Category Archives: Real readers

My story.

February 5, 2015

pregnant

So this is a new series which I am calling Real readers… Real stories. So before I publish any  stories written by my awesome readers…. I’m going to go first!

Every woman who has had multiple pregnancies will most likely agree that they are all different. This is my story on how trying my third pregnancy was.

On 21st September 2009 I discovered I was pregnant with our third child. Everything was seemingly normal until I went for my 12 week scan. Later that afternoon I received a phone call from the specialist to say that the equation for Downs Syndrome came back high and to inform me that he had booked me in for the CVS test the next morning if I wanted to go ahead with further testing. Only about an hour later I received a phone call from my obstetrician telling me that the bloods I recently had taken tested positive to a virus. Something called Cytomegalovirus, more commonly called CMV. He told me that depending on when it was during the pregnancy I had contracted the virus would depend on how it could affect the baby. “I have you booked in to the neonatal diagnostic specialist at 11.30 tomorrow morning” he tells me….to which of course I nod my head forgetting that he can’t hear me nodding.

He told me not to go straight to Google as this just causes more confusion and gives you the worst case scenario. (I immediately ignored him and did exactly that!) This is the first thing that came up ..

“Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common viral infection. In healthy people, it causes a mild flu-like illness that passes harmlessly within a few days. In certain high-risk groups, including pregnant women and organ transplant patients, CMV infection can be dangerous. CMV can cause hearing loss and intellectual disability in unborn babies.”

Oh.My.God… What the actual hell is happening? I wasn’t even sick for God’s sake. How did I get this? I then carry on to read this..

” Women can catch CMV during pregnancy and pass it on to their baby – this is called congenital CMV. Around one in ten infected babies will have lasting problems. These can include deafness, poor eyesight, intellectual disability, an enlarged liver or spleen, and a small head.”

Jesus Christ why the hell didn’t I listen to the Dr and not gone to Google. Shit!!!! How do I process all this.. Oh my frigin God. By this stage I am an absolute abomination… not to mention that in the meantime I had forgotten about the CVS test I was yet to have to rule out any Downs Syndrome. Needless to say the rest of that day was not well spent.

Next day we go in for the CVS first thing to which I truly don’t remember much of, other than me laying there squeezing my husbands hand and saying endless Hail Mary’s to myself. An hour after we left there we were at the hospital waiting for this fancy pants doctor. He turns up and is just gorgeous. Seriously the nicest man in the world. He goes into more detail over what this virus actually does and what it affects.  If I had contracted this virus before 6 weeks I should be ok.. If it was between 6 and 12 weeks then we may have an issue. So then the process of blood testing follows to establish exactly when it was that I contracted this stupid thing. And so the wait begins.

Next day whilst out grocery shopping I get a phone call saying that the CVS came back all clear and there is no Downs Syndrome. Obviously I was relieved. One down. One more to go was all I could think. Later that day I was called by the  hospital to tell me to come back in the next day. Great.. this can’t be good. And….. it wasn’t.  Blood levels indicate CMV contracted between 6 and 12 weeks. Fuck. What now?

Well… we wait until 20 weeks and perform an amniocentesis to determine whether the baby has contracted the virus or not. I’m currently just 13 weeks. Then what happens after that?…….. What happens if the baby has it?……. Well, we establish how bad the damage is and then whether you choose to carry on with the pregnancy. ………… 7 (but turned out to be 8) more weeks of wondering WHAT is happening with this poooooor baby.

So for the best part of 8 weeks I continued on with my life as normal as possible trying to ignore this pregnancy. We didn’t even tell anyone, except for a very select few.  I just didn’t want to know anything about it. If this baby might not survive I didn’t wasn’t any attachment to it at all. Didn’t want to know about it. Sounds horrible yes, but until you are in the situation you just don’t know.

During this time I learnt more about myself than I ever thought was possible. What I used to worry about I certainly didn’t any longer. What used to bother me doesn’t any more. It really does just seem like a blur to me. One of the nicer things that happened was I used to hear Amazing Grace all the time. In the most random places at crazy times. It was weird. I like to think it was my grandfather assuring me from heaven that I was ok. I had the strength I needed.

20 weeks eventually arrived which happened to be right before Christmas. The test was performed and the Dr seemed pretty confident. However, we still needed another week before we knew the results… and then because apparently the world ceases to turn during Christmas and New year we then had to wait the best part of another week before we got the results back.

The night before we got the call, I heard Amazing Grace again on the TV and I had this overwhelming sense of calm. For the first time in ALL those weeks I felt calm, so much so that I went ahead and told our other 2 children that Mummy was having a baby. They had no idea.

Next day at lunch time I got the call. Everything was fine. The baby has not contracted the virus. “Unusual for this to happen, usually what mum gets, bub gets…..You must have someone looking after you my girl” were the exact words from my obstetrician. I will never forget those words as long as my feet are on the ground. To this day I don’t know how to describe the way I felt.

The next day I rang my Drs office back and asked the receptionist to grab my notes and more importantly the results from the CVS that was taken back at 12 weeks. I needed to know the sex of this baby as we had some serious bonding time to catch up on. I needed to know for myself. My husband didn’t want to know so this was another little thing I had to keep to myself… Can I go another couple of months not saying anything?….Absolutely.

“Another pink one” were her words. I cried and cried…… and cried. I always wanted 3 girls and after all this I truly did not care but I was being given what I always wanted. After all this.

A very short 16 weeks later, after 11 scans and I don’t even know how many blood tests we were blessed with the most perfect baby girl ever.

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6lb10oz and 48cm long and just divine. She would still need to have sight and hearing tests for a year or two as she was exposed to the virus, but all the doctors seemed pretty confident she would be fine.

Of course she is fine. Completely fine… and turns 5 soon. She is a constant reminder to me not to ever sweat the small stuff.  The way my attitude changed after this experience was immense. Some things seriously just do not matter. Just love your kids, they are ALL a blessing.

 

When it IS about you.

October 8, 2014

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This post is written by one of my beautiful readers Natasha. She has been very kind to share with us her experiences of early motherhood and discovering exactly what was wrong when she wasn’t feeling right. Thanks for your time and effort Tarsh, you’re a champion!

I’m a 33 year old mother of 2 gorgeous (and sometimes very naughty) girls, 4 and 2 years old. After I had my first, I thought things were going as smoothly as they could, not knowing any different. My husband was a good provider and I was lucky enough to be able to stay at home with her. When she was only 10 months I realised I was pregnant again, and my husband thought I was joking, haha I will never forget the look on his face! This wasn’t something we had really planned. Yes I was very foolish and thought “breast feeding mums can’t fall pregnant…. oh how wrong was I!”

By the time my daughter had turned 1, I just physically couldn’t keep up with the breastfeeding demands of her. My body was telling me that it was tired, and my milk production had dropped significantly. Having to stop feeding her was heartbreaking, but I didn’t have a choice, I just couldn’t go on anymore.

Not having to return to work when she was 1 as I had planned, given my change in circumstances was a blessing really. It was a totally different pregnancy than the first and I was always tired, feeling sick, having trouble eating certain foods, and then the same medical issues with the pregnancy as the last, plus some extra ones made it not as enjoyable as the first. I was so busy looking after my 1 year old that I never really had time to really take it all in and enjoy it. I really did enjoy being pregnant, and going through labour. It’s a very uplifting experience as a woman and makes you stand up and say to yourself “my body is amazing, look what it can do…. I am so much stronger than I ever thought!” After my first labour and nearly breaking my husband’s thumb, he never knew how strong I really was either!

After bub number 2 arrived I was a little wiser with this whole motherhood thing, and knew what to expect, how to feel with the late night feeds etc. But I found myself always being tired, even when she slept for 7 hours over night. I just felt like I never caught up. I was always very fatigued in the middle of the afternoon and felt I needed a coffee to get me through till dinner time, then another to get me through the bedtime. I told myself  “it’s just much harder looking after 2 kids than 1”. That excuse was something I told myself for the next 2 years. But by the time number 2 turned 2, she was sleeping through the night.. they both were. So why wasn’t I? Oh I just made up another excuse…. “my body is so out of whack it’s going to take a while before I get back into a proper routine”. I guess I knew something wasn’t really right, but I’m a mum of 2 young kids, when do I have time to go see someone about myself? I wasn’t on my death bed, so it wasn’t a priority.

As well as my husband working fulltime, he is also a Taekwondo instructor, as am I.  When I was ready to leave my little one with my mum for a couple of hours once a week and get back into my training again, I found it really hard. Here come those excuses again… “I haven’t done anything for just over a year, I’m out of shape… my body has done so much these past few years child bearing and all, it’s going to take time… etc etc”

I had a lot of trouble recovering from exercise, and this is something that only got worse as the next year went by. I had a pinched L1 nerve when I was pregnant which caused a degree of permanent nerve damage in my left thigh. It flared up when I was pregnant again and left me physically struggling to do things I could easily do before. I had a physiotherapist tell me there is nothing I can do about it, the damage is done. But I also had a chiropractor and remedial massage therapist tell me I’m still young enough and with the right exercise I can help my nerve regenerate to some degree, but it’ll never be perfect. After months of continuing to struggle with it, and feeling guilty of leaving my children for the short period of time I was, I didn’t feel that I could devote any more time on myself, that would just be selfish, right?

Facebooking one day I saw that a massage therapist I knew through a friend was taking a leap of faith and opened her own business doing personal training, group training, massage therapy and yoga dedicated to women. For a few months I fantasied about being able to see her and get the help I needed. Then one day, I just said to myself “stuff this, I’m doing it!” and I did. I had the biggest weight lifted off my shoulders, I felt proud that I had made the decision to better myself. I just said to my husband, I’ve sacrificed my body and my career for 3 years and I need to do this for myself. But then I felt guilty as it didn’t work, and I was expecting my husband’s income to cover this additional weekly expense. But I knew deep down that I needed it.

Initially I was really enjoying my training, and I could start to see results. Nothing to physically look at, but the strength I had building back up in my leg. I was slowly making progress and heading in the right direction. As I got better, my trainer started pushing me harder, and I was struggling to recover after our sessions. I thought this isn’t right, I’m exercising, I’m doing the right thing, why am I suffering more? Things just kept on the downward spiral, but I wasn’t going to let it stop me, and I continued with my training every week. Eventually I built up the courage and went to my GP for help and answers. My mother thought I had chronic fatigue, my GP thought I had Fibromyalgia. After a ridiculous wait of 4 months to see an immunologist, then a further month of having tests done and a another appointment I was shocked to find out I had Lupus. Everything I was going through, everything I was feeling, all added up. It was a relief to know that I wasn’t making all the stuff up in my head, because there were times I felt like I was just being lazy.

When the doctor told me that I was only in the early stages, and that I had several more symptoms that will eventually come out in time, I didn’t know what to do. The thought of feeling worse than I already did, was scary. I already felt like the world’s worst mum when I had to tell my girls that mummy wasn’t feeling well today so I don’t think we can go to the park, you’ll just have to play in the backyard. I wanted an answer to problems, but western medicine wasn’t an option for me. Popping pills for 6 months “to see” how I went until I got re-checked to see my progress/decline. I don’t think so!

So there I began to embark on a new chapter in my life. One where putting my health on the top of my list was a must. After much debating in my head, I knew that I had to be my best for my kids. I need to set a good example for them as I am their role model.

I made drastic changes to my eating habits, I do nutritional cleansing, I’ve ramped up my taekwondo training, my fitness has improved, I’ve starting running again, I’ve lost 8kg, and what’s best…. I have more good days then bad.

But all this is only the start. I have a new found love of all things fresh, I’m enjoying being back in the kitchen creating new healthy foods. I’m excited to be learning more about the body, nutrition and how everything works. My husband has seen the awesome results I’m having, has jumped on board with me and is supporting me. The girls are both talking to me every day asking about my training, and tell people my mum is getting strong and healthy again. I’m trying to encourage them to try some new foods with me, but that is going to be a whole other journey in itself.

Everyone has their own story, their own excuses, and will do things in their own time. My only regret is waiting… The sooner you start to make a change, the more of the rest of your life you will enjoy. Thanks for sharing my story with me, and I hope I have inspired and encouraged at least one awesome mum out there to go and better herself, not just for herself, but for her kids and family too!