Two months ago my little girl Eleanor turned one years old. Those who have followed me for a long time will be just as shocked as I am how quickly the time seems to of flown by. It seems like just yesterday it was just me and Adam in our flat in Fairfield, and now its me Adam & Eleanor in our big family home in Stockton (with a quick detour along the way to an awful streethouse..)
I don’t think I’ve ever really told the story of how Eleanor “came to be”, and I always get asked online by other plus sized women how I managed to get pregnant and really I had no secret. I only had unprotected sex once and fell pregnant. Me and Adam had had a pretty average Christmas but both felt like something was missing. After a long chat on Christmas Day we decided that when we came back from our little getaway to Edinburgh we were going to try for a baby. At the end of January we stopped using any contraceptives and it happened first time we tried (if the dates are correct!). I’m not sure how Eleanor managed to cling on for those first days because I had an MRI scan whilst not knowing I was pregnant and also went to an event in London where I wore a tightly bound corset all day and drank!
I found out I was pregnant quite quickly. I thought I was having the period from hell and I remember being at the gym about to go swimming and my boobs were like rocks and so I had to wear a crop top in the water rather then a bikini top because they were so sore. I remember swimming along with my nipples like marbles and the freezing cold swimming pool just made them worse!
The thing that really made me realise I was pregnant was my sense of smell went crazy. I’ve never liked coffee/the smell of coffee before and it was just getting worse and worse to the point of it making it unbearable. What really pushed me over the edge and prompted me to wonder if I was pregnant was somebody at work was cooking popcorn which is usually one of my favourite snacks but at this time I couldn’t stand the smell at all.
My first test actually came back negative, but my second had a very faint positive line and my third was really dark and so I knew for sure I was pregnant. I rang my doctors straight away to book in for a blood test and had it confirmed that I was pregnant that same week. Next I had to have my “booking” appointment with the midwife which was my first proper appointment.
With me being a student when I moved in with Adam in the flat, I never ever swapped doctors and so my appointments were always still at my doctors near my mums. My first appointment was a no show, then she turned up randomly 2 days later but I of course wasn’t there (and was working!). Finally we rearranged for the Friday and she finally showed up…nearly 2 hours late. As midwives over my pregnancy went. they were very hit and miss. Unfortunately she wasn’t one of the good ones and she banged on for over an hour about how breast is best and how breastfed children have higher IQ’s and achieve more. She also went on to tell me that women should be the one to feed a baby so the baby associates feeding with her mum and how it certainly should not be getting fed by the father. Needless to say – there was much eye rolling on my part.
Apart from morning sickness, most of my pregnancy went swimmingly and sailed by. We found out we were having a girl, agonised over names but settled on Eleanor – which we chose after I read out the name and Adam started singing a Biffy Clyro song he loved – and started buying clothes second hand off eBay. We also moved house when I was around 4 months pregnant so that we were close to family and in a “proper” house. We soon regretted this decision as the house was just a damp mess which ended up full of various problems such as holes in the floorboards in the stairs, crooked tiled in the kitchen which we stubbed our toes on, a pipe in the bath was held together with a rag, the bath wasn’t draining properly which made our yard stink etc etc! We ended up moving out when Eleanor was 5-6 months old because the damp was consuming the house and making her ill and the house was going to have to get half ripped out to fix!
I said my pregnancy mostly went swimmingly, but I did have a few hiccups along the way. When we went for our gender scan, Eleanor would not co-operate at all and kept wrapping her legs around the cord so we couldn’t see what gender she was! The poor nurse tried for over a half hour and had me in allsorts of positions. Finally, on her last attempt she managed to see as Eleanor moved that she was going to be a girl. I was so relieved that we got to find out – I cried. I also found myself in hospital on a few occasions, once to a bleed, once due to a fall, once due to fake contractions (where after a few test I found out I had group b strep which I was glad I found because it can be problematic if undiscovered) and once due to a fall.
I ended up having a week long stay in hospital after going in with stomach pains which I feared might be pre-eclampsia. I went in and due to the sound of my breathing they were convinced I had blood clots in my lungs which could of put the babies and my life at risk. In one day, I had an ECG, x ray, nuclear x ray, a camera down my nose, an ultrasound, various blood tests, urine tests, half hourly blood pressure tests and more. I was exhausted and just wanted to go home. I moved wards 8 times during my stay, including being put on the labour ward which was terrifying and spending a night in intensive care which was even more terrifying and extremely uncomfortable. They have these beds which constantly move to stop bed sores as people spend so much time there. I HATED it there and couldn’t wait to leave. They wouldn’t even let me go to the toilet alone and begged me to use a bed pan. No.
I was finally allowed back home after being diagnosed with sleep apnea and given the all clear about my lungs. I did get plenty of scaremongering chats about my weight which ruined my pregnancy a little if I’m honest. Nobody would take the time to talk to me and ask what i’ve been doing or would check the records to see I’d actually been losing weight – I just got a lecture about dying young or harming my baby.
My pregnancy went on and so did my cravings. Thankfully I didn’t crave anything “too” wild – apart from loving the smell of ice and crunching it and the smell of old dusty boxes. I craved normal things like bags of tangerines, grapes, vol-au-vents, jacket potatoes, tuna and sweetcorn pasta. I even started liking things I wasn’t a fan of originally such as pizza, orange fanta, trifle, cheesecake and chicken – strangely all the things that Adam absolutely loves.
By the end of my pregnancy I was pretty much crippled with SPD and ended up using a wheelchair to get out of the house which was awful. So many places are so unsuitable (I got stuck in the middle of the road in Manchester) and people truly see you as a second class citizen it was disgusting the way people shoved in front of me or tutted at me or just gave me filthy looks. If poor Adam wasn’t so kind as to push me round places, I wouldn’t of gotten out at all. I was pretty miserable with it and climbing our stairs 5-6-7 times a night to pee was killing me. I also developed gestational diabetes triggered by steroids I was given in the hospital so I was injecting insulin my last few weeks. This concerned the doctors who thought my baby would grow to be huge and wanted to give me a c-section at 37 weeks.
As you can imagine, I wasn’t best pleased by this as I wanted to go naturally. They told me I’d be too tired to push and would probably end up needing a c-section anyway so it was best just to choose to have one. They set up the surgery date for Tuesday 13th October (which I pleaded with them for as 13th is superstitious) but they wouldn’t change it.
A few days before I was due to go in and have Eleanor, I had to go for my pre assessment where we’d chat about a few things and talk about the c-section. When I got there, I was super anxious and as a result of this – my blood pressure was sky high. After the high reading, they refused to let me go home and said I had to stay in until she was coming which sucked as it was my cousins 21st at the weekend and I still wanted to do some bits at home etc. I finally accepted that I had to stay after more scaremongering chats about me having a fit and after having to have the worst injection in my leg for Eleanors lungs to develop – I got settled in my side room. I’d been there since 11am and got settled by 9PM – yet between all this time I hadn’t even been offered a glass of water or anything to eat. By Sunday I was bored, fed up and pissed off at the lack of food. Some how they kept missing me on the lunch runs or people would be in the room when orders were taken so I ended up with what was leftover or more often – nothing. GREAT way to treat a pregnant woman. However, nothing pissed me off more than a doctor popping in on sunday and asking why I was still there and that I had been allowed to go home for the weekend. I was livid!
The only good part about hospital was Adam. He really looked after me and made sure I got out and about and brought me food to eat and fresh PJ’s and drinks etc. He tried his hardest to make it a positive experience for me and spent as much time as he could at the hospital with me. He even painted my pump for me in my little en-suite bathroom because it was on my “bump bucket list”.
Soon it rolled round to tuesday and it was time to go down to theatre to have my little girl. I was so scared and nervous but also so excited to meet her and finally not be pregnant any longer!
My “birth story” was quite traumatic so I’m going to write about this in another post so keep an eye out for it!