Moving on to Sophia is how I ended up my last post. I cannot say how lucky I feel to even be able to tell this story as things begin to look up for us.
Before I start this story though something pretty big happened first…
We got married!!
We’ve just had our first anniversary which is just crazy! This definitely counts as ‘things begin to look up’. The whole day was amazing! I know people say that but it really was just wonderful. Everything I had planned went to plan and every time we needed to be outside for photos the sun shone. It was just perfect. Made all the better of course by the fact I am now the wife of my best friend ever!
After the news we received in January about our inevitable difficulties with conceiving a child, we had both decided that after the wedding we would stop all contraception and get the ball rolling. We didn’t necessarily plan to have a baby straight away, our logic being that if it was going to be a year of unsuccessful ‘trying’ before we could even begin to get medical help – which itself often takes well over a year, then we would rather start sooner – neither of us want to be particularly old parents!
Things begin to look up!
3 months. That’s all it took. I came off the pill in April and my last period was in June. A rainbow baby and our very own miracle! Things begin to look up for us even more! We were shocked to say the least but in the best possible way.
Rainbow baby is a term I was unfamiliar with until I downloaded an app (called Nurture which you can check out here if you like!) to track our pregnancy that had a forum.
“A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.
The storm (pregnancy loss) has already happened and nothing can change that experience. Storm clouds might still be overhead as the family continue to cope with the loss, but something colourful and bright has emerged from the darkness and misery.
A rainbow baby brings light but by no means replaces the angel baby. Those who have not experienced a stillbirth or loss sometimes assume a rainbow baby ‘cures’ the parents and is some sort of closure. This is not true as they by no means eliminate the storm and the rainbow wouldn’t be here without it.”
Pretty powerful stuff huh? No pressure on this little one!
Two pink lines!
Finding out was surreal. Monday 11th July 2016. I had spent the Sunday in bed feeling seriously sick and thinking I either had a bug or had eaten gluten without realising it. Monday I got up and went to work but came home at the end of the day feeling horrendous still. So I had a warm, bubble bath and poured myself a glass of my favourite gin and tonic. I laid back in the bath and was trying to relax and switch off when I just felt a sudden urge to take a pregnancy test. I don’t know where it came from. We still had some from January. I got out of the bath, I peed on the stick (and my hand – ew) and I waited.
I read the instructions three times to confirm to myself exactly what those two pink lines meant. The emotions of that moment are a bit of a blur. To begin with I felt freakishly calm. I wrapped myself in a towel, poured my gin down the sink, popped on a dressing gown and slipped the test into my pocket.
I wish now I had thought up some great way of telling my husband but by the time I had done all of those things the excitement had built massively and I wasn’t quite as calm as I had been. I walked to the office (husband works from home!) with the stupidest of grins on my face. He was on the phone to his sister and so I just said “can I borrow you?” I think he knew that something was going on by the stupid look on my face! He hung up the phone, after saying goodbye and whatnot of course! – and I handed him the test. I didn’t say a word. I wasn’t sure what to say. The rest is kind of blurry aha! We laughed and cuddled and I cried.
It’s funny because there’s numerous other emotions that start to show up after an announcement like this. I imagine an ‘Inside Out’ type scenario in my head whereby an alarm is sounding and hormone/emotion people are running for their stations as practiced in drills and sending out the troops.
Anyway, I sent husband to the shop for some of those tests that are super sensitive and super expensive and tell you in words exactly what’s going on and how far gone you are! While he was gone my thoughts shifted quite dramatically to our first baby. After the calm, the shock, the excitement, the happiness… next came guilt. I felt guilty that I was having a baby, that the first baby never made it and no one knew and now I was replacing it.
And then fear. Cold, heavy fear. What if this one didn’t make it either? I don’t think I could cope with losing another baby. This fear is not something that went away, even when it settled down for a little while, it came back soon enough.
Now I’m one of these annoying, anal people that keep track of my periods on a phone app (made by the same people as the pregnancy app – it’s also a great one, you can find it here!) I do have a kinda valid reason however, because of the PCOS, they’re so irregular that I like to keep an eye on them and know where I am. Thus I knew my last period and was able to use a due date calculator to find out we were 4 weeks 5 days gone.
That initial sickness that alerted me to something being amiss was not my friend. Those first weeks were horrendous. I felt sick all day and night, I was actually sick numerous times throughout the day and night. Urgh. I didn’t want to eat anything at all but knew that I had to try and force something down for the baby’s sake. Hiding it at work was ridiculous too. Try working in a busy nursery and running around after 25 three and four year olds while trying to not throw up. Bad times.
No one talks about the tiredness either. My goodness was I exhausted. Like falling asleep on my lunch break and crashing as soon as I got home from work kind of tired. This lasted for just 2 weeks. By the time I was 6 weeks gone I was so unwell I was missing work and unable to do my job properly because I was spending so much time in the bathroom. I told my manager who was a lot less than supportive and basically said she was going to pretend I hadn’t told her anything because my timing was really shoddy. Thanks for that then!
I’m just like a Princess… or a Duchess, the Duchess.
After nearly passing out soon after this I went to the GP and was informed this wasn’t in fact just morning sickness and so was signed off to rest and given tablets to help me deal with the sickness. I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I didn’t really know what this was but I did know the Duchess of Cambridge suffered with it and I love her so if she could cope, I could cope.
Only coping wasn’t easy. The sickness got worse. I tried everything ginger under the sun which didn’t help at all and now the mere smell of ginger makes me queasy. In the end salt and vinegar walkers crisps were the only thing to help! That and fizzy drinks! Healthy!
My sickness lasted the entirety of my pregnancy. All 40 weeks of it. Overall I had two different types of medication that worked like magic but were still taken away regularly because ‘morning sickness should have gone away by now’ before I ended up at the point of dehydration because I couldn’t even keep water down and was looking at being admitted into hospital, before finally I was given the magic tablets back. I was physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted – exhausted like I have never experienced the true meaning of the word before and then to top it off I was judged by far too many people; including some GPs (you know, those people here to help us!) because “it was only morning sickness and that’s just part of pregnancy”.
I came across an article recently that sums it up really well, you can read it here and please do read it. I feel strongly about this article. I consider myself quite lucky because although I suffered with HG all the way through my pregnancy, it was mild compared to some! It did certainly make this pregnancy hard and interesting though and I wish people had a better understanding of it. To be supported and believed would have made such a difference when it came to dealing with Doctors and coworkers. I ended up leaving a job I loved because of the lack of support I got. No pregnant woman should have to worry about that.
And then my body broke too.
Unfortunately the HG was just the first of many complications and hurdles throughout my pregnancy.
At 26 weeks I developed SPD or PGP as it’s also known.
“SPD is a collection of uncomfortable symptoms caused by a stiffness of your pelvic joints or the joints moving unevenly at either the back or front of your pelvis. SPD is not harmful to your baby, but it can cause severe pain around your pelvic area and make it difficult for you to get around.
Different women have different symptoms, and PGP is worse for some women than others. Symptoms can include:
– pain over the pubic bone at the front in the centre
– pain across one or both sides of your lower back
– pain in the area between your vagina and anus (perineum)
Pain can also radiate to your thighs, and some women feel or hear a clicking or grinding in the pelvic area. The pain can be most noticeable when you are:
– going upstairs
– standing on one leg (for example, when you’re getting dressed or going upstairs)
– turning over in bed
– it can also be difficult to move your legs apart – for example, when you get out of a car
So yeah, that was fun! By the end of my pregnancy I couldn’t get in or out of the bath, could barely get out of bed unaided, couldn’t get comfy for love nor money no matter how many cushions I packed myself in with, I couldn’t walk very far at all, I regularly got stuck trying to get out of the car and needed a shove on the backside to fully exit the vehicle (and which husband enjoyed far too much!), and to be honest I was just all in all pretty grumpy. Poor Husband!
The end is nigh!
And then more of my organs broke – but still things were looking up!
I also ended up being diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes at the end of the line too. Luckily near enough to the end that I didn’t need treating and they wouldn’t let me go over my due date so I had a light at the end of the tunnel knowing when my baby would arrive!
The other main hurdle we faced throughout pregnancy was my own mental health. This is something I would like to cover in more detail at a later point though.
However, all of that said, I tried my best to remain as positive and upbeat as I could. I still felt incredibly lucky to be pregnant and for my baby to be healthy at the end of each day! Seeing my baby growing on each scan was just the most magical and reassuring thing!
Finding out she was a girl made me so ridiculously happy and made it all seem so real! I began buying beautiful dresses as soon as we found out! She’ll love them I’m sure!