contraceptive

Coming off of the contraceptive pill after 13 years

So, most of you know already that my Husband and I decided that two children was enough for us-especially after losing three babies between our two children.  Aside from the fact, I personally just couldn’t deal with the grieving and heartache that miscarriage brings with it physically and mentally, our second child wasn’t as easy going as our first, and we knew two was plenty with chalk and cheesE as our kids!

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born

The Day You Were Born-For My Boy, On His 8th Birthday

TODAY MY Boy TURNS 8!

Last september, i wrote about miss olivia’s birth story, on her 4th birthday, after realising I’d never told it before.  i’ve also never told kye’s!

this not-so-little guy, doesn’t realise it now, but he’s the reason i’m who i am today-he was my reason to get up, to carry on, when the going got seriously tough.

SO HERE YOU ARE my gorgeous boy-here’s the story of you, and it begins in 2009……

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Date

#Blogtober17 ~ Day 4 ~ Date

Today is day 4 of Blogtober 2017!  The theme today is Date!

I deliberated over and over about which kind of date I was going to write about-the word is super vague when you think about it.  I had pretty much decided on writing about the dating scene-how it was when I was in it, and how it would be now…..

….In the end however, I decided to write about important dates to me-dates of things I treasure the most-because those are more important than the other kind! Continue reading

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Message

My Message To You

This is by far one of the easiest blogs I think I’ve ever written, and will probably ever write.

It is a blog filled with different messages-those of hope, sadness, disbelief, anger, thanks and fellowship.

For months (possibly years), I’ve been blogging about my experiences of baby loss, trying to raise awareness for recurrent miscarriages and mental health issues surrounding and following on from losing a baby.

Most of the blogs I write, highlight two major mental health issues, incidentally, two I suffer from-anxiety and depression.  But these issues stem from one other diagnosis I have also been given, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Continue reading

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Vasectomy's

Vasectomy’s-No Need to get ‘Teste’….. (See what I did there?)

Last weekend, the hubs bit the bullet and went off to have his bits manhandled, all for the sake of a) our sanity, and b) my reproductive system.

We are well and truly done-no more babies are entering my womb, or vacating it for that matter!

Obviously, I'm a woman, and to write a blog about vasectomy's really isn't something I can do from a first hand point of view.  So I decided to get the husband's opinion on it all, and some thoughts from blogger friends who's partners have had it done, in the hope it gives those who are thinking about doing it, some more information on what to expect! Continue reading

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Mayflower Blogs has BIG news!

So yesterday, after what actually happened to be a rather mundane day after the events on Wednesday, I received an email from a lovely lady at Tommy’s!

Basically, myself and Tommy’s have worked together for a little while, with them running campaigns to raise awareness for baby loss and other pregnancy issues, and me, well, I blog about them.

The email said I’ve been shortlisted for a Mums Voice Award, at the Tommy’s Awards 2017.

This award is given to a Mum, who has spoken out about her own pregnancy experiences, and in doing so has helped and given hope and support to others.

I have been invited to the awards ceremony next March, which will be hosted by Giovanna Fletcher, and I’ve obviously confirmed I’ll go!

The winners will be announced early next year, and, although its not the main factor of how they choose their winner, there is a way you can get involved.

In order to help decide the winner, Tommy’s have asked me to ask my readers (that’s you beautiful lot) to email mumsvoice@tommys.org, with the subject line “Mayflower Blogs”, and a sentence about why you’d love me to win the award!
I’d just like to add, this is beyond a dream to me.

Most people will know, the reason I blog, and the reason I started blogging, was because, based on my own experiences, I know how hard it was to lose one baby, then two, then three, and feel so terribly alone, with no one who knew what I was going through to talk to.  I couldn’t sit by and watch others go through that, and I knew, if just one person in a similar situation read my blog, and felt less alone, then I’d helped.
To be shortlisted for this award based on that reason, is testament to why I write what I write, and I’m eternally grateful for Tommy’s putting me forward for it, and for those that vote for me who believe I deserve it.

Thank you.

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Tommy’s Reduced Fetal Movement Campaign


Today’s blog is for the baby charity, Tommy’s who are leading a campaign to raise awareness of reduced fetal movements during pregnancy.  The campaign is supported by Kicks Count and NHS England, alongside the hashtags #movementsmatter and #KickMeBabyOneMoreTime. 
This is a campaign particularly close to my heart.  As some of you may know, I have been pregnant 5 times.  During the first pregnancy with my son, I wasn’t aware at all of checking the amount of times my baby moved.  In all honesty, I sailed through that pregnancy, and didn’t give a second thought that anything could go wrong.  As I mention in a previous blog, The Mummy He Used To Know, I pretty much took the entire pregnancy for granted (without realising of course).

Then over the following couple of years, we endured the traumas of three recurrent miscarriages.  And I suppose that’s where everything changed.  I ended up with severe anxiety, and, when falling pregnant with my daughter, I panicked constantly, from beginning to end, that we were going to lose her.

That’s when I did some research into reduced fetal movement.  I wanted to make sure I was feeling my baby girl move as much as she should be, and what to do when those movements were reduced.

On only one occasion, did I have to act upon my concerns for my baby, when, along with horrific pain, a temperature and faintness, I hadn’t felt her move for the best part of an afternoon.  I did all the websites told me to do, ate something sugary, drank a cold drink, laid on different sides.  Nothing.

I called the maternity unit in my local hospital and was told to come in.  In fairness I was pretty adamant I was coming in, so I’m not sure I gave the leading midwife much choice!  In all honesty, the pain was bad enough to take me up there but the reduced movements, alongside my already anxious mind pushed me further.

The pain ended up being a urine infection, (another beautiful pregnancy effect, people fail to mention will more than likely happen to you!)  The reduced movements, were nothing serious.  The midwife said the pain I was in with the urine infection were more than likely masking the movements, and I was so focused on the pain I just hadn’t noticed her moving.  All was fine, and I went on to have a healthy baby girl.

The difference between my story and so many others, is that sometimes, a mum-to-be won’t go and get checked.  52% of women asked, during a recent survey, have said, they would be worried about looking for help when they notice reduced movements due to a fear of “wasting midwives time”.  Please don’t worry about wasting anyones time.  Midwives are there to care for you and your baby, go to them if you think anything is wrong with your baby during pregnancy.  Trust your instincts.

You are never wasting a midwifes time with your concerns.  You know your body, and you know the baby growing inside you.  If you think there’s a problem, get it checked.  The age old quote “it’s better to be safe than sorry” should be imprinted on your mind during pregnancy.  The alternative just isn’t worth the risk.

 

In a recent study, around half of women who had a still birth, said that they had noticed that their babies movements had slowed down.

For every 220 babies born in the UK, 1 is stillborn, and in the UK we rank 24th out of 49 high-income countries for the amount of stillbirths that occur.* For a country with such an impressive healthcare service, this isn’t acceptable.  1 in 220 is not ok!

That’s why this campaign has been set up.  To raise awareness of reduced fetal movements and to help mums-to-be, whether this is their 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th baby, that they must seek help if they feel something is wrong.

In Norway, a similar campaign was run, and it cut the rate of stillbirth down by a third-we could do that here in the UK too!

Tommy’s have provided me with this lovely link to a video about reduced fetal movements.  Please take a look as it explains so much about what I have highlighted so far.  


 

There is no specific number that everyone must follow to count the number of movements a baby has.  You know how much your baby moves.  Personally, both of mine, moved more in the afternoon and evening than they did in the morning.  Your baby may be different.  All pregnancies are different, and what is a normal amount of movements for your baby, will not be the same as another mums.  Comparing them and panicking because your friend/family member has a more active baby isn’t how this works.  You will know your baby has reduced the amount of movements, because you become aware of their natural individual pattern.

 

If you’re reading this, currently pregnant, and think you could do with getting checked out because you haven’t felt your baby move as much today, call your midwife.  If she’s not available, call your local hospital maternity unit.  Be insistent.  Explain your concerns and that you would like to be checked out.  Do not put that phone call off until the next day.

As I said, this sort of information wasn’t available when I had my son, but it was when I was pregnant with my daughter.  I recommend using this information for yourselves, but also spreading the word to your other mummy-to-be friends, who either may not have a clue about any of it, or may have been misinformed in the past and need clarification.

Sharing this, could save a babies life.  We could prevent that 1 in 220……

Thank you.

*Statistics taken from Tommys research. 

To find out more about reduced fetal movements and the Tommys campaign-click here

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The Mummy He Used To Know

 

Baby Loss Awareness Week-Day 6


When I had my son, I’m not ashamed to say I was pretty petrified.

I was 23, had taken the pregnancy for granted, (not that I thought that then obviously), and it was our first baby, so we really had no idea what we were doing.

We did all the things you don’t do with your following babies, we were overcautious, over worried, frequent flyers to the doctors for every sniffle our little baby picked up.

Overcautionsness aside, I was a good Mum, I did everything by the book (literally, I had every baby book going).  We were good parents, we loved being parents, it felt natural, even though he hadn’t been planned, it felt planned once he was born.

 

Fast forward a year and a half and we fell pregnant again!  This one also wasn’t planned, but as soon as we knew, we once again, without realising, took it all for granted.  Our first was straight forward, no issues, no complications, no need for worry, so we began planning.

Names chosen, double pushchairs looked at, a loan applied for (and accepted) so we could move somewhere bigger for our growing brood, how we were going to announce the news, due date estimation, scan date estimation, the list is endless.

We told a fair amount people (because why wouldn’t we when we’d had such a great pregnancy with our first baby!). Then, 8 weeks later, we had to tell them that all we’d planned was basically for nothing.  We’d taken it all for granted, and now, we weren’t having a baby.

To our son, everything was normal, nothing had changed, he was still him and we were still us.  I never cried in front of him, even through the toughest times, not once.

 

Fast forward another year, and the year that passed slowly, with us trying to have another baby.  It consumed us, it made me neurotic, wanting something so badly, that I didn’t know I wanted until we’d lost our second baby.

Then came the day the two lines appeared, and the emptiness, nothingness was there, because I’d lost hope.  We told the bare minimum this time, barely feeling a reason to tell people in case it happened again, but doing so because we thought we might need support.  3 days later, we told them the news we’d been expecting.  Another lost baby.  We’d been expecting it, but we still felt the loss like the last.

Once again, our son knew nothing, I didn’t cry in front of him, even through the toughest times, not once.

2 months later, those lines came up again, and this time there was no hope.  I was waiting for the blood, the pain, the agony, the devastation.  And, as with the other two, that day came once more.

I was done.  A shell of the woman I once was, but no less of a Mother, and once again, my son never saw me cry, not even through the toughest times, not once.

We stopped trying, and I know what everyone says, “just stop trying and it’ll happen”.  The issue being with that bullshit unhelpful advice, was, that it wasn’t getting pregnant that was our issue, it was me keeping my babies in!

Oh the advice, the advice that people gave me, or the reasons they concocted for why they thought we we’re having so much trouble-it was constant, and constantly not needed.

Christmas came around, and because we weren’t “trying”, I ate too much, and got well and truly drunk!  For the whole of that festive period, I relaxed, and instead of being the fake Mum that hides her feelings and puts on her funny Mummy voice, I had fun with my boy and my family, and blocked out the last year and a half of hell.

 

A month later, and those two lines came back, and even though we’d stopped “trying” I still felt nothing once more.

Every day, I spent every toilet trip checking for signs of another baby that didn’t want to stick.  Every day, I would look for symptoms of something going wrong like it had with the others. 

As the pregnancy progressed, so did the anxiety.  And as it progressed, day by day, the Mummy that our boy knew before, was lost a little bit more.

There were tears, but still never in front of him, that’s something I managed to hold back until he was in bed, then I’d sob for the babies I’d lost and for the possibility of hope, I didn’t want to lose once again.

His 4th Birthday came, and I had a little bump showing, but still hadn’t told anyone except parents and best friends, because I’d convinced myself the “bump” was a bad thing, that it meant something bad was going to happen.  I was sick, but i convinced myself that instead of that being a pregnancy progressing well sign, it was something bad happening that would eventually culminate in my now “normal” fear.

Our little boy had lost another part of his Mummy on that birthday.  I didn’t know then, but the fear, the sickness, the anxiety, had made me forget how to override my emotions, and, although we celebrated his special day-and I have photos proving we did-I barely remember it.  I pretty much missed my sons 4th birthday because of what was happening to me. 

8 more months of this feeling, 8 more months of a daily anxiety, a panic actually, that this would be my last day of being pregnant.  Every time the baby moved, I worried it would be the last one I felt.  Dreams, terrible horrible nightmares, of bleeding, pain, lost babies, plagued me for months.

I don’t remember those months for anything other than the fear and emotion.  I couldn’t tell you from memory, what we did with our son for the majority of it, but once again, I have photos convincing and reassuring me that we did do things!
Our daughter was born, easily, with little complication, and all the fear and anxiety from the pregnancy was gone.  My son could have had his Mummy back.  Instead, she was replaced with a sad Mummy.  A Mummy that was anxious and sad in general, rather that for the reasons she’d felt during her pregnancies.

He still never saw me cry. Not even on the worst days. 

And he’s never seen me cry.  Now, 6 years (and 8 months) old, he’s not seen me cry once.
The Mummy he once knew, however, when he was his sisters age, is gone.  He doesn’t remember her, he was too small.  He assumes this is always the Mummy he’s had.  And, I think that hurts me more than anything.  Because, I’d love to be that Mummy I once was.  I’m still fun (his friends say I’m hilarious-and I’d have to agree with them-I’m a hoot!)  But I miss that person, that woman, that wife, that daughter, that friend, I used to be.


 Following my miscarriages, not once was I offered aftercare in the form of someone to speak to, someone to listen, helplines, information leaflets-nothing.  I firmly believe I would not suffer with mental health issues now, so badly, had I been offered these aftercare services as soon as I’d had my miscarriages.

This needs to change.  People, women, partners, families, they need help following such an awful trauma, and there shouldn’t be any reason why they’re not offered any.

Help save someones mummy, someones wife, friend, daughter, and help raise awareness and funds to aid research into these aftercare services and baby loss.

 

For support and advice from Tommy’s the baby charity, click here

For support and advice from The Miscarriage Association, click here

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Miscarriage ~ My Truth


I was a mummy already-to a beautiful baby boy when our lives changed.  He was unplanned, just as our second baby was.

Yet, 2 little lines on a pregnancy test, didn’t scare us the second time around.  We knew we wanted two babies, and as our first little bundle was so amazing, we knew we could have another.
I was so excited!  I booked in to see the midwife to get my dates all sorted out, and soon after, I saw her and she confirmed our new little one was due in June!
We told our parents, and our close friends and family, and I began rooting through baby magazines, taking vitamins, and planning double pushchairs and where the new baby would sleep.
My husband, the excited Daddy to be, got a loan, to pay off all our debts and to get us out of the horrid flat we lived in, so we could start a new life, with our complete family.
A month later, when the sickness was just starting, and we were all into the full swing of how more amazing our little family was about to become, something changed everything we knew and the people we were.
I was collecting up socks for the washing basket, and as I lifted the basket to take it through to the machine, I felt a strange little sensation in my tummy.  To this day, I swear I could hear this “pop” sound.
I put everything down, and calmly went to the toilet, almost knowing something wasn’t right.
There, on the tissue, was enough to stop me in my tracks.  Blood.
I walked out of the bathroom and stood outside was my little man, asking me for juice.  I got his juice, sat him on the sofa, and put his favourite programme on, while I shook to my very core, and mentally located my phone.
I called my husband, who never answers his phone at work, but who, happened to be on a break.  “I’m bleeding love, you need to come home now”.
I then called my mother in law.  “I’m bleeding, I need to go to the hospital”.  I asked her to watch our son, and she came straight away.
I sat on the end of my bed, cradling my little bloated tummy in my arms, and pleaded with our baby to stay.  “Please don’t leave me, please don’t leave me“, I repeated over and over.
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The journey to the hospital was filled with my nerves, and my husbands optimism that we’d got it all wrong.  He kept telling me some women bleed during pregnancy, but I knew the truth.
I had a scan, a blood test, and was told there was no heartbeat or baby anymore.  They said that I could’ve got my dates wrong, and to come back in 6 days to check again, but I knew the truth.
When we got home, my husband told his mother what they’d said at the hospital, and I just couldn’t take it.  “I know the truth!”
Within days, I bled more, and the pains worsened.  We celebrated Halloween with our boy, and I just got on with it.  I ignored the pain, drugged myself up with painkillers, and acted normal.
4 days later, I physically lost our baby, and mentally, the floodgates opened.
We went back to the hospital and they confirmed what I’d known all along.  Our baby was gone.
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We were offered no form of help, to aid us in dealing with our grief, or to explain our next steps.  We were sent on our way to continue our lives.
In the months that followed we went back to normal-the only difference being, I was now desperate for a baby.  Instead of grieving for our precious little life we’d lost I put my efforts into buying ovulation tests, tracking my cycle, and trying to get pregnant again.
Months and months went by, and when we didn’t have any luck, I actually convinced myself that the miscarriage had damaged me somehow.  Then, 10 months after we lost our baby, I got those two important lines on a pregnancy test once again.
Expecting to be elated by this, excited perhaps, grateful we’d been given another chance, I instead felt nothing.
We told my dad, we told my husbands parents. Instead of it being news I wanted excitement and happiness from, I told people in case I needed support, if the same happened again.
This time I didn’t go to a midwife straight away, I allowed myself to work out my dates, because I needed to make sure I was aware in case we lost another.
A few days later, that’s exactly what happened.
There was no hospital trip this time.  There was just more pain, more blood, more heartache.
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As soon as it was all over, we went back to trying, and within a month fell again, and lost again, and I felt….nothing.
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“I’m done”, I thought, deciding I would put my time into bringing up my son, and not bother trying ever again, because there was no point!
People were often sympathetic, some, not so much.
“Maybe they were all girls, and you can’t carry girls”.
“You’re trying too hard”.
“Think positively instead of assuming the worst will happen”.
It was, after I’d had the third miscarriage confirmed, I was offered tests to see the cause of the miscarriages, which medically now had a name-‘recurrent miscarriages’.
I had a blood clotting test which came back fine and the tests were set to continue to see if they could find a reason why this kept happening to me.
On Christmas Day night, that same year, after a large amount of alcohol, baby number 5 was conceived.
I found out a week before our sons 3rd Birthday in February 2013, and promptly began throwing up pretty much all day every day.
I had no attachment to this new pregnancy.  I lived each day believing this one would leave us too.
We were referred to the Early Pregnancy Unit, where we had scans at 6, 7, 8 and 11 weeks, and all progressed normally.  We saw its little heart beating, but all I kept thinking was “this is going to be so much harder to lose, now we’ve seen its heartbeat”.
Our 12 week scan date came around, a milestone we hadn’t made with the three miscarriages.  And there, in the middle of the screen, was this little blob,  still with a heartbeat.
My husband squeezed my hand, clearly optimistic again, but I still couldn’t bring myself to be excited, to be happy, to feel anything.
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The pregnancy progressed.  I got fat.  The sickness continued way past 4 months.  Our 20 week scan came around, and I was put under consultant care because of my history.
The day we found out we were having a little girl, I thought my head might explode.  For so long I’d battled with the worry I couldn’t carry girls, and wouldn’t have another baby.
We went to Primark to buy something for our daughter, and I walked around in a complete daze for around 20 minutes, before announcing to my husband, “I need to go home”.
I had scans constantly through the pregnancy, and as I got bigger, felt her kicking, and in one pretty amazing scan, saw her beautiful face, I started to allow myself to feel like I was going to have a baby!
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After a beautiful labour, on the 27th of September 2013, our baby girl was born!!!!!!
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Fast forward 3 years and I am a content mummy to a wonderful 6 year old son, and 2 year old daughter.
They’re happy, healthy, and make me and their daddy proud beyond words, day in, day out.
Fast forward 3 years however, and I’m not the person I once was.
I have been diagnosed with PTSD, which I was told was down to the trauma caused by each miscarriage, and the lack of follow up care given from professionals.
I have severe anxiety disorder.  Brought on from being so unbelievably paranoid and anxious during every pregnancy, including our daughters, which has spilled over into my life since them, also bringing with it, social anxiety and panic attacks.
I also have mild depression currently.  I say currently because, those who have depression will understand, the moods that come with it, fluctuate day to day.  I have been told I never grieved for those babies we lost, instead I got on with making the next one, fuelled by that rather than stopping to be sad for the children we lost.
There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t wonder, what they’d have looked like, what they would’ve achieved, who they’d be as they grew.
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The lasting effects and my continual mental health issues, surrounding the recurrent miscarriages, could’ve been prevented, had I received proper after care and help following the losses.
More needs to be done to help women in these situations, more information is needed, and tests should be carried out quicker and sooner.
I want those women, who share in my experiences, who feel let down, who need help right now, who see similarities in my story, to know, you’re not alone, you’re never alone – please find someone to speak to, and get help for what you’re going through.
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