Okay, here goes. I’ve decided I’m going to publish the blogs I wrote in hospital. The problem with that is, I started writing when he was 12 weeks old. Unfortunately, a LOT happened before then. In these first blogs I’m going to try to briefly fill you in on the months prior to get you up to speed. I’m attempting to do this in the form of two blogs; one on pregnancy and one on the first 3 months (if I can).
Where the hell do I start? Pregnancy overall for me was not a fun time, and for everyone that told me an ‘awful pregnancy meant an easy labour’ – labour was hell too and so were the first few months that followed. I’m never listening to you again and you’re no longer in my contacts favourites list!
When I say pregnancy was awful I mean the whole way through. I guess some people are made for pregnancy, and some aren’t. With my pole fitness history I so thought I’d be one of these cool fashionable pregnant women and be poling my way through the trimesters. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I had nausea to the extent that I was lucky if I ate one meal a day the first few months. I wasn’t actually throwing up. I do believe it would have been easier if I was and it stuck to the name morning sickness. Rather than 24/7 you’re gonna feel like you just got off the waltzers and food is the enemy sickness. This really wasn’t helpful when I went to New York in January, just a couple of months pregnant. All of those wonderful restaurants completely wasted on me. On top of the nausea I was exhausted beyond belief so all I wanted to do is sleep.
Then, briefly, I encountered sciatica. That is no joke. Shooting nerve pain down your legs when you put weight on your feet. At this point I didn’t even have a bump, how was I in pain already?! I laugh now because I complained I didn’t have a bump. I wanted to be all cute like the other pregnant ladies. By this point I should have just shutdown that ideologist in my head.
The first real scare came at my 20 week scan. The scan showed my amniotic fluid (the water around the baby) levels were too high. I was referred for a consultant scan in just two days and tested for a virus called cytomegalovirus the same day (yeah stick that in your pipe and smoke it, I’ll abbreviate it to CMV from now because whose got time for that?). They also tested for gestational diabetes the same week. Both CMV and gestational diabetes can cause the extra fluid, which is called polyhydramnios. Naturally, I googled CMV and absolutely freaked out because all these images of severely disabled children came up. I was so upset, on top of these aches, pains and nausea, I was now worried for my unborn childs health. It didn’t feel right. I had grown up with family members having babies, my friends had multiple babies and I was around for their pregnancies. I knew people that were pregnant when I was but they weren’t worried, they weren’t having all of these tests. They were blissfully happy. Everyone knows these things happen, but no one expects it to happen to them. However, after two weeks of severe anxiety (Instagram followers may recall me posting asking for prayers not knowing why – this was why) both tests came back negative (luring me into a false illusion that prayers worked). Happy days. I felt so relieved. This meant there was no serious reason for the increased fluid. There was a possibility that there was a blockage in my babys gut which was interrupting the flow of the fluid but we wouldn’t know until he was born. Everything else looked good, and it would just be a quick operation that we would address when the time came. And after two weeks of panic the negative results just made me tell myself everything was going to be okay and to stop being silly.
That wasn’t the end of it. The high fluid levels meant that I was at high risk of early onset labour and I was only 20 weeks pregnant. I was told that if I had any pains, if my waters broke, if something didn’t feel right, to go straight to hospital. From then we were under consultant care. I was seen by the consultant for scans checking the fluid levels every 2-4 weeks. My pregnancy being classed as high risk didn’t really phase me apart from the occasional thought in my head that would ask me why my first pregnancy had to be like this (pity party, we’ll blame that on the hormones). Later on, I also realised it meant I couldn’t have a home or water birth, neither of which I had ever wanted until they told me I couldn’t have one (typical). Then I got HUGE. We had my baby shower at 26 weeks and I looked like I was either having twins or full term, with 3 months still to go.
Now, with this weight came symphis pubis dysfunction (SPD). This meant that my flexibility I had always prided myself on, had now made me victim to my ligaments and muscles being too stretchy and not tight enough to hold my hips together under the weight, which caused agony. So I was signed off my final nursing placement early (I was so close to finishing my degree I could have screamed, but I was already screaming/crying from pain so I couldn’t do both).
After getting to the point I was taking prescribed codeine and paracetamol 4x a day with no relief, I was referred to hydrotherapy. Some people rant and rave about hydrotherapy, it did nothing for me. In fact getting to and from it actually brought on the pain. I was sooooo ready to have my baby. I remember trying to do my regular 20 minute walk to the city centre (I’m a walker, I like walking, or did, definitely didn’t at this point) and crying my eyes out when I got there with a mixture of pain and frustration that now I was stuck there because I was in so much pain, and whyyyy was I in this much painnn. Another memory of the pain this caused was me being sat in a car crying in pain and facetiming my mum like “it hurts, no matter what I do it hurts”. And then another time messaging my housemates group chat for pain relief and them bringing it to me crying in pain lying down. It sounds ridiculous now but I remember there being in pain if I walked, sat down or lay down, nothing made a difference. I feel guilty now (remember I told you that ridiculous mum guilt) but I just wanted him out. That being said, if you told me keeping him in there would have changed his health (it wouldn’t have FYI), I’d have kept him in there forever.
So to summarise we have morning sickness, sciatica, polyhydramnios, cmv, gestational diabetes and SPD. You keeping up? Well lets add in here that at 30 weeks pregnant my fiancé (at the time) and father to my unborn child was stabbed in his chest with the wound centimetres from his heart, aorta and lungs (he survived). 2017 has been such a good year right?!
It was surprising he never came of his own accord with all the water weight, or the stress! Each time they checked it had increased or was still too much. I think because my tests had come back negative they were expecting it to balance itself out. It never did.
During another routine scan at 34 weeks it was noticed that he had an enlarged right kidney, ureter (tube down to the bladder) and bladder. At this scan we decided on being induced early. The consultant suggested 38/39 weeks and I begged for sooner, he allowed me 37.5 weeks. From this we had to meet with a surgeon to discuss interventions that may be required when he was born, and I had to sign to agree to say I was fully informed and consenting. There was a possibility of three different surgeries depending on how he presented when he was born. All were correctional surgeries, nothing that would leave permanent damage. So after the 34 week scan I was booked for an induction.
I shall end this blog on a high because the blogs to come don’t.
Jaxon was born at 2.07am weighing 3.02kg. He entered the world passing urine (kidneys good✔️), pooing (bowels good✔️), screaming (airway good✔️) and he breastfed (upper gut✔️!)
So there I was after this awful pregnancy with this real life baby on me, healthy! I was exhausted and traumatised but amazed. It does feel so surreal and to think back I had family and friends by my bedside within hours and didn’t sleep for days. I was overwhelmed but with love and excitement for this new chapter.
Reflecting on this time is so emotional. I was so anxious during pregnancy and physically struggled a lot but I would do it ten times over if it meant he would be healthy. It also makes me think all the signs were there that this new chapter would be challenging, but I had hope and I prayed. When he was born ticking all the boxes it was a relief that I did not embrace as much as I wish I had. I would love to go back and relive those first 24 hours of having my baby blissfully healthy. Don’t take the good health of your child for granted – you are blessed!
Thank you for reading.
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