pregnancy

"Every day I expected to see blood." The quiet anxiety of early pregnancy.

This post deals with miscarriage and might be triggering for some readers.

I am about to enter the second trimester of my first pregnancy and it comes as a huge relief.

Despite wanting more than anything to fall pregnant, I really wasn’t prepared for the kind of lonely limbo I experienced in my first trimester.

Nothing is quite as disheartening as one line on a pregnancy test when you’re trying for a baby. You develop ‘line eyes’, squinting harder and harder, looking for any trace of a second line. Your mind plays tricks on you.

In October, I took my first test of the month after the dreaded two-week wait. That second line, so full of promises and dreams fulfilled didn’t appear.

We hadn’t been trying for long but I was nonetheless disheartened, imagining many more months or even years stretching on before me of negative tests. It’s a reality for many, I was well aware.

That night I peeked at my discarded negative test sitting in the bin. I scooped it up and took a closer look with my phone torch. My line eyes were activated.

“Ben, there is the faintest line. Can you see it?” I called out to my husband. He couldn’t. A hint of ‘my wife needs to calm it with these tests’ crossing his face as we stared down at it. I spent the night googling “can you get a real positive after the test has been in the bin?”.

How did you know you were pregnant? Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

The next morning I tested again and there was definitely a faint line. Even my husband could see it this time.

Tentative relief and joy. The line was faint. I remembered the YouTube videos about chemical pregnancies and fading second lines.

I tested day after day, not convinced…until the line was darker then darker again. I really was pregnant.

first trimester anxiety
"I tested day after day, not convinced...until the line was darker then darker again." Image: Supplied.
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Time to see the doctor. The doctor was a realist. "1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. You're very early on. It's still high risk".

I was well aware, another reminder didn’t help my anxiety.

Many who found out about the pregnancy "too early" reminded me about this statistic too while suggesting it might be better for me to keep it to myself “just in case it doesn't work out".

I was surprised by the number of people who didn’t seem to want to want to know. It didn’t seem to be happy news.

Every day I expected to see blood.

I grew more exhausted than I had ever been in my life. It’s a good sign, I’d try to remind myself while struggling to keep up with everything in my life, trying to feign an act to the outside world that everything was fine.

I was nauseous too. Something I was secretly thankful for, with many people commenting it’s “a good sign”, while simultaneously struggling to do everyday tasks. Goodbye healthy diet, hello food aversions and living off dry carbs.

Everything felt like a mammoth task. Some days I felt my mental health slipping. Still, I tried to keep the 'secret'.

Mamamia's pregnancy podcast, Hello Bump discusses what to do in your first month of being pregnant. Post continues below. 

I felt isolated. I was scared of the smoke in the air from the horrific Australia bushfires. Someone posted on Instagram that our air quality was equal to smoking 33 cigarettes a day. What did this mean for the baby?

Not only was I living with a secret that was changing me physically and mentally, but I was now trying to avoid going outside to protect the baby from the smoke. Although isolating it was something I had the luxury of doing as I work from home. Others on a pregnancy Facebook page I am part of were not so lucky, having to work outside in the smoky conditions – their workplace unaware that they were newly pregnant.

Despite the strange limbo that trimester one was for me, I certainly had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude each day, to have fallen pregnant, and as far as I knew, for the pregnancy to be continuing.

2020 began for us with the 12-week scan. Our biggest milestone yet. There was a moment of sheer terror before the ultrasound wand touched my belly. Would there actually be anything in there? Thankfully there was. And it looked exactly as it should, having formed everything it needed to by 12 weeks.

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My biggest reaction was relief. As the days pass by I’m able to look at the scan images and begin to fall in love with the baby. I’m slowly letting this pregnancy become real.

first trimester anxiety
"I’m slowly letting this pregnancy become real." Image: Supplied

Society no longer demands I keep it a secret after three months (a stigma I truly hope will continue to fade). I believe all pregnancies should be honoured and acknowledged, right from that very first faint second line.

As my pregnancy continues towards trimester two, my anxiety is gently easing (although I’m sure it won't stop). Each day I take time to be thankful for this spectacular opportunity that I am well aware not everyone gets, to grow a tiny human.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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