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My baby is beautiful

Harriet had an awful day today.

Cranky all day. Crying needlessly. Just really testy. 

Didn’t want to play. Didn’t want tumny time. Screamed to be fed, screamed on the boob. Didn’t want to be held. Didn’t want to be put down. I mean friggen hell kid you’re either held or you’re not held…please pick one!

The situation was made worse by the fact I currently have a migraine and her constant shrieking was driving me up the wall.

Don’t get me wrong I absolutely adore her and everything about being a mama. But I just needed someone with me today to help out a little when the throbbing in my head became too much. 

So this afternoon when my mother said she was going to do the grocery shopping, I said I’d come too because quite honestly I couldn’t be alone with the crying for a few hours. Not with my head pounding like it was.

So my mother went into the supermarket and I sat outside to wait. Harriet was sitting on my lap wrapped up in a blanket to ward off the last remnants of the winter chill. 

Harriet was finally in a good mood. Alert, cooing, looking around at everything. 

She loves to be in the thick of things. She’s not a laid back or easy-going baby, she enjoys (read: demands) constant stimulation. 

After a few minutes an older lady approached. She was maybe late 50s, with her grown up daughter beside her.

“Oh what a beautiful baby!” she gushed loudly. “Such a gorgeous, beautiful baby!”

And then she rushed over and started patting the big black dog that was tied to the metal leg of the bench I was sitting on. She had been talking about the dog the entire time.

Suddenly she noticed me.

“Oh how awkward,” she said. “You probably thought I meant your baby was beautiful. You probably thought I was talking about your baby.”

Not knowing what else to do I simply smiled at her. I assumed now that she’d put us both in this weird situation she would at least acknowledge Harriet.

I knew all this lady needed to do was make eye contact with Harriet and she would melt into smiles and giggles. She was certainly in the mood for it.

But what happened was entirely the opposite.

“Well that’s just very sad for you and also sad for your baby. I feel bad for you.” the lady simply said before her daughter sniggered and they both walked away laughing.

At first the incident meant nothing to me and I brushed it off. But it’s been 12 hours and now it’s really starting to eat away at me.

The truth is I don’t feel bad for myself, I feel bad for my baby. 

She deserved a little bit of attention from that old lady. Even a quarter of the attention the dog was given. She deserved it because she’s beautiful too.

She deserved it because after a shit of a day she was finally in a good mood and she would have loved the interaction.

She deserved it because all babies are beautiful and even though she couldn’t understand, I know one day she will. And I don’t ever want her to feel like she isn’t worthy of affection.

She deserved it because she gets loved all over by her mama and her nanna but her father barely looks in her direction and my baby deserves all the attention she can get.

She is my miracle. She’s stronger than that old lady will ever know. Strong enough to manage an impossible conception. Strong enough to survive 9 months in a uterus filled with fibroids. Strong enough to cope during her first days, all alone without her mummy’s touch because she was stuck in an incubator on oxygen. 

My miracle baby was shunned today outside a supermarket. I can’t believe I even have to write those words.

And yes it all means nothing. That old lady probably doesn’t like babies and I’m still full of hormones that make me a blubbering mess. I’m aware that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. 

But I’ll be damned if anybody ever makes my kid feel like she isn’t beautiful when I’m around to prevent it.

My baby is a beautiful, special little miracle. End of story. 

Actually that’s not the end of the story…

When that lady leaned down to pat the big black dog today it snapped at her. Well ain’t that karma!

My Harriet – I am so proud of you and your fierce, sassy little attitude. Don’t ever let anybody make you feel unworthy of attention or affection. You’re my little superstar. Shine brightly always.

Sadie xx

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I’m still here (and photos!)

Wowzers. Sorry for being away so long.

Motherhood (particularly as a single mum) has knocked me around very badly. I truly never expected it to be this hard. 

I’ve been battling so many issues that I never thought I’d have to deal with and the anxiety is incredible. I won’t even bother mentioning Harriet’s traumatic birth because I’ll save that for a different post but I’m sure you’ll want some highlights from the past two months…

For starters I’ve got massive breastfeeding problems – I’ve had mastitis six times already. Three times required antibiotics and one was so bad I needed hospitalization. 

The constant antibiotics gave me nipple thrush which is treatment resistent and has now gotten into my milk ducts. It has started travelling to other parts of my body and I now have it in my throat and mouth too.

It means my let-downs feel like someone is pouring acid on my chest and every time Harriet feeds I cry from pain. They keep treating me but it’s not improving.

Hmm what else? Oh yes. James had a total break-down when Harriet was a couple of weeks old and his treatment of me became so terrible even he finally realised he had a massive problem. So I finally got him to a doctor’s clinic and on antidepressants. 

Again, this is a whole other post for another time but let’s just say he has made adjusting to parenthood ten times harder than it should be. I felt like I was raising two children.

I’ve also been struggling massively with anxiety. I’m paranoid Harriet is going to die in her sleep, paranoid she hates me, paranoid I’m going to die and leave her to be raised by James and paranoid she isn’t hitting her milestones or something is wrong with her.

For the first few weeks I didn’t bond with her at all. I would cry and scream and tell my mother something was wrong with me. I needed so badly to protect her and keep her alive but at the same time felt no affection for her. 

The doctor suspects it was due to the fact we were separated straight away when she was born and I didn’t really see her for the first few days so we had no initial skin to skin etc. It was terrifying and the moment the love finally hit me was just utter relief. 

Oh and it’s worth mentioning once again that my ex got remarried just to add to all the fun.

Honestly I have so many half written posts to eventually finish and publish. And the longer I leave it the harder it will be to catch up and say everything I want to say. Except right now I’m not strong enough and I don’t have the energy.

But I swear it’s not all bad! Harriet is 9 weeks old now and time is flying so I thought I’d at least post some photos to see you all through until I can actually post something substantial. And maybe some of the photos will speak for themselves.

All I can say is that she is honestly my whole world. She is my reason for existing. And she is absolutely thriving. She is in the 85th percentile for height and weight and a very smiley contented baby. 

I love her, I love her, I love her.

Week one

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

Week Six

Week Seven

Week Eight

Week Nine

That’s all for now.

I will try hard to update properly soon.

Sadie xx

Wtf

The birth story is coming along slowly – it’s long and I write it in bits and pieces when I’m awake and functional.

I just need to quickly vent about something…

My mum just woke me up from a nap and said “Guess what? I just saw something on Facebook and it looks like Doug is married.”

I feel like someone has just kicked my legs out from underneath me.

He got over me, forgot the traumas of our fertility struggles and miscarriages, met someone new, fell madly in love, got engaged and then got married all in just 22 months??

He had this strict rule – no talk of engagement for the first 3 years of any relationship because that’s how long it takes for the “happy chemicals” to wear off and only then can you tell if you really love someone.

Once again I feel completely displaced in my own life.

That was all a lie. It was just me. I wasn’t good enough. He is the only man I’ve ever loved and I simply wasn’t good enough.

I got really upset at my mum and demanded to know why she’d woken me up to tell me such horrible news and she shrugged and said “What does it matter to you? You have a baby now.”

I get it.

Everyone thinks that my heart is all repaired now. My baby magically healed everything.

But I’m alone.

It’s just me and my child.

An accidental pregnancy to a man who never wanted to have children with me. A man who doesn’t really care about anyone but himself.

Nobody to cuddle me at night and say “Don’t worry sweetheart I’ll get up to the baby this time.”

Nobody to share this amazing time with. Nobody to tell me how proud they are and how lucky they are to have created a family with me.

Instead I’ve got to deal with a man who quit his job two days before our daughter was born, has refused to give me any money to contribute to hospital costs or the cost of looking after a newborn, has only come to visit us once since we left hospital and showed very little interest, then went out yesterday and bought himself a new car for absolutely no reason.

Now I’m at an all time low. I have a baby to take care of, a deadbeat ex, enough emotional baggage to fill a football stadium, I’ve been forced to move in with my parents at the age of 30 and my entire stomach, butt and thighs are completely mangled by hideous stretch marks. I am basically unlovable.

Doug is married to someone else. And I am unlovable.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

I know I’m supposed to be grateful for my miracle baby. Don’t get me wrong – I am. I really am. This isn’t about her.

I know all I seem to do is complain about petty meaningless shit on my blog. I’m aware how grating that must be.

But my little sleep deprived 3am fantasy that Doug will one day come back to me is dead now.

It’s so disgustingly sad that it’s been almost two years, I’ve gone and had a baby to another man and yet I can’t let go of my husband. The man who left me just days after my last miscarriage. A man who never once stopped and looked back. A man I should rightfully loathe.

To me, forever is forever. And that’s just all there is to it.

He said we were forever and I believed him.

Now he is some other girl’s forever.

I have my daughter but I am alone.

I am just so tired of being alone. Of never being worth it or good enough for the men in my life.

And it scares me that my incredible lack of self worth will be passed on to my beautiful daughter. That she will one day learn that her daddy never really wanted her and it will begin another vicious lifelong cycle of low self esteem and choosing to love men who are incapable of loving her back.

I don’t have an ending to this post. I know I’ll cop shit for whining about Doug yet again, especially now my baby is here.

Chalk it up to sleep deprivation if I’ve pissed you off. Or maybe this is the start of postnatal depression.

I’m going to raid the fridge for chocolate now.

That is all.

Sadie xx

And then there was her…

image

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Harriet Quinn S.

Born 12 May at 8.18am.

8 pounds 2 ounces of squishy goodness with a full head of black hair.

We’ve been through a few days of chaos with the little one sick in the neonatal special care unit whilst I was unwell myself after accidentally being administered a drug I was allergic to.

We are still in hospital and I’ll update fully in the near future.

But for now she’s here.

She’s mine.

I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Just great…

I’m pretty sure I’m in the early stages of labour at the moment. I’m actually pretty stressed out about it.

My contractions aren’t regular yet but coming more frequently (at the moment 2 or 3 an hour) and it doesn’t look like I will make it to my scheduled c-section day.

As you know I’ve been miserable for weeks about the fact I need a c-section and have only just fully come to terms with it in the last couple of days.

Well…my aunt has just phoned my mother and gone off like a crazy person because apparently I’m an idiot for scheduling a c-section. I was sitting next to my mother and heard the whole thing.

Apparently I’ve done the wrong thing and made the wrong decision.

She reckons babies turn when they’re ready. And if they don’t turn then midwives just manually turn them.

My aunt is a scientist. She does not work in the field of obstetrics or midwifery but she seems to think being a scientist makes her an expert in everything.

According to her doctors “trick” weak minded women into c-sections because it’s just easy and convenient for them. Plus they earn more money from c-sections. I’m basically being conned.

Even when Mum explained my baby is too big to manually turn and the doctor said she is stuck where she is, my aunt rubbished her.

Mum explained the doctor estimated the chance of the ECV working was less than the chance of sending the baby into distress but my aunt insisted the baby is turnable.

Even when Mum explained my baby is footling breech and if I go into labour and birth naturally the baby can’t be born safely because her legs are totally split, my aunt said the doctor was lying to me about the position of my baby to get his own way.

Every single time Mum tried to explain that I was having a c-section for the safety of the baby, my aunt refuted that and said the c-section was just my choice but I was making the wrong choice.

MY CHOICE?!

I didn’t want this. I didn’t choose this. I didn’t want my baby to be breech.

I wanted a natural damn water birth!

She has made me feel like a terrible mother now. Like I’m doing all this for nothing.

I know she is wrong. At least I think she is? I have seen ultrasound evidence that my baby is footling breech. I have watched my doctor unsuccessfully try to manipulate my baby’s head away from my lungs. I know he isn’t lying to me.

But I am physically in pain and I’m so tired and stressed and hormonal and now I’m questioning every decision I have made.

I DON’T NEED TO DEAL WITH THIS RIGHT NOW.

I never asked them to try to manually turn my baby because the doctor said it wasn’t going to work. Should I have just insisted upon it??

I am now going to have this c-section knowing there are people in my family who think I’ve made the wrong decision and I’m just having a c-section for convenience.

I feel friggen awful. I just want to cry.

Why why why why why can’t my life ever just go smoothly??

My mum reckons that my aunt’s anger actually stems from an incident on the weekend involving my cousin (my aunt’s daughter).

My cousin contacted me and said she wanted to know the date of my c-section so she could take some time off work to come stay with me. Never mind that I’d never invited her to do this…

I kindly explained that I was keeping the date a secret so I could have some time (meaning…24 hours, not a few weeks) to get to know the baby before I was bombarded with well wishers and visitors.

Further, I explained James would be with me for the first few days and so perhaps it would be best if she held off on visiting for a short period of time until James had gone home (because the two of them don’t get along and frankly I don’t need that stress when I’ve got a newborn).

Well she was furious. She basically said she had more rights to see the baby than James did and even if he was there he could just “sit in the corner and change dirty nappies” whilst she and I were with the baby.

I told her no. I explained that no matter what anyone’s opinion of James is, he does have a right to spend a few days bonding with his daughter. So I wouldn’t be pushing him into a corner.

This was exasperated by a previous disagreement I had with my cousin a few weeks ago because she wanted to be in the delivery room instead of James. Once again she believed she had more of a right to be there than he did.

I understand she doesn’t like him. Hell, nobody in my family likes him. Most of the time I don’t like him! So I get it, I do.

But this is my baby and my birth. It should be up to me who is there with me, and I shouldn’t be dictated to by my 23 year old cousin. I shouldn’t be dictated to by anybody right now.

So now she is angry as hell and she’s not talking to me. And apparently now her mother thinks I’m an idiot for having a c-section.

Honestly when did my family become so dysfunctional?? My family has always been so middle class and normal and well…boring.

But isn’t this delightful!!

Anyone else wanna jump in and have a go at me??

Early labour is the perfect time for everyone to air their dirty laundry right?

Meanwhile, James came up to Paradise on the weekend to take me out to lunch for mothers day. He was very lovely and supportive and took me to a nice restaurant.

Then he let me go to a jewelry store and pick out a new necklace for my birthday which is coming up next week.

It was in no way extravagant, it was a heart shaped pendant that set him back about $200.

But it’s the first real gift he’s ever bought me and it made me happy to think he’s turning a new leaf and finally being supportive right when I need him.

Well about four hours ago he texted me to say he’d quit his job in the city.

He said he was quitting so he could focus on his mental health and getting better so he could treat himself, me and his kids better. He said he wants some time to find himself.

Well that’s a lovely sentiment but it also means that as he is now unemployed he no longer has to pay me any child support once the baby is born.

So financially I’m doing this on my own now. What great timing to find this out!

And those contractions just keep on coming. I may have to go up to the hospital soon.

Hooray! I’m having so much fun…

The Safety Net mystery

In Australia, our universal healthcare system is called Medicare.

To give you a basic rundown (mainly for the Americans who have a totally different system) anytime we use a public hospital it’s totally free. Our public hospitals are extremely high standard and often better equipped than private hospitals, so we tend to use them majority of the time.

No matter whether you go in for a sprained ankle and spend five hours in the emergency department, or attend three times a week for cancer treatment over the course of two years, or have a serious car accident and need five surgeries then spend three months in a ward…all totally free.

Other things outside the hospital setting are charged differently and attract different levels of “benefits”.

If you are a low income earner you get a healthcare card and then things like visits to your local doctor’s clinic, x-rays, psychiatry, pathology and dental treatments are free for you.

If you aren’t a low income earner then these benefits are partial subsidies. So for example, if Medicare decides that the scheduled fee (benefit) to visit a local doctor is $35 then that’s the subsidy amount you receive.

If Doctor A charges $65 for a visit then he is charging $30 above the scheduled fee and you will be required to pay $30 out of pocket rather than the full amount. If Doctor B charges $40 then you will only be required to pay $5 out of pocket, because it’s only slightly above the scheduled fee. And if Doctor C bulk bills then that means they only charge the scheduled fee so it costs you nothing.

(I do have a point to all of this by the way. I’m not just giving you a quick lesson in universal healthcare. I promise.)

To make life easier for people who have higher than average medical costs (for example people who often need to see doctors or get medical tests…in other words, people like me…) the Government has something called the Medicare Safety Net.

Depending on your individual circumstances, each citizen is set a threshold amount. Once you reach this threshold in out of pocket medical expenses, the Medicare Safety Net provides a higher Medicare benefit for all eligible services for the rest of the calendar year.

So for the example used above, if you haven’t met the Safety Net threshold then you get a $35 benefit if you see a local doctor. But once that threshold is reached your benefit may increase to $50 for each visit so your out of pocket expenses obviously become much less.

Now see there’s an added benefit to being married in Australia. Because the Medicare Safety Net for a single person without a healthcare card is $2030. So once a person reaches $2030 in out of pocket costs, they get the added benefits.

But if you are married or in a de facto relationship, you can combine both partners medical expenses and still only need to meet that same threshold of $2030. Twice as easy!

For all the years my ex-husband and I were going through IVF this was fantastic because I would reach the Safety Net almost immediately at the start of the year (egg collections, specialist visits, ultrasounds etc were only billed under my name) and then Doug would also get cheaper medical treatment for the rest of the year.

Well this pregnancy has unfortunately fallen across two calendar years in a very awkward way. I was 20 weeks pregnant when the clock struck midnight on New Years Eve.

So exactly half of my costs were in 2015, and half in 2016. For example the Harmony test and initial ultrasounds ($750 out of pocket) were in 2015, but my obstetrics management fee for the private hospital where I’m going to give birth ($1250 out of pocket) was in 2016.
So even though I’ve spent a lot of money, unfortunately it took me until the end of February to finally hit my threshold for the year and start accessing the higher medical benefits.

Except here is the thing (and here’s the point to this blog post that you’ve all been patiently waiting for)…

I logged into my online Medicare account last week and realised with a sickening dread that my ex-husband and I were still registered as a “family” for Medicare purposes.

He and I have been registered as a family for years, and obviously when our divorce was finalised last year some lawyer somewhere forgot to tell us to separate our Medicare files. So we were still linked.

I was outraged.

“Oh hell no!” I shouted. “There’s no way in damnation that man is accessing cheap medical care for the entire year because of my medical expenses. No way. No how. Not going to happen.”

So I phoned Medicare, explained the situation, and asked them to legally separate our Medicare files so that we were no longer sharing a Safety Net.

At that point, I was feeling pretty smug about myself.

That buffoon of a man clearly thought he could just slip in undetected and access cheap medical because of my expenses? Because of my child’s expenses? Well how rude!

But today I’ve logged back into my Medicare account online and something terrible has happened.

I’ve gone from sitting well above the threshold to dropping well below the threshold.

I’ve dropped right back down to having accumulated only $1500 in out of pocket expenses for the year. I still have another $530 to go!

I honestly don’t know how this is possible. It must mean that some of my medical expenses that I’ve paid this year aren’t listed on the schedule of benefits.

It also means Doug has spent a huge amount of money on out of pocket medical expenses in the first three months of the year.

This is just…unheard of.

In the whole time we were married I only ever remember him being seriously ill once, when we both had whooping cough. All his other expenses were fertility treatment related.

So of course my first reaction was to freak out – like, oh my god he’s sick. Is he okay? Is he dying? What’s wrong with him? He can’t die he’s the love of my life. I’ll die if he dies.

My second reaction was one of terrifying realisation – majority of his medical expenses over the past ten years have been fertility related. I know he has a new love in his life (thanks to a blabber-mouthed acquaintance filling me in on the news at the end of last year).

Does that…..is he…..could this….I mean….is that evil fucker doing…fertility treatment? With her? With the new girl?

And then I think back to the night he left me.

The night he told me he had to leave because he wanted to have children so badly, but I was incapable of giving them to him without IVF. And he couldn’t do IVF ever again because it was just too hard.

Has he changed his mind? Does he love this new girl more than he ever loved me? And so he is willing to do IVF with her?

The mere thought of it makes me want to vomit. And then kill him with my bare hands. And then vomit again.

Then I think about what my doctors told me when I fell pregnant this time around – the real reason I’d been unable to have children previously was a male fertility factor. He’d been the main cause of our infertility. Not my endometriosis, not my PCOS, not even my blocked Fallopian tubes.

So maybe he knows this now too. Maybe he knows now that IVF is actually his only option.

But not with me.

With the new girl.

The problem wasn’t actually the IVF. It was just me. I wasn’t good enough. He just didn’t love me.

And I’m 34 weeks pregnant.

And I’m super hormonal.

And I sometimes still miss my husband.

And I sometimes still dream about my husband.

And in my dreams he is the father of my unborn child.

And the idea that he’s undergoing fertility with someone else makes me want to cry and cry and cry and cry.

What if our lives were supposed to be a Nicholas Sparks novel?

Like we divorce but then re-discover each other years later, only for Doug to gasp in shock when he meets my precocious young daugher. Instead of being upset he thinks she is wonderful because she has my eyes. The eyes of his true love…

Then we each realise we’d never stopped loving each other, and even though I’m trapped in a loveless marriage, we share one amazing night of passion. I go home to tell my husband I’m leaving him, but then find out Doug has been killed trying to rescue stranded puppies in a freak tornado.

Devastated by my loss, I only find a reason to go on living when I discover a month later that our one soulful night of love-making had created miraculous new life. A son that I name Doug junior…

WELL NOW I CAN’T HAVE THAT.

Now there can be no Nicholas Sparks ending. He has RUINED it.

This is ridiculous I know! Because I am having a baby with a man who isn’t my husband! I can clearly see how hypocritical I’m being.

But you guys my baby was a total accident. There’s a difference between a whoopsie accidental pregnancy and seeking fertility treatment.

If he’s doing fertility treatment it means he’s fully in love and super happy and wanting to start a family with this stupid trog.

I’m also aware that this freak-out is totally illogical. I mean I have no idea why he’s managed to incur so many out of pocket medical expenses.

Maybe he was in a car accident and needed a lot of x-rays.

Maybe he has something wrong with his back and needed lots of physiotherapy.

Maybe he has decided to have a sex change and he is paying for hormone treatment.

Maybe someone finally decided he was a smug little jerk and beat the shit out of him, so now he needs cosmetic surgery to fix his face…

In the end it doesn’t matter.

I know it doesn’t matter.

His medical expenses are none of my business. He is no longer my business.

But damn it I want to know!

What are you up to, Doug? What exactly is going on here?

It kills me that I can’t know.

It still hurts me so badly that I’m finally having a child, but that amazing event in my life has nothing to do with my ex-husband.

The man who was my forever. Who promised to love me until the day I died. And all the other blah blah blah lies that he told and I foolishly believed.

Nothing to be done about it, and I’m very aware that it’s silly I’m upset over this.

Just needed to vent, I guess.

If you’ve taken nothing else from this ridiculous blog post, at least now you will pass a pop quiz on the Medicare system and the Safety Net threshold.

This is a very important life skill.

You’re welcome you guys. You’re welcome…

Sadie xx

p.s if you steal my romance novel idea I’m going to be super pissed at you

Oops my doctor thinks I’m a wackadoodle…

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but in “real life” (because…my words on the internet aren’t real life?) I’m a researcher.

I work at a university, I have a masters degree and I began my doctorate but deferred my studies when my ex-husband left me in 2014. Eventually I hope to go back, finish my PhD, and become Doctor Sadie. Yes Doctor Sadie – because in the world of pseudo-anonymous online blogging, there are no surnames…

The fact I was born with the ability to conduct rigorous academic research in my sleep has been both a curse and a blessing over the past few years.

It’s meant I was always fully capable of arming myself with cold hard facts during fertility treatment, IVF, surgeries, miscarriages, and all the other fun stuff us infertiles get to deal with on the daily. I always bypassed the anecdotal evidence available in copious amounts on Google, and went straight for the good stuff in peer reviewed academic journals.

And every time my hairdresser would say something like “Oh well my sister’s best friend’s cousin’s accountant was doing IVF and she started drinking Pepsi Max and fell pregnant straight away.” instead of rushing out and buying Pepsi Max by the carton I would think hmmm I wonder if there have been any clinical trials conducted on the effects of aspartame in infertile women under the age of 30.

But on the flip side, it’s also meant a lot of sleepless nights for me. Too much knowledge can be dangerous. Too much knowledge leads to anxiety, depression and sometimes mild hysteria. Knowing risk factors, knowing the research, the statistics, the likely outcomes…is not always a benefit.

But now I’m pretty sure my current obstetrician, Doctor Eminem, thinks I’m a wackadoodle. Why? Well I’m glad you asked because I’m going to tell you.

I attended my 28 week appointment yesterday. I’m actually 29 weeks but due to scheduling issues, we had the appointment a little later than usual.

First up I was given the news that I don’t have gestational diabetes. This absolutely shocked me, to be honest. I’m carrying a huge-ass bump out the front of my person. Like I mean people are already stopping me in the street and asking if I’m overdue. And don’t get me started on the old “is it twins?” jaunt. Why do people think it’s okay to ask that question? I don’t go up to random strangers and ask them why they’re so damn fat.

Plus don’t forget that PCOS puts me into a high risk category for GD (hello years of metformin!), I have a family history, I’ve stacked on way too much weight (already up 12kg – or 26 pounds – by 27 weeks, though this can likely be chalked up to emotional eating due to stress) and I fainted at work the other week.

So I was fully expecting the news that I would be replacing my Snickers bars with celery sticks. But all rejoice! The Snickers gets to stay!

Next up we did some measurements. My fundal height is now 31 weeks. This is no surprise to me as like I said, I’m carrying big. My tilted uterus makes me look even bigger than 31 weeks so I was just glad he didn’t say I was measuring 36 weeks or something!

Next up, I got my ultrasound. In Australia, in the private health system, you get an ultrasound every 4 weeks. At my last ultrasound (which you’ll know was at 24 weeks if you can count backwards in denominations of four ;)) my fatso baby was measuring at 25+4.

This time, her tummy is measuring 30+6, her legs 30+5 and her head 31 weeks. So that’s pretty much perfectly consistent with my fundal height of 31 weeks. Is it because we don’t know when I conceived and I’m actually 31 weeks along? Or is she just a monster baby?

She weighs approximately 1500 grams (3.3 pounds) which is 400 grams more than she should weigh at 29 weeks but spot-on for 31 weeks. Hmmm….

After the scan was done, Doctor Eminem tried to convince me to schedule an elective c-section to protect my pelvic floor from my monster baby. I am absolutely against this for a number of reasons.

I told him that firstly I want to be able to experience vaginal birth as this is likely the only time I’ll get to do this. Secondly, I want to be able to get up and move around straight after I give birth. Thirdly, the short-term recovery is better for vaginal births.

Lastly (and most importantly) I want the dump of hormones and chemicals after a natural birth that lowers a mother’s risk of postnatal depression. Given I’ve had multiple miscarriages and I’m still going through prenatal depression, I’m already in a very high risk category for PND. I don’t want to increase my risk any further by having an elective c-section.

Doctor Eminem worked out pretty quickly I wasn’t going to budge on that one, so then he started talking to me about elective induction instead. He actually gave me some copies of some studies conducted recently that show women who have elective inductions between 38 and 40 weeks gestation have a 19% lower risk of emergency c-section and their infant mortality rate was less than half that of women whose babies are born after their estimated due date.

The studies he provided me with are quite compelling but I’m not entirely convinced because I know that on the flipside the epidural rate is 20% higher in inductions (and of course an epidural will also prevent that dump of happy hormones after birth) plus I also don’t like the idea of being stuck to an IV drip and not being able to walk around during contractions.

I’m also looking at studies that show when a mother’s brain signals that it’s time to start labour (yes we spell labour with a “u” in Australia – deal with it) the baby’s lungs are coated with an extra large dose of a protein called surfactant that helps the baby to transition to breathing air after they are born.

Surfactant coats the baby’s lungs from around 32 weeks gestation onwards, however right before birth they receive a large and crucial dose. That dose is never provided to the baby during an induction because the process is artificial so the mother’s brain misses the signal, and this is why induced babies are more likely to suffer respiratory problems as newborns.

So with regards to the induced labour I have some more research to do and some decisions to make.

But then I was all like “Hey Doc, while we’re talking about medical studies I’d like to raise a few questions with you.”

He was all like “Oh okay Sadie sure.”

And then…I hit him with the wackadoodle!

“As you know,” I began. “I’m Rh negative and due now for my first shot of anti-d” (that’s a Rogam shot for you Americans)

“Yes.” said the doctor. “You’ll receive your first anti-d injection today.”

“Well, keeping in mind that I clearly understand why this shot is administered and I’ve happily had the shot after all of my previous miscarriages, I’d like to discuss the persistent assertion that women who have the anti-d injection are at an increased risk of having a child with autism.”

*silence*

“As a researcher I’m very aware that correlation and causation are two different things.” I continued. “I’m also very aware that a lot of the evidence that supports this claim is purely anecdotal. But a study was conducted which demonstrated a 62% increase of autism in the children of women who had the anti-d injection. Of course this could be a genetic factor linked to the Rh negative blood itself and the fact these women received the shots was just coincidence. Can you please debunk this theory for me so I can have a clear conscience when you administer my anti-d injection?”

*more silence*

And then I’m just looking at the doctor like oh crap please don’t think I’m crazy because honestly I’m happy to have the shot! I just really wanted some good medical studies to put my mind at ease.

I’m not a person who believes in woo-woo pseudo science. I’m not a person who believes that autism is caused by basically anything and everything including vaccinations, patting your head whilst rubbing your tummy or listening to Justin Bieber music (which, I’d like to add, is a well known use of torture in prison camps around the world).

But there’s a very strong genetic history of autism in James’ family. It’s across several generations but seems to be getting worse. In fact, James has a brother and a sister. Between the three siblings, they have had four children.

His sister’s son is far enough along the spectrum that he has to attend special school and both of his brother’s sons are also autistic. One nephew is severely autistic and non-verbal.

The only child in the new generation of his family not to have autism so far is James’ own son Isaac. So of course autism is something I’m very aware of, even with the understanding that the condition is genetic and cannot for the most part be avoided.

And if I do have an autistic child that’s totally fine and I will love her no differently and raise her to be a beautiful young woman. Just so we’re clear. I just don’t ever want to feel guilt for causing her autism through a decision I made. Get what I’m saying?

“You know what Sadie?” Doctor Eminem finally said. “Don’t have the shot.”

“But…but…I want to have the shot!” I spluttered. “I don’t want to risk my baby being Rh positive, my body creating antibodies and hurting the baby!”

“If you started bleeding would you agree to have the shot immediately?” he asked.

“Yes of course!” I answered.

“Well then the risk to your current baby is quite frankly nil.” he said. “Once upon a time, the anti-d injection wasn’t manufactured in large quantities so Rh negative mothers only received the shot once their baby was born. They didn’t get the shots at 28 and 36 weeks. And in all my years as an obstetrician, I’ve never once seen a woman develop antibodies. So we’ll wait until the baby is born like they did a few years ago, and give you the shot then. That way not only are your hypothetical future babies protected but if your current baby ends up having autism you’ll know it’s not because you got that injection.”

I had to admit, Doctor Eminem’s logic was sound. I wasn’t aware that up until recently women only received the shot once their babies were born. That made me feel a lot better.

Plus…let’s be honest…the chance of Miss Infertile Australia spontaneously falling pregnant twice in her lifetime is slim to nil. So future babies are unlikely to be a factor to stress about…

“Right.” I said. “Let’s move on to the whooping cough vaccination.”

*silence*

*crickets chirping*

*tumbleweed rolls past the doctor’s desk*

“Vaccinations don’t cause autism.” Doctor Eminem blurted out, a wild look in his eyes.

“I absolutely agree.” I said ardently. “I’m a very strong proponent of vaccinations and my child will be fully vaccinated. I am fully vaccinated. I had a whooping cough booster only two years ago! Every single person who will be coming into contact with the baby in her first few weeks of life including James, my parents, his parents and my grandparents have been given a booster since I fell pregnant.”

“Okay so what’s the problem?” he asked.

“Well I just want some evidence of the safety of administering the booster whilst pregnant.” I explained. “The Boostrix vaccine insert recommends the shot not be given to pregnant women. I understand this is because vaccine manufacturers routinely exclude pregnant women from their clinical trials and I’m not questioning this. But from what I can see, the only clinical trials that have been conducted for pregnancy have been trials of rabbits and mice. There was one very small study conducted on humans in Europe, but the study population was tiny and I wouldn’t think it overly reliable. I am wary of allowing myself to be injected with a vaccine whilst pregnant, before rigorous clinical trials are conducted on humans. Your thoughts?”

“My thoughts?” asked Doctor Eminem. “Well…um…my thoughts are that you shouldn’t get the booster during pregnancy.”

“But Doc!” I gasped. “Australia is in the middle of its worst ever whooping cough epidemic! And by administering the booster shot to pregnant women between weeks 28 and 32 of their pregnancy, they pass partial immunity to their baby! I need the shot!”

(As you can see…it was like I was playing devils advocate with myself and my doctor was merely along for the wackadoodle ride.)

“Yes it’s true that the booster does provide partial immunity for the baby.” the doctor agreed. “But you personally are already protected by your recent vaccination and everyone in your family is protected. If you plan to isolate the baby prior to her first round of shots when she’s six weeks old then don’t even worry about it. That’s a good level of protection. Then you won’t have to worry about the validity of the research into administration of the vaccine during pregnancy.”

So basically…I went into the appointment hoping my doctor would debunk my concerns regarding the anti-d injection and the whooping cough vaccination, and instead I technically won both the arguments and the end result was no shots for me. And the truth is that was not the outcome I wanted! I really want the shots! I just wanted him to prove me wrong! Argh!!

I’m still pretty certain I’m going to go ahead and get the whooping cough booster shot. I don’t like the idea of her being exposed, even if I keep her at home. I guess I have a few weeks to decide.

And now I’m going to ask for some of that anecdotal evidence I try so hard to avoid!!

Did you get the anti-d (rogam) injection whilst pregnant? Did you ever worry about it affecting your baby?

Did you get a whooping cough booster whilst pregnant? Did you feel safer knowing your baby had partial immunity?

Oh oh! And can anyone share a story with me about elective labour induction? Or just induction in general? What was recovery like? Were you able to move around? Did you need an epidural? Did your baby have breathing problems?

Hit me with your lovely anecdotes!!

Lots of love,

Sadie xx

p.s I think this post definitively proves I’m basically incapable of writing anything less than 2000 words even when I’m not moaning about my stressful life. #sorrynotsorry