Monday 3 June 2019

The Highs and Lows of my Pregnancies

(#Ad - This post has been commissioned by Rennie®)

This summer my girls turn twelve and that means it is twelve years since I was last pregnant, I can’t quite believe that if I am honest, it feels like it was only a couple of years back; the memories are so vivid. Despite not having the easiest pregnancies or best birth experiences either time, I absolutely loved being pregnant as I felt so special. Growing a small human is an absolute privilege that not everyone gets to enjoy.

I so clearly remember being at work in 2003 and this veil of tiredness fell over me as I sat at my desk. I immediately went out to buy a pregnancy test and recall sitting in the loo silently screaming and thumping the air with elation when the two little lines appeared! My pregnancy with JJ was a good one generally, I was a model student, attending all the classes, reading all the literature, chatting to other pregnant women and mothers, and I think I knew nearly as much as the midwives.

Then for some silly reason a few days before JJ was due to arrive, I got impatient and I decided to see if I could help him along a little by cleaning the garage top to bottom. Straight after I had my routine midwife appointment and found that I had pre-eclampsia; high blood pressure, protein in my urine and terrible oedema (water retention) on my legs. I was sent straight up to the hospital to spend the night on the antenatal ward so they could get my blood pressure under control.

As I’d had such a good pregnancy and done all the things I was supposed to do, I truly believed that I’d have this idyllic water birth. We’d been encouraged in our classes to write a birth plan and mine was full of ideas of soothing music, easing the pain in the warm water and my husband by my side. The reality was quite different; I was forced to have an induction as I had pre-eclampsia, that then failed and my baby getting distressed, so I was whizzed through for a C section, but the spinal blocks and epidural didn’t work so I ended up with a crash section under general anaesthetic.

I wasn’t awake when JJ was born and I was left with a lot of trauma and lost dreams about this for many years afterwards. You can also read the fuller story on my blog if you’re interested.  

Me with JJ at one day old, in hospital

The healing started when I had a much better birth experience with my twin girls in 2007. Of course, at the start of that pregnancy, I was fearful as JJ’s birth had been distressing for me, but my Christian faith helped me enormously to trust again. Just a few weeks into being pregnant I had some bleeding and was sent up to the hospital for a scan to see how things were, and this revealed we were expecting twins.

I had the normal symptoms in the first trimester of my twin pregnancy; morning sickness (or more correctly all-day queasiness) up to about fourteen weeks and feeling incredibly tired and wanting to fall straight into bed when I returned home from work but not being able to, as I had a toddler to look after.

Twin bump at 23+3

The second trimester was a joy as I felt absolutely blooming, I wasn’t (yet) too big and I looked pregnant, rather than just fat. If I had to go back to being pregnant again this is the stage I would choose, you get to hear your baby’s heartbeat, can feel them fluttering and moving about and I even got the (much coveted) bigger boobs!

It was in the last trimester that pregnancy really started to take a toll on me, I had put on a lot of weight in my twin pregnancy and I was again suffering from oedema, but this time it was to the point that I could hardly move my ankles and my skin felt tight and uncomfortable. Thankfully my husband became an expert at massaging my lower legs and feet to help the excess fluid dissipate.

Another joy was the heartburn, as the babies got bigger and pressed more on my stomach my indigestion got worse and I took Rennie® to help ease that feeling of discomfort you get with heartburn during pregnancy. Around 72% of pregnant women (1) experience heartburn and indigestion in their last trimester, so it is a common side effect of pregnancy and thankfully one that can be relieved with some indigestion medication like Rennie®.

Twin bump at 36+5, not long before I had the twins

Despite drinking a lot of water and having a good amount of fibre in my diet I still managed to spend most of this last trimester constipated and the doctor prescribed medicine to help ease this.

I ended up being diagnosed with pre-eclampsia again with the twins at 34 weeks pregnant and I was admitted to the hospital. This time I had to stay until the girls were born by planned C-section at 37+1 weeks. The tablets they gave me to maintain my blood pressure knocked me out and I spent a lot of time sleeping. When I chat to people about my three weeks in the hospital most think they will have been the worst of my pregnancy, but actually, I really needed that rest. I got to spend time with JJ each day, either in the hospital café/ garden or I was allowed home for a couple of hours if I promised to just watch a movie in bed with him.

My husband, parents and friends all came to sit with me and I made friends with a few other pregnant women who had issues that meant they couldn’t go home either. It really was a time of just focussing on me and being well for the good of my precious cargo. When the girls were born it was a completely different birth experience, my epidural worked, I’d been prepared for what would happen and they were both well and pink when they arrived.

The rest, as they say, is history, I now have three strapping children, who are all well and as cheeky as anything. I love how different each of them is and I enjoy watching them grow and change every day. Here is to the future!

My twins at one hour old

Sources: (1) NCBI Statistic

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...