3Ds - Glucose blood test 2 - the bump diaries

Week 28 – Glucose Test Number 2

28 weeks for a pregnant lady with a starting BMI of 30 can only mean one thing – the start of the third trimester and the second glucose blood test.

In my first midwife appointment I found out rather than doing the normal glucose test, which involves drinking a bottle of lucozade an hour before having your blood taken, I would need to do a full glucose test twice. The full test involves fasting for 12 hours, having your blood taken, drinking some weird glucose drink, waiting 2 hours and then having a second lot of blood tests.

Now I had one already early on around 16 weeks so I knew what to expect. Fasting for over 14 hours (when you add on the two hours between blood tests) and the joy of being stuck with a needle 2 times in 2 hours is not fun.

Food has been an issue throughout the pregnancy for me – I have had to eat very little and often to stop nausea being hellish but this has gotten worse since last time. My last appointment had been booked by the midwife so she had made sure it was on a Saturday so that BF could come and keep me company – this time it was automatically booked so I would be going alone. These two aspects made me really worry about the pending appointment.

3Ds - Glucose blood test 2 - the bump diariesLucky for me I have found how filling a portion of egg fried rice could be recently. With an 8am appointment booked and BF commuting back from London so due home at 8pm, I had to plan out food carefully. I didn’t want to cook something at 9pm that I would need tasting or would make me hungry – he was happy with my plan though as it involved him ordering Papa John’s.

I had alarms set at 7 and 7.50 to ensure that I would start cooking and eat in time before the dreaded 8pm deadline. This was such a good idea or I would have struggled to cook and eat in time. Yes, I forgot so the alarms really helped.

With egg friend rice cooked and eaten just in time all I could have now was small sips of water. I often work on automatic so using a climbing sling and screwgate carabiner I tied up the cupboard so I wouldn’t be able to open it in when half asleep. I also hid easy to grab snackable items in the fridge at the back or hidden. Once BF had food sorted it was easier just to try and curl up and sleep.

For once I slept through the night – I think keeping my fluid in take mixed with the very filling dinner made this possible but going for a long walk helped too. With BF’s 6.30am alarm, I was awake early enough to help him get up and ready before heading to the bus stop with him to take the bus across town for my appointment.

The Royal Sussex County Hospital has a load of building works going on at the moment so I finally managed to navigate the hospital to get to  the maternity ward in time for my appointment. At 8am it was completely empty so I had to wait until a member of staff turned up.

It wasn’t long until I was called up for my first blood test. The staff were slowly arriving and I had a young nurse who was going to be managing my glucose test. As with any time that I have to deal with needles I was open about how I had to not see the needle at all and not to know when they were going to jab me.

“Sure no worries – we’ll just talk.”

I wish she had kept her promise but nope… she warned me just before she was going to put the needle in. I of course tensed and this made it super painful.

At 28 weeks, whether or not you have a BMI over 30, you have to have a round of blood tests to check on various things like iron levels so with the first glucose blood test, I also had the standard 28 weeks blood test taken so I had to be jabbed one less times with a needle.

Blood taken and a cotton ball taped to my arm it was time to head back to the waiting room and occupy myself for the next two hours. The first time I had BF to keep me company so we watched episodes of Eggheads downloaded from the BBC iPlayer app. This time I was all alone so had a book and my DS. I think actively playing a Zelda game made time really fly.

Others around me seemed to be struggling though as the waiting room filled up. You could hear and sense the boredom and frustration coming from them. They would try reading, talking and walking around the room.

It seems that having something that you actively have to engage with helps pass time much faster. Eggheads had helped time fly as we had been discussing and guessing the answers. My DS had helped me focus and enjoy the time even as I sat there alone.

Not everyone has a handheld console or likes games and quizzes but there was one lady passing the time happily knitting away. If you know that you have to wait for 2 hours between blood tests, I really would suggest finding something to actively do.

With the two hours over I was called back and returned to the room for my final blood test. Again with the same lady I asked to not know when she was going to stick me with the needle and again she agreed only a minute later to warn me. Yeap, she was really not the brightest spark.

It was however finally over! After 14 hours I could finally eat again so pulled out my pre-packed snacks before heading back home to engulf some filling food.

As my blood test was on a Friday this time, I only had to wait a day for the results – last time I had to wait two days due to no results on a Sunday. Great news – my blood test came back clear so I don’t have fetus betus! Now more sugar related blood tests now for me. The results actually came back really good so I wasn’t even close to having any issues. My 28 weeks blood tests came back normal too!

It was another test done and another milestone as I entered into the third trimester with a clean bill of health.

Did you have to have the full glucose test? How did you pass the time? Did you have the normal test? I would love to hear from you so leave a comment below.

 

 


Week 26 – Preparing for Birth Class

I love the pregnancy yoga classes LushTums run so when I found out that they had an afternoon class that was all about getting you prepared for birth class I jumped at the chance to attend.

As the course runs for only an afternoon it is only covering birth but as this is the part that was scaring me the most, I was happy to spend the money with an instructor that I trusted. I also was made aware that the preparing for birth class would help make partners aware of key positions or breathing exercises covered by the yoga classes regularly so BF would know what to suggest or help with on the big day.

Normally I go to the Hove lessons so I can leave 5 minutes before the class starts and still be on time. This course was held at Bird Studios behind the station so me and BF had to get up and get a bus across town. I was feeling so ill that BF kept asking “Are you sure you want to go – will you be well enough?” Nope I was going – not only had we already paid for the class, this was the last course that I could attend due to other arrangements before my due date so it was now or never. I wanted to go to this course that it didn’t matter – I was freaking out about labour so needed this.

On top of feeling really ill it turns out that there was a lot of extra traffic with some sort of parade or something so when we arrived we were 10 minutes late and couldn’t find out where to go. The lobby was full of ladies chatting away and no receptionist – we had no idea where we had to go. Luckily we went to go looking for someone to ask and I recognised my yoga instructor through the window. We were there and hadn’t missed anything as they had just done some basic introductions two minutes before hand as they waited to see if we arrived.

Just like the yoga lessons, there were mats set out on the floor with bolsters, blocks and blankets. Bags, shoes and coats were put in the corner on some chairs and we sat down on the floor. I was quick to straddle the bolster as I knew how comfortable it was for my back, hip and bump.

first kicks bump diaries pregnancy yoga week 16There were only three couples in total there – I was half expecting to have to face double that especially with how big, oversubscribed and overcrowded the Saturday yoga classes were. It was a great thing though – we could ask very specific questions and the session was tailored to what we needed or wanted. The first couple were having their second baby at home and were open to share about their very quick (4 hours!!!) and easy labour, while the second included a writer from “Call the midwife” also due with their first baby!

I have read a lot – I find knowledge is a great way of calming down so I love to absorb information so that I am not caught off guard. BF is the same – I really did choose the perfect man for me it seems. After hearing about how much went wrong when I was born for years, labour really scared me so I needed to find out as much as possible and how to stop being ripped to shreds like my mum.

With introductions done, Claire and the midwife running the session started with breaking down the information. It is clear that they have really planned out a great structure and course as they had a flip chart ready with detailed drawings in a set order. While was a key direction to when things were covered they were really flexible and would answer questions when they came up. With such a small class size, they were constantly asking for what we already knew or thought – it was a great approach as I learn so much better with this sort of discussion type learning than just having to listen (especially without the ability to write notes throughout).

Constantly through the session I was learning more and more but more importantly I was finding out the level of improvements and changes in recent years that will stop what happened to my mum happening to me. The writer from “call the midwife” while very knowledgeable on a lot of things was still constantly exclaiming how little she knew compared to the two instructors, especially when it came to modern technology or procedures.

I think one of my favourite things about it being run by Claire from Lushtums is that she knows how important it is to get pregnant ladies up and moving, or giving  them regular breaks. If I wasn’t struggling from so many food aversions I would have been able to happily eat an array of drinks and biscuits – they really do think about everything on this course.

As someone who thrives on knowledge that comes from a clear scientific proven basis, this course was fantastic. I had been worried that it may have been a bit too earth mother that it would put off BF yet it was the opposite. Everything discussed and talked about was routed in studies and research. It really helped BF see why the pregnancy yoga lessons that I had been going to were helping so much in the pregnancy and would help when it came to the birth. For me this was definitely one of the best things that came out so since he has encouraged me to continue practicing at home and even uses some of the massage techniques and positions to help me since. As the only one who was currently going to classes, Claire was really great at teaching the others key moves and techniques to everyone, while also offering new positions or techniques that I could do with BF or improve those I already knew.

The mix of knowledge and practical was perfect – I left feeling so much more prepared, supported and better yet no where near as nervous about labour. BF came away feeling really positive about the course – yes a lot of it he already knew because of researching so much but he had learnt things too, which is rare, particularly concerning practical help and support that he could give me. Now when I talked about doing a figure of 8 or the yoga breathing, he knew straight away what I was talking about; now when my hip or back hurts he puts his hand right where it will help thanks to the course. The fact that he complimented the course is huge – when it comes to feedback on things either he is vocal about how bad it is, or will say it is ok. He doesn’t compliment things often so I can only see that as an outstanding success that he found it helpful.

I would recommend this birth class for any pregnant couples – it really was amazing and my fear of labour has gone down so significantly, while I feel so very prepared for what expect before, during and after. If you are nervous about giving birth, this for me is a must – it covers everything you need to know, is tailored to you and your partner but will also be taught in such a clear, practical and useful manner. I would see if there is a course near you as Lushtums is expanding across the country.

Have you been to a birthing class? Did you find it helpful? I would love to hear about your experiences and stories so leave a comment below!

All of this is my own thoughts and opinions – Lushtums were only made aware that this review after the blog post was written.


Typewriter - blood tests - week 26 - the bump diaries

Week 27 – Blood tests

There are a lot of things that they never tell you about being pregnant – one of them is just how many times you might have to have blood tests.

Before I was pregnant I knew that I would have to have at least one blood tests where I would finally find out what  my blood type along with a number of other factors so at my first midwife appointment it didn’t come as a shock. With my research into pregnancy and what basic tests were required and when I knew of one other blood test – the lucozade test to check for gestational diabetes. That made two blood tests.

Typewriter - blood tests - week 26 - the bump diariesAdd another during the first ultrasound it came up to three. I haven’t had to have many blood tests over the years so three in 9 months was going to be a lot for me. I’m scared of needles but as long as I don’t see it or know when I’m going to be jabbed I can manage. All of these tests were needed to keep an eye on me and bump so I was ready to accept a few jabs with needles for our safety.

In my first appointment I was made aware that as I had a BMI higher than 30 how I would have to have the full glucose not once but twice. That means that rather than one blood test to test for gestational diabetes, I would need to have 4! The number of blood tests more than doubled checking for one possible issue. Yea not great news but I would have to cope.

A few weeks ago I had to go for blood tests due to how nauseous and itchy I was – the results came back showing a possible issue with my liver. For me this was scary news – there is a liver condition possible during pregnany called Obstetric cholestasis that can result in a miscarriage and I had all the symptoms. As soon as the results came I had to have another blood test to check something called my bile salts.

I am happy to say that my results showed that my liver function was starting to return back to normal and my bile salts were OK too. The doctors are still concerned – I still am itching, feel nauseous all the time and one bad blood test so I have been told I’ll now be having regular blood tests. I have been warned that I’ll have to have them now every 2-3 weeks until baby comes this week.

So as someone who is scared of needles I have to be jabbed with a needle a lot more times than most pregnant ladies, and this doesn’t include any of the regular tests checking on my liver. As you can imagine, the news this week hasn’t gone down well. BF has helped though – he is using jokes to cheer me up and look on the bright side.

I am constantly having to remember that these blood tests are to keep me and bump safe. This is what I tell myself every time I have to drink some weird glucose drink, have a blood test, injection or having to have a full bladder for an ultrasound.

There really are lots of things that they don’t tell you about pregnancy but I never thought having more blood tests than months I was pregnant was one of them.

How many blood tests did you have to have during your pregnancy? What did they not tell you about pregnancy? How do you manage having blood taken? I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment below.


100 days to go - diary and pen - the bump diaries - week 25

Week 25 – 100 days to go

This week is a huge milestone as it is only 100 days until my due date and has been a hectic week of appointments too!

I am not sure how pregnant ladies with a full time job manage all these appointments – this week I have had four different pregnancy related appointments! As I am quite flexible I’m always honest when they are giving me appointments so that they can save the beginning or end of the day appointments for those who need them the most – plus I can waddle there in my own time.

The first appointment was with the physio. Since getting pregnant I have been struggling with really bad hip pain and shoulder pain so a few months ago I was referred to a physio to see if there was anything that could be done to help. The pregnancy pillow that I purchased back in January has really helped with the pain but it has still be getting slowly worse so this was a much needed appointment. The appointment started fine – standing up I was asked to do certain movements and prodded and poked to find what the problem was. Over the years with all the chiros and physios that I have seen for my back and wrist so I’m used to this and explaining what causes pain or stretching. Now I have not been sleeping on or laying on my back since I found out I was pregnant so I wasn’t aware just how bad my hip was. It came to halfway through my appointment and I was instructed to lie on my back on the table

“Don’t worry this won’t take long and we’ll boost up your back a little to stop any issue – tell me though if your legs go numb” I was told as I swaddled into position.

I lay there and then she lifted my legs only for searing pain to go across my hips. Quickly I was sat up but it was too late as I was in floods of tears. Up until that point the physio had been talking about how flexible and healthy my back seemed – this went out the window though as she rushed to get me tissues and a drink. My appointment was over as I was in so much pain. I left there without any exercises but I did have the biggest tuby grip I have ever seen to give my hip support that would also fit over my bump.

Next appointment was with the Dietitian all the way in Hanover. After my last emotional appointment, where she was the one that helped me with my midwife and eating issues, it was so calm. I finally put on some weight, not much but it is a start in the right direction. She was so happy to hear about how her advice had helped me across my while pregnancy than just in terms of food.

100 days to go - diary and pen - the bump diaries - week 25Third appointment was with my midwife – for me this was an important one as this was going to be my final midwife and would hopefully be a lot more helpful than my last. She was one of the original ladies I met back in December and perfect; she answered all my questions and helped with any worries that I had. On top of feeling really happy (finally) with my midwife, she told me that she wanted to measure the baby so I would need to get up on the bed. After what happened at the physio I was really nervous about the pain yet she was very open how she would stop if I was in pain and do everything to help me feel comfortable. Up went my top and down rolled my skirt and tuby grip to expose my stomach to the world complete with stretch marks.

When we went for the Ultrasound it was obvious how they measured the baby’s size – they could see it, so when she said about measuring the baby I wondered how she was going to do this without ultrasound equipment. Turns out that they feel your bump and work out where they are and measure with tape. Who knew! It was interesting as she handled my bump and while firm it didn’t hurt at all. I really did have an great midwife who seemed to know her stuff. Turns out that I have a big baby – she is in the 90th percentile currently for her size. With me and BF being very short but the rest of our family being very tall it was a bit of a shock – the midwife was really great though by saying that babies go through growth spurts at different times so she will probably return to an average size before too long.

I thought that was it but she then pulled out a device and pronounced she now needed to check her heartbeat and prodded my stomach with it. The weirdest noises came out from the part in her hand and she exclaimed “Wow she is moving around a lot in there!” After a minute or two of her almost battling with my little monkey she finally managed to get her to settle (I had to talk softly to her to calm her which was weird!) and then the noise changed to a fast rhythm coming out loud and clear. The midwife’s face broke into a grin (mine did too probably but I couldn’t see it) and she announced how strong and good her heartbeat was. It wasn’t long until she moved again though and the heart beat noise was gone.

Hearing a babies heartbeat for the first time is an amazing experience – it is really different from seeing a little flashing light on an ultrasound. It might be anytime that you hear or see little one when pregnant that it is exciting and relaxing as you know that they are OK in there. Hearing that pounding and shuffling was so sweet as you are left using your imagination to what is going on. It was a shame that BF wasn’t there but hopefully he’ll get to hear it next time as I’ll have my phone handy to record it.

It seemed to make sense that this week was busy with appointments – on the Saturday it was finally only 100 days until my due date! Pregnancy seems to be full of milestones; I don’t think I have been celebrating so many big milestones within such a short period of time though most involve a very obvious thing or start that you can’t miss it. Using the BabyCentre app I have been keeping a track of how many weeks and days pregnant I am and so the week before when it reached 110 I worked out when 100 days was going to be and put it in my calendar. Unless you track it with an app or diary, celebrating number of days to go is a lot harder. With it firmly in my diary I wasn’t missing this one. There wasn’t a set way to celebrate but it was nice giggling with BF about how far and close the due date was getting. A lot can happen in 100 days which is why there are always reports about the first 100 days of prime ministers and presidents.

So now we are in double figures… this are slowly getting closer and closer, while my bump is getting bigger and bigger! It really is an exciting time and hopefully the last 100 days will be less eventful and more fun than the last 100!

Did you celebrate 100 days or hitting double figures? Are you constantly busy with pregnancy appointments? Have you had to go to a physio or dietitian during your pregnancy? Leave a comment below as I would love to hear from you!

 


Week 24: ‘You having twins?’ – The Bump Diaries

I am officially passed the “bump or burrito” stage of pregnancy but now I’m facing the infamous twins question instead!

In November I found out I was pregnant. The same week I got the two lines on a pee stick I also started counselling from Headway after months of waiting concerning my brain injury related depression. It was sad but due to a change in circumstances the councilor had to stop the sessions with everyone and felt that with the pregnancy helping my TBI and the progress that I had made that she was not worried about them coming to an end.

Every week I would turn up and talk to the receptionist of the church it was held. She had been so sweet and wonderful every time I would be patiently waiting for my counselling to start. Sadly in my final week she was off ill so the pastor had taken over instead. With my normal chat companion not there I sat on my phone as I waited.

Now I know I have passed that baby or burrito stage as I have been asked “when I was due” by a few people now. I have a clear bump and am officially passed the halfway mark – I’ve given up trying to hide it away now too as it just made me feel flumpy.

Twins written on diary - Twins - the bump diaries - week 24There is a mother and baby group at the church that starts around the same time as my weekly sessions that the lobby is full of prams. Every week the receptionist would have the keep a keen eye to stop mothers blocking up emergency exits and access to the offices (including where my sessions were held). The pastor not used to the mayhem realised too late and managed to edge out of the office door me and my big bump would have to waddle through soon to increase the access.

I’m sorry to say that I had my head in my phone while he was doing all this so jumped when he quietly asked “So when are you due?”

“Oh hello! End of July.” I responded cheerfully.

His faces dropped and a look of shock crossed his face – something I haven’t actually seen when I have talked about my due date before.

“Are you having twins then!” He almost exclaimed.

“Nope – I’m only 24 weeks pregnant with a little girl.” It wasn’t until I had replied that I realised just how big I must seem then. I did explain though about the history of twins in my family so we had made sure at both ultrasounds as my nan never knew (this was though before ultrasounds).

He seemed really sweet and I think even embarrassed with his response. Another member of staff had snorted at disbelief at his question and shortly after I was called to my session I overheard her telling him how rude he was for implying I was having twins due to the size of my bump.

Since getting pregnant I have heard so many stories from ladies online all about bump shaming that they have faced – whether too big or too small it seems every lady has a bump size shaming story. The majority seem to be more about bumps being too big – it doesn’t help that the media doesn’t share pictures of ladies who are over 7 months pregnant. Recently there has been a lot of heat from the pregnancy community about the tiny size of the bumps in labour or at 9 months in films like Mad Max – they argue that the ladies bumps were all so small that it makes normal bumps at 8-9 months seem crazy big.

I think I was quite lucky; the pastor wasn’t rude just a little shocked that I had a bump that big and I was only 24 weeks. I am only 24 weeks though so I might face my own fair share of bump shaming now that it is obvious I’m pregnant and not fat. I will probably face the “Twins???” question again so hopefully I will be able to laugh it off.

Have you been bump size shamed? Have you been asked if you have had twins? Do you think  bumps are conveyed as too small in the media? I would love to hear from you so leave a comment below!

 


Week 23: Trains – The Bump Diaries

This week I had the joys of finding out how busy trains and pregnant ladies do not mix.

A few months ago I was asked to run a training session at the Korana Centre on Social Media. I love helping people understand and learn more about social media to help their business or charity so I was so excited. As someone who does not drive this did however involve having to travel via train and bus to get out to Ardlington.

The trip out was easy – I was travelling out in the middle of day with an hour stop out in Haywards Heath where I hid out in a pub grabbing food while talking to a family about video games. It was amazing to take the bus that wound through the countryside and not feel at all ill, dizzy or headachy – this bump is doing wonders for my brain injury.

Stepping off the bus I headed to the Korana Centre and helped set up the session before people slowly started to arrive. I have taught to larger and smaller groups but the nerves of running a training session always hit me – I don’t think I will ever not be nervous as I worry about whether or not I will give the best session for everyone. The session though was a huge success with lots of people afterwards telling me how I had either helped them finally understand the importance of social media, helping them get out of a marketing rut, or in providing lots of great ideas for their business to post on social media. Everyone at the session was so sweet, caring and lovely that I really hope to go back one day – one lady even gave me a lift back to the station so that I wouldn’t have to wait for the bus. If it didn’t take about 2 hours door to door I would definitely go to their weekly sessions as the next few sounded so exciting so if you are based in Sussex it is worth checking them out.

Week 23 - Trains - the bump diairesNow I haven’t had to take the train much over the last year and a half, and if I did have to take the train any where it was never during the rush hour. As the session had ended at 6pm and I arrived at the station at 6.20, I managed to get a very busy commuter train with cancelled trains before and after it… it was therefore very busy! I managed to get on the train but as it was so busy I managed to get to hold a pole just because I had a bump – if I had been pusher I may have been able to get a seat. Being pregnant I could have probably convinced someone to give up their seat but I was just so happy to get on the train, hold on to a pole and not feel ill. The people around me were also so sweet and it was fun to talk about work and life as the countryside wizzed by.

Everything was fine and then the train suddenly jolted and three people around me tried to catch me and support me as much as possible even asking if I was ok. At the time I thought nothing of it – I only had a little bit of pain in one of my ribs and an achey hand but that changed. A couple of times people tried to squash my bump but the wonderful people around me helped to stop this happening – I really am thankful for those three people who took the effort to look after the short little pregnant lady on the train. By the time I got home a rib on my right was hurting. The next day it was far worse – I seem to have hurt myself and the pain at times was unbearable. The next few days this has continued – I don’t think this is going to be going away any time soon.

When you are pregnant the hormones flowing do crazy things, including making injuring your self far easier… and with no access to painkiller far more painful too. That’s right I am stuck with a painful rib and nothing but paracetamol and warm baths to help the pain.

If you are pregnant, get a seat. It is far too easy to injure yourself and it isn’t until afterwards that you find out how painful it can be. Get a seat, get a “baby on board” badge and be stubborn that you need a seat. Hopefully other ladies can learn from my mistake and get a seat so they don’t get hurt.

Do you have travel horror stories while pregnant? Have you had to demand a seat? Do you have stories of commuters helping or going the extra mile? I would love to hear from you so leave a comment below!


Week 22: Itching – The Bump Diaries

A few weeks ago I started to scratch – this week the itching it got worse.

I am ashamed to say that I have put off writing this week’s blog post – it was a really hard time and having to relive the week was not something that I wanted to do but I feel that it is important that I do.

Pregnancy is always painted as this wonderful time in life when women can “eat for two” – not only is the eating or two a lie but not every pregnancy is easy. For months I have dealt with nausea and food issues where I have struggled to basically eat anything. It has not been an easy pregnancy – I’ve been exhausted, nauseous and emotional. This week though was the hardest so far.

I have been itching for the last few weeks but it was this week that everything really came to a head – I got some blood test results that were not good and all of my symptoms had gotten worse. At the start of the week, even before I got the results I had two panic attacks – I have never ever had a panic attack before so it was a scary experience for me.

Last week, along with spreading the news of the gender to family, I found out that I needed a blood test as I could have a liver issue that only occurs in pregnancy. I did the worse thing you can and googled it only to find out that it could make me worse and even risk the life of our little baby girl. In that moment when you realise that your liver could do something that could kill the baby I had been growing and thinking about all those months – I walked into the kitchen terror filling my head. Suddenly it felt like a ton of bricks was on my chest and breathing felt so hard. I had to sit down. I grabbed my phone and messaged BF even though he was in the other room – trying to call for help or talk was just too difficult.

Week 22 - itching - the bump diaries - PillsBF worked out very quickly what was happening and quickly helped me get my breath back and calmed me down but it still left me in shock. He really was a super star and put on something to cheer me up. Once I had really calmed down he talked through that it sounds like I had a panic attack. He starts to ask what had happened and why this had occurred. It was this point I broke down and explained how I fear about killing our baby because of my stupid liver and quickly descended into a second panic attack. Straight away BF went into superman mode and helped me quickly recover with calm breathing and logic that they are getting blood test results so if I have an issue they will now be aware and fix/monitor it, as well as the other wonders of modern medicine.

He really is amazing – I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have him.

A day or so later I have the blood test and told to wait a day or so for the results. Results day rolls round and I call my GP. Between the panic attack and day the results came in the itching, nausea and exhaustion got worse. I would cry quite a few times a day as I struggled to eat anything or would wake up to my legs bleeding or finger tips red with blood. Despite such a terrible week, I had managed to stave off any panic attacks constantly running through what BF had told me again and again to keep me sane and looking positive.

The day my results were due in I called and was hit with the news I was hoping to never hear – there was a problem. I broke into tears that I could hear the poor receptionist was worried about me. She was so amazing though telling me that she was going to get an emergency GP on the phone to see if there was any more information or help that they could give – they would call in the next two hours so I was instructed to keep my phone near me.

Sure enough an hour later the phone rings and it is a doctor with an update that there was an issue with my liver so a second blood test that would look for something more specific. After she found out the struggles I was going through, with the panic attacks, sleepless nights, waking up from scratching or nausea every few hours to feeling awfully sick all the time she told me there was a prescription already waiting for me at the GP’s that hopefully should help.

It was a week from hell but great that my surgery was so good at being quick to try and help me – I have not actually had this sort of reaction from a surgery before. There was still the terror from there being a possible issue and feeling so terrible but for once I felt listened to and cared for by everyone around me. BF had been superman and my GP surgery had been supportive.

If you are itching after 20 weeks pregnant that you are drawing blood, talk to your midwife immediately – it is best to not let this fester and get checked out. Whatever you do, if you have crazy symptoms don’t google… it might just lead to a panic attack!

What was your worst week during your pregnancy? Do you have a superman story about your partner? Did you itch during your pregnancy? Leave a comment below as I would love to hear from you!


It's a girl - yellow tulips - the bump diaries week 21 Find out all about why colour denoting gender is crazy and how my family found out the gender

Week 21: It’s a girl – The Bump Diaries

So we know we are having a girl – now we just have to tell people!

Seeing our little girl last week at the ultrasound was amazing – everything from her little feet to finding out the gender. For BF the change from not wanting to even know until born to wanting to shout out the gender from the roof tops was incredible. I think for him it was even more real as he could finally picture a little baby girl in his arms or running around the house.

For me it was a very different situation – suddenly there was the task of telling people. It turns out that I am actually quite shy – all of the baby and engagement announcements had all been on Facebook or via presents so I could avoid actually telling people. When I had told people before the announcement it had felt really difficult too – I just felt uncomfortable with it.

The sudden realisation that I had to declare to the world something that wasn’t subtle and cute was difficult and attention seeking. It seems like me and BF had a change of positions of how open we wanted to be. Adding on top that having a little girl means the rain of pink was soon going to occur also scared me. I have never been a very pink girl and grew up with not having to wear it much as my mum found or made an array of crazy coloured outfits. It may have just been the era I was born or how much my mum went out her way to find clothes that weren’t pink, all I know is that I can hardly find many pictures of me wearing pink as a kid.

For months I have been going into the baby shops and falling in love with the cool and cute things that are about. We thought it would be a boy so unsurprisingly I cooed over the adorable dinosaur and star wars oufits – they appealed to my geeky side while being so cute so why would I not love them. Browsing the shops this week though with the new knowledge of us having a little girl everything was pink, floral and well anti-geeky in every way. I’m going to have an overly pink baby, toys and life it seems.

It's a girl - yellow tulips - the bump diaries week 21With my background in design, so a huge interest in the historical use of colour, it added more annoyance – pink traditionally is meant for boys. Going back any time before 150 years ago, even all the way to ancient Greek times, if you had a boy you would wrap and dress them in reds or pinks, while girls were in blue. Red and pink dyes were harder to create so showed the importance of “this is a boy”. The use of colour used to be a very important status symbol around the world – in England for instance anything purple was seen as royalty or extreme wealth as these types of dyes were rare and very expensive. In China only royals were allowed to wear silver and gold nail varnish – you could loose your life if you broke this very important colour related rule!

For thousands of years girls were dressed in blue – it is and was a sign of them being worth less than their male siblings. Knowing this makes you really think about the use of colour differently. This colour divide, other than for royals or the very rich, existed in clothes throughout life. It was only during Victoria’s reign that things concerning colour changed – there was a female on the throne after all.

During the Victoria era all kids were dressed in white similar outfits until they were about 4. Lots of parents would be able to reuse the clothes no matter what the gender so saved money. Shops decided that they wanted to encourage more sales to brought back the use of colour to denote the sex of a baby again – this time however for whatever reason they switched the colours. Now in society blue denotes boy and pinks denote girls.

For me then the use of colour either denotes the differences in perceived worth based on your gender or a tool for businesses to make more money. Having studied colour psychology at University, I know the positive and negative impact of coloured light or walls so the influence it can and does have. Pink, for instance has a calming effect on 90% of people but makes the other 10% more violent or aggressive, while blue increases the ability to focus and study. During my studies, a shocking revelation was that purple walls can increase suicidal thoughts but purple light has been found to help improve various health issues. It sounds very earth motherly but the more and more I studied colour the more that was backed up by lots of research, particularly by the marketing world, on how to influence people.

Knowing everything I do about colour, it makes me uneasy to feel any colour is going to be pushed upon my child due to modern social convention all because businesses wanted to make more money. Add with my shy nature of shouting from the rooftops about something I actually had no control over, telling people the gender, even family felt really uncomfortable. BF was very excited though so I was really open that he could tell any one and everyone but he was also the one who would tell my family.

My family knew the exact day that we were having the scan but had been warned to not ask. Almost a week after we knew it was a girl I was talking on Skype with my dad as I was in the kitchen cooking dinner – BF walks into the room realises I’m talking to my dad and asks if he wants to know the gender. Of course my dad says yes and BF announces the big news. After a minute or two them exchanging excitement, all while I carried on cooking, it was all over. My dad tried to continue the excited news with questions but I shyly changed the conversation. Once it was all over though it was a relief – he knew so now my partner only had to tell my mum. I told BF to message or call her with the news as it would also be nice for her to hear from him – he is the father to her grandchild after all.

A few days pass and he’s been to Exeter for a meeting – as he his train is almost back in Brighton he puts out a message of “Almost home to my girls!” Having been over a week since we found out he thought it would be OK and that I would have told my mum despite having reminded him again and again that he needed to do that. 10 minutes after he walks in the door I get a message from my mum of “did BF let the gender slip!!!” – sure enough 3 minutes later the phone is ringing. During that time we had the lovely conversation of “I thought you would have told you mum as you have talked to her twice since we found out” to “nope remember we agreed you were telling people and was going to tell her”. I think this is the only time he’s said oops.We look at who is calling and both giggle. I pass the phone to him and let him have a whole conversation about it all. With my mum he did also include not to make a big fuss as I was feeling shy about it so when he passed the phone over it was just a lot calmer and about Sam’s trip home message being so cute than making a huge fuss.

So now my family know and while I’m super excited it has made me realise just how shy I am about announcing big news. Looking back it made me realise the cryptic baby announcement and getting BF to post about our engagment was so that I wasn’t making some big grand announcement – while being extrovert in a lot of ways when it comes to big news I’m actually really shy! It is interesting what we learn about ourselves when it comes to the whole pregnancy journey. It’s clear who will be making the announcement when she finally arrives… it won’t be me!

How did you tell your family and friends the gender? Did you make a big gender announcement or keep it a secret? How do you feel about colours denoting gender? I would love to hear about your thoughts, opinion and stories so leave a comment below!


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!


Week 19: Midwife Drama – The Bump Diaries

Not every pregnancy is straight forward; the same goes for midwife appointments. Sometimes pregnancy appointments can involve drama or frustration.

It is the week before my 20 week scan and it is filled with appointments. For me this week has involved tears, fears and bleeding. For the last week I have been itching at night in my sleep that my legs have scratches all down them and red raw.

This week is the first time that I was meeting my actual midwife for the first time; all of my other appointments were with covering staff. I was really excited – this is the lady that I will be going through this really important journey of my first pregnancy. All of the other midwives I had met at my surgery had been so wonderful – if she was half as nice and supportive as them, she was going to be lovely.

Turns out I couldn’t be further from the truth. Maybe she was annoyed at me – I had missed my last appointment with her because my surgery had messed up informing me about the date and time that I had it down as the following day. I arrived on time at my appointment and sat in the little waiting room; 20 minutes later I was sat worrying that I had somehow been given the wrong time or date again when a couple came out of the midwife office. It was another 10 minutes before I was called in and a very half-hearted “sorry for the wait”.

The appointment started with her getting the information that was required for the paperwork for the surgery and my pregnancy booklet. She rushed through everything making me feel 10cm tall or just a piece of meat being researched. It may have been because she was running so late with her appointments so wanted to try to play catch up but as a first impression it was horrible.

Midwife drama - the bump diariesI have a complex health history so my pregnancy is high risk on a couple of fronts. With all of the others I have been asked before any measurements or “must have” paper work to be filled out all about my medical history but this was only part two of the appointment and even this felt rushed by her and worse ignored. She was barely listening, so missed a couple of key points that when they came up later I was met with a blank face and confusion only having to explain it again. So again it was not a great impression for someone I was supposed to be putting the life of myself and baby into.

I tried to brush it off that this was just her feeling rushed and under pressure. We all have our bad days and she will get to know me more from my notes or other appointments. I know the strain that the NHS has been put under recently.

When it came to the final part though of the appointment, where she asked if there was any questions that I may have, that I realised this wasn’t the case. I love lists – for someone who is really forgetful I use lists to make sure that I ask all the right things at appointments. As with my other appointments I had a list of questions or issues with me; this one was made up of 6 items but none of these got any resolve.

Starting at the top I ask questions but all I get is evidence that she had ignored a lot of things I had told her in my “medical history” conversation to even getting “I don’t know – I don’t do high risk pregnancies” from her. As someone with a complex pregnancy that is high risk for a number of reasons this really did just break me. So many times she didn’t care or have any idea of dealing with anything I was going through.

When it came to my ripped up legs she didn’t care that she wouldn’t even look at them and was too busy looking off into the distance. Despite having 2 more items on my list I just decided to skip them or half-hearted ask about them – I had the feeling she wasn’t listening, that I wasn’t going to get any help and that she wanted me out of the office as soon as possible.

Getting home I told my partner just how useless that appointment was – I still had all these fears, issues and questions left unanswered many of which the baby books tell you to talk to your midwife if and when they come up. To me that whole appointment was just a tick box appointment and I felt anxious. BF had known about the itching having woken up to me when blood on my finger tips a few days before. Upon hearing that my midwife had “never heard of itching during pregnancy” so had no advice or help that she could provide, he told me I needed to call and book an appointment with a different midwife. Turns out that itching hands, feet and legs, especially to the point of bleeding, was a serious sign of a possible issue that needed to be checked out; a midwife that had never dealt with itching of any kind so brushed it off was dangerous in his eyes. I didn’t even get to the hurtful quips that I had faced about my medical history.

Two days later at my second dietitian appointment I finally broke down. All of those fears had just bubbled away so I broke down into tears. My dietitian has been brilliant; she is so well-informed that she broke down through most of my questions with what to do or who might be able to help with some support in the mean time. Her main advice was clear; change your midwife now.

I have since talked to my surgery and the receptionists have been incredible to get me a new midwife and arranged that I will never been seen by the other one at all. I now will be meeting with a lady that I have met before who was really lovely but also used to dealing with high risk pregnancies.

My lesson from all of this; if you are not happy with your midwife that it makes you break down in tears then you need to change. This period of life is so scary as so much can happen or go wrong; your midwife is someone you really need to respect, trust and be able to talk to.

Have you had problems with your midwife? Or other pregnancy related staff? Who was your saving grace when it came to medical staff? Do you have any helpful tips in dealing with staff? I would love to hear from you so leave a comment below!