Thursday, 20 August 2015

Baby Blaney Diaries: I'm Pregnant, What Happens Next?...

Doctor's Appointment

The day after I'd taken my last pregnancy test, I rang my doctor to get booked in. I knew that this was the way to get everything started. I saw my doctor on the 10th of April and I explained that me and my husband had been trying for a baby and that I hadn't started my period when I expected to do so. I also told him that I'd taken pregnancy tests and that they had all come back positive. I went into a lot more detail, but I started the conversation and then he asked me a lot more questions, including when the first day of my last period was, when my LH surge was (as I'd mentioned that I'd been taking ovulation tests), when I'd stopped taking the contraceptive pill, when I'd taken the pregnancy tests and my average cycles (as I'd mentioned that they were all over the place recently). He also checked my blood pressure and weighed me. It was all standard stuff that he asked, but it started everything off and he then referred me to the community midwife and said I'd get a letter/call soon.

I did offer a urine sample, but was surprised that my word of being pregnant was enough, rather than him actually checking for himself. He did say that he usually lets the community midwife test a urine sample, so I considered this to be a usual thing to happen.

Early Bird Appointment

The following week, I had a call from a lady called Jo, who is in charge of getting pregnant women booked in for an early bird antenatal appointment with herself. I got booked in to see her the week after the call (22nd of April), so two weeks since I'd been to see my doctor. At the appointment, I was given info and advice on healthy eating during pregnancy (including what is best to eat and most importantly what not to eat), pregnancy in general, the hospital where I want to give birth, antenatal classes, preparing for a new baby, breastfeeding and screening tests throughout pregnancy. I was also given a general pregnancy guide (an Emma's Diary one), which also had vouchers in for free samples.

Jo started to fill my pregnancy notes in and she asked me some general questions about myself, my husband, my health and other things, but it was all pretty straightforward and exciting knowing that everything was getting started. I was given my notes to keep and have been told, several times, to keep them on me at all times, as if anything were to happen, whoever deals with me would be aware that I am pregnant and would know everything about my pregnancy by looking at my notes.

At the end of this appt, Jo said to ring my doctor's surgery and get booked in for my first booking appt with my actual community midwife. Jo was lovely and she said Tracey, my community midwife was lovely too, which she is, so that put me at ease as I was worried about people dealing with me not being very friendly.

Booking Appointment

At my first booking appt with Tracey, on the 27th of April, a lot more of my pregnancy notes were filled in. I was asked a lot of questions about my health, Si's health and anything that runs in the family. I was also asked whether I was happy about being pregnant and if I have support. I was told that some of the questions might be quite personal, but this didn't bother me as I knew she was just making sure that me and the baby were going to be looked after in the best way. After I had answered all of her questions, she said 'well done, you've passed!'. We had a laugh about this as I was like 'oh...great!', ha ha! She went on to tell me that all of my answers combined determined whether I was considered low or high risk and whether I might need to have more checks, scans, tests or screenings throughout my pregnancy. I felt lucky that I was considered low risk, which also means that I'm able to give birth in a midwife-led unit (which has a more relaxed, homely feel) as long as everything remains low risk, rather than just the normal labour ward in my chosen hospital.

Tracey took some info from my recent doctor's appt, such as my weight and blood pressure for my notes and then she took my blood and urine samples to send off to test for a variety of things such as my blood group and any conditions such as sickle sell, antibodies etc. She also asked if I'd been pregnant before (which I hadn't) and notified me of the early screening tests that are available for Down's Syndrome, the routine ultrasound scans that occur throughout pregnancy, any vaccinations that I'd be offered and any important symptoms that I should seek medical attention for.

She estimated my due date to be the 27th of November 2015 (using the first day of my last period), but I knew this wasn't going to be correct as my periods had been all over the place and I knew when I'd ovulated and it just didn't add up. She did say this date was just an estimate for the initial part of my pregnancy notes and that I'd get my proper due date at my scan. At the end of the appt, Tracey told me that she would refer me to the hospital that I want to give birth in and that I'd receive a letter for my first scan soon. She booked me in for another appointment with her on the 8th of June, when she initially thought that I'd be just under 16 weeks.

First Ultrasound Scan

The following week (I was extremely happy that I wasn't having to wait ages in between appts), I received a letter to tell me the date of my first ultrasound scan. This was booked for the 14th of May, two weeks after I first saw Tracey. I was quite nervous for our first scan, we both were, but this was to be expected as we were going to be seeing our baby for the first time and making sure that everything was okay, as well as finding out how many babies I was carrying.

When we went into the ultrasound scan room, it felt quite small and there were two midwives in there. One carried out the scan and the other wrote down notes from the scan and printed our picture. They introduced themselves and asked me to lie down on the bed and pull my jeans halfway down my thighs. I thought you only had to pull them down a bit! I kept thinking thank god I've got nice knickers on, ha ha. Me and Si laughed about that afterwards! As soon as the jelly and the ultrasound transducer was placed on my stomach, an image came up right away on the screen. The lady doing the scan had her screen and then there was one to our left, which was pointed in our direction. I'd read that it could take a while for the baby to be found and not to be alarmed if the person doing the scan was quiet for a while. However, she spoke almost straight away and her first words to us were, 'there's baby, the heartbeat is tickety-boo'. It was very surreal, we couldn't believe that we were actually seeing our little baby. It's so hard to believe you have a little one growing inside of you in early pregnancy, because aside from a positive test and some early pregnancy symptoms, you can't feel any movement or notice any immediate changes to your body, so the first time we saw our baby on that screen was an amazing feeling!

I was actually only 9 weeks and 6 days at this first scan, so the Down's Syndrome screening that can be carried out at 12 weeks (that we wanted to have done, but you don't have to have it) couldn't be done, so I was booked in for another scan, which was fine by me! It was £5 for a scan picture, but it was worth it as we couldn't stop looking at it! Me and Si were told that at this stage everything was as it should be and that my due date was the 11th of December 2015, but I was told that this date could change at my actual 12 week scan.

12 Week Scan

My 12 week scan was on the 2nd of June and we were so excited to see our little baby again. It was still nerve-racking because I was still so early on in pregnancy and we were just hoping and wishing that everything was still okay. The scan was a lot longer this time and in more detail, which was lovely. The lady carrying out the scan went through what we were seeing in depth, showing us parts of the body, the heartbeat and certain features. She asked me if she could wiggle the ultrasound transducer around a bit, to see the baby move a bit more. I said that she could and as soon as she did, our baby was wriggling around, touching body parts and probably thinking, 'excuse me, I was trying to sleep!', oops! I really appreciated the time taken to explain parts of the scan to me and Si, it wasn't rushed at all and I could have lay there looking and listening all day.

We paid £5 for another scan picture and we were told that baby scanned really well and that everything was as it should be. We were so relieved! We were also given our proper due date, which had changed by just a day, to the 10th of December 2015. For the Down's Syndrome screening test, the fluid at the back of our baby's neck was measured on the scan screen (this was done during our scan and there was no harm to baby at all) and I had more blood taken (this was done after the scan). The measurement and my blood were sent off to determine whether our baby had a low or increased risk of having Down's Syndrome.

2nd Midwife Appointment

When Tracey initially booked me in for this appt, she thought I'd be just under 16 weeks, but I was just under 13 weeks as my first scan had revealed how far along I actually was. When I arrived, I was told by the receptionist that I'd been booked in for the 22nd of June with Tracey, but as I had this appt written in my pregnancy notes and Tracey was still there at my GP surgery (she is only at the surgery on Mondays for community midwife appts), she said she would see me. The receptionist and Tracey weren't rude or anything, but I could still feel my blood start to boil slightly as I had this appt written clearly in my notes. It was a good job that she was still there to see me, otherwise it would have been a total waste of our time and money and I would have wondered and asked why I wasn't informed of this '22nd of June' appt! Tracey said that she'd thought it'd been a while since I'd last seen her and had actually tried calling me. I said that I hadn't had a missed call or anything. We worked out that she actually had a number missing from my mobile number, so that was why she couldn't get through, but that's sorted now.

There wasn't much to be done at this appointment, it was just a check up. She checked my blood pressure and tested another urine sample (I was told that I'd need to give a sample every time I saw her, which was routine, to check for protein). I had a few questions written down that had been playing on my mind, so I asked Tracey those and I left feeling much more at ease. My appointment for the 22nd of June was kept in place as I was going to be just under 16 weeks then and I was going on holiday to Spain at the end of that week, so she wanted to make sure that everything was okay before I went away.

3rd Midwife Appointment

This was another short and sweet check up of my blood pressure and urine on the 22nd of June. I didn't even have any more questions this time, so it was even shorter than my previous appt. It's nice though because my appts with Tracey never feel rushed, even if they are quick appts. She always makes conversation, checking whether I'm okay with everything generally and whether I have any questions.

20 Week Scan

My 20 week scan was on the 28th of July. We were extra excited for this scan as we were hoping to find out the gender of our baby. We were still a bit nervous though because this was going to be an in-depth scan to check that our baby was growing well and whether there were any potential issues with health, growth etc. We were also aware that this was going to be our last routine scan.

We were in a much bigger room this time and the midwife made sure that we were aware that this was a more in-depth scan and explained that if anything was found she would tell us. She also asked whether we wanted to know the sex of our baby if she could see and we said yes! This was a simple decision for us to make, we just wanted to know, simple as! The midwife started by showing us the heartbeat and then different parts of the baby's body. We saw the toes and fingers more closely and the lips, which were really well defined. She showed us our baby from all angles and again it was a lovely experience, not rushed at all. She told us when she was going to look at the baby in more depth, I suppose it was so we weren't alarmed that she was quiet, but me and Si kept looking at the screen, then smiling back at each other. It was definitely one of those 'moments', as we hardly felt the midwives there, let alone think about what was going on outside of the room. It was such a lovely, peaceful feeling. After a little while, the midwife told us that everything was great and as it should be. She told us that by the looks of what she can see, we were going to have a little girl! We were absolutely over the moon as I'd always said that I'd love a girl first, so Simon was really happy for me! We both felt so lucky that we were told we are going to have a healthy, baby girl. She did say (as she has to) that they can never be 100% when it comes to determining gender, but that it doesn't get much clearer than what she saw and she showed us the specific genital area on the screen. I was also told that my placenta was in the right position for a natural birth.

We paid £5 for another scan picture and comparing it to the others we had, we realised that the baby had turned around as the head was on the opposite side this time. After this scan, I had to have a routine MRSA screening test (I was told that all pregnant women have to have this at 20 weeks). It consisted of me swabbing both nostrils, both armpits and both sides of my groin area with cotton swabs. It was quick, easy and I was able to do it myself. I was told that MRSA is a type of bacteria that can be found on the skin and this screening test is done because if I end up having to have a caesarean section and I have this bacteria on my skin, it could cause problems. I was told that it's rare, but if it turns out that I have it, it can be easily treated with a body wash type of treatment.

This is the stage that I'm at now with my pregnancy appointments! My next appointment is next week with Tracey.

I have two pregnancy related videos on my YouTube channel that you may not have seen. One is a Pre-Holiday and Pregnancy Haul where I mention a few pregnancy bits that I've got recently, but the main one is a Mothercare Expectant Parent Event - Review and Haul. If you're expecting, I really recommend attending this event if you can, me and Si felt it was well worth it.

If you're pregnant, how have your appointments been so far?

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Saturday, 1 August 2015

Garnier Ambre Solaire Dry Mist SPF 30...

When it comes to purchasing a sun protection product, I don't tend to buy the same one again and again, I tend to just go for whatever I find on offer at the time that has an SPF of 30. This has all changed now that I've discovered the Garnier Ambre Solaire Dry Mist SPF 30.

When I go on holiday and even when there's a bit of sun (if we ever get any!) in the UK, I never tan. I might go a bit red where I've accidentally not protected myself properly, but my skin never turns brown, it just goes back white. I've tried tanning accelerator products of all kinds, but nothing ever works. We went to Spain in June and I decided to fake tan beforehand as I wanted to at least look a little bit bronzed. However, I still obviously needed to be protected from the sun!

Applying sun protection can feel like a chore to me. Don't get me wrong, I am fully aware it is essential and I wouldn't not do it, it's just not necessarily something I enjoy doing several times a day especially whilst on holiday. Sometimes I find that the standard creams are too thick and don't sink into the skin well enough, so you feel gross and things stick to you during the day and you end up getting back to your hotel and just diving into the shower because you feel grimy. Just me?!

I feel that the Garnier Ambre Solaire Dry Mist SPF 30 deserves a place on my blog for several reasons. Using this product was actually enjoyable, as enjoyable as applying sun protection can be. You simply shake it until you can hear the ball inside of the can, then spray onto all areas of your body in a well ventilated place. I do recommend making sure you do this because me and Si applied ours in our hotel room on the first day of our holiday, with the balcony doors open, but I swear I swallowed half of it :/, so from then on we went on the balcony to do it, which was much better.

The product sinks in really quickly, leaving you with smooth skin that feels like you haven't got an extra layer of something on it. The mist isn't greasy or sticky, it feels really light on the skin and I noticed if I sprayed it too close that a white residue would appear, which I then rubbed in. I don't know if you HAVE to do this, but after I'd finished spraying my whole body, I just went over and rubbed everything in, just to ensure I'd covered all parts of me. Clothes can be put on straight away with this mist and none of my clothes ended up with the yellow marks usually linked with a sun protection product. I also applied the mist during the day with clothes on and again my clothes weren't affected in any way.

I didn't get burned one bit during the holiday! The only thing I will do next time we go away is buy two. I just got the one for me and Si to use and two days before the end of the holiday we'd run out and just ended up using our mom's sun protection to save us from having to buy a new one for two days, plus I wanted to repurchase the mist one and I couldn't find it :/.

It sounds ridiculous, but I'm so glad that I've found a sun protection product that I can and will repurchase again and again :), it makes it so much easier as I was always wondering which one to go for previously.

Have you tried the Garnier Ambre Solaire Dry Mist Protection? I got mine from Superdrug.

Which sun protection products do you rate?

Thanks so much for reading!
Images courtesy of Superdrug and Pinterest.

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