The USA to UK: Pregnancy Edition!


I have had so much fun comparing these differences about the routine procedures of pregnancy and labor over in the UK.  I love getting to know Molly and her experience, and also learning about other cultures and customs. Our stories are so different.  Where we live, our pregnancies, and our deliveries. This collaboration could be called Molly versus Brittany.

You see, I was pregnant with twins. I planned and prepared for the NICU life.  I had the babies bags packed, ready to go weeks before I delivered.  My husband and I toured the floor at the hospital we would deliver at and we tried to become accustomed to the idea that I would deliver early and we would live at the hospital for weeks or even months. To our surprise that never happened.  On the other hand, Molly carried one single baby and didn’t prepare in any way for such a scary delivery.  Such a scary way to bring a baby into the world, much too early and unprepared.

The biggest difference I could see in our pregnancy care was Midwives in the UK versus Doctors in the US.  This is their normal!  Her visits weren’t in giant hospitals with beeping monitors and sick people around, unlike mine where I was sent to see Maternal Fetal Medicine.  Her first ultrasound was at 12 weeks, where mine was at 9.  (I may have been pushy.)  I was surprised to find that her story did not sound too much different than mine. Appointments were spaced out just like ours would be, every 4 weeks with an ultrasound if it was medically necessary.  She was given the same chance to find out gender, and also was able to go to a private ultrasound place to confirm.  Molly didn’t have to drink any yucky sugar drink though!  There are no glucose screenings unless there is a medical worry.  Molly is also still on maternity leave and is able to claim up to 39 weeks of PAID leave, and Dad’s get two weeks of paternity leave!  The US needs to jump on board!

Just 6 weeks after finding out she was carrying a baby girl, she would be in a hospital bed trying to stay pregnant for just a little bit longer.  Molly has wrote a bit on that scary time and I will share it with all of you.

Molly’s Story
When you fall pregnant you’re overwhelmed with emotions. Excitement, worry, joy, fear. When you see their little jelly bean silhouette bouncing around on that first scan its amazing and incredible. When you find out if they are pink or blue (if you so wish) its so nerve wrecking but thrilling. I loved finding out I was having a girl, I loved announcing it to our friends and family and I loved being able to get her gorgeous clothes and plan her nursery. I secretly knew I was having a girl all along. I had little to no symptoms of pregnancy! You expect to be throwing up every minute, which I wasn’t, and craving odd things like crushed up ice lollies (yum!) which I did. But I couldn’t wait to be waddling around with a sticky out belly button protruding from my huge bump wondering if my shoes matched!
Then when you go into labour you expect to feel that same rush of emotions all over again. Excitement, worry, joy and fear. The ‘who will he/she look like?’, ‘is it a boy or a girl?’, ‘what name shall we call them?’. You never expect to have to worry about their safety or well health. You never expect to be begging with pleading with God and the doctors surrounding you to get your baby here safe and sound. You never expect your labour will take days only to result in them needing to perform an emergency cesarean section. And you never expect it all to happen at 27 weeks of pregnancy.  
I was admitted to hospital at 26+2 weeks of pregnancy with heavy bleeding (ew), was monitored for 3 days as I was 2-3cm dilated when they decided the bleed was ‘just something that happens’  and they sent me home. The bleeding became worse the next day and I was rushed back in again the next afternoon. I was kept in under stricter observations for the next 4 days when they suddenly realized the situation was not getting any better, in fact it was worsening. I was now 5cm dilated and everything else had escalated. They didn’t have a bed available for my baby to go into in the Neonatal Intensive Care so they made the call to transfer me to a different hospital, 20 miles away. Thus began the end of my pregnancy journey and beginning of my labour.
To all you moms out there who have had the scary experience of delivering prematurely, I admire your strength.  You worried a worry I don’t understand.  I passed by tiny babies with transparent skin, tiny toes and round bellies.  I was overwhelmed by emotions and they weren’t my babies. I may have prepared for the NICU life, but you can never be prepared for such a thing.  It is life changing to watch your tiny baby fight for life. Molly and her daughter are so strong and have made it through so much already!  Just like many other premature babies, Aria is so healthy and strong.  
My Story
When I found out I was carrying twins, I can honestly say I wasn’t thrilled.  Being the realist and worrier that I am, I knew what two babies meant.  This pregnancy was not going to be easy.  I was going to take care of two babies, which wouldn’t be easy either.  If you were my husband on the other hand, you heard the word “twins” and was smiling from ear to ear.  If you know my husband, you know his happiness can be contagious.  So while I worried about initially growing two babies and the giant bump that would take over my world, my husband laughed and laughed and laughed.  I asked him about that moment the other day.  I saw two babies on the monitor before the Ultrasound tech said a word.  It was a small flicker of one baby, no two, wait one, no TWO!  I knew what I was seeing before I was told.  There were TWO!  Makes total sense.  I had been so gut wrenching sick and had joked about “there must be two” before!  I wasn’t as shocked as I should have been!  I really was so sick and from I read that was a sign.  I found out I was pregnant at 4 weeks and those two lines were BOLD you guys.  No question about it.  I didn’t even take a second test! I really was just joking, though the real joke was on me! 
The Ultrasound Tech said, “I have something to tell you.”  I immediately told her to SHUT UP!  Not my best line, I know.  Meanwhile, my husband is sitting next me and has a worried look on his face.  He asks, “Is there something wrong with the baby?” Total heart swoon I know, I smiled and said, “No, there are two babies!”  He laughed like I mentioned and held my hand with both of his.  The really good kind of hand holding!  Recalling that moment with him he says that his laugh was nervous, but I don’t believe it for a minute!  He was beaming for days!  From there the scan was a blur.  I kept looking at my husband smiling and watching the tech get measurements after measurements of my beautiful bouncing beans.  I was so in love with my little family!
Like I said before, I was initially worried.  The next words from my mouth after shut up was, “I am going to get HUGE!”  Oh boy, or should I say Oh girls!! I had no idea just how big I would get.  I was sent to high risks doctors after finding out I was pregnant.  I couldn’t believe I was 22, healthy, and high risk.  It was a total game changer.  Appointments became more often.  They monitored both babies closely and my worried self started to enjoy all the extra scans.  The attention from my giant belly, the blessings of carrying two babies so well.  I loved being pregnant after the worry and sickness went away.  I felt like after the 20 week scan I could breathe.  Accept that yes, I could grow two babies beautifully and that each passing week was such a huge milestone.
The day was Monday, April 18th 2016.  I went into my ultrasound to find that Baby B (Ellie) was indeed still breech and a C-section would be best.  We also found that Auri hadn’t grown since her last scan, while her heartbeat and everything looked beautiful, it was probably time to deliver.  I made it to 36 weeks 5 days and the twins made their arrival on April 20, 2016!  I can’t wait to relive that day over again when I share the twins birth story on the blog! 

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