I wanted to share our journey with you, talking about how we learn to adapt, the ups and downs of pregnancy, and everything in between.
I also want to share my worries, my fears about being pregnant with my many conditions. Hoping that this will help other parents in some way.
Let’s start from the beginning… well not the beginning as I’m sure we all know how babies are made!
I was reluctant to test as early as we did, however Ewan was very keen to know the day I was due my period. I wasn’t going to get my hopes up considering this was our first time trying, in fact I convinced myself that it would take a good few years!
Due to my poor grip, Ewan held one end of the pregnancy test while I pee’d on the test strip. Once the test was complete, Ewan placed the cap back on and put it aside.
The five minute wait felt like forever.
Ewan wanted us to look at the result at the same time – but he would have seen first as it takes a few seconds for my vision to adjust when focusing. He removed his hand to reveal the test window.
“Nah, I’m just seeing things”, I thought.
But Ewan didn’t move an inch, and kept the test still in his hand. He crouched down in front of me, looked me in the eyes, and said, “We’re having a baby!”
Total silence from me… I was in shock and denial. I avoided his gaze and started to cry. This is what we wanted, so why did I react the complete opposite?
Various thoughts were racing around in my head, ‘Can I be a good mum?’, ‘How is this even possible after everything my body has been through?’. That’s when it hit me.
I asked Ewan what the date was, “11th”, he replied after checking his phone. I wanted to speak but the words wouldn’t come out. Instead, I just continued crying. “What’s the matter? I thought this was what we both wanted?” Ewan said, with worry starting to appear in his expression.
“It is, I just never expected to be finding out on the anniversary of me waking up from my coma. Its 2 years today. My body has been through hell and back, what happens if my body can’t handle being pregnant?”
“You’ve overcome so much, fought the odds, your body (physically) may be weak but you are incredibly strong. I will be with you every step of the way and we will take this one day at a time. We’re in this together”, Ewan reassured me.
He is good at reassuring and giving pep talks!
Ewan hugged me tight for a while, then I realised I was still sitting on the commode! So he helped to get me dressed, cleaned me then transferred me onto the stair-lift so we could go downstairs.
The rest of the day passed in a blur, I remember having so many questions I wanted to ask, but didn’t know who to turn to at first.
We told family and a few close friends. Most of them were over the moon for us, but a few were worried.
“How will you cope and care for the baby?” This is the reaction that hurt me the most.
Did people really think we wouldn’t have researched, asked advice, sought medical advice before trying? Did people think we were irresponsible?
Of course I had my own worries, about caring for a baby, how would I do this? Do that? But I never thought for one minute that it would take away my ability to be a mum.
The Booking Appointment
This is basically the first appointment during pregnancy, where you get to meet your midwife, get lots of information and get asked lots of questions, in a nutshell.
Usually, this appointment would have taken about an hour, but we were there for over 2 – mainly due to explaining my conditions and nearly passing out but I will explain a bit more about that below.
I think that having been around many medical professionals (e.g. specialists, consultants) who know about my conditions I had gotten used to different people understanding, when I started to tell the midwife about my conditions, you could see in her expression that she hadn’t heard of a few of them.
I wasn’t annoyed that she didn’t know what they were, if anything, I felt bad because my conditions are complex and I knew this wasn’t going to be easy.
One thing that did make me laugh (in my head) was when she asked us a different question which wasn’t related to anything health-wise. She thought I had finished explaining about my conditions – “Sorry love, we’re only halfway through!”
Once I had finished reeling off my conditions, we knew I would be, but the midwife confirmed that I will be classed as high risk.
Various other things were discussed then she asked if she could take some blood. I did warn her that I may pass out, like a recent attempt, as I’d not had a blood test for quite some time.
It was no surprise that she couldn’t get any blood from my arm, and I almost passed out. I tried to focus on deep-breathing while Ewan ran to the car to get my drink (I had forgotten to take it in with us). Just before he returned, I was still a bit shaky, but I started to feel more aware.
The midwife asked when my last period was, and how many days were in an average cycle. We guessed about 7 weeks, so imagine our surprise when she told us 11 weeks! Ewan and I looked at each other, thinking ‘But that’s not possible…’
Turned out that we were right, she worked out the dates/cycle length again and corrected herself, i was just under 7 weeks.
Just to recap, the booking appointment is the initial appointment during pregnancy, you will get asked lots of questions, have bloods taken (well, try to), blood pressure taken, get to ask any questions, and most importantly, find out how far along you are and when your little bundle of joy is due!
A few days after our booking appointment, I began experiencing brown vaginal discharge. This frightened me at first as I thought it meant I was miscarrying. Ewan contacted our midwife and asked a few questions.
“Was I in any pain?”, “What colour is the discharge?”, “Is it heavy or light?”
I was not in any pain or discomfort, the discharge was brown and it ranged from small blobs to streaks. Our midwife reassured Ewan that brown discharge is common and was most likely old blood, and that if I start experiencing pain or it changes colour, then to ring back or get checked over at hospital.
Just a reminder that I’m not a medical professional, I am only sharing my experiences. If you start experiencing vaginal discharge (any colour, shape, or pain), then please contact your midwife for advice.
Extreme Fatigue and Nausea
I was anxious about the variety of symptoms, that are very common during the first trimester, especially morning sickness as I have a fear of being sick.
I started experiencing nausea just before the booking appointment. I thought this symptom would arise a bit further along, but it can happen quite early on, all the way through pregnancy, or not at all. Also, even though it is known as morning sickness, it can happen anytime during the day or night.
Some days the nausea was manageable, other days not so much – to the point where i wanted to be sick just so the feeling would lessen or go completely (and that’s saying something considering I have a fear).
Another factor that didn’t help matters, was that my medication was changed slightly. I had been taking Ranitidine since my hospital admission, back in March 2018. Ranitidine is for reducing acid in your stomach, i was prescribed this due to the amount of tablets I’m on. My local pharmacy had none in stock/unsure of when it would come back in stock.
My GP prescribed an alternative, but I was skeptical and asked my midwife if it was safe to take while pregnant. It came to light that I shouldn’t have been prescribed it. Instead, I was advised to take Gaviscon – which I have been taking since.
It was a rough week or so, getting used to the change in medication but thankfully it soon eased.
To ease the nausea, I tried ginger biscuits, which i absolutely hated! Seriously, how do people eat more than one? Bleugh! I swore by peppermint Polo’s, 2 a day done the trick.
As for fatigue, blimey… that was in a league of its own! As I already experience fatigue from my conditions, I thought it couldn’t be any worse. I look back at this time and think its laughable as to how naive I was!
It hit me hard – days ended up blurring into one and I couldn’t keep track of what day it was. For a few weeks, i was pretty sure I spent most of that time asleep than awake. It was awful!
You’ll understand why I’ve called them nostalgic cravings…
If you’ve followed me from the beginning, or watched any of my #TryItTuesday videos, then you’ll know I’m not a big fan of trying new foods. This was the phase that Ewan was excited about as he was hoping I would crave many new things
Much to his disappointment, I didn’t crave any new foods or try unusual concoctions. Instead, I just craved everything that I used to eat prior to my hospital admission – this was crisps, chocolate, ketchup, and gravy (thick, not runny).
I changed my eating routine, i used to have 3 meals a day, very rarely a snack on some days. Eating breakfast and dinner was manageable while experiencing morning sickness, but I could no longer stomach eating a cooked meal for lunch, so I snacked on whatever I craved. Not ideal, I know, but it got me through that phase.
Our First Scan
On Monday 11th May, Ewan and I had our first scan and we got to see our Little Avenger for the first time.
I always try and prepare myself for the worst to happen (after consecutive bad things happening in my life, it’s become a habit and my way of coping). I desperately wanted to be hopeful and excited, but I was convinced we were going to be told that there was no baby, or a heartbeat. Especially after what my body has been through.
I was also anxious as, at the time, we were 2 months into a global pandemic, and I, along with every disabled person in the country, was advised to not leave the house due to being classed as ‘high risk’ of contracting Covid-19. Yet, I needed to attend the first scan to check the wellbeing of our baby, and to find out how many weeks I was.
Upon arriving at the maternity department, there was a sign at the entrance which read, ‘Please wait here’, shortly after a nurse approached me and Ewan, and checked out temperature and advised us to wash our hands, which we did.
We went to the reception desk, gave my name and handed my maternity notes to the receptionist. We were told to take a seat. I must admit, it felt very surreal to be sitting amongst pregnant women (excluding Ewan), as we firmly believed that this would never be possible.
After a short while, Ewan stood up and started gathering my things (I assumed my name had been called). Ewan took me into a bay, where a nurse checked my blood pressure and provided me with a bottle to collect a urine sample. We then got told to sit back in the waiting area.
An hour later, my name was called again, but this time for the scan!
The sonographer already knew about how I would need to transfer, and for the bed to be lowered. Tip: Talk to your midwife or the place where you will be having your scan, as it was reassuring to know they knew in advance and had everything in place ready.