I’ve been eager to start writing this post for about a month now, but haven’t wanted to tempt fate. I’m rubbish at keeping secrets. When I was a child, I used to get so excited about the birthday and Christmas presents my sister and I bought our parents, that I’d end up spilling the beans about three weeks before the birthday/Christmas. So I’m shocked that I’ve manage to keep Mum (literally) about the biggest secret we’ve ever had to keep – I’m pregnant!
Just to clarify, I’m pregnant with a human baby, not a cat – a question my niece asked when we told her!
If you’ve followed our journey, you’ll know that this has been a long and at times difficult process. Coming off my medication was a year long process and not without it’s challenges. Having to stop trying for my oesophageal dysmotility tests was emotionally very hard. And the stress of the PIP process caused me to experience PTSD symptoms, so there was no way we’d have got pregnant during that time.
I feel like there’s so much to tell you all, but now I’ve come to write, I don’t know what to put! I’m 15 weeks today and we’re both very excited. I’ll probably write a separate post about my first trimester, as quite a lot happened! It’s probably best if I tackle the questions I’ve been commonly asked.
The Biggest Secret We’ve Ever Had To Keep: When Is Baby Due?
22nd March, the day before my Mum’s birthday.
The Biggest Secret We’ve Ever Had To Keep: Morning Sickness
I’m not sure why so many people want to know about this. I’ve been very lucky with morning sickness, only experiencing it 1-2 times a week. On those days, I’ve only been sick once or twice. So while I’ve been experiencing some other difficulties, morning sickness generally hasn’t been one of them.
The Biggest Secret We’ve Ever Had To Keep: Do We Want To Know The Sex?
My Mum didn’t find out whether my sister and I were going to be boys or girls, but she had a gut feeling that with both pregnancies that we were going to be girls. I’ve always said that I don’t want to know. But, the hospital have identifies some risk factors for me and there’s a significant chance that I’ll have to have a cesarian under general anaesthetic. This isn’t anything to worry about. Which ever way baby is born will be the safest option for both of us. I’m thankful to have the diagnoses and specialist care that means that these risks have been identified so that baby and I are both kept safe. But I don’t want to be coming round from a big operation to find out if we’ve had a boy or a girl. All I’ll care about in that situation is whether they’re safe.
Dan has also said that if we don’t find out, his family is likely to guess the sex of the baby and buy things according to what they think, not opt for gender neutral products. I struggled to get my head round this when he told me.
The Biggest Secret We’ve Ever Had To Keep: Do We Want A Boy Or A Girl?
I’ve always imagined myself with two girls, but I think that’s probably because I grew up in a household of two girls. I’ve always said that I don’t mind whether we have a boy or a girl, but when I found out I was pregnant I started to worry about what I’d do with a boy. They’re a different breed, with very different bits. What do you do with them? How do you wipe them? Then I started to get a little worried that I’d be disappointed if we had a boy. Oh the joys of pregnancy hormones! Thankfully this has settled down and I know that I’ll be very happy with either a boy or a girl.
The Biggest Secret We’ve Ever Had To Keep: How Am I Doing?
I’m not going to lie, my health has gone downhill as a result of pregnancy. But I know it’ll all be worth it!
Surprisingly, my Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome has been the condition that’s been most affected by pregnancy. Sitting up before about 10:30, leads to awful dizziness. So I’m not making it out of bed for another hour. This has been worse this week. Because I’m not able to sit up, I’m not getting to eat breakfast. Eating exacerbates my PoTS symptoms, so I’m trying hard to eat little and often. On a couple of occasions, I’ve had to resort to Complan, a meal replacement shake. Because of the massively increased dizziness and the fatigue my PoTS is causing, I’m having to use my wheelchair a lot more around the house.
Seeing as my autonomic consultant told me that if anything pregnancy would make it better, this has thrown me and I don’t feel I was as prepared to deal with it. I was warned at my rheumatology pre-pregnancy counselling appointment that my PoTS could get a lot worse, but haven’t had the opportunity to speak to a specialist about how best to manage this since the pre-pregnancy appointment and becoming pregnant. I’m currently waiting for the autonomic nurses to call me back so I can ask them about what I can do to minimise symptoms. I’m also seeing the obstetrician (the same one I had for pre-pregnancy) in a week and a half. At the pre-pregnancy appointment, she said she’d refer me to their cardiologist, so I’m hoping she puts that in place soon. I’m very lucky to be being looked after at a hospital who understand my complex conditions.
Pregnancy has also affected my hypermobile Ehlers-Dalos syndrome, which isn’t surprising as pregnancy hormones cause laxity. I’m more prone to subluxations and my joints are more unstable. But, for the majority of the time I’m managing this as best I can by limiting my activity and pacing. The biggest impact this has had is that I’m now really struggling to get out of the house independently. I can’t use my mobility scooter for more than half an hour as it doesn’t provide enough back and hip support for me. So going out for just half an hour causes me a lot of pain. But I also can’t push my wheelchair very far on anything other than completely flat, smooth surfaces. We’re looking into power assist options.
My 15 week bump. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram if you want to see more bump updates.
I’m currently having to get taxis to and from local GP and midwife appointments. Dan is having to take time off work to get me to my time sensitive appointments outside of the local area. There are quite a few. The non-time sensitive ones are having to be done in school holidays. This means that I’m having twice as long between physio appointments as I should be. But there’s no other way round it.
While my PoTS and hEDS symptoms have gone downhill, I’ve been really lucky with my basilar type migraine (which causes me to loose consciousness). Honestly, I feel like I’ve dodged a bullet! I was given a 60% chance by my consultant that this would get significantly worse in the first trimester. But thankfully, I’ve not experienced any worsening at all! My migraine symptoms haven’t been good, but they’ve not been any worse since becoming pregnant – which is fantastic!
The Biggest Secret We’ve Ever Had To Keep: Are People Happy For Us?
This has struck me as a very strange question, but one I’ve been asked quite a bit. Of cause they’re happy for us! Particularly as friends and family have known the process we’ve been through.
Probably the reactions that have surprised me the most have been from some of my male friends. The deeply kind, caring and thoughtful comments and questions I’ve received have been so touching.
This has certainly been the biggest secret we’ve ever had to keep. I’m not sure what else to tell you, so I’m going to leave it there. If you have any questions, let me know! I’ll either incorporate them into a blog post or answer them as best I can.
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