Pregnancy Dairies: A Woman’s Struggle with Balancing Family Life and Career

August is here! Woohoo! Hold on. How is it the 8th month of 2018 already? It’s like we blinked and the year flew by just like that.

This time last year I was heavily pregnant during a super important audit (not like other audits aren’t important) but this one, I was in charge of. The audit had started in July with the planning phase (3 weeks) which had gone smoothly; though I was nervous initially about leading the audit, managing the different personalities on the team (and the auditee) and keeping up with the audit timelines.

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LAMI’S LAST DAY AT NURSERY – JULY 2017

Sometime in July, I had complained to my GP about being breathless and dizzy coming out of the underground – I always had to take about 10mins after coming out to get bearing before walking from the station to the office (this happened almost throughout the pregnancy). I remember as far back as my 1st trimester, I would stop at a random station to catch my breath cos I would have been standing. I didn’t have a bump or a ‘baby on board’ badge at the time so no way to get someone to stand up for me – I cried a few times…

So the doctor checked my blood pressure while getting up from the chair and noticed it dropped, so he said he suspected my blood pressure was dropping each time I was underground and would take my body to adjust after coming up. Then he asked more about my commute, did I have access to lifts or escalators ‘yes’ I answered. He then said he would have to sign me off work if I couldn’t stop walking up from the underground using steps. That was the last thing I wanted to hear!

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PEEP MY BUMP SUPPORT, PELVIC PAIN WAS A BISH!
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LOVED MY OFFICE SELFIES

The plan had been to handover the reporting phase of the audit to my colleague – fieldwork was already ongoing by now (another 3 weeks) and things were looking ok on the job front. My health, on the other hand, was not. It felt like I had something to prove, I can be as productive while pregnant after all pregnancy is not a disease, I can trudge on like a soldier. My baby would be due on the 25th August and maternity leave was meant to start on the 18th so I had a full week to relax before her arrival, besides it was unlikely she would come on her due date. My solution was to work from home 3days a week to reduce the likelihood of being signed off work. Little did I know more was coming and things were about to change!

BUMP PIC

By my 3rd trimester, I was having routine checkup with the diabetic midwives and sonographer every other week because I had gestational diabetes. At my 36th week appointment, my baby’s stomach appeared bigger than her body and measured as 38weeks, the sonographer then referred me to a consultant for my 38th week appointment – this fell on the 9th August (it was at this appointment I was thrown a bombshell).

The consultant said my baby’s stomach was of concern to them as it now measured 40weeks! One of the main risks of having gestational diabetes (GD) is having a “big” baby with a big tummy and during delivery the baby might get stuck in the birth canal. The tears started rolling out…😢 I thought I had done really well with my blood sugars even the diabetic midwife once told me to up my carbs intake because my readings were too perfect…

My options:

1. Get induced as soon as possible

2. Get a c-section on my due date

The consultant then asked to check my cervix and said I was already 2cm dilated (common when you’ve already had vaginal birth). She proceeded to give my cervix a ‘sweep’ to help kickstart labour I’m sorry, kickstart what?! Confused.com!!! I mean I still had two weeks of work before maternity leave starts! Besides my previous baby came at 41weeks plus so I was looking forward to an additional couple of days after the 25th to relax before her arrival. These all played in my mind while she continued to suggest the first option because she was really concerned for myself and the baby. Thank God my husband came with me (he felt it was an important one since it was booked with a consultant), I was too numb to speak because not only is my perfect plan about to crumble, I also couldn’t help but feel like this sudden change in plans was going to negatively affect my career.

Sounds selfish? Yeah I guess but it was (and is) my reality. You see, I work in the internal audit department of a large insurance company and apart from them having the vacancy, one needs to have in-charged (led) an audit assignment to get promoted as a Senior. With all my years of experience in external and recovery audit, I really should be at a much higher position, however I made a conscious decision to move into internal audit because it would provide the work/life balance (which is hard to get with external audit) and would be more of a challenge for me (as opposed to recovery audit) Also I had worked in a small company prior to that and in order to transition into a larger company I had to be a “small fish in a big pond” with the view of then flying through the ranks once I got in.

So back to reality, we agreed for me to be induced. At the end of the day if something happens to either me or the baby, my work colleagues will only send us flowers and card to say sorry. She booked me in for the 18th Aug – my original maternity leave start date I was about to say something but my husband shot me a fierce look 👀

We got home and I called my manager to explain the situation and that I needed to move my maternity leave a week early (bear in mind that I wanted to work up till the 18th despite the news). He said he was expecting some sort of news and agreed for me to move the start date to the 11th August which would be a Friday.

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UNKNOWINGLY MY LAST DAY IN THE OFFICE… AND LAST OFFICE BUMP SELFIE

My colleagues had asked me to come into the office that day so we could have a goodbye lunch. I was preparing to go in late, eat lunch and then head back home (what’s the worst that could happen?) I went into the bathroom and plop! something dropped out of me; it was the stickiest thing I had ever seen and it had a tint of blood which scared me. Two days earlier, the consultant had told me I could get period-like cramps the following due to the cervical sweep, I already felt that the day before so when the sticky blob came out it worries me a little. So I took to my dear friend google and there it was: called the mucus plug or bloody show which sealed the entrance to your womb (uterus) during your pregnancy. When the baby comes down (engaged) into your pelvis, your body will respond by producing hormones (prostaglandins) that stimulate your cervix to ripen. This ripening of the cervix means it’s getting ready for labour and could cause the mucus plug to slip away and out of the body. I didn’t experience this with my 1sy baby.

*WARNING: What you are to see might gross you out*

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THE REDDISH BROWN COLOUR IS BLOOD
Mucus plug 1
MASSIVE PHLEGM ON THE BATHROOM FLOOR

After I read that, I informed my colleagues that I wasn’t coming in any longer because I didn’t feel well enough for the journey. Coupled with the fact my braxton hicks had become more painful, I was thrown into a state of panic nesting. So the following day (Saturday), against my husband’s advice to rest and keep my feet up, I went out for some last minute shopping.

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RIGHT AFTER THIS SOMEONE SAID TO ME “ANYTIME NOW!”

That night, my contractions got more intense and we knew it was time to go to hospital. We had previously arranged for Lami to stay with my bestie so she came down to pick her up {bless her}, it was 1am Sunday morning so baby girl was sound asleep. Anyways, we rang the hospital triage and after I was asked a couple of questions, we were asked to come in. We packed a few things for the big girl to go with aunty, grabbed the hospital bag and off we went to have our baby girl Lulu. Birth story coming soon….

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EPIDURAL WAS IN AT THIS POINT…

 

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BABY LULU!

 

My burning desire to further my career blinded my judgement when it came to my health. From the moment I found out I was pregnant something in me kept telling me to say bye bye to any promotion and at some point I contemplated going back to work 6 months postpartum. What I experienced during labour and delivery made me realise that truly ‘Man proposes but God disposes’ the expectation I had of a smooth labour/delivery just like my first was far different from the reality – I had caught an infection and they suspected sepsis, I ended up staying at hospital for a whole week as I was on antibiotics.

I’m back to work, almost a year after, and I’m almost in tears writing this because what if something terrible had happened to either of us, how would I forgive myself? I’m always one to say I can’t do without working because staying home with my children 24/7 is a different ball game, however, whatever path you chose in raising your family you will or have to make some tough decisions or even lose oneself in the process. Some of us find our way back while some take an alternative route, we are all aiming to do the best we can as parents who used to be individuals.

And before you ask, Yes. being away from work for the past 10 months has affected my position within the team  (but that’s a story for another day) ‘sigh’ #LifeOfaWorkingMum #MansWorld

Wow! I have to commend you for getting this far, means you read the whole thing! Thank you so much for coming back each time, love you mucho!

xoxo

Fabmomma

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4 thoughts on “Pregnancy Dairies: A Woman’s Struggle with Balancing Family Life and Career

  1. Sounds like rough path you had to go through! Your baby girl came out very beautiful and healthy though so that’s a wonderful thing. I have 2 daughters and expecting now but only in my 13th week and I’ve never felt so sick with pregnancy in my last 2! Even worse because I work full time also. I feel like I complain every week about not feeling good but hearing your story reminds me, I could have it worse. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congratulations! We know that 1st trimester feeling all too well 🤢 I hope it passes soon… We keep fighting for equal rights as our male counterparts when our very nature as females and the bearer of children already puts us in a disadvantaged position. Ain’t gonna stop us though! Thanks for reading 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  2. WOW!!!!!! All I can say, The Journey was real and lovely and intense. Your promotion would come soon and bigger. The most important is that your daughter is healthy and you are currently doing two great things which are being a mum and a career woman and one last thing a blogger. thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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