Hello everyone! I hope you are all enjoying this autumnal weather as much as I am. I haven’t got to experience it too much but I’m loving the opportunities I do get to be out and about as the seasons change. We seem to always have something planned for the weekend at the moment which I’m absolutely loving. It gives me a chance to have quality time with Beau. It tires him out and gives me footage I can then play with on my new video editing software too.
A running theme I seem to have had over the past two weeks is very much fluctuating moods and energy levels. I’ve just had a little look through my diary and I seem to have a couple days of going hell for leather, motivated and doing as much as humanely possible. Followed by several days where I have crashed due to exhaustion and low mood follows shortly afterwards. I’m not 100% sure why this is happening, whether it is pregnancy related, borderline personality disorder related or is due to what time of year it is.
See I’ve actually found Baby Loss Awareness Week pretty difficult this year. It’s coincided with a lot of anniversaries and left me feeling pretty low. Silver should have turned 8 months old, we marked three years since our miscarriage, my friend celebrated her stillbirths first birthday… Add this to baby loss awareness where basically everyone is talking about dead babies and it can suddenly make the world feel like a very dark place. I love the fact it raises awareness and allows people to speak more openly and comfortably about their loss but at the same time, when you are a part of that group it can be overwhelming.
Unfortunately there have been a couple times over the past two weeks I have had suicidal ideations and thoughts of self harm. I am thankfully in a place where perhaps over the years I have developed a maturity where I am now able to ask for help when I need it. I am also very lucky for the first time in adult services (after 6 years) to finally have a mental health worker who I feel comfortable talking to. When I was in crisis this last week I actually picked up the phone, slightly out of desperation but also because I was home alone with Beau and knew I needed to make myself safe so Beau and Leilani were safe. I am terrified of using the phone normally but it’s amazing what our natural motherly instincts will have us do and what fears they can make us conquer. Just as I did for Silver with the CVS testing and C Section with my huge needle phobia.
I am so glad that going through this down patch I have had Nicola Gaskins new book Life After Baby Loss to read. She selected me as a blogger to read her new book and write an honest review. I have about finished it and will be doing a fully comprehensive review soon but what I can say is I have found it really helpful when grief seems to have hit me pretty hard again. It’s helped me see things in a different light and given new perspective on both my losses, something I also feel will be of benefit to the people I know who have also suffered loss. Not only this but it has eased some of my anxieties over the upcoming Christmas period which I am surprised to find I am struggling with more than expected.
I mentioned this briefly in an Instagram post but I have found it incredibly difficult seeing Babys 1st Christmas items. I had been getting really excited about Christmas and was fully prepared when we visited a local garden centre recently that these items would more than likely be present. I now knew to expect these unlike the unexpected appearance of Christmas items at B&M recently which took me by surprise. Unfortunately it still however hit me pretty hard and I ended up crying in the store seeing a beautiful pink bauble that I wish so much I was buying for Silver. I haven’t cried like that in quite a while so my grief itself has been surprising me recently with how prominent it seems to be. I have decided that I might still actually buy this bauble for Silver anyway, perhaps each year we will buy her a bauble as a way of including her in the festivities. I can imagine she would have loved the Christmas season as much as her mummy.
On a lighter note which is much more positive I am pleased to say my appetite is definitely back with full force. I still sometimes get nausea, and don’t get me started on acid reflux (I’ll get to that in a minute) but I feel like I’m making up for lost time. I have been loving food so much recently! My energy is still pretty poor at times but when Fabian is home I fully utilise the chef in him and non-stop eat until bedtime! We are also trying to really focus on getting plenty of iron in me since I am mildly anaemic so its been lots of smoothie bowls and greens which I absolutely love. Leilani’s current craving however is chilli and lemon lentil crisps and I can easily eat four packs a day.
I’ll briefly touch on the two days out we have enjoyed in the last two weeks. We decided to take beau to The National Railway Museum when I was twenty three weeks and went to Pickering War Weekend and a local farm pumpkin picking afterwards. I’ve linked the two videos I’ve edited in the previous sentence, I’d love you to check them out and see what you think. It’s pretty obvious I can’t keep up with Beau at all now and so I’m always lagging behind but nonetheless I love seeing him so happy. I’ve found it a mood booster for us all when we have something planned for the weekend and I love that Beau is learning and getting social stimulation. I can’t wait until this weekend when we go on the Pickering steam train and see all the beautiful autumn colours. It will be Beau’s first time on the train and I think he’s going to love it.
Back to the pregnancy. I did actually have a scan at twenty four weeks. My first growth scan, with my favourite sonographer thankfully. I am so delighted to say I not only did not cry at this scan and a fleeting moment of panic was unfounded as she was confirmed very happy and healthy in there and growing wonderfully. I always panic at first because I am looking for the pools of liquid to confirm there is enough amniotic fluid, indicating kidneys are working. Sometimes at first when the sonographer is looking at baby it can seem quite compact however when she moved the probe and had a look around it was then clear to see plenty of fluid which she of course measured anyway.
This scan was then followed by an appointment with my consultant. Despite just having the scan we still listened to the heartbeat which is always such a pleasure. I actually didn’t have a huge barrage of questions to ask her this time so it wasn’t as long an appointment. The few questions I did have however were answered comprehensively and we felt at ease and pleased with the appointment. One thing I didn’t realise is for a repeat C Section they actually go though your old scar and give you a new one. At first I really didn’t like that, after all this scar is Silver’s. It’s a constant reminder of her life. But then I asked myself and I know deep down I would do absolutely anything for Leilani, just as I did for Silver and if that meant saving her live via a C Section I would absolutely do it.
Physically my health has been pretty poor recently which probably isn’t helping mood or energy levels. I’m overheating on a night. I was so delighted when I discovered how much better I slept with the window open on a night only to develop a nasty cough which both me and Fabian seem to have caught. I was so bad one night, panicking as it was affecting my asthma and also concerned about a longstanding sore throat that I went to see the out of hours GP. He prescribed Gaviscon and said the persistent sore throat was due to acid reflux which didn’t surprise me. I literally can’t even take a sip of drink without it coming back up every single time. The cough has however stuck and it would seem we have caught a bug. So now I spend most nights nonstop coughing. As if rolling over in bed hadn’t already become a challenge with my growing bump it now triggers coughing fits too.
So let’s just say me and Fabian have both been on short fuses recently and although I love being a parent and miss Beau so much when he is not with me I can’t tell you how thankful I am to the help I’ve had from family recently. Being pregnant, anaemic and sick is absolutely draining and the last thing I want to do is lose my temper with Beau when he is just doing what you would expect a toddler to do. I think as parents we are all programmed to feel guilty about everything and anything and be our own worst critic. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to have a husband who challenges those thoughts for me and helps me deal with the feelings of being a perceived failure. I am an expert at mum guilt, but more on that another day.
One slight negative pregnancy wise I’ve had in the last week was reduced movement. Leilani was pretty active in the morning, maybe not as strong as usual but at least she was active. As the day went on however she seemed to become less and less active. I’d been to pregnancy yoga and she moved a little but again not loads. As it was Fabian’s birthday we sat down that evening to watch a film, over two hours she kicked once. Normally on an evening she is a live wire and nonstop. To be honest, this baby generally seems like a live wire, she moves often throughout most of the day. I sometimes wonder how she can even stay awake that long! So this was all very out of the ordinary. It just so happened this was on the 15th Oct. The day after our miscarriage anniversary and the day of the baby loss wave of light.
Being slightly on edge already due to all the anniversaries of the previous few days we decided it was not worth waiting on. I had tried having a bath to stimulate her and still only one kick. It was just gone midnight but I knew there was no point waiting a couple hours then waking Fabian up. So we all went in to the hospital, Beau included. I was pleasantly surprised they were okay with Beau coming but I’m so glad as it meant we didn’t need to call my parents from out of town during the night. Thankfully Leilani was perfectly fine and of course became more active as we were there.
I have no regrets though. She maybe had moved position and was kicking my anterior placenta but at the end of the day I know with certainty the movements were out of sync and did not correlate with her regular pattern. I think it just surprised me as I had got so used to an active strong baby that I presumed the placenta and position of her wasn’t really going to be an issue anymore. She has since then been extremely active every day and I even felt a limb move all the way across the top of my tummy one day which was a complete shock and surprise! I don’t even know how to describe that feeling to someone who has never felt that before, it is certainly strange. I can’t wait as she gets even bigger and these limbs start flying out.
I mentioned just then that I’d been to pregnancy yoga which I’ll just touch on a little here. It is the first time I’ve ever done something on my own in a long time. I was terrified but I’ve wanted to do it in every pregnancy now and I don’t yet know if this will be my last pregnancy or not. So it was now or possibly never. Of course, Fabian walked me to the door because I couldn’t do that on my own. I felt slightly awkward as we did introductions and I spoke of Silver and my aim for a VBAC. I really hope the class don’t just see me as the lady with the dead baby. Then again one woman said how she sleeps on her back whilst heavily pregnant and I had to fight the urge so hard not to say something. I don’t want to be all doom and gloom scaring pregnant ladies but I’ve been exposed to so much loss through my journey and all I could think of was her risk of stillbirth.
I did actually really enjoy the class despite my anxieties and hopefully by the next class my cough will have eased up a bit so I am able to enjoy the relaxation part a bit more next time. I am really hoping doing yoga along with hypnobirthing puts me in good stead for a peaceful, calm and easy VBAC. Its quite handy that the teacher also does hypnobirthing so a lot of what she said was very relatable and already makes sense to me. This class was actually at 7pm on the 15th, the same time as the wave of light. So we simply lit our candles when I arrived home in memory of Stork and Silver. There was also a few other mums who lit candles for our angels too which you can see below our pumpkin and tealight pictures.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this pregnancy update as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. I hope it can help other mums going through pregnancy after loss and I’m so thankful I am recording this pregnancy in a way I will be proud to look back on and remember all of the trials and triumphs we went through to get our little rainbow baby.
Until next time,
Click here to read my complete book review on Life After Baby Loss by Nicola Gaskin.