*** I’m publishing this post after giving birth as time just slipped away in the lead up to labour! Spoiler alert: Baby girl and I are both healthy, happy and thriving and settling into our new life really well!***
Hello strangers! It’s been a very long while… I can’t believe how quickly this whole pregnancy journey has flown by. It has also been totally consuming. I have not had much bandwidth for anything else. I had so many ideas of pregnancy workouts that I was going to film and creating ebooks and workshops and and and… And then nine months just passed and I hadn’t done any of those things. (Maybe next time?!)
So as I sit at nearly 40 weeks pregnant and patiently await the arrival of our little girl, I thought I’d do a very long overdue blog post and take you through my pregnancy journey.
It was the first week in August when I started to wonder why my period was quite late. My cycle was historically very regular, but due to covid/lockdown stress it had been all over the show for a few months – very early one month, delayed the next, so I didn’t really know where I was in my cycle anymore! I’d been feeling quite bloated, but put it down to all the baking I’d been doing and eating. I was also feeling quite emotional and tired, but again I put it down to premenstrual symptoms. Eventually though, I started to wonder… am I pregnant? Could I be? And so off I went to buy my first ever pregnancy test at the ripe age of 36! LOL.
I peed on the stick and it was a very definite positive. Whoa. A million emotions shot through my mind and body. I shared the news with my husband, who at first thought I was pranking him, but very quickly turned to absolute delight. I won’t go into the nitty gritty of all we’ve been through during the past year financially with covid, etc… but needless to say it’s been hard AF and maybe not the best time to fall pregnant. But I’m a huge believer in everything happening for a reason and I have a deep trust of the universe and its timing. So once the initial surprise wore off, I immediately turned my attention to deep gratitude for this gift of life growing inside me.
I was very lucky in that I only experienced some mild nausea for a few weeks – usually first thing in the morning and if I ate straight after waking, then the feeling subsided. I was very sensitive to food smells (well smells in general!) and one night when my husband was cooking lamb sausages, I thought I might actually throw up. I had quite an aversion to meat initially and was just craving tons of fruit and starchy carbs. I think that was to help deal with the insane fatigue! I was totally wiped – I just wanted to nap all day. Many days I didn’t think I had the strength to give classes or train my clients. My husband would convince me to get out of bed and work and I always actually felt better after moving.
I was surprised at how quickly my body seemed to change. My boobs exploded over night and I felt constantly bloated, no matter what I ate. I thought that I was just going to balloon into a whale over the next few months! I had to coach myself through some moments where I was all caught up in my body and my perceptions. I reminded myself that this was just a season of life – that my body was blooming in making a life. That perspective shift and acceptance helped a lot.
As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I immediately started taking a folate supplement (folate is easier for your body to absorb than folic acid) a crucial nutrient in fetal development. I also started doing a ton of research, because that’s what I love to do! I found a new OBGYN who was more aligned with my birth wishes (vaginal with as little intervention as possible) and made our first appointment for my 8 week scan.
Seeing our little jelly bean for the first time was amazing and we chose to tell family and a few close friends. It’s a funny time, where you really want to shout from the rooftops that you’re pregnant, but it’s also nice having this special secret. There’s also that tiny bit of fear and trepidation that it’s still early days and miscarriages and other complications can happen.
Initially I did miss not being able to drink; especially as I had a few close friend’s birthdays in those early months. The FOMO was real. Feeling fresh the next day was a good consolation prize though!
Our 12 week fetal assessment scan arrived. That was the day that it all became really real! To see our little baby so clearly – looking like a tiny human and not like a jelly bean – was the most amazing experience. We wanted to find out the sex and when the technician told us with great confidence that it was a girl, happy tears sprung to my eyes.
I had planned to share our news on social media that week, but we were struck by tragedy. Our beloved dog Joshua was attacked by another dog and died a few hours later. The loss was absolutely shattering for us and I feared that I could lose the baby from the shock. I had to really pull myself together for her sake. I spoke a lot to her inside me – explaining what had happened and why I was so sad, but that she was safe and loved and mustn’t worry. A week later we were gifted another angel dog and that really helped to soften the loss. It was time to share the big news and I have never felt such a tremendous outpouring of love, support and well wishes. People really do celebrate new life!
And just like that my first trimester was over!
Ah the wonderful “honeymoon trimester” as they call it. For most women, the nausea and fatigue subside and you get a jolt of energy. All of the crazy hormone surges and body changes seemed to level out during this time and I felt really great. This was when I started to experience some of those pregnancy perks like thicker hair and glowing skin. Wonderful! My little bump was just that – little. I still dressed to kind of hide it because it looked like I was just rather bloated most of the time and not pregnant.
Somewhere during this lovely phase I overdid it a little with my exercising (too much enthusiasm with my regained energy) and I landed up with sciatica. Having never experienced this before it was not so fun – walking hurt, sneezing hurt, sleeping hurt, demonstrating exercises to my clients was off the cards. Luckily with some professional help ( my bestie who is an amazing physiotherapist and also treatment from a chiropractor) lots of icing, rest, gentle stretching and patience, I was right as rain a few weeks later.
It was during this time that I was also quite busy with work and had some amazing opportunities come my way – the highlight was appearing on live TV on the Expresso morning show. Me and my 19 week little bump made our TV debut and it was such a thrill!
During the early part of this trimester I also did a comprehensive Pilates mat course – it was just in time in terms of being able to do a lot of the core work and lying on my stomach. My brain hadn’t turned to absolute mush yet, so hopefully I absorbed and retained most of the info! Time will tell when I finally get round to doing my exam!
At 21 weeks we had our second comprehensive fetal assessment scan. Everything was A-Ok! Baby was in a breech position though, so getting some of the measurements was a little tricky. We were told that she had very long legs, but was quite petite otherwise. I mean what else could a girl ask for?!
Being pregnant during Covid was actually a blessing in disguise for me. There was nothing to really have FOMO for, I didn’t have to get dressed up and go anywhere (made it super economical on the maternity clothing front) and I was quite content to just stay home and chill as much as possible.
It took quite some time for my belly to actually pop. I think I only started looking a little bit pregnant around 25 weeks or so – not for lack of trying though! I was eating tons more than usual and working out way less. Everyone carries differently, bellies show differently on various frames – we are all so unique. There’s no right, wrong, good or bad. All preggie bellies are beautiful and perfect. So if you’re going through this journey, try to keep that in mind – no comparisons, no judgements!
I must also mention some other self-care things I was doing which really helped me.
Gua sha and facial massage a few times a week really helped with the puffiness I felt in my face.
Dry brushing a few times a week really helps with lymph drainage and circulation. I also lathered myself up with a very thick body butter every night, especially on my tummy, boobs and butt. Stretch marks are largely down to genetics, so if your mom or sister has them, it’s likely you will too and vice versa… but every little bit helps in preventing! So I made sure to really hydrate my skin with rich, nourishing oils and butters. I also made sure to boost my skin’s elasticity from the inside: lots of water, collagen powder and bone broth, as well as plenty of good fats!
Staying mobile throughout my pregnancy has also really helped with circulation. During my second trimester, I would lie with my legs up the wall at the end of the day for five mins or so to help with drainage – this became a bit uncomfortable in my third trimester, so I stopped. Which brings me to a very important point – LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! No two bodies are the same; no two pregnancies are the same… so always trust your intuition and how you’re feeling and do what works for YOU!
Because of baby’s breech position, I started doing (almost) daily Spinning Babies exercises to try and encourage her to turn. Walking and swimming are also great for helping baby get into a good birth position.
The final stretch!
So many moms warned me that the last trimester feels like an eternity. I didn’t have this experience though. The last three months have flown by as equally fast as the previous trimesters. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a relatively smooth ride? I don’t know.
I actually really enjoyed this time, as my belly finally really expanded and I looked and felt proper pregnant! I would spend loads of time just staring at my belly in awe. The human body is truly amazing.
Once again I had a flare up of sciatica – probably a little too much training a few days in a row and then I was back to hobbling around and being in a lot of pain. Luckily I knew what to do – physiotherapy, icing, stretching and resting as much as possible. Again it took about 3-4 weeks to ease up completely and then I was right as rain again!
I started to really amp up my birth prep practices – daily hypnobirthing exercises, red raspberry leaf tea, eating dates and lots of iron rich foods…
My iron levels were tested at about 32 weeks and they were a little low, so I started taking an iron supplement. My energy levels (which I thought had been pretty good so far) increased and I no longer felt the need for an afternoon nap.
I think it was at my 36 week scan that we finally learned that baby had turned herself around and was in the perfect birth position! I was so relieved!
During this time I also had a special little baby shower / goddess circle celebration, which was so so special. I felt very lucky to still be able to mark this occasion, as I wasn’t sure I would be able to due to Covid. My heart could have exploded from all the love and support and kind words I received. It’s really cool to have so many mom friends who’ve been through this and a few of my closest friends being pregnant at the same time as me. Such an beautiful journey to share!
At about 36 weeks I started taking 1000mg of Evening Primrose Oil, which is said to help ripen the cervix and help with birth prep. I amped up my red raspberry leaf tea to 3 cups a day – it’s amazing for toning the uterus. I also decided to cut out caffeine, as I wanted to be as unstimulated and zen as possible.
The nesting urge really kicked into gear and I wanted to obsessively clean and organise. The baby’s room is actually still not complete as I type this…but should be ready in the next day or so. Literally last minute dot com. We have everything that the baby really needs: me, my boobs, a bassinet. Don’t worry, we actually have a lot more than that! I had so much fun folding baby clothes Marie Kondo style and organising all the baby things. I wonder how long that aesthetically pleasing organisation will last once the baby arrives? (* Update* – still need to do a few finishing decor touches to the baby room… work in progress!*)
I stopped working at 38 weeks – I had to actually be forced to by my husband, otherwise I probably would have carried on working until I went into labour! What can I say? I love my job and I love my clients… but it was time for me to really slow down, put my feet up and eat eat eat.
My husband has been on a mission to really feed me up, as my tummy and our baby have been measuring a little small. I had been eating so much more already, but I surrendered to my husband’s will and amped up my food intake even more – sometimes having double lunches or dinners. I’ve also been indulging in all my lovely cravings even more so as this journey starts to come to an end.
I’m currently reading up on all things postpartum. I’m going to practice the First 40 Days, which is basically staying home and bonding with baby, eating very specific recovery/healing foods and doing as little else as possible. My mom is going to move in for that time to help with cooking, cleaning, dogs, etc. I’m so so grateful for her and that support!
I’ve been journaling and talking to baby lots. I’ve also been watching lots of positive birth stories on YouTube. My hospital bags are nearly fully packed. Birth playlists are made. And now we wait patiently. It’s wild to think that any moment my labour could begin and a whole new adventure awaits!
I have learnt so much from this experience already. I have never felt such a deep sense of calm and trust in myself and the universe. I feel so full. Full of life. Full of love. I feel a deep confidence in myself carrying this life inside me. I feel strong and powerful and beautiful. I feel so very blessed.
So if you’re reading this, I may or may not have had my baby already?! I will obviously be taking time off… who knows for how long? I look forward to my return as a mother and all the inspiration and experience that will bring to all that I do.
Thank you for reading! See you soon!
Lots of love