It all starts with a BFP. A big fat positive. With both pregnancies it’s never been a ‘oooh is that a second line or an evaporation line’ scenario. They have always been two very dark lines, visible to all. My pregnancy with Noah was concentrated into 20 weeks, I found out very late and so much had to be done in those 20 weeks. I moved out of my mums into my grandmas, went on holiday, started sixth form, became a nanny, had numerous growth scans etc and now I look back on it I actually don’t remember very much of my first pregnancy at all.
We found out much earlier on when I was pregnant with Romey. My partner held the pissy stick in one hand and held his head out of the window making strange noises and said the occasional swear word but at the same time, was elated.
Around the 16 week check I knew that I wasn’t feeling right. I went to the midwife appointment with every intention of telling her I wasn’t feeling myself but hearing Roman’s heartbeat and discussing other pregnancy related things I felt stupid mentioning that I was a bit down in the dumps. So many women struggle to fall pregnant and here I was pregnant with my second baby and I felt selfish. Circumstances were a lot different the second time round and I felt like I had very little reason to feel sad.
My partner had been working part time but decided to go full time to support us all better. So I found myself a lot more lonely (in a new city with little support) and when he came home from a long, stressful shift I didn’t want to weigh him down with my emotions and I wasn’t even quite sure how to explain what it was I was feeling. I wasn’t quite sure what I was feeling.
At 18 weeks, my partner was in the bath and Noah was just about to get into bed and I was ped-egging my feet (grating off the dead skin) I got up to walk down the stairs and I slipped from the landing to around five steps down and onto the side of my ankle. I have never broken a limb before but the sound of the snap was unmistakeable. My partner also heard the snap, but the ear piercing shriek after was probably the reason he jumped out of the bath at such a speed. He carried me from the stairs onto the bed where he kind of flapped about a bit looking for frozen peas, whilst I tried to assure myself and him that it was just a sprain. We didn’t yet have our car yet but I didn’t really fancy the whole street watching me being lifted in to an ambulance (this street is full of nosy parkers) so we Uber’d it to A&E.
8 hours later I was sent home with a makeshift cast and told to wait for an appointment with the bone doctors.
It was impossible from the get go, we have a fair few stairs in our house and I couldn’t do ANYTHING.
The angel that is my grandma came to collect Noah a little while after I got the pot (it’s a pot up north, everyone looked at me like I was mental when I said cast.)
My partner would leave me a bowl of porridge, a bottle of water and a snack on the bedside table when he left for work, but for the next 9 hours I couldn’t do anything and I would cry because after I crawled to and from the toilet I then couldn’t get back up on the bed and would spend ages trying to pull myself up holding on to the side of the bed and trying my hardest to ensure no weight went onto my leg. My bump started growing pretty quickly too, which made my balance so much worse. I’m seriously bad with spacial awareness so the crutches were a complete no go. I tried a few times but to be honest I don’t think I had the stamina required to use them.
I tried to do an Asda trip with Noah and the crutches and ended up leaving with nothing and leaving my crutches behind! Dragging my leg into the cab home in complete distress.
Because I was pregnant and in a cast it made me higher risk for developing a blood clot. I was prescribed a blood thinner – Tinzaparin – that I had to inject everyday. I have never suffered with an aversion to needles but it did take some getting used to, there were a few days when I’d stall putting the needle in and end up causing myself pain as I had dragged the process out.
My orthopaedic doctor got very frustrated with me at one appointment. I had really awful pain in a few of my toes on the injured side. They took off my cast after an X-ray to work out why and found that because I had not had my leg up the amount I was meant too, blood had started pooling in the toes. It was really excruciating and quite an unnerving sight.
I was then given a ‘jigsaw cast’ that had Velcro straps all the way across so I could take off the top of the cast and apply ice to my leg, constantly. This was a faff in itself because a part from the few days I stayed with my Grandma, I still couldn’t get to the freezer to retrieve/refreeze the ice.
When I arrived at the doctors for my Midwife appointment around 20 weeks, I was already feeling very flustered and was a bit of a mess. The last 2 weeks of being cooped up, isolated, stressed and in pain had really taken its toll on me. As I entered the room, she immediately said ‘notes?’ with her hand out. I then realised I had left them back at home. I tried to construct a sentence explaining but instead I burst into tears and sobbed wholeheartedly.
She sat with me for a couple of hours and the receptionist bought me endless cups of very sweet tea. It was only then because I was so upset that I could really spill the beans on exactly how I felt. My lovely GP came in to see me and we made the decision to start a low dose of antidepressants – sertraline.
Noah and I headed to a Boots pharmacy to collect the prescription the following day, when a very disapproving pharmacist reluctantly handed them over, blatantly looking at my bump as he did. He waited a minute and then said ‘you do know that these can be seriously damaging to an unborn baby’s lungs, don’t you?’ I sort of nodded and left pretty quickly (as quickly as I could with a cast) I hesitated about starting them and spoke to to my midwife who was pretty scathing of the pharmacist and assured me that the risk was so minimal – especially on the dose I was on – and that I needed these. My mental health was paramount.
It may have been a placebo effect but I started to feel good pretty fast. I still had my wobbles but overall I felt much happier and I didn’t feel like such a shitty mum/girlfriend. I came off Sertraline around 34 weeks and I thankfully haven’t felt the need to go back to them at all. I’ve been very aware of what to look out for since I’ve had Romey. I did question the possibility of going back on them when he was around 10 weeks old after a few days of feeling pretty hopeless and crappy, but you cannot breastfeed and take them. So I decided to play it by ear and luckily, my dark cloud shifted as quickly as it had appeared. Touch wood, I will never need to rely on meds for low mood again, and at this moment and time I can’t imagine ever needing them again. However, I am so glad they were available when I really needed them and I didn’t have to struggle on my own hoping that it would all miraculously get better.