baby

We Cannot Sweep Birth Trauma Under the Carpet Anymore

Two weeks ago I finished my last session with the Think Positive service. I left that session with a pile of balled up tissues in my hand, tears on my face and a heart dragging down to the pits of my stomach. I left with a referral for further counselling, CBT this time, and an apology from my lovely counsellor for ‘having missed the signs’ that I needed more help than she could give. The thing is, she didn’t miss the signs. She saw them when I allowed her to, because I’ve become kind of good at that. I can hide how I feel most of the time. Or, at least I used to be able to hide it. The tears flowed harder that day as I finally admitted the truth, and that was that I wasn’t getting better. Time (almost see years!) hasn’t really been a great healer and rather than finding myself stronger, I’m actually finding things are a lot worse now.I Wont Be Silenced_ghostwritermummy.co.uk

My life is being impacted in ways that I could never have predicted.

I am not the person I thought I was. Or that I thought I would be, seven years after the event.

I do not have the answers, but I do know this. Birth trauma cannot be swept under the carpet anymore, not for me.

Honestly, I am exhausted. Exhausted from re-living what happened on the dark cold days, and when triggers are particularly bad. Exhausted from the fear that my heart might literally pound right out of my chest one day. Exhausted from the constant anxiety that seems to be literally destroying me from inside to outside.  (more…)

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What’s on Your Plate: Feeding a Toddler with Allergies

Elsie Rose was born at 37 weeks and 5 days weighing just 5lb 5. She’d been growth restricted in the womb and had an undiagnosed posterior tongue tie. For one reason or another we were discharged from hospital just over 24 hours after her early delivery, and before she had had her first breastfeed. In the hospital she had refused to feed, and what little she did take had come back up again amidst coughs and splutters. Having a low birth weight baby who could not feed was highly stressful; she was syringe fed for a week and we were literally hours away from allowing her to be re-admitted for tube feeding. Fast forward two years, and I’d like to say that things have improved drastically since then. And while they have in the respect that she is now gaining weight well, healthy and thriving, there are still feeding issues that we have to contend with on a daily basis.whats on your plate_Ghostwritermummy.co.uk

Lots of IUGR babies have feeding issues, and for Elsie our issues revolve around allergies and reflux. She still suffers badly with both, and is unable to eat dairy and soya. We cannot be sure, but we think there are other foods that react badly with her too. At the moment her eczema is particularly bad, and if she inadvertently eats something containing any kind of milk protein her skin literally erupts. She will also suffer with breathing difficulties, streaming nose and congestion. So, obviously, we are really careful with what she eats. We have to be. And it doesn’t help that she is now two years old! With a ferocious mind and a temper to match, some days she will just refuse to eat what we make for her. And other days we will struggle to fill her up as she constantly demands ‘Eat! Eat!’ (more…)

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She is Two: #MovementsMatter

She is two. She is two!  We sit, sand between our freezing cold toes and the sea lapping the windy shore and we know just how very lucky we are. Our hair whips around our flushed cheeks and our lips are salty and we know just how very lucky we are. She runs, jumps, splashes and plays. And

we know just how very lucky we are.

She is two, and she has so much ahead of her. So many adventures. So many dreams. So many friends to make, stories to tell and mountains to climb. What an honour and a privilege to share that with her

She is Two: #MovementsMatter-Ghostwritermummy.co.ukIt wasn’t always as carefree as this. Regular readers will know that my last pregnancy was filled with stress and anxiety and fear. An IUGR pregnancy is never easy, and the unanswered questions are hard to walk away from. The fact is, I have suffered emotionally since she was born. Oh, the relief of hearing that tiny little cry in the stillness of the operating theatre! The joy that seeped through my bones as she was brought back to me, alive and well. The pure and utter relief that pulsated in my stomach as they placed her little body against mine. Alive. Here. There were times throughout that pregnancy when I truly doubted I would get those moments.

And here’s why #MovementsMatter. Because any changes can mean that something is wrong. 55% of women who sadly experienced stillbirth in the UK noticed that their baby’s movements had slowed down.

But they didn’t report it.

She is Two: #MovementsMatter-Ghostwritermummy.co.uk

Please, please always remember that any changes, any concerns, any doubts- you must call your hospital or your midwife. You must get checked over. Babies do not slow down at the end of pregnancy. Don’t be one of the 73% who delay reporting changes in movement. Don’t be one of the 52% who believe they are being a nuisance. Don’t be fooled into thinking you must feel 10 movements in one hour. Your baby is unique. Their movements are unique. YOU are the best judgement of what is normal, so use your instincts.

The Tommy’s campaign #MovementsMatter launches today, on Elsie’s second birthday, and I wanted to share our story with you to help you understand just how important it is to be observant to report any changes straight away.

I had an anterior placenta. A tiny baby. A baby that was not growing well. A high risk pregnancy. An IUGR diagnosis. Weekly appointments.

Watchful eyes.

Impatient.

Scared.

Frustrated.

All of this added up to such a confusing and scary experience. The only piece of advice I was ever given was to monitor my baby’s movements as closely as possible. To get to know her pattern of movements, and to come in immediately should anything change. And after three previous pregnancies to term, that should have been a simple task. But as my body was failing my baby, my confidence was facing my mind. I found it so hard to determine her pattern. So many movements were cushioned by my placenta, and she was so tiny that many of her early kicks were just not felt.

I was around 21 weeks when I first felt definite movement. At that point, IUGR had not even been mentioned. Even still, lack of movements worried me. When I was around 26 weeks, I called my hospital in tears, convinced she was gone. So many hours without any movement. Ice water, lying still, concentrating, waiting. Nothing made a difference. She wasn’t moving. Should I call? Was I wasting time? What if she started to move on the way to the hospital- would they tell me off for taking up a bed that was truly needed by other women?

None of that matters. Your baby isn’t moving, you go in to be checked.She is Two: #MovementsMatter-Ghostwritermummy.co.uk

Each time I went in, the midwives assured me that all was fine, I had done the right thing. By the time IUGR was picked up, I was monitored weekly anyway. Told that even once home, if I wasn’t sure I was to turn around and go straight back in again. I was to try and pick up her pattern of movements, and any concerns I was to call. No matter what time. No matter how slight my concern.

IUGR babies are at the highest risk of stillbirth. IUGR means that the baby is not growing well, and often the doctors don’t know the reason for this. Sometimes, it’s obvious. High blood pressure, for example. In cases like ours, it’s simply not explained. if an IUGR baby is not receiving enough blood, nutrients and oxygen then movements can become slower, and patterns change. Medical attention is needed. That much I did learn.

We were admitted the night before her planned section, and I spent a long night hooked up to the CTG monitor. Listening to that distinct swoosh and beat of the tiny life inside me. She kept fighting though, and now here she is. Kicking still.

Movements can be rolls, swooshes, kicks and pokes. They call count. They all matter.

For more information on the campaign, please visit the Tommy’s website and please please speak to your midwife if you are at all unsure of your baby’s movements. For more information on reduced movements, please see here.  Please also take a moment to watch Tommy’s video, and share with anyone you think might need to see it.

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When is the Right Time to Return to Work?

Before you go off work on maternity leave, you can never really anticipate what life is going to be like at the end of it. You are- rightly so!- focused on your baby. The birth. The new baby bubble. The milestones stretching out ahead of you- first steps, first word, first taste of solid food. All of that is important. All of that is essential. It’s the reason why you’re off work in the first place. During pregnancy, some doctors believe that a woman’s brain is literally re-wired, meaning that the way she thinks, feels and acts in certain situations begins to alter. And when baby arrives, her priorities have changed. All of this makes the return to work so much harder! So when is the right time to return to work? And how can you make the transition as easy as possible?

when-is-the-right-time-to-return-to-work_ghostwritermummy-co-ukFor women, the end of maternity leave is challenging on many different levels. First of all there are the questions of whether or not to even return at all. And if so, should it be full time or part time? And what childcare to opt for? Nursery? Childminder? Family member? How many ‘keeping in touch’ days should you use before you return? How can you ensure that your colleagues are confident in your abilities to do the job once you return? How can you yourself be confident in your abilities, or even your desire to return to work and continue in the same role as before? Your whole life has just changed, so how can you slot back into the office like nothing happened? (more…)

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