Thursday, November 26, 2009

Antenatal blues

I was supposed to go to an NHS breast feeding clinic this morning and I didn't. I just couldn't face it. Those antenatal blues won't leave me alone. I still feel enveloped in a cloud of sadness. At the moment I feel like running away - just me and the bubs :-(

Hopefully I'll feel better later today.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Doctor Schmoctor

I have to tell you about a recent visit to the doctors' surgery.

I had a routine appointment with the doc at 36 weeks, which found blood, protein and extra white blood cells in my urine.

The doc sent my urine off for analysis and told me to call back on Friday for the results. If there was an infection, she would prescribe me antibiotics. If it came back clear, she wanted me to come back on Monday so they could do some further tests.

Sure enough the results came back clear, and the receptionist (reading my notes) reiterated what the first doctor had said about coming back on Monday. So on Monday, armed with a fresh urine sample, I went back to the surgery for an appointment with a different doctor. The second I walked into the doctor's room I knew it was going to be one of those consultations.

Doctor: How can I help you?

Me: (Explained the story) ... and so she asked me to come back today.

Doctor: (Already losing patience)... but why?

Me: I don't really know.

Doctor: **SIGH** If I had a penny for every white blood cell found in the urine of a pregnant lady ... I don't know why she asked you to come back.

Me: Umm ...

Doctor: As far as I'm concerned there's no reason for you to be here.

Me: I don't want to waste anyone's time ...

Doctor: Do you FEEL okay?

Me: I feel fine.

Doctor: And you can't remember why she wanted you to come back??

At this point I became visibly upset, and suddenly the doctor started backtracking. He told me that protein in urine should ALWAYS be taken seriously and that I wasn't wasting his time at all. He told me he wanted me to hand my urine sample in at reception on my way out so that it could be sent off to the labs for more testing and he made an appointment for me to return a few days later so he could check my blood pressure.

Needless to say, on my way out I cancelled the appointment and threw my urine in the bin!

Giving me the elbow!

Only 3 more weeks until D day and I'm hoping and praying he's not late. My bump has changed dramatically in the past few days. It's dropping I think; at least I can't rest a cup of coffee on the 'ledge' any more. Plus I sometimes feel a sinking feeling in my chest; like the pressure has been lifted from my lungs and they're filling with air. Is this the quickening that people talk about?

A strange but remarkable thing happened the other evening; and had Robin not been sitting next to me when it happened, it would have seemed too unbelievable to share.

My belly button has totally stretched out and now resembles a flat disc of shiny, pale scar tissue. I was sitting on the couch and the baby was wriggling about, like he always does after food, when something pointy (like a little elbow) poked right out through my belly button! I kid ye not. It poked out by about 1.5cm before I pushed it back in again.

I was amazed, if not also a little freaked out by this and I'm now a little obsessed with his elbow ...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nursery pics

I thought I would share some nursery pics with you.

Copy and paste the following link into your browser (hopefully it'll work):

NCT Antenatal Classes

Robin and have been attending NCT Antenatal Classes for the past two weekends. It's not what we imagined it to be. For example, we didn't have to sit on the floor and practice breathing exercises (I feel cheated) and, much to Robin's delight, there were no gruesome childbirth videos to watch. Having said that, there was soooooo much to take in that I can barely remember it all.

The main points (that matter to me) are:
  1. Pain relief - we have a choice of water, gas and air, pethidine and epidural.
  2. Don't get in the bath at home until your contractions are lasting a minute. Any shorter than that and the warm water could slow down labour.
  3. Contractions should be timed from the start of one to the start of the next one.
  4. Go to the hospital only when your contractions are 2 to 3 minutes apart.
  5. Breast feed exclusively for 4 weeks before introducing the bottle if you want to share feeds with your partner.
  6. It's okay to have the baby in the bath with you from birth (if you're prepared to be pooped and wee'd on).
  7. It's best not to use soaps, shampoos or lotions on the baby for around six weeks.
  8. The optimum room temperature for a baby is 18 degrees.
  9. The umbilical chord should fall off at around 10 days.
  10. It's okay to take the baby out and about from birth.
  11. First stage of labour is the contractions, second stage is pushing and third stage is placenta delivery.
  12. It takes ages to get from 1cm to 5cm dilated, but 5cm to 8cm happens really quickly.

Another bonus of the NCT classes is that we've met some really cool people who are expecting babies around the same time as us. Happy days.

St Peter's Counselling Session

My appointment with the counsellor, Zarah, on Monday was great. She spent two hours (5 til 7) getting to the bottom of why I was feeling so emotional.

After discounting the whole fear of labour ... fear of the unknown ... fear of being responsible for another human being nonsense (none of which I feel), we eventually deduced that I have a fear of dependency.

After twenty years of being a self-sufficient, independent career woman, earning my own wage, I am quite terrified of being financially dependent on Robin (or any man for that matter).

I didn't realise how much of a subconscious worry it was until the session.

Zarah tried to get me to look at it from Robin's perspective in that he had an idyllic childhood with a full time stay-at-home mom. By wanting to replicate that for his own child (which he does), he is acknowledging the importance of the mother's role. I shouldn't, therefore, feel like I'm not worthy of spending his money.

It's a simple enough concept to grasp ... but I'll have to work at it for a while. I will miss having my own money to spend on luxuries, but I assume that once the baby arrives, my perspective and focus will change anyway.

All in all, I feel the session was helpful and I don't feel quite so helpless about the money side of things.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The pram

The pram arrived yesterday - the same one that's been in the news for chopping off little fingers!!

I couldn't believe it. We (Rob) ordered it online on the Monday evening and on the Tuesday morning it was all over the news:

Maclaren recalls 1 million strollers after severing of childrens' fingertips!

Sods law ...

But anyway, it's here now and it took me and Rob over an hour to fit it all together. Talk about Rocket science!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Flying into London ...

I had an interesting day yesterday.

After waking up at 5 again, and crying until around 6.45 when I woke my fella up I decided that I would call the midwife and find out if it's normal to feel so down before the baby arrives.

I called the number that was in my medical folder and was really impressed and comforted by the service I received (thank you St Peter's Hospital Maternity Unit).

The woman who answered the phone was unable to help me but put me through to the labour ward. The nurse in the labour ward listened to my concerns and told me that she would get a community midwife to call me back. Within 20 minutes I had a call from midwife called Zarah who spent 27 minutes trying to help me make sense of my feelings.

The upshot of all of this was:
  1. She didn't think it was hormonal. Apparently, there's no reason for my hormones to change dramatically at this point in the pregnancy.
  2. She didn't think I should be working. My job, managing a team of writers, is stressful. Zarah told me that lots of women who choose to work right up until the last minute are not doing enough to prepare their minds or bodies for the physical and psychological traumas that lie ahead.
  3. She thought I was subconsciously fearful of the labour (I disagree about this one).
  4. She was concerned that I had no friends or family living nearby and told me to make the most of any clubs or classes that I could attend for local support.
  5. She told me to inform the doctor of how I was feeling, as people who are prone to depression or PMT (like me) are also prone to post natal depression. By talking to the doctors and midwives about it now, they can keep tabs on me once the baby is born.

I felt a lot better after talking to the midwife, but it hasn't helped me decide whether to leave work earlier than planned. I know my baby and me are more important than money, but by finishing work a week or two early I will lose between £500 and £1000 - that's not just money, that's the promise of some care-free times ahead ... just me and the bambino and a couple of bucks to get out and about in the big wide world.

I do think that work has a lot to do with it. But my strategy for the next two weeks is to slow things down. I have already outsourced some of my work to freelancers (I don't know why I didn't do that sooner) and I am handing the rest over to my maternity cover, Amanda, sooner rather than later.

It's a tricky, tricky position to be in. I didn't realise that the 'juggling' of mommyhood and work would happen before the baby was born.

I guess that's a sign of the times. And I can't complain. I have a wonderfully healthy son almost ready to be born, a good job, a lovely parner and a warm home. I have more than most - I know this. I just wish the cloud would lift.

Actually, a really good analogy of how I feel is this:

I lived in sunny South Africa for four years (1996 to 2000) and loved it beyond words. To me it was home. I felt at peace living there (ironic I know). At least twice a year I would come back to the UK to visit my friends and family and each time it was the same ... I would fly out of Johannesburg on a bright, sunny, warm day with wide open blue skies and a sense of belonging ... and 11 hours later I would fly into London; miserable, dreary, drizzly London with it's lonely, heaving, oppressive grey skies ...

Well, right now, I'm flying into London and already counting down the days until I feel the warmth of the African sun again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The lows and the highs of month 9.

I'm still feeling pretty blue at the moment. It's something I will definitely run by the doctor next Wednesday as I don't want the arrival of my most precious baby blighted by any of this sadness.

Hopefully, the two weeks in between leaving work and having the baby (all being well) will be enough time for me to relax and take stock of all the changes that are about to take place in my life. I really need some time to let it all sink in. Luckily we have bought everything we need for the baby (apart from bottles) and the nursery is finally ready ... so by the time I leave work I will have absolutely bugger all to do except sleep, eat and dream about meeting my little fella for the very first time.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sock shock

One of the biggest challenges of my pregnancy so far?

Getting my shoes and socks on and off!

I've had to add an additional five minutes to my morning routine so that I'm not late leaving the house. Nightmare.

Why did no one warn me????

Boo hooooooo

There must have been a shift in my hormones over the past week or two as I have done nothing but cry. It's awful. I just feel so low. The smallest thing sets me off; Robin joking with me (his jokes are pretty bad); the cat meowing; missing a train ... I know I'm overreacting; I'm actually thinking this when I'm crying, but at that moment in time it just feels like the world has come crashing down around my ears.

I hope it's just a passing phase :-(

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The baby and wee

Okay, so it was a bit of an interesting trip to the hospital this morning. First things first, as soon as I arrived they gave me one of those long thin urine sample pots and asked me to wee in it. Now, I don't know about you, but as a woman, I may as well be trying to pee through the eye of a needle. Add a huge bump to the equation, effectively blocking off my view, then you're just asking for trouble. Needless to say I got wee all over my jeans, the toilet seat and the floor. Not a good start.

Then came the scan and whilst our baby is growing perfectly (he now weighs 5lb 6oz) his kidneys are still showing signs of swelling. The term hydronephrosis has been used and there are many causes for this, which they won't be able to establish until he's born. So unfortunately, once he's born he may need a kidney scan and possibly some antibiotics. This made me sad. I'd hoped to be in and out of hospital quickly ... and I just can't bear the thought of those strange men in white coats whisking my precious little button away for even a second!! There is, of course, always the chance that things will clear up before he arrives, but he's had the swelling since fairly early on in the pregnancy so I have my doubts.

Here's hoping the Christmas angels bring him a perfect pair of kidneys for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Early mornings

Another 6 o'clock start. Hopefully it'll be a less painful and emotional day than yesterday!

I'm going to avoid wearing jeans today as I think they might have had something to do with the tummy pain yesterday. They do feel tight around the lower abdomen - where they sit just below my bump - when I'm sitting down.

I don't know what's worse though, the physical pain that comes with jeans or the psychological pain that comes with exposing my legs!


Tears and tummy pains

I had a weird day today. First of all I woke at 6 and couldn't get back to sleep again. Then my tummy started hurting and went on hurting for the rest of the day. (The pain was low in my abdomen and felt like trapped wind mixed with period pain.) Then I was walking back from HR at around 2pm when I suddenly - and quite inexplicably - burst into tears. I subsequently spent ten minutes in a toilet cubicle sobbing my heart out. I also had a strange knotted feeling in my chest ...

I'm assuming it's the hormones.

Apart from these minor hiccups, I'm still extrememly excited about meeting my little man in a few week's time. Tomorrow we have our final scan. They want to check his kidneys, but I'm hoping we'll get another picture of his little face.

Lying in the bath tonight, I could make out his shoulder, his knee, his back and his bottom with my finger tips. It was a lovely feeling :-)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

34 Week Appointment

I had my 34 week midwife appointment this morning and ended up seeing an amazing locum! She was ace. She was a lot older than the previous midwives and really took the time to listen to what I was saying. She took each of my concerns seriously and congratulated me on my positive birth attitude. She also told me exactly what position my baby is lying in, which I really enjoyed. His head is engaged (not fully though) and his bottom is just under my ribs. His movements, particularly his stretches, make a lot of sense to me now.

Apart from slightly low blood pressure (110/80), the only other area of concern is a minor 'show' that I had last week. I'd shrugged it off until the midwife told me in no uncertain terms that there is no such thing as good blood loss in pregnancy. If it happens again I have to call the doctor straight away. Whoops!

Oh well, only another 4 weeks at work then I can finally relax!

Monday, November 2, 2009

To love a child

I remember being told, many moons ago, by a mother that I could never understand what it is to truly love a child until I've had one of my own.

I can't tell you how much this has chewed away at me over the years ...

How can anyone make that assumption? How can anyone assume to know the capacity of someone else's heart? Are they saying that adopted parents have an inferior love for their children? Or that adopted children have never felt the full force of true maternal love??

I am six weeks away from the birth of my first (and very much longed for) child, and I still disagree with the statement. I can imagine it's a different kind of love, but certainly not an inferior kind.

Ask me again when I'm holding the precious little peanut in my arms ... but I really don't think I'll feel any differently.

Choosing a pram

Robin and I have not been able to decide on a pram for several months now, partly because it's all so flaming confusing!!

Do we get one with three or four wheels. Do we get one with a carry cot or not? Will it fit in the boot of the car when folded? Does it need attachments for the car seat? Does it fold down with one hand? Does it fit in the aisle of a small supermarket? Does it have good reviews on the website? Does it have the necessary seals of approval? What did Which Magazine say about it? Is it the right colour? Does it come with accessories or are these extra? Do you need a PHD to recline the seat? Will it tip over backwards if you put a shopping bag on the handles? Do the breaks catch when you're going up steps? Are the handle bars adjustable? Is the shopping basket underneath easily accessible??

Questions, questions, questions!!

After whittling it down to a shortlist of just two - Mamas and Papas Luna and the Maclaren Techno XLR - we finally took the plunge and made a decision ...

... the Maclaren!!

To be honest with you, I don't think it's the most stylish looking travel system and it's by no means the cheapest, but it consistently got the best reviews. If I could combine the aesthetics (and the neat folded-up size) of the Luna with the functionality of the Maclaren, I'd be a very happy lady indeed.

THE NAKED BUMP: 33 weeks and 2 days

At 33 weeks, people are still telling me I have a 'neat' bump. I don't really mind any more because I know the button is healthy and happy.

I love, love, love being pregnant but I can't wait for the birth either.

Seriously ... the closer it gets the more I find myself thinking about it and the more excited I become.

I don't understand why I am made to feel uncomfortable and foolish for wanting a natural birth. People tell me it's a romantic notion ... what the heck does that mean?

I'm convinced that the fear of pain can inhibit the body's ability to actually cope with it. So I choose (at this point in time) not to fear it. I pray that my brain sends out the right chemicals at the right time to help my body cope with the job it's been designed to do.

Don't get me wrong. I don't expect childbirth to be pain free. But I don't expect it to be unbearable either. Why would Nature do that to us? And if it does become unbearable and I ultimately resort to pain relief then so be it. But at least I will have given it a shot.

I'll have done it my way.