My Pregnancy in Ghana
Being pregnant is a breeze, you get to put your feet up all day long while people fuss around you. You get that magical glow on your skin, your hair and your aura in general. Your clothes look amazing and life couldn’t be better. Well that’s the dream anyway!
Being pregnant for me goes a little more like this. Sick months 0-3, months 3-6 feel like I’m an awkward oblong come circle shape, months 6-9 sick, tired and grouchy. If you are one of these women who the first scenario fits, then more power to you! Salute!
I love being pregnant but I don’t necessarily enjoy how it makes me feel, if that makes sense. For 9 months my body does not feel like my own. I am invisible to the outside world because I can not function properly as a human being. I love the idea of being pregnant but the reality of it soon hits me full force once it happens. As much as I try I do not feel like myself. I feel sick, I feel tired, I feel hungry and I feel pregnant.
Baby number 1 was born in 2008, number 2 in 2010 and baby number 3 in 2012 (can you see the pattern here?). Some people were waiting for the announcement of baby number 4 in 2014 but that didn’t happen. We weren’t planning on having anymore children but I was always open to the idea.
In one of my YouTube videos I remember saying I would love to have 1 more baby, maybe even twins. Bada-bing-bada-boom! a month or so later the pregnancy gods heard what I said and granted my wish. I was pregnant and we didn’t even plan it. I was in complete shock! Even though I did say that I wanted more children I didn’t ACTUALLY think for a moment it was going to happen. Especially not whilst we were in Ghana. Give birth in Ghana? It really wasnt a situation that I ever thought would come my way. In all honestly I thought we were done having children and this was what made the decision to move to Ghana so final for me. I thought we were done with pregnancy. Back in the UK I would not even have entertained the idea of giving birth abroad. No way!
Nevertheless I was officially happy, scared and confused all at the same time. Do I give birth in Ghana or travel back to the UK? Which hospital should I deliver in? What if something goes wrong? WIll the doctors know how to handle an emergency situation? At what stage am I supposed to go and see a doctor here? I really didn’t know what to do. So I cried instead. Whilst pregnant crying is usually my go to emotion.
The first 3 months of pregnancy in Ghana was horrible I couldn’t even keep my eyes open. I literally slept all day long except to wake up when the children needed breakfast or lunch. Dinner? I wasn’t even about to cook, I couldn’t stand the smell of strong foods, I absolutely loathed anything to do with stew and I couldn’t stand up for more than 10 minutes without fainting. I had no energy and If I’m honest those first 3 month were a complete blur. I have no idea what took place in the world during those first 3 months.
Months 3-6 were better aside the fact that I felt awkwardly shaped. You know what I’m talking about, the “is she, isn’t she pregnant” phase. In this phase for some reason I couldn’t eat rice, don’t even talk to me about rice and any type of stew. It literally turned my stomach and made me want to full on heave. Nope, the only thing this baby would allow me to eat was potato’s (chips if I’m being honest) and mango. I think throughout my entire pregnancy I ate about 2 trees worth of Mangos (I kid you not) and I wasn’t even about to share. Mango was my only true happiness as I couldn’t satisfy the other 173 cravings that I was having whilst living in Ghana.
I wanted yoghurt (a particular brand), chocolate, Cadbury’s wholenut and lots of it which is way too expensive here. I wanted Burger King oh, I really wanted Burger King but I couldn’t have it. Regular burgers just wouldnt do the trick it had to be specifically from burger king. Don’t ask me why, ask the baby… so mangoes it was.
When mango season finished I cried, literally full on tears. I sent my husband to every single mango seller that I could think of just to check if they might possibly have some. No luck, I cried and to be fair he almost cried too after having driven around for so many miles looking for mangoes.
At this point in my pregnancy I was still unsure where I was going to give birth and it was very much a back and forth situation. I was frantically reaching out to people who I knew who had already given birth here in Ghana, but I was still unsure. The only thing that could convince me to give birth in Ghana was if I could get a good midwife who actually knew what she was talking about, could sympathise with me, had real compassion, I could have a water birth AND the midwife would not think I was disturbing her once I had actually gone into labour. That shouldn’t be too difficult right?
I am a fantastic advocate for Ghana, but my love for Ghana does not quite stretch to health care system yet. There are just too many horror stories floating about for me to feel 100% comfortable just yet. Whilst I am aware that Ghana is in fact still developing one of the most difficult issues that Ghana faces is with its healthcare.
I have heard stories of women going in to hospital in full on labour only to be told that the midwives are sleeping and that woman in labour has to wait. Or that there are no doctors available. I mean I’ve only given birth to 3 children up until this point but in my experience I have never been able to get a baby to wait for everyone to be ready before they decide to make and appreance. But hey thats just me.
So you can imagine my utter relief when I then found Sarah Major of Craddle Care in Spintex. She was awesome, she completely alleviated all the fears that I had for giving birth in Ghana. She literally ticked every single box that I secretly had in my head and so we were on track for mission “Give Birth In Ghana”.
In the final trimester of pregnancy my iron levels dropped seriously low and I was back to no energy again as in my first three months of pregnancy. The sun was my nemesis and would follow me everywhere and everyone was annoying me for no reason at all. Queue candy crush. That was my only way of escape for a few minutes, whilst I had 5 lives anyway.
I tried everything with the midwife to raise my iron levels. We tried liquid iron, iron in drinks, in food, in cocoa everything to no avail and it was a real concern because when your iron levels are low you have more chance of bleeding out after giving birth. It was not a fun time for me at all.
Anyway in the end my levels were still slightly low but Sarah was happy to still deliver the baby for me. It all worked out alright in the end. I had the most beautiful baby boy and we immediatly connected. I loved him straight away and he became my external heart beat. EVERYTHING I went through and suffered in pregancy was all worth it every single minute of it. I was happy.
This LAST pregnancy (notice that I said last…please) was extremely difficult for me. It was definitely the hardest pregnancy out of all 4. I think the mixture of being in another country, coupled with the crazy heat and the unsatisfied cravings made it much more difficult but I am extremely happy. I would do it all again tomorrow, in a heart beat, in a flash just to see my baby smile back up at me every morning.
Pregnancy is not easy but it is so very worth it. Would I have any more children? Yes but through adoption. There are so many beautiful babies out there that need a mum and a dad, its great if you can give back to the world in some small way.