Week One

What a week it’s been, this first week of motherhood, this first week of my new life.

I warn you now, this is an epic post. I don’t want to forget anything and haven’t had time to diarise it all as intended and this is what I’m using this blog for, a kind of diary that I’m sure I’ll bin after a while but for now I’m determined to keep it up.

Day 0, Birth Day.
What a whirlwind of emotion; excitement, nerves, pain, overwhelming love then back to nerves again. How was I responsible enough to look after a baby 24 hours a day? I usually get to hand them back when they start to whimper, now I’m the one he gets handed back to. Luckily he doesn’t whimper much, in fact he’s as good as gold.

After spending the morning in the delivery room, being able to have a shower and lunch, a visit from Auntie and David (my late mum’s best friend, my surrogate mother), skin to skin time and the first breast feed, which I felt all spaghetti arms over thus being taught the lie down position I chose to adopt for the first couple of days.

I miss my bump, it looks so sad, so empty. I’ll miss those beautiful stirrings, those gentle kicks and fumbles from within. Those hiccups that would wake me every morning and remind me of the life I was carrying within me. That special connection that was just me and him. He was here now. Now a new connection starts and importantly OH gets to feel a connection too now. It must be hard on the fathers through pregnancy. Missing those kicks by seconds, only imagining what it must feel like to feel this life growing inside. I used to always envy men, I will never envy them again, I will never miss that feeling of creating a new life and feeling it grow within. For once I’m glad to be a woman!

I was moved onto the Postnatal ward after lunch as the baby checker had finished rounds for the day and we were still having to await blood results for bean to see of I needed another Anti-D, it turns out Bean has inherited my rare blood type B Negative which means no more anti-D for me! I often wonder whether this is the reason for my miscarriages, perhaps the other babies were positives? We’ll never know!

The day went by in a bit of a haze, a visit from my brother and sister in law (my niece and nephew being refused as they’re school age), very dubious breast feeding advice which consisted of a nursing assistant shoving my nipple into Bean’s mouth… Wtf? I still don’t know what her name was! Nappy changes consisted of desperately trying to get the tarlike meconium off our precious boy’s bottom not that it bothered him, he just chillaxed and let us muddle through in our own good time. Tea time rolled past with barely an acknowledgement just endless minutes staring at our beautiful boy trying to comprehend the enormity of what had just happened to us after so long trying and wanting.

Then came the scary moment OH was told he had to leave. He booked a Prem Inn near by. I was terrified, I was alone with this tiny, fragile, precious life I was still convinced would be taken away from me. I knew I wouldn’t get a wink of sleep, I didn’t care either, if I never slept again I wouldn’t mind if it meant he was safe.

The woman I shared a room with wasn’t talkative at all and her baby cried all evening and into the early hours. I heard her little girl filling her nappy every 10 minutes, this just made me panic more, why wasn’t Bean doing this too? Was there something wrong with him? I checked his nappy at around 2am, clear, then he peed…. In my eye! First rookie error made!

I spent the night with Bean in my bed with me lying on our sides staring into his precious sleeping face. It was about 0330 and there was a bit of commotion coming from behind the curtain. The paediatric registrar was called. The little girl next door was vomiting a lot, green vomit. There was talk of bile in her vomit, bile duct blockages but that filled nappies were good, don’t panic they told her mother. Yeah right! Half an hour later the consultant came in and informed her that they would have to transfer her daughter to Bristol neonatal unit immediately, they didn’t want to take any risks and they couldn’t carry out the relevant tests at Exeter. With that her baby was taken away and she was left to ring her husband and pack. My heart broke for her as she made that phonecall, she was devastated, heartbroken. An hour later she was gone. I hope that they’re all ok.

I didn’t sleep a wink.

Lesson learnt: ALWAYS cover boy parts on removal of nappy.

No name, although we have settled on a VERY short list.

Day 1.

OH arrived as soon as he could, in fact he arrived earlier but they wouldn’t let him. More dubious breast feeding ‘advice’ (I use that term in the loosest sense of the word), more shouts of breakfast being ready… I still hadn’t been shown where to go, good thing I had all those cereal bars really. My best friend came to see our precious bean and we waited, waited for the moment we could take our bundle home! The baby checker came at 1030 and bar a swollen testes Bean is fit and well. I am fit and well. We were told we could finally go home. It’s 1230 when we load Bean into his car seat for the very first time and take him on his first car journey to his new home.

The rest of the day went by in a haze, gazing lovingly at this brand new face, in awe that he didn’t cry much and slept LOADS, poking him lots to insure he was ok (sorry Bean) struggling through breast feeding positions (still adopting lateral positioning) then struggling to settle him in his Moses basket … He just doesn’t like it! Why? He came to bed with me, again no more sleep!

Still no name.

Day 2.
MW called and asked Bean’s name, informed her we hadn’t decided on one yet (please read What’s in a Name blog). She came to see me about an hour later marching in telling us what an unusual but lovely name Russell is….. Russell? Wtf? The awkward moment when I tell her that his name will NEVER be Russell. Anyway, more nipple stuffing ensued, details on how to register Bean’s birth and a quick check over to confirm that the gunk at base of Bean’s umbilical stump is quite normal… Who knew it was the process of gangrene that caused the stump to fall off? Then off she went. We wrapped Bean up nice and warm and took him for his very first stroll across the cliffs in his brand new pram. Lots of cooing was received when in Sainsbury’s then back home. Walking after birth is a peculiar sensation, laughing and walking is down right dangerous! You constantly feel the world is going to fall out at any minute!

OHs parents have arrived from Yorkshire, popped in for an hour cuddle with their new grandson and left us in peace.

I think I’m finally getting the hang of this breast feeding malarkey until doom hits…. He won’t stop feeding!

It started at around 0100hrs and just wouldn’t stop! My back hurts, my nipples feel like they’ve been torn off. Woke OH at around 0500 in floods of tears, I thought I was giving Bean colic, that I was somehow over feeding him, he had reflux. Google is an evil thing when you’re stressing out. OH googled symptoms, turns out it’s normal!!

Lesson learnt: set up nightfeed care package of snacks, remotes, drinks and muslins so everything is to hand BEFORE commencing feeding.

Still no name but have no got rid of one option.

Day 3.
I feel like I’ve run a marathon. Everything aches.

A very special midwife Twitter friend confirmed last night as totally normal. Night 3 marathon feed to get the milk in. Nature is truly amazing! He’s sleeping like an absolute lamb now. Grandparents arrived at 9am… I feel like hell! I feel bad they’ve come all this way and I feel so shocking. We make arrangements to meet them for lunch at a cafe in town after Bean’s feed. MW called to check all is well, she has arranged for a visit from the breast feeding support worker to visit who again confirmed the normality of the situation. He is feeding normally during the day.

Arrange to have lunch at 1330. Feed Bean at 1200 for 40 minutes, changed Bean, dressed myself… Even out on some makeup! Half hour to go, can’t settle Bean, feed again, change again, settle Bean in pram. Got to cafe…. Late! Forgot the whole waiting to order, waiting for food preparation, eating said food… Bean started wailing as soon as food arrived. Now we both hate the thought of upsetting others, no one likes a screaming child whilst trying to eat I also wasn’t comfortable at breast feeding at a restaurant table I front of OHs father! What a bloody mistake. Needless to say I won’t be going out for lunch again in a while. Totally my fault. By the time we got home we were all stressed out. Bean had a half hour feed and all was well.

Grandparents stayed away that evening.

HOLY SHIT…. WHERE THE HELL DID THESE BOOBS COME FROM! They are truly spectacular! Dec is actually catching up with Ant. OH is amazed. More bras to be ordered as soon as possible.

Cluster feeding (I’ve learnt that’s what it’s called) commenced at 1900 and pretty much carried on till gone 2300. Bean slept with me again, I don’t care, I need sleep. Who knew the act of baby sucking can send you to sleep!?

Lesson learnt: Never make arrangements that aren’t flexible. Never underestimate the power of a newborn bowel movement. Have Lansinoh to hand 24/7.

No name.

Day 4.
Grandparents arrived at 9am, feel like shit, paint on smile… Apparently I look like shit despite smile painting! Oh well!

Midwife rang, she’ll be here late morning. Grandparents leave on a mission to buy a baby changing unit. With all the will in the world we’ve had to bow down to it. I’m sickened by the fact that once you add baby to any piece of furniture it gives the manufacturers carte Blanche to add a couple of zeros to the product price. Baby changing chest of drawers £300+, normal chest of drawers £100. Set of 3 shelves £40+, basic changing unit £100+.

Wait in all day… No visit. Friend pops in to visit at 1430 at the same time Bean decides he’s hungry, at the same time grandparents arrive with a fabulous Mamas and Papas changing unit and stories of bartering (it’s the Yorkshire way), at the same time the MW arrives… For Lord’s sake! Friend and GPs ushered off.

More nipple shoving and telling me to relax when feeding… I’ve always had a shoulder issue, my ballet teacher used to despair of my raised shoulders, turns out I do it whilst breast feeding too. I’m finding it easier to relax and get comfortable when feeding on the right, but the left foxes me still. Anyway, MW happy with Bean. Meconium now totally gone and yellow poos apparently are causing much joy. Raised my concerns over whether he was getting enough milk to which she reassured me if he wasn’t ‘he’d let me know’. Discussed Moses basket, she thinks it could be because it’s cold in there are coming from me, advises warming blankets.

Friend returns for some quality time. GPs arrive with Thai takeaway (much more sensible than pub meal which was my first idea). Cluster feeding starts at 1900 and continues till way past 2300. Feel bad for GPs, had to run off to bedroom to find comfortable feeding position and left them all to it in lounge.

On a positive note… The blanket warming worked. NEVER have we leapt into bed and fallen asleep so quickly in our lives… I’m beginning to realise romance is dead and buried for a while. Sleep is where it’s at!

Good night feeds ensued, I’m finally getting used to the cross cradle position.

Lesson learnt; WARM BLANKETS! Cold tea isn’t so bad after all. Make up is a real luxury

Still no name, will we ever decide?

Day 5.
It’s my exceptional Daddy’s 78th birthday. He’s had a rough year medically and I hope he gets to enjoy today. I miss him. I wish he could see his beautiful grandson and have a cuddle. He lives up country you see and was diagnosed with myeloma on the same day I had my 12 week scan. We will take Bean on a road trip in the new year to see his Grandad Petitt when we feel a bit more ‘up to it’. Until then I shall tweet Bean’s progress and send daily photos. This is the beauty of the technological age, miles are bridged in seconds, it doesn’t quite replace physical closeness but it’s better than nothing.

We fully intend on having a name for Bean by the end of the day. A birthday present for my Dad.

Top and tailed bean and changed nappy to discover umbilical cord is now OFF!!!! HUZZAH!!!!!

Not only is it off it managed to migrate to Bean’s shoulder blade, bless him. I feel like he’s reached his first milestone. The last remaining connection of me to him has now been removed. He is now completely his own being. It puts me in mind of the Daemons in Philip Pullman’s Golden Compass books. I feel quite sad, I cried, how stupid. I should be glad we don’t have to panic about ripping it off accidentally but this has just confirmed how quickly time flies and I’m scared that I’ll blink and he’ll be a teenager, an adult, married with babes of his own before I have chance to acknowledge any of it.

Pull myself together.

Grandparents arrive at 0900. Look and feel like shit, given up caring! Couple of hours cuddle time and they set off back home. It’s been lovely to see them and I am very grateful but I’m kinda glad we can just relax now as a family before OH has to return to work.

MW arrived at 1200 for Bean’s heel prick test which he bore brilliantly. SO proud of my boy, luckily for him he bleeds better than I do and only needed to be pricked once. I, on the other hand felt I’d been stabbed in the heart! He now weighs 3200g which is a loss of 220g, well within the 10% guideline so all is looking good. I raise concerns over my left breast (Dec) as it isn’t going soft after epic feeds, she thinks I may have a blocked duct and advises a hot bath and massage. Later this seems to help, thankfully!

Cards and gifts are pouring in from all over. Twitter friends are showering us with presents and cards, people we’ve never met yet mean so much to us, it’s so moving I can’t quite believe it!

We have a name! FINALLY!
Please meet Noah Ace.

Noah: Derived from the Hebrew name נוֹחַ (Noach) meaning “rest, comfort”
Ace: From the English word meaning “highest rank, excellence”

Both beautifully fitting! We really don’t care what anyone else thinks, I’m closing my ears to the Red Dwarf and Ace Ventura referrals, I think people who make petty jokes about things like this childish. I don’t care what they think. We love it and it beats George! 😉

Cluster feeding continues, just have to accept this and get through it as best as I can. Slept with us again tonight.

Lessons learnt; Some people can be quite hurtful in expressing opinions they should keep to themselves. Tea really isn’t that bad when cold. Eating one handed whilst juggling a feeding baby is becoming easier by the day. Give in to co-sleeping, it’s the only way.

Day 6.
Good night’s sleep was had by all, even managed to settle Noah in the basket after early morning feed so could leap back into bed and have a nice cuddle. Feels very weird without a bump in the way but I have to admit I relish being able to sleep on my left side and ON MY BACK! Total heaven! I loved being pregnant, but I don’t miss the uncomfortable nights.

Cluster feeding seems to have snuck into the daytime now which I find easier to deal with, at least you don’t feel quite so isolated. Have spent the majority of the day watching Christmas films and feeling guilty that I still haven’t got round to writing thank you cards although I have managed to nip out and buy my Dad a birthday card from Noah (now he has a name). Still haven’t managed to sort out a present though which I feel bad about. Who knew babies absorbed so much of your time? I take back all that I said about babies not having to change your life too much, it’s more than I can manage to drink a hot cup of tea and get breakfast and a bath before midday.

I shall rename myself Waynetta! I won’t care either! I have a feeling when the OH returns to work I’ll still be in my pyjamas when he returns home covered in baby sick with nappy bags stuck to the back of legs. Yes nappy bags… We have real nappies, we do, but Noah is so tiny the things swamp him so we’ve bowed down to disposables for the time being. I do however buy the best Eco nappy I could find. No gels or plastics involved just paper pulp so they biodegrade quicker, this won’t continue for much longer I hope, as soon as he grows into his real nappies!

Have panicked myself over the quantity and colour of Noah’s poos. He managed to fill 4 nappies in 10 minutes tonight. Now I’m convinced he’s got some sort of food poisoning because I ate a chilli last night. We’ve googled it, nothing! It’s all about the yellow poos apparently. Thank GOD for Twitter, there are some amazing people out there, a wealth of information. It’s all normal, means he’s getting enough milk (another thing I’ve been worrying about). I’m an emotional wreck today. I’m fine in the day, come the evening I feel sick with nerves, it’s like homesickness. I feel everything I’m doing is wrong. I’m swimming against the tide and don’t have anyone to ask for a hand. I want my mum. I want to ask her all the things new mums ask their mums advice on. I want her to give me a cuddle like it’s my turn to cuddle Noah. I know this is my hormones, I know it’ll pass but it feels so shitty right now. OH is amazing, he’s so supportive and I feel awful for him, he’s been usurped by a 7Iber!

I’m blinded by love. My sole purpose in life is to now raise this precious gift of ours to the best of my ability, to bring him up to respect others, be kind and thoughtful and to achieve all he wants to achieve.

Lessons learnt: You can never watch too many films in one day. ‘Nipping out’ no longer exists. Cluster feeding is going to last FOREVER… get used to it! Don’t beat yourself up about going against all you had decided not to do, it really doesn’t matter. Don’t even try to hold back the tears, it’s impossible!

My Birth Story

On the 22nd November 2013 at 0843 hrs we welcomed our beautiful baby boy into the world and life as I previously knew it changed in a split second.

With a brand new breath and a little cry my heart filled with the most overwhelming love I had ever felt and from the moment I looked into his eyes it was like I’d never not known him, I’ve known him forever.

This was it, this was my son, this was my life and I’d managed to create another, now nothing else matters.

He is now 6 days old and we’ve finally decided on a name. Ironically we went to bed last Thursday night arguing about what we were going to call him and I stated that we still had at least 4 days to go and convinced it would be longer as most first births go over due.

If you’ve read previous posts you’ll know that I was having to face the tricky decision of having an induction near due day, I didn’t want this. 4 women I knew had gone through the most traumatic induction processes in the 2 weeks leading up to my due day and this worried me, greatly. It would appear all this worry was totally unnecessary.

At 0140hrs I woke with a Braxton Hicks, rolled out of bed (which had become the norm over the past couple of weeks) went to the toilet and climbed back into my pregnancy nest. Just as I was drifting off again I had another BH… Not unusual but a bit of a pain, I was tired. As I was again about to drift off I had another. At this point I thought perhaps I should check the time and sure enough I had 3 more which were 10 minutes apart exactly.

Terror.
Excitement.
Nerves.
This must be it starting.
I didn’t know what to do so just went back to sleep thinking it’ll be ages yet and I need my rest.

Next time I woke it was 0347 with another period like cramp, I activated my contraction timer, went to the toilet and started timing. They were coming every 2 minutes, lasting approx 30 seconds each. Now thinking back to my antenatal classes when the midwife said not to worry the hospital until they were 5 minutes apart and so painful I couldn’t talk through them I wasn’t entirely convinced I was in labour.

The hospital is an hour and a half away and the thought of contracting that severely every five minutes for that journey has filled me with dread since that class. These just weren’t strong enough, they couldn’t be labour.

At about 0415 I woke my OH telling him not to panic but I think everything was starting. He was brilliant, remained calm and got up. He dutifully rang the birthing unit who told me to ring the labour ward (both are at Exeter hospital) for advice as she was busy but that I was welcome to go the unit as planned. He spoke to the midwife at the labour ward and told her my timings and she just calmly said we’ll see you when you get here.

This was it? It can’t be! Can it?

We both got dressed, I double checked my hospital bag and picked up all the snacks and drinks we’d bought for an epic labour. OH loaded car with both our bags and Bean’s car seat and set off.

Never has that journey gone so quickly. The pains weren’t evil, just uncomfortable and easily breathed through and still 2 minutes apart. We laughed and joked nearly all the way there and I told him that I was convinced we’d be sent home when we got there because I wasn’t in actual labour.

On arrival to the hospital I had to stop briefly outside the main entrance to ‘gather myself’ then waddled up to the labour unit. Now my plan was to have a water birth in the birthing unit as this was a low risk pregnancy (despite my age). The birthing unit, however was around a corner whilst the labour ward was straight ahead… I chose the latter!

As we entered the unit I expressed my concerns that I wasn’t in actual labour to which the midwife said she thought I was sufficiently enough to go straight into a delivery room.

WHAT?
Really?
I still wasn’t convinced.

When I got in there the midwife did some paper work whilst I bounced on a ball (my saviour up until this point) hooked me up to the monitor and then asked to exam me. I was 6cm dilated, it was 0630hrs. I couldn’t believe it! I was breathing through the contractions and was more concerned my OH was going to pass out… I’d sent him to bed the night before at 2030 as he wasn’t very well, bless him, now he was going to have to go through this stress in a boiling hot room feeling like crap!

The MW saw I wanted to be active and those monitors really are a pain in the arse. Slipping off all the time so she advised me to have a monitor that clipped to the baby’s head which meant that I could move around more… Excellent! I got on the bed, she broke my waters and put the galloping horses clip on bean’s head. At this stage I tried the entonox, now I’ve had it before during a nasty miscarriage and it was great, this time however I hated it. I couldn’t breathe properly and it was just making me feel minced, I ended up throwing it away and it’s probably at this point it all becomes a blur and I’m sure my OH would fill lots of gaps in my story with the actual facts.

I remember looking down and seeing blood in my waters and the MW telling me to get on the bed, then that I’d be meeting my baby soon and she was upset she wouldn’t see it… It was change over time.

Next thing I remember was lots of people in the room, the end of the bed vanishing, my legs being put in stirrups and MWs saying there’s a lip of cervix but I should start trying to push anyway. They kept telling me that I needed to beat the doctor… What doctor? I really had no understanding as to what was going on just that I was possibly breaking the OHs hand along with a registrar who was on my other side. When he let go I remember grabbing OHs arm and shoving it in my mouth about ready to chomp down. I distinctly remember thinking “Rachel what the hell are you doing, that’ll hurt” so let go and went back to the task of pushing what felt like the impossible out of me. It’s true what they say about a madness that descends at this point. I really can’t remember much of anything except that I cried out a couple of times and said what I didn’t want to say and that was the inevitable “I can’t do this” … apparently I didn’t say this as often as I thought I did. I remember someone saying “Bee sting coming Rachel” followed by nothing. I really didn’t care.

The next thing was feeling a gush from between my legs, hearing a cry and holding my beautiful, beautiful baby boy in my arms. It was over. I couldn’t believe it.

It was 0843hrs.
22nd November 2013.
Our beautiful boy weighed in at 3420g (my OH had to google convert this into 7Ibs 8oz). Considering everyone was expecting me to have a 9Iber I was amazed.
He was 50.5cm in length with a head circumference of 34cm.

It was at this point I realised my legs were still in stirrups and asked if I had needed stitches to which everyone said yes. I had had to have a ventouse delivery. Although the MW said it’s on my records as that but the suction bottle was cracked so I pretty much did 95% of it on my own. Apparently the baby had been in some distress and they didn’t want to take any risks.

My birth plan went completely out the window. My partner didn’t get to cut the cord but we don’t care.

20131128-114751.jpg

We have our son, our boy, our precious gift. We are in love, totally, utterly and inexplicably in love with this tiny bundle that somehow we managed to create in his own perfect form. With a face I’ve always known.

Dear Bean

Dear Bean,

Let me introduce myself, I’m your mummy. You will only know me as a series of bodily sounds and functions at the moment but I’ve been your mummy for the last 38 weeks and 5 days and shall be for the rest of your life and mine. I will love you, comfort you, keep you safe, feed you, clothe you and no doubt embarrass the hell out of you in due course.

I’ve worried about you since the moment I saw those 2 little blue lines appear at 4am one morning in April 2013 and, if I’m honest, I’ve worried about you before that day. You see I knew deep down you were with me and was terrified to find out for sure in case you left me.

We’ve all been on an emotional rollercoaster these past 38 weeks you, I and your doting Daddy. You have been cherished and treasured since blue line day. You’ve been photographed more than most and already we could fill a photo album with your images and you’re not even with us yet.

I’ve panicked when I’ve felt you kick and hiccup, I’ve panicked more when you’ve had a lazy day and haven’t kicked and hiccuped as much as normal but all along you have been fine. For that I am eternally thankful, you’ve been so much wanted Bean you’ll never understand how much.

I’ve tried so hard to remain calm (I’m the calm one Bean, wait until you meet your father and you’ll see that), relaxed, fit and healthy so that you have a relaxed ride whilst you grow. It appears to be working, you’re certainly growing!! Your midwife and sonographers frequently remark on how big you’re going to be whilst looking at me with pity but I don’t care, I would suffer the most excruciating pain known to man if only it meant you being entrusted to us safe and healthy because I love you Bean.

I love you more than life itself and I know I’m going to miss you when you leave the comfort of my expectant tummy. Although I can’t wait to see your beautiful face and hold you in my arms I wonder about the feeling of loss I may suffer when I can’t feel your gentle undulations beneath my skin, your little feet digging into my ribs but I’m sure your smile, your laughs, your giggles and your smell will more than make up for it.

So here I am, your devoted mother. I’ve been thinking lately what sort of mother I’ll be. I hope I’m fair but I’m not going to be a push over either. Whenever I say no to you, and I will, it’s because I love you and want to protect you and keep you safe and bring you up to be respectful, thoughtful and kind. I look to my mother when I think of you, you’ll never meet her but I know she’ll love you and look on you from wherever she is. She was my best friend and I hope, beyond hope that I am going to be yours and then I’ll never think that I’ve failed.

I’m sure I’ll make mistakes, you see everybody does Bean, and it’s ok to do so, I just hope they don’t affect you too much. I’m sure we’ll embarrass you Bean, in fact were bound to. You see your parents are a little bit bonkers darling and I apologise for that now but we’re not going to change. You’ll laugh hysterically with us until you reach your teen years when you’ll probably hate us for being old and mad but you’ll return and hopefully you’ll look back on your childhood and be glad you went through it with us. We endeavour to try our hardest to make you happy, healthy and wise and prepare you well for this world we are responsible for bringing you into. It’s a scary old place but you’re not going to face it alone, you’ll always have us to show you the way, even if we’re not sure of the way ourselves.

We can’t wait to meet you our precious, precious boy, safe journey and we’ll be waiting for you with open arms and open hearts.

To induce or not to induce?

I have a dilemma.

Let me fill you in.

My partner and myself decided to start trying for a baby when I was 35, late for some people but ideal for me. I had done pretty much everything I wanted to do and now I was ‘ready’ to start a family. We fell pretty much immediately and baby was due early November. This wasn’t meant to be however and I started miscarrying two days before my 12 week scan.

We spent the next year trying to conceive and pretty much a year to the day I fell again, this baby due the day after what should have been baby #1’s 1st birthday. Again, however we faced heartbreak as there was no heartbeat found at our 12 week scan.

Another agonising year followed trying to conceive, living by the say so of the Clear Blue Fertility Monitor until we fell once more, again due in November! I’m beginning to think that I am only fertile in February/March time. This time baby didn’t reach 10 weeks before I lost it and so the recurrent miscarriage procedures started. Blood tests, physical examinations and consultant appointments (thank god for the NHS) all led to the final conclusion there wasn’t actually anything physically ‘wrong’ with me to cause these miscarriages. This was met with mixed feelings, gratitude that there was nothing wrong with me but also the feeling that if they had found something then it could be ‘fixed’.

So the process began yet again, the fertility monitor was our guide but was met with month after month of disappointment, arguments, upset and feelings of failure that I couldn’t do the most simplest of tasks. I decided to scrap the monitor. It wasn’t helping it was making things worse. Yet in the beginning of this year we decided once more to give it a go.

Eureka, in March, a positive pregnancy test, once more. I was 39.

Due to the recurrent miscarriages this has meant that during this pregnancy I have been under a consultant at the hospital. I have been scanned and monitored every two weeks from six weeks pregnant up until the 12 week scan. Apart from a blip at 16 weeks (another scan) and a ‘funny turn’ at 21 weeks this pregnancy has been pretty much straight forward. Baby is hitting all it’s growth markers, I have had two extra growth scans (28 and 35 weeks) just to make sure. I’ve felt great and my midwife happily informed us that this was not a high risk pregnancy and I could start thinking of the birth plan that I, ideally, would want. I’d already decided on hospital (first baby and all) but now I could look into the hospital’s low risk birth unit and have actually been rather looking forward to the idea.

Two weeks ago we had our last scan at 35 weeks and all was a-ok with baby and myself.

After this scan we saw the registrar for an antenatal appointment who explained all the growth markers etc etc and confirmed that all was fine and that she didn’t need to see us again until baby decides to enter the world. On asking what my birth plan was and us announcing the Low Risk Birth Unit she glanced down at my notes and shook her head.

Apparently, now I have reached the grand old age of 40, and if baby hasn’t put in an appearance beforehand, it is ‘recommended’ that I be induced on baby’s due date. No-one at any point during this whole process has mentioned this to us. Not one! Apparently the risks of still birth after the due date increase significantly when your maternal age is 40+. Now knowing my history it’s a no-brainer. We do NOT want to risk the health of our precious bundle in any way what so ever so in that instant we were in agreement, although nothing had to be decided there and then, the midwife would make the relevant arrangements after I’d read all the gumpff.

Now I’m not one for taking medications and really don’t like the idea of pumping my body full of artificial hormones (should a sweep and pessary fail) as I have an idea they can have a health risk in the long term so the thought of doing this without giving bean a chance to come into the world naturally doesn’t fill me with joy but if it’s necessary, it’s necessary, and that’s that!

The Dilemma

If I was still 39 this would never have been mentioned! The fact that I turned 40 two months ago has plunged me into a medical grey area.

My midwife explained that hospitals always err on the side of caution to eliminate the ‘risk’ factor (which I now fall into). She also explained that although still births do increase after the due date in women over 40 the largest evidence of this is in women from ethnic minorities, of which I don’t fall.

I’m pleased to say I’m fit and healthy, probably more so than some 20 something prospective mothers and I’ve had a relatively trouble free pregnancy.

Yet again, I don’t want to take any risks either!

Arrgghh!!! Do you see my dilemma now?

Our Decision

Preliminarily we have decided, for now, to give bean a small chance and if he/she doesn’t make any sign of an appearance on the fourth day over due date then we will have an induction and quietly pray a sweep and pessary do the job.

In the meantime I’m going to be pretty much trying everything to encourage it’s arrival on or before time. Any suggestions?

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet

A name is but an arbitrary label?

Really?

I disagree, but only now I am faced with the daunting prospect of ‘labelling’ our baby for the rest of it’s life. I never knew this decision would be so difficult.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we don’t know the sex of the baby so we’ve had to make two lists of names in preparation. If it’s a girl we’re pretty much sorted, it’s just going to be a final decision between two first names having already decided that the middle name will be that of my Granny (this I’ve wanted since I was a little girl). Boys, however, is a totally different ball game!

I’ve decided on both names I want and I love them! They work with the surname and I think he’ll grow up with them being both fitting for child as well as adult. The trouble is my partner doesn’t agree. He knows someone on Twitter who’s son is called the same! I had no idea of this at the time and it hasn’t tarnished my opinion of the name (names can rarely be totally unique and this is the only person I’ve ‘known’ with it) but he can’t seem to get his head round it and I have to accept his opinion and respect it, this is his child too.

Now it’s back to the drawing board, which is difficult as I can’t seem to get the names I love out of my head.

We know that we want something different but without being too left field. I’ve never been one for following the pack and have problems accepting ‘ordinary and popular’ names as even being a possibility. I’m not, unlike a lot of people today, into the old fashioned names. I care for the elderly and when I hear those names I visualise clients and don’t see the name fitting a child. My poor partner must feel like he’s banging his head against a brick wall at times, every name he reads out of ‘The Book’ (of Doom) I instantly dismiss with an astounded “Really?” or “You have to be joking?”

It’s got to the point we rarely discuss it now.

I find myself checking the credits of everything I watch on TV to no avail, everything seems to be so dull. I google translate words that hold meaning into different languages to see what they sound like. I find myself cutting and editing different names together but only end up making myself laugh.

Time is running out. Today I am 37 weeks. Term!

Our beautiful baby could arrive at anytime and should it be a boy it’s looking like it’s going to be nameless indefinitely (I’ve even google translated ‘nameless’). I’m kinda hoping that, if it is a he, he’ll come out singing his name to us thus putting us out of our misery. Either that or he’ll arrive and the names I love will suit perfectly, my partner will see the agony I’ve just endured and he’ll agree (wishful thinking, I know).

Or, baby could amaze us both, be a girl and all of this angst will be for nothing!

So Mr Shakespeare, what’s in a name?
EVERYTHING!

Secrets and Lies

Let me tell you a secret… I’m pregnant!

Not only am I pregnant. I am, in 2 days time, 37 weeks pregnant!

Due to a history of miscarriages, all of which were around the 12 week stage, we decided not to share this news with anyone until the 12 week scan when we told our families and close friends. Superstition and fear led us to the decision not to announce it to anyone else until later, and try not to even think about it.

One day, at 16 weeks, I decided to think about maternity wear as I was beginning to feel my clothes getting a little more snug. I logged onto Mothercare and put a few items in the basket then went to the toilet to discover I was bleeding, and bleeding quite heavily. My heart dropped like a stone, I had allowed myself to start to get excited about the prospect of actually having a baby now, that we were on the home straight, well out of the ‘danger zone’. I rang the Midwife in a state of shock and waited for the OH to race home from work and so the very familiar drive to the hospital in silence began once more. I was convinced this was my fault for looking at maternity wear!

To cut a long story short… after a scan, which showed bean was absolutely fine (doing head stands for the camera), and what seemed like endless examinations, there appeared to be nothing wrong with either myself or bean and the bleeding was put done to a mere blip. A blip that terrified us both and stunned us into silence, that was it, a deal had been made. No-one would know except the people around us that really mattered until, of course, it became too obvious to avoid!

The longer this went on the more I relished the fact that no one suspected a thing, other people announced their pregnancies on Twitter and Facebook and this was followed by the comments of others that they wished they would shut up about it. These nasty comments led me to truly believe that no one, except true friends and family, really give two hoots about things that actually happen in our lives by our social media ‘friends’, and why should they? They are anonymous names that you may happen upon maybe once or twice in your life, of course they don’t care. Having said that, there are a couple of people who we told as they gave us lots of advice and support during our miscarriages and they have been wonderful, keeping this news to themselves for months on end and quietly offering us their support and for these people I’m truly grateful.

I lost my mum to cancer in April 2008 and miss her more and more each day my pregnancy progresses, if only she could have been here to see her grandchild, my child, how she would have doted on them, offered me endless advice and support throughout this whole process and knitted until her fingers bled but there’s nothing I can do about that. The generosity of relative strangers has surprised me. My partner’s mum came with two hand knitted cardigans made by a work colleague of hers; a neighbour I’ve never met knitted the most beautiful pram blanket and a Twitter friend I’ve also never met sent us the most incredible hand knitted hat for our precious cargo. It actually brought me to tears.

Each week has been met with anxiety, we lived from one scan to the next (we have had them every other week from 6 until 12 weeks) then from midwife appointments to 20 week scan (with the blip scan at 16 weeks thrown in). From then, despite me starting to feel bean’s movements, we lived by each midwife appointment until we had a growth scan at 28 weeks. We had decided not to buy or order anything until we were 30 weeks at which point we ordered the pram and I bravely (VERY bravely) ordered a few clothes still not daring to believe that it was really happening and that something would happen that would take all this away from us.

Who knew there were so many decisions to be made, and how difficult they are to make. Prams… Oh my God, I had no idea there were so many out there and how difficult it would be to make a decision. Nappies… We always knew we wanted to use real nappies, I naively thought they were the ones of my baby days, terry squares, how wrong I was! With such a plethora to chose from I started contacting other mums and mums-to-be on Twitter, who have now become rather good ‘friends’, in order to get some sort of advice on such alien matters! Stupid things like how do you dress a baby, things you take for granted but of course have no idea, why should you, you’ve never had to think about it before. My OH still makes me chuckle when he pulls out a vest, a sleep suit or a romper suit and asks “So what’s this for then?”!

Anyway, here we are, 2 days off full term!

We had our last scan last week where everything is looking perfect, if on the larger side (ouch), each day I feel bean’s feet stamping into my ribcage and relish every painful squirm. We are, pretty much, sorted now. We picked up our amazing pram at the weekend, I’ve had it all out today playing with it. All clothes, sheets and nappies have been washed and dried. Moses basket has been made up. New chest of drawers have been erected so bean now has his/her own storage space (who knew they needed so much?). Hospital bag has been packed and ready to go so now starts the finally count down to bean’s arrival which is looking more and more likely to be on time. At our last hospital appointment we were told, because of my age, they would strongly advise me to be induced on my due date so unless bean makes an earlier appearance it would appear my ideal birth plan is nothing more than scrap paper, but as long as he/she arrives safe and well I really don’t care.

I’m feeling really good, despite the obvious aches and pains that come with pregnancy, no we don’t know what the baby’s sex is, we both feel it’s like opening up Christmas presents before Christmas Day and no we haven’t decided on names yet. If it’s a girl we have two we like, if it’s a boy we’re in trouble and hope if it is the latter he’ll enter this world singing his name!