Having a wobble

I have my fetal anomaly scan in just under two hours. I vowed at the beginning of this that I wasn’t going to ask the sex of the baby, but now I’m not so sure.

I keep dreaming that it’s a little girl (possibly because I am just SO in love with the girl’s name we have chosen). It’s crazy but I feel like I’ve bonded with this little dream baby. I worry that come the day if the baby pops out and it’s a boy I might feel a certain sense of disappointment…. that probably sounds like an awful thing to say. I mean deep down I really don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl so long as it is healthy. I wouldn’t be devastated by having a boy at all, boys rock, my son is so amazing, he’s my sun and stars, but I don’t want that sort of… “oh” feeling if they said “it’s a boy!”

So I’m debating just asking today if they can see the pertinent parts.

Of course I could get up there and the baby could be lying in a strange position (they practically had to stand me on my head to do the anomaly scan with Squish and they still couldn’t get a clear picture), or I might have a sonographer who isn’t keen on telling me the sex. In fact I don’t think any of them are too keen on discussing the sex. I found out with my eldest from a doctor at a much later scan, with the boy we paid for a private 4D scan and with Squish she flashed her bits on screen at a later scan so I didn’t need anyone to tell me.

Ah I don’t know what to do.

I’m too damn nosey.

Halfway there

I laugh when I look back on the optimism I had when I started ttc. I was going to cherish every moment of this pregnancy, I was going to be an earth mother, I was going to dress well, I was going to GLOW.

Ha.

Half way there and I’ve spent most of this pregnancy demented, audibly flatulent (I am an expert at “crop dusting” now, essential in public places), plagued with horrible dry skin/spot outbreaks, panicking about weight gain, living on ranitidine, trying to make my existing clothes work and freaking out at the prospect of having to give birth again. I’m starting to question whether or not I want to home birth this time, all because I made the mistake of reading some of that evil harridan Dr Amy’s blog where she states all babies born at home burst into flames immediately upon delivery or something. I KNOW it’s not true, I KNOW I’m not facing the same issues as American women with regards to my midwife’s qualification, experience and fitness to practise, I’ve done it safely twice before, but all it takes is catching that one episode of One Born Every Minute where the baby had shoulder dystocia and I go into a mental, hormonal flap.

I had a horrible experience giving birth to my eldest in hospital, and two amazing experiences at home, so why am I even contemplating it????

I suppose part of it comes down to this. When I found out I was pregnant with my eldest I went out and bought a couple of pregnancy magazines. We’re going back ten years here so bear with me. The very first one I picked up had an article about water births. I’ve never heard of such a thing, I thought “how amazing! I’d love to do that!” It made sense to me. Fast forward to my booking appointment and I discovered the only way to have a waterbirth would be if the city sank halfway through your labour.

By the time I was pregnant with the boy I bought my own birth pool and was very optimistic it would happen. It seemed like every other women in the UK could have a home waterbirth no problem. I was naive, I thought I would too, but I was told that only one community midwife in the whole the city was trained in waterbirth so I could labour in the pool but I had to get out to push. When he was actually born that was just what happened, the midwives told me they were trained in waterbirth but weren’t signed off on it yet.

In between the boy’s birth and the squishy one coming along, the local hospital opened up there very own fancy dan midwifery unit complete with TWO birthing pools (though only one of them was unusable because whoever designed the place didn’t make the door on one of them wide enough to admit a gurney). Hopefully by now the situation would have changed, right? Well if it hadn’t I intended to sit in the pool no matter what. As it happened, the pool was less than half full when Squishy came shooting out like a human cannonball, so I never found out.

So what do I do this time? Do I risk going to the hospital where they can fill a pool quickly and the staff have all been rubber stamped? Or do I stay at home where I may not get it filled in time or have to argue to stay in it? of course with the hospital there is always the risk that the pools will be occupied or out of order or they’ll decide I’m not a suitable candidate, and there’s the loss of autonomy and the risk of interventions (but I’ll be honest, the loss of autonomy scares me more). I just can’t make up my mind. Luckily I have twenty more weeks to do so.

And twenty more weeks to get a decent wardrobe together, organise a hair cut (see picture below), find a good moisturiser/cleanser and work on not eating everything I can lay my hands on.

I’m sure it’ll fly.

 

 

19 Weeks Today

Apologies for the bit of the gap there in posting. I meant to sit down and write a post at least half a dozen times but for whatever reason it just hasn’t happened.

19 weeks today (according to my dates and not wacky scan date). How are things going?

Well I’m feeling a lot more movement, still all low down and no one else has managed to catch it yet but I can feel the baby kicking away. My bump has rapidly expanded to the point where it’s quite noticeable when I am looking down at it. I’m not quite at the point of balancing cereal bowls on it but I don’t think that’s actually too far away. I’m starting to find it uncomfortable to sleep on my stomach but can usually manage a sort of sideways compromise with the aid of some pillow between my knees. I’m still plagued with indigestion. I don’t think I’ve had a single day’s respite from it so I’m very grateful to whoever invented ranitidine. Still two weeks until my anomaly scan.

And my milk has officially dried up. I’ve tried expressing a few times and got absolutely zilch. Squishy is still asking to nurse from time to time and she’ll spend maybe a minute on before scampering off. I don’t think she’s getting any milk at all so it must be a comfort thing, which I would feel better about if it wasn’t so darn painful. It never occurred to me that my milk would dry up, it seems like everything I read pre-pregnancy about nursing and breastfeeding just talked about the taste of the milk changing or the switch to colostrum, now it seems like everything I read is about milk drying up come the 19-20 week mark. How did I miss that???

So that’s it for now. I’ll add a bump picture later once the battery on my phone is charged. The boy is running it down constantly with games of “Hangry Birds” as he likes it call it.

Last Night

I’ve made a lot of guesses over the years when filling out my children’s baby books. I was a bit superstitious and never wrote anything in them while actually pregnant so when it came to their birth and me actually filling them in, I couldn’t actually remember things like when did I first hear their heartbeat? (generally it was sometime after I first saw it) when did I first feel them kick? It’s terrible to admit. You think when it’s happening “this is so special!” it’ll immediately be laser etched onto your brain for posterity. That SO doesn’t happen. My advice is write everything down as it happens, literally while it’s happening if possible because two hours later (never mind six months) you’ll never remember.

That’s another little reason why I started this blog. I wanted a proper record of, not just how I was feeling, but when I was feeling it, when certain things happened. I think it’ll be nice to look back over this in years from now and have a full journal of my thoughts, and to have a load of baby bump pictures.

Two things happened last night.

1. I saw the Northern Lights. Okay it wasn’t quite the multicoloured light show that you see on TV, I’m too far south and in the middle of a city for that, but none the less they were up there and it was amazing, and just confirmed my desire to see them properly at some stage.

2. After all my worrying about a lack of movement I felt a kick! Like a proper actual kick! from the outside! It was extremely low down, like bikini line low, but none the less it was there, a little flick that I felt against my finger tips. The husband then spent twenty minutes with his hand pressed there hoping for a repeat but nothing happened, and as The Boy was lying asleep between the two of us, the poor husband just ended up with a dead arm.

Pretty spectacular evening I’d say.

I’m sure you know better than me…

There’s a website called My OB said what???

It features real life tales of the insensitive, cruel, inaccurate and sometimes supportive or inspiring things that OBs, midwives, nurses, lactation consultants and sonographers have said to pregnant women/new mothers in all sorts of situations. In one way it was great to come across because I didn’t feel quite so alone in the all the various things that have been said to me over the course of six pregnancies, but it’s also a little depressing too to realise that these sorts of things and this kind of treatment is so common.

I’m beginning to wonder if before graduating the midwives around here have to take a module on “Contradicting the patient regardless of what they are actually saying” (I think they do that in final year, “Patronising the Patient” has to be covered in year one). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come across some fabulous midwives and doctors in my time but I’ve also come across some awful ones

Like the one who shushed me angrily when I was vocalising during my first labour

Like the doctor that performed a stretch and sweep without my consent, actually without even looking at me or talking to me

Like the midwife who went through my birth plan laughing and shaking her head and muttering “where do they get these ideas?” when I asked to avoid an episiotomy and for delayed cord clapping

Like the midwife who told me that if I went overdue and refused to be induced my baby would die and I would have no idea, it would just be dead (due date is apparently an expiration date)

Like the doctor who told me I was never pregnant it was just my period while I was experiencing a miscarriage a full week after getting getting my first positive pregnancy test

Like the midwife I saw when I have having a lot of strong and quite painful Braxton Hicks contractions at around 24 weeks who told me it couldn’t possibly be Braxton Hicks because they don’t happen before 34 weeks.

And yesterday…..

Well yesterday I had to take the Squishy one to see the Health Visitor for her two year assessment. The health visitors hold their clinic in the same place as the midwives. I was sitting in the waiting room when a midwife asked me who I was there to see. I decided to ask her then about the lack of movement I’ve been feeling. I explained to her that it’s my fourth viable pregnancy, and she told me that it’s nothing to worry about because usually people only feel movement at around 19 to 20 weeks anyway.

Sometimes I honestly feel like it doesn’t matter what I say, they’ll say I’m wrong and I couldn’t possibly be experiencing what I think I am because that just doesn’t happen until the child is at least four years old, and it doesn’t matter what books I’ve read or even what the NHS guidelines are, I am wrong, everyone who I have ever known who has experienced the same thing is wrong too.

I’m sure doctors and nurses and whatever hate google because patients must be constantly diagnosing themselves, but I think a lot of them seem to have a general dislike of anyone with a bit of knowledge, it’s like how dare you read something in a book and have an understanding of it? I’m no expert but I have been studying biology for a very long time, I have taken multiple modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level in biochemistry, clinical chemistry, genetics etc. I’m working on becoming a qualified Biomedical Scientist, in short I ain’t dumb where matters of the body are concerned, and I don’t presume to think that I know better or more than specifically trained professionals but sometimes I feel like their default position is that no lay person can know ANYTHING. It makes interactions very frustrating, because I don’t feel like I can have a dialogue with these people, all they want me to do is shut up and not ask questions and be a good little patient.

I remember having hours and hours of contractions with Squishy when I was 37+4. My cover for home birth didn’t start until 38 weeks. After contracting through the night I called the midwives (because I had no intention of heading to the hospital). I got their answer machine, so I left a message and asked them to call me back. This was at about 9 o’clock, no one called me until 1 o’clock at least (possibly later), by this stage the contractions had died off and had become erratic. I was worried they’d start up again. The midwife I spoke to told me I would have to go to hospital because I was early. I pointed out that the world health organisation considered women full term at 37 weeks and that lots of other health trusts are happy to support home birth from 37 weeks. She told me I’d have to go hospital. I said I’m not going to hospital for the sake of a few days, was there anyway to move forward the delivery of equipment and the rota? I was told I would have to go hospital. I asked for the number for the supervisor of midwives. I was told this particular midwife had already spoken to her. I said that’s fine, may I have her number so that I may speak to her? I was told she had already spoken to her. Third time I repeated the request and at that point I was told to ring the labour ward at the hospital and they should be able to put me through to her.¬†At this stage I had to turn around to her and say “You know I’m not doing this to make your life difficult or your working day more awkward for you.”¬†Sometimes I think they forget that.

Normally I take the “smile, nod, agree and then do whatever the f*ck you were going to do anyway” approach to maternity services (unless you know there’s a proper medical need to do something differently) and that’s fine, most of the time. But when I have a concern it’d be nice to have the tiniest bit of credence given to it, unless I of course missed the memo where they announced all doctors and midwives within the Trust have been furnished with a new psychic ability to actually feel what is going on with you.

I shouldn’t be surprised really. When I’ve been discussing my concerns about the lack of movement with people and they’ve suggested “why don’t you go and see the midwives if you are worried?” I’ve always replied “what’s the point? they’ll just tell me it’s impossible to feel movement at this stage anyway”

And I was right.

So glad I didn’t waste an entire appointment on that.