Sunday, 24 April 2016

Same Milestones, Different Babies

When we were trying for baby no. 2 we purposefully kept our pants on the month we knew a due date would fall around Aneurin's birthday. We knew that would be too difficult and we wanted his day to be his. We talked about his due date but felt that didn't bother us because knowing he was going to be induced at 37 weeks, it never really felt like his day. As chance would have it, this baby has ended up being due on his original due date; 9th September and although we have no emotional attachment to that date (especially as we know this little one will be delivered early too), it is a thousand times harder then we anticipated. 
Two babies due the same day a year apart. They run parallel to eachother and in some ways that is wonderful because they share a special little bond but in others, it is so difficult. First anniversaries meet milestones, Aneurin's handful of special days are no longer just his and the hardest days are met with added hormones and fear. 

Today is one year since Aneurin's 20 week scan. The last scan where we were told 'everything looks perfect'. There were no causes for concern, no furrowed brows, no measured voices or carefully chosen words. Just a first-time mummy and daddy walking on air with excitement and anticipation of their healthy baby boy. 

Milestones and memories like today are two-fold. We have the memory of these moments with Aneurin, whether they're full of magic and happiness or heartbreak and grief, and then we have the fear and anxiety of reaching them with Poglet. Her 20 week scan is this Thursday and I am petrified. Petrified that something will be wrong or worse, everything will be fine but then something will be wrong later and we have to relive that rollercoaster again. Our next stop is the 24 week doppler which is where it started to go wrong with too much fluid and a small stomach and after that the milestones and anniversaries are going to come so thick and fast thinking about them makes my head spin. 

One of the biggest things women going through a pregnancy after loss have to keep in mind is that this is a different baby. Different pregnancy, different baby, different outcome. I have to remind myself of that every day but it is incredibly difficult to do so when timelines are the same. I've never once thought this baby is Aneurin or woken up and mistaken her movements for his. These pregnancies are vastly different and from day one I've known this baby is exactly who she is. However, the different outcome is where I struggle. We know the likelihood of Poglet having Down's syndrome is very small and all tests have come back very low risk. That's one thing ticked off, but to be honest, the Down's syndrome was never the part I was afraid of. The ASD and OA/TOF that ultimately caused Aneurin's death are not exclusive to Down's syndrome. Any baby can develop those. That knowledge on top of the introduction of probable Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) means my worries aren't as irrational as I'd like them to be. 

Having said that though, my worries can be eased. I've asked for an in-depth cardiac scan with the fetal medicine team who cared for me during my pregnancy with Aneurin and if they tell me all is well I trust them. The complications with the APS are being treated with daily injections, aspirin and regular growth scans. If something is wrong, they will know. My care plan is a solid one and I trust all my many healthcare professionals to take good care of me. 

Never for a second do I wish we had waited longer or that our second child had come at a different time. She is here for a reason as much as her brother was. 

I want to believe that this first year of grief is the hardest. That the first time we reach anniversaries are the most painful but I know that's not true. I'm learning to live with the pain but it still knocks me off my feet regularly. As much as I want to focus on the incredible gift that was our son and all the things he taught us and gave us, I can't help but feel the trauma of his diagnoses and the pain of his loss too. 

There are so many contradictions and polar opposites in grief. I see so many quotes from bereaved parents who say they exist in two places and I completely understand that. Even now, I am torn between wanting to tick the days off quickly so I can meet my little girl and have her safely in my arms and desperately wanting to slow the clock down because the idea of it being an entire year since I last saw my son and being that far away from him is just awful. The paradox of grief is exhausting. 

Darkness and light, heartbreak and love, lucky and unlucky, fear and gratitude, Heaven and Earth. 

I know this will pass, it's the anxiety of a rainbow pregnancy combined with another crashing wave of grief. It will soften though and when it does I'm left with beautiful memories of my first baby, excitement for my second and an incredible amount of love for them both and that is more than worth it. 

Mrs D x

Due to my brain having been a bit woolly this week, my 20 week rainbow pregnancy update will be uploaded in a few days. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Rainbow Baby Clothing Wishlist

Before I fell pregnant with our Poglet and even during the first few weeks I wasn't sure whether I liked the idea of the term 'rainbow baby'. I wrote a little bit more about that here. However, as time has gone on I've found myself being drawn to all things rainbow. These are my favourite items I've found so far.

1. 'I'm Happy' Rainbow T-shirt from Next (Part of a pack of two)
2. Rainbow Sleepsuit from Next (Part of a pack of three)

5. Rainbow Bumblebee Sleepsuit from Frugi (Part of a pack of two)

I'm not ready to buy things for Poglet just yet but when I do these are definitely going in my basket, especially that cardigan from Next, I love it! 

Mrs D x


Sunday, 10 April 2016

Rainbow Pregnancy - 18 Week Update

Although it feels like the weeks are going ever so slowly, in terms of organising myself enough to sit down and tap out my updates every two weeks, they're flying by! 

The second trimester glow has definitely hit this week and it is glorious. I'm able to stay up past 9pm, I feel like I have a touch more energy and just generally feel perkier. With it though has come an increase in appetite from all the rapid growing Poglet is doing now (she is apparently the size of a sweet potato this week according to my Ovia app!). I'm finding myself having to root around in the fridge a lot more and I'm waking up ravenous every morning. I've had that same gnawing hunger when I've woken up to go to the loo in the middle of the night a few times so have had to get up and have a banana! My snacks of choice at the minute are taramasalata with wholemeal pitta, mango, celery with Boursin and Oykos passion-fruit yogurts. 

I had my first glucose tolerance test (GTT) last Friday which thankfully came back normal. Due to having a high BMI, a history of PCOS and having had a stillbirth (oh how I hate my sweet boy being reduced to that simple word) I'll have two during this pregnancy and any future ones. The first at 16 weeks and the second around 26 weeks. I really hope I can avoid getting gestational diabetes with this little one, I don't need any extra worry! I managed to evade it with Aneurin so fingers crossed. 

After a very difficult March the last week or so has definitely been a little more gentle. It's been lovely having Mr D at home for the Easter holidays (he's a special needs teacher). The first week we mostly spent with my mum which was such a treat because I normally only get to see her once a week. She's been struggling too, losing two incredibly important people in her life in such a short space of time, so it was lovely just to spend some time with her and give her some love. We also celebrated my 29th birthday last weekend with a beautiful meal at Bills (I could eat their crispy halloumi until my insides turn to dairy) and a caterpillar birthday cake because you are never too old for one of those! This week we've been doing some spring cleaning and have taken more bin bags to the tip than I care to disclose. Our living room and bedroom are both looking far less cluttered which does wonders for my wellbeing. Other than that we've just been pottering around doing little jobs and having lovely long lay ins!

18 week bump! (For more info on what I'm wearing see my latest plus size maternity style post.)
There have been two very good things about this week. The first being that we went to The White Company and bought our Poglet a comforter. Mr D bought Aneurin one around the same time which we had cremated with him. It was very precious and we wanted to do the same for our daughter. Mr D chose a beautiful little one with an elephant on the top, perfect for clutching hold of and having a chew on! It was such a small thing to do but felt like an important step. 

The other glorious thing about this week is I've started to feel proper movements! I was feeling a little (okay, a lot) anxious because I was feeling a lot more movement with Aneurin at this point but I keep having to remind myself this is a totally different pregnancy. She's definitely woken up this week though and she is rolling and swishing up a storm in there! I'm mostly feeling her in the evenings or after I've eaten which I take to be a little protest that her valuable swishing room has been taken up by food! 

I've got an appointment on Monday with my midwife to listen to Poglet's heartbeat which I cannot wait for. The one I was feeling so anxious about at 16 weeks turned out very well. My midwife came to my home instead of me going into the surgery and being in a different environment for the first listen since the last made a huge difference. She's having me in every two weeks to listen now just for reassurance. One of the many reasons why my midwife is marvellous!

Mrs D x

ps. Do you like my new blog design? I needed a change!

Friday, 8 April 2016

Bump It Up - Plus Size Maternity Wear from Yours Clothing

When I was pregnant with Aneurin I had precisely one pair of cropped jeans, two pairs of leggings, two tops and one maxi dress on rotate. Most of the tops and the dress ended up with food stains over the bump because my usual bib-acting boobs suddenly didn't have the gravitational pull they once did and apparently, I could not shovel food in my face fast enough. The jeans had holes in the stretchy band where my long nails had poked through on particular warm days when I had to hoik them up over my sweaty thighs. And the maxi dress wasn't maxi at all but rather awkward-midi. For someone who loved clothes and once had a large wardrobe to choose from, it was a bit rubbish.

Plus size maternity wear in the UK is as precious as gold dust. Before now there were only two places I could buy maternity clothes over a size 22, one affordable but basic, one over-priced and yawn inducing and both only available online which meant I spent a lot of time going back and forth to the post office. 

Imagine my delight when one of my favourite plus size retailers, Yours Clothing, announced they were bringing out a new plus size maternity range adorably entitled 'Bump It Up'! We hadn't announced we were expecting when they shared the news so I couldn't publicly reveal my joy but there was a lot of jumping up and down with glee in private (followed by a sit down and some deep breathing through the movement induced nausea...). 

With the range being part of Yours I knew there would be some genuinely stylish gems and I wasn't disappointed at all. They've got a solid line of basics such as some marvellous over-the-bump leggingslong sleeved tops and camis with secret support. Each of them come in at least two colours and the leggings are available in three different lengths, two of which have the added touch of lace hems. 

As well as the basics they've got a lovely range of tunics, waterfall cardigans, maxi skirts, cute printed tees and a variety of dresses including two beautiful lace occasion dresses. They're adding new bits every few weeks, the latest of which include jeggings, a kimono and this pretty navy and peach floral dress. For the time being the range is only available online but having spoken to my local Yours store the manager seems hopeful they may bring a few bits in store too. 

Poglet and I were sent a few bits to try out and we were very impressed! It can be tempting with maternity wear to size up but I tried everything in my usual size 24 and it was spot on. The incredibly comfy maternity leggings are the perfect length and fit right up over my bump with room for it to grow whilst the waterfall cardigan drapes round my bump beautifully. The quality of the clothing is just as high as the regular Yours range and both items have held up really well having been washed a couple of times already. 

Cherie bra by Curvy Kate 

I was also sent a maxi dress but haven't worn it yet as there was a little excess bump room so I'll be keeping that for when Poglet is a bit bigger. Being 5ft 8 with ridiculously long legs maxi dresses are almost always more midi on me. However, this one actually touched the tops of my feet! I was so pleased I had a lovely swishing about session in front of the mirror! I'll definitely be getting this in every colour ready for the sweaty summer months. 

I'm really looking forward to bringing you more plus size and pregnant outfit posts over the coming months. Since Aneurin died I feel like I've fallen out of love with fashion, it just doesn't hold the same joy for me anymore. Whether that will come back, I have no idea but for now I'm really enjoying embracing the changes my body is going through and it's wonderful having clothing that actually fits and makes me feel good. 

Do you hear that Yours? That is the sound of thousands of pregnant plus size women breathing a sigh of relief and blowing grateful kisses in your direction! 

Mrs D x
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