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 ❤️.

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/

Fertility Support: How to Plan & Prepare

My husband & I went down this route after two years of trying & struggling to conceive. My periods were irregular because of medication I was on for my Arthritis & Fibromyalgia. So it was difficult to track when I was ovulating & we were very much in need of the support from the infertility service.

I had to get a referral from my GP to the consultant at the hospital but this wasn’t a straight forward process. I was 25 at the time & I remember vividly the GP commenting on my age & how I had the rest of my life in front of me. She uttered the words “You’re 25, not 35.. plenty of time for a family” & I quickly chipped in to remind her that it was my choice. I never did get a referral from that GP but that didn’t stop me. I went to another GP, explained my circumstances & the referral was made.

After a 6 months wait, I was seen by a Gynaecologist who examined me & discussed the issues I had been having. I remember telling her the main reason I was there was because I was looking for answers. Her response stays with me to this day & at the time I didn’t understand what she meant. She told me not to look for answers because they might not be there, I might never get the answers I need. It soon made sense to me that this would be the case.

The first appointment with the infertility service was with a Nurse who took our medical history, performed blood tests, ultrasound & a further appointment was arranged. The appointment focussed on do you drink alcohol? Do you smoke? Do you take drugs? The line of questioning changed to weight & the dreaded Body Mass Index (BMI). I’ll be honest my weight and BMI fluctuates; managing chronic conditions & trying to be active is difficult & this was reflected by my weight.

Don’t search for those answers; what if they do remain unanswered. Most couples who receive fertility support are classed as “unexplained fertility” & we fell into this bracket. I hated that it was out-with my control but so many things remained in my control. I stopped drinking alcohol & I altered my diet for it to be more healthy & found a meat free diet was much more beneficial for me.

The best advice I would give you if you are about to embark on your journey is to prepare, support each other & aim for a healthy lifestyle. If you get the opportunity I would recommend pre pregnancy counselling, it’s especially useful if you have chronic conditions & are on medication.

Still to this day, I remain in the unexplained category but with changes made to my lifestyle I’ve been lucky enough to conceive without any support. Those questions still remain unanswered and I feel very lucky to have conceived before starting the IVF journey.

We’re Having A Baby!

I’m delighted to share with you our fantastic news & our little bundle of joy is due in June. The past few months have been overwhelming yet they’ve flown in. I’m almost 22 weeks & recently had our 20 week scan which showed a healthy baby wriggling away & hiding from the camera.

We were due to start the next stage of the infertility process & suddenly, out of the blue, this little miracle happens. Feeling content & blessed & taking each day as it comes.

Our family of 3 with our Chewie the Collie is about to become a 4 ❤️.

*Of course our baby reveal photo would be of a Celtic top 🍀*

When you’re asked that question….

“Do you want to have a  baby?”

You’d be forgiven for thinking the question was asked by my husband. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked the question by a stranger, friends or family. Nothing can prepare you for the rush of emotions you experience as you hear it and the sharp chest pain as you try and think of a short answer to this apparently simple question.

 
It may seem like a normal question to be asked; I’m 28, married with a career so kids come next, right? Of course, the dream is to have a baby but people don’t understand the impact that question can have on someone.

 
What people don’t see is the panic and the pain I experience when the question is asked. The rushing of thoughts in my head as I try to say “Yes, of course I do” for the next question to be “So, why don’t you have any children then?”.

 
Do I tell them the edited version of my journey? Yes, my Husband and I would love to have children and we are attending an infertility clinic to help us achieve this. The lump in my throat suggests I wouldn’t be able to get that sentence out.

 
Think before you ask the question. Don’t assume that because of age or relationship status that asking the question is any more acceptable. It’s an intrusive question and I fully understand that you don’t know the back story before asking but I would kindly ask people to think before they ask.

 
I am always open about our fertility journey and even my husband has experienced the same question and felt uncomfortable at answering. I am open to anyone that is genuinely asking and I hope by sharing my story other women in my position can relate and know that they are not alone.