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


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.

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