Thursday, 24 February 2011

39 weeks and last appointment with my midwife

So I've now passed the 39 week stage and currently have 5 days to go until my due date!! Exciting and scary at the same time.

I went to see my midwife yesterday and it seems that will be my last appointment with her. Something I wasn't aware of is that she will not be the midwife there when I give birth. No-one ever told me that. As I'm having my baby at a hospital that is about 12 miles away, it seems I am something called 'Shared Care' which means while I see her for my antenatal appointments (well I've seen her for 4 of them), I will see a midwife from the hospital I'll be going to for the birth. Its a bit scary having to depend on someone you haven't even met to be there for you through one of the most important and challenging experiences of your life. In retrospect its not such a big deal as I don't think my midwife is particularly good anyway, as I don't feel she has done anything for me since I started seeing her. I have had no information, no advice, no planning.... I'm a bit shocked at how little input she has had to be honest.

So my blood pressure is still ok. The babies heartbeat is fine. I am being tested for Obstetric Cholestasis due to severe itching Ive had (and I mean severe, I've scratched myself red raw and have broken the skin all down both shins). This is a liver disorder sometimes developed in pregnancy where your liver does not rid the body of bile and it builds up. It can be pretty dangerous for the baby, so I'm hoping I get the all clear. The midwife said she would call me today with the results.... she didn't... that's no big shock. If I don't get a call tomorrow, I'll give the GP surgery a call myself.

There was a 3rd year student nurse there and a doctor when I went in for my appointment. The student nurse did the stomach palpation to check the size and position of the baby. Now last week my midwife told me I was 1/5's engaged which is more of less fully engaged (0/5's is fully engaged). The nurse however said I was 'brim' which basically means the baby hasn't descended into the pelvis yet (this would be 5/5's). You get to feeling these people don't know their arse from their elbow and all the while I have no idea whats going on. The only reason I know what all this means is from researching it myself. The midwife has never given me any information.

So lastly the midwife said if I hadn't gone into labour by 9th March (a week over) I would need a stretch and sweep done. This is basically where they do an internal and sweep a finger around the cervix to try to stretch it and to separate the membranes which connect the baby from the neck of my womb. This in turn should make me produce hormones which triggers labour. This sometimes works and the woman goes into labour the same day.. other times its unsuccessful. Apparently its very uncomfortable, so we're hoping it doesn't get to a week over!

If we have no joy with that, I will be booked in for an induction on 14th March (12 days late). I really REALLY don't want that, so fingers crossed I'll go into labour naturally in the next week or so.

So folks, this could be the last blog before Isaacs arrival! Hopefully a story of a nice straightforward birth and lots of cute pictures will follow :o). We can but hope!

Friday, 18 February 2011

37 -38 Weeks & Presentation Scan

As I write this I have 12 days to go until my due date and I'm hoping and praying I don't go the full distance. The discomfort at the minute is almost unbearable. Don't get me wrong, I realise the last few weeks of pregnancy are uncomfortable, but what I'd give to have had a 'normal' pregnancy.... I know I'm lucky to even reach this stage, but good gawd, it hasn't been easy getting here. I don't think I've ever faced such a challenge so far in my life.

At my 37 week midwifes appointment, she wrote on my notes that the head was 1/5 engaged... which is good as 5/5 means just engaging and 0/5 means fully engaged, so he seemed to have fallen most of the way. In conversation I just happened to mention that the top of my belly was always rock hard. This led her to some further feeling and a suggestion that I may in fact actually be breech.... Wierd that 2 minutes before she was writing how many 5ths engaged I was in my notes.

As usual, I was out in 5 minutes, still no info, advice or discussion about the labour and birth. Surely this should have happened by now, but each time I go, I feel 'rushed' out and not comfortable to commence a conversation which doesn't require a short answer. I worry if I complained and asked for someone else, there would be a reason I couldn't have someone else (or I would get her when someone was on holiday again as I've seen so many different people), then I would have to go and see her and have her there for my labour. I know I wouldn't feel comfortable if I'd complained about her and then had to depend on her to be there for me, so I sort of feel stuck. She seems a perfectly nice person (albeit a bit 'falsely cheerful and nicey' if you know what I mean) but she doesn't seem to take a personal approach to me in any case.

The next day I attended Airedale for my scan. Happilly I am not breech and the baby is head down. A small complication is that he is back-to-back which makes for a much harder, more painful labour (anything else to throw me fate?). It was a small portable scanner so we couldn't really make much out on the screen, but I think I saw an image of his face looking out and if I was right with what I was looking at, he's a right chubster... looked just like a cabbage patch kid.

My next midwife appointment is in 5 days. The pregnancy symptoms are worsening and I am currently counting the days. I feel very very sick every day, the pressure pressing on my pelvis is very painful (I hear its very uncomfortable even without SPD), the acid indigestion I have is agony and a constant feature in my life every day, I have developed very painful finger joints from carpel tunnel syndrome (yup you can get that when pregnant too, it develops due to excess fluid pressing on a nerve in the wrist), walking is very difficult due to various pains.... in short, I want him here now!!!

To make matters worse, our boiler went on the blink a week ago and the house is like the artic. We're still working with the landlord, manufacturer and engineers to get it fixed, but it seems as soon as something is fixed, something else goes wrong... supposedly someone else is out tomorrow, so I'm keeping everything crossed that it gets sorted then. As much as being very ill, housebound and unable to move about is uncomfortable when youre freezing, I want even less to bring a newborn infant into the deep freeze and have no warm water...

So with 12 days til my due date, i'm praying for the little man to make an early appearance. I have been having cramping pains and sharp pains for a few days now. My belly also seems to have dropped down. I keep thinking the time has come, but each time it eases off again. I'm figuring this is my body getting me ready for the inevitable. They must make you feel so god damn awful in these last few weeks, so rather than be terrified of birth, you just can't wait to get it over and done with.

I'll end this one with a list of lovely pregnancy related issues I have experienced this past 8 1/2 months:

Severe hyperemesis
Hospitalisation on several occasions
Severe acid indigestion
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Swelling of ankles, hands & feet
Joint pain
Back pain
Severe itching everywhere
Feelings of faintness
Pain while walking

Thursday, 3 February 2011

36 Weeks & Antenatal Class

Yesterday marked me reaching the 36 week landmark... only 1 week away from what they call 'Full-Term' (meaning that realistically our baby could be born at any time now as he's as cooked as he's going to get). It also marks 28 days away from my actual due date. 28 days... that's a scary thought. In a short month, we 2 shall be 3. I can't imagine it somehow and think it will take him being actually born for it to sink in. I mean, how could us 2 halfwits be parents right?

My symptoms haven't changed much, just got more pronounced. My hyperemesis does seem to have come back properly though complete with vomitting which is upsetting as it means I'll probably spend my labour throwing up all the way through, as women with the condition tend to. Don't get me wrong the condition has never gone away as such, its always been there. I've never lost that 'sick feeling' since I was 5 weeks pregnant, but I have been feeling capable of eating (and even enjoying) a few choice foods for this past 2 months or so. That reprieve though has now left me again, so its a final 4 weeks of forcing down anything I can stomach.

The SPD is still with me and the physio I was shown doesn't seem to be making any difference truth be told. That I can deal with though.

My stomach feels like its ready to burst and my belly button has almost popped completely out now (Ive always been squeamish about belly buttons, so i'm not enjoying that bit) . The stretch marks are intensifying and I have the most horrendous itching from stretching skin. Its not an easy job, this baby making malarky... or should I say baby incubating as the making bit was certainly not an arduous task.

This week we went along to an antenatal class. It was one of those 'Introduce Yourself' and wear a name badge affairs, which I've always found cringe-worthy. Then they separate you into 'teams' so you're not with your partner, which I didn't really see the point of as you're going to be mixing with others in your group anyway. I didn't particularly learn anything and I felt it was a poor choice of a person who runs the class as she is an advocate of home births, a fact she made clear right from the start of the class. Fair enough, that's what she does, but for a group of women all of which are having hospital births as its their first one, it doesn't really help to constantly have it pointed out how 'wrong' or 'backward' the hospital way of doing it is....

One fact I did come away with which was useful was the fact Airedale Hospital where I'm having the baby allows you to give birth in a birthing pool. The helpful website says that you can labour in the pool, but must get out to actually give birth, which sort of defeated the point for me. A water birth would have been my first choice before the restrictions at Airedale were pointed out. Seems now though that they do offer birthing in the pool and they just haven't changed the website yet!

So goodbye to epidural and hello to the birthing pool for me.