Monday, 28 June 2010

I feel violated

I got probed today in places that a pregnant lady should not be probed (not until the baby's on its way out anyway).

When I was told I had been booked into the Prematurity Prevention Clinic, I was a little surprised and a little offended actually. Alright so no-one can ever say for sure why Felix was born 6 weeks premature, but it was bound to be the lack of space in there. I had a huge ovarian cyst in there and was showing 6 weeks ahead of my dates because of it. He just didn't have room to grow.

So I was offended that I needed to be told how to prevent another premature birth. I'd already been told I wasn't considered to be 'at risk'. But I'm not the kind of person to tell the medical profession that I know better, so I did as I was told and went along to my special 'class' this afternoon.

"Have you brought a urine sample?", errmmm, no. Why do I need a urine sample? No-one told me to bring a urine sample. Are we all going to look at our wee together in this class? Ewww.

So I went to the loo with a pot (and didn't realise there was no toilet roll until after I'd peed all over my hand. typical) and then sat in the waiting room. Well, I couldn't see anything that looked like a classroom, just lots of small consulting rooms. Hmmm, have I got something terribly wrong here?

I got called into a room by a nurse and finally had this whole Prem Prevention thing explained to me. They will basically be monitoring me to check for infections or something to help prevent a premature birth. Well, as I was a little shocked to be told that I was going to be swabbed at any moment, I felt the need to explain my belief about my previous premature birth. It didn't matter, the appointments are routinely made.

So she tested my urine (all clear) and took my blood pressure (just right) and then she left the room so that I could get undressed. I thought I was going to some boring class to be preached at about stuff that wasn't relevant to me. And there I was, getting my kit off.

Apparently I'll be going back for at least two more of these delightful internal examinations. I think it would have been really nice if someone had taken the trouble to explain it to me before I arrived.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Doctor, Doctor

We (well, I) made three visits to our doctor's surgery on three consecutive working days this week. Good job their waiting room is so nice.

Felix was a little under the weather last week so after a couple of vomits and four days with a temperature (it did vanish occasionally), we went to see the doc. He had a peek in Felix's ears and diagnosed an ear infection. Again. More antibiotics.

On Monday, we went for his 2 year old developmental review. Very exciting. "Do you have any concerns?", the health visitor asked. Well, I am NOT concerned, but I know that his speech is behind (way behind) so I explained that I am confident he communicates well (signing mainly) and that his language development is also fine, just that his verbal skills leave a little to be desired. I also made it clear that I was not concerned by this, I was just aware of it. He says approx 10-15 words and the average at this age is 50 words.

So she asked about his hearing, which I am also certain is fine, and about ear infections. Ah. Now we have it. Yes, he does seem to be prone to ear infections.

Well, apparently, regular ear infections, or even (gasp) glue ear, can mean that the child doesn't hear certain sounds clearly - which would explain why his C or K sound is more of a tongue click (think horse feet sound effects). We have therefore been referred for a hearing test.

On the whole, it was a lovely review of his progress. Some of the questions she asked made me feel very proud and like a good parent (how rarely do health visitors achieve this?) and she made a couple of good suggestions to solve our problem areas, such as teeth cleaning.

The next day, I had a midwife appointment. It was my birthday and I knew she was going to take blood (for the down's screening test) so I persuaded my mum to come with me to hold my hand. I am so relieved she did. Just talking about random things made the whole experience a lot more bearable and stopped the midwife from telling me all about my veins - ewww!

After the midwife had felt my tummy and 'oooh'ed at how large I am already (how rude), I asked if we would listen to the heart. I couldn't remember when this would happen and thought my mum would love the experience. Of course, now I know, this isn't normally recommended until 28 weeks (wow, that's late) but as I asked, she consented. And she found it straight away. Bless. My mum's face was a picture. Sometimes you forget what joy you bring your parents by producing a grandchild for them. Her reaction was the perfect reminder.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Stop the car I need a weewee

So I had this situation for a week or so where I couldn't wee - might as well jump right in and say it. If you can't take this directness, you certainly can't take what's going to follow. Look away now.

It seems, touch wood, to have disappeared again. I remember from my first pregnancy, that if I didn't go to the loo regularly and I let myself get desperate, I would have problems weeing at all. I could sit on the toilet, absolutely bursting and nothing would happen. Except a few tears streaming down my cheeks with the stress/discomfort of it all.

And from just before we went on holiday to the time of my scan (the EXACT time of my scan) this awful symptom (or should we call it a side-effect?) came back to taunt me in pregnancy number two.

Now imagine the scene. We are disembarking the ferry... quick wee and into the car. Sit in the car, sit in the car, sit in the car, ooh we're moving, depart the ferry. Lovely. Queue for passport control, wait a bit, wait a bit more, a little more, yay, we're through and off on our journey. It didn't take too long actually (much faster than UK passport control), but it did add to the planned two hour journey time.

The SatNav took us on a weird windy route, away from all major French roads. So no service stations with toilets. There were villages where we could have stopped, if we were feeling brave, but we were not. We had a sleeping toddler and we did NOT wish him to wake up, so on we went as I bravely announced "I'll be fine, I can hold it a little longer."

I was lying. I needed to go. Now. So I got out a nappy.

I can't quite believe that I am going to relay this story. Deep breath.

So, I managed to wriggle the nappy inside my pants, trousers and seatbelt - no mean feat. I made sure the stretchy bits were spread wide and kept my hand around my crotch so that the nappy stayed in place and there was no risk of leakage. I sat as upright as possible and let my urge to wee translate into a bodily function. Nothing.

I thought this was my clever body telling me that weeing with your clothes on, whilst sitting in a moving car was not really the 'done thing'. I felt a little bit proud of myself.

Nonetheless, I altered my position and tried again. Nothing. By this time we were approaching a village. A few people may have walked by so I tried to disguise the situation as best I could and waited for the next opportune area of countryside.

Here we go... countryside, no-one around, "just let go body, just let go". Nothing. Husband was beginning to find it funny by now, well, ok, he found it funny to begin with and I swore him to absolute secrecy - Hi honey, please don't tell your family still, that'd be weird. He did offer some kind help and encouragement by making running water type sounds, pssssssss, for example. Yep, he tried to help. Nothing.

He stopped finding it funny when I made a really serious effort after another village and ended up in tears. Not upset tears, just the falling out of your eyes kind that you can't help when something hurts so much. It wasn't like actual pain either (in case you're wondering if I had some kind of infection - trust me, it wasn't the same), just grrrrr, 'wee, damn you' tears!

Eventually, and mainly because hubby was lost, we stopped in a layby. I undid my seatbelt turned around and knelt on the seat (many people choose this position for giving birth, I believe) and concentrated so hard, that a teeny tiny little wee trickled out and into the nappy. Hubby asked if I was 'doing it', "shut up", I responded with ferocious concentration. A little more wee. Toddler woke up and looked straight at me, husband congratulated him on witnessing this epic moment in his mother's life. A little bit more wee. Then I got nervous about how much I was doing and if the nappy could take it so I stopped. I felt a little relief but still needed the toilet. Thankfully this was enough to see me to our arrival at our holiday resort (let's not name it here as I really don't think they'd enjoy the publicity).

Husband was dispatched from the car with a not very full nappy to dispose of in the roadside bin. And on with the journey.

The weeing situation seemed to get worse throughout the holiday, in that, I wouldn't even need to get 'desperate' to find I would sit on the loo and have nothing come out (apart from a few tears). I was making plans to ask the sonographer at my first scan to check the positioning of my bladder and urethra as I thought it must be trapped somewhere by the baby.

The journey back home in the UK was worse. Husband wisely announced "there'll be services on the M25, we'll stop there". Incorrect husband. There are no services on that section of the M25 and it would appear that the junction to the M1 is also closed right now with major queues backing up. Out came the nappy once again. Pointlessly as nothing happened. Thank christ for Toddington Services.

I continued to have problems peeing that weekend and when we went for our scan on the Monday where I had to have a full bladder (?!?!?!?!? do they not REALISE how difficult it is to keep your bladder full for half an hour when you're pregnant?!?), the NHS were typically running late (I should point out right now that I LOVE the NHS and am a massive fan of hospital food, they're just late. always. fact.). The poor sonographer noticed that I 'danced' into the room and asked if I needed to go. He had a quick look at the baby, reported that my bladder was too full and I should go and empty it. I apologised that I might be 'a while', left... and Lo!, I sat down on the loo and the floodgates literally opened. I think I may have had another little cry, of relief this time.

And it seems to have been fixed ever since. So... have a good laugh, confess if you've ever weed in a nappy yourself and sympathise with me if you had problems weeing during pregnancy too. Please nicely, as I'm still a little shocked that I am sharing such an embarrassing encounter with the entire WWW. Eeeek!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Love at First Sight

Yesterday, my pregnancy finally became real. Properly real. It's not just cakes, there is a baby in there making me look so rounded.

My toddler obviously knew we had an important appointment as he woke up precisely on time to be popped into the car and taken off to hospital for my first scan. I had a last minute toilet visit before we left knowing full well that a) they would be running late and b) my bladder would fill up again in no time. And then we sat in the waiting room, reading stories and debating if I should risk another loo visit as I was bursting. Husband persuaded me not to go and finally, only half an hour late, I was called in.

My bladder was too full, the baby was being squashed, so I was sent to empty it. Phew! Then the sonographer happily scanned away knowing he could apply pressure without causing an accident. There on the screen, was a picture of my new little baby... it always amazes me that this is the first time that anyone in the medial profession actually checks you are pregnant. You could get a very long way before you were either caught out for being a bit of a weirdo liar, or discovered that you just can't read a pregnancy test right!

Despite the title of this post, I haven't expressed any particular feeling for that little alien-like black and white figure on the screen, have I? I think I'm still a bit freaked out by the whole situation really. And possibly WAY more scared this time. I guess with pregnancy number 1 I was blissfully ignorant. Like most new mums, I worried about the pain of giving birth mostly and didn't appreciate that birth is 'kinda easy' in comparison to what comes next. Years of testing your patience.

But there it is. A little baby inside me. Now I know because I have seen it. Due December 8th 2010.

Ooh and I also asked the sonographer to have a good look at my ovary, for I have only one, and it apparently looked all lovely and healthy. So there's still chance for another one in the future. If I'm completely crazy and haven't collapsed from total exhaustion before then.