courtesy of 3poppies photography

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

M.E and pregnancy

I have a little bit of news ....  I'm expecting a baby!

I've been undecided about sharing my news for a few reasons but one of them has been worry about people's reactions.  This will be my third experience of M.E and pregnancy. Even though this pregnancy wasn't necessarily planned,  we are thrilled and I worried people would think it was foolish.  Luckily the majority of people have expressed excitement and congratulations.  A few have shown genuine concern without judgement,  but there have been a couple (one being a midwife) who have said "you have M.E and you are pregnant??" When I tried to justify myself by saying it wasn't planned she responded with "good!“

The reason why I have chosen to share this news on here is because there may be someone else in the same position or trying to make the difficult decision of whether to have children or not, like I was before my first child. Hopefully,  sharing this journey will be of help.

I'm at the end of my first trimester now,  we had our first scan last week.  It was a magical experience,  seeing the baby so clear on the screen.  Despite the awful few weeks leading up to the scan,  seeing an actual baby in there made it all seem worthwhile.
The first trimester has been awful. I can't sugar coat it,  but I did try to think positively about it! I am fortunate that I have a very good support network,  and a very understanding,  hard working husband.  My kids have been wonderful too.  I suppose that's one benefit of being ill,  nobody expects me to do anything! It was only me that things changed for,  I felt so much sicker and so much more exhausted and tired than before.  It's all encompassing and I couldn't think or concentrate on anything else.  I found little respite from it and all the little things I did before I could no longer do.  I slept as much as I could.

I write like things have changed.  Things have improved slightly, the sickness is waning, but the exhaustion is still there and makes life harder than it was before.  With my first two I felt an improvement after about 16-17 weeks, until then it's a matter of surviving till it passes.  Sleeping as much as I can,  reducing all types of activity,  and eating anything that I can stomach that doesn't make me sick!

If I have any tips to offer to others at this stage of  M.E and pregnancy it would be to take information of ME/CFS to your health care providers.  None of the tests they do bring up any problems with me,  so the midwives think I'm a perfect candidate with nothing to worry about.  I've seen one midwife in all three pregnancies that has shown any inclination that ME is something to be considered.  It was a relief to see her and I hope it's not the last time I see her either.  From my experience,  I may be clear in the tests they're most concerned with,  but pregnancy and especially labour and birth take their toll on my body more than normal.  In my second birth I found that nobody listened to me when I said my body wasn't coping with the contractions.  We had to be really forceful and demanding.  If there was greater knowledge of ME/CFS,  then more understanding and better care would have been shown.
And finally,  if you haven't already got one yet get a VERY good support network around you.  You'll need it throughout pregnancy and especially after.

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