Archive for the ‘Miscarriage’ Category
I am now 32 weeks pregnant and it has been such an interesting journey, comparing my pregnancy in France to my pregnancy here in the UK, so I thought I would share my comparisons of the two pregnancies.
Pregnancy N°1: The French One
When: March – December 2006
Where: St Vallier de Thiey, a village on the French Riviera, inland above Grasse and Cannes
- Permanent nausea 24/7 for the first three months.
- Permanent exhaustion 24/7 for the first three months.
- No real cravings, except wanting red wine whenever I saw a glass.
- Very low blood pressure (signed off work for this twice, in the first and last trimester.)
- Anaemic for most of the pregnancy.
- Stressful pregnancy, counting down each day.
- Horrific cankles (what are cankles?) from about month 4 until the birth.
- Weight gain of 13Kg (about 29lb) from start to finish, and a teeny tiny bump (this is me at nearly 42 weeks – excuse the highly unattractive photo!):
- A baby that I thought moved quite a lot.
- 45 minute commute door to door: driving from our home in the hills above Grasse to the office in the coastal town of Antibes.
- No ante-natal visits with midwives, all done with my gynaecologist/obstetrician.
- Virtually no ante-natal preparation/classes etc.
- Monthly appointments with my gynaecologist/obstetrician, with full weigh-in, blood pressure check and examination “down below”.
- Monthly blood tests in a separate lab for toxoplasmosis (more information about toxoplasmosis).
- Test for diabetes despite not being at risk.
- Scans offered at every monthly check-up if I wanted them, with 3 obligatory ones.
- Strict instructions given from the gynaecologist/obstetrician on what to avoid eating and drinking: no alcohol, no smoking, no raw meats or fish, no cheese made from unpasteurised milk, no foie gras, no shellfish, all meat to be cooked all the way through, all fruit and veg to be washed thoroughly etc.
- No mention of breast-feeding at all.
- An induced and very quick labour with epidural (more about that here) with the end result being a healthy little girl:
Pregnancy N°2: The English One
When: February – November 2012
- Very little nausea, and what I had was very easy to control.
- More tired than usual, but again it was easy to control.
- No real cravings, except wanting to eat lots of fresh fruit and having more of a sweet tooth than usual.
- Normal blood pressure.
- No problem with anaemia.
- A mostly stress-free pregnancy (except for the usual stresses and strains of daily life), with no big rush to get through it. This one has certainly whizzed by a lot faster.
- Cankles only making occasional appearances, when the UK weather is hot and when we were on holiday in sunny climes
- Weight gain of 9kg (about 20lb) so far and a much bigger bump, here I am at just 30 weeks this time round:
- A baby that doesn’t stop dancing. Ever. This is one active baby! I thought that L was a mover and shaker but this one beats her hands down.
- 45 minute commute door to door: a 7 minute walk to the tube station, an 18 minute ride on the Northern Line where I usually get given a seat, then a 7 minute walk the other side.
- All ante-natal visits carried out by different midwives at the local hospital where I will have this baby.
- Refresher NCT classes start tomorrow and I’m also doing hypnobirthing this time round. I’ll have more to report on that later…
- Fewer appointments than with L, I have been weighed once at the very start, my blood pressure is checked each time and to my amazement no one has ever examined me “down below”! This is the biggest shocker after pregnancy in France!!
- No mention of toxoplasmosis at all, except when I asked about it I was told that if I didn’t work on a farm then I shouldn’t worry about it. They did however tell me to wear gloves for gardening and for cleaning cat litter and to wash all fruit and veg thoroughly.
- No mention of a diabetes test.
- 2 scans at 12 and 20 weeks, plus an additional scan planned for 36 weeks to check the size of the baby as L was so tiny.
- A vague mention made of what to eat/avoid eating etc. Although during the first midwife appointment we did discuss alcohol and smoking.
- Breast-feeding talked about and the advantages clearly explained during a recent midwife appointment, despite me stating that I’m a huge advocate and that I breastfed L for 1 year and exclusively for 6 months, and that I fully intended to do it again.
- Hopefully a natural birth this time in a midwife-led suite in the local hospital, which I promise to report back on.
It is hard to say how much of the differences are because it is a second pregnancy, so the medical staff and B and I are more relaxed about the whole thing. Also for my pregnancy with L I had previously had a miscarriage so I’m sure that added a lot of stress as I wondered about my ability to carry a baby to term.
The biggest shocks for me are the fact that no one mentions anything about toxoplasmosis here, which is HUGE in France, both at check-ups/blood tests and when talking to other mums (I was always getting asked, “Tu as eu la toxo?” whenever discussing pregnancy with other women). The other thing that still amazes me is that no one has ever asked to look between my legs! Now I’m not a huge fan of a stranger poking and prodding about down there, but after that being such a regular occurrence at every single check-up for 9 months it France, it still astounds me that not one single person has looked down there yet! According to my UK mum friends this is common and you’ll only get looked at “down there” if you are overdue and need a sweep.
Fortunately I realised fairly quickly that no one was interested in what was going on in my knickers after my first check-up so I’ve stopped getting naked now for my appointments!
How did your pregnancies compare? Was it a boy/girl thing? A country comparison? An age comparison? I’d love to hear if you had any surprises with later pregnancies.
I am delighted to be pregnant with child number 2, but this is actually my third pregnancy. I am one of the many, many women who has suffered from a miscarriage. According to the NHS one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage and around three quarters of those miscarriages occur during the first trimester (first 12 weeks of pregnancy). I am one of those statistics.
My first pregnancy was in July 2005 and I got pregnant the first month we started trying. I was delighted. A few days after we found out B and I went off on holiday to the French Alps with my parents, his mum and his gran, so we excitedly told them our news that first night, despite it being really early days. It was great fun as we talked about this new grandchild and great-grandchild and I have such happy memories of those first few days of the holiday.
Then mid holiday we went on a day trip over the border to Switzerland and after lunch I noticed some bleeding, not just spotting either. To cut a long, very sad story short the next day (the 14th July – France’s national holiday!) it was confirmed that I had “spontaneously aborted” the baby. I was only about 5 weeks pregnant at the time, but the grief, guilt and sadness I felt was overwhelming.
I can’t begin to imagine what it must feel like for those miscarrying later on and anyone who has ever gone through a miscarriage has my full sympathy.
Despite reading up on miscarriages, in particular early miscarriages, and seeing that they happen in general through no fault of the mother, and are caused by a foetus that wouldn’t have been viable, I still couldn’t help blaming myself. What had I done wrong? What should I have done differently? And would I be able to carry a baby to term?
Despite my gynaecologist checking me out and reassuring me that everything seemed in perfect working order, I couldn’t help worrying if my next pregnancy would be ok.
After getting pregnant in month 1, it took us a further 8 months to conceive L, during which time so many of our friends and acquaintances were announcing pregnancies that poor B ended up clearing up my sobbing messes time after time.
We were over the moon when we found out I was finally pregnant again, but I was unable to enjoy that pregnancy. Every week took me closer to this baby being viable and I remember being ridiculously relieved when I reached 24 weeks and I was told that if I happened to give birth now the likelihood was that the baby would survive. Instead of thinking “wow, that’s really too early for a baby to be born” all I could think was “my baby is viable”!
I felt such a great responsibility towards my unborn baby – I didn’t have one sip of alcohol, I stopped doing sport (it had been suggested by a certain someone that walking – not hiking, just walking – in the Alps had caused my miscarriage), I was overly strict with myself about what I ate, and I basically didn’t relax for around 40 weeks!
Funnily enough once L was born and she was no longer just my responsibility I completely chilled out, she slept in her own room as soon as we brought her home from the hospital, and I never worried overly about her, in complete contrast to when I was pregnant with her.
Pregnancy number 2 couldn’t be more different – as I know I have carried a healthy pregnancy to term and that I now have a very healthy 5 year old to show for it I feel completely relaxed about this pregnancy and my miscarriage risks (hopefully I am now past the major ones as I will be 25 weeks tomorrow). Which is crazy really when you think I am now 36 (I was 30 for my pregnancy with L) so my miscarriage risks are probably higher.
I wonder if I am alone in feeling this way? Have any of you had miscarriages and then had subsequent stressful pregnancies through fear of further miscarriage?
I felt incredibly lonely when I miscarried as I didn’t know anyone who had also had a miscarriage, but I’m guessing this is just because we don’t tend to talk about it with others. Have you had a miscarriage? How did it affect you?
If you know of anyone who has suffered from a miscarriage, just be there for them and help relieve them of that horrible guilty feeling.