Pregnancy

Rex Monday Stewart, 7lbs 12oz, Friday 18th May 2018

Long time, long long time!

My last three blog posts were written during the hardest, most amazing and crazy experiences of my entire life – my pregnancy. I’ve thought about writing out my birth story countless times and I’ll be honest, I could barely even tell my friends about it while holding my tiny newborn in my arms. It was beautiful and frightening, amazing and horrible, wonderful and brutal all wrapped into one. Here goes…

Reduced fetal movement plagued the last two months of my pregnancy, I had experienced it in my second trimester but it really ramped up in my third. He was lazy and boisterous all at the same time – the days where I didn’t feel his hardcore kicks and instead replaced by slow strange movements I’d grow concerned. The fourth episode concluded in a scan and the discovery that I had increased amniotic fluid which was a tell tale sign of late onset gestational diabetes. I was terrified and panicked – all I wanted was my little boy in my arms to keep a close eye on him and nurture him to make sure he was safe. I felt like I was failing, I know now that I wasn’t but at the time, it was just awful. They decided to induce me at 37 weeks + 1 day on Wednesday, 16th May 2018.

We were told to call on the morning of my induction date to make sure that my 10am slot was still available for me – I called, they were quick to remind me that they were very short staffed and to come in at 1pm instead. I had already been awake the majority of the night from pregnancy and mainly, nerves. I decided to wrap myself up in some admin work until we had to make our way to the hospital.

1pm arrived, we arrived at the Maternity Hospital to be told to wait in the waiting room and that I may not be induced on that day. Safe to say, I was furious – furious that I was being put through potentially waiting further and for my tiny baby to be in a potentially unsafe environment for that much longer than necessary. I was the unsafe environment and it was hitting me hard that I needed to get this going. Luckily, they came through and told us there was a bed available – HALLELUJAH!

The induction process was the Cooke Balloon Catheter – I had been told at my antenatal classes that these were being trialled (the word ‘trialled’ always makes me feel like a bit of a guinea pig and I was worried) but hey ho, off we went.. With my legs in stirrups, I looked at Andy and I knew he could tell I was terrified. They had provided gas & air, surely this isn’t a wonderful experience?! It wasn’t as bad as I thought but unluckily for me, I had prompted to take the gas & air which made me feel a million different types of nauseous. YAY. After what felt like 5 minutes but was actually 45 minutes we were on our way to our little corner of the Maternity Hospital to wait it out. The balloon catheter should fall out if you get to 3cm dilated then it’s go time – if it doesn’t fall out, you may need further assistance and of course, longer to wait. It had to stay in for 24 hours and as I was high risk I wasn’t allowed to go home – thank goodness I didn’t because the pain the catheter caused made me lose approximately 6 hours of time. I remember vomiting and the rest of the evening is a blur of pain.

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 21.22.18Thursday 17th, we spent the entire day on the ward – I was contracting incredibly irregularly and waiting, waiting… We had been told that with the closure of the maternity unit, the labour ward was incredibly busy and we were pretty low on the list to be moved through. My balloon catheter was removed 25 hours after insertion and I was a “favourable 3.5cm” but no, we wouldn’t be going to the labour ward anytime soon and the only thing that would help me contract regularly was Pitocin (the hormone drip) which I could only have inserted on the labour ward. So I was stuck, contracting at 3.5cm for approx. 20 hours.

Friday 18th, I hadn’t slept since Tuesday night (and that wasn’t really sleeping), I’d barely eaten anything due to the nausea my intermittent contractions were causing and I had just decided that I was never leaving that ward, I was never having my baby (man, lack of sleep makes me dramatic) Luckily, just as I was losing my shit, at 4am, a wonderful midwife came through to take me to the labour ward – I shouted straight away that I wanted an epidural (NOT in my birth plan, but Wednesday evening showed me the pain I may encounter along the path to my baby)

The Labour Ward:

I got changed into a bee-a-utiful hospital gown and my waters were artificially broken. Hmm.. that wasn’t too bad I thought! Holy Jesus, my contractions kicked up a notch, with every contraction came a tidal wave of vomit. Poor Andy had to really step up to catch it all in countless cardboard hospital bowls – ew! My epidural was administered (in between vomit spells) I was so excited for the relief… it never came. The epidural had only taken to my left side and was only up to my knee – helpful! I had been warned that it may not work for everyone. A few anaesthesiologists later and we had managed to make it work up to my rib cage on my left hand side – I could still feel my entire right hand side. MAN that cold spray they use to check if you can feel anything is hideous! The midwife was begging me to let her start the Pitocin drip to increase my contractions but I was terrified and I just could not do it without trying to get this epidural to work! Five hours later and it had taken to both sides but was weak – I was okay with this. Mild relief.

So, you say some crazy shit when you’re in labour. My Mum had arrived by this point and I just remember telling my midwife I was “spurting” like a fountain – my waters were still gushing out of me and yeah, there was a lot. I was basically in a tiny little bed shaped swimming pool – it wasn’t too bad actually but my midwife was quick to change that!

I had read so many mothers mention how you just go into a bit of a rabbit hole whilst in labour, I swear Wednesday to the evening of Friday was just a blur of needles, blood, buttons, midwives, questions – I relied on Andy and my Mum for so much as I just was barely able to answer anything I was asked.

1pm came around and they told me I was fully dilated – this was a miracle to me as I felt like I would only be 4 or 5cm when examined! I did not, however, realise that I had to wait a further two hours for my little babe to make his own way down the birth canal before I could start pushing. My determination took a hit then and I realised that I had to deal with the contractions (my epidural was still patchy) for another two hours.

3.15pm – I got the go ahead to start pushing and my midwife talked me through 3 pushes to a contraction. I was determined to give birth on my knees and was told that given that I had an epidural this probably wasn’t going to be possible. I was DETERMINED – three or maybe even four tries and I was on my knees, I could barely feel my legs holding me up and was focused on holding onto the top of the bed with full force to ensure my numb bottom half would work with me!! I was told that when the head was coming I would be told to pant to ensure minimal or no tearing. Although, my contractions were still sporadic and he was stuck with just his head out for 6 minutes – the longest 6 minutes of my life. During this time it was also noted that he had his cord wrapped around his neck. The midwife was talking to my tiny babe as he was half in/half out! Lovely! There it came, my final contraction – unfortunately, my little babe was too quick for all the panting nonsense and zoomed out! 3.32pm and he was brought right up into my arms.

The labour ward was short staffed, we knew – Rex came so quickly that my midwife had no time to call for back up. It was very quickly noted that he was purple/blue and he hadn’t cried – why hadn’t he cried?! Andy cut the cord and he was scooped up and my midwife ran out of the room while a multitude of buzzers went off around us. As planned, if anything were to happen, my Mum would go with Rex and Andy would stay with me. There we were, just Andy and me, it hadn’t been that way for a while! Unfortunately, I didn’t imagine that this would be in a room with my blood spattered all over the floor.

What felt like hours but was actually minutes later, my Mum ran in to tell me he was fine and he had peed on the chief midwife – well done, Rex!

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I suffered a third degree tear, with surgery and all I lost 1.609L of blood. I thought I was pale!!!

I still don’t believe he’s mine, I still don’t believe that I held him in my belly for nearly 9 months and then gave birth to him all on my own. My tiny human is 14 weeks and 3 days old and I’m still in disbelief and in awe of him every single day.

It was long – well done for staying to the end!

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Pregnancy

‘Get Some Sleep While You Still Can!’

… I would, I really wish I could – that’d be fab.

Honestly, I was so excited by the prospect of having an excuse to be asleep the majority of the day. Andy, my Mum, actually telling me off for NOT sleeping – it seemed perfect. Unfortunately, this was just not to be because no one tells you that even though you are gut wrenchingly exhausted 99.9% of the day – your body is like NU UH GIRL KEEP GOING YOU DON’T NEED NO SLEEP. (I don’t know who/what I just channelled there to play the part of my subconscious but I like her, she’s sassy.)

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During my second trimester, I found that going to sleep around 11pm and waking up around 10am was my jam. Genuinely, if I was waking up any earlier than 10am and attempting to start the day I would just feel completely nauseated and end up with my head down the toilet by approximately 6pm. (Yeah, the nausea has been a thing the whole way through for me – not just the first trimester. WOO!)

Queue the third trimester, I am now much more comfortable with early mornings but find that I’m in need of a nap by around 11am – the great thing is, I can generally persevere without murdering anyone until about 3/4pm and then I really need to lie down. I’m actually okay with this, it means my sleep routine is ever so slightly more stable and I actually enjoy being alert(ish) and awake early on in the day, even if it does mean I’m going to bed between 8pm and 10pm.

Now, this is all bullshit really because between going to bed and waking up in the morning – that is when the fun really happens.

Just a few of my night time rendezvous:

Wake to go to the bathroom (approximately 29399047580 times), wonder if Baby Bear’s okay, count kicks, can’t fall asleep again, finally fall asleep, repeat.

Pelvic pain (holy crap what is that all about by the way?!), my hips feel like they are supporting 20 of me and make the fucking weirdest noises! Round ligament pain (WHY DOES NO ONE TELL YOU ABOUT THAT BEFORE YOU’RE PREGNANT?!) Yes, I’m naive – I figured my body would just casually stretch like a blossoming flower to accommodate my growing baby, nope – from below my boobs to my pubic bone feels like a balloon being pulled over a bowling ball. These two symptoms along with casual nausea and back pain mean you spend the first hour or so in bed constantly changing positions like an overly stimulated walrus. Pregnancy pillows are great, but they only do so much and my darling other half seems to be enjoying stealing mine at the minute.

Once I do finally get into that super comfortable position of two pillows propping me up slightly (for the heartburn, of course), my pregnancy pillow under my head tilting me slightly to the left and also between my knees and my feet (to ensure my hips are in the correct position), my snuggly little Eeyore toy firmly in between my pregnancy pillow and my belly to soften that stomach pain and also ensuring that I sleep on my left because IF YOU SLEEP ON YOUR BACK OR YOUR RIGHT SIDE IT CAN RESTRICT THE AIR FLOW TO YOUR BABY AND YOUR PLACENTA AND THEN THE WORLD EXPLODES. Yes, after all of this, I finally find the perfect position and it is glorious, then my little bundle of joy does a playful little kick to say goodnight and low and behold I NEED TO PEE. Back to square one, thank you munchkin.

I can’t sleep, breathe or walk properly – how am I supposed to find the energy to glow?!?! However, pregnancy is the most amazing excuse for feeling like crap EVER. I rant, I rave, I am struggling for sure – he’s testing me quite a bit but I cannot wait to meet my little boy. I am so incredibly in love with someone I have never met and that love grows each and every day (as does the love for my amazing husband to be for actually tolerating this mess)

Just a short while longer, Baby Bear. We love you. ♡Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 15.49.22

 

Pregnancy

They said there’d be glowing and shit…

After finding out I was expecting at 4 weeks – I had a wonderful week and a bit of blissful pregnancy, literally walking around thinking I was nailing this pregnancy shit. (oh, first timers – ignorance is bliss)

DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUN – HEY, NAUSEA. OH, AND VOMIT –  A LOT OF VOMIT.

I will be doing a blog post of ALL of my pregnancy symptoms however, it feels only right, to give this wonderful one it’s own little corner of the internet for any other first time mamas to read and feel: A. super chuffed because they have had no nausea or B. thankful that others have been just as miserable as them.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have HG* thankfully and I am so impressed with the volume of women in the UK that go through this awful experience and so grateful every day that I am not one of them.

HG* = Hyperemesis Gravidarum – persistent severe vomiting leading to weight loss and dehydration, as a condition occurring during pregnancy with most ending in continuous hospitalisation.

Yes, I have had persistent vomiting but, I have managed to force feed myself food and water and some of the time (albeit a small amount) managed to keep it down. Basically, I have managed to save myself from dehydration – even though I did end up at the Doctors twice with suspected dehydration but luckily I was always sent home with some more antiemetics (stop-being-sick pills) and advice.

So, it all started slowly with what felt like motion sickness here and there. It peaked one lovely Sunday evening when Andy and Cleo were having a Chinese and the smell hit me in the hallway – within seconds I was vomiting my nutritious meal for the day of cucumbers and water.

Since then, it all went downhill – you develop this wonderful cycle of nausea, taking an antiemetic, severe hunger which leads to nausea, eating, nausea, taking an antiemetic – you get the picture, right?

The nausea stopped me right in my tracks and I went from a social, pretty positive person to someone who wanted to be in bed on my own all the time and I literally hated everyone and didn’t want to see ANYONE including my Other Half. (By the way, that’s a problem when you live with them, thankfully, he is AMAZING and just left me alone and fetched me things when I was cranky and vomiting my life away.)

The only thing that got me through was the permanent idea/advice that at 12 weeks it all disappeared as the placenta took over producing hormones for my baby and my body wasn’t being as drained – HAHAHAHAHAHAHA this was a lie for me. I am currently nearly 15 weeks and I spent the best part of last night on my bathroom floor with a pillow. Sometimes, if I’m feeling especially risky, I sit on my kitchen floor with my back door open and my trustee bucket. But honestly, I’m just one of those people that hates being sick anywhere other than the toilet – other than when intoxicated, of course.

So, enough about vomit, here’s a small list of things that get me through the nausea (sometimes). OH! Also, please note that this is my own personal experience and absolutely everyone’s pregnancies are different but if I can even help one person who is feeling awful, that’s enough for me!

  1. AIR! Go outside, get some fresh air – luckily it’s permanently 0 degrees in Scotland right now which is perfect for me.
  2. When you feel that thick hot saliva feeling in your mouth, take a sip of water and hold it in your mouth – slowly sipping it down. This should cool down your mouth and maybe stop you from losing your lunch.
  3. Fruit and vegetables high in water – cucumbers and watermelon. They hydrate you and trick your body into thinking it’s actually eating.
  4. Ice lollies – the shitty kids ice poles. Again, HYDRATE!
  5. Rest. The biggest help for me was being horizontal. It’s the only time I got relief from that overwhelming feeling of nausea.

All my thoughts were invested in self-preservation, knowing that if I continued to be sick my little June bug was potentially gaining less nutrients (I know that’s BS but the guilt is awful) – luckily, I’m slowly learning to deal with the fact that I will probably be sick at least once a day and bouncing back from it a little quicker.

All you nauseous mamas to be – YOU ARE NOT ALONE. When you’re lying on that bathroom floor at 9am, 1pm, 4am (because MORNING sickness is a fucking myth) – take comfort in the fact that you are not alone and your midwife/doctor are on hand for you. Ask them for help! The drugs might not help but it may give you a few days of respite.

It’s all for the greater good.

Nadine ♥

Pregnancy

“It says you’re pregnant!”

Well… it’s been 71 days since I found out that I’m expecting my little ‘June bug’ and it has been a W H I R L W I N D.

First of all, while maybe the timing is a little off, this baby is so incredibly wanted and loved already. When we found out we were pregnant, (whilst I actually still don’t believe it) we were absolutely elated and adding a little mini-us to our team of weirdos is the best news.

Right, stop rambling, queue the actual *finding out* story:

My body is insane, TMI – my periods are so sporadic, it’s impossible to track anything and a few days late for me is NOTHING. However, on this occasion, I was two days late and just felt ‘weird.’ There is genuinely no other word for it and I remember lying in bed on said night and thinking ‘I’m pregnant.’

The next morning I woke up and thought it was just late night craziness, I couldn’t be pregnant – just forget about it. However, whilst out at lunch I decided that I would pick up a pregnancy test “just in case” – I was at work all day and was short staffed (my fault as I run my own business!) so I was running around like a crazy b*tch. I peed on the stick, put it back in it’s little packet and placed it in my bag, continued with work and completely forgot about it!!! (SO many people have asked how I could have possibly just forgotten about it, but honestly, I did)

Jump forwards an hour and a half, my restaurant is fully set and I have a minute of reflection – umm I should probably check the pee stick, right?! Well, there’s no mistaking this little gem, is there?!

BFP 1

*Queue the frantic phone call to my Mother*

‘You will NEVER guess what?!’ ‘…you’re pregnant’

– WHY DO THEY ALWAYS JUST KNOW?!

We decided we would take a couple more tests together just to be sure – sitting in my house, waiting for the bloody egg timer to do it’s thing (I did not realise how long 3 minutes can be when it’s something as big as whether you are going to grow a human inside your body). My Mother decided she would video the egg timer’s impending result and was absolutely flabbergasted when she missed it (because of her heels being so loud that we didn’t hear the beep of the PT alarm) that she forgot to actually tell me what the result was?!?! “It says you’re PREGNAAAAAAAAAAANT!”

Three tests later and it was confirmed, Clearblue told me very efficiently that I was ‘Pregnant 1-2’ – it’s honestly amazing how your body just knows that something is out of the norm.

Honestly, this might be the most boring blog post some of you have EVER read but for me, this is about documenting all of these moments before a newborn comes and blows them all out of my head with their cuteness and perpetual crying.

Thank you for reading, guys. As I’ve said, the last 71 days have been a whirlwind and more blog posts will definitely follow including some week by week pregnancy updates, what they DO NOT TELL YOU about being pregnant and a few cute little scan pictures for good measure because this is an incredible experience (despite the throwing up!)

Nadine ♥