Stillbirth Awareness Week

So there are so many ‘Mummy’ Instagram accounts out on the internet.. whether that be Mummy groups, Mummy Networking accounts or just general Mummy’s that you just love to follow… but what we don’t think about are who are actually following these accounts…? Most of the time its fellow Mums but there will also be so many girls following these accounts who long to have a baby and be part of these groups and networks but unfortunately they have lost their babies due to miscarriage or stillbirth…

I was once one of these girls and would read all the comments and stories of Mummy’s up at all hours but what I longed for was for my arms to be filled after loosing our baby through a stillbirth two years ago now.

I feel like this subject is so taboo and Mums who go through this horrific life changing experience need to talk more openly about what goes on and just how awful it truly is… can you imagine carrying your baby for months, to then have to give birth to your baby and walk away from the hospital with no baby??!! I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to go through what we went through… but the truth is that it happens every day.

I found that talking to others was the best thing to keep me going and share my thoughts with girls who have been through similar situations.. I would find when talking to others that it had actually happened to so many other girls whether that be a miscarriage or stillbirth themselves and they would be able to relate to my situation.. but how messed up is that? Why should we have to go through this in this day and age when science has come on so far? I ask myself this everyday but thankfully with the support from Tommy’s at St Mary’s hospital in Manchester they were able to give me the care I needed and made my next pregnancy as worry free as possible.

I mean I was a nervous wreck during my following pregnancy but they made me feel so reassured and did so many extra scans and checks to ensure everything was going to be okay this time round as well as ruling out any problems I could have with my body before getting pregnant again.. they were fantastic and I just wish more hospitals could do these extra checks throughout other girls pregnancies to prevent it from happening in the first place..

What are your thoughts on this debate and what do you think would be a great way to create more awareness?

‘It’s both of my babies birthdays next month!’

Oh wow.. I caught myself saying to Ainslee the other day ‘It’s both my babies birthdays next month!’ and it really made me realise that the last two years have really been life changing for us.. from starting our family by becoming pregnant with our angel baby Sebastian and giving birth to him stillborn to having the best medicine for me, my gorgeous rainbow baby Gabriel. And now it will be Sebastian’s 2nd birthday on 8th October and Gabriel’s birthday on 30th October.. some may say I got pregnant very quickly again but like I’ve said before Gabriel really was the best medicine for me! Who knows where I would be if it wasn’t for my rainbow 🌈.

Celebrating Sebastian’s Birthday

Every year we celebrate by being together on his birthday and we always set off a lantern and balloon with a little message from both of us… as the years go on we will always make sure Gabriel knows all about his brother and he can also send him messages if he wants to.

Celebrating Gabriel’s Birthday

It’s safe to say we have well and truly spoilt Gabriel already as he has bags full of presents on our room that I need to wrap and presents from family and friends already but I feel like his birthday will be a very emotional day for me.. at first I was wanting to throw him a party but then after thinking about it I think we are going to go to SeaLife centre for the day or something and just spend it with close family and just spoil him rotten ❤️ I think I’m going to be emotional for so many reasons… his brother who can’t be with us… what we went through to get to this point… my baby is growing up too quickly… I just want time to stop so we can enjoy him tiny forever!

My Birth Story

Well lets just start by saying I never even thought I’d be writing this post.. throughout my whole pregnancy I couldn’t image actually having a successful birth after last time… Gabriel was booked in for a c section at 39 weeks (on the 17th November) right between mine and Ainslee’s birthdays. We thought that would be perfect so that we could all celebrate together each year. We were having to have a c section because Sebastian had brain damage so we were ruling out anything like that happening to Gabriel, but as he was breech we ended up having to have a c section anyway.

But at 36 weeks Gabriel had a different plan…

It was 9am in the morning on the 30th October and I had just been FaceTiming my mum and dad (as they were in Australia and not back until 12th November) telling them how relaxed I felt and that I had had such a good sleep and ‘knew’ he wasn’t going to come early as I had felt so relaxed. The previous night I had a really relaxing bath and the last time I had a bath was the night before Sebastian arrived…. I had been scared to have a bath up until now and to this day I still believe that this is what brought both of my labours on.

After FaceTiming my family I got up and started doing some chores, I went into the spare bedroom and started putting the laundry into piles and as I was doing this I heard Ainslee come home after his morning of clients.. by this point it was around 10:30am. I went into my bedroom to grab my laptop because I wanted to show Ainslee something and as I walked back onto the landing my waters broke.. It was like an uncontrollable wee, I knew exactly what it was and let out a huge scream!!! Ainslee shouted at me and said ‘WHAT?’ He thought I had seen a spider and was being over dramatic or something haha! So I told him my waters had broken…. so I went into the bathroom whilst Ainslee called the hospital and explained what had happened, they said to come straight in so I quickly had a shower whilst Ainslee stumbled around packing me a bag (I still hadn’t got everything ready) Whilst I was in the shower my contractions started to come on quite strong from nowhere, around every 10 minutes and I started getting anxious and told Ainslee we needed to rush to the hospital.

Once we got to the hospital it was around 12pm by this point we were told to wait in the waiting room. Everyone in the waiting room seemed really calm.. I WAS NOT! I would cry when each contraction arrived, I couldn’t get comfortable and kept having to get up and sit down again. I felt awful! I ended up shouting at Ainslee and saying ‘GET SOMEONE TO SEE ME NOW!’ I never shout at Ainslee so my hormones by this point must have been telling me that he was coming. We were finally seen at 1:30pm and I was given some paracetamol.. I told the lady I needed to push and she didn’t believe me but said she would get someone to come and examine me…

The lady did the examination and said the words ‘oh my gosh she’s 9 1/2 cm’s dilated!’ after that moment everything went very quickly… they got me ready for theatre and I went down to have an emergency c section. I think if he wasn’t breech by this point I would have said I wanted to push him out.

By 3pm exactly my little rainbow baby was born at a healthy 6lb 13oz…

Life as a new Mum with my Rainbow baby.

 

I feel like I should have posted this a while ago now… but I guess motherhood has just taken over and I’ve just been enjoyed every moment with Gabriel… so here goes..

Well it feels like it took a lifetime to finally hold my baby is my arms and take him home.. but I feel like this was my journey and without this journey we would have never got this beautiful gift.. my baby Gabriel.

From going through the worst thing I have ever gone through and having the worst year of my life (after baby Sebastian being stillborn)… being so down and probably depressed (even though I try not to use that word) to 3 months later finding out I was pregnant again, being filled with worry and not being able to relax until this new baby had arrived.

Gabriel came 4 weeks early and I’m sure it was because our little angel Sebastian didn’t want me to worry any more so he gave him to us as soon as he was fully developed and ready for the big wide world at 36 weeks.

I can’t even begin to explain what it is like having a baby after a stillbirth… but all I can say is it is WONDERFUL! I know for sure this little baby is going to be so so spoilt by everyone around us… especially me and Ainslee, we already fuss over him so so much – Way more than we should and I think we appreciate him that little bit more than families who don’t have any complications. I guess it’s just the way the world goes round but we are so thankful to finally have him here.

I feel like motherhood has come really naturally to me and I am enjoying each and every moment, every milestone that he makes I also get a bit sad because he may have outgrown his tiny coat or he is going up to that next toy and no longer is he wanting to be clung to me 24/7 but each milestone amazes me but I just wish time would slow down. Its safe to say I have a super clingy baby, and I think if it was anyone else they would be wishing he wouldn’t be so clingy, or would settle on their own by now… but I think because we went through what we went through I love that he needs me for absolutely everything and I’m so lucky that I can spend all of my time with him ❤

We are currently breastfeeding and I am planning on doing this for as long as possible as I truly believe it is the best thing for my baby… I was a little shocked if I’m honest at how few people I have met that actually breastfeed… and I don’t mean if they have given breastfeeding a try and it hasn’t worked for them, I mean the people who choose from day 1 to formula feed. Is it because they’re embarrassed to feed in public or because they want to be able to share the feeding experience with friends and family? I want to also create some kind of awareness to how its okay to feed in public and not to be embarrassed because it is the most natural thing for you and your baby and also the best thing.

The classes we have tried so far are baby sensory and baby massage, we also love to get outdoors everyday and try as many new experiences as possible.. whether that be listening to music at home, having bath times together or trying a new class, I want Gabriel to try as many things as possible. We have him signed up for Rhythm Time to start at the end of February and we’ve been invited to try Tumble Tots once he’s 6 months old.

In terms of my weight loss postpartum I have lost almost 3 stone now since giving birth as I had put on a total of 5 stone through my 2 pregnancies… Walking every day, doing my core exercises each evening when Ainslee can hold him and eating a healthy balanced diet has worked really well for me so far… I have only recently started to up my exercise and go for a few runs each week so I’m hoping that by Summer time I will be back to my pre pregnancy weight… fingers crossed, from being super fit pre pregnancy to how I am has taken a lot of getting used to and I would really like to be much fitter as I want Gabriel to have someone to look up to and when he’s bigger we’ll be able to do lots of fitness type things as a family… so my goal this year is to try and make as much time for my fitness as possible and make it the next priority after Gabriel of course.

I hope this has given you an insight into how motherhood is going for me so far… Id love to hear your experiences or if anyone has any advice or just needs a fellow mum to chat to! I’ll be writing blog post each week from now and hope you enjoy following my journey!

 

 

Lots of love

 

Maria and Gabriel x

My Third Trimester

I am now into week 35 of my pregnancy and I realised the other day that I hadn’t posted an update for almost 10 weeks… I couldn’t believe how fast that time had gone and also that I am almost at the very end of this pregnancy. A lot has happened in the third trimester… from decorating our nursery, our angel babies 1st birthday, my baby shower and also the general aches and pains that the third trimester brings, so I wanted to update you all.

How I have been feeling:

So its safe to say this trimester has been a crazy rollercoaster of emotions for me, once I got over the 26 week mark (where we had a previous still born) I felt like everything was going really well and I felt so well in myself compared to my previous pregnancy – I felt like this pregnancy was going as planned and the worrying from earlier on in the pregnancy had started to settle. Then as we got closer to our angel babies first birthday I was feeling very emotional, guilty and sad that I was having another baby and didn’t want Sebastian to think we had forgotten him… On his birthday it was actually the memorial service for all of the Angel Babies at the church where he was cremated so this made it especially sad for us and seeing a church full of parents (literally hundreds) who had also lost their babies really hit me hard and I know my pregnancy hormones wouldn’t have helped but it was a really hard week that week. The following week after Sebastian birthday was my baby shower… so I felt like I had to quickly snap into a different mind frame to be happy and positive and excited about this new baby… but every since Sebastians birthday I have just been filled with doubt that something is still going to happen to this baby again. Luckily the fact that I get to go to St Mary’s Rainbow Clinic every 2 weeks for a scan has helped me to be assured that this baby is doing really well and is now a whopping 6lbs already, but still I have so many concerns and worries going through my head every day.

I am also struggling with severe SPD which is agony on my pubic bone… so walking and climbing stairs is now very painful for me (I think it is so bad because I have been scared to exercise during this pregnancy, as last time I was still very active).. so I am literally counting down the days until baby arrives now so that I can start to feel a bit more normal again… I have also been blessed with major water retention haha! So my face, hands, legs and feet now feel double the size (the joys that pregnancy brings!) I think I feel more down about all of these things is because I still have doubt in my mind that something is going to wrong in this pregnancy… People keep saying to me it will all be worth it in the end (I won’t believe them until baby is actually here in my arms).

Now for something a little more positive..

Birth Plan:

I have been advised by my consultant at St Mary’s that I should have a c section – This is because Sebastian had a very bad brain haemorrhage whilst inside of me, I have since been tested for everything and nothing has come back but there is still a slight chance that it could happen again… So to avoid babies head having any unnecessary pressure they have said that a C section will be the best option. At first I was a little worried about this but all I want is for this baby to get here as safely as possible and also I have already gone through natural labour with Sebastian so I won’t feel like I’m missing out or upset that I haven’t been able to experience natural labour…This time its all about this baby!

Nursery:

Our Nursery is pretty much complete now apart from a few finishing touch.. we have gone for a really neutral design with hints of blue… All the walls are grey and then our furniture is white with lots of cosy blankets and furry rugs. Then we have pale blue photo frames, details and teddies in there to make it more personal. We almost have everything ready now and I have washed all of babies clothes and they are all hung up to dry so that I can get the hospital bag ready so that I feel prepared just incase we need to go in a little earlier than expected.

Baby Shower:

I had the most beautiful baby shower at Piccolino in Alderley Edge and I invited everyone I wanted to see before baby came. It was so nice to have everyone there because I have felt like I have been hibernating a little bit during this pregnancy and then I know I’ve seen everyone now and can plan lots of lovely things for when baby is here and I am able to get out and about again after my c sections (because you can’t drive for 6 weeks after) so I’m looking forward to seeing friends after Christmas.

Postnatal Exercise:

Im soooo looking forward to exercising again post pregnancy… I can’t wait to get out walking with the pram and I also have a baby carrier so that I can get out and be hands-free. I think for the first 6 weeks I will be trying to do as much walking as possible and then after the 6 weeks I will be getting my boyfriend to put together a training programme for me to help me regain my core and get stronger again… before finally going out running (which I can’t wait to do) once I am fully recovered… Because I need to loose a lot of weight!!!

We are also planning on doing some outdoor fitness classes for mum and babies as I know a lot of you are around the similar stage of pregnancy as me so it would be great to meet lots of you and get rid of our baby weight together!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my update and if any of you have any advice you would like to give or any baby essentials you couldn’t live without then I would love to know… Also if you want to ask me any questions, ask away!!!

 

 

Pregnancy update at 26 weeks 5 days

Even though I feel like I have been pregnant for a life time now.. when I look back it only seems like yesterday that I hit the half way mark at 20 weeks. I now feel like my body is filling up with fluid and everyday I just feel bigger ad bigger even though I don’t feel like this is physically possible!!

Lets start with the bad stuff… so now that I am past the point where we lost Sebastian I’m finding it hard to set myself milestones… before it would be 12 weeks, 15 weeks, 18 weeks, 20 weeks and then finally when we lost Sebastian so now I just think every week that goes by is a week further than last time…. I still can’t quite image myself getting to the end and keep thinking to myself that something is going to go wrong. But on a positive note I feel completely different to how I felt last time and definitely think that my body is doing what it should this time… so fingers crossed I guess.

We are still having scans at the rainbow clinic at St Mary’s in Manchester every 2 weeks which really helps with my mental health. I always look forward to seeing our little baby on the screen because there’s still a small part of my mind that believes this is all we will get to know/ see of him and I make sure I take every moment in of seeing him on that screen. At each scan so far we have been told that he looks really healthy and we are due to have him a week before my due date by c-section which is the safest way to bring him into the world after Sebastian had a severe brain haemorrhage and we want to avoid that from happening again at all costs… even though I would love to give birth to him naturally! (We are still having tests to find out how we lost Sebastian)

I have only gained 9lbs so far throughout this pregnancy but that still means I’m 3 stone heavier than I was before I got pregnant with Sebastian so i’m feeling pretty big and out of shape right now and can’t wait to start exercise again… Anyway that’s enough of me moaning! I’m so excited to meet this little one and can’t wait to have my arms finally filled with a little baby, its been such a long time coming and myself and Ainslee can’t wait to be a Mummy and Daddy.

We have only just started getting a few bits for this baby because we still have everything from last time so there’s not that much we need now, I’ve picked a theme for our nursery and can’t wait to get started with that in the next few weeks.

I will show you all what it looks like when its all finished! Anyway for now let me know if you want to know anything and also if you have any advice for getting through the third trimester… because I’ve heard its the toughest!

Thanks for reading

Lots of love

Maria x

Gender Reveal

I want to share with you all as much of my pregnancy as possible.. so basically we have been dying to find out if we are having a boy or a girl for such a long time. In my previous pregnancy I had a stillbirth and we lost our baby Sebastian so for me finding out in this pregnancy was so important because I felt that if I was going to be having a girl this time I would really have to get my head around it, whereas if we were going to have a boy I felt that it would help my grieving process slightly and we have everything in our house for a baby boy already… Not that we would ever prefer one instead of the other as all I want is a healthy baby after what happened to Sebastian. But basically we are over the moon that we have finally found out the sex and that our rainbow baby is a little boy!! ❤

We have had so many scans so far and the midwives at the hospital scanning me haven’t wanted to tell me the gender as they said most mums have to wait until 20 weeks, which is fair enough but yesterday we had our scan with Fetal Medicine (FMU) at St Mary’s in Manchester (where they do a really detailed scan of the brain, heart, limbs, fluid and placenta) and they gave us a 45 minute scan and I have to say I officially fell in love with our baby at this scan. We got to watch him on the screen for all that time, we got to see his face, lips, nose and eyes really close up and we got to see his hands and little feet. It was absolutely magical, watching him snuggle his face into my placenta, already trying to cuddle me was the best thing in the world. It’s safe to say we both got a little teary and had beaming smiles all day after the scan!

So I am now 21 weeks and definitely think that finding out the gender really makes the pregnancy feel real and like there is a real life little person growing inside of you. I just can’t wait to meet him now and hope everything goes smoothly ❤

Pregnancy so far..

Okay so as you all may know by now… I’M PREGNANT! It’s been a tough journey so far to get to where I am and it’s certainly not been easy but to say I am 19 weeks and its only a week until we are half way makes me feel all sort of emotions…

My last pregnancy ended at 26 weeks so as we are approaching this similar time I am definitely getting more and more anxious… I’d say for the first 12 weeks I thought to myself ‘If it ends, it ends’ as I didn’t want to get my hopes up or get too attached incase I had an early miscarriage. But now as time is going on it’s getting harder to not feel something for this little one inside of me as much as I am trying not to get to attached and I’m not sure how I would cope if we lost another baby.

I have to say though it has certainly not been an easy ride for me so far, I’ve been in hospital because I have been bleeding a couple of times and also because I had a lot of pressure down below and then this week I also thought my plug had gone, I was reassured each time though and was told you can bleed because of all the extra blood your body needs whilst pregnant and also people can have some of their cervix come away during pregnancy but I had lots of scans and tests and everything is fine right now. This hasn’t made me feel to great, seem as I’m a nervous wreck anyway@

So we get to find out on the 12th July if we are having a boy or girl.. we had a scan at 17 weeks and were told that the cord was between the babies legs so couldn’t find out…. In a way I am anxious to find out if its a boy or girl… I feel like if it’s a girl me and Ainslee will have to get our heads around the fact that we are no longer having a boy, (if you didn’t  know we lost our baby boy Sebastian in October) Its hard to explain to family and friends as we will be delighted with any gender its just another part of the grieving process, I think that no one else could explain unless you have gone through a stillbirth or loss.

Overall I can’t wait for the pregnancy to be over and actually have a baby with us to enjoy and love, I was pregnant in April 2016 – October 2016 and then got pregnant again in February, so I literally feel like I have been pregnant for over a year now and am looking forward to getting my body back and feeling like Maria again. Saying that though I keep saying to myself that I need to enjoy this pregnancy incase we don’t get to have a baby at the end again… I want to enjoy all the little movements that I am now feeling and want to do things with Ainslee to get us ready for whats to come.

As you all probably understand  its a massive whirlwind of emotions and feelings but I’m so thankful that we are almost half way and it has definitely gone a lot quicker than last time. Its all about getting through the next half and bring on November!!!

I’m going to do a maternity clothing blog soon and lots more pregnancy type blogs so make sure you stay tuned!

How LushTums isn’t just a ‘Pregnancy Yoga Class’

So during my first pregnancy with baby Sebastian I wanted to try out a yoga class. At the time though I was still taking part in all my normal high intensity classes at the gym so thought it might be a bit ‘boring’ or a bit to ‘slow’ for what I needed. How wrong I was… looking back I really wished I had taken some time out for my baby and do something a little more gentle and relaxing and also to be around mum’s-to-be.

Before we lost Sebastian I had been to a get together with LushTums in Alderley Edge with the amazing teacher Jai, it was at The Yard and we all chatted and talked about what we are going through, symptoms and what classes we want to try etc. I went along with my friend Sarah who was also pregnant at the time and we had a lovely evening. I really wanted to join these classes but not long after I started to feel quite unwell.. and that was when things took a turn for the worst.

Loosing your baby… no one can explain what it feels like or what it does to you and I can imagine that if I had become close with a few of the ladies at the class I would of found it really hard to keep in touch with them… or even tell the teacher why I hadn’t returned. When I received an email from Jai a few weeks after we had lost Sebastian and no one knew what had happened apart from close friends and family, all she said in the email was

‘Hi, Maria

How are you?’

And that gave me the chance to explain what had happened, she wasn’t emailing me to ask me to sign up to her classes or wonder what I thought about her event.. It was a genuine email and she just wanted to know if I was OK!

By doing this we kept in touch and went for a few coffee’s we cried and laughed and she was able to lead me in the right direction for support and who to chat to when I do get pregnant again. She really helped my mental wellbeing and made me realise IT DOES HAPPEN TO A LOT OF PEOPLE.. even though when it happens to you we think we are the only ones and it does feel like you are the only one!

NOW THAT I AM PREGNANT AGAIN

Now that I am 17 weeks pregnant I really want to start Pregnancy Yoga to try and help relieve my stress and anxieties.. and give me some time to try and bond with my new baby. I no that doing this is easier said that done… as going into a room full of pregnant ladies who are so excited about having their baby when you’re just taking one day at a time and not expecting any particular out come to protect yourself is going to be very hard and emotional. I can just picture myself at the back of the class having a break down and everyone staring at me *laughs*

I know now though that as long as I told the teacher whilst emailing her to sort out which class I can make and how much it is etc.. I can tell her what has happened to me and she will make the class aware so that they don’t have to explain myself to everyone when we are chatting.

Pregnancy classes should be a safe place to go for everyone.. lets face it a lot of women have some type of trouble in the process of creating a human… whether it be struggling to get pregnant, miscarriage, stillbirth or loosing a baby once they are born or even things like struggling with postnatal depression. It isn’t something to be ashamed of either. So if you are worried about taking part in a class just chat to your teacher before hand and I bet you will feel a lot better once they have reassured you that you will have a lovely time in their class.

Check out the LushTums website for everything you need to know and where all the classes are held lushtums.co.uk

 

 

Still Birth Awareness – The Perfect Pregnancies on Social Media.

Soooooo my point of this blog post is to let everybody know that its okay to not feel like all of the celebrities and influences that you see on social media whilst pregnant. They all seem to have the perfect pregnancies and I’m sure you all envy them like myself and hope that your pregnancy will be just as straight forward BUT…. I just feel like there is nothing out there telling first time mums that things don’t always go as planned and these women on social media have probably spent a long time getting ready for that one photo and if you saw them an hour later in their pyjamas lounging on the sofa.. you wouldn’t think it was the same person.

So yes my point of this blog post is to raise awareness to the fact that things can go wrong during pregnancy.. whether you take years to get pregnant, its an early miscarriage or even having to experience a still birth or even finding out that once your baby is born that its disabled or has a terminal illness. Even if you are the healthiest of couples like myself an Ainslee.. he is an Ironman and eats really healthily and never drinks and pre pregnancy I went to the gym 5-6 days a week and never drank. So when we had all the tests at the hospital we were pretty confident that nothing could go wrong with our pregnancy, especially as I got pregnant so quickly.

I wish someone had told me to listen to my body more and also give me more knowledge on the things to look out for if your pregnancy is in danger. I want to let women know that they are not alone if they are struggling to get pregnant, I want women to not beat themselves up if you have struggled with a number of miscarriages and if you have had a still birth I want you to know that you are not alone in your next pregnancy and that there are women out their who are going through it too that you can talk to or professionals you can seek advice from. I want women to talk about their problems rather than keep them locked up inside. I have found that talking about my experience has helped me so much. I can openly talk about our baby Sebastian and how its not just me and Ainslee… we are a family of 3 and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have achieved so much in the past 5 months and also me and Ainslee wouldn’t be as close as we are now (when we thought we couldn’t get any closer) and have all the amazing things we have in our life. I truly believe that he has made so many things happen recently.

After my friends knowing all about my ‘still birth blog’ so many of them have come to me and said that they have had problems with fertility and miscarriages etc and I don’t think they would have told me if it wasn’t for me being open about my experience. I just want women to talk about it and not feel embarrassed.

I hope I have helped you in some way so far… even if its just to give you the confidence to know that you’re not alone. I can’t wait to share with you all my story when we do get pregnant and i Hope you share with you as much knowledge as possible and also let you know what is involved if you have a ‘high risk’ pregnancy (as this will be me next time).

Lots of love

Maria xx