Archive | April 2016

Out of time

Breech baby is still breech, and has now run out of time.

At my 37 week appointment this week Dr Eminem couldn’t even manipulate her head away from my ribs to get an accurate fundal height measurement. (Fundal height is now measuring 40 weeks but he thinks her head lessened the accuracy.)

He said booboo is well and truly stuck and her chances of turning on her own are basically nil.

He also said trying a proper manual turn (ECV) was going to have a less than 5% success rate based on her position and I would be putting her at risk by attempting it.

He did however say that he was trained in vaginal breech delivery and as he knew how badly I wanted to give birth naturally he was willing to consider this option for me. Yaayyy.

Then…he did an ultrasound.

First of all the baby’s head was already measuring 40+4 weeks. The rest of her measured 39 weeks which is spot on with our guess that I’m two weeks ahead of our original estimated due date.

The obstetrician explained that in breech deliveries the head size was super important to take into consideration because it’s the last thing to exit the body during birth.

When a baby comes out head first the plates in their skull are still flexible and able to overlap to ease the head through the birth canal. But in a breech delivery the skull is unable to flex as the baby is coming out chin first and no pressure is placed on the top of the head. This increases the risk of the baby becoming stuck.

Dr Eminem said with a head that size the risk to the baby is very significant during birth and it would be a high risk delivery. He explained if the baby gets her head stuck but her body has been delivered, they have to cut the hell out of me to try to free her and if that doesn’t work they need to push her back in to perform a c-section. Her chance of surviving is around 1%.

Second of all the baby is footling breech. She has one foot up by her face  (which she happily had in her mouth for most of the ultrasound) and the other down in my pelvis. This is why I still feel kicks top and bottom, which sometimes confuses me.

Dr Eminem said vaginal breech deliveries can’t even be attempted with footling breech babies as there’s no way to safely deliver them when their legs are split.

So basically let me sum this up for you: no vaginal breech delivery for me.

C-section is now absolutely the only way this baby is coming out of me. And let me tell you I am not yet coping.

Yes I know I know the safety of the baby is most important. I’m not a looney I totally get that. I would never do anything to jeopardize her.

But this is it. This is my only baby. The baby I was never supposed to have.

I will never get to experience labour. I’ll never get that surprise as I start to experience contractions. All the books I bought about calmbirth and hypnobirth are wasted. All my research is wasted. The playlist I spent months putting together for the delivery room is wasted.

I’d paid the deposit for a birth photographer and she isn’t allowed to come into the theatre room so I had to cancel and she kindly offered me a refund.

What I really badly wanted was to give birth in water – I mean I picked my hospital because they offer water birth as a standard option.

What I really badly wanted was to deliver the baby up onto my chest and after skin-to-skin and the first feed to get up and have a shower and move around.

Now I’ll be confined to bed for 24 hours and unable to lift my baby out of her hospital crib on my own. As James will be with me I will have no choice but to rely on him for support. That may or may not go badly.

I’ll also need to be given drugs intravenously. I am super anti drugs crossing the placental barrier through an epidural (particularly pethidine) and also through my breast milk. But now I have no choice.

As I’ve put on 20kg this pregnancy I was also super super keen to get up and get exercising straight away. I wanted to get back to the gym as soon as possible. Now the gym is right off the table and I won’t even be able to drive a car for 6 weeks!

It’s all just a cluster of fuckery I wouldn’t ever choose for myself or my daughter.

It’s the hand we’ve been dealt and I’m fully aware that c-sections aren’t a big deal. They’re super common and normal and fine and lots of women have them.

I’ve just waited six years for this event and built it up in my mind for so long. I wanted it so badly to be different and now I have to let go of that dream. Just another way my body has failed me.

What’s actually causing me to be the most upset and has brought on several panic attacks is why my baby is breech.

She has been breech since I was 30 weeks pregnant and not attempted to turn.

Google the reasons babies stay breech for extended periods of time and enjoy your trip down the rabbit hole.

Common reasons for breech

1. The placenta is low and the baby can’t engage. My placenta is high so this one isn’t relevant.

2. Too much or not enough amniotic fluid. My fluid levels are perfect so this one isn’t relevant.

3. A growth in the uterus such as fibroids. Of all the things wrong with my reproductive system this is one problem I’ve never had so this isn’t relevant either.

4. Fetal abnormalities.

BOOM.

There it is.

Sadie has gone straight to DEFCON 1 on this one. Welcome to my anxiety filled brain.

So many websites say a baby turning head down is considered their first milestone. My baby has missed that milestone. Why??

The risk of a baby that never turns head down having an abnormality is triple that of head down babies. Triple. TRIPLE.

Do you know what causes a lot of those abnormalities? A lack of folic acid.

Do you know what I have? A double gene mutation which stops my body properly absorbing folic acid.

I mean is my baby sick or disabled and have I caused it myself?

I spent hours on Thursday night hysterically crying to my mother. I was in such a panic and had totally convinced myself there was something very wrong with my baby.

It got to the point where my mother was shouting at me to calm down because I was just being irrational and not listening to logic.

The next day she did a lot of research of her own (she even went to the library!) and she found a super common reason babies don’t turn head down is maternal stress. The uterine muscles behave differently when the mother is under stress and the baby can’t turn or engage.

If there’s one thing I’ve dealt with in excess this entire pregnancy it’s stress. The James situation is a daily struggle and in many ways I’ve never experienced 9 months under greater stress. Not even IVF can match it.

Oh please oh please oh please let that be the reason.

There’s nothing I can do now and no way I can change or control anything. I have just under two weeks until the date of my scheduled c-section and all I can do is wait.

The main thing for me right now is keeping my anxiety under control and trying to remember I’ve done honestly everything within my power to keep this baby safe and healthy.

I love her. She is my everything. Nothing will change that, no matter what happens. I need to trust myself. Trust my baby. Trust my body (if that’s at all possible). Trust my mind to stay calm enough to get me through these last few days.

As always, I’ll keep you updated.

Sadie xx

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Stratamark review

Still here. Still pregnant.

I’ve never reviewed anything on my blog before but as you all know the issue of stretch marks is a very sore point for me and I wanted to give some honest feedback on a “break through” product I tried.

I want to start by saying I was in no way sponsored or compensated to review Stratamark cream. And I’d like to add it’s a good thing I wasn’t paid because this is not a glowing endorsement of the product.

If you want all the official info on Stratamark you can find it here.

But let me just give you a quick rundown…

Stratamark is a “revolutionary” lotion which has been designed to prevent and treat stretch marks.

Unlike cosmetic and moisturizing products widely available in the shops like Bio Oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter, Stratamark is actually a registered medical device. It claims to be the only clinically proven solution to stretch marks.

According to Stratpharma, the company that developed Stratamark, the cream is easily applied, is clinically proven to prevent stretch marks from forming, reduces discolouration and redness associated with existing stretch marks, prevents itching, is totally safe for pregnancy and is highly efficient.

A clinical study conducted in Europe showed highly statistically significant results where only 18.2% of test subjects developed stretch marks instead of the consensus 65-70% of pregnant women.

The cream should be applied once per day or whenever the skin is washed so that Stratamark is in constant contact with the skin, and one 50g bottle is expected to last 2 months in late pregnancy.

This all sounds so amazing right?!

What’s not amazing is the price. A 50g bottle will set you back $100 (plus shipping). I paid $125 for mine once shipping was added, and I must warn you it did take several weeks to arrive as it came from Switzerland.

$125 is a large sum of money for someone like me who is a single-mama-to-be. But $125 is a small price to pay for 2 months worth of cream that will protect me from stretch marks.

Basically I was desperate and the cream sounded miraculous so I ordered it.

They say the cream should be used for 60-90 days to see full results. Well I used the cream for about 40 days before I cried and gave up.

Why?

Well the proof is in the photos…

image

The top photo was my belly when I started using Stratamark, and the bottom photo was taken just four weeks later.

This is just a comparison of the stretch marks on my lower belly and doesn’t show you that I had similar negative results on my hips, butt, thighs and my infamous chicken vagina.

As you can see THE CREAM DID NOTHING. After the last photo was taken the stretch marks continued to get much worse and I was so devastated I just gave up on Stratamark altogether.

Proven efficacy my ass. There’s dozens of new stretch marks in the bottom photo and no signs at all of them fading or flattening.

Since I’ve stopped using Stratamark I haven’t noticed any increase at all in the appearance of stretch marks – they are still appearing at the same rate and the same shade of red. Total waste of $125 of my hard earned cash.

I want to stress that I followed the application instructions extremely strictly and that cream was always in contact with my skin.

To be fair to Stratpharma, here’s some reasons why I think results may not have worked for me like they did in the European trial:

1. I live in a hot climate and only in the last week or two have things started to cool down. This meant that at night time I was sleeping in nothing more than a crop top and underwear whilst I sweated up a storm. The Stratamark cream may have rubbed off onto my bedding or I may have sweated it off.

2. I didn’t start using Stratamark until I was 29 weeks pregnant. It is recommended to begin using the cream in the second trimester to see the most effective preventitive results.

3. I didn’t use the cream for the full recommended 60-90 days. Mainly because it clearly wasn’t working, I’d almost run out and I couldn’t justify spending $125 on a second bottle.

Also…further to my first point, as I was showering up to 3 times a day in the summer heat I was having to re-apply the cream multiple times a day. This meant that I was going through my bottle 3 times as fast making it 3 times less cost effective than advertised. Seems like Stratamark is best suited to colder climates where people bathe less.

But my personal experience with Stratamark is negative, it left me extremely disappointed and I found it a waste of money. I wouldn’t recommend Stratamark to anyone based on my results.

I know that stretch marks are genetic but I found the clinical studies and the fact it was a registered medical device extremely alluring and thus trusted the company with my money more than I should have.

So there you have it.

Have you used Stratamark? Do you have an opinion or did you have a better experience than me?

Let me know!

Sadie xx

Holding my breath

Something has changed.

It’s like a switch has been flipped in my brain and suddenly I’m no longer coping with being pregnant.

It started five days ago.

I woke up in the morning super congested with really bad allergies. My allergies have been really good lately so this attack came out of nowhere.

In the third trimester of pregnancy there is no safe or recommended antihistamine so I had no choice but to suck it up and solider on without medication.

By the time I had my morning tea break at work I’d already gone through more than half a box of tissues from constant sneezing.

My belly was aching really badly and every time I sneezed I was getting braxton hicks contractions. I was in a whole world of discomfort.

At lunch time my breech baby kept pushing her hands up under my gallbladder and I was in a lot of pain. I decided at that point I’d had enough suffering and went home from work.

For the rest of the afternoon I lay in bed sneezing and snoozing intermittently.

At dinner time my mother brought me in a hot cup of (decaf) tea and a piece of vegetable pie.

I drank the tea first as the baby had been quiet for many hours and hot tea is usually the fastest way to get a response out of her. Nothing.

Then I ate my pie, expecting that would kick her awake. Or at least kick her into kicking me. Nothing.

Getting a bit worried, I went to the kitchen and poured myself a large glass of lemonade filled with ice cubes.

Apart from the occasional cup of decaf tea I don’t drink anything other than milk or water so on the rare times when I do have fizzy drink the baby gets an intense sugar rush and bounces off my uterus walls for hours. Still nothing.

I went back to bed, lay on my left side and opened up the pregnancy app on my phone. It has a kick counter that I’ve only used once or twice because my super active baby doesnt need constant monitoring.

After almost an hour I’d still registered no movement despite the hot tea, dinner, cold lemonade, resting and even insistent prodding on my belly.

At 8.30pm I was suitably panicked enough to phone the maternity ward at the hospital.

“Paradise Private Hospital maternity ward, this is Kathy.” said the midwife who answered.

“Um hi…my name is Sadie, I’m a patient of Dr Eminem.” I started nervously. “I don’t mean to bother you but…”

Suddenly there was intense scuffling on the other end of the phone line.

“OH MY GOD!” shouted Kathy, right into my ear. “SHE IS HAVING THE BABY! IT’S COMING NOW! IT’S COMING!”

Then the phone went oddly silent.

Half a minute later, I was just about to hang up when another voice came on the line.

“Hi this is Jennifer how can I help you?”

“Um…” I said. “I don’t think it’s worth it. I can tell you guys are super busy…”

“Oh yes sorry about that.” said Jennifer. “Kathy had to rush off to help a patient give birth.”

As if that wasn’t glaringly obvious. I thought.

“Look I was just calling because I can’t feel my baby move. I haven’t felt her since lunch time. But don’t worry if you’re too busy.” I explained.

“How far along are you? Have you tried lying on your left side and drinking something cold?” Jennifer asked.

“I’m almost 35 weeks and yes I have.” I replied.

“Okay you’re going to need to come in immediately. Can you do that?” Jennifer asked.

It wasn’t the answer I was expecting but I agreed and told her I’d be up at the hospital within 20 minutes.

I went and explained to my mother that I had to go up to the hospital so she quickly changed out of her pajamas and came along with me.

By the time I arrived, the midwife Jennifer that I’d spoken to on the phone had already set up a room for me. They quarantined me inside in case my allergies were actually the flu, as they couldn’t risk the babies on the ward getting ill.

She hooked me up to a CTG machine, explaining the dual screen monitor.

“The red screen on the right is your heartbeat.” she said. “We need to track your heartbeat to ensure we don’t confuse it with the baby’s. The green screen on the left will show info about the baby.”

I could see on both the left and right screens my own heartbeat was registering at 97bpm.

The midwife then placed the toco (the toggle that reads the heart) on my tummy to monitor the baby. She moved it all around, trying to locate her. Nothing. No baby.

I watched as the mirrored heart rate on the dual screens slowly started creeping up.

99bpm…104bpm…107bpm…111bpm…

“Where is she?” I asked. “Why can’t you find her heart beat?”

The midwife, concern creeping across her face, then started roughly pushing on my stomach. She was digging her fingers into my uterus so badly I wanted to scream out in pain but I kept my mouth firmly shut.

After what seemed like an eternity she cried out “Oh there’s her backbone!” and pushed the toco down on top of the hard lump she’d just located. The heart beat on the green screen jumped suddenly from 115bpm to 167bpm.

“Got her!” Jennifer said triumphantly and we both let out huge breaths of relief.

For a moment we watched as the baby’s heart danced between 150 and 170. The variation was good and meant the baby was healthy.

For the first time in hours I felt calm and started to relax. Jennifer seemed happy too and went across the room to fill in some details on my medical chart.

Suddenly the machine made a funny noise and just as we both looked over at it, the baby’s heart rate dropped to 90.

Mine was still 105bpm so the machine definitely wasn’t reading my heart beat accidentally.

Just as Jennifer started walking back across the room the baby’s heart flatlined for about 2 to 3 seconds before spiking to 205bpm.

“Oh my god what does that mean?” I asked in confusion.

“Um…Sadie…I know your baby is breech but did you want a vaginal birth or c-section?” she asked in reply.

“Err…vaginal?” I spluttered.

“I’m just going to step outside and phone your obstetrician.” She muttered before disappearing quickly out into the hallway.

Suddenly I started to panic. I wasn’t quite 35 weeks yet. Too early to have a baby. Even worse I hadn’t shaved my legs or washed my hair!

Then I realised something even more worrying. I hadn’t brought my super organised hospital bag with me. I was yet to pack a bag for the hospital…

The midwife came back a few minutes later and said that Dr Eminem suspected the baby was under a little stress due to my constant sneezing causing contractions. He wanted me monitored for a few more hours to see if she calmed down before considering any other options.

The midwife gave me a buzzer and told me to press it every time I felt the baby move, to determine whether spikes in her heart rate were related to movement. The machine itself was also registering movement so we could compare and contrast.

Her heart didn’t drop to 90 again, but it did spike above 200 on several occasions.

What was really interesting is that 75% of the time the machine would register movement when I didn’t. Like you could actually hear her move on the machine because Jennifer had the volume turned up.

You’d hear this sloosh of fluid like someone moving quickly in water and her heart would spike and the machine would register a movement. But I felt nothing.

Jennifer was very surprised that a baby of that size and gestation could get herself into a position where she was regularly moving but I wasn’t feeling any of it. But she said that was clearly the case.

“Nothing like this kind of news to make you super paranoid for the next 5 weeks!” she said. “Now you’ll never know if she’s stopped moving or you just can’t feel it.”

In the end it took a few hours but the baby’s heart rate completely stabilized so the doctor phoned in again and okayed me to go home.

But it was too late.

The damage was done.

I am now terrified my baby is going to die inside me and I won’t know it.

The paranoid anxiety of my first trimester, where every little sign and symptom meant the possibility of miscarriage…it was back. And it was worse.

I am living my life on a knife edge. I don’t know how to stop this. I don’t know how to unflip the switch.

I’ve come this far and I’ve spent all my money on her nursery and medical care. I’ve carried her for almost 9 months. And she might die. And there’s nothing I can do about it.

I’m already not sleeping well at night because of my constant need to pee. Now I’m waking myself up at least four times a night in some kind of panic because I need to check if the baby is alive.

I know it’s still too early but I just want her out now. I don’t care about a vaginal delivery anymore. Just cut her out of me. Let her come out of me alive.

I live my life in a cycle now. The baby kicks or I get a solid movement and my anxiety drops to zero. The seconds turn to minutes as I wait. I wait. I wait. My anxiety rises. I wait. My anxiety rises again. I’m panicking, eating sugary food, prodding her. She moves or kicks me. My anxiety drops to zero and the cycle repeats itself.

You see the thing is, since that hospital visit her movement patterns have genuinely changed.

I don’t get constant movement anymore. She can easily go still for 2 or 3 hours at a time. Is it just that I’m not feeling her anymore?

People keep saying babies movements decrease when labour is close. People keep dismissing my fears.

The other thing is I’m doing this on my own. I know my mum is an amazing support to me but James is very uninterested in my fears and just tells me I’m crazy.

“God wouldn’t let your baby die now.” he says dismissively. “Everything you went through with IVF and miscarriages…there’s no way God will take this one from you. God will look after this baby for you. That’s how God works.”

I forget sometimes that James is from a religious family. Mostly because he has the tendency to act like a complete douchecanoe. I’m not from a religious family so I have no freakin’ idea about how God works.

I do have an idea about science. I do know that statistically 1 in every 135 babies are stillborn in this country.

You can spin that and say well Sadie that’s less than 1%! The odds are in your favour!

I would then remind you that when I got my nuchal scan results my baby’s risk of carrying a chromosomal abnormality was 1 in 20,000 and I got really upset because I’d heard it was possible to get huge numbers like 1 in 300,000 and I felt like my results weren’t good enough.

If I was displeased by 1 in 20,000 how do you think I feel about 1 in 135?

My other fear is postnatal depression and anxiety. Having my anxiety spike now at almost 36 weeks pregnant does not bode well for my mental health right after the baby is born.

Or maybe 9 months of stress and trauma and dealing with baby daddy dramas are catching up with me. Coupled with the intense hormone dump I was warned to expect in my final weeks of pregnancy.

Maybe this is to be expected? Maybe it’s okay?

I don’t know.

But I’m scared. I’m really scared.

I just want my baby to be safe and healthy and in my arms.

I just want to let out this breath I feel like I’ve been holding for the past 5 days.

Please let the next few weeks pass by quickly. Please let the baby be okay. Please please please let this time be my time and this baby be my take-home baby.

Please please please.

Sadie xx

My kid has a face

I’m just trying to wrap my head around that strange fact.

I mean…she looks like something. Someone. You know?

She’s in there and she already looks like whoever she is and whoever she’s going to be.

Her nose is already her nose. Her mouth is her mouth.

What colour hair does she have? What colour eyes does she have? Does she have long eyelashes? Does she have a birthmark? 

Is she pretty? Is she squishy-faced and unfortunate looking?

Does she look like me? Like her father? Like her brother? Like my brother? Like nobody except herself?

I look down at my belly and I can’t answer any of those questions.

I can see her hands and feet as they protrude from my torso while she squirms around. But I don’t know if her fingernails are long, or if her skin is pale like mine or darker like her daddy’s.

At no point during any of my ultrasounds have I been able to confirm she has ten fingers and ten toes. Are they all there? I need to know this.

In the ultrasounds it looks like she has a turned up little pixie nose like her brother. Is that real or an illusion? I need to know this too.

Does my baby have a problem that can’t be picked up on ultrasound or during prenatal medical tests? Is she deaf? Is she blind? Does she have cerebral palsy? Does she have autism? I really need to know this.

I have this huge belly and I have these awful stretch marks and I feel all this movement coming from within me. But it still doesn’t quite seem real that there’s an actual real live baby in there. My baby. In my belly.

I’m not yet associating this huge squirming alien with the concrete idea that the thing inside me is soon going to vacate her premises and then I’ll be a mum. That someone is going to let me walk out of a hospital with a proper baby and take her home with me.

And then I think about the fact that she doesn’t know what I look like either.

What if she’s born and she’s like “Oh so you’re the woman whose babbling I’ve had to listen to for literally my entire life…I thought you’d be blonde and much taller.”

In many ways I feel like I’ve been waiting longer than 8 months to meet her. I’ve been waiting six years.

I was 24 when I started trying to get pregnant and now I’m a month away from my 30th birthday. That’s a long time to build up expectations about what a child with my genetics could look like.

On the one hand I feel like I can’t wait even one more second. I’m too impatient. I need to know now. I need to see her now. I want to look at her face now.

On the other hand I’m terrified. While she’s inside me she’s 100% mine. I don’t have to share her with anyone. She is with me and only me every second of every minute of every hour of every day.

I don’t have to worry about potential future custody battles. I don’t have to hand her over to her father, or her grandparents, or let other people touch her or kiss her or even look at her.

I’m not ready to give up that control yet. I’m not ready to share my baby. I may never be ready.

But there’s nothing I can do about it because time waits for no man and certainly for no baby.

In less than a month I’ll meet my daughter.

In less than a month I’ll see her face.

I think one of the worst parts about life is waiting. But the best part is finally having someone worth waiting for.

I’m waiting for you, baby.

Come meet me, when you’re ready…

Mummy xx

Protected: My maternity photoshoot

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Help a sister out…

WordPress is clearly too advanced for my intellect because I cannot figure out this password protection mumbo jumbo.

I did a password protected test post yesterday and whilst I could lock it down easily enough I couldn’t see where readers request the password? Nor did it seem to show up in the WordPress feed?

No point password protecting a post if nobody can request to access it…

Help?

Update: this is turning into a friggen nightmare! I’m just trying to share my maternity photos grrrr….

If you want the password to the blog post comment your email at the end of this post! If you don’t feel comfortable posting your email address on the internet let me know and I’ll delete it as soon as I see the message and send you the password.

The link to the protected post is here

Fatso status report

So I had an ultrasound this morning.

The monster baby is still very happily breech with her giant head tucked snugly up against my gallbladder and stomach. 

Pressure from her big ol’ head is causing me to vomit a lot of what I’m eating at the moment and I also continue to have gallbladder attacks.

Never mind the fact I can’t lie flat without her head pushing up onto my right lung and making it hard to breathe…

Fundal height and baby size are both still tracking perfectly 2 weeks ahead and as this has now been the case for several months the obstetrician is starting to become convinced I’m closer to 37 weeks than 35 weeks.

If Fatso hasn’t turned in the next fortnight we are apparently going to have a serious chat about c-section delivery.

Honestly I’m not yet okay with this idea. I’ve waited six years to have a baby and we know this will be my only baby.

I wanted to at least give natural childbirth a crack. I wanted to experience it. I wanted the excitement and the discomfort and the feeling that I’d achieved something.

Instead I’m facing the potential of never going into labour and just arriving at the hospital at a pre-determined time to let a doctor cut me open and remove my monster baby.

An emergency c-section I’m totally fine with. If the baby is in distress or unhealthy get her the heck outta me as fast as you can to save her. No problemo. I won’t even be sad about it.

But an elective c-section (even if the reason for electing this option is the fact the baby is breech) just seems so depressing.

Plus we all know how I feel about c-sections increasing the risk of postnatal depression and anxiety…

But c’est la vie I suppose.

Nothing and nobody can change what’s going to happen now apart from Fatty Booboo.

If she would consider turning around and engaging her head in my pelvis fairly soon I’d be pretty darn stoked. But she is her father’s daughter so I’m sure I’ll cop nothing but trouble from her hahaha.

Sadie xx