My Babyloss Story – Ectopic Pregnancy

Back in 2015 the thought of baby loss hadn’t even crossed my mind. I’d had a baby that went to term, and all was well. But we knew we wanted to add to our family and as little as a year after Logan was born we thought we would try once more. My plan was to have children close in age. I want the nappy years and the lack of sleep to be a consistent period of my life, so that I don’t get used to what a normal routine was before it being hurtled back into the newborn chaos. That was my plan, but the reality was somewhat different. 

It took a while to conceive, but eventually in september 2015 I got a positive pregnancy test and I was overjoyed. But the truth of the matter is that something didn’t feel right from the start of the journey. I don’t know whether I just had a feeling, but it just didn’t feel right. I can’t explain it. 

However, for about two weeks things seemed to progress, but I didn’t seem to have many symptoms. In fact I felt fine, but I just put that down to the early stages and it not being that far along enough to start having the signs. 

My first worry was spotting and bleeding, and at this point I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. So I called my doctor and I was seen. They referred me to the early pregnancy unit, a place I never knew existed. A department that unfortunately I have attended more times than I would like. I headed to the hospital, and the procedure of the early pregnancy unit began to take full force. It started with blood tests, and a discussion about how I was feeling. There was no heavy bleed, just spotting, and the first HCG results came back as a positive sign. 

I went back a few days later only for my results not to rise as much as they should have, and I was told the devastating news that in this case I was miscarrying. I had no idea what to expect. It just feels like a blur to look back on. 

The irony of this time of year is that during baby loss awareness week, which is between the 9-15th October, this was happening. It was the 15th October 2015 that I put on social media that we were miscarrying. 

However, that sin’t the end of this story. I was still having my HCG levels monitored and fate the 15th I went back and there was a slight rise in the levels, something the staff could not explain. They had told me i was miscarrying, so how was that possible? I went in for a scan and they descried it as a pregnancy of unknown location. That It was either over, and the hormone levels hadn’t dropped, or it was something else. 

I was due back in on the 18th October 2015, a Sunday, for another HCG blood test, but the night before I felt terrible. I was in pain on my left side, and I had no idea why. I assumed it was an after effect of the miscarriage, or the last element of it. I struggled all night with the pain, thinking that there was no point talking to the doctors because I was there the next day anyway. I didn’t class myself as an emergency, and I certainly didn’t listen to my body. Something I do regret now. 

I went into hospital, the pain was unbearable by this point, and they could see that the colour had drained from my face. I was rushed down for a scan, and they focused on the area causing me pain, my left side, and there it was. A pregnancy. In my left fallopian tube. This is what was called an ectopic pregnancy, and what I didn’t realise, is that it can be life threatening. I was booked in for emergency surgery that day to remove the pregnancy and that was the end of it. 

Ectopic pregnancy was something I knew nothing about, but pain in your abdomen, shoulder tip pain, miscarriage signs like spotting and cramps, and also fainting can all be signs that it is an ectopic pregnancy. 

There is nothing I could have done, nothing I could have done differently, and it is just one of them things. I lost my left fallopian tube that day. Had I have listened to my body at the time, then perhaps I would have had a different outcome. Who knows! 

This pregnancy four years ago was the start of the journey to conceiving, and further losses. It is a monumental time in my life where I was changed irreversibly. I still think about it, the grief never goes away, but you do learn to deal with it and move forward with your life. I had a husband and two boys to think about. 

The one thing that raising awareness can do is to help others feel less aline, and maybe sharing my story with you will help you to feel less alone. I also think it is good to raise awareness so that more people will feel comfortable in asking for help and reassurance should they need it. 

Goals For The Week And Re-cap 7th October

I love setting goals, in fact I am such a list writer and “to do” list person, that setting goals has just become part and parcel of that. Even if it is a list of things that need to be done that day, I consider them goals that I want to achieve. After all, it is always worth celebrating the little wins as it can really keep you keep going, especially on those tough parenting days. 

So I thought it would be a good idea to set myself some weekly goals on here. Things to do with life, housework and jobs, work related stuff and parenting things. It may incentivise you to do something similar, or to add some of them to your own list. I am just hoping it helps me to stay accountable. 

So this week I want to try and achieve the following:

Work related goals

  • To have published two blog posts on here this week. 
  • To get involved with Baby Loss Awareness week which starts on the 9th October. 
  • To have completed my contracted blog writing work before school pick up time. Something that I have been struggling to do recently.
  • To consistently upload on my Instagram on my feed as well as through Instagram stories. If you don’t already come and follow and say hi!

There are not that many as I do have a heavy workload of freelance writing anyway, but I am hoping that if I can get these things achieved, then it will enable me to keep up with momentum. 

Housework jobs

  • To have mopped the downstairs, cleaned all the skirting boards, and deep cleaned the living room ready for new sofa day on Saturday. I am very excited. 
  • Do an inventory of the cupboards, fridge and freezer and come up with a meal plan moving forward. I am hoping this will encourage me to use the things I have in, rather than buying anything extra. 
  • To have sorted my wardrobe
  • Deep clean the bathroom

Aside from the usual daily clean jobs that I do such as hoovering, tidying and general day to day chores, these things are additional extras that I would like to get sorted. 

Parenting bits

  • Work on numbers with Logan. I have noticed that he sometimes gets his numbers the wrong way round. He doesn’t do it with letters, so I am going to work through some of the books that he has and see if some practice can help. 
  • Daily practice on the school maths and reading apps
  • Daily reading
  • To keep working with the rewards charts

Life goals

  • Drink more water each day. Aiming for two litres at least. I am rubbish at drinking water so this is definitely something I need to work on, especially with being pregnant
  • Keep a positive mindset. Something that I am working on at the moment. 
  • Get a little organised with the house. 

This week in review

This last week has been a fantastic week of work for me. I have worked really hard to get into a routine with all of the things that I want and need to do. I managed to get my first trimester blog post published, as well as a blog discussing the rewards charts and changes we have made when it comes to discipline.

This week has also seen immense progress with Logan using his rewards chart and his behaviour really improving and I am so happy that a) I have managed to stick with it, and b) he is still loving the incentive and also thinking about his actions and behaviour. 

I also managed to get a YouTube video published discussing the first trimester. You can watch it below if you like. While you are there it would be amazing if you could subscribe 🙂 

We also found out the gender of our baby and revealed it over on Instagram. We’re expecting a little girl and we are beyond excited. Overall it has been a fantastic week and I am starting out this one very positive and hopeful to continue with the momentum for work and home life. 

I hope you all have a fabulous week. 

Pregnancy – The First Trimester

 

I’m pregnant! To be able to say that feels like a dream. But I am finally there and I am currently 17 weeks along. The journey has been rough. It started nearly five years ago. Logan is now six, and we wanted to have another child close in age. Having already got our eldest who is 14, the bigger age gap can be quite present at times. 

A little background

As the story goes, it didn’t go that way for us. And four years ago I had an ectopic pregnancy. Our first loss. Getting pregnant didn’t seem to be happening as easy for us, and I didn’t see a positive pregnancy test again until May and then September in 2017. However they resulted in miscarriage. These are things I know I want to talk about further, but for now I felt like it was best to give a little background. Since the last loss two years, I have been under the recurrent miscarriage clinic and had a lot of investigations done as to why this is possibly happening. There is no definitive answer. But I have a uterus dydelphis and so the hospital have said it could be that. I will go into more detail about that but for now, this post is all about the fact that from October 2017 until July this year, I had no joy. But it is finally happening. I got the positive pregnancy test.

So how have I been feeling?

The first trimester has been amazing, but it has been tough and there is no point in beating around the bush with that. I think the main issue I worry about is sounding completely ungrateful for this pregnancy. The anxiety has been immense. I guess that is to be expected. There will always be a worry about loss again. It’s happened three times before, and some days I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t happening again. 

To help me through those first 12 weeks the recurrent miscarriage clinic prescribed me with progesterone pessaries to be used twice a day, morning and night, and also Tinzaparin sodium injections to be administered into my stomach once a day. Injections are not my thing, and even though I have had millions of blood tests and injections alike, they still give me all of the fear. This was a big hurdle for me, to actually administer those injections myself, and I managed to do it. 

What symptoms did I have?

The symptoms have been there. I struggled with sickness in those early weeks. It wasn’t necessarily always being sick, it was more the feeling of sickness. I think it can be best described as a similar feeling to an intense hangover the morning after a big night out. The sickness, the heavy head, the dehydration but not able to stomach much. The weariness and how it can make you feel not quite there. I hope that makes more sense. It did start to fade around week 14, and thankfully since, I have only had the odd off day.

The tiredness has been a big one for me, and it is something that I am still struggling with now. I seem to feel tired first thing. But it doesn’t stop me from getting up and as the morning starts I seem to regain energy and can be very productive. But come the afternoon, I can hit a brick wall and all of a sudden I feel exhausted. Some evenings I climb into bed and I am asleep before I even know it. 

I will be honest, every twinge, any little cramp or anything of that nature had red flags going up in my head. Twinges and cramps can be completely normal parts of pregnancy as things are changing in your body, but it certainly doesn’t stop you thinking the worst. I did have these sorts of niggles throughout the first weeks, but with no sign of spotting or bleeding I tried to put the worrying and anxious thoughts to the back of mind. 

Last of all, I really struggled with headaches. I remember this from my first pregnancy with Logan. The headaches are at the front of my head and they just get more intense as time goes on. Again this is something that has faded off now, and I am hoping it stays that way. 

The mental impact 

Mentally, throughout the 12 weeks I was surprisingly positive. I was very fortunate to be monitored from the moment I had my positive pregnancy test. I had HCG blood tests done, a scan at just over 5 weeks, and then continuously being monitored and checked. The scan at 5 weeks did give us something to think about. As I have two womb chambers, there was a shadow in the other side which they thought could have been another baby. Twins. But two weeks later it remained that way and we were confirmed with one and a heartbeat. Which was a relief and miracle in itself. 

I have just tried to put the past experiences behind me, and to really take care of myself and I have a fantastic support network around me for that. Maybe I was in a better place physically and mentally before I even got pregnant. I know I have made some positive changes to my lifestyle this year and perhaps that had a positive effect. I was ecstatic, scared, but the happiness overshadowed the feelings of worry and I just took each day as it came as a blessing. Now 17 weeks on and I am still doing the same. 

I will be back with some more updates and hopefully revealing the gender of this little baby. Look out for more posts. 

Reward Charts, Discipline And Making The Right Choices

If you haven’t seen on my Instagram yet, the latest news for our family is we are finally expecting a child after a very long journey. I plan on writing up a full post about the first trimester and sharing some thoughts about the whole experience, but for now this blog article is about an entirely different subject. Reward charts and discipline. 

My little boy is now six years old, and he is thriving and loving life. Just as he should be. However, these last few weeks and months I have begun to notice a shift in his behaviour. He was pushing buttons and testing boundaries, he was ignoring warnings and just doing what he wanted. I’d shout, I’d threaten punishment, but the truth is, this didn’t even phase him. Why? Because he knew I wouldn’t follow through. 

A while ago we took Logan to the doctors because we found that he was developing certain tendencies and twitches in his behaviour at home. The doctors advised us that he had what she described as a “Type A Personality” and that he thrives off praise and being told he is doing well. It made sense once we thought about it as we knew he loved to hear he had done well and and continued to do something just to hear that praise. 

We realised that negative language didn’t work well with Logan, and that he was more in tune with positivity. So we changed the way we dealt with things, and for a while it worked. But the main issue specifically lay with me, I was too soft. 

I will admit that I am the type of mum that likes an easy life. It’s a busy day anyway, and if I can get things done quickly, avoid confrontation and arguments swiftly, then I will, just to get through the day. However, the problem with that was Logan realised that he could get me to do anything, and that really he was never told off for doing naughty things. 

With a baby coming next year, I realised that things needed to change, and so I got thinking, chatting to friends and family, about ways that I can encourage better behaviour, a nicer environment at home and more independence from Logan. So I came up with a few methods and to be totally honest with you all, they are working. I thought I would share with you what I have been doing but do check out my Instagram page and also IGTV for a video discussing this in more detail.

REWARDS CHART

To be honest I have tried a reward charts in the past and they have given me varied results. They worked well, but not as well as I had hoped. I realised that I may have been over complicating them in the past, so I tried a more simple approach. At Logans school, they use a reward charts system and give out “dojo’s” for good work and behaviour, the difference is the teacher decides what is worthy of a Dojo. So I applied the same principal with gold stars at home.

There are many things he can get a gold star for. Eating his meals, getting dressed himself, good behaviour, kindness etc. At the end of the day myself and his Papa will chat with him and decide how many he has earned that day and what for. We may even highlight it at the time if we think something was worth a gold star. His aim is to get to twenty stars on his reward charts and he earns himself a prize. He’s loved this, and is already working out what he can do to earn more gold stars and his behaviour has improved. 

DISCIPLINE

There are a couple of things that I have changed when it comes to discipline. I usually would get to a stage where I would shout, which didn’t leave me feeling good or actually make any difference with his behaviour. Sometimes I would threaten things like taking an iPad away etc and then never following through with it. It was doing me no favours really. So having chatted to friends and family, I decided to try out one technique. 

If Logan is doing something wrong, I would give him a warning. If he continues then the punishment would be thirty minutes of no technology. The TV goes off, he can’t use any of his devices, nothing. He can play with his normal toys, he can do his homework, and read etc. But tech is a no go. This actually felt like it could be a punishment for me as well as Logan, as the TV is always on in our house. Guilty!

However, it wasn’t so bad when I did actually have to follow through. He moaned a bit, but then he just got on with it. The thing is, since that one occasion I haven’t had to do it again. The warning seems to be enough at the minute. 

We will also take away gold stars from his chart if he misbehaves. So we do have the choice between the two options. I guess it depends on exactly what he is doing to govern the type of punishment or discipline he will get. 

Overall these things have helped our home life and routine, and also improved Logans behaviour. He will always be an energetic lad. The one thing I have realised is that all children are different, and that not every child is angelic and as well-behaved as I once thought. It’s good to talk. Because let’s face it, motherhood can be lonely at times. 

Let me know what systems work for you in your household. 

Attendance Awards In School: Is This Really The Right Focus In School?

My little boy has just finished Year One, and we are all set and ready for a fantastic summer holidays and preparing as much as we can for Year Two. I am well aware that this next school year is going to be a tough one for Logan, with SATs and extra milestones he needs to reach I know I need to help him at home as well to ensure that he isn’t falling behind or losing the enthusiasm he has for school simply because he is struggling and not enjoying it.

School have a lot to focus on, and with targets and levels they need to meet I understand they are under pressure to get the results, and attendance is one of the areas that they need to get to a certain level.  Our school encourages classes to have at least 97% attendance each week, and so I am guessing that this could be around the target in which they need to meet.

Each week our school has an assembly, and every year is given their percentage for attendance, and the kids love it. They all want to reach that 100% goal and earn a badge for their year. This is great encouragement, and attendance in school is extremely important. But, there is one thing that seems to be a big trend amongst schools these days, and that is awarding children individually for 100% attendance.

I don’t agree with it. 

There will always be times in your child’s school life when they are unwell. They don’t ask for it, they certainly don’t enjoy being ill, and in many cases, our school included, if a child is ill then you are encouraged to keep them off school. If anything, to avoid the illness spreading and causing further absences. There was a prime example earlier this year, our school was hit with the vomiting bug, bad! At least 40% of the school was effected and because of this we were advised to keep out children off school until a full 48 hours had passed since the last sickness. My son ended up with it, in fact we all did, and it was pretty horrific!

My son didn’t get 100% attendance this year, he ended up on 97%. The percentage in which our school aims for. He wasn’t rewarded for that, I don’t expect him to be, but why should a child be rewarded for 100% just because in-theory they were lucky to not have to experience the illness?

Now don’t get me wrong, I think attendance in school is extremely important. I know that, and it is down to your own parental opinion, some people are happy to take their child out of school and have unauthorised absences for one reason or another. I don’t judge. Who knows, I may even think it is worth it to take my son out of school in the future. But I don’t think that awarding children for 100% attendance is the right way to go? At this rate, children who become aware of the award system will push themselves to go into school when they aren’t well, and they may even get worked up and upset because they have had to have a day off. Is that really fair on them and their mental wellbeing?

Award systems work well in most scenarios, and even with attendance I think it can be a good motivator, but I don’t think 100% should be the target, it should be awarded for the school reaching their target.

What do you think about attendance awards in school? Do you think they work? I would love to know your thoughts.