Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Guest Post - 'Old, Overweight and Pregnant'

By ExFashionista.

Her blog spills the beans about her previous life as a buyer in the fashion industry and new life as a mother. Its a really well written and interesting read.

Enjoy .....



OLD, OVERWEIGHT AND PREGNANT

I had a relatively un-eventful pregnancy much to the disgust of my Consultant/Registrar.  You see not only was I old (35) and pregnant, I was also overweight.  The conception of my daughter was surprisingly easy and I fell pregnant the first month we decided to start trying.  Like many older women I had been convinced by the mass media that I would have great difficulty falling pregnant, so had been doing my best to mentally prepare myself for months of negative pregnancy tests.  I was
concerned about the possibility of declining fertility and had also read that women who are overweight can find conception difficult.  After further research on the issue of my weight I found that this assumption is largely based on the premise that overweight women can suffer from erratic cycles in exactly the same way that women who are considered underweight can. My cycles were extremely regular so I was less concerned about this as a potential barrier, than my age.  I was however prepared to lose weight if it proved necessary and had also been taking folic acid for a number of months.



My first Midwife appointment took place at 9 weeks.  It was at that point I realised that my weight was going to be an issue.  I’m not a fan of BMI, primarily because I think it’s bias against those of us who are short of stature, but also because I don’t like being labelled.  I particularly don’t like being labelled as “obese” but unfortunately as I was, the whole world thought that they could make an awful lot of assumptions about me and my health.  I was told that I would have to be managed by a Consultant as I was considered a “high risk” pregnancy. The Midwife then took my blood sugar and complained that it was too low, followed by my blood pressure, also low. I saw the irony, but it was lost on her. My first appointment under Consultant care was with the Anaesthetist.  I walked into his room and sat down and his first words to me were “Why are you here, you aren't even big?”.  What a lovely man, I instantly felt better.  Incidentally, I am a dress size 16/18.

My next appointment was supposed to be with the Consultant. Unfortunately, the Consultant wasn't available that day so I was lumbered with her Registrar.  I took an instant dislike to her, she spoke to me as if I was a child and lectured me about obesity without asking me any questions. I’m convinced she thought I was surviving on a diet of fish & chips, chocolate and sweets.  In fact the opposite was true, I ate extremely healthily when I was pregnant and actually lost some weight in the first few months.

During my appointment she checked my blood pressure (normal) and blood sugar (normal) and gave me a lecture about pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.  During my second appointment with the same Registrar, the same checks were performed and this time she also reviewed my scan results.  Everything was absolutely fine. I decided to raise the subject of using the Birth Centre and she was horrified.  Clearly as I was overweight and old, she was of the opinion that they should intervene in the birthing process as much as possible.  I went home that night and cried. My third appointment was much the same although my husband was there for moral support. When I remarked on the normality of my pregnancy she replied “We’ll see what happens with your glucose test”. Thankfully that was normal too.

Eventually I spoke out about the treatment I had received from the Registrar and was encouraged to make an appointment with the Consultant Midwife to discuss both that and the use of the Birthing Centre.  The Consultant Midwife was sympathetic and ensured me that she would discuss my complaint with the Consultant and insist that my next appointment was with the Consultant, not her Registrar.  It was also agreed that I could use the Active Birth room for delivery. For the first time in my pregnancy, or so it seemed, someone had actually listened to what I had to say, rather than seeing me as two simple numbers on a piece of paper, my age and BMI.  I was subsequently discharged from Consultant care because it was determined that my pregnancy had progressed perfectly and it was no longer required. I also received an apology for the way that I had been made to feel by the Registrar.  I told the Consultant that I understood that there could be complications with pregnancy in older women and indeed women that are over-weight and from that perspective they were being cautious.  However, there are ways of managing pregnant women that don’t involve treating them like either cattle or naughty children.  I’d like to think that this had some resonance with her, but suspect that is pure vanity on my part.

In the event my daughter was delivered via cesarean section as it was discovered that she was breech at my 40 week appointment.  I was incredibly disappointed not to have a natural birth, but I did manage to have skin-to-skin contact and breastfeed while they stitched me up.  I love being an older mum. I feel experienced and confident in my own opinions and decision making processes.  I have had a career, travelled the world and partied with the best of them. Therefore, I don’t feel I am missing out on anything at all, as I’ve already done it. I am entirely content spending my days with my beautiful daughter, I don’t feel desperate for a “break” from her and rarely go out on the town.

Why would I want to go dancing and drinking when I can cuddle up with my little one and watch the “Bedtime Hour” on CBeebies?  A few years ago that sentence would have been unthinkable, but I guess that’s the point. Several years ago I was doing exactly what I wanted and it was all about me, now it is all about my little girl and her happiness comes first. I like it that way.

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4 comments:

  1. Well done you! You proved that even if you don't fit the stereotype expected of a pregnant woman, you still produced a beautiful, healthy child. It never ceases to amaze me how we all become public property when we're having a child, even to the people who should know better. Whatever happened to empowerment?! So glad you are loving your new life. Brilliant being an older mum, isn't it! Polly x

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  2. Good for you indeed! It's horrible the undermining that takes place, when really, you're probably more balanced than most. It's such a precious time and you kept it that way. A lovely, heartwarming story.

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  3. I can't believe how the registrar treated you. I sincerely hope she learns from your complaint and doesn't treat others in your position the same way. Great that you are enjoying motherhood, wish I could agree about the bedtime hour but after four years of it I am beginning to secretly hope Iggle Piggle's boat springs a leak!

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  4. Thank you for your lovely comments x

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