to have a Caesarean and you hated every second of it and think that I’m mad. It’s even weirder when you know that it was her first child of two, three, four, etc. so clearly she managed it a few more times!

I want to be surrounded by positivity in the run up to my baby’s birth. Yes, there are no guarantees of how well our birth will go, but surely if I’m terrified of the whole process, life is just going to be harder for me. I’m not comfortable with the idea of giving birth (there’s still eight weeks for them to figure out a method to teleport baby out!) but now that baby is in there, baby has to come out somehow. It’s not like I can hear your birth story and decide, well, actually, that sounds pretty horrible and I’ve changed my mind. Let’s just keep baby in forever.

Also, “Just ask for a Caesarean ahead of time! It’s much easier!” No thanks. If I need one then I need one, but I’m not in the habit of requesting major abdominal surgery just for kicks.

I will not tell a pregnant woman that she’ll never sleep again.

You know you die if you just stop sleeping, right? And most people who have children are still alive. So clearly, this is blatantly false.

What you mean is that I’ll have interrupted sleep for a while. Is there any woman on the planet who is old enough to be pregnant who doesn’t know this?

Surely telling women all the bad stuff once they are already pregnant is a bit like cornering a bride at her wedding and telling her, “Well, you know he’ll probably start snoring and leaving his dirty pants on the floor, right?” The decision has been made, baby is on the way, are you trying to get this poor pregnant woman to regret it or feel bad?

I will not judge a pregnant woman’s plans for maternity/parental leave or working after the baby is born.

“I hope you’re taking a whole year off. You know you’re not going to want to come back to work, right?”

Maybe I’ll find it hard, but you know I like paying my mortgage, right?

I am taking a year off, as it happens. Financially it will be tight but we should be okay. But if my husband and I had looked at our finances and made the decision together that we couldn’t swing a year, then that’s some awfully personal information to share with you, random lady from Finance who feels the need to ask me this in the toilets.

In addition, more and more families are now taking Shared Parental Leave. Would you really judge me and my husband if we’d decided to split the leave between us? (We’re not doing that. Firstly, he’s not been at his current job for long enough to qualify, and secondly, I’m only doing this pregnancy thing for the year off!)

I will not say, “Oh, I bet you’re just so happy all the time!”

Antenatal depression is a thing. Anxiety is a thing.

Even without having a mental health diagnosis, pregnancy is a scary time of change. It also lasts for a really long time. Over the course of nearly a year, you’re bound to have a lot of mood fluctuations and no, you may not feel happy and excited every single second. That isn’t a crime.

I will not touch any bumps without asking first.

Whyyyy? Why would you do this? “Oh, I just love pregnant bellies.” Well, I quite like a lot of men’s bottoms, but I don’t go around just touching them, do I? Because that would be weird and inappropriate!

If I know you and we’re close then sure, ask and chances are I’ll be more than happy to point out, “Yes, baby’s feet are here and I’m getting some kicks here, have a feel!” But if I’m all sore and achy (because I’m getting a bit of a battering from the inside out!), please don’t be offended if I say no.

And if you’re a stranger? Just get your hands away from my body!

Just to prove I’m not a grumpy pregnant woman…

There are lots of comments I don’t mind hearing!

“You’re carrying beautifully.”

“I’m so excited for you.”

“It really isn’t as bad as they say it is. Don’t listen to the negative comments.”

“Having children was the best thing we ever did. You’re going to have a great time.”

“It might be tough at times but you are tougher. You’re going to be a good mum.”

Who’s with me? Let’s vow to make things easier for the next wave of pregnant women!