Time for Another

the diary of our quest for baby number 2

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 🙂

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Scan update Saturday 15 March 2008

Filed under: 21wks,3D scan,4D scan,depressed,down,potty training,scan,size,worries — timeforanother @ 3:37 pm

We went for the 21wk anomaly scan yesterday morning and after a couple of very low days, I really wasn’t looking forward to it, despite what I said in my last post. Most of my ‘big’ scans have been traumatic experiences this time so I felt unable to get excited about this one, in fact I was scared that we would be told bad news and find ourselves in the world of pain all over again.

Thank goodness all was well, apart from wriggler not wanting to wake up and move position, despite a half hour break and the wolfing down of chocolate and slurping of cold diet coke combined with a quick march around the hospital grounds, swinging my hips. I must have looked a very funny sight! But our boy wasn’t moving for anyone (takes after his dad 🙂 ) and the sonographer only just got to see the profile that she needed. Needless to say, the photos are rubbish. Mostly of the back of his head. Fingers crossed we’ll get some better ones at the next consultant scan.

The measurements all look good – well within the ranges for my dates.
Femur length: 36mm
Head circumference: 196mm
Abdominal circumference: 165mm
It’s most definitely a boy – she pointed out the ‘bits’ although because of the funny angle I was at, I couldn’t really tell what I was looking at. DH (darling husband) reckoned it was very obvious though!

Funnily enough, both me and DH seperately started to think about having a 3D/4D scan. I’ve always been a little bit spooked by these, and couldn’t really see the point in one of the DVDs of baby. However, both of us are wondering if it will help with the bonding. We’re not really that fussed about the DVD angle, but the opportunity to sit and watch wriggler in action (or sleeping knowing our luck) and come away with a couple of pictures. Once we realised that we’d both been thinking about it, I did some research and found a company in London which seems reasonably priced and don’t do ‘packages’ but let you decide on the day (depending on how baby has ‘behaved’) what you want to take away ie DVD and/or photos or I guess, nothing at all. Anyway, they recommend going between 24-32 wks so I’m looking at going around about 26wks which is mid April.

Had a good counselling session on Thursday. Quite a lot more is coming out now and whilst I still feel stuck and don’t know how I’m going to move forward, I feel like I’m being understood. I’m going to try and go swimming (sans toddler) at least once a week – probably Monday and Friday mornings in the hope that it will at least free my mind for half an hour or so. I guess the physical activity won’t hurt either and i’m aware of the benefit that exercise has on depression.

Ok, must go and do some parenting. DH is away this weekend so I’m entertaining dd solo (not that much different from the week). We were going to attempt potty training but dd has a cold and that comes with the associated runny bottom, plus major upset at the mere idea of wearing pants today was enough for me to delay until next weekend instead.

 

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 🙂

 

Good day Wednesday 23 January 2008

Filed under: 21wks,bleeding,blood pressure,consultant,maternity clothes,midwife,scan — timeforanother @ 12:50 pm

I’m feeling optimistic today and have a secret smile when I think about our little wriggler growing so well inside me. Yesterday I posted our scan pics from last week on to Facebook which feels like a big step forward. I’ve been so scared and nervous to get too excited about this baby, fearing the worst at every turn, but it felt like the right time to start being upbeat.

We saw the consultant on Monday afternoon and it was quick but good. Another scan (no. 5, we have the most photographed baby ever!!) and all is well. He didn’t tell me the CTR (crown to rump) measurement but he said he thought wriggler was looking big for the dates – last week it measured a few mm’s off the dates so who knows, I’m absolutely sure of my dates – I could refer them here couldn’t I? 🙂 The twins are now squashed together and look teeny tiny, with little or no fluid around them – weirdly it wasn’t upsetting or gross to see them, although it made me feel sad. But I’m glad they’re together.

He doesn’t seem bothered by the brown bleeding I’m still getting on and off and there doesn’t seem to be any obvious reason for it. I wonder if it’s old blood from having 3 implantations… The best news is that he asked when I wanted to see him again – I had thought they might decide to send me back to regular routine local midwifery care (which would mean no more scans until 21wks which is 14th March) but I said when did he suggest would be good, and we came up with a fortnights time. When we spoke with the mw there, she seemed to indicate that they were going to look after me until we get to 21wks, so fingers crossed I’ll be getting at least 2 more scans in between. It’s so strange – I know how lucky we are to get to see wriggler so regularly but even going a few days seems like weeks for us as it’s been such a stressful & eventful few weeks. I’m on a high having seen the wriggler waving it’s arms and legs but a couple of days later when the bleeding starts again and the cramps start, I’m back to being a mess again and worrying myself silly that it’s all ending. So knowing they are there to keep me sane is amazing. Hurray for the Royal Sussex, if I had the money, I’d be buying a new wing there!!

So after our appt I went to Mothercare to buy a pair of maternity jeans. I’d bought some Seraphine ones from ebay, but overestimated the size I needed and they are hanging off of me. I tried on a size 12 and they were a bit roomy, so I thought, well why not try a 10, thinking I’d never get them past my knees!! But to my absolute delight, they fit like a dream, making my bum look a normal size instead of a great saggy lumpy thing 😀 Amazing – fall pregnant with triplets and end up losing weight and going down 2 dress sizes (not something I’d recommend mind you). All in all a lovely positive day. Our daughter came with us to the scan and was saying ‘baby kicking!’ which amused the consultant so much he gave her a scan pic of her very own which she clutched all the way home. Now she keeps saying ‘hello baby’ to my tummy and saying ‘mama not sad, mama happy!’ – and that makes me happier than ever.

I’ve also contacted my local mw to resurrect my regular appts with her as I realised I haven’t had my blood pressure or urine tested since 8wks (I’m 14wks now). I’m now booked to see her in Feb when I’ll be 17wks and need to see my GP to do a quick blood pressure and urine test for me in the meantime as she’s completely booked up.

For now, everything is looking and feeling ok. Fingers tightly crossed.

 

One week on Thursday 17 January 2008

Filed under: morning sickness,movements,nausea,pregnant,scan,SPD,symptoms,thank you,tired — timeforanother @ 8:19 pm

And I’m still very up and down. I’m relieved our remaining baby seems to be doing fine but still incredibly sad that the twins are gone. It still feels like we’re missing something, but I guess this is all natural and we are still grieving for our loss. We bought a set of little white clothes in newborn size to try and mark the start of looking forward and they are so cute, but whilst nice enough, it didn’t quite make me smile the way it did when we first bought things for our daughter. Still, tiny steps and all that.

I’ve printed off the latest scan pics and bought some lovely thank you cards which will go to our mum’s, my sister and my best friend all of whom have been amazing the last few weeks.

On a physical level, the fluid loss has (fingers crossed) finally stopped, although I’m still waking several times in the night thinking it’s about to happen again. The aching and sharp pains have all but subsided now and turning over at night is much easier. Wriggler is not really being felt yet, although I’m certain I’ve felt a wriggle of sorts on occasion – maybe wishful thinking, but nice nonetheless. The nausea has disappeared completely and it’s only now that it’s gone I realise how bad it had been! That’s not something I’m missing 🙂 I’m still getting quite tired but not that awful ‘must close my eyes right now’ feeling. Pushing the pushchair around yesterday has left me with strange aches deep down in my groin and I’m struggling to stand straight quickly. I’m hoping it’s not the start of SPD – I swear it looks like this pregnancy is going to give me a run for my money. Serves me right for having such a wonderful first one 😉

 

Breathing a sigh of relief Tuesday 15 January 2008

Filed under: 2nd child,bleeding,hospital,midwife,scan — timeforanother @ 12:57 pm

After a fretful weekend where the fluid loss continued with the browny coloured blood, we tried calling our local hospital and King’s to no avail. Our local hospital were very sweet but explained that because they don’t do the procedure or see the after results very often, they couldn’t advise if the fluid loss was normal. The number we had for King’s rang out – presumably it’s an office hours number.

I called King’s yesterday afternoon – I’d been putting it off in case I heard the worst, but a nice midwife told me it was hard to say what was normal, the best thing to do was to arrange a scan at our local hospital to check the fluid wasn’t coming from our remaining baby’s sac. K the amazing midwife arranged an appt for me for 10am today so it was just one night to get through. I’ve started to not want to go to bed and sleep as it’s usually in the middle of the night that the fluid loss happens.

So a tiny loss in the middle of the night, followed by hours of inability to sleep again. Shaking like a leaf and feeling sick, we get to the hospital and wait for 5 minutes. The sonographers are so lovely as we explain what we can. Almost immediately they find our baby and its heart is beating, arms and legs waving, bouncing around just like our dd did. Plenty of fluid around it and it’s grown another cm since Thurs. It looks like the fluid loss is from the other two – there is minimal liquid surrounding them now, and their placenta is quite close to my cervix which may explain the brown bleeding. It may also cause problems with delivery if it remains there, but it’s early days and may move or disappear in the coming months. At this point that’s the least of our worries. We hope to have a homebirth, but honestly if they have to cut my legs off to get this baby out, I wouldn’t care.

We are still seeing the consultant on Monday where he’ll scan again to make sure he’s happy with how things are progressing, and then we’ll discuss how to proceed with antenatal care. I still can’t quite get over how amazingly supportive they have been to us. We also have our 21wk scan booked for 14th March. So strange to think that will be our 6th scan when usually it would be our 2nd.

We have 4 beautiful pictures of our bouncing bean – the profile is so like our daughter – the exact same nose. I had been thinking it’s a girl but today I’m not so sure. Again, I don’t give a monkeys – funny how when I started writing this blog, it was partially to document whether we could actively try for a boy. How things change.

 

Thursday 10th January Monday 14 January 2008

I have to get this down, and as I’m as honest here as I am for real, it will not make the most pleasant reading. However it is what happened.

My MIL looked after our dd whilst I faffed around most of the morning before deciding to go for a swim. I managed about 3 lengths before becoming breathless – that’ll be the triplets then, sapping my energy and oxygen!! I took time to float in the blue and talk inwardly to my three babies. Nothing really specific but as much love as any mother feels for her children and sincere apologies about what was to happen. As I was swimming, the blue of the pool became out of focus so I couldn’t distinguish the bottom and it’s something which remained with me all day – ‘into the blue’ – that’s where my babies were going, into the blue, swimming and floating endlessly, happy and safe.

After a tearful phone conversation with my mum I got home to wash the chlorine out of my hair and put on some smarter clothes. Why the need to look smart I don’t know but it felt right. I realised when I got home that I had subconciously dressed all in black. I packed my bag with some fruit, my notes and a book then ordered a cab to get to the station. On the train, I wrote up our list of questions – one page for decision making, lots of ‘if this, then ???’ and a page for afterwards.

My husband met me at Victoria and we travelled the final stretch to Denmark Hill together. A grim, grey windy day – I couldn’t decide if it was apt or if I’d have felt more miserable if the sun had been shining.

We arrive at King’s College Hospital and find our way to Suite 9 of the Jubilee Wing. We wait. It’s hot and busy – lots of excited looking mums – some probably at the same stage as me, here for their nuchal scans, others much further down the line. We get called through for them to take my bloods, although because I’m expecting triplets, blood results are no use for diagnostic testing for Down’s etc. I told the guy this but he insisted that he had to take it. I’m phobic about needles and blood so blood taking is like pure torture for me and already stressed by the day ahead of me, I didn’t cope very well. It hurt like hell and I could feel him prodding the needle around – probably not helped by me wailing like a baby. He managed to get a tiny amount of blood but the lab needed more. So he began butchering my other arm instead. Thankfully not quite so painful but unpleasant nonetheless.

We then were called straight over to have the scan done. Before I even got to lie down on the couch, it became apparent that they thought I was having twins and when we explained, no it’s triplets (we’ve had 2 scans already) they told us that we’d have to go to another waiting area to wait for the better scanning equipment. He also said (as I thought) they needn’t have taken bloods. I burst into tears again- already the day was filled with small mistakes, how could it get any worse?

We headed down to the other waiting area where there were 2 other couples. They were called and seen and we were joined by others. They were called and seen. We waited. We were near the offices of the consultants and midwives so there was much to-ing and fro-ing from them. At one point a woman (doctor?) came out of one room and spoke to a man in scrubs “do you want to watch a baby being killed later?” she said to him. There was much joshing around about this, but we were appalled. How insensitive can you get? Not least for us who were considering the reduction but for any pregnant woman. I was furious and resolved to complain later.

After 2hrs waiting, we finally got called in. The sonographer was pleasant enough but kept asking “what do you want to do?” all we could say was we can’t keep three. The scan took time as they had to measure each one and use all the diagnostic tests available because they couldn’t combine with blood tests. Each of my babies was perfect. Everything in order, low nuchal fold measurements, heart beats, all limbs, stomach, brain, spine etc etc. Perfect. How can such good news be so crucifying? We were sort of hoping that the results would show a problem which might make deciding easier. But no.

We then wait for the Professor to come in. He arrives with an entourage of about 7-8 doctors (who we presume are research fellows). He puts things bluntly and tells us to put our questions away. Why can’t we keep 3? I feel like I’m being questioned for a crime, my mind goes blank and yet I know we’ve been over and over the how’s and how nots in the last week and a half. I feel scrutinised. He writes on a bit of paper the chances of miscarriage for keeping one, two or 3 of the babies – 15% for all between now and 23wks. Then a second set of percentages for risk of premature birth/disability/death for each ‘option’. 20-30% for 3, 10% for 2, 5% for 1. That’s it he says, that’s all you need to know.

We go and sit in a quiet room for 10 mins (we could leave our decision until next Tues but I don’t think you’d have got me back there – it’s now or never). I desperately want to keep the twins – it seems natural to want to keep as many as possible, but my husband ever the practical minded says the best outcome is to keep one and isn’t that what we decided? I guess it is but I’m blinded by my heart again. Despite this, we have to decide now. Against my every fibre we tell the doctor we ‘want’ (never has a word been so inadequate) to keep the singleton. I swear I get given a look that says ‘what? you’re getting rid of 2 out of 3 babies? do you know how rare it is for you to have even conceived them naturally?!’ My husband tells me that isn’t how it is, but already I’m judging myself and assume everyone else is too.

We go to another room and are told, the Professor is finishing another procedure so we’ll have to wait for him. They scan me again, give us the calculated risks of Down’s etc for each ‘fetus’. Typically, the twins have the lowest risk scores but the singleton is not anywhere near high risk. We try to ask about what is to be expected afterwards but keep getting dismissed with “if you get lots of heavy bleeding and pain, you are miscarrying, go to your local hospital” no mention of any ‘normal’ symptoms in the coming days. We wait some more. I ask about antibiotics to minimise the risk of infection. And yes, they will be doing that shortly. It takes me a moment to realise these aren’t goint to be oral, oh no, they want to stick it in my arm. Once again they attempt to use my left arm as it’s the one which at the time hurts the least, however there is pain and immense discomfort (more wailing and crying from me) – they decide that the veins in that arm are no use for injecting and so go for the right arm again. It hurts less but I am in a panic now and can’t stop sobbing. It takes an age for the stuff to be pushed in but finally it’s over. We continue to wait for the Prof.

He arrives and after a terse question about if we are certain, I’m told to lie down and stop crying, grip his arm and look away from the monitor. I’m vaguely aware that the entourage are surrounding the couch, silently filing in. My darling husband grips my other hand tightly and wipes tears from his eyes. It’s 7.45pm The needle? is pushed into my abdomen and through my uterus. It’s an unusual sensation, not painful but strange. My only analogy is threading raw chicken onto skewers. There is one moment where the feeling is really unpleasant and a moan out loud a little. I hear the Prof asking his assistant to put 2ml into the end – I guess this is the potassium chloride. Another couple of jabs and that’s it. About 10 mins in all. The Prof tells us, you have one baby. The entourage have silently filed out again, leaving me and my husband with one or two others. I sob uncontrollably and feel like the worst mother in the world and immediately filled with regret and remorse, that we have made the wrong decision. The doctor assisting gives me a big hug and tells me “you have made the best decision for you and your family”. By the time we come to a little (3mins?) the room is almost empty, the Prof has long gone. Again, we try to ask about the coming days and what to expect – any bleeding or fluid loss etc? but are again told about the miscarriage scenario. We go and sit in the quiet room again. The sofa in there is so old and saggy that to sit in it is really uncomfortable so I sit in the hard chair instead. There is an empty box of tissues on the side which just about sums up the place. We cry some more then try and get a grip, it’s done after all and there’s no going back.

After 30mins or so, we go back into the scan room where the check that our remaining baby is doing ok. We see it briefly and it is moving and it’s heart is beating. Already I miss seeing all three of them and I become aware that I can’t feel them move any more. They’d been going like crazy up until the reduction, and quite obviously they weren’t now. 12 wks is ususally far to early to feel movements so it’s going to be a few weeks yet before I can feel our little bean moving on it’s own. I’m overwhelmed with sadness once again. Once the 2 min scan has confirmed all is ok, we’re off. That’s it. Over.

It’s 8.30pm – we have been there 6hrs, mostly waiting. Physically it’s my arms which are hurting the most (not something I expected from the day!), mentally we are both drained. We get home at 10.30pm exhausted, all cried out. My tummy aches but I can’t bear to touch it. I just want to get through the coming days.

Now, nearly 4 days on, I’ve had 5 fluid leaks and continue to feel achey. Some days are ok, some I want to curl up and stay there. MIL took our daughter back with her for the weekend to give us some time together alone which was good, we missed her like crazy but we needed to take time for both of us. I’m desperately hoping that the remaining bean is a sticky one. We have been unable to find about what is normal after a reduction – the fluid loss bothers me although I know I’m not miscarrying. I’m surprised and disgusted that King’s didn’t give us any information about what to expect – my local hospital were lovely but didn’t have any ideas about what is normal as they don’t see reductions. Even if you have a tooth extracted at the dentist you usually come out with a checklist of what to expect and when to be concerned. But no, we’re left to our own devices, feeling as if what we’ve done is a dirty little secret.

Thank god for our fantastically supportive families and friends, and also the Yahoo support group Selective Reduction Loss Support group (invitation only). The staff at the Royal Sussex hospital have been amazing too, unlike their counterparts at King’s college hospital, who were at best capable of performing the reduction quickly, at worst, ineffecient, uncaring, crass.

To my darling twins, I hope you are safe in the blue. I love you so much and will never forget you. To my little bean, stay with us little one, you are very much loved. At least you’ll have a little more space to stretch your legs now.