I would have never called myself the ‘maternal type,’ I don’t hold babies and usually prefer dogs…. perceiving the female obsession with all things ‘baby’ to be quite foreign and straight up odd (my mother thought something was very wrong). Until the day it happened to me. Ooops, another one bites the dust! Yes, I must admit at the ripe ol’ age of 29, I have finally given into the overpowering calling of my reproductive organs–its time to procreate! Now, as I approach the half way mark, I couldn’t imagine living any other path and more than anything look forward to meeting this little being that is growing so rapidly inside me. Can you believe it all started with this?
6 week pregnancy scan. Just a little yolk sac!
At 6 weeks pregnant I was getting ready to embark on a two month journey to Asia. Spending one month in Thailand doing the Matthew Kenney raw vegan chef training, and the other trekking and touring the Philippines with Dan. Absolute perfect timing! My doc gave me some of the important do’s and dont’s about traveling whilst preggo and rushed me to the hospital to have an immediate early ultrasound scan (the day before I left) to ensure everything was on due course (by the time I would return from Asia I would be in my second trimester–without ANY assessment). And here it was, just ONE (thank you god!) little yolk sac and a strong heart pumping away. To be honest, I still wasn’t quite sold yet, and the experience was too surreal..you always see women crying their eyes out on ultrasounds–what was wrong with me? I guess I needed to see more solid evidence to be convinced!
Off to Thailand I went and suffered through my first trimester preparing raw vegan food all day–needless to say it was NOT easy and I nearly dropped out. My belly wasn’t actually growing, it was just getting bloated (which is commonly mistaken for a bump in early pregnancy due to slowing digestion, care of the necessary hormone progesterone), and not seeing a midwife or a doc was playing on my mind, is the baby actually growing? Did my 24 hour travel journey have any negative effects? Was I eating and drinking the right stuff? I booked a cheeky private scan at an amazing westernised hospital in Hua Hun, to get a real glimpse at what was going on. My girlfriend Victoria, who was visiting from London, came with me as I was soooo nervous. FYI The rate of miscarriage is as high as 30% in the first trimester, and it is common for things to go wrong during this sensitive developmental time. Also, I was in Thailand for christ sakes! But here he/she was at 9.5 weeks! A proper wiggling cauliflower-like baby with “really long legs” said the doc….urgh…..great….my 6”5″ boyfriend may be thanked for that! Victoria blurted out that the limbs looked detached–thanks Vic ahha.
9.5 week ultrasound scan. Looks like an earthworm!!
The doc and the sonographer did the Nuchal Translucency test (to check the amount of fluid behind the neck which can potentially indicate the risk of Downs Syndrome) and checked the heart beat..everything was perfect. It was the first time I could hear the heartbeat, it was soo loud and so fast, around 178 BPM, and that was the first time it hit me–HOLY SHIT IM HAVING A BABY! The doc also told me the risk of miscarriage was extremely low now, after hearing such a strong heartbeat at 9.5 weeks. I was overfilled with joy that my womanly parts have been doing a well off job creating this little being to such perfect degree–well done uterus! I continued my travels with a sense of peace knowing that my baby seemed to be forming well and right on schedule….now to wait until my 13.5 week scan to see the real thing! (Normally women have their very first scan at 12 weeks, at the end of the first trimester, my circumstances were a little different)
Returning to London half heartedly from an absolute heaven of a vacation, the only thing that was keeping my mood up was knowing that we were booked to have our dating scan upon returning. This scan can determine your due date, check the heart beat and look for any major abnormalities. I still hadn’t felt any movement at this point and my stomach was relatively still flat…where is this damn baby! Dan accompanied me on this appointment as I thought it would be good for him to have some real life justification of my strange behaviour (these crazy crying fits are not my fault!). I had to drink loads of water 45 min prior and swore I would wee all over myself (to be clear-I didnt). And here he/she was..no cauliflower-like features…just a proper baby “sitting like baby buddha” the sonographer told us.
My life is complete. We have a meditating buddha baby!!
13.5 week ultrasound scan. Sucking its thumb already–insane!!
Unfortunately it is too soon for the sonographer to confirm the sex at 13.5 weeks, so now we just have to wait until our 20 week scan..only 4 more days! This ultrasound will confirm the sex, and check for more subtle abnormalities as the baby is much bigger. A lot of couples choose to do a private gender scan available around 16 weeks, but we decided to hold off as I already have had 3 scans and the long term side effects of these are unclear.
What I have learnt so far from this experience is that it is okay to initially not ‘feel maternal.’ It is okay not to yearn to hold someone else’s baby, or even dream about your own. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever feel it, maybe it’s just such a profound experience that some women have difficulty fully grasping it-and thats okay. But seeing our baby wiggling about for the first time and listening to the heart beat has changed this feeling completely–I truly cannot wait 🙂
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