It might feel to you that living through a rainbow pregnancy is a bit like being expected to find your way to some far off place in the dark without a map or compass (or even the google maps app).
We all know how tough that can be at the best of times.
Add in being on a journey (pregnancy) that has previously ended in tragedy (the loss of your precious baby) - and it's not surprising that rainbow parents use phrases like "perilous" or precarious" to describe their pregnancy journey.
There are things though that rainbow parents have found helpful when it comes to living through, and even finding moments of enjoying, a rainbow pregnancy. Blog posts over the next few week will explore different aspects of this advice but to kick off...
Here are a few that relate to your maternity care:
- Don't be afraid to find a midwife you really click with, one who will offer you the support you need. If this isn't the community midwife you have originally been assigned to contact the Community Matron at your hospital and tell her what you need. It is entirely possible for you to be under the care of another midwife. It's really important that you know you are not "being tricky" or "a pain" when you ask for what you need in this pregnancy.
- Ask your midwife is she can schedule any additional appointments for you - a weekly appointment to listen to your baby's heartbeat perhaps or extra appointments at points in this pregnancy that might be especially difficult for you.
- If you think ultrasound scan appointments might trigger extra stress or anxiety - send an email or letter explaining this to your Consultant and ask him or her to forward it to the Clinical Lead who covers the maternity ultrasound department. If you think it would be helpful you could ask if staff (sonographers, receptionists etc) could be made aware of your situation and what they could do to help you before and during your scan appointments.
- Arrange for a visit around the maternity unit - at a time that feels best for you. Many rainbow parents will choose to go into the Day or Maternity Assessment Unit (DAU/MAU) at some point in their pregnancy - perhaps when they feel concerned about their baby's movements or simply to hear their baby's heart beat. Arranging a time in advance to visit and meet the staff and share as much of your story as you would find helpful can help to put your mind at rest when you do go in. You can arrange a visit through your community midwife or contact the Antenatal Clinic Manager at your hospital.
- If you would like a senior midwife to meet with you and prepare an individualised plan of care that can be put in your hospital notes and referred to by all members of staff then your community midwife can refer you for an appointment with a Consultant Midwife at the hospital. One aspect a Consultant Midwife's role is to provide clinical leadership and support women in their needs and wishes during pregnancy and as they prepare for labour and birth. This may be exactly what you need.
- And finally remember it is ALWAYS ok to ask for more information and it is ALWAYS ok to say what you need in this pregnancy.
It's vital that maternity care is a genuine partnership between women, partners and health professionals - especially in rainbow pregnancies.