Saturday, 11 January 2014

Pregnancy: The Final Countdown

Back through the fogs of time, in April of last year, a sperm and and egg met up for a date in my uterus and our second daughter mitosis-ed into existence.

KAPOW!


So here I am in the final hours or days of this pregnancy, today is the ESTIMATED due date for Nugget's arrival. Of course that's just an ESTIMATED due date so I have been on standby for the last three weeks and will continue to be patient as a saint until she arrives – so long as that's in the next week :-) I don't believe in a baby being early or late just that if all is going well they will come when they come. No sweeps, curries or pineapples for me, just good old relaxation time... and as much sleep as possible.

Since I joined Twitter 2 years ago, the day after Leelah was born, I have read a plethora of pregnancy related blogs and articles. So many of them titled The Truth About Pregnancy. An odd title I always think as surely it should be The Truth About MY Pregnancy. If there's one thing I have learnt through my journey to parenthood it's that everyone has a different truth, a different story to tell. So how has pregnancy been for me, what is my truth about pregnancy?

As it turns out it seems that I am either really lucky with pregnancy or really unlucky. My first miscarriage in October 2010 was a missed miscarriage and was a terrible shock but thankfully immediately after that awful 12 week scan I miscarried naturally so was spared medical intervention. My second pregnancy resulted in our beautiful daughter Leelah who was born in January 2012. As pregnancies go it was as trouble free as you can get and I basked in  nine months of glowing skin and a blooming belly, big, bouncy hair, yoga, swimming and massage.

23 weeks with Leelah in September 2011
25 weeks with Leelah, October 2011

29 weeks with Leelah, November 2011
35 weeks with Leelah, Decmber 2011
38 weeks with Leelah, Christmas Day 2011
Pregnancy three was bad from the start, I felt drained and depressed for the first 12 weeks and at the scan was confronted with a waving kicking baby with an enlarged bladder (you can read my post about this here). Three weeks down the line at 15 weeks and I was in the room of doom swallowing a pill to end the tiny life inside me and two days later it passed out of me and into a cardboard bowl in the toilet... that's the harsh reality. We didn't dwell on this passing, we didn't name our baby or give it a 'life' but we still remember it all. We coped by talking openly and by sharing our experience. It shouldn't be taboo and increasingly I am finding that people are willing to talk about miscarriage and failed or terminated pregnancies. This can only be a good thing.

Two months later, in April of 2013, I peed on a stick in my downstairs toilet and did a little jig of joy as the tell tale digital display announced 2-3 weeks pregnant. WHOOOP! But also ARGH, another 10 weeks of waiting to see if this baby would be staying the course. Having had two failed miscarriages the wait for scans is a testing and emotional time but having a gorgeous toddler to distract you is the perfect antidote.

I had planned to blog week by week about pregnancy but in the end I spent time setting up my own massage therapy business (relax restore revive), training to further my knowledge of working with pregnancy and postnatal women and spending time with Little L. Also my pregnancy seemed too uneventful, I won't lie, it's been wonderful, I have felt great all the way through. As with Leelah this pregnancy has been beautiful and blooming.

First Trimester

No nausea. Phewee. Just an aversion in the early days to the smell of meat cooking, even slow roast pulled pork.

Overwhelming, brick to the head tiredness in the first few weeks. Napping with Little L became a common theme during this pregnancy and one I cherished dearly.

Gas, a lot of gas. I grew a big, bloated belly which made me look 18 weeks pregnancy at only nine weeks pregnant. I gave my Dad a run for his money on the flatulence and belching front I can tell you.

Feeling Nugget wriggling around as early as 12 weeks, a whole seven weeks earlier than with Little L.

The 12 Week Scan and Testing for Chromosomal Abnormalities

I find the language around all this so tricky. We chose to have the triple screening test this time round as we already have a child and with Mr B being quite a bit older than me we felt that we wouldn't be able to cope long term with a child that wasn't... 'normal'... I mean what the hell is normal, what does that actually mean? It sounds so awful and wrong to say it like that. We didn't really know what we would do if the results of all this came back as confirming abnormalities. It would either mean we were prepared for our child or we would terminate. We would cross the decision making bridge if we had to.

Our risk factor came back as 1/57 (anything that comes back as 1/150 or below means you are considered high risk). Nothing on screen had indicated that there was anything to worry about, it was all about the number crunching but this meant we were given the option of a CVS test (Chronic Villus Sample) being taken from the placental tissue or waiting until 15 weeks for an Amniocentesis. Initially we went for the CVS but the baby was hanging out in front of the placenta and waving at us so we ditched that. Seeing that spirited little nugget of life bobbing around made me feel utterly positive that this little one was fine so we waited a couple of weeks to have the Amniocentesis as there is marginally less risk of having a miscarriage with an Amnio.

Compared to the CVS I had with the previous pregnancy the Amnio was a walk in the park. The needle for the CVS had been of comedic proportions, like something in an alien abduction and I needed local anesthetic for the puncture site. The Amnio needle was a dainty thing and was over very quickly, we watched on the screen as it entered the amniotic fluid, far away from, yet so close to, our baby.

Waiting
A couple of days wait and the call to tell us that everything was 'normal', my instinct had been proven right. A week later we received a lovely little card telling us the gender of the baby, which we opened together with Little L. Another girl. Sisters. With possibly the same birthday! Happy days.

Second Trimester

My second trimester was fuelled with energy and I threw myself into my business and spending quality time with Little L.

I had a phase of two weeks in the early second trimester where I only ate yellow foods: Pasta and cheese sauce, potatoes with loads of butter, grapefruits, banana milkshake, crunchy nut cornflakes. I went through this again in the late second trimester. Love those yellow foods.

Spitting blood. As I viewed the daily massacre in my bathroom sink cleaning my teeth became a lot like an episode of True Blood. Bleeding gums have stayed with me on and off during both pregnancies.

The nerves and joy of the 20 week scan. A healthy little Nugget waving and kicking.

Around 25 weeks I started to grow into my bump so instead of feeling huge and floppy I started to feel a lovely round, rubbable bump.

26 weeks with Nugget, October 2013
Braxton Hicks contractions started around 25 weeks, shrink wrapping Nugget and giving me the hardest stomach I will ever have. Not sure doing The Plank every day for a year will get me a belly that hard.

The 10 week break. Second time round and I didn't see a Midwife from 18 weeks to 28 weeks. Left to your own devices for several weeks, getting on with the general business of growing a baby, time really flies.

Third Trimester

28 week blood tests. Healthy iron levels (most likely due to the amount of black pudding I consume) but there were some questions about antibodies found in my blood, which meant I was referred to a consultant at the antenatal clinic. After two weeks of wondering whether I would be able to have a home birth or not it turned out that the Midwife had been over cautious and the Consultant said that were no antibodies present that could harm Nugget and that it was probably just a virus I was carrying at the time. Relief. However the Midwives have still decided to take blood from the cord and from me after birth just to be sure, which I appreciate.
30 weeks with Nugget, November 2013. Before and after breakfast!
Night time hip ache and nocturnal toilet trips. The hips got really bad around 30 weeks, so my nightly toilet trips saw me hobbling to the loo like a stiff old lady. Thankfully the combination of chiropractor and massage worked and now it's just the toilet trips that get me out of bed at night.

Nugget engaged at around 34 weeks and has stayed in a firm head down, left occiput anterior position which is perfect for birth, she then dropped even further down at around 38 weeks so this time round I have got the 'waddle' and a heavy grinding in my pelvis... trust me that's not as good as it sounds.


39 weeks with Nugget, January 2014

And really that's it, nothing more to report other than Nugget has grown, the bump has grown, my body has changed. And what a beautiful body it is. I love my pregnant body. The miracle of growing a life and the miracle of our bodies. It really is incredible.

I might also mention that I get all the good hormonal stuff when I am pregnant. I am calmer, more patient (most of the time) and feel very content and in love with the world. I have also eaten quite a lot of cake.

All that remains now is the final countdown to #binkypop