A plea to Mother Nature – Mystery Mum

bump question markMystery Mum is now into her second month of trying to get pregnant with her second baby. I think a lot of you will identify with her feelings of frustration and the emotional rollercoaster of trying to conceive, even at this early stage. We’re eagerly awaiting the next update!

So it turns out we couldn’t get lucky first time again.

Those of you who read my first post last month will know that we conceived our first baby almost without thinking, and I was still cautiously optimistic when I wrote that post that there was a chance it could happen again. Well, it didn’t, and I have learned my lesson for our second time of trying – Calm. The Hell. Down.

Riding on a wave of excitement and giddy anticipation I couldn’t wait to take a test, and did it as soon as I thought something might show up, about 4-5 days before my period was due. Negative. Not to worry, I thought, it’s still pretty early. I tested again on the day my visitor should have arrived. Negative again. And again two days later.

Now I was late, but without a positive test I just couldn’t relax. I felt emotionally all over the place, bursting into tears, then finding the whole ludicrous reaction to nothing in particular completely hilarious. I mentally ticked off each early pregnancy symptom I thought I was experiencing. There were more than a few. My nipples had taken on a life of their own and were protesting in discomfort at the slightest touch; I felt fatigued, bloated, anxious and more. If I wasn’t pregnant, what was going on?

At more than a week overdue, I caved and splashed out on a more expensive digital test, as if that might tell me something the cheaper supermarket ones would not. It didn’t. In fact, seeing the cruel words ‘Not pregnant’ spelled out in front of my eyes was about as much as I could take in my heightened emotional state. I resolved to wait until the following week and make an appointment to see my GP. Something must be wrong.

Maybe feeling like there was no more hope that I actually could be pregnant allowed me to relax just enough – the following day my period arrived. I had had a 37 day cycle, when I’m normally pretty regular between 26-28. Mother Nature had played a cruel trick – or had I brought it all on myself?

I was actually relieved that I had finally got my period – even as it meant we hadn’t got lucky – as it also meant that I had a resolution to over a week of emotional turmoil. We could move on. We could start a new month afresh. Maybe the fact that I felt so wound up about the whole thing had actually knocked my hormones out of whack from the start – had I ovulated late? Maybe. Did it delay the arrival of my period? Possibly. All I knew was I couldn’t go on like that month after month. We all know stress is not the friend of conception.

So this month I have learned my lesson. I’ve consciously tried to be more chilled out about the whole baby-making palaver, and kept my excitement and apprehension in check. I’ve stopped obsessively reading pregnancy websites, stopped symptom watching, stopped fretting about whether I am or not, and just got on with life. I won’t be taking any early tests. Hopefully all will be resolved again one way or another next week.

Maybe we’ll get lucky this time and maybe we won’t. Yes, I’ll be disappointed if we don’t, but not working myself into a frenzy about it has got to be better than the way I felt a few weeks ago. Let’s just hope Mother Nature’s on my side this time.

Follow Mystery Mum on Twitter @BlogsForBabies – look out for #MysteryMum

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Waiting – Sophia Thompson

love in the clouds logoSophia has recently become a mum for the first time through adoption of a little boy named Shipmate. In her first Blogs For Babies post, Sophia busted some myths about adoption for those who wanted to understand a bit more about it. Here she gives us a personal insight into the emotional time waiting to be ‘matched’ with a baby needing to be adopted.

Sophia blogs at www.loveinthecloudsblog.com

“Once we finally felt ready to adopt, after years of heartache, we went through a 2 year process to be approved. Our Adoption Agency Social Worker was lovely, making the process as understanding as she could, though it couldn’t help but feel very intrusive as it needs to be.

The post below is one I wrote during the wait between being approved as a “Prospective Adopter” and bringing our son Shipmate home.”

We had an update from our social worker today. Updates are a double edged sword. It’s a relief to have news and hear things are in the pipeline but also a reminder of the wait and that there is a birth family going through turmoil somewhere. I try to keep busy. Making my Love In The Clouds things really helps. It stops me obsessing about all the scenarios our future could hold for an hour or two. But as soon as I’ve had an update my mind goes into overdrive!

There are a few little ones that may need homes. She is keeping an eye on things in case we can be put forward as adopters for them. Everything is still uncertain though and we won’t know if we are ruled in or out for another month or so. Though rationally I know it’s not that long, it seems like forever!

Earlier this year, we got until a week prior to a little one coming home when we were told it couldn’t go ahead. Nobody’s fault, just that things can change at any time in waiting to adopt. It’s people’s lives and people are complicated. We had let our hopes get up though. We had to prepare for it going ahead so had the nursery ready, clothes, bottles, the whole shebang. It was so painful packing the room up afterwards…

somedaySince then, like I say, I’ve tried really hard to stay busy and not let my mind run away. Now that we are getting to only a month-ish away from hopefully getting some certainty about these little ones it’s getting harder. My heart is taking over. It’s forcing me to think about what it would be like if it was finally time to meet our child. I’m having to keep it in the back of my mind as I plan things in my diary and say “yes I could do that but let’s make a backup plan just in case…”

Sometimes the wait gets painful. Knowing our child could be out there waiting for us but we can’t be with them feels like my heart is being squeezed in my chest. I also think of the birth families’ pain right now and how that must be hundreds of times this.

It’s such a complex process, adoption. Through my experience of meeting birth parents in my previous work, I have never met one I didn’t feel sadness or empathy for. Not that there haven’t been times I feel frustrated with them or think there are some choices they have made that are plain wrong, whatever their background or reasons, but still the pain of losing their child has been so tangible. You can feel it in the air. I’ve held a birth mother in my arms as she wept after the court announced they felt the best interest of the child was adoption.

Even though there will be good reason for our child to need adoption by us (to protect them, or birth family’s choice) and even though we will be excited to become new parents, I still feel the sadness within the situation.

I had a weepy day this week. We went to a beautiful christening, a really joyous day. Towards the end we had photos and I suggested getting all the little ones together. They were all cutely sat on the grass when I suddenly had an overwhelming sadness that the baby we had been matched to earlier this year wasn’t there. I had to run off to the bathroom for a little cry then put a brave face on. Mr Thompson noticed and gave me a hug without needing to ask. Sometimes I think he’s secretly psychic! I am seriously lucky to have such an understanding husband

That feeling lasted all day with me though. That gaping ache in my heart.

Adoption comes with feelings of loss all around. The painful loss of a birth family no longer caring for the child. The loss for the child of birth family, foster carers and all that is familiar (even if the familiar wasn’t good for them) and loss for us of every child we put ourselves forward for.

I just keep saying to myself it will be worth it in the end. That when we are matched with our little soul mate we will look back and say we are glad that happened as we wouldn’t be this exact family otherwise. I hope so. Sometimes hope is all you feel you have when you’re waiting. I’ll cling onto that though.

We need to be strong and ready “just in case”…

Follow Sophia on Twitter @LoveCloudDesign

MAMA Academy ‘Made to Measure’ campaign

new logo backgroundWhilst I am Blogs For Babies editor, I am also Media Coordinator for the wonderful pregnancy charity MAMA Academy (amongst other things!) so I was delighted to be involved in the launch of the Made to Measure campaign which aims to reduce the UK’s shocking stillbirth rates – still among the highest in Western Europe.

pilogoMade to Measure is all about promoting uptake of the Perinatal Institute’s Growth Assessment Protocol (GAP) programme by all hospital trusts providing a maternity service. This is recommended practice, nationally endorsed by NHS England, but there are still a sizeable number of trusts that have not yet signed up for GAP training – and the implications of this are serious.

The GAP programme is designed to enable midwives to more accurately measure the growth of a baby in the womb by plotting the symphysis fundal height measurements (that your midwife takes with a tape measure) on a specially customised growth chart, unique to the mother. This takes into account the mother’s height, weight, ethnicity, and previous obstetric history to more reliably indicate if the baby is becoming growth restricted – a sign that the placenta may be failing and a key early indicator of the risk of stillbirth.

bump 3If every trust was to adopt the GAP programme in their maternity service, using the customised charts and the package of training for midwives, obstetricians and ultrasonographers that ensures all professionals involved in the care of women are properly educated in their use, it is estimated that 1000 babies could be saved each year. By detecting more growth restricted babies, we can greatly increase their chances of being born safely.

How you can help

  • Head on over to the Made to Measure campaign page on the MAMA Academy website to read all about GAP and find some related links.
  • Use the example letter on the MAMA Academy website to email your local Head of Midwifery and encourage them to sign upto GAP training.
  • Email contact@mamaacademy.org.uk to share your story of having a baby affected by growth restriction with MAMA Academy, to add to a list of case studies for media requests.
  • Email contact@mamaacademy.org.uk if you are interested in becoming a campaign ambassador in your area.
  • Write a post on your own blog to help promote the campaign or share a post with Blogs For Babies and I’ll publish your story here.
  • Follow @MAMAAcademy on Twitter and like their Facebook page facebook.com/MAMAAcademy for regular updates on the campaign as more trusts are encouraged to sign up. Help promote the campaign on social media using the hashtags #1000babies and #Made2Measure.

Made to Measure flyer