10

Blob the Drama Llama

With thanks to Sam for the title!

So I ended the last post with thanks for all the support I’d received from the big day of anxiety but it didn’t stop there! I spent 45 minutes at the Day Assessment Unit at the Queen Elizabeth having Blob’s heartbeat and movements monitored. She hadn’t really moved anywhere near as much as I would have expected her to in a good 48 hours and as the wise twitterati advised to get her checked and Paul pretty much handed me my clothes, it was a good idea to be checked over and find out what was going on. As soon as the midwife put the belly bands and monitors on my tummy, she started flailing around, desperately trying to kick the monitors off and trying to wriggle away from the doppler. Luckily it wasn’t busy so I was seen very quickly and the midwife didn’t laugh when I was all sheepish at the amount of effort that madam was putting into walloping the monitors. Nice to be taken seriously!

With D-Day roughly two months off, we have some photos of Blob thanks to the 4D scans. This is the re-scan from the end of September that was moved to the end of October and then rescheduled for today due to a broken scanner. Straight off she’s moved so hardly surprising that I’d felt a change in movement- she’s now got her face turned towards the left-hand side of my ribcage, so the right side of her body is matching the right side of mine and her bum towards my pelvis. Heart was fine (I panicked when I couldn’t see it but the sonographer was happy!) She was asleep, with her face turned slightly towards my spine and it took a lot of belly jiggling, going to empty my bladder and jumping around to get her to wake up and turn! When she did, she pulled the grumpiest face as if she was going to cry and stuck her foot up by the left-hand side of her face!!! Gradually, she made faces as if she was smiling and sticking her tongue out but goodness, is she Paul’s daughter! Hard to wake, grumpy when woken and features-wise she really looks like him!

So here she is, my little drama llama being just as awkward and stubborn as her parents.

The foot by the face shot-definitely got mum's flexibility-dad's hamstrings barely go into a sitting position!

The foot by the face shot-definitely got mum’s flexibility-dad’s hamstrings barely go into a sitting position!

You buggers have woken me up? Right, now I create hell!

You buggers have woken me up? Right, now I create hell!

Mouth open, eyes open!

Mouth open, eyes open!

Is that a grin or gas?

Is that a grin or gas?

Chubby cheeks

Chubby cheeks

Can I go back to sleep now please?

Can I go back to sleep now please?

I would recommend having it done as I feel like she’s really coming now. That’s our little girl. Paul couldn’t help but gasp when he saw her and the pride I felt when I heard him do that was incredible.

We’re almost there. T-9weeks!

Advertisements
6

The moment where I shouted, “Help!”

Let’s get things straight, panic is nothing new for me. I have panicked since I was a very little girl about everything and if you have met me you’d probably laugh and say, “Don’t be daft! You are one of the most confident and cheerful people I’ve ever met!”

The thing is it isn’t that simple. I’m a bloody good actress- my coping strategy is to be a hard-working ray of sunshine and I’ve pulled this off for years. There is a level of professionalism too- I cannot allow my job to be damaged by my mental health as when working with kids, it’s never a good idea to have a panic attack mid-lesson with a group of 5 year olds. Today, that very nearly happened- thankfully, there were no kids around as I was on PPA but I sat at my desk and had a bit of a breakdown.

I think I’ve been cruising for a bruising for a while. For a start, I have meant to update here more often as I’ve hit major landmark dates but I’ve felt words slipping out of my grip. *ALERT* MAJOR SIGN THAT THINGS ARE BUILDING UP */ALERT* 28 Weeks has been and gone. 29 weeks, I didn’t do a bump pic. The scary Time Team meeting hasn’t been documented (five or six mental health care professionals/midwives/obstetric consultants in a consulting room and me. FUCKING TERRIFYING). The first NCT group this week where I was questioned on my breast feeding ideology…

My bounciness is also to hide my sheer level of paranoia as well. I have a wild imagination and am very prone to anti-fantasies. So what actually happens is not what I feel I have experienced at the time. A good example of this is my 14 week check with the obstetrician where she told me that she couldn’t hear a heartbeat and I needed a scan. The thing is what she actually said was, “I can’t hear a heartbeat but it’s because the baby is moving away from the monitor every time I press the doppler on your stomach. Don’t worry, even though I can see you are. We will scan you so that you feel more confident as I don’t want you to go home and panic about this.” To me, the lack of heartbeat was game over. So yes, what actually happens and what I think is the case are not the same thing!

Over half term, we started on the nursery. Bit of a disaster- the emulsion we used on the walls bubbled the paint underneath so we ended (read as Paul did the majority) up stripping the paint off. Even though Paul was here, we worked like trojans last week trying to get as much done as possible. This meant that we barely had five minutes together as we were running around like headless chickens trying to get everything done. If you follow me on instagram, you’ll know how far we’ve got- i.e. not very. I have a big box of stuff for the nursery- cushions, wall stickers, bumpers, quilts to start making it pretty but they are all wrapped in plastic waiting for a nursery that is a mile off being done. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather that I’d be in this pickle with the nursery and be getting stressed by the lack of progress than not be in the position of being able to start making one!

We were also going to go and get all the big bits for the Blobster with my mum from the dreaded John Lewis. I’ve written about my bad times with JL and coincidences with mcs and how much I hate having to walk through the fucking kids section to get into the cafe (those of you who have been to Bluewater will get this!). However due to the rush and my mum going on holiday, this wasn’t able to happen so still no pram/ cot/ changing table/ wardrobe/ changing bag.

During half term, we were also meant to go and see Blob for the re-scan after she went all shy at 24 weeks and didn’t want to show us her face. On Wednesday, at 9pm, I got a call from the clinic to say that the scanner was broken and they wouldn’t be able to scan me. They were very good and managed to fit me in this Saturday whereas normally they wouldn’t re-scan on a weekend.

My mum and step-dad have popped back down to Devon with Harvey, their springer, pointer cross. He’s very active and as I’ve mentioned before, Hattie, their basset, is very elderly and has dementia so isn’t really fit for going for cross terrain walks and long dinners in pubs. We’ve had her stay several times now- one of the times she taught Max how to break into other people’s gardens through broken fences (bassets are notorious Houdinis). My step dad dropped her off last Friday along with a beautiful free crib we’ve been given by a friend of a friend.

So the week didn’t start too badly. She went a few days without accidents and managed her tablets well and I started back at work on Monday. Got into work and found that the massive amount of work I had done for school had been lost. I had a meeting that evening with senior leadership and was utterly terrified that it would reflect badly. I told the head and whilst she wasn’t impressed, the people who run the online application explained to her that it had probably saved to my home browser (who knew that was a thing?!)- thankfully it was there when I finally turned on my computer at 10pm that night and I was able to save them all on word documents.

So Tuesday came around and after a big meeting to fill in more of the form, I then hotfooted it to Blackheath to make the first NCT group meeting (parent craft). I don’t think I had really allowed myself to process the thought of going to these sessions and found it much harder than I thought I would. It was quite overwhelming and difficult- all these smiling pregnant people (or so it seemed- remember, I am an unreliable narrator like Stevens in Remains of the Day) and their happy partners. After spending so long staying away from pregnant people as if they had the plague, I’m sat in a room full of them! Was also expecting to need to hit that cancellation before having to actually attend them. It also finished at almost a quarter to ten so very late when I’d been up at half five, done a full day of phonological assessments of Year 6 kids and that bloody form!

That night, Hattie got me up two hours before my alarm with her squeaking. I think she forgets what time it is and freaks when she wakes in an unfamiliar place. I went down and did the thing where you don’t interact with them and just do the thing they require and leave them again, so I opened the back door, let the dogs out, refilled their water and went back to bed. This was then repeated last night as well- so each night I’ve had about 3-4hours sleep.

This morning, it all just hit me. I came down to Hattie and she’d had several accidents. I felt groggy and the panic was rising- I struggle with body fluids other than blood. Blood I can deal with- guts hanging out- all that jazz but not vomit or wee. Poo is fine outside but not in the house otherwise I’m gag city. She’d only done a couple of wees but I struggled to clear it up and basically freaked out. How am I going to be able to cope with a baby who does nothing but cry, wee and poo all times of the day and night if I can’t cope with a basset with dementia?

So after Paul woke up and looked after me, making me a tea and getting me to sit down before I left for work. He asked whether I should be going in- apparently I said that I had an important meeting and had to be there rather than made any comment on how I was feeling. After saying how rough I was feeling, I had a wave of support from the gorgeous twitterati who gave me the facts about maternity rights and just generally cheered me on my way to work. I got in quite a lot later than I normally do, went to the meeting and was fine until I went into the art room and shut the door. Everything went very swirly and I couldn’t really work out what to do and I knew it was a panic attack. Before it got too big, I managed to search out the number for my midwife (a mental health specialist) who calmly talked me down. She asked me to ring Paul(I had no intention of ringing him-he had his own work to do), told me that she’d visit in the evening and that if it got worse, I was to go to A&E for an assessment. She also talked me into speaking to my Head.

I was terrified of talking to her. A few weeks previous, I’d been asked to go in and have an informal chat about all the days I’d missed through sickness (most were explained by maternity or the time she’d already agreed  for me to go to Canada) so I was worried about saying that I needed some time out. I needed have worried. I walked in, red eyed and shaking like a leaf-she was busy trying to organise learning walks with outside agencies but she instantly dropped that, sat me down and rang Paul. She then took me for a quick walk in the park to try and get my breathing calmer which did work quite well and she told me how awful her post natal depression had been. It was so good to hear that actually someone had made it out the other side and was a successful head with two healthy children. I felt a bit ridiculous making such a fuss and pulling people’s attention away from their work but both my Head and Paul kept telling me off for apologising.

Once we got home, I was banished to the sofa and made to rest whilst Paul bustled round with drinks, cleaning and turned on bad tv for me. He then sat with me for a bit stroking my hair and asking about what I fancied doing tomorrow (he’s taken tomorrow off too to make sure I’m ok), asking about perhaps getting things together for my hospital bag and organising what times he’d work on in the nursery. I then fell fast asleep and slept for a couple of hours solidly until I woke up shivering (all the windows and doors were open to dry the floors that Paul had washed!) about five minutes before Paul and Max came back from the woods. We then sat watching early Friends episodes before the midwife turned up at 5ish. When she came, Paul got busy making drinks in the kitchen so I could chat to her by myself. He then came in later and gave his view of what happened and said, “I’m so glad that Kirstie rang me and that I’m here to hear  some of what Sarah’s saying to you as I know she wouldn’t have said how bad she was feeling to me.” I felt really bad then. I try not to bother people with my level of crazy but I hadn’t realised that I’d been bottling things up so badly.

I also sobbed when I said how hard I’d found the NCT classes. My midwife said that she can do one to one sessions to alleviate my stress levels but I feel like I’ve owned up to my fear aloud now and Paul has heard it so he can help me in the next session and I can be a bit more aware of how I’m feeling. A little kinder to myself instead of trying to just bury everything.

So the deal right now is for me to be off work tomorrow to catch up with some sleep and ring the local mental health services to see what their phone assessment comes out as. I have a psych appointment as a result of the fucking scary mental health assessment last month next week and the midwife wants to check in with me to make sure I’m doing ok. If I’m not doing great by then, the idea is to start a course of fluoxetine to start to pick up my mood and make it a little easier to cope. Apparently it’s fine in pregnancy and if I breastfeed so no issues there.

I am feeling very grateful and am utterly overwhelmed by the love and support I’ve had from Paul, my twitter family, my Head and my midwife. I fell to pieces a bit today but everyone made sure I was glued back together pretty quickly. Thank you x

14

What is your problem?

I was going to start this blog with an apology but I’m not sure who it’s really directed to! Realistically, it is nothing more than a minor irritation at my inability to update here more often. Maybe I should apologise for the random confusedness of it all.

So, I am now at 24 weeks and 3 days gestation. There was a genuine relief that came with passing the 20 week scan with flying colours and I started to believe that there would be a baby at the end of this…sort of. I say sort of, as I don’t think it really hit until yesterday.

I’m going to have a baby.

There is going to be a baby in our house.

Paul is going to be a dad and I am going to be a mum.

It may seem pathetic to some but I’ve only ever really had three things that I’ve wanted in life:

  1. To be a teacher. (Eight years later, despite the odd wobble, I am still doing it.)
  2. To get married to an incredible man. (A week on Monday, it will be two years together!)
  3. To have a baby.

That’s it. All I have ever wanted. Holidays, cars, large bank accounts, massive amounts of exotic travel have never held anything over me. Just those three things and they are very close to coming to fruition. Whilst this makes me happier than beyond my wildest dreams and the level of gratitude for reaching this current point in my pregnancy is utterly earth shattering, I also feel helplessly frightened. I’ve come so far past the recurrent miscarriages that I feel very lost and confused as to what to do next. I’m used to losing my babies within the first 12 weeks and the thought of losing the one, who is currently kicking me, is utterly paralysing. To lose the baby now would be a stillbirth, not a D&C or cramps over a toilet bowl. I’ve felt this baby kick me, seen its heart beating and seen its skeletal structure. With all of the others, I never got to see those things and so obviously, apart from more time, I have a lot more invested in this one. Said it before but it is still true; I am waiting for someone to tell me that it’s all over.

Due to this belief, I didn’t really do anything. In fact, apart from writing lists and buying a triceratops rattle, I haven’t really done anything. Yes, I have booked and joined the NCT! That’s it though. Then I hear that others have started buying the important things or reading books. The reading books made me search for the best in baby books and I ended up with Mumsnet’s book (that I read cover to cover) and an Aussie one- Baby Love (or something like that), which told me not to read it cover to cover. The Mumsnet one had me crying with laughter over some of the quips left by Mumsnetters- one such classic was about how you should not try to dry your nipples with a hairdryer. Yes, if you have a fungal infection due to breastfeeding, do not take a hairdryer to your nipples as it may hurt. There were bits that I skipped, like co-sleeping- it  is a battlefield in our bed every night for both covers and space, let alone the thought that we would try to share it a third way, safely! There are things that I will definitely give a go, like breastfeeding as I’ve been brought up to believe that if you can, it really is best. There are things like slinging that I’d like to have a go at but given the fact that I have MAHOOSIVE boobs and a bad lower back, I need to do some more research into. It also made me realise that I really know very little and it’s all very well people saying that you learn as you go along BUT MY BRAIN DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT! I do research and weigh up pros and cons, not hope that it’s ok as you go.

So I’ve read a single book. That’s it. It’s also opened up more questions but I’m frightened of the fact that books like that are a bit DO THIS OR YOUR BABY WILL DIE/ BE AN ADDICT/ BE A BAG OF NEUROSES so I’m scared of reading any more.

As for the important stuff, my mum used to look after people’s animals in their homes whilst they were away on holiday during a break from nursing that she took whilst my brother was growing up. There was a house that we went to a few times  who had an empty plastic coated nursery. A heap of baby things in the centre of the room covered in plastic sheeting. The woman, whose cats we looked after, had lost her baby quite far along. That scene has stayed cemented in my mind for a very long time. The dusty plastic covered stuff waiting for the baby that didn’t come home from the hospital. I’m not superstitious about having baby stuff in the house- I don’t feel that having it will jinx things as I don’t believe in jinxes but it’s frightening as it makes it real. The baby clothes that I used to put on blinkers to be able to walk past, I now have to think about buying. I’m thinking about getting some of the furniture too- like the Moses Basket/ crib (another thing that scares me as everyone likes something different and something different suits different babies.) That makes sense to me- if Blob arrives early, it’ll need somewhere to sleep.

I currently have:

  • Red triceratops rattle
  • knitted booties
  • knitted cardi
  • knitted hat
  • a pack of vests
  • a sleeping bag
  • a bunny holding a comforter toy
  • a nightshirt (elasticated at the bottom for  easy nappy access)
  • A baby hat
  • some free stuff from Bounty

Everything apart from the free stuff and the rattle has been either made or bought by my mum. I haven’t even finished the henceforth known Bloody Rainbow Blanket. I have two more stripes to do but cannot bring myself to finish it. Car seats? Decorating the huge empty room? Travel systems? Nope.

I’ve left Twitter for a bit of a brain break too. Whilst I am so wobbly, I don’t think it’s a good idea to be somewhere that although incredibly supportive, can be incredibly cruel. I did get a load of notifications telling me to come back soon and not to worry, that I’d be a great mum.

That’s it. That’s what I’m so scared of. That I’m going to fail and be useless. When I said how anxious I was to Paul last night, he said that we weren’t going to be perfect and that’s ok. In my head, that’s not good enough. I’m not only waiting for the baby to be taken away from me but I’m waiting for someone to tell me that once Blob arrives, that I am an unfit mother.

Paul has just started to imagine us doing things with Blob. At the weekend, it was my niece’s birthday and on the way home we discussed how lovely it’ll be to do the cousin stuff with her (most awesome little girl ever). Also, the thought of going to the places we loved as children like the Natural History Museum. He sent me some photos of Downing street and Buckingham Palace today (from his lunch break), I said that it’ll be wonderful to be able to do that with Blob and then tried desperately not to sob. I’ve always thought whilst taking kids on school trips that I’d love to do it with my own child and now that it’s close to becoming a reality, it’s also very alarming at its closeness.

All in all, I’m glad that the midwife and the mental health team are next week. We’re also hoping to do a scan this or next weekend to see how Blob is doing. Might just make the bad voices inside my head shut up and settle down.

9

Halfway through!

This post will be potentially triggering as it has a scan photo.

 

So, I’m halfway through now. In fact, I am 20 weeks plus 1 day today so I am actually slightly over halfway! The other day I caught my reflection side on in the one mirror we have in our house as I was washing my hands in the bathroom. Already my body has changed a lot- my boobs ARE FREAKING GINORMOUS and my belly is now bigger than them! It’s all hard too and I love poking it- Paul wondered today if it’s a bit like tapping on the side of an aquarium… I know it’s pretty noisy in there but in these weeks, Blob’s hearing is really developing so hopefully it won’t be too scared by Paul’s and my taps!

Bump at 19 weeks

Bump at 19 weeks

In the past three days, we’ve hit a few landmarks: the anomaly scan, allowing people to start buying things and Paul feeling movement.

Firstly, I didn’t retch before the scan! There was a bit of drama surrounding it as it was meant to be Wednesday this week but I received a letter on last Wednesday asking me to come in the first week back of school. I had a mini breakdown, as is my wont, and begged the ultrasound team to try and fit me in before I went back to school. I knew I wouldn’t manage to last that long not knowing what was going on in there. The kicks and the growing bump are lovely but it’s better to see that it doesn’t have eight limbs and that the heart is still beating. Anyway, the first lady I spoke to said the number was wrong on the letter and gave me the extension number to ring and so ring, I did. Something like 36 times before I got through (yes, I am one of those). They were very apologetic for moving me-the issue being a lack of sonographers for anomalies next week and asked if I could do two days time on Friday at 2pm. *Insert holy crap face* I asked if it was ok to have it done before I was 20 weeks and of course it was! I then had to jump on the phone to Paul to ask him to come with me and let my mum and my mother in law know that everything had moved forward.

Friday morning arrived in super quick fashion as they always do. I had tutoring at 10 which broke up the panic and then went in search of food for Paul’s and my lunch. We took the bus over to the QE and our bums had just hit the chairs after I got one of those stamp things to have a scan photo (felt like I was tempting fate even though when I sit down I get beaten up from the inside!) when my name was called. I didn’t get seen in the normal ultrasound bit. No, I got taken to EPU… And of all the places to be seen, it was the same room that I had been told that my fourth pregnancy was not viable. I kept thinking there had to be some kind of irony in this and tried to be grateful for Blob, who was kicking away, ignoring the nagging ache deep in my throat. On top of this, we had the WORST SONOGRAPHER ON THIS PLANET. Ok she wasn’t quite that bad but my goodness, she could do with some training on how to speak to people! She ummed and ahhed her way through the scan, every now and then deigning to tell us what we were seeing on the screen(even though it was bloody obvious!) She then went the other side of the curtain where once I had sobbed and wailed whilst Paul just held me, and did the calculations on a computer, hmmmed again and then came back around saying, “I need to do another scan.” Didn’t tell us what for (I think it was to see the second kidney as Blob had decided to go to sleep and refused to move enough to get a clear view). then I was told to dress myself and come and sit down. No idea at the time if things were good or bad! Anyway, she finally said that everything was fine and that I was measuring dead on for my EDD so all systems go for the 11th of January!

That was the gloomy side of Friday. Actually, it was pretty fucking amazing. Blob is no longer a Blob, it is definitely a baby. Not a puppy, a baby (sorry Max!). It was a real mini human with a clear rib cage, four atria to its heart, two hemispheres to its brain, a straight spine with clear vertebrae, bones in its arms and legs, tiny feet and hands and the best thing, it had a face. Two huge eyes, a tiny snub nose, pouty lips and a pointy chin. Our baby has a face! All the losses were faceless but this one has a face. Probably way too early to tell but I think it was Paul’s nose and my chin! It’s nice imagining these things even if it’s not exactly based on fact! 

Oh and Blob is possibly a girl! They weren’t sure as its legs were crossed but the sonographer had a guess as Blob being a girl. Here he, she, it is:

Blob now looking less like a blob at 19+5 weeks

Blob now looking less like a blob at 19+5 weeks

So anomaly ticked off even if my alien didn’t exactly co-operate with us in regards to the sex, everything is the right shape and size and doing the things it should so go Blob go!

We then shared the news with our parents- everyone was over the moon and then came the question… Can I start buying things? I answered yes, even though the loss part of my brain was screaming, “NO NO NO! Take your baby home wrapped in hospital towels and don’t have anything baby related in the house until after the birth!” The thing is, there is no such thing as jinxes. Shit goes wrong but jinxes are not real. After all, I have had Asda baby socks thanks to the Bounty pack since I was about 13 weeks. Now I have the tiniest baby hat, a sleeping bag and a bunny with a comforter. They’re on my bedside table still in the wrapping and the bag as I don’t want black fur all over them! So my mum has started things rolling. It feels right. I have told people that we are possibly having a girl and even our possible name choices- I wasn’t going to as I have such strong feelings about constantly dressing small children and babies in gendered clothing but everything about this pregnancy has been about celebrating each tiny step Blob and I have managed to make together. That’s why I decided to tell people as soon as I had the results from the CVS. 

As for the third bit of excitement. Last night when we got home from my mum’s, Blob was getting its rave on in my tummy and Paul put his hands where I said the movement was happening and he felt Blob kick! Think I sort of ruined a romantic, sweet movement by trying to high five Paul! I think it’s all becoming quite real for him with Blob looking like a human and now kicking him. There might just be a baby in January!

2

Superhero or puppy?

It was my 16 weeks check up with the midwife today. Went with Paul (yeah, after two weeks ago, I don’t think he’ll be missing any more!)-although, he did threaten to go in just a shirt. Yep, no pants or shorts! Found this hysterically funny, which he was shocked at as according to him, I’ve been a bit dramatic and apparently lacking in any humour… Now, I’m dramatic at the best of times but I don’t think jokes about running off with Max and the baby are funny LAWSON!!! Despite this, he then teased me about the amount of time it would take us to get there (it was ten minutes around the corner from where we live), counting down each minute but to his credit, he did get us unstuck as there was a weird road that I hadn’t accounted for that had a different name to the one we were looking for. We had walked into the surgery for about 10 seconds before we were called in so no time to do a pee sample and poor Paul had the door shut in his face! I was given my orders to wee on command (I had just moments before gulped down a tea and juice before leaving) and could barely squeeze a drop out! Apparently the 10ml I caught in the plastic tube was enough to test though- PHEW!

First time meeting the midwife team who will be delivering Blob hopefully mid January- they seem so lovely! Really warm even if I was given a stern talking to about staying calm as it no longer just affected my heart rate but Blob’s too (blood pressure was fine). She also went through my bloods and urine samples saying that my iron level is brilliant (14.7 which is bang in the middle where it should be), I came back as being resistant to Rubella, I have no syphilis, HIV or other STDs. I’m still O+, a normal thing in relation to sickle cell (there was a lot of information! I don’t remember it all!), blood sugars were well within the completely normal range and pee was all fine. No more protein traces which is fab. She then asked about my anomaly scan and when that would be but the QE hadn’t booked me in for one – probably as they thought I’d be continuing at Tommies but that’s all sorted now and hopefully, the next time we see Blob will be on the 27th of August! Paul wants to find out the sex- all I want to know is if Blob is ok!

The midwife then said that she wanted to have a listen to Blob’s heart and I guess my face must have looked aghast, as she did the usual spiel about how it was still early days and not hearing one would be perfectly normal and then stopped, looked at me and said, “You’re still going to worry aren’t you?!” 

I needn’t have worried. She examined me and found the top of my uterus was up, about an inch from my rib cage. She then found the heartbeat straight away. It sounded like Blob was having an EDM party in there… The heartbeat was so loud and clear! It also sounded like baby was tap dancing in time… Starting to become quite concerned that Blob is going to be a superhero with hyper activity as its super power! Am also quite worried that I may be having a puppy, similar to what Max was like…!

I was also able to tell the midwife that I have felt Blob’s movements a lot- that its been doing full somersaults that I’ve felt even when walking about. First one was last Monday- thought it was a weird gassy bubble to begin with but it wasn’t my body doing it- it was so weird! There was something else moving inside of me! The other day, Blob did a massive flip flop in the middle of Eltham (for the Americans- pronunciation is: El’tum. Yeah, I know.) whilst I was on the phone to Paul and it made me yelp in surprise! It’s doing that more and more on a daily basis, usually late afternoon to early evening. 

Whilst I still haven’t had anyone guess I was pregnant from my shape, I feel like things are changing quite rapidly. My tummy is rounding up and hardening- you can feel where my uterus is quite easily. Paul feels like there’s a big change too. I can’t suck it in anymore either… After years of posing in front of the mirror sticking my belly out, its weird to see what a different shape it is and where it sits, as against a fat belly. I feel like my belly is becoming quite pointy and slightly larger on the left-hand side but that’s probably only something I can see!

Yesterday, I sent off for some wool to knit a baby blanket. That’s the first thing I’ve bought for Blob. Just making one with simple stripes in primary colours. Felt a bit scary but it’s time, Simba. Time to start believing that maybe this time next year we’ll have a baby.

1

Self-induced lunacy

Yeah and add to that picture, unicorns, rainbows and marshmallow clouds!

Yeah and add to that picture, unicorns, rainbows and marshmallow clouds!

Hi my name is Sarah and I have an extremely over-active imagination. Not only is it over-active but it also imagines the worst case scenarios. Like a few months ago, I had to walk over to the cash point early in the morning to get some money out for the dog walker. At the time, there was this man who had escaped prison called the Skull Cracker as he like to mug people and cave in their skulls and obviously because he was on the loose in South East London, I would be attacked by him whilst I walked over to the ATM with Max. Actually no, the anti-fantasy was worse than that, I imagined Max being attacked or him attacking Max, after he attacked me. Obviously, this didn’t happen. The Skull Cracker was in fact caught later that day  but perhaps this shows you a little of how much crazy there is inside my head. 

If I receive criticism, it’s not that someone is trying to make me better. Criticism means that I am the worst person on this planet and don’t deserve to walk amongst the regular humans. I know that this should mean that I shouldn’t really leave the house due to nerves and a lot of the time, I don’t! However, I have learnt good survival techniques and if you know me, you’ll probably think that I am the most confident and bubbly person you’ve ever met. I would like to use the swan analogy but there is nothing swan-like about me! I do work very hard at hiding my fear of the world. I still Crimewatch narrate late night sole walks and dread meeting up with friends I have known for years. For example, I met up with friends from my old school last week- the day before and the morning of, I was panicking chronically! What if they actually hated me? What if I became that person who kept coming back to see old workmates when they had moved one (think David Brent in the Office)? Of course, I was being utterly stupid letting my brain get ahead of me- I was welcomed back with so many hugs and lemonades!

Obviously given my past successful pregnancies, I have come with some baggage to this one. Paul doesn’t let me wallow too much though which is possibly the healthiest thing ever. He listens to the crazy, then takes the piss and we both fall about the place laughing! Best medicine ever. I’ve been doing a bit of fear fire fighting today- I managed to book Paul and myself on the NCT course so we can laugh through the breastfeeding fails and huffing exercises together. This was a big anxiety as after all, will there be a baby? I think the hardest bit of what’s happening at the moment is that I now have to wait until the end of the summer for my next scan. When you’ve been scanned pretty much every other week, waiting four more seems like a century. I also bought some maternity clothes today and another bra (freaking H cup!!!). whilst things are becoming tighter, I could have probably gone another month or two if it wasn’t for the fact that all my clothes have either been eaten by Max or falling to pieces- like ladders in leggings, teeth marks in dresses. There are obvious reasons why I was scared to buy maternity clothes. I am starting to get a bump but it is very tiny! I mean, if Blob is doing ok in there, it’s about the size of a large orange right now and apparently in the next four weeks, it will do some crazy growth to being the length of a banana by the end of the summer holidays. This again is absolutely terror fraught. Anti-fantasy galore!!! 

I guess it doesn’t help when you feel a bit of a fraud and you’re waiting for someone to say, “I’m so sorry…” My imagination is beating me up right now! I just need to beat it back into a more positive shape.

1

Panic Stations!

 

Yes, this should be on every tube map.

Yes, this should be on every tube map.

I realise that perhaps for a highly anxious person such as myself, having a baby isn’t the best thing to do. My anxiety has been pretty much life-long- my first recollection of having an anxiety attack was my mum going into  hospital to have my brother. Knowing that she always came back sad from the hospital, there was no way I was going to allow her to go. Another early panic episode was when outside an old house, a taxi flipped because it was travelling too fast- my medic parents told me to stay indoors as they ran outside to check over the people inside the cab and I remember wrapping my arms around my then Bassett (Choti) and not being able to breathe.

My panic attacks start off pretty straight forward- I get tingling in my extremities (hands and feet) like I need to run or cartwheel away from my perceived danger. This then travels inwards to my arms and and legs (which I start to flex and stretch) and I start to gasp for air, beginning with yawning and over-the-top sighs. When I panic, I can’t think straight (obviously!) and I certainly don’t take in information properly. Today was such a case. It’s only now that I look back at it with hindsight that I can see what actually happened.

This was my first appointment in this pregnancy that I have had to go to by myself (cue alarm bells). My midwife had made lots of appointments for me to see obstetricians and psychs due to the losses and my past mental health and today was the first. I had to go and see the obstetrician at the hospital up the road. First I was seen by a lovely nurse, who told me I deserved a gold star for my urine sample and my blood pressure and then I sat there, in front of the empty fish tank, imagining I could smell the tiny bit of dank water that was lying still at the bottom. Finally it was my turn with the doctor, who was wearing the most beautiful outfit. She asked all the usual questions about what had happened so far, how I was doing and explained why the Time Team would be getting in touch (for those of you with a knowledge of British telly- sadly, this doesn’t mean that Tony Robinson will be excavating my uterus to check for historical evidence of cavorting elephants.) She also owned up that she felt that the CVS anaesthesia was purely psychological in her view (I bloody thought so!) After all the usual questions and the normal blank mind about what questions to ask her (got to start writing them down), she then wanted to have a listen to Blob’s heartbeat.

She couldn’t find it.

I think she poured on about a tonne of gel in the hope that there’d be a better connection but it didn’t make much of a difference. She sent me to drink some more as she thought she’d heard something but wanted to hear it more clearly. I left my bags in her room (BIGGEST FUCKING MISTAKE EVER) to run around trying to find a water dispenser that worked and ended up in ultrasound next door where lo and behold, I bump into one of my former teaching course mates whose wife is now expecting their second, three days after my due date! It was nice to see him, he’s truly a lovely guy and I didn’t feel like such a lemon standing there glugging back icy cold water (total brain freeze)- it gave a sense of normalcy to the panic that had set in.

Once I had drunk a lot of water, I went back thinking that I’d be able to go back in straight away but someone else was in there, meaning that I sat without any contact to the outside world in that bloody fish-less waiting room. My hand went instantly to my Jizo necklace and I sat there praying and rubbing it, feeling its big ears and tiny grooves, hoping that this wasn’t the end. After what seemed like an age (read five minutes), I was called back in. 

There was still no clear heartbeat. I think she said that all she could hear was the baby moving around but to me I hear that as being the doppler was moving the baby around. Every now and then there was a slight sound of a heartbeat but for milliseconds, nothing substantial. The Dr didn’t seem to perturbed but said that she wanted to scan me to put my mind at rest as she didn’t want me going home and worrying about it. At the time I heard that she couldn’t find a heartbeat and that she wanted to scan me to make sure everything was ok. 

See what panic does?

I walked in a daze through to the café in the hospital and sat at a wonky table outside to make the phone call to Paul. I told him what I thought had happened and he pretty much told me to stay where I was and he’d be there as soon as possible. Towards the end of the conversation, my voice started to crack and that was it, I had a few tears in the hospital café. Everyone was being really lovely on twitter- reminding me that it was perfectly normal to struggle to find a heartbeat at this stage (I think the Dr said something too…), I then saw that I’d received a message from work asking me about what time I’d get in- I texted my Head as I thought I might be a bit too teary to talk, didn’t hear anything so rang and no one picked up so I rang the main school office and spoke to our lovely secretary and told her that I was being scanned at one and that I’d try to get in afterwards. A few minutes after that, the Head rang. I was so worried that she’d think I was taking the piss- I mean it’s bad enough that she hires me and I get knocked up in the holidays before I start, let alone a high risk pregnancy that requires lots of appointments.

I needn’t have worried. She was utterly wonderful and even offered to be at the end of the phone during the scan if Paul didn’t make it in time. Apparently, one of her pregnancies was high risk so she gets it. As it got ever closer to 1 o’clock,  I decided a loo trip and then a trip back to ultrasound’s brain freeze water was in order so I texted Paul to tell him my change of location and he dutifully turned up to ultrasound just as I was walking out, about to walk over to the fetal medical unit. After a quick kiss and me accusing him of smelling like beans, he held my hand as we walked over to FMU. It’s terrible that we both know women’s services so well! A lovely lady behind the desk took my notes and ushered me into a side room, which kind of made me think the worst… Good news doesn’t come in side rooms so panic rose even more. Right to the point where when I lay down to have the scan, I started retching to be sick… Just like I’d done two weeks beforehand at Tommies.

After a few minutes of being upright, the doctor started to examine me- in fact she exclaimed, “Well, I have never seen such a wriggly baby! This explains an awful lot! No wonder I could only hear movement noises!” The baby was flexing its legs and propelling itself off the walls of the placenta- seriously, it was bouncing off the walls! Arms and legs were flailing around, its back was curling and stretching- we had to wait for it to calm down and spin itself into a better position to see its heartbeat. Paul was wide eyed at seeing it bounce around so much! I was just relieved that things were ok. In seeing the doctor again, I got to ask the questions that I’d forgot to ask before- about headaches and taking paracetamol for them and my dizzy spells. She okayed the paracetamol straight away, saying that it is no more toxic to you when pregnant than when not and then checked my notes for my haemoglobin levels and laughed! Apparently, I’m definitely not anaemic!

We caught the bus back home (with the worst driver known to man- he didn’t believe in pulling over to the bus stops, just stopping in the middle of the road near to the stop) and slowly shuffled the 10 footsteps to our home. Both of us relieved and exhausted all at once. We’ve both fallen fast asleep this afternoon (mine might be due to an extremely over active baby).

So my next appointment is in two weeks on the 30th of July… Paul’s coming.