Hello everyone. Today, just a few days away from the big day, from meeting my baby, from probably the most magical and life-changing day of my life, I wanted to put a few words down, black on white, to tell you about my pregnancy. And somehow, to tell it to me too, so that I never forget it. A perfectly imperfect pregnancy. Sweet, easy, from which I really enjoyed every moment. But also, a pregnancy with a somewhat anxious background, due to a relatively rare complication (I say “relatively”, because it is not SO rare, about one pregnancy out of 250) that led to a lot of controls all along, hopes, big disappointments and a birth that finally won’t happen as I had hoped. But overall, a wonderful experience. A beautiful journey to motherhood. I loved being pregnant, and I also understood that when it comes to motherhood, you can’t control anything. These 9 months of my life will have taught me to be resilient, to cope, to accept, to enjoy the positive and to relax more than ever. Let me tell you all about it! Here goes my pregnancy story.
My Pregnancy Story: My Perfectly Imperfect Pregnancy
How I found out I was pregnant
We had been talking about being parents for a long time with Simon. After meeting each other in 2013 in Australia, we have moved to the next stage of life by moving to Sweden together in 2015. In 2016, we expanded our family with our little kitten Leia, then very quickly we talked about children’s projects together. However, we were not ready. We told ourselves that we would wait for the right time to start trying.
We have a little tradition: every New Year, Simon asks me an important question for the coming year. Why? Because this is how our “serious” story began. After our year together in Australia, we were in a distance relationship from our respective countries (France/Sweden). Then I surprised him by visiting him in Sweden for New Year’s Eve 2014 and at midnight he asked me: “Do you want to move to Sweden with me?”. . Since then, we have kept this tradition, every year. And you can guess what he asked me in 2019: “This year, shall we try to have a baby for real…?”. In fact, I’m telling you that he’s “asking me”, but it’s more a decision that we make together, often we discuss it a few days before, and at the stroke of midnight, we make it official. In 2018, we had decided that I would stop taking the birth control pill, but that we would continue to use a different form of protection. So that that my body could take back its rights, and its natural cycles, before starting the baby trials. In 2019, we gave ourselves the year 2020 to try, without putting any pressure on ourselves. And then, as I’ve already passed 30 years and I know that it can take a long time (about 8 months to get pregnant on average), in March, we stopped using protection, thinking that it would probably take several months anyway…
And… nope 😉 ! April… no period. When they are normally super regular. Then, a pimple eruption. Having had hormonal acne when I stopped taking my pill, I KNEW that when I had pimples, it meant “hormonal turmoil” in my body. What other possible disruption was possible at that time than pregnancy? Could it be possible? On the first try, just like that? I also had pain in my breasts… Could it be, really?
It’s funny because deep down I knew it. But a bigger part of me didn’t believe it. I remember waiting about 5 days late with my period and saying to Simon when we went shopping, ” let’s go to the drugstore and buy a test just to see”. We went and bought a pack of 2 tests. He told me “maybe take 2 packs so we have some in advance”. I replied, “no-no… maybe we won’t even need them and we’ll spend our money for nothing” (well yes, because deep down inside, I knew that one test would be enough…).
Then we went to the liquor store, Simon bought a few beers and I did too. I thought, “I’ m going to have a beer or two tonight and tomorrow morning I’ll take the test”. Then finally, when we got home, it was impossible to drink a beer when in doubt… The next morning, at around 9 am, I went into the bathroom, without even saying anything to Simon, who was in a morning meeting at home. I thought “I’m not pregnant anyway, it’s not possible”. I do the test and… 2 big pink lines very, very pronounced. The test said it could take a few minutes. For me, in 5 seconds they were there.
WOW. I’m pregnant. I can’t believe it. A combination of surprise, because I wasn’t expecting it, shock, but so much happiness. I come out of the bathroom, fortunately Simon had finished his morning meeting which lasts only a few minutes each day, and there I tell him… “My love, I’m pregnant !!!!”. He says to me “NO WAYY?”. I said, “Well, yeah, look… I can’t believe it”. And then he grabs me and we kiss. We are surprised, a little shocked, but HAPPY.
This day was a little crazy. We didn’t realize it. In the evening, after work, we immediately went down to the midwifery clinic right down the street (I’m lucky enough to have one right in the building) and I signed up for my pregnancy follow-up. I found out that I was 5 weeks pregnant. I already had my first appointment scheduled for about 2 weeks from then. That was it, it was for real. Then we went for a walk in nature behind our house. We kept repeating to each other that it was crazy, that it was crazy. That it had been so fast! From the first try. That we were so lucky! That we were shocked! But happy.
I will remember all my life the euphoria of that day, between surprise and happiness. And to top it all off, we saw a deer running in the wild in front of us as we were walking… a bit magical.
The first trimester: happy but tough
So I was 5 weeks pregnant at the time of the test. The first month had already passed. And apart from the pain in my breasts, I had so much energy at the moment. I downloaded a couple of pregnancy applications and my journey to motherhood began. I read everywhere that the first trimester was the most challenging, often with a lot of nausea and fatigue. At that time, I actually felt good… so I was enjoying it. Well, it lasted until about week 10, haha. After that, I had 6 very rough weeks. Extreme fatigue. Bloating. Nausea. Constant disgust. It was really not easy, but also totally normal! If you want to know more, I had written an article dedicated to this: how to survive the first trimester of pregnancy? You’ll also find lots of tips to ease up its little annoyances.
At the end of this first trimester, the first ultrasound scan. What a magical moment, to see your baby for the first time. It makes it all come true, it makes everything so real. Unfortunately, due to the Covid, Simon couldn’t be in the room. Luckily, I was able to put him on videoconference so he didn’t miss a thing. It was hard to accept not to live this moment that was so unique, so unprecedented, together in the same room… but we had no choice. Here already, the resilience began. “Accept what you cannot change”.
Ultrasound results? A healthy baby, a healthy mom. All is well. Happiness, what more could you ask for? We were really happy! And, the famous “3 months milestone” having passed, it was time to announce it to all our friends and family (except our parents who already knew). Many more beautiful moments of emotion to come.
Our little baby led us to decide on many new life stages. We bought a car because we thought it was time with baby coming (well, in leasing). We started looking for a new, bigger apartment so that she could have her own room. We would move in October.
The second trimester: on a little pink cloud, with a thunderstorm in the background
I describe my second trimester as a little pink cloud. Yes, because it was spring/summer, I felt SUPER good, no more nausea, no more fatigue, nothing. So much energy, a bliss to be pregnant, to follow the evolution of my baby as the midwife’s appointments went by, and with my applications that sent me daily notifications. Such magic! You feel so small in front of the immensity of nature. Our body, this giant. How does it learn to do all this by itself, without even thinking about it? Creating a human being! Just to tell you, I’m the kind of person who gets ecstatic when I plant a seed in the soil and a plant grows a few days later, and then, a few weeks later, a fruit, a flower, a vegetable. Imagine here… a baby. I was fascinated, amazed, simply.
On my birthday, I felt my baby for the first time. Decidedly, this little love was already romantic. “FamFam”, we called him (a cute diminutive of “Family”) not knowing the gender yet. Not a big movement… just little bubbles. But the bubbles of my baby, lodged in the hollow of my belly, like magic. Its first birthday present for mom.
We enjoyed a beautiful vacation in Sweden during the summer, walking in nature and making plans for parenthood. Again, we had to show resilience: we had normally planned to go to France, then Spain, to see my family and friends. But… because of the covid, borders were closed, and we had no desire to take any risks pregnant either, so we stayed home. We understood that we would probably not see our family this summer, but we hoped to remedy the situation in September!
What about this title? Why am I talking about thunderstorm? Because it is in the 2nd trimester that my complication was discovered. At the second ultrasound (around 19 weeks), I was diagnosed with a “low placenta”. Um… OK, what does that mean?
If the placenta is low, the doctor explains, and if it covers the cervix or is too close to it, it prevents the baby from passing through the natural birth canal. It will thus be necessary to have recourse to a Caesarean section if it does not go up. But don’t worry! This is very common: about 15% of women in early pregnancy. And 99% of placentas come back up nicely, on their own. Okay, well, that’s fine. So they tell me not to worry, and just call my midwife or the hospital right away if I have heavy bleeding, which can be a consequence of what I have. Well… OK. What do I risk if I bleed? A premature delivery, a delay in the baby’s growth. But then again, “I don’t have to worry”. In most cases, everything goes well.
Otherwise, the rest of this second ultrasound was magical. I was able to see my baby again, so well-formed, so human already. Discovering the gender, a little girl… so much happiness! Simon was still not there in the room because of the covid, but in the car on video.
On the way out, I jump at him and squeeze him so hard! We’re going to have a little girl! But, I was also a little worried about what I had just learned. Also, I have a rather anxious and hypochondriac ground which does not help.
The same day, and the days after, I do what you SHOULD NEVER do: go on Google. I search in French, “placenta bas”, in English “low placenta” and I read a whole bunch of horrors… Risks of serious hemorrhages during pregnancy, risk of premature baby, risk of poor baby growth. Risk of bed rest at the end of pregnancy of several months, forced pelvic rest ( understand: no more intimate cuddles). I put a word on what I have: “a placenta praevia”, a rather rare complication. But not so rare either. I also see that another much more serious complication can be added to mine: a case where the placenta does not come out on the day of delivery and can lead to very serious hemorrhages. I see really HORRIBLE words like “risk of maternal mortality”, removal of the uterus… I do calculations… what are my risks? My brain is spinning. I cry. I crack. Google is never a good thing! The picture looked so bad now. When the doctor was super positive!
Fortunately, Simon comforted me, the tears released me, it passed… I told myself that I would wait patiently for the third ultrasound to learn that as in 99% of cases, and therefore mine I hoped, my placenta would have risen.
And there, I don’t know by what magic, I, who am usually so anxious, managed not NOT to stop thinking about it, but to bury it deep inside my head, far away. I was zen all through the 2nd trimester, I enjoyed my little pink cloud. Of my perfectly imperfect pregnancy. Of my baby who was developing perfectly well, of no bleeding, and of my great energy!
Seeing my belly getting rounder and rounder, feeling more and more my little girl… Happiness, quite simply. In spite of the kilos that added up on the scale. In spite of the heartburn that was not very pleasant (I had it all through my pregnancy). I loved to see my body change, expand, make room for my growing baby. I loved to prepare, to imagine her arrival. Thinking about all the things we would have to buy (I’ll let you read my article on the list of essentials for a newborn)… nesting our little cocoon. Imagining her in her little clothes, doing the laundry, folding. To furnish her little nursery. To speak to her. To choose her name, our little É… To sing songs to her, including a song that I sang to her EVERY DAY so that she remembers it once she’s out of the womb. To listen to dozens of podcasts about motherhood… to read books. To learn. To learn about how to become a mother. Parents. Amazing.
In the end, I think I only had another tearful episode one day, after spending too much time on Google again. But then again, it lasted what… 2 hours… and I regained my strength. Back to happiness!
The third trimester: accept. Breathe. Enjoy despite everything.
At the time of the second ultrasound, the doctor had scheduled two more follow-up ultrasounds. One at 30 weeks, one at 35 weeks. To follow the evolution of this dear placenta. To check that it was rising properly. In the meantime, I kept telling myself that everything would be fine. That my placenta was going to rise, that I would give birth through the vaginal route, without an epidural, as I wanted.
My parents, my family, everyone told me the same. In 99% of the cases, the placenta comes up, so for me too, it was almost sure that it would come up! I read so many forums, I even joined a pregnancy group on Facebook where I made a call for witnesses and almost everyone reassured me: “Yes, I had that too… it went up on its own in the 3rd trimester, don’t worry”. With a few exceptions, the 1%. I even had a friend who had the same diagnosis as me in the 2nd trimester. She had more follow-up ultrasounds than I do, living in Spain (women have almost one ultrasound per month there!) and her placenta had come up well. All this reassured me.
On my third ultrasound, I was under a lot of stress. But deep down inside I knew I would surely learn some good news. And good news I got! A baby that was still in wonderful health, my little love was doing so well. Such happiness! I could see her in 3D, magical… On the other hand… the placenta… had hardly moved. USH! I saw the doctor changing her speech. She told me that at this stage, it could still move… but that I had to prepare myself for the eventuality of a cesarean section. A shock. I also learn that because of Covid restrictions, Simon will not be able to come with me during the procedure. Second shock.
I spoke to my midwife a few days later: I was so afraid of anesthesia, of operations. I’d never had any of that in the past. I was far from everything and everyone. The covid prevented me from seeing my family while being pregnant (ah yes because in the end, you know the rest of the story, the pandemic did not stop after the summer, quite the contrary, so I could not go to Spain/France and my parents could not come and visit us either). I simply could NOT do a cesarean section on my own. We were talking with my midwife about trying to ask for an “exception” if I did have to have a C-section in the end.
In the meantime, I tried to calm myself down again, hoping that the placenta would move. Only 2cm was needed between the cervix and the edge of the placenta for a vaginal birth to be accepted. I was almost 1cm away. My uterus still had a lot to grow… there was a chance! Zen…
And once again, I don’t know by what magic, I found my inner peace and enjoyed every second of my pregnancy and this intimate moment with my baby. In all my moments of doubt, I have been supported by those I love: my partner, this pillar, first of all, who is just perfect. And my family, my friends.
Then comes the 4th ultrasound… my heart was pounding. So what was the verdict? Well, no, the placenta did not move. I would have a C-section. Wow. What a pill to swallow! Well, the good thing is that in the meantime, the covid restrictions had eased: Simon was able to come to the ultrasound, and he would be accepted on the day of the birth. Phew. No need to fight for that anymore, at least. He would be with me. But still… I had to go through a huge acceptance phase. Accepting what I couldn’t change. An emotional trimester. The anticipation of seeing my baby, so cute and healthy. The gratitude for having had such a beautiful pregnancy, so perfectly imperfect. Apart from this misplaced placenta, everything went SO well. No bleeding, an adorable and healthy baby, not too much pain, not too tired, great energy… A real rush to meet her. But so much fear of this D-day that represented such a challenge for me.
Then a second wave of covid… a threat that, in addition, the restrictions would maybe change again. That Simon may not be able to be there. I don’t know where I find the strength to be Zen, but I find it. I sleep well, I accept the pains now at the end of pregnancy with kindness and acceptance (pelvic pain, pain in my hands from swelling), I rest, I do lots of creative activities during my maternity leave. I enjoy this unique moment, which only happens once in a lifetime: the first pregnancy.
I’m learning about Caesarean section. I try to look on the bright side. I’m going to avoid the pain of contractions… well, certainly, it will hurt afterwards, postoperatively. But it will be quick. I could even choose the date of birth, which is still somewhat luxurious! My lucky number. A silver lining. I am reassured by what the doctors have told me: my case is far from critical. My placenta is NORMAL, it’s just too low, it’s bad luck, but it happens. Everything is going to be fine.
I’m trying to forget the demons that make me think of the other complications I read about on Google. I asked, I don’t have that. Plus, I had none of the annoying symptoms of placenta previa, no bleeding, no baby development concerns, nothing. No bed rest, no movement restrictions. All the stages of prematurity passed… Really a “light” version of it, it could have been worse!
But… as always, a small part of me tends not to trust doctors 100%, and is afraid anyway. That they’ve missed something. This part of me, I’m tired of it! It is irrational. I try my best to keep it quiet. I keep my calm. And fortunately, Simon is the best support ever, he helps me so much! I can tell him everything. And he always finds the right words to reassure me. Not to mention my sweet mom, my family in general, and my friends who are just great.
A few days away from the big meeting… A unique cocktail of hurry and apprehension.
I can’t wait to meet her… if you only knew. I’m counting the days.
At the same time, I’m really scared of this day which seems to me to be a real challenge. As someone who has never had surgery, who is never sick (I touch wood!), who has never been really medicalized, I am very apprehensive about this day.
It’s a 50-50. Looking forward to it. But really not in a hurry to be there at the same time.
On the other hand, I 100% can’t wait to get to the “right after”. The moment when the time for the C-section will have passed, when I will have my little marvel against me, and when it will all be over. I will have done it. I would have given birth to my baby in warrior mode, completely at the opposite end of what I visualized in my idea of the perfect delivery. I would have learned to accept. Accept that when it comes to motherhood, you cannot control anything anyway.
Each pregnancy and each delivery is unique. We all have our stuff. Nothing is predictable. So we might as well just let go. A great first lesson in my journey to my new role as a mom. comes to motherhood, you can never control anything anyway.
I try not to think too much about the second wave of Covid… for the moment, the restrictions for dad to attend have not changed. I hope with all my heart that this will remain the case and that Simon can be by my side on this special day. So magical. So scary at the same time.
I also try to put aside as much as possible my fears, which were only fed by Google and make no sense. The doctors have been clear: everything is fine, everything will be fine. I repeat this to myself 100 times a day. I meditate. I talk about it, I verbalize.
I also try not to focus on that Covid that prevented me from seeing my family and friends pregnant. I am so close to my parents… if someone had told me this a few years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. I try not to think too much about the after-birth, the confinement… I hope that they will soon be able to come and meet their little granddaughter.
I wrote my birth plan for the hospital. A cesarean section, I have now understood, can also be a magical moment, if everything goes well. I’m going to do the maximum, to go and find the resources in my whole being to be STRONG that day, zen, relaxed, and maximize the chances that everything will go well. In a calm environment. In control. As I was throughout my pregnancy. Calm and Zen. For me, and also for my baby. I didn’t want her to feel my fears, my stress. And apart from a couple of crying outbursts, I can say it today, I’m really proud of myself: I’ve mega-managed!
I realize how fortunate I am to have a chance to plan for my delivery that not all women have. Somehow, I am lucky to have been able to prepare myself. To avoid the stress of the emergency. Indeed, you are never safe from an emergency C-section, which can be more traumatic. I also realize how lucky I am to have had such a beautiful pregnancy, a healthy baby, and to have become pregnant so easily.
And who knows… maybe I’ll write soon an article to tell you about the day of the birth, of my sweet cesarean section, which went so well. I sincerely hope so! Answer in a few days. And in the meantime, I visualize my happiness to have my little girl against me, skin to skin, and I CAN’T WAIT.
Thanks for reading my pregnancy story, and see you soon for new adventures… as a little family :).