Monday, 27 June 2016

This Body Of Mine

body positive baby bump

My stretch marks have never bothered me too much, I think when you grow up with self harm scars on your body the ones you know everyone has become the ones you like the most. They just are what they are but these little marks here, I love. I am so in love with these few red wriggly lines that have appeared in the last few days. These are Poglet's. 

My squishy tummy accommodated Aneurin quite nicely, only really stretching further in his last two weeks with me. I didn't notice those marks until my tummy had deflated after he left my body and by then I was so bereft, so angry and betrayed by my body that I couldn't see them as anything other than a heartbreaking reminder of what had been taken away from me. For weeks I couldn't look at my tummy, softer than ever with these tiny silvery, white ripples where my skin had grown to fit my beautiful baby. I couldn't stand it and I was convinced that Mr D couldn't either which somehow made it worse. Despite knowing how poorly Aneurin was, I thought he might blame my body for not being able to keep our son alive but I could not have been more wrong. When I couldn't bear to look at my body, changed and empty, he just loved it that little bit more. When I hid my new and unfamiliar tummy from him he found it and kissed it. He was wonderful.

As someone who had spent a long time learning to love their body, a body that society constantly and aggressively tells me is ugly and wrong, to suddenly feel like it is the enemy again is really difficult. I lost myself completely. Every single part of me that I felt so fiercely about disappeared. I suppose that's why my plus size fashion blog stopped being so important to me. Even when I felt like I was ready to find my new normal, it didn't feel like it was a part of me anymore. Clothes were just a necessity for a long time and even though I'm finding the joy in my appearance again, it feels like that part of me has gone. 

When I fell pregnant with Poglet my body changed almost overnight. The waist I had once loved so much that had reappeared cruelly within days of giving birth expanded rapidly. The upper part of my tummy hardened which had never happened with Aneurin because I carried him so low. My body knew what to do because it had done it so recently and I popped back into being pregnant so quickly. And yet, that incredible love I had for my pregnant body the first time didn't reappear for a long time. 

I felt guilty about it, I wanted to love my body in the same way but I was scared. It was different to me now, both physically and emotionally. I have a little pouch round the bottom of my tummy where my skin never had time to snap back, nor was I in any position to even care enough to want it to. As much as I cringed looking at that squishy roll for weeks, it has actually served me very well because it is the only area when I can 'pinch an inch' for my Clexane injections which help keep my little love safe. It is slowly filling out again but it is a part of me that wasn't there before. Emotionally, it's really hard to trust your body to do the thing that broke your heart and shattered your world. 

But, as with everything, it just took a little time and a little patience. As my belly has swelled, so has my heart. From quite early on in this pregnancy I started wearing fitted tops and leggings, something I never did even at the height of accepting my body, purely so I could show the world my bump. I don't care if it's not perfectly rounded or that I'm as wide as a bus this time, my body is doing something I never expected it to for the second time and that is magic. I am proud of my body for what it has done and is doing. 

Poglet nestled so neatly into her big brother's home, taking advantage of the cosy space he had left, swooshing around and spreading out. Now she's making her own mark. These new red stretch marks which I love so dearly. I waddled naked from the bathroom into the bedroom last week and showed them proudly and excitedly to Mr D who grinned at me and gave them a kiss. These marks that will not erase no matter how many children I hold in my arms, that prove my body grew more than you can see. And one day I will be able to look at my body (and no doubt wince at it on the bad days because it is so different the one I once knew) and know exactly which mark belongs to which of my children and which ones they shared. 

My body isn't perfect, in fact, it's far from it but it grew a magic little boy and it is continuing to grow a very special little girl and it deserves to be loved. 

Mrs D x

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Rainbow Pregnancy - 26 Week Update

Every day I feel a tiny bit stronger. I have to work really bloody hard at it and there are so many moments of doubt and fear but every day I allow the belief that this baby is here to keep creep in. Most of the time I feel like I have to protect myself from it; let it wash over me for a second before shaking myself back to reality. The reality that our first baby died, that babies die for no reason all the time, that people have more than one baby die and there's no reason to say that won't happen to us. It sounds awful (and utterly exhausting too) but that is mine and so many other people's reality. Slowly though, I am forcing myself sit with the feeling of 'my baby will live' for a little bit longer and it is wonderful.

Despite the flashes of a happy ending I am acutely aware all the time that pregnancy might be the only time we get with our Poglet. It's all we had with Aneurin and those 34 weeks are the most precious, sacred moments I have. I want every second with Poglet to be just as precious. I try to stop whatever I'm doing when she's having a wriggle around and just be with her in that moment, rub my tummy, talk to her, notice what the movements feel like and try to work out what she's doing. I am positive that taking that time to bond with my bump and the baby inside is what's given me the strength to get through this pregnancy. That and the precious memories of her big brother. Knowing we only have those for him makes these moments with her all the more special.

Bonding has definitely been the focus of the last couple of weeks. Whilst things have been difficult with memories of Aneurin's diagnosis, it's natural that we've struggled with finding our hope and ability to look forward with Poglet. It's a reminder of our reality and with that in mind both of us have been trying to make more of a conscious effort to bond with her and spend a bit more time focused on her. We've been sitting down at least once a day and just taking the time to connect with eachother about how we're feeling at the minute and with that we have a little bump time. We seem to do it when she's moving around a lot so Mr D can feel her and we can share that little bit of excitement together. I also bought a few books for Mr D to read to her at night which has been quite emotional but very special. He's been struggling quite a bit lately and has been signed off work for a couple of weeks so this time as a little family feels so healing right now.

The biggest thing we've done in the last couple of weeks is sort through all the baby clothes we have. It was a spur of the moment thing (I find it far, far easier doing things as and when we feel we're able to rather than plan to do them) and although it was very difficult, I'm glad we did it. I want to write a separate post on passing items down from a baby who never used them because I could ramble on about it for a long time. It felt lovely being able to do something for our little girl with our big boy in mind.

Physically I feel as though I'm doing quite well. My sciatica and pelvic pain isn't as bad as it was a few weeks ago which I'm putting down to my yoga classes once a week and using my birthing ball at home. I'm still very mindful of not forcing myself to walk very far at once and if I am out and about I make sure I sit down regularly to take the pressure off my pelvis. I am getting quite light headed at times, especially if I've been standing up for very long which isn't great but I know there are a lot of blood pressure changes around 26 weeks so I'm not overly concerned. It's a good excuse to sit down a lot and who doesn't love a sit down?!

plus size and pregnant bump
26 week bump!
This week did come with a pretty unpleasant discovery in that I have Gestational Diabetes. It was always a very real possibility with my having PCOS and being slightly insulin resistant already but magically, it didn't rear it's head last year and my first test at 16 weeks was clear. However, my 26 week test was positive. Although it was always in the back of my mind, it did knock me off my feet a bit purely because it's a potential complication. I had been doing a lot of thinking about whether I actually wanted to be induced at 38 weeks prior to this and was toying with the idea of requesting that I be allowed to go to 40 weeks but now that's not really an option. Naturally my brain only wants to focus on the potential complications and what ifs but realistically I know it's such a common thing during pregnancy and if it's controlled then I have no need to worry. Realism and rationale aren't luxuries I have anymore though so I'd be lying if I said I haven't been quite tearful and flappy about it over the last couple of days. Annoyingly I have to wait a week before I see anyone about it but I've been doing masses of research and have found some fantastic resources run by mums who have pointed me in the right direction in terms of diet. I'll definitely be sharing more of this because it's going to be a big change over the next 11 weeks.

Finishing on a high note, here are my five good things about the last couple of weeks:

1. Seeing my lovely husband read to my bump and feeling Poglet jumping around in response to his voice. Pure joy.
2. My mum picking up a little sleepsuit in Next that says 'best little sister' on the front. I burst into tears in the middle of the shop! Thankfully though my mum is quite used to this and doesn't bat an eyelid and just gives me a cuddle. She's a good one is my mum.
3. Mr D and I had a 4.30am fishing trip to the beach whilst we were staying at my parents'. It was a bit chilly but I wrapped myself up in a blanket like a sausage roll and really enjoyed some quiet time by the sea.
4. One of the wonderful midwives who looked after me whilst I was pregnant with Aneurin and came to meet him when he was born did a skydive this week and wrote Aneurin and another special baby, Cassie, on her to remind her to be fearless. She's been in Australia for the last few months and has taken Aneurin on so many of her adventures which makes my heart sing in the most incredible way.
5. Seeing the fruits of my volunteering pop up in mine and hundreds of other peoples' inboxes! If you're not signed up the MAMA Academy newsletter, you definitely should be ;)

Mrs D x

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