I received an email from a lovely and politely persistent lady asking me to share this ‘Verywell Family’ Week by Week pregnancy guide.
Admittedly, during all six of my pregnancies I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the changes, growth and development of my unborn child. I’d have a sense of accomplishment as my cluster of cells became an embryo and then advanced to foetus and then became ‘viable’ at 24 weeks.
All six of my pregnancies have been very different. I didn’t even know I was with child until I was 4 months gestation with my first pregnancy. At 18-years-old I didn’t have a clue what pregnancy felt like. I was still taking the contraceptive pill unknowingly. Thankfully my now 25 year old diva, child #1 is perfectly fine and a true blessing.
My first pregnancy and labour was very straight forward, 9 hours of labour which I found quite comfortable to deal with and actually wondered what all the fuss was about and why women screamed during labour. It was clear by my second delivery 6 years later that my 18-year-old self was younger and fitter to deal labour.
My second pregnancy was also without complications. I discovered raspberry leaf tea and learned about the benefits it has on labour and delivery. I was 38 weeks gestation and had asked my ex-partner to make two heaped teaspoons of fresh raspberry leaf in a cup of water. Instead he chose to mix two heaped tables spoons of the fresh leaf in water. I was ironing baby clothes and sipping the tea. In less than an hour after drinking it, I felt an incredible pain shooting through my body, and then another. My labour pains had started. The pain was intense and unbearable. It all happened so quickly that I didn’t even have time to receive any pain relief.
One hour and fifty minutes later I was sat in the hospital delivery room holding my second daughter; contemplating whether or not I’d turned the iron off! It was all such a rush and so unexpected, that was pregnancy and labour number two.
Pregnancy number 3 was also straightforward, although I had developed pelvic girdle pain, which was awful. The delivery was calm and relaxed. I had lavender essential oil infusing, relaxing piano music playing softly and only the calm voice of the midwife talking to me. Believe it or not, I gave birth in silence. I didn’t scream, shout, yell, curse or cry. I focused, prayed and remained calm throughout. It was the most beautiful and tranquil birth I’d ever experience. My son was born after 5 hours of labour in perfect harmony and to date, he is a calm and very well balanced 13-year-old.
Pregnancy number 4 was also straightforward other that pelvic girdle pain which has worsened. I had a false alarm on Christmas Day, my family were all sat around the table tucking into our delightful Christmas meal prepared by my ever so talented mother. I felt some Braxton Hicks contractions which became more intense at 5 minute intervals. We rushed to the hospital without Christmas pudding and dessert, only to to be sent back home because everything stopped on arrival. I was induced 2 days later due to discovering my waters had slowly been leaking without me realising and because there were no more signs of labour (even with raspberry leaf tea made in great quantities). The pain from induction was intense but after 3 hours child number 4 was born.
Child number 5 was by far the most complicated pregnancy and delivery. I developed gestational diabetes and severe pelvic girdle pain. My labour and delivery was traumatic. I was induced again and experienced severe complications which ended in an emergency Caesarean section. I lost 4.5 litres of blood through a haemorrhage, had an amniotic embolism and developed heart-failure and almost died. I was worked on in theatre for 9 hours and woke up in intensive care thinking I was late for the school run.
Pregnancy number 6, well, I’m sure if you’ve read previous blog posts you know all about pregnancy number 6. Moreover, my actual pregnancy, in terms of symptoms was absolutely fine. In fact, it was the easiest pregnancy I’d ever experienced. I didn’t have a single symptom, no pelvic girdle pain, no gestational diabetes, no sickness, no discomfort, nothing untoward whatsoever. I went into spontaneous labour prior to a planned cesarean section but needed up needing one anyway. It was calm and a delivery without any issues. Perhaps it was God’s favour upon me, a little grace afforded due to all the other complications with my son having Trisomy 13.
One thing that kept me going through each pregnancy was knowing how my baby was developing as well as reading useful tips. No matter how many children I have had, knowledge and information is always changing so it was important for me to keep abreast of current recommendations.
I have always found pregnancy guides highly beneficial and I’m sure that you will find this guide very useful. It breaks down the pregnancy into trimesters and also has some good tips and checklists to help you through each stage of pregnancy. It provides a range of information from complications and concerns to breastfeeding, pregnancy loss and even school-aged kids.
It’s a beautiful way to feel connected to your unborn child and to equip yourself with a wealth of knowledge. It’s also very useful information for your partner and a way for them to be engaged too. Understanding the changes in your body and having an overview of what your little bundle of joy is experiencing is a beautiful part of pregnancy; bringing to reality what can sometimes feel quite surreal.
Please do check out the guide and all the best in your pregnancy journey.
Please do share your pregnancy journey with us, we’d love to hear about your birth stories.