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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. 


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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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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.

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Tips to Cope in the Third Trimester: Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

It’s no secret, the third trimester of pregnancy is a trying time. Especially if you have fibromyalgia and any of the comorbid disorders that can go hand in hand with it.

I struggled so much that I was very scared of the prospect of a second pregnancy. The second pregnancy wasn’t much better, but I was better prepared and that made all the difference.

tips to cope in the third trimester: pregnancy with fibromyalgia

But there were a few things I managed that helped greatly and that I have seen mentioned in my reading travels:

Create a pain relief plan for pregnancy

You can do this using my 15-page printable PDF Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Micro Course Workbook. It goes through the existing information about pain relief during pregnancy, my experiences, a list of natural pain relief options, a list of further reading, a template to make your own pain relief plan (pregnancy edition) with space for notes and the brand new Advanced Pain Relief sheet with links to research about medicine use in pregnancy. Otherwise, just find a list of pregnancy-suitable pain relief mechanisms and make a list of your favourites.

Acupuncture/Massage/Chiropractic

Acupuncture helped me with nausea in the first trimester and then with the pain as the pregnancy progressed. In the third trimester I visited my physiotherapist (who performs acupuncture) weekly. I wish I could have had a full body massage as well, but my neck can only be treated in this way and it was a bit expensive to visit the physio and a massage therapist. Try to find a treatment that helps you.

Keep moving

In my first, I walked until the last day of my pregnancy. It was slow going in the last few weeks, but it was for the good of my mind and body that I went. With my second, I couldn’t physically walk very far at all due to the (undiagnosed) symphysis pubis disorder, but I kept up my pelvic tilts and pelvic floors.

Stretch if nothing else. I love cat and cow pose for keeping my back moving, easing tension in my neck and preparing for delivery.

Sleep

Find what will help. I had a great full body pillow that I curled around. Sleep was still difficult, but it helped!

Rest

Don’t stand when you can sit or sit when you can lie down! Don’t become a couch blob, but take it easy! Meditate!

Eat healthily

I fell in love with semolina porridge (or sooji as my Indian family-in-law knows it), it became my power dish. Try to really think of food as fuel. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, protein. This may be a good area to get some advice in as I have certainly found that nutrition has a big impact on health.

Write a journal

Try to focus on the beautiful baby you will be given and that will help you to remember that this time will pass! I created this template, Mama Notes, during my second pregnancy to keep track of the cute things Noah was doing as well as my pregnancy. I now have some beautiful memories to look back at.

Stop work as soon as you can

If it becomes a real struggle and you are so sore that you can’t sit down, like I was, then try to give it up as soon as possible.

Iron levels

One thing you definitely need to do is check your iron levels. Ask the doctor, when your results come in, what the range is (it’s a large range), and if it’s low already ask for an easily digestible supplement. It’s standard here to wait until week 28 before testing and by then I had become so low that my stores were wiped, making life much harder than it needed to be. I was beside myself exhausted! And for good reason!

Join the Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook group

We chat pregnancy, trying to conceive, labour and the early weeks every day, it has been amazing for my third time around to have a small community to do this journey with me. Join us here.

Finally, know that there is a finite time that you are pregnant for. Try to enjoy it! Stockpile the rest!

Do you want more information about coping with the third trimester, early labour and pregnancy and fibro workbook angledthe early weeks with new baby? Find information, research, tip sheets and templates to make YOUR OWN plans in module four of my Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia course! It’s free with the option to purchase my book and/or the workbook – as a combo they give you a lot of knowledge in the subject –
“I found it [the course] easy to use and I feel that with that plus your book Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia I have learnt a lot.” – Amanda, Course Participant
You can also purchase the Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia workbook from my Etsy store and work your way through it at your own pace, there is information, further reading, tip sheets, templates and space for notes.
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Week 37

One of the struggles of Fibromyalgia that tends to stick with me, are the times when my brain is willing but my body is not. Patience is not easy to cultivate. Especially when you know that the fog caused by the pain and fatigue can be waiting to take you out next.

I have so much I want to achieve and so little means!

As I near the end of my pregnancy, I have had to reduce my activities and increase my resting. Not so much by choice, my back has made it near impossible to keep going.

For now we are in a waiting game. I have been plagued by period-like pains in my lower back and have had some spotting in the past couple of days. I don’t feel like doing anything, but resting is frustrating.

I have finished washing the tiny baby clothes for him to wear immediately, made his bed and bought the last of the essential items.

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Now baby is welcome any time!

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

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Week 34 Update

I seem to be existing in an odd space where time is simultaneously going fast and slow! The night goes so slowly, waking to turn over every hour or so and go to the bathroom. The day seems to go slowly when I am trying to work and find it too painful…but it all seems to speed past at a shocking rate.

We have added more to baby’s room. I now have a (second-hand) nursing chair, change table and cot in there. We have the wardrobe scheduled to be updated next week so that we can utilise this space in his small room. We also managed to find a great baby monitor second-hand online.

This weekend is my baby shower! I am looking forward to that! We are doing an animal theme with only a few ice breaker games, nothing too cheesy (as that is NOT my style!). I am looking forward to having a party where I can chat with the guests I have invited.

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Monday is also my last day of trying to struggle through work. Already! And finally! There is still so much to do, my to-do list is rather long. I’ll be free to buy my baby clothes (everyone says to wait and see what you are given) and continue getting the bits and pieces we need. But I do hope to rest some more.

I can’t believe our little boy will be joining us sometime in the next six or so weeks! I am torn between wanting him out so my back can find some relief and I can lie down more comfortably (and have space for my bladder back) and wanting to keep him safe and secure in there!

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

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33 Weeks and the Toughness Just Keeps Getting Tougher

So far, I have been feeling justified when I have had pain or fatigue that is considered “normal” in pregnancy. When my husband (inevitably) does not understand the effect of the pain, the fatigue and the ongoing nights of no more than one or two hours of sleep at a time, I feel ok to say it is a pregnancy thing.

But I imagine, the fact that, at 33 weeks I am struggling so much has to be a combination of my chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and my pregnancy. My back is so sore that I can’t sit for long periods of time (read: more than 10 minutes). I am so fatigued and frazzled that I am finding it hard to regulate my emotions. My feet, legs, glutes, back, shoulders and neck are so sore that I burst into tears at times – something I have managed to keep mostly hidden from the people around me.

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Even things that are “normal” for pregnant people or “normal” for my previous life and preferences are hard for my husband, in particular, to understand. Why don’t I love having several people over for dinner (when I am spending the whole preparation time trying to stand from side to side to give my feet or glutes a break and when I am spending the whole time they are there trying not to cry from having to sit up and desperately wishing for bed)? Why don’t I love going out after 7pm at night (with the same conditions as above)?

That’s been a real culture shock in adjusting to marriage. Previously, I would go out once or twice a week in the evenings. As a pregnant woman I would prefer never to be out after 5pm! I would prefer to work, rest, walk the dog, cook dinner, have a bath and then lie on the couch with a book or the TV. Whereas my husband loves to go out and have people over (and his family and friends tend to eat dinner between 8 and 9pm!).

Despite the consistent pain and fatigue, I am managing to find joy in my baby and his movements. We have put up the cot and change table and his room is starting to take shape! I am shifting from reading about pregnancy to reading about having a baby, but I actually think I might switch to non-baby related books altogether – my brain needs a break! 

You would be forgiven if you think this sounds a little negative, but to write this down actually goes a little way towards helping me cope. 

Seven weeks to go! 

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Week 31

Giant…I feel like a giant! I don’t know how I have nine more weeks in which to grow!

Baby likes to keep to the right, which is putting considerable strain on my right, mid-back. He is also moving a lot, which can hurt, especially when he gets my ribs with those tiny feet!

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I am feeling a real urge to get his room ready and his things prepared. I am very uncomfortable with the fact that we are not ready…even though I know we have some time.

I am getting very tired and sore. The pain is making it hard to sleep. My husband has been excellent with firm massages to free up my lower back, but I am experiencing pain in my back almost constantly. When I can manage a few hours in a row of sleep, I feel so much better for it the next day. So there’s my survival goal when baby comes – do everything I can to maximize my chances of three hour blocks!

In amongst all of the pain and fatigue and angst, there is also this pervading sense of joy. This is my tiny baby. My son. When he kicks at me, with one foot at a time, and I can distinguish it is one little limb, I experience such a surge of peace and happiness. I imagine what it will be like to see his baby feet. I imagine what it will be like to get to hold him on the outside, where it will be far more comfortable!

It’s getting scary and it’s getting exciting. It’s a pretty profound, life-changing experience.

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

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Last Adventures

We embarked upon our last adventure before baby this weekend. We joined 10 friends in a beautiful beach front location, about two hours drive from our place, for one of their four night holiday. 

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From: www.dreamstime.com

It was the last time we would be able to join them for that sort of holiday as those holidays are not the type for a baby. As a pregnant woman I struggled! But it was fun. 

We also ventured over to visit some of my family, about 50 minutes further away from where we were. This will be the last time I see most of them until after baby. It was so lovely to have a family BBQ and spend time with my nana. My husband enjoyed the more in-depth meeting than the usual wedding catch ups that have previously passed. 

Baby is due in about nine weeks! It’s crazy how fast this time is going. We have prepared nowhere near as much as I’d like! I am counting down the last four weeks of work before my leave kicks in, as I am exhausted and have so much to do! 

After such a full on weekend, I am struggling today. But it was worth it! I do think that I am on the wind down now, though, no more late nights and long drives for me! 

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28 Weeks and a Wedding

The 28th week has ticked over! In fact, tomorrow I am 29 weeks! Time has started to blur past.

My wedding came and went just over a week ago, the day, like the preparation, whizzed by. It was a whole lot of heat, fatigue, fun and love. I was more focused on, and more excited about, the baby. I also didn’t think I was a wedding person. But it was the most beautiful day. There is nothing in the world like telling the love of your life that you will spend forever loving them in front of your friends and family.

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I have the most precious memories from this day. The first was walking down the aisle toward my love. He looked gorgeous and I just couldn’t believe I was there, getting to marry him.

The photo shoot was exhausting in the heat, but it was also a fun time. We got some beautiful shots. It was really fun to play model for a day!

Unfortunately I was well and truly out of energy by the time we arrived to the reception. After our entrance and the cutting of the cake, we had the speeches. Wow. I was particularly touched by my mother-in-law’s speech. My sister, father and brother-in-law gave great speeches also.

But the one that took my breath away (and nearly made me cry in public, from which I fear I wouldn’t have stopped being the exhausted, pregnant woman that I am) was my husband’s speech. I haven’t the words to describe how much I love him or how much I appreciated his precious words to me. I stole his notes for my memory box!

We have been told how much people enjoyed our wedding, there was a lot of dancing! So, the last hours of the wedding were characterized by some excellent dancing. Not mine, besides being tired, it was really hard to dance in the big, heavy dress! Our first dance didn’t go as practiced, as it was too hard to do the turns with the train. I am already planning an easier, shorter dress for our first anniversary so that we can recreate that dance properly – it was to Celine Dion’s If That’s What it Takes, sung by my brother! That was pretty special.

And then, all of a sudden, it was done. We are married! We are now making our home together, carrying on as usual and preparing for our baby to join us in the next 10-14 weeks!

I am supposed to be working and organizing a whole heap of things, but between the pain (hips, lower back, glutes, neck), the fatigue and the daydreaming of what my baby will be like, I haven’t done as much as I’d like yet.

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