Monday, April 16, 2007

Pregnancy week 36: Back on the labour ward

Nicky Lacey sent me this funny story:

My friend Sarah used to bite her nails all the time and when she had her baby she stopped biting her nails and bit the baby’s nails instead, even the toes. Which did her a favour because now she doesn't like the taste her nails and says babies’ nails taste much better. So now she is cured of her habit.

I have all my favourite world locations coming up on my Google homepage in the morning showing the weather in each location... the temps in London almost LA like - global warming full on, amazing indeed! Last April I was walking around Wakehurst with my ski jacket on feeling cold and damp and I remember everything looking so wintry, so huge change with flowers blooming early this year.. how very lovely. May's my favourite time back home and ironically it's one of the dullest months here because of the marine layer fog. But after that, it's unlikely to rain at all from May-Oct. Mum will be here for 6 weeks, staying with us, Auntie Angie and travelling with Dad when he arrives to the national parks. By herself, it'll be great, just what I would have wanted and mum's exceptionally practical and nurturing when it comes to baby care. Good timing too as Jason will be back at work and from what I've heard from everyone it seems that month after the birth is when things can get pretty tough. And then Lisa and Paul come in August for a few days at the end of their NY/SanFran grand tour staying in a local hotel. Anne-Marie arrives in SanFran the week after where we'll meet her (Jason's booked us a 7am flight.. nice) and head to the national parks before driving back down to LA with a few overnight stops enroute. Tuesday: Check up today, presumably my last before DDay, so a last chance to ask all the burning questions and then we're having some fun tonight. Have bought a maternity belly cast kit to play with which we'll either stuff in a non-existent spare cupboard afterwards or decorate like a bronze or with baby photos. Getting lots of these menstrual like cramps (book says normal) which now wake me up (new thing) and yesterday the most intense pain (ligament I think as on one side, very isolated) when I got up incredibly slowly but which was obviously too quickly and I was stuck on the floor thinking through the pain, shit, what happens if this doesn't subside, I can't move, but I guess I have to crawl to my mobile or something. Bit scary. On the other scale, got to sit on Sanjay's spanking new red motorbike and let him rev it up for a bit. Thrilling for both me and Boo I'd imagine. Would've made a great photo opportunity, the juxtaposition of me not being able to get my leg over and the sexy beast of a machine underneath. One of my favourite things is standing in the shower as I do for ages with the water lovely and hot especially after Boo's been kicking up a marathon and I think Boo must love the sound and the feeling because I feel not a wink out of him afterwards. If only a time capsule could work in the opposite direction hey, that we could retrieve one from the future saying, things do work out in the end. I guess throughout my life, they almost always have worked out, in the end. I was counselling a fertility friend on ivillage the other day and was thinking that God really does have to endow infertile women with more patience than is humanly possible to bear at times. Janet Anslow is now 2.5 years in, the point at which depression often kicks in, and preparing for her 2nd IVF on the NHS. It's difficult being critical of her care from a position of having bought the absolute best, but I see so many loopholes in her treatment and thus wasted NHS funds in the long run. I guess it’s natural when you’ve had a surplus of nursing care that you’re drawn to the profession, especially as you’re rewarded here as a professional. I thought the same 2 years ago through the surgery, but more in terms of then, my God, anybody could do a better job than some of these ladies, and especially through the IVF and counselling.
Last week, after a frantic night of kicking which resulted in me turning to Boo and telling him to “be quiet…give mummy a rest”, he did just that. He stopped moving for a good 16hrs. By 4pm the next day, I was worried, fearing the worst, and called Dr Bo. She immediately sent me to the Labour and Delivery ward at St John’s hospital. I was seen by a nurse from Leigh-on-Sea and quickly taken to a private room where I was rigged up on the monitor. Once I could hear Boo’s little heartbeat, I felt very much reassured. I almost fell asleep to the sound of the galloping horses, Boo’s little heartbeat. Everything was ok. He’d worn himself out the night before. Jason made tea for me and the Leigh-on-Sea nurse, the plasma screen TV was turned out, the views were fantastic. I felt very relaxed and almost fell to sleep. A far cry from St Mary’s Paddington, albeit that I found the experiencing in the labouring room pretty relaxing then, again, listening to the galloping horses from a number of traces. The Leigh-on-Sea nurse lives in Santa Monica, one of the world's most expensive cities and happily and comfortably supports herself without a husband on 3x 12hr shifts a week. She was definitely a positive role model for the profession, earning about 2x what Anne-Marie does. I wonder what will happen on the property front. I've been in contact with 16 agents in the UK regarding Florida and extended the St Margaret’s tenancy for another 2 yearsw after much debate between us on that front. Broken down appliances last week in Florida were all I needed to deal with as there's still a mountain to be done before my due date (which is the tenants' move out date horribly ironically), utilities, check out, inventory, professional clean to be organised and no doubt disputed. Timing really couldn't be worse and then the house will be vacant again with some furniture and all our traditional belongings still in storage until we get new tenants, but only Brits would be crazy enough to rent in Florida during the summer. When the house is vacant, there's the gardener, pool man and the $250/month air conditioning bill, pest control to be paid so it really does take the woes away when there's someone in there. Problem is, if someone does rent, they'll likely want the beds and things taken out of storage so more hassles. Anyway, just thinking out loud re all that's to be done Still working on this legal issue re the apartment buzz, 6 months on!!! it's like the Jarndyce & Jarndyce case in Bleak House. I must get the What to Expect First Year book as I've now finished the weighty pregnancy one which takes you through the 1st 6 weeks as well. We're hoping to do a child CPR course with the Red Cross next week. We always site Erica’s paramedic skills with Ella as the main reason for doing this. We wouldn't have a clue. Also reading up lots on breast feeding, don't have an actual chair but have the Boppy feeding pillow which hopefully will suffice and if not, a chair we'll have to get in the future. Just don't want to be overwhelmed with all the apparent must-haves for a baby. I find that a little suffocating and commercial.
We’re thinking we may enjoy that 1st day to ourselves in the hospital and keep everyone waiting for news until 3rd so Jason doesn't spend that whole first day of our boy’s life on the phone to family and friends, but rather has the opportunity to take in Boo's first moments in the wider world. Someone recommended we do that and I think it's a good idea. There'll be a lifetime for everyone to talk about Boo, but that first day really belongs to us and as long as everyone knows they'll hear the news on 3rd May instead, then there shouldn't be any worry. I'd just hate for Jason to have his phone on and calls coming through from work or whatever. I just love this idea of us being cocooned on the day, just the three of us (oh and the obstetrician, paediatrician, nurses etc....).

Have to say, I'm feeling happier than I ever have in my life now.

I'll always remember a year back now when I was deeply depressed and had just had the first IVF failure, our nephew Josh asking me "Are you ok Auntie Catherine?". It must be tough for a child to approach someone who's heavily laden with grief and it made me see such a different side of him. And then I reminded him of it when Lisa and the boys were over in November, but I think he'd kind of forgotten he'd said it by then.
Been a bit vexed about how Jason will juggle everything, getting me back on my feet post the operation, Boo and the inlaws as they won't be driving over here. They've been so good to us and I guess I've been worried about them coming so far and wanting to see as much as possible of Boo, but me and Boo needing the time to sleep and (God willing) master breastfeeding as I'll only be two days out of hospital. I'm scared about my c-section recovery as the myomectomy took a good 6 weeks and was quite horrific for months never mind days afterwards. The thought of looking after Boo on top, mastering breastfeeding, well... it's frightening and there'll be no room for any entertaining which is what we normally love to do.

I remember Steph saying that after her c-section, she nearly screamed at her mother in law because she'd put too much jam on her toast. So visits are really going to need to work around that. Jason didn't really understand that I can't do bottle feeds with breastmilk so early (ie and allow him to go for nice long walks with Boo and the inlaws whilst I sleep) because Boo will have to learn to breastfeed first and combining breast/expressed milk will confuse him. It’s been a long time since Mitch's birth, so I wonder about the inlaw’s ability to understand the post op recovery, the breast feeding and sleeping issues. I think for this reason, we've decided not to have my mum over at first. All we'll need will be practical help, but we understand that grandparents will want to fawn over the Boo maybe and sometimes that might be difficult to juggle.

I've filled the freezer with 50 home cooked meals to last Jason and me through the first month, I have a hospital folder which incorporates the Birth Plan (very meticulous from anaesthesia requests at every level to photographic ideas post birth), 7 pages of contacts (including addresses and labels), my hospital bag list, my diaper bag list, newborn essentials, gift registry. I guess now I couldn't be more prepared but if I'm 100% prepared then maybe 50% will work out as planned. If I'm 50% prepared, I'll only be 25% successful. That's my thinking! We also will be requesting no flowers in the hospital (but eco nappies that we've selected will be a fantastic substitute!) because I remember all the flowers I got from the surgery before and they too seemed to demand my attention, needed looking after and we won't have the energy (or the vases). It's funny how my mind's working right now. Practical, practical, practical.

My weight 185lbs. Blood pressure 120/74. Fundal height 37cm.

Boo’s weight 2½k (5lb 7½oz)

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