Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Big brother the hairdresser

I tried to get pictures of this, but they really aren't very good, probably because Banana Girl was wearing a polo neck top. I happened to mention at dinner that she really needed a hair cut, but I was meaning her fringe and maybe a trim to the rest of it.

However whilst I was in the bath and Andrew was clearing up, supposedly with the kids helping him, they nipped into the bathroom and Sausage Boy set off on the task of cutting her hair, she must have been relatively compliant with this as the first thing Andrew heard were verbal comments from Sausage Boy.

Net result is the back section of her hair has been cut to about her hairline, with the rest untouched. I think it will probably go ok into a bob, if done by a professional, which means first thing tomorrow morning I'll be calling hairdressers, begging to be squeezed in tomorrow!

Monday, March 30, 2009

not great...

I had to pay a visit to the hospital on Saturday evening. I suppose I could view it as a chance to see what the childbirth area looked like, not that I'm planning to use it!

However that I was having such regular and slighly painful contractions was not such a good thing. My cervix has shortened since Tuesday, but a test called foetal fibronectin test came back negative. This is very good news as it means the chance of delivering within 2 weeks is very low. Seems like these contractions are very slowly making slight changes to the cervix.

I've been digging around for research and it seems like most studies indicate at least some benefit to drugs, which makes it then seem bizarre that many countries other than the USA don't use them, other than to allow transfer to somewhere with suitable facilities or time for steroids to work.

Bedrest on the otherhand has no supporting evidence, but also very few studies. It's also treated as a completely benign intervention, which it isn't, muscles atrophy and the risk of blood clots go up within a very short time. Plus all the social and economic consequences.

I was very busy last week, so taking it a bit easier does make some sense. I will take the medication prescribed as needed, though I still feel uncomfortable with that, it also makes me feel very jittery.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Well the check on my cervix wasn't as reassuring as hoped, it's soft and 1cm dilated. Unfortunately state of cervix and predicting preterm labour isn't an exact science, as some changes are normal and the range of what is normal changes from a first pregnancy to subsequent pregnancies. Very roughly, in first pregnancies it's normal to thin and soften before any dilation occurs, after that, dilation often occurs without thinning or softening.

Add in pregnancy history and there are encouraging and discouraging things, encouraging is that I did have several episodes of regular contractions but still just get to term with my first. Discouraging is that I had less cervical change than this 24 hours before delivering my 2nd and that was despite various attempts to actually get some changes occurring!

I'm fairly sure that if I was with a traditional US obstetric practice I'd currently be on bedrest and medication, neither of which there is any strong evidence for. I did do a lot of resting when this was happening in my first pregnancy, but mainly for pain control as then, it really did seem like activity and contractions were related. If it gets to a point where we do have to start involving a doctor, it could get tricky as I think we'd have very different opinions as to what to, but equally I do need them because we would do steroids and there may well be situations where we would consider drugs.

Yesterday was 28+3, which marks a significant fraction in my bizarre attempt to count something! 24 weeks of knowing about this pregnancy, so 2/3 of the way - which actually doesn't seem all that great as it's the worst 1/3 to come!

Monday, March 23, 2009

28 week pictures





I actually remembered to take photos on that day I was 28 weeks AND in the day time! I think baby has shifted around in the past few days, I don't feel my size has increased as much from 24 to 28 weeks as from 20 to 24 weeks. The muscles and ligaments around the sides of my belly are really feeling the strain, I don't really recognise this feeling, but I suppose it being the 3rd times these ligaments have done this could be contributing. I have found one trick, I had some large size tubigrip I'd been given by a physio in the UK as a pelvic support, it was useless for that, but I cut a section long enough to go from right under my boobs, down to the bottom of the bump, it really seems to help.

Unfortunately I've started feeling a lot of contractions in the past few days, I'm quite clearly someone who is prone to this and it made the last 10 weeks or so of my first pregnancy pretty miserable. I didn't have anywhere near so much trouble in my second pregnancy. It's hard not to wonder if repeated contractions affected the placenta and growth of the baby as it was my first that was growth restricted in the uterus. It's also worrying that the baby could come early, my waters broke at barely 37 weeks with my first.

However this time I feel that my midwives are more supportive with tricks to try and stop things, genuine signs of preterm labour are really hard to pin down and is much more likely to be diagnosed and treated agressively in the US than the UK, but they don't seem to have any less preterm babies, the risks of the drugs used don't really seem to be well studied. I think if it were possible to say definitely you'd have a baby within a certain amount of time without treatment then it would be easier to make any decisions on treatment, but my current feeling is that unpleasant though these contractions are, that the drug route is potentially too much risk for an unquantifiable benefit. So far I've started taking a magnesium supplement and when I spoke on the phone to one of the midwives today she mentioned a herbal tincture, which we'll discuss when I see her tomorrow. She'll also check my cervix, which will hopefully be reassurring.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009



...this is the response you are likely to get if you happen to mention that being pregnant serves as a useful tea rest. You have been warned!
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Glad I wrote that last post

I really needed to read it just now, I checked to see what I had written previously before writing a new post and being reminded of those feelings was really helpful.

My mood is still pretty rocky, I was so low when I woke up this morning that I really wanted to scrub all my plans for today, which weren't exactly stellar, involving a visit to the chiropractor and a plan to go to the gym. DH didn't make it to the gym yesterday, so he said he'd meet me there, as I walked out of the chiropractor and saw it had started to rain, I really wanted to just call him and say no, but somehow I managed to force myself to go.

I did 20 mins on the treadmill and some stretching before he made it and we didn't spend all that long doing some weights, but I think if I manage to repeat what we did a couple of times a week it will make a difference, I've really been starting to feel that the backs and insides of my thighs are weak and I think having reasonable strength in my legs might help take some of the strain off my back. I really felt my mood lift during that time, which helped me keep active this afternoon and hopefully reduce the chances of stiffening up.

I've sunk a bit now, but I'm sure in part that is to do with having to go to the dentist tomorrow! Thankfully it will be the last time for a while.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I have to write this down...

I finished watching the movie "Pregnant in America" and it turned out to be just what I needed. I really feel like I was at a place where everything was about fear, just right now, even if it's only temporary I'm reminded exactly why I want to do this birth naturally - because it is the best thing for mother and baby. Also, why that for me means trying to do it at home, because it gives me the best chance of doing that, without, in my opinion, taking any unnecessary risks.

For the first time, I can even visualise natural birth in a hospital, if that is what turns out to be needed for either me or the baby. That's a really exciting place to be, as until now I had basically felt that if there was any circumstance that pushed us that way, that it would mean a c-section and it's great to feel free of that.

One tool I plan to use to help us acheive this is Hypnobabies, I need to go check their website as to when to order the CDs and start working through the program, I think it's pretty soon!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

crazy pregnant brain

Maybe that should be crazy pregnant finger, I ordered shopping to arrive this afternoon and seem to have managed to purchase 3 packets of mushrooms rather than 1 and 2 green peppers rather than 1. The problem with actually being organised and planning menus for a week means that I can't just decide I'll cook everything with mushrooms in this week! I rather like mushrooms on a sandwich, or as part of a cooked breakfast, but I have a whole pound to get through!

rollercoaster ride

This pregnancy has been really up and down, both physically and emotionally. In some ways, physically, I'm surprised how well I've been doing, even though I feel a fair bit worse than at the same stage in previous pregnancies, but in previous pregnancies I didn't start out being 10 months after having relatively major hip surgery. My upper back was also in a worse state, again unsurprising having had an impact injury and possible broken vertabra just 6 weeks after last giving birth, followed by a car accident in July 07. It's a wierd feeling to be both pleased and frustrated with where I'm at both at the same time.

Moodwise, I've always been sensitive to hormones, but my low spots recently have been pretty bad, it's been the lowest I've felt in my life, other than when I had postnatal depression, but different in the sense that now I feel like I do have things to be anxious about, to feel low about, when back then, it used to drive me crazy when people wanted to talk about how I was feeling - when I hear people talking about typical postnatal depression, I rarely identify with any of the words used to describe feelings, whereas now I do and I definitely feel those kind of emotions are genuine concerns as to how I'll feel after the baby comes, but then with things like "overwhelmed", who doesn't feel overwhelmed with 3 kids!

It doesn't help that so much of my anxieties and concerns are surrounding the end of pregnancy and birth that I haven't really even thought much about life with baby! I'm getting so anxious about things that I'm losing sight of normality and feeling like I cannot trust my decision making at all, I almost feel like I could flip either way, refusing a c-section if it turns out it would be the best for us, or suddenly deciding that I will have a c-section even if no new factors present (my history is such that it really is on the cusp of choosing which risks you want to take).

We saw our midwife today and I did manage to express some of this, though I was finding it hard to express myself. She wants me to try some other things for physical issues, mainly a chiropracter, I explained that I felt that this was rather like trying to put a sticking plaster on a gushing artery, though she quite reasonably pointed out that I might as well at least try. I did feel that I was helped by the chiropracter I was seeing at this stage with Banana Girl, but not so much by any I've seen since, he was trained in Australia, which could make a difference, or it could have just been him, so I am willing to try another one. Turns out the midwife's husband is a chiropracter, so she will talk to him before I see him, which hopefully will mean he has a reasonable overview of what is going on, I've felt with chiropracters that I've seen here that they really rush and I don't actually feel I manage to communicate at all the impact a particular pain is having on me.

Everything seems to be fine with the baby, measureing spot on, though I don't find that particularly reassuring as so did Sausage Boy until 32 weeks, when he slowed growth dramatically, whereas Banana Girl always measured behind, yet popped out at 8lb8oz. BP was a little wierd, I thought 120/58, both numbers are normal range, but such a gap seems unusual. Baby is probably breech, but is moving around so much that this is a non issue, I'm 26 weeks, so there is still plenty of time.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

freezer dramas

We had to throw out a moderate amount of food after we noticed some things in our freezer were not actually frozen. On further investigation, the temperature control dial which appeared to be set to the coldest setting wouldn't actually move.

As there was some frost built up we decided we'd better at least defrost it. Thankfully we have another, larger freezer outside and Friday night was cold so we could put the contents of the fridge on the deck.

To access the plug we had to pull the unit out from the wall, good job we did as it was really dirty underneath, whether it was just 2 and a bit years worth of dirt or an awful lot longer I do not know!

Andrew was about to start taking it apart to see if we could figure out why the control didn't move, when he noticed that it did in fact move! We plugged it back in and this morning it definitely felt cool, it's also making an awful lot more noise than a few days ago, I hadn't noticed the lack of noise, but with it's return, I realised it's absense.

Considering how little frost there was in there, I'm really surprised it was enough to stop it working, we're talking about when I scrapped it out after a couple of hours of being turned off there was less around a cup full of ice, I've seen freezers with inches of ice still apparently working!

Whatever the reason, the good news is that it's working, I don't think we could have justified a new one at this time given we do actually have the other freezer, but it would have been very inconvenient as it's in the garage and we have to go outside to get to it, not great in PNW rain!