I’ve been meaning to write a little list of things I’m not necessarily looking forward to during this pregnancy, our fourth pregnancy in five years. I am one of those people who believe that being able to have and grow a baby, let alone more than one baby is amazing, a miracle even. I would say I’ve been very fortunate with my pregnancies and labours give or take a few things. That being said, I think its only natural that us ladies get a little apprehensive when growing a human being inside of them, and having to make sure everything is okay with both baby and yourself right up until the baby is born – then its a whole other ball game, especially when you have other children to be looking after too!
So here’s a few things I am not jumping off the walls in excitement for during pregnancy (on a serious note, and a few silly but equally serious – a head grinding into your pelvis isn’t any fun for any one):
1. Preparation: As this is our fourth (and 99% chance our last) pregnancy, I am still in the thoughts of how to get prepared for when the baby is due to make his/or her appearance. Like arranging the childcare for our little ones (aged just 5, 3 and a half and 22months). I want them to know Mummy will be okay and feel at ease without me for a day or so. When I gave birth the other times, I would have a sense of guilt and I leave my sleeping child/children with family members while I go to give birth and change our world forever, then have the emotional new Mama tears when they came to meet their new sibling the next morning (I had three Wednesday evening babies, spontaneously – random I know!) When cradling my newborn baby, I can’t help but wonder how it will effect my children I already have waiting at home for me despite their excitement. Having new siblings completely changes things in more ways than one, attention has to be divided again but with experience – and something we are still learning more about each day, with team work, love and keeping a realistic mind, it will work itself out and if it doesn’t – deep breaths, hugs and kisses & trying again the next day will always help. Things can be hectic when you have little ones close in age so for me, trying to remain optimistic but realistic is something that keeps me going. That and plenty of love time with my littles.
2. Hormones, Antenatal depression, Post-natal depression: Need I say more? Hormones are a bitch, and pregnancy hormones are the biggest of bitches. they consume me, especially when i’m tired and make I feel like complete crap on top of feeling crap, or I actually feel like i’m doing great then something happens which reverts me back to crap mode. I have horrible hormones in pregnancy, a lot of the time its tiredness related, but also when I set myself too many things to do (unrealistic expectations) and just get myself feeling like i’m a failure if I haven’t managed to do them. I then lose motivation to do the things I enjoy – again huge relation to tiredness here (hello low bp & iron deficiencies in all pregnancies!). Health visitors have mentioned the whole AND/PND if its ever been an issue in the past, but not really knowing how to offer me advice. I am one of those people who don’t like labels, I don’t easily accept help as in my sometimes irrational mind, I see it as admitting to not being able to cope – as ridiculous as it sounds. I have read self-help books as for me, these have helped me understand all the psychological changes during pregnancies, and that it is a common thing to feel. Medical terms, and labels are funny things, because for one label it may mean a lot of different things for millions of different people. I have never felt bad feelings against my babies, of course there would be times of frustration when i’ve questioned my babies sleep, or feeding etc but more so its only ever been me feeling like I need to be better and completely scrutinising myself if I haven’t felt like i’ve coped well with something (like when I had ten solid weeks of breastfeeding pain, enduring rounds of mastitis, a cut nipple from a baby bite, thrush and bad latches, yes ouch but we persevered, got help and fed to 13months, yay!) …or been the best version of myself (something I still feel in the present) and this is something that has been with me from childhood. Its something that I want to manage better but I believe that lack of help from midwifery/health visitor professionals previously – I will do it my own way and at my own pace should it arise. This isn’t a dig at the NHS, but it thought I’d put my honest experience there.
3. The ‘nothing is comfortable’ stages: Everything stylish I want to wear makes me feel like a mother elephant displaying a colourful tent, or the things I can wear comfortably leave me with the fabulous options of jeans with the hair tie trick (fourth pregnancy and never had maternity jeans, wth), leggings, baggy tops, and flat pumps, hair in a messy bun in my daily routine. Having an array of cushions or my trusty ‘dream-genii’ taking up half the bed just so my hips don’t feel like they’re about the break. The ‘army roll’ is the only way out of bed without pulling my back, or making my damaged tummy muscles ‘dome’ uncontrollably. Having to put my tummy to the side when hugging my loved ones, struggling to paint my toe nails, and putting shoes on – the fun!
4. Will I suffer pelvic girdle pain again? I was lucky enough to only have mild back pain in my first two pregnancies, well it hurt but was manageable. However, in my last pregnancy I think I was around 36 weeks when pelvic girdle pain started to set in, and around 38 weeks I was left in chronic pain days at a time, specifically not being able to walk for two days – awful pain. The reasoning was that my core muscles are completely damaged which has left me weak and susceptible to this type of symptom. Having a baby so low and engaged didn’t help either! I am expecting it to return, but hoping I have ways in which I can prevent it and rest more – easier said than done when I already have three littles ;).
5. Having time for myself/ with my partner: I am going to try and make a point of remembering that time for myself is important. Again, this is something I have found hard to do as I am always with my little ones. I will plan on enjoying hot baths alone, reading a book, getting my hair done for the first time in about a year in an actual salon! and remembering it is a healthy thing for everyone having a peaceful time out on your own. This isn’t be pitying myself – I just literally never feel like I have enough time in the day to do it all, but I think I need to schedule some me time in the priority sometimes. Mr T goes to football on Saturday afternoons, so I will be scheduling in some more coffee shop dates saturday mornings thats for sure! I can probably count on one hand, how many child-free dates we’ve been on in the last five years so thats something we want to do more too, not just before the baby comes but it will be a lot easier considering I will have a breastfed baby changing things come april which makes it less simple when going for an easy meal right!
6. Will our breastfeeding journey go well?
I’m not doubting myself here as I’ve successfully breastfed three healthy babies to the ages of 13m, 15m and 17 months, we did each as a team I guess. But every baby is different, each of my previous breastfeeding journeys has been different, showing unpredictable difficulties which we did overcome thankfully. My second journey was the easiest with hardly any struggles, you can read more about my third journey here.
I had some amazing help from my local Baby Cafe
with my first baby, so much so that it gave me the motivation to want to help others who may have struggles. I completed the breastfeeding peer support course through the Le Leche League
back in 2013. Something I still really feel passionate about but thats not to say this next baby will have an easy run. I’ve written a few pieces of the course, my experiences and my love of breastfeeding here on my blog, you can search them through ‘breastfeeding’ if you fancy a read. So for our little bundle due next April, I’m keeping an open mind to how it will go, but also remembering everything I’ve learned and conquered prior to now throughout my breastfeeding journeys with my three beautiful children to whom I am ever so thankful to as without them I would have never had experienced any of it!
7. Nearing my due date & how my birth will go?
I think its only natural to feel a little on edge when on the verge of giving birth, especially when you have numerous school runs to be doing twenty minutes away from home and the area of the hospital! And the thought of not having time to rest and relax like I did when on maternity with our first baby, watching endless amounts of DVD boxsets or eating nutritious food. Since having my other children, and learning i’m pregnant again, its just about hoping the time and place will be a right one! Mr T works in various areas, which could be an issue, but hopefully there will be a couple of people ‘on call’ nearer the time if we need childcare quickly. Something that can’t be helped though, I am the main carer at home so the dreaded school run will be on me, waddle and all! I’ll just make sure i’m wearing black leggings incase my waters break on the playground! I’m hoping its another night baby in some ways – so much easier, kiddies are asleep with family looking after them, and wake up to know they’re meeting their new sibling!
After having three very fast labours (a couple of hours, 57minutes and an hour!) I still have a little bit of anxiousness when it comes to thinking about birth. I think about making it on time to the hospital as we were cutting it fine with all three, luckily we live about a five minutes drive away from the hospital now so thats good! I have questioned having a home birth and was going to with our last baby, but due to the haemorrhage after our first, I kind of have a niggling feeling at the back of my mind if it happens again, and my partner felt so nervous at this thought of mine! Considering how well my other labours went through, I would feel comfortable giving birth at home, but the fact I have had wonderful experiences in midwifery-led units I don’t think I would want to change that now for our last? Who knows, it’s something to think about. I would like to get the chance of a water birth though – my labours have been too fast for them to even run the pool so that would be nice! You can read about my third birth here. All three were similar in ways, but also very different, including a post-partum haemorrhage, an unknown back to back labour (despite being the fastest and second easiest) and the relaxing ‘nearly fell asleep labour’. I think its only natural to have these feelings as birth is completely unpredictable regardless of how many times you’ve done it. The only thing I keep in mind is that ultimately, I have faith in myself when giving birth, I trust my body and my baby. I’ve never practiced hypnobirthing or any specific type of birthing but being that its something I an interested in, and have basically done throughout my labours anyway using deep breathing, not panicking, and going with each contraction – its something I think would be great to hear more about. That being said, I’ve been offered a free course from one of my daughters friends at school as its her profession. I’m looking forward to learning additional calming methods which I can add to my own and maybe use in other areas of my life or even help others in the future.
8. Unpredictable symptoms in late stages: So when I was expecting our third baby, I had a weird feeling like my waters had broken at 34 weeks. After a long four hours being observed until 1am I was given the choice of being checked over and having an internal to see what was going on or go home and see how it goes. The thing they was concerned about was that i always have early braxton hicks which are basically as strong as normal ones at times, but without the waters or cervix going pop I don’t feel it, it’s just the strength in my tummy that ‘gets it ready’ as they say. They also said they could give the baby steroid injections to make sure the lungs would work if the baby came early, but I chose to trust my body and everything worked out in the end with our healthy baby boy being born at 40+3. I think the best thing i can do it hope for the best, trust my body but also know that it can be unpredictable for anyone.
9. My recovery with diastasis recti:
As I’ve written before about my DR, I have a huge worry on my shoulders as to how i’m going to manage physically towards the end of this pregnancy, and not only that i’m hoping for the best when it comes to my recovery – not to be wishing the pregnancy away or anything but its a reality that will occur in a matter of 20 weeks or so. I’m hoping I will be able to repair the damage to some extent, and then also prepare myself for when I need to have the surgery in a few years time. but for now I will strive to enjoy this last pregnancy, and remember that all things take time.
We are stuck for names this time around! in all three of our pregnancies, we have decided to keep all as a surprise, as to then reveal that our little ones have quite unusual names. so trying to think of something on that scale once again is proving tricky at the minute. Nothing has stuck out to us yet, we have little ideas but nothing that our hearts are singing to. When expecting our first baby, we have a definite girls name, and then iffy boys names, turns out we had our little girl and decided on an unusual way of spelling it too which mean a lot to us. With our second, the baby was originally going to be a something completely different if a girl, but I found a beautiful name a matter of weeks before the baby was due and when giving birth to her, she just didn’t look like the original name at all, She was instantly like the name I had found in a book. With our third, we had this time right from the beginning for a boy or girl, everyone looked a bit bizarre once we announced but we think its a super cool name either way! We always go for names with meanings too, and if you look these up, you’ll see a method to how we chose them, special meanings to us and to them as well.
How did you find it during your pregnancies? what worries did you face?
You can read more about my pregnancy update here.
This post will also appear in the next edition of ‘Oh Lilla’ Magazine 🙂