Reality hits!

My new lucky number suddenly became 3...my precious girl was born at 3.33pm on the 30th of the 3rd month!

The moment you hold your baby in your arms for the first time is one you will never ever forget. For me, it was an unbelievable rush of love for this tiny person I had created.  My baby.  Mine!  Wow.

The following hours went by in a blur really. It wasn't until the night time when all the family had left & hubby had to go home that it hit me that the little baby next to me was mine. My responsibility. My world.

I couldn't stop staring at her. Literally couldn't stop. I couldn't believe she was here.  Lying in bed with my baby sleeping on me felt amazing. When I tried to sleep it wasn't happening!

I had never intended on breastfeeding for more than the first few days, if at all. I had full support of my midwife regarding it. Because of the ME I knew it would be too much pressure on me. It would mean I would be the only one who could feed her which meant no-one else could help. Especially in the night. Some people do successfully breastfeed while suffering from ME but for me it was what I had decided.

The first day & night however I did do it to try & get colostrum into her, which is full of goodness.  That first night I must have been watching the clock continously for hours while she fed.  Literally.  It was crazy.  I had no sleep but you are on adrenalin so don't really notice it. I had some help from the staff with changing her first nappy.  All felt very surreal.

The following day the paediatric doctor came to do all the checks which were fine then it was time to go home. Eeeek.

We arrived home at 3.30pm, possibly even 3.33!  We had a few visitors when we got in, my sister met her niece for the first time as she hadn't been able to visit the previous day so that was nice.  I started feeding my baby again but suddenly from nowhere I came over really exhausted.  I thought I was going to collapse.  Had to stop mid feed, pass her to her daddy, I started crying & went to lie down. Everything just seemed to hit me.  The emotions, the lack of sleep, the total exhaustion.  I don't even really remember what happened after that.  Think I fell asleep for a bit.  And that was the start of my life as a mummy...


Wow I'm a mummy!

I wasn't too amused that I'd been having (albeit very mild) contractions for two weeks prior to my due date, but then on the actual date not so much of a hint of anything happened. But nothing surprises me with my dodgy body so didn't think too much of it!

That night I had no pain but I felt really unsettled all night. Can't really describe how I felt, just really weird.  Think I eventually fell asleep in the early hours for a bit then woke at 7am with tummy ache.  The sort of tummy ache where you have to run to the loo.  And I still didn't think anything of it.

I rang my mum who was starting a new job that morning & told her I was having pains but didn't think it was anything.  Because of course, I'd been having pains for two weeks & nothing had happened!

After about half an hour I realised the pains were pretty intense & started timing them. Every three minutes....erm "pehaps time to wake the hubby up" I thought. So I did & the pains kept coming very strong.  Me being me still wasn't sure it was labour but I rang the hospital to have a word with them. I remember laughing & saying "oh its probably nothing" & they said they were getting pretty full so if I did need to go down I better make it sooner rather than later.

The pains were lasting a minute & coming every three. The realisation that I was in fact in labour suddenly seemed to hit me. But (as some would say!) being slightly crazy, I started putting make up on!! Why, i don't really know! Think I remember thinking that my sister & most of my friends had been in labour for days with their first babies so I assumed I would be the same. And I wanted to look nice for all those hours stuck at hospital perhaps! Definitely crazy.

I had bought a Tens machine to use for labour.  You can get normal ones for pain which I have now, but can also get specific labour ones. And now was the time for it. It definitely helped with the pain which was becoming more intense. I vaguely remember speaking to the hospital again & saying we were on the way.  That car journey was probably the most horrific one ever.  I was in such agony & every bump we went over made things even worse.

The next bit was quite a blur as the pain was so bad.  We got to the Maternity Assessment & they were full so kept me waiting.  There were no cubicles for me & I was on the floor on my hands & knees in pain.  At this point the contractions were every minute lasting a minute. Yet they didn't seem to realise how bad it was. At one point I was shouting out & swearing that they better hurry up & see me!  I was eventually taken into a room & hooked up to the monitor.  Panic set in & I freaked out a bit thinking what if I was only 1 or 2cm dilated & they were going to send me home. Then I heard "you're 7cm". No way! 7 freaking cm dilated.

Time to get me onto Delivery Suite. Quickly. Thankfully there was one room left. If not I would have had to go to another hospital, but the other one in the city was also full so it would have been miles away.  Phone call to my mum, who was my other birth partner, to say I was 7cm & she better get there quickly.  It was 11am & she had only been at her new job a few hours ooops!

I suddenly started panicking again & saying that I needed an epidural as I had ME & didn't have much energy. I started thinking "how am I going to get through the worst bit?" which also meant more pain!  The midwife was lovely & had already seen about me having ME in the notes.  She told me I had done amazingly well so far & that she couldn't believe how calm I was & able to chat to her & laugh while 7cm dilated. Other midwives came in to see me as word had got out about how well I was doing..very bizarre!

I had gas & air next which I didn't like at first but then got used to. It really helped take the edge off each contraction. I spoke to my sister & friend while I was on it (or off it I should probably say!). Don't think I made much sense.  Tens machine was on full whack by then.  I remember my mum saying that I could swear or scream if I wanted but I had been so calm & just breathed through every contraction. I surprised myself (& everyone who knows me) as I expected to be a mass of hysteria like you see on the tv!

It wasn't long until I got the urge to push but the midwife didn't want to check me as it wasnt long since she had done & I had still been 7cm.  But I insisted & yep it was time. I was fully dilated. Eeeeek.

Next freak out time!  Gas & air was taken off me (noooooo) & Tens machine stopped. It was time to push which meant just me to do all the work. My poor hubby & mum were lucky to have any fingers left as I squeezed them so hard! And then I demanded an epidural.  "I need one" I said. "I can't do this".

Of course it was too late for that, my baby was nearly here.  And then I did it.  I actually did it.  3.33pm. My baby was here & put into my arms.  "I'm a mummy" ♡


Fear factor

My baby was going to arrive at any time. Which for any woman I imagine is an exciting, anxious & scary time. However add suffering from ME into the mix & it makes it all a whole lot scarier.

Throughout my pregnancy, as well as the excitement that I was going to have a baby, many times I totally doubted myself & my ability to be a good mum. How would I take my baby for walks in the pram when I could hardly walk? How would I be able to do "normal" things with her? Basicially I knew I wouldn't be able to.

Deciding to have a baby while suffering from ME was a tough decision. But I knew I would be unhappier not having one than having one. And I knew, despite my limitations, that I would be the best mummy I could & would love my baby unconditionally.  I knew I had good support from my husband, who worked shifts, and from family. I felt that having a baby would make me feel like I had a purpose, a reason for being here.

The emotional rollercoaster I had been on since being diagnosed with ME in 2003 was epic. The way you grieve the 'old you'. The way everything you loved doing before is taken away from you. All the little things you took for granted you cannot do anymore.  Accepting you can no longer do any of these things without having a huge impact on your health is extremely difficult to deal with.

Many times I felt like there was no point in me being here anymore.  I had gone from working in a job I loved, having a good social life & going to the gym regularly, to being a complete shell of myself.  I felt pretty useless. What was the point?

So the decision to have a baby was not taken lightly.  My health had been at the same level for a few years.  I was no longer housebound & could manage to do stuff in small doses.  I had been seeing an Occupaional Therapist at the ME clinic for a few years & getting lots of advice regarding coping with the condition.

My niece had been born the previous year, exactly a year before my baby was due. Which meant lots of practice! And the love I felt for her I was immense so I couldn't wait to have my own baby to love & care for.

So my due date was here and nothing happened. I just accepted that it wasn't happening yet & tried to keep myself occupied.  I went to bed that night & couldn't sleep. No pains but I just felt really strange...


Getting closer to meeting my baby!

So once we knew we were having a girl we were able to get prepared. And also decided on a name. I'd found it in a baby book & had loved it. We kept it secret & when people asked (which everyone does), got used to saying not sure yet!!

Lots of pink clothes were passed down from my (soon to be 1 year old at the time) niece! I loved washing everything & hanging it on the airer to dry.

My family & friends threw me a baby shower which was lots of fun. Silly games & lots of laughs. I was spoilt with lovely presents for both me & baby. A really nice memory.

The end of the pregnancy brought some not so nice symptoms. Really bad heartburn was one of them. So bad it felt like my throat was on fire. And gaviscon is revolting! I also suffered with awful pains in my legs which kept me up a lot at night. And of course the bigger the bump gets, the more difficult it was to get around. It was probably the only time in my life I've been glad of having a wheelchair! People still stared but not out of pity which you get with invisible illness.

My midwife was really suportive regarding the ME & had said I would probably be better having an epidural as most first labours are very long. With not having much energy to begin with it was the most sensible option for me.

Two weeks before my due date I started getting pains. They were worse than the Braxton Hicks that you have in pregnancy, which are like false contractions.  They kept coming & going & they were bad enough for me to ring the Maternity Assessment who told me to go down.

I was hooked up to monitors & they confirmed that I was in fact having contractions but they were very mild. My cervix was still closed & I was sent home. Over the next two weeks I had them on & off & spent a lot of time bouncing on my gym ball!

My due date came & all the pain stopped! Totally stopped. Not one little niggle. That's it I thought, this baby is staying put & she is going to make me wait another 2 weeks.....


Pregnancy & ME

After a bit of a struggle getting there I became pregnant. I found out in July 2008 & was overjoyed. Frightened too. Petrified, in fact, but happy & excited more than anything. I felt like I would have a purpose again after being ill for so long & having had to miss out on most of the things I had enjoyed before.

Pregnancy is a funny one as you are so aware that until you have your healthy baby in your arms that anything can happen. Every slight pain freaks you out & the sheer panic you experience is horrible. 

I went for the first scan convinced I was 12 weeks pregnant & they said I was 10 weeks plus 5 days & I was gutted as I thought at least at 12 weeks it's classed as "safe". This however isn't really true as anything can happen at any time.

I suffered from really bad nausea around this time & although I wasn't actually sick, I couldn't eat anything. I could only stomach having fruit but it 100% had to be from the fridge!

My ME symptoms though weren't as bad. I was surprised I'd not felt worse as people always say they have the most horrendous tiredness during the first trimester.  Guess that's when having had ME for so long is an advantage!

Next was the dating scan at 20 weeks. I was convinced it was a boy. The time waiting for them to do the checks is horrendous as they don't talk to you for ages & I thought something was wrong. But everything was fine. And then she asked if we wanted to find out the sex. We did because it meant we could plan a lot better & my niece was going to be 1 when the baby was born so we'd have a load of stuff of it was a girl.

I asked if my mum & sister could also come in the room to find out. Then we heard "you're having a girl". Cue the tears!

I had bump pictures taken each week & really loved feeling my baby move. She used to always have hiccups too!

I loved being pregnant & loved my bump. Felt very lucky & the only scary thing was not knowing what would happen once she arrived...


Welcome to my world!

So this is me delving into the big wide world of blogging!

My life in a nutshell is I've been living with the not so lovely condition ME for the last 11 years. It completely changed my life. I used to be a lawyer & worked my socks off to qualify so to have it taken away from me was difficult to say the least.

I pushed myself to keep working & that was the worst decision I made as it caused me to become severely affected & was housebound for a year afterwards.

Fast forward 11 years & I am still severely affected but I now have a beautiful nearly 5 year old girl who is my world.

So I hope to share my experiences & also try to make people smile as I can be rather silly too. A lot!

Mummy A xx

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