I’m happy to be pregnant but why do I feel miserable?

pregnanyI’m sat here feeling like the worse mum-to-be in the entire world. I have waited so many years for the little miracle now growing inside my belly. Up until now I have also had the pleasure of a rather easy pregnancy – no morning sickness just tiredness.

So why is it that with 3 months to go I am simply not as enthusiastic as my hubby, family and friends? At first I started questioning and blaming myself because of my depression but from speaking to lots of other mums-to-be who don’t suffer depression it would appear this is more common than talked about. I can now see some of you now screaming yes, that’s me that’s how I feel. Believe it or not 27% of pregnant mamma’s feel this way (The Bump).

For me I think it all started at week 16, I was partially excited to see bubs on the screen again in the coming weeks but something in the back of my mind was just saying urgh why can’t it be over already.

Work colleagues and family members asking how far along you are questioning whether it’s twins or not. Yes, thank-you I get it I’ve put weight on but for heavens sake I’m growing a little human inside leave me alone!

It’s been 10 weeks since I started to feel this way and it hasn’t eased up. People still question me even though my dearest husband reminds me on a daily basis that I only look pregnant from the front and that I look great regardless. I still feel like it’s unreal. Some days I even question whether I am actually pregnant until I get kicked in the bladder or see a tiny lump under my skin.

I really want to feel that ‘joy’ that ‘glow’ you read about in magazines and baby books but personally I now think this is all utter BS. They clearly only write that rubbish to lure people into a false sense of hope that pregnancy is all floaty and a bed of shimmering gold roses. Ha! what is so glamorous about daily backache, peeing every 20 mins, being unable to get comfy in bed despite the mountains of pillows and the gas. Oh Lordy, the symptoms that no one speaks of 🙈 unbearable trapped wind, constipation and you’ve guessed it liquid brown and burping. Honestly, I feel more cave man than beautiful pregnant lady.

If you feel like me please share your stories in the comments below I would love to hear from you.

 

Katherine xo

Does my beagle know I’m pregnant?

This is a question I have asked myself many many times over the last 6 months. My adoring 4-year old Beagle has always followed me around the house like the toddler I never had. He has been my furbaby since bringing him home at the age of 8 weeks old. I remember that cute puppy look and puppy smell, oh the memories.

Now I am pregnant I’m filled with constant worries including will my dog actually accept the new baby and does he know I’m pregnant.

The truth is dogs have a very good sense of smell and whilst pregnant your personal odour has slightly altered. Whether dogs actual know this is because you are pregnant is still up for debate. I have read up that some dogs may become either very clingy or start to ignore you (a bit like a toddler). The one piece of advice I was passed from my mother-in-law was to introduce your dog to your bump to instigate some sort of bond. So, I have spent many hours cuddled on the sofa with my beagle using my bump as his personal pillow. Now I’m 6 months pregnant he has been getting the odd kick but hasn’t actually reacted to it so probably just thinks it’s my grumbling tummy. This leads me to think that my beagle is aware of something but hasn’t the brain capacity to work out what that something actually is.

Why am I convinced, well he likes to put himself between me and my husband a lot as if to say leave my mammy alone. This might seem like protective behaviour to try and keep me safe or he’s just a jealous dog. We have also been having a good old clear out of unnecessary rubbish so he’s probably picked up on that.

We are treating him like he’s our first born and have planned to give him a new toy every month for the first few months so he doesn’t feel left out. It wouldn’t surprise my husband if I went onto eBay and purchased a doggy jumper that says ‘I’m gunna be a big brother’ 😂 (as I’m writing this I have the app open on my phone).

Either way our beagle hasn’t really changed towards us even with my growing belly. He’s still daft as a brush, clingy and loving. We love him and I suppose that’s all that matters so only time will tell if he will be baby’s protector or run away hiding with every piercing scream.

Katherine xo

IVF: the two week wait (2WW)

You have just had your embryo transfer, taken a home pregnancy test and told which day to do the test now what?

Well the first day or two you are likely just recovering from the procedure. You may feel tired, bloated and have some abdominal discomfort similar to period pain. You may also suffer from mild to severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).

You can use a hot water bottle to help with the pain but remember not too hot and not directly in contact with the skin.

You can take baths but not too hot. Sometimes it is recommended to resist the use of bubble bath during the next two weeks. Some research suggests that bubble bath can irritate your already delicate vagina and cause thrush or another form of infection.

Common questions:

I’m so bloated / Am I pregnant already?

It is normal to feel the size of a house and look about 5 months pregnant during the two week wait. You can thank good old progesterone for that.

You can drink herbal teas like peppermint to help combat the bloat. It is recommended to up your intake of water as this can help flush out any trapped fluids / constipation.

I’ve got terrible pain / discomfort in one or both my ovaries.

You’ve been through a lot the last few days and weeks. The stimulation medication will have left your ovaries slightly larger than normal (think tennis balls). This can cause discomfort and or pain on one or both ovaries. This symptom shouldn’t be ignored entirely as it could be mild OHSS. Sometimes (but it is rare) OHSS can be severe and lead to serious illness or death. Mild OHSS should resolve itself within 7-10 days (or by your next period if you are not pregnant)

If you are experiencing severe pain and any of the following seek medical attention:

  • rapid weight gain 15 – 20kg (33-44 pounds) within about 5-10 days
  • severe abdominal pain
  • severe or persistent nausea and vomiting
  • blood clots in one or both legs
  • decrease in urination
  • shortness of breath
  • tight or enlarged abdomen.

You can self-help with mild OHSS by increasing your fluid intake preferably with electrolytes. Rest as much as possible and increase your daily protein (at least an extra 60grams).

I have sore boobs / itching nipples

Once again our friend progesterone and the HCG trigger show injection are to blame. This may feel like a very very early sign of pregnancy which is driving you mad. Whatever you do refrain from doing you home pregnancy test. You could get a false positive due to the trigger shot days before.

I feel so sick is this normal

Remember you’ve been through a lot the last couple of days / weeks. You are likely to feel nauseated from the hormones you are still using. That combined with nervous excited can leave a nauseous butterfly sensation in your stomach. Try to eat little but often and plain foods if easier like toast. Also it is worth noting that early pregnancy can cause a decrease on your immune system making you susceptical to germs, coughs and colds.

It’s been a week and I feel like I’m about to have my period

Early pregnancy and your period have a lot in common with each other. Try not to focus too much on the cramping sensations just yet. It could be implantation which usually occurs about day 9. Implantation can cause bleeding (but not everyone gets this). It is usually brown in colour. Some ladies have a little spot of blood in their pants and others a little bit more. Bleeding can last a couple of hours to a day or so. If the flow has increased and / or you are starting to fill a pad every couple of hours unfortunately it is likely your period has arrived. Still wait until test day just to confirm.

Try not to focus on the implantation bleeding if you haven’t had any and your on day 10-12. Not everyone gets this.

I feel pregnant already should I do my test early?

You should only do your test on the day that the clinic told you. This is because they have worked out approximately 14 days after transfer is when the artificial trigger shot of HCG should be out of your system. If you have fallen pregnant your ovaries will take over the production of HCG and this is what is picked up on a urine home pregnancy test.

Can I go on holiday during my two week wait?

Yes, why not. You may feel a tad uncomfortable first couple of days after the transfer. Whether you want to go abroad for a week or just have a long weekend away with your significant other anywhere where the two of you can focus on one another is nice.

Can I have sex during two week wait?

Yes, however if it is uncomfortable hold off for a bit until you feel ready.

Is it true I should only use the first pee of the day for my test?

Yes and no. If you are pregnant the test will say so regardless of when you pee on the stick. It is true that the concentration of the pregnancy hormone HCG is slightly higher in your first urine of the day.

Help the line is really pale does this mean it’s negative?

No. Some tests are much more sensitive than others. If you can see the additional line regardless or dark or pale you are likely to be pregnant.

Some ladies rush out and get brands such as clear blue with digital indicator. These tests are the same as the cheaper versions but actually say pregnant or not pregnant.

My test was positive now what?

Congratulations you are pregnant. Now you need to ring the clinic. You will be asked to pop in. You will be given your maternity file notes and additional progesterone if required. You will likely be booked a viability scan for around week 7.

My test was negative

Unfortunately for some this can happen. You will still need to phone your clinic and let them know the outcome. You will still need to take your progesterone until advised when to stop.

I feel alone and ignored by my clinic

Now that you are in the two week wait you are left in natures hands. You have likely had daily contact with your clinic over the last few weeks and now feel abandoned. It is true that you don’t really speak to the clinic but the nurses are available to answer any queries you may have.

There are several support groups on social media available from Facebook to instagram. You may enjoy the silence and peace or you may wish to speak to ladies in a similar situation.

Katherine xo

BFP: welcome to the first trimester of pregnancy

Congratulations on your recent pregnancy news. Whether you got here naturally or whether by a little helping hand from science congratulations.

This is a hard first 13 months. If you arrived here after IVF or similar you should be use to waiting and feeling yuck but nothing truly prepares you for the first trimester.

What will happen during the first trimester of pregnancy?

Your little bean (embryo) is now implanted into your uterus lining making him/herself comfortable as this is now home for the next 36-37 weeks (technically your already about 3-4 weeks pregnant by time you peed on that stick).

I have put together some of the common issues and questions you may face during the first trimester including some that no body warned me about.  Remember, every woman and every pregnancy is different. You may have been pregnant in the past and had no symptoms yet this time round have everything. It is normal.

  • Bloating (yep your friend mr bloat is still kicking around);
  • Constipation (good old progesterone again);
  • Bleeding or spotting;
  • Tiredness;
  • Sickness;
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Wind

Bloating

You may be looking in the mirror thinking eekk I look 5 months pregnant already. This is all bloat I’m afraid. That lovely hormone progesterone is to blame for many uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy.

Constipation

Whether you are constipated or living on the toilet guess what you can thank progesterone again. They should rename progesterone to something more befitting to its nature like the annoying hormone.

Try to keep hydrated even if you are feeling sick. Fluid is good for constipation. Unfortunately, you cannot take many supplements to ease constipation in particular those that contain senna.

Bleeding

Bleeding or spotting in early pregnancy is much more common than you think. you’ve been prodded and poked and had to take a lot of hormones so your poor ovaries will be sore and tired. Brown blood is most common during 2WW and this is old blood so don’t worry. Red blood is also common and you are advised to contact a midwife if you are filling a sanitary towel every hour, passing clots and/or experiencing serious cramps.

If in doubt contact the early pregnancy unit.

Sickness

You may start to feel queasy around week 8. This is what is known as morning sickness (M/S). It can happen anytime of day and last all day every day for the next few weeks. It is important to try to eat and drink little but often to keep your energy up.

Tiredness

Your body is about to undergo some significant changes over the next 40 weeks. You may find simple tasks like filling the washing machine exhausting. That is because growing a tiny human uses an awful lot of energy.

You will benefit from naps during the day where possible. Some ladies have reported have a power nap of 20-minutes in the toilets during their lunch break. Others nip home for a power nap or go to their car. Your employer doesn’t have to let you sleep somewhere if they don’t know you are pregnant. Read here about notifying your employer.

Tiredness is likely to remain with you for the duration of you pregnancy. It may ease during the second trimester but returns towards the end of pregnancy as your growing uterus and foetus add weight and strain to your body.

As tempting as it maybe trying to cut back on the amount of caffeine you ingest. You don’t need to cut it out completely but caffeine has been linked to low birth weight and other possible complications. If you love your tea and coffee why not swap to decaf – no one will notice. You can also get a variety of tasty herbal teas such as peppermint, ginger (both are good for morning sickness). Some herbal teas are not suitable for pregnancy if in doubt why not pop down to a local tea specialist shop like Lakeland and ask someone – you might even get some free samples to try.

When will I have my first scan?

If you had IVF or similar you maybe offered a viability scan around week 7. This is likely to be intravaginal with not a great deal to see. The heartbeat might be pointed out to you if present and also during this scan they are checking number of sacs (for multiple births) and the rest of your uterus. You might have enlarged ovaries still or free fluid build up but this should disappear by week 16 and isn’t harmful to baby.

Week 12 you should be offered your first proper scan. This is known as the dating scan and marks the end of your first trimester. You should be given the opportunity to purchase a scan picture these are usually priced between £1-£5 depending on where you live. In Durham there £2 each but you might get 2-3 for the price of one if not great quality images (or if your sonographer is super nice).

Once you have reached this milestone most couples start to spill the beans to their loved ones. It is entirely up to you when you tell people whether it’s the day you got your BFP or when held that 12-week scan picture.

Anxiety and panic attacks

Some women experience anxiety during the first trimester and it’s no surprise this is a hard few weeks. You are suffering from a few side effects and only those you’ve told know why. You might be anxious that your boss thinks you are slacking at work because you’re tired. Try not to let this get to you. If you have a particularly stressful job you nay find you need to tell work sooner than you planned.

Your pregnancy rights are only protected once your employer knows about your pregnancy. Read here for notifying you employer.

Wind

Who ever said pregnancy was glamorous hasn’t been pregnant before. Throughout the whole journey of pregnancy you will suffer from something. Whether it’s trapped wind, constipation or diarrhoea something at some point will get you. Trapped wind however, is felt much more in the first trimester and early second trimester. Guess what’s to blame – yep progesterone. Basically progesterone has slowed down your digestive system to allow for extra nutrients to be extracted for your little babies development. Trapped wind can cause some horrible discomfort in the lower abdomen as well as been felt all the way up into your shoulder. You may even find that trapped wind feels like menstrual cramps but then you pop to the loo and get some relief.

I should also point out that if it’s not coming out one end it’ll come out the other. Honestly you will feel more bloke down the building site that radiant mamma to be. Guess what you can get away with it – you’re pregnant 🙂

What else should I be considering at this stage?

Why not sign up to apps and websites like Emma’s diary and Bounty. These can provide you with some freebies throughout your pregnancy. The actual items vary and change in a regular basis so something your friend got you might not. Freebies for mum can include little pamper treats like shampoo and conditioner to moisturisers and latter on treats like pampers nappies for your little one.

If excitement has taken over you could be browsing the local department store, Argos catalogue or other suppliers for nursery ideas. There is no rush to go out and buy everything (even though some mums do). It’s personal preference but remember little one will be in your room for the first 6 months so a Moses basket and mattress is probably all that’s required nursery furniture wise until their about 6 months old.

You could write a wishlist of items you would like and at a latter date either host a baby Shower or have one thrown for you and receive some of those items.

Katherine xo

IVF: embryo transfer

Whether you have had a fresh cycle or frozen cycle the procedures are very similar.

Progesterone

You will have likely started using progesterone pessaries with the first one inserted just after egg collection. The pessaries are normally recommended for rectal insertion until after the embryo transfer. This is due to them leaving a waxy residue which can make embryo transfer difficult if this is in the vagina.

The progesterone is provided to help keep your endometrium (uterus lining).

The procedure

You will speak with your embryologist prior to going down to theatre to discuss the quality and quantity of embryos for transfer. It is recommended for one embryo to be transferred regardless of age to minimise the chances of a multiple pregnancy. (Read here for more information of choosing number of embryos)

You will arrive at the clinic once again and escorted to a cubicle with your partner in attendance. You will require a half full bladder for this procedure and depending on the length of wait can become uncomfortable.

You will walk down to theatre (or wheeled depending on the clinic). You will remove your dressing gown and pop onto the bed. You will be asked to lay down and place legs into the stirrups. Your bottom half will be covered with sheets and your abdomen temporary exposed whilst they pop some lubricant on for the ultrasound scanner. Your bladder will be checked at this stage to make sure it is full. The full bladder helps with embryo transfer. You will feel some slight discomfort from the pressure applied.

Your partner is able to attend theatre with you and they will sit just next to your head and hopefully hold your hand throughout.

The embryologist will repeat several times the process and ask you to confirm your full name and date of birth a couple of times throughout.

You will be shown your embryo(s) on a television screen just before transfer.

Will it hurt?

Yes, it could hurt depending on your personal threshold of pain. For most women the procedure is like a very uncomfortable invasive smear for others its sharp or dulling ache in the lower abdomen.

You won’t be given any medication or sedative prior to embryo transfer.

The transfer

You you have a practice transfer using saline solution before the actual insertion of the embryo(s). This is to check that the tubes are clear. Once you have confirmed your details and seen your embryo(s) on the screen the transfer will begin. You won’t actually feel them insert the embryo(s) as it is so tiny.

Afterwards the tube and vagina clamp will be removed. Don’t feel ashamed if at this stage you feel like you’ve just relieved your bladder all over the bed. It is actually the residual saline flush escaping.

You will be helped off the bed and shown an ultrasound of your uterus before and after the embryo transfer. This may look like a little flash of light on a dark background. You will probably be thinking of nothing other than going to the toilet at this stage so probably I’d your head and go ‘oh yeah, wow’ it’s not that your ungrateful but you are likely uncomfortable from needing a wee so badly.

You will pop back into your cubicle and asked to rest for a little while. Have a drink some biscuits pop to the loo again and the. You will be allowed to return home (or to work).

You will need to continue taking your progesterone pessaries and can start vagina insertion if rectal had caused discomfort from constipation.

You are now on your official two week wait (2WW).

Katherine xo

IVF: egg retrieval process

You’ve done your stimulation injections and now you’re going onto the next step but what it is?

Up to 48 hours before your procedure you will self-inject with HCG hormone to help release your eggs.

You will arrive at the clinic about an hour before your allotted time slot. Change into a theatre gown and have a cannula fitted and left to wait. You will hopefully have a partner there for support. Your partner (if applicable) will provide a sperm sample whilst you are in theatre, this will be cleaned and combined with your eggs for fertilisation latter in the day.

You will likely walk down to theatre and be asked to remove your dressing gown and lay on the bed. The anesthetist will inject several items through your cannula one is a saline solution to flush and make sure your vein is ok. You will be given anti-sickness medication and some sedative. The sedative is designed to help you relax and doesn’t take away any pain. For some ladies the sedative can make you groggy or fall fall asleep but not everyone is lucky to experience this.

Will there be pain?

Yes, you could experience pain or mild discomfort this is very much dependent upon your personal pain threshold.

You will be given some sedative which is designed to help relax you and is not actually pain relief. If you experience some significant discomfort you may be topped up.

What will it feel like?

The procedure itself starts of feeling like a very invasive smear test. The consultant will use long medical needles to extract your eggs from their follicles. These are inserted into the vagina and up to your ovaries guided by ultrasound. The first needle may take you by surprise and can be uncomfortable or painful. Depending on the number of follicles (which would have been stated during your intravaginal ultrasounds days before) will depend on how many times the needle is inserted. Remember if you have follicles on both ovaries the procedure is repeated on both sides.

If you are not great with pain please speak with your consultant before the procedure. You will find it better to try and relax during the procedure. The more relaxed you can try and make yourself the less tense your uterus will be. You could be in theatre for up to 20 or so minutes.

What happens after?

Your stomach will be wiped down from the petroleum jelly used for the ultrasound. You will then be wheeled round to your cubicle to your awaiting anxious partner. You will be helped from the bed into a reclining chair / bed (depends on your clinic). You will be given a couple of blankets to keep warm and left to rest for a little while.

You may fall asleep which is a normal side effect from the sedation. You will likely feel cramping from the procedure which ranges from mild to severe menstrual type cramps. You can take some paracetamol for this later if not already provided some. Some ladies are given a small dose of codeine with paracetamol. Again the combination depends on the clinic.

Once you’ve rested a little while you will be asked to drink and eat something as well as go to the toilet. Only when you are able to do these will the cannula be removed and you will be able to go home. Before you finally go home the embroyogist will speak with you to remind you how many eggs they were able to collect and let you know the next step.

Some ladies are able to go back to work but it is recommended that the day if egg collection you are able to go home and rest. You will likely feel sore and uncomfortable – a bit like the build up to Aunt Flow (AF) arrival. You can use a hot water bottle on your stomach just make sure it’s not too hot or making direct contact with the skin.

The following days afterwards

You should be able to resume normal duties the next day albeit using some mild form of pain relief like paracetamol.

You should receive a phone call from the embryologist (usually between 9-10am) the next morning to let you know how many eggs fertilised over night.

You will then receive regular telephone calls to give you an idea of how your embryos are developing. The embryologist will inform you or the days they will call and then next steps. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask them.

Some outcomes are not as positive as others so you will need to be prepared for all types of answers which include:

  • Unfertilised eggs
  • Low quality of eggs fertilised
  • All eggs fertilised
  • All eggs fertilised to move straight to freeze cycle
  • Embryos not developing as well as should or stop cell division altogether
  • Embryos develop well and cell division is in line with expectations.
  • Embryos forming to day 3 / 4 morula
  • Embryos left to progress to day 5 blastocyst

Should you progress to the next stage you will need to prepare for embryo transfer. Read the next article on IVF: Embryo transfer

Katherine xo

10 products you don’t need for your new baby

Earlier I shared with you a list of essential items that you would need for your little one. In this post I am sharing my top 10 non-essential items. Again this is based on my personal research and from speaking with recent new mums and dads.

Be sure to pin this list on Pinterest as a resource and if you have a friend or family member who is expecting, be sure to pass along the link!

Baby checklist non-essentials Butterflies and fire.png

Nappy stackers and disposable bins.

Some new mums think these are a god send only to discover they don’t use them or become more of a hassle than regular nappy bin sacks and throwing items straight away.

Cot mobiles / white noise machines 

If used from day one these items can actually cause more issues than first thought. Your baby could become reliant on these devices for soothing and as such you may find you are unable to sooth your child when travelling.

Wipe warmers 

Warm moist environments are breeding grounds for germs and bacteria so why would you want to expose your baby’s sensitive bottom to this. Parents have managed for many years with water and cloths / cotton wool balls.

Breast pumps 

Some breast feeding mums get a manual breast pump to help store breast milk into individual pouches but then never use the devices. Your breasts will produce as much milk as required for your little one throughout the duration of breastfeeding. For more advice on breastfeeding see: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/breastfeeding-help-support.aspx 

Fancy bottle drying racks or designer changing bags 

They might look great and give you a happy feeling but they really are necessary.

Reclining / non-reclining chairs 

As great as they sound these are actually an non-essential item to rush out and purchase. Your little one is likely to be in your room for the first 6 months so you will probably be sat on the edge of your bed most evenings. During the day you will probably be sat on your sofa so why purchase additional furniture.

Baby baths

In the ‘olden’ days mums made do with the kitchen sink. These days you can do the same or purchase a bath mat. Just remember to always check the water temperature beforehand.

Baby shoes / newborn clothes

Your little one will start to grow very very quickly and something that fit yesterday will unlikely fit tomorrow. Baby’s cannot walk so shoes seem pretty pointless when socks will do. 0-3 month clothes seem to be the acceptable purchase size range for most new parents to receive. Your little one might looked swamped the first couple of days but after a couple of weeks the clothes may become nice and snug. You might as well purchase a size you’re going to get a couple of wears out of.

Door bouncers / swings

Usually costing between £20 and £30, door baby bouncers provide a bouncing sensation which some babies love. However, a panel of researchers found that this item was voted number 1 non-essential by 2000 parents. Most said that the devices often collected dust in the corner of the room or  never taken out the box.

Bottle prep machines and bottle warmers

Handy devices but can set you back up to £100 for some brands. The idea of the bottle prep machine is to take the hassle out of preparing your own bottles. The NHS don’t recommend these machines because of how the actually make the bottle. There is an injection of hot water then the formula is added then cold water. The cold water isn’t heated first so it has the potential to contain nasty bacteria.

In early 2017 a lady from the North East posted an article on social media that soon went viral showing the dangers of these machines. Read more here:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4315378/Parents-say-Tommee-Tippee-120-machines-mouldy.html