Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Plans A to Z

Between 12noon and 6pm on Monday I hung out in the maternal & fetal assessment unit. Blood pressure taken incalculable times (well, maybe 6). Blood extracted, urine tested, baby's heart monitored, her growth scanned, placenta blood flow assessed.

The little one passed all her tests swimmingly. Me not so much. Which is why I am currently tapping this post out on my iPhone again at two in the morning, in a hospital bed, having been thoroughly wakened by more blood pressure tests (3 in a row this time whilst the nurse tried to get a response she was happy with) and that wakefulness being supplemented by a new born wailing to my right.

The plan, seems to have roughly 26 variations and at the moment I am not sure which is the most likely. I will be induced (rather than a c-section) and I would be surprised if I get to the end of the week without that happening (I reach the 37 week goal on Thursday). Whether it will happen sooner or whether I'll gat a few more nights at home before D-day or I guess B(irth)-day is anyone's guess.

The odd thing is I might have a baby any day and I am still not 100% convinced this isn't a phantom pregnancy still...

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Maternity leave - so far

I had great plans for my maternity leave.

It was going to go something like this:
Finish work on 19th of July confident that everything was in order and my cover would know exactly what to do in my absence. My desk would be clear and my email inbox down to about 20 emails that might be useful in the future. I'd bring in cake and say a fond farewell to colleagues.

I would then have four or five weeks to unpack the remainder of our boxes from the move, pack my hospital bag, cook for the freezer, read all those books about birthing which I seem to have accumulated. See friends. Bloom, glow and grow.

Instead is has been more like this:
Spend first half of what was supposed to be last week in work in hospital trying to send work emails from my iPhone. Spend latter half at home cursing works remote internet access whilst trying to 'rest'. Go to hospital on Friday for check up. Swing past work - pick up leaving present and try to hand-over work in about an hour whilst shredding the most sensitive of the files from people I use to manage.

I've spent my first week of maternity leave still trying to finish off work from home in-between fending off over protective relatives who keep trying to send me to bed.

This weekend Dad and Step-Mother arrive - complete with blood pressure monitor. Most of the weekend has been whiled away watching them unpack boxes, put up shelves and even paint a wall (I'll be honest I quite enjoy being told that I am not to allowed to do any of those activities) and been mildly rebuked for not having packed my hospital bag, started on the nursery.

My hospital bag is now packed. The nursery is getting there - at least the moses basket is up and new born clothes identified.

The problem with having a blood pressure monitor at home is my blood pressure is being monitored by my Step-mother, a retired nurse.

She isn't happy.

On Friday the hospital checked it and it was still high so my drugs were increased and I was sent home until Monday.

This weekend my pressure has been vacillating between high and very high.

My Step-Mother has extracted a promise from me that I'll go back to the hospital on Monday.

I'll be 37 weeks pregnant on Thursday. I think my Step-mother wants the baby whipped out on Thursday.

I'm beyond caring about this pregnancy.

All I want is the healthiest, safest outcome for the baby. If that is a c-section at 37 weeks or a water birth at 40 weeks I don't care. I just hope she is well, and happy.

God, knows when I'll get the opportunity to stock up my freezer!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Some Observations On Hospital

It really isn't as bad as I thought it would be.

I am on a ward mainly with women who have just given birth and their babies. But it is oddly quiet, the babies seem very obliging only crying for short periods.

We all have our curtains drawn - round a surprisingly spacious bed area. So my neighbours are nothing but voices, however I do have very vivid mental pictures of them.

To my left is a woman who has just had her sixth - SIXTH! - baby. She gave her date of birth, she is 31. I can't compute how anyone can fit that many babies in such a comparatively short life. She seems totally unphased - as you'd expect.

Opposite, at about 8 am yesterday, the lady started complaining about back pains. Within ten minutes she was screaming and in obvious considerable pain. I heard her tell the doctor this was her first baby, but second pregnancy, the first had been still born at 21 weeks. I sat on my my bed and cried, listening to her.

She came back at 4pm, baby delivered in 45 minutes at 27 (I made a typo before when I said 21 weeks here) weeks, small, but everyone seems happy. Twice I got up to say something to her, but my British reserve sent me back to bed without a word and I've just continued my eavesdropping*.

I have only ever been three places where orange juice is considered a viable starter: 1) The 1970s 2) Formal dinner at Cambridge University 3) Hospital.

The NHS is being slated in the national press at the moment. For lack of care, empathy, poor hygiene. I have experienced the absolute opposite - there has been a fair amount of waiting around - but frankly as a low emergency case I can wait. Everyone I have seen has been lovely, patient, explained everything. I suppose I am saying GO NHS, YOU ROCK!

Saying that, it is pretty boring in here (as two posts in two days signify) so I am very much hoping they let me out today. Forgot to mention yesterday and can't work out how to edit my post on phone - I am now 34 weeks and 6 days pregnant. Ideally they want to wait until I am 37 weeks before they intervene, which as things stand looks quite doable, hopefully I'll go to term - but they have already said they don't want me to go over 40 weeks.


I am now out of hospital - hooray!  As I left I went past the cubical with the Mum who had the 27 week baby and gave her some of my old magazines. They are really pleased with how the baby is doing and the prognosis is good. She's had a rough ride to get here but is in really good spirits and the staff are doing everything for her and her daughter. She even apologised for making so much noise when in labour! (I told her that was a ridiculous thing to say.)

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

I bottled it

Another little British saying for you guys.

To "bottle it" can either mean literally put something in a bottle, or to change your mind at the last minute and, usually out of fear, not pursue a course of action.

I've done both.

I've bottled my piss - surprisingly only one of the vast containers was needed. But I also decided not to go into work today. This is the first sick day I've taken in over a year and frankly I think I deserve it!

The idea of scurringy off to the bathroom with a bag full of my urine collecting accoutrements was unpleasant enough but knowing that I want to have as low a blood pressure for my appointment yesterday afternoon as possible I figured a day off, doing sod all, was in order.

Then things turned a bit unexpected.

I turned up at five pm, blood pressure still too high. Was sent for blood tests, waited an hour and a half -which can't have done wonders for the pressure. Had test at 7pm. Then a quick trip to the assessment unit for, I thought, another hour on the blood pressure machine after which I'd be sent home.

I packed the husband off home to walk the dog and get some food ready and got hooked up.

Blood pressure was still high so the midwife decided I needed to see the doctor, by which time it was 7:30 and I was bang in shift change territory.

Eventually I was seen by a Doctor and there was much debate about what was to be done. Weighing up between sending me home or keeping me I overnight. In the end I think they bottled it and kept me in as a precautionary measure.

I'm still here at 3:30pm the following day.

The good news is they've given me pills and my blood pressure is back in normal range. But I am showing definate signs of preeclampsia - nothing too worrying yet. A scan this morning showed the baby is still getting the blood and oxygen she needs from me.

They've started me on steroids to help the baby's lungs should they decide to deliver early. And they've bunged me on fragmin, a blood thinner as it looks like I'll be spending a lot of time on my arse for the next few weeks. As I started my IVF on these drugs it almost feels like I've come full circle!

Generally though I feel safe, well cared for, and pretty healthy. Hopefully I'll be discharged tomorrow and this will just be a little blip - albeit one that requires a bit more monitoring than originally intended.

(Believe it or not I do usually proof read these but doing this on my tiny phone is doing my head in - so forgive the typos.)

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Piece of Piss

For those of you who aren't familiar with our British sayings "piece of piss" is a phrase used to denote that something is, or was, easy.

"How was the exam?"
"Piece of piss"

"Can you work out how to set up this DVD player?"
"Of course, it is a piece of piss."

I mean, we don't necessarily use it in polite company but it is a common enough phrase.

One that I use albeit not one I can necessarily relate to, on account of having at ferociously shy bladder.

Pregnancy has, to some extent, lessened my shy bladder. The first symptom I noticed when I was pregnant was the need to wee more frequently - this because of hormones racing round my body. Now, at 8 months pregnant the urge to piss is enhanced by my daughter tap dancing on my bladder.

I've done it again, haven't I? Banged on about something without explaining why.

To date this pregnancy has gone brilliantly. The sickness has been grim, and still raises its head (or causes me to to raise my breakfast) once or twice a week but it hasn't affected my health or the health of my baby.

I've passed every medical check without a problem.

Until Thursday.

On Thursday I had the day off work. In the morning I was waiting in for our internet and TV to be connected. Blessed, blessed, internet - how I have missed ye. This was the company's second attempt and they had been the cause of a number of frustrated phone calls over the last three weeks. They were due to come between 8am and 1pm and I'd rung to explain I had a Doctor's appointment at 2pm so they had to be finished by 1pm.

I won't go through the stress of the morning which had the installers turn up, go away, phone calls to call centres, the manager coming down, but eventually at 1pm they started the installation. At 1:30 I had to herd them out of the house to rush across London to my Doctor's appointment. (Internet and TV sorted, phone still to come).

I raced to the train station, hopped on train, then tube, fled up the escalator, took the stairs in the hospital two at a time and then had my blood pressure measured.

Unsurprisingly after the morning I'd had it was phenomenally high.

Then my urine was tested and showed protein.

Two classic signs of pre-eclampsia.

I got hooked up to a blood pressure machine for an hour and they took yet more readings. It had reduced a bit but is still deemed too high. I suspect the rise was a result of my morning dealing with installation numpties but the hospital cannot be too careful.

So now I need more tests. One of which involves collecting my urine over a 24 hour period.

There is a heatwave going on in London at the moment which means I am drinking like a fish and pissing like a horse (two more idioms for you there). Never fear I am only drinking water so I'm not getting as pissed as a newt (one more there).

So the idea of collecting my wee for 24 hours is, frankly, intimidating. I start as of now and will be collecting every drop. There is going to be a lot and I've been given these:

Hmm. Not really sure how I am going to feel about lugging these into work tomorrow and trying to discreetly fill them whilst going to the toilet.

Still, at least I have a pot to piss in. (Another idiom there, if I didn't have a pot to piss in it would imply I had no money, which makes absolutely no sense in this context but I couldn't resist throwing it in!)

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Happy Average

My internet silence should not be interpreted as a sign of bad news - rather moving into the new house and being devoid of Internet access. Three weeks now and I miss it more than is healthy. Which means this post tapped out laboriously on my phone shall be short, but sweet.

Sweet because yesterday, at our 33 week scan, I saw a little stubby nose, and a wee girl sucking her fingers.

The little one measured bang on average for everything. Size, weight (currently measured at 4 pounds 13oz), and, blood flow through heart and brain.

Her head is down ready for birth, and my placenta has shifted up to the top, allowing her unfettered access to the exit and taking away the need for a planned Caesarian - which was mooted at the 20 week scan.

I have never before been so pleased to hear that something I have created - albeit with a touch of help - is average. Of course once she is out (and one of the views left us in no doubt she is a she) I shall be aiming for an outstanding baby, exceptional toddler and amazing teenager. But for now average is perfect.