When I found out I was pregnant, the day before I’d just been told I was successful in securing a new permanent role at work. A few days later I was looking for aqua natal classes near me and signing up to ‘Peanut’ to find other new mums to be in my area. Did I ever ever imagine that a few weeks later we’d be in our first national lockdown and all the plans I was trying to make would be tossed aside? Of course not.
I imagined my pregnancy to be like any other – going for walks, ‘bump and me’ exercise classes and attending all my appointments with Tish by my side. Instead we were confined to the 4 walls of our house and allowed out for some exercise once a day. Classes were quickly shut down, shops were closed and we were 4 hours away from our loved ones. Oh, and Tish wasn’t allowed to attend my appointments with me.
It was bittersweet, I was thankful that I didn’t have to make my usual 3 hour return commute to work, I didn’t have to worry about putting my face on and best of all, in the early weeks when exhaustion really hit me, I was able to nap during my lunch break. But on the other hand, I didn’t have anyone close by to make the Indian food I was craving, or to go for a pregnancy massage or even face to face antenatal classes.
Given the ectopic pregnancy I had the year before, we intended on keeping the pregnancy a complete secret until the 12 week scan. But soon enough the reality of the pandemic started to sink in and we had to tell our parents sooner than we’d planned as they were due to visit us imminently. With the risk of the virus being high, and at that time there wasn’t much evidence on how it would affect a pregnant woman and her baby, we told them the exciting news at 7 weeks.
Throughout my pregnancy Tish attended two scans with me – once at 6 weeks to check the pregnancy was viable due to the previous ectopic and the second, a private reassurance scan we booked at 10 weeks. Tish missed out on finding out the gender at the same time as me, as well as seeing baby move on the screen and it’s little heart beating away. With each appointment I knew it was a step closer to meeting our baby but to have Tish miss out on those special moments was really upsetting. I made sure that I revealed the gender to him with a big celebration when I got home and had even asked a local baker to bake me some gender reveal cupcakes. I banished Tish to the bedroom and spent the afternoon decorating the living room. The moment he found out we were having a boy his eyes lit up. He was hoping for a little football buddy.
Aside from my 8 week booking appointment, all of my midwife appointments were by telephone and it wasn’t until 28 weeks that I physically met one. With it being my first pregnancy, I guess I didn’t know any different, by if this was a woman’s second (or plus) pregnancy I’m sure they would have found a huge difference in the way in which they received their care. Due to COVID, everything had to be changed. Gestational Diabetes tests were now being done via a blood test rather than the usual glucose test.
My entire pregnancy was pretty smooth sailing and I really enjoyed it. Luckily I did not have any sickness, just some nausea and I’d gone off eating chicken and lamb, but I didn’t have any of the ‘normal symptoms’, which in the early days made me question if I was even pregnant! From week 5 onwards I was getting regular headaches, and normally I could sleep off a headache but this was a different type of headache where sleeping didn’t even help and I would wake up with it. I was told that these were quite normal at this stage but if it continued beyond 12 weeks, it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia. Luckily they stopped at 9 weeks, but they were very painful and all I wanted to do was sleep. Aside from paracetamol the only other thing that helped ease the pain of the headaches were the MegRhythm Steam Warming Eye Masks (aff link). I was dubious at first about these but they actually worked a dream.
Throughout my pregnancy, I didn’t once feel like I’d been ‘forgotten’ about from the Midwives. As normal, the midwives were available 24/7 via telephone. There were a few occasions where I had to call them and then subsequently go to the antenatal day unit for a scan or heartbeat check. But each time, the midwives were so caring and attentive. I literally cannot complain about the care I received during my pregnancy. Every midwife I met/spoke to apologised for the circumstances in which they were working and each time I’d said there was no need for an apology as they didn’t cause the pandemic! They way in which care was provided had to be changed given the circumstances, but all the midwives and doctors made sure it didn’t affect the level of care they were providing.
Of course I didn’t plan to be pregnant in the middle of a pandemic, but it sure did give us something to look forward to in what was a pretty crap year.