I was lucky – very lucky I fell almost immediately and only managed to spend about £100 on pregnancy tests… Due to extreme excitement tinged with paranoia.
Pregnancy was horrendous and I did not sail through it like some luxury yacht, with a shiny exterior and gorgeous smooth lines..
…No I was more like an overladen passenger ferry full of sea-sick passengers struggling through a choppy sea.
I threw up from the day I found out the joyful news, until delivery day waiting to go back in the delivery suite after a waddle around the hospital ‘to get things going’.
As well as the attractiveness of being sick, (and doing it very publicly), I also had swollen feet, that looked the size of a baby elephant’s. I developed carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists, so the wearing of attractive beige coloured wrist splints was obligatory for the last three months or so.
I carried on working throughout the pregnancy and that brought some cringe worthy moments in itself. Like the day fairly early on, when I found myself dry heaving in the work car-park.. Unfortunately I didn’t look like a pregnant lady radiantly glowing with a tiny little bump. No the bump merged with the cake – and I just looked slightly fatter than usual.
So dry retching – looking slightly fatter than usual and very green – I got some very odd stares – many – to me seemed that they were in disgust .. Then somebody kind said “Are you quite alright?”. Yes I’m fine I’m just pregnant. – and no it doesn’t suit me.
Along with the various pregnancy related illnesses the biggest trauma for the Daddy and I was when we were informed that I had received a high risk triple test result back for Downs Syndrome. I was in total shock – as at the age of 29 I hadn’t even thought that I would be at risk. We barely had enough time to let the gravity of the situation settle in (although it doesn’t settle, does it?) – We then had to face the next decision – amniocentesis or not.
Just the description of the procedure was enough to make me run for the hills, then there were the risks, a 1:100 chance of a miscarriage… this particular hospital had a better success rate and the odds were 1:200.. It’s then that you really can’t help but compare the whole thing to a lottery. And I really didn’t want to gamble with my unborn baby’s life.
Still advice was sought from those closest to us and unsolicited advice was received (some welcome – some not). The decision and the gamble was finally down to the Daddy and I.
On the day we decided to go ahead and have the test – I was still not 100% that I would go through with it. With two medical staff in the ultrasound room, the procedure was explained. I knew afterwards that I was a bit sore and uncomfortable. The size of the needle would have been scary to anyone – but at that moment I didn’t care about anybody else except for the little human growing inside me.
I focused on the flickering black and white image on the portable screen, and before I knew it – it was over (I didn’t feel anything). Accept it wasn’t – at the time the NHS in my area could only get the results back within 6 weeks, we paid and got them back within the week.
The results came back negative and we decided to find out at that point what we were having – our first born; a little boy! – We were over the moon!
It later became clear that the triple test result was skewed, due to undiagnosed gestational diabetes… I was a trainee midwife’s dream – I literally had everything going!
And so began the regime of blood tests and four injections a day – as well as watching what I ate – really difficult when I was feeling constantly sick (it was like a permanent hangover, without the fun from the night before).
I also developed the mask of pregnancy – a beautiful condition that along with the stretch marks has never completely gone away. Basically I have patches on my face that are light and dark – not obvious unless I have a tan.
Arriving at my mother’s one day my sister-in-law asked “Have you been Gardening?”- Thinking “Yes, finally I am starting to look healthy – maybe even developing a slight glow!!” I answered “Yes – Can you tell”… before she answered “You’ve got mud on your face…”… “No…. That’s my skin… I am a pregnancy babe!”.
I think the final thing was a positive Strep B result – which basically means that I carry a natural bacteria in my body’s ‘flora’ – on one hand sounds beautiful, almost like a bouquet of flowers – but yes it is a ‘germ’ – gross.
This positive result meant that I would need antibiotics immediately and during labour – as there was a risk to the baby developing respiratory distress as a result of the bacteria.
I think that’s it:
- Gestational Diabetes
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Streptococcus B Positive
- Stretch Marks
- Melasma (Mask of Pregnancy)
- Hyperemesis Gravidarum (Severe Morning Sickness)
Happy Days! – So yes I was a non-glowing pregnant lady – and of course the end result was totally worth it. – But I still have the question in the back of my mind, did any of this contribute? – I guess I’ll never know and I don’t need to know…