Typical!

So I was just quite innocently checking my “About me” page and found that I gave birth exactly 2 weeks after starting this blog. So much about the pregnancy never made it to this blog! Did I get to tell you about the difficulty getting in and out of cars? Getting up off sofa’s? Moving in general? I am pretty hefty anyway but I was the size of a semi-detached bungalow by the end!

Did I tell you about a rude woman elbowing me in the Sedgbean at Sandbach services? Or about the time Ben left his sandwich box in the car for 2 days, only for me to open it up and vomit from the smell?

Remind me to tell you sometime šŸ™‚

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World Prematurity Day 2012 – and I’m late!!!

Typical! Time got away from me! I wanted to do a little post about World Prematurity Day, it was on Saturday 17th November 2012. A day to raise awareness on premature birth. Betty is in the Premature Baby Club, and so by Association so are her loving parents.

Whether 5, 10, or 15 weeks early, having a premature baby is a bit of a roller coaster ride. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty certain that having a full term or overdue baby is JUST as overwhelming, but I don’t know so I can’t comment. When Sedgbean decided that enough was enough and arrived at 35 weeks gestation, I didn’t think anything of it. However, I got quite the education. After not thinking it was a big deal, I was given information by the Midwives that put things into perspective and explained a few things. This prepared us for any eventuality, good and bad. The aftermath of Sedgbean arriving was more traumatic than a lot of people know, and a lot of the innocent comments I was getting via text and Facebook were quite upsetting.

First – and I was guilty of this – “Oh, it won’t matter that the baby is early, I have been told its a big baby anyway”

Well, this is incorrect. The SIZE of a baby does not matter, it is the MATURITY that counts. I was corrected by a Midwife who was preparing me for the eventual early delivery of the Sedgbean. I was being perhaps a litle casual in my false sense of security. I was told I would need steroid injections in case Sedgbean’s lungs were not mature. This is kind of when it hit home. Only really early babies needed oxygen, my baby would be fine. I mean, its not like Sedgbean is 10 weeks early? Only a few weeks, surely it won’t make much difference. Wrong, it can. Most of babies growing and maturing happens in the last few weeks. That is when a babies sucking mechanism develops, for example, a vital part of a baby being able to Breastfeed.

Second – You are lucky to have got out of the last few weeks of pregnancy!

Really? Is that so? Wow, cos I would have rather had the extra 5/6/7 weeks to prepare, let the baby grow, not have the painful injections, not have my baby taken away from me immediately after delivery before I could even cuddle her. When Betty was born, due to her being prem, a Paediatric doctor had to be on stand by incase she needed to be resuscitated. Once delivered, Betty was whisked away to the Doctor to be fully checked before I was allowed to hold her. I am so so lucky that Betty was as healthy as she was. I got her back within 10 minutes (I think, it was a blur to be honest) for skin to skin and a feed, before she was taken to SCBU for her necessary treatment.

Third – Its not so bad, other people have it worse. My baby was ….. etc etc

Ok, I was very guilty of this after Betty was born, convincing myself that she was only a few weeks, what about all those other poor parents wghose babies are 10 weeks or more early. Parent’s whose babies are born and need surgery within 24 hours, or who can’t breathe on their own or who need round the clock care. But I wasn’t the only one. I had Betty compared to alot of other babies, how its not so bad etc. I know this was supposed to make me feel better, but it didn’t. It frustrated me. Once I realised that I WAS allowed to be upset by what had happened, it made me angry. Ok, so Betty was healthy compared to other babies, or weighed more than other babies who were born at term, or had jaundice like other babies. But you know what, this was scary to ME and I should be allowed to be worried about it. I should be allowed to give in to the hormones and fears and feel a little insecure and feel like my situation was personal to me.

Not only was Betty premature, whisked away from us for a couple of hours to SCBU to have a canula fitted for her course of Antibiotics, she was also jaundiced and on double photo-therapy. On top of all of this, my body decided it did not want to help and so I was not producing sufficient milk to feed her. She dropped a pound in 5 days, which was more than the Paediatric Doctors were going to allow. After 7 days in hospital, we were home for less than 24 hours before going back in for another 3 days. I think I would have preferred to stay in the whole entire time. After 6 weeks of expressing 8 times a day and combination feeding, I gave up and Betty has been thriving on Formula ever since.

I defy any mother to not be TERRIFIED the first time they give birth. But add to that, the fact that someone has categorically told you all the things that could and possibly will go wrong, then be told you shouldn’t be worried. No, just doesn’t work.

So many babies are born early, premature,Ā (Some much earlier than others) or ill and needing special care. All of these babies are so special and amazing for beating the odds. Infact, forget that. All babies are special but some are extra special. I know some truly amazing little people who had a very difficult start in life, and I know some truly amazing mums who went through hell just to bring their baby into this world. You are all astounding, don’t let anyone take that away from you. Don’t take it away from anyone else either. You are your own Hero.

disclaimer: Hormones and Feelings after having a baby fluctuate dramatically and any feelings stated above have more than likely dissipated. I have not intended to upset anybody with this entry, just as I am 100% sure anybody who upset me did not intend it.

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Gotta be starting something…

So, an appointment with the Consultant Anesthetist on a thursday afternoon spurred me on for a walk. I had been visited in the morning by the beautiful Sian and Leon. Sian and I joked about the size of my bump, and how I had scared the wonderful Hubby by telling him the baby could come at any time! Oh how we laughed :S ….

The weather was lovely, and I hadn’t walked anywhere of late, so I took myself off on a stroll to Walsall Manor hospital. I found the journey pleasant, if a little tiring. Out in the sunshine, me and the Sedgbean singing along to some of our favourite tunes! I was feeling great, looking forward to a weekend with my Mum, some long overdue quality time!

Hubby arrived home, and informed me that we were taking my hospital bag on our trip. Trial Run. “Ok, no worries” I thought, “This makes sense”. The following day we were in Wirral, (Friday), and we picked up the Travel System from Mama’s and Papa’s, and spent the evening putting it together and taking it down again. Some arguments. No shouting. We also indulged in some Dairy Milk, and X-Men First Class. Sedgbean got hiccups. Tired so bed. (At this stage I was barely sleeping due to the size of my belly so any excuse to go to bed, I took it)

I think I must have slept for a massive 2 hours when I woke up with a pressing feeling in my netherbits! Uh Oh!! Gonna wet myself! The naughty little Sedgbean must have been moving around and settled on top of my bladder!! Never mind, up I get to go to the bathroom. Stood up … sat straight back down again. Woah!!! Seriously lost control of my bladder here!! Just the act of standing had caused some embarrassing trickling. Ok, hold it Rach, hold it in, and try again. Same thing. Uh Oh! That horrific thought flashed across my mind. “What if this is your waters breaking?” Well, no. Impossible. I’m only 35 weeks pregnant, so its too early for that. I know I’m unlucky but surely I’m not THAT unlucky!! Am I??

Several further attempts got me as far as the end of the bed with fluid trickling down my legs. My shuffling around the bedroom had woken Ben, who I later discovered had been watching me with some mirth!

“Whats up?”

“Well, I don’t want to panic you but one of two things is happening. Either I’m pissing myself for the first time in a very long time, or my waters have broken”

“O….K…. Er, right. What shall we do?”

Well, the only thing I knew was that gravity was winning the battle and unless I got to the bathroom sharpish, I would possibly be leaving my mum and dad with a gorgeous wee stain on the carpet. I pegged it down the hall which took forever (if you have ever been to my parents house, you will understand!) and plonked myself on the toilet. Sweet relief!!
One problem. Now I have opened the floodgates (if you will pardon the pun) I seemed to be waiting an awfully long time for this trickling to stop. I made it back to the bedroom in an equally humourous fashion, and Ben and I set about getting a phone number for NHS Direct.

(After hanging over the side of the bath to allow this fluid to empty, and being pretty convinced it was NOT coming out of my bladder, the realisation set in that this could very well be my waters breaking. Great. Even better was the fact that I had not discussed what to do if this happened with my midwife. No Birth plan either. All I had were my pregnancy notes and phone numbers for the delivery suite at the Manor. Since I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be going there, if my waters HAD broken, I would need some advice!)
After speaking to Arrowe Park Hospital, we eventually made our way in, being admitted at 04:45am. I was ushered into Delivery to be hooked up to monitors and await my fate. Had my waters broken? Was the baby on its way? Did I have enough in my Maternity Bag? Would I be getting any breakfast? All the thoughts rushing around in my head were intense, but I knew one thing – Life was not going to be the same after this weekend!

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An apology of sorts

To my faithful followers, an apology

I have neglected you in favour of tending to the Sedgbean. I assure you that I am halfway through a mammoth blog that is detailing the birth for one and all to re-live with me. I think I might have to abandon any hope of remember the last few weeks of pregnancy that may never make it into the blog.

But, baby brain is a terrible thing.
Now, what was I saying?

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The Final Countdown

So, I will try to summarise the end of my pregnancy. I think we had got as far as roughly halfway, and I wanted to take much more time over this, but I think we can all agree I no longer have that option! šŸ™‚

The final trimester of pregnancy I really settled into it. I loved my bump. Loved it. I went down 2 sizes in clothes as my body became perfectly proportioned for my expanding waistline (for a change) and I enjoyed the many kind comments from people that I was glowing, radiant, suited pregnancy. LOVED IT!

Oh sure, I could no longer get in or out of a car in a dignified way. Getting into the car, the first leg went in fine, but I needed a crane to get the second leg in. A crane, or a helpful husband! Getting out of the car, my legs were fully functioning, but I could not straighten up for about 5 minutes, it was horrific! Whether it was a 10 minutes or 2 hour journey, I was struggling!

My bump was impressive, huge to say the least. I kept getting asked if there was just the 1 in there! I did wonder for a while just how big I would get, I had a huge bump at 33 weeks, so the knowledge that I could possibly go to 41 +3 weeks was a little scary! I had a growth scan at 28 weeks and was informed that baby was measuring where a 31 week old baby would be. At 34 weeks, my growth scan revealed that the baby was again still measuring tall, with a current estimated weight of 7lb. Not surprising, as neither Hubby or myself are small delicate human beings.

Sympathetic comments from friends with babies when telling them of the estimated size of Sedgbean at birth did not fill me with confidence, but truth be told I was that busy guzzling Gaviscon that I was able to put it to the back of my mind. I was also still high on the fact that I was off work and had an expected 6 to 8 weeks before Sedgbean arrived.

The novelty started to wear off, the less I was able to move around at home. Plans to see friends were great, as long as I didn’t have to move too far or travel anywhere or actually do anything. Seeing people I hadn’t seen at all through pregnancy could not get over my bump. Facebook friends also equally impressed. I think I almost wanted to challenge my bump to see how much damage it could cause. I even decided to undertake a bit of a walk at 35 +2 weeks, kind of a “Do your worst” to the bump.

Well, considering that my waters broke about 36 hours later, that might not have been my best idea….

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Breaking News, 3 weeks late :)

Well. If I was having difficulty remembering things about pregnancy a few weeks ago, I don’t really stand a chance now.

I am no longer pregnant. I am now a mummy. šŸ™‚

Sedgbean arrived at 04:18 on the 16/07/12, weighing in at 6lb 12oz. Sedgbean is now known as Elizabeth Ann Sedgwick, but her friends and family call her Betty. Betty decided that she had enough of being carried around in my belly and wanted to make an appearance.

Betty taking 5 after her Epic journey down the birth canal.

She was 5 weeks early, making her a premature baby. Mums-to-Be are not classed as being at Full Term until 37 weeks meaning that a baby born at less than 37 weeks Gestation is classed Premature. Because I had not even considered that my baby would be premature, I had no idea what this could mean for Betty. I mean, 35 weeks is nearly fully baked? So, what could be the problem with her arriving now? Surely, as so many of my Facebook friends pointed out, I was lucky to have her so early, missing out on those last few uncomfortable weeks or pregnancy, avoiding those last few stretch marks, getting to meet her early, her not going to full term and being a 10lb whopper and ruining me. Let me tell you, I would rather have gone through all that than have her arrive prematurely and risk not being ok.

Even at 35 weeks, there are risks to baby. Lungs may not be fully developed meaning she could have had difficulty breathing, she may have arrived early because of complications, she is vulnerable to infections, and those last important weeks of bulking up and finishing developing certain senses and reflexes that are crucial were missed. But no, I’m lucky, obviously! šŸ™‚

My waters broke just before 2am on the 14th of July. I was visiting my parents about 90 miles away from home. I had not discussed any birth plan with my Midwife, not discussed what to do if my waters break, or even how to establish that my water were no longer in tact! So, once I had told myself I was not simply unable to control my bladder, the process of contacting hospital began. I got through to the Delivery Suite at Arrowe Park Hospital and spoke to a lovely Midwife who talked me through what was happening and what to do next. I had to call back in one hour to re-confirm my symptoms. After one hour I was no different so I was asked to come into the hospital to be checked over.

Arrived at hospital and checked in at 4:45am. I was taken into a Delivery Suite, and hooked up to a Monitor to check Sedgbean’s Heartbeat and also to check for any contractions. I was having Braxton Hicks but Labour certainly had not started. After being monitored for around an hour, I was checked over by the Midwife and Doctor. They confirmed that my Waters had broken, and also that I was not in Labour. Had I been full term, I may well have been sent home. However, as Sedgbean was quite early, I was told that I was being admitted. Once your waters break, there is risk of infection for any baby. However as our Sedgbean wasn’t technically ready, I was not allowed anywhere. I was to remain in hospital incase Labour started naturally. If it hadn’t started on its own after 24 hours, I would be induced.

Fast forward 24 hours, because Sedgbean changed its mind. I was induced at 12:00pm on the 15th of July and so it began. I was warned not to expect too much, that it may take 24 hours for things to start happening and even then labour may not be quick. So, when I was taken to Delivery at 6:20pm, I still wasn’t expecting much, Although my “Braxton Hicks” had started again. I was introduced to my lovely Midwife Donna, we checked and I was 1 – 2 cm Dilated and we settled in for the night. Radio on, chatting and putting the world to rights.

Donna went for her break around 1am and left us with the Lovely Zoe, who had been looking after me up on Maternity ward. My twinges were becoming more intense and frequent but still not classed as being in Labour. By the time Donna got back, in her words, “it was like I had a different patient on the bed”. By the time Donna had finished her break, I was on my way. A further exam confirmed that I was 4 – 5 cm dilated, I was in pain, and I was only in bloody labour!! I was offered pain relief, I willingly accepted. Good old Gas and Air to start with, and having no knowledge of pain relief (No birth plan, remember!) we had briefly discussed my other options and I had chosen Diamorphine when the time came.

Well, the time came very bloody quickly actually!! Sedgbean decided to turn and choose the back to Back position. Any mums who have been through this, isn’t it just the worst pain ever! any Mums to Be, I’m sorry but this pain only adds to the agony you are already in and consumes you. Its horrific. šŸ™‚ Gas and Air was just about taking the edge of until the whole Back to Back thing, and then I may as well be having a cigarette for pain relief, it was that much help. I stuck with it, and tried to push past the pain (if you’ll pardon the pun) and eventually Sedgbean moved.

I was established as fully dilated at 3:30am and FINALLY allowed to give in to the overwhelming urge to push at 3:40am. Sedgbean then arrived at 4:18, and made Donna’s day. She was convinced that she would have done all the hard work for someone else to deliver my baby. We were told not to be alarmed but the Pediatric Doctor had to b called as a precaution to check Sedgbean over once born. We were told to prepare for Sedgbean to spend some time in SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) and possibly need to spend time in an incubator. We were told all of these things and we took note, preparing ourselves for the worst case scenario. So, when we were told that we had a little girl, I was elated, but slightly high on drugs as I had been given my Diamorphine by this point. I was overwhelmed to have her dropped onto my belly, a heavy grey-blue lump wrapped in a towel that was instantly the most perfect and beautiful little girl I had ever seen (even if we were expecting a boy). We had to give her back so that she could be taken to SCBU but we were thrilled to be told that instead of having to visit her there, she would be allowed up to the ward with us after being treated. This news was EPIC!!!

So our baby Girl had arrived, and been whisked away from us. Once we were over the shell shock and had a nice cup of tea, we were taken back up to the Ward to await Betty’s arrival. Donna brought her to us and all of a sudden we were parents. Betty had a canula fitted, and was to receive antibiotics twice a day for 2 days. It had been 50 hours between my waters breaking and Betty arriving into the world. That is a fairly long time by anyone’s standards. She would need the AntiBiotics to make sure she could fight off any infection and would need to be monitored for 24 hours after the Antibiotics were finished. Add to this the fact that she needed Heel Pricks after her first 3 feeds to make sure her Blood Sugars were ok, our poor little girl was beginning to resemble a pin cushion. The main thing we told ourselves was that in the grand scheme of things, Betty was fine, she was ok, and other people suffer a lot more.

I don’t think it all hit me until a couple of days later what had actually happened. I was glad that we had kept it private that my waters had broken. I am still glad that we kept everything else private. The next few days, the first week. It’s all coming, don’t worry. But as I have just re-lived the birth of my child here in this blog, I will give us both a bit of a break.

Welcome to the World Betty. We Love You.

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Keep it to yourself thanks.

One thing that annoys me about people in general, is verbal diarrhea. I had to endure this when I was getting married, I had to endure it when I was dieting and oh my life have I had to endure it while pregnant.

I suppose that this is also the thing I dislike the most about Facebook. Whether having a conversation with someone or updating my Facebook status in a fleeting moment, any comment about your weight loss / wedding / pregnancy becomes public property. People cannot help themselves but spill the beans about their own experiences. I have made very sure that I do not do the same thing, as it is my biggest bug bear in life. I like to make my own discoveries and not live my life according to someone elses experiences.

I’m not completely cold-hearted. I am fully aware that people do this because they are taking an interest in your life and want to share their wisdom with you. But I didn’t actually ask for it…

I LOVE my friends who have managed not to do this. It fills my heart with joy! My friends who haven’t managed to do this, I will get over it after the hormones stop raging. The rest of you. Well, you have been warned …. šŸ™‚

One of the worst examples of this is being asked things about your pregnancy. for me, it was being asked if the baby was kicking yet. I got asked this every few days from about 14 weeks. Now, it is most common to feel some movement between 18 and 22 weeks. Some women feel it earlier, especially in second pregnancy. But it is NORMAL for no movement until after 20 weeks. Hear that? NORMAL! I was getting asked every few days if the baby was kicking yet, and each time I said No, I got a pitying look, and “Well, I’m sure it will soon”.

Er. Right, ok. Are you trying to tell me that there is something wrong with my baby? Is there something wrong with me? Should I be worried? Is it bad that my baby is not kicking the shit out of me at 14 weeks. Just because your friends daughters cat’s babysitter is getting kicked ferociously at 14 weeks (which by the way, I very much doubt) doesn’t mean mine will!!! Thanks a lot for striking the fear of God into me every week by continuing to ask.(20 weeks was when I felt that first “pop” and it was breathtaking)

See, Verbal Diarrhea. Meant well, but literally people just can’t help themselves. I have had my bump compared to anyone else who has ever been pregnant, I have had my morning sickness compared to everyone else who has ever been pregnant, I have had very personal questions asked of me which are really none of people’s business. It’s lovely that people want to talk about my pregnancy, but at a certain point I felt like it wasn’t my pregnancy anymore. It was everyone elses because my bump is just like hers, my sickness is like so and so’s, my scan picture is just like whatsherfaces. It would be nice to appreciate my pregnancy for what it is.

Personal to me.

Now, just to clarify, I have not got any hard feelings to anyone who is guilty of the above. Far from it. Hubby has found it extremely entertaining watching me explode every time I got pissed off. But I suppose what I am saying is, if you do have a case of verbal diarrhea, then do the decent thing…

Start a blog.

šŸ™‚

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