Mid-last year I had a vivid, symbolic dream in which I was standing in the middle of a highway that stretched into the horizon, and when I looked down, in my arms was a baby boy.
The details of that dream stayed with me in a way so few do — so real I can still transport myself there in an instant. A little soul was circling. That I could feel, just as I could feel the subtle shifts occurring within in me, opening up new possibilities and considerations and energies I’d dabbled with previously but never fully embraced.
Something was coming.
Fast forward several months…
And there were a series of signs and messages, delivered in quick succession.
Alex sent me an email out of the blue saying ‘I know you’re not supposed to ask these things, but do you have a little miracle growing in your belly?’
The same day, I went to a kundalini yoga class with Tara and the meditation for the evening centred on the divine mother, which felt meaningful and significant to acknowledge in the way that things do when your wisest self whispers ‘There’s something in this, you know.’
Beyond the external nudges, I was also acutely aware that I was a couple of days late to start my cycle and there was a feeling that was bubbling inside me that sat somewhere between hope and holy shit…
Retreating to the bathroom, Ramai in the next room tapping away on the computer, I’d just taken the all-important pee-on-a-stick test — the one with ‘No other test tells your sooner!’ emblazoned across the front — and I found myself willing those little lines to darken. And darken they did.
P O S I T I V E.
Oh my goodness, I yelled around the corner.
I think we’re having a baby.
I. Think. We. Are. Having. A. Baby. I’d just said those words, for real.
I looked up and there he was in front of me, pulling me closer, time grinding to a halt for a moment as emotion electrified the air between us. Shock! Joy! Disbelief! Elation! Argh!
Ever the certainty-seekers, we decided that we couldn’t fully believe this was happening until I went to the doctors for a second test, and luck on our side, the receptionist on the other end of the call said ‘We have an appointment… but it’s in 5 minutes. Can you get here?’
You better believe it, I thought as I legged it to the car.
A moment I’ll never forget.
I was sitting in the waiting room when my phone beeped with a text from Tara. Timing, my love.
In a millisecond, I’d shot back with where I was and what I was doing.
‘What the?… wait… doctor down the road? I’m next door at the post office. I’m coming.’
Not moments later, there she was. Swirling rainbow harem pants. A curtain of blonde hair. Her eyes as wide as saucers as she walked slow-mo towards me, sat down on the seat beside mine and leaned forward.
Babe, she whispered. It was a surreal passage of time where this gorgeous friend of mine seemed to journey right into the depths of my soul and pluck out every thought and emotion I was experiencing, weaving them into something exquisitely pure to reflect back at me.
We hugged and our shoulders shook; sweet tears flowing between a pair of soul sisters who didn’t need a doctor’s test to confirm that a baby was on its way,
We both knew. That little, circling soul had found a home.
Baby MacDonald was headed earth-side.
Are you ever really ready?
I was asked this question not long ago, and want to attempt to answer it here with the caveat that obviously everything I’m sharing is coloured by my own experience, and may vastly differ for you. There’s, of course, no right or wrong answer here.
For me, there was a noticeable, deep maternal yearning and sense of readiness that took up residence in my heart sometime last year.
Ramai and I had always hoped that children would be part of our love story in this lifetime, but we had no definites around when that would, or even could, happen. Nearly all our friends have one or more children, but it still felt like an out there priority for us at that stage; one of many tangled in with (more) travel, business launches, saving to buy a house and so on.
But then, all that shifted.
I found myself talking regularly about when we’d have kids, and this ‘down the track’ dream started to have a year, and even months attached to it.
Instead of looking at other people’s babies with a beaming — but detached — smile, saying ‘What a cutie’ to whoever was with me, I started to feel an unmistakable internal tug. There was a new dialogue unfolding; my body and soul in conversation.
I want to have a baby, I thought.
Hang on, I’d catch myself, I want a baby?
And yep, in there perched amongst flashes of fear and questions of what will happen then?, I found in myself a desire to become a mama that I simply could not deny.
I was as ‘ready’ as I was ever going to be,
The first trimester notables.
I’m going to do a big ol’ gear (and mood) switch because I want to sum up key elements of my first trimester, and it’s easiest to do that in short form.
Honestly, it feels like there’s so much to share, which I’ll do over subsequent posts, but for now ::
WHAT I CRAVED.
Citrus anything. Crushed ice with fresh lemon juice (praise the preg-gods for our Vitamix-slash-”healthy slushie maker” is all I can say). Also, orange juice. In fact, any juice. We bought a new cold pressed juicer early on, an Oscar Neo, and it’s been the best thing ever.
Carbs. Pasta! Bread! Gimme! I remember one day I saw a recipe in the back of a magazine for a homemade herbed macaroni cheese, and I had to make it. I had absolutely no choice in the matter — all of a sudden, I was at the checkout going ‘But, I’m not even THAT into pasta?’ And like many things I ate in that first trimester, the thought of the meal was at least 57 times more exciting than eating the meal itself. *Sigh.*
Beef burgers. Actually, to make a sweeping generalisation here, ‘boy foods’ on the whole took my fancy (hello cheese and anything savoury).
Vegetables. Oh gosh, this one was hard to swallow (literally) — and is actually very common. It was a total brain-bender that the mere thought of my beloved broccoli was enough to make me dry retch.
Logic would say: ‘But I’m growing a spine and a brain — shouldn’t I be craving veggies like MAD right now?’
But, tastebuds would say no. Nooooo.
(Cooking with) coconut oil. The combo of super-sonic pregnant powers of smell and my vegetarian husband cooking kale, broccoli and brussel sprouts in coconut oil was enough to have me covering my head with a pillow and yelling from the bedroom PLEASE STOPPPP! It was comical, believe me, and I was over the moon the day I realised I’d come out the other side of that pesky little vege-and-coco-hating phase. Hallelujah!
SHARING THE NEWS WITH FAMILY (AND BESTIES).
I couldn’t dial my loved ones soon enough after leaving the doctors, and to hear your elation in the jubilant, cracking voices of your nearest and dearest is BEYOND everything.
Recalling my Mum crying ‘That is the best news I’ve ever heard’ on the other end of the phone still makes me misty-eyed.
FULL BODY TIREDNESS, AND FEELING ‘HUNGOVER.’
I can’t really remember the last time I ‘slept in’ — the standard seven and a half to eight hours sleep has always served me beautifully — and I’m not an afternoon napper (the reason being on the very rare occasion I do drift off, I pay for it with being up most of the night).
So, with that in mind, you could say the full body tiredness of particular days in the first trimester knocked me sideways a touch.
I was blessed not to experience morning sickness in the vomiting sense, and truly feel for the poor expectant mamas that do, but I did get to taste the half-to-full day nausea and I’ll liken the feeling to an uncomfortable hangover because:
// You crave heavy/ grounding foods (aka carbs) to settle your stomach.
// You’re not sure whether you want to be asleep or awake. Agitation levels = HIGH.
// You start willing yourself to just throw up dammit so you can release the feeling of discomfort.
// Plus, your energy tends to slip right down the drain, and fast.
Thankfully it was close to Christmas as this was all happening for me so I was winding things down business-wise anyway, and one of the benefits of running your own show is being able to set up with a laptop in bed when absolutely necessary. Hurrah.
The change: At nine weeks, I was thrilled to wake up feeling like my energy had returned with a vengeance. I’d love to say I never felt nauseous again, but unfortunately, pregnancy is steeped in unpredictability so there have definitely been bouts here and there, but significantly less so as the journey has progressed. Double hurrah.
RESEARCHING / GOOGLING…
… And learning pretty quickly that pregnancy forums aren’t my cup of tea. And that’s okay.
While forums can be useful for a quick answer occasionally, you often have to trawl through the muck to get there, so when in doubt, I highly recommend directing your questions to a small handful of people whose opinion you trust, including, of course, your primary care provider.
In addition to this, my favourite pregnancy-related books and resources are:
Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa
Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May
The Bump baby app (The Bump app was the first one I came across, but there are a heap of different ones out there)
* More to come on the recommendation front.
I HOPE YOU’RE OKAY WITH NEEDLES?
Because you certainly get acquainted with them in pregnancy!
I’ve unfortunately never been able to give blood as we lived in the U.K in the 80’s (mad cow disease) and was told by my parents that I was an O positive blood type… but, turns out I’m actually A negative, which has meant a couple of additional injections of Anti-D throughout my pregnancy for these reasons.
(you’ll also have blood tests for the Down’s Syndrome screening, to test glucose and iron levels, and anything else required along the way.)
BLOATED, BUT NOT SHOWING.
I couldn’t wait to have a bump, but it didn’t noticeably appear until around 22 weeks-ish.
What happens before that is The Bloat. The cocktail of hormones coursing through your body when you’re pregnant slows your digestion amongst many other things, and you can carry this bloated feeling well into your second trimester, which happened for me.
* Here’s probably a good place to mention that I’ve massaged oil (either coconut or jojoba) into my belly and breasts most days throughout my pregnancy and haven’t experienced any stretch marks.
While the jury’s out on whether stretch marks can be ‘prevented,’ I’m all for adding any nurturing rituals that connect you to your body and baby into the mix, purely because they help release a flood of feel-good hormones. I usually have a little chat to our lion cub as my hands swirl (from the bottom of my belly, up towards my heart), and sometimes ask my husband if he can take over instead, which is divine and allows him to ‘connect in’ too.
THE JOY OF THE SECRET.
There’s something incredibly special about having a secret that just an intimate group of friends and family are privy to, and despite the fact that by about 10 weeks we’d started to get more and more ‘lax’ with keeping that secret, I got a serious kick out of the moments where someone would ask when we were planning to start a family.
‘Oh soon, for sure’ was my usual blase response, with a sneaky sideways glance to whoever was positioned near me and in the know, but on the inside, I was chuckling / bellowing ‘Moowahaha, actually there’s a BABY GROWING IN MY BELLY RIGHT NOW!’
The day we did finally share the news publicly after our 12 week scan was one of the most wildly exciting days of my life. The outpouring of love still blows my mind.
THE FIRST SCAN: 12 WEEKS.
Unforgettable. Magical. Tear-inducing.
And also: bladder buckling.
In the hour before the ultrasound, you’re required to down a bottle of water without going to the bathroom — which sounds like no big deal, but at that stage of the pregnancy where you could pee every five seconds, actually is — and as Ramai and I sat nervously in the waiting room hand-in-hand, I decided I’d ‘be a good girl’ and drink another almost-full bottle.
Please note: this was a mistake.
A trainee was in with our sonographer learning the ropes which meant that our scan went for an exceptionally long time, and coupled with the fact our little one was being cheeky and flipping around (which meant lots of heavy stomach pressing by the technician to get the right view) I was almost hallucinating by the end I needed to go to the bathroom so badly.
Discomfort aside, however, the more important news to convey here is that there is nothing quite like all-encompassing flood of LOVE you’re engulfed by when that first fuzzy white flash appears on the screen in front of you, and you realise you’re looking at your child.
A little beating heart. It suddenly all becomes gloriously real.
Now, over to you ::
I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments — with insights AND any burning questions you may have. You can also find the second trimester wrap up right here.
And before you go, if you have any pregnant friends/ family members who you think would find this post valuable, go ahead and hit the buttons below to share the love. xo