22 Week Pregnancy After Loss Update

I’d like to start this blog off on a positive note! Pregnancy wise and health wise I’ve felt like crap but emotionally I’ve actually felt pretty stable. I’ve only had one wobble with my mental health but apart from that I’ve been coping really well from a grief and emotions point of view. This also in theory means this blog shouldn’t be too lengthy a read for you either because I know at times I can get carried away and have too much to try and cram into one post!

I’ll go over being twenty one weeks with you briefly before diving into this last week and my little wobble. I would love it if anyone has any advice for this pregnancy symptom but I am seriously not sleeping. My right breast seems to be really sore, I’m waking drenched in sweat only to wake hours later freezing cold or I’m just waking for no reason and laid there wondering why I’m awake. My bump isn’t really big enough to be causing any sleep issues yet and my bladder during a night is holding pretty well yet I still can’t get a good night sleep at all. I am so thankful I can still get Beau to nap during the day because I really need those naps! There are some days Fabian is having to take Beau to work/ my mum’s with him because I am quite frankly wiped out. So, any advice on how on earth to get any decent sleep with these pregnancy symptoms?

I find I have days where I’m coping really well and manage to have Beau, engage with him, feed him and maintain a relatively tidy home. The only problem is those days sometimes knock me for six and I then crash hard. I’m still trying to find the balance of not overdoing it but at the same time I want to get so much done that I sometimes can’t help myself. Silver’s pregnancy took a toll on my body, from the nausea, generally being pregnant to then having surgery. Deep down I knew my body was not going to cope well with another pregnancy and despite wanting three children even when we thought Silver was healthy I said I needed a break after that pregnancy. Instead I only got a three month gap whilst recovering from surgery before putting my body through this again. Physically I think this is my hardest pregnancy yet. I remember walking for miles during Beau’s pregnancy and working up until my due date dog walking, this time I’ve needed three days to recover from one walk to the beach!

One positive from twenty one weeks which may help with my energy levels is I finally have an appetite coming back! So much so that Fabian had to drive to a local twenty four hour petrol station one night because I had a serious craving for toast after midnight and we had no bread. I am very lucky to have someone who is willing to do this although he was probably just happy I actually knew what I wanted to eat. I’m also pleased to say I actually seem to be putting on weight too! I had lost a couple kilo due to nausea at the start of this pregnancy but I am now back to my original pre-pregnancy weight of 60kg and seem to still be gaining along with my appetite.

Other than that twenty one weeks was pretty uneventful. Loki our lovely pet sit went home, who gifted us with the cutest Peter Rabbit sleepsuits for Leilani. We also welcomed our lovely new kitten into our home too. Of course, this didn’t quite go to plan and by twenty two weeks I ended up having an asthma attack and spent the night in hospital. You can read more about that here. During twenty two weeks we also attended a parenting class which came with a free place in a creche down the hallway for Beau. This was a pretty big deal for us as we’ve never trusted anyone outside of family and friends to look after him before so leaving him with people we didn’t know was pretty terrifying. I have decided this will be going into its own blog post where I’ll go into more details about why we are attending the course and emotionally how we coped with such a big moment especially after the loss of Silver.

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I think the biggest thing for twenty two weeks which I can include here today was our second anomaly scan! This was to double check the heart which was just too small to see clearly  at the eighteen week scan. I can’t tell you how stressful a morning it was trying to get Beau childcare last minute and get to this scan. I don’t know why I always leave it until the night before to realise we need someone to look after Beau but my good friend and her fiancé were happy to help. The only problem is we had to travel half an hour to them, to then travel back to get to the scan. Being parents we naturally didn’t set off in time and were running late from the get go, throw in road works and you can imagine my stress. The letter says if you’re late you may not get scanned at all so we did phone up and let them know the situation, to a woman who was very pessimistic.

We arrived ten minutes late. Fab dropped me at the door and I rushed to where all my scans have previously been. Only to realise they must have finally finished all the refurbishments and not only had I gone to the wrong floor anyway but the ultrasound had moved back to it’s original location. The only problem was we are living in a new area and although its still a hospital I’m familiar with I had no idea where ultrasound was. Over the years I’ve generally learnt how to manage my anxiety and not catastrophise every little incident. This however actually triggered a panic attack. It was unfamiliar as I’ve been coping so well but it felt awful, I could feel myself hyperventilating and starting to shake. I started desperately phoning Fabian who was parking the car up and I could feel myself getting worse and worse.

Thankfully I met Fabian at the entrance and he somehow knew where the ultrasound department was. I was close to tears, expecting to be turned away and quite frankly just wanted to walk away. We were told to take a seat and called in soon afterwards. The sonographer was absolutely lovely and said how nice it was that we had called in. Catastrophe over and it now seemed so trivial what a huge reaction I’d had over something that was completely fine. It’s times like this where I know I still have a lot to work on with my mental health and that despite coming a long way I’ve still got factors that can drastically impact my ability to function in society without support. In these moments if I had been alone I honestly would have walked away and given up on the appointment, I would have been “too far gone” to speak with anyone to resolve the situation and I simply didn’t know how to manage on my own. At least I now have something to discuss with my mental health worker next week!

Let’s get into the interesting stuff, the scan. I am always happy for students to be in my appointments and this time was no different. It was actually really beneficial to have the student sonographer because it meant we got free photos and a really long scan! Leilani wasn’t really moving loads in this scan which was a shame as I love to see them bouncing around in there but it probably did help when they’re trying to look at such an intricate structure such as the heart. All I can say is sonographers must have really good eye sight because she was pointing out three veins or something to the student which were apparently these three lines on the screen where her mouse was and I honestly couldn’t see a thing. Nonetheless both me and Fabian found it really interesting as she was learning about all the different settings and after the main sonographer had taken measurements the student got to practise too. So we learnt about taking measurements and how the slightest alteration of the probe on my belly could alter the image and make it easier to get the correct view.

 

It was all rather fascinating and Leilani did what she does best in these scans. For some reason she loves looking directly at us and all you can see is this creepy image of a skull with dark empty eye sockets! I’m pretty sure they said she was sticking her tongue out at one point too. I’m pleased to say this was a scan where I didn’t cry either, I am finally beginning to relax in this pregnancy and realise it is actually all going well so far. Of course, I have to say so far because I’ve read so many heart breaking stories within the loss community that I will never fully look at pregnancy with ease again. I’m pleased to say I left this scan feeling very positive and had a very pleasant long afternoon nap to celebrate!

The day after, on the Saturday we decided last minute to go to Leeds Vegan Festival. We had got all organized, everything in the car and I decided to quickly check the voicemails. I’d had two missed calls from my GP telling me I was anaemic! The doctor at A&E told me my bloods were fine and I was good to go yet he had then phoned my doctors to tell them I was anaemic and they’d been trying to contact me to sort out iron supplements. Well firstly, I was very annoyed that they hadn’t tried calling Fabian and the fact I had been told I was all good but I also felt completely embarrassed. As a vegan I pride myself on being very healthy with a well balanced diet. I have since found out the levels were only marginally out and it is very common in pregnancy irrelevant of diet. I do think its probably due to my nausea and general lack of food consumption. I have been more focussed on making sure I generally eat and less on the nutritional value of my food.

We decided against iron tablets as I don’t think my digestive system, especially being pregnant would be very thankful. I am continuing my pregnacare vitamin which I know is likely not Vegan but after losing Silver I wanted to know I was taking a pregnancy specific balanced vitamin. I have now also introduced two sachets of spatone liquid iron supplement with added vit C to my daily medication list, on top of my aspirin and vegan omega 3 (DHA and EPA). In theory this should boost my levels but now my appetite has resumed I will be focussing on my nutrient intake through diet also and will be having plenty green juices with spinach along with beans and nuts from now on!

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the vegan festival. It was great! I think I ate three macaroni and “cheese” pies! I was struggling that day with my t-shirt not really fitting over my bump so I treated myself to a top I’d wanted for quite a while which should last until the end of this pregnancy now. (I’m seriously running out of tops that fit over my bump now!) There was one stall that did actually make me tear up, they had lots of cute little square canvas’s all with elephant artwork on. We decided in that moment we would just get a magnet with one of the images on. After much deliberation we decided on the magnet with a mummy, daddy and baby elephant on, as a way to remember that special time we had together in Newcastle.

 

The day was finished on a high by visiting Tong Garden Centre. I have been desperate to go there for quite some time now and was not disappointed. We paid for Beau to have access to the play area and it was the best £4.50 we had spent all day! I physically can’t run after him at the moment so I sat and rested while Fabian chased all over with Beau. It is seriously well worth a visit, there was so many different areas for Beau to explore, great value for money. We looked around the store too and of course noticed things we wanted to buy in Silver’s memory and lots of unicorn Christmas ornaments we wanted to buy for Leilani. I saw some lovely angel wings but from an ethical point of view with them being made from feathers I didn’t buy them. Instead the following day I found the most perfect Silver angel wings for Silver to go on the tree at Wilko’s and I will definitely be purchasing these closer to Christmas!

silver angel wings

As I mentioned earlier, I did have a small mental blip this last Sunday. After speaking with friends I have since found that anaemia can actually impact your mood also and I do think this contributed. I had nightmares all night, lack of sleep, the anaemia plus a sleep disorder… I was bound to crash at some point. So on Sunday I spent most of the day crying my eyes out. I felt like a failure to Leilani for getting anaemic, I cried my eyes out seeing all the beautiful angel baby photos on Instagram and then I just cried because I felt like a failure as a wife and parent in general. It felt like it had come out of nowhere. I said some things I regret about Leilani, purely because I was so deeply grieving Silver that day. I felt so guilty afterwards and tried talking to Leilani to apologise and tell her I do love her and simply was in a bad place at the time.

One thing I am trying really hard to work on at the moment is bonding with Leilani. I feel at times distant from her, because Silver had such an obvious personality whereas I already feel Leilani is much more timid and relaxed. Despite her being in my belly and feeling her so often it feels at times she is so far away, as if I have it in my head I can’t properly bond with her until she is born. Maybe because I had to protect myself from bonding with Silver until she was born because I was trying to shield myself from hurt. Maybe subconsciously I am still trying to protect myself and not fully allowing myself to believe she is 100% coming home. Its something I am working on with fear release hypnobirthing scripts with Fabian and I’m simply trying to talk to her more and more often.

Thanks so much for reading yet another pregnancy update, I don’t think this one was too long either which is good. I’m trying to keep these blogs into more manageable sizes for you guys to read without getting totally bored! Here’s hoping for two more uneventful, relaxed and happy weeks of pregnancy, and I’ll meet you guys back here when I’m twenty four weeks!

Until next time,

Holly x

Oh, and check out the pic below of a cute outfit we bought this week. I had been desperate for the cardigan for a while, its glittery and fleece lined! Perfect for winter and she will look so cute in this when people come to visit her in the first few weeks. Of course, only really ideal if we are staying inside!

Leilani outfit