Breaking My Silence

It’s been 3 weeks since Caleb was delivered by Emergency C Section & it’s been a hectic few weeks. I’m not sure what day of the week it is & days seem to fly by.

The first week was difficult due to the pain & I found it hard to process what had happened. Mentally & emotionally I was going through it all in my head, the induction process, 16 hours of labour & finally the emergency C Section.

The induction process sparked a Fibromyalgia flare causing additional pain which I struggled with. I felt like a failure during the process as my body failed me & continued to do so during labour.

People often describe that perfect moment of meeting their Baby & describe it as being the best day of their lives. I never felt this & I was plagued with guilt after having Caleb.

I lay there in the operating theatre feeling helpless & watched my Husband hold our son for the first time. I was so proud of him lying there in his Daddy’s arms but I was very aware that I was lying on an operating table & I felt somewhat disconnected from the situation.

I’m feeling more settled & in touch with how I’m feeling. I opened up to my husband about my struggles & together we worked through it. I am blessed with a beautiful boy & I am filled with pride & love for our family of three.

I’ve also been sharing my journey on Twitter & I’m thankful for the love & support people have shown me on there. It’s good to know I’m not alone.

Caleb Joseph, 22/05/18 💙.

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

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day 2018

I’ve previous shared my experience of living with Fibromyalgia covering topics such as Managing Fibromyalgia while Working , 5 Things That Help Me Manage Fibromyalgia & Managing Fibromyalgia during Pregnancy .

In this post, I want to share what daily life is like with Fibromyalgia & the steps I take to manage life with chronic pain. From the moment my eyes open in the morning, I can feel the pain run throughout my body, my joints are stiff & muscles tense. It takes me a few moments to come around with the fatigue hitting me smack in the face.

I know that if I move my joints will ease up & as the day goes on it gets a little easier to move around & get things done. In January, I had to finish up work due to a combination of pregnancy problems & flare-ups. Having a routine is important, otherwise I would be stuck in bed all day unable to move which only makes things worse for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have days where I have to rest or stay in bed longer because the pain is so intense.

I’ve learned to pace myself when doing daily tasks. Before I would push myself to do something quickly, over do it & then suffer later. Now I do a little bit at a time & most importantly I rest. If I have a busy day planned it takes days of planning making sure I don’t over do it the day before & that I get plenty of rest & sleep.

My top tips for managing my Fibromyalgia are:

1. Pacing; breaking tasks into smaller chunks.

2. Plenty of Rests with time to recover.

3. Keeping a routine.

4. Keep moving. No matter how bad I am, I have to keep moving.

Fibromyalgia isn’t just pain. It’s a combination of symptoms from IBS, depression, anxiety, brain fog & widespread pain. I’m raising awareness of what life is like with Fibromyalgia & how I manage daily life.

You can find more information about Fibromyalgia here:

http://www.fmauk.org

https://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/conditions.aspx?gclid=Cj0KCQjwodrXBRCzARIsAIU59TIrfOTqqzP4E8tWYyPyRiehC_81haaorEErQ43AVWgVwUdMjRiY6t8aAhuLEALw_wcB

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 ❤️.

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.

Managing My Fibromyalgia during Pregnancy

Since I was diagnosed in 2016, I’ve struggled daily with widespread pain, brain fog, anxiety, migraines, IBS, skin sensitivity & sleepless nights. Living with Fibromyalgia was never easy before I conceived & I knew that it would continue to challenge me during my pregnancy.

Similar to my Arthritis, the first 12 weeks of my Pregnancy were relatively pain free & I felt a burst of energy like never before. I was able to walk in the mornings & got through much of my days pain free. I made the most of this unusual feeling & was able to enjoy a trip away to New York & Philadelphia. Thinking back, I would have struggled to enjoy that trip with Fibro flare ups.

Although the symptoms of pain had eased during this time I experienced morning sickness or should I say all day & night sickness! From the moment I woke up until last thing at night I felt sick & I developed a sensitivity to smells. Even the smell of my husbands aftershave was enough to tip me over the edge.

From week 12-20, the little burst of energy I had left me & the fatigue creeped back in. I struggled to find a work-life balance & was so exhausted after work & I felt myself sliding back into a flare. My IBS symptoms were active during this time which left me feeling sluggish.

As I mentioned in my previous blog Arthritis & Pregnancy, I was diagnosed with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) also known as Pelvic Girdle Pain which is common in pregnancy. This has caused much of my pain to be in my hips & lower back.

My fibromyalgia has been up & down during my pregnancy but I do feel like I’ve been able to manage it & battle through it. I was relieved to experience 12 weeks pain & flare free & I made the most of that time. I’ve now reached my third trimester & final stretch is in sight.

This blog was also published on The Mighty & can be accessed here:

https://themighty.com/2018/03/managing-fibromyalgia-during-pregnancy/

Mother’s Day

I wrote this for Mother’s Day on the 11th of March & posting it on International Women’s Day. I feel it’s a fitting post for both.

I’m well aware that life with a chronic illness has been just as difficult for my Mum as it has been for me. From a young age I’ve been attending hospitals for various conditions & my mum was always there supporting me & making sure I followed treatment plans.

She was there every step of the way with me, she endured as much of the pain as I did as she watched me & had many a sleepless night looking after me. Not once did she complain, or question my pain & fought hard for me to get support.

Many times I would falter. I would question my ability to do things. I wanted to give up. It was that voice of my Mum in the background “Leann, you’ve came this far. You can’t give up. You can do this”. She reassured me things would get better & she instilled in me a can do attitude where giving up was never an option.

A strong, independent & determined women who brought me up on her own & supported me through High School exams & University. Through the tears & tantrums she guided me.

I’m blessed to have such a strong women by my side & I hope that I’m half the Mum she is to me.

Photo by Premier Photography