Pregnancy in a pandemic…

Pregnancy in a pandemic…

It’s a strange enough time going through a pandemic as a nation. Juggling work, filling your cupboards with dry pasta for fear of a food shortage, counting your toilet tissue and panicking when you get down to the last 18 rolls. But add a pregnancy in there and it all gets a little more complicated.

My booking appointment was on 1st June and I found myself having to justify to my midwife why I was still going in to work. ‘I can give you a letter that says you must shield during the pandemic and work from home if possible.’ But for my own sanity and mental stability I needed to go to work. I needed some sort of normality to remain in my life and the routine of getting up, putting on my uniform and seeing my colleagues gave me that. Plus, at that time, my husband was furloughed and was only working 3 days a week and I was not prepared for the inevitable divorce and single-mum life that would have occurred if we had spent all our time together.

I found being pregnant during the height of the pandemic a pretty lonely place to be. Although I was working, I was incredibly restricted (by choice and after discussions early on with my manager) as to what I could actually do as a compromise for going in to the office. You also find yourself in a position where you’re having to attend all your appointments by yourself and our hospital trust doesn’t allow you to film your scans or use your phone to video call. So suddenly this journey you’ve been on as a couple for years becomes incredibly one sided. Then your appointments stop being face-to-face and switch to 3 minute telephone calls with your midwife in an attempt to further protect the NHS and expectant mothers. All these measures made perfect logical sense and I understood the reasoning behind it but I still felt very isolated and alone.

My husband, as always, was wonderful. He didn’t question why I was crying in the middle of the frozen aisle in Tesco when the food shortage resulted in a lack of any type of ice lolly I was craving. He encouraged me to rest and nap whenever I needed to, and let me tell you now I napped an awful lot from weeks 5-11 as the exhaustion fully took hold of my body, so much so that we were convinced that there was twins in there. And he only laughed at me once when the smell of the cat using the litter tray made me instantly throw up before he could smell anything himself. I fully recognise that as much as it isn’t easy for pregnant women, it must be equally hard and just as difficult for their partners to go through.

They say when you are pregnant you suddenly become hyper aware of your surroundings for fear of putting your tiny growing baby in harms way. Throw an invisible virus in to the mix and all of a sudden your anxiety towards normal every day activities increases tenfold.

It’s not all loneliness and negativity. There have been plenty of positives to this situation

  • It was incredibly easy for us to keep this a little secret until we were practically bursting to tell our friends and family. There was no having to explain why I wasn’t drinking or eating certain foods as we weren’t allowed to see people.
  • At work, where I was holed away upstairs, it was easy for me to take myself away to the loos when the morning sickness kicked in.
  • Telling our family was made even more special by the fact that the pandemic impacted everyone in different ways. They have all been by our side for the last couple of years so to be able to share this incredible news with them during such a tough time for so many was amazing and gave everyone something to look forward to.
  • Covid-19 was easily transferable as a justifiable excuse. ‘What did you do on your day off?’ ‘Not much I could do so I just slept and stayed in my pjs.’ No pressure to make elaborate plans because we couldn’t physically go anywhere or do anything.
  • Travel to and from work has been an absolute dream. Normally I’d be on a packed bus for half an hour sat next to a school kid who seemed adverse to the idea of a daily shower or deodorant. Whereas, on many occasions I found myself the only passenger on the bus. The driver was often my personal chauffeur.
  • The amount of money we saved during lockdown has gone towards paying off debts, decorating the house and buying bits for the baby and the nursery. Without the pandemic I doubt we would have been this comfortable financially and I definitely wouldn’t have my beautiful new sofas.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel incredibly privileged to be pregnant, even through a pandemic and I wouldn’t change anything for the world. I’m just certain that many expectant women will agree that this isn’t how they envisioned their first pregnancy to be. But only time will tell how this all pans out. My due date is bang in the middle of winter when they’re supposedly expecting a second wave. Right now we’re happy, we’re healthy and we’re all ticking along quite nicely in the Bloomer household.

What were you doing…?

What were you doing…?

If I asked you what you were doing at 5am on May 3rd 2020 would you know? I certainly would and it is a day I don’t think I’ll forget for the rest of my life.

I was sat in the bathroom, distracting myself from looking at the pregnancy test I had just taken, trying not to take a sneak peak for fear of jinxing it. It took me 20 minutes for me to pluck up the courage to put my phone down, take a deep breath and wonder over to the shelf where I placed it while it worked it’s magic.

Before we delve any deeper into my story me give you a bit of background for all those who are new to this blog. My husband and I had been trying to make little Baby Bloomer for 29 months at this point. We’d tried it naturally, we tried medicine, we’d had countless blood tests and scans and sperm counts and doctors appointments. I had my tubes flushed and still nothing had happened. Our next appointment with the fertility specialist was booked for 2nd April 2020 but the pandemic hit the UK and it was cancelled. It felt as though luck was not on our side at all after endless bad news, rearranged meetings and negative pregnancy tests.

*cue humming B*Witched – C’est La Vie to myself*

Back to May 3rd. At this point my period is 4 days late which isn’t unusual. My cycle, for the most part, fell between 28 and 32 days. Those extra few days you spend just waiting for the inevitable to happen. But something felt different this time. I had a bottle of Prosecco the night before and got pickled far too quickly, my boobs felt heavy and ridiculously sore and I was beyond exhausted. Despite this Morgan encouraged me to wait as long as possible. So I waited until the very next morning and here we are, caught up with the story.

I don’t think I actually believed it when I first saw the bright blue plus sign on the pregnancy test. I grabbed the box to make sure it meant what I thought it meant. There was absolutely no mistaking it, we were pregnant! I grabbed the stick and ran to the bedroom shouting for Morgan to wake up. I jumped on the bed and practically waved the test in his sleepy face, shouting ‘we’ve bloody done it’ much to his utter confusion. Realisation set in, he saw what I was shouting about and crying over, gave me a hug, told me he loved me and then said ‘get some sleep.’

Needless to say, with the adrenaline and excitement pumping throughout my body I was not going to be going back to bed any time soon. And if I wasn’t sleeping, neither was he. I downloaded a bunch of apps, ran internet searches for everything pregnancy related and started reeling off facts and figures and comparing the size of our little Baby B to various teeny tiny animals and foods.

I’ve never felt anything like it in my life. The feeling is completely overwhelming when you have been waiting so long for everything to just fall in to place. So many concerns and worries creep in to your mind. Did the bottle of wine I guzzled the night before make the baby boozy? What if the test is faulty and actually there’s not a little water bear in there? (Seriously, Google what a water bear is because that’s the stage we were at on May 3rd and the name has stuck with us) How is this pregnancy going to work during a pandemic? Will the cats get on with the baby?

We agreed I’d take a second test the next day and for now we would relax, put our phones and apps down and just enjoy this moment together. Our little secret growing inside of me.

For everyone who has read my posts, followed our journey, sent amazing messages of support over the last year since I started this blog, all I can say is thank you. Fertility issues are tough to deal with at the best of times, but when you bare all on the internet for the whole world to read and open up about an extremely sensitive subject, there is just no where to hide. You’ve all been incredible and we are ridiculously lucky to have so many amazing friends and followers who have helped us along the way. The next stage of our journey has begun and we are going to let you all join us for the ride. So buckle up and get ready because we’re in this together!

What to expect when you’re not expecting?

What to expect when you’re not expecting?

Expect to be given mixed messages. Expect your emotions to be all over the place. Expect to leave appointments slightly more confused. Expect to laugh. Definitely expect to cry. Expect everyone in the world to get pregnant around you (or so it feels). Expect more doctors to see your bits ‘n’ pieces than you’ve had hot coffees in your lifetime.

Just don’t expect it to be easy.

Yesterday we had the pleasure of finally meeting our fertility specialist. After some initial questions about lifestyle, health and just getting to know us she had a look at the tests we’d had already. Until now our treatment has been relatively straight forward. A few blood tests here and there, a couple of scans, sperm tests, 6 cycles of medication and many trips to the doctors surgery. We have never really been given any cause for concern except my blood tests appeared to show my hormone levels aren’t quite right during ovulation.

However, within 5 minutes of meeting our specialist she diagnosed me with polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS. She explained that our GP should never have prescribed clomid at all, let alone let me take it without constant monitoring with blood tests and ultrasounds. Morgan’s results aren’t as straight forward as originally made out and require a few lifestyle changes. Plus, just to top it all off, we should have been referred 11 months ago considering the length of time we have been trying.

*cue a stunned and confused couple of Bloomers*

It’s incredibly frustrating to find that the last 11 months have essentially been a waste of time. We have spent the last 11 months riding an emotional rollercoaster, constant up and downs, wondering when or if it will ever end. What is really alarming is that a medical professional has wrongly advised me to take medication which could have made the situation worse. It also means that our specialist now cannot prescribe it (to be used in the right way with regular checkups) as it should only be taken for 6 months in total.

However we did get a couple of positive points from our appointment:

– Age is definitely on our side. The specialist explained that as we are both 30 there is plenty of time to try various treatments.

– PCOS is a road bump, not a stop sign. The blood tests I have had clearly show I am ovulating every other cycle. It can be treated with medication and the one saving grace is that the clomid I have been taking may have actually helped in this particular instance.

– The weight I’ve lost already definitely helps our situation and speeds the next steps up by around 4 months.

So what happens next? I need to have my tubes flushed, I have to have more blood tests, Morgan needs to take vitamins and stop vaping, I should stop drinking coffee and alcohol and I need to drop 2 more stone. We have multiple appointments over the next 4 weeks to get this show on the road and I’m actually feeling pretty positive. I’m ready to draw a line under what has happened already and move on to the next stage of this process.

So what should you expect when you’re not expecting? Just expect the unexpected. Anything can happen, good or bad. You’ve just got to roll with the punches, pick yourself up and keep going.

Fingers crossed we’re now in good hands

Let’s talk about sex…

Let’s talk about sex…

I mean, how can we not right? It’s pretty imperative in the grand scheme of baby-making. Yet you find yourself over analysing something that you once found so natural. You try not to become defined by dates and ovulation sticks and medication and blood tests but it’s hard when your whole life seems to be broken down in to 28 day cycles. Trust me, I found out the hard way that there’s nothing less sexy than saying ‘babe, I’m ovulating, let’s get to it’.

It’s difficult and after months of trying to convince the most ridiculous things will go through your mind.

  • Should we have sex every day or every other day? Because, frankly I don’t think I have the stamina for every day. I’m pushing 30 years old and my hip hurts and it’s hard to fit that in plus work, plus the gym, plus a two hour bubble bath.
  • Should we have sex in the morning or the evening? It’s a toss up between morning breath or being too tired after a long day at work.
  • Should I lay down afterwards and not move a muscle for fear of ruining our chances? What if I knock a sperm off-course?
  • Do I dare risk going to the toilet after? I mean, I once heard that if you don’t you’ll definitely get a UTI and as someone who has dicky kidneys I do not need that in my life.
  • Shit, I missed my vitamins, I’ve probably messed it all up anyway.

Realistically, some of these points are valid and may have a small impact on your chances of conceiving. But you could follow all the hints and tips in the world and you’re equally as likely to get knocked up after chucking up your pill post vodka fuelled drunken bunk up.

At the end of the day making a baby should still be fun. It should be romantic and passionate and giggly. It should be spontaneous, flirty, sexy, wild, adventurous, slow, sensual. It should be absolutely whatever you want it to be so long as it’s not micromanaged. You’ll drive yourself crazy following all the pointers on ’10 Top Tips to Conceive’ or ‘Sex Positions GUARANTEED to Make You Pregnant’. You’ll judge yourself for the smallest things and blame yourself when really, what you’re doing is perfectly fine.

I’m going to enjoy this stage. It’s not a process, it’s life and like I said in an earlier post I don’t want to be defined by my body.

Remember ‘O’ isn’t just for Ovulation, it’s also for Orgasm. Or in this case, it’s for Oversharing.