Tag Archive | third trimester

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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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

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