Pathway to the sea- post natal depression

My journey with Postnatal Depression

Postnatal Depression is something that everyone knows exist but often it not actually discussed. Most people know that Postnatal Depression can be deadly but beyond not much else is generally known.

When you are pregnant so many staff talk to you about the risks and signs of it. If you have had depression before you are warned that you have an even higher risk.

Pathway to the sea- post natal depressionPathway to the sea- post natal depression

As someone who has dealt with her own black dog I know my fair share of what destruction depression can have. It has been apart of my life for years so I have my own existing methods of how to cope when things got really hard but none of this prepared me for Postnatal Depression.

Every new mum gets hit by the baby blues so it can often be hard to work out whether you have the baby blues or Postnatal Depression at first. For me it seemed to be just anxiety and baby blues but then it was clear that this was Postnatal Depression.

Everyone’s experience is different and for me it always linked back to my own existing self esteem issues. I loved my LO the moment we met so an issue that many women deal with wasn’t what I struggled with. For me it was that I was never being a good enough mum for her. I constantly felt like an utter failure of a mum.

All around me people would come and visit spouting off “aren’t you doing so well!” or “you’re such a natural mum” yet all these just made me feel worse. I felt and still feel like a fraud. Every day I look down at my little girl at some point on the brink as I feel like I am not doing a good enough job.

I have lost count of how often I have hidden away and broken down in the 4 months since LO was born. I know that BF knows of some of them but I am not sure that he is aware of just how much I feel broken.

It is a strange existence – while I feel utterly broken, I am also extremely happy as I curl up with her in my arms or in bed with BF while she sleeps away on his chest. That might be why Postnatal Depression is so scary – you often feel so alone, scared and upset but to the rest of the world sees you as this new happy mother. I think that is why there are so many cases of sudden suicides of mothers – to the rest of the world you seem happy yet alone or inside you are broken.

If you asked any of my friends and family, they wouldn’t have any idea that I was remotely depressed. You always seem to wear a mask. For the world to find out your dirty secret feels like the end of the world. To openly talk about it too makes it all the more real. Trying to tell doctors, midwives or health visitors is just as hard, which only makes getting the help that you need even harder.

I was lucky that my BF and Health Visitor were so great at spotting that something was wrong. It could have been so much harder to have those conversations but they made it possible. I’m not sure how much of my struggle that they are aware of but they know I am suffering and that is an important first step. There is still a whole journey ahead of me to recovery and I am at the start of mine with people who are looking out for me.

There are those out there though that make it hard. Even with my positive experiences of reaching out and being heard, I have had negative ones too. One doctor in particular was awful – twice I tried to talk to him about my PND and both times I was made to feel awful about it.

Week 22 - itching - the bump diaries - PillsThe first time was at my 6 week check up – an appointment that my Health Visitor asked me to talk to the Doctor about my struggles. At first he dismissed it claiming it was probably just baby blues. Next he then claimed that it was my health visitor who had to deal with referrals, something that is no at all correct. Finally his only approach was to throw drugs at the problem. In fact the conversation ended when he exclaimed “I can give you antidepressants but beyond that there is nothing that can be done.”

I knew that going for an only drug approach was not for me – drugs won’t help a terrible self esteem problem. I have taken similar drugs before to help with my recovery from a brain injury and I knew all too well the side effects. For me the side effects would just make me feel worse but would also would go through to LO’ milk. It wasn’t the right option for me but this doctor wasn’t willing to consider anything else.

The second time that I meet him was for an appointment about crippling back pain. For 7 days I had been dealing with 2-3 back spasms that lasted 4-5 hours – I was on the brink. It felt like these days of pain were just never going to end and I couldn’t see how I was going to survive. These back spasms had been happening for weeks but this was the longest bout of attacks.

I remember the days before the appointment being in the kitchen in floods of tears feeling like I couldn’t survive. I wanted it over. It went no further but even the idea that I didn’t want to exist if this constant pain and inability to breathe was what I had in store was terrifying once the pain lifted. I love my family and there is so much in my life that makes me so happy but in that brief moment I couldn’t see anything but pain. Hours later when the pain lifted I was so scared. I don’t want to ever feel that lost, scared and fearful again, nor even consider that it would have been better to not exist. While even in that amount of pain and distress, I didn’t want to act on it but it was still enough to know that I needed help with my physical pain as well as my mental health.

I went to an appointment and after trying to explain about such negative thoughts, he just dismissed them. In fact he ignored 90% of what I said and ended up putting me on drugs for pain relief that I later found out was scarily dangerous for breastfed babies. This doctor though has made me fearful for bringing up my emotional pain. Since that appointment I have struggled to open up.

On top of all this, when I was finally referred to the mental health team locally I was informed that despite Postnatal Depression being a very common and possibly deadly mental health issue, there wasn’t actually any Postnatal Depression run by the well being service. It was really shocking that the only real Postnatal Depression support was run by the health visitors and I would have to wait until January for the chance to go to that support group. The lack of support for women with Postnatal Depression is shocking.

The only option that the mental health service could provide was Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. So here I am the day after my first appointment and I finally felt like it was time to finally open up that I am struggling with Postnatal depression. I might seem like the world that everything is OK but behind it all I am struggling. I am though starting my journey to recovery and hopefully soon those days of crying on the kitchen floor while LO sleep will soon be far behind me.

So many people since LO was born have asked how I am. Some people have even been so far to say “It’s not like you are suffering from Postnatal Depression” or “it is great that you don’t have Postnatal Depression.” Every time I have managed to change the subject or avoid the question often telling them how adorable LO is. I still may not be able to share in conversation with people and I will probably still keep changing the subject if it comes up but as normal writing it out is so much easier. This way I can share my story and feel safe. Hopefully others will be able to find comfort or help too.

I don’t want Postnatal Depression to shape my life nor my family’s – I want to be the better for them. Recovery is hard but I am starting and that at the moment that is important. So here is to the start of my journey. It can only go up from here, till then I will just have to have extra baby and BF cuddles. With them in my life and by my side I know I will get there soon.



Week 20: Second Ultrasound – The Bump Diaries

Ultrasounds are always exciting – this was the second and possibly last one that we would get. This second ultrasound, as it was planned at 20 weeks could also tell us what the gender of our little baby was going to be.

Still struggling with all the itching and being made aware that it could be a serious pregnancy condition I was very nervous. Little one hadn’t moved for a while and movements haven’t gotten regular yet so I was panicking of what I may or may not see at the ultrasound.

As normal BF was calm leading up to the appointment. He always seems to be as cool as a cucumber all while I freak out so it was great to have him coming to the appointment.

For weeks we have been discussing whether or not we wanted to know the gender. There are so many pros and cons to both sides and even the morning of our appointment we still weren’t sure what our decision would be. For us the idea of keeping it a secret would be exciting and would stop people from giving us overly pink or blue presents. Find out though would let us be able to focus the baby name search down significantly and we would be able to stop calling our little one an “it” or go “he/she” in every conversation; we would also be able to start imaging our little family.

With the afternoon starting we made our way by bus straight to the hospital with bottle of water to drink. As at the last ultrasound I had been instructed to have a full bladder, I thought this would be the same so throughout our journey I was sipping away. By the time we got to  the hospital though I really needed to pee – seems my bit of a bump is squishing my insides.

As we arrived the room was almost full of others. Next to the only free places to sit together were a rather loud family. Last time we had an ultrasound we had decided to get lots of photos so that we could share them with family members – this time round we had decided on just one or two. There was only one issue with our plan – that loud family had broken the machine and now it was no longer accepting card payments. Having used the last of his change on the bus tickets, BF was left with nothing to pay. Everyone else waiting in the room had this issue – many partners had run off to get change but I managed to pull together some change so we could get one photo and BF wouldn’t have to run off.

The time passed and sat quietly whispering away in excitement – unlike our first appointment our appointment time came and went by. 15 minutes after it was scheduled I couldn’t hold it any longer – I needed to pee and someone prodding my stomach with an ultrasound wand was out of the question unless it was going to happen in the next 3 minutes. It was then and only then that I checked my paperwork and phone only to find that at the 20 week ultrasound I didn’t need a full bladder. Thank goodness!

With that I nipped to the loo and less than a minute after returning to my seat and feeling far more comfortable my name was called out. This was it, we were going to see our little one again. All of those fears bubbled up one last time. “Please oh please let there be a heart beat and that everything is fine!” rang through my head as I was asked to get up on the bed.

Up went my top and on went the gel that warmed up really quickly as it touched my stomach. This time I was at the hands of a new girl with a more experienced lady assisting her. The wand went on my stomach in a hard prodding fashion. Instantly they found the baby again in a peaceful pose. It was this point that BF exclaimed “It’s an alien!” to help calm my nerves as I gripped his hand to make me giggle. The giggling clearly woke up the little baby as it began to wiggle and move. The newbie then annoyed at the now awake baby prodded harder and harder as she tried to find a good position to view the heart. After a few minutes of the other lady trying to guide her and I think seeing how much pain she was clearly inflicting on me and bump, who was wiggling with every hard prod, she took over. She excused it as “I’ll show you what I mean and you can try later on to find it yourself” but she was so gentle and asking constantly if she was hurting me.

They spent ages looking over the heart and checking out all the key veins and arteries running to and from it to have me and BF geeking out in the corner over it all. We are nerds so love finding out all about this sort of stuff and so got to learn a long side the newbie where everything was. It also meant that we had even longer to coo and see the little alien slowly calming down back to sleep again as bump was no longer woken by laughs or painful prods.

Bit by bit we got to see them checking the spine, vital organs, head, brain and hands. My favourite part was when the screen was all black apart for two little perfect feet occasionally moving. It felt like we have been gifted with so much time to see every little detail of our little one as the new girl got to learn so much.

20 week baby ultrasound - the bump diariesAgain throughout there was talk of measurements passed and written down while Bf held my hand and we cooed away. It was a much longer appointment compared to our first one that a new lot of gel had to be applied. With all the measurements and learning that could be gleamed from our session the lady holding the wand told us that all the vital stuff was finished and did we want to know the gender.

We still hadn’t formalised an answer between us but in the thrill of it all we looked at each other and bf said “I know she really wants to know so yes.”

She giggled at us – I think she has been faced with many answers of over her years of doing this and I think she always loved this part. “Any ideas or predictions of what you think you might have?” she quipped leading on to BF giving a very quick break down of his family just having boys for the last 5 or 6 generations so it is probably going to be a boy.

“Well I have a surprise for you… it’s a girl!” Cue to very shocked parents to be – we really thought it was a signed and done deal with BF’s family history but here we had news of a little girls. It seems my recent dreams of holding a little girl were true! It was at this point I turned to BF to see one of the biggest and proudest grins from him I have ever seen as he squeezed my hand. We didn’t get long left to coo over our little girl as a final picture was taken and my stomach was cleaned up of left over gel before dashing to the loo one last time. By the time I had returned the picture was printed and the ladies were offering their final congratulations before we headed back out the hospital to go home.

As we caught the bus home we were both buzzing with excitement – it was clear that the news of the gender made this even more real for BF. I don’t think he ever imagined having a little girl either so a new sort of shocked excitement was waving over him. BF had gone from wanting to not know or anyone to know to sharing it with the world. It would seem that we made the best choice and all the way home we giggled to each other and tried to think of baby girl names with our new photo in hand.

What was your 20 week scan like? Did you want to know the gender? Were you surprised? I would love to hear all about your stories so please leave a comment below!

The Bump Diaries Week 12: The First Scan

Week 12 was a biggy – it was the first time we would have photographic proof about bump. Scary and exciting this was always going to be a highlight in the pregnancy as well as a clear worry.

You know that a key part of any modern day pregnancy is the ultrasound. It isn’t until you get pregnant that you realise that there are in most pregnancies two of them – one at 12 weeks and the second at 20 weeks. There are times when you might have a scan, such as certain high risk pregnancies or with bleeding, but generally you’ll only have two.

On all of the forums it was crazy as when I was barely 7 weeks there were women having scans left, right and centre. Turns out that a lot of women today go for private scans so that they can get confirmation early and meet their little bean sooner. It came up between me and BF – having a scan before Christmas would be a great way to tell the family but was it really worth the money? Would it be better if we just found another way to tell them (we did through gifts which you can see here) and we could wait. So we waited. And waited. And I am really glad that we did.

Upon telling the family we were asked a couple of times if we had a scan yet or when the date was – it wasn’t just us who wanted to see the new addition to the family. If we had done it before, they would’t have been involved in the build up to this moment and gave us a reason to go and visit some of my family in Bournemouth with the photos. Rather than just a “is she or isn’t she showing a bump” focus it was all about the photo – something that I am really grateful for. People staring at your stomach when you just look fat is not comfortable.

Now I have had ultrasounds before but they have not been baby related – in fact last year I had two. I know the procedure quite well; drink lots of water and try not to pee. Since getting pregnant all I do is pee – BF now says that I a three states, “need to pee”, “too full” or “really hungry”. I’ve sat bolt right up in the middle of the night and yelled “I NEED TO PEE” before falling asleep and snoring moments later… When you are pregnant you pee… a lot!

At the last few ultrasounds I have had a lot of water to drink two hours before hand and been fine but this time I struggled. I struggled so much that an hour before, against what all the paperwork tells you, I went to the loo with the promise of drinking a whole little bottle of water. I don’t think that it helped that just before BF and I disappeared to the hospital for our appointment that we celebrated with a meal in a restaurant – the day had finally arrived after all and neither of us could believe we would see a picture. It was also still playing on our minds that something could be wrong but that is why drinks were involved; he had a beer and I had a wonderful mocktail.

When they send you the letter with the date of your ultrasound, along with “try not to pee and drink lots” you get information about how much money it will cost for x,y and z of photos. We had decided that screw it, we wanted the biggest package of 8 as it meant we could give them out to the family. Upon entering the ultrasound ward there are signs everywhere that tell you “You must buy the number of photos that you want before you go in for your appointment!” After settling down and drinking the last of my water we sorted out our photos then starred at this little piece of paper hoping that everything was ok.

As a specialist ultrasound ward just for pregnancies, the other other people in the room waiting with us were pregnant women alone or couples. It felt strange, the walls were bare and the room was full of dread and excitement at once. Our appointment was booked for 3.10 but we had turned up early as it was a windy cold day so we both just wanted to curl up somewhere warm and wait. They must have been having a rather efficient day in the ward as by 2.55 we were already in  trying to get my short arse up onto the chair and wiggled into the right position.

As soon as I was in the right position, top went up and gel went on my stomach and boy was it warm. In the past whenever I have dealt with ultrasounds the gel has been cold so it was weird that not only was this gel warm but it felt like it warmed up as it was smeared across my belly. The ultrasound lady put her wand on my stomach and gasped – turns out she had found our little bump straight away! Not only had she found it without even starting to look but our little one was in the most perfect position for what she needed. She was quickly rushing through lots of photos and doing measurements talking to her assistant who was busy in writing everything down while we just gasped… there was our little baby with its nose, lips, and heart beat as clear as day. Soon the wand moved sideways and we saw a top view as she went through the babies brain before returning the the side on view to find each hand and foot quipping “Sorry I’m doing this so fast but your baby is in the most perfect position that I want to get all this important stuff before they wake up or move; we’ll then be able to slow down and get photos for you!”

We didn’t care though – we were still just in awe of seeing our little one being alive and well with the little heart beat flickering quickly away. As she went through finding everything she needed, our ultrasound lady would quip “It was as if they knew just the position they needed to be in and when” or “You have a little poser!” and “They must be sleeping – they are so relaxed with their feet crossed and so still!”

It  turns out that our little one had “made her day” as it was just so perfect. Now with her vital details checked it was now time for her to get photos for us to keep. Rather than the 8 that we paid for we ended up with 10 as she happily took more and more of this little sleeping bump. Being pregnant, despite peeing only an hour before, as soon as I could I rushed out to the loo only to come back and find that all of our photos were ready and printed. We stepped out of  there before our original appointment time!

Photos in hand it was time to navigate through the hospital and have my blood taken. Although you know about the ultrasound, unless you have had a baby you don’t know about the vast number of different and weird tests that you have to take throughout the pregnancy. Almost every time you see someone they will want a sample or measurement of something. In this instance it is for a combined sampling test to see if there could be any issues with the baby such as downs.

This is where the next wave of worry hits – yes there is a heart beat but what if something is wrong! As I have a member of my family with various disabilities there were added worries. Unlike before, the waiting room we sat in waiting was high up with views overlooking the Palace Pier as the sun slowly set with colour and noise around us. This room was filled with people who had been in the other waiting room, all with their photos still in hand along with others waiting for other maternity services. The atmosphere was so different – for most people there wasn’t a worry or excitement, it was just a normal appointment.

People came and went; time seemed to slow as we waited. Soon it was 45 minutes and we were still sat wondering how long it would be – it felt like we would never leave that room until finally my name was called. This was it; time to get prodded with a needle.

I hate needles; I can’t stand to see them or go into people, especially me. When BF had to have an IV put in when he was ill I had to leave the room and even seeing the tubing going into his arm had me freaking out internally all while I tried to be supportive and not faint. All that aside, as long as I don’t see the needle before, during or after I am ok having injections or blood taken. Every time I have to explain “I’m bad with needles!” a face of dread flashes across their face; I have seen how bad people can get with needles and it has involved an 11 year old being held down by three health professionals… the relief though when I tell them it will be fine just don’t let me see anything and keep talking.

BF is brilliant on the other hand – he has donated blood and is fine to see all sort of blood and guts. For him it was funny watching me trying to keep talking about anything I could think of that wasn’t needle shaped, in this case food, and catching the interesting (to him) procedure of taking blood. As soon as the needle was out I couldn’t help but let out “I’m such a woss!”

The nurse tried to disagree but BF just laughed, he knew this was scary to me and knew at this moment a “you’ve been so brave!” was not the answer I needed… I needed to feel like a woss – this was my coping mechanism or what they had done was really as scary as my mind made needles out to be. Plaster on my arm and it was over – all the tests were over and I had the photos of our little person to share with who we wanted.

When it comes to tests, sometimes it can be weeks before you get a result and in this case we were told “if you don’t hear anything by Monday it is all fine” was a relief. We had a deadline of when, if any, bad news would come and it was only a few days away. We only had to wait and we would have the all clear – then we could start spreading the news.

All of those weeks of worry and excitement were over and now a new chapter of the pregnancy started – we had proof, there was a heartbeat and it was now about the rest of pregnancy and beyond.

Did you have a good experience getting your first ultrasound? How did your go? Did you struggle with the blood tests or not peeing? I’d love to hear your stories so share them below!

The Bump Diaries Week 10: Maternity Clothes

I love pregnancy books – they are very good at telling you when you will probably need to do things.

They will also tell you not every pregnancy is the same. Being a very curvy girl before I was pregnant this couldn’t be more true and despite all the books saying to put off buying any maternity clothes just yet I couldn’t put it off any longer.

Now I’m curvy in one place and they have a lot of “fun names” ranging from titties, boobs, boobies, tits, lady lumps, the girls and many more. Normally I am a 36F without additional pregnacy boobs so I have always struggled to find clothes that could contain mine. I still would get tuts as tops would sometimes pop open or the tops that did stay in place just made my cleavage look very revealing. Seriously I struggled to find a way to not make them look huge, me look like I was wearing a tent or offer a lot of skin or curves to see.

I was at 10 weeks popping open my normally big boob friendly clothes, particularly my coat. There are lots of corsets in my closet (seriously a life saver for house work when you have back problems or struggle with huge boobs) but now extra sensitive the clothes squishing them just hurt. For me I was lucky that all of the post-Christmas sales had just started. Coats, tops and trousers that I had fallen in love with before Christmas halved in price in some instances.

The shops post-Christmas were busy and manic though in all the baby and pregnancy shops or sections it was pretty quite. I was able to slowly browse everything and not feel like I had to rush grab things. In one place I tried on so many clothes yet the whole time I was the only one even in the maternity section. It was amazing – here was all these clothes that I desperately needed to stop me from having a Superbowl fashion accident and it was all cheap.

Despite having almost all of my clothes not fitting over my growing lady lumps I only picked up 4 things that day – a pair of jeans, a nice warm coat, and two tops. Being at home so much I didn’t need much but these vital items mixed with stealing BF’s big baggy t-shirts and my bra PJ top was going to cover most situations.

The coat for me was the main reason for the shop so of course was the priority – I spent almost all of the time looking for the perfect coat – something that would hide the bump, keep me warm, be useful in future years, was not too hot or heavy, as well as something that wouldn’t make me look like an elephant. I found the perfect one – a purple coat that despite hanging straight down actually looked less of a tent on me than the ones with a belt. Turns out that coats can be deceiving sometimes.

Next up were the two tops – one was a casual yet smart white a blue striped top that had a lovely waterfall effect to hide a little bump and expand out for a big one, the other was a sparkly wrap around number that would be great for smart or special occasions. At the moment I can still fit into some of my tops but my boobs are making my selection of clothes smaller each day so with items on sale and a bump due to appear in a few weeks these tops were more an investment than an immediate requirement.

Saying that, when putting on the stripped waterfall top I suddenly felt wonderful – it has been designed in such a way that it hides bumps and curves while being highly comfortable. I have tried a few maternity tops on in the past as they are often the only affordable tops with added boob space that become very reasonable in the sales. I have found them hit or miss. Some maternity tops I have tried have looked incredible at the front but highlights all the wrong bumps from the back. Other maternity tops though make you look so slim and beautiful as they have the space for big boobs and great at hiding a fat stomach.

After slipping on the stripped waterfall top I felt wonderful and I hadn’t even looked in the mirror yet. The fabric was so soft and the design felt like it pulled in at the right places, while being free flowing at the right places. Looking in the mirror I felt amazing – I was right that with the added boob space the design pulled in just under my lady lumps while the waterfall front hid my tubby belly. It was clear that the design was crafted so in early pregnancy it would hide your baby bump all while giving space for your bump to grow into.

I have a few wrap around garments already – these currently make up the majority of the clothes that still fit. I have found in the past that for someone with big boobs, wrap tops and dresses are vital – they often are the few things that actually cover your lady lumps all while not making you look like you’re wearing a tent.

When I pulled this top off the rack I immediately thought this would probably look amazing just from the cut and type of the fabric. I was not wrong – the top made me feel glamourous. The design is made up of much longer wraps than I am used to, so while I was worried that these might add layers, it is really doesn’t as it can only wrap around once. I loved the idea of this top – it lets you sculpture the top around you based on your body and how far you are in the pregnancy. It wasn’t surprising then when I found the tag explaining how it had been designed for maternity and nursing. This top therefore was double the investment – I would have a fancy top for when I wanted to feel and look smart both when pregnancy and once the baby was born. While this top was not as soft as the stripped top, unlike a lot of sparkly tops, it was not itchy and still was gentle on my skin.

For only £25 I had two amazing tops that would serve me well until the warm weather hits with my changing body. Two tops may sound very little but when I spend a lot of time at home, stealing BF’s big t-shirts to lounge around in and my existing wrap tops would suit me until I needed to find summer pregnancy clothes.

So with a coat and two tops down, it was time for another must have purchase – jeans. Now I could wait for maternity jeans but last week my normal jeans split in an unfixable location. As in a few weeks a bump would appear and I have no idea about what size I would be after the pregnancy, It couldn’t see the point in buying a pair of normal jeans now only for them not to fit in a few weeks time, and by then the maternity jeans would rocket back up in price. Browsing the racks here I had jeans that would fit now and as my bump grew only for £10 – the cost of a normal pair of jeans. I couldn’t find any that I liked or fitted at Jojo Bebe so I headed across town to Mothercare. Straight away I found an amazing pair of jeans that while were a bit long (I am short so that was expected), were a great fit and with the wide elastic belly band would grow with my bump. I tried on other dresses and tops but none of them compared to the ones I had already purchased so I only got the pair of jeans from Mothercare but I have worn them every day since.

I will admit that it is a bit weird to get used to the wide band instead of a tight belt but after having to have a belt squeeze around your waist it was actually nice to not feel squished. The extra band also kept my stomach warm during the cold weather – something I had been having huge problems with in the past.

My final trip was to Debenhams. In the past I have found that their maternity stuff has been very fashionable and shaping for someone with big boobs though it can be hit or miss each year. This year it seemed was not favourable for me with my back fat rolls (yuck). Their range felt smaller than normal too which was a shame and was already stripped of most sizes. Either other curvy women have found my trick of looking at the maternity line, that there were just more of a demand of maternity clothing or it was easier for early pregnancy women to hide their early bumps with this range. I am probably going to go with the last option – most of Debenham’s maternity clothes are great for hiding little bumps but not as good as the baby shops when it comes to bigger and more practical maternity clothes. I will admit that the feeling of going into a baby shop when looking for maternity clothes is scary – what if someone you know sees you go in to that shop or see you with a mothercare bag, they will know and spread a rumour!

All in all though I ended up spending less than £100 and had four key items that would help me see through this pregnancy until the summer weather hits the UK and I’ll be out hunting for Maxi dresses and other items to stay cool in.

What was your first pregnancy clothing buy? Have you found any amazing maternity bargains in the sales? Do you have a favourite winter maternity clothing item? I would love to hear more about your maternity clothing stories so leave a comment below!

10 things I love and hate - pink heart button in a book

The Bump Diaries Week 4: Pregnant with TBI

I am officially preggers – this is huge news! For me I’m barely 5 weeks but I’ll have a visible baby bump when this goes live. I wanted to share my story as my pregnancy is a bit different – I suffer from TBI but very few people have documented their journey with this.

I had a head injury 10 years ago followed by 3 more over the next 5 days. I lost 5 months of memory and a few months later I suffered another head injury.

TBI, or Traumatic Brain Injury is basically the after effects of a head injury. As I have had multiple ones all within 9 months I suffered an issue that my brain would swell up if it got worried, stressed or a light knock in a way to protect its self. November 2014 I quit my job as I could no longer handle the daily travel and stress of such a high level – I was taking strong pain killers everyday and wanted to focus on me. For me this was the best decision I ever made as I started freelancing and helping lots of great businesses but I also had amazing flexibility to go to physio and doctors appointments.

Back in March 2014 I was told about some incredible research that pointed to a possible relief of some and even all of my symptoms by getting pregnant. Basically there are two studies going on at the moment that have really positive results in terms of helping those effected by a traumatic brain injury through pregnancy or related hormones.

Bump diariesOne piece of research is currently at the point where they are testing on people (which means it is pretty far) where  patients are given a progesterone treatment within 8 hours of the initial accident and continued for 5 days. While it won’t cure TBI, it has been proven to help reduce swelling and cell death as well as rebuild the blood brain barrier. This is huge news and if it is effective then it could help reduce disability and death all while increasing the rate of recovery. While my brain injury may be over 10 years old, reducing swelling would be a huge help – my doctors have tried other drugs but I suffer too much from the side effects. In other words getting pregnant could help me with 9 months of reduced swelling with the end result of a the family me and Tother have always wanted.

The other piece of research is at an earlier stage but the results are highly exciting. Basically they are testing the impact of pregnancy on animals with brain injury, IQ and memory. They started with trying to find out if getting pregnant increased intelligence and found that a very high percentage of those with a brain injury completely recovered. Their research has found pregnancy helps fix and improves the body to ensure the best for the mother and baby. This. is. huge.

Basically I was given a 70% chance of a full recovery if I got pregnant along with a very high chance of reduced swelling if it doesn’t.

Me and T’other have talked for years about the family we wanted and I have always wanted a bump before I hit 30. Not only was it the right time to start growing a family but it could help me recover – as you can imagine it wasn’t a hard decision for us.

After a few months of trying and failing we have finally managed to get one to stick and in three days time I’ll be at my first appointment.

I actually thought I had no chance this month – no symptoms or anything but a while I realised that I wasn’t feeling ill at all. In a week I’d had no headaches, no dizziness and I was able to go out in the bright sunshine without sunglasses on – this for me hadn’t been the case in 2 years. That was a week ago, I have hardly had any TBI symptoms.

I have had headaches but they are very different from my TBI ones and no where as painful. The dizziness has gone too. I have only been dizzy once but that was after a day full of my normal triggers not effecting me and then overheating from the oven.

Nausea has been the biggest issue – I have been constantly been feeling either sick, hungry or stuffed. Small meals and healthy snacks has been helping.

It really is amazing – I’m so happy and excited about it all. For years we have always talked about the kids that we wanted and even discussed what we would do if it wasn’t possible for any reason. T’other has always making dad jokes and then quips how he is practising since we started dating – all this week those jokes have increased. I adore the photo that he took when he found out – his smile is amazing and its one of my all time favourite photos of him and probably will be forever now.

Overall things are great and I’ll be sharing my story for anyone else interested. I am so happy and excited and although being pregnant is helping me feel so much better all talk and thoughts are about starting our own little tribe.

Have you found pregnancy help you? Have you heard of progesterone being used to treat those with TBI? How have you felt when you have been 5 weeks pregnant? How did you find out? I would love to hear about your story so leave a comment below!