It’s only taken 8 months to get them, but finally I have some of the answers I’ve been waiting for.
If you’ve read my other post, “What they don’t tell you“, you’ll see a few of the things I’ve been experiencing since giving birth, and this is a little extension of something else I’ve had problems with. I’ve been passed pillar to post, and back again, when it comes to doctors, but I finally received a referral to see a Physiologist in April.
In my last post, I told you about struggling to hold your wind, and the importance of pelvic floor exercises. However, following all my tests and the preliminary results, nothing I had been doing would have been able to help with this at all. There are mainly 3 things that have gone wrong (all caused by childbirth) and again, I think it’s important for those who are expecting to know that things can go wrong.
I had 4 tests done to determine the working order of my back passage since I’ve had several issues with going to the toilet, or not as it happens. The first thing is that I have something called a small ‘rectocele’. This is where the the front wall of your rectum effectively bulges into the back wall of the vagina. It forms a pouch, so when you try going to the toilet, your poo gets stuck. Although she told me mine is only small, I’m having lots of problems with this at the moment, so hopefully there will be a ‘next step’.
Secondly, I have weakening of my inner sphincter muscles, also not helped by the third and final problem of irreparable nerve damage. If I try to stop myself from passing wind, I have to shift position as the nerves don’t respond correctly and don’t ‘pull up’ in the right place.
This isn’t a long post, but I still want to make women aware that things like this aren’t right, even if it seems like something very normal after childbirth.
What problems did you suffer with, or do you still suffer with?
My follow up appointment has been made for mid-July, the NHS are so slow!
This post might end up having ”too much information” for some of you, but I’m going to be brutally honest. When I was pregnant I was told of all the different things I could expect to happen to my body and yes, some of those things did happen, but there were other things which happened which I had no forewarning or idea of whatsoever. So these are my ”what they didn’t tell me’s”.
I had an assisted birth with forceps which, in itself, can bring on more problems than you’d expect. Unfortunately for me, 7 months on, I’m still not sorted and am currently waiting for an appointment to come round! Anyway, I digress as that’s a whole different blog post.
The first thing I had to do was learn to inject myself with ‘Clexane’, an anti-blood clot drug, for 7 days post birth. I think this is because I’d had an epidural and the anaesthetic had taken ages to wear off. I know some women have to inject this for a longer time than me, throughout their pregnancy even, but nonetheless, something I didn’t expect I’d be doing.
The second, and probably most obvious, was the post birth bleeding (Lochia). Some people don’t bleed for very long, others for ages. I bled for about 3 weeks. I found this so hard since I cannot bear sanitary towels of any description, and since you’re not allowed to use tampons, I had to put up with them. They made me feel so unhygienic, were uncomfortable and just generally disgusting. It also doesn’t help that I was paranoid you could hear it ‘rustling’ around. Yuck.
Incontinence is a new experience for me. I only really suffer lightly with it now, mainly when I’m playing sports or in the gym. But the first few weeks home I genuinely couldn’t hold my bladder for very long, if at all. Not only are your baby’s nappies wet, but you might be changing your underwear a lot too. And don’t even mention going for a poo – when I had the urge, I really had the urge and had to go, there and then! Don’t even think about trying to hold your wind in. All the health professionals tell you to do your pelvic floor, and you really ought to make the effort. I only did it when I remembered, and I even had reminders on my phone using a “Kegel” app.
Big milky boobies! Yes, they’re coming with a vengeance whether you choose to breastfeed or not. I did breastfeed and went from a ‘B cup’ to an ‘E cup’. Super leaky, I’d suggest putting down a maternity pad between your sheet and mattress, otherwise your milk will stain it if you leak through.
I have never lost so much hair in my life. I could literally pull out a whole handful of hair at least twice a day. You don’t lose as much hair when you’re pregnant, and it’s all glossy and shiny and lovely, so when you’ve given birth you lose everything you would’ve done, plus more! My poor hoover must have collected a good few wigs. It gets absolutely everywhere too. The only problem I’ve got now is lots of frizzy baby hair where it’s all growing back.
My episiotomy was absolutely horrendous. Not only did I have the general pain you’d get with a cut down there, unbeknownst to me, they had stitched me up wrong, although it took forever for it to actually get sorted. Sitz baths with some liquid Savlon helped as much as they could, and I found that changing sanitary towels and underwear regularly helped lots too. I never dried it with a towel after a bath/shower, I’d either air dry it with my legs open on the bed (men, this is NOT an invitation for sex, or for you to have a good look at the damage) or used a hairdryer – on a low setting please ladies!
I’m convinced I’ve had a slight prolapse, but the nurses and doctors don’t seem to think I have. It’s not protruding out or anything, but it’s just kind of there. I’m also 99% sure this is adding to the other problems I’ve got “down there” for which I’m due to attend an appointment. I just know that it’s not what was normal for me (not that I expect miracles and to have no lasting effects) and surely you know your own body, right?
This is by no means an exhaustive list of what kind of things you can expect, but these are what I have experienced since having Toby.
What did you experience that you wish you’d know about before? Is it ongoing or resolved?
I literally couldn’t have predicted his reaction. He asked me if I was joking, and I said no. Considering I’d actually played a joke on him a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t blame him for being sceptical. “What do you want me to do? Pee on a stick to prove it?”. We both started nervously giggling. I suppose the only thing we could both agree on was that neither of our reactions was negative. No, it wasn’t planned, but it was what we’d both want eventually.
For a few minutes, an alternative option crossed my mind, but considering I had previous experience of this at 21, the idea went as quick as it came. I suppose I could only justify thinking it because of where we were living at the time and not forgetting we’d been together less than a year, as well as money. Things I guess normal people would still think about even if they had been trying.
“I normally speak to my mum about things like this”. I could only suggest that that’s what we’d do then. We’d go and speak to his mum, and hopefully I’d come back with a head. I was actually shitting myself. She was going to bloody kill me wasn’t she? He texted her to say that we were popping round and we needed to talk about something. The whole way to their house, I was dreading walking through the door.
When we got into the kitchen, his mum was cooking and his brother was hovering around. We were reluctant to share our news while his brother was around, so made small talk for a bit, and then he left. “Mum, we’ve got something to tell you”. I sat on the kitchen stool, stomach hanging somewhere around my arse. What we didn’t know at the time was that she hadn’t actually read her text message and so didn’t even think anything was wrong. She just looked at us and asked us what the matter was. “Um. Jade’s pregnant”. And the tears started.
Oh shit, she was upset, I was literally going to get an earful. Again, I couldn’t have been more wrong. She was really happy for us both. We then waited for his dad to come home and tell him too. A very happy chappy. I did bring up the “alternative option” just to gather thoughts and was only discouraged from doing so, another positive. Only one person left to tell here – his brother.
Now, what I haven’t told you is that for at least two months, we had all been joking about Jamie and I being pregnant, and his brother becoming an uncle. So, to actually tell him we were pregnant was going to be funny.
The only reaction he could muster was a tea towel over his face and head, pacing around saying “I can’t believe it”, “no you’re not”, “oh my god”.
Needless to say, we were going to have a baby! I had an emergency scan and midwife appointment booked. Due to the nature of my background (no periods, still on the pill), they had to go from the date of my last period, and so could only assume I was already somewhere around 22 weeks pregnant – which I definitely was not by the look of me. The following week I found out we were 8 weeks pregnant, and due on 26th August.
This is our 20 weeks scan
After everything and more I didn’t want for childbirth, Toby finally arrived on 30th August at 12.37pm. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Everyone’s looking to shift those last few pounds of baby weight.. you know, the ones that just won’t go!
I was recently given the opportunity to review a company which has just been introduced to the UK; Body By Vi. It’s had huge success in North America and is expected to make waves here too. The challenge, providing you are on the full kit, is for you to lose 10lbs of weight or build 10lb of muscle. This stems from their belief that the secret to success lies in the first 10lbs.
I received a 3 day challenge kit which included 6 meal replacement shakes and a mix-in strawberry powder.
Day 1 – starting weight.
Now don’t laugh. I know you’re probably all thinking “What on EARTH is she doing trying to lose weight?”. Admittedly, I am lighter than I was before I became pregnant. However, I was much slimmer round the middle and had slightly fuller boobs. What I want out of this is for me to lose my post pregnancy middle spread, and THEN tone it up/build a bit of muscle.
I have to say day 1 was tough. I’m used to having a good breakfast (3 rounds of toast and a cup of tea) and I must say, as delicious as this shake was, it just didn’t fill me up. I think I was already looking for my next meal before I’d even finished it. I stuck purely with the shakes for the first day, but found that I was awfully hungry!
Day 2 was slightly better because I was prepared for the hunger, although I must admit I did eat a healthy snack between the shakes just to keep the hunger from turning me into a junk food, chocolate craving maniac scrapping around the cupboards for so much as a naughty biscuit crumb.
By day 3, I was pretty glad it was coming to an end, although I was a little bit excited to see if I’d actually lost any weight the next morning. And I had;
That’s right. I’d lost a pound in 3 days. I wasn’t disheartened, I was actually pretty happy with myself. Being slow and steady with weight loss is seen as the best way rather than, say 10lb a week, which is likely to come straight back on.
Although I did this on my own, Body by Vi’s message is that it’s about the challenge. This is what sets them apart from any other shake diet currently out there. Their statistics show that you’re more likely to lose weight if you share and join with friends/family/colleagues.
To encourage you to do the challenge, Body by Vi also run something called ‘Project 10’. Effectively you select your goal, the kit you wish to use, document it and upload an ‘I want it’ video to show this. They then pick 10 winners (5 males, 5 females) a week to win £600. See more here www.vi.co.uk/the-challenge
There appear to be, from looking at the website, lots of different flavours to cater for everyone. However, there are recipes you can make at home to make them more bearable, whether it be for the flavour or the texture etc.. Take a look at ‘Think Outside the Blender‘ and ‘ViSalus Shake Recipes‘. I think you’ll be very surprised at what you can actually make!
Personally, I don’t think this is for me. I’m far too much of a food lover to be replacing it, even if it is only for 90 days and no matter how much I want to shift these last few pounds before I can really start pumping the iron. I would however say that the shakes I had were very flavoursome (like cake mix, who doesn’t LOVE cake mix?) and I lost weight.
Do you want to take the challenge? For more information, please visit and contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d been on the pill since I was 14, more for regulation than pregnancy prevention, and had always been ”regular’. However, in 2008 my periods stopped for 6 months and every month I would do a pregnancy test just in case! I carried on taking the pill as usual but I eventually went to question why it was happening. My local Well Woman Clinic nurse told me that it sometimes happens, not to worry and that they would just start again of their own accord – even though there was no obvious reason for it.
So, when I missed a period in September 2013 and had a negative pregnancy test, I didn’t think anything of it. The same happened again each month; I did my last pregnancy test on 22nd December 2013, another negative response and assumed it was 2008 all over again, until I found a lump in my right breast. I immediately panicked, thought the worst and even put that down as the reason for me not getting my periods. The earliest I could get in to see the doctor was 8th January, even after explaining on the phone the nature of the appointment.
The day of the appointment comes round and I’m called in. I explain everything as above and the first thing he asks me to do is to take a pregnancy test, and in between doing it and getting the result we’d wait for the female chaperone. At this point, he was just wanting to rule things out, so I complied and thought absolutely nothing of it. I remember he set a timer on his iPhone so he would know when the test was ready to give us the results, and I was 1000% sure I knew what the result would be – negative of course. Wrong.
He turned to me slowly and said ”Um.. yeah.. well.. this is positive. That’ll explain the lump”. The chaperone knocked on the door, popped her head in and he promptly sent her away saying that we’d gotten to the root of the issue. I was in complete and utter shock. Everything had been against us even if we were trying for a baby! I wasn’t getting my periods AND I was still taking the pill. Now I had the task of telling my other half not really knowing how he would react. First, I had to get through a whole day of work!
When I got to work I sat at my desk as normal, but would find myself snapping back to reality after I’d obviously been day dreaming. I wasn’t alright, I just kept wondering how it happened, what we were going to do and how or if we would cope. We had only been together just shy of a year. I got home that day and took a leftover pregnancy test thinking the doctor was definitely wrong. In fact, it was me who was wrong. I got straight into bed, clothes and all thinking that if I went to sleep, I’d wake up and people would be laughing and telling me it was all a big joke. Just as I was about to drift off, my other half walked through the door. Shit. I really was going to have to tell him.
He asked how the doctors appointment had gone as I hadn’t texted him all day. I told him it was ”erm.. interesting”. I just couldn’t tell him, so I buried my face in the pillow and hid under the duvet. Eventually, after him asking me repeatedly to tell him what was going on, I reluctantly peeked up from behind the duvet and just came out with it.
Keep your eyes out for my next post, ‘How it ended..’!
Birth plans, or preferences as they’re now being called, are in my view.. pointless!
After being pregnant for what seemed like 9 years, rather than 9 months, I was ready for my “birth plan” to be put into practice. I knew exactly what I wanted, had run through it numerous times with my other half and I had even played it out in my head about exactly what would be happening. It was going to be the most beautiful water birth, using only gas and air, pushing my baby out the natural way.
I was hell bent on having as few drugs as possible, no instrumental intervention and definitely no c-section.
How stupid was I? In hindsight, I can’t think of anybody I know who recently had a baby without any kind of massively invasive intervention, so what made me think my birth would go by without a hitch? Optimism? Naivety? A little bit of both?
I was already 2 days overdue when my waters broke (although that was after much debate between the midwives) and I actually went into labour. The drugs, unsurprisingly, got stronger as I went along; paracetamol, gas and air at the hospital, sent home with codeine then back to the hospital for more gas and air. How about a TENS machine? Oh go on then. Moving swiftly on to pethidine, and then eventually an epidural, or four. Unfortunately, you can already see the plan isn’t going well. After lots of people in and out checking my progress, the decision was made that, as I was fully dilated but completely exhausted, a caesarean would be the best way to deliver our baby as he was stuck with an unstable heart rate. Fortunately, he was able to be delivered safe and sound with forceps.
Looking back, and even now, I get so bitter that my birth didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to. It has, unfortunately, affected me in other ways which now means any further pregnancies will have to end in a caesarean. I can’t watch any programs involving birth without feeling really upset. Why do these women deserve to get the natural water births that they wanted? Could I have done something more, or less even?
If I’m fortunate enough to be blessed with another baby or two, then I will definitely be going in with my eyes wide open. I’m absolutely devastated that I won’t be able to try and do everything exactly how I wanted it, and even that I won’t really get the chance to do labour again – although some of you are probably thinking I’m mad.
My advice is, if you do have a birth plan/preference, the only way to be fully prepared is to accept that literally anything can happen, go with the flow and accept all the drugs they offer you!
What was your birth plan? How did your actual birth differ from what you expected?