Tag Archive | birth

The last pregnancy update

Were you able to glean from my super creative blog post title that this will be my last pregnancy update before my baby is born? You did? Naww you guys are so clever.

I still want to update once more (hopefully on the weekend) about James, because I really need to have a huge vent session about him.

But as far as the pregnancy goes…this is it. And I can’t believe I’m saying that.

I can’t believe that within the next week I will be logging onto wordpress and saying “hey you guys…this is my daughter.”

That doesn’t feel real to me.

You know, I was 24 years old when I started trying to conceive with my husband. I’m now less than two weeks away from my 30th birthday. That’s six years. And six years is a long time, right?

But going through eight cycles of IVF and several fertility surgeries and multiple miscarriages and divorce and heartbreak and losing everything financially and debilitating depression and completely rebuilding my life and all the rest of it…six years actually seems like such a short timeframe to fit all that trauma in.

The entire past six years of my life are just a blur. The good, the bad, the ugly. My husband being with me, my husband being gone. Living in the city, living in Paradise. The highs and lows with James. They all just merge into one gigantic haze of emotion.

When my husband left me, I remember feeling so crushed that I believed I would never function as a normal human being again. Not only had he taken away the love and support of the only person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, he’d also stolen from me any chance I ever had to start a family. I couldn’t fathom how he could do that to me.

Two different doctors told me I would need a hysterectomy the year I turn 30. That was only two short years away, on the night my husband walked out of my life.

There was no way I was going to meet someone and fall pregnant within two years. Just no way. It was impossible. Completely out of the question.

And here I am…two weeks away from my 30th birthday and just one week away from giving birth.

I mean let’s not pretend the situation is ideal here. I’ve not met a new love and settled down into happy relationship bliss. Quite the opposite, really.

But nevertheless, the baby is real. And mine. I get to keep her. I get to take her home with me and she will be mine for the rest of forever. I will have to share her with her dad, but nobody will ever be her mother except for me.

When will this sink in for me? When she is born? When I take her home? When she is one year old? Five years old? When she graduates high school? When will this feel real?

I went for my last obstetrician appointment yesterday.

Baby is still breech. Not a huge surprise.

I mean I can actually see her head. I have a clear visual of it most of the day. It sits raised up above my bump, right underneath my ribcage.

It freaks my mother out. Sometimes I grab her hand and make her touch it, and she shrieks and runs away like someone has just thrown a spider at her. She said it gives her the creeps because you can so clearly feel that it’s a baby’s head under my skin but I think it’s hilarious.

As booboo is breech I’m not going to get the opportunity to do a maternal assisted c-section or have too much involvement at all. But I have been able to negotiate delayed cord clamping for her which makes me happy. They don’t routinely do that for c-section babies but my doctor was happy to comply.

Last week at my appointment my fundal height was measuring 39 weeks. The doctor thought that would pretty much be it, and baby might plump up a little but nothing more.

This week, my fundal height was measuring 42.5 weeks.

Let me just repeat that for you.

My bump is measuring past 42 weeks already.

My baby has had a massive growth spurt in the past week.

“I don’t mean to scare you,” Dr Eminem said. “But you have a huge baby in there. Huge. You’ll be lucky if she’s only ten pounds.”

Lucky if she’s only ten pounds? Good Lord…

“If you weren’t forced to have a c-section because of her breech position I would be strongly recommending a c-section for you anyway.” he continued. “That child would destroy your pelvic floor and also be at increased risk of getting stuck.”

How has this happened?

At 5 foot 4 inches tall and 64kg (140 pounds) when I fell pregnant (sadly I’m like 180 pounds now)…I’m not exactly a huge person.

How have I managed to cook a monster baby?!? No wonder I’m covered in stretch marks…

It makes me wonder if they should actually have re-tested me for gestational diabetes. I know I passed my glucose tolerance test just fine, but how else is such a huge baby possible?! What kind of genetics am I working with here…?

Anyway I asked my doctor if perhaps we should just be taking her out like………now. Right now.

But the doctor seems to think she’s quite happy in there. She’s not currently in any distress and obviously the placenta is still feeding her quite nicely because she’s growing faster than Donald Trump’s wackadoodle support base.

Also, my doctor is going in for surgery of his own and will be out of action for a few days. He is having a skin cancer cut off his face under a general anesthetic so he needs a few days to recover.

He said he is concerned I may go into labour spontaneously in the next few days (in which case his colleague will perform my c-section instead) but he is really desperately hoping she stays put until my scheduled surgery date so he can be the one to deliver her.

He said after everything I’ve been through, he really wants to be there for this birth. So much so that he’s actually coming back from his own scheduled leave just to do my surgery. So that’s nice I guess.

I was actually due to work up until the day before the baby is born. I was determined to work as close to my due date as possible so that I get to spend the most conceivable time at home with her before I need to return to work full-time next year.

But I’m first up on the daily theatre list and working until 5pm the night before, and then having my baby at 6am the following day seems a little…silly.

Especially now I’m so big. I mean no wonder I can’t sleep at night or breathe or walk properly or, you know, function as an adult. Nobody is supposed to actually get this big haha!

To be honest I’m a bit of a physical wreck and really in no condition to drive to work or sit at my desk for nine hours a day at the moment.

So I’m signing off work three days prior to my c-section. I’m still pretty happy that I’ve been able to work all the way up to three days before she is born – especially as I was acting in a higher duties role up until last week so dealing with extra stress.

I’m pretty proud of myself for that effort. Hopefully three days is enough time to actually get some sleep before she arrives.

Speaking of her arrival, I’m very lucky that the hospital is allowing me to have two people in the surgical theatre room when she’s born.

Due to the number of medical staff required in the room, the hospital has a strict policy that only one person is allowed to accompany the mother during the procedure. But my doctor has okayed it for me to have two – so it means I will have my mother with me as well as James.

It’s very comforting to know that if James loses the plot at any point and starts to make this whole thing about him and how he feels and what he thinks and how everyone should be treating him and blah blah blah (which I believe is a good possibility), my mother can step in to support me.

The worst thing would be James in the corner ranting that his life is ruined because he never wanted a baby or that I’m selfish or anything else whilst I’m numb on the table and the doctor is cutting me open. Hopefully it won’t happen. But…it may. Actually I think it’s a lot more likely to happen directly after she is born. But I’ll cover off on all of that in my next post.

For now…I think I’ve covered everything about the pregnancy.

Can anyone who has had a c-section give me some tips? Hints? Suggestions?

What mistakes did you make right after baby was born? What’s the best thing you did to get you up and moving quickly? How did you go with painkillers? Did you take them all or turn them down? Did you get bad vomiting after the procedure?

I will be forced to stay in bed for 24 hours after delivery. It’s a hospital policy – they keep the mother catheterized to keep them immobile. Not sure why.

But after that I really want to try and be up and moving as quickly as possible.

Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

Apart from my next post about James that pretty much wraps things up.

So…see you all on the other side!

(Ahhhh just writing those words terrifies me!!)

Sadie xx

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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

A light in the night

It was very late at night, perhaps almost midnight.

My husband Doug and I were lying in bed, in the dark, listening to the monotonous whoosh of the fan turning overhead and our dog’s quiet snores wafting across the room from his bed in the corner. Just as I was drifting off to sleep the room suddenly lit up.

“That’s your phone.” I said. “Someone has sent you text message.”

“Have they?” murmured Doug, also half asleep. “That’s nice.”

Realising he wasn’t going to fetch his phone off his nightstand, and curious about who would text at such a time, I stretched over his body and plucked his iPhone off the charger. I could see his sister’s name on the brightly lit screen.

“It’s Jess.” I said, shaking him a little. “Maybe the baby is coming?”

My sister-in-law Jess was due any day with her second baby. The one that had taken them three months to conceive. The one that had been flaunted in my face for the past nine months, never mind the fact that for a time earlier in the year we had both been pregnant and I’d lost my chance at happiness in April.

“The baby isn’t coming.” Doug said, taking his phone and putting it back on the charger. “We have just been texting all night. Chatting.”

“This is very late for her to be chatting.” I pointed out, mildly suspicious.

“She has insomnia.” he said dismissively.

With that, he curled his arm around my waist, pulled my body flush against his and whispered in my ear that I should try to get some sleep.

The next morning I was awoken by the sound of my own phone vibrating insistently. Someone was calling me. I forced my eyes open and glanced at the screen. My mother-in-law’s name was buzzing at me. My mother-in-law and I barely speak to each other anymore. She wouldn’t call me at 7am even if her house was burning down. It could only mean one thing. I ignored the call, threw back the blanket, trudged down the hall and found Doug in the shower.

“Your mother is trying to call me.” I said. “She must have baby news.”

Doug turned off the shower, wrapped a towel around his waist and crossed the room to wrap his arms around me.

“Jess went into labour yesterday.” he said. “I didn’t tell you because I wanted you to get a good night’s sleep. The baby was born about an hour ago. It’s a little girl and they named her Amy.”

And that is how my heart broke into a million pieces.

Of course I pretended I was fine, I said how pleased I was that Jess had an easy birth, how excited I was that Layla had a new little sister and then I kissed my husband goodbye as he rushed off to an early work meeting. But as soon as his car’s tail lights had disappeared around the corner I was a sobbing mess.

I cried as I showered myself, cried as I sat with my legs on the edge of the bath tub inserting another tube of Crinone gel into my cervix to provide progerstone support to the low quality embryos that had been transferred six days ago and surely hadn’t implanted. I cried as I dressed myself, cried as I fed the dog, cried as I realised I had spent so long crying that I had now missed the bus and would be late for work. I cried as I reversed my own car out of the drive, cried as I drove to work, cried as I paid for parking, and then somehow managed to pull myself together right before I entered my office. Just after 10am I lost it again, locked myself in one of the bathroom stalls and cried so hard I couldn’t breathe anymore. Gulping for lungfuls of air, I began to choke, and then gag. I thought I was going to pass out.

The birth of new babies are a time for celebration. But I felt like I couldn’t have been more upset if someone had told me my grandmother was dead. This was…grief. But what was I grieving for? I was bitter, despondent and guilty. Good people didn’t react in such a way when they were given happy news. There was clearly something very wrong with me.

Jess and her husband had started trying for their second baby a year after we started trying for our first. And yet here they were actually holding their little bundle of joy, and we were still childless. And filled with hate. Jess and her baby were a reminder of every inadequacy in my reproductive system. They were proof that I was flawed, incapable, a failure.

Another small piece of hope was sapped from my heart that morning. With Jessica’s baby came irrefutable proof that the world was moving on, that the world had never stopped. The world does not wait for me, or my children. Other people around me would fall pregnant and have healthy babies, but my life would continue to be on stand-by. And that was something completely out of my control. Other people were going to feel joy even if I felt none, and there was nothing I could do about it.

I felt absolutely disgusted that I still feel nothing but bitterness, jealousy and anger for Jess and her baby. I don’t know who I have become. I don’t recognise my own face in the mirror anymore. I have become weak, and sad, and little.

Even my fertility doctor noticed that I have “allowed negative thoughts to take over my mind” lately. I haven’t had the emotional strength to blog. I have very much wanted to write, because writing is something I love, and my emotional outlet. But when I would log into wordpress, I’d just stare at the computer screen until I thought I was going to cry, and then click the little red X in the top corner. I had become a shell of myself. A dark blanket has been thrown across my mind, and is stifling my happiness and sense of self.

The fertility doctor said she has seen this happen before. Infertile women reach a point where they are just completely beaten down by their circumstances, and they just become tired of it all. Will I ever be a mother? I don’t know. I can’t answer that question. Does that tear me up inside? Yes, it really does. My doctor has referred me to a new counsellor. My first appointment is next week. She specialises in treating women who are going through IVF, so maybe she will be more understanding than the last counsellor I saw.

I’m not sure how much shit one person can put up with in one year. Major surgery, three cycles of IVF, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, a frozen embryo transfer, early pregnancy loss, pushing through with my exams and graduating from my masters degree, a horrible bout of the flu, strep throat, pneumonia, finding out I am losing my job at the end of the year, a nasty mother-in-law, watching my sister-in-law have her perfect second baby, and most likely finding out this cycle has also been a bust and my embryos didn’t take. Again.

I found this little quote and I really like it. I think it applies to me. I am trying to make it my mantra.

Image

I am trying to fight my way out of this fog of depression and anxiety. I will try to write more, I will try to tell you about my cycle, I will try to offer you all the support I once offered you. The support I appreciated so much from you, and the support I enjoyed providing in return. I’m not making any promises, but I will try. And maybe one day I will look back on this and feel pride that I made it through to the other side. Maybe.