Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The poor forgotten middle child

I'm slack. I've been meaning to do this post for ages but with all the happenings here I just haven't got around to it.

Ryan's first day of school was a raging success. There were none of the tears that I had anticipated, from either of us. He was so ready for a new challenge and seems to have grown up overnight, the only tell-tale sign that he is still our little boy is his oversized uniform.

I'm glad he has settled well and is enjoying his new adventure but I do miss having him at home with me. He was such good company.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One perfect day

At my 36 week antenatal appointment with Dr K, we yet again discussed how on earth we'd get this baby out of me. A scan at 30 weeks showed the baby to be slightly above average and Dr K had made it clear from the outset that she was reluctant to allow me to go to term, given the fuzziness of why I failed to progress during labour with Matthew. It sounded like a good deal to me - I just wanted a live, healthy baby.

I mentioned that I'd had a few episodes of regular contractions over the last couple of weeks so K performed an internal and declared me 4-5cm dilated already and predicted I'd be having this baby sooner rather than later anyway. My major concern at this point was going into labour during the first week of school. I badly wanted to be around to see Ryan's first day so we discussed the risk vs benefits of inducing me at 37 weeks and locked the date in.

On Wednesday 20 January, T & I arrive at the hospital at 7am. We are introduced to our lovely student midwife, Renee and shown to our room. Renee peformed all the usual checks and then wheeled in my least favourite piece of medical equipment, the CTG machine. I grit my teeth through what I know will the first of many sessions and try to come up with a plan to avoid being continously monitored, although I don't like my chances. After 20 minutes, I'm allowed to come off it and we then begin the wait for Dr K to rupture my membranes.

She arrives right on 8.30am and we barely get the pleasantries out of the way before I am bustled on the bed and the ARM is underway. K tells me I'm now 6cm dilated and almost completely effaced. My waters are broken and before K can even remove her hand, she asks me if I'm contracting already. I mumble that I think so although I am in disbelief that it would be that simple to kickstart labour. I was expecting it to take much longer. I am sent straight to the birth suite and K decides that she will hang around the hospital for a while instead of heading back up to her rooms, which are thankfully only 500m up the road.

8.50am. We get settled in the birth suite. K comes to check on me and I tell her that I'm having noticeable contractions now at regular intervals and assure her that although I can feel a great deal of pressure, I am not feeling pushy. At this stage I am still not convinced that this is anything different to the contractions I have been feeling at various times in the weeks leading up to this day, so I convince her to go back to her patients. She leaves, but not before reminding Renee to get the CTG hooked up. I groan inwardly but consent and plan to head to the shower after giving them a decent trace and hope by that stage the monitoring is forgotten.

9.10am. The contractions have more bite to them at this point although they are still manageable. I alternate between sitting on the fitball and standing while leaning on the bed and swaying. Renee patiently squats in an awkward position attempting to keep the CTG in place as I keep dislodging it with every movement. It is distracting but she is doing her best not to interfere so I let it go. I alternate between focusing on the baby's heartrate on the monitor and timing my contractions on the clock because I don't know where else to look but find myself forgetting what time the pain started before it has finished so have to delegate that job to Tom. He informs me they are about 2 minutes apart. It's at this point I decide I need to have something else to focus on and since the contractions are building in intensity, I ask for the gas. At this point, my recollection of the day starts to get fuzzy, although I'm not sure if it is the introduction of the gas that does it or the fact that it coincides with the beginning of transition. I tell Tom that from this point on I am not going to be terribly coherent and (I think) I apologise in advance for being mean to him. I'm thirsty so Tom pours me a drink of water but I can only look at it vaguely and ask him how he expects me to be able to drink it. I must manage it somehow because I tell him to keep them coming.

In all this I have lost track of Renee but suddenly become aware that there is unfamiliar person in the room, standing slightly behind me with Renee mumbling about the CTG machine. The new person says that the babys heartbeat has dropped and become erratic and they want to email the trace to K. I focus on them long enough to hear that it could mean that our baby is in distress or has just simply moved down further into my pelvis and is being squished with each contraction. They go and Tom and I are left alone to digest this news and I am positive they are getting ready to prep me for surgery.

9.50am? Suddenly, I feel increased pressure and say that I'm feeling pushy. I want someone to reassure me that it's all okay but I don't want Tom to leave me to find that someone. I decide I need to be kneeling and get Tom to fiddle with the bed until the back is completely upright and I am in the process of climbing up on it but the cords from the CTG are hampering my movement. I hiss "get these fucking things off me" just as my obstetrician arrives back in the room and brightly chirps "Right, it's time to get this baby out!". I groan again at the anticipation of what's to come.

K tells me with the next contraction, I need to start pushing. Although I am feeling pushy, I don't want to try. It hurts and I want the gas back but I know they've turned it off and it's of no use anymore. I muster up the courage and give it a try but back down. K tells me (again, in that ludicrously cheery voice) "that wasn't much of a contraction!", I tell her it's still going and everyone is encouraging me to push. I am sure I have hours of this left and don't think I can do it. I tell them I can't and am sharply reprimanded by K, who of course tells me I can. I rally and decide to give it a shot but can't remember what I am supposed to do. K moves my hands under my thighs and Tom helps me bend my head forward and I push effectively for the first time. I feel the baby move down further and know that that the only way to end the pain is to keep pushing. So I do it, I keep pushing and know I am swearing loudly and wish I could stop but it has gone beyond that now. The CTG cords are again getting in the way and I feel them being removed and for a brief moment think I am free - I open my eyes briefly and see K organising the Fetal Scalp Monitor and badly want to object but cannot find the words to do so. I am still not convinced that birth is imminent and am considering asking her to caesar me, when K tells me to stop pushing and pant. It is only at this point it occurs to me that I am merely seconds away from holding our baby and it gives me the strength I need to keep going. I feel the sting of his head passing through and the sweet relief as his body slips effortlessly out. He is passed to me, purple and screaming and the pain instantly stops. He smells earthy and is covered in blood, vernix and god knows what else but I am instantly in love with this angry little man and I welcome him to the mad-house that is our family.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Catch up

It's been a busy few months here at The Shack. Not only did we have the threatened premature labour to contend with, we've also been otherwise occupied with school holidays, a herniated disc and subsequent surgery on NYE, a big boy starting Grade 2, a small boy starting Prep and a teeny weeny boy starting out in life.

Meet Miles:

Born 20.01.2010 at 37 wks, weighing 3310gm (7lb 5oz), 50.5cm long & 33cm head (for those of you interested in such things).

He's sleeping and feeding beautifully and generally a very contented little chap but does tend to object loudly to any sort of nudity. Strange really, when all the other males in this house seem to embrace it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

30 weeks, 3 days

Here's a quick rundown of events that happened just over 3 weeks ago. I wrote it on my iPhone while bored in hospital so excuse the short sentences, errors and lack of detail. It was just a way to pass the time more than anything but it is nice to have a record.


It's funny how things can change so quickly. Wednesday last week I was visiting my OB and we were both feeling really positive about how well I was holding up, even discussing what we'd do when I hit 38 weeks. Exactly 1 week later I find myself stuck in a hospital bed. I should have known at that point i'd jinxed myself.

Thursday I woke up with a fever and really sore pelvis. Not achy as such but loose and uncomfortable. I managed to go about the day without too many dramas but noticed by late in the evening I had started to feel very irregular crampy type pains. They continued throughout the night, getting progressively stronger however I'd decided to employ my trademark head in the sand approach & refused to actually time them. By 3.30am my fever had returned with a vengence; I was incredibly cold and shivery and coupled with the pains, I could barely move. I think I'd decided at that point that I'd be making a hospital trip at some point on Friday but I was holding on to the grim hope that things would be looking better by morning. Alas not. At 6am I decided I needed a hot shower which helped slightly and I headed to the lounge chair in the hopes of catching some sleep in between contractions. Between 6am & 8am the pains were coming every 5 minutes but still at this point, I couldn't bring myself to move.

Eventually I decided we couldn't put it off any longer and I vaguely considered packing a hospital bag before eventually deciding that it wouldn't be required. You really would have thought I'd have learnt by now...

My OB was waiting for me and once it was confirmed that I was definitely in labour, there was much discussion about what to actually do with me. Clearly they weren't equipped to deal with a 30 weeker so a transfer to Brisbane was on the cards but on the other hand nobody wanted to deal with a birth on the side of the road. The fetal fibronectin test came back negative and my first VE of the day showed I was starting to dilate and tear through my cervical stitch, but not enough at that point to make any rash moves. Steriods & Nefidipene were given and I was sent a bed on the ward while we waited to hear back from either the RBWH or Mater in Brisbane to see what action they wanted to take, but in the meantime I had to be closely monitored to make sure the situation didn't change too rapidly. I'd barely hobbled up on the bed in my room when I subjected to another frigging VE, which showed I'd hit 3cm and the stitch had to come out. So back to the birth suite I went where my OB decided that she'd remove the stitch and deliver asap to prevent a roadside delivery. Everyone donned their serious faces and made themselves busy while T & I quietly freaked out about how the day was turning out. Before much else could happen, the amubulance arrived and I was loaded on, accompanied by a midwife and very stressed looking paediatrician who made me promise emphatically that I wouldn't deliver en route.

We made it to the Mater with no dramatic events although my contractions were still 2.5 minutes apart for the whole journey. On arrival I was poked and prodded some more, hooked back up to the CTG machine and given more Nifedipine and basically just monitored for the next 4 hours. The contractions by this stage had slowed down quite a bit so I was allowed to move up to the ward and await the arrival of my next dreaded steriod injection at midnight.

By morning I was feeling pretty good. I'd had barely any contractions overnight and I was allowed to have my cannula removed and all medications ceased. Such a wonderful feeling. I was told however to make myself comfortable for a long stay as they weren't quite sure when they'd let me go home and it was likely I'd be kept in until 34 weeks when I could finally transfer back to my local hopsital, if I hadn't already delivered. We were even sent to do a tour of the NICU in preparation. I was crushed - I just wanted out.


Clearly though, I am no longer in hospital and am back at home gestating away. I was discharged 6 days later when it was becoming obvious that nothing interesting was happening and am allowed to deliver at my local hospital. I've made it through Christmas (thank God, I was dreading the thought of a Christmas baby) and am now 33.5 weeks. Ryan was born at 33.2 so I've offically nailed my goal. Happy, happy days.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Baby Love

Ryan communicates with the baby by getting me to open my mouth and yelling down my throat.

"My name is Ryan, baby! You can come out now!"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

*Chirp chirp*

Excuse me a minute while I clear away the crickets and I'll be right with you...

Right. That's better. So, how are you both? lol Surprisingly, all is well in my world. I guess I should start at the top and break it down in to small bits so I don't miss anything.

26w 1 day today and all still looking good. I'm eagerly awaiting the magical 28 week mark when I think I will finally exhale properly for the first time in 6.5 months. Of course I'd rather see 35+ but beggars can't be choosers now, can they? Still haven't exactly worked out where this child will be sleeping when it makes an appearance or what we will call it so may need to pull my head out of the sand about all that shortly.

Only 5 & a bit weeks left of Grade 1. Eek. This time last year I was positively giddy with the anticipation of him leaving his vague, idiotic Prep teacher behind - this year, I am tinged with sadness. He has had the most wonderful teacher this year. She has been firm & consistant, yet kind and empathetic at the same time. She shows a genuine interest in all her students and never fails to reward them for a job well done. Matthew has flourished under her care and enjoyed school so much more this year. He also has a wonderful class of friends as well. Last year he teamed up with a couple of boys who completely managed to erode the small amount of self confidence he did have about himself but thankfully with the help of some lovely friends this year, he seems much happier in himself.

I'm scared of what Grade 2 has in store for him. I hope it is another positive year.

Ryan continues to challenge and exhaust me yet I fall more in love with him everyday. He's lucky he has that award winning smile - I'm convinced it's some sort of inbuilt survival mechanism. Lately he's shown a keen interest in learning to write so we've run with that but lucky for him that school is just a few short months away. He claims to want to play rugby next year, which surprises me as he's never expressed any interest to participate in anything that his brother wasn't already doing. We'll see how it goes - if nothing else, the local union club will be grateful for our donation of registration fees I guess.

My lovely husband
T is working hard picking up the slack for his unemployed wife, for which will be forever grateful. He seems genuinely happy at the end of his working day now, which is a relief after being plagued with a string of bosses over the last few years who failed to notice & appreciate his hard work. I've put the pressure on him a bit to do as much travelling as he can during November so that I can be certain he will be nearby in case of any early arrivals so I suspect I've only added to his pre-christmas stress. I do love you, dearest - thank you. xx

I'm not sure if it's the pregnancy hormones but at a time when usually we are just gearing up for the Christmas chaos, this year I'm beginning to feel the pressure easing already and am looking forward to it all as I hope we can just slow down and enjoy doing nothing over the break. I plan to spend as much time as I can with my little family of 4 - just *being*, instead of *doing* for a change. Life is about to get far more hectic & busy in 2010 and I need to remind myself to try to slow down and live in the now.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


It occured to me today that my baby will start school in just 4 short months. We received an information pack from the school the other day and will be told who his teacher will be in early December. I'm not ready.

He seems so much younger than Matthew. Matthew was 5.5 years old when he started - Ryan will only be 4y 10months. Plus he's little. The size 6 shirts swim on him, which makes him look even more adorable. I am predicting tears on the first day, from both of us, which didn't happen on his brother's first day. Matthew spent most of his toddler & pre-school years in daycare whereas Ryan has had far more one-on-on time with me at home. I've recently discovered that his best friend from daycare will be going to the same school as him so we've tried to arrange that the boys will be placed in the same class, although there are no guarantees.

And for our part at home here, we are going to help with the transition to big school by very helpfully having another baby. We've carefully planned it so that it is due to arrive in the first few weeks of the school year - perhaps if we are really lucky we could aim for the first day. Wouldn't that be nice?

We broke the news to the boys the other day - Matthew immediately stated he hoped for a boy (twins if possible) so that they could finally play TMNT without having to imagine the extra two participants. Ryan was fairly unfazed about the whole situation, probably because he has no idea what he is in for. The only thing that seemed to really ruffle him was Matthew explaining exactly how the baby was likely to find it's way out into the real world - Ryan immediately saw how ludicrous that situation would be (and rightly so, I say) and assumed that we were taking the piss. He hates being the butt of the joke (pardon the pun).

So there you go. The first few months of 2010 are likely to be busy and exciting times here at The Shack. Fingers crossed both events go smoothly...

(P.S - I have been sporadically blogging about this pregnancy but just not posting. Feel free to read all related posts here.)


Meet *blast of trumpets please*... Fergus III:

Once again, I'm a little late in writing this post. We had our 20 week scan done just over a week ago and since then I've been terribly busy with school holidays, eating cake and cleaning the house from all the mother fucking dust storms that keep appearing. It's been lots of fun.

Anyway, the scan went surprisingly well. For whatever reason I was pretty nervous about it all. I guess because up to this point everything has progressed without any major hiccups and as we all know there is no such thing as a free lunch. I'm pleased to report that the sonographer didn't even slip up with a mention of the gender so we are still blissfully unaware of the sex.

I'm still predicting boy, for the simple reason that I just can't imagine myself the mother of a girl. It seems so surreal. On the other hand, this pregnancy has been completely different to Matthew & Ryan's - I was definitely sicker in the first few weeks, my cravings have changed (I haven't once wondered just what raspberry cordial and milk would taste like this time around...) and orange juice just isn't doing it for me at all - so perhaps it could be a girl. Anyway, I care not. Healthy & full term would suit me just fine.

Sadly the photo above is the best the sonographer could do. It had it's face pressed firmly up against the placenta and wasn't moving for love or money. Makes it look kind of evil. My placenta is also anterior so that would explain why I didn't feel movements until nearly 19 weeks - the good news is that it is up nice & high so at this stage still on track for another VBAC.

Next stop - 24 weeks.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sweet relief

16.1 - and we still have a heartbeat, together with a very active little fetus (or is that foetus? I never know...) So our first major milestone of 15 weeks has been reached. My lovely OB has set me a new goal of 20 weeks and she appears to be rather amused by my pessimistic attitude to booking appointments too far in advance. She asked me today if I booked in at the hospital, to which I could only snort in reply. Hell, I haven't even booked my morphology scan in yet.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A stitch in time

Corny, hey? But true all the same. It was just in time - my cervix was about 1cm dilated when my OB put the stitch in, so I guess that explains the nasty pains I was having leading up to it.

Looking back now, the whole procedure went quite well although at the time, I felt emotionally and physically fucked. Normally I tolerate general anaesthethics quite well and love nothing better than a good hospital stay. What's not to love? The endless uninterrupted TV viewing, peace and quite to complete a crossword, food delivered to your bed (I'm a product of 5 years at boarding school. I actually like the taste of bland, mass produced institutional food - it's comforting) and every so often someone comes around and shoots me full of morphine.

This time however, there was no morphine to take the edge off. Only panadol, which is not quite the same. And I felt shakey and unsettled, fidgety and very anxious. I seriously considered discharging myself as I had a strong urge to be at home, in the comfort of my own bed surrounded by my own possessions. My cannula was badly sited and becoming quite painful and it took a great deal of self control not to remove the bloody thing myself. Eventually, I managed to convince myself that I needed to be there so my OB could do another scan the next morning to make sure we still had a heartbeat and I did manage to get a decent nights rest, which surprised me a great deal.

It's been 4 days since the stitch was inserted and only now can I say that I'm feeling far more human than I was and much less fragile. I can feel the stitch, it's not uncomfortable or painful in anyway but I definitely am aware that it is in. If I stand up too quickly, or sneeze/cough, I can feel a gentle tug so my mind is never far away from it.

I'm still second guessing every little twinge or niggle that I feel and am terrified that miscarriage is imminent but I think I'm slowly learning to relax a little bit and take one day at a time. I've not had anymore cramping or acheyness, which is very reassuring. Long may it continue. 15.1 weeks today. Yay me.