Sunday, October 30, 2011

At last...

Hi f0lks - well here I am at last! I had intended to update this blog much sooner after Rosie was born, but that was as far as I got... but better late than never, eh!
Rosie is fast asleep on my lap, and Charlie is watching TV in his Darth Vader costume, so I thought I'd capitalise on a few minutes peace and get Rosie's birth story onto the blog at last!
So. Let me take you back to the Friday before Rosie was born - October 7.
Pete and I headed up to the hospital to see Mr Beattie. I was five days overdue, and I was anticipating being given a date to be induced towards the end of the following week, because Rosie was showing no signs of making an appearance under her own steam.
Pete had booked the day off work, and we were planning a relaxing lunch after our appointment before we had to collect Charlie from school.
So, as normal, we went for a scan in the fetal medicine department.
The lady doing the scan had a good look at the baby and confirmed that everything was still looking great. She did all the usual measurements, and yet again, LO was still looking big - off the scale in every measurement, in fact.
We didn't really think too much of this, until we went in to chat with Mr Beattie.
He came into the room proffering the chart on which he had plotted LO's measurements.According to the scan measurements (which are notoriously unreliable later on in pregnancy) the baby was now weighing a whopping 12lbs 9oz.
12lb 9oz!!!
Unfortunately I can't capitalise numerals, because if ever a figure merited capitals, it's 12lbs 9oz! So hopefully some bold printing, italics and a bigger font will give you the idea!
Mr Beattie was worried because the baby was showing up as big all over - not just a big head, but long leg bones and a big tummy too.
His main concern was the threat of shoulder dystocia - when the baby's head delivers normally, but the shoulders are too big to rotate properly, so the baby gets stuck in the birth canal - usually with its oxygen supply compromised.
If this happens, you can't get the baby back inside to do a caesarean section - the baby has to be delivered normally. But because the baby is too big, it is very risky for both mum and baby. (I won't go into too much detail, but it can be pretty horrific - sometimes doctors need to break the baby's clavicles or the mother's pelvis to get the baby out...)
It goes without saying, that at this point, my desire for a non-medicalised and 'normal' birth was disappearing quickly.
I have to admit, at no point did I think the baby actually was 12lbs 9oz - yes, I knew she was a big baby, but my bump really didn't feel like it was holding a baby who was only a pound and a bit shy of a stone!I said as much to Mr Beattie, and he agreed, but he said he would rather have to apologise to me down the line if I had a c-section that it turned out I didn't need, rather than proceed with a normal delivery and risk something awful happening.
Like I've said before, we've known Bryan Beattie for the best part of a decade - since I was carrying Will - and I trust him absolutely, with my health and that of my kids.
If he recommended a c-section, then that was fine by me.
I think he was expecting to have to talk me into it, and was quite pleasantly surprised when I agreed without hesitation! (I mean, really - who wants to have to deliver a 12lbs 9oz baby?? Ouch.)
I wanted him to be the surgeon to deliver the baby, and he was able to squeeze me onto his list for surgery the following Monday - October 10.
So, off Pete and I went to the pre-op clinic to have my blood taken and to speak with the anaesthetist.
It was a long day, and our romantic lunch went out of the window! In fact, we only just made it home in time to collect Charlie from school!
Although it wasn't the delivery I had hoped and planned for throughout my pregnancy, it was actually a pretty good result in many ways. I'm one of those people who likes to know what's what, and to be plan for what's happening. We were able to get everything packed and ready, and to collect Mum so she was able to be here to look after Charlie.
We decided to take Charlie out of school on the Monday, so he and Mum could come up to the hospital with us, so they were on the scene as soon as LO made her appearance.
So, fast forward to Monday morning.
We had to be at the hospital by 8am, so it was a very early start for all of us.
Pete and I left Charlie and Mum in the hospital concourse, and went to wait on the maternity ward. We were told that I was second on the theatre list, so should be having the baby by late morning.
We sat and waited... and waited.
Around noon, Pete went to meet Mum and Charlie for some lunch - and I carried on waiting on the ward.
At about 1.30pm, I asked a nurse when I was likely to be having my section, and found out that I was actually last on the list, not second. And to further complicate matters, there had been a couple of emergencies too.
I couldn't help but think about Mum trying to keep my poor, overexcited Charlie-Boy entertained for hours and hours with nothing but two coffee shops, a chemist and a newsagent.
At 2pm, it was ward visiting hours, so Charlie and Mum came to sit with us while we waited. Charlie had been SO good - I really felt for him, because I think he was starting to doubt that his little sister was ever going to arrive.
Visiting was over at 3pm, but he and Mum were allowed to stay a bit longer because we'd been told that I'd be going to theatre 'any minute'.
Finally, at about 3.15pm, Pete and I hugged Charlie and Mum goodbye, and headed off to meet our daughter.
Pete wasn't best pleased, because instead of the George Clooney-style scrubs that you normally see expectant fathers wearing on TV, he was given a disposable hat and gown made of some blue material, not dissimilar to J-cloth!
I had a c-section with Will, but things were slightly different this time round. Instead of going to a separate anaesthetic room, I was taken straight into theatre, where I was given my spinal block.
It was, without doubt, a very strange experience - so utterly different from both times I gave birth previously.
With Will, we knew our time was so very limited, and we knew with absolute certainty what would happen as soon as he was born.
With Charlie, there was no sense of relief, or of the worst being over when he was finally born - he was whisked away from us in the blink of an eye, and we knew the hardest part of our journey with him was yet to come.
If I am totally honest, I don't think I ever really fully accepted that this little one was destined to stay with us for any length of time.
Although I allowed myself to enjoy my pregnancy and doing a few bits of baby shopping, in my heart of hearts, I really felt that this baby would be taken from us too.
I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but I couldn't shake the tentative funeral plans I had come up with - songs that would be appropriate, music I'd want to play, people I would ask to speak...
Even as I lay on the operating table, knowing that our daughter would be in my arms in a matter of minutes, I felt oddly detached from the whole situation - still totally disbelieving that all might be well.
We had been warned that she may not cry straight away, because babies born by c-section are often a bit shocked, as well as having lungs that are full of fluid because they haven't been squeezed during birth.
But I know that both Pete and I had hoped against hope that she would cry loud and hard straight away, because any kind of silence after she was delivered, with that awful wait and anticipation would be horribly reminiscent of the silence after Will was born.
As I lay there, feeling sick and faint (spinal blocks always drop my blood pressure hard and fast) with the anaesthetist pumping something to stop me feeling so vile into my venflon, Pete leaned over and told me that he was sure he'd just heard them pop my waters.
An infinitesimally short moment later, before the baby was even fully delivered, we heard the loudest, crossest cry you could ever wish to hear, and all the medical staff laughed at just how loud and cross our baby was.
There was no fear in the room as far as the medical staff were concerned, no panic, no wondering what would happen, how they should treat us - they were just doing their jobs, and - knowing our previous history - were all happy and relieved that our baby was alright.
As she was born at 4.07pm, Mr Beattie said "Look how pink she is - she's ridiculously pink!" and they poked Rosie over the screen for us to see.
And she was indeed pink - pink, cross, bellowing and rooting for food straight away.
It was only then, as I heard our girl yelling, and the gentle laughter of the staff, that I finally believed.
Believed that this time everything was going to be ok.
As I finally let go of my fears, along with my baby's funeral plans, I couldn't stop crying.
They took Rosie to the other side of the room to clean her up.
Her Apgar scores were 9 at one minute and 10 at five minutes. She really is robustly healthy - in fact, the paediatrician on standby took one look at her and left the room.
Pete and I held her as they stitched me up. It really was so hard to believe that she was here safely.
It was about 4.30pm by the time they finished stitching me up, and I was moved to a bed to be wheeled back to the ward, which provided me with another precious moment.
I have seen so many women over the years - in hospitals and on TV shows - being wheeled back along the hospital corridors in their bed, new baby in their arms, glowing with love and pride.
I'd never been able to do that before, and until they put Rosie in my arms for the ride back to the ward, I'd never realised how much I'd wished I could.It was another hugely emotional moment - in fact, I made Pete take my picture before I let them wheel me away!
Once I was back in Recovery, Pete was allowed to fetch Charlie and Mum straight away. By this time, it was 5pm, and Charlie had been hanging around the hospital for nine hours.
But he was SO excited to finally meet his baby sister - he came running in, and cuddled her straight away. It was another fantastic 'first' for us - seeing two of our children together at the same time.
Although our road to parenthood has been difficult and unusual, it really means we appreciate every tiny moment of 'normality' - little things that most parents probably would't even think about.It was so priceless to see how in love Charlie was with Rosie at first glance, to see him hold her, and hear him tell her how long he'd been waiting to meet her. (And how much money Nanny had spent on comics in the newsagent trying to keep him entertained while he'd been waiting and waiting for her to arrive!)
Anyway, this has ended up being much longer than I intended, but I thought you'd like to hear how our journey to another sibling for Charlie finally came to fruition. I still cannot believe that all those hurdles I wrote about in my first post here last December have been safely negotiated, and we have a beautiful new daughter/sister in our lives.
One final thing to mention - as you can see from my post introducing LO, her name is Rosie Hannah. I thought you might like to know why we chose those names for her...
The Rosie part was Charlie's choice. He said ages ago, before I was even pregnant, that if we ever had a girl, that he would like to call her Rose. (You might remember that the erstwhile Dr Who played by David Tennant had a companion of the same name, and we all know how much Charlie loves Dr Who!!)
Pete and I thought it was a really pretty name, and tacked the -ie suffix on the end because it sounded nice next to Charlie!
As for the Hannah part... It was really important to me to honour my dad somehow with our baby's name. Dad's name was Alf, and had Rosie been a boy, she would have been named Alfie. I didn't really think it would be fair to lumber a little girl with the name Alfreda though, so we had to get a bit creative.
I've mentioned before on this blog how, when he was still here, my dad would pray every day for our as yet unconceived child, and would ask that we might have a child with no health problems the next time round. And because he knew that HLHS is more common in boys, he would pray that we might have a girl.
So, why Hannah?
Well, you may or may not have heard about the woman in the Bible named Hannah who was desperate for a baby, and prayed that she might conceive. Her prayers were answered, and she gave birth to a son - Samuel.
She is recorded as saying "For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him."
For me, it feels like my Dad could have spoken these very words - because he prayed so hard for our little Rosie Hannah, and those prayers have been well and truly answered.
So there you have it - it may not be obvious at first glance, but Rosie's name gives her a connection with her Grandpa - a man who would have loved her so very much, and who thought of her and prayed for her before she was conceived.

I've finally uploaded some pictures onto my netbook, so I will put a slideshow of Rosie's pictures together when I get five minutes... watch this space!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Introducing...

Rosie Hannah Turner,
Born 10/10/11 at 4.07pm,
Weighing 9lbs11oz.
She is beautiful, pink and healthy.
We are overjoyed and Charlie is ecstatic!
It has been a long day, so I will update properly later.
Welcome to the world, little darling!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Charlie's in print!

The article about newborn pulse oximetry testing that we featured in hit the news-stands today!
Hopefully it will help raise awareness of something so simple that can really save lives.
I'm not sure if you'll be able to read the text, but you get the idea!
I'm tickled pink with the picture of Charlie - wonky teeth and all!
(Although I have to admit that the sub-editing of my quotes made my hair stand on end - when I was a chief sub-editor, I'd have lynched my subs if they had sent a story to press with so many typos!! But hopefully all the readers won't notice quite as much as I did!)

Sunday, October 02, 2011

D-Day

Well, LO is due today.
And as of now, I don't think she's got any plans to arrive on time.
We're just having a leisurely day today - making the most of what might (or might not!) end up being our last weekend before LO makes her big appearance.
I'll keep you posted!

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Well, better late than never!

I had every intention of documenting this pregnancy with regular 'belly pictures'... but that's as far as I got!
So here's one of me just now at 39w3d.
And no, I don't normally look quite so smart, but we just had our photos taken for the newspaper, so I thought I'd capitalise on the fact that I've actually brushed my hair and put on a pair of heels by getting Pete to take a pic for me. It's a bit over-exposed, but you get the idea!

Anyway - you might be wondering why are we having pictures taken for the paper.
Primarily because we're helping my consultant, Bryan Beattie, publicise a new screening campaign to check blood oxygen levels in newborns.
We were very fortunate that Charlie's HLHS was picked up on ultrasound scan, because only about 50 percent of congenital heart defects are found via antenatal scanning.
And of the 50 percent that are undiagnosed before birth, many babies with major, life-threatening cardiac problems initially seem well and are discharged from hospital - only to become very ill, very quickly.
For many families, by the time they get their babies back to hospital, it can be too late.
But even though these babies initially seem well, the oxygen levels in their blood are often much lower than normal - a key warning to doctors that further investigation is needed.
A simple and non-invasive test can pick up the low oxygen levels before they even leave the hospital.
They just need to be attached to a pulse oximetry or sats machine, which will tell doctors the vital percentage of oxygen in their blood.
That's it.
Easy and painless - and already part of routine post-natal screening in the US, but not here.
So, Mr Beattie has started offering the screening at his private clinic - but we - and he - really want the NHS to pick up the baton here and make sure every newborn is screened before leaving hospital.
It really is a lifesaver.
Even though LO has been repeatedly scanned, and has had in-depth cardiac scans, we will definitely be having her sats checked before we set foot out of the hospital.

So... back to the newspaper.
I wrote a press release for Mr Beattie last week, (for those of you who don't know, I was a journalist before I had the kids, so it was quite nice to pick up my reporter's notebook again!) and was interviewed by a reporter the other day. A photographer came this afternoon to take some pics.
So, hopefully I should have some really nice pics to show you before too long. I'll post the link to the piece in the paper as well if I can find it when it comes out.

No other news really - all was well when I went to the midwife last week. LO was still head down and growing nicely.
It's hard to believe she is due in four days (although I am still adamant that she's going to be late!)
We go back to the hospital at the end of next week for another checkup, by which time I'll be about five days overdue.
I want to avoid being induced if I possibly can, and Mr Beattie is happy for me to go about 12days late, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens!
Watch this space!!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Not breech!!

Hi folks.
Well, our appointment today went really well!
As well as checking growth, they also re-checked all the key points - heart, kidneys, bladder etc.
Her anatomy is still looking totally normal and everything seems to be working perfectly.
She is still growing like mad - all her measurements were about two weeks ahead and they estimate she is weighing about 7lbs4oz now.
The best bit of all is that she has turned herself around again, so she is no longer breech!
So now all we need to do is wait for her to make an appearance!
Mr Beattie has made our next appointment for 40wk5d, so who knows - maybe LO will be here before then!
I have to go to the community midwife in about a fortnight just for her to check me over, but other than that, we just have to play the waiting game.
Mr Beattie was very happy with how LO is doing, which is great. He also told us that all of LO's cardiac scans have been reviewed by Orhan Uzun, the cardiologist, and he is very happy with everything too! Just what we want to hear.
Consequently, he doesn't think she will need a cardiac echo after she is born, but he does want to check her oxygen sats after she arrives - as much for my reassurance as anything else!
He gave me his mobile number and asked me to text him as soon as LO is born, so he can come and see her and put a sats probe on her.
I know I've said it before, but it is so fantastic to have a medical team around us who we really trust and can rely on.
I'm attaching the latest pic of LO - it's not very clear, but you can still see how chubby her cheeks are!
So, now we need to finish off all the preparations for LO's arrival, and I need to start hitting the raspberry leaf tea! I don't know how much good it does, but it can't hurt to give it a whirl!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

36w3d

Well. Here we are, fast approaching 37wks, when LO is considered to be 'at term'.
If I'm honest, it still doesn't feel real. I've washed the bits and pieces of clothes for her, the crib is ready and the buggy arrived yesterday.
This is a very weird feeling. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just waiting for it all to go wrong.
I still feel like I'm pretending at being pregnant. (Although my ever-growing bump might dispute that...) Or at least pretending that everything is ok.
It's strange to be able to chat to people about our impending new arrival without seeing sympathy and pity in their eyes.
Strange to think that the biggest concern at the moment is whether she is breech or not.
Strange to be talking about plans for Charlie's birthday and Christmas, and including the baby in those plans.
This is an unprecedented experience for me - preparing for a baby who, God willing, in all likelihood and according to all the doctors, will be born well and 'wonderfully boring', and be able to come home from hospital with me straight away.
I've been trying to pack my hospital bag and I'm really struggling.
I find myself wanting to pack lots of stuff for me, in the expectation that I'll be stuck in hospital for weeks with a sick baby. Equally, I'm finding it hard to know how much to take for LO - with Will, we took one outfit and that was it.
And, though it's quite hard to admit, I'm finding it hard to let go of the tentative baby funeral plans that have been bubbling around my brain since I got a positive pregnancy test back in January.
I know people who haven't been in our situation find that hard to stomach, and probably think I'm being over-dramatic.
I can already imagine all the 'You can't think like that; don't be stupid; you have to be positive' responses.
But I can't.
I just can't shake off my usual habit of expecting the worst.
Yes, I'm having fun ironing little dresses, and loving watching Charlie get more and more excited as LO's due date draws nearer and nearer.
But I still can't let myself be confident that she will be ok.
It's almost as though, if something does go wrong, I want to be able to say 'See! I was right!'
But on this occasion, I'll be very, very happy to be proved wrong.
We go back to the hospital on Friday to see how LO is getting on. Judging by my ever-increasing waistline, I'm guessing she's still growing pretty well. I'm also thinking that she may well still be breech, as I can feel something hard, round and head-like jammed up under my ribs.
I guess we will see on Friday.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, August 21, 2011

34 weeks

Wow. Six weeks to go until LO is due.
This pregnancy is flying by. She'll be here before we know it.
All is going well - she is still wriggling around like mad - I'm not sure if she's still breech though, so I might pop up to the community midwife this week so she can have a feel and tell me if I need to start standing on my head!
I'm feeling pretty ok - quite a few people have said I'm blooming (although I REALLY wouldn't go that far!) and I've also been told that my bump is very neat - which is nothing short of a miracle because according to the scans, LO is pretty huge!
I'm not too tired, although my hips and pelvis have been pretty sore and achy. I'm fine when I'm up and walking though - it's just the transition between lying down-sitting-standing and vice versa which is tricky.
We're reasonably organised for LO's arrival now - her crib is sorted, and her clothes are ready too. We've brought the essentials down out of the loft, and everything is sorted for my mum coming to look after Charlie while Pete and I are at the hospital.
It's quite exciting really - crazy to think we'll probably only have a couple more hospital appointments before she is here with us.
I'm still dithering about whether to hire a TENS machine again. I had one when I had Charlie and it didn't really seem to do a lot, and the buzzing feeling annoyed me a bit - but you never know how much worse it would have been without it!
Charlie is being a superstar - he's so helpful and so excited for his little sister to finally arrive. I'm having so much fun spending time with him - just him and me - before LO makes an appearance!

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Breech!!

Well, today's appointment went well. Everything was still looking very normal on the scan, although LO is growing like mad and is going to be quite a big girl by the looks of things.
The man doing the scanning today was a bit rushed, so only did one measurement of her head circumference, diameter, femur length and abdominal circumference, whereas normally they do several measurements and pick the middle one.
But according to today's slightly rough measurements, she's already 5lbs8oz (with more than seven weeks left to go. Eek.)
The other news is that she has turned herself to a breech position. I was pretty sure she'd turned a few days ago because my bump changed shape and all the kicks were in different places.
Nobody seems particularly worried though, because babies often turn themselves back again before about 36wks.
I've been advised to do lots of bouncing on my exercise ball - I'll have to wrestle it off Charlie first!
My blood pressure is still looking good and they took some more bloods today too - I won't hear any results though unless there is a problem.
We also met with the midwife consultant to discuss whereabouts I'm going to have LO, and have come to a great compromise.
It used to be that if you went to a midwife-led unit, there was more flexibility to move around in labour, use the birthing pool and to have less aggressive monitoring, but the care was very much for low-risk mothers, with no doctors on site and no option for epidurals or other interventions.
Alternatively, for people needing high-risk care (ie me - because of my previous c-section and obstetric history) there was the very traditional consultant-led unit, where you were constantly monitored and basically strapped to the bed, flat on your back throughout.
But things have - thankfully - changed.
I've been given the opportunity to have midwife-led care, but on the consultant-led unit. So I get the reassurance of a consultant on permanent standby in case I end up needing a c-section or if there are any problems, while being on waterproof remote-controlled telemetry monitoring, so I can use the birthing pool, walk around and do all the things I wanted to do last time. Plus, Pete is able to stay with me after LO arrives - even overnight - which will be lovely.
We go back again on September 9, when I'll be 36w5d. It's also Will's birthday, and I love being up at the hospital on his birthday because it's the place where he was born, and lived, and died. So that will be nice, and very special.
I've attached the latest pic of LO - she's got her eye open and you can see how chubby her cheeks are looking already!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Getting organised...

Well, we're off to the hospital on Thursday to see LO on the scan again. It certainly feels like she is growing like mad - she seems to be trying to fight her way out already, and I'm forever finding her knees and feet jabbing me under the ribs.
Less than eight weeks to go until her due date now, and I'm starting to wish the weeks away.
Partly because I want her out safely and partly because I'm starting to get pretty uncomfortable now! Walking, breathing, eating, sleeping - they're all getting pretty difficult!
We've been sorting through all the stuff we had in the loft - I've dug out Charlie's old baby chair, swing and crib. I've also brought down all the bags of clothes that have been residing up there in case our next baby was a boy!
I've sorted through them all and bagged up the obviously boyish stuff for the charity shop (although I'm still not quite confident enough to get rid of them yet, just in case the last four scans have been wrong and she turns out to be a boy after all!!)
I was really pleased to find a few unisex outfits among them, along with lots of white babygros, socks and vests. It'll be nice to pass on some of Charlie's stuff to his little sister.
So putting those bits and bobs together with the bag of girly clothes my friend Kelly gave me, I think we're about sorted!
Obviously LO's not allowed to arrive until September 6 though, or we won't have a buggy or cot ready for her!
I will update after Thursday's scan - I can't believe I'll be 32wk4d by then.
I'm intrigued to know how heavy they will estimate LO to be, as she was 3lbs a month ago. I want her to keep growing well, but I don't want her to be TOO enormous!!

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Shopping!

Well - we did it!! We ordered LO's buggy and cot today!
It made things feel very real all of a sudden, although I must admit, I am still left with the slight feeling that we're only pretending at being the parents of a 'boring and ordinary' baby, and that something is bound to go wrong soon. Just call me a pessimist - I'm relying on everybody else's positivity to outweigh my slightly warped sense of realism!!
None of the shopping is being delivered until September 6 though, by which time it will be less than a month to go until her due date.
Early enough that I feel like I'm vaguely organised (and that I've got time to work out all the bells and whistles on the pram!) but not so early that I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself.
'Normal' parenthood is certainly good fun so far - even if it does mean the bank balance takes a bit of a bashing!
I'm hoping my nesting instinct will kick in a bit prematurely because I've still got a LOT of sorting to do before LO makes her appearance!

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21, 2011

Hi folks.
Thought you might like to see the latest picture of our chubby little lady!
LO is doing brilliantly and is growing like a trooper. At the scan a week ago, she was weighing in at just a smidgen under 3lbs, which seems like pretty good going for the 28+wks she was then.
Mum came to the scan with us, which was lovely - she was amazed at how clearly she could see LO - especially because when she was having us, the only fetal monitoring available was listening to her tummy with an ear trumpet!!
Everything is still looking perfect - according to Mr Beattie, things are 'wonderfully boring' with LO!
Funny he should put it that way because before I was pregnant and we were talking to Charlie about the prospect of having another baby, we always said that we might have one like Will, or one like him or one that was just boring and ordinary! And it has to be said, there is an AWFUL lot to be said for boring and ordinary!
We're starting to get a bit more organised for LO's arrival now - there's only about 10wks left until she is due, and six weeks of that is the summer holiday!
My friend has given us a pile of baby girl clothes, and several friends are knitting frantically! Mum also ordered a carseat for LO which arrived the other day. It's pretty exciting really, and I keep peeping at it - it still hasn't sunk in that, all being well, we'll have a little person to put in it in a couple of months.
Charlie is still totally smitten with his little sister and has read her dozens of books. He loves feeling her kick and can't wait until she finally makes her appearance.
Well, I think I'll be making this blog public shortly, and linking to it from Charlie's blog so everyone can see what we've been up to! I'm hoping to keep writing this blog as well as Charlie's until LO is born and then I'll get this one printed into a blog book and use Charlie's for all the family news.
For the record, I'm now 29w4d - I can't believe how time is flying by. Our next scan will be on August 11 - Charlie is highly delighted because he's on holiday from school then so he'll be able to come too. We'll also have a meeting with the midwifery consultant - we're hopeful that I might be able to deliver LO at the posh new midwife-led birthing centre at the hospital, rather than on the traditional labour ward. Although I had a c-section with Will, I delivered Charlie normally so Mr Beattie doesn't see any reason why LO can't be born in the birthing centre. It would be fantastic to have a more 'normal' and less medicalised experience of giving birth if I can. So we'll have to see what they say at our next appointment!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

July 2, 2011

Here's our beautiful girl.
Our 4D scan was an amazing experience - we were all stunned by how clearly we could see LO.
Charlie was absolutely thrilled to bits to see his little sister, and insisted the lady doing the scan checked again to make sure she really is a girl. (Which she is!)
We could see her stretching, yawning, opening and closing her eyes, grimacing, frowning, rubbing her eyes and leaning on her hands.
Totally amazing.
It's still hard to believe that all that is going on inside my bump!
This scan was just for fun - they weren't looking for any problems, but they did do the basic checks - fluid levels, blood flow through the cord and a growth check - all of which were perfect!
She is still measuring a bit above average, and seems to have very long legs (about a week bigger than average) so she's obviously inherited them from her dad... as Pete's 6'4" and I'm only 5'2"!
According to the measurements they took, she's weighing in at about 2lbs5oz already which is great.
That's about it for now - we're off to the hospital again on July 14 for our regular growth scan. Mum is coming with us - LO is her 10th, and in all likelihood, last, grandchild, but she's never been to an ultrasound scan before. We thought she might like to experience one with us - especially now all is looking pretty good and scan days aren't quite so stressful! It's amazing how things have changed since Mum had us - back then they listened to the baby's heartbeat with a pinnard stethoscope, but that was about it as far as fetal monitoring was concerned!
Anyway, that's about it for now - I'm thinking it won't be too long before I throw this blog open for everyone to read. Kind of a scary thought in one way, but it's about time the world met LO!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So excited!

We're leaving in about half an hour to go for our 4D scan - Charlie is SO excited and so are we!
I wonder if LO will perform for the camera? I'll be very fed up if she spends the whole time with her face in her hands!!
Watch this space for some pics a bit later!

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26, 2011

26 weeks today.
Time is flying by - faster than I ever thought it would.
June is nearly gone and October is getting ever closer.
To be honest, it can't come quickly enough for me.
Not that I'm wishing my pregnancy days away - in all likelihood, this will be the last time I walk (or should I say waddle...) this road, so I want to appreciate the marvel of growing a baby inside me.
But I just want to get to the point where our little girl is safely in our arms... and we can start facing the next set of worries!
LO is growing well, as far as I can tell. I keep meaning to take some pictures of my bump but I haven't got round to it.
I always fancied being one of those supremely organised pregnant women who documented each week with a new 'belly picture' and a bullet-pointed list of the latest pregnancy news... but you know me! Organised blogging isn't one of my strong points.
She is moving lots, prodding and kicking all day long. Pete has felt her move now, much to his delight - she's even started responding to him prodding my tummy by kicking back at his hand.
Charlie is still SO excited about his little sister and can't walk past any baby stuff in the shops without eyeing up all the things he wants to get for her when she arrives.
He's still reading her stories every day, talking to her through my tummy, hugging my bump and singing to her. He's even making up songs specially for her! He calls her by her name all the time now - she's not just 'Baby' anymore.
We're all really looking forward to Tuesday and the 4D scan. It's so exciting to think we might get to see her face a bit more clearly.
That's about it for now - watch this space for some new pics on Tuesday!

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, June 10, 2011

Here she is!!

We went to the hospital yesterday for a further in-depth cardiac scan at 23w4d.
We were in a different part of the hospital, because there was a meeting being held in the Fetal Medicine Department, where LO is normally scanned, so, we were back in the old ultrasound department where I used to be scanned with Will and Charlie.
I'm not superstitious at all, but I couldn't help but think of all the bad news we'd had in those rooms before, and hope fervently that history wasn't about to repeat itself.
But the sonographer was a lady we've seen a few times before and she was great. She knows what we're like and happily tells us what she's seeing as she scans - and doesn't object to my many questions and clarifications!
But my fears were groundless - because LO's heart is still looking - and I quote the sonographer - 'Perfect'.
All the inflow and outflow vessels were perfect, the four chambers were very visible and proportionate, and the aortic arch was just beautiful.
It actually made me feel a bit emotional to see what a 'normal' heart looks like, and to really realise what a total miracle my Charlie-Boy is, managing as well as he does with what is, without doubt, a seriously underdeveloped heart.
Everything else was totally spot-on - all the measurements were exactly where they should be, and LO is growing well - already weighing in at an estimated 1lb7oz.
We go for a 4D scan on June 28, and then back for a 'normal' monitoring scan on July 14.
There are still a couple of things that could show up later on - coarctation of the aorta or small holes in the heart - but there's no reason to think they should, so we're trying to stop worrying a bit and enjoy this pregnancy!
It's crazy really - with Will and Charlie, I didn't stress about all the 'normal' worries like premature birth, placental abruption, cord accidents or stillbirth, but these seem to be looming rather large in my mind at the moment.
I'm not worrying about them as such, it's more that I'm really feeling the pressure to make sure LO arrives safely and in one piece - after all the hurdles we've successfully crossed so far, it would be beyond ironic to lose this baby to something else.
But anyway - back to the scan, and some almost equally important news - I was VERY smug to have my long-term suspicions confirmed... LO is a girl!
Charlie was on tenterhooks all day at school yesterday, and came flying out of the door when the bell went, whispering (because we still haven't told everybody...) "Well? Is it a girl or a boy?"
We had wrapped up a packet of pink muslin squares and a pink baby cup, so he could find out for himself when he opened the parcel! (I have to say, we're not really big fans of pink, but we didn't want there to be any doubt in his mind!)
We also included the scan picture above - taken yesterday and personalised for Charlie by the sonographer.
He was so thrilled when he opened the parcel - he's been hoping for a little sister for a good couple of months - even more so since they told us that she 'might' be a girl last time.
So he was VERY excited! I know boys aren't supposed to like shopping, but he's already planning all the things he wants to buy for his baby sister!
He's still hugging my tummy, and reading stories and chatting to the bump whenever he can - it's so precious to hear him telling her that she's "the best little sister in the universe, and I'm going to love you SO much..."
I guess he's been waiting a very long time for this! I'm in awe of how well he's done at keeping the secret though - it's been 12weeks since we told him, and he hasn't told a soul. :-)
It's still very hard to believe - this is a completely new experience for us - both in the fact that she's a girl and that, so far, she seems to be well.
We are so very thankful.

She is special in another way too - I think I might have mentioned before, that when Dad was still here, he used to pray, by name, for all his kids and grandchildren every day.
When he was praying for our little family, he would ask that if we had another baby, it might be healthy. And because he had read that HLHS is more common in boys, that maybe we might have a girl next time round.
And it's looking like Dad's prayers - and those of many others - have been answered.
It breaks my heart to think that LO won't meet her grandpa this side of Heaven - I know he'd have been as smitten with her as he was with his other grandkids, and I hate to think that she'll never know him and remember him like Charlie does.
But it makes me happy to think that when she's bigger, I'll be able to talk to her about her grandpa, and tell her that he thought about her and prayed about her, before she was even conceived.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

LO's heartbeat...

Click here to hear LO's heartbeat! (It might open a screen asking whether you want to open or save the file, so if it does, just click 'Open' and then press play when the media widget appears.)

June 1, 2011

Hi folks.
Well, it's been a while since I last updated LO's blog, but no news is good news!
We went for our anomaly scan on May 10... and everything is looking perfect so far.
I can't express how thrilled and relieved we were to hear this.
All the major organs looked totally normal - brain, kidneys, stomach, bladder, heart - everything was exactly where it should be.
Growth-wise, LO is spot on, and Mr Beattie was very confident that all will be well.
I however, won't be convinced until the baby is born, in our arms... and has had an echo and a sats check!
It seems such a long time since I started this blog last December, and I wrote about all the hurdles we had to jump on the road to Charlie Barley's baby. I don't really even want to say it, just in case, but it feels like the worst of those hurdles might actually be behind us.
Of course, there are always new and unexpected hurdles that could pop up at any point, but for the time being we're enjoying the knowledge that there doesn't appear to be anything major wrong with LO.
We go back next week - June 9 - for a really in-depth cardiac scan. The baby's heart grows massively between 20-24wks, so they should be able to get an even clearer view than they did at the anomaly scan.
Mr Beattie told us that they have been looking SO hard at our baby's heart, that he is confident that there are no major issues, and that if anything were to show up next time, it would only be something very minor and treatable - if in fact it even needed treating.
However, nothing he has seen has given him any cause for concern, and he doesn't expect there to be anything wrong.
Needless to say though, we are most certainly not counting our chickens yet.
In spite of that though, Pete and I have enjoyed the novel experience of wandering around John Lewis, earmarking the buggy and cotbed that we'll buy "if all is well".
We have never, ever done this before - even with Charlie we didn't buy anything apart from a packet of babygros and a cuddly dog before he was born.
We're not planning on buying anything big for quite a while though - but we're really enjoying looking!
Having said that, Charlie has bought his baby a cuddly Tigger, and I bought a lovely rainbow blanket, but that's it for the time being!
LO is quite the little wriggler, and I've been feeling movements for quite a few weeks now - since about 16wks. They are much more definite now though, and Charlie has been able to feel the kicks and prods from the outside. Pete however, has not - LO can be doing an Irish jig inside, but as soon as he puts his hand on my tummy everything stops! Hopefully it won't be too long though before he can feel how lively LO is.
We've decided on LO's name - whether we need a boy's name or a girl's name... at the last scan, they thought it MIGHT be a girl, but LO really wasn't cooperating so we're taking it with a pinch of salt! Hopefully we'll be able to find out at the next scan.
I also had my first ever 'normal' visit with the midwife last week - I've always been under the care of the hospital in all of my previous pregnancies, so haven't seen a community midwife. However I wanted to get the form to exempt me from paying dental charges (and I wanted my Bounty pack... it's nice to have some of the fun stuff as well as the serious medical stuff!)
She listened to LO's heart with a doppler, and it was beating beautifully at 147bpm. I recorded the heartbeat on my phone (sad, I know!) so I'll upload it here if I can work out how to put an audio track on Blogger.
I think that's about it for now - as I said, the next scan is on June 9, and we'll be going for a 4D scan a couple of weeks after that. So watch this space for some very cool pictures of LO!
For the record, I'm now 22w3d and LO is about 11ins from head to toe and weighs about 1lb.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Tomorrow...

So, tomorrow it's the anomaly scan.
We should find out with more certainty what, if anything, is wrong with LO.
I suppose I should really say 'if LO is alright' but I am afraid, and very aware of all the many things that could go wrong.
Charlie will have to come with us in the morning because he is off school with an ear infection. He will wait in the waiting room while we have the main scan, but he is very excited that he might be able to see the baby on the screen at the end if all is well.
I hope all is well - not least because it will be hard to keep strong for Charlie if it is bad news. I don't want him to be upset or disappointed.
He's really hoping we might be able to find out if he is having a brother or sister too. If he could choose, I think he'd like another brother, but he says he doesn't really mind one way or the other.
The appointment is early - 9.30am - so we shouldn't have to hang around for too long.
Watch this space...

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

LO's first holiday...

Well, here we are in sunny Crete!
Charlie is tickled pink to be able to wear his 'Big Brother' T-shirt again, as he's been banned from wearing it back home until everybody knows I'm pregnant. (In fact, I almost posted this picture to my normal blog, and then realised the T-shirt slogan might be a bit of a give away!)
In fact, he keeps telling anybody and everybody that he's getting a baby brother or sister. It's like he's been itching to tell everyone for so long, that he's making the most of it and telling all the people who we don't know in our 'real life' back home.
He is going to be SO excited once we let him shout it from the rooftops.
LO is growing well, as far as I can tell. My bump is getting bigger by the day and LO has recently been alternatively named Squirmy Worm because he/she is doing quite a bit of squirming around in there. In the last week or so, there have been some more definitive pokes and prods, but still nothing strong enough for Charlie or Pete to feel from the outside.
I'm a bit paranoid about eating something dodgy out here - I can hear feta cheese calling me at every mealtime, but I'm resisting the temptation and scoffing lots of olives and tsatsiki instead!
For the record, I'm now 18w1d, and LO/Squirmy Worm is about 5.5ins from head to bottom.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hello again, LO!

Well, we went to see LO again this morning, and I'm so pleased to report that all is still looking good.
Measurements were spot on. Just for the record:

Head Circumference: 117mm (15w4d)
Biparietal Diameter: 30.6mm (15w3d)
Femur Length: 17.7mm (15w1d)

LO has grown so much in the past three weeks - we could see his/her profile, arms and hands waving around, long skinny legs stretching out and lots of wriggling going on! We managed to get a lovely profile shot so we could see LO's little nose, lips and chin.
Mr Beattie sat in on the scan and confirmed that the kidneys, bladder and brain are still looking totally normal. To that end, he confirmed that LO does NOT have Meckel-Gruber Syndrome!
I can't begin to express what a relief that is for us - it means we can continue to hope for LO's future. And it also means that Charlie's chances of cuddling his living, breathing sibling have increased greatly.
Heart-wise, everything is still looking wonderfully normal so far.
We had another good look at the four chambers, and were also able to visualise the pulmonary artery and aorta.
So everything still appears very normal for this stage of pregnancy.
However, it's still only early days in terms of cardiac scanning, so the doctors are unable to completely rule anything in or out as yet.
However, each time they scan me, they are looking very hard for any abnormalities, and the fact that they have yet to spot any can only be interpreted as very good news.
So we are happy and greatly relieved with LO's progress so far.
The sonographer did try to find out whether LO is a he or a she, but those long skinny legs were firmly jammed together, so we'll have to be patient for a while longer!
We go back on May 10 - a couple of days after we get back from Crete - for the major anomaly scan, at which point I'll be 19w2d and almost half way through my pregnancy.
We should be able to get an even clearer picture of what's what by then, and should be able to rule out a lot of potential problems, as well as have a better look at the heart.
A few weeks after that, we'll be seeing Orhan Uzun, the fetal cardiologist, for an in-depth cardiac scan, at which we should be given some concrete answers.
I will be glad to finally know what's happening - I am not really allowing myself to get excited or start daydreaming, because it's just too hard to have it snatched away if a problem shows up.
For me, pessimism and realism are the order of the day until I have absolute confirmation that I can stand on the rooftops, singing!
The only other interesting thing from today, is that Mr Beattie has asked me to speak at another symposium, again about antenatal diagnosis, on May 11. I can use an amended version of the talk I gave last time, so it won't be too much work.
And it will be the day after the anomaly scan, so maybe, just maybe, I can edit in a happy ending!

You are doing so well, LO. Keep up the good work!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hospital again tomorrow...

So. We're off to the hospital again in the morning for another scan.
I'll be 15wks2days.
I'm hoping they might be able to tell us for sure about whether we have escaped Meckel-Gruber syndrome this time. If they can give us any more information about the baby's heart, then that will be a bonus.
And who knows, maybe we'll be able to find out if LO is a boy or a girl.
I want to find out what's going on, but I'm so scared that our hopes and dreams might be snatched away again.
Please be alright, LO.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

14w2d...

Ok, so I'm over 14wks now - well into my second trimester.
SECOND TRIMESTER!!
Do you hear me, morning sickness?
You are supposed to be gone, leaving me revitalised, full of energy and blooming.

Blooming awful, more like.

Bleagh.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, April 01, 2011

LO's latest portrait...


Here's LO at my last scan.


According to the dates they gave me last time, he/she is 12w2d, but according to his/her size on this scan, it might be 12w5d. Either way, LO is growing very well and is a bit bigger than average.


We were able to find out far more than we expected at the scan.


First and foremost, the nuchal fold measured 1.3mm - teeny tiny! They want it to be less than 3mm so that was a great start.


We explained our previous history to the sonographer (who recognised me from the speech I did last November!!) and asked her to look first at the kidneys - if they were massive, the nuchal fold measurement was really pretty redundant.


She had a look and (with a bit of hunting) spotted two small, very unremarkable looking kidneys, and a bladder. Hurrah! At this point in my pregnancy with Will, his kidneys were the size of those of a 27-week foetus and he had no bladder, so this was a GREAT start.


She also had a look at the brain - it was already well divided into the two hemispheres and appeared normal for this stage of pregnancy.


Then, much to our delight, she told us she was something of a cardiac specialist, and proceeded to have a good look at LO's heart.


She instantly spotted two AV valves and zoomed in to a FOUR-chamber view of the heart.


Yes - FOUR chambers. I make no apologies for my excessive use of capitals... this is amazing. She pointed out the right ventricle (the one Charlie has) and the much larger left ventricle. (which Charlie doesn't.)


She could see them.


I could see them.


Pete could see them.


I even collared Mr Beattie as he popped his head around the door, and HE could see them too.


FOUR chambers. TWO ventricles. I have to admit, I was stunned. Will had HLHS and so does Charlie. Pete and I have never conceived a child with all four chambers of its heart.


Until now, it seems.


Having said that, we aren't out of the woods yet by any means. We go back on April 12, when I'll be 15+wks.


We're hopeful that, by then, we might be able to rule some stuff out for certain. We might even be able to find out of LO is a he or a she. I was 16wks with Charlie when they definitively ruled out Meckel-Gruber syndrome, and definitively confirmed HLHS.


But we never had the nuchal fold scan with Chas - nor a pretty positive four-chamber view of the heart. It is amazing how much the technology has advanced in the last seven years.


We asked Mr Beattie if he felt confident enough for us to tell Charlie about the baby, and he replied 'Well, we've seen the kidneys, bladder and four-chamber view... I would!'


So we did.


I wrapped up an 'I'm the big brother' T-shirt for him and he opened it as soon as he got in from school. His reaction was totally priceless, and he is over the moon. I've uploaded the video below, so blow it up to full screen and crank your speakers right up!


He talks to the baby every day, hugs my tummy, and loves to plan all the things they'll do together if all is well. I hope this little one is ok.


After the next scan, we'll have another at about 20wks - the standard anomaly scan. Although, so far, things are looking promising, there are still a lot of things that can go wrong. And by 20wks, they should be able to tell us everything.


But whatever happens, I'll always treasure three little words on the scan report... "Heart Appears Normal".



PS Apologies for the very spacy layout on this post - Blogger isn't playing ball.

Charlie finds out about LO...


video

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Scared.

Well. We'll be at the hospital in just over an hour. Although today's scan is unlikely to be totally conclusive, it should give us a pretty clear indication of which way the wind is blowing. It's scary knowing that in an hour or so, we'll know whether we can keep on hoping for 'boring and ordinary' or if we have another rollercoaster ride ahead of us.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011

11 weeks

Hi folks. Well. Here we are at 11 weeks. I may be proved wrong but my morning sickness seems to be improving a bit. I suppose I am rapidly heading for the second trimester though, so nothing unusual there.
Mind you, I have had fairly lazy mornings the last few days, and it's always worse when I have to rush around.
I just realised I never wrote a proper update about our scan.
Well - we went up to the hospital to see the fetal medicine team. It's always nice to walk in and be greeted by the consultant with a hug and a kiss!
I feel so privileged to have such a wonderful team around me - it makes me more confident that we'll deal with anything that's thrown at us.
So.
I had a scan. I lay on the table and chatted with the sonographer, but as soon as she put the gel on my tummy, I started to cry.
It was the most enormous rush of emotions - fear that she might tell us that the baby didn't have a heartbeat, and blind terror - if there WAS a heartbeat - at the journey we are starting out on.
Anyway, I pulled myself together and looked at the screen, where LO was wriggling around happily. We could see the little arms waving and the tiny legs pumping.
As I said in the last post, I was right about being a bit further on than my initial dates had predicted - the scan put me forward by three days.
In a stupid way, I found this reassuring. With both Will and the miscarriage, my dates were pushed back by a week, so that would have felt like a very bad sign. Plus, Charlie was exactly where my dates said he should be, so it was nice for this baby to be totally different in that respect. (Not that it makes any difference really, but it made me feel better!)
They said the baby looked great, and totally normal for this stage. They also had a look at the yolk sac, which apparently looked very good too.
After the scan, they did my booking appointment, so there's no need for me to go to the GP - all my care will be under the fetal medicine department.
I had my bloods done, and my blood pressure (which, by some miracle, was very good at 106/64)
Then we saw the consultant, Bryan Beattie. He was very positive, which was nice. We've known him for years now, and he always tells us exactly how it is. He knows I work best with a 'just tell me everything' approach.
We told him we were inclined to have no more scans until 20 weeks, because we didn't think that we would be able to learn anything useful until then.
However, he was very keen for us to go back in a couple of weeks for a nuchal fold scan.
This was only just coming into its own when I had the boys, and was for determining the risk of Down's Syndrome, and has to be done between about 11 and 13wks. We never bothered with it before, because a Down's diagnosis wouldn't have changed anything for us anyway.
But apparently, in recent years, it has been discovered that a thickened nuchal fold can also signify whether a baby is likely to have a major cardiac defect AND, as I later discovered, Meckel Gruber syndrome. Plus, some of the physical signs of Meckel Gruber would possibly be visible by then on ultrasound.
So, although we won't know definitively at the 12 week scan, we will have a jolly good idea of which way the wind is blowing.
The plan is to have the scan at 12w2d (March 22) and if the nuchal fold looks good, Mr Beattie is confident enough to leave any further scans until 20wks, when we would have the standard anomaly scan. We would then follow that up with a detailed cardiac scan at 24wks.
If, however, the nuchal fold is thickened, we will have another scan at about 14wks to see what's going on.
It feels good to have a plan in place.
Before we left, I showed Mr Beattie the scan pictures we were given. To be honest, I wasn't expecting him to look at them in a diagnostic light - I was just showing off LO's first portrait!
But one of the pictures showed a clear side-on picture of LO, with a clear shot of the nuchal fold.
He showed me how to identify the fold, and said: 'It's a bit early to assess it, but that, to me, looks like a very small one.'
I found that comment so reassuring - firstly, there was no need for him to point out the nuchal fold at all, and secondly, I can't imagine he would have mentioned it if the nuchal fold was likely to suddenly balloon over the ensuing two weeks, and if a small nuchal fold now has no bearing at all on how it might look in a fortnight.
Needless to say, I came home and started Googling images of nuchal folds, and it does look pretty good so far!
So, for the moment, things are looking as good as they possibly can.
I'm feeling more optimistic than I ever have before.
Foolish, probably, but what's the point in hoping and praying for something to happen, if you don't believe it ever will?
I know it's a bit daft, but we've always said to Charlie that if we see a rainbow, it means Will is saying hello. Then, a couple of days after Dad died, we saw the most amazing double rainbow, and Chas said 'Look - it's Will AND Grandpa saying hello!'
So rainbows always make us think of them and smile.
Anyway, as we left the hospital, we were walking down the stairs, and there, projected onto the floor at our feet were two rainbows.
I have no idea what the sun was shining through to make them, but they were there - bright and beautiful.
I know, scientifically, it has no bearing on anything at all - but those two little splashes of colour felt like a hug.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, March 04, 2011

Hello, LO.

Here is LO. His/her heart is beating strongly and he/she is 2.9cm long. They pushed my dates forward, so I'm now 9w5d. New due date is October 2. I'm tired now, but I'll write a proper update soon about our appointment - which went well. Let's just say, so far, so good.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Big day tomorrow.

Well, as the title says, it's a big day tomorrow - all being well, we get to see LO for the first time and to confirm my dates. I'm vacillating between nervous excitement and nausea-inducing terror. If LO's little heart is beating (not TOO little, mind you - all four chambers would be nice...) then I can relax a bit about the miscarriage risk. Not totally, mind you, but a bit. But then I have to start really worrying about all the other potential problems that could be brewing. And if there's no heartbeat? Well. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I was sick as a dog again this morning though, which is quite reassuring, because I wasn't sick at all with the baby I miscarried. It just feels scary to be getting back onto the hospital bandwagon - it all starts to feel real now. While hardly anybody knows, I can just keep pottering along, and pretending that I'm not really pregnant. But once I'm 'in the system' - it all starts to really hit home. I still have no desire to tell everybody what's happening. Only four of my closest friends know - two are fellow heart mums - but that's it. I'm itching to tell Charlie - I know he'll be so excited, but it's a long time for him to wait without knowing what's going to happen to his baby after it's born. I think we'll probably tell him when we go on holiday - I'll be 17 weeks then, and we'll be having the big anomaly scan a week or so later. That's assuming I haven't ballooned to the size of a small continent by then - hopefully I can convince him I've just eaten too many pies. I haven't told my mum yet. Part of me really wants to, but I know how desperately worried she will be, and I just want to spare her the worry and fear for as long as I can. She - and we - have been through so much over the past couple of years, and I'm so very conscious that this time round, she doesn't have my dad to lean on for support, and stubborn assertions that all will be well. I miss my dad so, so much. Every night as I turn off the light by his photo in the living room, I whisper how much I miss him, and ask him, if there's any way he can, to look after this new little baby of ours. I know that Dad used to pray for all of us, by name, every night, and he would also pray for our, as yet unconceived, future children - that they might be healthy. I know it sounds terribly irreverent, but I feel like Dad's got an even more direct line to the Almighty these days, so maybe he might be able to put in a word or two on our behalf. I so wish Dad was still here. The pain of knowing that he isn't really doesn't seem to get any better, however much time passes.

I'll let you know how we get on in the morning.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Sleepless in Cardiff...

It's late, and I can't sleep. Pete is away and I miss him so much. I seem to need his physical presence all the more when I'm pregnant - even if he's just asleep next to me, just having him here is comforting and reassuring. I have so much flying around my head - we have the first scan on Friday and I'm starting to get a bit anxious that there won't be a heartbeat. I've even been dreaming about it. In many ways, I don't feel a huge maternal bond with LO yet - I'm more concerned that if all isn't well, we'll have to go through all this again - the physical pain and inconvenience of miscarriage, the stress of the 'two-week wait', and then the exhaustion and the sickness. I so hope all is well with this tiny, little life. Hang in there LO.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

First hospital appointment...

I went to the GP on Friday to set things in motion. To be honest, I tend not to have too much to do with the midwife at my GP's surgery when I'm pregnant - I tend to be seen more often at the fetal medicine department at the hospital. Anyway, I know the staff at the hospital pretty well... my obstetric history tends to make me pretty memorable... and I saw a lot of the team at the fetal cardiology conference I spoke at last year. I had a quick chat there with Gill Jones - the senior sister in fetal medicine, and told her I was hoping to become pregnant again. She said when I was, to register with the GP and then call her. So, as requested, I went to the GP on Friday, who promptly referred me back to the hospital! And today I rang Gill. It was great to speak to her. Although I wish my pregnancies had all been totally straightforward so I had no reason to be on first-name terms with all the hospital staff, it does feel good to have such an amazing supportive team rallying round me and LO. Gill asked how I wanted to approach this pregnancy, and I told her that we'd like a scan in the next week or so, just to confirm my dates, and to check LO has a heartbeat and is growing in the right place. I also said that we'd prefer to have no further scans until about 18 weeks when we will be able to find out for sure what we are dealing with. She was more than happy with that plan, and booked us in for a scan next Friday (March 4). Assuming all is well with LO, I am looking forward to seeing him/her for the first time, and just enjoying the experience, rather than trying to analyse every measurement. So hopefully, God willing, I'll be able to share LO's first photo with you next Friday! Gill asked how I've been feeling, and I told her how sick and tired I've been... so much more than with the boys. I asked if nausea and morning sickness was likely to be worse because I'm older now, and she said that's not necessarily the case, adding: 'But don't forget there could be two in there...' I did joke with Pete the other day that maybe I'm having twins because I've been feeling so awfully sick, but apparently the older I am, the greater my chance of a multiple pregnancy. Eek. My cousin has twins, so they're not unheard of in our family... but I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it! I don't mind what we have - so long as it can stay here with us. I'm still having 'girl' vibes about this pregnancy. I don't know why - maybe just because I feel so different this time round. It's certainly the first pregnancy where I've found myself referring to the baby as 'she'. I guess we'll have to wait and see about that too! For the record - I'm now 7wks and 5days, and LO is about half an inch long.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Seven weeks.

I'm seven weeks today and I must admit, for the past week I've felt pretty diabolical.
Chas has been off school with tonsillitis, which hasn't helped, but I have been SO nauseous. Like constant, unremitting motion sickness.
I'm not being sick every day, but I think this nausea is actually worse.
It's very hard to function around it.
I'm just hoping that sick mother = healthy baby.
I'm going to ring the hospital in a few days to book a dating scan in a couple of weeks.
Here's hoping all is well so far.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Bleagh.

Ok, so trying to vomit surreptitiously is no fun.
In fact, vomiting at all is no fun.
But when you are being sick/trying to avoid wetting your pants because you are heaving so hard AND making sure your 7-year-old doesn't hear you puking... well, that's really no fun.
And I REALLY don't want Chas going into school, sitting in the 'news circle' and telling all his classmates: "For some reason my mum keeps being sick every morning..."
Hey ho - I'm almost enjoying this early morning sickness (in a self-pitying kind of way) because it most likely means that LO is growing well. I'm going to dig out my old pregnancy diaries from Will and Charlie and try to find out when I started throwing up with them - in my head it was nearer seven weeks.
I'm five weeks and six days today. Can't believe I'm almost halfway through the first trimester already. Long may the days fly by!

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The delights of morning sickness...

Ah yes. I remember now.
Well, here we are - only 4wks 6days in and I'm feeling so queasy already.
I haven't actually been sick yet, but have more than made up for it with the amount of heaving and retching going on.
This is all kicking in so much earlier than before - it wasn't until about seven weeks with Will and Charlie that morning sickness really took effect.
Maybe it's because I'm older this time round, or maybe my hormone levels are higher, but LO is certainly making his/her presence felt.
I don't know why, but I have a bit of a feeling that this baby might be a girl. I could be wrong, but I 'knew' from day one that Charlie was a boy.
I've been having fun looking at all the old wives' tales, to see what they reckon I'm having, and according to the ones I can check so far, it's looking like a girl too...
1. Very nauseous from early on.
2. Craving sour/citrus - I can't stop drinking bitter lemon, lime cordial and orange juice. (But I think I craved lemony stuff when I was having the boys too! I certainly had a thing about ice when I was having Will - I'd sit and crunch my way through bowls of ice cubes like they were popcorn.)
3. Bad skin - tell me about it - I have more spots than I EVER did in my teens.
4. If maternal age and year of conception are both odd or both even it's a girl, if one of each it's a boy - well, Will was born in 2002 when I was 27, and Charlie was born in 2003 when I was 28, and I'm 35 now and it's 2011... but I'll be 36 when the baby arrives, so I don't have a clue!

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
At the end of the day, I just hope, boy or girl, that LO will be healthy and well.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sinking in...

Well, it's been a week since these two lines appeared, and I'm finally starting to believe that I really am pregnant.
I got my positive result quite early, so I'm not five weeks yet - not until Wednesday.
I am feeling pretty tired and queasy already (and I've gone right off coffee which is most unusual for me), but part of me is just trying to forget about it until we're a bit further down the line and I can actually find out something conclusive.
All being well, the baby should be arriving at the start of October (or maybe the middle/end of October if he/she is anything like Charlie - who was two weeks late!)
Having said that, I am so accustomed to having complicated pregnancies, that I'm not taking anything for granted.
Not one day.
First, I have to get through the first twelve weeks without having a miscarriage (as happened with Baby #1)
Then I have to get past a diagnosis of Meckel-Gruber syndrome (Baby #2 - our precious little Will) - probably between 12-15 weeks.
THEN we have to pass the hurdle of the anomaly scan (16-20 weeks) to see if Baby #4 - unlike Baby #2 AND Baby #3 (Charlie) - has managed to avoid HLHS... and anything else potentially lethal.
So, quite a few fences to jump before I break out the Mothercare catalogue.
I know that must sound very pessimistic, but it's not really - I'm just being realistic.
I have no doubt that 'crunch time' will be very scary, and we hope and pray that all will be well with this little one, but we have gone into this with our eyes wide open, and are pretty philosophical about it.
With my pregnancies with Will and Charlie, I was scanned every week or two from six or eight weeks. At the moment (although I may change my mind!) we don't think we want to be scanned so often, unless necessary. I'd rather have as few scans as possible until they can tell us something definitive, as it's very stressful hauling up to the hospital every five minutes, just in case some sign of bad news has appeared.
So for now, we're thinking of scans at eight weeks, 12 weeks and then 20 weeks. Obviously, whichever way things go, we'll be having multiple scans after 20 weeks, but up until then, I'd like to try and enjoy my pregnancy as much as I can.
Even if things aren't 'normal' I'd like to pretend for as long as possible.
I'm aware this might sound odd, and please believe me, I'm not in denial - I just have a very different approach to pregnancy than most women.
Even with a positive test, I don't ever let myself think 'When the baby comes...'
It's always 'If the baby survives...'
So I'm making a concerted effort this time round to ENJOY growing a baby.
I intend to enjoy every new milestone, every change, every bout of morning sickness, every kick, every inch my belly grows - every single thing - but in its own right.
I don't know how well I'll do, but that's the plan. :-)
I haven't told the doctors yet. I'll probably give it another two or three weeks and then give the foetal medicine team a shout. They'll need to invest in a wheelbarrow to transport my mountain of maternity notes!
For the record, I'm at 4wks 3days and Little One (LO from hereon in...) is somewhere between the size of a poppyseed and a sesame seed.
Amazing how someone so tiny is already leaving big footprints across my heart.

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