Tag: Pregnancy

Gestational Diabetes: The Lowdown

 

Diabetes, no one plans to develop diabetes, especially not mums to be. In fact it probably wouldnt even cross most womens mind when they have just found out they are pregnant. However, Gestational Diabetes (GD) will affect around 5% of UK pregnancies. Once diagnosed there are so many misconceptions within society, these women end up feeling guilty. Thinking somehow, they have caused it to themselves. Support from the NHS OK, but hindered by offering advice based upon Type 2 Diabetes (a low fat diet due to the link with obesity). GD, however is hormone driven. Most women will struggle to follow type 2 dietary advice, due to the fluctuations of their hormone levels during pregnancy.

Hopefully this post will give you a brief overview of the condition, how you can help yourself manage GD and quash a few misconceptions associated with it.

gestatational diabetes

What is Gestational Diabetes?

GD is defined as Diabetes that develops or is first diagnosed during pregnancy. Also known as ‘Carbohydrate intolerance’ (sugars also come from carbohydrates) . In general, Diabetes is the result of too much sugar in the blood . Blood Sugar levels (BSL) are controlled by a hormone called Insulin. We eat and digest our food. Some of which will be broken down into glucose (a type of sugar). Glucose is transfered into the bloodstream. In response, the pancreas produces insulin to help our cells absorb the glucose to use as energy. As this happens BSLs lower.

Pregnancy hormones cause our cells to respond less efficiently to insulin ( this is insulin resistance) and  BSL can remain elevated. To some extent, this happens to all pregnant women and this is totally normal. This response would allow for a fetus to survive under famine conditions. In response to elevated BSL More insulin is produced and BSL should drop. However, in some women their cells become more and more resistant to insulin. Therefore, their cells can’t absorb the glucose efficiently. When the pancreas has produced as much insulin as it can and cells continue to struggle, BSL continue to remain high,  and this is GD.

Can anyone develop Gestational Diabetes?

YES!! Do not think just because you are young, fit, and/or healthy that you are not at risk. Many young women with a healthy BMI who eat a healthy nutritious balanced diet and exercise regually end up being diagnosed with GD. GD does not discriminate! Having said that, some factors can put you at a slightly increased risk:

  • A BMI of 30 or more
  • A family history of diabeties
  • PCOS
  • A previous diagnosis of GD
  • A previous pregnancy with a large baby (10lb+)
  • Are of South Asian, Black African of middle Eastern descent

 

What are the risks of Gestational Diabetes?

If your BSL are well controlled (with diet or medication) then you can greatly reduce any complications associated with GD. Most women  will go onto have a normal healthy pregnancy and baby. Most complications are rare, but some can be serious:

  • Macrosomia – A large baby for gestational age and can lead onto Shoulder Dystocia (below)
  • Shoulder Dystocia – Babies head passes through the vagina but the shoulders get stuck behind the pelvis
  • Premature Birth
  • Hypoglycaemia after delivery – Low Blood Sugar
  • Newborn Jaundice
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Placenta insufficiency – Early aging of the placenta
  • Polyhydramnios – Excessive Amniotic Fluid
  • IUGR – Intrauterine growth restriction, babies growth is slow or ceases
  • Pre – Eclampsia

After delivery, your babies BSL will be tested a number of times. Therefore expect to stay in hospital for at least 24hrs after birth.

gestational diabetes hypoclycemia

How is Gestational Diabeties Diagnosed?

At your booking in appointment, if the midwife feels there are any risk factors for developing GD (for me it was maternal line Type 2) you will be booked in for a Glucose Tolerance test (GTT) at 28 weeks. If you have had GD you will automatically be tested for GD before 28 weeks. You will be required to fast for around 12 hours (overnight), a fasting blood sample is then taken. You are then given a syrup glucose soloution to drink. 2 hours later another blood test will be taken. To pass the test (and remain non GD) your fasting BSL must be under 5.3Mol and your 2 hour test under 7.7mol (this may vary slightly by region).

One thing to remember is that GD is progressive and insulin resistance increases the further into pregnancy you get. If you pass the 28 week test, you could still go onto develop GD at any point later. If you think this is the case you must talk with your midwife. My SIL passed her 28 week GTT, but at a rotuine growth scan at 32 weeks showed her babies belly was in the 99th centile, and being really thirsty and a family history of diabetes she requested another GTT. This one she failed.

 

How is Gestational Diabeties Controlled?

Once diagnosed you will be issued with a BSL monitor, lancet and testing strips. This will enable you to monitor your BSL throughout the day. How many times and when you test will be dependant on your hospitl trust. For me in the South East, I had to test my sugars 7 times a day. On waking (before food), 1hr post breakfast, Before Lunch, 1hr post lunch, before tea,1 hr post tea and then again before bed. You will be given target BSL, these again depend on your trust. For East Sussex my BSL should of been <5.3mol before food and <7.8mol 1hr after food.

gestatational diabetes bls kit

Depending on your diagnosis results, you will likely be asked to try to stablise your BSL initially through diet and exercise. This should involve cutting out refined sugars and limiting your intakes of natural sugars i.e fruit and limiting your carbohydrate portions. You should also cut back on white breads, white pastas, potatoes and breakfast cereals. Swapping for Seeded granary breads, whole wheat pastas and sweet potatoes. Unfortunatley most GD women can not tolerate any form of breakfast cereal and is one of the hardest changes to make . Snacks are great between meals to help stabilise BSL but they must be GD friendly. Ideal snacks would be nuts or oat cakes with cheese. You can have some treats such as No added suagr Jelly and No Added sugar Angel delight, but these are best eatern with a helping or cream!

The more exercise the better, however if you can’t do much even a 20 minute stroll after dinner can help reduce BSL.

After diagnosis, if your BSL were very high you may be put straight onto medication, usually though medication is prescribed if diet and exercise alone are not keeping you below your target BSL. This is quite common with most women, especially as GD gets progressively worse (although some women can remain diet controlled until the end!). Metformin is a tablet prescribed and is often trialled first in various doses. If your BSL still remain unstable than you may be prescribed insulin or a combination of Metformin and Insulin.

Controlled BSL, greatly reduces the risk of any of the complications associated with GD.

 

….So what does Gestational Diabetes mean?

It means you have not given yourself GD, GD just happens sometimes. They myth that you can control it is just that,  a myth. You can help manage GD by monitoring and watching your diet. You can help manage GD by doing exercise, but you can not control GD. You can not control how your cells react to the pregnancy hormones. GD does not mean you will definatley have a big baby, it does not mean you will have to have a cesarean, it does not mean you can’t have a VBAC or that your baby will need to go straight into special care.

If you have tried to stabilise your GD with diet and exercise but you still need medicine, be kind to yourself, sometimes there’s nothing you can do. Accept you just need some extra help, don’t beat yourself up. You still have options and most women with GD will go onto to have a calm relaxed birth and a healthy baby.

For GREAT advice and furthur infomation please visit Gestational Diabetes UK.

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Welcome to the World…..

.Welcome to the World

 

My last Pregnancy update was way back in November when I was 22 weeks pregnant. I didnt write anymore after this as my anxiety took hold and I took a break from my blog. After what felt like the quickest pregnancy known to humanity, I would like to welcome our newest addition to the world (better late than never), Emmeline Isabelle.

Emmeline arrived on the 06th March, one day past her due date via induction due to Gestational Diabeties. She weighed in at 8lb 1oz after a rather quick labour. I will update with her birth story later, but it was an amazing experience led by an amazing midwife. We had decided not to find out her gender and it was such a wonderful suprise as they held her up to discover we had a little girl. Although a boy would have been just as precious, I had really hoped for a little girl. To be honest, I was so convinced I was carrying another boy that even now I don’t think it has sunk in and I have to keep checking!

The First Month

Emmeline slotted into our family perfectly. Finlay adores his little sister even though he was desperate for a brother. He is always ready to help change her and comfort her when she cries, it really is very sweet to watch. So far there is no hint of jealousy. I am  not that naievethough that I don’t expect it to happen at some point.

Chris gets fours weeks paternity leave fully paid!

The first couple of weeks were quite tough, but when isn’t it with a newborn. I was breastfeeding and recovering from a 2nd degree tear which was extremely uncomfortable. However, we have been immensley lucky, Chris gets fours weeks paternity leave fully paid, a new policy brought in this year.

A few days after coming home, Emmeline was not gaining weight as she should have been, in fact she had lost 10 – 11% of her birth weight and droped to below 7lb. Although it was not enough to be re-admitted, she would be monitored daily. In addition to weight loss, she decided after passing her meconium she was too much of a lady to go to number two. Her weight flucutated between small gains and small losses and remained relatively static.

 

Welcome to the World - Month 1

The midwives all agreed the problem was a milk supply issue, although I was producing enough to sustain her after her initial loss, I wasnt producing enough for her to grow again and flourish.

In herself she was fine, alert, hydrated and generally quite happy. I was put on a plan of 2 hourly feeds, expressing then feeding. It was hoped that this would increase my supply and she would begin gaining and goin to the toilet. I also saw the Breastfeeding specialist who really helped show me how to get Emmeline to Latch correctly. After 15/16 days it finally worked and her weight began to increase and finally after 9 days of no poo – we had the biggest explosion I have ever seen!

Character wise, Emmeline could not be any different to Fin. She is so content and happy, its unbeliavble. Now, I’m not saying she doesnt cry but its short lived and less ear piercing. She is just generally a very relaxed baby at the moment. She does however need more cuddles than Fin did, like all day but I can’t complain about that. Unfortunatley this mean she will not sleep in her moses basket….AT ALL, so we have had to take up co-sleeping. Although not my ideal choice, I  followed all the guidance to minimise any risk to get some much needed rest.

This month we also began to see some early smiles at around week 3. They definatley were not wind induced smiles. They happened when she was being interacted with and she would look you right in the eyes and smile. Big Nanny, Aunty and I were all blessed to recieve these early smiles. She is very alert and very strong. She has good muscle conrol in her neck, already lifting her head up and having a nose when ever she gets an oppotunity.

There’s not really more to add, the first few weeks are all about feeding, sleeping and growing. I still can’t belive we have a little girl,  – Welcome to the world my darling, Emmeline Isabelle.

Bump Watch: Tiny Tuppen #2 Week 22

week 22

Another week has flown by, I feel I am beginning to feel like a broken record, somehow I have got to week 22 already. For those that have been following my bump watch, No I haven’t made any further progress getting organised, hey I have about 18 weeks! That’s looking back to say July, that’s aaaaaaages right? Oh Crumbs maybe not! Actually, I bought a packet of newborn nappies this week, there, progress, I’m getting there slowly! Anyway, there are far more pressing things to think about, Halloween is now over which can only mean one thing, Christmas planning!

Week 22

I think my hormones have been really messing me this week, I have been a little bit of an emotional wreck.  Getting upset over a few things like my cats health. To be honest, I will probably be upset whether pregnant or not, but I have gone from happy to crying in seconds, which must be my hormones. However, crying over accidently crushing a snail is definitely the pregnancy hormones (I’m a softie)!

I feel that the hormones are also playing havoc with my anxiety. I have felt quite good the last few weeks and have pushed myself to get out and do a few things with Fin, which I just avoided in the Summer. However, I have found myself worrying more and more about the birth and what could go wrong. My anxieties, as do most peoples tend to go from something benign like eating an apple, to how that apple then ends up killing you. Ok that sounds dramatic, but anxiety is a horrible horrible thing.

So this week me thinking about the upcoming birth and a nice pleasant VBAC has on a few occasions left me sobbing thinking I will need to have a C-section and then bleed to death. It’s irrational and I try hard to remind myself that. I’m quite lucky that I can pull myself out of it quite quickly, but it’s just silly and annoying.

Also, I had my Eye check up this week and I suddenly felt quite anxious, I find myself looking for the door for an exit, not that I would ever just run out. That would be too embarrassing! However, as I sat there I suddenly thought to myself Do I smell of Poo? I have no idea why this thought entered my head, I don’t think I have ever smelt of poo. Not even when I had a pooey newborn. Also having showered an hour before, it was doubtful I would smell of anything. There was no poo I recall on my walk from the car, Why little head would you plant that seed? Well, it had been planted and I spent the next 45 minutes hoping I didn’t smell of poo, embarrassed and uncomfortable!! I definitely blame the hormones, My eyesight has also got worse! Boooo!

I have begun to feel lots of kicking this week which is really nice and reassuring. Mostly down the right side of my tummy which makes sense as that is where the baby was sitting during the scan. I have tried a few exercises to encourage baby to move from the breech position. This involves me elevating my pelvis higher than tummy for 30 seconds at a time. I found the easiest way for me to do this is to lie on the floor and lean my legs and hips up the wall. I did try the one leaning off the sofa/bed but that made the blood rush to my head and I don’t like that.

Hopefully, this will be enough encouragement to boot its bum out my pelvis! Its early days those so I’m not too concerned right now. If in a few weeks it’s still breech I may have to spend the next weeks walking on my hands!

There doesn’t seem to be any pattern at the moment to the movement, I guess the placenta is cushioning a lot of the movement still. There’s been the odd moment when I have had a good wallop, especially in my bladder, so baby is definitely getting stronger. I look forward to getting to know a more regular pattern in the coming weeks so I can keep a better watch on the babies health.

I have quite a few restless nights this week. Not that I can’t sleep, I feel I could sleep for the world right now. It’s more relating to getting comfy. I wouldn’t say the bump is huge right now, but I feel it has really got in the way sleeping. I leant on it too hard the other night and woke myself up. It must have pulled on a round ligament. So as a result of disturbed sleep, this week I have been really sleepy too!

You can read about Week 21 here in my previous instalment, but otherwise join me next week for week 23!

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Bump Watch – Tiny Tuppen #2 Week 21

Bump Watch week 21

Blink and you miss it so they say, well here’s to week 21 and it certainly feels like I almost missed it! I can’t believe there’s only 19 weeks to go. I realised I am actually heading into my 6 month of pregnancy….what?!? I’m beginning to panic, I basically have everything somewhere from Finlay, but I am not feeling prepared! I still don’t feel like I have my head around this pregnancy. Perhaps that is completely normal for the second one?  I shall just keep telling myself that, that will make me feel better, maybe I will write a to do list…..maybe…if I get round to it!

Week 21

This week I say a fond au revoir to my belly button. It was nice knowing you. I admire how you faithfully returned last time a little worse for wear. If you return again, you may have to give me the heads up as I don’t think I will recognise you. You will be missed and I will reminisce those days when we would go out partying, showing off to the world. Thank you for being such a stunning belly button. p.s sorry, I keep hitting you on things, I am not used to you being the furthest point of my tummy!

This week I think my hormones are reeking havoc with me. I feel my moods are swinging constantly. Especially relating to my positivity. I had a little blip last week and really started to panic about having a successful VBAC. I think a combination of hormones and finding out the baby was sitting breech at the 20 week scan put me into panic mode. However, some lovely reassuring comments on a few of my post have put my mind at ease. I’m going to take a list of things I want to discuss about it at my 24 week midwife appointment. Hopefully, I can get some answers to everything that’s a bit unknown still.

I think the hormones are also messing a little with my Blood Pressure. I had a few funny feelings this week. Nothing bad, but just weird. I remember getting light headed on occasions with Finlay the first time around and it was just down to random drops in BP. I have also been experiencing some funny feelings in my tummy, tightening combined with what I can only describe as going over a hump back bridge in a car, just less intense. I’m guessing this is probably the baby pushing on something of flipping about. If it carries on then I might mention it to be on safe side.

The baby has been moving about quite a bit this week. Although I wouldn’t say I feel regular movements yet due to the anterior placenta, It definitely has a good jiggle a few times a day. In fact, the other day in bed when it was happening I lifted my top. I was just in time to see the teeniest movement on my tummy!

This week I have really begun to notice Chloasma, on my face. This developed with Finlay also, luckily only really by my left eye. It does look just like my freckles, but they tend to fade in the winter where as this gets more pronounced. I have begun to use my bio oil on it, hopefully, it won’t get too bad. The good news is if it does it will disappear at some point after the birth anyway.

I have been looking into Doulas quite a bit recently. Most probably due to  all my overthinking, I was looking for ways to find reassurance. I would really love to hire a doula for the birth. Just to have somewhere there to support me and help make my wishes heard. I just think it’s going to be impossible financially, though. We only just make ends meet each month, so unless I come into some pennies, I don’t think it will happen. It makes me quite sad as I have heard such wonderful things about doulas, from friends and reading blogs. I really think it would be so good for me, I’m still holding out some hope!

So Finally, back to the raging hormones – I have been having weird dreams about Vampire Weekend (The Band)!

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VBAC: The Impossible Dream?

vbac

From the moment I decided another baby was on the cards, I always knew VBAC would be my first choice. I had done some research, I wanted to educate myself so I could make informed choices about my birth. I was pretty sure that I would be a good candidate for VBAC. Finlay was an undiagnosed breech. There was no other complication with the labour. So as long as baby number 2 was not breech, a VBAC was entirely plausible. Although I know this is often not the case with those having previous sections having limited choices. With many women having to fight for Vaginal births.

I had a lot of anxieties as a result of Finlay’s birth, Things were missed and I ended up back and forth between home and hospital and was extremely poorly. Although the cesarean was not entirely to blame, I have associated it with the fear and trauma I went through. I am desperate to avoid it unless of cause it is ‘truly‘ the safest option. However, it’s almost impossible to know what’s ‘truly‘ the safest option when it comes to VBAC.

When Chris and I discovered baby number two was arriving, it was one of the first questions I asked. Could I go for VBAC? The booking in appointment was really positive. We discussed the options and VBAC was agreed. I would have an appointment with the consultant in a few weeks where things could be discussed further. I left feeling really good about the birth.

During the consultant’s visits, it was agreed that a VBAC birth was an option as long as the baby was not breech. We would be scanned at 37 weeks to check presentation, but I should plan for VBAC. However, I remember feeling that there was a lot of emphasis placed on the risks of rupture. I asked about monitoring and I was told I would have to have constant monitoring, along with a canula my heart began to drop.

I have done alot of research about VBACs about what can help make them successful. Constant Monitoring was not one of them. I really want to be free, to move about, to be upright. Monitoring may not allow that.

VBAC is too often associated with fear and risks. Ask anyone about VBAC and the first thing likely to come to mind is uterine Rupture. Why? Because this is highlighted time and time again. You can’t labour too long you may rupture, if you’re induced you may rupture, you must be monitored to check for rupture. Everything about a VBAC comes back to rupture.

So what is the risk? Figures in the UK are hard to come by but 0.5% appears to be the agreeable figure. However what they don’t tell you is this 0.5% figure includes all degrees of rupture. Not every rupture is life threatening. This figure includes those where the rupture is actually where the scar only just begins to fails. It hasn’t ripped or burst open, and not life threatening at this stage. Did you also know your uterus can even rupture if you have never had a section? This is also included in this figure. I am not playing down the seriousness of a full rupture, but the risk are so slim, why scare women so much? To put it into perspective I found this article written by Eileen Sullivan, where she puts the risks into perspective, here are just a few:

  • you are more likely to suffer a rupture than to be struck and killed by lightning, by about 30 times.
  • you are 2 times more likely to be murdered than die of a rupture.
  • you are nearly 10 times more likely to cord prolapse than  have a rupture.
  • You’re about 17 times more likely to contract an STD this year than you are to have a uterine rupture.
  • Follow here link above to read them all.

Although I feel there is some support for my VBAC choice, I feel I am being geared up to have another cesarean. Especially with the constant monitoring as if they are waiting for my scar to rupture. There is no evidence to suggest constant monitoring improves the outcome and in fact has shown it can increase the chance of having another cesarean. Why do I need a canula straight away? If VBACs should be treated like a normal labour, then why the need for all this? If the hospital is set up to deal with emergency C -sections during a natural labour, then why not treat the VBACs in the same way?

I haven’t even had the chance to talk about Induction. With Finlay, I was booked in as soon as I hit 40 weeks and I had gone in to be induced. I really want to avoid induction with the planned VBAC. I just don’t know if I am strong enough as a person to hold my ground., I have researched into hiring a Doula which I love the idea off. However, I just don’t have access to that kind of money. So, for now, it appears I will be going my VBAC journey alone. I feel that everything is against it being successful and that it really is just an impossible dream with all the clinical procedures that need to be followed. Who am I? Little me to fight against them?

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Twin Mummy and Daddy

 

 

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Bump Watch: Tiny Tuppen #2 – Week 20

bump20

It Seems Bump watch has naturally fallen into place on a Monday. This suits me fine and it means I can link straight up to #MaternityMondays hosted by Emma at Farmers Wife & Mummy. It also means I get a couple of extra days to add any extra updates as my new pregnancy week starts on a Sunday! It has been quite an exciting week this week as I have hit 20 weeks. That means I am half way through (for a normal 40 week pregnancy). How did that Happen? 20 weeks also marks the week of the anomaly scan, and if you want to find out the gender, as long as baby is playing ball, you should get find out Pink or Blue at this appointment! What did we do? Keep reading to find out!

I was having a conversation with a friend on Sunday about the pregnancy and I said I feel that I am in denial, but my mind is excited! What do I mean? Well I know I’m pregnant and I very very excited to have a new addition to our family. However, I feel I have not paid much attention to the fact I am pregnant, apart from the developing Bump. I am too busy just trying to brush my hair and clean my teeth and generally make myself publically acceptable. Last week I even made it out with eyeliner on one eye only. If I can’t even think about dressing both eyes properly, how on earth have I got time to think babies!

Week 20

This week was the week I finally began feeling little movements. It has really eased my mind. I don’t know if the baby has moved ever so slightly that is now allowing me to feel the movement. Perhaps it’s just the fact it’s now getting that little bit bigger and stronger. Either way, I am pleased and reassured to be feeling the new little life inside me.

I have developed a strong case of heartburn and indigestion this week. Uncomfortable is an understatement and I can’t imagine it getting any better. I lived on Tums when I was pregnant with Finlay, so I think a trip to the chemist is in order! It will be interesting to see if this baby has a lot of hair as the old wives tale goes!

This week I have started to use Bio Oil daily on the bump. I used this with Finlay and I only developed a couple of small stretch marks in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy. So I am hoping for the same this time round. Although my tummy is in full bloom now, so I guess we’ll see how much I balloon in the coming weeks!

This week I have seen a marked improvement in my energy. Finally, I am feeling more energised, actually wanting to get up and about and do stuff now. Although I know I probably haven’t got too long before my energy levels start sinking again. I am going to try and make the most of it while I can!

20 Week Scan

So we had our 20-week anomaly scan, those who read my 19-week update will know how was unsure about finding out the sex of the new addition. Well, I was still so unsure, even as I headed into the room. When asked the question I just blurted out ‘I don’t know!’ The sonographer was so lovely, she said that was absolutely fine and she would start and if I want to know to say. Chris asked at that point if she would write it down for us ‘Of course’ she replied. So we still don’t know!! To be honest I am very happy with my choice but know I can find out if I have the need too.

bump anomoaly scanSo baby is looking really healthy. It was being a little bit of a monkey and had tucked itself right down in my pelvis, with its chin resting on its chest, and its arm across its heart. Finally, after a few prods of the bump, the sonographer got what she needed. Everything appeared to be working as it should and nothing of any concern was found. My placenta is anterior which explains why it’s taken longer to feel movement. It is however high up, so shouldn’t cause any issues.

The baby is measuring a lot smaller than Finlay at this stage at 368g, with a prediction of 7 and half pounds at term. That’s quite a difference to Finlay’s 8lb 15oz. I guess we will see though! Its head and legs are the smaller end of the scale. So it takes after me with my short legs and pea head.

I’m not sure if I got any gender clues, I was trying to have a little peek and guess. Where Finlay made it very obvious. There was nothing obvious about this one. In fact,  I’m not sure I could see anything there and it was pretty clear potty shot. I asked Chris what he thought and he couldn’t see anything either. We have both got a little thought that perhaps it could be a girl, but I am not going to get my hopes up. What will be will be!

The only piece of news that has made me feel anxious is that baby is currently sitting breech on the right side of my pelvis. It has its bum wedged tightly in and feet waving in the air. The sonographer advised it was pretty normal at this stage to be breech and there was plenty of time to turn. However those who have read my Birth Trauma post will know that Finlay was an undiagnosed breech, and was the start of a series of events that left me feeling quite traumatised. I just hope this baby turns.

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Birth Trauma: A Series of Unfortunate Events

birth trauma

N.B: Apologies, this is quite a long post. I have tried to keep it as brief as possible without losing too much detail. The events that led to my feeling associated with Birth Trauma span a number of weeks.

Birth Trauma Fraud

I feel like a fraud writing Birth Trauma. After all Finlay’s birth wasn’t really dramatic in the grand scheme of things. There was no alarm ringing emergency, no rushing about, no worrying if my baby was going to be OK. Although, when I think back when Finlay was born, there is no fondness for those first few weeks. My memories are masked with a sense of fear and dread. The littlest thing can trigger that feeling to return, like the music on Finlay’s nightlight or the wallpaper in the spare room (thankfully we painted it last weekend).

I thought I had come to terms with it, but here I am at 20 weeks pregnant. Little thoughts keep creeping back into my head, my pulse quickens and the palms of my hands begin to feel sweaty. Birth Trauma was unknown to me. It was something I found out about after reading a post from Ghost Writer Mummy.  It’s her site and experiences on Birth Trauma that inspired me to share my experience.

I have spoken a little bit about Finlay’s Birth, in Finlay’s Plagiocephaly Journey. However, I chose not to go into too much detail as that was not the focus of the page. Finlay’s birth was not particularly dramatic, but a number of errors leading up to and after all added to my experience. Together, they left a traumatic imprint and feelings associated with birth trauma.

My waters break

I was 10 days overdue when my waters broke. Having called the maternity unit they asked me to come in for them to double check. It was a quiet night and I wasn’t experiencing any contractions. Three days previously the community midwife advised Finlay was fully engaged and my cervix was fully effaced. As I was already 2 cm dilated then, I thought this was it. The midwife confirmed my waters had gone and to go home and relax. They would expect my contractions to start within 24hrs. If they did not, I was instructed to come back the next evening.

It was a long 24 hours. I wondered if every twinge was the start. It wasn’t to be though by the next evening there was no sign of contractions. I packed my bag, expecting to be admitted due to the risk of infection. Once we arrived it was totally different to the previous night. The unit was run off its feet with labouring women.

When I arrived, I was questioned why I had turned up, no notes had been left for that evening’s staff (unfortunate event 1). After explaining, we were told to wait, unsure if anyone would actually be able to see us. I’m not sure how long we waited but I was eventually given a bed on the pre-labour ward and strapped up for monitoring. Again we waited for what seemed like an eternity.

Once again I was examined and I was asked who wrote my notes that I was fully effaced and dilated? I was not any of these things, it was completely wrong (unfortunate event 2). In fact, there was no way I could be admitted that evening. I would have to come back in the morning to be induced. This meant 36hrs without my waters and increased risk of infection (unfortunate event 3).  Although they were sure I would go into labour that night. Statistics showed that 95% of women go into labour 24 hours after their water broke. Then of the 5% that don’t, 95% go into labour after 48 hours. I fitted into that 5% of 5% of women that don’t (unfortunate event 4)!

Undiagnosed Breech

In the morning, we arrived finally happy that we were getting somewhere. The midwives explained the process of induction and that I would need to be examined by a consultant before the induction would be started. All I can say Is thank god I was. The consultant within seconds of examining me called urgently for a scanner. My baby was an undiagnosed breech (unfortunate event 5).variations-of-breech-positionSuddenly nothing made sense. Finlay was always head down.  C-section vs Breech birth were now my only options. The dangers of each, overwhelming. We decided on an emergency C-section, I was scared and I ended up in floods of tears as the doctors rolled off all the risk including death. Although the risk was greater if the breech birth went wrong. Dying suddenly seemed a real possibility.

The stress must have initiated my contractions, which began nice and strong. Luckily this was just as my time came to go into the theatre.  I have no fear of needles, but I hated the thought of a needle in my spine. My spine is slightly bent and it took two attempts to get the line in, the feeling was horrendous (unfortunate event 6). From this point, everything went smoothly. Finlay was born healthy, There were no other complications, I went to recovery. I thought that would be it, after a few days I would go home.

Recovery

Although I appeared to recover well, I didn’t really feel right. The first 24 hours were a bit brutal, I was in a lot of pain. I felt blood coming out of me. A number of times I requested a change of maternity pads, but the HCA insisted they were clean. They were not. I ended up struggling to change and clean myself, still bed bound (unfortunate event 7). When the time came to get me up, I struggled. I managed to sit on the edge of the bed. As I tried to stand, the pressure inside my tummy was immense, I couldn’t do it. The HCA rolled her eyes and insisted I would have to get up in the morning and walked off.

In the morning with Chris’s help, I forced myself up. I could only take pigeon steps, but I made it to the toilet and had a shower! In the evening I found out that my drugs prescription was all wrong. While I should have had Paracetamol, Co-Codamol and a liquid morphine shot, I was only on Paracetamol!! It doesn’t even touch a headache sometimes, no wonder I hurt so bad (unfortunate event 8) . The new drugs helped a lot, but the pressure inside me continued. The next evening after almost 4 days since we arrived I was discharged. Even though I could barely walk. As I made my way to the entrance, a caretaker noticed us struggling and got me a wheelchair.

Finlay’s Re-Admitted

I was home for one night and one day, when the midwife came to check on Finlay. His birth weight dropped so much, that he had to be readmitted to hospital (unfortunate event 9). I was producing only a small amount of milk, not enough to sustain him. I was put on a milk producing drug, and we had to supplement with formula. We were on a 3 hourly schedule of Breastfeeding, followed by expressing, followed by formula. By the time I finished it was almost time to start again. I was shattered. Slowly Finlay’s weight increased and his sodium levels reduced, we were allowed home.

Losing Blood

At this point, I was still struggling with pain and to walk, but no one seemed concerned.  However, after a few more days at home, I woke one morning with a really heavy period like pain in my tummy. As I sat in bed I felt a rush of blood. I got up to change my maternity pad, but at this point, blood and clots started to fall out of me. Scared I called to Chris, who rang the community midwife. I was feeling quite ill and confused by this point, but Chris was assured that large clots were normal and if I wasn’t soaking a pad within an hour I was fine.

I was too weak and dizzy to know if what was coming out would soak a pad, it was dripping like a tap. Chris was told they were too busy to check on me that morning they could only come in the afternoon (unfortunate event 10) .  At this point I almost fainted in the toilet, that’s when Chris called an ambulance. I was admitted straight back into maternity. Strangely by now, I felt fine, but I had blood everywhere. The consultant who delivered Finlay was on duty came to see me. I can’t remember what she said but she left the room for a few minutes. I then started to feel really faint again.

Postpartum Haemorrhage

The consultant began to examine me and as she did, more clots poured out onto the bed. She worked on me for ages, pushing down on my tummy trying to clear me out. It hurt so much. At one point a midwife came in. The consultant asked her to start cleaning me and the mess. In front of me, the midwife said she was too busy to help me (unfortunate event 11), the consultant went mad. Once she had done all she could I was taken to the recovery room. She checked me often and continued to work on my tummy, constantly apologising but saying it was necessary.

In recovery, I was hooked up to a drip and antibiotics and a drug to contract my womb. Once I had recovered a bit she explained I had postpartum haemorrhage caused by an infection. At that point she was hoping the bleeding would ease, otherwise, I may have to have surgery. I was so scared and I missed my little boy. Chris visited with him but took him home after visiting hours as I was too poorly to look after him.

Home for Good

In the morning the blood loss had eased but my blood levels were low. I had to have 3 units of blood via transfusion. Luckily surgery didn’t seem necessary at this point and I was transferred to the ward in my own private room. Feeling better, I was well enough to have Finlay back with me too. Recovery took another 4 days, but then I was discharged.

As I was discharged, an HCA who had been looking after me, said how pleased the consultant had been with my quick recovery as she had been extremely worried when I was admitted. It was only at that point it occurred to me how poorly I had actually been. I had a small blip a week later and ended up being checked over in maternity as I passed one large clot (unfortunate event 12), but a scan confirmed it was the last of it and I was allowed straight home.

Moving on from Birth Trauma

For months after I would find myself panicking about it all. I never wanted any more babies because of it. It took me a long long time to even think about that. Hence one of the reasons for a 4 year age gap between Finlay and the new baby.

While the bad memories have faded over the years, in the back of my mind I see it all happening again. Realistically I know the chances are so very slim, but the fear is still there. I hope that by sharing my experience it will  help me face my fears. As well as helping anyone who reads this to know that Birth Trauma doesn’t have to be Hollywood dramatic to have a big impact on your life.

Sig

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Bump Watch: Tiny Tuppen #2 Week 19

bump-watch-19

Running Late with Bump watch again! Is this the start of pregnancy misorganisation? Quite possible! I knew I was going to be busy over the last couple of days and with all good intentions I was going to draft my post. However, I forgot, oops, baby brain! Am I allowed to say that before baby arrives?

Today, Chris and I actually had a rare toddler free day, we are both off work and Finlay was in Nursery. So we went for a lovely romantic stroll down the forest. It rained. We found a creepy blair witch style twig house to huddle in, it was kinda cute. We then went for a tapas style Thai Lunch, then back home for feet up and a movie snuggled on the sofa. These days are so rare, I just couldnt open my laptop. However come this evening, I was so excited to see I was selected for Farmers wife & Mummys Favourite from #maternityMondays linky last week. That means a lot to me especially as my blog is relatively new, so a big thank you.

Week 19

I was19-weeks in torment this week, as I really wanted to document my growing bump on Bump Watch. However I am terribly camera shy, I hate my picture taken and usually hate every picture ever taken off me. After about 20 change of clothes and I cant even remember how many shots, I found a picture I was semi happy with. I am not a selfie kinda girl, no one said taking a self was so difficult! Anyway, we have a 19 week shot, hello from bump!

I think I was saying last week how small I felt, can we erase that please. I feel I have doubled in size this last week. Even my team colleague at work said how she hadnt noticed my bump before, but this week she could really see it!! Eek,I hope this isnt asign of things to come, I am only small. I dont think I am ging to fit in my normal clothes much longer either, Maternity shopping is a must on my to do list!

I think I am carrying this one differently too, I was looking back at old picture when I was pregnant with Finlay. I was so much neater, bigger, but neater. This bump just seems to overtake my whole tummy!

I have been experiencing back ache quite a bit this week, I think this has been down to long drives and traffic congestion. The Southern rail tarin strike is effecting everything. Its not been that bad, but I think I really need to keep an eye on my posture at my desk, to prevent it getting worse.

I still havent felt movement this week, Im not too worried as I have obviously grown. I thought I may have felt something Friday Morning, Milo our cat wandered in our room while we were sleeping. He layed across my tummy as I slept on my side. He woke me doing so as he has the loudest purr and as he has been so ill, he is allowed to disturb me. Anyway there he was purring across my tummy and I am sure I felt two little nudges, Perhaps its the start and I will begin feling more movement this coming week.

Apart from all this, I feel in very good health. It has been so different from my last pregnancy. There is no sign of any bleeding which is great and no sign of any other nasty things I suffered with. I feel a bit more energized this week and my appertite has gone overboard. I havent had any crazy cravings, but Chocolate has become a good friend…..I write this and think perhaps theres a link between my blossoming tummy haha! I also devoured a box of picked green chilli peppers, but I love them anyway so not a craving.

I still havent got anything organised. I havent really thought about maternity leave, sorting baby clothes, telling HR, stocking up. I think it still doesnt feel that real. Last time everything was about the baby, but this time its still about that baby, but he now a toddler and so much more demanding, everything else takes a backseat!

Finally, it’s only a week until our 20 Week scan, how has that come round so quickly? I thought I had ages to decide if I wanted to find out the sex, but I am still undecided. Everyone has different opinions as it seems I do too. Chisn’tisnt really bothered either way. He would be happy to find out, but If I dont want to, then he will happily wait. I really don’t know. Did you find out?

Sig

 

 

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Old Wives Tales: Gender Prediction

Gender Prediction Old wives talesOld wives tales and Gender Prediction

As long as women have been getting pregnant, so has there been the old wives tales of gender prediction. Those that have been following Bump Watch know I am having a dilemma about whether I want to find out the sex of Tiny Tuppen or not. I so love the idea of having a surprise, but I feel the need to prepare for being the only girl in the family! It’s not that I don’t want another boy, It’s just I would love a girl. I worry that if I don’t find out, I might have a moment of disappointment at the birth. I’m sure and I’m certain that I won’t. I was hoping for a girl with Finlay, we found out the sex and although I had worried, I was was over the moon. obviously, the most important thing at the end of the day is a happy, healthy baby, but what the heart wants, it wants. So, you may think find out, but the desire for a traditional surprise is so strong too.

Anyway, The scan is next week and I am still very much undecided. Until then I thought for a bit of fun I would try out some of the old wives tales on gender prediction. I obviously take this very light hearted and with a pinch of salt, there’s no getting my hopes up, I am convinced anyway this new little monkey is a boy.

Baking Soda

Quite rank really! Basically you pee in a glass and add a tablespoon of baking soda to the mix. If it fizz’s its a boy, it nothing happens, its a girl.

RESULT: It fizzed like I had never seen anything fizz – Boy!

Chinese calendar

The Chinese gender predictor is based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar, the age you were and the month when you concieved. I thought to start with this was going to predic boy, but you actually have to work out your lunar age which is different to your actual age. Dont just go by an image chart, find a calculator which converts everything for you.

RESULT: Girl

Morning Sickness

They say if you suffer with morning sickness, then you are more likely to be carrying a girl. I didnt have any sickness when I had Finlay, this time I had nausea from the moment I woke to Moment I went to sleep. It lasted to about week 16.

RESULT: Girl

Cravings

If you crave salty, savoury foods expect a boy, or sweet and citrus expect a girl. I have a very sweet tooth in general. I did lose this with when pregnant with Finlay. This time, I craved ornage juice for my first and when I felt ill I found chocolate helped and I cant stop eating it!

RESULT: Girl

Headaches

If you find your experiencing more headaches now that your pregnant, its a sure sign of a boy. I havent been getting any headaches, to be honest I dont remember experiencing more headaches with Finlay either.

RESULT: Girl

Babies Heart Rate

Anything under 140BPM indicates you are carrying a boy, anything above, a girl. I havent heard Tiny Tuppens heartbeat yet, so this remains a mystery!

RESULT: Unknown

Sleep Position

Pregnant woment who favour sleeping on their left are said to be more likely to be carrying a boy. Those who favour the right, a girl. To be honest I always sleep on my left, I prefer it and often wake up to roll myself back over. I have noticed I have been waking up more on my right, but i just roll back again. I dont know with this one.

RESULTS: Inconclusive

Mayan Prediction

The ancientMaya civilisation ue to predic gender in the following way. If your age and the month you concieve are BOTH either odd or even numbers you will have a girl. If one is even and one is odd you will have a boy. For example I was 33 when I concieved in June (Odd/Even).

Result: Boy

Gender Dreaming

The old wives tale says if you dream of boys, you are carrying a girl and to dream of girls indicates you carrying a boy. Go Figure. I have had one gender dream quite early on, where I was having the 20 week scan and they said it was a boy.

RESULT: Girl

Wedding Band

Take a thread and loop it around your wedding band. Lie down, hold the thread above the pregnant belly (you may need help with this bit!). If it swings in circles you are carrying a girl, if it swings to a fro, then expect a boy. I dont have a wedding band to try this one out!

RESULT: Uknown

Cold Feet

If your expecting a bad case of Cod feet once you got pregnant, you could becarrying a boy. If theres no change and your tootsies are warm and cosy, it may be a girl. No change there for me then.

RESULT: Girl

Overall

6/11 = Girl, 2/11 = Boy, 3/11 = Unknown – ITS A GIRL!! We shall see.

Have you ever tried any of the old wives tales? were they right for you? Do you have a favourite? I would love to know!

Sig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bump watch: Tiny Tupen #2 Week 18

bump watch

I apologise Bump watch was delayed this week as I intended to post it every Friday. Last week, however, was a pretty heart-wrenching day. Our beautiful old cat was rushed to vets with breathing difficulties. He has been diagnosed with heart failure and heart disease. I was pretty heartbroken and penned a post to him. I could really think about writing much else. Today I’m feeling a bit more positive, so here’s this week’s instalment of Bump watch albeit a little. On a plus I get to link straight up to #MaternityMondays

Week 18

I still feel pretty small for 18 weeks. Not that I can remember how big I was with Finlay. I never documented it so I’m relying on my terrible memory! I don’t remember being able to hide the bump so well last time round, so that’s what makes me feel I am smaller. It may be just because I didn’t have to hide it last time. I do remember not fitting into my jeans by 20 weeks and using a band to hold my button together!! This time, however, I still feel quite comfortable in jeans. Although I guess I have another two weeks to expand!

I have finally gained about 1lb back in weight this week. I had been dieting before I fell pregnant and lost 3/4 of a stone.  Nausea during the first weeks, however, caused me to lose about another 4lb on top. So I’m quite pleased to finally be putting a little bit of weight back on this week.

I have been experiencing tightening’s across my tummy this week. It has at times been extremely uncomfortable as it’s not as easy to move around/bend etc. This happened a lot of last pregnancy, but not this early on. I have also been experiencing pings of round ligament pain, but nothing to complain about.  Guess it just shows baby is growing nicely!18

This week I plucked up the courage to tell my boss about the pregnancy. I was worrying quite a bit about this, especially with everything that had gone on at work. An informal email to let her know in the first instance seemed best. I wasn’t sure if I would see her this week face to face and I really wanted to let her know . My boss took the news well, which surprised me. She asked a few questions and seemed quite happy for me. It’s a weight off my mind. It has also been nice to finally be able to talk about The pregnancy. Having now has a few chats with the girls in my team about babies.

Emotionally, it has been tough this week. Finlay is having the tantrums from hell.  Finlay’s current idea of a good morning at 6am is screaming, hissing, spitting and punching fits and it’s taking its toll. I feel exhausted most of the time and have been asleep by 8.30pm most nights. Friday, I spent most of the day sobbing over the cat, imagining him not around was hard. Luckily if the medicine works, we could have him around a few more years. This makes me happy.

This baby must be in a completely different position than Finlay was at this stage. If I remember correctly, I began feeling movement about 16 weeks with Finlay, but still nothing as yet with Tiny Tuppen #2.

I haven’t decided if I want to find out the sex of the baby. I really love the idea of a surprise, but would I be better prepared to know? We have most stuff stored from Finlay. As it the same time of year, everything will suitable season wise, so a boy would be good in that respect. If not we will need to shop. Also, I would really love a princess this time (not that I don’t want a boy), the main thing is it’s healthy, but I worry if I end up with a surprise boy I might have an initial ‘oh’ moment. However, I just love the idea of not knowing. Eeek decisions!

Sig

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