It was so exciting today when we went for our twelve week scan! I diligently drank the required litre of water first thing in the morning and then Tim and I sat patiently and waited in the maternity building for our scan. My eyes were wandering around the room, trying to compare tummy sizes, and quite relieved that there were women there for their 20 week scans who were definitely showing more than my 12 week belly! Waiting for the scan was the hardest part. I was desperate for the loo and kept looking across at the toilet where they had posted a prohibitive sign “DO NOT USE BEFORE YOUR SCAN”. That’s all well and good, but they were running about an hour behind schedule and my bladder was at bursting point! I think all the women were feeling the pressure. Every time someone in uniform came into the waiting room all eyes turned expectantly and gave the uniform their full attention.
One pregnant lady came back into the waiting room looking a bit dazed. She sat down. “I’m having twins!” she whispered. A midwife sat with her for a little while. “She’s had a little bit of a shock” she explained. Finally, it was our turn. We went into the room and the sonographer put the gel on my tummy. She started to do the scan and then told me that my bladder was too full. “Goodness, you must have good bladder control,” she said. “Can you go and half empty it?”. Hmm, not sure how much is half empty when it comes to one’s bladder. It’s a lot easier when you keep filling your glass up from a 1 litre jug of water – but there were no helpful markings on my bladder. I went to the loo and achieved what felt like semi-relief. When I returned, Tim was telling the sonographer how I was in the habit of nibbling Bitesize Shredded Wheat (without the milk) in bed. I’m not sure what else he’d told her about my pregnancy! I plonked myself back on the couch, half expecting to see little Shredded Wheat floating around inside my stomach – but instead we could see our little baby! “Just the one in there” said the sonographer (who had just diagnosed the twins). I kind of felt a sense of relief, mixed with concern that I’d been so hungry just because of one tiny little baby.
We could see the little heartbeat but our baby was very chilled out. “It’s asleep” said the sonographer, looking disappointed. “Let’s try and wake it up a bit!” she said as she bounced the thing up and down on my tummy. Thank goodness I’d just gone to the loo. Our little baby wasn’t so keen on moving about, so after a while they took pity on me. The tummy pummeling stopped and the scan was officially over. They said our baby was 11 weeks 6 days old which tied in well with what I thought (11 weeks 4 days). It was a wonderful feeling to have the pregnancy officially confirmed and to see our little alien-looking baby on the screen.
Today is Mothers’ Day in the UK (well, I should say Mothering Sunday as I have a Nanna who highly disapproves of the term ‘Mothers’ Day’ and insists that all of her children send her Mothering Sunday cards – but as she doesn’t use the internet I think I’m safe!) and it has dawned on me that this is the last Mothers’ Day before I become a mother. All Mothers’ Days from now on will be different! We drove down to where my brother got married last year and went out for a lovely family lunch. I’m only 11 weeks pregnant but my belly looked well-rounded even before I had lunch! One of my Nannas patted my stomach and said “Ooh Ruth, go careful love!”. I can’t help it that my belly totally seems to have a mind of its own! I normally have a fairly slim waist. My brother and sister-in-law had bought me a sweet ‘Mother-to-be’ card which was really lovely. My mother-in-law had also bought me one, as well as giving me some preventative stretch mark cream! I’m sure I’ll talk about the cream at some point… It’ll definitely be going on the belly sooner rather than later!
Today we visited Tim’s best man and his wife and their two adorable little girls. They have just moved to a village near us. The eldest was just a month old when we got married and their youngest is almost one now. The girls are so sweet, with gorgeous big brown eyes and so well-behaved. The eldest will be three in summer and goes to ballet and gymnastics! She was twirling around in her pink dressing-up clothes with a blonde wig on! The little sisters reminded me of the old nursery rhyme – “What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and all things nice”. I keep thinking that I may be expecting a girl. I really don’t mind as long as it’s healthy (yes, I know a lot of people say that!) but I definitely won’t be disappointed if it is a little girl and it is made of all things nice!
Everything I’ve read seems to indicate that you need about 200 or 300 extra calories a day when you’re pregnant with one baby but if you’re pregnant with twins you need about twice that. The thing is, I won’t have a scan until about twelve weeks and in the meantime I’m getting really hungry. However, I’m concerned that I may be putting on too much weight (even though the weight gain only seems to be on my tummy and inside my bra). If it’s only one baby then maybe I’m gaining too much in the first trimester. But if it’s two then maybe I’m eating the right amount. It’s a bit of a tricky one.
I’m trying to stick to healthy snacks and meals so I really hope that I’m doing the right thing. No-one wants to put on far too much weight. I’m going to have to carry it around all summer! I can’t wait until I have the scan and get some guidance from a midwife. My doctor saw me a week ago, but just to write down a few dates and ask if I was taking folic acid. Doctors leave it all to the midwives nowadays and rarely interfere. I think I’m going to have a lot of questions to ask my midwife!
Well all this talk about big bumps has concerned me, so I’ve turned to the internet to try and shed some light on the matter. Maybe my bits are all just arranged a bit differently or something? I’ve been trying to find pictures of people who are pregnant with twins and seem to have my body type. To be honest it’s not that easy. I’ve not found that many photos of early pregnant bellies. But I’m definitely showing, when according to most things I’ve read my uterus should be really low down at the moment and hiding away.
I’ve looked at some of the ‘how do you know it’s twins’ type articles but it’s kind of inconclusive. Perhaps my baby is just floating around in an Olympic sized swimming pool enjoying the space? The thought of twins excites me as well as unnerves me. I’ve seen friends trying to cope with one baby – but two?! I’ve seen Octomom on TV but she has an army of helpers! I’ve been on some forums where everyone says that twins are double the fun. But it also sounds like a lot of hard work. Oh well, the way I look at it is that what we get is what we’re meant to have. So I’m going to try not to think about it!
I’d read that it’s not a good idea to dye your hair when pregnant. I don’t dye mine but I do have highlights done occasionally at the hairdressers. This is supposed to be safe during pregnancy. I thought it best though to check with my colourist because I’d also read stories on the web of people’s hair reacting differently to colouring when pregnant. Claire confirmed that highlights and lowlights don’t touch the scalp so they are fine throughout pregnancy. So I let her do some Sassoon ones as normal and trim it back a bit. I felt great afterwards. I feel like I’m already putting on so much weight on my body but there’s nothing like having your hair done, your head feels all light and lovely and you simply bounce out of the salon. And straight into the rain! Well the moment was nice while it lasted! The NHS site advice regarding using hair dye whilst pregnant or breastfeeding is fairly straightforward. I would always take a hairdresser’s advice and not experiment!
Only a few days since we spilled the beans, and our mothers are meeting up for coffee to discuss the impending joy of grandmotherhood. This summit required mandatory reading of the Mothercare catalogue and discussion as to how much things had changed since ‘their day’. Three decades of pram advancements and technological breakthroughs in baby monitors were covered, as well as an in-depth analysis of the cuteness and variety of baby clothes available in 2010.
Our mothers are both active in researching their family histories. So to prompt us with the all-important name-choosing we are going to be given printouts of our known ancestors. We rather like this idea. There is less pressure on us to name our child after a recent relative, and it has been fun looking at Tim’s side of the family (my mum has yet to show us what she’s come up with). We’re keen on choosing classical names so we’re hoping that looking at our family tree will inspire us.
We didn’t really want to rush into telling people our good news but the 60th birthday seemed like the best time to tell our parents and grandparents about our baby. A lot of people wait until twelve weeks; some people announce it as soon as they know that they’re pregnant. I guess by chance, we’ve fallen somewhere in-between. We’ve also told some close friends but will wait until we’ve had the dating scan to tell uncles and aunties and cousins etc. Everyone asks about the scan anyway so it’ll save a few phonecalls and emails to have all the information to hand!
My parents were really pleased to discover that they’re going to be grandparents and Tim’s mum was simply overwhelmed when she opened a birthday card with ‘Nanna’ on it – and the penny dropped! Telling his parents was an emotional moment.
The next day we had lunch with all three Nannas as well as my brother and his wife and told them our news. My brother had already guessed (because we seemed to be seeing a lot of family in one weekend) and was very excited to know he was going to be an uncle! I think that this baby already has a lot to be grateful for. We have family and friends who love us and will support us now we’ve taken this step and are going to have a family. Now that the bump is no longer in disguise it is causing speculation. I’ve told everyone that I’ve gone up two trouser sizes and bought bras twice. My bump is too big a bump for a first pregnancy apparently. What’s going on in there? I think I’m having a baby elephant. It feels like it at least!
We haven’t yet told family that we’re expecting and don’t want to let them know until Saturday which is Tim’s mum’s 60th birthday. I won’t be drinking at the party and I’m sure that will not go un-noticed. I’ll be nine weeks pregnant by then and we know it will make his mum so happy. Our baby will be the first grandchild on both sides so we anticipate a lot of excitement when we finally spill the beans!
As a Christmas/60th birthday treat I’ve taken my mother-in-law to Manchester for a day of shopping, lunch and a musical. Only two days to go before her birthday and it’s very hard not letting the cat out of the bag. This morning we’ve been round the Arndale Centre and if only she knew! We’ve spent our time looking in M&S etc. at women’s fashion, completely bypassing anything baby related, even though I’ve been dying to go and look in the maternity and baby departments. I cast a wistful glance in the direction of the Disney Store as we sailed by, knowing full well that a week later she would have dragged me in! We don’t have a Disney Store near us but if you go to www.disneystore.co.uk at least you can still shop online. Not quite as good as walking round stroking all the cute fluffy animals and trying to make some purchasing decisions but arguably quicker!
All day I’ve been hoping that my mother-in-law hasn’t noticed that something is a bit different. It’s cold and of course raining in Manchester and I’ve got a big coat on and massive scarf to try and hide my expanding tummy! I’m a lot hungrier than normal, but I counteracted that by having a large breakfast at 5.30am when I woke up (totally ravenous!) before going to pick her up and catch the train. I couldn’t finish the big coffee she bought me – poor little thing, I didn’t want to give it a sudden caffeine overload! My handbag is stuffed with little packs of Organix dried fruit so if I really felt like I was starving then I could eat a handful of raisins in the loo! I think the Organix dried fruit boxes are really designed for kids’ lunchboxes but I find they’re ideal to keep in your handbag for when hunger suddenly just comes out of nowhere and you want to try and stay healthy. I picked mine up in a supermarket so you don’t have to go to a health food store to get them.
When we were in the theatre I bravely ordered a G&T (as we were supposed to be having a girlie birthday celebration) but was very relieved when my mother-in-law went off to the loo and I could hastily swap it for some 7UP that I’d been hiding in my bag. I appeared to drink my G&T in the interval but was instead grateful that I’d downed the 7UP. During the first half I’d started to feel rather nauseous (hunger probably!) and the 7UP kept it in check during the afternoon. I couldn’t stop myself from yawning constantly at the end of the day but I think I got away with it!
Although I’m using the What To Expect app every day I’ve also signed up for emails from the BabyCentre website www.babycentre.co.uk where they give you weekly updates on the development of your baby. BabyCentre is a resource that’s well worth a look. It has easy to read articles that seem to give enough information without being too long. For example, I’ve just been reading up on my pelvic floor muscles as well as the difference between 2D, 3D and 4D scans and caffeine intake during pregnancy. Because I already seem to have a bump I’ve also taken a peek at their articles on twins – trying to work out whether I’m abnormally bloated or perhaps having more than one baby.
You can write a journal on the BabyCentre site as well as get involved with photo clubs and forums so if you are looking to interact with mums-to-be or new mums it looks like a very good place to start. There are many BabyCentre or BabyCenter sites for different countries or regions (and in many languages) so this is a multinational project with a lot of international experts involved in writing the content.