There are things that everyone knew about pregnancy, birth and babies. And people don’t know much about prematurity unless they’ve been there. Here are some things that surprised me!
- When you get pregnant, generally you want to wait until the first scan before telling people, just in case. Or until the first trimester is over and the risk of miscarriage reduces.What I didn’t realise was that my constant peeing would give the game away. I was still determined not to confirm/deny until I knew the baby was ok but a couple of people at work realised and had a discreet word in the ladies toilets. One was not discreet at all which upset me a lot. But have your answer ready, ladies, in case someone susses it!
- Cravings – the struggle is real. Your body is actually telling you what it needs. I craved milk and cheese a lot so baby obviously wanted calcium!
- My bestie told me this one. You feet change shape forever after pregnancy! I was unaware and maybe even a little sceptical until a couple of days ago when I put my running shoes on for the first time since Jack was born and they didn’t fit properly. Have ordered myself some more in half a size bigger!
- Having a c-section is NOT an easy cop out for giving birth. The recovery is brutal. I was glad to be in hospital for a whole week, not only to be in the same building as Jack, but because I needed the bed the does your sitting up and lying down for you. I had no stomach or core muscles at all! How people go home within 2 days of having one confuses me as you can barely even move! Although I was still quite poorly after so it may not be the same for everybody – just be prepared to need a lot of help from your partner.
- An icky one so skip if you want to – after birth bleeding. It’s not just a few days. It can be a few weeks. Make sure you have LOTS of maternity pads in your hospital bag. Enough said. And another horrible one – having a drain taken out is the worst – ask for gas and air beforehand.
- Premature baby survival rates. On that terrible day when they told me my baby would be arriving early just before 29 weeks, I had the most catastrophic panic attack because I thought my baby would die because he wasn’t ready. I had no idea of the miracles that the doctors could perform. There are perfectly healthy 23-seekers out there growing up and happy. 28+6 is a pretty high survival rate at 96% and I maybe would have panicked a smudge less if any doctor or nurse in HDU had bothered to tell me that.
- No one told me in the run up to giving birth, how they were going to treat my early baby and what to expect. If only I had known that they would give him a machine to help him breathe, medicine to help his lungs develop and artificial food until he was ready for my milk.
- The baby will probably be in hospital until their original due date but sometimes before sometimes after. a 24-seeker will probably go over, maybe even long term but a 35-seeker will probably only be in for a week or two if there are no other serious issues.
- Your maternity leave starts straight away. You don’t get back those lost months your baby spends in intensive care. That’s why it’s so important that you head over to the site The Smallest Things to read up on the Prematurity Bill that was introduced to parliament last week and will be debated on 16th December 2016.
- And finally YOU CAN GET THROUGH IT. You may keep thinking to yourself constantly “How will I cope?” and I certainly did with my background of depression and anxiety. But you can do this. Let your baby be your inspiration. When you are feeling lost and unsure and weak, look at your baby. When they hold on to your hand, even through an incubator porthole, all will be right with the world for a tiny moment. You’ll get there. You are strong.
So there you go, some things that surprised me about this whole journey. What surprised you? xxx