Posted on Leave a comment

How I Decided to Have a Second Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Having a baby is a tremendous (and rewarding) undertaking, particularly when you have chronic pain and fatigue. My first pregnancy with fibromyalgia was extremely difficult. It was so hard that I really didn’t think I would have a second (let alone a third baby!)
This post was written prior to having my second baby and I have since had a third, I have edited it a little but it retains much of it’s original text.
how i decided to have a second baby: pregnancy with fibromyalgia

There are plenty of things I want to do before I consider trying again:

  • I want to conduct some research and find some professionals who know about pregnancy with fibromyalgia.
  • I want to go to a new doctor and ask for a proper diagnosis process, just to be sure.
  • I’d like to write about all this here on the blog and potentially put it into an e book to get the information out there.

I totally managed to write about it all on the blog and put it into an eBook! Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia book is now available! Affiliate notice: This is an affiliate link and I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase using my link. All of my tips for coping in the first, second and third trimester, along with delivery and the early weeks are in there!


IF I decide to have another baby I will be making my physical decisions.

I need to be free to make the decision to have a second baby myself. Pregnancy, labour and sleepless nights are physically harder for someone with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. So I need to be trusted to make the decisions that will help me cope.

Why should I just cope with life? Can’t I enjoy my babies? I don’t understand the rationale of “getting it over and done with” and I don’t hold with it for my situation. Two (plus) super hard years are still super hard years, whether I give myself enough time to recover or not!

There are a few guidelines (pre research) I will follow if I go ahead with another pregnancy with fibromyalgia:

Pregnancy:

  • My boy will be at an age where he is more self-sufficient, preferably in preschool (at least three years old) so that he will get enough attention and stimulation and I would get time alone with the baby. I can’t imagine anything worse than trying to deal with another baby while my boy is still a baby himself. He has been a pretty challenging baby!
  • Feel somewhat physically prepared, I would have the ability to plan and get my body into a place where I am more prepared than last time. For example, I would build my iron levels and keep an eye on them so that I don’t run out of stores at week 28.
  • Keep up a core few resistance based exercises throughout the pregnancy to keep my strength up.
  • Stop working in the third trimester, if I am struggling like I was last time, and I would need at least six months off afterwards.
  • Attempt to find a team, or at least a few health professionals who understand both fibromyalgia and pregnancy. After a pregnancy with only a physio (who was pregnant herself and unable to treat me in the last trimester) who understood, I need people to support me.
  • Utilise acupuncture for morning sickness in the first trimester and general wellness during pregnancy.
  • Get more done in the second trimester, so that the third trimester could be more restful and I could rest in the fact that we are prepared.
  • Do my absolute best to avoid stress throughout the pregnancy.
  • Take the belly support belt if I needed it, I avoided it last time at the advice of my physio, but I think it would have helped more than it would have hindered. The pain was too bad to endure again.
  • Use an obstetrician, barring complications, my husband would be my key coach. My husband would know and (better) advocate for me. I would try to avoid an epidural.

After:

  • I would plan a babymoon, I would try to make the first month after labour a time for me and baby to just be, together.
  • This follows from the above guide, but I would treat the first three months like the “fourth trimester” as I have seen written about. I’d want the baby to be close to me, I’d utilise a sling and, especially in the first days, have baby mainly held by my husband and myself.
  • Plan and enforce the visitor rules and how to schedule family support. For example, I would have the immediate family there for only short times in the first few weeks. I wouldn’t invite other visitors for a few weeks.
  • Definitely make use of the organic cotton swaddle blankets again (our favourite brand was Aden and Anais).
  • I would purchase a portacot with the built in bassinet– we made do with a carry cot last time, but I have often wished we had invested in the portacot.
  • Purchase a proper pushchair, I would invest in this key piece of baby ware, a swanky, comfortable, convertible infant seat, carry cot, baby seat combo. We actually ended up purchasing a City Mini Jogger when my first was 12 months old and used it through our second and third babies, it is my favourite and I recommend it to everyone! See my post Essential Baby Items.
  • My husband would be just as involved as the first time. He would stay with us from the beginning (unlike the first time, when I was abandoned from 9pm – 9am) due to the rules of the birthing center. He would take turns with me, he would feed baby (hence the bottle use) and he would bond with baby, as he did with our boy. Their relationship is beautiful and it creates a sense of space for me. It’s parenthood, it takes two, especially when one has chronic pain and fatigue.
  • Be more gentle with myself and advocate more strongly for myself, particularly in the babymoon phase.
  • Document and enjoy it as much as the first. I don’t want a marked decrease in pictures and scrapbooks because I have double the children taking up my time.
This list is long but not exhaustive, I just thought that I could share it, in case my hard gained knowledge helped another in their pregnancy and/or planning. Also, because this has become a place in which to express my views and not deal with people, who don’t understand the fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue element at all, commenting.

So what did I end up doing?

We ended up having our second baby at the end of 2016 and our third at the end of 2018. I had a much better experience both times for all of my knowledge and experience. So please do search the category bar for “pregnancy” posts. I have shared my whole experience with you. You can find it succinctly in my book too.

Posted on Leave a comment

Ways to Cope in the First Trimester: Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain & Fatigue

The first trimester can be hard for anyone, let alone a woman with fibromyalgia, chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Pregnancy with fibromyalgia is not a picnic, although some women do experience a remission from their symptoms. I was so wrong when I thought that several years of fatigue and a decade of chronic pain could prepare me for this whole new level of fatigue, nausea – and by extension, pain.
For ease of language, I refer to fibromyalgia most often, but this incorporates chronic pain, chronic fatigue and insomnia. I personally have the chronic pain condition myofascial pain syndrome as well, so my experience between the two is indistinguishable.
I had to learn the hard way, through personal experience, how to manage pregnancy with  fibromyalgia before I found enough research to be useful, so I share everything on this blog so it isn’t as hard for you.
pregnancy with chronic pain, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, ways to cope in the first trimester

Here’s my tips for coping with the first trimester:

  • Acupuncture for nausea I found this to be a total lifesaver, my physio knew the right spots for hitting that nausea caused by the whirling hormones in my body. She also gave me a pressure point stimulator on my wrist that I could press when I needed. Unfortunately, my existing conditions mixed with the pregnancy problems and I couldn’t separate them, I had no idea how much was “reasonable” or “normal” for pregnancy. Try also: ginger and peppermint.
  • Rest when you can – this is something I couldn’t ignore. There were days when I got up at 7 and needed a nap at 10. I was so lucky to work from home! Rest, rest, rest. You won’t get much when the baby comes. I wasn’t able to, but make a rule of not going out after 7 too often, that would have been so awesome. (I haven’t yet learnt to properly stand up for myself, maybe one day I’ll master this). Since I wrote this article, I have profoundly benefited from meditation, see more about meditation here
For a sneak peek into the third trimester when pregnant with chronic pain see here
  • Keep walking – I did my absolute best to keep exercising. Sometimes I couldn’t, other times I managed 20 minutes (something I continued until my last day of pregnancy, and for which I’m thankful for). If walking is out of reach, a bed yoga routine could be an idea.
  • Eat little and often – this is something that’s natural to my metabolism, but I found that eating less amounts, more often helped. If I had food in my tummy, but not too much, I was less prone to nausea and I had more energy. Yes it is best to focus on vegetables, fruits, protein and healthy fats. But if carbohydrates are calling you and you can’t stomach anything else, go for it! Just try to stick with wholegrain rather than refined flours.
  • Find your Shapes – find that food that helps your tummy when you’re nauseous. At first, what helped changed weekly. But after a while Shapes (small, flavoured crackers) became my go-to. I must have gone through a dozen boxes in my first trimester!
  • Manage your pain as best as you can – Ideally you will have previously discussed what medicines you can and cannot continue to take while pregnant with your doctor. If not, make an appointment as soon as possible to discuss it with a knowledgeable (and compassionate) practitioner. Also utilise all the natural pain management mechanisms possible. Rest, sleep, warm bath, heat pack, stretching etc.

This post was written after my first pregnancy and before my second two (when I really refined what helped!) so do check out “pregnancy” category in the category box for more articles to help. 

Posted on Leave a comment

12 Weeks & a Beautiful Baby

My tiny baby is gorgeous! I saw baby in my 12 weeks scan today. It was a very moving experience. Baby is healthy and on track for growth. He/she was sleeping when we began with a little hand raised above their head. Once he/she had been prodded a bit we got to see some movement. It was surreal to see baby moving, but not be able to feel it. It was truly a wonderful experience.

Unfortunately, due to the clinic cancelling my scan at the last minute two days ago and having to take the only time available (midday) this week, my partner couldn’t attend. This is very sad because, as a dad it is one of the few times he can really be involved at this stage. But we have a picture:

Now that I am at week 12, I feel like I can finally buy stuff. I have already researched all of the big, essential items and there are big differences in price! In an online store there are cots with mattresses for around $200, in a store the other day the prices seemed to start at $500 for just the cot! So I have to be wise and check the price (and quality)!

We have decided to go with a convertible car seat, rather than an infant capsule, because it will last the baby’s whole career in a car seat and then be useful for any future babies, it is a worthy investment. Also, having the noodle arms that I have, carrying the infant capsules is rather difficult for me!

As we leave the first trimester, and come into the second, I am hoping the fatigue will recede a little and that the hunger will abate to a more manageable level. As it is I can only fit one pair of my pants!

This is a pregnancy diary from my first pregnancy in 2013/14. For my most recent pregnancy diaries and my pregnancy resources see here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Emotions and Mood

I have always prided myself on my effort to keep a level head, despite extreme fatigue and pain and the associated barrage of emotions that come from dealing with that.

But at the moment, I am a mess! I can get really sad, for no real reason and I can’t bring my head into it to tell myself it is just a moment and it will pass.

I prefer to be positive, especially when talking about my fibro/chronic fatigue. Positive but real. My neck has really amped it up, the pain levels have hovered around 5-6/10 almost every day. Sometimes they shoot up to 7-8/10 and only being allowed Panadol is really hard!

In just four days I get my first week-long holiday since Christmas last year! So I am counting down!

Posted on Leave a comment

Post-Exertion Wipe Out

This is an old post when I wrote diary-like entries during my first pregnancy when I found myself alone with not even doctors who understood what might happen to me. One doctor suggested I ought to be feeling better (which I most certainly was not) but what an odd, uninformed thing to say! For the most recent pregnancy diaries from pregnancy number two and three see my Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia resources page

With the high levels of fatigue and struggle to sleep, my body is struggling a little. I have found that post-exertion I am wiped out. Walking up the stairs can leave me a little breathless. But my 25-30 minute walk with the dog can leave me flat for a good half an hour. 

I was finding the level of fatigue after yoga or Pilates unbearable, which is why I have done neither in a few weeks. I was feeling wiped, to the point of feeling faint, so I’ve had no inclination to force myself again yet.

However, I want to try to do a gentle session of Pilates tomorrow, to get back into it again. I want to reclaim my little schedule as soon as possible. I am determined to help my body prepare for the endurance race ahead, with pregnancy, labour and then caring for a tiny baby.

Meanwhile, I am so pleased it is time for another weekend. Tonight my love is coming over for the evening. Tomorrow I shall meet a friend, do some exercise and otherwise potter around home. On Sunday we are going back down to the little town we have found for another round of house hunting. This time we are taking my mother, so she feels included and realises it is not so far.

Feeling so blessed to have my mother onside. She came with me as I met my midwife for the first time today and she is already talking about the things to buy me for when I get bigger (thanks, but I’d like not to think about that for a while yet)!

Posted on Leave a comment

Week Ten, Blessed

We now have a fetus, rather than an embryo! It is very exciting to be past the critical development phase. Now that we are on the downward slide to 12 weeks and our next scan, I am getting excited to tell people and to start buying the many things we need.

I really hope the fatigue will drop off enough to allow me to do some gentle Pilates again. My neck is really struggling without it, to the point of keeping me awake and waking me frequently in pain. I am off to the physio today, so I am pleased about that.

It is rather shocking that I have a baby growing inside me. It is something I have always dreamed of and known I’d do, but to actually be pregnant is something else. Despite being earth-shatteringly exhausted, sore and the rest of it, it somehow feels, deep in my core, worth it.

Of course I am nervous about a great many things. Number one is how I am going to manage physically with fibro/chronic fatigue, baby and a job. Though, I do know the number one priority will be baby and then my health, the rest has to fall into line. For now, I have to focus on continuing to grow her/him and keep her/him safe.

 

This is a pregnancy diary from my first pregnancy in 2013/14. For my most recent pregnancy diaries and my pregnancy resources see here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Fancy Date Night

Last night was fancy date night. A date for just us, out for a nice meal and I dressed up! We went to a fabulous Japanese teppanyaki restaurant, where our food was cooked in front of us by an amazing chef. She flung the utensils in the air with ease and cooked my seafood dish to perfection.

Being a fairly new couple, about to buy a house and have a baby, we still have some things to talk through. Religion has been nutted out fairly hard, I’m starting Catholic conversion classes this week.

We had to talk financials last night and the issue of being unmarried came up again. I know people get divorced everyday, some celebrity marriages survive shorter than my gestation period will, but it makes me feel insecure. Like it’s a box that’s unticked, but a rather important one to me. My partner would like me to be super close with his family and then he would like both of our families to be close. I can’t do much about the family thing as there are just massive differences, they will get along, but they probably won’t share Christmas. I can hang out with his family more, except that he laughed at the fact that I struggle to go over for a 9pm meal and then drive home alone later.

With my fatigue levels at the moment, I wait for bed all day. By 7pm I am exhausted, I don’t enjoy leaving the house. At 9pm I am usually getting ready for bed. If I get home and take my medicine (to help me sleep) at 10pm, I won’t sleep until around 11.30pm, It takes time to kick in. So nights out for parties with his friends, nights out for dinner with his family and fancy date nights, on top of what I’m currently coping with, is a lot.

Is it the same for every partner, do they not get the level of fatigue that early pregnancy generates?

Posted on Leave a comment

Tiring, Awesome Weekend

Chronic fatigue + pregnancy fatigue = devastating!

We had a very busy weekend. On Friday night my partner and I went to a party and I didn’t sleep until about 2am. On Saturday I took my baby brother out for timezone, lunch and mini-golf. We also had dinner and a movie night with my family.

Sunday was a whopper day. We started with my church (Anglican) and then went about 45 minutes drive away to a gorgeous little town where we are considering buying a house. There is a sizable town center, farmland views, a rugby stadium, a beautiful pond with ducks (near one of the houses), many beautiful reserves and parks, and it is so quiet. Just 45 minutes out of the city, we can get three or four bedrooms with a little bit of land in a nicely presented house.

image

For the same price in the city, we can get two bedrooms, attached houses in dire need of a makeover with little land.

We also did evening mass and dinner with my family.

When I finally did get to bed, I got quite upset, because my neck was so sore I couldn’t get to sleep and panadol does nothing for a bad neck ache!

But the weekend was worth it. I got to spend some time with my gorgeous baby brother (14 years old next month, where did the time go? I remember my parents bringing him home as a brand new baby!).

We were also able to tell my family on Saturday night about baby. They were over the moon. Which was so fantastic! It was such a relief to have people in the know and the support and love. I don’t know how I hid it this long.

My beautiful partner has also started to perk up and get more excited about baby and our big life changes. He also dealt beautifully with my fatigue, needing to eat randomly and pain all weekend.

Posted on Leave a comment

Thankful

I’m thankful for a beautiful, blue-skied morning, this is the view outside my door:image

I’m also (super) thankful for flexible working conditions.

I’m thankful I have a healthy baby safely nestled inside of me, I just made the appointment to get to see him/her again in three weeks.

I am also thankful for my man, who is struggling with a great many things at the moment, but who is also trying to be a great partner at the same time. (I wonder if there are chemicals bouncing around my body enticing me to love him more, like there are for the baby?? Chemical manipulation! But I feel these things very strongly at the moment!)

Posted on Leave a comment

Weekend and Mondays

This is an old post when I wrote diary-like entries during my first pregnancy when I found myself alone with not even doctors who understood what might happen to me. One doctor suggested I ought to be feeling better (which I most certainly was not) but what an odd, uninformed thing to say! For the most recent pregnancy diaries from pregnancy number two and three see my Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia resources page

My partner and I got to spend the day together on Saturday, we went to a cousin’s wedding. It was so lovely to have him the whole day and to focus on something else for that time. I just enjoyed his company and seeing all my family. It was the first time for a lot of my extended family meeting him, but it went so well, they all love him! It was a really great break. Unfortunately I did start struggling to stay awake from about 7pm!

I am finding night times really difficult, even before pregnancy, staying out late was not helpful. Now I find it near impossible. But my partner and his family and friends all eat around the time I go to bed, so in order to socialise with them I have to eat super late and try my best to stay awake after that. How many times can one say no to socialising with a (relatively new) partner’s friends and family?! Is it worse to go and then look exhausted (for no apparent reason, to them)? I don’t know the answer to this, but I am going to try this Friday night, for his sake.

We have daylight savings in this part of the world, so on Saturday night we put the clocks back an hour. My body is so confused! Last night I slept from 10pm – 8am and I didn’t want to get up, I have been up for a few hours and really don’t want to be! I am counting down the four weeks until this fatigue should start to recede.

Another milestone I am waiting for, with no defined deadline, is when my partner and I can stop freaking out about finances, how our families will react to our news and his potential redundancy. I would adore the time of no holds barred excitement for this miracle we have created.