A global pandemic
This is pregnancy number 5 for us. After 4 previous losses we looked ahead with hope and all the worry that you experience with a new pregnancy. If you have had fertility issues or have suffered losses then you will know this feeling well. This time however, we also have a global pandemic thrown in to really shake our nerves.
I think for us the worst bit about it all was the unknown, did Covid-19 affect getting pregnant? Did it affect the baby? I am taking medication to bring my immune system down as I have raised natural killer cells that essentially fight off my pregnancies. Would this mean that I am more likely to get Covid-19?
Then the news came that a lot of clinics were stopping IVF, and a lot of treatments; more uncertainty. We have been very lucky that we had our IVF before the limitations were put in place. The clinic that we are with have been amazing, staying open to look after their patients and making sure that they are a priority. This is something that has made us feel a lot calmer than we may have been.
My husband, James, can’t come into the scans, which feels so unnatural as he should be experiencing that with me. However, I totally understand that this is for the safety of the staff and all the other patients; that takes absolute priority.
If you follow me on Instagram or know me then you will know that I always try to be positive, glass half full, and am very pragmatic with life. I am lucky; we managed to fall pregnant; some people have not been so lucky. We are now further along our pregnancy journey than we have got before - that is a positive.
I feel sick daily, but at least I have nothing else to do - I can lay around all day and not feel like I should be doing something else or am missing out on anything fun.
There are currently amazing people out there, working through this pandemic to make sure that the rest of us are safe and looked after. Sadly we are going to have to sacrifice things too.
On the other hand, it's natural if you are going through this that you will feel upset, scared, annoyed and let down. These feelings are ok as well. We are all trying to get that baby that we dreamed of most likely a long while ago and still don’t have - how dare a global pandemic get in the way!
My advice to you
I think ways to stay positive through all of this are things that will overlap with general advice that I usually give, plus a few extra:
- Take time for yourself - easier than normal as we can’t go anywhere. Make sure you take time to breathe, there are plenty of people online that do great stress breathing exercises.
- Get out for your daily exercise even if it’s a quick walk or just sitting outside in your garden (if you are lucky enough to have one).
- Practice yoga or pilates. Stretching out will make your body feel good but also will be more for resting your mind. Again, there are a lot of people online offering free classes.
- Take more time to cook healthy and satisfying foods - but also have your treats as well. Burger and chips one day, vegetable ramen the next. It's good to make things feel different.
- Video call your friends and family. I am not enjoying all these big group things but I do one-on-one calls with my nearest and dearest and it makes them feel less faraway.
- I am really enjoying making lists of things I want to do and places I want to go to when this all ends. Taking my mind off the present and doing some research is exciting!
Make yourself a priority
If you have worries then talk about them - whether that's with professionals like your clinic or Tommy’s lovely team of midwives, or your loved ones and that wider support network. They will understand that there is raised anxiety and will have answers or ways to help you along.
The past 9 weeks have been more of a roller coaster than I ever imagined and I have really noticed my ups and downs where I am stuck in one place. I am just embracing this now and on down days I lay in bed and don’t get out. But the next day I usually can’t wait to get up, shower and be more productive.
It’s just the way it is at the minute and my priority is making sure that my body keeps this pregnancy and that James and I stay happy together, to be there for each other through these ups and downs.
A BBC News investigation has found that some private baby scanning studios are misleading customers by advertising “reassurance” scans that do not diagnose serious conditions and abnormalities.
In this Q&A, we sit down and chat with with Tom Willmott, a researcher based at Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre in Manchester. He gives a rare insight into a novel and exciting area of pregnancy health research, known as ‘maternal microbiology’, looking at what we can learn by studying bacteria in the mouths of mums-to-be.
A recently published article, co-authored by Professor Catherine Williamson from Tommy’s Research Centre at King’s College London, suggests that certain pregnancy complications can indicate future health issues for women.
Tommy’s has received a grant from the UK Government’s Department for Health and Social Care to support the costs of its PregnancyHub information and support services throughout the summer, due to rising demand in the wake of coronavirus.