Monday, 6 June 2011

Questions questions questions...

..or what I like to think of as 'The 4 Month Itch'.

MS, pregnancy advice

When I reached 4 months pregnant, my emotions went nuts.
I started to feel low, weepy and really worry about my MS and the future.

As I mentioned in 'Start of Something Big..' I would scour the internet, trying to find accounts from people who were in the same situation as me, but I just couldn't find anything that helped.
I had information about what to expect when you're pregnant, and how your MS might be affected, but nothing about how people felt. I was so desperate to hear from someone who was going through the same things, and having the same worries as me. I felt so alone, and though I know looking back that most pregnant women go through this stage, I had the added stress of my MS playing on my mind.

Which is why I decided to write this blog. If I can provide some sort of help and put just one person's mind at rest, then I would be a happy bunny. So, being an MS sufferer, here's what I really worried about, and below is what I know now as I write this a year later.

Help! Am I really going to be able to cope with lack of sleep? 
- Yes. Well, personally speaking. Obviously if you're reading this in my situation, then your MS may affect you differently, so it's difficult to say. However, all I know is that when Lib was born, something just kicked in and I got used to not a lot of sleep very quickly. Your body just adapts to the situation.

Help! Am I going to be able to physically push my baby out?
- I was so scared that after labour I wouldn't have the energy to actually push. Luckily though I had a good labour, and it was fairly quick, which obviously might not be the same for you. But there are a few tips I've learnt.
1. Because of being stuck on the ante-natal ward instead of being taken to the delivery suite, I didn't get any pain relief. Therefore, all I could do in order to get through each contraction was really concentrate. This was completely exhausting, and I was almost passing out from tiredness in between contractions. So if I'd been able to have something for the pain, it would probably have made it a lot less tiring.  
2. Ante-natal classes try and hammer it into you, but it's true - EAT SOMETHING. Don't rely on hospital food. They decided to monitor me just as my food arrived, and as I didn't fancy cold cauliflower cheese and chips, I went without dinner. Big mistake. Pack high energy food you won't mind picking at, even when you don't have an appetite.
3. When it came to pushing, something just clicked and all of my tiredness evaporated away. It actually felt nice because I was in control, and I guess the adrenaline started kicking in. Si did all he could to keep me cool, which again, helped a huge deal.
4. I've mentioned the fatigue, and luckily for me I had a very quick labour, but I was seriously considering an epidural. Though I was dead-set against it, it was the only thing that would have been able to help with the fatigue. 

Help! If I'm fatigued, how am I going to be able to lift my baby?
 - There's no doubt that I had some days when it was hard to pick Lib up, particularly a week or so after the birth. I was obviously shattered, and trying to get to grips with breastfeeding, and holding her in a comfortable position was really hard. I made sure I had people to help me get her into a good position, and I had masses of pillows to support us both when I was breast-feeding, but it was one of the reasons why I started to do combination feeding. Using a bottle was much easier and comfortable for me, and was a god send for the feeds when I just felt too tired to breast-feed. The key is definitely have people around to give you a hand. They never tell you have draining and tiring breast feeding is in itself!
As for now, Lib is 11 months old, and fairly heavy. Unless I'm having a really bad patch, coping with lifting her has been fine because my muscles have built up over time.

If anyone is reading this, and have other worries bothering them, then do leave a comment and though I can't promise to help, I'll do my best!