We found out we were pregnant at 6 + 5 weeks and I phoned up my GP surgery on the Monday morning to make an appointment. The receptionist told me that the GP was a trainee - 'That's okay,' I thought, 'I only need them to make a referral, they're bound to know that much.'
Oh ho ho! If only I'd known...
I downed a load of water before we went in and then kept sipping from a bottle while we waited - expecting to take a pregnancy test when we saw the GP.
While I was expecting a rather young GP I wasn't expecting to see someone that looked disheveled and confused, like the bloke in the Student Union laundry room who has suddenly realised he is away from home (and his mother), with no idea how to look after himself much less operate one of the many machines staring back at him with intent expectation.
"I need a referral for antenatal care," I said.
"I took two pregnancy tests at the weekend and they were positive," I added.
Again, a blank look, shortly followed by mild panic, then; "First pregnancy?"
"Right. I'm not actually sure how to do a referral. I'll have to ask a colleague."
So, he makes a phone call and disappears. We both burst out laughing. He was gone so long I was beginning to wonder how complicated the procedure was. When he came back I noticed his shoe was untied. He told me that I needed to collect a form from reception and then spent several minutes trying to work out how to enter me onto the system. Eventually he put me on, twice, and then turned to me.
"Are you taking folic acid?"
"Okay... Are you taking anything else?"
"Calcium with added vitamin D."
"Right... Do you smoke?"
"Um, okay... That's pretty much it... You can go."
The appointment was much shorter than I'd thought it would be, in fact, the only reason it lasted as long as it did was because he had no idea what he was doing.
So we went to the reception. There was a woman at the desk asking several questions about repeat prescriptions, appointments for someone else and changing personal details. By the time she'd finished a queue had formed behind us, including someone that works with my Dad. I hid my face and hoped he wouldn't recognise me.
The form I was supposed to collect turned out to actually be a scrap of paper on which I wrote down some personal details. The receptionist told me that the community midwife would be by to collect my scrap of paper from where it was randomly inserted into a notebook with other bits of scrap paper. The process didn't entirely fill me with confidence.
The receptionist then gave me a sticker with the community midwives' numbers on - attached to another scrap of paper. So we've been through the referral process and are still not actually sure how it works. We'd said that everything would feel more real after our appointment but actually it doesn't and we're more confused than ever before.
Obviously I'm also very conscious of what I should be eating, which is a little difficult in a foreign country, and I'm trying not to be too obvious in front of my parents.
Back home again and with our little fur-baby. We really missed him while we were away and I don't see us leaving him again any time soon. I tried not to think about it too much but as we got closer to England my paranoia that something had happened - that he'd gotten ill and passed away and that I wasn't there when he needed me - almost had me in tears several times. We'd only just left the airport when I insisted SBB text his mum to check everything was okay and to confirm when we'd be there to pick Cillian up.
When I turned on my phone I had a message from the community midwife asking me to call for an appointment so I phoned the day after we got back. Luckily they had a free slot that morning so two hours after I made the phone call SBB and I were at the children's centre, waiting to go into our appointment.
I think the receptionist was pleasantly surprised that we were so polite and normal - the same of the midwife and healthcare assistant that was with her.
Obviously there were a lot of questions to be answered but I have to say I found some a little insulting, e.g. the questions about whether I felt safe at home and whether SBB had a criminal background - I understand they have to ask these things for the safety of the child but the questions were one-sided and it's not just men who can prove a danger to a child. In the name of equality I would have hoped that they would ask the men the same questions. Neither issues are problems for us so it didn't really occur to us to be offended at the time but afterwards SBB admitted he felt almost like a spare part, that his input didn't really matter as it wasn't also his child. I'm disappointed that the denial of 'father's rights' starts so early on in the process.
The fact is we are a happily married couple who made a considered and joint decision to have a baby, we have planned and prepared for years and then at our first midwife appointment we get asked if there's anything about my husband's behaviour/lifestyle that should be a concern. I was obviously asked the important health-related questions but wasn't treated to the same level of mistrust.
They had to take some bloods - but didn't take a urine sample or check my weight and height - but apparently my veins were being 'difficult' and it took four attempts to get all the blood they needed. My inner arms were a bit of a mess afterwards. The midwife and healthcare assistant were surprised how difficult it was to get the samples and were also astounded that I don't drink and that I haven't told my parents about the pregnancy yet.
The date for our scan arrived today - it's not for another 3 weeks! We'll need to keep busy.
We've both got an early case of 'nesting' and did a massive clear out of the back bedroom, the conservatory and the flat.
I've been concerned about not having many pregnancy symptoms. I'm showing a little bit - I've had to stop wearing a belt with my jeans - but I haven't had any sickness other than feeling a little nauseous after eating during the day the week after we found out. I've been tired but not overly so. I've been emotional but only because I have good cause to be. I haven't had any cravings. My breasts are growing and are still quite tender and I'm getting up at least once a night to go to the bathroom.
Heartburn has made a reappearance - usually after lunch and around 4pm when I'm starting to get hungry again. I've been going to the bathroom every hour during the day and getting up about twice a night. I've also been feeling constipated and my breasts are getting massive and are still tender. SBB measured my belly last night and it has grown an 1 1/4 inches in a week. This sounds like I'm moaning - I'm really not. I'm glad of the symptoms. I got really worried that I hadn't had morning sickness as if you have it, it's supposed to be a sign of a healthy pregnancy (so mine ISN'T healthy?!) but apparently there's only a 50/50 chance it will happen with each pregnancy - and some women will experience it with some pregnancies and not with others. Personally, I haven't found the over-emphasis on morning sickness very helpful and it has led to hours of needless worry and stress.
The scan is still over a week away - 10 days - which is SO FAR AWAY. I've been thinking about our announcement to our parents. I can see it so clearly that I'm terrified the scan will reveal something's wrong.
This week has brought headaches, which paracetamol doesn't touch. I've also been falling asleep after dinner and sleeping badly when I do go to bed, so this week I am tired. I've already bought some maternity trousers and am so much more comfortable. Our scan isn't until next week - we're counting down the days. I told SBB that I thought this wait is worse than the two week wait to take a pregnancy test - he didn't agree, but I think that the results of this wait are much more serious.
We'll be 13 weeks pregnant on the day of our scan - that is, if the dates are correct. I've got a day-by-day pregnancy book that we've been reading every night. The scan could show us to be days or weeks behind where we think we are so we could have to go back through a few pages.
Now, we've just got to wait - I'm feeling so impatient! - and pray that everything goes okay. I did see on Youtube some videos from a lady who discovered at her 12 week scan she'd lost the baby at 6 weeks. She did then go on to get pregnant again a couple of months later but her video about her scan day has stuck with me and I'm starting to get anxious.