my-speck

i'm pregnant and it's going to be a rollercoaster

The birthing suite experience – Fawlty Towers couldn't have done it better… February 16, 2009

Hi Speck,

So, your dad doesn’t want me to write about this, because he thinks that it might worry people (who read my letters to you) unnecessarily. I think though, on reflection, that it’s part of being pregnant and I want to tell you about it. And there were some funny moments.

We had planned to get to Dunedin yesterday and catch up with J & J for the afternoon, which, especially as we haven’t seen them at length in a coupla years, we were both looking forward to.   But it didn’t quite work out that way. We got an extended stay in one of the birthing suites at Dunedin’s hospital, St Mary’s, instead. I wanted to take photos at the time but your dad was pretty stressed out and didn’t want me to, so no pictures for you, just the story.

I had a little bit of bleeding which started on Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t a massive amount, so I wasn’t worried about it, as I’ve read that lots of women get bleeding sometimes during their pregnancies.  And I read a forum that people who are due in the same two weeks as me post on, and lots of them have had bleeding episodes, and so I know its pretty common and usually, once you’re past week 12 or so, works out fine.   Since you’re now 21 weeks closer to joining us than when you were first being prepared by my body as a little polyp waiting to burst forth into an egg, I wasn’t too concerned cause you’ve got yourself well settled and my last scan showed that my placenta was anterior and more importantly, high; also, my cervix was shown as fully closed.   Apparently the placenta being low and having bleeding is generally more of a worry.   But, you have a good spot, which is important, and I knew that so wasn’t too worried.

Went to bed on Saturday night and felt fine, so all good. But by Sunday afternoon, after flying from Christchurch to Dunedin and getting to our hotel, I was still bleeding a little and a little bit worried. I was feeling perfectly healthy and hadn’t had any cramping, sickness or other bad signs, but your dad and I just wanted to check, especially as we were planning on heading off on a cycling trip on Monday. We both thought that getting on bikes and heading into the NZ Central Otago region where there aren’t too many doctors was perhaps best done after we got some medical advice.

We thus tramped through Dunedin to the 24hr medical clinic, where we didn’t have to wait long before we were seen by an absolutely lovely and thorough female GP. She took a history and read the little pregnancy history card that I now carry with me everywhere. After a quick external feel of my uterus (which by the way she said was ‘a cute little shape – sticks right out and is very round like you swallowed a ball’), she got the little ultrasoundy/doppler machine going and checked your heartbeat. Which was, as expected, all normal and good.   Again, she explained this was a good sign as you weren’t distressed or worried about what was happening.  She then phoned the hospital and had a chat to the obs registrar, who suggested we should come in for a check. Which is how we ended up in a birthing suite at Dunedin’s hospital.

St Mary’s has a number of birthing suites, a few of which were occupied with women, who, from the sounds we could hear, were in various stages of labour.   We were put in one at the end of the ward.  A big room decorated in hospital green and more green.  With a shower and toilet, a single hospital bed and a couch.  The furniture was dwarfed by the size of the room.   Clean but old.   I had a bit of a cry at that point, as that’s when it became pretty real to me that something might be wrong.   I was ok before that, it just hit me for a few minutes.  After a quick cry I was feeling better again.   But hungry as we had missed lunch.   Your dad thankfully managed to get to the cafeteria and back before the midwife looking after us made it in. Thankfully because after asking us a few questions she immediately placed us under ‘quarantine’.   Apparently the South island of New Zealand and St Mary’s are the only places on Earth where the superbug MRSA (or something like that) hasn’t yet reached.  And as I’ve been admitted to hospital in Australia in the past six months, until proven that I don’t harbour the bug I need to be quarantined… So quarantining meant that the door was shut, no-one allowed to visit (small chance of that anyway), and any medical staff having to be gowned and gloved in disposable plastic stuff before they came in the room. A bit novel. I then had to swab a bunch of my orifices so they could test them for said superbug.   Your dad got quarantined with me.

Again, as there are no photos, you’ll have to picture it.  Me and your dad in a big green hospital room.  For hours.  Waiting for the doctors to be free.  Apparently there were some births with complications (twins and other stuff) happening.   We had our books and a yahtzee game, so we passed the time ok.    But the door was closed and we weren’t allowed out.   And there were some interesting noises coming from the other rooms.  I use ‘interesting’ in a broad sense.   More like very loud distressing screaming at regular intervals.  It kinda freaked me out but I was strangely calm at the same time.   Your dad listened intently, then remarked, “She’s doing it wrong.  According to the Janet Balaskas Active Birthing book you’re supposed to work WITH the pain.  Not against it.”  Ha.  On one hand I was pleased – he’s obviously read the book from cover to cover (which is good cause I asked him to and it might help when you come).   On the other hand, if he says anything like that to me when I’m trying to get you out I suspect I will try to deck him.

After a while a nurse came and took some blood to go and test to make sure your blood wasn’t in my blood, or something like that (protein testing); and some other things.  I forget.  She missed my vein and was really bad at it.  But nice in person.   I coped.   I would have passed out from that a few months ago, but the common taking blood thing is starting to make me slightly more used to it.  She went away.  After a few hours, the intern doctor on rotation came to take my medical history.   She was obviously new, and not an obstetrics person, ’cause she asked some funny things and didn’t know stuff like that you can tell which ovary the baby comes from if you get an early ultrasound (you came from the right).

When the doctor finally arrived, she was a lovely but slightly distracted-seeming woman who had obviously had a long day.  The intern was in-tow.   And what followed was what I’d write as a comedy skit about obstetricians if I were to write one.  Picture two doctors, both of whom are distracted and keep forgetting they are supposed to be in quarantine.   There were at least 9 changes of gloves for the main doctor as she starts to examine me, then changes to surgical gloves,  changes back to non-surgical gloves, thows them, forgets new ones, swears when she remembers, gets new gloves, throws gloves as she thinks she’s finished, then I remind her that she told me she was going to do ‘x’, she recalls, forgets gloves, swears, gets new gloves.  Repeat repeat repeat.   Add to the distraction a non-functioning or poorly functioning light.  Picture me on bed with legs up and two doctors crawling around on floor trying to peer up my fanny:   Main Doctor:  “well, this light is terrible. Can’t see a thing.  Can you see anything?”;  Intern:  “no, can’t see anything”. Etcetera.   I felt like I was in a Fawlty Towers episode:  “Visit to the doctor”.  Me trying to breathe cause it was a bit painful, but at the same time almost having an out of body experience when I can see how comical the situation is if it weren’t so serious.  Your dad alternately trying to comfort me and not be alarmed at the circus going on at the bottom of the bed.

After a lot of gloves, a lot of discussion and lots of feeling around, we determined that we had no idea where the blood was coming from but there didn’t seem to be too much.  We had a look at you on the ultrasound and you looked happy and good, and again your heartbeat was fine, as was my bloodpressure etc.  And my cervix was still sealed.   Did a little test which looked a bit like a litmus test on a long cottonbud which indicated that there was no amniotic fluid leaking out.  A good thing, cause the doctor explained that the hospital had a policy of non-intervention if you decided to come along early before the week 24 mark.   Which didn’t give you much of a chance if that was what was happening.  So amniotic fluid would have been bad.  But there wasn’t any.   And the blood was slowing.

Didn’t ever find out if I had the superbug as those tests didn’t come back before I was finally discharged.   Doctor said all was good, just probably a bit of random bleeding, which is pretty common.   She said that the bike riding wouldn’t affect it or worsen it at all, but of course if anything happened to come back into the hospital if needed.  And whatever they did seemed to make it stop.

So, your and my first birthing suite experience.  Hopefully no more until you actually join us.  Though we could make like a general tour of hospitals around Australia and NZ and do a comparative review….

love you.  we’re glad you’re ok.

mum

 

Topsy Turvy February 7, 2009

Hi Speck,

well, I don’t need to say good morning, as you have been kicking away down there like mad, so I know you’re awake, and you’ve already said hello. You’re moving around so much now that in an active period, when you put a hand on my stomach it just feels like there is something moving around, even if you’re not kicking directly. Your dad attempted to tap tap to get you to respond today. One of the women I work with has told me that they are going to teach their baby while it is still in-utero – apparently different training if its a boy or a girl – things like acrobatic skills and music and counting. I’m unclear how the counting was supposed to work. It sounded a little wacky to me – something about visualing the number and the same number of an object, and your baby understanding that. Maybe I misunderstood? But the acrobatics was a little clearer: as you get bigger and kick, we tap the outside of my belly and get you to respond. We then train you to move around the belly responding to the tapping. Still, a little far-fetched for me, but what the hell, we might give it a go. Could be fun.

And you’re moving around a lot, not just kicking, just like Kaz said you would. Loop the loops, topsy turvy. Sometimes you’re down there marching on my bladder, and lately you’ve been trying to kick me up in the stomach. And I think you are trying to make more room by pushing my uterus up past my belly button. Which, by the way, is apparently where it is at now, according to the obstetrician yesterday. All very normal. Soon its going to get higher than that and I suppose, eating bigs meals will end entirely and the yoga breathing I have been practising will really come into its own. Here’s hoping. I can now fill up different parts of my lungs a lot more independently on demand. So making space when my organs start to push up on my lungs a bit more. I’m still struggling with the using my diaphgram and breathing in by pushing it down while trying to pull in and tense my pelvic floor and hold at the same time. Too hard to concentrate on both. Must practice more.

Went for our last (hopefully) visit with the obstetrician in Sydney yesterday. A lot of money for a “hi, how are you feeling, lets take your blood pressure, weigh you and listen to the baby’s heartbeat for a few seconds”. But you’re well, the ultrasound technician didn’t lie on Monday when she told us that you were in the normal ranges for everything in your scan. I asked about the nose measurement. Apparently good bridge-of-the-nose development is an indicator against downs syndrome. So, yours is strong and long. My placenta is in a good spot (who knew that there were good and bad spots before they got pregnant?).. Its at the front but more importantly apparently, up-high. And my cervix is closed. Its 4cm big. So its the spot that somehow has to open and let you through when its time for you to come out. Bloody hell. How does 4cm get to 12cm (or however big it needs to get???).

Anyway, its very hot and I’m going to go and relax.

love you
mum

 

so all your bits appear to be in the right spot, you've 5 fingers and an upper arm 2.19 cm long. February 3, 2009

Hiya Speck!

good news – all is well with you and you have 4 chambers in your heart, a lot of blood going around in different directions in your body (and seemingly – from the technician’s comments – you importantly have it flowing on both sides of your bladder), you have a stomach, kidneys which have a lot going on, a nose, lips, mouth and fingers and toes. In fact, the scan was quite exhaustive and lots of you was measured. You are in the normal ranges for it all. Your nose bridge bit got measured (why??).. And your upper arm (humerus) was 2.19 cm long. That was the only one I managed to ask about. The rest was too quick. Its all on the last page of the video we got.

Anyway. It was a little strange to see you down there. You are much bigger than last time and you were moving around like a crazed thing. In fact, you were kicking very hard. No I know why I can feel it – it was odd, but you were kicking at the same time as the technician was checking your legs, and I could see you kicking and feel it (right on my bladder – which was full due to the scan so it was very uncomfortable) at the same time. Bit freaky. So, you kick really hard by drawing your little legs right up almost parallel with your spine (very flexible you are!) and then moving them down and extending your feet all in one big very swift movement. I.e. A huge big kick very hard and fast. So that’s what I can feel. Your dad laughed a lot. You also look like you’re sucking or attempting to suck on the area around my placenta. Photos…

Speck - you at Week 19!

Speck - you at Week 19!

Woot! Exciting. I don’t think we need any more scans, so that might be the last time we see you before you come out. You have big thighs. Round and wide at the top like mine. And you have indents on your feet like mine too. We got a photo. Maybe all babies have them? I don’t know.

Speck - its you again!

Speck - its you again!

Anyway, I love you! I am excited and your dad is too.

Your foot at 19 Weeks.

Your foot at 19 Weeks.

Keep at it! Love mum

 

Exercising and checking up on you. November 5, 2008

Filed under: exercise,healthcare,pregnancy — rakster @ 11:10 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Did I mention last week that you played your first two ultimate games?  Well, you did.  Last week we went down in both games, and last night you played your third and fourth and we went down again.  You’d better not be an unlucky talisman: though to be honest I think it was more to do with the team as a whole than any influence you had.

You also had your first bicycle commute to and from work on Monday this week.  And my legs are feeling it today.  Go 9 weeks without riding and then try it again, and it hurts a bit.  I even went in granny gear almost the whole way and got overtaken by every man and his dog.  Sore legs despite all that.  I’m hoping to keep riding with you for a long time though I’ve read that my balance might start to go a bit funny at some stage and then it will be harder and potentially not as safe to ride.  We’ll see how I go.

So! Big day today for you.  Its the second time we are going to try and have a look at you and see if you’re growing well & all of those things.  I’m taking ten minutes out from work to write to you, cause I’m feeling slightly distracted / worried / excited / nervous and happy/unhappy all at the same time.  Its at 4pm today, so I’ll have to hold out a number of hours more.  Lets hope its all good for you and you’ve got bigger, developed a heartbeat and look a bit more like a tadpole than just the indiscriminate blob you looked like last time.  No offence – I’m sure you were beautiful for your stage of development, but I’m not quite reconciled to whether babies are cute really at all, so going for a cute blob is definitely pushing the boundaries.  Don’t develop a complex over it, its not worth it.  You’ll change :)

So, see you later this afternoon, don’t take offence at the intrusion into your world – we’re just checking up on you.

love you specky

-mum

 

Oh, maybe you're not ok? please keep on growing.. we love you. October 22, 2008

Filed under: eating,healthcare,pregnancy — rakster @ 2:38 pm
Tags: , , ,

Dear Speck,

hiya down there.  We’ve just been for the scan.  Are you ok?  I hope so.  Still not sure.

We went to the clinic and I managed to scull about a litre of water in the taxi on the way from work because I’d forgotten to drink a bunch beforehand.  You’re supposed to have a full bladder for the first part of the examination to make it easier to see.  Well, I’m not sure that much of it made it to my bladder but I had drunk so much I felt ill.  My own fault.  Next time I’ll be better prepared.  I met your dad at the clinic and we went in to see the technician.

We were there for a ‘dating and viability’ scan.  But apparently they do expect you to know such things as the exact day your last period started, and how long your normal cycle is.  So the ‘dating’ and viability part only works out if they know approximately how old you should be.  And I really don’t know.  Basically we could see a dark area which the technician said was ‘a pregnancy’, but it was difficult to gauge if everything is going ok, or if its not.  She thought you were a size that indicated you were about 5 weeks old, which didn’t quite tally with the dates I thought about.  They date you from the first day of your last period, and since I’m not 100% sure, it was a bit difficult.

The short of it is that you’re only about 5 weeks old, or you’re too small for your age.  Its a bit scary.  You are in the right spot though, there is a gestation sac that you look like you’re in (though we couldn’t see you, just the sac).  So I’m pretty worried.  We tried to work backwards again, but its hard to work out exactly when I had my last period, because I had just had an operation, we went on holidays, and all of those things (read – mum not so good at keeping track of things like dates and regularity of period etc.  I mean really, its annoying at the best of times, I try not to think about it or let it impact my life as much as possible).  Optimistically, I definitely had my period on the 13th, so by that measure you are only just 5.5 weeks old, which tallies with how big and developed you were on the scan.  But I thought it was a few days before that.  I thought it was more like the 8th, which puts you just over 6 weeks… I guess its only a week, and your Dad thinks that maybe you floated around looking for a comfy spot to land for a long time.  Sometimes it can take up to 7 days, he’s read, so perhaps you’re just a young 5-6 weeks.  And perfectly sized.  I hope so.

Anyway, I’m going to keep eating well for you.  We already have an appointment with the GP in 5 days time, on Monday, and we’ve optimistically made an appointment for another ultrasound to see how big you are in two weeks time.  I hope you’re ok.

love you!  (even though you’re tiny).

mum