Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day

HG Awareness Day, also known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day, is being observed today! It has been observed annually on May 15th since 2012 to raise awareness of a dangerous and chronic condition that plagues many pregnant women.

Here is Mummykind’s H to G (well, more A-Z!) of Hyperemesis Gravidarum for HG awareness day! 

H Hospitalisation – In more severe cases of HG, a woman may require hospitalisation. Treatment for this may include tube feeding and intravenous fluids to restore lost nutrients and hydration to both mother and baby.
Y– You. As an individual you know the limit that you can get to before needing help- bare in mind that with another little life thrown into the mix, you may need to seek help more quickly than you would do if you only had yourself to look after. A good rule to stick to, is if you’d need a doctor for a condition if you weren’t pregnant, you definitely need one if you’re are pregnant. Self care is important, look after yourself!
P– Peppermint – Interestingly peppermint tea can be used to combat nausea and often can alleviate sickness symptoms, even if only for a short while. However using mint toothpaste is one of the biggest triggers for nausea in pregnant women!
E– Everybody – HG does not discriminate , an body can fall victim to Hyperemesis and it’s debilitating symptoms.
R– Royalty – Kate Middleton, the Duchess or Cambridge has suffered with HG and Severe morning sickness with all three of her pregnancies. Although I hate to think about how unwell she must have felt and how hard it must be to suffer HG in the public eye- I’m very grateful for the awareness she has raised for this debilitating condition!
E- Emotions – Hyperemesis gravidarum can make sufferers unable to do even the most basic of tasks, simply going to work can be impossible for some women. This makes many sufferers feel depressed and unhappy. These feelings could develop into postnatal depression, so it’s a good idea to seek support with a counsellor or see a doctor for anti-depressants.
M– Morning Sickness – 80% of all women experience morning sickness in the first 3 months of their pregnancies. only 2% of pregnancies are affected by Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
E-  Empathy – If someone in your life is experiencing HG try hard to be empathetic. Offer to help when and if you can. I faced so much stigma when I had HG because people around me just didn’t understand. The last thing a lady suffering from HG wants to hear is “well, I had morning sickness and I was fine.”… HG and morning sickness are worlds apart!!!

S- Sickness – About 45% of pregnant women suffer from nausea with vomiting while an additional 25% suffer with nausea only.
I- Impact – Thankfully there are no known links between HG and adverse effects for the foetus.
S – Safe – There is a significant decreased risk in fetal loss among women with HG versus women who do not vomit during pregnancy.
G- Go Galllll! – Hyperemesis is debilitating, if you’ve had HG and you’re here to tell the tale (or been brave enough to go on and have another baby!)- give yourself a massive pat on the back. You’re so much stronger than you know!
R- Rest – Bed rest is commonly prescribed to women with the HG and can be vital in helping to regain strength.
A- Amy – Mummykind’s own Amy and Harriet have experienced HG first hand.
V- Vomiting – Lightheadedness, nausea, fatigue, exhaustion, dehydration, vomiting and fainting are the most common symptoms and characteristics of HG.
I- IV – In severe cases of HG intravenous fluids have to be administered under inpatient conditions to keep ladies and their unborn babies hydrated.
D- Differences – Those with morning sickness suffer from nausea, but may not always experience vomiting. Usually, the condition lasts during the first trimester, yet some women experience it beyond the initial 12 weeks of pregnancy. Women who do vomit are unlikely to become dehydrated. In contrast, HG results in severe vomiting and, for some women, constant nausea. The condition can last for the entirety of pregnancy and can lead to extreme dehydration. It can also result in the loss of 5 percent or more of a woman’s pre-pregnancy weight and aversions to certain foods.
A- All associated symptoms – A full list of symptoms consists of… dehydration, malnutrition
weight loss, slowed metabolism, increased heart rate,
bloodshot eyes,
stress and depression,
heartburn, reflux, stomach ulcers, constipation, ketosis,
deep vein thrombosis,
hallucinations,
low birth weight in the baby and premature birth.

R- Re occurrence – Around 80% of women who experience HG in their first pregnancy will go o
n to experience it in their next.

U- Untreated – Fortunately, unborn babies won’t be affected unless the nausea and vomiting goes untreated for an extremely long time period. The majority of babies will get the nutrients they need from the reserves stored in their mother’s body at the mother’s expense – this means her teeth and bones can become brittle, and her hair and skin can become dry and dull.
M- Motion Sickness – Traditional Motion / Travel Sickness remedies can often be beneficial to women suffering from HG. Peppermint and ginger teas. Ginger products like sweets, gum or biscuits and even anti travel sickness wrist bands have been used by women to ease HG symptoms.

Mental Health Monday: Antenatal Depression

Recently, postnatal depression has been receiving a lot of media attention and greater awareness as a result, which really is fantastic! But… other topics not so widely spoken about are the reams of other postpartum mental illnesses, in addition to antenatal depression and anxiety.

Amy has spoken about her experience of postpartum psychosis on the blog already here, hopefully raising awareness of the fact that it’s not always so straightforward in relation to postnatal mental health! Today, I want to focus on antenatal depression and what it can look like. Similarly to postnatal mental health worries, it can be difficult sometimes to distinguish between depression, or “just hormones”.

A little foreword: my experience of antenatal depression started when I was around 5-6 months pregnant – it can of course start much earlier than that – and to some extent I already knew what the warning signs were, having suffered with depression in the past. Hopefully the following list will help someone else recognise the warning signs in either themselves or a loved one, and enable them to get help as early on as possible! Also I’m in no way medically qualified, these are just the tips from a mum who’s been through it!

Symptoms:

1. Crying, all of the time

This is one of the most famous symptoms of pregnancy in general – crying, all of the time, at silly little things. BUT there is a point when it’s more than just crappy hormones making you all emotional. With hindsight I know that crying over a hoover breaking before I even knew I was pregnant was definitely just hormones, and I know equally as well that crying myself to sleep every night during my last trimester was not hormones, it was depression. This is one of those where you need to be the judge of what is normal for you! Are the raging emotions and mood swings worse than you think they should be? If so, err on the side of caution and flag it up with your GP – if they’re aware, they can help and provide you with support!

2. Obessively worrying

This is something I’m terrible at anyway, but I can always tell the days when my depression and anxiety hits me worst, because I will obsess over things to the point that I can’t get to sleep. If that’s you, still awake with worry at 4am, consult a GP. Sometimes it is normal to worry about being a mum for the first time, but if it’s constant, every night, and you can’t seem to get the thoughts out of your mind for just one second, that’s where it’s not quite okay and you might need some extra help working through the anxiety.

3. Low self-esteem

Pregnant me suffered a massive, huge, unbelievably enormous hit to the self-esteem. From about the 5th month of pregnancy onwards (when bump was starting to show), I hated my body. I did not see the miracle of life when I looked in the mirror, I saw FAT. And I hated it. I have one picture of me and my bump because of this and I regret it so so much. Again, every pregnant woman feels like a whale at some point, normally when we’re having to waddle at the end of pregnancy, but if you can’t stand to look in the mirror or get to the point where you’re crying over what you see when you do look, it’s probably depression.

4. Feeling isolated

This is a big one, particularly if you do have people around you supporting you, but you still feel alone! Firstly, you’re not, your baby will probably remind you of that by kicking you in a rib at some point. Secondly, we all need alone time but make time for friends. Make time to be with adults where you don’t have to concentrate on baby-related things. It can be difficult transitioning from a person to a parent, because you feel like you’re losing your identity. People no longer ask how you are, they ask how the bump is doing. It’s difficult to feel like you’re just the vessel and everyone only wants what you’re carrying, but it’s not true! Without you, the precious cargo would never have existed in the first place. If you do feel alone, reach out to people around you for support!

5. Sleeping trouble

The most common thing for expectant mothers in the sleeping arena is not getting enough of it! Particulary when the baby is running out of room in that womb, and still just as fidgety! But whether it’s too much sleep or too little sleep, they can both indicate depression and can really exacerbate the other symptoms. You’ll have enough sleep deprivation when baby arrives so try to get your head down when you can, without sleeping all day and becoming overtired. Find your balance, take a power nap when needed, and still make sure you’re getting out of the house every day. This is a bit more to do with self care to prevent making yourself ill, but it’s a valid symptom of depression, too.

What do I do if I think I have antenatal depression?

1. Speak to your midwife
2. Get an appointment with your GP
3. Self-refer to counselling with the NHS – here’s a link where you can find local counselling services!
4. Make your partner/family/friends aware of how you’re feeling so that they can give you some familial support
5. And, finally… take each day as it comes – some will be better than others so don’t let the bad days deter you from

These 5 steps will get you on the road to recovery, and after all, we all have to be well to be the best mummies we can be for our little babies!

Did you find anything else that helped you through antenatal depression? Let us know in the comments! Please share this post to raise awareness with the hashtag #MentalHealthMonday

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

poem daughter

taking control of my second pregnancy

past demons

We are linking up to some of these amazing blog linkies!

Confession: I didn’t enjoy pregnancy

This is a topic that many mums shy away from, but I’m here to tell you all that it is perfectly okay to say that, for whatever reason, you didn’t enjoy being pregnant.

Whenever I make this controversial admission, I’m always met by the question of “did you have a rough pregnancy, then?”, or, from people who know me and saw me most days of the pregnancy, the concession “yeah but you did have a lot of sickness”.

First of all, my pregnancy really wasn’t that difficult. It was emotionally hard, as I was battling depression and anxiety, a number of personal issues, and leading a highly stressful life with little to no support network. But physically, it was quite an easy pregnancy. I had some morning sickness at odd points throughout the pregnancy, but really not a lot. Possibly the worst complaint I have of my pregnancy was that I had reflux for the entirety of the last trimester, which had me downing Gaviscon by the bottle, but even that isn’t such a severe reason to have hated being pregnant.

Secondly, regardless of whether I did or didn’t face any kinds of problems while I was pregnant, what has that got to do with my personal feelings on being pregnant? Why is it that my dislike of pregnancy has to somehow be justified by my (usually childless) friends’ perceptions of whether or not my pregnancy was a difficult one?

As much as society is making progress towards equality, I believe that the root of this need to justify anything I say about not liking pregnancy is that there is a stigma that this is what women are supposed to do, and that it’s a magical time, the bad parts of which we should take in our stride because of how we are biologically designed to cope with any childbirth related phenomenon.

Um, no.

Amazing as it is that my body grew a tiny (well, actually a rather porky) baby, that doesn’t mean that I can’t have legitimate complaints about the process.

Even worse than this is the response I get to stating that I never want to be pregnant again – for some reason, my age becomes a factor here. Sorry, I don’t care how old I am, but I won’t change my mind on this. Once was enough for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still get broody for babies, but I never plan on being pregnant again. I have plans to adopt/foster in the future and again those plans are met with the question of why? I’m able to have children, but that doesn’t mean I have to have children.

Just in case anyone reading this is thinking how ungrateful I am when there are plenty of women who can’t have a child themselves… I’m not. I appreciate that I probably don’t have a reason to complain when I have a perfectly healthy child, but again, the mere fact of my womanhood and my fertility doesn’t impose an obligation on me to have children or to enjoy pregnancy.

If you’re reading this and wondering why I felt the way I did, well…

1. My sickness wasn’t really sickness, it was a constant and painful process of dry-retching over a toilet until I could breathe enough to swallow water and spew it back up

2. It’s not nice having to bare all to a large number of healthcare professionals – whether it’s the stretch-mark covered belly or your vagina, I didn’t quite get used to having it all out there until I was in labour and quite frankly couldn’t give a crap either way at that point

3. I put on 3st and hated my body. I couldn’t look in the mirror without crying. I didn’t see a pregnant belly, I saw a fat lump of a woman who would never look the same again. That may be vain but sadly enough it was actually the only time I felt any kind of pride in my pre-baby body. It took my pre-baby body to have a baby and be essentially ruined for me to realise that I actually liked myself deep down.

4. As soon as you’re pregnant, other people feel like they can dictate to you what to do. Mainly your midwife. I was a veggie and my midwife did not respect that, and asked me to start eating meat, saying that the baby would be iron deficient if I didn’t. Eating meat changed nothing except to make me put on more weight, and I still had to take iron tablets.

5. In the last few months when the baby is running out of room: at night, if you lie on your back, the baby’s movements look like something out of Alien. You can visibly see their backs turning or their feet protruding and as well as being uncomfortable, it freaked me the hell out.

6. Drawing on the uncomfortable point – I went a week overdue, in a heatwave in May. Enough said.

7. For someone who already had a lot of emotional issues, the heightened emotions of pregnancy made things even harder to cope with. It’s actually pretty shit crying over silly things, or for no reason. And even if you feel like you’re crying for a legitimate reason, other people don’t take you seriously because you’re pregnant, and they blame it on the hormones. Even if it is due to those nasty things, that doesn’t make your feelings any less legitimate. Even if I was crying because the vacuum broke…

8. That god awful reflux – and yes, I did have a hairy baby.

So there you have it. One woman’s reasons for not enjoying pregnancy and for never wanting to do it again.

It doesn’t make me a bad mother, a bad female or a bad person. I am allowed to have an opinion, and my position as a mother and a woman doesn’t negate my opinion or mean that I should grin and bear it. So to any fellow women feeling the same way, don’t be ashamed. It’s not something you have to keep to yourself when asked the oh so annoying question “so when is baby number 2 on the way?” It’s nobody else’s business, anyway.

Mummies Waiting

What baby loss means to us

So this week is baby loss awareness week, and here at Mummykind we wanted to make sure we marked this week properly and respectfully. Whether lost during pregnancy, during or after birth, the loss of a baby is one of the worst things anyone can go through with the most painful feelings anyone can experience. It’s a raw, scary and heart breaking time for anyone, yet sadly it’s something that affects thousands of families here in the UK.
I thought I would write this post due to experiencing both an early miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy.When I experienced the early miscarriage I remember feeling scared, worried and broken, I was 4-5 weeks gone and had found out in the same day that I was pregnant but was losing my baby, I felt that a life was being given to me in one hand yet snatched away from me with another.

4 years on and a successful pregnancy later, my little boy was 6 months old. The day before, I had found out I was pregnant and was so excited as any parent is when they find out they’re expecting again but the next day something wasn’t right, I was having severe cramping so went to my GP, she didn’t really need to say anything, her face said it all. My blood pressure was low, my heart rate was high and I could barely stand in pain “ I’m going to send you to hospital, I’ll ring for an emergency ambulance as I believe you could be having an ectopic pregnancy and if that is the case then we need to move fast” from that moment it was blurry, I remember crying to the paramedics saying I couldn’t go through this and that I was scared. The hospital moved fast and confirmed the ectopic by scan and from then I knew this would be another baby I would never get to meet.

It’s no secret that I’m part of many endometriosis and PCOS support groups, and a topic that comes up frequently is baby loss and my heart goes out to every woman I see in that group struggle with baby loss. No parent should ever experience baby loss, no parent should ever have to say goodbye to their baby.
I’m never a big fan of soaps when they brush upon baby loss, however both EastEnders and Coronation Street have done heart wrenching tributes. EastEnders and Bernadette’s baby girl and then the unforgettable Coronation Street with Michelle and Steve’s stillborn – made even more moving by the fact both actors have experienced baby loss.
I urge any parent who has experienced baby loss and is feeling scared or alone to know that there are some amazing charities available; Aching Arms, Sands, Life after loss and Heart in their hand (to name a few)
A lot of parents take comfort from marking the loss, some people plant a patch of flowers in the garden, or light a candle. Whatever helps you find comfort with your loss.
Here at Mummykind we want any parent experiencing baby loss to know you’re not alone, it’s not your fault and most importantly any emotions you feel when experiencing this are completely expected, it’s understandable to feel hurt, angry, scared.
We hope you’ll join us in partaking the global wave of light on October the 15th 2017 by lighting a candle at 7pm local time and leave burning for at least an hour in memory of all the babies that have passed away. This year wave of light are also offering a digital wave of light with the hashtag #WaveOfLight – as seen on https://babyloss-awareness.org/get-involved/#wave-light

Baby Loss Awareness Week ‘17

This is for the families of babies born too small, born too sick or born sleeping. For, the 1 in 4 women- who have carried a baby that she never got to meet, that she never got to watch grow. For all of the broken hearts, tears, pain, loneliness, loss of hope, isolation that losing a baby causes.

I know SO many (painfully far too many), incredible families and amazing women who have had to face this pain. Women who have had one or multiple miscarriages. Women who have had babies born too small to survive. Women whose babies have been born sleeping. Women whose babies were born appearing healthy, but never made it home. Often these women feel like they have to grieve silently, they feel numb, they need far more support. So many of these women manage to keep holding on, when it must feel like they are falling apart.

I had a substantially large bleed at the start of my pregnancy with Florence (around 7 weeks), which was put down to the loss of a second baby. This is something that it took me a year and a half to even discuss with anybody- I constantly convinced myself that surely I don’t deserve to be upset over this? That as I’ve got Florence I should just put up and shut up? It’s so incredibly hard to know how quite how to deal with these feelings, but depriving myself of a right to feel was just about the worst way to go about processing such an ordeal. I now know that I shouldn’t be shutting any of these feelings away, I’m entitled to every single emotion I have felt and every emotion there is left to feel. I’m no longer convincing myself every time I hear bloody “everything happens for a reason” out of the fear of sounding unappreciative or ungrateful. I count my blessings for having Florence in my life every single day, because no medical professional could make sense of quite how she managed to stay. This was one of the reasons it took me so long to announce my pregnancy. I was convinced that I would lose her. I feel that I am often referred to as ‘melodramatic’ when I refer to my daughter as a ‘miracle’- but when I think of everything we’ve been through and that she’s still here, I really feel that I am the luckiest Mummy alive.

If your pain demands to be felt- Feel it. You’re not alone. You’re never alone! Please enable yourself to feel. Please never feel that you’re not allowed to be pained or upset because ‘you already have children’ or any other reasons you may find to invalidate your own feelings at an already very painful and very difficult time. Talking to my counsellor and being open with my amazing Mum- Was the best thing I could have done for myself and I wish I did it a lot sooner.

Lots of love to all of the mummies we know; your family, children, babies and angel babies are in our heart and prayers this week and always.

Everything You Need to Put in Your Birthing Plan

A plan is just that, rough guidelines of what we wish and for what we want to happen. Even if I didn’t get all of my birthing plan, I found that having one was good for my anxiety, especially in regards to being Strep B positive. You might even find this helpful as a template for your own birthing plan! 

I wanted to be sure that I had a concrete copy of my birthing plan, I thought that they’d be no better place to keep it than our ‘Mummykind’ blog . A plan is just that, rough guidelines of what we wish and for what we want to happen. Even if I didn’t get all of my birthing plan, I found that having one was good for my anxiety, especially in regards to being Strep B positive. You might even find this helpful as a template for your own birthing plan! 
Birthing Plan
Important things to note-
  • I am due to have my baby on the 02/02/16.
  • I am a high risk pregnancy, due to SPD, increased blood pressure, hypothyroidism, PCOS, weight fluctuation and spinal injury (1 x herniated and 2 x prolapsed spinal discs)
  • I am STREP B POSITIVE. Please treat me during my labour to prevent this from making my baby unwell.
Environment-
  • I plan to give birth in the William Harvey Hospital on the labour ward.
  • I am expecting to have to stay in overnight.
  • Where it is possible, I would like to be in a private room.
  • I may wish to listen to music during labour.
Companions-
  • I would like my Mother to be present at all times during my labour.
  • I would like my partner to be present at all times during my labour.
  • My family can visit me in the hospital.
Foetal Monitoring-
  • Due to 4 episodes of decreased movement throughout my pregnancy, I would like to be monitored as often as possible. However, due to my back being painful, I would like to be free to move as much as I can.
During Labour-
    • I would like to be able to move and walk around freely.
  • This is because lying flat is painful with my spinal and disc issues.
  • I am open to trying different birthing positions that I might find more comfortable.
  • Please encourage me to move, even if it is painful for me to do so.
  • Please remind me to drink regularly and use the bathroom.
  • If at all possible, I would like to avoid a c-section birth. I do however, understand that a c-section isn’t a choice.
Pain Relief-
  • To be discussed with the consultant.
  • I have been cleared by my spinal specialist for an epidural if it is needed.
  • I would really like to avoid the use of pethridine if at all possible.
Assisted Delivery –
  • I am fully aware that this is sometimes needed. Obviously I would anticipate for minimal trauma to be inflicted upon my baby and I. Please.
After Delivery-
    • If possible, I do not want to be separated from my baby after delivery.
    • I would love to have skin to skin contact and time to bond with my baby as soon as possible after delivery.
  • I would like to aim for a physiological 3rd stage if I am not too exhausted.
Umbilical Cord-
  • I want my partner to cut the babies cord if he wishes.
  • I would like to opt for optimal cord clamping.
  • I don’t want the cord to be cut immediately. I would appreciate it if cutting the cord could wait until it stops pulsating, so that my baby gets all of the remaining cord blood.
Feeding-
    • I would like to breast feed my baby as soon as possible after birth.
  • I would really appreciate help with trying to breast feeding my baby.
Medications for Baby-
  • I would like my baby to have the vitamin k injection.
  • Please give me antibiotics and take all necessary precautions to ensure that my Strep B diagnosis doesn’t have an impact on my baby’s health.

Bleeding in pregnancy

I was 27 weeks pregnant when I was admitted to hospital with abdominal cramps and PV bleeds, my little boy’s chance of making it to his due date was cut short as the doctor told me the SCBU at our hospital was full and I was being prepped to be transferred to another hospital where I would face delivering my little boy early when he was weighing just 2lb 2oz.

 
Bleeding in pregnancy can sometimes be referred to as PV bleeds 

Around 20-25% of women will experience PV bleeds in their first trimester, whereas bleeding in the second and third trimester is less common.

Bleeding in early pregnancy can be a sign of either miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. Whereas bleeding in later stages of pregnancy can have different meanings.

The most common bleed is known as an “implantation bleed” which is when the fertilised egg implants itself into the lining of a uterus. An implantation bleed is discharge or spotting and is usually pinkish or dark brown, implantation bleeding tends to only happen will the egg is attaching itself into the uterus, it may last anything from a few hours or 1-2 days.
I was 27 weeks pregnant when I was admitted to hospital with abdominal cramps and PV bleeds, my little boy’s chance of making it to his due date was cut short as the doctor told me the SCBU at our hospital was full and I was being prepped to be transferred to another hospital where I would face delivering my little boy early when he was weighing just 2lb 2oz.
It was a magical moment when the bleeding stopped.I had an urgent ultrasound which showed that there was no known cause for the bleed. I began to puzzle even my doctors… Here was this 27 week pregnant lady who was having PV bleeds but with no cause, my little boy’s growth took a dip and I was kept in hospital for nearly a month of monitoring. I was told every time I bled, I was to add 24 hours to the chances of me going home.

“well Miss Simkins, we don’t know why you’re bleeding, but we’ll monitor your little baby’s growth and keep an eye on you and look at your delivery options” 

Pregnancies with PV bleeds tend to result in small babies. So I was having scans every 2 weeks and gradually Oliver’s growth began to pick up, and as he grew more, my chance of having a natural birth was increasing too. At my last growth scan the sonographer chuckled and told me he weighed 8lb 5oz with still 3-4 weeks to go!

One thing my midwife told me was that I was no longer able to have a water birth and I would no longer be able to deliver on the low-risk unit. I would now have to deliver on the high risk labour ward as I was booked to be induced due to the PV bleeds.
There are many causes for PV bleeds during pregnancy but they can all mean different things and should be reported to a medical professional immediately. To determine what is causing the bleeding, your doctor may request an internal examination, ultrasound and blood tests.
I was incredibly fortunate and ended up having a perfectly healthy baby boy born on his due date weighing 8lb 11oz.

Breastfeeding Blues

Initially I tried for almost 48 hours straight to breastfeed and had to beg a midwife for formula as my baby was screaming as she was so hungry. I continued to try for weeks and weeks. Pumping didn’t work and neither did feeding. I never got a ‘let down’, I don’t know what if feels like to have one.

Looking at my happy, healthy, strong and beautiful little girl, it’s hard to remember why I worried so much. My daughter is 18 months old, she’s 95th centile for height and 91st centile for weight. We couldn’t have a more incredible bond. I’ve struggled with Postnatal Depression- but I’ve always adored her and I know that she loves me too.
It’s breastfeeding week this week, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t shed a few tears when reminded of the fact that I couldn’t breast feed my baby.
I was scrolling back through photos when a found this picture of Florence latching. I didn’t realise it had been taken, but seeing it soothes me and reminds me of how I tried my best. After a major artery was ruptured after a tear during labour I had a massive haemorrhage and lost around 66% of my total blood volume. I had to have a triple blood transfusion and a plasma transfusion but despite this, I was left very anaemic.
I was later diagnosed with sepsis due to complications of being strep b positive. When I wasn’t fighting for my life I was trying to feed my baby. My milk never really came in and due to my mother having to bottle feed my baby whilst I was in intensive care, my already almost non existent supply couldn’t match that of a whole formula feed.
Initially I tried for almost 48 hours straight to breastfeed and had to beg a midwife for formula as my baby was screaming as she was so hungry. I continued to try for weeks and weeks. Pumping didn’t work and neither did feeding. I never got a ‘let down’, I don’t know what if feels like to have one.
We started our journey trying so desperately to breastfeed, but this journey was cut painfully short due to circumstances out of my control. My heart still breaks about this, because after a difficult labour and pregnancy, it would have been lovely for something to work out!
A family friend who is a lactation expert came to see me a few months ago, we talked through it all and she tried to reassure me that I have no reason to feel so awful, I really did try my hardest and she truly believes that it would have been almost impossible for me to breast feed, given the circumstances such as fighting for my life, the medications I was on and other factors such as having an underactive thyroid and PCOS.
Some people don’t want to breastfeed and that is fine. Babies who are bottle fed still thrive… But I wanted this so much for my baby and it still hurts that I couldn’t even provide her with something as simple as my own milk.  Yes she is incredible and she is thriving, but every time I see someone else feeding their baby, I feel like a failure. I can’t help it, but that’s how I felt then and often how I often feel now. One day it might stop hurting, but for now it is still a very sore subject. My body physically couldn’t feed my baby. My body failed me and my baby. Without formula, my baby would have starved.
I’m sure that the colostrum and the action of poaching my daughter on my breast helped to lay the perfect foundation for our incredible bond, but formula, and my love, influenced our incredible girl to blossom so beautifully.
Don’t buy into the “Only 1% of women cannot breastfeed” … it is a load of crap. Think of the Mummies on medications, the Mummies who are mentally or physically unwell, or fighting for their lives through illness or after a traumatic labour. The babies born prematurely or with a tongue ties. This supposed statistic leaves far too many parents feeling inadequate or like failures and it isn’t okay!
Shout out to all mummies in the same boat who have ever felt inadequate because of feeding problems and complications. I completely feel your pain, this week and always.

Group B Strep – Aware.

30-50% of women carry strep b at any given time. Generally it’s harmless to the women who carry it. Yet, it can be fatal for the babies that they carry.

Strep B.
Strep B was knowing Mummies who had needlessly lost their babies.
The stories lead to worry.
Worry became research.
Research became awareness.
Awareness became knowledge.
30-50% of women carry strep b at any given time.
Generally it’s harmless to the women who carry it.
Yet, it can be fatal for the babies that they carry.
Knowledge had to become taking action.
Strep B was asking my midwife if I could be tested.
Just to be told that it’s very rare and it’s highly unlikely.
Strep B was taking matters into my own hands.
I ordered my own testing kit through the list of GBSS approved ECM tests. 
I waited.
I waited until I was 35 weeks pregnant to do my test.
35 weeks came. I did the swabs.
Sealed, Labelled.
I wrote a cheque for £37.
£37 to potentially save my babies life.
£37 well spent, regardless of the result.
It was all put in an envelope and posted.
I knew that the results would take up to two weeks.
I waited.
Two weeks had passed but no results had arrived.
I sent them an email.
They replied straight away and were very apologetic.
This email had an attachment.
I opened the attachment.
The seconds that it took to open and load felt like years.
*POSITIVE* *POSITIVE* blared at me like red lights.
Is it my fault?
What had I done?
I cried and I cried.
My excitement to meet our baby turned to fear.
It was midday, but I fell asleep in tears.
I told my partner and I told my parents.
I reminded myself that it wasn’t my fault.
Strep B isn’t sexually transmitted. It is naturally incubated.
There was no way I could have known.
Fear had to turn into action.
Action…
Action, was raising awareness to my pregnant friends and acquaintances.
Action, was passing on the results of the test onto my midwife.
Action, was including my strep b positive diagnosis in my birthing plan.
The community midwife stuck a small “STREP B” sticker on my pregnancy notes.
This was to supposedly alert the team that were to help me through labour.
A sticker wasn’t certain enough, but my voice was.
I couldn’t count how many times, I had to get medical professionals to clarify that they would take this seriously.
Would they have enough of the antibiotics on the ward?
Would I get access to them?
Would I get at least 2 rounds of antibiotics?
Will I get the antibiotics at least 2 hours before she is born?
Would she get checks after she was born to insure that complications had been completely avoided?
What if I couldn’t get to hospital quickly enough after my waters broke?
The 31st of January came.
I was unwell.
I went to maternity day care and was diagnosed with preeclampsia.
I was to be induced.
Starting that night.
I was relived!
I would be in hospital until she was born.
I could be sure that everything will be ready for her arrival.
I had many conversations with midwives about strep b.
Where did you get tested?
I tested myself at home with testing kit.
How did you get tested?
I tested myself after I paid for a test.
How did you know about strep b?
I have had family friends affected by it.
How muc
h did you pay to get tested?
£37
A couple of days passed.
My waters broke.
Fear kicked in.
I was moved from an induction room to a labour room.
A drip was started to protect my baby from strep b.
But my black and blue hand wouldn’t take the drip.
I became very worried and begged them to swap to another cannulation site.
They did.
I was finally getting what I needed to protect my baby.
One round.
Two round.
Over 5 hours.
She made her entrance.
It started to go wrong for me, because of a tear.
Yet- She was okay.
I didn’t know it yet.
But my baby was safe.
My Mother made sure that she was getting her after birth strep b checks.
They were made every 4 hours.
She was fine.
My baby was going to be okay.
I came round.
Went from theatre, to recovery to being back on the labour ward.
She was having another lot of checks.
Temperature.
Stethoscope to the chest.
Movement.
Breathing.
Our baby was okay.
She was healthy.
But it all could have been so different.
I was feeling cold.
Then hot.
Then freezing.
My temperature was taken.
Then my pulse.
Blood was taken.
Blood was tested.
My tear had became infected by strep b.
I was diagnosed with sepsis.
I was left fighting for my life for the second time in 24 hours.
I was administered antibiotics.
Strep b had given me sepsis.
It took over a week to recover- Despite me being well equipped.
But if it was my baby who had become unwell.
It could have been so different.
I don’t want to think about it.
I can’t think about it.
I will not shut up about strep b until it is properly addressed.
Until every mummy to be, knows of the danger.
Of the risks.
I will not stop, until strep b is no longer an issue.
It doesn’t need to be an issue.
Every woman pregnant should be screened for strep b.