No more babies

Back in February I asked my GP for referral for a sterilisation. I saw the consultant last Monday to confirm that I fully understood what was involved in the process and the fact that it was a permanent, non-reversible contraception etc etc. I was offered a newer, non-surgical procedure called Essure®, which basically involves inserting two small coils into the falopian tubes via the vagina, which cause scar tissue to form blocking off the tubes and preventing sperm from reaching an egg.

I agreed to the procedure, signed a consent form and was told I’d hear shortly for an appointment date. I went home expecting to be waiting for another few months. I mean, the NHS is brilliant but for elective procedures and non-urgent care it can be (rightly) slow.

Not so much… within two hours of getting home I was called by someone from the hospital to advise that a cancellation had been made, and could I make it in the following Tuesday (29th March). Holy shit batman. (Talking of which, the new Batman vs Superman? Pants.)

On Monday night, I lay in bed and had a little cry as I thought about what this procedure meant: no more growing babies in my tummy. No more breastfeeding cuddles. No more snuggling tiny humans to sleep by my side. But what reassured me about this little release was that I didn’t feel regret, or like I was having a last minute change of heart, but simply coming to terms with experiences I’ve been lucky enough to have and realising that although beautiful and life-changing and fulfilling, I am done.

No more babies.

The Royal Baby

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are apparently expecting a baby; Kate Middleton has been admitted to hospital with “acute morning sickness”. I wasn’t going to post, ’cause everyone’s talking about it at the minute and I’m not one to jump on moving bandwagon generally, but it’s a subject close to my heart: hyperemesis that is, not pregnancy.

When I saw the news I was happy to chuckle at the mock outrage tweets… “woman in pregnancy shock” etc. Yes yes, another woman having another baby. But the more I think about it, the more I really feel for the woman.

Hyperemesis typically hits at 6 weeks and is constant. If you’ve not been through a hyperemesis pregnancy, imagine having food poisoning. Then imagine having it every day for nearly 9 months. Anyway, because of this early attack, it’s likely that she is less than 12 weeks (when the risk of miscarriage is higher). When I was hospitalised with my first pregnancy, I was only 8 weeks. When I lost it, the sense of letting people down (even people who didn’t even know I was pregnant) was there in the background. I can’t imagine worrying about worst case scenario and the potential feeling of letting down a whole nation.

Then there’s the barfing. Vomiting is not classy. It’s not befitting of a lady like Kate. I can’t imagine her slumped on the sofa, tweeting to her followers (is she even on twitter?) that hot chocolate and sugar puffs don’t taste too bad coming back up like I did. I had to barf in public on a couple of occasions, and did so without worrying that there was a photographer about to spread my puke across the front page of newspapers (figuratively speaking, of course).

I often joke that the best thing to come out of hyperemesis (apart from my kids, obviously) was the weight loss. I weighed less after having Izz than I did before I got pregnant, despite having carried a baby and waters etc for 9 months. Kate… well, she’s not exactly got extra weight to burn, has she?

I don’t know. I get that she’s a royal now. She’s got servants and nannies and probably private healthcare too, but that shit ain’t pretty for anyone; I certainly wouldn’t wish HG on an enemy let alone a woman unfortunate enough(?) to have married into the royal family.

I can only (selfishly) hope that her high profile raises awareness of hyperemesis gravidarum and how damaging it can be. Maybe then I can get through another pregnancy (hahahaha) without being told to stop bitching because it’s just a bit of morning sickness.

Baby Oliver’s Birth Story

I guess things started with the twinges in my pelvic region on Tuesday night but as I’d had worse last week I’d thought nothing of it; I had actually become accustomed to the idea of having another late baby and had a long list of things to do this week. I went to bed Tues night, but didn’t sleep well… backache had randomly appeared and I was having to get up every 45 mins to pee. I got fed up of tossing and turning at 4:30am so got out of bed, had a cuppa and low and behold started having very mild contractions. It was then I tweeted my first labour tweet #uhoh

I was kept suitably distracted for around an hour by Erin who, despite trolling me in 2010 and signing up to Snark just to spam her crappy contest, had the nerve to ask me to “make her a script like rev.iew.me” for free. I’ll save the hilarity of that one for another day.

Anyway, I eventually woke Karl to tell him he wouldn’t be going to work that day… he responds “I have to”. Well, love, only if you want to miss the birth of your child!

Isabel woke before 6am and while I got her fed and dressed the contractions mostly disappeared — what a clever body.

Around this point I rang the Midwife Led Unit to advise them I was in early labour, mentioned my previous delivery and repeat iron issues. I acknowledged their protocol but told them I was either giving birth at the MLU or at home. They told me to ring back later. I barfed up my breakfast mid-contraction.

Around 7:30am Karl took Isabel off to nursery to try and keep her usual routine, my mum arrived to keep me company. I took some paracetamol (don’t know why, seemed like it might help… it didn’t) as the contractions started getting closer together; about 3-4 minutes apart. I rang the MLU back, they told me to come in straight away.

When I got to the MLU I was told there were two senior midwives on duty, someone suggested that one (Supervisor of Midwives) had been called in specifically because of/for me. The SoM just happened to be a lady I clicked with when I was pregnant with Izz and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to support my labour.

The SoM did a vaginal, said I was 4-5cm dilated and that my ‘membranes were bulging’. Still very manageable pain levels so we decided to go for a walk. Too hot outside, retreat back to labour room to keep up my pacing.

The contractions really started to get intense around 12:30 and so I finally ‘gave in’ to gas & air. The midwife fetched me a birth ball which allowed me to stay in a good position but rest my legs; this really started to speed things up and around 2pm I began to question the sanity of a #2 (last tweet, phone was annoying me again).

At this point (just past 2pm) the contractions started piling on top of one another — despite the pain, I was still laughing/joking between contractions with the midwife and Karl and I think being comfortable in my birth environment was a huge help — the midwife tells me she knows I’m pushing as I am ‘mooing’ (classy). I hadn’t realised what I was doing, I was just letting my body get on with it (albeit vocally it would seem). She asked me if I wanted my waters broken or if I wanted no intervention and although the latter was my original plan, I thought screw that, I’m getting tired – have at it!

The midwife did another VE, tells me there’s a rim, pops my waters and I absolutely flooded the bed. Sudden unbearable urge to push, and I can’t be arsed to get up to change to a better position so I start pushing using the bed as brace. I can’t begin to tell you how much it hurts but the pushing was productive and I quickly feel his head born.

Just as I’m summoning the energy to push with the next contraction, the midwife shouts at me to LISTEN and STOP. The cord was wrapped very tightly round baby’s neck. All of a sudden things are happening… the cord is clamped and cut (there goes my plan to let it stop pulsating) I am pushing again, there’s a purple baby plonked on my chest and it’s a boy! Hands everywhere, warm towels being fetched, SoM is trying to get baby to cry. He makes a half-hearted whinge which isn’t good enough so he’s whisked away from me for oxygen & suction; Karl followed.

I vaguely remember at this point that the midwife assisted delivery of placenta, lost ~400ml blood, had the jab to help with reducing bleeding. It’s all a blur, all I can think is I want my bloody baby back. He was brought back in (gone for just a minute but felt like an hour) and I’m repeating I want my baby, give me my baby, give me my baby, give me my baby. He’s placed back on me, latch him on the breast, phew… calm.

I got my tea and toast this time, but was sick again. I didn’t have pethidine so it must either have been the blood loss or the synto-whatsit jab they use to reduce risk of PPH. I didn’t want it because I wasn’t sure if it made me sick last time, but the SoM wanted to cover her arse (I’d already broken the ‘rules’ by staying at the MLU) and I had already lost my physiological third stage anyway.

Anyway… all in I am quite pleased. I got the birth I wanted (mostly) and think the way I dealt with labour this time reflects my comfort with the surroundings. Baby Oliver is well, with no ill effects from the cord ‘incident’. He has a lip tie like his sister which is contributing to a poor latch and sore nipples, but we’re taking each day one at a time.

Deja Vu

Message on the answer phone:

“Miss Turner, we’ve had the results of your blood test back and your iron is low. Please ring your doctor to collect some iron tablets.”

How about no. How about stick it up your arse. I’m not going through the stress I went through last time only to be told it was all for nothing. It’s back on the Floradix for me, and if that doesn’t work, baby might find itself born on the sofa.

That’s the last time I let a midwife sweet talk me into having blood tests.

Awkward

…that moment at work when you sneeze twice in quick succession, and have to stand real still while you mentally assess whether or not you’ve wet yourself.

Weird Dream of School ‘Chums’

And by chums I totally mean the assholes that tormented me for 5 years.

I wasn’t a “popular kid” at school (I know you’re not surprised by this). I was different before it was cool to be different. Short boyish haircut, knackered old Doc Martins, purple tights and mismatched socks. I didn’t listen to the “in” music, or watch the “in” TV shows. Nerdy and smart but with a big gob and the ability (and willingness?) to stand up for myself. Didn’t let any fucker push me around, but you know, I think that just made things worse.

Anyway, I had a bit of a weird dream last night in which me, and many from my year at school, were doing a weird quiz thing in a huge gym/assembly room (stand on this side of the room if you think X, move over here if you think Y … I don’t know). Someone got in my face so I put her up the wall and suggested she back off before I did something we might both regret. (Incidentally, this actually happened, but with a different girl in a different place and for a different reason. It worked, though.)

Yeah. I’m not sure why I’m writing this down … I guess I just thought that at the grand old age of not-quite-26, that I wouldn’t give school a second thought now. Pregnancy makes you dream strange things.

Weird Food Aversions

I guess it’s hard to sum up my food aversions with Isabel, as I had problems with all food. This time it’s different though… I’m having some particularly odd cravings and, at the opposite end of the scale, food that turns my stomach just thinking about it.

I’ve already mentioned that I’m eating a lot of meat at the minute (way more than is usual for me). Alongside this I just can’t get enough home-cooked food. Don’t get me wrong, I cook the majority of my meals from scratch anyway, but there are days when all I’ve got the energy to do is come home and chuck some chips and a burger in the oven but I can’t even do that. It has to be a home-made curry, or spaghetti bolognese or mince n’ tatties or lasagne … but mostly curry (not doing the heartburn any favours mind you). The idea of a big roast dinner right now: pork belly with roast potatoes, honey roasted carrots, cabbage, apple sauce, mash n gravy — someone stop me before I leave dribble marks on the sofa!

I would love nothing more than to satisfy the fatty in me by nipping to the chippy right now and fetching home a big fat greasy bag of fish & chips, but the very idea has my stomach performing somersaults. I ordered pizza to celebrate passing my driving test last week and didn’t manage more than a slice and a half.

I enjoy good food but this shit is hard work. Anyone want to be my personal chef for a few months?

Beansprout Scan

Finally got ’round to scanning this in:

[img: ultrasound scan 12w 6d]

Dates spot on (unsurprisingly; such is the benefit of having a very predictable cycle) — due 02nd June 2012 as mentioned previously.

The morning sickness is, thankfully, backing off. As long as I eat every 1.5hrs I don’t get nauseous/spew. The downside is that this is way more frequently than I’m used to eating and I can imagine me weighing 20 stone by the end of this pregnancy.

Isabel is Weaning

Except by weaning, I mean weaned. But if I write weaned all official like that in my title it’ll mean it’s true, and I don’t think I can handle that at the moment :(

Truth be told she’s not had a feed that involved actual milk transfer in well over a month (early October). She’s nursed a few times since then but usually for a few seconds, before announcing “finished” and toddling off… not long enough to stimulate let down, never mind actual milk flow. Thus, my boobies have all dried up.

I wish that I could say it was because I’m pregnant, at least then the guilt I’m feeling would be rational. Instead I feel like I’ve let her down but can’t put my finger on why.

You’re all probably thinking I’ve lost my marbles about now. She’s 2, she’s not a “baby”. I guess my problem lies with the research that tells us babies typically self-wean around the age of 4, and if my baby hasn’t lasted that long, then what did I do wrong?

It all started ‘going wrong’ when she began sleeping through the night around 6 months ago. I’d wanted her to sleep for so long, and when she did (no influence from us) … well, I had no idea that it would be the beginning of the end of our nursing relationship. From there she was down to 2 feeds a day (after nursery, and before bed). She replaced the first with a yoghurt — her choice; tantrums if we had none in — and the last with cuddles.

I did everything as I “should”. She never had bottles or a dummy. She slept sleeps in our bed. We didn’t night wean or sleep train. She had on demand access to the boob when she wanted it. I didn’t restrict her feeds to certain hours or enforce rules about “only at home” (not bothered about feeding a toddler in public). I guess I went back to work. But I only work 4 days, so why didn’t she compensate over the other 3?

I don’t have answers, and I don’t understand why I’m so bothered about something so totally out of my control. Maybe it’s the hormones. Maybe it’s normal to feel this way when something so special comes to an end.

Sigh.

Beansprout

I, err, wasn’t going to post about this for a while… but given that I’ve gone into hibernation mostly and people are questioning wtf I’m doing with myself these days, I might as well.

I’m pregnant (bundle of cells currently cheesily-nicknamed Beansprout, thanks Katy) — currently 9 weeks 1 day &#8212 due 2nd June 2012. The good news is that the hyperemesis has not returned. The bad news is I have just regular morning sickness/nausea, which is still fairly gross and exhausting. I’ve been going to bed at 7pm just so that I make it through the next day without crashing in a tired heap. It doesn’t help that I have a cold/cough, which as you can probably imagine, is not conducive to keeping food down.

So anyway, there you go. Scan pics as and when they happen, should everything stick around.

Making Baby v2?

If you’re following me on twitter or facepoop you’ve probably seen my recent posts about my new nephew, baby Jack. “Unfortunately” this has thrown an already very broody me into the deep end of omg-another-baby thoughts.

My original plan was to wait until Isabel hit 2 as a minimum. This is a) because I want to meet the WHO recommendations for breastfeeding as a minimum (and many kids wean when mama is pregnant) and b) because the idea of herding two kids under 2 fills me with nightmares.

In addition to those two minor factors, there’s one major thing playing on my mind… hyperemesis.

For new readers, or those forgetful sorts, I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum during my pregnancy with Isabel. From week 6 until the day I gave birth, I vomited. I would vomit anything up to 8-10 times a day. Bear in mind that one ‘severe hyperemesis’ symptom is described as losing 5% of your pre-pregnancy body weight… well, just to give you an inkling of the kind of effect this had on my body: I lost 21% (and 3 dress sizes in the process).

It’s funny really, when I was pregnant in 2009, someone left this comment on Karl’s blog:

Jem is going to be fat. Muahaha.

Irony was, I was anything but; the day I gave birth, my pre-pregnancy jeans not only FIT but were falling off.

Hyperemesis suffers commonly suffer with each pregnancy, and generally it gets worse each time. The very thought terrifies me to my core. Constant reflux, bright red face from broken blood vessels because of the force of the vomit-retch-vomit cycle, complete inability to eat anything with any semblance of taste. Gah, I don’t know how I got through it, just thinking back right now.

And if I survive the constant stream of bile rapidly exiting my mouth, I get to deal with the incessant questions and suggestions from people: “have you tried ginger?” / “wear sea sickness bands” / “eat before you get out of bed” / “overdose on vitamin b12” / “eat X food at X o’clock whilst hanging upside down” … you get the picture.

And if I get through that, and assuming Isabel DOESN’T wean during pregnancy, I have to balance the weight loss and my nutritional/physical needs with hers. Plenty of mamas nurse through HG but not all of them lose over 40lbs in weight.

But of course, all of this is irrelevant at the minute. Why? Because I’m scheduled for gallbladder removal surgery on November 21st. The removal of on organ which, aside from one attack, has been problem free my entire life. Which isn’t bothering me now. Which might not bother me again. (Can you tell I’m not convinced about this?)

And what about potty training during pregnancy? Co-sleeping with 2? Tandom nursing? Isabel getting jealous? Juggling 2 while I’m on maternity leave? Affording childcare for 2 when I’m not? Work? My next course module in October?

Sigh.

Isabel’s Birth Story, Part Two

In my new room on the MLU (see part one) I was hooked up to a cylinder of gas and air (and, incidentally, went through 3 of these before I was finished) because they had no wall supply and ditched the TENS… the batteries had died anyway. I was given another internal — 7cm dilated, dilating at 1cm an hour give or take — and offered more pain relief.

I was hoping to finish the labour on the gas and air alone, because up until everything had actually started I’d had visions of having a laid back labour with as much walking and squatting as possible to promote a faster and easier birth. Unfortunately, this was a tad naive and greatly underestimated the pain I’d be in. On reflection I am glad I felt so confident (for lack of a better word) because I think it helped relax me, and ultimately got me to 7cm dilated on just the gas and air. That said, I was under no illusions of being some kind of hippy Earth mother and gladly accepted a shot of pethidine at this point.

I’m not sure if it was the pethidine or having spent about 4 hours inhaling nitrous oxide, but I remember shortly after the shot I was kneeling on the bed with the head raised for me to lean on, and with each contraction I was having what can only be described as a “detached” experience… I was being talked through my breathing by the midwife who had a very odd accent, and I felt like I was no longer in my own head. Not an out of body experience because physically I felt “there”, it was just the weirdest mental trip ever.

I don’t recall much between that point, and a few hours later when the midwife finished her shift and a new midwife started, must have been approx. 6am by then and I’d been up since just after 7am the day before. I didn’t feel overly tired at the time, and 9(?) hours of labour had gone by in what felt more like 3-4 hours. Karl probably disagrees as I’d had him standing up giving me back rubs, as well as holding my hand, poor bugger.

It was another couple of hours before the midwife asked me if I’d had any urges to push (er, no). I had to change positions on the bed so that she could break my waters (didn’t hurt, didn’t feel anything, I was just suddenly lying in a big wet patch), and I had another shot of pethidine because the other had worn off. Breaking my waters did the trick because shortly afterwards I knew I needed to push.

It took half an hour of pushing to deliver Isabel, although the majority of that didn’t seem to be achieving anything. At one stage the midwife made me put down the gas and air because she thought I was concentrating more on that than pushing. I was actually just suffering from excruciating back pain — because I was lying down.. worst decision ever — made worse each time I tried to push. It felt like my spine was being torn out, and I screamed more swear words than I realised I knew. It got to the point where I was in so much agony I just lay there crying at the midwife that I couldn’t do it (not really sure what I expected her to do, it’s not like I could change my mind at that point!)

I made my biggest “mistake” right at the end, as Isabel was born. Because I was tired, and in pain, I gave one last huge push to finish off, which didn’t give the midwife time to “help” her out… Isabel turned too quickly and I ended up tearing. I had at least 6 labial stitches (TMI, yay) — I’d not even realised prior that you can tear that way — and lost 400ml of blood. I remember seeing some on the wall at the end of the bed! It sounds scarier than it was, though; and well worth it for such a lovely ‘prize’.