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Fibro Mama Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia is on Sale! One Week Special

Just a quick note to let you know that my book, Fibro Mama Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia is on special starting today at just .99 cents! And it will slowly return to normal price in increments until the 12th of January. So get in quick!
Pregnancy and Fibro
On Sale on Amazon now!

So if you were curious about what pregnancy might be like with Fibromyalgia, how nursing might go and wanted some tips about each trimester of pregnancy, the first six weeks, nursing, and parenting then head on over to Amazon. My book is only one of two books about this, so I’m really proud to provide some information in an otherwise nearly blank space.

Don’t forget to check out my Pregnancy Diaries page for all of my pregnancy diaries from when I was pregnant with Wyatt last year. I also include the birth story and a diary entry from the first month.

I also provide free resources on my page of the same name – eResources that I have made for you, some key chronic illness blogs and my favourite books (these links are to Goodreads).

May I ask you a favour? After you’ve read my book could you please leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads? This way we can ensure more people who are fighting Fibromyalgia and pregnancy can find some information.

To stay up to date and receive a free copy of my eBook Fibro Mama Tips for Managing Early Pregnancy Symptoms – sign up here.

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Fibro Mama Pregnancy & Fibromyalgia Book

Are you wondering if your symptoms will be better or worse during pregnancy? If you’ll experience a flare up after delivery? What nursing with Fibromyalgia might be like? Have you thought about what coping mechanisms you’ll utilise during pregnancy? 
Melissa shares what the research says, what she experienced in her two pregnancies and what other women shared in a survey. 

After being disappointed at the lack of information about pregnancy with Fibromyalgia when I had Noah four years ago, I set about writing up my experiences and researching as new information became available.Pregnancy and Fibro

On my Fibro Mama Pregnancy Diaries page, I include my journals from my pregnancy with Wyatt last year, which I edited and posted over this past year.

Recently, I told you I was writing a book about pregnancy and Fibromyalgia with my research, my experiences and the results of a survey I took.

The results of the survey were so interesting (and I don’t think that’s just me as a research nerd!) that I’ll write a post about them. It was nearly 50/50 for whether the women surveyed experienced a worsening or a betterment of their symptoms while pregnant. A whopping 70% stated that their number one coping mechanism during pregnancy was resting/napping (I wholeheartedly concur, though my resting takes the form of meditation).

I have finished my book! It’s a little exciting for me as it’s one of my life goals to publish a book.

So Fibro Mama Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia is available on Amazon now.

I’ve written chapters on the existing literature, about each trimester, nursing, being a fibro mama to a tiny baby and toddlers and include some advice for midwives and fathers.

I’d be so grateful if you supported me by purchasing it and leaving a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

I’d also love to hear your top tips for surviving pregnancy with Fibromyalgia because sharing knowledge is so necessary when so little literature exists.

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Fibro Mama Pregnancy Diaries: The Delivery

It’s been nearly a year since I had my second baby. It has taken this long to touch up and post all of my pregnancy diaries! You can find all of these posts on my Fibro Mama Pregnancy Diaries page

The deliveryMy birth story wasn’t exactly what I wanted but it was better than the first one.

32 hours of extreme back pain and painful contractions produced a beautiful 3.1 kg baby.

I couldn’t get to 4 centimetres dilation at home like you’re supposed to. I managed to wait until 3 centimetres at which point I needed help. We found out in the end the reason for the pain and lack of dilation that baby had the cord wrapped around him three times, probably stopping him from engaging.

It took a lot of intervention to get him down and out, but I managed to do it without a cesarean.

While it was a long, hard, painful labour, I can clearly recall the care of the many professionals I encountered, my midwife being the lead. I felt looked after and that my baby was being carefully monitored. The after care, during which I haemorrhaged, was also spectacular. This is what I remember the most from my experience. And it was dramatically different from my first labour, for this I’m grateful.

We spent a night in hospital, where I had fluids and an iron transfusion, and a night at a maternity centre. My pain levels in my low back and glutes were through the roof until we got home and I could move freely from comfortable bed to comfortable chair (and take pain killers less rigidly, but still according to instructions). It wasn’t until I saw the physiotherapist at four weeks that we realised I had symphisis pubis disorder which meant my pelvis spread too far, presumably due to the prolonged back labour. This caused severe pain at first and gradually reduced to mild with reduced range of movement and lots of pelvic tilts.

As it is with childbirth, so it is with fibromyalgia, we are all different and we can’t look for “normal” because there is no normal. There are patterns, but there’s no normal.

We must learn to listen to our body and trust that little voice that guides us. It can take some time to hear it, as there are plenty of louder voices itching to tell us what to do. But, if we pay attention, we will know what to do.

I knew I couldn’t cope any longer and that the pain was abnormal for so early in the labour. I will always be thankful that I pushed to go in and that the midwife listened.

Likewise, I am so thankful that I learned to hear my little voice and to regard myself as the expert with my experience of Fibromyalgia. And as the result of listening to this voice in labour is a healthy baby, the outcome of listening with Fibromyalgia is much better health.

 


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Fibro Mama Pregnancy Diaries Weeks 36-38

pregnancy diaries 36.38After a week of intensified Braxton Hicks contractions, escalating back and hip pain and other excellent end of pregnancy symptoms, I was glad to make it to week 36. At week 36 baby’s lungs are better prepared for the outside world and he’s mostly ready.

Week 37 is considered term. Nu came at 37 weeks and 4 days, for which I was profoundly grateful as I was exhausted and in so much pain by then.

Sleep deprivation is like putting Fibromyalgia on crack. It makes sleeping even harder, you lay awake in pain for hours at night and spend all day in pain. The fatigue is unrelenting. I’m trying to severely limit the Panadiene as the midwife said we don’t want it building up in my system before birth.

Late pregnancy symptoms are uncomfortable for anyone. The heaviness of the belly, the constant bathroom stops, the back ache, menstrual like cramps, Braxton Hicks contractions, alternating hunger and nausea, fatigue. At least these are for a finite time. Though I am a little jealous of those who know their end dates (inductions and cesareans)!

Unfortunately, we found that my iron levels had completely depleted and I had to quickly have an injection at week 37. It certainly explained why I had been so exhausted, lethargic, nauseas and in so much pain. Within days of the injection I felt so much better! It was amazing, I hadn’t realised how sick I had gotten.

I managed to spend the day out with my family and walk more than I had in weeks on the Saturday of that weekend. On the Sunday I managed to meet a friend for coffee and wander around the mall with Nu in tow (I had been too exhausted to consider wrangling him out of the house). It was really nice.

I had a show and a little mucus coming away over the weekend after 37 weeks ticked over and had stronger tightenings which made me a little excited. I couldn’t wait to meet my boy.

At week 38 we began getting ready for Christmas and put up our tree and took Nu to a Christmas Fair. It was really lovely as he’s beginning to be able to understand and get excited with us. My stamina had greatly decreased by then, Nu saved me a lot of the late pregnancy symptoms by arriving early. I hoped we wouldn’t get too far into December as I wanted baby to have his birthday separate from Christmas and my back needed him out!

I have shared this journey so that people can see what if is like for this mama with Fibromyalgia to do pregnancy, find it in my Pregnancy Diaries page here. 


For more information about pregnancy and Fibromyalgia:

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Fibro Mama Pregnancy Diaries Weeks 34-35

fibro mama pregnancy diaries 34.35Week 34 was characterised by fatigue, pain, menstrual like cramps, many Braxton Hicks contractions and growing excitement. My body was definitely gearing up for the last weeks and delivery.

Pacing became necessary. 30 minutes of activity in exchange for a rest with the heat pack.

My neck, which had coped so well previously, started to get quite stiff and sore. After a day of doing too much on the computer (finishing two assignments for my bookkeeping course and scheduling two blog posts) I experienced pain levels of 7-8/10 with a severe headache causing nausea. I am quite proud of my coping mechanisms – once Nu was in bed I had a hot shower, used the TENS machine on my shoulders, and heatpack on my neck. After coming off my one Panadiene per night in preparation for baby’s coming (and wanting to avoid any potential breathing issues from the codiene, very low risk) I allowed myself to have one. This all enabled me to get to sleep. I did wake every half an hour at first, but then managed a three hour block in the middle of the night, before lapsing back to frequent waking. For me, for this pregnancy, this was quite good. I did have to take it quite easy for next few days.

Baby seemed to burrow himself lower in week 34. When I sat down it was like he was sitting in my lap. There were occasional stabbing pains down low and more painful Braxton Hicks contractions. One night I woke with one that required breathing to get through. Each afternoon and evening seemed to bring a flurry of them, whether walking or resting (though I was mostly walking at this time and herding the 2.5 year old through the evening routine).

With my Whooping Cough vaccine down, week 35 ticked over and the birthing centre tour taken, all that needed to happen before I was ready for baby was for two weeks to elapse. I wasn’t sure when to hire the baby carseat (I didn’t want it to sit in the car, unused for four or five weeks). But, apart from that, I had everything organised.

I found some relief with a lavendar massage oil on my low back and glutes (and my whole back whenever I could talk husband into a massage) before bed. On the nights my neck was making it hard to lie down I used a menthol massage cream. My heatpack, pelvic tilts, child’s pose, meditation, stretching, resting, good food and lots of water got me through the difficulties of late pregnancy.

I have shared this journey to show what it is like for a mama with Fibromyalgia to do pregnancy, see my Pregnant Diaries and Resources here. 


For more information about pregnancy and Fibromyalgia

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Sign up to receive access to my free PDF reports: Tips for Managing Early Pregnancy Symptoms, Natural Pain Relief Options During Pregnancy and my free micro course Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge.

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Fibro Mama Pregnancy Diaries Weeks 31-33

fibro mama weeks 31-33I am sharing these posts from my pregnancy with baby W last year to provide a sense of what it’s like for a mama with Fibromyalgia to do pregnancy. Unfortunately it’s taken me nearly a year to edit and post these. Find my Pregnancy Diaries page here

I was in a period of waiting. Of feeding my family, cleaning my home, organising my stuff. Of resting and stretching and trying to be well despite sleeplessness and the pain of carrying an extra 9kgs.

Despite all the difficulties of pregnancy and Fibromyalgia, I was trying to mindfully inhabit the present. To enjoy the moments of sitting on my couch and hearing the birds play in the trees. To enjoy snuggles with Nu. To embrace this period of slow.

12 minute pregnancy yoga clips helped me to stretch and open my cramped back and hips. Meditation helped me to rest and relax and make it through the afternoon. My physiotherapy appointments became a little more frequent to help support my neck and shoulders.

Baby’s movements became more painful as he stretched the limits of his shrinking (relative to his size) home. He seemed particularly busy at rest time, bedtime and once Nu went to bed (and I sat down).

I was lucky enough to try biofeedback therapy after being on the waiting list since my pain clinic appointment earlier in the year. I love having tools that I can call on to help myself (stretching, meditation, trigger point work etc.) And so this furthering of my meditation work was useful.

At week 32 my immune system seemed to go on hiatus, I got another bad cold that I couldn’t shake and turned into an infection requiring antibiotics.

As my sleep worsened further, I found it harder and harder to get up in the morning. Much of the day was spent dragging. Somehow I perked a little in the afternoon and after dinner.

I found myself getting really riled up when people suggested that my third baby would be a girl or that I “had” to have a third so I might have a girl. I knew I could not do this again. My back would probably hand in its notice. My emotional well-being couldn’t survive it. I had plans for my health, for my work, for my life that are on hold. I can’t try any new medicines (herbal or otherwise) until I finish trying to nurse the baby.

In order to support my rest I finally started watching Grey’s Anatomy season 12 (not actually a good idea as I cried in most episodes) and rereading Middlemarch (George Elliot). I find comfort in rereading my favourite classics, I also got out my worn copy of Pride and Prejudice to begin my annual (sometimes biannual if I need the perking up!) reread of that.

Something about seeing my baby again and learning that he was perfectly average in size at week 33 enabled me to relax into the last weeks. The fundal height measurements had been placing him in the 20th percentile which was much smaller than his big brother and I had worried I had done something to cause this. Knowing he was 2.1kg made me feel proud and even more excited that my baby was growing and coming soon! With escalating back, neck and shoulder pain it was a nice reminder of why I was doing it all.

I am sharing these posts to provide a sense of what it’s like for a mama with Fibromyalgia to do pregnancy. Find my Pregnancy Diaries page her