10 Days to Go

My parents left the country this weekend. Not permanently or anything, they just went to England to attend my cousin’s wedding. My big sister went with them, and my brother has gone to Dublin for the weekend, leaving behind my other sister who has her own family and possibly an set of impending explosive ovaries. Bless her, she has spent the last month in a horrible amount of pain, going back and forth to the hospital and the GP trying to get some answers.

I had sort of hoped that this combination of circumstances (no babysitters, no transport etc) would combine to form a sort of Murphy’s Law of childbirth and the baby would decide to arrive given that the timing would be so bad.

No such luck. It’s like the baby knows and is stubbornly staying inside just to spite me. The tinker.

I suppose I should explain that my first two arrived at 38 weeks and the Squishy one made her debut at 39. The idea of actually getting to my due date is very alien to me.

10 days to go.

The Other 2 Week Wait

38+2 today and I am just at the beginning of the other two (okay potentially four or more) week wait. This is the countdown to the end, 12 days till my due date. I actually think this is worse than the first two week wait, at least in the first two week wait you can potentially distract yourself by spending a small fortune on pregnancy tests and squinting yourself silly. There is no (easy) self test you can administer for dilation, and it takes a certain amount of determination if not sheer unadulterated talent to manage squinting at your own cervix. In the traditional two week wait you can count down the days until it’s more of less certain you will get a reliable result, in the latter 2ww every single day is fraught with “will today be the day?” From morning to noon to night.

The fact is I’m fed up of sitting of my birthing ball. I’m fed up of the smell of clary sage. I’m fed up of taking evening primrose oil (both orally and as a pessary). I’m fed up of eating curry. I am fed up of obsessing over what my foof may or may not be doing. My patience is gone, my temper is frayed and someone appears to have kidnapped the Squishy one and replaced her with Satan (good timing on the terrible twos there…..). I don’t want to try and eat 19 pomegranites or 47 pineapples in one sitting. I’m too huge and sore and unwieldy to even contemplate certain other methods of encouraging baby out of there.

I’m just so damn bored of sitting here wondering if that twinge I feel is going to turn into something. I wish the midwife would just do a damn sweep but I’m not even due to see anyone again for another week so I’m very much left to my own devices, pickling myself in a clary sage laced bath.

 

The Good and The Bad

I have started to write this post a number of times and then deleted what I’ve written or just plain clicked off the tab in frustration.

Firstly, I suppose I should report that the ECV was successful. It wasn’t terribly painful and it didn’t take too long. I went home feeling quite positive, if a little spaced-out from the muscle relaxant. The husband and I were chatting about ways to start encouraging the baby out (before it decides to flip around again) when the phone rang. It was my GP with the very bad news that the swab they had taken in the hospital last week had come back positive for group b strep.

Goodbye home birth.

Goodbye birth in the midwife led unit.

Goodbye water birth.

Goodbye staying at home for as long as possible.

Goodbye six hour discharge.

Goodbye to the possibility of getting a membrane sweep to help moves things along.

Goodbye any modicum of control I had over this process.

I am absolutely gutted. I can just see this birth turning into everything that I don’t want it to be. I’m tired from days and days of erratic pains. I’m frustrated, I’m fed up and I just want it over and done with. I had a midwife appointment today and I asked if she would do a sweep and she said no. I keep thinking the longer this goes on the longer I have to get worked and annoyed about it. The one hospital birth I had was awful, I don’t want to go there again. Plus I feel like I’m getting a whole heap of guilt piled on top of me because my mother has been present at all my previous births but the hospital has a 1 birth companion policy so I have to choose between her and my husband. I love my husband but I’m not sure how great he’s going to be at supporting me through this on his own, but I can’t deny him being there at the birth of his child.

I had a feeling from the start that I just wasn’t going to get a home birth but I didn’t anticipate it turning out this way.

And breathe

I had a little lie down yesterday afternoon. Well I tried to have a sleep but I was constantly interrupted by shouting children and the husband wandering in and out of the room every 20 minutes to ask me questions. But I did manage to get some rest and getting that rest 1. Made the contractions stop and 2. made me feel human again.

I feel back to normal now. The contractions have more or less stopped and I don’t feel hyper emotional any more. I feel like myself again so I can only conclude that the last couple of days were one big false alarm and I’ll be hanging in here for a few more weeks before the baby makes an appearance. Which is good, because frustration isn’t fun.

 

Slow Progress

My living room smells of clary sage oil, I’m sitting on a birthing ball and bouncing up and down while I type (which, let me assure you, is technically challenging). I’ve just returned from an hour long reflexology session that brought on some doozies of contractions. I feel tired, impatient and a bit weepy.

I’ve been having irregular contractions since Thursday afternoon. Yesterday I had a good three hour run where they were coming every 10 minutes, but they weren’t very strong and were only lasting 30-40 seconds. My SPD has kicked up a notch and I’m just feeling very sorry for myself.

I think that if the baby was head down or even engaged and applying a bit of pressure to my cervix I’d be motoring along the labour highway instead of struggling to pull out of the driveway.

I’d love to know if something is happening, if any of this is making the blindest bit of difference to the state of my nethers but I’m reluctant to ring the FAU. I think after two trips there this week they are going to think I’m some sort of over-eager, over-anxious, time waster.

I don’t know. I don’t know if going into natural labour with a breech baby is considered a big deal by them. I don’t know if I should treat it like I would if baby was in a cephalic presentation and just take a watch and wait approach. I feel very weepy and very unsure of myself.

 

The show must go on….

Pardon the terrible pun please. It turns out that I am my father’s daughter and I can’t resist the things.

Here is me in hospital. I am at home again now, and not just because I would find it technically challenging to post using my phone.

I noticed yesterday when I was going to the bathroom that I appeared to be losing a bit of my plug. I woke up this morning and went to the bathroom to discover what I would describe as a heavy show.

I took a photo of it.

The good news is I decided NOT to share that picture.

Anyhew I had a show. Now if this had happened and the baby was head down I wouldn’t have thought much of it. I probably would have ordered an Indian curry for dinner, spent the evening bouncing on a ball, had a bath with some clary sage oil and demanded that my poor husband “perform”, but with this baby being breech I just wasn’t sure what to do. I rang the Fetal Assessment Unit, explained the situation and they asked me to come in to be examined. They told me not to eat or drink anything and to bring a bag with me.

I’ll admit at that point (despite the total lack of contractions) I got sort of excited. What if I arrived and they told me I was 3cm? What if it meant that the baby was going to come today? Or tomorrow?

The verdict was – breech baby with an unengaged butt. Cervix is mid to posterior, thick, soft but only 1-2cm, which they reckon is only because I’ve had children before, oh and I still need to wait until Monday for them to try ECV. Turns out that having a show means, well, sod all frankly.

What an anti-climax.

How We Converted A Cot Into a Co-Sleeper

First off, I have to give a massive shout and thank you to the lovely lady behind this blog, for pretty much giving me step by step instructions on how to do this.

When we had the Squishy one, we had a crib set up in our living room and we had a big cot in our bedroom (on hubby’s side of the bed). You see, I learnt when I had the boy that the best way of reducing sleep-related resentment while night-feeding, was to nudge the husband violently and pass him the baby to put back to bed. This meant he shared a degree of the broken nights with me and our relationship didn’t fall apart over a game of I’m-more-tired-than-you. I hoped to repeat this pattern with Squish, but she had other ideas. I’d nurse her and manage to instantly fall asleep despite my best efforts to stay awake. I’d jump awake half an hour later and panic about the baby that was in the bed with me, I’d nudge the husband, pass her to him and guaranteed somewhere en-route from my arms to her mattress she would wake up, start crying and we’d have to repeat the whole process. Eventually I gave up, she stayed in the bed and her cot slowly filled up with laundry before I finally got around to donating it to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. We used a toddler rail to stop her from falling out and things stayed that way for the next 18 months.

But I’m nervous about out and out bed sharing from day zero (yes I KNOW it can be done safely, the point here is I am nervous about it). From the start of this pregnancy I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how our sleeping arrangements are going to work. What I really wanted was one of those fancy dan co-sleeping cots, so I started to research them. Then I saw the price.

After I’ve come around again after fainting I thought there must be a cheaper way to do this! I refused to spend £250 on something that the baby might only be in for six months, especially as my co-sleeping concerns centred around sharing the bed with a neonate, once they are a bit bigger I have no qualms about it at all. So I started googling and lurking in co-sleeping and family bed forums. I started asking questions and trying to work out what other people were doing.

I can’t remember where I came across this, but at some point I hit on a site that recommended buying an Ikea Gulliver cot for around £60 and jigging that so it could work as a co-sleeper.

GULLIVER Cot IKEA The bed base can be placed at two different heights.

GULLIVER Cot IKEA The bed base can be placed at two different heights.

The beauty of the Gulliver, of course, is that it can happily exist as a 3 sided cot. You just have to ignore the big warning on the instructions that tells you not to have it three-sided with the base at the higher level. It must be said that £59.99 seemed like a vast improvement on the “proper” co-sleeper prices I was seeing elsewhere so we decided to give it a whirl.

So here’s the cot put together, sitting beside our bed. We now had to start the fun task of side-carring it.

Well to begin with we were going to attach it on hubby’s side of the bed (but this time we were going to swap sides). We need to raise the height of the bed to make it level with the cot mattress so after a bit of scouring the internet for something that wasn’t going to cost us £80, we found “Raise Its”  at amazon.co.uk. They were an infinitely more reasonable £16.99 and would take the bed up by the inch we needed it. The problem was, once the raise its were in place the cot would no longer fit into the alcove alongside the head of the bed. We needed to re-think this. We decided to shunt the bed over and put the cot on my side instead (I had initially been concerned about the cot’s proximity to the power sockets on the wall next to my side of the bed, but luckily there was a big enough gap when we moved it for it not to be a problem. So…. we shifted the bed over and moved the cot around and then discovered that for some bizarre and unknown reason, with the cot on my side of the bed we didn’t need the Raise Its after all. Perhaps we have a wonky floor or a wonky mattress. So that was a giant waste of money for us, however if YOU need something to raise the furniture, I do recommend them.

So with the furniture moved and the cot on the other side of the bed (and height issues addressed) we looked at securely attaching the cot frame to our bed. As per the suggestion from the blog linked at the top of this post, we used bungee cords. I picked up a pack of 100cm bungee cords for £8.99 from Halfords.

Two were sufficient to stretch across the width of our kingsize mattress and the width of the cot. We attached them to the bars of the cot and then slipped them under the mattress and secured them to the handles of the mattress on the far side of the bed.

The cot mattress could now be pushed up flush against our mattress. The problem now being that there was a 5cm gap between the cot mattress and the cot bars.

Once again google was my friend. I had a look around to find somewhere that sold custom cut foam. I found this company http://www.thefoamshop.co.uk and it was all looking very positive. They sold nursery grade foam and could cut it to size no problem, AND it would only cost around £4. Great! No not great. They then tried to charge a ridiculous shipping cost of £18 to send it to N. Ireland. This is a pet hate of mine, UK based companies that charge stupid amounts of postage to N. Ireland. We are part of the UK people! Without us it wouldn’t even be the UK, it would just be Great Britain. I ranted about it on facebook “Right that’s it. I’m finally going to become political. Let’s leave the union and become a united Ireland because maybe then I won’t feel so screwed by the ridiculous postage costs that UK companies try to charge to Northern Ireland!”. My dear friend Adrian then put it all in perspective with the reply “Violent oppression caused a fair bit of nationalist sentiment, but postage and packaging costs may be what lights the touchpaper.” I love him.

Luckily I managed to find another company TW Foam. They charged £8 for the requisite piece of foam, but had free P&P and despatched the item very quickly, so all in all I was very, very pleased with them.

Perfect! Now the only issue was the fact that our mattress has a memory foam layer on the top of it. This means it’s thinner at the edges than it is in the middle and dips down, rather an unpleasant and dangerous little curve where the two mattresses meet. I came across someone suggesting the use of a bed bridge to sort this out. Basically it’s a sort of T shaped piece of foam that you can use to convert two single beds into a double. It’s stocked by Bed, Bath and Beyond for around $14, but the only place I could find retailing it here in the UK was looking to charge £35 (around $58 dollars), and that was before postage costs were added. So I ordered it from Amazon.com and even with postage it only came to £15. Bargain. Of course as the Bed Bridge is supposed to fit an ordinary single bed we had to cut it to size.

but that was the work of moments with a ruler and a pair of dress-making scissors.

Okay I’ll be honest, the bed bridge is about 1-2cm thick, so the join with the mattresses aren’t flat. I’m not sure how we get around this. I also need to work out the logistics of covering the bed bridge and the foam block. Hopefully I have a few weeks to work this one out.

Still I prefer that to the rather large dip that was there before. I think this is a safer alternative.

So that’s it folks, our new co-sleeper. I hope the baby likes it. Squishy certainly does.