Seventeen weeks definitely feels like a random week to be giving you a pregnancy update but I have a bit of time this morning and I really wanted to document as much of this pregnancy as possible so here we are. Today is Monday the 17th of December and I seriously cannot believe this day next week is Christmas Eve. Compared to other years I feel extremely calm about the whole thing. I’ll be honest, Christmas is a huge trigger for me in terms of anxiety. I find it difficult to split my time among everyone and still find a bit of a “sacred place” to just be with my own little family too. It’s the same for everyone really isn’t it? We all have different rituals and family dynamics but I think we all have our own *stuff* that Christmas sort of shines a spotlight on. Family politics, financial stress, changes in work and routine – that kind of thing. These beautiful children of ours really help us to focus on the important parts though don’t they?
But yes I am really feeling rather calm. I have 90% of my presents bought and I think I’m getting better in my old age at present buying (let the receivers be the judge of that, says you). In previous years when I was younger I always thought volume was better but these days I know that keeping it simple and thoughtful often works best. I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years and the truth is we just don’t need a huge amount of it. This year I tried to think about gifts that would actually be practical. I love gifts that make life easier and are are also a treat to the other person. Let’s hope I did well. As for Billy – well he’s asked Santa for an I Pad and I believe Santa is sorting one out for him. Of course by “I Pad” Santa means an Amazon Fire which was on sale at a great price including a cover several months ago. He also wants “a food toy” (a wooden burger and chips set from Smyths) and a surprise. I think he’ll be thrilled on Christmas morning. Especially as it’s the very first Christmas he’ll be waking up in his own house. Even writing that feels surreal.
We bought a house and moved in about eight weeks ago and it kind of feels like we’ve been here our whole lives. I couldn’t tell you the last time we ate out and that really says it all. We just love being at home and it really is such a novelty. We’ve done a lot of family movie nights snuggled up on the sofa and it’s honestly everything I’ve ever dreamed of. We’re having Christmas dinner at my auntie’s house again this year. We were going to cook for our first year in our own home but we figured that given next year we will have a six month old, it might be nicer to do it then. For now we wanted to keep Billy happy and he is delighted to be having dinner with his cousin. He lived with her for two full years while we were saving up for a house deposit so it has been a big change for the both of them. My family are calling over on Stephens’ Day and we’re doing another Christmas dinner with all the trimmings which I’m really looking forward to. I won’t lie though, I’ll miss the couple of glasses of wine this year (and I’m not even a big drinker but when you know you can’t have something you just kind of want it more don’t you?)
So back to pregnancy. This is my problem you see – I get excited and go off on a tangent about anything but what I’ve set out to say. In my writing work I can’t do that so I think I just let my mind run away with itself on my blog. Seventeen and a half weeks pregnant – like honestly HOW did that happen? Well, like I know how it happened but you know what I mean. Everyone says that second pregnancies fly by and that is so unbelievably true. I literally can’t get my head around the fact that in 2.5 weeks I am half way there. Mental. I’ve been saying to everyone this week that a huge part of me thinks that this pregnancy is a bit of a practical joke or something. So much of me does not feel different and because I don’t have a proper bump yet it’s really hard to imagine that there is a baby in there. A BABY. I had a sixteen week consultant appointment last week and the doctor did a mini-scan. As soon as I saw the screen I shouted “IS THAT A SPINE???”. She was laughing at me and I was genuinely in a state of shock. It’s like everything about this pregnancy has been a surprise (apart from the actual pregnancy itself – although how quickly it happened was definitely a surprise) and it’s really only the last week or so that I’ve actually started to think about the fact that at the end of this there will be a baby.
On Billy’s pregnancy (my first baby. He’s 4.5 now) my whole life revolved around the pregnancy. I ate, drank and breathed all things pregnancy. This time round it is completely different because I now eat, sleep and breathe Billy. The pregnancy is more of an after-thought and as it turns out that seems to be pretty normal. I am kept so busy with being a Mammy to a 4.5 year old that in the midst of school drop offs, house work and being self employed I just don’t have the same time or capacity to think about it as much. I find myself having little moments of shock almost, as I remember that I am pregnant. It is bizarre. Peter asked me how I was feeling the other day and I answered it in a general sense and didn’t even consider that he meant pregnancy-wise. I also respond with shock when someone suggests I shouldn’t do certain things like lifting heavier things – I’m looking at them like “why?” and then remembering the reason. You see this pregnancy got off to a bumpy start. For anyone who doesn’t know I had an early scan at 7 weeks that detected a massive cyst on one of my ovaries. To cut a long story short I’ve never had a cyst before, it measured 9cm and it had markers for something more sinister like Cancer. Cue tonnes of blood tests, extra pelvic scans, meeting with the top gynae/oncology consultant in the Coombe and finally an MRI a few weeks ago. It has been a long long few weeks and if I am completely honest I really resented the pregnancy and my body for a huge amount of that time. This pregnancy brought with it so much stress, anxiety and panic at a time where I expected to feel joy and excitement. It was an emotional rollercoaster and one I want to write about more in detail soon as it really took me by huge surprise.
I had my MRI in St. James’ hospital a few weeks ago. An MRI is safe to have when you are pregnant because it uses magnets rather than radiation. I just couldn’t be injected with any of the contrast dye. I was told that there are no “known risks” to pregnant women or babies and that if they can avoid they will, but if it has to be done they are happy to do it. That was the category I fell in to. My mam came with me for the scan and it was actually fine. VERY loud and wouldn’t be too much craic if you were claustrophobic but it was fine. I was relieved to be having it as it would give us a better indication of the status of my cyst. The unknown was what was hurting me the most. There was talk of possibly removing the cyst surgically while I was pregnant and I needed to prepare myself for that but I couldn’t until I knew what was happening. About a week later I got a call from The Coombe to say that my MRI results came back really good. They are not overly concerned about it and the plan now is to re-scan it in a couple of months to see any changes in size and activity. I can’t tell you the relief I felt to hear those words. It really felt as though at sixteen weeks I just found out I was pregnant. From that point I allowed myself to get excited, began to connect with the pregnancy on an emotional level and had a big ugly cry in the car one day after an encounter with a newborn (those who follow me on Instagram may have been *lucky* enough to see it).
So here I am at 17.5 weeks pregnant feeling as though I’m about two weeks pregnant. It’s been a whirlwind and now comes the chapter where I focus on the baby. I think the level of calm I feel about Christmas is because I really do feel so lucky to have gotten good news and to be in our own house after so many years of saving. Both of those things are huge. Spending this special time with Peter and Billy means so much to me. I just adore them both and I feel like this is the little family I dreamt about. I would have always imagined that I would have a small age gap between our kids but circumstances dictated otherwise. We needed to save up and find our roots in the form of a home so we could enroll Billy in a school and just find some stability after seven house moves. The 8th one was our forever home and one that we actually own. I’ll never ever take it for granted because for so long it felt like it would be impossible. Hard times really can turn in to blessings and this whole experience has given me a whole new appreciation for the good people and family in our lives. We would have been, and always will be, lost without each of them. You can’t put a price on that. Having a five year age gap was exactly how our story was supposed to be. It’s actually a lovely time because Billy’s language is unreal at the moment and he has proper detailed conversations with us (and asks a million questions a day). When I say he cannot wait to be a big brother that is an understatement. He is literally over the moon, refers to himself as the “big brother” and at least five times a day refers to “the brother or sister”. It melts my heart in ways it’s never melted before (and I have a VERY melty little heart).
So I am feeling good. I’m trying to be as healthy as possible and stick to the bones of the Slimming World Pregnancy plan, but I am definitely having more treats. Health is really important to me though and being five stone lighter this time around is a completely new experience. I’ll talk about that a little more in another blog post too as it has also been a funny adjustment emotionally and I’ve definitely struggled to see my body change and for it not to change the way I imagined. I am starting to get a bit of a bump now and have finally moved in to maternity jeans which are so comfortable.
In six months’ time I’ll be doing skin to skin with the newest member of our family. What a beautifully surreal thing to even imagine.Here I am doing that very thing with a one day old Billy and truthfully we are still doing this four and a half year’s later. I just love being a Mammy.
Until next time!