Meet Alice

This is my little girl Alice. She is 6 weeks old today πŸ™‚

Alice small

The birth didn’t exactly go to plan. I guess hypnobirthing helped me to stay calm early on. After nearly two days in early labour I went into hospital because I wasn’t coping. Two nights with contractions and no sleep! Hypnobirthing went out the window. Bouncing on the ball helped for a while. After pethadine all hopes of an intervention free birth went out the window. I’ve not had a debrief yet, but I think in reality there was no possibility of Alice making her entrance without intervention. She had her hand next to her head so labour didn’t progress. I know I had drugs to speed up labour, a cut, and the doctor pulled her out whilst I pushed. Plus I tore. Six weeks on, I continue to feel that if I was ever to be pregnant again, I would want a planned cesarean!

Breastfeeding has also gone out the window. I think I will try it for the last time today. I feel quite emotional about it. From day one, Alice had top-ups of formula. I never did produce enough milk for her. At two weeks I crashed mentally and switched to predominantly formula. Since then I have tried pumping and have had her on me some times, but it has steadily declined. I find it difficult to find the time to pump and now I am getting such a small amount that it doesn’t feel worth it.

Alice herself is a good baby, especially at night. She has understood night from the start. She’s only woken me at night two or three nights. The rest of the time it has been me waking her for a change and feed. From a week in there has been just one night feed, and from two weeks in, I’ve done it when I’ve woken naturally and not been woken by an alarm. Everyone has told me she is very settled. There are times when I get annoyed with her. She frequently has a wee when I change her, but most challenging time is when she decides she wants to feed when my cooked meal is ready. She also frequently goes from no signs to howling when she wants a bottle, and it takes me several minutes to make a bottle. I am comfort eating every day in response to her crying.

What has made things really really hard is the involvement of social services. I was assigned a social worker as a precaution. But after my wobble at two weeks in, I have had heavy handed involvement. People are telling lies about me. People who are ignorant about mental health. It has apparently gotten serious. I am lacking the mental capacity to take in and understand what is happening. The social worker hasn’t explained things to me. I was subjected to daily visits for two weeks, massively stressful for someone with anxiety and who copes by isolating themselves. For some unknown reason, Alice has been declared seriously at risk whilst in my care. There was a child protection conference last week where they decided a child protection plan was necessary. I didn’t attend because it was too much for me. I had no one to support me, no one to advocate for me, and I was expected to go with Alice in tow and cope with changes and feeding in front of a group of professionals, a group of professionals who have been scrutenizing and judging me whilst I learn how to look after a newborn. I have had to make my new mum mistakes publicly. I’m being judged for what they see in my interaction with her, and of course they see issues, firstly because no one has taught me how to interact with a baby, no one has taught me to bond with another person, and my lack of confidence means I have been slow to talk and sing to Alice in front of other people. I have been left scared that they will try to take her off me. I’m not allowed to make any mistakes. I’m not allowed to have mood issues – how unrealistic is that! Currently they are “supporting” me to keep Alice, however their idea of support has been causing me a lot more stress on top of the stress of being sole carer to a newborn with no previous experience.

One of the things I have been given as part of the support is respite care. Alice is meant to spend two days a week with foster carers. Two days ago was the first time she went with the carers, the first time I was separated from her. It was bloody awful. It was a Friday so I could go straight to the drop-in and not be alone, only things went from bad to worse at the drop-in. My usual support worker is on holiday. I accepted an offer to speak to a worker that I occasionally speak to. She is the only one who is a parent and obviously the best person to offer me support with the first separation. Only I wasn’t allowed to have a private conversation with her. Another worker barged in and said it wasn’t appropriate under the circumstances. What circumstances??? Very angry and upset I shouted at her to get out but she refused to I left. I did remain in the drop-in, but was left very angry and upset. Here I was in what was supposed to be a support group, upset having been separated from my baby for the first time, and I was not allowed to speak to the person best experienced to support me. At lunchtime my friend said it was a safeguarding thing and two people would have to be present to speak to me. I don’t know what the hell is going on. I feel like my most important support has suddenly disappeared. My therapist is still supporting me. Social services have tried to get to her but she has ignored them. But otherwise I do not have support, for my mental health, for the child protection process, for continuing to learn how to look after Alice (midwives have gone and health visitors talk to social worker), or for the Christmas period when my therapist is on holiday. I am very very angry and upset. My first few weeks with Alice have been marred by the unnecessary involvement by social services. At this point, I’m not sure I would have had her had I know what would happen. I knew people said looking after a newborn was hard. I was expecting disturbed nights. It has been hard for me to adjust to having to put someone else first and to not being able to get things done. This is the first time I’ve been on wordpress since her birth. I’ve had very little opportunity for even getting stuff out in my hand written journal and no time for crafts. Never did I imagine the stress I would be put under by social services involvement. No one who hasn’t done anything wrong should have to go through this. I feel scared and alone. And I fear the mental distress caused by social services is going to lead to me doing something which confirms their dark imaginary idea that Alice is at risk with me. I’m surprised that I didn’t actually swear at the worker on Friday. I would have regretted it, not because I was sorry, but because I would have had to apologise and it likely would get reported to the social worker. There are only two people I can trust now, my therapist and my friend. I have had many thoughts of leaving the country in order to get away from social services. Leaving the area isn’t good enough. I just don’t have the resources to leave.

What I do understand is that the social worker has to see Alice every two weeks. It wont be so bad if I can avoid contact with professionals otherwise. It’s my mouth which has got me into trouble. Just being honest about my mood issues and my family situation. I received a letter from my father this week. I had to check it was from him so opened it and just saw the first line, before dispatching it to the pile of unopened stuff in the cellar.

Just gonna have to cope with being on my own over the next three weeks before mother and baby groups start up again. I can’t trust any paid workers now apart from my therapist and need to stop talking to them. I am doing my best to be a good enough mum to Alice. I kiss her and tell her I love her several times a day. I read her stories. I give her time on her play mat. She likes noises. She likes grabbing my fingers and muslins. I guess she will start to be more interested in toys soon.

 

 

 

Continuing to Await Labour

I’m still pregnant, 4 days past due date. I am just starting to reach the fed up stage which I think is good going. Many women reach it several weeks earlier.

Last Tuesday I finally got some proper support from the midwives again. Whilst at the hospital I met the senior specialist midwife and spoke to her about how I’d been abandoned by my community midwife and specialist midwife. She was apologetic and accepted my concerns. She ensured that a proper plan was in place for my care over the next week. She is my mental health contact and triage has been my physical health contact. I am now having checkups every 2-3 days at the hospital and will have another planning discussion next week.

It always seems to be different midwives in triage and I get treated differently each time. The Tuesday one was sensitive to my emotional needs. The Thursday one was bossy and talkative, she explained what was on the heart monitor in detail, she apologised for keeping me waiting at the start of my appointment (it was only a few minutes), then left me for an hour at the end just waiting for her to write in my notes. Today’s one decided to use a different room with different equipment and gave me the belts used for monitoring to reuse on my next visit.

I’m having some calm days and some off days. Wednesday was calm during the day. But when I went to bed I had lower back pain and cramping all night. It got my hopes up until I had a bowel movement and it was clear it was just pre-labour bowel clearout taking place. The cramping left the muscles between my legs quite tender on Thursday. I felt then every time I had to hit the car pedal. I was mentally exhausted all day.

Friday was a calm day too. I was able to go to the drop in, have lunch out and then go window shopping for a bit in the afternoon. I got stomach pain just before I went to bed. It actually felt like mild food poisoning. I got some sleep then woke with a bigger pain which really felt like a contraction. Cue me getting excited again. No more followed. Just minor pains. And the last one was just on one side, so I assume it was bowel related again.

Today I have felt flat and withdrawn. I am starting to get fed up now. The Thursday midwife showed me that actually I was having braxton hicks contractions. I didn’t realise. I’ve not had any ongoing pains that built up then eased. It turns out that the periods of temporary breathlessness I have been experiencing are braxton hicks symptoms. I noticed the odd one 2-3 weeks ago when lying down. Today they have increased in frequency. I’m noticing 1-2 each hour. I guess they are another step on the slow path towards labour.

With going past my due date, I have started to think what I want to do in terms of induction of labour. I have had success in hand expressing colostrum this week. That can help move things along but can be dangerous to over do it. I have been keen for a long time for labour and birth to be with minimal medical intervention but am now thinking what is in mine and baby’s best interests. I’m currently thinking I will ask for a membrane sweep to be done on Thursday and if that fails, then induction on Monday 6th November. Depending on how I feel Tuesday (assuming things haven’t happened naturally), I many bring the dates forward. I do feel good about being educated and making the decisions about my treatment rather than being dictated to by some medical doctor.

So now it is just a case of continuing to support myself to cope with the physical symptoms, and with getting my hopes up thinking things are starting only to get my hopes dashed. It concerns me that I am starting to run out of energy to do this. I am comfort eating on a daily basis. My days are getting a little too mundane and routine – maybe I need to think of something different to do. What else am I interested in, other than meeting my baby?

The Joys of Pre-Labour

For the past few days I have been experiencing pre-labour symptoms. For me this has involved aches and pains in the lower uterus area, usually first thing in the morning but one day it lasted all day, sensations which could be practice contractions, headaches, nesting instinct, increased sleep, hunger, food cravings and being very hormonal.

It was two days ago that the pains down below lasted all day. And then it hit me. I realised that I was very close to going into labour, and it felt like it was going to happen in the next few days. I supposed I should have been prepared for labour at 39 weeks, but psychologically, some of me hasn’t been ready. I had this plan that I was going out for dinner this Saturday evening, one last bash before baby came. Then I would have a rest day on Sunday, and finally, labour could come early next week.

Things not being how I want them to be has been challenging me. I’ve had some days where I’ve been too mentally exhausted to do what I intended. I missed my voluntary jobΒ  on Monday and am gradually accepting reality that I wont be returning to the job now.

I was tearful all day yesterday and had to use skype for therapy instead of going in person. My therapist calmed me and I was okay first thing this morning, but then I panicked. I was supposed to go to the drop-in, have lunch and then meet a different midwife for a checkup. I just cried at the thought of going out. I tried contacting the mh midwife but no joy. So I phoned my friend and asked if she might be able to go to the appointment with me, but she said no. She then involved a CPN from the drop-in who phoned around and got the mh midwife to call me. I was basically told I had to go to the midwife appointment this afternoon and that it was important with me being in pre-labour.

So I set off straight away, picking up a sandwich enroute and deliberately arriving early. I had to visit two shops before I could get the spicy chicken sandwich that I wanted. I was tearful at the appointment, and when this new midwife asked what I wanted to do, I said just to get an ice cream! She asked the mh midwife to call me again but she hasn’t. It took two shops to get an ice cream and even then it wasn’t the one I wanted. I wanted chocolate cornetto. I found a flake ice cream which turned out to be mostly vanilla.

Since getting home I have had a sleep and calmed down a bit.

I think I know what is going on. Yes I am very hormonal. I have the nasty taste in my mouth and an aversion to vegetables, as I did earlier in pregnancy. But the key thing is the primal nesting instinct of a female about to go into labour. I’ve felt it since yesterday. It’s not tidying so much, but wanting to remain in my safe place to give birth. I want to stay home now. I want to shut the outside world off and be in my psychological birthing zone. Yesterday I didn’t want to go to therapy in person because I feared having a car accident and the baby being harmed, or if I went on the bus instead, something happening to distress me and baby. I think I have had a big panic today for the same reason; I didn’t want to go into town and people around people or cars. I wanted to stay safe in the place I am to labour.

I’m due to go to a birthday meal tomorrow evening and I do want to go, but if I feel unable to then that is fine. I can stay home. I can stay home until Tuesday when I am due to go to the hospital for a checkup. Tuesday is my official due date. I am concerned that I might panic again on Tuesday. I am also concerned that I might panic whilst in labour and choose not to go to the hospital to give birth.

My plan is to focus on being calm and doing labour as I want to over the next few days. I will start to encourage labour by encouraging my breasts to leak colostrum, by handing the baby’s clothes, by looking at birthing symbols and spending time in positions which help baby to move down further. I will encourage the increase of oxytocin in my body. One of the things I have done to prepare for birth is to come up with a visualisation of my ideal labour and birth. The idea is that you play it regularly in your head to increase the likelihood of it happening. It does include a trip to the park earlier in labour and a calm transfer to the birthing centre later in labour, so there is hope that I will be okay with leaving my house at these points. But I am concerned and now I have no professional psychological support available until Monday. There have been changes to my support network just as I reach the vulnerable time. My regular community midwife dropped the bombshell that she was going to Australia for 5 weeks only last week and now she is gone. I met with the person who I thought was to be my health visitor last week, only for her to say I was getting a different one and one of them would be in touch this week (they haven’t been). I met a new social worker this week, who promptly went on holiday. And the online support group that I intended using for out of hours support went offline two weeks ago. I guess I feel like a very vulnerable mum to be and am just going to have to draw on my internal resources and natural instincts to get through the next few days. The hypnobirthing tracks, affirmations and cue cards that I have been using for the past 3 months have been giving me the message that when labour comes, I will be calm and I will know what to do. I guess I have to trust that things will be okay.

 

Reconnecting After a Break

So I’ve taken a break from blogging and from WordPress for the past few weeks. I felt I needed to. It was partly my more volatile moods and partly due to watching the demise and passing of a fellow blogger. Although I only occasionally exchanged messages with him, he posted every day until his final few weeks. He was a part of my life, and I guess it has taken time to accept that he is gone and to be at peace with it.

Mood wise, I was quite volatile for several weeks. I thought it was the pregnancy hormones affecting me, and that may have been part of the problem; but it was also anxiety as I reached the third trimester of my pregnancy. The reality of what was coming started to hit me. Going to baby related groups and classes just didn’t work for me. They left me overwhelmed and knocked my confidence further. Thankfully my specialist midwife offered me several 1-1 sessions. She went through the things I have for baby and assured me I have all the essentials and showed me how to use things. She also brought a doll over and showed me how to hold the baby, feed and wind. Thanks to her help and avoiding any further baby related group activities, my mood has been more stable for the past couple of weeks.

I am now 37 weeks, on my official rest period before the birth, and feeling reasonably ready for what is coming next, both physically and mentally. I have purchased all of the essentials, tidied the house, stocked up on groceries and put away the non essential tasks that I wasn’t able to complete. Mental rest is now my priority.

Because of my age (41) I am starting to be encouraged to agree to an early induction. I was told on Friday that one had been booked for me at 39 weeks. I have declined this and they have agreed to give me a scan next week to check everything is okay. Basically the stillbirth rate is higher for older mums, and so the doctors like to intervene. A normal pregnancy lasts up to 42 weeks. I’ve seen lots of warnings about not letting doctors induce unless there is a real medical reason. Induction isn’t like natural labour in most cases. If it works, the contractions are more frequent and more painful. It’s turns into a sequence of more and more medical intervention, drugs, assisted delivery, and in 25% of cases, cesarean. All of this is unnecessary if you just wait for labour to happen when baby is ready. Whilst the stillbirth rate is higher for ladies my age, it is still very low. Some sites say the statistics are even based on data from over 20 years ago which doesn’t reflect current diet, health and medical knowledge. So I will not be allowing anyone to induce me at 39 weeks unless a scan flags up any issues with the baby. Originally I was going to wait until 42 weeks before accepting an induction. Now I am not sure how long I will wait, but it wont be until at least 40 weeks.

I have felt emotional this week at reaching 37 weeks. This is considered full term in the UK. I have been feeling grateful for being able to experience pregnancy. It has been much harder than I ever imagined emotionally. I have gained a lot of baby related knowledge and have also been forced to deal with some historical issues. But what has been the best part of pregnancy has been feeling my baby inside of me. I had actually come to take it for granted recently. A few days ago I didn’t feel her for the first few hours of the day. That got me anxious. I had a therapy appointment to focus on and after that the movements gradually picked up. I did go to the hospital later in the day for a checkup. It felt strange and lonely not to feel her. What I can most liken it to is the noise for people who live close to a busy airport. You don’t notice how frequent the planes are at a particular time of day, but you do notice when the airport is closed for several hours.

I am experiencing physical discomfort and am having to be creative to be able to do things without my abdomen muscles working and my bump getting in the way. Bed requires patience as well because of the frequent waking. But I do feel I would like this pregnancy to continue for another week or two. Another week or two for me to relax and to enjoy feeling my baby moving inside of me.

I am looking forward to the birth of my baby and my new life as a mum πŸ™‚

Muddled Splat of Head Stuff

I’m overwhelmed, anxious, irritable and hormonal. Just letting it all out in case it might help.

I was doing well until Monday arrived. I was getting on with buying things for me and my baby. I went all last week without a hormone driven day getting in my way. I took steps to manage my overwhelm. I tried to put non-baby related activities into my day sometimes although these didn’t seem to be effective. I coped with waking 3-6 times a night, every night.

Then Monday arrived and I got unwell, unwell in my head. I didn’t know at first. A wanting to cry had been around the previous day. I got up as normal, showered and ate a big breakfast, expecting to go to my voluntary job. Then after breakfast I had the urge for a nap so I let myself have one. When I came round, I was tearful and then started to think, oh, maybe I’m not well enough to go to work; maybe it’s trying to do too much. I did the sensible thing and cancelled work.

Things have gone downhill from there. Initially it felt like emotional overload. I was tired and tearful and my head felt unable to cope with much. Since then, anxiety and hormones have ramped up. My suspicion is that it is both emotional overload and hormones which have made me unwell. I had this sense that I had started to open to the daunting reality of what I am going to have to cope with once the baby arrives. That would overwhelm anyone. When people think of the happy fantasy of having their first baby, they don’t think of the realities of what life with a newborn will be like. It’s only when you seriously think about feeding your baby 10+ times a day and what you will need, that reality hits.

I feel like I am running out of time to prepare and there is so much to do, yet it is also important that I have a rest in the final weeks of pregnancy so that I am mentally able to cope with the birth and bringing her home. I am 31 weeks pregnant now. I’ve had a growth spurt this past week and abdomen muscles are shot. It’s getting to the stage where there are more things I am having difficulty doing for myself. If I crouch down to look at something on the bottom shelf in a shop, I now struggle to get up again. I’m getting achy when I push a supermarket trolley and I wonder how long it will be before I will have to buy expensive milk in my local shop instead of going to the supermarket.

I’m nearly at the end of the buying phase and need to move on to learning how to care for the baby. I still have stuff left around to be dealt with from the getting rid of stuff phase. I have old friends that I’ve not written to for weeks. Someone from the parent and baby group offered me some stuff but I’ve not been in touch with her to arrange to collect. I simply haven’t had capacity and it will be up to me to act as she is now 37 weeks pregnant. My house needs urgent repairs and there isn’t anyone to do things for me. I just have to drop some things because it’s all too much. The roof has been leaking for a long time. I thought it should be fixed this summer whilst I still have some money for the repair. And in the last few weeks I’ve been getting a puddle in the cellar after rain. I haven’t researched it. I was assuming there was some sort of sealant I could put down, just doing the worst affected area rather than the whole cellar, but now I have difficulties with crouching down, dealing with this feels unrealistic. There is a chap at the droping who has been doing some diy jobs for people but the idea of asking him, waiting for a reply, and waiting to arrange when he could could and finding out about costs is too much for me. I also have emotional issues that feel really important to work on before the baby arrives. I have less than six weeks left to deal with all of this, alongside dealing with the physical and emotional side effects of pregnancy.

Yesterday my friend finally came round to move my bookshelf. Thankfully she had a lift as I wasn’t fit to drive. I was dopey. The plan was for us to take the bookshelf apart upstairs, for her to carry the pieces downstairs and then for us to put it back together. Instead she said she thought she could get it down the stairs on her own, and I should go shut myself away in the lounge whilst she did it.. I didn’t know what to do and in the end, in my dopey state I didn’t trust my instinct and let her try to get it down the stairs. Surprise surprise she couldn’t get it round the corner. The bookshelf, paintwork and stair rail were all bashed. Eventually she had to push the bookshelf back up the stairs and she then came up with a Β better way of taking it apart. We did manage to get it back together downstairs and in position, but didn’t get all the books onto the shelf before her lift came. I will do those bit by bit. She also moved the pieces of the cot into my bedroom. I declined her offer to come back today and put the cot together because emotionally it was too much for me. I cried just seeing the pieces in my bedroom. It’s all becoming more and more real.

Where my anxiety has gotten worse, I’m finding myself clenching my jaw more and I’m imagining spiders being in my house a lot. Then last night I went off on an anxious thought stream after something the midwifes said a few weeks back. They said I have to take a car seat to the hospital for taking the baby home even though I am getting a taxi and it is legal to travel short distance in a taxi without a car seat. I was thinking, no, it is completely unrealistic for a woman in active labour to get to the hospital with a large suitcase and a heavy car seat. A taxi driver will hopefully take me from my house to the hospital entrance, but it is still about a minute’s walk to the lift to get to triage. Only the one friend has offered to help me with anything practical and there is absolutely no way I want to risk her taking any of my baby stuff back to her house because her house is disgusting. My car seat is NOT sitting in her house for several days until I need it at the hospital. I went googling this morning and it seems that hospitals in the UK do seem to insist on people having a car seat to use in a taxi. Apparently it’s neglect if you don’t have one and they will stop people from leaving. It is possible to get the bus home from the hospital, though the direct bus only runs daytime Monday to Saturday, and it would be physically uncomfortable. Me that feels threatened wants to fall back to free-birthing (birthing alone without any medical people present).

Things feel too much this week. I am going to the drop-in this afternoon though not sure I can cope with sitting in the room with other people for long. I think I will risk speaking to my regular support worker. I’ve not spoken to him for 3.5 weeks because the last time I got trampled on and not listened it. I’m anxious about having another bad experience when I don’t have any other support that I trust.

My baby has at least been well behaved. She’s been very active so there has been no more lack of movement anxiety. She has also remained head down. I am coping well with the movements now. If they do become annoying now, there’s a friendly “oy” from me, and not the disconnect that happened when she first started kicking. My bump has also grown enough to now be visibly in the “normal” range.

The hormones did kick in in what felt like a more positive way Monday evening. I was looking at positive birthing books to try and soothe my mood and I saw a quote from a famous positive natural birthing expert. She said that a woman in labour should feel like a goddess. Now the advice I’ve heard is to wear an old t-shirt or nightie when giving birth, but after reading about the goddess thing, I thought, I’m going to feel like a tramp in an old t-shirt, I want a bright dress to wear, something like a kaftan tunic, something that would make me feel like a strong, passionate and capable woman, and that I could wear in the birthing pool. I spent ages looking online for one. The closest things I found cost a lot more than I felt comfortable spending, especially as it’s an outfit that I would wear once at most, and possibly not at all. I do have a similar brown kaftan but it’s very see-through. I think I will look in charity shops just in case there is something to be found at a reasonable price. It just seemed funny because I don’t wear bright red clothes. It just feels right for this particular occasion πŸ™‚

 

Feeling Good :)

At 28 weeks I finally look pregnant πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

There were challenges earlier in the week. It took a few days to recover from the week before. Then Monday I was hit with pregnancy hormones and tiredness. At the start of the week, my baby was going through a quiet phase. On Tuesday I got really anxious about the lack of movements. It has been happening on a weekly basis but is more of a concern from 28 weeks onwards. There are lots of warnings about getting checked out if you have reduced movements which actually increase my anxiety. Rather than continue sitting with my anxiety I did the right thing and phoned the hospital. An hour later I was down there and they put me on the heart monitor for 15 minutes. As I suspected, baby was fine, but it was a healthy and educational experience. What I learned is that one of the pads they put on your belly plays the heartbeat sound back to the baby and the baby often reacts to this and starts moving. I got plenty of movements whilst the monitor was on. Then she went back to sleep for the rest of the day!

I have progressed with purchasing the harder things for baby this week – car seat and push chair. I learned that most car seats and push chairs wont fit my small car. I also learned that some manufacturers don’t test their car seats in some cars so can’t advise if they will fit. I ended up going to a car shop hoping to get a seat fitting. They currently have their prices reduced to match those on ebay. It turned out they didn’t have the seat I was interested in in stock so they are ordering it in and I go back next week. Hopefully the seat will fit, and then I will purchase the push chair I have chosen that the seat fits onto. I’m not certain this push chair will fit into my car boot but am going to chance it and will have to be creative if doesn’t quite fit. The only remaining challenging purchase after this is a baby carrier or sling πŸ™‚

Yesterday afternoon I had another trip to the hospital to meet my community midwife. I had concerns about this appointment beforehand because last time she said some things which caused me lots of anxiety. I somehow ended up in a good mood yesterday. The appointment was intense but I did really well with it. She had wanted to bring in my new mental health midwife but she was on holiday so the mh midwife’s manager came in instead. They did have concerns about planning for the future but I managed to avoid any in depth conversation about what happens after the birth. I was able to ask lots of questions and express the things I was concerned about with the birth. It turned out that they want to do a detailed birth plan with me nearer the time. They took seriously my concerns about having an older midwife and also having a room which was painted blue. I ended up disclosing something difficult but haven’t had any adverse reaction from doing so. It looks like I am going to have a lot of appointments in September and October which I will just have to cope with somehow. I was also advised that I will be expected to stay in hospital for a couple of days after the birth because of my lack of support at home. At my request I was shown the postnatal ward so I feel a bit more comfortable knowing what I am going in to.

When the community midwife did my physical examination, she said my bump was a lot smaller than what they like, although it is almost certainly because the baby is lying transverse. I will have an extra scan, most likely next week, to check baby is growing okay. I’m not worried about baby being okay, but am slightly concerned that she ideally should have moved to a head down position at this stage. There is a good chance she will turn by herself and there is also a recommended website with exercises you can do to encourage her to turn. I’ve ordered a birthing ball today to help do some exercises, improve my posture and get me used to using the ball in time for labour. If she doesn’t turn then I will end up with a cesarean which I really really really do not want. I am remaining positive for now.

What was also positive at the hospital is that I didn’t feel tearful or panicky whilst there. This is a big improvement on how things have been previously and I believe down to me having engaged with difficult feelings around the baby and my childhood over the past couple of months.

I was left ruminating after the appointment but it wasn’t spiralling anxiety. I have been trying to distract πŸ™‚

I was concerned that my mood was going to dip later on yesterday or today because I am now faced with having less emotional support. My original mh midwife has now left. My therapist has just started a month long summer break. And things have been difficult with my other mental health workers in previous weeks. I decided some nurturing activities were desirable for today to try and help maintain my mood. First thing I went out to a large discount store and a different supermarket to where I normally shop. I got quite absorbed in the supermarket. They had some gorgeous baby clothes and some of them left the store with me πŸ™‚ The other nurturing thing I have done today is to find a recipe and cook myself something completely different for dinner. I don’t normally spend long over preparing a meal, just take a few things out the freezer, add salad. I made chicken and chorizo jambalaya. I’d not tried anything like this before. I concluded I wouldn’t want chorizo again but it was definitely good to try something different.

For now I am feeling calm, confident and upbeat. And I’m starting to look forward to meeting my baby πŸ™‚

Continuing to Feel Grief

The last couple of days have pretty much been a write-off. All I have been able to do is do my best to cope with the feelings that are passing through me, knowing that they will pass, and that I will come out the other side stronger for the experience.

I ended up texting my therapist yesterday. I just wanted to feel less alone with what I am experiencing. I did manage to get myself out to the quiet cafe yesterday afternoon. I had a brew and another food treat. I felt tearful whilst sat down. When I stood up, I felt like I was going to be engulfed with the grief, that I was going to collapse. The feeling did pass and I managed to get myself home okay.

I didn’t really feel any better on waking this morning. I was anxious about speaking to my support workers today. Another wave of emotion came over me before I set off. I let the tears flow. At the drop-in I did have a long wait again but it was at least because my regular worker was busy with someone else and not because he was chilling out. I went into a room with both him and his colleague that I spoke to earlier in the week. Initially the conversation started okay. I said about the parent and baby group and that I was experiencing grief. I received positive feedback about my insight into situations. But then it really went downhill. My grief was treated like something which needed to be dealt with. I was told to distract. I was told to move myself to the present. I was told to focus on the baby (trigger heaven). I shut down. I wanted to walk out. Eventually I said I wanted to leave and one of them said okay, so I left, went to the toilet and sobbed for several minutes. Their approach was so so wrong. Distraction is for anxiety and ruminating. It is not for feelings of grief. These feelings need to be felt, to be let out. Not letting feelings out and expressing them appropriately causes longer term emotional issues. I need to be treated with kindness and compassion when experiencing difficult feelings. I need the message that it is okay to feel. Β I need reminding that this is part of the human experience and that it will pass. It is difficult when historical grief is passing through, but I completely believe that feeling this pain will do me good in the long term. It is a process of letting go of pain. No only will it help me in the long term, but I also think that given the grief is about my shutting down as a young child avoiding contact with people, it will benefit my relationship with my daughter; it will make me a little more open to having an emotional relationship with her.

I am proud of myself for what I did next. Once I’d finished crying, I rejoined the group for the remainder of the drop-in. In the past I would have left πŸ™‚ I went to lunch with a few people. I didn’t speak, I just felt I was needing more time with people that I know. I’ve had so little of that this week.

Since getting home I have been feeling very angry towards the support workers. I wasn’t supposed to come away in a worse state. The anger is actually distracting me from the grief, but also fuelling my inner drive to do things myself. Right now, I don’t feel I can trust them. I also still haven’t been able to speak to them about my issues with the midwives and I am anxious because my next appointment with a midwife is next Friday. I was fine with this one until the last time I saw her when she set me up with anxious rumination for the weekend. I am left feelings concerned that I am left without the support that I need. Some of me wants to shut everyone out. Some of me knows that isn’t sensible. After next week I wont see my therapist for 5 weeks as she is on a long summer break. My mental health midwife has left, just as I was starting to trust her. I tried messaging another friend for help in buying online from private sellers, and despite earlier offering to help, she hasn’t even acknowledged my message. So I am alone with some things that I find quite difficult anxiety wise. I also really need to get my roof repaired. Who is going to help me with that? No one.

So I guess I just carry on doing things alone.