Hormones! – Mystery Mum

bump question markAnonymous guest blogger Mystery Mum is getting impatient for the 12 week scan – I’m sure a lot of you will identify with the first trimester anxiety that she talks about. It can be a nervewracking time! This week has also seen her booking appointment to make everything ‘official’. I think some mums-to-be need this first contact with the midwife to make the pregnancy feel more real at a time when you can’t imagine a tiny baby growing inside you! Here’s how our Mystery Mum got on.

Gestation at time of writing: 9+4

General wellbeing: 6/10

In my last post I said that I thought I would be an emotional wreck for a while yet – and that is certainly proving to be true. Being caught in a hormonal hurricane seems to be my overriding symptom these last couple of weeks. I think a lot of it stems from first trimester anxiety, which only really starts to abate after the reassurance of the 12 week scan, but I don’t remember feeling quite so fragile in my last pregnancy.

I was reduced to a gibbering mess after I trod on a fairy light while decorating the tree at the weekend – a problem easily resolved when they no longer worked by purchasing a new set the same day – but my pregnant brain blew it out of all proportion. I just can’t be rational at the moment, no doubt a source of great amusement to those around me who know why I’m overreacting to every little situation.

On the plus side, the nausea I was experiencing has subsided quite a bit, as long as I make sure I eat little and often. My appetite is a bit reduced, and I still don’t really fancy sweet stuff, but having regular snacks seems to help keep my stomach on an even keel. I get easily bloated if something doesn’t settle quite right though, so it’s not all fun and games in my digestive system. Fatigue and uncomfortable boob issues seem to be coming and going now rather than being constant, so hopefully I might be on the way out of the early pregnancy funk.

I was glad to finally get the ball rolling with my antenatal care this week, after feeling slightly cheated last week by a ‘pre-booking’ appointment with my GP, which I had mistakenly thought was going to be my proper booking one. After weighing me, taking my blood pressure and logging my pregnancy on their system, I was out the door with a handful of leaflets about antenatal screening, a community midwife’s contact number, and an empty pee pot to take along to my booking. A bit of an anti-climax after I had been quite psyched up for it.

Fortunately I was able to get a booking appointment early this week and was seen by a lovely student midwife who was very capable and efficient at filling in the reams of paperwork. A health care assistant came in to take my bloods – half an arm’s worth by the looks of it – and after filling three test-tube size vials from my right arm had to poke me in my left for the last sample as my veins failed to cooperate. I raised my only real concern to the midwife, explaining a complication I experienced in my previous pregnancy which, as I suspected, means that I am already considered ‘high risk’ and will be closely monitored. I would like to talk more about this but don’t want to give too much away at this point!

The next step will be waiting for the all-important scan date and an appointment for the consultant clinic at the hospital to discuss my antenatal care and how it might differ from your everyday low risk second time mum. Not sure what to expect but better to be safe than sorry. We didn’t plan dates very well as 12 weeks falls between Christmas and New Year – not the best time of year for so much to be going on but I’m keeping everything crossed for 2015 to start on a high. Also looking forward to coming out of the pregnancy closet so I can actually talk to people about it! Nearly there….

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

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The first trimester is the worst trimester – Mystery Mum

bump question markOur anonymous guest blogger Mystery Mum is enjoying the trials and tribulations of pregnancy with her second child. Here she shares with us the almost inevitable first trimester topic of early pregnancy symptoms – and while she feels lucky in some respects, there is still a lot to cope with! How many of these can you identify with?

Gestation at time of writing: 7+4

General wellbeing: 4/10

Back in the days of just trying to get pregnant rather than actually being pregnant, symptom spotting took over my life. In the two week limbo before we would find out yes or no, I Googled ‘early pregnancy symptoms’ over and over, in the hope that I would have developed another one since the last time I checked and wondered if I was imagining anything I was feeling.

Now approaching 8 weeks, I can tell me from the past that, yes, you were imagining it. In my experience at least, unless you are very unlucky, you won’t genuinely feel much different at all around 4-5 weeks. Since then though, I have been all too aware of how I’m feeling, and I don’t need to Google anything to know just how crappy the first trimester can be. Strangely, I really don’t remember how I felt at this point in my first pregnancy. Maybe like the big birth event itself, nature helps you forget.

Touching a large piece of wood, I have been hugely lucky not to have been sick (yet), but I thought I’d share with you some of the exciting symptoms I am currently putting up with nonetheless.

Fatigue – I’m tired. I mean really tired. Like I nearly nodded off in a meeting at work tired. I get home in the evening and all I want to do is veg on the settee. The good intentions I had of continuing to exercise have already gone out the window as I just don’t have the energy. I’m reliably assured by most websites I’ve looked at that the fatigue will pass and I’ll have a renewed vigour come 12 weeks. We can only hope so. I might have become a sofa cushion by then.

Nausea – I may not have been sick yet but the threat of it is ever present. I haven’t been on the brink of throwing up, but my stomach is not a happy bunny; the best way I can describe it is after you have had a bug and your stomach feels strained and a bit fragile, just generally unsettled. My appetite has reduced but I find I have to eat little and often to avoid getting too hungry as then I just feel ill. It really is quite unpleasant. Stupid hormones.

Food aversions – Rather than craving strange things, I find I have gone off some foods I normally love, namely sweet treats! This I do remember from last time. I lost my sweet tooth completely and the same has happened now. My usual mid-afternoon non-pregnancy craving for chocolate from the vending machine or whatever biscuits and cakes happen to be knocking around the office has gone, replaced by mid-afternoon nausea and a couple of dry Ritz crackers. It’s probably just nature’s way of stopping me eating what I shouldn’t while I’m not doing anything to burn it off. It’s a very strange feeling though just to not fancy a Dairy Milk.

Boobs (file under ‘enormous’ and ‘uncomfortable as hell’) – I’ve been wearing maternity bras for two weeks already. What lifesavers these non-wired, generously-cupped wonder-garments are. Even at 6 weeks, my normally average-sized lady boulders were making a bid for freedom from my regular bras, and the underwire was like a torture device, jabbing me indiscriminately if I moved the wrong way. A properly fitted maternity or nursing bra should be the first purchase of every pregnant woman, and can then be worn every hour of the day if it makes you more comfortable – your unprotected nipples will soon let you know if it’s time to start leaving it on at night.

Bloating and general digestive discomfort – I’m already sporting a generous stomach, as if I’ve just sat down in a comfy chair after a good Sunday dinner. As far as I can tell, it’s entirely made up of highly attractive bloating. My body is further betraying me by making me burp for Britain, regardless of whether I’ve just eaten or drunk anything that may cause it. It’s all very ladylike.

Vivid dreams – This is a weird one. Whether caused by hormones or just as a consequence of the million thoughts going round my head all the time, every night I am having intricate and really involved dreams, that I clearly remember when I wake up, before I start thinking about all the conscious stuff again and forget about them. If nothing else, they’re very entertaining.

Being an emotional wreck – I cry at something about once a day, at least. I find that I am more likely to cry at something nice, as rather than just be happy about it, I blub uncontrollably. The day the John Lewis penguin ad came out nearly finished me off.

Next week I finally have my antenatal booking appointment, which has felt like a lifetime in coming, then it’s all downhill to Christmas and the impending 12 week scan, whenever that might fit in. I can see me being an emotional wreck for a while yet.

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

Coping with severe pregnancy sickness – ‘Resident Blogger’ Susanne

RB pic - SusanneIn her first post as a Blogs For Babies Resident Blogger, the lovely Susanne tells us her experience of severe pregnancy sickness, and gives her top tips for getting through what can be a debilitating and exhausting condition for lots of expectant mums.

Susanne is currently in the second trimester of her 4th pregnancy. Read more about Susanne and the other Resident Bloggers here.

Susanne blogs at ghostwritermummy.co.uk

I knew I was pregnant before I even took the test, and it wasn’t just a faint niggling at the back of my mind. It was a constant gnawing and nagging nausea that gave the game away this time. By six weeks I was a wreck, vomiting pretty much all day and suffering terrible nausea in between. I dragged my sorry self to the GP with the toddler under my arm and announced that I was with child, and not feeling great. At this point, I expected a little sympathy and a lot of empty advice, such as try some ginger biscuits, or suck some polo mints.

What I got though, was entirely different. I got a GP who listened. One who believed in prevention rather than cure. One who saw that I was very very dehydrated, tired of being sick, and unable to cope like this with three children, a full time job and a husband that works away.

My GP prescribed me anti-sickness medicine, telling me that I could either take the tablets, or I could spend a couple of days in the hospital. I took the tablets, promised I would return if things didn’t get better, and gritted my teeth through the last minute suggestion to stop at the shops for some gingernut biscuits.

And so my fourth pregnancy has been unlike any other so far. My girls were both born following incredibly easy pregnancies, and my pregnancy with my son had been similarly fraught with sickness, but I had never experienced anything like this. The days were so so long, especially on the first tablets I was given. These made me terribly drowsy, which meant I was unable to take any until bedtime. For most of the day I was literally on my knees, often in tears, and wracked with guilt at not being able to be a mum to the kids. I relied so heavily on my eldest to help with the little ones and by the time the weekend rolled around and my husband was home, I was broken.

The second set of medication that I was prescribed are the real deal. The stuff they give to chemo patients. Medication, I was told, that is usually prescribed after several hospital admissions. I will always be grateful to my GP for keeping me out of the hospital. Within a couple of days, the medication took hold and the fog started to lift.

Being so, so ill for a good ten weeks has given me lots of food for thought. I’m not usually one to take medication readily, but I know that these little white pills have saved me this time. I am not about to stop taking them (I tried that a couple of times, and found myself back at square one each time) but I am keen to find ways to reduce my dependence on them. These are the things I’ve been doing to try and combat the sickness, alongside the tablets:

A good vitamin tablet. My midwife recommended this to me, telling me that a pre-natal vitamin was a good idea for all pregnant women, throughout the whole pregnancy. Apparently there have been cases of rickets in the UK so the vitamins are recommended for this reason, but my midwife swears that they will also help with the nausea and sickness too. On the days where I am unable to eat very much, I feel reassured by taking my tablet… providing it stays down, of course.

Water (and Vimto). I drink as much as I can, but at first this was not easy. I spent a good few weeks feeling intensely nauseous at the very idea of water, and so a crazy addiction to Vimto kicked in. These days, water goes down a lot better than it did, but for the days where it makes my stomach roll, I suck on ice cubes instead. It’s so so important to stay hydrated.

Sleep. Some days, it is all that helps. Most days, it is impossible to achieve, and many nights have seen me hugging the toilet bowl rather than sleeping. But rest/sleep really does help. On the days that follow good nights, I have noticed a marked difference and so I do try to rest when I can.

Swimming. I read that it can help with the nausea, which is pretty much constant for me, especially during the evenings. I joined the local swanky hotel pool and I swim three times a week now. For me, it is a chance to have some time to myself, and to think and to connect a little with my body. I focus on my breathing, and I swim. It helps to calm me and on days where I feel less than 100%, that disappears in the water.

Pilates. This is another way for me to connect with my body a little more. It started in a bid to ready my body for my much wanted VBA3C but now it is certainly a little more spiritual. Each and every day now begins with 40 minutes of Pilates, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I started this at 14 weeks – it would have been impossible any earlier. It feels as though I have been doing it for a lifetime. Again, I focus on my breathing and when the nausea strikes at other times, I have been known to breathe deeply and stretch my way through it…

Loose clothes. This was one of the first ways that I found to ease the sickness and nausea. I was in maternity clothes at ten weeks this time around, despite having no bump at all to speak of. Looser clothes are essential.

Now at almost 20 weeks, I finally think I have a handle on the sickness, or ways that I can manage it, and I no longer suffer in silence. If I am feeling unwell, I ask for support. Pregnancy can be so so hard in so many ways and severe sickness and nausea is not to be taken lightly. If you’re suffering, try the above, but please please also speak to your GP. I found the earliest weeks of this pregnancy so isolating and very dark, to the point where some days I wished that the pregnancy was over. Now I am able to see things with a little more clarity, I just wish I had had someone to hold my hand back then.

Follow Susanne on Twitter @Ghostwritermumm

If you need help or advice about pregnancy sickness, check out the Pregnancy Sickness Support website or find them on Twitter @HGSupportUK