Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Half way through - looks like we've won the baby lottery

I've now ticked over the half way mark of this pregnancy. We've had no signs of trouble and I'm really excited about the pregnancy! I'm getting so much more joy and have so much less fear this time around. I know things really could still go wrong, but I'm just not worrying anywhere near as much.

We did our morphology scan last week. The baby look perfect! It seems we have won the baby lottery and are having a girl. I couldn't believe it when the sonographer said bubby was a girl! My husband and I (and my mother-in-law who will finally have a grand-daughter) are thrilled!!!!

B2 from this moment to birth, shall be referred to as mini morgy.

Big W are having a big baby sale right now and in a show of my much more relaxed approach to this pregnancy I actually stocked up on newborn nappies and infant girl nappies. I bought a couple of super cute newborn girl onsies too! I will be re-using most of our newborn stuff from first time around, but I had to get mini morgy a couple of special little outfits of her own.

A couple of weeks ago I felt mini morgy's first movements. Everyday these are growing stronger and more prominent. Can't wait until they are strong enough for my husband and son (who had no idea what's going on) to feel them.

I think being so busy with part-time work and the day-to-day coordination of a 16-month old is good for the pregnant woman. Too busy to sit and worry, but just enough time to enjoy the wonder that is having a baby.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Mission B2 - countdown commences

I can't help myself but post a little update.

After an astonishingly difficult journey to produce B1, in October 2014 we transferred a single embryo (frozen), got pregnant (again...) and now find ourselves at 14 weeks, 4 days and seemingly having a complete breeze on mission B2.

I can't believe it most of the time. I've definitely let myself start to enjoy this pregnancy a lot earlier than the last. I do find myself saying "if we have a baby in July...", but more and more it seems B2, due 4 July 2015, will be a reality.

B1 is now 15 months old and about as adorable as little people get. I get a good night's sleep most days (more important than I could I have believed). Life has a lot more moments where my heart is fit to burst with cuteness, joy and love than times where I feel ready to erupt with frustration (small people can be astonishingly opinionated).

The thought of B2 joining our little family fills me with excitement and fear. The days when B1 is sick and cranky I find myself thinking "what have I done!". But these days pass and then my mind remembers the sweetness of cuddling a newborn and how relatively easy they are take places, if you aren't exhausted from all the night time feeds.

Obstetrics wise we aren't sure yet whether the delivery of B2 will be complicated like B1. We are just progressing through our appointments and seeing what happens. My greatest concern is the undiagnosed focal placenta accreta we had last time. It is apparently very difficult to detect, especially when the placenta is on the back wall of the uterus, which apparently mine is again. I dream of having a simple, normal birth. In reality I'm pretty sure we will end up needing to lock in a c-section again. All these decisions will be made in time.

For now I will enjoy thinking about our new addition. Anticipating feeling those first movement of the little baby in my belly. And of course the crazy pregnancy dreams, like the triplets I had last night...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mission success

I can't believe I'm finally writing the post with the heading mission success. 

On Friday, 11 October 2013, my husband and I welcomed our beautiful, healthy, baby boy by caesarean section as planned. Bubby was pushed and dragged into the world at 1:44pm aided by a sizeable team of medical professionals. 

I had been so busy prior to b-day I hadn't thought much about the procedure. On the day of the birth I was surrounded in excited family members. My mum had flown in from Far North Queensland, my brother and his family had flown in from Hong Kong. We all saw each other briefly at my sister's place before I went to the hospital. There was a mood of excitement amongst the group as we left for the hospital. 
On our way to the hospital 
We had to be at the hospital 2-hours before we were scheduled for the procedure. Everything went relatively quickly and we found ourselves in our room with a number of midwives taking my observations and explaining what I needed to do prior to the procedure. I had blood taken, a shave down and soon enough I was slipping into my hospital gown. My husband also had to slip into 'scrubs' for the procedure.

Well before the scheduled operation time we were ferried down to pre-op area. It was odd, sitting there waiting. We knew our obstetrician and anaesthetist would be coming to see us here. I was surprised to also have a visit from the partner obstetrician from the ob/gyn group. He happens to be the brother of one of my old friends and had been following our baby making mission too. He dropped in to wish us well for the day. 

Waiting in pre-op.
I can't even remember the questions we asked the obstetrician. When the anaesthetist arrived he talked us through the epidural process in detail. Due to the complications we'd had with the placenta the anaesthetist was preparing for the worst but hoping for the best. He planned to do an epidural so I could be awake through the procedure and meet baby straight away, however he also was going to prep me for a general anaesthetic, so if there was a major complication I could quickly be put under. 

We were then ushered into theatre where a number of other medical staff members introduced themselves, the theatre midwife, the paediatrician, surgical assistants and anaesthetic assistants (and as it turns out our volunteer photographer). There must have been at least 10 medical staff in the room. 

The anaesthetist got straight to work with putting cannulas into both of my hands, one for the drugs that will support the epidural (such as anti nausea), the other the general anaesthetic back up. Once these are in I am positioned for the epidural. That was a weird experience. It was like deep tissue acupuncture. Initially I could feel the tingle/electric shock down the left side - I had been told to speak up and let them know if I could feel anything. So they tried again, left tingle again. Tried again, this time right tingle. Tried again and nothing - that is what they were aiming for I guess, right in the middle. Very quickly I felt my legs starting to numb and I was assisted to lying flat. Even that was weird. Lying flat on my back was not something I could not do comfortably for months, so to be lying there comfortably was strange. Soon the anaesthetist was testing how effective the epidural was. He was rubbing this cold cold wipe on forehead and then rubbing it on my body, and I had to tell him when I could feel it cold on my body. It was clear the epidural was working as I couldn't feel any cold at all until above my belly button, and it didn't feel really cold until my chest. The anaesthetist gave the obstetrician the okay to start the procedure.

I could initially see the prep work going in the reflection of the theatre lamps and was relieved when the screen went up to prevent me from seeing any of the very gruesome stuff. It was all so quick - someone put in a catheter and then I was being wiped down in that reddy/orange stuff, that I assume must be an antiseptic. From this point on the anaesthetist talked me through when they got truly underway. Within minutes I felt some strong pushing and tugging followed by the delightful sound of a baby crying. Baby was briefly held up over the screen so we could see him, and then whisked over to the paediatrician. Here baby was on a c-pap machine for two minutes, just to be sure his breathing was sorted before being measured and reflex tested. Weighing 3.53kg (7lb 12 oz), 47.5cm long, 36cm head circumference, and all round perfection. 

Fresh into the world.

Cutting the cord.
My husband cut the cord and then bubby was cleaned up, wrapped and brought over to me. Here he stayed quietly for a few minutes as we simply stared at him in wonder. Two weeks short of 5 years we'd been trying to start our family, and at last a small person was sort of staring at us, our child. A perfect little person, with an awesome head of hair.

First cuddles.

Soon after this astonishing moment I started to feel crook. I felt hot and a little spewy. I felt weak. I felt funny. I let the anaesthetist know I wasn't feeling great and he kicked in some other drugs and I slowly started to feel a little better. Around this time my husband was taken to recovery with our baby, while the caesarean was finished  up. I've got no idea how long it took, but it really didn't feel like long. They estimated 30-40 minutes. I'm thinking it might have been a little longer in the end.

Somewhere through all of this the anaesthetists tells me I'd lost 1.3 litres of blood through the procedure - that's when I'd started to feel crook.

The team of medical professionals expertly slid my numb body from the operating table to my hospital bed and I was happily wheeled to recovery to be reunited with my husband and baby. They looked so sweet sitting together. 
Waiting in recovery.

I cannot thank our obstetrician enough. He has cared for us so well through this pregnancy. His excellent care filled us with confidence through each clinical decision that needed to be made during our pregnancy and the end result speaks for itself. I am well and recovering quickly and our baby is home with us and a picture of perfection.

At long last our baby making mission has a happy ending. Five years of trying to conceive, this beautiful boy is the result of our 6th pregnancy. He is our 7th baby and our 1st baby. I loved him well before I met him and am grateful that he arrived safely and is healthy. 

On our way home.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

B-day eve

I've been so busy these past few weeks with renovations at home, I haven't had time to blog. But I think a little more sadly, I haven't really had time to get excited about the big event, baby b-day. Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise that I haven't had time to think too much about it and be wishing the day would come quicker.

Funnily, everyone else around us seem really excited for us for tomorrow. That is nice. Both of our families are thrilled. 

I am nervous about the procedure and my recovery. I am also very much looking forward to meeting our baby. I remember a few months ago thinking how much I loved him already, so I expect tomorrow I am going to be quite emotional. It is really hard to imagine how special it must be to see your baby for the first time.

Tonight hubby and I are trying to decide how to spend our last childless night. We are both EXHAUSTED from all the work we've done renovating. It looks like dinner and movie will be replaced with a nice takeaway and some quiet time together at home. We did manage to enjoy quite a few nice lunches together over the past fortnight as a treat during the reno works and I think a quiet night in will be delightful. 

Next time you hear from me, hopefully we will have a name for our newest family member and maybe even a pic or two.

I have included a few pics from past couple of weeks.

Baby room prep

The new kitchen going in!

2 days before b-day!
Dressed for my last couple of hours work!

Please rid me of these swollen, puffy feet!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

B-day locked in

Unfortunately our placenta scan didn't go the way I'd hoped this week. Through the whole pregnancy I've been told our placenta is low lying and that it would need to be checked closer to delivery. Usually the placenta moves upward as the uterus grows, so low lying at 20-weeks isn't usually cause for concern. This week's scan showed that our low lying placenta had an edge covering the cervix. The obstetrician even pointed out the piece of placenta that lifted when we had the edge bleed (antepartum haemorrhage) that was still hanging over the top of the cervix.

Once I'd seen the scan I thought this isn't looking good. Still, we sat down with the obstetrician afterwards and talked through what he could see and what that could mean if we still wanted to proceed a normal delivery. The obstetrician clinically described the result as a minor placenta praevia. He advised that based on how much placenta is covering the cervix there is a chance we could still have an okay normal labour and birth. The placenta might move out of the way as the cervix opens. However, given that we've already had one bleed, it seems more likely that more bleeding will occur and then just how much bleeding seems to become the problem.

The placenta is an organ made up of blood vessels and is designed to transfer blood. So when it is bleeding, it isn't good. The ob also says you don't know if given the bleeding etc, if the uterus won't start to kind of freak out and then the whole placenta could come away. I can't remember the exact clinical descriptions for these things. But the ob says they are genuine dangers for us given our history of miscarriage, having had four D&Cs and having already had a bleed that required hospital admission during this pregnancy.

The obstetrician then said if I asked what he would advise he would advise we have a caesarean. He did say there are still some issues that can occur with the placenta being delivered by caesarean, that my uterus might not contract as well as it should, but from what I can gather, this risk is much less dangerous for me and for baby.

The ob tells us the perfect time to do a caesarean would be 39-weeks gestation, however there is a chance I could go into labour, which he is now very keen for us to avoid. So 38-weeks is next best time. Baby should be fully cooked by then. So we left our appointment with a due date locked in for 11 October 2013 - exactly 38-weeks gestation.We were pretty excited to have a date set and to know exactly when baby will be arriving.

It is a little strange to go from expecting baby around 25 October, to knowing baby will be here on 11 October. Despite my normal, rational thinking, I was hoping if anything baby would be a bit late because of - please don't think less of me - star signs. Mini Matty could alway have been a libra, but his due date was scorpio and late would have guaranteed scorpio. I've known a few libras in my time and my significant ex was a libra - so I'm a little scarred when it comes to male librans. I know I sound crazy. I've even been googling libra horoscope info to try and find out more good things about the sign. Maybe my ex would have been the same if he were a scorpio. Okay - so that's my little bit of crazy. I have to get over it, as mini matty is going to be libran.

When it comes to genuine concerns, I am concerned about the medical procedure. I was much more comfortable with the idea of lots of pain pre-birth and then (hopefully) a relatively quick, simple recovery. I know this isn't the case for all vaginal deliveries. I am now faced with zero pain pre-delivery and a plethora of drugs to help manage pain while I start a lengthy recovery. I'm a sook when it comes to surgical recovery and am all about the really good pain killers. I hope I'll be able to take the awesome painkillers they gave me after my keyhole surgeries - oxycodone is the business! - even if I'm breastfeeding.

Even as I'm writing about all this, I keep thinking, really what does it matter. I know come 11 October we are going to finally have the hard fought for baby we have been dreaming of. Our little family will grow from 2 (+1 furry kid) to 3 (+1 furry kid). I'm sure it is going to be amazing.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Return to having an awesome pregnancy

It has been four weeks since our little pregnancy hiccup - the antepartum haemorrhage. Over the past couple of days I've noticed I've reverted to mostly feelings of excitement and joy in the pregnancy and now more than ever the impending arrival of our first child.

This week we had our fortnightly obstetrics appointment. It was another growth scan appointment where we checked in on how mini matty was growing. For the past 8 weeks mini matty has stuck to the same growth trajectory. Overall he is on the 75th-80th percentile. His weight is currently estimated at 2.6 kilos, which in the old money is around 5 pound 12 ounces. I finally remembered to ask what weight we could expect mini matty to be if we make full term. Of course this is only an estimate, but 3.6 - 3.8 kilos, which is around 7 pound 15 ounces to 8 pounds 6 ounces.

Just before our obstetric appointment at almost 34-weeks pregnant
We have another obstetric appointment later this week to do an internal scan to check out what's going on with the placenta. Given the bleed 4-weeks ago, we need to see if the placenta is still low lying and going to cause any troubles for a vaginal delivery. I have hoped to avoid having a caesarean birth. I've had several keyhole surgeries through our baby making mission, I know I take a long time to recover from even simple surgery. Given this, I'd prefer not to have a major surgical procedure, if it looks as though we could safely have the baby the old fashioned way! However, I'm also all about safely having the baby, so that both mini matty and I get to go home. So if the obstetrician makes the call that caesarean is the best option for clinical reasons, so be it.

The past four weeks I've worked a lot less, finishing up my full-time contract and transitioning to a consulting job for one client, that is keeping me busy for up to 10 hours a week. I mostly get to undertake this work from home, so I am feeling very lucky and quite relaxed that I am still able to work, but don't have face the daily grind. I confessed to one of my colleagues last week that my enthusiasm for work has diminished in the past week. My heart isn't in it like it used to be. But the cash coming in is very handy, especially given our renovation plans!

Argghhhhh the renovation! The next three weeks there is a lot of work going on at home leaving us without a kitchen and laundry for two full weeks! We've also had to empty our two spare bedrooms so that asbestos can be removed from the wardrobes and new fitouts and doors be fitted in all three bedrooms. We have decided that since we needed to clear the rooms to have asbestos removed we may as well go all out and repaint and recarpet the rooms. I can't wait for it all to be done, but I'm also really hoping mini matty doesn't come early! All our baby stuff is stored in the garage, clothes, cot, change table, pram, sheets - I mean EVERYTHING we have for the baby.

I'm also not much help when it comes to the work of moving stuff, as I can't lift anything heavy, can't really bend over very easily and even being on my feet for any period of time leaves me with sore hips and legs! So I've timed the bulk of renovation work with my husband's upcoming two week school holidays. He is going to be flat out prepping walls, windows, cornice and skirting boards for painting in 5 rooms (our house only has 7 rooms and a hallway!) - and then painting. It will be two and half weeks (bringing me to 37-weeks pregnant) before the rooms will be repainted and carpeted and ready to move back into. Then it will be action stations setting up Mini Matty's room and getting all his linens and clothes washed!

I'm really getting why so many people talk about the final trimester being a drag. I've found sleeping is a lot harder, with a combination of sore hips, legs and knees, active night time baby, needing to pee and most recently reflux/indigestion. And - how hard is it to roll over! Day time has it own challenges, for example simple tasks taken for granted have become more difficult - tasks like putting on clothes, socks and shoes. I haven't needed help to do these things yet, but I'm certainly a lot slower doing it and make decisions on what to wear based on a level of difficulty in putting it on or taking it off. I've also discovered my first new stretch marks! I thought I was going to get off on the stretch mark front, but it doesn't appear to be so. Fingers crossed I don't get too many new additions over the next few weeks.

Despite all that I'm really enjoying being pregnant and pretty much celebrating every extra week mini matty stays in-utero. Watching my tummy undulate with a wiggling baby is probably my favourite thing - especially if someone else sees it too. Throughout this pregnancy I've often thought how rare being pregnant is, it is such a unique state that only women, and not all women, get to experience and only during a small window in their lives. I am grateful I have had the opportunity to experience it.

Friday, August 30, 2013

After the scare is over - the final trimester continues

I ended up spending two nights in hospital. I thought they were going to keep me in another day at least, so I was pretty happy with being discharged early.

Once I was admitted to hospital the bleeding settled down and thankfully I had no new bleeds. Every time they ran a trace on mini matty he was as happy as a baby swimming in the perfect amount of amniotic fluid can be. Kicking and swooshing away. They also did six hourly observations on me, where they did an ultrasound of mini matty's heartbeat too.

On the first morning I woke up and was looking at my patient information white board. It contained the name of the current midwife, frequency for my observations, frequency for the baby trace, my condition and there was a little section for things my doctor wanted me to do. Written there was ICN tour.

ICN tour. ICN tour. I remember my ob said he'd like us to do a tour of the nursery. The IC nursery? The penny drops - the intensive care nursery. It's 6am, I've barely slept being pumped full of steroids and full of worry. Thinking about going to the intensive care nursery I start to cry. I keep thinking about mini matty being born now and how little he would be. I don't want to get myself unnecessarily worked up. I text hubby to tell him I'm awake and am pleased with his reply that he has packed my bag and will be heading back to the hospital shortly. Not long for me sit on my own and over-think the tour.

When Matt arrives we decide it is time to call our families and let them know we are in hospital. It is hard to tell your family when this stuff is going on as you don't have a lot of information and can't reassure them.

When my ob visits in the morning he again feels my tummy and asks questions about whether I've had any tightening or additional bleeding. All good on both fronts. He says he is going to have me sent for an ultrasound, but that they might not be able to do it that day as it is a Sunday. He says getting the ultrasound won't make any difference to the outcome (that is, if I'm going to go into labour, it is going to happen whether I've had an ultrasound that day, or the next). The ob says we definitely aren't going to our antenatal class that day either. Resting is the order of the day. He says bed rest doesn't mean I can't get up and go for a walk. A walk around the ward is fine, even into the hospital grounds, just don't be going down to Southbank (that would be about 1 kilometre from the hospital).

Matt pops down to the antenatal class and tells the midwife we aren't going to make it to the second day of classes as we were instead trialling the facilities.

I'm all washed out with terribly dark circles under my eyes so we decide after we've had the first trace that we will go to the cafe in the hospital foyer and sit in the sun while having a coffee. It is a beautiful day outside, a bit of sun on the skin is a delight. Matt goes back to the car to get something sorted out with the parking and I head back into the hospital.

Being in the hospital is pretty boring for Matt, but as a patient I feel relatively busy, with all the regular monitoring, meals and snacks arriving every couple of hours. Being hooked up to the trace for 30-45 minutes twice a day sucks up a lot time just watching what baby is doing.

Matt trying to rest on the hubby day bed
One of the downfalls of the monitoring is that it gets you hooked on monitoring. I know this from our early pregnancy issues. You don't believe everything is okay until you are getting the ultrasound. The post ultrasound happiness and confidence wears off in a few days and you find yourself counting down to the next ultrasound, to be reassured the baby is still okay.

I quickly got obsessed with the monitoring. I wasn't worried about my observations, just mini matty's. What his pulse was doing, how much he was moving. If he was quiet for a little bit during the day I'd be looking at the clock counting down to the next trace or baby heartbeat ultrasound. I could sense I was getting a little too into it. I started on the self talk to get myself back to earth - you can feel him moving - he is okay. He is moving as much as he was before the incident - he is okay. All the monitoring has shown he is okay.

On the Sunday we finally are ushered off for the intensive care nursery tour. I've confessed to Matt during the day that I'm nervous about going to pieces during the tour. When we get to ICN the team leader asks questions about how many weeks we are and if we've been told an estimate of the baby's weight. When we say 30 weeks and 1.7 kilos, she says that's great, he's a good size. Another couple joins us at this point for the tour - they are 28 weeks and don't know an estimate of their baby's weight.

The nurse explains the different nursery rooms to us and starts our tour in the most intensive care room. We have to disinfect our hands before we go in. She points out to us a tiny little baby that was born at 29 weeks, and weighs about what our little fella would. Baby is in an incubator, with a feeding tube in his nose. The nurse explains he isn't on a respirator, but is breathing for himself with a CPAP machine (like people with sleep apnea use). The baby is so tiny and so cute. The room is so quiet, with 8 - 10 of these incubators with tiny babies in them. One of them is glowing blue, which the nurse explains is a treatment for jaundice babies.

We go to the next room. There are more mothers in this room and the babies are in a mix of incubators and cots. A mother kindly let's us look at her little baby who is in a cot. He is now 4 weeks old, having been born at 29 weeks and weighing around 1.5 kilos. He has gained 500 grams and looks absolutely adorable, although tiny. He is wrapped up tightly in blankets and is making this cute squeaky sound. He looks perfect. He still needs a feeding tube, but is being trained to moving to sucking for his food. I thank the mum for letting us see him and congratulate her on her cute baby.

We then move onto the last room. This room has loads of people in it. It is the last room the babies go to before they go home. We can't go in as it is already so busy. The nurse tells us that from here, the parents then come back to hospital for a couple of nights and have the baby room in with them and they have the same type of support as women who have their babies at full-term do, to help them get used to taking care of the baby on their own. She tells us that babies are usually the equivalent of about 35-36 weeks before this happens (quick mental calculation - mini matty would be about 5-6 weeks in ICN if born now).

The tour is over and we head back to my room. It was a lot better than I thought it would be. A lot more comforting. A lot calmer. I thought there would be beeping machines and wailing mothers. But no, it was all very quiet and all those tiny babies looked so cute. But still, we want mini matty to stay put!

We have a few visitors on Sunday afternoon. Matt goes home again overnight. I have my second baby lung maturing steroid injection and settle in for the funniest baby trace ever, with mini matty going at full speed pumped up on steroids. They ended up having to leave the trace on a really long time to get a base rate where he wasn't moving.

Mini Matty's roid rage trace. The black squares on the bottom trace indicate when he moving!

Monday was about the same as Sunday, with the only thing to break up the day being the ultrasound, that didn't happen until after 4pm. Mini matty looked perfectly fine during the ultrasound. They did all the measurements again - and again he had a 97th percentile tummy! They did an internal scan to try and measure where the placenta was in relation to the cervix, but the bleed was in the way, so they couldn't really make out the edge of the placenta. The best thing about the scan was the 3D face images. I usually hate ultrasound images especially the 3D images. I always think it they make the baby look wrong. The last one I'd had at 20-weeks, the baby looked like voldemort! Here we were at 30 weeks and finally picture of mini matty's face was quite cute. He looked like a baby. 

Mini Matty's face, with his arm behind.
A couple of hours after the ultrasound our ob arrived and explained the result of scan. The scan had confirmed the diagnosis of a placenta edge bleed. Although they couldn't quite tell where the edge of the placenta was due to the remaining bleed, that will slowly clear, we didn't have any big nasty bleed clots over the cervix that would be cause for concern. So, would we like to go and rest up there for the week instead of in a hospital bed. We are advised about what to do if more bleeding occurs - come back to the hospital - if it is a big bleed call an ambulance and come back to the hospital. Rest is the order of the week. Don't venture far from the hospital. Don't do too much. My ob encourages Matt to spend the week at home so that someone is around if anything goes wrong.

Hooray. Of three bad things and one good thing that could happen, we are looking like we are going have the one good thing happen - nothing!

At home I get a chance to really rest - including having a much better night's sleep in our own bed. We made it through seven days with nothing else happening and both of us started to breathe a little easier. We missed out on a family wedding in northern New South Wales, as the ob thought just in case anything did go wrong - it was too far from the hospital.

In fact I'm now an amazing 32-weeks pregnant! Mini matty is still in utero having a lovely time swishing around. I'm not worried about the monitoring, because our baby moves and moves. I know some people don't love it, but I LOVE my baby moving. The bigger the better. I love it when I can see my whole tummy wobbling with mini matty swooshes and kicks.