No Panicking: How I kept calm in the days before giving birth

Just before giving birth I have to admit that I was a bit of a mess. Somehow all of the scary stories I had ever heard about the big boogey man of labour were right at the fore of my mind. My friends who had never given birth were especially skilled at brewing my fear . They were forever hinting at scary details about labour that they swore were a certainty.

It’s not surprising really that as my due date came and went, that I went into a form of hibernation.

I turned off my phone; no more annoying excited ‘so has it happened?’ calls. I tried to avoid meeting anyone I know; no more talk about how I looked as I though I was about to ‘pop’ which I translated as’die’. Instead, I created a kind of Pre-labour, Anti -Panic Attack Retreat. As my husband woke up for work, so did I. I ate well, trying to avoid anything too sugary as I swear it is not good for my anxiety. I started my day with nothing but utter positivity in the morning; Buddhist talks, Joyce Meyer sermons all courtesy of Youtube. I took positive, cheerleader- esque notes and wrote my favourite quotes in a book which I took with me into labour. After well and truly slavering myself in utter positivity, me and my bump would bumble through Humpty Dumpty style yoga, focusing on poses that were said to be the antidote to anxiety.

 

I offended a few people who wanted to talk about the impending day by telling them that I was not talking but instead hibernating, but frankly, I didn’t care.

phone pic blog

I did not want to go into labour needing  tranquillisers because I had let fear take over.When the time came for me to go into hospital, I was 100x calmer than I ever thought I would be.

Incredibly, giving birth turned out to be one of the best experience I have ever had and thankfully not as scary as I had built it up to be. Staying calm before labour definitely helped.

My top tips for staying calm before labour:

  • Do not talk to people. Ha! Only joking. Talking to people can not be avoided unfortunately. But make sure you stay away from people who make you feel anxious about labour, they’ll survive if you do not speak to them for a bit.

  • Make a soothing bag full of things that will keep you calm if you go into labour. My bag included lavender oil, a tens machine, my book of positive quotes and a yoga birthing position guide.
  • Exercise. When you can just about breathe because your organs are being squeezed by your bundle of joy, exercise may feel like it’s impossible but just knowing I attempted exercising helped to make me feel good. Listen to your body but I think it’s worth doing something, even if it is just walking around your kitchen a couple of times.

  • Do things that make you feel positive– I wrote quotes and listened to positive talks. That also means avoiding negative stuff-I could not even watch some adverts or shows that I used to enjoy pre-pregnancy like Orange is the new black because they just made me too emotional.

  • Try to make sure you have a way of releasing any overwhelming emotions– talking to my super positive friend whose mum happened to be a midwife helped me lots.I also re-discovered my diary.

    © Filter Free Mama 2016

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12 week Blood Test Drama

After my amazing first scan I ended up being one of those people who get a call to say that something was wrong with their 12 week blood test. Just as I thought I had learnt to harness the power of  positive thinking, it was tested resulting in my old friend Mr  Anxiety showing me that I wasn’t quite the Positivity Guru that I thought I was.

My Papp A levels were low, this shows how well the placenta is functioning. My HCG levels were also high as though I had twins or something. Overall both blood tests indicated that we had a 1 in 65 chance of having a baby with Downs Syndrome.

I know that lots of people cope fine and love life with their child who has this condition but this scared me. I chose to see specialists at Kings to get a CVS test. It was quite overwhelming when I saw how many specialists there were in the room (about 6 I think) but I felt quite relaxed, happy that I would be more informed.

The test involved the doctors putting a long needle in my belly to get some placenta to test the cells to be able to know conclusively if our bubba had downs or another condition like cerebral palsy.

When they injected me with the anaesthetic before collecting samples of placenta that hurt but apart from that I just felt slight internal pulling.

I was impressed with how well I handled the test but waiting for the results was horrible.

I found myself googling and looking into forums about those who had the tests and what they found. I now know that you should never ever google when you are worried about something that you can not control as this just made my anxiety worse. On the day the results were due I was in full panic attack mode but managed to call E to press the hospital for the test results. They called me back immediately and told me all seemed fine. Our baby did not have any of the conditions they tested for. I was relieved but also felt a bit guilty as I realised that whilst I had been waiting for the results I hadn’t been looking after myself very well and thought less about my baby as my child but as a problem. As low Papp A levels can result in growth problems and pre-eclampsia I was immediately put on a daily dose of aspirin.

I think I’ve been avoiding writing about this as it was a scary, overwhelming time for me. However, this experience makes me so so grateful now when I hear good news about the progress of our bubba’s growth.