What a strange thing, to be writing these words but, here goes… I’m currently 16 weeks pregnant. And everything is fine, I think (she says, touching wood). And I can’t quite believe it, but it seems to be true.
16-week midwife appointment
We had our 16-week midwife appointment a couple of days ago, and I was anxious because I didn’t know whether we’d hear the heartbeat or not. I’d googled what happens at the appointment, and according to forum comments, some midwives don’t check the heartbeat at 16 weeks. It can be hard to locate, because the baby is so small, so many err on the side of caution to avoid worrying the mother.
On one hand, I was terrified in case she went to find the heartbeat and couldn’t, but on the other I knew I’d be so worried if she didn’t try. Either way, we’d have to get a private scan, I thought, so I spent ages on the Ultrasound Direct website trying to find a place near us where we could pay for a scan this weekend.
Anyway, we don’t need to bother because she suggested listening to the heartbeat and found it. But it was a really tense wait. She must have spent about 20 seconds trying to find it first off, then switched hands with the Doppler, at which point I was starting to panic inside. This is even though I know loads of women say it takes a while to find. But the longer it went on, the longer my mind had to jump to worse case scenario.
And then we heard it. This little thumping, boom, boom, boom. ‘There it is,’ said the midwife. ‘I knew I’d find it.’ And me and my partner just looked at each other and exhaled. ‘A nice strong heartbeat, measuring 150bmp,’ she continued, without a worry in the world. ‘The little one keeps trying to hide from me, but he can’t get away now,’ she joked, as she held the Doppler in the perfect spot.
I still can’t believe it. This little creature inside of me, with its heartbeat thudding away, independent from mine. Worrying us like crazy, even though its still teeny, and we’ve not even met yet. I dread to think how we’ll feel if/when it actually comes out at the end of all this… we’ll be nervous wrecks, and the hard work won’t have even started yet.
Bump? Or not to bump?
I was super nervous about the midwife appointment because not only do I feel completely normal, but I have no bump to speak of either. After 12 weeks, my symptoms have gradually faded. No nausea, more energy, appetite back… I kept googling photos of other women’s tummies, from 12 through to 16 weeks, and it’s amazing what turns up. There are proper baby bumps! But not me. I know I shouldn’t be wanting one so early – especially as I’m keeping quiet about it at work, because it will come. But it’s so disconcerting, this ‘in between’ time, with no proof that everything’s OK.
Although my husband did say to me yesterday he could see ‘a rise’ as he calls it, the beginnings of a bump. And I put my hands on my belly this morning, and I definitely felt a rise too, or was it lots of bloat after half a large Domino’s pizza last night?! But when I looked in the mirror before my shower, my stomach just seemed normal. It’s so weird. Was I imagining it?
We went to visit some friends in Italy last week, and one of them is a 6ft 1 former model and seven months pregnant. But you could barely tell. She said with her first child, many people had no idea she was expecting until the eighth month, and even then it wasn’t really visible. Now I’m no model, and at 5’5 I’m significantly shorter, but I am very slight. So perhaps I’ll be similar.
It’s quite fun, actually, not showing. No one at my work knows, except my boss and two colleagues who aren’t in my team, and I love keeping this big secret all to myself. I guess I’ll start telling people after the 20-week scan (please let it be OK), which is mid-December.
But, because we’re consultant-led (I’m high risk, apparently, because of the IVF, my age and I think a borderline BMI) we also get another scan at 21 weeks. Or at least an appointment. That’s on the last Wednesday before I’m off work for Christmas, so perhaps that’s the time to reveal? Anyway, no one will really care, let’s be honest. But I’m enjoying myself!
Boy or girl? To find out or not!
There’s no way on earth I am not going to find out the sex of the baby at the 20-week scan. I need to know! We had planned to get a private scan at 16 weeks and find that out. However, after hearing the heartbeat a couple of days ago, neither of us feel the need to fork out yet another £70 to Ultrasound Direct. So I think we’re going to wait it out – something to look forward to, and all.
Anyway, I’m convinced it’s a boy. And although I want a girl, and am a bit disappointed that nub theory indicates ours has a pee-pee rather than a vee-jay, I’m slowly coming round the idea. So if my suspicions are confirmed, at least I won’t be shocked. Plus I’ve always thought, from the beginning, it’s a boy. I think the first pregnancy that ended in miscarriage was a girl, and this is our boy.
Whatever it is, of course I will love it unconditionally – obviously. And all that matters is having a healthy baby. I KNOW this is what’s important. But I just wanted to have a girl first, that’s all. And then, if we had another, I’d be cool with a boy or another girl. But of course, whatever happens, this baby is a miracle, quite frankly, and we are truly blessed.
Today we went over to see my brother and his two sons, one is 14 and the other is seven, and both were playing Sunday league football in different matches. And I was watching all these teenagers and little boys kicking a ball around a pitch in the freezing cold, and I realised how much fun I was having, despite not being able to feel my feet. Yes, this could be us in seven years’ time, I thought, with a little son running about. And I’d be OK with that.
Starting to feel, dare I say, excited?
I suppose yes, I am starting to get a bit excited. It definitely feels like getting through the 16-week appointment was a major milestone. Surely, SURELY, everything will be OK now? I mean, I’m not at the stage of buying any baby stuff yet – we’re not there yet. But if the 20-week scan is OK, and we know the sex, I’m going to want to start getting some stuff. Is that too early? When’s the right time?
Both me and my husband are talking about the pregnancy in increasingly positive terms now (or ‘Big Nub’, as we affectionally call it). Hubby is definitely more chipper – we both are. And that in itself is exciting. He got a couple of books out of the library yesterday, actually, and one of them is quite spiritual. He told me that one of them is to help men go from ‘sons to fathers’. I looked at him and thought ‘how cute is that?!’ For him, all I want is for the next 24 weeks to be plain sailing. And beyond.
What’s up next? 16-18 week update.