My First 20 Weeks

Scans
A few weeks after we received our exciting news of being pregnant, we went back to Fertility Associates to see our specialist and get a “7 week” scan. We were relieved that there was a developed foetus and we got to hear the heartbeat! To be honest, I felt quite overwhelmed by it all, but we were so happy. I was feeling very nervous and worried as these first few months are so essential.

Waiting for the 12 weeks scan, I found I was the most anxious I had been yet. I was trying my best to keep calm, keep busy and keep up low intensity exercise.

The day finally arrived for our 12 week scan, but due to anther lockdown – in Auckland only – my partner was unable to join me at the appointment, and waited patiently in the car for the outcome. As soon as I saw “Pebbles” (our nickname for our growing baby) and the sonographer confirmed that baby is growing well – I just burst into tears. Tears of Joy and relief… we have made it to this next milestone. It was tricky to get pebbles into the right position for measurements – jumping around, laying different ways and all, we eventually got the details needed. Pebbles kept clamping both hands together in front of its face. I got a few photos printed, but videos and more photos on a USB to share with those closest. It was a special moment sharing the good news and photographs with my man when I got back to the car.

Midwife
Finding a midwife was tricky… I personally preferred to birth at Auckland Hospital, so was on a hunt to find a midwife that birthed at Auckland but covered the East Auckland area. There was a small list of ladies, and I tried to find reviews but couldn’t find much. I met one, that was just a walking distance from home which was nice. At the first meeting, I completed all the paperwork for signing up with her, and for Auckland hospital. Within a couple of weeks, unfortunately, we had a falling out over the phone as I was told I have a second UTI. I was surprised and concerned, yet the midwife was very abrupt and rude, and after the call texted me to say I should look for a new midwife that we are not a fit. My partner heard the full phone call and was very shocked how she spoke to me. I was very upset, now 11 weeks pregnant and have to find a new midwife. I got more upset as my partner contacted many midwifes and struggled to get anywhere as they were all fully booked. After many calls, he managed to have a lovely young lady talk to me. She did not know what had just happened and was very reassuring and invited us to meet with her in a couple of weeks. I have since had two meetings and she is just so lovely and very informative – which is what a first-time mum wants!

What to eat/Not to eat

Oh gosh this can be so overwhelming on its own!! NZ Food Safety and Ministry of Health have clear guidelines online about recommendations of what to eat or not eat. I have been rather strict on what I am eating, along with my normal dietary requirements of being gluten and dairy intolerant. Therefore, I have not been having raw egg – no poached eggs, no mayo, no soft cheeses, no seafood, no salads out etc. There are many mums that eat all the above, and have no issues, and some may be on their second pregnancy. However, this is my choice not to eat these foods, I am not missing them, not craving them and have not found it too difficult. I have no opinions about others enjoy, e.g. wanting to have poached eggs for lunch, as that is their choice. Everyone is on their own pregnancy journey, and we all should choose to do it how we want, not by others opinions. However, the hardest part I have found is eating out, grabbing lunch on the go, or going to friends/family for a meal. I have kept snacks like rice crackers, biscuits, and ‘pregnancy lollies’ in my bag which has been very helpful. Keeping hydrated is ultra important of course too! I was gifted electrolytes called Aquamama, which I have found to be helpful – super hydrating and uplifting.


Sickness

I don’t want you to feel like I am bragging… but I feel as though I have been pretty lucky so far. I have not had any ‘morning sickness’. I had a couple of random nights of feeling rather unwell and was in pain, but I was fine again the next day. For the first 12 weeks or so, I was feeling very tired/lethargic in the afternoon and often needed to lay down for an hour or so. This is when the electrolytes definitely helped! 

A very common symptom during pregnancy is constipation due to a combination of things including hormones, supplements and stress. The pregnancy hormone – progesterone, which is critical to maintaining a healthy pregnancy, also contributes as it slows down your digestive system. Many ladies are put on iron and calcium supplements, which although are baby building blocks, these also contribute towards constipation. We all suffer from stress of some sort in our life, and during your pregnancy it can bring a lot more stress and anxiety. However, you don’t have to suffer from constipation! There are natural remedies that can help before needing to go down the path of laxatives.

Eat well (as much as you can), including high fibre foods such as avocado, broccoli & leafy greens, chia seeds (try chia seed puddings!), nuts and fruits – especially kiwifruit and prunes. Keep hydrated, I enjoy a warm lemon water first thing in the morning which I finds helps a lot, along with a vitamin c boost. It can be difficult with feeling unwell and exhausted, but try some sort of exercise when you can, whether it is walking, pilates, yoga etc. I have been enjoying a pregnancy pilates class every Tuesday evening, personal training session on Saturday morning, and in-between try to go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air. As I have intolerances to gluten and lactose, and suffer with IBS, I have found these remedies to continue to work well together to support my digestive system.

I do get heartburn often... I am not sure if it is because I am always on the go, and it’s probably me needing to slow down a bit more? Most days I can tolerate it, but it can get quite uncomfortable. I try my best not to take anything for it and stop for a break, but if I really need it, I take Gaviscon dual action, which I do find has helped.

During the night is the most uncomfortable so far. I was finding my back would seize during the night and wake me up, then take me a while to get back to sleep unless I was fortunate to get some Rapid Recovery rubbed into these pain points. I have got two big long memory foam body pillows and enjoy snuggling up to these at night.


Supplements

I have always been an advocate for high quality supplements and have found they help me in their own particular ways. For a long time, I have been on probiotics that I find support my digestive system really well, and magnesium with cramps and definitely sleep better. Just before I started IVF, I began Metagenics Pregnancy Care which is a pregnancy multi-vitamin and Metagenics Meta EPA/DHA Fish oil tablets. Not everyone gets hormonal issues, but I find my hormones were on a roller-coaster when I am not taking a good multi-vitamin and keeping up with some form of exercise. I find this combination has levelled my hormones really well during my pregnance so far.

Looking after your skin
Most of us worry about getting stretch marks as our bodies grow and change. I have been using a beautiful belly oil from Made4Baby, rubbing it into my breasts, tummy and thighs after every shower. It is made with Argan Oil and is non-greasy and super hydrating to the skin and feels lovely. 

Time for Yourself!
I believe it is very important, no matter how busy you are, to take some time for yourself. Whether it be a walk, read a book with a cuppa tea  or some extra TLC like a relaxing massage. Whatever it may be, remember to do something you enjoy and make the most of it. Also, time out for yourself helps with stress levels and also can support constipation.

The Next 20 (or so) Weeks...
I had our '20 week scan' at 19 weeks + 5 days. It was a real special time to share with my man this time round. I had to keep a close eye on his eyes though to make sure he wasn't looking when we were told not to! We will find out the gender of our baby at a Gender Reveal with our immediate family. I am super excited. We have two envelopes that reveal the surprise, but we must wait...!! :D  


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