Fertility Envy….Fertility Guilt…

Today I watched a segment on This Morning with the infamous Samantha Brick, this time she wasn’t telling everyone how beautiful and amazing she is, but how she is desperate to have a child and hates it when she finds out about people who fall pregnant easy…so I guess she’d hate me if she met me!  One of the most unlikely people EVER to have a child.  This blog is effectively me saying how little I know about having a baby, and I’m sure will continue to say how little I know about babies and what they do.  All I know at the moment is they poo, they smell funny, and they make a lot of noise, and occasionally sleep apparently.  I’m 39 weeks pregnant today.  I don’t know anything about labour, I’ve got a ‘take it as it comes’ approach, and I google EVERYTHING, or just rely on the babycentre website!

The real reason I’m writing this blog, is that I kind of get where she’s coming from, I can imagine how difficult it must be for people to go through IVF, my Godmother tried for years and went through so much IVF it’s unreal.  She gave up all hope of ever having children, and was looking into adoption when she fell pregnant, and now has two children.  I can only imagine how difficult it was for her to be my Godmother – I also found out a few years ago that she had miscarried around the same time that my mum was pregnant with me.  The reason I get where she is coming from, in a way, is because of the sheer GUILT I felt when I found out that I was pregnant for several reasons, but I basically spent the first half of my pregnancy worrying that I’d upset several people, and couldn’t really enjoy it.  It took me ages to get over these feelings, and I don’t really know why it hit me so hard, but I needed constant reassurance that it was ok that I was pregnant, and that I deserved to have a baby just as much as anyone else on this planet.

The feelings stemmed from a few factors… just before I found out that I was pregnant, a lesbian I worked with had just had a baby – or rather her wife had – and one of the people I worked with had hated it, because she fell pregnant first time trying, and thought it was ‘wrong’ (but that’s a whole other debate).  One of the other reasons was that this person who hated it had apparently had a miscarriage a couple of weeks before, it was really bad timing.  I say apparently because she was one of those people you never really could believe 100% and she went to work the day after it had supposedly happened, and the length of time she was pregnant changed a few times.  But anyway, this same person had held a grudge for the whole six months since finding out that a ‘gayby’ was on it’s way into the world.  It just so happened that when I was newly pregnant, within the first 12 weeks, this person also had a cyst on her ovary and had to have it operated on, and now has a 50% chance of conception.  I was nervous about telling her, but when I found out about the cyst and the operation etc I felt awful, and I actually feared for my safety, everyone at work that knew told me not to go near stairs if she was around.  She actually took it really well, and I felt a bit stupid for feeling so bad, but she understood.

Another reason was that my best friend, who I’ve known my entire life, had miscarried a couple of years previously and found out at her 12 week scan that the baby hadn’t developed.  Not only did I have to tell her I was now pregnant, but that I was going to be pregnant at her wedding, and I’m a bridesmaid!  I found that really difficult, knowing she wanted to have a baby, and was probably worried that she wouldn’t be able to because of the miscarriage.  Luckily she is now pregnant, and I couldn’t be happier for her!  It feels amazing that I can offer advice, though I always feel that it should have been the other way around.  Like I’m telling her how it is after the 12 week landmark, when she should have a small child by now.  As I’m not close to my family, sometimes it’s like she’s the closest thing I have to a real family, and it really hurt that she might feel hurt by something I couldn’t control, and something I essentially didn’t want at first!

Another one of my friends has a child, she’s 6.  She had an awful relationship with her daughters father, who happened to be an ex of mine, so needless to say I was not a huge fan of him.  Anyway, we grew apart while they were together, but still remained good friends.  When he left her, she was pregnant, and made the decision to have a termination, which wasn’t a straight forward termination, and it hit her really hard.  I was there for her, despite being at uni, my boss gave me time off to go home and spend time with her if she needed me, and I’ve always supported her.  I have no doubt that her life wouldn’t be what it is now, and that her daughters life would not be what it is now.  Mentally, she wasn’t ready to be a single mother of two, and she definitely made the right decision.  I guess I felt guilty because for the whole of my pregnancy I’ve been saying about how amazing my boyfriend is, he really is my rock, and I feel that although she has a child, she could have had two, and she can’t remember a lot of her pregnancy because of the emotional strain it put on her due to her partner being something I would not like to write on here because it wouldn’t be very ‘family friendly’.  So really I feel guilty about the fact that I have a great relationship, and I can enjoy my pregnancy.  All she ever wanted was to be a mother, and she is, but she never got to enjoy the process of getting there. Meanwhile, I’ve never been drawn to motherhood, I’ve always assumed that one day I’d probably have kids, cos that’s what people do, but it’s never been an essential part of my life, and here I am – pregnant – with an amazing boyfriend, who is amazingly supportive and who I know I can trust 100%, who I know will look after me after the birth of our child…  

The final reason I felt so much guilt is my friend’s cousin, the first friend who I’ve known forever, well, I’ve known her cousin since primary school too.  Not as well as my friend, but we know each other.  I’ve got her on facebook, and we know enough about each other to sit and have a conversation without it being weird.  She had been trying to get pregnant for ages, and had gone through IVF, and it worked, only for her to have a miscarriage.  She was also a bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding, had the IVF worked and she hadn’t miscarried, she would have been about 6 months pregnant at the wedding, so it would have been her who couldn’t have champagne, and would need a dress bigger than usual, and all of the other stuff you look forward to at a wedding that you can’t do when you’re pregnant.  I felt awful that I was in the position that she SHOULD have been in, purely by accident.  I even told my friend that I wouldn’t tell anyone at her wedding that I was pregnant if it really hurt her cousin and if she didn’t want me to.  It did really hurt her cousin, and she couldn’t face me for a few days, it really worried me that I was going to ruin my best friend’s wedding.  I was 16 weeks pregnant at her wedding, and it wasn’t until I got over that guilt a few weeks after her wedding that I really started to be happy that I was pregnant.  In fact, it was probably only when I felt the baby move and kick really hard that I truly felt happy that I was pregnant.

Now I feel guilty that I have this little person inside me, that is coming out really soon, and when I first found out it was there I didn’t want it, I was gutted…  I do worry that one day he/she will grow up and find out, and feel that the feeling never left me.  But I really am happy to be having a child, I still don’t quite believe it sometimes…but I really am happy.  I still have worries, because I don’t know what to do with children, and I worry that my parenting skills will be like my mother’s, and that my child(ren) will grow up to resent me.  

My only hope is that one day I stop feeling guilty for the fact that I am having a child, with the person I love, in a fairly stable financial situation and with a supportive network around me…

Creeky, Clicky Bones…

The past couple of weeks I’ve really noticed that my bones have been cracking and creeking much more than usual.  I’ve always been a bit creeky, which I’m sure is probably something to do with how unfit I am, but every time I move something cracks!!  When I roll over in the night I feel my back crack, and my hips, then my fingers get really sore so I have to crack them to relieve them.  I’ve always had fairly creeky fingers, and don’t need to use any effort to make my knuckles crack, I can literally just bend my fingers and ‘pop’, my knees are the same and always get worse in the cold weather.  I’ve done a bit of googling and not really come up with any reasons as to why it happens.  I saw the midwife yesterday and never thought to mention it, but may ask if I see another… I’m not due another appointment until I’m technically overdue now as I had one yesterday at 38+4.

Luckily it never hurts when I crack.  The only pain I do get in my bones is when I get a bit of pressure on my left hip from the baby, I’m convinced sometimes that the baby is trying to escape through my hip – which is silly really, I’m sure it is just pushing against my hip to make a bit more space, as I’m sure it’s getting a bit tight in there!

I have been having what feels like muscle pain in my groin, I’m not sure if it’s anything to worry about, but once again is only on my left side.  Again, I hadn’t thought about telling the midwife, I put down all of my aches and pains to being part of pregnancy.  The worst pain is when I wake up in the morning, my back and hips are quite sore and my groin.  Once I’ve moved around a bit they start to ease up, so I’m sure it’s just one of those things because I’ve been lying in a certain position or something, as there are very few positions I can lie in now – the baby lets me know if I am trying to sleep with it underneath me and am taking up some of it’s room!

The baby is now 3/5’s engaged, which could mean the baby is going to be here quite soon – although it may just sit there for a bit longer and decide not to go any further until it is fully/over baked – so hopefully the aches and pains won’t be for too much longer, it will just be other types of pains that I’ll have to get used to!!  I’m not sure which will be worse, being stitched up in my lady region or the constant kicking and stretching on the inside.

Entertaining myself on Maternity Leave

So I’ve been reallllly bored whilst on maternity leave, and have been trying to figure out what to do with my days.  I’ve been fulfilling the wifely duties of cooking dinner most days (some days I’m just far too tired/in pain to stand at the cooker), washing the dishes and keeping the kitchen nice and clean, washing clothes, tidying up where possible and unpacking the rest of the boxes we have from moving.  

The nesting instinct hasn’t really kicked in – there’s plenty of dust floating around that could do with being collected, the floor could do with a vacuum and there’s still quite a few trip hazards around – should probably do something about that!  I have rearranged my stuff in the bedroom about 4 times though, and cleaned the bathroom occasionally (albeit with anti-bac wipes rather than any real effort).  I’m kind of waiting for the urge to kick me into shape, at the moment I lack motivation to deal with dust, and vacuuming really takes it out of me.  I think if the whole flat was in order and ready for baby then I’d be more inclined to keep it pristine, but there’s still things that need doing that I can’t do so am waiting on the OH to actually have time to do them. But as he started working full time only recently (rather than freelance), he’s not entitled to paternity leave and is instead earning time in lieu so that he doesn’t have to use so much holiday in order to spend time with me and the baby when he/she arrives.  I’ve kind of accepted that it’s going to be a very long time before everything is ready, and that the baby will actually probably be here already by the time it is finished – if it gets finished!    Maybe he will be able to use his ‘paternity leave’ time to do some of those jobs…

As Christmas is coming up, I have instead been using my time to think about ways in which I can make life easier now as I have no idea how old the baby will be, and how well I’ll be coping as Christmas draws closer.  I’ve done the odd bit of online shopping, and have now got the recipe for OH’s Grandma’s Christmas cake, which I will be starting this week.  Having drawn a blank at ideas for Christmas gifts, I’ve decided to make things, which will also keep me amused on those quiet days.  I’ve ordered cellophane wrap and some ribbons in red and gold to make the wrapping look pretty.  Hopefully I’ll manage to make some nice things and they will go down well at Christmas – and keep me entertained!!

It’s nearly November!!

I can’t believe it’s November tomorrow!!  It’s getting very close now.  As November draws nearer I start to panic that little bit more.  I know I’m not due until 30th, so could well have the baby in December rather than November, but it’s just drawing closer and I feel like we aren’t ready at all!!  

I started to pack my bag at the weekend, I put a towel in and some old pants, was going to put my toiletries in, but there’s still a couple of things left to buy.  Got an old t-shirt for labour, and just need to decide which pjs to take with me, then an outfit to go home in.  On the subject of the hospital bag – I had no idea about ‘lady products’, it’s not something we discuss in every day life “which ones do you use?” isn’t a question I tend to ask my friends!  So I took to the forums on the babycentre website – turns out the cheap ones are as good as anything.  So I’m going to Tesco tomorrow to do the weekly shop and pick up the last few things that I need – their range of mini toiletries is much better than Sainsbury’s, but I think that’s mainly because our Sainsbury’s is tiny!  Then I shall be buying packs of Tesco own Maternity Pads – it’s been recommended a few packs will be best.  Also spotted that they have breast pads on offer, so will be getting those too!  When my bag is packed, I will blog about what exactly I have, and then hopefully when the baby is here, I’ll have some time to blog about whether I remembered everything, and what I may have found useful to have etc.

Finding it impossible to find motivation to blog at the moment, or do anything, I think it’s the boredom setting in of maternity leave – hopefully I will find some inspiration soon enough!!

Things I thought I’d miss more…

1. Smelly Cheese
2. Alcohol
3. Caffeine
4. Runny eggs
5. Rare meat

Ok, so I do miss these things, but I thought my life as I knew it was over when I found out I was pregnant, I LOVE food, and Summer is about a nice cold glass of something in a beer garden, and winter is about Baileys hot choc, and alcoholic honey & lemons.  Not to mention the 7 cups of tea that I was used to each day, as well as a few cups of coffee.

Caffeine was the hardest, at first I felt SO rough, especially at that point in the day after lunch when your energy lulls, when you just need a coffee to perk you up to keep you going.  It was taking me ages to wake up, and then I’d get tired again, so on an early shift the busy part of the day was over by the time I’d woken up, and on a late shift I was going to work tired.  It was made easier by the fact that I went completely off tea, which is how I’d normally get caffeine.  Now I’m back to drinking it, I have decaf Yorkshire tea, which tastes pretty much the same as normal tea.  I also got some decaf coffee beans, so I can still have a good cup of coffee, and don’t have to use the freeze dried instant coffee in a jar.  I did start to have normal tea again for a little while, just one or two cups a day, but then with the problems I’ve had with my heart I was told to steer clear of caffeine, so it was back to the decaf!

Smelly cheese and rare meat are difficult when I go out for dinner; we went to our local on Sunday night, and they’ve recently updated their menu, which has venison on it.  I LOVE venison, but you’d ruin it if you cooked it through; I ended up having fish and chips.  I love goats cheese, and it’s often on menus as a starter, or in a main course, I always want it, and I do miss it a lot, but I’ve got used to not being able to eat it.  I don’t get annoyed when I see it in the supermarket anymore.  As with brie etc, I used to really want anything that had cheese I wasn’t allowed, but now it doesn’t even appeal to me as much as it used to.  I was very pleased to see I could eat camembert if it was heated through to be piping hot, so I have eaten that a couple of times.

Runny eggs are a little annoying – sometimes you just want a dippy egg, a nice poached egg on whole grain toast would be great, but I stick to scrambled eggs now or egg mayo sandwiches to get my egg fix!  Lets face it, the usual reason I’d want a runny egg is with bacon when I’m hungover, and obviously it has been a while since I’ve needed that fix!

Finally, alcohol, I can honestly say all I have drunk since finding out I’m pregnant is a few sips of wine the boy’s Grandma forced in to me ‘because it was ok in her day’, and about a glass and a half of champagne between the two weddings I went to in June, who are close friends of mine.  It was very strange seeing my friends from Uni without drinking – Sheffield = excessive alcohol usually.  I’ve also been on an evening out to the bowling alley and the pub for food and drink with my work mates, and been to various other social occasions where people have drunk a lot, and I have been stone cold sober, and it really hasn’t bothered me – apart from the time at my best friend’s wedding when the boy got so drunk he annoyed the hell out of me, and everyone said it was ok because he had been so good all day helping out!

I honestly thought I’d miss all of these things so much that I’d be miserable.  The only thing that does really annoy me, is pate!  It’s one of those things that I’ve always really loved from a young age and I crave it on toast and on crumpets and on fresh crusty bread…  I honestly CANNOT wait to be able to have a snack of pate on something when the baby has arrived, and to also be able to choose it as a starter when I go out for dinner.  It doesn’t make me miserable though, one of the boy’s friends said his missus hated being pregnant because of the things she couldn’t have, but it really hasn’t bothered me all that much.

Having said that, only 5 and a half weeks to go!!

One day ‘Parent Education Course’

On Saturday we went to a parent education course at Watford hospital, we really didn’t know what to expect.  The only thing I’ve ever seen is the TV shows that have the funny huffing and puffing classes, but there was none of that.  I’m sure there are classes available that teach you these things, but this class taught a much broader area.

The course leader was a midwife from the birthing unit – the midwife led part of the hospital – and she was great, you could tell she had been doing it for a while, and really knew how to interact with the couples.  We met a couple called Gwilym and Louise who were great fun too.  I have a feeling if Louise and I went into labour at the same time, we might find the men in the pub together!!  Or competing as to whose baby is cuter!  We spent six hours at the hospital, but got about 45 minutes for lunch.  

At the start of the day, she asked what we wanted to know, and we all looked at each other clueless, we were all first time parents, and were really there to be told what we needed to know.  So we went through a few things, and the course leader filled in the gaps for us.  We learnt about how long labour can last, when to go to hospital, what to pack, for mum and for baby.  We also learnt about how baby poo changes, and about breastfeeding.  The lady also promoted being in any position you find comfortable to give birth, and to use gravity.  She also showed us some of the equipment you may experience, I must admit, the forceps look a lot worse on TV than they do in real life, and when these things are explained, they seem less daunting.  She discussed pain relief, I didn’t really know anything apart from gas and air and epidural.  She certainly gave us a lot to think about.  I had no idea you needed a catheter bag if you have an epidural, but it makes sense now I know!

The process of labour was shown as well, and how the baby moves, and what feelings you can expect on the run up to labour.  She said there wasn’t much point in discussing labour itself, as the baby is going to come out, whichever option you choose, and as long as you listen to the direction you are given, you really don’t need to know too much about what to do.  As well as the fact that it comes naturally, of course.  This makes me feel better, as I’d always sort of imagined that it must come fairly naturally, considering we haven’t always had midwives to tell us what to do!  

We also learnt that when your waters break you may not necessarily know straight away – as it doesn’t come gushing out like it does on TV and films, and that you can very much be in labour and baby be on the way before your waters even break.  Something I had no idea about!  

It was definitely a learning curve, and definitely an experience I would recommend.  

Maternity Leave

Starts in 18 hours… Eep.   Don’t know how to feel!  At least I’ll have time to blog!!

Pregnancy Weight

I had a routine trip to the midwife a few days ago, and she revealed they have been told they now have to weigh pregnant ladies regularly, so I stepped on the scales, quite happily.  Everyone has been really shocked by how pregnant I am, and I’ve been told that my bump is ‘neat’ and ‘tidy’.  However, the midwife told me that as I’ve put on 12kg, I need to be very careful with my weight.  It made me wonder what it’s like for the larger pregnant lady, or those that put on weight without it being obviously a baby.  

I also read an article, about how the weight gain is made up, it was really interesting to see that the fluid alone is a couple of lb’s in weight, and I completely forgot about the extra weight from my boobs producing milk for baby.  I know I haven’t put on too much fat, my waist is about the same size as it has been for a long time, and the only area of me that has got bigger is my belly, where the baby is.  Possibly also a bit on my thighs, mainly because I can’t do so much, having had sciatica since week 8 or something ridiculous.  

I bought a Davina workout DVD quite a while ago, and only used it once, because shortly after all the problems with my heart started.  Hopefully once I’m on maternity leave I’ll have a bit of time to get back into it.  The boyf also bought me a birthing ball/exercise ball, so it would be good to get some use out of that!  I’m hoping it will help my back.  I have been told not to overdo it too much, because too much activity could trigger my heart to go into short-circuit and start having palpitations.  The workout DVD also has a post-birth section, so I’m looking forward to being able to do that, I’m looking forward to being able to do a lot of things though!!

So 17kg is the maximum weight gain recommended, which means I have 5kg left, and 7 weeks left until I’m due – 6 weeks of which I will be on maternity leave, so not at work 5 days a week.  So we will see in a few weeks how much weight I have put on when I go back to the midwife, as I’m assuming she will be weighing me again!

I plan on breast feeding, and that is supposed to help the weight come off after the birth.  So hopefully it won’t be too much of an issue.  I’m not TOO worried, but naturally, I am slightly, I’m a pregnant woman who’s been told to watch her weight.  The last time someone criticised my weight I ended up so skinny I went dizzy when I stood up and still thought I was fat!  But then I had other issues back then, and I think I can handle it (hopefully) now, and know to be careful.  The problem is, I’ve always been blessed with a speedy metabolism, and so I’ve basically always eaten whatever I’ve felt like eating and never been over weight.  I’ve been slightly plumper than I feel comfortable being, but it only takes a bit of doing housework and eating less take-aways (and drinking less alcohol) that usually brings it off. 

We shall see – there’s no point worrying about losing weight now, I’m sure if I’m hungry, it means my baby needs food, so if I’m hungry, I will eat!

Echocardiogram experience

So, it turns out there is no appropriate clothing for an echocardiogram, except I would suggest wearing jeans/leggings/something on your bottom half, i.e. not just a dress or something.  I was asked to take my top and bra off, and put a gown on, opening at the front!

You lie on your side and they use the ultrasound scanner and dig it into your chest and under your left breast, and it quite hurts – I coughed a lot because I felt like I couldn’t breathe properly.  The combination of a baby pushing on my ribs and a woman pushing on my chest, I’m surprised I managed to breathe at all!

Then at the end, I wasn’t even offered blue roll to wipe myself with, so I used the gown, and managed to get goop all on my hand as there was a massive blob of it on the gown.  She was also stripping the blue roll off the bed before I’d even got off it – baring in mind it is VERY obvious I’m pregnant, and I am not quite as mobile as the average 26 year old!  It made me wonder how quickly she does these things to elderly, and how uncomfortable they feel?  Considering that 99% of the people I’ve come across in the cardiology department has been over the age of 60.  

Anyway, the echocardiogram proved I have a normal heart, and the 24 hour ECG proved I have a normal heart rhythm (except when I have palpitations of course), which is what I fully expected.  The best news is the cardiologist thinks I may not have to have the ablation, and that I will have a fairly normal life post-baby.  I have a review with cardiology in March next year, so I guess I will just have to keep a note of when I have palpitations, how long they last etc.  Which I’ve never been good at before.  

I should also be able to have a normal birth – hurrah.  My birth plan will be decided in a couple of weeks with the Obs consultant though…then I’ll really know what to expect!

Appropriate clothing for hospital appointments

So today I have an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound scan of my heart, and I’m wondering what I should wear – typical woman.  I have figured out appropriate wear for the things I’m now used to, for example…

Ultrasound of the baby – leggings and a dress/long top/long jumper.  I discovered jeans didn’t push down so easy, and I ended up with jelly all over the waist band, which wasn’t comfortable.  Leggings push down really easy and stay in place, and a dress/top/jumper pulls up really easy, and stays without having to be held in place.

ECG/Heart Monitoring when I get rushed in with SVT – jeans, thick socks and a vest top.  The first time I went in, I was wearing leggings and a high necked dress, a few minutes after arriving at a&e, I was wearing leggings and a hospital gown.  Thick socks come in handy because A&E is actually often cold, you expect hospitals to be warm, but it’s not the case in resus.  The vest top means they can attach all the wires to me without me having to take off my top.  Sleeves are impossible because they insert a canula and put on a blood pressure sleeve.  

But when it comes to an ultrasound of my heart, is there anything appropriate I can wear?  Or is it fighting a losing battle because I’ll be made to strip off anyway?  I guess I’ll only find out later, when I’m at the hospital and find out how much of my body they need access to.