Updated: Aug 3, 2021
It only feels right to give an update, my blog post Creation and Loss was a hard one. I can't read it anymore. Although I’m still thrilled with the work I created under such stressful and challenging circumstances. I’m pleased to be sharing some slightly more positive news today. We get to bring another baby Cole into the world. Although once again this isn't the super positive post I had in mind, but i'm still excited. I want let the uncertainty of my situation take away that from me. I do find myself sat here thinking why can't just one thing go to plan... and sometimes I also feel a little stupid for being excited.
These blogs are extracts taking from my journal and edited to make me sound slightly less messed up. Spoiler we are all a little messed up, I just choose to make art and share my experiences. I like to keep a journal because I like to keep track of my feelings and stay on top of my negative thoughts. I do really recommend it.
As I’ve already expressed I’m happy to be writing this blog post, however It’s not a straight forward emotional situation. Why isn’t anything a straight forward these days? In January when I discovered I was pregnant before I lost that pregnancy I was extremely excited from the beginning, all that hope and instant joy, within a few hours we were discussing names and joking about what corner of the house I would give birth in. This time has been different, that is a subject I can't bring myself to think about too much just yet. There’s many emotions, I’m delighted to be pregnant again I love this baby, however I still feel the effects of my last pregnancy. Yes it was very short but it was still a pregnancy. It’s complex, I find myself wondering about what kind of pregnancy I’d be having if it had carried on, would it be the same as this one. What would the birth be like, I think about what kind of baby, then person they would have grown to be and what kind of life they would have lived. Perhaps I’m over sensitive because of my hormones.
Of course I’ve been a little anxious with this pregnancy, I now know that positive tests doesn’t actually mean you get to have a baby... and the thought of losing a baby again was, and still is terrifying. Although I had started to relax much more up until a week or so ago. A pregnancy after a loss just feels different, when I was pregnant with Deryn miscarriage really wasn’t something I worried about. Of course I understood the risks and possibility, but I was young and under the misconception I was invincible. My second pregnancy that ended so soon really did throw me, now I realise how quick it could be taken away from me, the life that is growing inside me is out of my control. That’s scary, but life is scary and also beautiful. If we constantly lived in fear of what could go wrong would we even leave the house? Probably not!
I wake up in the night hand on my stomach, it’s nice, I used to wake up and remember that I wasn’t pregnant anymore. It was like waking up and being kicked in the face, so now when I wake up hand on stomach it feels like I’m giving myself a little motivation. Although I often have to leg it to go throw up… a side effect I’m trying not to complain about to much! Morning sickness is a part of pregnancy and I’m grateful for every little reminder that my pregnancy is still going. However waking up with my hand on my stomach is a habit I noticed before this pregnancy. The past seven months I often dream about pregnancy in some sinarios I hadn’t had a miscarriage in January and was still pregnant almost due in-fact, perhaps this is why I would be holding onto my stomach while sleeping! In other dreams I would be losing another baby, or having already lost a baby I would be producing milk (yep weird one I know sorry) In my dream I would be in a lot of pain, needing to feed a baby that I didn’t have. These dreams would go on, I got use to them. I’m pretty sure this is normal. When I found out I was pregnant again these got a little more frequent and intense, mixture and anxiety and hormones! I speak to my therapist about them, nightmares are apart of my life anyway so we have discussed bedtime routines and breathing exercises to help, and they do a little! Being less anxious before bed really can help, although I can’t always control this.
Everything this time has been different, when we decided that we would give trying for a baby another go we were both concerned about how I would handle something going wrong physically and mentally. We decided that we would just see how it goes with trying and that I wasn’t to put any pressure on myself. I like to have control over my life, as we all do, I like to know what’s going on with my body so being more relaxed about the process was a little frustrating at first but it worked! Also without over sharing (even I have my boundaries) being more relaxed and spontaneous restrengthen my relationship, losing a pregnancy is hard and can cause a lot of stress with resulted in me becoming a little distant, emotionally and physically unavailable. I want to be the best wife I can possibly be, its hard to match my husband’s devotion as he constantly does so much for me, and I’m not without my difficulties. I’m grateful we grow up together and in a way I’m lucky he witnessed some of the difficulties I had to face, it makes it easier although I also understand this is still difficult for him to wrap his head around… But this blog entry isn’t about that!
I guessed I was pregnant again fast because I had implantation bleeding very early on and my back started to hurt, I spoke to a very good friend who talked me through my feelings. I also understand that when you want something you start looking for signs and this can led to tricks of the mind and body. So I took some great advice, carry on as normal until it’s time to do a test, until you 100% know your pregnant don’t overthink the situation.
Then the day came, It was time for the test and it was negative! I was gutted! But I had plans that night. So I put on my favourite dress met some friends had amazing food and some drinks. The next day I work out I was now two days late and I should have come on but I had a negative pregnancy test so didn’t think too much of it. As my antidepressants had been messing up my periods a bit. Few days passed still late, I thought I had really bad PMS but decided to do another pregnancy test... POSITIVE. One wasn’t enough 4 positive test later (over a few days!) I realise the first test was wrong and I was definitely pregnant. I felt delighted, nervous also a little guilty. Firstly I’d had a few drinks at the weekend, which I would have never of done if the test was positive from the start. Then weirdly I feel odd about being pregnant again because I should still be pregnant with the baby I lost. Maybe this is a common feeling, like I said before it’s all very complex and also new. This pregnancy doesn’t replace the one I lost, it’s just a new pregnancy. As soon as I found out I began taking vitamins and eating healthier.
I just really want to pregnant, something I didn’t think I would I ever say. It's only in the last year the idea of baby has been on my mind. Of course Deryn is my life I adore her, everything about her I love. However back then I didn’t enjoy being pregnant, I was younger and ill, she was also breach so I found that painful. Being 24 I was also very impatient, 9 months just seemed so long. This time I really wanted to take my time to enjoy it more, of course I’m eager to meet my baby and hold them in the safety of my arms. However I want to enjoy being pregnant partly because this really does feel like a gift. I feel incredibly lucky to have a human life growing inside me and that is insane! I mean think about it! I appreciate it all my changes to my body, the little flutters that will soon turn into kicks. The sickness isn’t great, it’s like being on a boat in stormy water… but I’ve felt like I’ve been in stormy weather before at least this time I feel like the storm is worth it and it will pass, if it doesn't i'll just get better at swimming...
Sometimes now I really like how I’ve changed. Maybe this is the most I think I’ve ever liked myself, I like my job I really want to be productive, I feel like I’m where I should be. Weddings are back, and I’ve shot some amazing weddings already this month! My little family are healthy and happy and my art is finally MY ART. I feel positive about all of that for the most part, I used to have bad days that would turn into bad weeks, I felt like a dark rain cloud was following me around... and it was extremely hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. However when I have my bad days now they are different I know they will come to an end, they will right? They can't possibly last forever.
A week before my scan I had a an anxiety attack I thought it was going to turn into a full on panic attack but it didn't, but at least a panic attack would have been over quicker. I couldn't leave the house till the evening, I was completely trapped sobbing onto my laptop while trying to work like a child. Not a great look, lucky I worked from home that day. There was no way anyone was seeing me, I also took a few naps that day just to try and get the day over with. I couldn't work out where it came from, they happen from time to time, I put it down to being nervous about my official 3 month scan. Also I had a really busy week Photography wise with weddings and editing, I think perhaps I'd let myself become overwhelmed, which i'd been working really hard on not doing! Grrr, I would say I've learnt from the experience but i'll do it again no doubt! Also i'm not taking my antidepressants now so I've been feeling a little off again sometimes, but I expected that.
Then it was time for my official scan, I was nervous but because I’ve already had a private scan I was feeling fairly positive. We got in straight away no waiting around. I lay down had a chat and they started the scan, seeing my baby again was amazing and wow the size difference from the 8 week scan to now was incredible! The amount of growing and developing they do in just 4 weeks is mind blowing. It was truly lovely to see, little arms and legs moving. I was to busy checking out the strong heart beat to realise that something wasn’t quite right, until I turned and a saw a slight look of concern on the midwifes face, then the question started. "So how far gone did you think you were?" I guess a normal question, maybe I’m a few days off or my baby is a little small. I’m not sure at that point I was 12 weeks 1 day but they were measuring my baby at 11 weeks 5 days at the time of the scan. Just a few days, I either got my dates wrong or the baby is slightly smaller than they would expect. Then there was a lot of pushing on my stomach, I get it they need to do this I had to changed positions a few times. Then the second midwifes came over to have a go, I started to get nervous. Needing a second opinion on anything isn’t a great sign is it… around 30 minutes after arriving and starting my scan they explained that something isn’t quite as expected at this stage. There looks like there’s a problem with my babies stomach, I would need another scan and to be referred to a specialist. I held it together and stayed nice and calm, losing my head at this point wouldn’t of helped the situation and I needed to take in all the information. It was like getting kicked in the face again, i'm forever getting kicked in the face it feels like!
Deep breaths were needed in the car, my husbands look of frustration and concerns for me hurt slightly. I wasn’t expecting that for him, but we make a good team and we had a talk as he drove me to work. Work was great, nice and busy I needed that to take my mind off it, I felt sick all day not morning sickness just anxious and fed up, I felt slammed in work and wanted to be productive. I'm better when i'm busy.
When I got home I looked my at file, “suggestive Omphalocele” so of course I Googled it, then spent all night crying. Bad move, hormones and stupid online articles...
But after the shock of “there’s something wrong with my baby” I got a grip, told myself I will handle this. The next day in work I felt pretty useless but I got my head down and did what I needed to do, until I knew I was going to be sick soon. I’m grateful that I still have the option to work from home when needed. So I called my husband to get me and spent the rest of the afternoon in the garden working on my laptop underneath the trees. It was a good choice, my body was really hurting at this point. Exhausted I decided a lie down would help, then my phone rang. I spoke to a lovely specialist, she was really nice and helpful. She explained a few things to me about what was seen during my scan. More medical words… we are apparently looking at omphalocele OR gastroschisis. Both sound scary, I’m scared. I’m scared of what I might find out next and I’m scared of giving birth. I wanted a home birth with as little intervention as possible like I had with Deryn, I hate being touched, I felt sick in my scan because they had to touch me. So the thought of not having a natural birth almost brings me to tears. But I will do whatever needs doing to ensure the safest possible delivery of my baby.
Omphalocele vs Gastroschisis which is worse? I don't like the sound of either of them and they have similarities apparently! At this point it looks like part of my babies stomach is on the outside their little body. But they are strong, I could I tell that from the scan. Gastroschisis seams like the easier one of the two too fix if the problem is small, Omphalocele is common with chromosome problems and other birth deflects so that may bring other added challenges. I will face these all head on, what ever the outcome my baby will have all the best opportunities and experiences I can possibly provide.
I feel like I’m constantly getting dragged under water every time I managed to bring my head up and take a breath, I feel like when everything settles and I relax then BANG thunder and there's another challenge, but as I stated before I know everything can get better, storms don't last forever. It's just so hard and constant. As a parent you just want your children to be every thing your not, to have everything you didn’t, to experience only the best. I constantly worry about the impact of other people, people can be mean and spiteful. I want to protect my children, but I also want my children to be able to protect themselves in the sense of knowing their own worth, understanding boundaries and trusting their instincts about people. I’m terrified of someone hurting them in any way, name calling and physically. People don’t always appreciate the specialness in individuals. So of course I worry, all parents do, I would take every bit of sadness and pain for my children in a heart beat at any time. I don’t care about them being seen as “normal”, because normal isn’t a real concept, I understand that now. I just want them to be respected for whoever they are and they choose to be.
I want to buy little shoes that no baby actually wears for more than 15 minutes, I want to talk about names and start planning.
So I'll try and stay positive, also at this point their concerns could be wrong, perhaps they are being over cautious, people even trained professionals get things wrong. I've only had one official scan. I did asked the likely hood of it just being nothing a blip and that everything was normal. And she said there's defo something not right… But there's still no harm on a bit of positivity I hope my next post is my excitement and an update that everything is good and I get to have my home birth, either way we get another baby Cole and they will be perfect and loved regardless of any complication and difficulties they may face! I will know more in a week or so I guess after what sounds like a load of tests, another scan followed by a consultation a few days after. (Sigh, people will be touching me).
It's been really hard to do any art for this pregnancy, I started loads of projects in January when I found out we were expecting, this time it's been hard. I thought about picking up were I left off, but that didn't seam right.
As always a look at my art, I've been anxious and it shows-
I've had some nightmares as i've expressed already, I also have a reoccurring one, which I’ve always had it changes slightly every time but it’s always more of less the same. I fall sleep, I wake up, but I’m dreaming (I don’t no this at first) until something happens and I can’t move, I’m in bed, then a load of scary stuff happens, in the dream I fall back asleep, I wake myself up… but I’m still in the same dream this will go on and on for hours. I try and call for Tom, I try and stand up, sometimes I can move a little but my body is so heavy and I’m sometimes being held down so it’s hard. So here is my task, I’m going to try and take control of these drams next time it happens, my therapist recommended sleeping with something next to me that brings me comfort, I like the white dried out flowers that I’m holding in the image. So next time I’m in one of these dreams I can look at the flowers next to my bed calm myself down and focus, it might work, it might not. But why not try right…
The others images are just how I've been feeling over the past few months. I've been anxious and excited, but I also guess more sensitive. So I've been a little angry, i'm talking and working through this.
But I've also been positive, I'm happy. Yes ok i'm stressed, scared and a little annoyed with myself but a range of emotions is good, I used to try and numb myself as much as possible which wasn't healthy. This images represent growing, healing and acceptance . We have to "grow through what we go through" I like that saying. It's a good saying.
All images where shot in my home Studio and house! I LOVE having a home Studio, I might have to downsize and swap rooms at some point in the next few years now though! Deryn is already hinting about more space for herself and baby Cole...
Thanks for reading, i'll post an update soon.
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Helpful link for miscarriage information Tommy's