Wednesday, 13 July 2011

My Pregnancy Continued - My babies a vampire and other stories

So 24 weeks into my pregnancy and it was time to attempt a holiday. It was my first one with Ash and was just for a week down to Devon for my friends wedding weekend and then Plymouth my old home town for a few days. I'm going to do a separate post about it but just to say I had a great time. It was really good for the pair of us to get away from everything, good for our relationship, great to see my friends, but in one aspect a nightmare as I was in the stage of HORRIFIC backache. I managed but it did make things less enjoyable/ carefree and easy at points.
26 weeks 4 days
I was properly developing a bump now, after so long of not having one and being worried about it. However on the down side, I was also suffering from horrible Anemia. My iron levels were decreasing still without me knowing and I didn't realise that was what was making me feel so awful.

Walking up the small hill to work or just a couple of stairs when there would feel like wading through mud. I'd often get the same horrible sensations in my head n chest of a pressing heaviness, weakness in the rest of my body and a urgent need to sit down. As it got worse, even being sat at the computer booking on would get too hard, lifting my arms up to type was like lifting them through a bog. I started having to go to the toilets to lie down on the floor at different points during the day. However I still carried on dragging my sorry self to work every day and my clueless line manager had no idea what an effort this was, but I couldn't risk anymore time off work ill.

Around this time, my pregnant work friend Tasleen had finally reached the time for her maternity leave, as she was due a month before me, and we had a leaving lunch for her and brought her some nice presents for her send off. I was going to miss her, but now I couldn't wait until it was my turn to leave, but that wouldn't be until half way through June! Being the end of April it was also Ashley's birthday (the same day as the Royal wedding), so despite being so ill I made a huge effort every night after work making him a momentous birthday card, as I wanted it to be special, and then helping out at his birthday BBQ after I'd worked Saturday morning. I managed surprisingly to last quite late into the night.....I didn't want to be a let down and have to go off to bed like so many other times before during this pregnancy.

I sewed on beads to spell his name

No thanks to my useless GP practice midwife I had actually started getting treatment for my anaemia. The antenatal department at Leeds General Infirmary are great and I was finally getting seen my the Dr's there. They started me on a gentle iron tablet, pregaday i think it was called, but that didn't seem to be working. Although during this treatment I was unlucky enough to get a severe vomiting bug, I couldn't swallow even water, let alone anything else with out throwing up for a few days, so I missed out on the tablets then, as well as being off work again :/ and missing the chance on the bank holiday Monday (May 2nd)  to meet up with some of my uni friends I hadn't seen for ages.
Even though the tablets were gentle, it was still affecting my G.I condition. So these were two reasons they switched me to the syrup - Sytrol I think. However this only acted to increases the flare up of my Crohns disease and I was loosing even more blood and feeling even worse.
 Still I tried my best to carry on, going to work and dealing with how bad I felt in the mornings by escaping to go and sit on the toilet floor every now and then, and drinking as much orange juice with my meds as I could (not just a craving, but it helps you absorb iron) and eating emergency chocolate raisins (they contain iron).

On my birthday we had the day off work and attempted a day out. Our first stop was town where I almost passed out in Tesco and then ended up having to sit on the floor in an isle in Boots. Wasn't the best start, but got myself some fruit and raisins and we got the bus to Roundhay Park and then walked through to get to Tropical World. Our walk interrupted by the several points when I again had to take a break and sit on the floor when I was feeling close to passing out. Luckily as the day progressed I started to feel better (it was always a lot worse in the mornings for some reason) and managed to enjoy Tropical world, the butterflies flying around us and wanted to rescue the Golden Lion Tamerins and take them home with us.
So I managed a birthday day out, although I was a bit upset by nighttime as it had been a bit of a disappointing birthday, besides the day trip, but I'll write about that in my Birthday post. It could have been a lot worse though, and I'm glad Ashley took the day off with me.

During these weeks I had gone through a bit of a break down stage, maybe partly hormones, maybe depression or just myself coming around to dealing with the fact I was really having a baby. As much as I love her and want her, as she wasn't planned and a complete shock, it can be harder to get your head around the fact you are going to become a mother and your life is changing immensely. Especially as I had only just recently got my life back on track due to my long term illness and just started living again after missing out on so much. There is so much I want to be able to do, just normal things like a holiday abroad, nights out with friends, camping, paint balling, as well as sorting a career out, as my life was stuck in limbo for a very long time previously.
So upsettingly for a while I did go through feelings of not wanting her, well that's not true, I wanted her, but to be able to delay it for a couple of years, so I could do the things I'd wanted to do. I felt horrifically down.
I know I will still be able to do these things but I won't have my freedom or my money for myself or time to enjoy just being me and Ash (as I've been too ill during pregnancy) but at the same time my life will be better because I will have my beautiful baby girl, who I can't wait for and will be able to do so much with her and I know how lucky I am, because at one stage I did worry about my fertility due to illness and such and cried at the thought of not being able to have children. So it was just a stage I had to progress through, and I've realized was totally natural.

Back to my actual bump, at work certain people (who are lovely people really, but haven't had babies for like 20 years and didn't seem to think about what they were saying) were starting to quite upset me with the comments about my bump "My god you're huge!" etc. I wasn't, but that didn't affect how it made me feel, and did start to make me feel paranoid about my bump size. The day after I'd had a few comments I had my next hospital antenatal appt, where my iron was switched and she mentioned I would probably have to have infusions if this didn't work, I also got measured as with every hosp appt. I'd been measuring exactly on the average line for bump size, but today I measured 3cm under the line.....I was too small for my stage (30 weeks and 1 day)....and after people had been calling me huge it was the last thing I expected! That partly cheered me up and partly worried me, but not too much as I wasn't massively under the shaded area, but just to make sure because of my Crohn's disease the Dr wanted me to have a growth scan the next day to check baby was growing ok.

Our baby girl
Her face: 30 weeks 2 days
So May the 20th I had another scan, which Ash came to as well (which was a relief as had had some major issues with him this week, about whether he had any interest at all in our baby and I had been incredibly upset and worried by his responses) and I was a tiny bit nervous, but mostly excited to see our baby girl again. The sonographer was lovely and told me how my little wriggler had got herself into a funny position, already head down but kind of diagonal and sideways....doesn't make much sense, but explained why my bump was measuring small. She took all babies measurements, inc body, blood n oxygen flow through the umbilical cord and the surrounding fluid and with quite a bit of difficulty the head measurements, considering she'd squished her head low down where there wasn't much space and it turned out she was measuring exactly as she should be for 30 weeks and 2 days gestation, completely average and fine :) It was a lovely experience as we got to see her face ....and she appeared to be pulling faces and blowing bubbles and also playing with her umbilical cord. It was amazing to see her face so clearly and to see her doing real baby things! It may sound daft, but even though I feel her moving all the time, it is still hard to grasp I have a living being in my tummy! It was also lovely to see Ash smiling and laughing as baby was pulling faces. I think it really helped him feel connected again, as it must be hard if you're not carrying it yourself. Being a woman, the baby is with you every second of every day, you're never apart, so scans are a really good experience for fathers.

Ash ran the BBQ for everyone
By 31 weeks I was moving towards the last few days of work before going on leave. I hadn't wanted to as it would mean less time with my baby, but because of my anaemia I had brought my maternity leave forward 2 weeks. I was struggling and needed to stop work. Despite still being unwell, with it being the last few days, they were easier to get through.Plus my stage of awful backache had worn off (being replaced my horrific rib ache and hip pain from sleeping at night) and also I was getting exciting deliveries from mother care of baby items for me and my friend Mel and a big storage/changing unit so I could finally start organizing the nursery. So that took my mind off things. (Especially the day where pregnant and very anaemic I decided to build the big unit all on my own!)
I knew I was really going to miss my work friends, but I really needed to be at home and my line manager was really beginning to get to me. I planned a leaving meal, but I had also been planning my delayed birthday bash. I had been too depressed and feeling too ill around my actual birthday to plan anything, so I arranged a birthday BBQ for the 29th of May instead. Work friends, uni friends, a friend from Plymouth who I've known since 11 and my brother all came. It was a great time and although it was only in retrospect a few hours and I was exhausted by 7pm (and exhausted the next day - bank holiday), it was a success. It had been so nice seeing everyone, as my friends live all over the country and for several it was the first time they had seen my bump.

Tuesday the 31st was my last day of work before 2 weeks annual leave and then maternity leave. I was only in for the morning and at break time they did my presentation which was lovely of them, and they gave me a card and some presents, which people had put money in for. So as well as a couple of other gifts, I got some lovely pink baby clothes as picked out by Tammy and Lina had chosen a Moses basket which was amazing as I didn't have one. Also separate from my presentation some other work friends such as Lynn and Kelly had given me separate baby gifts, as had friends at the BBQ, which was lovely and I'm lucky to have such thoughtful friends.

Lynnie, Me, Ash
Some of my work friends who came, and the creep

Lunchtime was my leaving meal at The Red Chilli - A Chinese restaurant, which as well as some very scary meat options, has a lot of vegetarian choice too. It was lovely of my colleagues to come, just over 30 did, but I was a bit disappointed by a couple who didn't, but the important people were there. Oh and the work creep also :( who kind of ruined the experience by at the end waiting and hanging around me and asking for a cuddle (he's 53 and has no idea of the concept of personal space and is quite stalkerish) and there was nothing I could do as I hugged others, so had to accept. Besides the fact it him touching me is something worse than a nightmare, his stomach was a similar size to my baby occupied one, AND he tried to kiss me. I actually cried about this at home, may sound silly but I'm pregnant and he really REALLY creeps me out and has even interfered in my personal life in the past. But as I'm the kind type haha and we think he may have mental problems, I still am nice and talk to him. Besides this I had enjoyed the food and the company of the people there, as I have made some really good friends at work.

So I had finished work, and you would expect it was time to rest, but the next few weeks were quite the opposite. One reason being the volume of hospital appointments I had. On Wednesday the 1st, when I turned  32 weeks pregnant my health visitor came to visit for the first time. She was a lovely lady and gave me a lot of info that I need to read up on and my babies little red book! In the morning though, I had seen my G.I consultant, who due to my worsening G.I condition and the fact my iron was now only 7 but had dropped to 5 before then (my baby is a vampire!) wanted me to stop the iron medicines now and get the infusions done. So the next day was another busy one, the GP's in the afternoon where I had an ECG due to my palpitations and racing heartbeat (possibly due to the aneamia) followed by the shops and the post office to post a baby parcel for the lovely Mel Matthews, and the morning ....another hospital antenatal appointment followed by my first iron infusion. They passed me over to the ANDU and I had to have my first one on my own. Now I'm not going to lie, I have a serious phobia of needles. I have been like a pin cushion ever since I became ill at 19 with all the blood tests I have had to have, but still my phobia stays strong. Mostly I can handle blood tests now, but needles staying in such as cannulas etc ....even talking about them makes my blood pressure drop and I come close to fainting. It was no different with my first iron infusion, even just knowing what was about to happen caused my BP to drop, which only became worse during the short procedure of having the black tar like substance filtered in intravenously. The midwife was great and tried to distract me and put a cloth on my head and eventually some colour came back to my face, but after this I decided to get Ash to come with me for the next one.
That's actually a soother in its mouth!
I had four more of these to go before the treatment was completed, and I asked Ash to come to the second one, only for him not to turn up. He hadn't been able to find the place, but I got upset as wasn't sure he'd bothered to ask anyone, but mainly just because I was emotional and had gone through it on my own again, but luckily he made it to the third and fourth ones. It may seem silly but it made a huge difference having him there, I was so much more distracted and felt a lot calmer, even though our relationship went through a big crisis in these two weeks. I was now getting my last couple infusions out the way, I had reached the stage of pregnancy where it was time for our antenatal classes. So topped up on iron, vampire baby satisfied, I had reached the final few weeks of pregnancy.

                                                 x - X - x

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