Mercedes at 12 weeks

mercedes and familyThe biggest milestone this month was the 12 week ultrasound. It's a routine check to make sure the baby is developing as it should be and to check for any abnormalities such as down syndrome. As important as these tests are, I was looking forward to it simply as a confirmation I was still pregnant!

Despite a handful of symptoms such as tender breasts, nausea, slight weight gain and the biggest indicator – no period! - I was still convinced something was wrong. I had always comforted myself in the belief that if something was wrong with the baby I would experience cramping and bleeding. But everywhere I turned I heard stories about 'missed miscarriages' or 'silent miscarriages' which are usually detected at the 12-week ultrasound and is basically a micarriage that has no symptoms. During my more neurotic moments I would say to my long-suffering husband “for all I know I'm not even pregnant, the sonographer may tell me she's awfully sorry but there seems to have been a mistake and I'm not actually pregnant after all!”

I drank the recommended litre of water before my appointment and turned up with my husband and daughter. Straight away our little baby showed up on the screen, a fuzzy image that looked more like a cloud formation than a tiny baby. But I saw the little profile, legs and arms straight away. Phew, baby in tummy, check.

Ava was mildly interested but quickly became bored with the measuring and checking of vital organs. But we thought it was important to include her in every part of the pregnancy and get her well and truely used to the idea she would shortly be sharing her room.

With a feeling of smug satisfaction, I was able to find comfort in the fact our little baby was doing well and more importantly we had reached the 3-month safety net which statistically means my chances of miscarriage now dropped significantly. Of course it didn't stop people telling me horror stories about friends who had miscarried for no apparent reason at 20 weeks...just in case I started to feel too comfortable!

As the month progressed so did my tummy. But I revelled in my swelling belly, another sign that all was going well in there. I was able to keep my weight gain to a minimum, not through careful eating which was a little out of control, but through consistent exercise. In the six months before I fell pregnant I had joined up with Vision Personal Training and I continued to see my trainer three times a week. Although my schedule was tailored and I was no longer able to push myself to exhaustion or breathlessness, I was still able to run on the treadmill and work up a controlled sweat on the cardio machines and with light weights. By the end of my third month I had only gained 2.5 kilos, not bad I thought.

This month I also booked into my local hospital and had my first ante natal appointment. I have chosen to go through the midwives program at the hospital as this is what I did with Ava and was really happy with it. It was strange walking into the maternity ward where nearly five years earlier my whole life had changed. It was exactly the same and some of the midwives who helped me in the days after Ava was born were still there which I found comforting. I was evaluated as having a low risk pregnancy, got to listen to the baby's heartbeat and answered a trillion questions about my health, my family history, my husband's family history and my home situation. “I have to ask this question,” my dry-humoured midwife asked “but is there any chance the father of this baby is your cousin?” I'm still not sure if that question was legitimate. She also asked a lot of questions about the kind of support I have at home and if I am the victim of domestic abuse. As I told her of my loving husband and how supportive he is being I get a phone call on my mobile from the aforementioned loving husband. I'm sure she could hear him rant about the fact I took both umbrellas from the house during a drought-breaking downpour. Embarrased I hang up and move on to the next lot of probing questions...

One symptom I had forgotten about – and I'm still not sure this is as a result of my pregnancy – is memory loss. An Australian researcher recently discovered a link between a key pregnancy hormone and short term-memory loss. Despite this, even I was surprised when I totally forgot to take Ava to her swimming class – the same swimming class she has been going to every week for four and a half years! One appointment I have not been forgetting, however is my facial. My secret little indulgence is a facial every six weeks. I figure I better make the most of it while I can still find the time and the money to keep it up!

So, feeling a little more secure in my pregnancy and starting to regain my lapsed energy, I eagerly look forward to the next trimester and finding out if we are to welcome a little boy or girl into our lives. According to Ava, there is no question: “if it's not a girl it's not sleeping in my room!” This could prove difficult in our small two-bedroom unit!

Here's my story but we'd love to hear yours too. Please write to us with any comments about our new pregnancy blog or write your own and send it to us. Motherinc is always keen to hear your story and we'll select the best each month to post on our site.

Photograph by Chantal Buttini: