Rhian

Jorja Mai was not planned. We’ve been together 18 months, very happy and planned for a future. I had an infected tooth, had a course of antibiotics, didn’t feel well and ended up at the doctors who said ‘oh, how pregnant are you?’

“Excuse me????!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I had to get hold of my partner who was at work at the time and his response was, “Well how did that happen!” So I had to wait for him to come home to discuss it all.

In the meantime I ended up at my mum’s house in tears. I was happy because I’ve heard of so many people who have had problems getting pregnant. I was happy but it was a massive shock that we hadn’t planned for, we were happy being a couple at the time with holidays etc. It was a good shock and every body was happy. We only told our parents and then told others at the 12 week scan. We needed that much time to get our heads around it.

The first few weeks I thought it was really strange, I didn’t feel any different. How can my body be doing all these things and I have no idea what was going on. When I was 7 weeks I started getting a bit tired then morning sickness kicked in pretty good, to the point where I was 11 weeks I ended up at Worcester Royal, on a drip. They were giving me tablets to stop being sick but I couldn’t keep them down. In the end I had injections into my muscles to stop. I lost 16 pounds, so I got quite thin to start off with and I had sickness until I was 19 weeks.

It was a week before Christmas and I felt really bad, I had phoned in sick that day and was bad all that day and felt rubbish. I went to bed early and that was it. I was never sick again. So Christmas day I ate very gingerly and come the new year I ate anything in sight! If I wanted it I had it. So I was having lemon and sugar pancakes first in the morning, pancakes at night. I ate custard (the ready-made lunch box pots) and I was going through 2 or 4 a day! It was one of the few things I could eat whilst I was being sick as well. If I wanted food I had to have it then.

I expected all the changes to my body. I’m a neo-natal nurse so I expected all the changes, I knew that my body would change. I remember the week before Christmas I put on maternity trousers for the first time. My jeans were just tight across my tummy and I prefered to be comfortable. I remember texting my mum telling her I was wearing maternity jeans as it was quite a big deal.

It took quite a while for me to realise I had a bump. I wasn’t exactly thin before but everybody was saying they could see a bump but I couldn’t see it. I keep a pregnancy diary and it was when I started seeing a few photos of myself I realised I had changed. About January I became quite proud that I had a bump. I hated anybody touching it or coming near it. I loved Andy touching me and I didn’t mind my mum touching me but thought it was odd that random people in the street touched me.

I was a bit upset at 7 months when I looked at a picture of myself at a wedding in a maternity dress. I was all bump and it was on the top of the growth line and I was big. The last week everything got worse, I was hot, sweaty and my feet got swollen, my face went puffy and by this time I had stretch marks. My mum had some so I knew they were coming but I didn’t expect so much and now I can’t see myself ever wearing a bikini or anything.

Before the labour on the Friday I sat and cried my eyes out because I was really fed up. In the morning my water’s broke and so I called the hospital and they said to come in about 10. At the hospital, they said my waters hadn’t broken and sent me home, I was in tears, I was exhausted and I spent the whole night upset. I felt I was right and I hadn’t been listened to. I felt I’d been pushed aside.

Andy went to work the next day and I sat and sulked for most of the day. My mum convinced me to call the hospital back and they said to come in at 9. After checking me they did admit that my waters had gone. I felt relived but the only problem was that because my waters had gone 36 hours ago I couldn’t have a water birth which really upset me. I was so angry because I really wanted a water birth and would have had one if they’d listened to me! I had the option to have an induced labour or leave it until the Tuesday morning. I went home but was booked in for Monday night.

She was really hurting me and I felt my contractions starting. In the car on the way home, I had a feeling I was contracting, I hadn’t had it before so I wasn’t sure, she wasn’t going to come with a banner saying ‘I’m having contractions now!’ I got into bed and they got strong and I couldn’t settle. By 12 I knew they were definitely contractions. I came downstairs and fell asleep on my yoga ball and put my tens machine on to manage the pain. By 3am they were regular so I got Andy to time me and they were between 7 and 8 minutes. At half 4 I had a warm bath because my back was really hurting, fell asleep, then got dressed. I went to the loo and there was some blood and Andy said let’s go to the hospital.

I was 5 cm and they put me on the monitor. She was fine and I was fine, not sure what the blood was. I had a second bath, had my gas and air with one hand, relaxing music and Andy on the loo, where he fell asleep! We were in there for a bit and it helped with pain. After the consultant came in and said Jorja Mai was starting to get stressed. I had to go back on the monitors which meant I couldn’t walk around. That and with the sickness from the gas and air I said, ‘Stuff this’ but with stronger words and I decided to get an epidural. The first epidural at 1 didn’t work; one of my legs went numb and I could feel everything in the other. I had to have another one and finally I went numb. This took best part of 6 hours. I was told I would have to have a section if she didn’t come. At 3.30 I was 9.5 cm. What they didn’t tell me was that we were back to back and she couldn’t turn around and get her head down. They told me after that I did have to have a section. I was gutted, I really did not want one. I’ve seen so many and I found it so traumatic for mum and baby. I was so upset that Andy had to go and get some scrubs on. I was upset but exhausted and signed the form in a blur.

One thing I had on my birthing plan was that Andy was to tell me what sex the baby is, and they said yes that’s fine, they would hold the baby up for Andy to tell me. There was a very unfortunate light above me which was reflective and I could see everything going on. I remember seeing them cutting me, the head and then hearing this gargle cry. We both burst into tears. I remember lying there thinking, ‘Where is she?  The anesthetist just said they were drying her. It was only when the pediatric came over, alarm bells went off and he said that she needed a lot of oxygen. She was fine now. I couldn’t hold her because I had the shakes. I had quite a nasty bleed so I had to get stitched up well and truly.

Andy had skin on skin with her and I remember coming into Andy and he was so happy that he’d had a nappy lesson! I was very pleased that she was here, so exhausted but I just wanted to hold her. She was breastfeeding within a couple on minutes and has been ever since. I’ve had no problem feeding her. It was a very traumatic birth and later on that day when the surgeon consultant came around I couldn’t belive he was talking about the next birth! I was still numb from the first one, I could not even think of the next one. I had some lovely midwives there and I had to stay for a few days. I hated Andy leaving me, I wanted him to be with me. This was something we’d done together, were so happy with and I was being left alone to look after her.

I’ve found babyhood very stressful at times. With my job I can practically do everything and I’ve done night shifts. I’ve not had an hour away from her since she’s been born. Suddenly the slightest things start to annoy me. Even just having a shower made me feel better. Andy was around the fist two weeks, the first week was fine but the second week he was just getting on my nerves doing his best to help but hindering.

It’s lovely seeing all her firsts. When I’ve had a rough night and in the morning I get a biggest smile, she’s so happy to see me. That is something no one can take away from you. All the sleepless nights and worrying disappears. She’s now got a cheeky personality and is becoming more of a person and more rewarding with her smiling and giggling. Everyday she seems to do something new, laughing at things like throwing up on daddy.

I expected my boobs to get big, I expected my stomach to get big, that was fine but it really upset me a few days after that I realised I’ve not only got stretch marks on my tummy but on the top of my thighs as well. It is my stretch marks that I have an issue with now. My tummy has gone down and I’ve lost the weight but now I’m left with the stretch marks.  Everyone says they will fade.

I always said I would have a tatoo of my children’s name but now I have the stretch marks I don’t need to do that. It does upset me and I feel quite self-conscious but there’s nothing I can do about it. Ultimately they’re not going to go and I need to be comfortable with them and accept and come to terms that it is my body now. I only thought I’d have a few but I have loads. Andy says, ‘You’ve just carried a baby for 9 months so I’d be surprised if there were no effects’. He says to wear them as pride marks.

For all the trouble she’s so worth it. If someone had told me you could have a baby but this would happen, I would still go for it. She is worth it!

Amanda Sian Feasey

Amanda’s story in her own words…

My story…..we (me and my husband) had been trying for a baby for a while, my husband was told that he may never have children due to having problems when younger we made a decision to go to the doctors and be checked, the doctor booked him in to the clinic and a week before he was due to go I did a pregnancy test as felt different I didn’t tell him as didn’t want raise hope and I WAS pregnant….i was very excited but knew I had to wait to tell him when he got home, we both was extremely happy……I had quite an easy pregnancy  but gained a lot of weight due to giving up smoking (me and hubby), and eating chocolate ;)…then the last 4 wks. I was in and out of hospital with suspected preeclampsia, all went quite a week before our little man was due so we just had to wait, he finally arrived a week late … I had a birth plan I wanted to go completely natural as much as I could, went into labour at 8.30pm waited at home as much as I could but was extremely tired so at 3.30am I went into hospital they examined me and I was 3cm dilated, they decided as I was over they would do a sweep :S, I got sent home but was in loads pain, my contractions were very close so I went back in hospital I had progressed but was very uncomfortable so the drugs started coming thick and fast, the midwife felt my tummy and found my lil man was back to back (explains the pain), I ended up having an epidural the 1 thing I didn’t want, tht didn’t work so I had 4 :@ then at fully dilated my lil man just wouldn’t drop any even after pushing for 2 hrs.. So 63hrs of labour later my lil man arrived via emergency C-section with spinal which again didn’t work first few times..Jonathan Carl Feasey, born 4/1/10 at 3.30pm weighing 7lb1oz….

 

After 10mth we tried again and was blessed with a second pregnancy, unfortunately we lost the baby at 10wks :(…

 

After that we were a little nervous to try again but  2 mth later we found out I was pregnant 🙂 , needless to say all throughout pregnancy I was very nervous :S  again I had a very smooth pregnancy apart from baby being back to back again, i didn’t bother with a birth plan as I realised babies come when they want and how they want, at due date I was waiting anxiously but again my 2nd lil man didn’t want to make an appearance…5 days late I went into labour, this was a little quicker and I went all the way with just gas n air, up until the point of pushing for 2 hrs again he didn’t progress, so I had another emergency C-section 😦 it took 4 attempts again to get spinal in, it took them  a little longer and I was very worried but afterwards they explained they had tried to let me have my natural birth but found my pelvis was the wrong shape!! So after 36hrs of labour and only gas n air and a spinal my lil man Bradley James Feasey was born 3/5/12 at 6.40am weighing 8lb 8oz….

 

We want more but now realise I will always have to have C-section x I’ve had a journey to accept my body after birth but my midwife explained how C-section are performed (pulling stomach muscles apart) and I now realise my body is amazing what it can do and it’s a map of my babies journeys and I wouldn’t change it for the world it’s my mummy belly :D….. How can a little cell turn into a baby then grow so fast from small babies into toddler, young adults then mummies and daddies? A women’s body can grow a little baby then feed it and nurture it to grow big and strong…I look at my boys every day and im so proud I (with a little help from daddy) created them and raised them on my own milk and now teach them every day x

Amanda’s belly

Jelly Bellies on Facebook

After being in the papers and wanting to reach more mums, I decided to take Jelly Bellies to Facebook and it seems it was the right thing to do! Mums can upload their own photos. As a photographer this was initially my photography project but I love seeing photos other’s take too. By going global I’m hoping more mums will go on the journey and look at their bodies in a different way and learn to be proud of their baby badges.

Almost 25 likes for the page in 4 hours which I am quite happy about. Thank you all so much for being so supportive.

Got lots more Belly shoots booked which is so exciting. I absolutely love meeting new people and hearing their stories.

Let me just repeat – Jelly Bellies isn’t about getting a big belly and putting on weight after having a baby. It’s about the irreversible changes to the body after childbirth.

Visit the Facebook page

Mrs C

A mum in her early 20’s this time…

Mrs N

Another mum who didn’t want to be identified…

 

Mrs S

Mrs S didn’t want her face or name put to her belly, so here is her wonderful write up on her journey to motherhood and below are a few photos I took of her and her two children’s bellies.

My  Journey to Motherhood.

I had never thought I wanted children, my life was consumed with sport and training and the thought of changing my body was something I did not relish, after all I had worked for too long and too hard to have it ruined.

When I met my husband the thoughts started to change and his view on how I looked helped me to appreciate the change would only enhance my character not hinder my looks…

Eventually when I fell pregnant with my first child I ate and ate and ate and gained nearly 6 stone throughout the pregnancy. I could not do anything physical as I felt sick all the time and sat on the sofa in the final trimester…. After giving birth I struggled to bond with my baby due to the immense frustration that my birth had not been the way I had wanted , which I know was due to being so over weight. The more I looked at my body, the more I became angry for allowing myself to eat the way I did and not care about the consequences.

2 years on and 4 stone lighter it was time to consider baby number two! Could I go through with it again? Would my body gain the same amount of weight if not more? Would I have the same issues bonding second time round? what if I could not lose the weight this time? How many more stretch marks would I end up with?…

Well the difference was I was in control of my body and my choices. I had a beautiful child and had bonded through time and emotional healing for various reasons, I was playing regular netball and training hard in the gym, I was ready! So ready that I continued playing netball all season till I was 7 months and was loving the way I looked. The final trimester and I had only gained 5pounds throughout!!!! The labour was induced as it was first time round only this time it was 2 hours rather than the previous 3 days and I felt good. When my little bundle came into the world I final knew I was a woman, lumps, bumps stretch marks to boot, this was me and I was going to embrace it with two hands.

Like every woman I have days when I don’t feel great and more often than not I don’t, but being a teacher and with two little ones to run around after, I struggle. Yet looking at all my wobbles and marks I can stand proudly in the mirror and be truly blessed that God gave me the gift of being a mother and seeing it through from conception to delivery, to have two healthy adorable children who teach me daily about myself and a husband who admires me as a woman when he sees the stretch  marks and says “without them I would not have become a father” suddenly I realise, my belly is something to be proud of.

I’m still working on the weight loss but the fact is I will never look like I did it my teens, nor do I want to ,as back then I had little drive for life, now my children are my driving force and the journey is only just beginning….