20 week Pregnancy After Loss Update

Half way mark! I actually decided to see nineteen weeks as my personal half way mark because I’m hoping this little one comes early. I might have already mentioned this but they are planning on doing sweeps from thirty eight weeks for me to help my chances of a natural labour so I’m really hoping that will get labour going before forty weeks. I partly want this purely so I’m not stressing  and worrying that Leilani doesn’t want to come out and I’m going to end up with a repeat C Section but also, I want there to be as much gap as healthily possibly between the birth and Silver’s birthday. I just think emotionally I will cope better with the birth if its not close to her birthday whilst being in a hospital environment. I also think I’ll cope better with her birthday if my hormones have settled a bit and I’ve got adjusted to our new life.

I’ll just quickly address the elephant in the room. I mentioned in the above paragraph the name Leilani. Well at our eighteen week scan we got the confirmation we are having a girl! I had announced the gender and name on my Instagram and Facebook but in case you missed it or want to know more about our name choice check out this blog post I recently did. We couldn’t resist and had bought some items whilst the sonographer was 90% sure but now she’s confirmed it we are slowly growing a girly collection of baby items, and quickly running out of space!

name revea1l

I’ll start by talking about my nineteen week consultant appointment. It kick started my week off really positively and I’m feeling pretty relaxed and confident about birth now we’ve had a good long chat. One thing I can’t recommend highly enough is going to appointments with lists. She now knows I always turn up with a long list of questions, and we work through each and every one (even if she does laugh when I ask if I’m okay to dye my hair…). Pregnancy wise we discussed my poor appetite and I am now trying my best to snack and not overwhelm myself with huge meals which I can’t face. This does generally seem to be working thankfully, if in doubt I eat granola, banana and soy vanilla yoghurt, and by that I mean half a big tub of yoghurt… Of course Beau always seems to think when I have my breakfast he has a right to half of it too!

 

We’ve made a plan for scans which I feel comfortable with. I explained my anxiety over turning twenty weeks due to that being that time we found out about Silver however we both agreed I felt confident enough from the positive anomaly scan to not need a scan at twenty weeks. I am instead having my second anomaly scan at twenty two weeks which is to double check the heart which was too small to accurately assess last time. She then suggested I have a growth scan at twenty four weeks, followed by a scan every four weeks. I feel really comfortable with this now I know baby seems healthy in comparison to Silver. I can’t believe I will only have a few scans and then she will soon be here! (I also have a 4D scan booked for twenty six weeks courtesy of my parents as a gift which I can’t wait for)

The doc reassured me about placenta abruption, which due to knowing someone who had gone through this and me having an anterior placenta around Beau who is quite boisterous was worrying me quite a bit. We’ve made a plan of when exactly I will go into hospital once labour has begun and thankfully I am allowed to labour so much at home which I am much more comfortable with. I will be phoning them as soon as anything starts though to make sure that pool is mine! I’m very happy that I will be allowed to do many of the things I had hoped for including me being the one to rub her down after birth, delayed cord clamping, taking my placenta to encapsulate etc. I am feeling really positive that despite requiring a hospital birth I can still have a peaceful hypnobirthing experience which will be as natural as possible whilst still feeling reassured by the nearby support should we require it for myself or baby.

The only thing I have a slight worry about is should I need to stay in overnight they apparently do not let dads stay at the hospital. The doc did actually promise me Fabian could stay before the midwife had to correct her as she’s not actually based at my hospital. She has still however promised that since she has not been informed of the changes and has already made the promise she will ensure it is kept. I just feel it is so wrong for dads to miss out on their child’s first night. Dad’s are just as integral a part of the experience as the mother and I feel this is an example of sexism when the men actually lose out and are degraded to useless and irrelevant. Especially since losing Silver we know how precious that time with baby is and both of us should be a part of that, we created this life together as a joint journey and should continue forward in such a way.

I also suffer severe anxiety and quite frankly would be terrified of speaking to staff on my own so I need Fabian there to support me and talk on my behalf. I would think they should always make an exception for parenting after loss couples. I know I will probably be exhausted on the first night but also, I will probably be extremely emotional as I process another stage of grief and adjust to the happiness I will also be feeling along with hormonal changes. I don’t think emotionally this is a good time to be alone at all and it’s a time parents really need to be together so they can help each other get used to the new baby and also support each other emotionally. I know midwives can lend an ear but for example Silver was born at Newcastle, none of these midwifes met Silver. They can only read about her in our notes but they did not bond with her like we did. I am also at higher risk of post-natal depression so need that mental support from someone I trust to prevent any such incident.

One positive I have had over the last two weeks is very much consistent, strengthening movements from Leilani. She is a little wriggle bum and it feels like she never stops now! There are times when I have even wondered if I am feeling her having hiccups but I think she’s not quite big enough for it to be easily distinguishable. It does feel like she’s trying to kick her way out a lot of the time with some very low kicks, other mums will know exactly what I’m talking about here! I have actually had quite a few times where her movements shock me, I’m not sure if it’s her size or strength but more and more recently you might randomly hear me gasp as she does huge movements that take me by surprise. It’s like I’ve never been pregnant before, it feels so new to me and continues to surprise me but I’m loving it and can’t wait to see what it’s like when she’s even bigger. The kicks are also visible from the outside now so I’m now at that stage where I sit in the bath shining the torch on my bump staring at it until I see little jumps on my skin. My mum has even managed to feel the movement which I know other people love to feel baby kicks, even more so after a loss.

I did have one bad day whilst I was nineteen weeks. Sometimes I will have a bad day generally, either due to fatigue or things not going to plan but as soon as I start to feel down I then focus all the sadness on thoughts of Silver. I think its natural to do, when you feel things aren’t going right for you and you focus on the most painful thing which went wrong. I sometimes feel angry at the world and think how unfair life is but on this one particular day I think it just hit me really hard. Part of me is glad for these moments, it reminds me of just how real she was and brings her so vividly back into my conscious mind. At the same time, these are the moments when I can barely breathe and the panic sets in as I realise I can no longer feel hopeful for my little girl because she is gone and slipping further and further away. I don’t think there will ever come a day in my life when these moments will stop happening, because even in thirty years I will still be missing her, wondering what she would have been doing now and remembering my tiny 1kg baby who is forever frozen in time.

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Bringing the focus back to the pregnancy now I want to briefly touch on something I mentioned earlier. Eating, food and cravings. Me and Leilani have very different tastes, she loves sweet things and I love salty and savoury food. Sometimes we can compromise and both enjoy fruit, but most of the time mealtimes are awful. My husband will testify to this. We want to eat meals together only savoury food is not appealing at all, to the point I can’t usually think of any suggestions at all. Thankfully however we have had a few cravings in the past two weeks which we have jumped on. It seems my body wants to recreate all the things I used to eat as a meat eater but obviously vegan. So I had three days where I lived off BLT sandwiches and a few days living off sweetcorn chowder with vegan “bacon”. This was before I then went off bacon again, I think pregnancy acid reflux just doesn’t agree with vegan bacon, or indeed any mock meats.

Vegan BLT

Despite having these cravings, I am somehow still getting the morning sickness. Comparing it to Silver’s pregnancy I would say the sickness was much more intense with hers, I barely left my bed for three months but hers did finally ease off around eighteen weeks. This pregnancy on the other hand is less intense and I can still generally get on with my day but it seems never ending. I still have so many days where I just feel sick all day long. You know I’m sick when I’m not even bothered about drinking coffee. Normally in pregnancy I struggle minimising my caffeine intake whereas most days recently it doesn’t even cross my mind. Obviously with my body the old wives’ tale is true, girls make you sick and boys don’t. Fingers crossed this isn’t going to last the entire pregnancy though!

Moving on, my twenty weeks also started off great. We’ve had Loki the malamute staying with us for almost two weeks so its been easier for Fab to take Loki to work and to my mum’s house during the day to be with our malamute Alaska and I had Beau at home. I haven’t managed every day due to intense fatigue with this pregnancy but the days I have had him I have loved! He’s in such a good routine with me at home and we’ve managed to do some painting and general bonding. I really hate the days where I know my body just needs rest and I have to admit defeat because I miss him so much. In all honesty I also know I keep overdoing it which doesn’t help because then I crash hard. I try and look after Beau and deep clean the house with a bump now making bending difficult and before you know it I’m exhausted and joining him for afternoon naps.

 

Embarrassingly one thing I have realised recently is, surprise surprise, but I have a proper little bump now. So, by embarrassing I mean the fact I’ve spent two weeks blaming my maternity jeans for why I was struggling to bend or get up into the car before it dawned on me it was nothing to do with the jeans! I’m noticing more and more each day just how much harder it is to bend down, which is not ideal with a messy toddler. We did however have a lovely walk the night of my turning twenty weeks and took some bump photos. I wore the exact same top I had worn for my twenty week bump photo for Beau in Barcelona zoo only it was a lot colder taking this photo! I had to quickly whip my coat and jumper off, pose and then wrap back up again. Nonetheless I’m happy to have some pictures to compare and celebrate a positive twenty weeks with a healthy baby.

 

I was actually really excited to have arranged a play date for Beau towards the end of last week however we both have managed to catch a cold. I have anxiety of leaving the house so I’m not sure how I managed that but unfortunately we had to cancel our play date to reschedule. I don’t think having a cold could have come at a worse time, being pregnant, meant to be having Beau every day plus pet sitting… I am really looking forward to when we do manage to reschedule the play date and I can talk with a mum of two and ask her twenty questions but for now I am sat one week on, still surrounded by tissues, absolutely drained. I am so beyond blessed to be pregnant but boy is it hard work, especially with a toddler, add a virus to the mix and lets just say we’re all a little grumpy.

Despite our cold we did actually have a crazy hectic weekend. Our wedding anniversary was on the Sunday but I had lots of errands I wanted to run in the city of York where we were planning to celebrate. So we decided to do all of those on the Saturday in order to have a calm relaxed Sunday. It was a hectic, long and tiring day. I did buy lots of things at Hobbycraft for Beau and also four letters for our kiddo’s which I’ve painted two of and now Fab has two to paint. We also went to the Mothercare that was shutting down and it was so sad! Even Fabian felt gutted when we walked in and most of the store was cut off as it was completely empty. I’m gutted as I’d wanted to see if I could get a good deal on a mosses basket I liked and look at baby monitors but there was virtually nothing left except clothes. The one thing that struck me the most was how many tiny baby size clothes were still left, after all, you never plan to have a tiny baby… We did buy one outfit for Leilani, some trainers for Beau and some slippers for Beau. That was our nearest baby shop, an hour away and now it’s gone!

 

I have actually written a separate post on our wedding anniversary as it was quite an emotional day reflecting on how a year has passed as I was pregnant with Silver in my first trimester this time last year. It is almost completed but I will let you guys know on my social media when I’ve uploaded or you can subscribe and you will get an email as soon as it’s live!

Thank you so much for reading my lengthy updates, pregnancy after loss simply isn’t as straight forward as a regular pregnancy. I like to address both the physical pregnancy issues I’m going through but also it’s really important for me to share the deep emotions which run through such a journey and hopefully it can help other parents out there.

Until next time,

Holly x