Tag Archive | pregnancy

And then there was her…

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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.

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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

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…

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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

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

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