My Pregnancy Twist

When I was around 26 weeks pregnant I was told I had to go and do a Glucose Tolerance Test or a GTT for short. For those who don’t know, a GTT is a test where you have bloods taken then get given this sugary drink, a bit like Lucozade, sit around for 2 hours doing nothing then have more bloods taken before being allowed home. You have to do this test as a fasting one so no food or drink after Midnight. The idea of the test is to see how your body controls the sugar in the drinks and how it affects your blood sugar levels. If you don’t meet the targets you then receive a diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes. This is completely different to type 2 diabetes in the sense that the targets are lower and you will only have gestational diabetes until your baby is born. It raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future but simple lifestyle changes will help keep the risk to minimum. It also means that in future pregnancies you will be at a higher risk of Gestational Diabetes but this again doesn’t guarantee you will definitely develop it in future pregnancies.

So, a couple of days after my test I received a phone call from a midwife to tell me that I had Gestational Diabetes and from that moment on I was too attend all appointments at the hospital with the diabetic team. Then she said bye and went off the phone. My first reaction was too break down and cry, there was no mention of what would happen next or what it really meant, I just had to wait for my appointment to come through the post. The appointment had been made around 10 days later and I had people telling me to not worry about it as I didn’t yet know what they would say. One thought went through my mind, easier said than done.

I felt like a complete and utter failure. What had I done to have Gestational Diabetes? Was it because of my weight? What are the complications? Will my baby be safe? All these questions and I didn’t know where to start. I started looking up information on the internet, BIG mistake. I was reading horror stories of mums having big babies and there was other complications that could potentially cause a health risk to my baby. Quite rightly, my husband saw me and told me off. I was reading about something I had never heard off before or even knew anything about so it was crazy of me to think I could just read and understand.

The time came for the appointment and to say I was slightly nervous would be an understatement. I was terrified, I didn’t know what to expect. I was called into a small room where they took my blood pressure then told me to sit back int he waiting room and I would be called through soon. I was again called about 15 min later and I thought here goes. I was taken into a room where I was told to take a seat and I got left. It was just me in this room. Now what? I had someone poke their head in and she introduced herself as the Dietitian. She took my weight and then sat down with me and started to tell me all the foods that I should avoid or eat less of and the ones that I should be eating more of. I didn’t know where to start with taking it all in. She quickly disappeared and left me sitting there on my own again until someone else came in. This time it was the Diabetic nurse. She was really lovely and told me a bit more about what was going to happen every day from that moment until giving birth. She explained that I would be having to test my blood sugars 4 times  day and they had to be a mix of before meals and after meals. So my targets were, before a meal it had to be below 5.5 and 1 hour after meals it had to be below 7.8 I was really positive and asked how should I do this. In fairness I probably sounded too eager. Then she told me and my face dropped. I would have to finger prick myself, with a needle, 4 times a day…. I was not looking forward to this. She took one for me to show me how to do it and I wasn’t very prepared for it. I clenched my toes in anticipation and if I’m honest, I still clench my toes 10 weeks later. She then told me to see how I get on and she would see me again in 2 weeks. I was also told that if I struggled to control my blood sugars with just the food I was eating then I would need to go onto medication. I did not feel like this was a good option for me and I wanted to avoid it at all costs.

The next person I saw was a consultant. He was there to explain to me some of the risks and to to say that I needed growth scans to check everything with baby is going well. I was okay with this as I thought it would give me more opportunities to see baby. He also explained that because of the diabetes I would need to be induced as their hospital policy is to induce around 39 weeks depending on circumstances. The last person I saw was a midwife. She asked me if I found all the information helpful and I was very honest and told her that it didn’t seem helpful at the time as there was too much. She asked if she could check babies position and listen to the heartbeat and then said if there wasn’t anything else I would like to ask then I was free to go. I couldn’t wait to leave, I was given a testing kit with lancets, or needles, and some testing strips for me to do at home. I was still clueless and didn’t know what to think.

From this appointment I found a brilliant group on Facebook where I found I could speak to other pregnant in the same position and get advice that really helped me. I also found that one of my old friends was also part of this group so I found it a real blessing being able to talk to her and ask her what I thought were daft questions.

So 10 weeks later and I have changed my diet a lot and I am now a lot more aware of the foods that I can eat and definitely the ones I should avoid. I have lost count of how many times I have had to prick myself but I am finding that I can get it done in 1 go now, whereas it was taking 3 or 4 tries each time. I am still very happy to point out that I am sill able to control my diabetes with just diet instead of medication and I am booked in for my induction in a weeks time.

I am so glad I stuck with the advice I was given and I can now finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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My pregnancy so far 

So I am currently 24 weeks pregnant and things have been going well. We went for our first scan at the beginning of June. We had a bit of a trek to get the hospital. It involved a bus into town and then the train to the hospital we had to go. We were going on holiday the very next day for 2 weeks and so we had the scan on a specific day wherever was available. I was really nervous before our first scan as I people joke to me that we were having twins and part of me actually believed them. I still don’t think I was ready for them to say it was twins though. So we had our scan and the lady confirmed that was only one baby. I had to hold back on the cheering but I think it was safe to say that both me and Tony were secretly relieved. Don’t get me wrong if we were told it was twins we would have been happy but at the same time one newborn with 2 other children seems scary enough without adding an extra baby to the equation.

We were given a due date of 20th December, that seems too close to Christmas. Ah how am I gonna organise Christmas? We left the hospital completely over the moon after seeing our little baby on the screen. It just helped to make it all real. Everything just felt perfect. I have my amazing little family and I couldn’t wait to tell my darling children that we were having another baby.

We went on holiday and enjoyed ourselves and I was trying to most of our time away and exploring whilst battling constant tiredness and exhaustion. I survived and I loved every moment of our holiday. It is very busy but filled with days doing what I wanted to do and most of all I loved seeing my beautiful children enjoy themselves.

Then we came back to reality with a thud. I had a consultant appointment at the hospital. I was a little bit worried about this but that’s the kind of person I am, I always worry. We asked a friend to take us to the appointment and then she took the kids to the park whilst we were in appointment. So we sat in the waiting room and I began to shake. My hands and knees were just going. When I am scared or nervous I also get a funny feeling in my belly which I really don’t like. Anyway, we got called through and I nervously sat on the chair in the consultants room. She seemed nice when we went in..

During the appointment I heard talk about my 2 previous pregnancies which were in a different county and that she was concerned as there was quite a gap in weight between my first 2 (my first was 6lb15oz and my second was 8lb15oz) I thought that this was nothing to worry about as I reassured after giving birth to my second that it was completely normal as he was 12 days late and that’s when they out on the most weight but I really don’t know as I’m not an expert. She also went on to speak about my weight. Now I have always been very conscious and suffered many years with low self-esteem because of my weight. I am not huge but I am also not a healthy weight. At the time of my appointment I was the heaviest I have ever been and this is something I am determined to change once I have had this baby.

Anyway, she was saying because of my weight I am more likely to develop Gestational Diabetes and so I would I need a test and also because the difference in weight between children I will also have to go for growth scans. This can determine if the baby is going to be too big to carry on to full term or even if I am able to have a natural labour. My heart sank. I was sitting here listening to someone potentially tell me that any choice I have concerning labour can be taken away and she can decide for me if I need to have a c-section as it could be in “my best interests”

What could be in my best interests is allowing me to still have my choice and an opted c-section will not be that choice. I should point out that the other option would be to consider inducing me early and this settles my mind a lot easier as I could still havea natural  labour once induced. It does mean I wouldn’t be able to have a water birth but that doesn’t matter as long I can deliver baby safely. I came out of the consultants room feeling downhearted. I had never had an appointment like this before and I didn’t want another one. I had held it together when we on our drive home but as soon as I got home I just broke down.

I was really struggling to see the positives from the appointment and I didn’t want to speak about it either. Tony made me see sense and actually got me talking.

Since then I have progressed slowly through the pregnancy and found that I do actually have Gestational Diabetes this time. It was again, a shock for me to take in but I am managing without medication. If anything I am coping a lot better than I thought I would as I am actually losing weight whilst my baby is growing nicely. It just means less carbs with meals and an excuse to eat all the baby bel in the world.

I am now 36 weeks pregnant and I have an induction date booked for the 15th December which is when I will be 39 weeks. This puts my mind at ease as I can organise Christmas and know that my little one will be here for Christmas Day. It also means I only have 2 weeks to get everything sorted (arghhhh) it’s such a scary time too.

I will write more on Gestational Diabetes but for now I think I will leave it there. Have too much going on to carry on writing. Look out for my next blog which should hopefully be within the next month.

Things Haven’t been Brilliant Past Week.

The last few weeks have been hard especially the last week and I really feel like I need to sit down, vent and write my feeling down and just post how I am feeling today.

I Shared last week how i was struggling with Andrew not sleeping and how that had made some of my feelings I had right in the thick on my last battle with my PND well now I am having more of those feeling. Lucky not of harming myself or others I know for sure I want to be here and I want to live this life. But I am having some more of the anxiety, bad dreams, fear and over thinking things.

 

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I have anxiety attacks because I am having bad dreams, I then fear sleep because of the dreams giving me anxiety attacks,  I then over think the dreams giving me anxiety attacks. And people like my GP saying they’re just dreams don’t help.

So why are these dreams so bad I keep having the same recurring dreams each week.

The first is on Andrew drowning. I dream that he is in his buggy and it rolled down the hill in to a lake, I jump in the lake and get the buggy and Andrew is not there, so I diving down again and again and again to try and find him. screaming in vain for help and not able to find him when I dive down under the water.

The second is my children being kidnapped. I will be out shopping and will turn round and my kids will be gone so I will be frantically be searching around trying to find them to no avail.

The worse thing is that I feel trapped in these dreams I can’t wake up so in both dreams I am frantically searching for my children and cant wake up.. I am usually woken by Mel shouting me up.

Then Each night I get anxious as I fear the dreams and having them again so I try to keep awake.

And to top it all off I am over thinking all this what if the dreams come true again giving me attacks and boom panic attack.

I have done all the things I tell you guys to do seen GP, Spoke to family and got help and work is supporting me well so I know there will be light at the end of the tunnel but right now I am just so angry and frustrated.

I know its stupid that I should be angry but I am so angry at my stupid head. It has been OK for 3 years. No downs and perfect and boom depression comes back. I’m also angry at myself for getting ill again and not noticicing signs sooner.

I am frustrated that this is all affecting my work as I signed off I want to be in right now as it keeps me busy.. all in all I frustrated that its all happening again and I wasn’t prepared..

I know I will get help and things will improve but what if this is my life now

depression—good time—-remission—-repeat

I just want to get better and not slip back. I want to end the cycle. I don’t want a full blown episode like last time.

Why Do I Blog?

bigstock-Funny-Cartoon-Sheep-Jumping-Th-65570800.jpgThis week I realised that this blog is just as much for me and helping me with my mental health as it is about raising awareness of PND in Men.

I always say I share my story to show others that it can happen to Men and that we need do more so men don’t suffer in silence. I hope that by sharing my story, more dad will get the help and support they need and not feel alone.

But here’s the thing I do it for me as well. I used to hate writing in school and would do anything to avoid having to do it.  But some how something that I hated doing has become my therapy. I’m not the best talker and I hate sitting and talking to a councillor about how i feel.. it just makes me feel like i am being assessed. So writing for me is my way of venting how  I feel at the time. Sometimes I write and then just delete it but the writing of it makes me feel that little bit better. Sometimes a Share with you how I Feel.

I was asked on Facebook by someone why I would share such personal details with the world. I told them it was simple I do it to show other dads mental health is a real thing. That dads can struggle with becoming a dad as well. And that PND in men is a real thing and its OK to ask for help. I share my story to help others and if it helps even one dad get help then its all been worth it.

All that is true but I wished I had added one final thing. I write my Blogs as its my therapy and It makes those days when I am struggling that little easier.

So Guys thanks for reading my story and please keep Re-tweeting but also thanks for being my therapists and just letting me vent it all the good and bad.

I thought I was Coping.

Its been a few months since my last post and things have changed so much. The first big change is my new Job. I have been there since September now and I am now settling in after a bit of a bumpy start getting used to a different group of people. I am happy to say I am now fitting in and love the team of people I work with.

I wish I could say it all hunky dory and life is amazing but right now I can’t say that, I am ashamed to say even though I tell other people to talk about how they feel and the importance of talking to their family, but the first think my wife will know how I feel is when she reads this blog today. I need to learn to practise what I preach.

The strange thing is its not the new pregnancy I am struggling with. So far I am very laid back about having this new baby. Pram is bought, Moses basket is ready and we have even done up our own crib. We have a few things to buy, but we are getting there.

There has been a few bumps along the pregnancy Mel found out she has Gestational diabetes and has to go hospital every few weeks for checks and take her blood sugars 4 times a day. But I have seen the positives in this and even tried to show them to Mel when she has been worried. For starters we now know when Mel will be induced so we have a date to aim at being ready for. All the extra scans and checks means more chances for her to see baby or hear heartbeat. The number one positive has been the fact that Mel has been determined not to need medication and a big part of not needing medication is making sure you eat right keep sugars under control and make sure you eat right. This has actually been good for me as she wants to lose weight anyway. Eating well has meant that she has controlled her sugars and despite baby growing she has lost weight.

So I have an amazing new Job and I looking forward to being a dad again I should be over the moon so what’s wrong?

My son Andrew that’s what’s wrong right now he’s a monster, he’s naughty all the time, he never want to be around me and to top it all off he’s gone from sleeping well to refusing to go to bed, banging on my doors at 2am and drawing all over my walls. To put it bluntly he’s a little S**t.

I feel like my depression is coming back again. I thought I had this I gained a bond with Elizabeth and now we are the best of friends we do loads together she even comes wall climbing with me and loves it. She’s a mini me, my best mate.

Andrew on the other hand is a royal pain in the arse right now. He is clingy to mum all the time. I try and spend time alone with him and all I get is mummy, Mummy, Mummy scream after scream. He is as naughty as everything he just destroys my house he draws on my walls and in the space of 5 mins he makes my living room look like an elephant has trampled through it. He has gone from a good eater to screaming in his high chair throwing his food. And his new Favourite word is NO. you ask him to tidy you get NO, you ask him to put shoes on you Get NO. everything you ask him is NO.

But for me that’s not the hardest thing right now its the refusing to go to bed. For the past year he has gone up to bed and been asleep in 10 minuets its been brilliant but for the past 2 weeks its been hell. You put him to bed and he runs after you and BANGS the door until you answer. We try and ignore and after 20 minutes he still going he just wont settle so we end up letting him lie with us until he goes to sleep and then trying to get him in his bed sometimes it works and he’s fast asleep and then sometimes he wake up we start again. Me and Mel are eating late and we are struggling to get time together. Its getting to us both.

Last Saturday when Mel went out I got Elizabeth to bed and then went about settling Andrew I thought great Andrew is settled on me I will put him to bed, low and behold he woke up screaming 5 mins latter and so we started again. back and forward we went. settling him putting him to bed again and again. I never ate until 9pm, I ended up shouting at Andrew and just wanted to scream, I was resenting Mel going out and when she got home I just passed her Andrew and walked off, we ended up having a row and getting cross with each other. We made up later on but it left me resenting Andrew.

He is just making us so exhausted, were snapping all the time and getting at each other its like Andrews behaviour is bringing the whole family down every day is a battle with him. I look at him and just see a monster. I don’t feel like of love like I did with Elizabeth, but I am finding it hard to enjoy time with him and right now I don’t want to be around him.

I know he is Two so is going through that stage and a lot of parents have been there and will say its normal and I just need to step up and plod along through it but I found the twos easy with Elizabeth where as they are hell with Andrew and I am really struggling to cope with it. Right now I don’t want to be around him and am not enjoying time with him. Everyone sees him and thinks awww he’s cute and amazing when all I see is a screaming naughty monster. Right now I am struggling to see the end of this naughty time in his life and our stress and I am getting even more anxious about new baby in less than a months time. What if When we have this baby he is still like this will I cope with a naughty two year old and a new baby. Right now I just don’t see the light. I am sure I will be ok and its just a Phase but its getting me down.

Trip To Essex – BBC Stories

A few months ago I made a trip to Essex to meet with two other dads Brad and John to talk about our experience and finally last week the video was made live and so far nearly 100,000 people have seen the video on BBC Stories and it has shared a good number of times if you shared the video Big Thanks. If you haven’t shared it then please share this blog.

Filming this video was definitely an experience, it took all day to film all the footage that went in to making this 6 minute video, but it was worth it for sure if even one person is helped by this video then it has been worth it for sure.

It was an amazing weekend sharing our stories and getting to know John and Brad and really think the BBC did an amazing job putting this video together and getting our story out there.

I have had a quick look at comments but I tend to shy way from comments as I find it hard not to engage the trolls. But good or bad I would like to thank you for the comments, it has started the debate and that’s what the video is all about.

on a side note it took four takes to get answering the door right so you can guess how long the whole video took.

Guest blog by Ross – Postnatal Depression: What Helped Me Through It

It’s an incredibly hard thing to go through. To put it in its simplest form, postnatal depression sucks. It really sucks. But having things you can fall back on are vital if you want to pull yourself through to the other side.

For me, I’ve had depression on and off for years, but this felt different. I was used to depression, but having it towards my baby felt horrendous, especially after wanting her for so many years. But having depression for that long taught me something, it taught me that I can find ways to pull myself out when I’m in a slump. So I looked at postnatal depression in the same way. I knew I could find things that would help me learn to love Isabelle, even if there was a part of me telling me not to try.

I tried a lot of things. I tried being involved, changing the nappies, playing with her every morning, letting her sleep on me and connecting more with my wife. But what worked the best, was something that was pretty simple. Just going away.

It didn’t matter where, but we just wanted to go somewhere different. Away from all the distractions of the house, the visitors, the housework, the animals and the same four walls that had been staring at us.

The first time we did it, Isabelle was 8 weeks old, and we took her to the seaside town of Weston. I’ll always remember it as it was the first time she ever smiled at me. She actually smiled at me. For the 8 weeks previous I felt that we had a mutual hatred for each other. I didn’t like her, and she didn’t seem to like me either. Maybe I took things too personal, when I look back now it was simply her wanting feeding, and since my wife breastfed, obviously I wasn’t the one she wanted.

But that day, with her propped on the bed watching me walk around the room, she smiled. And I felt something inside me grow. It was love, and for the first time since her birth I actually felt like I loved her. It didn’t last long, but it was there. And from then on I knew it could grow. I had found something that really helped.

So we did it again. A few weeks later we went to Bournemouth, this time for 2 nights. Then to Glastonbury for 2 nights. And very recently we went around the country on a 6 day trip of the UK. Every time we do it, I’m reminded of how much I love her, and more importantly how much she loves me. Seeing her face when she’s somewhere new lights me up. Maybe she’s just a slightly evil baby, and merely likes the fact I’m spending my money on her, I don’t know. All I do know is this: she absolutely loves it. And when she loves it, I love it.

If you want my advice, I’d suggest booking a hotel somewhere and getting away with the baby. I can easily picture myself, my wife and Isabelle all together in a hotel on the seafront, taking a stroll down to the beach then watching the sunset from the window. It’s something I can picture whenever I feel myself start to slip. If things ever start to get rough I can take my mind back to that place and remember how much I love her.

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