Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

To mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week I want to share my story of living with Depression & Anxiety.

I’m rolling it back to early 2017, I was at my lowest & I felt this wave of anxiety & depression take over me. I had previously struggled with both but this time it creeped up on me without any warning & smothered me.

I was lost, miserable & angry. The anger stemmed from my frustration of a Three Year battle to conceive. Infertility Appointments which made me feel like a failure. The Specialists had no answers as to why I couldn’t have a Baby which added to my miserable state. Unexplained Infertility.

I struggled to deal with the situation I was in, I pushed people away, I lashed out & I hated myself.

A dark cloud was over me all the time, I tried to shrug it off or ignore it but I just couldn’t. My actions spiralled out of control as I couldn’t see a way out of the situation. I turned to painkillers to help me manage. Of course, they didn’t help but I had to take them.

One day I broke down to my Husband, he could see that I was in a bad place & had noticed I was hiding painkillers from him. He always reassured me that the Infertility issues were our problems, not just mine & we could find a solution to any problem. He encouraged me to reach out to my GP & seek help & that’s exactly what I did.

The hardest part was opening up & telling someone how I felt without covering it up with “but it’s fine, I’ll be okay” or “I’ll deal with it, I just have to”. I came off painkillers, spoke to my husband more about my inner battles & I acknowledged my anger & worked to change it into something positive.

A year on, I still choke up at the thought of what would have happened if I continued down the road I was on because I was desperately looking for a road out.

I opened up. I told someone how I really felt. I got help. Here I am, a year on, 37 weeks pregnant with our little miracle. I’m extremely lucky & thankful & I continue to battle my demons but I’m not alone.

Don’t suffer in silence. Reach out. My door is always open to others who want to talk.

The following links have useful info & support:

https://www.seemescotland.org

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk

https://www.samaritans.org

It’s Going To Be A May Baby!

April was a quick month filled with Consultant, Midwife & Physio appointments alongside Feeding workshops, Baby First Aid & Antenatal classes.

I’ve known for some time that Baby Kelly will be delivered sooner than his due date of the 2nd of June but it was confirmed at our recent Consultant appointment that he’ll be here in a few weeks. The reality of it all is sinking in, I’m excited but nervous with a whirlwind of other emotions & anxieties buzzing about my head.

Growth scans have shown that Baby is doing well weighing at 6lbs & still on target to hit his weight of around 7lbs. The only thing concerning me is that he is back to back but we still have enough time for him to turn.

I have a feeling May is going to be a quick month, a bit of a blur & overwhelming but I can’t wait to meet my Little Guy ❤️.

Babymoon – Perthshire

Before I was pregnant I didn’t even know this was a thing. A last romantic getaway before the baby arrives. The romantic scene of husband & wife cuddling up in front of the log fire & embracing each other before life changes. Well, that’s certainly the image I have painted in my head.

Let me set the scene for our babymoon. My husband, I & Chewie! We couldn’t possibly go away without taking our puppy.

We booked the Whitemoss Lodge B&B in the heart of Perthshire for an overnight stay with a different feel to it. We stayed in a Pod which was a wooden cabin looking much like a hotel room inside with all its luxuries & central heating & ensuite bathroom but felt more like the adventure of camping. Without the sore back, cold weather & creepy crawlies!

Our pod overlooked the beautiful Perthshire Hills surrounded by green fields as far as the eye could see. Sheep roamed the fields & the rabbits darted in between them. Soon to be replaced by little bundles of joy, with the sheep due to have their lambs. The long windows in the pod gave a great opportunity to sit back in the comfort of the pod & enjoy the wonderful views of Perthshire.

The air was still as we walked Chewie in the fields while he jotted about like the happy pup he is with a watchful eye on the rabbits & sheep. Being pregnant, I tried to keep up & was left feeling jealous of my pups energy levels.

In the Morning, we had a lovely breakfast made by the B&B owner who delivered our hot meal with a selection of cold items in a wicker basket. This was the perfect end to the overnight stay.

Whitemoss offers the peaceful getaway in a perfect location to explore the countryside & local towns with the option of visiting the City of Perth. Free WiFi, parking, breakfast included & dogs go free!

Things people say to you when you’re Pregnant with a Chronic Illness

People love to give advice & impart their wisdom as soon as they know that you are pregnant. Even when you don’t ask for their advice, they give it anyway & the same goes for their opinion. It’s not just your family or friends hitting you with their fountain of knowledge but strangers also like to pipe in & get their voice heard.

There’s been some strong opinions on my Vegan/Vegetarian lifestyle & suddenly people are concerned about my protein in take & the lack of meat in my diet. Will that not affect the babies bones? Will the baby grow OK without meat? Just some of the opinions that have been shared with me on the matter of diet.

The most challenging views are from people who think that having a chronic illness means that I have lost the right to have a baby. Some of the following views were expressed at Chronic Pain group, needless to say I never returned after that session.

 

1- How have you managed your pregnancy when your in constant pain?

2- How will you manage when the Baby is here?

3- If you’re struggling just now with fatigue, just wait until the baby is here!

4- What if your Baby has the same health conditions as you? Do you really want that for your child?

Firstly, having a chronic illness I’m aware of what I can & can’t manage & I have great support from my Husband. I can’t look into the future, so I’ll have to wait until the baby is here until I know how I’ll manage. Fatigue is a big part of my Fibromyalgia & Arthritis so I’m well aware of the impact it has on me & the things I need to do to manage. And last but not least, of course every Mother wants their baby to be healthy & we don’t know if our Little One will have any conditions, let alone any of my conditions.

I never blamed my own parents for my diagnosis of Arthritis & Fibromyalgia & never been hung up on “why me”. I’m a stronger person for living with a chronic illness, I’m proud that I’ve overcame barriers & I hope to bring my own child up as strong & resilient, regardless of their health.

People just love to share their opinion. I’m glad I’m not easily offended.

The Travel Tag

First tagged post that I’ve done . Thanks to Just Snap Shot Stories for tagging me & hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

What countries have you visited?

Italy, Spain, Catalonia, England, Turkey, Ireland, Hungary, Germany, Czech Republic, USA, France & Netherlands.

What countries are you visiting this year?

It looks likely that this year we will be having a staycation with the arrival of Baby Kelly due in 7 weeks time. Lots of beautiful places to visit in Scotland & would love to make the trip to the Isle of Skye.

What destination is number one on your bucket list?

I’d love to visit Iceland but on a warmer note I’m more inclined to say Portugal.

What is your idea Holiday?

I have this image in my head that I love lying in the sun by the pool but in reality that lasts for an hour before I’m bored. An ideal Holiday is enjoying the sun, planning day trips and exploring the History of Cities.

Which place did you think was so special that you would have to go back there one day?

Rome was my Husband & I’s first holiday & we absolutely loved exploring the City. It was a roasting hot July & we loved exploring Vatican City, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps & the Roman Forum.

Show us your nicest holiday photo!

Disneyland Paris was the last stop of our Honeymoon & it was magical.

Have you ever had to travel for work? If so, where?

Unfortunately not, the furthest I’ve travelled with work is Dumfries.

Who would you like to go on holiday with? 

My favourite person to explore places with is my Husband. Can’t wait to go family holidays with our wee one.

What is your nicest holiday memory?

In July 2015, I won a competition for a weekend stay in Barcelona & the chance to play football at the Camp Nou. All expenses paid trip with 20 others, trained at Barca’s training camp, toured the Stadium & played football at Camp Nou. It was a pretty special weekend & I can always say I’ve scored a penalty at Camp Nou.

What is your worst holiday memory?

Rome was bitter sweet because it was our first holiday but also the first time I experienced severe Arthritis symptoms & spent every night in bed crying. When I look back on photos of Rome I am reminded of how difficult it was for me. I’d love to go back to Rome & take in more of the City while being physical able to do so.

Is there anywhere you wouldn’t want to visit?

I wouldn’t rule out anywhere, I’m always open to new countries and adventures.

I tag Amanda Diaries & Everyday Life Girl to do the Travel Tag next.

Goodbye March, Hello April

Slowly but surely I’m wishing away the weeks with my countdown to my due date (7 to go). Some weeks whizz by, whereas others drag in & I’ve been filling my time with reading, researching & writing which has been therapeutic.

March was the month that I went self hosted with my blog which I’m putting down as a goal achieved for March. I’ve only been blogging for 6 months or so & I’ve gained confidence in my writing over that time. More importantly, I’m enjoying it.

I was also delighted to be published three times by The Mighty Site & shared my experience of pregnancy with a chronic illness.

Reading was another thing on my on my list & I finally picked up a book. I forgot how good it was to get lost in a book with the hours quickly passing by as I read.

I’m looking forward to April, counting down the weeks to my due date & preparing the house for our new arrival. My goals for this month are; read more, write more & be more active (walks & swimming).

Hope April is a good month for you.

Chronic illness & Maternity Care

I’ve been sharing my experience of pregnancy while living with a chronic illness. My last two blog posts have covered Managing My Fibromyalgia during Pregnancy & Arthritis & Pregnancy . I’d like to share my experience of accessing good maternity care & the support I’ve received so far.

The most difficult part of my journey was conceiving & coming off medication. It was a testing time coming off Methotrexate & reducing painkillers. I had a supportive Rheumatologist who respected our decision to have a baby & she supported me to reduce medication. She also referred me for further tests with infertility Specialists & I was referred to pre-pregnancy counselling.

At the time, I underestimated the importance of the pre-pregnancy counselling, it helped put a plan in place for when I did get pregnant & they made it clear that I would be consultant-led with regular hospital appointments & check ups.

At first, my maternity care was based with the Community Midwife as my GP arranged the first appointment. I had made it clear to her that I would be consultant-led & asked about the referral process to the consultant in question. She was dismissive of this & instead I was assessed by a consultant at the Health Centre who deemed me as “green” pathway & not a high risk. This didn’t sit well with me & my gut instinct told me that I would have to push for more support.

I chased up the hospital referral for the consultant & after many phone calls, I finally was given an appointment for the consultant at the maternity unit & was prescribed a low dose of aspirin as required for pregnant women with chronic conditions.

This was a turning point for me during my pregnancy & I’ve been seen every 4 weeks by consultant & midwife with regular growth scans. The maternity support I have received has been consistent with an assigned midwife & consultant who are aware of my conditions. I’m now 30 weeks pregnant with a clear plan in place with the view of being induced at 38 weeks.

If you are pregnant with a chronic illness, have a plan in place & ensure you receive the right support & don’t be afraid to ask for more support.

Baby Kelly,28 week scan.

This post was also published by The Mighty Site & can be accessed here:

https://themighty.com/2018/03/maternity-care-arthritis/