Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Lifestyle | Autistic and Pregnant #1

Hello there :) How is everyone? We are properly getting into march now and the weather is starting to warm up yippee and about time. I don't know where the time goes, seems to wiz by in my old age of 22. 

Today I thought I would talk to you all a little bit about my experience of being pregnant with Aspergers. It's not something easy to write about and I think I'm going to have to do it over a few different posts so not to bore you all. 

Where to start hey?! So if you don't already know I'm Anna-Louise and I'm 22 years old and I have Aspergers and with that have had a lot of anxiety. I'm now pregnant, currently 32 weeks and I thought I would tell you all a little bit about my story.

April 2017 I married my best friend which was a challenge and an achievement in itself. We made the whole day completely tailored around what I could and couldn't cope with so that I was able to fully enjoy the day without any panic attacks or meltdowns. If you know anything about Aspergers you will know that Aspies don't cope well with change, people, sensory overload etc so the wedding was a big deal for me. Now the sensible thing would have been to try and settle after that and get used to married life and well just calm things down so I could get back to my routine (something that is very important for an autistic person). However we thought it would be a good idea to try for a baby instead. I say try we just weren't being careful anymore and were just planning on seeing what happened (thinking it would take a long time) and well apparently we are both fertile myrtles and here we are now a year later having a baby. 

The baby is due to arrive via the sun roof a couple of days before our 1st wedding anniversary, so last year we were hectic wedding planning, now we are manic getting ready for our new arrival. So a nice  and quiet life with a steady routine for me so I can cope, or NOT. 

We both knew pregnancy would never be easy for me, but I'm not sure either of us knew quite how difficult and challenging it would be. I have to say being pregnant is the hardest challenge I have ever had to face, don't get me wrong I'm super excited to meet our little person but it's been a real struggle for me to get to where I am now and there is still a long way to go. 

Before I got pregnant I was on a number of different medications, which all worked great for me and enabled me to have steady thoughts, no real meltdowns and as I like to say feel normal (although everyone is unique in their own little way so what is normal?). However two of the medications were definitely not safe to take during pregnancy so had to be stopped immediately and the other is okay to take but it can carry risks so we decided to weigh up the pros and cons and I decided to stay on one of the medications as it was likely I would be at risk to myself if I came off it. This was hard, as I went from being in a good place where I was in control of myself to being on this crazy spiral of hormones, emotions (which I struggle to understand and read) and morning sickness or as I like to call it all day sickness. 

I have gone from being a positive up beat happy person, to a stranger. I don't feel like me at all which for an autistic person is frightening. I was able to carry on with the one medication up until about 24 weeks of pregnancy when I started to notice I wasn't feeling the baby as much, so I kept going into hospital to be monitored and they decided to send me for an extra scan where they found out I had an extremely large amount of extra fluid in my womb, they weren't sure what was causing it at first (which was incredibly never wracking) so I was sent for specialist scans. When I found out I had a lot of fluid I made the decision myself to stop taking my medication till we knew what was going on. A few days later I went for my specialist scan which was a challenge as with Aspergers you like to know what's going on and you also like to go to familiar places and this specialist scan meant I had to go to a different hospital, so there were different smells and environment - basically a big sensory overload situation for me. 

The professor carrying out the scans first thought was that the build up of fluid was because of my medication that I was still on, and my fluid had gone down since my previous scan and I hadn't been on my medication, so it was concluded that it was highly likely that it was the medication causing this so it was agreed that I was to stop taking it completely for the rest of my pregnancy. Everything was absolutely fine with the baby and little one even had a heart echo. It's incredible what they are able to do now. There were other queries that it might be down to me and the baby having a form of diabetes, known as diabetes insipudious which the medication has caused, however my fluid is now back to a normal level and I also have a very big baby (can thank my 6ft6 husband for that) so the likely thing is that it was due to my medication. 

Because of the extra fluid I also was in for almost daily monitoring of the baby as I was unable to feel his movements which has been a challenge in itself, and not helping me feel the way I have been. The constant unknown has been unbearable. I've also had the support of a fantastic perinatal psychiatric nurse who I have seen weekly, which although the support has been great has meant that most of my pregnancy has been spent in and out of hospital.

When I initially stopped my medication I was on a high, I felt amazing and even thought I may be able to come off my medication permanently which would have been amazing. However that was not meant to be and I slowly started to really spiral down, I started having daily meltdowns again, I was violent towards those closest to me, I was incredibly irritable, I didn't want to have the baby as I thought I wasn't good enough, I would cry and scream for no reason, I would hit my belly as I wanted the baby out,  I didn't want to get out of bed or leave the house, I hated myself so much - the only thing keeping me here was my love for the little human inside of me and deep down I want this baby more than anything and I know I'll be a good mum, I just couldn't see it at this point. I had been on the medication for 5 years before my pregnancy, I was put on it when I was diagnosed with Aspergers and it really helped like I mentioned earlier. The feelings I was getting were how it had been for me all my life up until I started my medication and I hated it, I hated being out of control again, I hated struggling, I hated not understanding. I was cross and upset with myself that things were so difficult. It was having an impact on my whole family and my husband. I tell you what though I couldn't do any of this without them they have been my rocks throughout all of this. I have incredible parents, and a husband who's love for me is so strong he will stick by my side despite him seeing me fall apart and tell him I hate him on a daily basis. ( I don't hate any of them but how I felt led me to hating everyone and myself) 

It was then decided that it might be an idea to try me on a form of sedatives to help calm me through the rest of my pregnancy and they did absolutely nothing. I was still out of control and on a constant downwards spiral. It was then suggested to try me on a new medication which has sedatives and a mood stabiliser in it. I was very reluctant at first as I did not want any side affects to affect my little person in my belly. This medication is safe to take during pregnancy so after a lot of persuasion from the professionals I decided to give it a go. To begin with it did absolutely nothing apart from completely knock me out so I would sleep as I just couldn't settle or rest my mind. So the fact I was able to sleep was a good thing. We have been slowly increasing the dose so that it is starting to act as a mood stabiliser, and I'm starting to notice a difference in myself. I'm now washing and starting to care for myself again and going out to appointments without my hat on ( when i'm struggling I wear a wooly hat as it helps me cope with sensory overload and going out in public - makes me feel safe like I'm in my own bubble). 

I've still got a long way to go till I'm back on track and where I want to be but I feel I'm going in the right direction now and I can see an end to all this. Its only 7 weeks till our little one arrives and then I can get my body back, which is something I have really struggled with in pregnancy. Having Aspergers means I absolutely hate change and well being pregnant means things are constantly changing, and I'm not able to do my daily routine and not able to look after the horses or the dogs, but I'm starting to get excited for the arrival of baby smith. I can also see an end to all this unknown and being able to get myself back to the happy smiley Anna I really am and in to a new routine that will suit me and little one. 

So there you go that is just a small bit of my pregnancy story of being pregnant with Aspergers. Like I said it has been the most challenging thing I have ever done but also the most rewarding thing, and I feel blessed every day that I'm able to grow a little person and for mine and Jacks life to start as a family of 3 and get back to our new normal. I'm so grateful for my amazing parents and husband, I really don't know where I would be without them.  I now just keep telling myself that every day I am one step closer to meeting baby smith and that is keeping me going, and that I have done amazing to get as far as I have done and I can do this. I'm also trying to smile everyday as it's so easy to forget to when your down but a smile a day does keep the doctor away.

 This blog post has a picture of Robin because he always manages to make me smile and has helped me through the rough times.

Anyway enough rambling for this blog post.
Hope you are all well and jolly 


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Sunday, 4 March 2018

Lifestyle | Pregnancy Must Haves

Hey there! Hope everyone is well and jolly and enjoying this fantastic spring weather we have been having!! Oh wait we have just had shit loads of snow instead, and in March?! What's wrong with you weather?! Anyway lets hope that was just a minor blip, and that the nice person who controls the weather sends us spring soon.

I find it hard to be consistent with blog posts as being pregnant is tough and exhausting, and it's taken it's toll on me. Pregnancy has not been easy for me at all, with a) having Aspergers / Anxiety and being pregnant ( I hate change so why did I do this) and b) there being complications with the pregnancy and c) just being pregnant,  so I'm afraid I'm not always in the mood to write and be positive. However I'm trying to be positive and put on a smile as I have less than 2 months to go now and I know the end goal will be worth it! Plus I love blogging and rambling rubbish to you all.

In this blog post I thought I would talk to you all about pregnancy must haves, well the things that have helped me to get through the rough times.

A comfy pair of slippers! Now these are a must for any pregnant woman, unless you don't like slippers. Pregnancy brings a whole load of glamours things, one of which being swollen feet and ankles. My feet are so uncomfortable in anything at the moment and to be honest don't fit in much. If I had my own way I would go everywhere bare foot but that's not realistic in this country. So a nice comfy pair of slippers is great alternative as they will actually fit your feet, plus it's an excuse to treat yourself to a new pair.

A smelly candle! Now this isn't a must have for everyone but it is for me. I love candles, especially smelly ones (non smelling ones seem pointless if you ask me) and when I'm feeling down and miserable lighting a candle just helps lift the mood a little bit as it's not healthy for me to sit in a smelly room 24/7,  so Jack and my parents tell me anyway! I'm particularly in love with the candles from Magnificent wax - they have a great range of smells and they last for ages! Plus they are all homemade by a family.  Check them out on Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/magnifiscent_wax/

A Pregnancy pillow also know as giant Michelin man legs. Firstly the size of this pillow is hilarious, not only is it great as a pregnancy pillow but it's also great fun to pretend you have giant legs because that's what everyone would do right?! This has been my absolute lifesaver throughout my pregnancy, I don't know how I would sleep without it. It's cosy to hug, doesn't smell like a human,  and I can hug something without touching a human (It's an Asperger thing) and I can rest my bump on it! Jack's not such a fan of this as he now only has a small corner of the bed.

A hot water bottle. Not much to say on this other than it will become your best friend when you get all the lovely aches and pains that come with being pregnant.

A plastic cup and straw. Now this is not a must have for most but has been for me. Since becoming pregnant I have started to drink like a fish. I seriously drink soo much! So I invested in a few plastic bottles with straws and have taken a real liking to drinking from straws since I've been pregnant. So I always have one with me full of ice and water and one full of apple juice (think this baby is going to come out drinking apple juice not milk with the amount I drink)

A smile. This is a must have for any pregnant woman. Pregnancy is tough and it's certainly one of the hardest challenges I've ever had to face and more often than not I forget to smile. But it's something we should all do to remind us how incredible our bodies are for growing a little human and to remind ourselves that we can do this and it will all be worth it. 

Have managed to actually get a picture of Barney for this blog post so here he is :) 

Hope you are well and jolly :) 


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Sunday, 28 January 2018

Beauty | My Pregnancy Skincare Routine

Hello there! Hope everyone is having/had a fab January! Thank goodness it's almost over though, it's definitely one of those months that just seems to last forever, and when you have animals and horses it is one of the worst months there just seems to be rain, mud and grey skies everywhere. Oh and wind no one likes that thing either. Hurry up spring, you are very much wanted now.

I thought I would do a post on my pregnancy skincare routine. Can't lie, to some of you it might be rather simple and boring but I've found since being pregnant this so called 'pregnancy glow' does not exist or is still trying to find me! I've not had an easy pregnancy, can't say I'm enjoying it either but I know the end goal will be worth it!

Instead of this so called glowing skin I seem to have found dry, spotty skin. Thanks little thing in my belly I hope your glowing inside there! Firstly the majority of my pregnancy has been spent either being sick or feeling sick so a skincare routine has not always been at the top of my list, but seen as they go on about how you should look after yourself when your pregnant I have been trying harder recently. Also don't want to scare the little thing when he pops out my belly and see's a scary looking mum so thought I should try and improve the look for him a bit.

I've found my skin has become super sensitive in this pregnancy, it seems to react to everything. The joys of hormones hey! I've tried sticking to fairly basic products that don't seem to make me look worse. I'm also using the products my mum has been using since forever because thought I should probably take more of the mum approach now, plus she seems to have great skin in her late 40's so something must be working.

The first product I have been using is No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing lotion. I have this one in the normal/dry version which is also hypo-allergenic. I use my cleansing lotion as my first step of my skincare routine. Sorry I have no fancy new unused bottle to take a picture of, thought a half used one is more of a reality. This product seems to work great at removing all of my daily grub off my face, and it's nice and gentle to. The other plus is that it doesn't really smell of much which is great as those pregnancy hormones make everything smell like rubbish and make those gag reflexes kick in so this has definitely been one of my go to products. It's easy to use too just put a blob on one of those round pad things (names gone silly baby brain) rub round your face gently and jobs done! I try and use this morning and night but the reality is that once a day is a bonus and it seems to help calm down my face and make me feel better.

The second product I use in my skincare routine is the No7 Soft and Soothed  Gentle Toner. This one is also hypo-allergenic. Again apologise for no fancy unused bottle but again thats not always the reality plus life is hectic getting ready for the new arrival. I use this after the cleansing lotion and it really helps to soothe my skin and makes me feel refreshed. The other great thing about this is that it also does not have a strong smell if any smell which is a big bonus if your pregnant. Those smelly products just don't smell nice at the moment. 

The final product I use in my skincare routine is the No7 Beautiful Skin Day Cream. Again this is also hypo-allergenic and this has the added bonus of also having SPF 15 in it. Remember you should also put on some sun protection even when it's dull and cloudy. Apparently your skin will thank you in years to come but can't give you my opinion on that seen as I only have 22yr old skin at the moment. I love this moisturiser as it is nice and thick and as my skin seems to have gone lovely and dry (thanks again pregnancy hormones) it helps to put the moisture back in my face and makes it feel all lovely and smooth again. 

This blog post photo is a Robin one today as he was feeling in the mood to pose for the camera and well you can't say no to those eyes! 

Hope you are all well and jolly :)


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Monday, 15 January 2018

Lifestyle | Where have I been?

Well hey strangers! It's certainly been a long while or should I say a few years even! Apparently life can get very busy and well take up all your time. My blog definitely took a back seat whilst I've been traveling around the world (that's a lie but sounds cool), whilst I've been travelling around my bubble as I like to call it! I'm not sure where to start with filling you all in with what I've been up to otherwise I could be writing this post for years but I'll try and do a brief summary for you all!

What exciting things have you all been up to over the past couple years? 

So let's begin.....

First I moved house which I mentioned before. Then I bought my own home with my now husband (yes someone was mad enough to marry me). We then spent what felt like forever doing it up and decorating it and making it look lovely, which it is. However I then decided that it was all too much for me to be living in my own home thanks to my aspergers and was just too much for me to cope with so we are now much to my parents excitement (or not) back living at theirs. But not just Jack, Barney and me, also an incredibly annoying but lovely cocker spaniel named Robin oh and if that wasn't enough a soon to be newborn baby as I'm now pregnant! You can probably imagine how thrilled they are to have us back and their peace and quiet taken away! 

So yeah in the past couple of years I've managed to gain another dog to the collection, he is awesome but beyond annoying and incredibly lively! Basically the dog version of me; drive you mad most of the time but the cuteness and the character makes you love us! As lovely as it is having two dogs I'm not sure how mum and dad feel as it means there are currently 4 in the house as they have two of their own; we are not short of dog hair to say the least! I've included below a picture of me dancing with Robin on my wedding day as everyone dances with their dog at their wedding!

Aswell as the added addition of a dog I got married last April! It was by far the best day of my life so far as I married my best friend Jack who is currently snoring next to me so thought I would write this post! I'm planning on doing some blog posts on my wedding day and about how I made it autism friendly.

And then just because I'm someone who loves change and being busy (haha biggest joke yet) Jack and I decided to start a family. We are expecting our first baby in April this year!!! Not long to go now! We are incredibly excited although I can't lie I'm not enjoying this whole being pregnant thing. I'm also planning on doing some posts on pregnancy and then baby posts too so if thats not for you sorry you'll have to skip those ones. The bad quality image below is of our small human despite the fact he looks more like an alien at 16 weeks old. He is now a lot bigger and so am I!

And as always I will continue to do a Barney photo at the end of my posts, although to spice things up a bit I'm going to alternate them between Barney and Robin as I can't be seen to be favouring one or the other! The one below for this post is them pulling Jack and I out of the church! 

Hope you are all well and jolly :) 


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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Lifestyle | Things that make me smile :)

Hello there :) How is everyone today! Hope you are all fine and dandy! Really not long till christmas now, I am literally super excited! Who else is excited or do you think it's to early for christmas? I'm desperate to wear one of my christmas jumpers but jack keeps telling me he will be grumpy if I do, so thats a no go as then the only way of making him not grumpy would be feeding him and well he eats a lot and thats effort to cook haha! Sorry Jack :P 

Some exciting news, well maybe not exciting for you but I'm super excited and happy about it, I am coming off one of medications! Yippee! So I thought I would share my excitement on here :) Mental Health is something that should be talked about more and made an easier topic of conversation! I'm so grateful for my lovely family and supportive boyfriend for helping me :) So yeah I guess that is one thing that makes me smile. 

I think it's important to write down or remember the things that make you smile so that if you are having a more of a frown day than a smiley day you can look back at the things that do make you happy in the hope of turning that frown upside down. I'm incredibly lucky and have a lot of things and people around me that make me smile so I thought I would share with you guys :) 

Okay so animals make me smile, how can they not when they are so cute, especially dogs! My grandparents have recently got this adorable little puppy Kimmy and well she is just beautiful and so cuddly! She is a proper andrex puppy. I don't know about you guys but I love the smell of puppies so spend a lot of time smelling her! Promise I'm not weird. 

My ponies always make me smile, I'm fortunate enough to have them at home now and there is nothing better than waking up in the morning and seeing there little faces or in daisy's case her big face peering over their stable doors or going and giving them goodnight kisses. These are little things but always make me smile and I'm incredibly grateful for having them in my life :) 

My brother makes me smile, I can't believe I'm actually writing this but he does, well a lot of the time anyway. We have are arguments but what siblings don't hey! He makes me smile because he has turned into a lovely young man. He went to uni in September and I miss him a lot more than I thought I would but he was kind enough to bless us with his company last weekend for dad's birthday which was a lovely surprise. 

Okay now I'm about to be soppy so if your not into that stuff then skip this bit! One of the things well people that makes me smile the most is Jack! He is the most supportive and kind boyfriend I could ask for and he has made me in to a much better and happier person. I'm so lucky to have him in my life, I never really believed that you could find your perfect match but then I met mine :) So I guess that is something worth smiling about everyday. He even manages to make me smile when he farts although I usually do have to reach for the gas mask! 

The Barney photo today is one of him, Jack and Kimmy. Barney loves both of them, Jack seems to think Barney loves him more than me but I think he is just trying to wind me up! Barney always makes me smile, just looking at his cute face does :) 

What things make you smile? 

Hope you are all well and jolly :) 


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