They say that as you grow older, you are more aware of fear. I can’t decide whether this is down to experience or just getting on in years. I like to think it is a bit of both. My last pregnancy was over 10 years ago and, as I look around, I cannot believe just how much has changed not only with regards to maternity items and baby products but also in respect of my general feelings, approach and sharing with people. With this in mind, I thought I would take a look at how things have changed from my last pregnancy in comparison to this time around.
Last time around, I have to admit that I didn’t too much thought to the type of symptoms I would be getting. The only major one was bad wind and heartburn – I pretty much lived on Gaviscon! I am once again getting wind and I am aware that this is mainly down to my blocked sinuses and snoring. As a result, I am breathing through my mouth a lot and swallowing air. Whether or not this was the cause last time I am not sure, although I am aware that I snored last time too.
I was lucky not to get morning sickness with my first pregnancy – although typically I am a ‘sicky’ person – and I haven’t really had it this time around either. The odd feeling of nausea comes and goes but other than that I am not actually throwing up. What I am getting unlike last time is regular headaches. Some days they are really bad to the point where I feel I can’t do anything except lay down. I am drinking loads of water to try and stop them but I am now just putting it down to my sinuses and ever-changing hormones.
In respect of everything we have been through to get this baby, I feel that I am far more aware of what is happening and worrying about whether things are going wrong. I am trying hard to put this out of my mind though! With all the harassment I went through during my last pregnancy, I don’t think I got time to concern myself with whether everything was OK. I just assumed it would be.
When I was pregnant with Grace, I was a Driving Instructor. I can distinctly remember a few of my students being worried about me going into labour and if they would have to drive me to the hospital! Of course, this didn’t happen. I tried to make sure that I was a calming influence on them at all times which also helped me. There was one particular occasion where I really thought I was going to be sick (I don’t think it was down to the student’s driving!) but I just opened the window and sucked on a mint. Thankfully he was a competent driver and we were on a long stretch of road where I didn’t have to say much so the feeling soon passed.
This time around, I work from home. This is both a blessing and a curse. As I am a freelancer, it means that I can go and have a lie-down whenever I chose and, if I am having an ‘off’ day, I can delay my work. The problem is that it also gives me more time to think as well as the fact that I get a little less exercise!
Dr Google and the internet*
(*this title sounds like it should be the name of a band!). Last time around I was not a member of Facebook, social media was nowhere near as rife as it is now and I had no blog. I hardly even used the internet – especially as I was out on the road all day – and so, I had nowhere to share my pregnancy and no way of looking up symptoms.
Once again a good and bad thing, I have social media to share my feelings and updates which means that my family (amongst others) can see what is happening. If I am feeling a certain way or want to know certain things, I just perform a search on Google and hundreds of results come up. A majority of the time it puts my mind at rest and at least I know I am not the only one feeling the way I do.
Products and Apps
Around 3 years ago, a PR sent me a basket of goodies. This included some baby bottles, an outfit, a blanket, a cuddly toy, a book, a monitor and a Mothercare voucher together with a Gumigem necklace. Throughout our conception journey, the basket has sat up in the corner of the living room as a reminder of what we were striving for. Whenever I was given items at a blogging event, they were stored away on my baby shelf. Some of them were given away to people who were successful when we weren’t, but, on the whole, I kept the majority.
Just after the 12 week scan, Ross and I took a trip to Mothercare. Unfortunately, the gift card had expired but we did start to look at the rest of the store to get an idea of what we might need. Before I was pregnant, I would occasionally let myself stray into the baby section to window shop but, now I really can do it, I feel like I shouldn’t be there – when, of course, I should!
Way back then I didn’t have a smartphone. Now, I marvel at the pregnancy apps and the advice and support you can get from them. I am using one to track my pregnancy and I will also be using the app from Kicks Count, a registered charity that aims to empower mums to be with knowledge and confidence throughout their pregnancy. I shall be using it to track my baby’s movements right up until labour. I am also going to be using their wristband for the times when I don’t have access to my phone.
I have yet to really find out just how much the baby items have changed and improved.
Last time most of my support came from my side of the family. My mum was a godsend and regularly had me round her house in tears. She looked after me, went shopping with me and was even there during my labour with Grace and was there when she was born. The medical staff gave me the standard support and I also went to St Georges Hospital where I saw Dr Tessa Homfray. I had to have a CVS test done due to the fact that I have a balanced translocation of two of my chromosomes.
Aside from the fact that this time around I not only have the support of a very loving partner in Ross (unlike last time around), I also have 10 year old Grace telling me not to lift things, to lie down and to take it easy. The support from both of them has been amazing. I have had support from our fertility clinic, IVF Spain and I am also under consultant care at the hospital as they monitor me closely – partly down to my age, and partly because this baby is the result of IVF treatment. I have already had 4 scans – so it feels a bit weird not having one again until the end of February!
The other difference is that, due to the fact that we used an egg donor (aged 22), we don’t have the issue of my ageing eggs nor the fact that we have to consider the balanced translocation.
Last time around I attended both aquanatal and pregnancy yoga classes. Although they are quite a distance from home, I intend to do the same for this pregnancy.
I have to admit that this time I am scared! Last time, of course, I didn’t know what to expect as I hadn’t been through it before. This time I am older, have less energy and have the pressure of knowing that last time around was so straightforward.
When I went through labour with Grace, despite the fact that it was so long (I went into labour at 12pm on 1st January and Grace made an appearance the following day at 6.40pm!), I had a water birth with gas and air. I would love to aim for the same this time around – so long as it doesn’t drag out for more than a day!