Friday, 27 August 2010

Approaching the Third Trimester

I'm 25 weeks pregnant and after a trip to hospital earlier this week am becoming increasingly aware of it.

On measuring my fundal height (a measurement from pubic bone to the top of your womb, supposed to be roughly 1cm per week) the midwife told me that I'm a little big for my dates and that means I will start to become uncomfortable soon. No sh*t sherlock.

The last couple of weeks have seen some amazingly large kicks, many either straight up into my ribs or straight down towards my vagina (hang on baby, you're not supposed to be heading down there just yet). Sitting forwards or upright makes me feel all squashed and not only am I finding sleeping more and more uncomfortable, with hip pain kicking in quickly but I now officially have to get up every night for a mid-sleep wee break.

I'm not looking forward to these increasing night-time wakings and wanderings as the temperature drops yet further (yes, the heating has already been on in this house). I can now look forward to not sleeping a whole night in one go until, oooh, about April next year I'd say. Wonderful.

On the more positive side, it's nice for hubby and other people to be able to feel the newbie squirming around and practising his martial arts on me. The afternoon of waiting in hospital gave us a nice bit of child-free time to talk baby names and plan a bit for the next few months. We also discussed if I should maybe be laying off the work a little more. Husband rightly pointed out that I do a full time job anyway (unpaid as raising a child is, it's just as much hard work and far more physically tiring than any office job) and there's no way first pregnancy that I'd have even considered going out to work in the evening after being in the office all day.

I think there is an element of me that needs the work though. It's a bit of time to myself and socialising with other adults without discussing children at all! I've decided to frequently remind myself not to try to take on too much and otherwise, just take it as it comes and see what happens.

Plus, I'm also going to get an 'emergency' hospital bag packed this weekend. Just in case. Experience tells me that an early baby doesn't need anything taking in to hospital so I can just pack an overnight/birth bag for myself and rest assured that I am prepared for now!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A Trip to the Hospital

Oh I forgot how much I love being in hospital. No, I'm not being sarcastic. I know. I'm a complete freak.

It's annoying that they're always running late and everything takes an age, but they do look after you. And sometimes, I think it's just nice that you've been forced to just STOP and sit down for a while. Only if someone else is taking care of the child, of course.

Well I had a little jaunt to the hospital today as after ringing the midwife (spoiler: disgusting pregnancy-related girly comment fast approaching) about some brown discharge I'd had (I DID warn you), she asked me to go in just to be on the safe side.

It actually started almost two weeks ago, but was very pale and not a lot. I made a call then and was advised not to worry but to get back in contact if it increased, was combined with pain or became a more fresh blood colour. This morning, we were out shopping and when I got home and dashed up to the loo, I was surprised to see a much darker stain in my underwear. Still not a large quantity, but much more "beginning of period" looking.

So I called, talked them through everything, including previous premature birth, and I was asked to go in, not to rush or panic, but to go in to be checked. Oh, and to take a bag in with me just in case.

No not take a handbag. That'd be an overnight/giving birth type bag thing. Eek!

I called hubby, managed to find someone who was free to babysit (Yay for school holidays and parents who are teachers!) and went off to pop some things in a bag. Now this did get me feeling a bit weird. Last time I calmly got my hospital bag ready and headed off to the delivery ward, I gave birth.

I'm only 25 weeks, I can't give birth. Oh god. Shush, it's fine, you're not going to give birth and there's not going to be anything wrong. It's perfectly normal discharge/light blood loss and you're just going as it's better to be safe.

We arrived (after struggling to find parking as it was 'visiting time' - grrr) and headed on up to the ward... "is this where we came?" I asked, "I don't remember this bit". We arrived at triage "oh yeah, I remember this bit, and that toilet, I got well acquainted with that toilet", and were appointed a room. I went off to the loo to provide a urine sample and pretty quickly had a midwife come and take my blood pressure too. All's fine.

A little wait and then another midwife came to have a feel "you're measuring a little large for your dates" - no surprise there then - and a listen to baby's heartbeat. All's fine. "We just have to wait for the doctor to come and do an internal examination, just to establish where the blood is coming from. He's in theatre at the moment so you might have a little wait."

Well, we arrived at the hospital at 3pm... at 5pm a lovely midwife asked if we'd like a drink, or maybe a piece of fruit. Or a sandwich - my eyes lit up. So I had me the same sandwich I had the night I gave birth to Felix and I yummed it down at an alarming 'new breastfeeding mother' speed. I like hospital food. I love it. Someone else makes it. And it's simple and traditional. Ahhhh.

It was 7pm by the time the doctor came to see me. He opened me up (yeah baby), then opened me up a bit further (ooooh) and then moved the speculum around a bit so he could have a good look (ok, that hurts a little). The midwife reminded me to breath!! He took a swab as well (well why not? I did skive my last Prem Prevention appointment as they were taking too long... errmm, am I contradicting myself now?) and explained how the lining of the cervix comes outside of the womb a little and is like a raw surface. It can be caused to bleed by all sorts of minor disturbances, intercourse (I should be so lucky), a bowel movement passing by (erm, ok), etc. The blood then pools somewhere in the vagina and when it comes out, is a brownish colour because it's a little older.

Fine. Exactly what I thought, nothing to worry about.

So my notes got written up and off we went to the car park where hubby had moved the car to. Only there was a fire engine blocking the exit and, ooh firemen trying to break into a car and, hang on, what's going on? Security wouldn't let us into the car park as a car had exploded a couple of times (under the bonnet, not like a terrorist thing) and was still smoking away.

So after 4 hours hanging round at the hospital just for reassurance, we had to cower under a tree in the rain for another 10 minutes (yeah, only 10, what am I moaning about?) waiting to be allowed to get to our car.

I just feel a bit bad for my dad who was babysitting really. It was all a bit of a shock for him I think and he was supposed to be working this evening. Ooops. But then, these things happen.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Gallery: A Photo I'm Proud Of

I have finally remembered (in time) to join in with Tara Cain, from Sticky Fingers', photography blog, The Gallery. Now I just have to remember to join in every week... and sometimes maybe even use it as an excuse to go out and take a NEW photo.

The prompt this week - A Photo I'm Proud Of - was an easy one for me. Although the first photo that sprang to mind was from only a couple of months ago when we went to the zoo for my 2 year old's birthday, that one was mainly down to the bird standing in exactly the right place... the spotlight the sun was creating through the foliage.

However, the one I've gone for in the end is from three years ago. I took it at my friend's wedding. I was pretty pleased with it myself but other people raving about it has seriously increased its value in my own mind! Her brother asked me to be his wedding photographer as a result of this one photo, which he described as the best photo of the day (despite there having been a professional there too).

I guess, in a round about way, this photo is responsible for me becoming a "professional" photographer - it still sounds odd referring to myself as such. And for that reason, here is the photo I am most proud of:

Monday, 23 August 2010

Why I Love Baby Signing

When Felix was 9 months old, we went to see the health visitor for a developmental review. She asked if he was babbling yet... although a very vocal child, I knew he wasn't babbling the way others way or the way that it's described in the text book. So, she recommended that we might find baby signing useful if his speech was a little delayed.

I'd heard of baby signing and had been put off by a lady who seemed like a real 'earth mother' (in a bad way) and lead a singing session whilst singing horrendously out of tune. But on the health visitor's advice, I was willing to give it a go and could totally understand the benefits of having a child who WAS able to communicate even if he couldn't talk.

I contacted the mums from my antenatal group (that group where I only made it to one class before giving birth!) and found that two of them had signed up to Sing and Sign a little way from where we live, but not a bad journey. So we joined them.

The first term, Felix ran riot in class, poking all the other children in the face, climbing over the teacher and the other mums (he's not shy, my boy) and exploring every inch of the room. He didn't pay much attention to the signs or the singing but seemed to enjoy class. And after thinking I was doing fine just occasionally going out to do things, I quickly began to see Sing and Sign class as the highlight of the week. Nothing would get in the way of me going out and *deep breath* talking to other adults! Paying for the term in advance really worked for me!!

Term 1 was followed by summer holidays. We saw our teacher once and whilst flicking through a book, she swore blind Felix had signed 'elephant' to her. I thought she was being optimistic, but sure enough, a couple of days later, I was showing him the book, and he waved his arm about enthusiastically as soon as he saw the elephant. He was signing!

As I had already decided to become a teacher, when we went back to do our second term, we did both the baby and the toddler stage at the same time (so I could learn as much as possible, as fast as possible). Felix's age and walking stage meant he was on the cusp of moving up a stage anyway, so it worked out well for us - although it was a slightly long afternoon for him!

He picked up sign after sign and LOVED class. Sometimes he'd have a little dance, once in a blue moon he'd actually sit with me and be cuddly whilst enjoying the songs, and he was ALWAYS the first one to the front when there were any toys or excitement to be had!

At his 2 year old developmental check, I admitted that I knew he was behind with his speech. The average 2 year old is saying approx 50 words apparently, Felix had just 10-15 words. But, and this is why signing is so amazing, his communication skills were brilliant. He can tell us what he wants, he can tell us what he has seen that has interested him and he understands everything we say (of course, sometimes he chooses to ignore it). We could tell that his language development was brilliant too by his occasional combinations of signs or signs and spoken words.

Almost 2 months on and his words are coming along slowly. He's picking up more and more but even still, when the words are sometimes a little bit unclear - was that 'bear' or 'baa'? - we can find out the meaning by adding in a sign.

We have our own sceptical moments, and plenty of comments from others... "Would he be speaking more if he couldn't communicate by signs?". Maybe he would. We will never know. But life would be a LOT more difficult if he didn't speak AND he didn't sign. And the evidence was there early that he wouldn't be speaking so I definitely think we did the right thing.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The Terrible Twos

I've been feeling like a terrible parent a lot recently. I keep losing my temper and really shouting at Felix. I realise I am probably still setting my expectations of his capabilities and cooperation too high, but knowing this hasn't yet worked in changing my behaviour.

I can't decide what has led to my loss of patience. Is it the pregnancy hormones? Or the fact I've been busy working? Has this interfered with quality time spent with him to such an extent that he absolutely cannot behave for me now? Is his behaviour actually getting worse or is it just my tolerance levels?

I'm desperate to find the time to re-read some of Toddler Taming. Hopefully, this will do the same for me as the first time I read it. Remind me that he is NOT an adult and cannot be expected to behave like one. That his behaviour is perfectly normal and I have to get more clever if I want to manipulate it. And mainly, to remind me to remain calm and patient.

I want to provide a few examples of what he's been doing to make me so angry, but I know that all will sound pathetic once written down. It's things like, getting ALL of his toys out at once (see, pathetic - ALL kids do that, right?) and throwing unwanted food on the floor (doesn't really take long to clean up, does it?) and ignoring me as I try to pleasantly distract and entice him away from doing something I really don't want him to do, until I have to march over to him and physically remove him from the activity.

It's getting me down. I get cross with myself for getting cross with him. And then I try to make up for it by spending time playing with him and he rejects my attempts, pushes me away and makes me cross again. Then I get upset. It's becoming a bit of a repetitive circle.