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

What happens to your body..

So pre-pregnancy I was a pretty fit and active size 8-10 and I certainly worked hard to maintain that size. I went to the gym between 5-6 times a week and would always check in with my personal trainer boyfriend to see what I needed to do to tone up certain areas etc. So basically all I’m trying to say is that I was in pretty good shape.

After only just a few weeks into my pregnancy I was suffering from really bad morning sickness so instead of running 4 times I week I was only able to walk and the thought of participating in a class at the gym just made me feel exhausted, so as you can image I lost my fitness quite dramatically as I had morning sickness up until around 15/16 weeks. Along with the lack of exercise… the only thing I found eased my sickness was CARBS and I was never a massive lover before, so I did get quite obsessed with checking the scales every morning and usually every day I would of put on a pound…

I kept telling myself that once the baby was born I will run every day and get back into a really healthy diet and get back to how I was before.. But obviously things changed and we ended up having a still born…

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 19.25.31
This ‘After’ photo was taken 6 weeks after I had a still-birth, before an event.. I was home and in bed by 10pm, I just do things now and don’t think about whether i’ll be okay in that sort of situation..I’m now realising this.

 

After you have a still-birth you feel numb… You feel sort of frozen and you just do what you have to do and nothing more.. Straight after the birth my stomach went down dramatically as I was told I had too much fluid around the baby.. so really even when just my waters broke my stomach went down dramatically and this was even before Sebastian had come out. So that wasn’t a massive worry for me. But when I came home I expected to weight a lot less and I think I had literally lost 2lb’s which didn’t make any sense to me.. After doing some research I found out that after a still-birth or miscarriage your metabolism plummets and I pretty much felt like even if I didn’t eat all day I would weight a pound more the next day.

I wanted to loose weight and feel better in myself again… I had this in my head a long with being so sad and also the thought that I wanted to get pregnant again and FAST so I thought whats the point in getting really fit if I’m going to get pregnant again… My brain was all over the place but I kept thinking to myself *Most women love their slightly larger bodies after having a baby because they’ve created something amazing, whereas I’ve lost my baby and I’m feeling horrible in my body* I’m now a very curvy size 12 and before I was pregnant my boobs were a size 32d and now I’m a 34F and as I haven’t done any running in what feels like forever my legs look much bigger and my stomach muscles have completely vanished.

It just doesn’t seem fair that along with loosing your baby you have to feel really insecure about the way your body now looks and then I go back to the NHS again… They give you no support or advice.. or even just someone to chat to about how to snap out of this hole.

This past few weeks I have been enjoying the sunny weather and making the most of walking outdoors, making sure I do it everyday for 1 hour and also doing a home workout tailor made by my boyfriend. Now I’m just hoping this helps me feel and look a bit better and then…. fingers crossed we will get pregnant again…

Depression

Ok, so.. after Sebastian was born, we were allowed to spend the day with him… baring in mind I was so drugged up and I had to be taken into theatre to have an epidural to get the placenta out. Once I got back from theatre at 7pm that evening Sebastian was taken away.. It still hadn’t hit me what had actually happened over the past 24 hours. For Ainslee he had to watch it all and probably absorbed what was going on a little better than me. After another night in the hospital we were able to go home… I was still feeling a little dizzy and light headed from the painkillers and Ainslee had to shower and dress me that morning because my legs still felt a bit numb from the epidural.

So we went home and as I opened the door my mum gave me a parcel… It was all of the paper work to finalise our mortgage and confirmation that we were about to exchange contracts for our new house. We had been so stressed about all of this throughout my pregnancy that we felt like our little angel had somehow done something to let us finally have the house of our dreams and be together.

With this in mind I wanted to go furniture shopping…. so Ainslee took me and we bought so much stuff and ordered our sofa, bed, tables, chairs… candles.. you name it we had ordered it all. Everything was ready to arrive on our moving in date, which had been confirmed.

I was focusing all my attention on our new house and making sure it was perfect because I wasn’t having anyone ruin this for us. Once we moved in it felt like our little safe heaven because our house is in the country side away from everyone, we were so happy that we could eventually be together and not really have to make much effort with anyone else. It’s safe to say looking back now that this was when the depression started to kick in.

We had Sebastians funeral coming up and I wanted to see him one last time because I felt like whilst I was drugged up in hospital I didn’t really get to give him a final cuddle. So we went along to the mortuary and we went in a room to see him. He looked nothing like what I remembered… He looked like all of the goodness I gave him had gone and it was heart breaking. I felt like he wasn’t been looked after… it was devastating. It soon came round to the funeral and we decided me and Ainslee would just be attending. We wanted it to just be us so that we could cry and so that we could have it as low key as possible.

After the funeral weeks went by where I would be working all day and late into the night.. I was putting every little bit of my energy and thoughts into work. It wasn’t until Christmas and probably the whole of January were I was a complete mess. Why were people saying Happy Christmas to me? Why should I be celebrating? OUR BABY HAS JUST DIED!! It was so frustrating and I just wanted it to be January so badly so that we could start a fresh New Year. Obviously this is much easier said than done.. MY DUE DATE was the 24th January and all of the girls that I was pregnant with now had there babies….. It was hard and we were having to go for tests at the hospital because Sebastian had a brain haemorrhage whilst inside of me and they were trying to find out why, these tests seemed to take forever which really made everything drag out a lot more than I felt it should.

All of our tests came back negative and we still don’t know to this day why it happened. This whole time I haven’t had any calls from the doctors or the hospital checking up on me to see how my mental state is. I would like to think I am quite a positive person and even for me I have had some pretty dark times. So I don’t know how other people get on (say if they have previously been diagnosed with depression etc)

If I had given birth to a heathy baby I would of been checked for postnatal depression, which they take really seriously… so why not check up on someone who will 100% have post natal depression after having a still born. It shocks me…. even to the point of going to the dentist… When you’re pregnant you get 9 months free dental care whilst pregnant and 6 months free after your pregnancy. So when I went to the dentist last week the receptionist says after my 5 minute check up… “That’ll be £40 please” So I say “Im exempt from paying because I was pregnant” So she asks me if I’m currently pregnant or have a baby… So I say “I had a still birth” this obviously makes me cry… so Im stood crying in the middle of a waiting room.. and she says “Sorry the NHS don’t give exemption if your pregnant was terminated, don’t worry you’ll start to feel better soon. £40 please.” I was absolutely shocked by her response and if I was in my normal state I wouldn’t of payed and kicked up a BIG fuss… but because I was so shocked by her reaction I just payed and got out of there as quickly as possible.

Baring in mind I had been going to that dentist since I was 2 years old.. and it being a private clinic where I know they could of had a little sympathy and understanding… but no!!! Its like people just don’t understand it as being so horrific and life destroying. It is by far in my experience the worst thing to happen to a couple.

So looking on to the future I don’t think I will seriously feel happy in myself until I get pregnant again… I think when you loose a baby, whether that baby was planned or not. You prepare yourself for that little person to come into your life… so when that doesn’t happen you feel empty and like there is a little hole in your life that you need filling. Hopefully it won’t be too long until we get that hole filled…

Sebastian

I found out that I was pregnant last May and my due date was 24th January 2017. Finding out that I was pregnant was a mixture of emotions for me.. excitement, panic and scared… but as the time went on and myself and Ainslee went to lots of baby events, classes and found out that 2 of my really good friends were also due around the same time as me (Sarah-Kate and Sarah).. so this made everything really exciting for us and the fact we were just about to buy a house together made it feel like the perfect time for us.

After the 1st trimester of terrible morning, (day and night) sickness I was so glad to be in the 2nd trimester and was loving life completely. I felt so lucky to have an amazing boyfriend and feeling our little baby growing inside of me was THE most magical feeling. By this point we had been to two scans at Stepping Hill Hospital, one at 10 weeks (because me and Ainslee thought I was at 12 weeks already) and then another at 12 weeks. Both scans were so exciting for us, everything was growing perfectly and the midwife always said how good all the measurements were and that because we are both really active and healthy everything will be really straight forward with us.

I got to 20 weeks and I was feeling full of energy and went out for a few of my friends birthday parties (only out for food.. no alcohol of course)… I had exercised throughout the pregnancy so far but was now able to go a bit more regularly as I wasn’t feeling sick 24/7 anymore. We went along for our 20 week scan and we found out we were having a BOY!! As soon as we left the hospital we went shopping and bought the cutest outfits for him and everything seemed really real now.

The next 3 weeks I started to feel much more movement and I remember calling my friend Sarah-Kate and saying to her how excited I was about meeting our babies and how it doesn’t seem far away at all now!

I feel like since I said those words ‘IM SO EXCITED’ everything changed….

I started to feel really flu like and my glands were really swollen.. I just told myself I must be fighting a virus and need to rest and take it easy. Anyway a week had gone by and I hadn’t been to the gym for a few days so went for a workout… anyway that was probably the worst thing I could of done. That night I felt like I had caught the flu…. you know when your body aches and you just want to stay in bed… I decided to have a bath and thought it would help ease my aches and pains… after my bath I went for a wee and noticed some slimy stuff on my leg… it looked like snot and I was a bit confused… I thought it may just have come out after having a bath… I researched this because it had never happened before and it said things on google like ‘You may get a “show” when you are in your final weeks of pregnancy and to call your midwife’ and ‘This could be a sign that you are in early labour’ anyway I remembered that everyone says not to read into things when you try to diagnose yourself through Google so I put it to the back of my mind and hoped I would feel better in the morning. I was around 25 weeks pregnant now so though all the things that I had read of Google wouldn’t apply to me… anyway in the morning I woke up and all day I was needing to wee more and more frequently.. this happened for several days until the 7th October where I woke up and got out of bed… when I stood up a huge gush of what I thought was wee went everywhere… it was at this point that I thought I MUST have a urine infection because I was weeing so much and uncontrollably (I have never had this before).

After going to work that morning I came home and got straight in bed. My flu symptoms were worse than ever and I was still weeing A LOT. It was at that point my mum told me to go to the hospital and get checked over. My mum took me to the hospital where the doctors sent me to the delivery department to just get checked over (Ainlsee was out at work all day so at this point he just thought I was being dramatic and that the nurses would just send me home)…. I was telling the nurses that I think I have an infection so they said to me that they were going to check the babies heart beat and do a few tests just to make sure everything was all okay… I was thinking at worst I would need some antibiotics to get rid of whatever I had. The nurses were all so friendly and as they were trying to find my babies heart beat they kept the atmosphere really positive and not once did I think there was something wrong with my baby. The nurse told me that she couldn’t find the heart beat so she would get a proper scanner so that she could see that the baby was okay. She said sometimes the placenta gets in the way so not to worry. A special doctor then appeared with a big scanner so that we could see the baby. I remember being excited to see him and said to my mum “It’s nice that you get to see him on the screen” because up until then it was only Ainslee and myself who had been to the scans. The lady was really taking her time with the scan and I couldn’t tell if she had found the heart beat or not because the placenta makes a strange noise… (It sounds just like a heat beat to me.)

She hadn’t said anything for what felt like 5 minutes, so I said to her “Is he okay?” she turned around and said to me “He doesn’t have a heart beat” I remember looking at my mum and breaking down in tears. We both cried in each others arms and I just didn’t know what to do. I rang Ainslee straight away and all I could say to him was “There is no heart beat.. He’s dead!” Ainslee didn’t understand and Im sure he was seriously confused but he said he would come and see me straight away. We then had to go in for another scan to confirm his death… I felt numb and the only way I can explain the way I felt was like there was a dead baby inside of me. As soon as she said he wasn’t alive I could explain exactly how I was feeling…not flu like, feverish or unwell… but like my baby had died. I felt lifeless and like my world had ended.

Before we knew it, it was 6pm and myself and Ainslee were sat in the bereavement ward and I was been given a tablet to induce my labour. Not only was I heart broken about loosing my baby… I now had to process the fact that I was going to go into labour, which I didn’t think I would have to do for another 13 weeks and I had no idea what I had to do.

During the night I was in a lot of pain and by 9am the following morning I was in full on labour.

Sebastian Ainslee Shafto was born at 11:20am on the 8th October and seeing him for the first time was so hard for both of us. We were devastated and had no idea why this had happened to us.

Intro

Okay, so I have wanted to do this blog post for sometime now and haven’t really known what to say…. Some of you may have known that I was recently pregnant and others may not… But yes I had a stillbirth.

A lot of my friends have been telling me to write my experience down on paper.. whether it’s just to help me process things, or to eventually tell my story to you all to raise awareness. So I started writing and ended up writing around 8 A4 pages and thought to myself I can’t put all of this into one post, so I have decided to dedicate part of my blog to ‘Stillbirth Awareness’ and tell you in small blog posts my story and how I am recovering from what I can only explain as the worst experience to happen to a woman and also try and give women advice and to create a community where you don’t need to be afraid to talk about it.

I’m not really very open about my personal life on social media but thought that because this is such a taboo subject and there doesn’t seem to be a lot out there to help people like myself, my aim is to open peoples eyes that this does happen, make people feel okay to talk about it and most of all to help other’s who have gone through the same experience and for women who are going through it… or women who it hasn’t even happened to yet.

Whether it’s yourself, a friend or a family member who has been through the tragedy of a still birth I would love for you to tell them about my new awareness program. Because no one should feel alone about this subject.

If you would like to talk to me personally about this subject please don’t hesitate to email me cheshiregossipgirl@gmail.com

I will be posting weekly posts sharing my story, talking about depression, body changes, trying again and how it’s really important to have family and friends around you.