Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Four days and counting

We have just four days left to go before the C-section. I can't believe it's so soon. We are excited, petrified, full of awe... It feels completely unreal.

My husband is currently on his way across the Atlantic, due back on Friday night. That gives us a day here together on Saturday before the big day! I've been praying he makes it back on time. I must admit the volcanic ash cloud that has been hovering over Europe has made me nervous about him going away, despite the fact his airline has simply swapped to more southerly routes to avoid it completely. You just *never* know with these things, and it would be just our luck that he'd be stuck in the USA just when he really, really needs to be here! So, God willing he'll be back with me on Friday night. Please, please, please..

Oh, and while I'm at it, I've also been praying that Bump doesn't fancy popping out before then, too. I'm actually staying with a friend tonight and tomorrow just in case I need to make a mad dash to the hospital. So far, though, I've had no obvious Braxton Hicks and no early labour symptoms that I'm aware of, so fingers crossed it will be fine.

On the subject of the volcanic ash cloud - am I the only one to find it slightly unnerving that all of a sudden, the closure of UK airspace was lifted completely, with no significant change in the density of the ash? It's like the government and the CAA just suddenly decided it wasn't a risk anymore. I know that they've been saying they needed time to collate data from test flights, etc, etc, but part of me feels it can't really be THAT safe to be flying in volcanic ash, even if it's relatively thin... I just hope they're right, I really do.

On the plus side, the announcement might have come in the nick of time for already cash-strapped European airlines who are close to folding. I don't want to name airlines on here, but there are several that are struggling pretty badly, and I feel for all of the crew and their families, and pray we don't get another high-profile airline collapse very soon. This week's delays will have caused them tremendous financial pain, that's for certain. Money many airlines simply don't have. So, hurrah for being able to fly again!

I have a feeling this will probably be my last post before the C-section, so I'll sign off for now, and will be back when we are Mummy and Daddy!

Can't believe I just got to type that...

Friday, 16 April 2010

C-section vs natural birth

So, the date has been set for Bump's birthday, barring any unforeseen circumstances - nine days to go!

My final scan this week showed that Bump is still breech (no real surprise there) so the hospital has booked me in for a c-section. I'm quite relieved really to have a plan in place, and also relieved because my husband has managed to get 10 days off starting on the day of the op, so he'll be able to spend quality time with me and the baby, and get some impressive Daddy baby-care skills in while I'm recovering from the surgery.

What's surprised me though about this whole experience is how judgemental some people can be about what seems to me is an intensely personal experience, i.e the birth of our baby. Now, I'm sure my pregnancy hormones are making me ultra-sensitive, but a few reactions to the c-section decision have been fascinating, and slightly insulting if truth be told.

It seems to me that some people think I'm "copping out" from attempting a normal delivery. This couldn't be further from the truth! Cripes, if we could be sure that Bump could be delivered safely that way, we'd attempt it, but given the particular position (full, footling breech) and new, well respected research showing that a caesarean birth in this situation is the safest method for mother and baby, make attempting a vaginal delivery a very foolhardy thing indeed.

Part of me wonders whether some women who've struggled through difficult natural births feel resentful that they weren't able to choose this route. I think also that some women seem to wear an imaginary "badge of honour" after a natural birth, and feel perhaps that I'm letting the side down.

What a load of rubbish. Part of me would still love that delicious uncertainty and excitement of guessing when Bump might choose to arrive: would love to be able to put into practice all the reading I've done about natural birth, would love for my husband to be at my side coaching me as I gave birth to our child the way nature intended.

But given that if we did it this way there's a high chance our baby might be oxygen deprived at birth and that I might need significant medical intervention, well, that way is closed to us completely.

So, dear people, both in real life and online - please think before you pass judgement. This is our baby, our birth, and our choice. All that matters to us is that we get to take our healthy baby home with us afterwards. Which is what everyone wants, after all.

Monday, 5 April 2010

An unscheduled hospital visit

For a while now I've been getting nervous every time my husband has gone away on a trip, because something bad always seems to happen while he's away. Past examples include a car accident, a nasty fever and falling over and ending up in A&E. I've even taken to joking that I'm going to ground him until the birth!

Now I'm almost serious. Just one hour after he left for a four day trip over the weekend, I started vomiting, and before I knew it, I had full blown gasto-enteritis. It lasted all night and well into the next day, and eventually I realised I just wasn't getting any better - in fact I was feeling worse. I also realised I just wasn't able to keep even water down, and aware that this couldn't be good for the baby at all, I finally decided to call the hospital.

The ambulance came immediately, and they put me on a drip and took me to hospital. At A&E they diagnosed severe dehydration (there were signs my muscle was starting to be used for energy, as my body wasn't getting anywhere near enough nutrients) and admitted me overnight.

This was my first ever overnight stay in hospital, and with my husband away, it was a very scary experience. Luckily a couple of wonderful friends took shifts staying with me unti bedtime, one of them even bringing me a "care package" of something to sleep in, some warm socks and even her ipod, pre-loaded with lots of British radio podcasts. I was so touched by their amazing generosity.

I shared a room with just one other woman (a real improvement on the NHS in the UK, where I'd probably have been in a ward with a minimum of four beds!) and bump and I were well looked after, but there's no getting away from the fact that hospital is NOT home. The bed was slightly uncomfortable, the room too light, I missed my duvet, my pyjamas, my own shower (in fact ANY shower - I couldn't use one as I was continuously strapped to my IV - I even had to take it with me to the toilet!) Most of all, though, I missed my husband. He called me as often as he could (luckily, there's no problem with the use of a mobile in hospital here) and I was so glad just to hear his voice.

The medical staff actually wanted me to stay a second night, but I took the decision that I would feel much better at home, and after some persuasion they discharged me yesterday afternoon. The relief of getting back to our apartment was incredible.

My friends here have rallied round, too - I got back to notes under my door offering help, and friends have brought me books, DVDs, things to drink and just wonderful company. Another made me an Easter meal last night (as much as I could eat of it!) and I was immensely touched. When you're this far away from home and your husband is thousands of miles away, things like that are so important.

Thank God my husband is back tomorrow morning. I've missed him so much. It's at times like these when you just wish your husband did a 9-5 job in an office just 30 minutes away, rather than an international, 24-hours a day job with an office mile high in the sky...

Friday, 2 April 2010

Almost parents...

I'm now 35 weeks, and the big news here is that Bump is still breech, and refusing to move. We had a scan last week and the doctor told us that Bump's legs are "deeply engaged", and that in her experience, babies don't generally turn from this position at this stage in pregnancy. So, we're probably going to be scheduling a c-section for the last week of April! We can't believe we're going to be parents so soon. We are extremely excited, and nervous too, of course. Note to self: definitely, definitely pack your hospital bag this week!

I'm suddenly starting to panic about all the things we haven't sorted out yet. For example, I realised the other day that we haven't bought any baby socks yet. Hardly something to keep you up at night, is it? Hormonal pregnant women are irrational at the best of times.

The upside of needing to have a c-section is that my husband can arrange to definitely be at the birth, which is a very precious thing. He's managed to move his leave request from May to the last week of April so, if Bump still won't turn, he'll have around 10 days at home with us after the birth, which will be wonderful. Of course if Bump DOES turn, he'll have to try to move his leave again, and who knows if the rostering department will oblige!

Nevermind, we'll put our trust in God on this one, and just go with the flow. It's all we *can* do, after all.



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