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Pregnant Pause

Mum’s the word: Davina is expecting her first child

YES readers, the secret is out: I’m pregnant. I deliberated for ages (eight months to be precise) on whether I should share my news via these pages.

But I told you all about my upcoming marriage with my top tips guide, Worry Free Weddings in 2010, and shared details of the big day in my subsequent 2011 feature My Big Fat Jamaican Wedding.

With this in mind, I finally decided (with encouragement from my other half) that it would be quite fitting to share the next chapter with you.

August 16 was the start of my 32nd week of pregnancy (a typical pregnancy is 40 weeks), and so marks the beginning of my eighth month.

Obviously, much has happened in that time, not least, the steady expansion of my waistline. So I decided to break down my experiences so far into three sections – detailing the three phases of pregnancy, known as trimesters – which you can read in Life & Style over the next three weeks.
This week, I’ll detail my first trimester.

I’ve kept a personal diary since discovering I was expecting back in February so, thankfully, I haven’t had to compose this feature from memory. Quite a relief, considering my memory is awful.

HISTORY
My pregnancy is one you might call ‘complicated’, as I have a blood condition that increases my risk of blood clots.

I’ve already had two clots in my lifetime, the second of which was near fatal. So I knew well before getting pregnant that whenever I chose to have a baby, the pregnancy would have to be carefully monitored by medical specialists from start to finish, to ensure the process ran smoothly.

Suffice to say, I’ve received and continue to receive plenty of medical attention (blood tests, check ups, consultations, etc), which I’m very grateful for.

OVERVIEW

My journey so far has had its share of ups and downs. Family bereavement has made this already ‘complicated’ pregnancy even harder to deal with. Add to this the common unpleasant symptoms of being in the family way (nausea, back ache, heartburn to name a few), and it has been a challenging road.

But equally, this is a new and exciting experience, which has provided plenty of unique and joyful moments.

Whether my diary-style article is insightful for those considering motherhood; helpful for fellow first time mums-to-be; or a reminder to experienced mums of why you decided you would never get pregnant again, I do hope that those of you who read it will take something useful from it.

FIRST TRIMESTER:
Week 1-12 (January 12 - April 4)
Sickness, sweat and stomach cramps!


The discovery

I’m pregnant! I did two tests at home (on February 4) and both displayed the all important ‘+’ sign that signifies a positive result. My husband had a big grin on his face, while I was in a state of disbelief. It doesn’t feel real.

Sharing the news with family
The following day (February 5) we decided to tell immediate family. My husband rang his mum, who was initially surprised and then thrilled. He also contacted his dad and his brothers, who were also really pleased for us.

Upon visiting my family, my sister was so excited she screamed, which prompted mum to run into the room asking, “Is it what I think it is?” FYI: mum has been willing me to get pregnant ever since I got married in 2010, so she had her suspicions.

When I confirmed that I’m expecting, she too screamed with excitement. Then, dad came in the room to see what all the commotion was about and he looked as though he wanted to shed tears of joy when I told him the news. My poor two-year-old nephew could only stare at us all in a state of sheer confusion!


The medical process begins

I contacted the doctor, who has been dealing with me from the day we decided we wanted to have a baby. She set up an appointment for me the next day.

There, my husband and I met her, along with two other blood specialists who left us reassured that our pregnancy journey would be well monitored.

I was sent for a blood test, and instructed to come off my current blood-thinning medication – warfarin tablets, which can harm the baby – and switched to an alternative – fragmin injections – which I have to give myself twice a day.

Symptoms begin!

It’s only been a few days since I found out I was pregnant, and nausea and stomach cramps have kicked in. I’m not actually vomiting, but I get the overwhelming sense of wanting to throw up, which is really unpleasant.

The cramps feel a lot like period pain; uncomfortable, but not unbearable.

Over the next few days, I experienced the strange sensation of craving whatever food I smelled. I didn’t give in to any of the urges otherwise I would have scoffed tuna pasta salad, McDonald’s and KFC in the space of a few hours! I’m also feeling tired every now and again.

Despite all this I’m still in a state of not quite believing I’m expecting. It just doesn’t feel real somehow – although my husband is convinced I’ve got bigger in the chest department! I can’t tell; my body looks the same to me.


Anxiety and more pain

After waking up to discover what looked like spots of blood, I panicked (February 21). In my panic – mixed with the so far unshakable sense of disbelief that I really am pregnant – I ran out and bought another pregnancy test. Of course, it confirmed I’m pregnant.

I still booked an appointment with the doctor that day and was relieved when he told me that a little spotting is nothing to worry about. That was a relief. By the end of the day, I had more stomach cramps and back ache.


Meeting the midwife

Using an online calculator, I’d already worked out baby’s due date to be October 13.

Upon meeting the midwife (on March 1), she confirmed that this would indeed be baby’s date of arrival.

It was a very general meeting; she asked me how I was doing and took a urine sample from me, which she said would be tested for infections.

She sent me for a blood test (I’ll be amazed if I have any blood left by the end of this process) and also measured my height and weight. I’ve put on a couple of pounds!


Going back to my roots!

I went to the hairdresser today (March 3) for a wash and trim, after deciding that I’m going to ditch the relaxer and allow my hair to return to its natural state.

I actually haven’t relaxed my hair for months as I’ve been wearing it cainrowed extensions. So I decided – officially – that I’m going natural. I’ve heard stories about how pregnancy is supposed to aid hair growth and thickness so I’m going to put it to the test. No more chemicals for me!


Realisations

On my birthday (March 14), I went for a lovely meal with my other half. It was strange not having a couple of glasses of wine to celebrate my day but these are the sacrifices that have to be made.
Non-alcoholic pina coladas replaced my usual two glasses of rose. And hey, it saved us money on the bill!

I went to church with my mum, sister and nephew on Mother’s Day (March 18) and it suddenly dawned on me that I’ll be able to celebrate Mother’s Day next year. That was an odd thought.

Later that day, I took pictures with my family and when I looked at myself in the snaps, I looked like I’d put on weight. I later asked my other half what he thought, to which he replied, “you look buxom.” I found that hilarious.


Sweat and toilet trips!

Out of nowhere today (March 23), my armpits started sweating and I had to run out for wet wipes. Definitely not loving this hormonal change. In addition, I’m now having to make regular trips to the loo at night. My bladder is in overdrive; seriously, I’m getting through so much toliet roll it’s unbelievable.


First scan!

After weeks of this pregnancy not feeling real, I could hardly deny it anymore after we had our 12-week scan today (March 30).

My other half couldn’t stop smiling and I couldn’t stop the tears rolling down my face as I saw baby’s little arms and legs wriggling about.

I was a little worried when the doctor said that she couldn’t detect baby’s nasal bone. But she quickly reassured us – to our surprise – that this is apparently quite common in black babies, as our noses are flatter than others!

She said that by the time we have our next scan, baby’s nose should be fully formed. I sincerely hope so.

Later, the doctor laughed as she informed us: “You have a very active baby.” But then, my husband and I couldn’t help but laugh when baby decided to stop wriggling about and park him/herself on his/her bottom, when the doctor desperately needed him/her to shift to a lying down position, in order to take certain measurements.

The doctor asked me to get up and jump up and down, and then walk around the room in a bid to get baby to move. Still, baby refused to budge!

Thankfully, the doctor was able to work around baby’s stubborness. And after taking all the necessary pictures and measurements, based on baby’s size, the doctor recalculated baby’s due date to be October 11.


Telling the team

My colleagues know me to be extra (aka over the top), so I couldn’t let them down with my ‘announcement’.

Doing what I do best, I created a newspaper-style article (right), informing them that I was to gain a new three-letter title: not MBE or OBE, but MUM.
I emailed it to each of them (on April 4) and suffice to say, The Voice office was filled with excitement that day. I do love my team.

SUMMARY:

First trimester symptoms:

Nausea
Stomach cramps
Back ache
Frequent need to use the toilet
Sweating
Tiredness

Weight gain:
1.7lbs

PARENTING: What the celebs say

Throughout my journey, I haven’t missed the opportunity to ask some of my interviewees with children for their top tips on parenting. Here is the advice a few of them had for me...


Macy Gray, US singer

"I would say just have a blast with your kid. Don’t get too caught up with what everybody tells you you should do, just have a good time with your child. Enjoy it.”


Cedella Marley, designer and daughter of Bob Marley

“I think it’s important to let your children experience you in your rawest form, because that’s how they’ll learn. They’re gonna make mistakes, but you just have to do your best to guide them along the way. Also, I’m friendly with my children, but I’m not friends with my children – there’s a difference!”


Maxi Priest, UK singer

“Be open to listen and learn, and don’t get frustrated with people’s advice. Most people’s advice is for the benefit of the child, so listen and take advantage of good advice.”


David Oyelowo, UK actor

“Some parents put their entire focus on their children, but it’s important to also remain focused on your relationship with your partner. I think children can actually find it unnerving if they think they’re your sole focus, so it’s important that mummy and daddy still make plenty of time for each other too.”


Noel Clarke, UK director and actor

“Get all the sleep you can get right now! Beyond that, I’d say start the discipline early. My oldest son’s first words were ‘daddy’, ‘mama’, ‘ball, ‘car’ – and ‘thank you.’ Then it was ‘please’. He’s four years old and if he was here right now and I told him to sit there, he would sit there. I really believe it’s important to start the discipline early.”


Rita Marley, singer and widow of Bob Marley

“Well the first thing you must do is have the right meditation. Don’t think anything that will corrupt your baby. Stay positive so that you will have a positive child. And you should eat plenty of okra; try and put it in your soup or mix it with your vegetables. It will help to give you a smooth delivery if you’re having a natural birth. The baby will slide right out [laughs]!"

NEXT WEEK: Second trimester – Fear, bereavement and train travel trauma! Email Davina at: davina.hamilton@gvmedia.co.uk

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