Time for Another

the diary of our quest for baby number 2

A rather delayed birth story!! Monday 4 August 2008

Firstly, thank you to those of you who have posted comments wondering whether our little boy had arrived yet. It still amazes me to think that people are interested in reading my blog – many thanks to you all!

As you may have guessed, I have had our little boy – he arrived on 16th July, a whole 6 days early, and he’s just perfect 😀  Here’s the story:

I woke up on Weds 16th July at 6am with tummy cramps, initially I thought I was dreaming then realised that no, they were in fact real. They felt different to the cramps I had been having so I thought I’d time them (whilst my husband snoozed beside me) – I timed them for a couple of hours until about 8am – they were coming every 15 minutes and were strong but not uncomfortable. DH woke up and I told him that he should probably stay at home from work. Then we set about thinking what we should do about our daughter. Unfortunately her nursery was full that day so we called up DH’s mum who very kindly agreed to come and fetch her. It’s a 2hr drive for her so we carried on calmly with the day – I showered and ate breakfast and loaded up http://www.contractionmaster.com on my laptop so I could keep track of what was happening. We then phoned the labour ward to let them know that things were underway, and they said to phone back when the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart or if my waters broke.

So, around lunchtime, some builders turned up to assess a problem with the brickwork, then MIL arrived to fetch our daughter, followed by the internet grocery shopping I’d ordered the day before!! All rather hectic and it sent the contractions a bit haywire – they felt a little less intense and came on and off. Once everyone had gone and it was just me and DH, we were able to relax and I got my rhythm back again. They were coming every 6-7 minutes and starting to increase in intensity and length. We laid back on the sofa and watched The Incredibles (well, I did, my DH snored all the way through!!).

At around 5pm we decided to set up the birthing pool and I lit my aromatherapy candle so the bedroom became a virtual spa 🙂 I moved into the bedroom as the lights were a bit less harsh and the mood was set. Whilst DH sorted out the pool, I lay on the bed and breathed through each contraction, feeling calm and a little excited that this was really it. By 7pm we decided to time things for an hour before calling the labour ward again. At this point contractions were coming approx every 4 minutes and lasting from 40 seconds – over a minute. I sat on the birthing ball and rocked side to side which made things feel much easier and DH gave me lovely soft-touch massage on my back, whilst we played the hypnobirthing cd to really really relax. At 8pm ish we called the labour ward again to tell them that we were at a steady 4mins apart with each one lasting an average of 1minute – they were handing over from day to night shift so got a midwife to call me back at around 8.30pm. She agreed to come out and assess me, bringing a student mw with her. In the meantime I decided it was time to put on the TENS machine…

Only to discover it was malfunctioning – the ‘boost’ button which you press when having a contraction didn’t work, and the machine randomly flicked from regular to ‘burst’ mode without any intervention. This was entertaining for a short while but ultimately useless for the job intended. Thankfully a friend had offered us the use of their machine so a quick phone call later, they dropped it off then about 5 minutes later the mw turned up.

They watched me for a little while and asked some questions then took my temperature, blood pressure (weirdly lower than for almost the entire pregnancy!!) and baby’s heartbeat. Then they did the internal to see how dilated (if at all) I was. The mw went first whilst the student waited in the other room – the mw whispered in my ear that I was 6cm!! This was so unbelievably good to hear – I’d only got to 5cm after 2.5days of labouring with my dd, I could have cried with happiness. The student then did her examination and they discussed how they could feel the membranes bulging as our baby’s head was pressing right down. I think they were quite surprised how far along I was because the hypno techniques meant I was incredibly calm – chatting in between  contractions and really just letting my body do its thing. The mw then said they would leave us to continue whilst they sat in the living room, and that they would come and check on my progress, and listen in to baby’s hb every 15 minutes (obviously if we wanted them before we could just call out). Anyway, I phoned my mum to let her know how things were progressing (about 9.55pm) and had 3 huge contractions whilst on the phone. I had one check then the contractions were coming thick and fast. They didn’t hurt but were starting to be quite overwhelming – I got DH to check when it was ok for me to get in the pool and was told whenever I wanted. So, DH took off the TENs machine whilst I had 2 massive contractions bending over the bed. I clambered into the pool, knelt down and despite being told that the water would probably slow the contractions a little, I almost immediately felt the need to push (well actually I thought I was going to do a big poo!) the mws came running in and reassured me that there was nothing to be scared about, that my little boy was coming! They got me to feel his head which was amazing, then a big push (unprompted and not forced) the waters popped and I delivered his head, a couple of minutes later and the rest of him followed. I brought him to the surface and I will never ever forget the sight of that perfect little face looking up at me. He was tiny but perfect. My DH says I looked euphoric and that’s pretty much how I felt. 10.37pm, our beautiful boy was born weighing 6lb 8oz.

I got out of the pool and waited for the 3rd stage (delivery of the placenta) which happened about an hour after the birth without any interventions. I’d done it. I had my home waterbirth with no drugs (not even gas & air), no forced pushing or being told what to do. My body did it all and I remained calm throughout. No pain, no shouting, no swearing – a little ‘lowing’ (as in ‘the cattle are lowing’) – it was exactly as my birth plan.

The 2nd mw arrived after the birth and missed all the action! So he made tea for everyone instead. Once they’d done all their paperwork and checks, we were finally left to ourselves at around 1am. I had a quick shower, and we put some clean sheets on the bed then we snuggled up on the sofa, DH with a glass of wine, me with some squash and of course our beautiful little boy. It was amazing to be able to relax and enjoy this special time – so different to the birth of my dd where my DH was sent home at 4am and I was transferred to a ward with 3 other women & their newborns, left on my dirty sheet, unable to sit up (because of the epidural) and unable to sleep. 

So, all my worries and fears about bonding with my darling son were put to rest. I had a tear or two just after the birth and whispered to him how sorry I was about his siblings. I have cried for them since but I am so in love with our little boy – the moment I saw that face coming out of the water I couldn’t help but feel that way and I’m so happy.

Nearly 3wks on and I’m still feeling great about it all. He’s a complete poppet; sleeping and eating well, barely crying. His big sister is totally enchanted with him and gives him kisses all the time which is so sweet and lovely – I’m a very lucky mama 🙂  I’ve had some physical problems since the birth – including an infection in my uterus so am dosed up on antibiotics and anti-infection medication, but mentally things are just dandy. Again, the difference between this and how I felt after my dd is astonishing. I’ve cried over that – I feel so bad that I didn’t feel the way I do now, about her when she was born. But, I can’t change the past and I know how much I love her now (and did then, the mask of PND just hid it from me).

The placenta sits rather unceremoniously in our freezer until we can plant the cherry tree somewhere suitable, then the twins will have their special place. Although, they already have a special place within me and my ds (rather gruesome a thought for some I’m sure, but very comforting to me).

And there we are – a family of four, mama, daddy, dd and ds. And the cat! What a journey we’ve been on these last 9-10mths. I’ll continue with this blog but probably not as frequently. I hope one day my children will read it if they would like to.

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Countdown commences Monday 30 June 2008

37 weeks tomorrow which means we can have our homebirth from then (all being well). The pool arrived today so a quick dash to the local DIY shop to find a suitable tap connector and we can have a test drive later on. Wriggler has definitely dropped down which makes breathing easier but walking harder – plus trips to the loo every few minutes as the pressure on my poor old bladder is constant 🙂

The antibiotics seem to be kicking in now but I’m still coughing and blowing gunk from my nose – yuk. It doesn’t really help with my breathing practice as I’m wheezing so doing the long slow breath in and out (used for contractions) is proving a bit tricky. Oh well.  The TENS machine arrived on Saturday too so we’re pretty much good to go. I’ve packed two bags in case of a hospital transfer – one for me and one for Wriggler and added in the energy bars. Our cupboards are now replete with chocolate biscuits and toast making ingredients to keep the midwife happy!

DH spent the weekend cleaning, tidying and doing DIY so the flat is looking good – we should be instructing our chosen estate agent today so it’s all go on all fronts. MIL will be coming down on Weds with the crib, baby car seat and baby bath that she’s had in her attic for us – just hope things don’t kick off whilst she’s here. Despite us telling her we didn’t want anyone around last time, she decided to turn up anyway which made us both pretty cross. I’m determined for it to be me and DH only this time, with our DD being the next person to meet Wriggler. Everyone else can just wait until we’re ready.

I’ll be seeing my midwife tomorrow so we’ll go through the birth plan and arrangements for a homebirth, then a counselling appt on Weds. As D-Day draws nearer, I can’t help but be reminded again of the twins we reduced and wonder what if…  I love them every bit as much as I love my DD and Wriggler, even though I never got a chance to meet them properly. They are still very much a part of me and will never be forgotten. I’m just so sad that we had to make the decision we did. I hope I can find some time to grieve properly for my two little babies, and that wherever they are, that they understand why we did what we did.  I’m not religious or even really that into ‘life after death’ type of thing but I hope they are kind of around and looking over us all. I know that physically they are literally a part of me having been partially absorbed and whilst that sounds a bit gruesome, it actually brings some small comfort. Emotionally the whole experience has impacted me greatly – a totally unexpected twist in our lives that has had to be incorporated somehow, and physically it’s the same I suppose (although on much less of a scale). But, life goes on and their brother is making his way into the world which brings happiness tinged with sadness. 

 

Ummm Thursday 24 April 2008

Almost at the start of the third trimester (I think) and the physical uncomfortableness has started to kick in. My tummy/bump is tight and immovable making bending over, reaching and all manner of normal movements quite impossible. Even turning over in bed at night becomes an epic adventure as I battle with pains in my lower back as well as the effort of heaving the bump with me as we rotate through 90 degrees; if it wasn’t so uncomfortable, it would be most amusing! Heartburn is thankfully at a minimal level currently, the chalky Rennie tablets seem to be adequate for the time being, but the snoring and snuffling is coming on very well indeed – not quite at the snoring whilst awake level just yet, but I reckon a couple more weeks and I’ll be there.

Weight wise, I’m still a couple of pounds off of putting on a stone, despite best efforts to eat my way through every triple choc giant cookie that I find. Or choc doughnuts, or choc crispy cornflakes, or Double Deckers, or choc cheesecake (are you sensing a theme here yet?!). Roll on strawberry season – the ones in the shop currently are just not doing it – they’re too hard, sharp or distinctly un-strawberry like. Meh. Thankfully (I think) the weight I am putting on seems to be entirely bump and boob targetted – I’m already on my third bra size increase – a rather impressive 38E right now (I started at 34D, although for years as a young woman I was fairly small at 34B). I just hope that they don’t do that weird deflating thing after this pg and become like empty socks 🙂

Tempting fate, I have no stretchmarks so far (I didn’t get any last time either) but I’m slathering myself in The Sanctuary’s Mum to Be body butter and stretch mark oil just in case. Even if it doesn’t actually work, it smells delicious and makes my skin feel nice and soft.

And finally, after about a month of searching all the online maternity clothes shops, I have ordered myself a (hopefully) gorgeous dress to wear to a friends wedding in early June. It’s a halter neck one in emerald green from Picchu once it arrives and I make sure it’s as good on me as it looks in the pictures, I can concentrate on the fun bit – SHOES!! I’ll have the perfect excuse to have very high heels which I won’t be able to walk far in – being pg I can sit down as often as I like surely 😉 I do so love shoes and rarely get a chance to wear pretty heels – being more of a trainers or crocs kinda girl these days. It’s not easy to push a buggy or chase a toddler with killer heels on y’know!

Next week is all go on the appt front – I have my 28wk appt with the midwife where I have to do the glucose test (drinking lucozade then a blood sample is taken), not really looking forward to that very much. Lucozade tastes horrible and I really hate having my blood taken. Oh well. Then we’re off on our intensive weekend Hypnobirthing course – MIL will come down and babysit our dd whilst we spend all day Saturday and Sunday doing the course. We did a course in 2005 with a different practitioner and absolutely loved it so it was a no-brainer to sign up again. I started to practice the ‘Rainbow Relaxation’ technique a week ago and was amazed how quickly I was able to ‘go under’. It’s really incredibly relaxing so I’m looking forward to the ‘walking on air’ feeling after the course.

And, we’ve almost got a 4D scan booked for mid May with Baby Premier. I say almost because despite saying they have appts available on the date/time we wanted, I haven’t heard anything since. I’ll give it until Monday then call and see what’s what. Despite having to travel to London, they are still cheaper than the local one, plus I like that rather than sign up for a ‘package’ beforehand, you get to choose after the appt. During it, they record a DVD and take still photos, then depending on how the baby behaves or how much you like them, you can buy both, one, or neither for a reasonable additional cost (£30 for DVD, £20 for photos). I’m not bothered especially about a DVD – can’t really imagine watching it (a bit like a wedding video) but I’d love some pictures. The last few 2D scan pics have been awful – the last one looks like some horrible alien/skeleton which even my mum was repulsed by. Poor little fellow, I’m sure he’s as cute as a button really but right now the best idea we have is from the 13wk scan where he looks almost identical to his big sister.

Wow – this turned into a looooooong post. The Wriggler is practicing his favourite pasttime of bouncing on my bladder so must go before there’s a terrible accident 🙂

 

It’s a … Thursday 7 February 2008

Filed under: 2nd child,cherry tree,consultant,midwife,MIL,names,scan,trying for a boy — timeforanother @ 1:46 pm

I had a scan on Monday with our wonderful consultant and all is fine with the wriggler. The twins are looking so tiny in comparison, gradually being pushed to the side of my womb. I asked about their placenta and if it was going to cause any problems for the birth, but it’s too early to tell. It’s not like a regular low-lying placenta either because it’s not actually functioning any more, so who knows. I really hope it’s not going to get in the way, we’d still dearly love a homebirth, or at least a waterbirth at the hospital – really keen to avoid a c-section unless absolutely essential.

He didn’t take any measurements so I’m not sure what the CTR length is but it definitely looked bigger than 2 wks ago. I tentatively asked if it was too early to tell what sex it is and he moved the scan thing a little bit to get a view between the legs – “it looks male to me” I waited for the but… but it never came. He then showed me the legs and pointed out the inner thighs and there was definitely ‘something’ inbetween! When I got home, I notice he’s actually put the male symbol on my notes so I’m pretty certain we’re having a boy, although I’ll be having a very good look at the 21wk scan to see if I can see for myself. Lots of people have said their babies were really obviously boys, whereas I would never have known what we were looking at if he hadn’t pointed it out – the view was not a particularly clear one (to me anyway). Still, I trust him – he’s been an obstetrician for 20yrs 🙂 I’m pleased and nervous – I come from a big female family and don’t really know much about little boys – oh well, I’m about to learn I guess! My husband, mum and MIL are all over the moon about it which is fantastic, especially after all the ups and downs we’ve had.

Still no news from the counsellor about when we might start with her which is a little disappointing, I feel like we’re over the worst and it was hard managing that on our own – we could really have done with the professional help during that time. But I also know that I’m far from coming to terms with the reduction. I still cry most days about them and the horrible situation we found ourselves in. It’s just that I tend to cry a little and privately on my own now. I think we’ve decided to go with a flowering cherry tree to remember the twins by – not only are they really pretty, but cherries come in pairs which is kind of nice and symbolic.

Back to see the consultant in 3wks (it’ll be a different one as mine is on holiday), local mw on Tuesday (first time since booking in at 8wks!), then 21wk scan on 14th March. Still not sure if we’re going to finish having consultant care or not at that point, I’m hoping it will continue throughout the whole pg now, but obviously if it’s not necessary I’ll understand.

Now we have to decide on boy names – girl names are so much easier. I think we already have the middle name sorted, so I’d best go and dig out my baby name books again 🙂

 

An eventful Christmas, to say the least Tuesday 1 January 2008

Filed under: blood tests,christmas,hospital,MIL,miscarriage,morning sickness,nausea,triplets — timeforanother @ 1:59 pm

First off, Happy 2008!

And so to begin – it’s a long story with a very very unexpected ending.

To continue from my last post, the ‘morning’ sickness continues, although less heaving, just a general feeling of nausea almost constantly. Food is not very appealing, but once I start to eat, it usually goes down ok. Still no obvious cravings or dislikes (other than wine, which tastes incredibly sour). Still really tired all the time. Whilst shopping for last minute christmas presents, I felt really dizzy and lightheaded, to the point I thought I was going to pass out. Thankfully I didn’t, and went home by taxi, despite it only being a 5-6 minute walk – my legs had gone to jelly!

Christmas day was lovely and quiet with just the 3 of us. Great turkey dinner, great presents and one excited little girl. The next two days were spent with my MIL which was good, apart from sleeping on a very uncomfortable bed. Then it was a quick pitstop back to ours, then off on Saturday to my folks. We spent a lovely afternoon unwrapping more presents, playing with DDs Playmobil park and generally nattering about this and that. Apart from the usual tiredness and slight queasiness, nothing to report on the pregnancy side of things.

Woke on Sunday morning about 6am thinking, oh that feels a bit sticky. It took a few minutes to properly register this in my not-quite-awake state. Then I looked and there was blood over the sheet, and a reasonable amount of it. Immediate panic set in for me and darling husband. Mum has suffered 2 miscarriages so of course we think the worst and I go to tell her what’s happening. I have bad cramps in my lower abdomen which doesn’t fill me with confidence that this is just a common early pregnancy bleed. So, we’re away from home, my notes are not with me and we’re panicking. After a short time it’s decided that we go to the local A&E dept, so we do just that, driving in almost silence as we both try not to imagine what may or may not be happening.

A&E at 7am is very quiet, although they tell us it’s been crazy all night. The triage nurse is lovely and tells me she’s putting me at the top of the list (despite there being no-one else there!). We wait. Finally we see a doctor who looks shattered – it must have been coming up to the end of her shift. She isn’t terribly reassuring – bleeding quite possibly indicates a miscarriage but to be certain she will refer me to the local Early Pregnancy Unit around the corner in the Maternity Hospital where they will scan me to see what’s going on. “Be prepared to just go home and get on with it” is the general gist if I am miscarrying. She takes a blood sample “in case you need a transfusion” and I freak out as soon as she’s finished (I’m a complete baby when it comes to needles and blood), and the shock of what may be happening really kicks in. I don’t think I’d really realised how much I felt for this baby despite only being 10wks+5days pg. The thought of losing it fills me with a raw anguish and a desire to howl – primal noises seem appropriate when words cannot begin to describe the feelings going on. I try to keep it together a bit. My husband looks like a ghost and I don’t want to wonder what’s going on in his head – I feel guilty that the baby is in me and I might be losing it, even though I know it’s nothing I have done. Horrible.

More waiting. We finally get told that we can go along to the EPU drop-in clinic which runs from 10am-12 – get there around 9.30am to get seen quickly. So we drive back to Mum & Dad’s, have a coffee and a shower, then turn around and head back to the hospital. We follow a lady and her daughter all the way through the corridors to the waiting area – she’s literally 2 seconds in front of us! Much more waiting, staff arrive around 10.20am and begin setting up for us. We eventually go in and see a nurse who takes details and pretty much tells us the same thing. Bleeds are common but if it’s a miscarriage, you go home and get on with it. The scan will determine if there are any reasons for the bleed. More waiting, then we go in to the scan room. There are two females – one doing the scanning and one sitting in the corner at a PC. They both seem nice and friendly. I lie down, jeans unbuttoned and jelly rubbed on to my tummy – I’m shaking again, worried sick of the impending news.

They press quite hard with the scanning equipment, and the screen is facing away from me so I have no idea what they are seeing. We are told, “well the good news is there is nothing wrong” ie I’m not miscarrying, and there is no obvious reason to be bleeding. However, she says “Don’t worry” and calls over her colleague and they whisper and prod the screen and nod at each other. Darling husband, is still white and is staring at the scan monitor (I’m sure in reality this happened really quickly, but it seemed like hours lieing there). The next bit is a little unclear on the actual wording, but it went something like this:

Sonographer: OK, so do you want the news?
Darling Husband: It’s twins?
Me: Twins? No…
Sonographer: No not twins… Triplets
DH & Me: What? Fuck, shit etc etc
Sonographer: Look, here’s one, here’s the other and then here’s the third one.

I couldn’t see the screen very easily cos of the angle we were both at, but I saw 3 little beans all wriggling away. We’ve gone from preparing to be told we were losing (or had already lost) one baby, to discovering that in fact all was well and we have 3 babies.

They all measure CTR (crown to rump) 39mm which puts them at exactly 10wks +6days (one day older than my dates), all have steady heartbeats and are moving. Two appear to be in one sac with a thin membrane seperating them, and another is in it’s own sac. The sonographer was unable to tell us if that meant one identical set and one fraternal, but to know they are all ok was enough. We were given the scan pics which they don’t usually do so had to hide them from the other waiting ladies, and were also given a scan report. At the bottom of the report is says: Triplet pregnancy determined. There was another long wait to see the doctor before we could go home. I’m surprised the words didn’t burn off the page we stared at it so hard. Still shaking, slightly hysterical, laughing but utterly panicked for different reasons. What a morning.

Got home and told my parents and sister, Mum almost cried and generally had the same reaction as us – making terrible jokes but also thinking “OMG! How on earth do you begin to cope with 3 babies, with a toddler too?”

2 days later and we’re still in shock but getting to grips with it. We see a consultant at the local hospital on Monday and then have our 12 wk nuchal fold scan in London on Wednesday. Hopefully we’ll be given lots more information and we can decide what on earth we’re going to do. The internet has little information on this subject, but then again, with only 159 triplet births in the UK last year (there were over 10,000 twin births), I suppose it’s not a surprise.

So there you are. We’re having triplets. 3 babies. In one go. We had only wanted one more to make our family complete – what is it they say? The best laid plans…

 

The symptomless pregnancy… so far Tuesday 27 November 2007

6wks today which means the teeny-tiny one is one month already, measuring about 2-4mm. Weirdly, no symptoms as such although this Monday, as last Monday I had queasiness on and off all day. Still quite stroppy which I’m finding endlessy frustrating, I want to feel joyous and happy not snarly and grouchy, but I guess I’m at mercy to the hormones.

Red wine has started to smell horrible to me, which is good in some ways, but not so good when darling husband still drinks it and I can smell it on his breath later on. I’d forgotten how super-sensitive one’s sense of smell gets! Not off any foods yet, in fact same as last time, strong flavours are going down a treat still.

We told a few friends at the weekend and they were really sweet and happy for us. It feels great to know that we have someone to confide in, but it has meant I’m even more desperate to tell others. I can’t win! But, I’m managing (just about) to keep quiet – even the party managed to pass off without much comment. People seemed to accept that I had some kind of water infection and sensibly declined to ask any more questions ha ha!

Work is gearing up to get very busy in the coming week, and my MIL is coming to stay from Sunday – Friday (oh my…), I forsee much daytime babysitting duties as I cram in as much work at the office as possible. Still, that works out good for both of us – she gets time with beloved granddaughter, I get time out and work done. Everyone’s a winner!