12 WEEKS PREGNANT // A Cracking Week

Not the way to climb off-width  //  photo by  Gemma Southren

Not the way to climb off-width  //  photo by Gemma Southren

With only a few days to my 12-week scan, and after all the waiting and worrying and trying to tear myself away from Google scare articles about miscarriage in the first trimester, I started to relax. Although I still didn't really look it, I somehow felt pregnant and that all was well. I was content and awash with oxytocin – the love hormone – and everything just felt, for want of a better word, lovely. I was confident my baby was growing healthily inside me and it brought me so much joy.

It was possibly this new confidence and calm that finally let me enjoy climbing again, just in time for a lesson in crack climbing. It helped that I was learning a new skill and there was no pressure to be any good. Just being more relaxed, meant I was willing to throw myself into taping up my hands and getting (literally) stuck in. And at some points stuck – faced with a test offwidth situation, it turns out I really needed the tuition!

For the first time in a while, I felt 'normal'. My concentration was on which way round my hand should be jammed rather than which way round my baby might come out. It was great to learn a new skill and feel that I was adding to my climbing, rather than having it all taken away. It set the week up positively to finally see what was growing inside me.

I drank the prescribed pint of water an hour and a half before my scan time. Then I topped it up because I was worried it might not have been enough. As I painfully sloshed my over-full bladder to the ultrasound room, any anxieties were completely gone. All I could concentrate on was not wetting myself! Relief came first at seeing my baby for the first time, wiggling around with its little heart beating away. The second wave of relief came at being told I should go and pee because my full bladder was squashing the baby.

No longer worried I'd wee all over the bed, I lay back down to stare at my unborn child again. It was the most surreal experience. I tried to force my brain to understand that the thing on the screen was the thing inside me! Andrew was in even more disbelief. He obviously knew I was pregnant but, apart from those little stripes on the pee stick and me being more tired, nothing was really different. Seeing this peanut with limbs made everything that bit more real. We really were going to be parents!