Becoming a mum

Luna.JPG
by Lauren WhitbyThursday 7th September

Becoming a mum.

 

On August 24th at 8:44am I became a mum for the very first time and to a wonderful, amazing and strong little girl, 6 weeks early, who we called Luna.

I was 33 weeks and 5 days pregnant when I was induced and the following morning I was holding my baby girl after a week of being in hospital.

My pregnancy journey wasn’t an easy one and this blog is an insight into what happened and my experience.

The funny thing is I started to write this at 31 weeks as I felt like I needed to communicate more about my experience. I had been very quietly going through my pregnancy and keeping it very closely guarded, changing my normally open persona to one that was quite closed.

What is evident to see is that there was a deep intuition that I cannot explain but that I documented and recognised that made me protective and made me want to stop and take things easy –

“Well here we are – week 31 of pregnancy and I’ve hardly muttered a word about it publicly.

Its funny because I thought that as soon as I became pregnant that I would be all over social media, connecting with my followers and showing them all how I was coping and filming workouts to inspire others. But I’ve done completely the opposite.

After my first pregnancy disappointment and then my second, becoming pregnant for the third time suddenly made it feel all the more precious. I didn’t want to make any announcements until I knew the pregnancy was fully established and in my head that was 20 weeks. I had my second scan and that seemed like a good opportunity to finally announce the good news.

But pretty much from the moment I found out, I looked at my fitness differently. I didn’t want to risk anything causing problems with this pregnancy and I didn’t want to have any “what if’s” hanging over my head if something should go wrong for a third time.  So I reduced my training dramatically and decided that my aesthetics were not a priority. Making sure this pregnancy was safe and that I acted responsibly, was.

It wasn’t about me anymore or my body and what I can do. It suddenly became all about this little girl growing inside me and how I can give her the best of me and the best start in life. 

I decided on a few things from then on.

Number 1. I wasn’t going to weigh myself. I decided that this was all about surrendering my body to something far greater than me worrying about how much I weigh.  Whatever it takes. How ever many kilos it takes. Right about now it’s not my priority

Number 2. Hitting the gym 4 times a week and training super hard were not going to be happening anymore. I decided to replace that desire to push that hard with a different one – just to keep moving.  For the first few weeks I decided to taper down my workouts and use lighter bells, have longer rests and to reduce my working maximum heart rate.

Number 3. No more running. I ran in my first trimester and it felt fine but I slowed my pace down and I couldn’t help but feel a little insecure about whether this was right for me. My second trimester I did a slower pace and for shorter distances and intervals such as 400m & 800m on the treadmill.  I also decided that any type of plyometrics  were not going to be best for me. No more burpees, squat jumps, box jumps etc. I wanted to reduce any pressure this may have on my abdomen and on my pelvic floor by choosing exercises that were safer and more comfortable.

Number 4. I wasn’t going to judge myself against others who were pregnant and obsess over my size and if I was different or not. I think everybody carries differently. I also decided I wouldn’t take it to heart when people judged me and said things like “Oh aren’t you big!” or “Your boobs are getting massive”, I guess its just part of it all and everyone else’s perceptions were not going to be mine.

Number 5. If I didn’t train at all that was fine. I didn’t want to put myself under any pressure to train like I normally did. If I didn’t feel like training then I wouldn’t. I just decided to listen to my body and if it was telling me not to go then I wouldn’t. This was all part of the process and one that wasn’t about me anymore. “

 

At 32 weeks after having a check for a low lying placenta the scan also revealed I had a short cervix. Not having a clue what that would mean for me the doctor insisted I go immediately up to the labour ward and have a steroid injection that would help babies lungs develop as I could have this baby early.

I was in shock for the rest of the day with the realisation that my cervix was nearly incompetent and measuring at just over 1cm when it should have been around 5cm. The doctor said that there was basically 1cm between my baby & the world and that there was a high chance I would labour early and that it would be quick!

I suddenly felt so relieved and reassured that my body had given me the right messages to slow down and to be protective. The thought of me running in the gym and going into an early labour were actually more realistic than I had realised. That could have happened, but something had stopped me.

It was in my 32nd week that my waters broke after having a day out with some friends. It wasn’t until I came home that day that I realised something wasn’t right. We went to the hospital and I was admitted there and then with the priority of keeping me from infection and keeping the baby safe while I tried to get closer to 34 weeks.

They wouldn’t let me go home, the risk of me going into an early labour or becoming infected were too high and they just wanted what was best for me and the baby. It was a long 6 days until they decided I would be induced and the baby needed to come out as my infection markers were on the rise.

Although I was always optimistic about how things would turn out, I couldn’t help but feel like I was having such unfortunate luck with trying to become a mum. I sat there looking out the window at the brick wall view in the hospital building and I just cried and wondered why I was having so much trouble and so many obstacles put in my way.

On the day of the induction I couldn’t believe I was going to have a baby. I was full of fear at every stage of the process. Fear of having my waters manually broken, fear for the pain it would be during labour, fear of having an epidural and something go wrong, fear of the baby not being able to breath on her own, fear of her being taken away, fear of having problems during delivery, fear of having problems after delivery, fear of tearing, fear of the unknown.

After advice from the midwife and some anaesthetist friends I decided that I would have the epidural from the start. This made my whole birthing experience one that was peaceful, calm and memorable. I was able to sleep and rest while going through 10 hours of labour and allowed my partner to rest too. The labour was going to plan and with a wonderful midwifes advice and guidance and 30 minutes of pushing baby Luna arrived into the world, crying and healthy. So healthy that the paediatricians decided she was strong enough to stay with us in the ward and she didn’t have to go into special care like I had been briefed.

That night looking at her in her cot it just hit me that I had made it! I was a mum and this was our beautiful girl who against all the odds had made it into our lives. Who had defied the doctors and was so strong. All the trouble of being in hospital, all of the moaning about being pregnant and being uncomfortable and all of the worrying was over, she was here.

Even though we had another 5 days in hospital after her birth to treat jaundice it didn’t matter, I was a mum. Nino & I were parents. Luna was here and she was being looked after in the best place possible, also allowing us to learn how to care for a premature baby.

So here we are two weeks down the line completely discharged from the midwife and baby over her birth weight and doing great.  Life is good!

I suppose the summary of this blog or the final statement if you like is about listening to your body. Being in tune with your body’s messages and to listen to that intuition when it is telling you to slow down or rest.

I never thought I would have any complications, I never envisioned it. I never thought I would take it easy, I thought I would train all through my pregnancy and I was looking forward to documenting it and seeing how my body adapted. But something told me this wasn’t an experiment, this wasn’t about my ego and showing the world how strong I can be when I’m pregnant. This was about surrender and giving myself up for the best gift in the world.

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