‘Bustion some moves

I ended up making a little trip to the Fetal Assessment Unit yesterday. My back was aching and my abdomen was aching. It wasn’t like contractions, it was like period pain, sort of continuous but it just didn’t feel right so I thought it was best to get checked out.

They put the baby on CTG monitor, did a VE and finally did an ultrasound scan. The conclusion? I was not in early labour (phew) but I was the proud of owner of one still stubbornly breech baby who decided to notch the excitement up a bit by lying on a nerve, thereby causing the back pain.

I got to have a nice chat with the same junior doctor I had seen at the last antenatal clinic (lovely, lovely woman, with a fantastic bedside manner even though, alarmingly, she looks all of about 15 years old). I told her that I was due back to the consultant clinic next Friday for a presentation scan, and she told me that if the baby continued to be breech they’d probably attempt external cephalic version there and then. She didn’t seem very optimistic about it though.

I started to panic a little. I’m not scared of having a c-section as such, the operation itself doesn’t frighten me. It’s the recovery that worries me, because I have two very demanding little ones as it is and I can’t imagine them suddenly deciding to cut me some slack because I’ve had major abdominal surgery.

I talked to a few people and did a bit of reading online and decided that I’d give moxibustion a go. I made an appointment at my local Chinese medical centre and set off this afternoon to have some mugwort burnt near my toes. The acupuncturist was very nice. She reckons my energy is low and I should be eating more meat (I’ll admit I’m not a vegetarian but I don’t actually eat much meat at all, and tend to eat a lot more fish than red meat). She told me to expect the baby to be very active during and after the procedure.

I had a few nudges but other than that, zip, zilch, nada. There were no dramatic flippings-over. I think this little one is too comfy where it is.

I’m supposed to go back tomorrow for a repeat treatment but I’m kind of hoping that overnight, maybe when I’m fast asleep, it’ll decide to make the turn. I’m not feeling hugely optimistic about it though.

Bugger

Sorry I didn’t update after the appointment on Friday. I was having a bit of a bad day.

So… the appointment went well, insofar as there are no reasons to that they would advise against me having a homebirth except BABY HAS TURNED BREECH AGAIN!!!!!

Gah!!! I sort of suspected as much as I sat in the waiting room, but I really hoped I was wrong and all those kicks I was feeling on my cervix were actually punches as the baby practised its kung fu moves. No such luck.

At least the consultant was nice and positive about it (I like her, she’s very friendly and very approachable). She believes there is still loads of time for the baby to turn, and if it doesn’t turn by the time they see me again (in 3 weeks) she will try and do external cephalic version. I found out at the weekend from my mum that apparently I had to be turned at 37 weeks, so maybe it’s a fourth baby thing? Maybe the other three have just stretched out my uterus like an old duffle bag so there’s loads of room to just keep spinning.

I hope the baby turns on its own before it reaches the point of ECV though, it just looks ODD (obviously this isn’t me in the video, it’s just a random one I found on youtube).

So in the meantime I have to go back and see the midwives at 36 weeks and ask them ever so nicely to get the ball rolling over organising a care rota and the delivery of equipment to my house, under the assumption that the baby WILL turn.

If it has room. Right now I think my bump is in danger of exploding.

I’m just going to take a moment to explain the presence of a bottle of cola in my bathroom. Someone told me that cola is excellent for cleaning toilets in place of harsh chemicals. I’d like to state that is not true, come back Toilet Duck, all is forgiven.

Hi ho hi ho it’s off to the consultant I go…..

33 weeks and today I get the pleasure of heading to the antenatal clinic and saying please Doctor may I have a home birth?

These appointments make me very nervous. The thing is, chances are the doctor will say “well you’re low risk so of course you can”, but there’s always that very small chance that they might turn around and for some reason say “no.” I’d have to argue with them then and I hate confrontation, so I get myself all worked up in the meantime preparing for a debate that’s probably not even going to happen.

So how have things been going generally?

Well I’m anaemic. I’m not exactly sure how anaemic, I keep forgetting to call the doctor and find out precisely what the measurement was, but it was apparently anaemic enough to warrant giving me a prescription for iron tablets. I can’t take the iron tablets. I mean I tried but they made me violently sick, so sick in fact that the husband had to take a day off work to look after the kids because I couldn’t lift my head from the toilet bowl for the best part of three hours. I’ve now started taking Spatone instead, it’s liquid iron that you mix with orange juice. It tastes like blood. I don’t know if it’s just that metallic edge to it or what, but I can keep it down so that has to be a plus.

I think baby has finally turned head down too. I was getting a huge amount of kicks in my cervix, it seemed like all movement was below my bikini line and I got absolutely nothing above my belly button, then last Friday and Saturday night my bump became really sore and the baby started to turn. I’m now getting those huge full belly movements for the first time this pregnancy and experiencing the joy of having a foot wedged in my ribs while the baby now punches me in the cervix instead.

Heartburn and indigestion continues. I’m now on 2 daily doses of ranitidine and about a 1lt of vile gaviscon a day in between. I do wonder if the hairy baby thing is true. The only other pregnancy I suffered with heartburn was my eldest and she had a full head of dark hair. The boy had a tiny amount of hair when he was born but it was so blonde and so fine we didn’t even think he had eyebrows until we saw him in sunlight the next morning, the squishy one had only the mildest smattering of hair too (which promptly fell out and has now re-grown in the style of Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein, while the boy has a head of magnificent ringlets).

SPD/PGP is rearing it’s head again. I’ve spent the last month or so dealing with hip pain but it’s making it’s way around now to the front of my pelvis.

I can’t believe I have seven weeks to go. I feel done. I feel enormous. I struggle to get out of chairs. I can get down on the floor to clean pretty easily but it’s extremely difficult to get back up again.

I still have a lot of things to organise too. We picked up an Ikea Gulliver cot that we plan to side-car to the bed, but I haven’t organised a mattress for it yet or the logistics of attaching it to the bed and making sure everything is nice and level with no gaps. I haven’t ordered the things I need for my birthing pool. I haven’t picked up any nursing bras.

Well at least after today I will know whether it’s worth ordering those home birth supplies.

I used to play so nice.

I never did the birth board thing when I was pregnant with my eldest. I’m not sure why, maybe because it was the days before broadband and you could never get online for more than half an hour before someone shouted that they needed to make a phone call. I embraced the birth board thing when pregnant with the boy. I fumbled my way around it for four years. I’ve probably been overly fluffy (I signed off a lot of messages with a couple of “x”‘s), I dumbed down my opinions for fear of offending people and I endlessly bit my cyber tongue.

I don’t know if it’s an age thing, or I’m just more savvy, or this pregnancy really has made me waaaaaaaaay more confrontational than I’ve ever been before, but I really can’t do it any more. I can’t be fluffy. I can’t sit on my hands quite so easily when I spot people giving out advice that’s wrong or just plain dangerous. I can’t be blindly supportive of random people’s choices any more.

If someone complains that the pregnancy police are giving them a hard time for ordering their burger cooked rare I feel compelled to point out the difference between a rare steak (bacteria all sit on the surface and are killed by the high heat of the pain) with minced beef  where bacteria is spread throughout the patty thus requiring thorough cooking.

When did I get so bolshy? I spent a large portion of yesterday arguing about the merits of breastfeeding over formula feeding.

(I’ll preface this with saying a lady posted a thread asking if people thought she was selfish for choosing not to breastfeed for no medical reason, just that she didn’t like the idea).

The thing is I have tried to breastfeed each of my children. I had a terrible time with my eldest, she was very dopey for days because of the pethidine I’d had when in labour. I couldn’t get her to latch probably and I suffered pretty horrendous nipple injuries as a result, but I would have¬†persevered. I did persevere, but I was undermined on day 3 by a midwife who insisted I had to give her formula right now or she’d need to be hospitalised (turns out her scales were broken so the apparent extreme weight loss my daughter had suffered was just one big mechanical error). I limped along for the next three months on a mixture of breastfeeding and formula but once you’re on the formula it’s a slippery slope, eventually my milk dried up and she was on bottles full time. With the boy, he got to around 3 months old and then he got sick. He lost a lot of weight and dropped from the 50th centile of the growth chart to the 0.02nd. I know my milk wasn’t the best. I had a terrible diet at the time, I’d survive the day on biscuits or grabbing the odd packet of crisps, often I wouldn’t eat at all until the husband got in from work. I wish someone had sat me down then and addressed how I could improve my milk quality and supply instead of once again ordering me onto the formula. I guess the reason it worked so well with the Squishy one is that firstly I surrendered myself entirely to the process. I don’t faff about with dummies or expressing or wishing for someone else to come in and feed her. I let her nurse whenever she wanted for as long as she wanted and ignored any comment about “is she nursing again????” I ignored my sister-in-law when she said if I fed the baby for too long she’d turn into a lesbian. I also looked after myself. I made sure that I ate three nutritious meals a day.

Was breastfeeding restrictive? Well at times it was, but then having a baby is restrictive. I’m not going to advocate being a slave and a martyr to your child’s every need but I think a lot of people would be far happier if they just accepted that the first year at least of your child’s life is NOT ABOUT YOU. It’s a time when you need to take your wants and needs and shove them right to the bottom of the priority list, then you suck it up and you get on with it because you’re raising another human being, not managing an inconvenience. A year might sound like a lot of time but it goes by in the blink of an eye. And to be honest, it’s not THAT bad, it really isn’t. It’s 20% frustration and 80% joy. A big part of why breastfeeding worked so well for me is that in many ways it catered to my extreme laziness. It was great to never have to wash or sterilise a single piece of equipment, and even better to do almost every single night feed while snoring my head off.

Do I judge anyone who chooses to formula feed? Well to an extent I do. I don’t judge anyone who for medical/psychological reasons can’t do it. I don’t judge the women who give it a try but don’t succeed. But I do judge the people who just don’t like the idea of it/couldn’t be bothered and so never try at all. When the benefits of breastfeeding are so well known I don’t understand how anyone could not want their child to have that. Not that I’d ever say to that someone, it’s not my place to rock up to someone with my judgey pants all hitched and give them my tuppence worth, but privately that’s the opinion I’ll hold, and if someone asks for my opinion? Well then I’m afraid I will voice it.

So I’m sorry if you happen to run into me on a forum and I question your decision to formula feed or to put your newborn into a separate room of their own from day 1 or to use a baby walker or to wean at 14 weeks. Please accept that I will never take happy mum = happy baby as a get-out-0f-jail-free card, or that I will challenge assumptions based on nothing more than personal ancedata.

I’m not an insufferable know it all, and it’s not my mission to “correct” others. The vast majority (if not all) parenting decisions made by other people are really none of my business and I don’t hunt people out to comment on the way they do things, but if someone asks for my opinion I’ve finally grown the cyber-balls to give it. Or maybe it’s just that now on baby 4 I finally feel a real parent, I’m realising that though I may be young I have a combined 15 years of parenting experience behind me (that’s adding all my kids’ ages together! I didn’t start having kids at 16!) and I’m entitled to my hard won opinions.

I really think I’m going to end this pregnancy a different person to the one that started it. Gosh, it has been EMPOWERING.