Babies, definitely not for the faint hearted!

All comical musings of excess hair growth aside, week 17 turned out to be quite harrowing and in no way helped my cause when it comes to eliminating grey hairs. As it turns out, I think I learned the direct correlation between blood pressure and stressful situations this week from personal experience.

With Monday came my midwife appointment at the clinic where I waited for half an hour after my appointment time to be seen by yet another new face and asked all of the exact same questions I was asked the previous week. Sigh! No I have not started smoking , changed my diet, gotten taller or become an alcoholic in the past seven days. Better ask me again next time though, in case I succumb to a life of vices in the next seven days.

Measurements were good, babies heart rate was strong and I managed to survive the entire appointment without turning into a feral four year old and having a tantrum on the floor of the consultation room. Barely.

The rest of the week went by without too much drama apart from business drama in regards to clients suddenly all forgetting to pay us…at the same time…and a particularly interesting smelling customer that had me revisiting my close bond with the porcelain bowl after she had left. I have said it before and I will say it again. Deodorant is not a luxury item, it is a god damn public service people. Get it on ya!

Thursday night came along and husband had a couple of big jobs to finish worth some big dollars when they were collected on Friday. I set him up for the night at his work bench with drinks and snacks and off I went home to cook dinner and look after our daughter. I was feeling fine, things were on track and silly me, I thought they were going to stay that way.

Midnight , right on the dot, I am sitting on my bed watching tv while my daughter slept next to me and I felt something odd down below. Off to the toilet I go, only to find when I stand up that my pyjama bottoms now look like they have been involved in a chainsaw massacre. I was sure they were blue when I put them on. Now they are red. Well actually, now they are in the bin. There was no saving them.

Freaking out is not a term that adequately describes what I felt at that moment, seeing so much blood at a time in pregnancy where you well and truly do not expect to see it. I bled a lot when I was pregnant with my daughter but never after 12 weeks. I remembered every time I rushed to the hospital feeling like I would bleed to death being told that there was nothing they could do , i was better off to go home and miscarry there.

Naturally, my first instinct was to go but not wanting to feel that sting of rejection for both myself and my baby I decided to call the maternity ward first. Seems 17 weeks deserves a little more attention and I was told to come straight up.

The rest of the night was a blur of blood tests, iv’s and the most excruciating pelvic exam in the history of the procedure. I kept a brave face. I had to. My daughter and husband were waiting just outside the curtain. The non sound proof curtain. The only evidence of my plight was the sky rocketing blood pressure and heart rate on the monitor and the cold sweat I was drenched in. Talk about stoic. I even managed to crack a few jokes during the ordeal so that my husband would think nothing serious was happening at that time. Whilst I was waxing lyrical about random subjects the nurse chuckled and the obstetrician used forceps to pull large blood clots from the surface of my cervix. Fun on a bun!

Another midwife arrived to listen for the babies heartbeat. We listened. And listened. And we got nothing. Looks were exchanged, brows were furrowed with worry and the midwife even tried to pass my own heart beat off as the babies to make me feel better but we all knew, myself included that this was not a good sign.

The obstetrician then had a conversation with me in a low voice, with a sympathetic hand on my shoulder that involved the word miscarriage more time than I care to count. He tip toed around the word, almost using only a whisper whenever he had to say it just in case I turned into a basket case at the mere mention of what we all knew could very well be the reality at this stage. My reality!

Then the worst part. I had to wait until 11:30 the next morning to have an ultrasound. That was nine hours away. That was cruel and unusual punishment. My husband and I barely spoke. The next morning we both went to work, as usual. Set up shop as usual. Just pretty much business…as usual until 11am when I quietly said goodbye and went off to the hospital.

My words to a friend , “it is what it is”. What could I do? I could not get caught up in a game of what if and if only. It helps nobody. I had to stay level headed. I could fall apart later.

My appointment time came and went and my bladder was full to bursting. Every woman in that waiting area did the same awkward little shuffle to her seat, the same little side to side shift and the cross / uncross of legs. Silently we suffered until I was the last one in the waiting room and I could suffer no more. There should be a law against keeping a pregnant woman waiting past the time of her ultrasound appointment. In fact when all is said and done i might make that my new crusade. Because you know, It is not like I don’t have enough on my plate right now.

There are no words to describe that rush of relief when that ultrasound shows a healthy baby, a healthy heartbeat and you realise you haven’t lost it. It is an experience I have now had twice in my life and it always takes your breath away. There was baby, kicking away. The sonographer said that my placenta was lying over the cervix which was more than likely the cause of the bleed but other than that the baby was normal and right on track.

So now, in order for me to successfully avoid another c-section, my disobedient placenta has until 32 weeks to move its ass upwards and out of the way. I had a feeling I was getting out of things too easily this time round. But all is well for now. I am taking it easy, no heavy lifting and I am going to have relax my standards about house tidiness but it will be worthwhile in the long run.

For now, here is the latest pic of the baby Sasquatch.

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Does anyone know CPR? Resuscitating the healthcare system.

I have not ever seen an advertisement for a job vacancy within our local public hospital system. However, after my visit today I imagine it would look a little something like this……

Job Vacancy
Medical Receptionist
Bendigo Health

Must have relevant medical experience and be able to demonstrate complete and utter disinterest in all patients.

The ability to be rude to even the nicest of patient will be viewed favourably.

Please send resume and three references from people you have been recently rude to within the last fortnight to the manager.

………………………………

As you may have gathered, I have just returned from my booking in appointment. Yes folks, my time has come once again to make my way through the maternity maze and hopefully come out the other side in one piece, physically at least. Mentally may be a different thing all together.

The midwives were nice. The clinic ones always are. Somehow they never seem to be the same ones you get on the ward though. I did require some extra blood tests that my GP forgot about so off I went in search of the new pathology place. It would have been nice if someone had told me that the hospital pathology department now only caters to emergent patients or patients on a Saturday morning. For everyone else you now have to walk outside of the hospital and about five minutes down the road to an inconspicuous looking building situated in a very strange spot.

I found it, eventually, after much walking around like a doofus. I entered and looked upon a room full of people sitting quietly and no reception desk. I looked again. Nope, still no reception desk. After a minute or two of looking like more of a doofus, an elderly gentleman pointed to a small table hidden over in a corner. Apparently you just take a number and sit down. Eventually a blood letter will materialise and call your number. I was number 17. I think I just felt the day get longer.

After the blood letting I then had to make my way a little further up the road to radiology to make my 19 week scan appointment. Upon entering and presenting my referral I was told that they did not handle the obstetric scans here and that I had to go back to the hospital. Grrrrrrrrr. I think I may have audibly growled at that point.

It was now 11am and 2 hours had passed since my 9am appointment. I was getting hot, flustered and of course, now I had to pee as if civilisation itself depended on it. Deep breath. Onwards towards the “other” radiology. Which just so happened to be across the road, up a steep hill and around the other side of the hospital.

I walked through no less than ten people standing in the entrance way to the radiology smoking their cigarettes and wondered if I should go back to maternity and update my details about my smoking status as I now felt like I had just chugged down a whole packet myself. Of course, there was a line. I lined up, I waited.

Once I was seen by reception I presented my referral once again and was cut off mid sentence and told to go around the corner to desk number four. Okey dokey then, around the corner I go to find desk number four in complete darkness. Back around to the front and on the end of the line once more. I felt like a kid in that South Park episode where they go to a theme park and line up for. Ride that turns out to be just another line. After all, it is not a true theme park experience without the lining up and waiting is it!

Once I made my way to the front again and informed the receptionist that desk number four was in fact closed she rolled her eyes and told me to go to desk two then. As if I should have already known this and was wasting her precious time.

Desk two had a sliding glass window complete with lock and key. Behind said window was a plump and in no way pleasant looking woman who was furiously typing something into her computer. I smiled as her eyes darted up to meet mine but my smile was not returned as she went back to typing. I shuffled on my feet for a moment wondering if she was going to open the window anytime soon. She must have realised I was not going away so she finally decided to open the window and snap at me “next please” . I turned my head. There was nobody behind me.

My referral made a third appearance and this time the lady snatched it from me and read it with a deep sigh of frustration.

“What is this for”
” my 19 week scan” I replied.
“When do you need it for”
” well when I am 19 weeks pregnant I assume”
( eyes rolling) well how far along are you now”
” 15 weeks so I guess I need it no later than the 10th of may”

A this stage the woman’s eyes rolled so far back in her head I actually became concerned that she was having a seizure. She snapped at me something about being booked out until June so she may not fit me in, I shouldn’t have left it so late.

What the hell! I was given the referral an hour ago, how much sooner could I have gotten there!
Well I had ju st about had enough by this point so my pleasant demeanour quickly morphed into pissed off mama mode.

The following exchange went a little something like this……

” excuse me, the fact that you are booked out until June is neither my problem or my fault. My first booking in appointment was an hour ago, I was given the referral then. The hospital have been aware that I am expecting since I was four weeks pregnant. That was eleven weeks ago. They only decided that they needed to see me today. I appreciate you are busy, I am busy also and I don’t see why I should have to be subjected to rudeness when I am simply following an instruction given to me by my midwife.”

Well, her tune changed a little then and what do you know. Magically an appointment became available on the 10th of may. What a miracle!

Finally I was done, safely in a taxi on my way off of the hospital grounds. My phone rang. It was the midwife. Se had forgotten a blood test. Could I come back and get the referral.

No way, not on your life. She is now posting it to me. I am free. Until Monday for my next appointment. God help me.

The very hungry caterpillar

14 weeks in and a very familiar yet still very strange feeling has begun in my tummy. I must say that I have been most surprised by the subtle squirming I have been feeling from time to time as I had not expected to experience it yet although apparently it does happen earlier with the second baby or so I have been told.

These first few movements always kind of creep me out a bit. Oh come on, don’t act so shocked, when have I ever struck you as that eternally maternal mommy! I’m just telling you how I see it. The first movements are weird. It feels like a small alien is squirming around in there. I swear that if one didn’t know they were pregnant they would be certain that they had some kind of parasite living in their digestive tract.

Personally, I prefer the more definite movements that happen later on. The kicks to the ribs and such. But then again I have always been a glutton for punishment!

I can’t help but think of my squirming baby as the very hungry caterpillar. I have a strong urge to eat one of everything that the caterpillar eats in the book to appease it. Maybe everything but the leaves. I try to steer clear of unidentified plant matter as a rule.

The good news this blog is that I have been nausea free for weeks now, thank you very much! The bad news is that this signals the return of my appetite and someone might want to pass on the memo to my brain that being pregnant is not an excuse to eat everything in sight.

On my recent holiday I ate way more chicken parmigiana than was socially acceptable. Even the mention of chicken parmy has my mouth watering as we speak. I am also experiencing a brief yet intense flirtation with mayonnaise. Which is disturbing seeing as I recently found out that it is one of the most calorie dense, bad for you, fat ass inducing foods known to man. And there is no 99% fat free Praise crap in my fridge. We are talking full fat, whole egg American mayo.

Great, now I want to eat a chicken parmy with mayo on the side. Hmmmm, breakfast of champions? I think not.

I also read recently that I should expect to put on between 11 and 16 kilos this pregnancy. Mostly in the next three months, second trimester. The same article also mentioned that regardless of that recommended weight gain, the actual weight gain during pregnancy seems to be closer to 20 to 30 kilos among women in Australia at the moment.

30 kilos, are you freaking kidding me! I am literally petrified at that thought. Considering that the birth of the baby will shed maybe 10 of those, that leaves an extra 20 to dispose of after all is said and done.

Holy biggest loser batman. I really have to get this eating thing under control now otherwise you will have to read my baby weight woes in about 6 months time. As of now, I have not actually put on any weight. Still the same as the day I fell pregnant so those parmy’s have yet to absorb into my ass cheeks. I may just go home and dispose of that jar of mayo however, before it is too late.

On a side note, next Monday is the dreaded checking in appointment at the hospital. “Shudder”
So I anticipate that I will be spending most of this week getting worked up and anxious about my return to the maternity ward from hell.

Wish me luck.

Size 15 & 3/4 – the curse of the muscle memory.

This winter I predict that I will be suffering from a major, season long wardrobe malfunction. My prediction is based on the current fashions on offer for the upcoming seasons. Hideous is not a strong enough word. It really isn’t. I am talking about the normal fashions too mind you. My brief and vastly unsatisfying venture into the maternity section had me gasping in horror at the slim offerings that I would not even consider using as pet bedding let alone actually wear them on my ever expanding frame.

Yes, I am only three months pregnant. Yes I am already looking at clothing alternatives and let me tell you why. Usually the phenomenon of muscle memory is a good thing. It means that a person who has previously built muscle mass at the gym and let themselves go can find themselves bouncing back to their former rippled glory much quicker the second time they go to shed the flab. Their slackened muscles remember the routine and jump back into their jobs of making that sleeveless shirt look fabulous.

Pregnancy does weird things to a lot of muscles, primarily abdominal ones. I got about half way through my first pregnancy before I had to consider maternity wear. This time I will not have that luxury. The muscle memory has kicked in and my body has started it’s expansion project, onwards and outwards.

Almost the moment I became pregnant, my body answered the call. It was all ” oh we know what to do here!” And to my dismay I am now finding that a mere 12 weeks in and my choices of apparel are shockingly limited. I actually look pregnant now. 2 weeks ago I just looked I had been hitting the maccas drive through on a regular basis but now I think it is becoming blindingly obvious that I have a bun in the oven, not a Big Mac.

Maternity wear had always been a bit of a bone of contention for me along with anything bridal. Those two niche markets have always given me the shits based on the fact that anything to do with either of them comes with a massively over inflated price tag for no reason other than that they can.

If I was a stay at home mum, I would be tempted to spend the winter in trackies and one of my husbands hoodies but we have the issue of work here. I need to look at least part way presentable. And that is so not going to happen thanks to the target maternity range of burlap sacks.

The thought of pumpkin patch maternity makes my wallet break out in a cold sweat. I would struggle to buy my daughter a winter coat there for under $100 so I shudder to think what a maternity one would cost. I really don’t want to have to take out an overdraft through the business to clothe myself this season. Is there anyway that this can be a tax write off? Nah, I didn’t think so.

For those of you who have never been pregnant and are suggesting that I buy normal clothes but a size or two bigger, let me diplomatically point out one of the many flaws in your suggestion. Pregnant women do not put on their baby weight evenly distributed across their entire body. Bigger clothes may accommodate the expanding tummy but will swim and look like tents everywhere else. No thanks.

So it seems I am in a quandary and I will put it out there to my readers in blog land. Any suggestions for perhaps online maternity wear that is presentable and reasonable in price will be most appreciated. After all, it only needs to last one season, we are not talking haute coture here!