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.

Pause.

Pause.


There’s been a distinct lack of posts on here this year so far with this only being the third. I’ve been feeling a bit indifferent and detached from writing and I’ve felt as though I’ve been a bit inside my own head, unable to put in to words how I feel.

So how do I feel? Well where do I start? The last time I checked in we had just met with our fertility specialist and we seemed to finally be on the right path with clear plans for us to move forward with.

I had my HSG (hysterosalpingogram) procedure, or a ‘tube flush’, where a catheter is placed inside the cervix, dye is pushed in to the womb and up in to your tubes while under an x-ray to determine whether there are any blockages. Top Tip; if you ever have to do this do not read up about it online first. The horror stories gave me anxiety. For someone who took out their own coil (long story) I should not have been worried at all. The nurses made me feel at ease, even with my legs akimbo, they reassured me that it would be completely fine. The procedure lasted no longer than 30 seconds with 5 seconds of sudden ‘cramping’ which I was told would happen and soon subsided when the dye stopped being pushed through. I felt an overwhelming sense of pride when the nurse told me I had the perfect v-shaped womb, as if I had any sort of influence over it. It was good news, no blockages, nothing to be worried about. So off I waddled, with the ugliest NHS sanitary pad between my legs, to go get cleaned up and get on with my day.

We had already booked our next appointment with the fertility specialist to discuss the results of the HSG and next steps when the pandemic hit the UK and everything started grinding to a halt. So it came as no surprise that two days before we were due to visit the clinic all fertility appointments were cancelled. Of course I completely understand that everyone’s health and safety comes first but to have another set back is disheartening. I was under no illusions that this journey would be difficult but Jesus take the wheel I didn’t expect a pandemic to be thrown in to the mix.

So yeah, that’s where we are at. Everything is on hold. It’s been oddly refreshing to have a little bit of a break between tests and appointments and medications. It’s been nice to just be ‘us’ and enjoy our time with each other, without any added pressure. It’s incredibly hard to explain but you tend to forget yourself when you’re so focused on treatments and next steps.

The time will come when clinics will open and the cycle will start again. But until then I’m using this opportunity to reduce my caffeine and gin intake, relax and just breathe.

Overwhelmed and Uninspired

Overwhelmed and Uninspired

It’s been 5 weeks since I last posted on here. 5 weeks of looking at a blank post, writing utter drivel, deleting it and starting again. 5 weeks have passed and I still have absolutely nothing to say.

Let me just update you with where my head is at. I’ve just finished my second cycle of Clomifene. When I found out that the first round of medication hadn’t worked I was sad but I hadn’t expected it to work straight away. After nearly two years of getting your hopes up and your body letting you down you learn not to get too optimistic in order to protect yourself.

Cycle 2 has been completely different to the first. Maybe because work has been a distraction and I’ve been constantly busy for the last few weeks. I’ve not had the mood swings I experienced before or had to argue over the aircon. I’ve not been emotional or irrational (well, any more so than usual). But I have felt distant and a little introverted. I’ve pushed though and focused on just keeping busy but last week I finally felt myself crack after a customer very innocently asked me a question and I knew I needed a break.

I saw the above post and completely identified with it. I spoke to my manager who has been incredibly supportive and I’ve got myself a little three day weekend. Morgan’s working, I’ve got the house to myself, I’ve got a night out with the girls planned and I’m just going to rest, refocus, reevaluate and reset.

I promise (ish) that I’ll have more to say next time I post on here!


Twitter post credit : @alexmuench