In April of last year, I undertook my 13 week training course for the police, it involved living away from home Monday-Friday, under a regimented timetable and the pressure of bi-weekly exams and various fitness tests throughout. It was a culture shock to say the least; I'd waited the month prior for my start date, so the most significant accomplishment of my days was completing more than 6 episodes of one series in a single sitting, now, I was expected to eat, sleep, and learn on the clock. It wasn't particularly difficult, but everything was regimented and the days were long, and before long I was absolutely exhausted. While the other trainees spent the nights in the pub, or having any sort of a social life, I often found myself asleep by 9pm. This wasn't anything groundbreaking, my days started at 5am, so I went to bed early - falling asleep during lectures was just a minor inconvenience. I lived on caffeine, and with every 10 minute break we had morning and afternoon, I'd throw back coffee like no tomorrow, and I'd permanently have a bottle of ice cold water on my desk. It kept me awake, and whenever my eyes felt heavy, concentrating on drinking gave me a focus point. This extra liquid meant I was peeing 24/7 - quite literally, 24/7. It was a Catch 22, but ultimately unavoidable.
On top of the lectures and our exams, we were expected to stay fit throughout - we'd passed initial fitness tests to get our jobs, and none were secure unless we passed the series of tests throughout. They were easy though. I was fit. I'd trained in the gym five days a week or so for years, I liked weights, and although I hated running, completing 2 miles in the given time limit was a walk in the park. I started off strong, but despite continuing to exercise daily on top of the additional sessions we were given, my fitness wasn't improving. It wasn't getting worse, but I was tired, I wasn't moving anywhere very quickly. In the first 6 weeks or so, I'd gone from 39 press ups in a minute to 42. I wasn't getting significantly better, stronger or faster, and that was frustrating. I was slightly obsessive over weighing myself, and daily weigh-ins confirmed what I already knew deep down. The food at Police College was shit. I wasn't gaining weight, but I wasn't losing it, despite trying to. I was exercising, I was only given three meals a day as it was, I wasn't losing any weight because what they were giving me wasn't good enough - there was little veg, no protein, and a lot of bread. I wasn't losing weight, because of the bread. I had also been using birth control for years prior to this, I'd always been on the pill, so it was never a question of whether or not I could be pregnant. I'd gotten a few periods here and there, all light, nothing substantial - but that was not a surprise. My periods had never been regular, the reality was that I was lucky if I got it for two months in a row consistently. No one, not even me, questioned the possibility of a pregnancy, because there just wasn't one.
It all came to a head in June. I'd booked a holiday with my boyfriend, and being like every other girl in the world, I had grand plans for stepping on to the beach looking like I'd walked straight off of Women's Fitness' magazine. I wanted to look good and feel confident, so started hitting the gym twice a day - once at 5am before the work day started, once at 7pm once we got off. My weight fluctuated, but after two weeks of eating nothing but eggs, chicken and rice, I gained a pound, and my stress levels were off the charts. It sounds odd, being stressed over weight gain - but I'm a very strategic person, and if I want to lose weight, I'll do it, so putting the calculated effort I had in and seeing no results was frustrating. I was stressed as it was, and this made it worse. I was tired, stressed at the prospect of exams as an adult, and now I wasn't losing weight, so it's safe to say I was temperamental, over emotional and fairly highly strung.
After 11 Weeks of training, something changed. It was a Wednesday, midday, we had practical exercises in full uniform, and my trousers were extremely tight. My weight was the same, but my stomach was bloated, I remember staring at myself in the public toilet and wondering what the hell was wrong with me. I didn't look particularly large, but my stomach felt solid, slightly rounder, and solid. We had a fitness session later that day, and I remember complaining about this growth in my stomach - I had someone else feel it, completely convinced I had appendicitis, or kidney stones, or any other medical abnormality that can occur in your abdomen. I needed to go to a doctor - I was sick, I had to be. Needless to say, I didn't go to the doctor. I phoned my partner, who has his own condition which affects his abdomen, claiming he'd passed it onto me, still, even at this point I was not pregnant. I was sick. Whilst I was at the college, my nights were short, my days were long but packed. I didn't have time to obsess over it, at least I didn't, until the Friday. Which brings me to my lecture, sitting in the corner, with my swollen stomach and my shifting organs. Later that day, I left for my weekend at home - terrified at what was to come, but completely not ready for what it was to be. I can honestly say until this point I hadn't even thought of a pregnancy, it did not cross my mind, but after leaving my bags at the door, I shouted to no-one in particular that I had to see the doctor, something was going on with my stomach. It was my mum that came first, and without even a seconds thought, she asked me if I could be pregnant.
"No. There's no way."
And then I cried.
Something clicked in that moment, and I never even had to do the test to know that this was the only explanation. I done a trusty old Clear Blue, which told me I was 3 weeks+. which was scary enough. Little did I know, I had conceived 26 weeks earlier - I was over 6 months pregnant, with the first two trimesters gone in the wind. I was pregnant, very very pregnant. I had booked a doctors appointment looking for confirmation, but she didn't even so much as take a urine sample, she felt my stomach once and dated me at over 25 weeks. At least 25 weeks.