Saturday, 3 December 2011
Monday, 28 November 2011
Everyone in the class is offered a drink and he happens to select tea in a branded mug that says "VAGIFEM" on the outside. I find this much funnier than he does.
Today's session is about the possible complications and various pain relief options which are enough to make you want to close your legs, your eyes and your ears.
We're all handed a piece of equipment to represent the start of the chain of interventions that take place if your baby is late or not progressing as it should. She explains how induction is done - via a pessary, and I'm given a hospital gown that somehow scares the bejesus out of me - that is until I pass it along and get given something that looks like a cross between an instrument of torture and a crochet hook.
"For breaking your water" the midwife explains.
Then she shows us a razor, a ventouse suction cup, a catheter, an epidural and other items. I know the session is not designed to scare us, rather to let you know what could be expected, but I lose all of the confidence that I've been building up. I've been feeling relatively calm about the birth, but somehow I now have developed this feeling that I just can't do it.
We're then talked through the different pain relief options.
TENS machines, entonox (one side effect is that you say silly things - as if I don't do that already), pethidine/diamorphine (which I might not actually be allowed at home - wish someone had told me this earlier!) and epidurals/Caesarians.
However, my doubts in my ability seem to lift slightly in my bid to avoid an epidural or a Caesarian. I can't imagine having a massive needle put in my back (especially as my mum remarked that she had one when I was born and it didn't work) and really can't even think about the idea of a catheter or a Caesarian- with lots of people in the room and the fact that you can feel the sensations in your womb.
Why did I not look into this BEFORE? Adoption is one analgesic that appeals today....
Sunday, 9 October 2011
Unfortunately, she had a couple of heart issues a month or so ago, although she looked very well when I saw her. This problem meant that she spent a week in hospital, where she told me she struggled to do nothing but stay in bed. One of the nurses asked her when she had last spent any time in hospital.
"1939" she said, which is when she had her first child. Her second was born at home, as was the norm in those days, so she was very interested when I told her that my big plan was to avoid the hospital.
When you think these days that you call the midwife and they ask you to wait until it's unbearable before you drive in, it's incredible to hear about the old days. Often, a husband would appear at the house (no phone lines back then) having arrived by horse and cart after being dispatched by a wife in labour.
My lovely grandma was a rural midwife who would often cycle to houses or climb mountains on foot - sometimes by torchlight, deliver a baby and return home. We climbed one of these recently in daylight and I kept falling into the bog and got so bitten by midges, wet and miserable that I didn't make it to the summit, but retired to the pub to wait for everyone else.
Sunday, 18 September 2011
I met the utterly fabulous Circus Mum the other day - her blog is named to reflect the juggling, tightrope walking, somersaulting and clowning that goes with being a working mum. She made me howl with laughter with tales of her three-year-old daughter who insists on telling people that she's five, and made me realise for the first time that there is life after the birth! I've been so focused on being pregnant and getting through the birth that I'd forgotten that I was going to have a baby and also that this baby will grow into a child!
Circus Mum's daughter, the Princess, is quite a character, having forced HER to sit on the naughty step to contemplate how she'd interrupted her daughter; and unbelievably at the age of eight months, initiated an escape down the stairs having clambered out of her cot by stacking up her toys so she could climb up.
I'm looking forward to being able to share some of these stories in the not-too-distant future! In the meantime though, this is a lovely post from Circus Mum which sums up how I feel about forthcoming parenthood!!
Monday, 12 September 2011
I was at my first class on Saturday which at one point, I nearly cancelled for family reasons, but I couldn't completely relax even though I wasn't needed in the end. However, I was glad that I went. I was the only person there on my own, along with three other lovely couples.
We were introduced to the thinking of Marie Mongan as well as other forward thinking obstetricians. Their thinking is that our bodies are designed to have babies and that birth is over complicated and over medicalised. Put simply, if you relax, then your body will take care of the birth, possibly eliminating the need for drugs, intervention, hospitals, stitches and making for a happier environment to bring the baby into.
You often read about people not seeing their baby immediately, being poked and prodded and "failure to progress" - little wonder when there are bright lights, other people screaming and strangers wandering about!
Easy for me to say at this point, but these tools will be helpful and if I do need to go to hospital and do need a Caesarian, then I'll be in a good state of mind.
Thursday, 1 September 2011
The evening was extremely useful for both of us. All who attended were divided into two groups and given lots of cards with events such as "baby is weighed", "baby can go swimming", "you give baby its first bath", "you leave the baby with someone else for the evening", and "cord stump falls off". We then had to put these in order of time. I was most relieved to see that a lot of other people were as clueless as we were, and that we all totally underestimated how much happens in the first six months!
The next meeting is in a month's time and is a "pamper evening" - I still can't work out if that means a manicure and massage or an introduction to a certain brand of nappies!
Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Friday, 26 August 2011
Tales of projectile poo that hits the wall on the other side of the room, numerous boob scare stories and babies that won't sleep! I have never been in such a hurry to get back to work!
Thursday, 25 August 2011
! The doctor asked if I was feeling well, which I heartily agreed with, as I am. However, MrM, who'd agreed to accompany me, TOLD ON ME!!
He reminded me that in the night and when I've been exerting myself with carrying, running or swimming, that there's a bit of a tender feeling in my groin. Apparently this is normal. As are headaches, vomiting, blurred vision and swollen ankles - none of which I've had a sniff of luckily.
The doctor then took my blood pressure which was normal, and then measured the bump which is 24cm which is also about right and asked about my urine which I had left at home, placed carefully next to my notes so I wouldn't forget them. Ahem.
He then looked at me and said: "Has anyone mentioned to you that there's two in there?"
He didn't appear to be joking and I was struggling to take it in. "No, you're joking," I finally spluttered. We all dissolved into laughter but MrM and I were absolutely taken in for a millisecond! The funny thing was that I was thinking "Oooh, a ready-made family! I need only go through this once!"
I just find it so hard to switch off and to stop the million voices roaring, singing and laughing in my head.
So it was with great pleasure that I nearly fell asleep during last night's relaxation session. It didn't get off to a great start, as I'd decided to meet my friend and go to the cinema and had underestimated the length of the film. At 7.55pm I was pegging it up the road (not very relaxing) when my phone rang, with the organiser apologising and saying she wasn't quite there yet and hoping I wasn't waiting outside.
Amazingly, I wasn't the last to arrive. There were five of us; the couple that are incredibly relaxed and inspirational (as an aside, I bumped into the lady last week in the supermarket. MrM and I were en route to a festival so I'd loaded up my basket with booze for him - not a good look on a pregnant woman); a lady I'd not met before and a lovely lady who I'd met at the NCT group a couple of weeks ago.
She is very much like me. Not only do we do similar jobs, but her sense of humour is the same and she also finds it impossible to relax! We were told to visualise ourselves sailing down a river in a boat. The river meanders and ends up in a lake where we are hoping to see a beautiful flower, which we eventually find and it turns out to be even more wonderful than we'd realised. It's meant to represent the trials and tribulations of pregnancy (and indeed life) and culminates in seeing the baby for the first time. I find this kind of visualisation very helpful, except I am far too easily distracted by idiots driving past at speed outside. I did have to stop myself falling asleep at one point, so I consider that a successful relaxation session!!
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Oh my goodness, people are so lovely!
Met my friend for a coffee this morning and she gave me two baby blankets that she'd bought me. So thoughtful! I've also had offers of a Moses basket, clothes, a car seat and a bath.
At a recent NCT meeting, one of the ladies said: "As a first-time mum, you'll want everything new". Not me!
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
MrM can't make it with me to one of the birth skills classes that we've booked on, so I decided to call the hospital to see if I could change it.
I spent an hour on the phone in a queue, got cut off twice and then tried to get through on a different number. I finally got through to a lady and asked her if I could change the date.
"OH MY GOD! I don't know how to do that. Hold on"
She returned and asked: "You want to cancel the class?"
"No, not cancel it, would it be possible to change the date please?"
"When do you want to change it to?"
"Er. I don't know! Whenever there's another class on!"
"Sigh". She gets someone else involved. I hear her tell the other person that I want to cancel the class. The other person says that it's a pain when people do that. I grit my teeth and think about all the tax I've paid.
She asks my name. I spell it for her twice. She ignores me and says she can't find me on the system. She asks for my address. I tell her and she says that I've spelt my name wrongly.
She then says that the class is in two parts and if I want to change one, I must change both. I say that's fine and think that labour will be a doddle after this....
Everyone knows that cats need to give birth undisturbed in a dark, secluded place - perhaps preparing a softly lined box in the darkest corner of the furthest room underneath the bed. And everyone who knows about cats understands that you must never disturb a cat in labour or a newly delivered cat and her litter of kittens. Otherwise the cat's labour will stop or she may reject her kittens. Everyone knows this.
But just imagine that one day, quite a long time ago, a group of well-meaning scientists decided that they wanted to study how cats give birth. So they asked anyone who had a cat, that when she went into labour to bring them to their laboratory - a brightly-lit, noisy, modern scientific laboratory where scientists could study them, by attaching lots of monitors and probes, surrounding them by strange technicians constantly coming in and out with clipboards.... In the laboratory, the labouring cats could hear the sound of other cats in distress, and there were no private dark corners for them to retreat to, but only rows of brightly-lit cages under constant scrutiny of the scientists.
And the scientists studied the labouring cats in their brightly-lit cages for many years, and saw that their labours were erratic, how they slowed down and even stopped, and how heart-breakingly distressed the cats were. Their mews and their cries were terrible. They saw how many of the the kittens were deprived of oxygen and were born shocked and needing resuscitation. And, after many years the scientists concluded: 'well, it seems that cats do not labour very well'.
Then, because the scientists were caring people and wanted to help the poor cats, they invented lots of clever machines to improve the cats' labours, to monitor the oxygen levels in the kittens; they invented pain-killing drugs and tranquillisers to ease the poor cats? distress, and drugs to make labour become regular and stop it slowing down. They even developed clever emergency operations to save the distressed kittens' lives.
The scientists wrote scientific papers which told everyone about the difficulties they had observed and how cats do not give birth very well, and all about the clever feline birth technology they had invented. The newspapers and television spread the word, and soon everyone started bringing their cats to the laboratory in labour, because of all their clever feline technology and of how many kittens? lives they had saved. Looking round at all the complicated technology, people were heard to say: ?This must be the safest place in the world for cats to give birth in?.
Years passed, and the workload at the scientists' laboratories grew busier and busier. They had to take on new staff and train them in their feline labour techniques, and slowly the original scientists grew old and retired. But sadly the new up-and-coming technicians didn't know about the original experiment; they didn?t even know it was an experiment. They had never seen cats giving birth in softly-lined boxes in the furthest, darkest corner of the furthest room ? why, what a dangerous idea! They were absolutely convinced that cats do not give birth very well without a lot of technical assistance - why, think of all the years of scientific evidence they had collected - and would go home at night feeling very pleased with themselves for all their clever and good work in saving cats' and kittens' lives.
Sadly most midwives and doctors working today have trained and worked for most of their lives in that laboratory: and in that laboratory ? which is of course, a modern consultant maternity unit - childbirth is in a mess.
In this day and age of evidence-based practice, we talk so much of the importance of evaluating every intervention, and yet no-one is saying that we desperately need to evaluate the biggest intervention of them all ? asking women in labour to get into their cars and drive to a large hospital where they are cared for by strangers.
Friday, 19 August 2011
We've even pencilled in a booking of the birth pool for the due date and unbelievably I am actually excited about the birth rather than fearful as the home environment will be so much more relaxing for me than driving 30 miles to a hospital.
Thursday, 18 August 2011
I went there in real life about 10 years ago with a friend and the place was as close to perfection as you could ever picture. My friend was hilariously funny and one adventure involved us being flown onto the island under the names Mr and Mrs Lionel Blair, which made me laugh as I recalled it, instead of relaxing.
The visualisation technique was to picture yourself vividly in this location with the sand between your toes, the sun on your skin (and the pina colada in your hand!) to relax you when you have contractions. Easy now, and very relaxing, but who can say how effective it will be in three months' time!
There was another couple there who were very sweet and due in exactly a month's time. The husband told me earnestly that these lessons were extrenely useful as he was now much more relaxed, while I looked to his wife to see if she felt the same way....
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Anyway, this morning, my colleague phoned and said that she'd told her husband about my conversation and he'd said "it was nothing". I am very reassured that she passed this onto him and for his feedback. Is he a nurse? No, he's a plumber.
Sunday, 14 August 2011
I felt that this was a lovely thing to do and was not in the least put out. The baby seemed to like it too, and moments later seemed to be dancing to the music. Probably safest not to mention that the band we could hear was UB40....
I have woefully neglected my exercise for fear of hurting the baby, so doing lengths of lengths of breast-stroke has been my only redemption. However, when we were invited to ask questions, the first one was: "I've heard that breast-stroke is bad for the baby as it causes you to overstretch?"
The other query was over cycling. Whenever I have a journey of less than 5 miles, I also cycle, so was a bit worried to hear that this is not recommended - the only person in the room who didn't think this was a concern was from Holland, where she said such a worry would have been laughed at.
Anyway, the upshot is that I have signed up for specific classes for pregnant women -and stopped eating biscuits....
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
I got a letter through the post this morning from a certain insurance firm asking me if I'd thought about what would happen to the baby if I died. I have actually already given this some thought, but I'll deal with that in more depth after I've removed myself from any websites that see the lil one as a money making machine.
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
However, when actually faced with all these new borns and no sign of a bump like mine anywhere, I nearly ran a mile in the opposite direction. However, the group organiser, a lovely, friendly lady called Sue, physically took me by the hand and made me sit between another bump (which was very well disguised and actually bigger than mine) and a newborn called Samuel with his mum.
There was a talk on baby swimming and then the chance to chat. I was given some information that I didn't know eg, that there is an NCT prenatal class and there is a birthing centre in Wallingford (which is much more intimate than Reading or Swindon), and had a really nice time. I can't believe that, not only did I survive, but I am going to meet some of these lovely ladies again!
Friday, 5 August 2011
Fortunately, my friends and family never take pictures of me (I've just been looking through FB and any pictures are mine), so this look is not saved for posterity, but goodness, that crept up on me quickly!
I have bought some slightly bigger underwear as one of my pants succombed last week and the knicker elastic pinged. MrM happened to be sitting with his hand on my bump and thought it was the baby kicking....
In other news, I believe the baby can hear now which is unfortunate as MrM went all Hugh Grant at the beginning of Four Weddings and a Funeral and let out a barrage of abuse at a piece of electronic equipment. Don't know if the baby heard it, but the French exchange lad we've got staying with us at the mo certainly learned some new vocabulary!
Thursday, 4 August 2011
Despite my stressing, I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday's relaxation session! I find it extremely difficult to relax. I always do about three things at once while thinking of 20 more and have this strange philosophy that a moment not doing/making/thinking, is a moment wasted!
We arrived at the session and met another couple and a woman; the two women's bumps were quite big as it was only a month to go for these two. I'd spent the day feeling very fat and very conscious of my huge bump, but when I met these two, I felt tiny and had my first experience of bump envy - mine is at the stage where it could be considered just a bit too much chocolate!
Then into the class which is organised by a lovely lady who arranged us around the room; interestingly, the men in the comfortable chairs and the ladies on upright school chairs. She introduced herself and then talked us through a very effective relaxation technique involving gazing at a spot on the window.
This was wonderfully effective, even for me. However, I did have to fight the "chatter" in my head. "Relax...Go compare! Did I copy Jeremy in when I sent that email earlier? I must get a photographer booked for the 20th August. What was the name of the guy on the radio this morning? Robert. Robert what? Robert A? Robert B, Ah, I was meant to be relaxing. Man, this chair is uncomfortable. It began with a W Robert W...."
However, I'll keep practising and I think this will work wonderfully - I did notice that it wasn't a bad first go as my breathing had slowed right down and all of us in the group had tingly fingers which is a sign of relaxation!
We were then taken through quite a long relaxation process where we concentrated on our breathing and on visualisation - this time of the birth itself and some of the feelings and things that happen. I had trouble staying still, and nearly laughed out loud when I heard my husband let out a little snore showing just how relaxed he was, but it was very interesting as there was info in there that I'd never heard before.
We then finished off by reading a couple of affirmations which were a great short way of focussing the worries and realising that you can overcome them. Mine were perfectly suited to my concerns:
I breathe deeply and I am calm.
My body is perfectly designed to give birth.
MrM and I were thrilled with how helpful this was and can't wait for the next session!
Wednesday, 3 August 2011
Not sure I believe it, but lovely to hear it as not many people think so!
In other news, I'm off to my first relaxation class and nerves are stressing me out!
Tuesday, 2 August 2011
I had to keep reminding her that I don't do this every day of the week, as she seemed to think I had the answers to all of her questions and that I would know without being told where the classes take place. I didn't even know where I was having the baby and assumed I would discuss this later with the midwife. "Nobody has discussed this with me yet," I told her. "Your midwife will have told you", she insisted. "She hasn't told me ANYTHING!" I kept saying.
Apparently I am having the baby at Reading, although MrM will not be happy and nobody had told us this (therefore there's every chance I would have turned up at the wrong place). I actually wanted to have it at home to save driving through the snow in the winter and to save on parking costs!
For the two workshops, respectively, I need a teddy bear and a pillow....Easy!
Friday, 29 July 2011
a baby carrier
A changing mat
Not a pushchair, but a "travel system"...
Breast feeding tops
A moses basket
a birthing ball (I actually had one of these for yoga and gave it away a couple of years ago on freecycle!)
a breast pump
and most amusingly, a £19.99 baby bath:
Am I a bad mum-to-be for thinking this looks suspiciously like a normal bucket?
Thursday, 28 July 2011
MrM and I were both strangely nervous, yet excited about today's scan. Excited as we wanted to see how the baby was getting on, but nervous as we really want it to be healthy and hope that it is growing as it should be.
I was slightly early as I'd come straight from a meeting and managed to find a parking space less than a mile from the hospital. MrM arranged to meet me in front of the maternity wing, so I sat there for an hour breathing in lots of smoke, alarmingly, quite a lot of it being smoked by pregnant women.
He turned up and we went in where we sat amongst women with bumps of differing sizes before we were called in by a very nice ultrasound technician. We had a look at the lil bean and could see the heart and the spine. The spine was particularly clear as the baby had its back to us.
The technician wanted to measure various things, but the baby - again - wouldn't turn the right way. Apparently, it was asleep with one hand in the air, the other on its chin and its little legs crossed, although it did move both legs, giving us a fabulous view of the bottom of its feet. It looks like its little toes are all there!
The baby wouldn't turn over as it looked pretty comfortable and was using its placenta as a pillow. That meant that I had to leap up and down and then go for a walk. "Eat some chocololate and drink some water", was the lady's advice.
We did that, happily, and when we returned the baby was a bit more co-operative, although we didn't get a good profile shot, which meant that the best photo we got was the one above. The baby looks a bit strange but it's just arching its back and leaning to the rear.
The placenta is low, and that's why I haven't felt any kicking yet so we've got another scan booked.
There was lots of traffic on the way home and the moment I arrived, MrM's mum called and asked if she could tell people now. I haven't really told many people as people keep doing it for me, but when you tell someone and they congratulate you (which hasn't happened very often), it all feels like a step nearer to being a family and gives me a happy glow. I thought it was our news to impart, but she was keen to get on the phone and tell her family - I'm a bit hurt but will put it down to her excitement!
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
These were real people that I haven't actually given a thought to for more than 10 years! These are very comforting all the same, and perhaps my brain's way of being nice to me and relaxing me, as it's usually telling me what a loser I am!
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
It occurred to me that I might need potassium so placed an emergency banana by the bed, so when I got my attack of the the cramps, I was able to munch on the banana. The relief was almost instant.
However, I woke MrM up with my leaping around and I could see him looking at me as if he wasn't sure whether he was dreaming when he saw me bending over him in the night, eating a banana...
Wednesday, 20 July 2011
I hardly recognise myself this week - I've read three celebrity baby books; Myleene Klass, Tess Daly and Jools Oliver! All surprisingly enjoyable (I think Myleene's was my favourite) and useful. I think that after a diet of baby manuals and medical books, they're quite refreshingly chatty. They're all honest as well - none of the three has held back any embarrassing info, and it's great to know that these three beautiful ladies have been through the lot; leaky boobs, doing poos during birth and getting grumpy with their menfolk!! (I've done none of these so far!)
All noticeably had girls...(and unfortunately, all of them had errors in them, as if they hadn't been proof read - but that's just my work side escaping after reading so much baby stuff!).
I got the first two from the library, but the third one by Jools Oliver is here and I would gladly send it to anyone who would like it. Just leave me a message!
Monday, 18 July 2011
Sunday, 17 July 2011
I was pleasantly surprised by both books. Myleene's book (I'm going to call her by her first name as she seemed so nice!) is a very frank and honest account which includes all her worries, which mirror mine, and doesn't exclude her raging hormones which made her argue and bicker with her partner. She also makes it clear that if you have drugs to ease the pain of the birth or bottle feed, you are not a failure! She mentions her highs and lows, says she has made loads of mistakes (I too have been beating myself up about these, from getting drunk before I realised I was expecting, to accidentally eating Hollandaise sauce and mayonnaise in restaurants), but then breeezes through the birth thanks to an epidural.
One of the things that stuck in my mind from the book was her advice on naming a baby; the name should suit a lawyer, a rock star and a poet!
Tess Daly's book was interesting too. She also shared honestly and again had the same worries as me. Whereas Myleene's book makes you feel like it's all doable, Tess spares no punches in how painful and tiring the birth is. This book is more about the early days of having a newborn, but a good read and I'm glad I set aside time to read these.
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
"Farewell lovely jeans,
You've served me well
Who know whether we'll ever meet again
My jeans won't do up comfortably. Who knows if it's due to the baby growing or to one too many bits of homemade bread? These bad boys have served me almost every day since I've had them. I've very sadly been out on one last date, kissed them goodbye and wished them well in the vain hope that our relationship will rekindle after December....By then, they'll have changed a little, I will have changed a lot, but let's hope we can be happy again in the future....
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Anyway, I met a really nice lady today and she listened carefully to my moans about all of this. Fortunately she sympathised and she has now been appointed as my doula! In half an hour, she gave me more concrete information and support than anyone else has, and she has talked me through the basics and will be present throughout the birth. She's going to help with everything from putting me in touch with helpful practitioners to helping me write my birth plan.
This means that if I want music during the birth, that's what I get! If I want people to be quiet - they will! I could have done with her at our wedding to ask some of MrM's family to remove their screaming babies during the most important part of our wedding -the vows!
I loved how passionate she was about how much she enjoyed pregnancy, childbirth and children - once the pain hits, I'll need someone to remind me to keep my eye on the bigger picture. My other worry is for poor MrM who looks after me so well that I know it won't be pleasant for him to see me suffer. Mrs Doula will look after him too and if it's a long labour, has even offered to let him nap here and there...she's even promised to be there if the birth should be over Christmas. Now that's dedication....
Thursday, 7 July 2011
So I was not remotely amused to hear this morning that my tea-drinking habit is apparently stopping my body from absorbing the iron tablets that I've been prescribed to increase my haemoglobin levels.
I have managed to give up booze no problem. But tea???? At least I gave the midwife a laugh this morning when I told her that it was tea that I used to take the tablets with.
However, despite this massive setback, our trip to the midwife this morning involved having a listen to the baby's heartbeat which was astonishing, and very, very noisy!
The midwife asked MrM if he wanted to record the noise on his phone, but he said no. This wasn't because he didn't want to, but because both he and I are both terrible with technology and weren't 100% sure how to. He ended up pretending in the end, holding up his phone to my belly for a minute or two.
Had he been successful, the noise would have just sounded like standing in St Pancras station. The heartbeat is loud and fast, like a train running over the tracks, while the gurgling and digestion from me makes a sound like noisy commuters and general station noise.
So, no tea. I got home and without thinking, switched the kettle on. I remembered and then mournfully made my husband a cup of tea and watched him drink it, like a hungry dog watching its owner eat pork chops in the hope of being thrown a morsel.
Wednesday, 6 July 2011
So lighter fiction has been the way forward recently - starting with "The secret diary of a new mum aged 43 1/4". I ordered this because I identified with the sentiment of being slighter older when having a first child. When I had my scan at the hospital, MrM and I were definitely the only couple there in our 30s, and I would put money on it that only one of the other mums-to-be was in her 20s. I was a bit busy with larking around listening to the Levellers when I was in my teens and indulging my long-gone passion for football, so am way behind the times.
Dare I say it, 35 seems to be a bit of a cut off point. When I mentioned that I was quite old to the midwife, she said: "Thirty-five isn't old for your first child." Before adding: "Thirty-six is though".
Anyway, the book I read deals with this humourously and made me feel a lot better. I like the gentle humour and the most important message that I learned was that if you try your best, your child will love you for it anyway and that even if you are an older mum, it's all worth the wait.
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Talking of deliveries, I should have sent a card, but in fact, the NHS beat me to it and sent me three letters today. One was to let me know that the blood test plus the other factors that they run through some statistical computer (and do Spearman's Rank Correlation on, no doubt) have come back with the result that the baby is unlikely to have Down's Syndrome. A massive relief. However, I hesitate to get too excited as when you start looking at the development of a baby human, there are myriad things that could go wrong - it's a miracle that most of us are born healthy!!
After congratulating myself on faffing about for a week but ending up saving a couple of quid on my iron tablets, I now find out that pregnant women are exempt from prescription charges as the second letter was a letter enclosing an "exemption certificate". Nobody mentioned that, so for once I now wish I'd faffed about a bit longer and taken advantage of the first free thing I've had in years. I did know that you got free dental care, which I must take up, so I guess I should have worked out the prescription thing!
Letter number three was to tell me that I am "not immune to rubella (german measles)". It goes on to say that rubella is very dangerous to unborn babies in the first three months as it can damage the baby's sight, hearing, heart and brain, but then says that if you're more than 20 weeks pregnant, it's unlikely that the baby will be affected. "In order to protect your next baby, we recommend that you have a vaccination soon after this one is born"....
Er...what is this "next baby" business????
Monday, 27 June 2011
These are the ones he vetoed:
Merlin, Otis, Seymour, Elvis, Lancelot, Odie, Percival, Marcus, Bilbo, Lev, Pax, Devon, Io, Cy, Luka, Rock, Solomon and Santa...
Girls: Toots, Artemis, Joey, Coco, Honey, Goldie, Abba, Momo, Ruby, Meredith, Clio, Bod, Pipier, Candy, Sydney, Ffi, Dobbie, Elwen and Dorsett.
And the ones he suggested himself?....................................................................................................................
Monday, 20 June 2011
"Just checking you're who you say you are", she said as if I had sneaked in for a blood test to which I was not entitled. The needle went in and out, she put a plaster on it and that was that.
Saturday, 18 June 2011
I remember putting this down as a word when I was playing scrabble with MrM's parents and they wouldn't let me have it. I insisted it was a word so they checked in the dictionary and it wasn't there! (We haven't played scrabble since!)
The reason is, "doula" is actually a Greek word and is used to described a woman who supports you during pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood.
Just what I need!
I actually found a local doula and poured out my heart. It's the first time I've been able to tell someone that I am nervous about various things and for me to ask my silly questions without fear of judgement! I am going to meet her at the beginning of next month and am surprisingly excited. I had a chat with her, she's already a grandmother and this kind of non medical support is what I've been looking for.
For just £200, I think she'll be a great asset; she will talk me through the pregnancy, attend the labour whether, as she put it, "it lasts four hours or 48" (Just for the record, I am not signing up for 48!), help with teaching breastfeeding and - get this - with doing light housework when the baby is here!
This is what she said:
"We will see what we can do to put your mind at rest!!Congratulations on your pregnancy, and thank you for your email. I am a Trainee Doula, and the role can be very varied. Please email me back if you want to have a chat, it can be very confusing when you first find out that you are pregnant with a first baby...but how exciting for you!!!
Friday, 17 June 2011
Apparently I need lots of iron. How ironic then that MrM and I always buy clothes that enable us to avoid that very word. I picked up my prescription and headed to a pharmacy where they informed me that prescriptions were £7.40! The last time I was ill, they were about £4! Expensive business, being ill.
I tried Holland and Barrett, nothing, so then tried another pharmacy asking if they had iron tablets. They did, but they were 14mg each. My dose was 200mg.
"Does this mean I have to take 10 of these a day?" I asked. (I told you I was no good at exams, particularly maths).
He threw the bottle over his shoulder, much to my amusement and said they were useless, promising to order me a bottle of the tablets I needed. He then winked at me and said: "Better to pay for them rather than get them on prescription - they're £4."
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
She called just before 9am and to my shame, I was still lolling about in bed! You can do this when you work from home!
She said that MrM had sent her a text saying that he had some good news. "Do you know what it is," she asked.
Various options sprinted through my head: mint shower gel at 2-4-1 at the moment, the fact that he and I had located the iron, strawberry plants growing in our garden.
"Er, no. Think it was just to tell you that his work is going well".
This seemed to satisfy her and she then told me all about the wedding she'd been to at the weekend.
I called MrM and asked him to call his mum which he did in the evening. I wasn't sure how the news would be taken, so I didn't want to be there when he did it. However, they were both pleased. Phew!
My usual philosophy is to dive in head first without checking the temperature - thus not giving yourself time to back out. Not today as it was the bean's first trip to the outdoor pool as well as mine! For the first time ever, I dipped my toe into the water and got in so slowly and gingerly that a bloke in the pool swam over to me with words of encouragement - "just dive in!" he laughed. "It's lovely in here!".
The reason this made me laugh is that my sister and a friend of ours were saying that they thought I'd always wanted to be a mum. Not true. I am not one of those people who was born to be a parent. Though my life hasn't been as exciting as my sister's, I've always tried to make the most of the opportunities I've had and to a point have travelled and lived abroad as much as I could (until certain governments got in the way - pah!).
Though I am delighted about the littlin, it's not been my life's work. So my silly episode in the pool proved that I can do this. I wasn't born to do it, but I can do it!
One of my lovely friends has been reading my blog on the charity challenge I set myself where I have been trying to do something for charity every day. She is way too intelligent for me, so of course found this blog before I had a chance to tell her the news in person.
She is wonderful and sent a lovely email:
ok, just saw your 'unpreparedmom' blog posts. Wow!!! Over the moon happy for you both. You will be such great Mom! What a lucky baby to have such a caring and outstandingly smart mom (not to mention funny...).
That made me cry.
Now for MrM's parents.....
Sunday, 12 June 2011
I asked my mum to supervise me and she and H couldn't stop laughing as I struggled to negotiate his kicking legs, and remove his nappy, give him a wipe down and put a new nappy on (the right way), before buttoning up his babygro and putting him back into his sleeping bag. The whole process took about 10 minutes, so I am quite seriously considering practising on a doll or teddy bear. I went to an event a couple of weeks ago to find out more about green nappies where the organiser told me that she found it easy to change a nappy with one hand in the dark. I bet her mum and the baby didn't laugh as heartily as H and my mum though!
Thursday, 9 June 2011
We arrived in a small room with ladies sporting bumps of various sizes with nervous partners and waited (me impatiently as I had, as instructed, a full bladder). Then we were led into the scan room by a lovely midwife who took no time at all into putting warm gel, which felt like mayonnaise, onto my stomach. Immediately, my three months of denial were dispelled as there was clearly a little bean with a heart beating away.
Embarrassingly, I said that I could see the baby's head, but was then told that those were the legs, and that the head was at the other end. I must practise so I don't get those mixed up when it's born....
The midwife couldn't get a clear photograph of the back of the head for the Down's Syndrome test as the baby wouldn't move. "It's quite stubborn", she said, prompting MrM to observe that it had already inherited one of my traits. I had to adopt various poses and wiggle around to make it move, but still it wouldn't budge.
We were even asked to step outside for a walk before returning to the scan room while someone else (with a more helpful bump) had their scan done.
Still nothing. I even had to get off the bed and jump up and down. Nothing. Twenty minutes of nothing.
COnfusingly, we were sent to the department to have another blood test, but as there was no measurement of the head, I have to come back to have another scan and another blood test. I was also told that I am about a week and a half further along than I should be, meaning that the baby is now due in mid December.
The Downs Syndrome thing is worrying me. So when we got home and I showed my Mum the scan picture, her reaction was not reassuring. She exhaled and wrinkled up her nose which scared the life out of me (she was a nurse).
I asked why she was pulling a face, and this pushed her into a bad mood. What should have been a day for celebration ended with her storming out of the house. I have decided that I shall not name the baby after her. Even if it's a girl.
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
I call the GP's surgery to tell them there's no sign and try to make my next midwife's appointment which the receptionist won't let me do. So I call back 10minutes later, and then another 10 minutes later until I get a different receptionist. If I'd known how much paperwork was involved in this process, I think I would have got a Labrador instead.
I mentioned my fear about there not being a baby there for the scan tomorrow, and was told that most people have that feeling. I didn't know that which means I am not talking to other people enough or am not asking the right questions. I feel like a fraud.
The other feeling I have is that if everything goes well, I will be totally alone. We went househunting yesterday to look at slightly bigger houses (one with its own pet cemetery - a unique selling point!) and they were all very remote, which compounded this feeling of isolation that I've had for the last week or so.
What are the baby and I going to talk about?!
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
While MrM has to actually drive to the DVLA and announces that he is the 31st person in the queue, I call the hospital to book a scan. I am on hold for just over an hour, listening to the same message again and again. It's with a jolt of realisation that I realise that an actual human is shouting at me, asking if I'm here. She yells at me so loudly, that I can only pray that no-one can overhear her end of the conversation.
Firstly, she asks for my name and address and then repeats my surname at me in such a sneering tone that I wonder if I'd accidentally said: "Mrs Toilet-Paper-Flu-Bursting-Foam".
She then yells a date at me and tells me quite loudly and unnecessarily that this was the date of my last period. I suppress a laugh with a loud snort that she takes to be a confirmation.
She then offers me an appointment at the hospital (which is in walking distance of my house). The appointment is a month away (the end of June) and I can't make it. I tell her that I have to work as the real reason is unlikely to go down very well.
"But you have to get this done before the 14th as you've left this so late!" she shrieks. "So why have you given me an appointment two weeks after that date then?" I ask, perhaps a little unreasonably. "Hmmmm. You'll have to go to the other hospital. How is next week?" she asks. The other hospital is 30 miles away. I bite my tongue and agree but it seems the damage is done and I've already annoyed her. The appointment is at 8am.
Sunday, 29 May 2011
I am still swimming and doing a bit of running. I signed up for the Race for Life about a week before I realised I was expecting.
However, the biggest drag is that I can't go to my Monday and Thursday class. For about 6 months before I got married, I did the Lotte Berk method, the famous ballet exercise classes that are still run by Lotte's daughter, Esther. She is an amazing woman and though she put me through agony, I loved her classes and I actually lost weight and toned up so much that even my husband noticed....
I called her and asked if I was correct in assuming that I couldn't do her classes which involve a lot of muscle tone and sit ups. "I will not allow you to!" she said authoritatively, adding; "also, I'm not having you give birth in my class. You know how fond I am of my carpet."
She adds that she'll expect me back in January and I decide to forgo a glass of chocolate milk instead....
I wasn't going to tell him for a long while yet, however, there's a very loud lady in my office who happened to be away, so I leapt in to take advantage of the empty office.
Stuttering away, when I finally finished what I had to say, my boss was genuinely thrilled for us and wished us the best of luck. "This is what life is about!" he said. "You're going to be a family - that's so much more important than writing press releases for a living!"
And, he is right of course, but what a relief and what a lovely thing to say!
Saturday, 28 May 2011
But generally, there is a feeling of life about to change for the better. However, the panic returns later in the week when my "nesting instinct" (I dislike that phrase, but it's succinct!) kicks in. I am desperate to get the "spare" bedroom ready, and while I have painted three walls, the fourth needs plastering. A guy agrees to come and give us a quote, saying he'll be there at 5pm. I have a work meeting in Guildford at 2pm, so hammer home and make it back at about two minutes to five, turning up at the house at the same moment as MrM who didn't think I'd be back in time, so left work early.
The plasterer doesn't turn up, so MrM calls him. "We've both left work early to meet you at 5pm".
"I got there early at 4.45 and there was no-one in", he says.
Anyway, my nesting (I said it again!) entails lots of cleaning, and trying to get all of my mum's stuff out of the living room and into our bedroom (our bedroom is a storeroom - totally unuseable!). Unfortunately, when carrying a load of boxes of my mum's stuff up the stairs, I slip backwards and the whole damn lot lands on my stomach. I cry and cry and cry, however, there's no bleeding but the guilt of the damage I could have done will never leave me.
So combined with my isolation, MrM and I discuss whether to move house before the baby arrives. I think yes, then I think no - it's not fair on MrM who already has quite enough on his plate at the moment. But it looks like a "yes"...
At breakfast, MrM tells me to stop whining and meets me later that day at our nearest surgery. I walk in first and a receptionist lowers her half moon glasses to peruse me. "Good morning," I say. No reply. I let out a huge breath, and MrM decides he will handle this before I turn around and leave. (If you haven't gathered at this point, I am hugely impatient! In my defence, I lived in Japan and Canada for a few years; so my expectations of customer service in the UK are constantly unfulfilled!).
The receptionist seems to be happier to deal with MrM, and asks him what his wife's name is. I answer. She checks that this information is correct with MrM....
Finally, she tells MrM that there is an appointment with a GP available for the following day. She asks if 3pm is acceptable. He asks me. I check my diary and say yes. He passes this affirmation onto the receptionist.
So the next day, MrM is busy and asks if I can be trusted to attend my GP appointment on my own. Amazingly, I do. I turn up again at the GP's surgery trying to be discreet (I never like people to know that I am not superhuman and occasionally need to see the doctor). I can hide all I want behind my newspaper but my name comes up on a screen at the front of the waiting room!
I go and see the doctor who stares at me when I enter. I tell him why I'm there. "I think I'm pregnant" I whisper. I think that might be the first time I've used the "p" word....
He stares at me.
And keeps staring.
"I thought I was meant to see the doctor", I add by way of explanation.
He stares a bit more and then finally says: "you don't seem pleased".
"Oh, I am pleased, but I just don't want to get too excited as it might go wrong," I say.
"How far along are you?" he asks, turning to his computer. I lean over to see what website he's on, and notice that he's putting the dates I'm giving him into "google" of all things. He then walks over to the corner of the room, and in pure Dr Spaceman of 30 Rock style, screams like a girl, and screeches; "spider, spider, spider!"
This isn't the reassuring manner I was hoping for. I ask him if he's ok and he asks me to retrieve some pregnancy leaflets from the pile of boxes in his room, before telling me to make an appointment to see the nurse, to ask at reception for a "Bounty pack" and staring at me a bit more as I leave the room.
I do all of these things and the previously foreboding receptionist magically dissolves into smiles when I ask for a Bounty pack. I get it home and it's full of marketing material, so gets put under a pile of baby books that I've currently got out on loan from the library.
The following week, I meet my sis and lil H for lunch and make an effort not to get my wee sample out of my handbag after carrying it around all day. It's like CHristmas as sis gives me a bag that contains a tent (which turns out to be maternity pants), loads of books, cream and other exciting things. Thank you!
Later, I return to the nurse, and as I hand over my wee, make some comment about my ongoing denial. She apparently had the same feelings, so tests it and according to the medical version of the test, I am indeed expecting. I think the fact that I haven't had any morning sickness is part of my denial - but I am grateful that I've escaped it all the same!She takes my blood pressure and is so gentle and reassuring that I feel better.
My next appointment is with the midwife. As I sit down, she asks, "where are you having the baby?". I haven't even thought about this and shout "home, no, hospital, no, home, no, hospital, no, home, no, hospital..." until she makes me stop, saying that it can later be changed.
She then gets out some forms and asks me the following questions:
"Are you Caucasian?"
"Are you pleased?" (here, she writes "pleased")
"Is your husband pleased?" (She writes "pleased" again).
"Are you and your husband related?"
"Do you want a Downs syndrome test" - this is a big question. I thought it was to do with a needle test, but she rolls her eyes and asks me if I haven't read the information they gave me last time.
Again, she takes my blood pressure (which is marginally higher than it was when I came in) and then makes me go to the toilet for a protein test.
I go home and stuff my face with biscuits.....
Friday, 27 May 2011
I already have three others going on various topics, but thought I would chart the next six months of my life so I can look back and laugh at myself!
You see, I will be three months pregnant next week and have struggled to make much sense of what's happened in the last few weeks! However, from next week, hopefully, the odds stack up more favourably and things are (touch wood, touch wood), less likely to go wrong!
So it all started towards the end of March when I suddenly started feeling tired all the time. I am usually a bundle of energy from the moment I get up to when I go to bed. Until quite recently, I had two jobs and volunteered a few hours a week for a local charity. And then BANG - sleep, sleep, sleep.
Something was UP!
I did a pregnancy test. There's something quite unladylike about weeing on a stick, but there was no time to think about that as after 30 seconds or so, the control line had turned blue, and the line to tell you that you're pregnant was kind of....I couldn't tell. So I had a cup of tea and did another test. Same thing - frustratingly pale - was it there or was I imagining it? So I had to call MrM into the bathroom to check - still in a most unladylike pose.
I called him in to give me a definitive answer either way, but he responded by crying which I found equally confusing....
He said he thought it was positive, gave me a hug and said he loved me and was very happy (still blubbing!). I was happy but terrified; I am not cut out to be a mum. I went to sleep and had dreams about losing babies on buses and in the desert.