The good, the bad and the pregnancy symptoms
Week 6 is famed for being when many women begin to experience the dreaded morning sickness.
Of course we know that, in reality, pregnancy nausea and vomiting can happen at any time of the day, plus it’s pretty normal to suffer before this week and, unfortunately for some weeks after.
At around six weeks or so, placental development is ramping up. Your pregnancy hormones are working overtime and along with all the positive things going on, there may be some unpleasant side effects.
So, what’s it like to be six weeks pregnant? Find out below.
I feel sick
You know when you’ve pictured and imagined a thing, or an event, for forever and you have this picture of how it’s going to be. And then that thing is totally different to what you were expecting. Well, that was me in week six of my pregnancy. I had imagined that I would float through the early bit on a cloud of blissful happiness, perhaps feeling a bit queasy but nothing awful, then a cute little bump would start appearing right on cue around week 12 or so and my skin and hair would glow with health – it was such a perfect image of impending motherhood.
Let me tell you – it was NOTHING like that. From the minute I took the pregnancy test a week after I missed my period, I turned into a hormonal monster. I was either sobbing or screaming, my skin broke out in a virtual rash of unsightly spots, my hair was lank and greasy – mainly because I couldn’t summon the energy to wash it – and I spent most of the day retching and vomiting.
I could only stomach peanuts to eat, which made me sob even more because I had an idea that they weren’t safe in pregnancy but I was afraid that if I stopped eating them then I would simply waste away. My concentration was shot and it basically felt like my entire life had fallen apart. For which I blamed my husband often and vociferously.
I knew that the neural tube would be developing in my embryo in week 6, this tube being the one from which the spinal cord, backbone, nerves and brain would grow. So, a pretty important time then. It was this thought that made me force myself to swallow a pregnancy vitamin each morning to make sure that I was taking in the required levels of folic acid. This vital substance helps to ensure that there are no abnormalities as the neural tube develops and then closes, leading to further development of the brain.
And if the hormones and sickness weren’t bad enough on their own, I also found myself unable to sleep properly. The combination of sore breasts, vivid dreams and frequent trips to the loo meant that I was struggling to sleep for anything more than three hours at a time. I knew that babies and sleep deprivation have an inextricable link, but I honestly hadn’t expected my six-week-old embryo to be disturbing my nights. All in all, I was thoroughly miserable.
And then something happened.
One morning, I noticed slight bleeding when I went to the toilet. It’s the kind of thing that takes your breath away and floods you with panic, but I also knew it could be perfectly normal, so I tried not to worry too much. By lunchtime the bleeding was still going – and I was starting to get pain on my right side. I took two paracetamol and went to lie down to see if it would be better after some rest. It wasn’t. In fact, it was getting increasingly more painful. I hadn’t met my midwife yet, so I phoned my GP and was advised to go to my local EPU (early pregnancy unit) for an assessment.
“It’s the combination of the pain and the bleeding,” she told me. “Light bleeding on its own can be normal, but if it’s at all painful then you need to get checked out. A pregnancy of unknown location can be dangerous.”
Dangerous? I felt more than sick – I was absolutely petrified. What if there was something wrong with the baby? What if the pregnancy was ending? I could feel my veins awash with adrenaline.
By the time I climbed onto the couch at the EPU in my local hospital, I was shaking like a leaf. I’d had to come alone because my husband was at work too far away to get back in time. And I felt very alone.
The sonographer used an internal probe to do the examination because of the early stage of my pregnancy. It was a strange feeling but not painful. She asked me to point to where the pain was and then she spent a long time looking at the screen. Eventually, she moved it round to face me and said, “Look, can you see that tiny flickering thing? That’s your baby’s heart. He’s absolutely fine in there, he’s the right size for dates and we can see the heartbeat. We can’t always at this stage so you’re lucky.”
Oh my goodness! The relief! I gazed and gazed at this tiny thing that didn’t look recognisable in any shape or form and just felt incredible awe and relief. I drove home slowly, to give myself plenty of time to think. They hadn’t been able to give any reason why I might have been bleeding and they suggested that the pain could just be trapped wind. Oh, the shame!
But, from then on, I became absolutely fixed on one thing – never, ever would I complain about nausea, tiredness, hormones, lack of sleep and general pregnancy symptoms again. Seeing that little heartbeat flickering away had truly brought home to me what a precious cargo I was carrying.