Thursday, 22 March 2012

'The man' on coping with Emma, Hormones, Sickness & SVT

The day we found out Emma was pregnant was ever so special and I remember it like it was yesterday, I was stood in the kitchen putting some shopping away and I heard Emma coming down the stairs, as she walked into the room her smile revealed all. We had no real words for each other so just hugged for what seemed like a eternity as the realisation as to what was happening, and how our lives were to change again.

We are now just weeks away from the new addition to our family and we both cant wait but it hasn't been an easy ride. I guess I want to share my experience and give the view from the other side. If I can offer some help or advice to other dads to be then fantastic but I’m no preacher and every birth is different.

It all started in Portsmouth way life was pretty good, being country people being by the sea was literally a breath of fresh air. We had our first scare early on in the pregnancy around 6 weeks. Emma wasn't feeling to good so we decided to get checked out. Turned out Emma had really low blood pressure and was rushed to the Queen Alexandra hospital via ambulance with the fear of an ectopic pregnancy.
It was a horrible experience seeing your loved one rushed away but I couldn't go with her as we had Oli with us and having no family around was hard. Thankfully we had amazing friends in Kerry and partner Kevin who jumped in the car and came to look after Oli as I went off to be with Emma. (Also thanks to Vic and my Family for being such great support via phone and txt!)

Jumping in the car and travelling to the hospital was a horrid feeling although it was only a 10 minute drive it felt a lot longer. I guess you always prepare for the worse but thinking you must stay positive.

I eventually got to the room to see a distressed Emma. They explained they needed to do a scan but with a probe. I remember walking into the room not knowing what to do were to sit, does Emma want comforting, what are they talking about, is everything ok? Watching other people touch and not seeming to do anything to help with her pain is quite distressing and the feeling of being useless isn't nice.Thankfully the scan saw the baby in the correct place and good size, although at the time baby was like a jelly bean.

The weeks went on and Emma's sickness got worse. It got to the point were she would spend days in bed or sat in pyjamas. She didn't eat or drink and her health deteriorated. It was a hard time for me, as I worked nights 8pm until finish which could have been 8am, plus there was a 40 minute drive home on top. I struggled to cope and I've no shame in admitting to it. To try and work, maintain the household, look after Oli, look after Emma and all the other things that came in life was hard.I couldn't understand what pregnancy was doing to her and how much she had changed. It seemed like I had to do everything, I had no support. As the weeks went on I became cold towards Emma and day to day life was uphill. We argued so much and at times we wondered if we made the right choice. Emma became so ill she had to go back to hospital and go onto a drip. I remember even then I was cold thinking 'you've brought it on yourself', 'I do everything around here'. Sounds bad but I was at breaking point,exhausted. Looking back on it I wish I was there more and showed more love and affection.

I think Emma would agree with me that she should of got help and treatment faster. So my bit of advice is to get the help when the symptoms start because its not nice. Try and cut down the amount of pressure exerted. There are people waiting to help. Nobody wants to be sick at the end of the day. Once Emma was back on her feet, eating and drinking it was amazing. I had my Emma back, yes it took a few hospital trips and a couple of drips but was all worth it. Emma is no domestic goddess but it was nice to feel the support coming back into the relationship and last but not least the love.

It's funny how one problem goes another one comes along. One word, Hormones! It became more and more apparent in her second trimester. The littlest things would set her off. A lot of harsh words were said and Emma won't be afraid to admit that she did go for me on a few occasions. Looking back on it and some of the arguments we had were pointless and petty. I'm glad we can look back and have a laugh and a joke about it. I guess its to do with your maturity. But as I say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

What kept us going was the thought of bringing a child into the world and how much we do love each other. We were offered help through doctors/consultants but we declined. We felt it was something we can get through together and touch wood we got there. I think once you find out what you both want in life its makes things easier. Its a good thing me and Emma both wanted the same things.

Once the sickness went, her hormones calmed along came another scare. SVT. Its a heart condition that can affect pregnant women. It not life threatening as there are ways of managing it and hopefully the doctor said she will grow out of it after pregnancy. Thankfully this time round my family are on the doorstep as we moved back to my home town. Again off she went in the ambulance and I caught up with her as soon as I dropped off the toddler.

Doctors were talking about a possible blood clot on the lungs. Again my heart sank for Emma. Every hour it seemed she was being poked with a needle. I think she had 13 in a day. When they tried for the fourth blood gas and seeing the tears roll down her face it hit me how tough this pregnancy has been on Emma and how I could have been a better person, maybe I put myself first too much. Emma couldn't eat and drink what ever she wanted...I could. Emma couldn't go out when ever she wanted...I could. I got nights of undisturbed sleep..Emma didn't.

I've learnt that pregnancy comes with a lot of restrictions. I don't think woman understand what the men go through as much as what men think women go through. So I believe the golden rule of pregnancy is communication, something that I’m not good at but strive to improve, and for us men don't be afraid to talk about your feelings. Bottling things up just don't work.

Its been a real roller-coaster ride of a pregnancy and we haven't even got to the birth yet. Fingers crossed all goes well as we agreed on a home birth. Took me some time to agree on as to all we've been through. Can't wait to meet my little man.