2 February 2016

our pregnancy journey, thus far

thank you all for your kind comments and congratulations! we are absolutely thrilled to share such wonderful news, and it’s pretty amazing to have support and well wishes from so many around the world. our lives are about to change in some real significant ways, and we couldn’t be happier about that.

yesterday i hit seventeen weeks of pregnancy, and a tiny little bump appeared on my body (still not sure if i’m just bloated or actually showing – haha!). the past two and a half months or so since we learned we are expecting have been a truly remarkable experience, the details of which i don’t want to forget! there’s got to be nothing quite like being pregnant for the first time.

overall, i am enjoying it – we both are – tremendously. certainly there are uncomfortable, scary, and difficult aspects but most of all we feel positively flooded with gratitude, amazement and real, excited joy. to record this unique and special time of life, i’ve kept up a journal and have begun writing things down specifically for our child to have and read. i also want to share bits of this journey – our best adventure yet! – here on the blog. i’m not really sure how to organize that sharing – so for now, here are some “bits and bobs,” as they say here in england :)

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{click through to read the bits and bobs!}

we had been wanting to get pregnant for quite a few months, and in early november my body tricked me into thinking we had more months of trying ahead. so when i quite haphazardly decided to take a pregnancy test, just to be sure, i was genuinely shocked by those two pink lines. my whole body tingled with disbelief, wonder and delight as i stood alone in the bathroom for quite a while trying to digest this reality. somehow i was calm enough when the boy got home from work to witness his reciprocal genuine shock. i will never forget his reaction when he opened the envelope i gave him with the positive pregnancy test inside. it was undoubetdly one of the best, most joyous moments of my life.

since that night, we have been learning a lot about the national insurance system here in england and how all things pregnancy and birth related work at uk hospitals. while there are some differences between what we are used to hearing about in the states, we are pleased with the system and especially the culture which seems to promote more wonder and trust in the natural processes and abilities of the female body, and less fear and intervention.

we have also been learning a lot about pregnancy and birth in general, and as i mentioned, i have really relished this learning. i am truly in awe of my body and the miracle happening inside of me – it is tremendously, ridiculously cool to me. the book ina may’s guide to childbirth totally changed my life in the best way, and i highly, highly, highly recommend it to any pregnant woman. i have also been enjoying birthing from within, and appreciate recommendations that commenters have left for further reading!

i’ve also been learning a lot from my eyre-side sisters and sisters-in-law, who have had 26 pregnancies and 27 births between them, and definitely don’t leave out any of the gory details, for which i am grateful! i feel really blessed to have these women in my life, along with my incredible mother who gave birth nine times herself, as fantastic resources. add on wright-side sisters-in-law and a whole slew of wonderful friends who are moms – and i’m one lucky, supported pregnant woman! while definitely the most poignant lesson i’ve learned in pregnancy thus far is that every woman is so different and all pregnancy advice should be taken (hugely) with a grain of salt, i am super open to tips and suggestions from any woman and i love feeling the sisterhood of pregnancy.

that said, my heart desires to be really sensitive, amidst all the excitement, towards those women i may interact with any way that are hoping to be pregnant and are not. i know a tiny sliver of the hurt that comes from that situation, and dearly hope that i can avoid contributing to that hurt in any way, as much as possible. i am incredibly, incredibly grateful to be pregnant, and really want to never, ever take for grated the blessing that it is for us to have been able to conceive with relative ease.

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when i was thirteen weeks, the boy and i got to go to the hospital where our baby will be born for the first time to have an ultrasound. i walked the twenty minutes to st. thomas’s just as the london sky was clearing up from a rain shower and the sunlight was getting slanty and golden. i had one of those moments where i was filled to the brim with pure happiness, and i really couldn’t believe that this was real – walking through this beauitful, vibrant city, with a tiny baby in my belly, to meet my beloved husband, the bells of big ben pealing out the hour.

it was unlike anything either of us have experienced before to see our baby on the screen from the ultrasound. we were both just completely amazed and overflowing with love and gratitude. ian kept saying, “oh my gosh! it’s moving! it’s moving!” and the tech told him, “well, yes! it is alive!” :) this was our view as we walked back across the bridge from the hospital as the sun was setting <<< pretty awesome.

while i’ve experienced some occasional nausea (usually in extremely potent bursts!), i haven’t thrown up at all. something i didn’t anticipate in pregnancy though (everyone just always talks about the barfing) is the digestive issues i’ve been experiencing. it makes sense when you think about it – your digestive organs are getting pretty pushed around in there – but i didn’t expect my body to work so differently during pregnancy in that way. i also couldn’t have imagined what it would feel like to have low interest in food – i have honestly never experienced that sensation before (except for during a few very short bouts of stomach flu many years ago).

mostly i have just been super tired the past seventeen weeks (something i absolutely noticed even before we found out we were pregnant). i have gotten a little bit of energy back in the last few weeks, but i think my psyche has settled into an exhausted existance and i need to break out of that! i am certainly aware that it is a huge luxury to have flexible part-time work hours (and no other kids yet!) so i can sleep in, relax and rest when i want to.

i have been very conscientious about eating well and exercising during pregnancy, and that feels really, really good to me. i have had a few cravings for less-than-super-healthy foods, but not many at all – mostly my body tells me to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, and sweets sound really yucky to me (also a very, very foreign sensation). i have been lifting weights, getting in some cardio everyday, and recently started pratciticing yoga again, which i love. i’m really grateful to feel well enough to exercise regularly (and again, have the flexibility of schedule that allows for that).

the boy has been incredibly supportive and gentle as i’ve been adjusting to the changes in my body, and he is very open to learning about pregnancy and birth processes (including the really unpleasant bits). in the first fourteen or so weeks, i was constantly pretty anxious about the health of our baby, and ian has been so good at helping me be more calm and faithful. i’ve never loved him more than now, and i’m so grateful for him.

we told our families we are pregnant on christmas day, via skype/facetime, and it was so, so much fun. it took several hours to call parents and siblings in utah, california, arizona, switzerland, england, massachusetts, new york, and pennsylvania (luckily some of them had gathered and were together!) but we loved every minute and seeing every reaction. over the past few weeks we have been calling and emailing close friends and also ian’s grandparents to share our news and that has brought a lot of joy. telling the world last friday via the internet was pretty exciting too :)

we are super excited to learn if we are having a baby boy or baby girl. of course we will be thrilled with either, but i have one solid reason to hope it is a girl – we agree solidly on a girl name! let’s just say our short list of names (for both boys and girls) is very short. maybe as birth becomes closer we will start agreeing on names a bit more :)

that’s probably enough to share for today! i just know how much i have appreciated learning about others’ pregnancies, so i will continue to share “bits and bobs.” thank you again for all the congratulations! we are pretty happy for us, too :)

30 comments :

  1. Congratulations Charity! As an avid reader or your blog, I have been waiting for this news, and have felt it coming for several months now. So happy for you both! :)

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  2. So excited to watch this next chapter unfold! CONGRATULATIONS!

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  3. If you can get your hands on any of Lennart Nilsson's books, do it! His books are full of AMAZING in utero photographs that will make you weep. The pictures are truly breathtaking. Congratulations, momma! (I'm mom to 5 kids, ages 6-16).

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    1. thank you! i will check it out!

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    2. Hi Charity, lovely to hear your wonderful news! I'm so happy for you both as I enjoy following your pregnancy journey! A very special and exciting time! Such a great blessing to be a parent! I love being a mother! The best feeling in the world! Elaine

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    3. Hi Charity, lovely to hear your wonderful news! I'm so happy for you both as I enjoy following your pregnancy journey! A very special and exciting time! Such a great blessing to be a parent! I love being a mother! The best feeling in the world! Elaine

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  4. Congratulations, Charity and Ian! I am so happy for you!! (I am currently thinking about whether I want a baby or not. I am soooo scared to get really really sick when I`m pregnant, and all the changes that go on in the body while being oregnant svare me to death. Any tips on how to deal with that and focus more on the positive things about pregnancy? Anybody?)

    Congratulations again, and I hope you will stay healthy and have a smooth pregnancy. :-)

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    1. it's so tricky because every woman's body and experience is so, so different. but learning more about the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth might motivate you! i want everyone in the world to read "ina may's guide to childbirth," which i bet would definitely help with fear around labor and delivery. on pregnancy, i wish i had something perfect for you to read. i'll just say that it is seriously such an amazing, beautiful, incredible experience that i wouldn't pass up in a trillion years. given that is coloured by my relatively easy pregnancy, but i honestly can't imagine enough discomfort in pregnancy to dissuade me from thinking it is an outrageously cool experience. (that's also coloured by my feelings about motherhood in general, so take it with a grain of salt.)

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    2. I haven't been pregnant (yet), so I can't KNOW it. But my suggestion would be to decide whether you want a child. If so, remind yourself that pregnancy is limited. No matter how horrible it is, it will end after about nine months. And then you will have a child for the rest of your life!

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  5. Pregnancy and childbirth are truly miraculous and amazing! When you said you love Ian even more now it reminds me of seeing my husband hold and love our newborns. Each time it's made me love him even more - I can't wait for you to experience that. I'm really looking forward to reading updates from you. It almost makes me wish I could go back in time and really make sure I notice every little thing. Congratulations from the bottom of my heart!

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  6. Congratulations :-)

    Pregnancy is such a strange time.
    Since I'm pregnant I am constantly either in awe about the strange wonders the female body is able to do or slightly disgusted by some other even stranger wonders that happen while peing pregnant ;)

    I'm happy to hear that you did not experience a lot of vomiting. That is some of the stranger "wonders"...
    I hope you continue having a joyful and peaceful pregnancy without too many backaches and sleepless nights.

    I have 6 weeks left and am so excited to meet my baby soon

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  7. Congratulations!!! So excited for both of you (even though I don't know you!). Someone may have already recommended this book - The Birth Partner. Lots of very practical advice for a wide range of situations that can arise during labor and delivery. I found it helpful (not just my husband, although he did too), and it even helped two of my friends (a couple) when they ended up unexpectedly delivering their 3rd baby at home! (Which hopefully won't happen to you, though everything turned out fine.) :-) Enjoy this special time.

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    1. i appreciate the recommendation - thank you! we will check it out.

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  8. If you can find some Activia or another yogurt with a probiotic in it, it has really helped my digestive system while being pregnant. While it doesn't fix everything, I have noticed a difference when I eat it daily and when I don't. Maybe it could help you too. My doctor recommended it to me after I talked to her about my digestive struggles. My digestive system has been a mess since getting pregnant!

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    1. yes, i love me some probiotic yogurt. i hate that most yogurts have so much sugar in them though! thanks for the reminder to get those live cultures working in my gut :)

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  9. As a mother of 4, grandmother of 9, I too have advice (doesn't everyone??) I think it's a good, worthy goal to have a natural birth with little intervention and medication. BUT! Don't get so invested in things going a certain way that you are crushed or devastated when they don't. Labor is different for everyone, and deciding to use some medication for pain is not a failure-after all, no one expects you to have a root canal without pain relief! Plan, but be flexible and realistic in your expectations. Yes, women's bodies are made to give birth, but sometimes, intervention is required. Believe me, a C-section is not the end of the world! The whole purpose of pregnancy and delivery is a healthy baby and a healthy mom. Keep your eye on a great outcome, regardless of how it's delivered. :) A blessing from your husband can be priceless throughout the pregnancy, not just delivery.
    Best of luck, health, and may you not throw up.

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    1. this is such good advice - thank you for sharing. i have definitely realized that while i should have a solid birth plan and well-established preferences, i need to be totally open to anything and everything happening - because you just never know. i'm not going the natural route for some sort of badge of honor, so i'm not worried about "failing" per say. i just believe my baby and i will have the best experience letting our bodies work without intervention (this is a personal conclusion that i would never put on someone else). but i certainly appreciate that sometimes intervention IS necessary and it's a really, really good thing! thanks for the reminder to be open, and i love the tip about blessings. ian gave me a blessing a few weeks ago and it worked absolute wonders.

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  10. My husband and I still don't agree on boys names (and we've had two so far). Girl names were so much easier for us to agree on (another two on that front). I had my second in Scotland when we were studying abroad for grad school and I must say I loved the natural birthing experience. I loved my midwife team and that they came to the flat after instead of trekking with baby through Scotland spring weather. Congratulations again! Being a parent is the most rewarding, exhausting, guilt-ridden, amazing, exhilarating, frustrating experience (besides being a wife ;)). You and the boy will be great parents!

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  11. Congrats! Love your suggested reading. We have two little ones and I did the Bradley Method with the first and Hypnobabies with the second. I preferred Hypnobabies, so I recommend it and think it's worth you checking out (there are instructors, but I just did the CDs and book at home. I fell asleep to my birthing hypnosis every night on my iPod)!

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    1. thanks for the suggestions! once i'm finished with "birthing from within" and get the boy going on his reading :) i'm diving into hypnobabies!

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  12. Congrats, from a stranger. And props to you for thinking of those struggling with infertility - it means a lot.

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  13. love you charity. can't wait to relive pregnancy through you!

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  14. a SUPER, DUPER, BIG CONGRATULATIONS from big sky country! what a lucky/blessed little baby to come to your home! enjoy the ride! :)

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  15. Congrats Charity and Ian!! Long time reader and I've been waiting for this post:) Found your blog through Shawni, whose posts on motherhood I swear are the reason we now have 2 kids under 2 and love (almost) every minute of it;) I'm so excited for this adventure for you! Enjoy as much as you can of pregnancy and good for you for not throwing up thus far!

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  16. Hi Charity, have you looked up NCT here in England? I think you may find a lot of support there. My sister went to this before the births of her girls and all the mothers that went together are still really great friends. My Eldest Niece is 30 this year. Please check it out.

    I hope you continue to feel well and that the wind here isnt getting to you too much. (I hope this weather front passes soon).

    Greetings from the Cotswolds.

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  17. So excited for you Charity! You are already reading my two favorite pregnancy books so I have nothing to recommend :) Your aversion to sweets tells me it's a boy :) That's my experience with my first few pregnancies--girls are really made of "sugar" and spice :)

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  18. Congratulations! I was so surprised by how tired I was during my first pregnancy. I expected to be nauseated...but not tired. Glad to know I am not the only one. I honestly took a nap almost every day, but I tell people that is why our first baby is so mellow! Love the books you are reading, I just had our sixth and I read "Birthing from Within" every single time. Happy days to you and Ian!

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  19. Congrats Charity! I've been reading your blog for a few years and I know how deeply you've yearned for marriage and motherhood, and I'm so excited for you to be experiencing both now! You and Ian will be amazing parents. I just wanted to comment and thank you for being conscious of those with infertility and not wanting your excitement to add to someone's pain. My husband and I have been dealing with unexplained infertility for about 2.5 years now, and every time someone else announces their pregnancy we feel more and more left behind, even though we're glad for others that they don't have to go through infertility. It really means the world when someone remembers to think and be sensitive towards people like us in the midst of their excitement (my husband's 22-year-old little sister just gave birth to the first grandchild in the family and sadly her entire pregnancy has been painful for us, mainly because she and her husband didn't make any effort to show empathy or sensitivity towards us even though they knew our situation). I just want you to know that I appreciate the maturity and sensitivity you show when you think about and acknowledge the fact that pregnancy is a miracle, not to be taken for granted, and that there are many people still waiting for that miracle to happen for them. It makes people like me feel not as forgotten, so thank you!!! I truly wish you all the best with your pregnancy and I can't wait to follow your journey into motherhood!

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