The 3rd Trimester

As I type, I am currently 29 weeks pregnant and 1 day. I am marvelling at how quickly time has passed, even with days dragging by stuck at home due to lockdowns and restrictions.

We are almost finished with the nursery, a cot scheduled to be picked up (again, secondhand as we love to reuse and find bargains!) tomorrow, and only finishing touches like a rug, a blind and an ottoman box to store already gifted/bought/given toys and useful gadgets that have no home as of yet, to go.

The crib has been installed next to my side of the bed, a secondhand classic rocking cot, which doesn’t fit as nicely as I would have liked at my bedside due to the small space we have, but nevertheless will do it’s job perfectly well. We’ve even bought the cot and crib mattresses and covers, even going as far as to buy them ‘protectors’. Although, what good they will really do is yet to be seen.

I am feeling rather calm and looking forward to my labour and the birth, with an Obstetrician appointment for tomorrow during which I will ask what their protocol for caesarean is. I know I am more likely to be sent down this route due to my heart condition, which is fine by me, i’ve had my stay in ICU before and had many horrific things attached to/on/in me to worry about a surgery as ‘routine’ as caesarean. (Not to downplay the seriousness of it, it’s definitely a major surgery! Only one that many people have and the doctors are well-versed in.)

Are my chances of having a C-section 90/100 or more like 50/50 or less? Because if it’s pretty damn high I think I might just schedule it in now. What’s the point in getting my hopes up, not allowing them to prepare properly, and also turning it into a possible emergency c-section scenario when we could all just be prepared? What do you think?

Zzzzzzzz…

I’m feeling the tiredness tenfold now, needing what I call a ‘nap’ in the afternoons. I can’t actually nap, as falling asleep in daytime always leave me groggy and worse-for-wear overall, but I rest my eyes and my body and MY GOD do I love my new nursing chair. I spent half the afternoon in it today, wrapped in my maternity pillow and a blanket, legs atop the yoga ball for a footrest. It felt marvellous.

Apart from tiredness, my lung capacity seems very diminished, not least of all because of the bump, but also my normal lack of lung capacity from my heart condition/medication. This is something I will DEFINITELY be bringing upmost-recovery from the birth. I need to know – is it medication? Or my lungs damaged? Is there a fix? And, crucially, is there some kind of diagnosis I can carry around to prove this is the case? Because there may be some financial or health support available.

To conclude, I am now tired, legs and feet a little swollen, my health generally fine but could be better. However, I’m not so worse for wear that I am complaining. I am so grateful to be here. Not long to go.

A Family, It’s Official (Kinda)

If you’re anything like me, having a family was pretty high on my priority list, and part of that was having my name (or my partner’s name) changed so we all had the same surname.

I’m a little obsessed with names and surnames, from playing WoW and The Sims for years, searching name databases for inspiring and interesting names, to using Random Name Generator online just to fill the blank space in a character screen – it’s a LOVE of etymology (the origin of words).

Weirdly, I used to spend hours choosing names for characters in games, as if they mattered really in the grand scheme of things, but it always kept me entertained to see a decent name above my head in WoW instead of ‘bootlicker’ or ‘epiicpvpmasterr’ (including the misspellings, I EXTREMELY dislike that).

I always imagined I’d end up with a punk-ass, cool-as-frick surname like Ravenholme or Greenwood. Something edgy, hippy, or that sounded super posh because it was long and seemed pretty steeped in history or something. I wanted that.

Well, this didn’t happen, and I haven’t actually lost my surname as I assumed I would upon marriage, because J and I are not getting married! Instead we have now, officially changed our names legally to something slightly more… normal.

We are double-barrelled now which is super cool! And like I said in my previous post on name changes, I’m not disclosing it here, but I’m so pleased. It still sounds posh! 😉

Hilariously, this signing of the documentation to change our names happened on April 1st, or April Fool’s Day, and I thought it would be HILARIOUS to change my name that evening on Facebook, to a chorus of “Is this a joke lol” or “omg what” and then I can laugh to myself and leave them to wonder.

Annoyingly, Facebook did not generate a “share this” like it does with relationship changes or employment, so you can surreptitiously share without making your own announcement and seeming like you want attention (just me who thinks this?). So I didn’t get that minor joy.

I also anticipated that J would be a little reluctant to change his online so soon, because although I was elated and excited to do so ASAP, I thought he would be apprehensive of all the questions. Especially because his name change was returning to his birth surname, then combining, not simply tacking on my surname to his current one.

Thankfully, he was not like this at all, and only took a few hours later to change his. He made no announcement either, but when talking in group chats did get questioned by friends – I haven’t had a single one yet!

Maybe I thought men would find changing name harder? I certainly knew as a teenager I’d probably change my name (but also knew I had a choice in this of course) so it isn’t a weird or strange thing to happen to me. But for J I believed it may be a little anxiety-inducing when he has to explain not only that he took my name partly (which shouldn’t matter but sometimes people do seem to care, “Oooh, very feminist” – shut up!) but also why he hasn’t got the surname in it that he’s had for years.

I can see now it was a silly thing to assume, as he was sweetly calling me by our new name that night and grinning like he does.

We are so happy to call ourselves one, and so excited to begin our years as a family when the little on arrives. 🥰

Free STI/STD Test Kit

As an aspiring embryologist or fertility enthusiast (is that a phrase?) I am always on the lookout for great resources and information I can share on my blog related to sexual health and fertility. This is a personal space, but I’m hoping to also make it helpful to anyone who wants advice, guidance or simply Google’s the title of this and other posts.

FreeTest.me is a UK-based NHS served website which allows anyone to order, discreetly, and get sent a free STI kit, covering the basics of Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea which are the most prevalent, the website says, in this day of age. The test is done by swab and sent back via free post, with results either texted to you or sent in a letter.

This website can also direct you to an HIV kit at Test.HIV and a 4-in-1 kit for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea,  HIV and Syphilis all together at GUM. This and the HIV test kit includes a swab for the first two, and a blood sample for the second two. It explains in detail how to do this, and don’t worry it’s not a long horrid needle! More like a finger jab with a specialised piece of equipment to do this, like when if you’ve seen a diabetic check their blood sugar, nothing to be scared of, and completely optional if you don’t want to after you’ve got the kit.

And like the simple swab kit, the 4-in-1 is absolutely free, discreet and returned by free post with a simple text or letter for results.

I’ve included this really cool and useful resource up in my ‘Resources’ menu, for you or anyone to find in future. It’s really the best way if you’re worried, don’t want to go to a doctor just yet, or are simply afraid of the results/anyone finding out you’ve been and got tested – not that I think anyone should be anxious of this, but we all know it can feel awkward!

Yes, I have used it myself, a couple of times in the past. Everything has been fast, reliable and completely anxiety-free. I did the first time when a teenager living at home with my parents, and my God was I anxious not to let anyone see! But it was worth it to reassure me everything was fine (even if this knowledge is a bit TMI to any of my friends in real life 😂). The second was at University when I think everyone gets a little antsy about this kind of thing.

You’ll feel less anxious once you’ve done it and got results though, trust me!

Going Flexitarian from Vegetarian

“I want to change from vegetarian to flexitarian, how do I do this? I want to eat meat again, what should I do? Am I a bad person for quitting being vegetarian? Should I stop being vegetarian? What exactly is a flexitarian? Is it right for me and my family?”


Flexitarian, semi-vegetarian or flexible vegetarian are terms to describe someone who eats a mainly vegetarian diet and occasionally eats meat or fish. How occasionally is up for debate.

I have been vegetarian (except for a few mistakes, I don’t beat myself up for them!) for almost 5 years now. I am currently pregnant with my first child. These two things are making me question my vegetarianism. No, not because I dislike my diet or am unhealthy, but because I know I don’t want to push my diet onto my children.

I try to be eco-friendly, I am an animal lover, but I am also a biologist and can understand the frustration many vegetarians and vegans feel when we are lumped into a category of ‘extreme’ views. Not all of us believe this diet is the only diet we should have, nor do we think it will cure cancer (seriously, wtf) and we certainly won’t push our own choices onto other people. We simply choose this diet for whatever reasons we have, be it health-related, eco-friendliness, animal welfare, or a combination of every reason to be veggie.

Since getting pregnant, I’ve realised I don’t want my child to be a vegetarian with me. I have no qualms with anyone bringing up and veggie child, as long as their health is monitored for any missing vitamins etc, but I myself don’t want to deprive them of the choice. I am also aware they may get ill if they try meat when they’ve never had it before in their lives! I don’t want an ill child, or one who will resent me for any reason. My partner is not veggie (but was once), he is already flexitarian because we eat veggie main meals and he has the occasional bacon sandwich for lunch or burger when we eat out (rarely!).


The Flexitarian is a great website for discovering what a flexitarian is, and what you can do to be more veggie or even the opposite – to find optimum health, eco-friendliness and happiness away from a strict vegetarian or vegan diet!


As a biologist-in-training, I know we humans are omnivores. We wouldn’t have developed such big brains without what we gained from hunting, and we have the teeth and digestive system to deal with meat. Now that we have choices about what we eat, due to science, farming and ingenious methods of cooking delicious different foods, we can make the decision to be vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, flexitarian or any of the other specialised diets around, without sacrificing our health (with good planning). This is great!

However, I want to bring my child up flexitarian so they have a choice, and I have debated with myself as to whether I should go this way too. Why not? I find myself hesitating at the line, not wanting yet to denounce my veggie-ness, because people don’t tend to see the grey in this.

Do you eat meat? Yes – then you’re not veggie, not eco-friendly, and don’t care about animals. There is no “yes, but-” in the answer. Some people cannot see anything other than the black and white yes or no. But I can.

I am determined to do well for my kids and my partner, I want to be conscious of the food I eat and maintain a veggie diet for most of my weeks, but some people still don’t see this as any different to the ‘carnivore horrors’ of those who care not for animals or the environment.

I am not one of them. I am probably going flexitarian in the next few weeks. Will it change how you perceive me? Maybe. But it shouldn’t.

What do you think about this idea? Is flexitarian something you’d do? Am I right to think this way? I’d love to hear what you think. I’m still mulling over it all in my head.

Thank you for reading.

Pregnant Driving Lessons

Thank the NHS for their diligence, determination and utter selflessness for allowing this all to become possible.

Yes, by 12 April 2021 not only can the world of Wales begin to rapidly reopen for tourism, shopping, hairdressing and me finally seeing my parents while pregnant (seriously, they haven’t seen me once while I’ve been pregnant), I can also take my car driving test!

I’ve been on the books up at the North coast of Wales for a short course (about a week, give or take) ending in a driving test for months. Due to COVID this hasn’t been able to take place, but since the recent updates from our government, my future instructor has contacted me.

As a second trimester pregnant woman I had to inform him of the situation and am eagerly awaiting news of when, where and how I can pursue this driving test. I’m assuming sadly that once I get around 37 weeks of pregnancy they will not allow me to get lessons or tests with them, since it may be a risk of me going into labour while driving!

I am secretly hoping I can fit in the assessment, which they assess how good I am now and let me knowhow many hours they think I will need, and the week long course with final test before I become a Mum, and sit in that driving test with belly on full display. I’ve had a friend tell me they were very pregnant when they took theirs and she thinks they pitied her for it and gave her a fairer chance.

Maybe they feared the wrath of a heavily pregnant woman baring down when she needed to pass for her baby’s sake!? Imagine the carnage she could get away with by just saying ‘pregnancy hormones did it’ after being failed?


Taking a driving test was once my worst fear.

I never, ever imagined I could sit in a driving seat again and try for the fifth time to pass.


Four times I have failed this driving test, down South East England at the age of 17 before I went off to University.

I have never cried so much in my life except each time I failed my driving test. I’m not even kidding when I tell you it triggered my anxiety and put me on anti-anxiety medication Fluoxetine for a good almost 10 years. I couldn’t even talk about taking a driving test without the beginnings of tears in my eyes.

I’m in a better place now, thank goodness. Surrounded by positivity and happiness for the future, so I hope even if anxiety takes hold during that test, I fail, or I pass but feel way too anxious to drive often, I can find my way out of that horrible depressive hole that is anxiety.

I have been told, although it may be a myth, that many instructors are given a limit to how many people they can pass in a day/week. This myth is always circulated and I’m not sure I believe it because, well how could they fail someone who does it all right? How could anyone give fake failures out? It doesn’t make sense in my mind.

But if this was the case, surely a heavily pregnant woman, needing this for her baby because she can’t drive right now and it’s pretty vital, have a really good chance of being passed? Because who wouldn’t feel like she needs this more than anyone right now? This is what I am hoping for, selfishly!

Let my pregnancy be my lucky charm in the struggle for driving tests!

WARNING: PREGNANT WOMAN DRIVING

Changing Your Name (UK)

J and I have decided that since he is not keen on the idea of marriage (family and friend experiences being the reason I believe), we are going to officially and via deed poll change our surnames to match.

I am SO excited by this. I think many young women do imagine they will gain a different surname on marriage simply through traditions, but I never realised how much I wanted to share a surname until J had a very different idea about it all. Since I am now 23 weeks (and a bit!) pregnant, I have contacted a solicitor to go over the practicalities, the difference between an enrolled and an unenrolled deed poll name change, and crucially, the costs.

Because changing your name by deed poll (or otherwise, I’ll explain more!) is actually kind of confusing here in the UK, what with the three main ways to do so, and the puzzling reasons for doing any of them, I’ve decided to do a breakdown here of them so if anyone else is looking for info on Ways to Legally Change Name in the UK, this part is for you.

Three Ways to Legally Change Your Name in the UK

Just Change It

Legally, you don’t need to create a deed poll or declare anything to anyone to start using a new name. As long as you aren’t using it to defraud anyone, this is fine! Go ahead, change Facebook right now.

Pros ✅
  • You can do it yourself, no document or legal anything required.
  • Super quick and easy!
  • Totally legit and legal to do this.
Cons ❌
  • No legal backing
  • All your legal and official documents must still have your ‘old’ name, as it is legally still your name.
  • People can refuse to refer to you as your new name, although RUDE.

Unenrolled Deed Poll

Unenrolled means it isn’t on public record that you’ve changed names, i.e. birth certificate or NI. But you can use a document which is kinda official to notify companies and start using the new name.

Pros ✅
  • Can be done yourself, using a template for a name change online, but best done through a solicitor or else some companies may question you.
  • Cheaper than the enrolled deed poll.
Cons ❌
  • Some official things need a solicitor to ‘sign off’ your name change deed in order to accept this.
  • When applying for things, you may have to supply your original name documentation.

Enrolled Deed Poll

Enrolling in the High Courts and publicising in the London Gazette means you legally ‘disown’ your old name (except in circumstances where places may ask if you’ve been named something else previously).

Pros ✅
  • Everyone accepts the new name and has to use it.
  • You have plenty of documentation to prove and show this is now your only name.
Cons ❌
  • You have to inform everyone of the name change. Except I suppose… mailing lists on shop websites or anything non-legal.
  • Get ready to photocopy and send out lots of letters informing everyone!

I am not going to reveal my new or old name here, but it’s safe enough to tell you we have decided to double barrel ours.

J had a different birth surname due to being ‘adopted’ by his stepfather when he was around 5 years old due to his Mum’s marriage, and wants to return to his original name. This original surname we will combine with mine, so I get to keep my name too!

I am simply overwhelmed by how excited and happy this makes me. We can share a surname, thereby claiming each other as family, and have a child with the same surname as us both. This is all I asked for.

[Is it just me or do double-barrelled surnames still feel slightly grander?]

We decided to change our name via an unenrolled deed poll, not at the High Courts or publicised in the London Gazette, because this is what the solicitor recommended. Because this process involves paperwork and crucially getting things accurate, we decided to call a local solicitor and get their help to make it official.

The costs were under £200.00 for both of us, including the solicitor’s fee of course, and this official change will be complete as soon as the paperwork is signed!

Now I just have to get my list of companies to contact ready… ugh.

Palpitations in Pregnancy

Heart palpitations, online searches tell me, are common to a lot of people who suffer anxiety and other mental health issues, and apparently pregnant women too.

Unfortunately, I am one of many women with a heart condition, Focal Ventricular Fibrillation, specifically. Which translates to a potential ‘wobble’ of the heart instead of beating properly, when the Foci (which makes the heart beat) beats out of sync and knocks the heart out of the rhythm it cannot get back to.

This is the reason I fell seriously ill at 25 years old, and had a cardiac arrest.

So, these heart palpitations then, are extremely concerning for someone like me. I live in a perpetual state of “I’ll be fine, I have an S-ICD which will defibrillate if need be” and “Oh my god, what if I get defibrillated and it doesn’t work to get me back into sync and nobody is here to help me?” anyway. Adding to this normal feeling I have felt a few palpitations over the last week, so I contacted my GP.

This morning the delightful Zio Patch, which I ‘reviewed’ last year has been sent through the post from my cardiologist at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, so my concerns were seen as valid after all! If something feels odd ask about it. I cannot stress this enough. I had one close call and survived but my God was it close, let’s not risk it anymore.

I’ll be wearing my Zip Patch for two weeks and then will send it back to the hospital to check the readings. Any responses from it I will of course write about.

But my real reason for writing this post is to say to anyone Googling out of worry about palpitations, weird feelings or flutterings especially around your heart DO NOT HESITATE to contact your midwife, GP or anyone in the healthcare environment just to let them know.

It probably is only pregnancy symptoms, but please, please do not rely on Google to quell your anxiety if you know your body and feel not quite right.

Better safe than sorry.

One Year

In an effort to apologise but also seem like I totally have a lot going on in my life, and I meant to miss the date, I have decided to backdate this post to the actual date of my one year blog anniversary.

As determined by my first published post on tis blog, anyway.

The actual date f creation I forgot, along with the first few posts which I may have deleted when all changed and I decided to ‘openly’ blog using my first name.

Anyway, happy blog anniversary to me and Sharnie.co.uk! 🎉

No Gender Reveals Here

Instead of plugging my own content by making an exciting ‘the gender is…’ title, I’ve decided I can’t help being a bit more honest.

Yes, we found out the gender of our almost 21 week gestational age baby!

But no, we won’t be disclosing that here or anywhere else to anyone (if we can help it!).

The featured image here is our very own little one, hands beautifully held above its face (sucking thumb, perhaps?) captured wonderfully by a fantastic sonographer. Top tip: It really does help to say what you want when you meet the staff doing these things before you start, we asked for a better photo than last time and were keen to listen and learn what she was looking at and checking, which is exactly what we got!

I wish we knew her name because she was fantastic, I love the NHS here in Wales for these fabulous people who so clearly love their job.

Anyway, there was nothing to report in terms of baby blues – everything for them looks perfectly normal, even the growth rate which, if anyone reading this has been a reader before, can be a side effect of being on bisoprolol.

Cartoon depiction of fibroids in the womb.

There was, however, noticed a fibroid at the front of my uterus, just above where the placenta is attached but not in the way of it. This would not have been diagnosed, the sonographer said, were it not for the pregnancy scan where she just happened to see it. It wouldn’t be a problem as baby looks happy and healthy, it wasn’t in the way, and it was pretty small.

Not knowing much about fibroids, endometriosis and PCOS sprung to mind although I know they weren’t to blame, I went on the NHS website to find out anything I could. See that here.

The NHS describes them as ‘non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb (uterus)‘, it also reassured me that 1 in 3 women get fibroids, and of those who do, only 1 in 3 get symptoms. I haven’t. They have been linked to the hormone oestrogen, your risk decreases of getting them the more children you have, and they do not need to be treated if you have no symptoms.

They can however effect fertility or even cause infertility in severe ‘rare‘ circumstances, when there are ‘further complications caused by fibroids‘, so it isn’t all as simple as it sounds for everyone!

I am not particularly worried, having used my instagram page to ask the questions about fibroids and wether I should be concerned to other, real women. I find hearing their stories far more reassuring. Nobody felt I needed to be worried, and indeed many women had had them and been perfectly fine.

Symptoms of my pregnancy at the moment:

  • Teenage Acne – whether due to hormones because of pregnancy or just because I’m no longer on the pill! Nothing I can’t handle but a little annoying…
  • Bloating – I don’t know if I am actually bloated or if this is just the feeling of carrying a baby around. Only 20-ish more weeks to go!
  • Cervical Mucus – TMI but it just won’t. stop. flowing.
  • Clexane injections continue daily – bruises and dots across my tummy forevermore.

So there’s my update and great news! No gender reveal parties and no special pink/blue themed anything for us. Only a lovely baby at the end of it all. Thank you so much for reading x

OMG! OMV! No.

One of my favourite YouTubers – partly because of my ambition to work in assisted reproduction, and everything health-related to the female body and reproduction, and partly because I’m a woman who wants to know about these things for myself – is Mama Doctor Jones.

US-based obstetrician and gynaecologist (OBGyn), she does videos from all things vagina health all the way to hilarious and informative commentating on the hit show I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, but from a doctors point of view. This week herself and her colleagues have been having a ‘chatter’ about an unfortunate ad campaign targeting teen girls about their vulva, vagina and the creams/sprays/potions/smells they apparently ‘need’ to glow up.

I can’t describe the frustration when people use douches, or special fragrances for their vulva or (horror!) up in their vaginas. It’s not necessary! You’re not dirty! It cleans itself! Why? Why! Why target people who may already be worried about bodily functions and new feelings of ickiness, like teens?

But I can’t explain why this is so wrong as well as she can, so here I’m going to share her video with you all illustrating the point that these campaigns are slightly frustrating to say the least.

(And if you’re hoo-hah smells strongly, see a doctor, it’s that simple).

See? I told you it was bad and so worth a watch.