Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Stacey: A Rainbow Pregnancy: Weeks 37 to 38

This is the tenth in a series of posts that Stacey is writing about her rainbow pregnancy. To read the previous posts, please click on the links below:

Stacey: A Rainbow Pregnancy: Weeks 29 to 32
Stacey: A Rainbow Pregnancy: Weeks 33 to 36

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37 weeks

We have made it to full term!!! The baby is now fully developed and ready to start making her way into the world. I have finished swimming this week as my membership has run out, I have really enjoyed my swimming and would highly recommend it as a gentle form of exercise (and relaxation!) during pregnancy especially as it takes the weight off hips and ankles. I unfortunately did not take a picture of me at 20 weeks when I started swimming but I decided to take one to remember my last swim.

I had my final growth scan at 37+2 and its good news baby is now 6lb 13oz which gives a predicted weight at 40 weeks of 8lbs not 9lb and the Doppler scan showed that the placenta is still performing well so she is still getting a good amount of oxygen and food. I haven’t had any signs of natural spontaneous labour yet but I do think I am coming down with some kind of sickness bug I have spent a few days this week in bed feel very nauseous but not actually being sick. I hope it passes soon!

Next week I have my consultant appointment that will give a final plan for when this baby will be born. I have been research the NICE guidelines and the statistics on what stage of pregnancy and induction is likely to succeed and the chances of it ‘failing’ and resulting in a caesarean section. I have decided I want to push for 39 weeks exactly as there is little evidence to suggest that waiting an extra week for the due date is actually worth it in terms of success of induction but I am also going to request a stretch and sweep to give me a final chance to go into spontaneous labour. I have been feeling very tired and sick this week and having lots of long baths as I seem to have no energy to do anything and the baths make me feel more relaxed with the hip and back pain I am now suffering from. I am very glad that whatever happens at my consultant appointment I wont have to go overdue there is no way I could physically (never mind mentally!) cope up to 42 weeks!

38 weeks

My consultant appointment went better than I hoped for! She again suggested that I should have a due date induction I refused and said I wanted 39 weeks exactly and she simply agreed and went off to book it we didn’t argue over it at all. Unfortunately I forgot that 39 weeks would be Monday 13th October which is the day of the NHS maternity strikes therefore I could not be booked in for that day so it has been agreed that I will have 39+1 with an extra CTG and scan to help me mentally through the final stage. I was very pleased that she actually listened to me and has let me have what I want. My husband is now convinced that I will relax a bit and go into natural labour of my own accord but we will see! I also asked about a stretch and sweep which my consultant has agreed for me to have at 38+4 and she asked a midwife to do an internal check on me before we left that day. The internal showed that I was already 1-2cm dilated so things are looking positive for a successful induction!

When we got home from the hospital we saw a huge double rainbow outside our house, the first one I have seen since the day before we found out I am pregnant. I think Maisie approves the induction plan!

I had my stretch and sweep at 38+4 which was very painful, the midwife said I am now 2-3cm dilated and she could feel the top of the babies head! I lost a little bit of brown old blood after and felt very, very tired later that evening I lost my mucus plug and started to get some contractions they were very irregular but lasted for about 5 hours. I got very frustrated with them as they would get closer together and longer and then all of a sudden stop. I decided to go to bed and see what happens during the night but I woke up the next day with no signs of labour at all. The next day at 38+6 I started to get ready for my induction planning things like having food in the house, washing, cleaning and ironing all done but I still don’t believe I am going to be having a baby at all. The day ended just like every single day throughout the pregnancy with my husband and I taking our two dogs for a walk before bed at 11pm but tonight was going to be the night that everything changed. Within 10 minutes of getting home from walking the dogs I went from feeling completely normal to having contractions they started every 5 minutes lasting 30 seconds and were very painful. As the same thing has happened only 2 nights before I decided to go to bed and ignore them thinking they would stop. When I got into bed things started to feel more painful I actually started to cry with each contraction and soon I realised they were coming every 3-4 minutes. I decided to get up and have a shower as I hoped the hot water would help to ease the pain in my back, still convinced that I wasn’t having a baby and worried about going into hospital just to be sent home I tried to ignore it but soon I was having such painful contractions I was becoming quite vocal and my husband was begging me to call the hospital to go in. At 1.30am I finally called; the midwife who answered did not particularly want me to go in yet as she didn’t seem to believe I was having contractions and thought it was just part of a bloody show but towards the end of the phone call I had a really painful contraction and couldn’t speak. I had to hand the phone to my husband and whilst I completely blanked out with pain he told the midwife that we were coming in now as I was struggling to cope with the pain.

We got into the car and I started to lose control as the pain got worse. I screamed at my husband to slow down as he raced to the hospital throwing me around the car as he turned corners until we finally arrived and I knew I had to regain some kind of composure. I somehow managed to get some self control in order to check into the hospital and make our way to labour ward. Just as we approached the ward I had another contraction and although I managed to stay calm during it a midwife spotted us and came straight over. She took us through to the labour ward where I was put onto a CTG to check on the baby who was fine, I was given gas and air and had an internal examination. At 2am on Monday 13th October at 39 weeks exactly the examination showed I was 4-5cm dilated and in active labour. I was not being sent home; I was staying to have a baby!

My last ever bump picture at 38+6

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To read Stacey’s next post, please click on the link below:

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Stacey: A Rainbow Pregnancy: Weeks 33 to 36

This is the ninth in a series of posts that Stacey is writing about her rainbow pregnancy. To read the previous posts, please click on the links below:

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33 weeks

Fortunately I managed to get some rest after last week’s dramas and try to enjoy a bit of my weeks holiday but I am back to work again this week and I am starting to experience Braxton hicks. I always thought that they didn’t hurt and they were just little ‘practice’ contractions but mine bloody kill! They feel like period pains but almost don’t seem to go for hours sometimes then they go for days. One of my routine CTGs picked them up on the monitor there are registering as very, very small tightenings but they are strong enough to register!

We also started our antenatal classes this week, it has been very strange to learn about how to care for a baby and what emotions and things we may go through during labour and after having the baby as I truly don’t believe that any of it applies to us as I don’t believe we are going to bring this baby home. It is also hard being around true first time parents with all their innocence and naivety, I find myself very jealous that I cannot have that pure excitement and that I will never have it again no matter how many children I have. There are two more weeks of classes left and I am hoping we will be able to really get something from it if I can learn to try and relax a bit!

34 weeks

I have now finished work! I am taking 2 weeks holiday and then starting maternity leave at 36 weeks. I am very relieved to not have to deal with the stresses of anything other than baby and pregnancy worries it takes a lot of pressure off but is a bit daunting how much free time I have and how many weeks are left until the baby comes!

This week I had my 34 week consultant appointment and growth scan the scan went brilliant. I had a lovely sonographer who gave me a couple of free pictures and baby is now weighing approximately 5lb 9oz; tracking the 90th centile and potentially could be around 9lb!!

The consultant appointment I had been really nervous about. I wanted to talk about a plan for the end of the pregnancy and had done lots of research using the NICE guidelines to make a case to argue with my consultant about why I should be induced and not allowed to go overdue. It worked out that she had thought I would do exactly this and she started the appointment by asking me what I wanted from the rest of the pregnancy. I asked for an induction at 38 weeks but she advised that there is a high likelihood that this won’t be successful and will end up in medical intervention and likely a c section. She advised that I consider being induced on my due date which would mean the baby would be more likely to be ready and engaged meaning that it was less likely to take 5 days and then be followed by a caesarean section. We agreed in the end that I would go away and do some more research and we would make a final plan at my next consultant appointment at 38 weeks.

Knowing that I wont have to go overdue has lifted a huge weight from my shoulders that I now don’t have to worry about it. A due date induction would could mean I go 5 days over due maximum but I have been assured that I would be in hospital the entire time being monitored. I am also very relieved that I did not have to fight to get an induction and that it was such an easy conversation it made everything much easier. Now I just need to decided what I actually want to do, do I stand by what I originally wanted and push for slightly earlier than my due date or do I go with what my consultant says and accept due date. Its not an easy choice to make.

35 weeks

We decided to go to London for a last day trip out before (finger crossed!) two become three, we had a lovely weekend saw the musical Wicked and had dinner with a friend. It definitely opened my eyes to how different things are between London and the Midlands.  Not a single person offered me a seat on the tube despite how obviously pregnant I looked and on the train home I was told to move by a man who wanted my seat!

This week I finally finished packing my hospital bag which is something I have been putting off for weeks. Almost every appointment I go to I get asked if I have packed and when I say no I get the slight eyebrow raised as a response so I decided now was time to get organised. It was hard to pack things for a baby that we don’t know if we will bring home or not. Things like clothes we will need either way but to organise the car seat, nappies, wipes all the things that only a live baby needs was really hard. We have packed a separate bag for the baby that will stay in the car until she is safely here and then my husband can get her bits from the car. All we have for her in the interim is a blanket to wrap her in.

We also sorted Maisie’s garden this week, we normally go every 2 weeks; we clean everything and trim the grass around her, I also like to change the decorations that she has and do themes throughout the year. She had a beach theme this summer so we have changed it to an animal theme (mostly owls and butterflies). Being there made me realise this could be one of the last times that we go down and stay for a good amount of time if things do go well we will struggle to get there and spend an hour or two tidying up every few weeks. It has left me feeling very sad and like the only thing I can do for her I may no longer be able to do properly. I never realised before how complex the emotions of being pregnant again would be the constant swing of happiness and hope through to sadness and despair is very draining.

36 weeks

The final week before I am classed as full term! I have finally finished writing my birth plan; I didn’t particularly want to write one but my midwife pointed out that If I go in with nothing then I may find that I feel disappointed after if I don’t have some positive memories of the delivery. So this is my short birth plan obviously the choices I have made for things like pain relief and placenta delivery are only my choices there are no right or wrongs in how we get our babies here as long as they get here safely.

  • I am very anxious and may need reassurance
  • I understand that births do not always go to plan and am happy to do whatever is best for the baby and I
  • I would really like to have as positive an experience as possible to balance the negative memories of my previous labour
  • If possible I would like to use water during labour
  • I would like to stay as active and upright as possible without compromising the need for monitoring and I am happy to take advice on positions for labour
  • I would like to start with as little pain relief as possible and build up if needed
  • I do not want pethidine or diamorphine; If needed I would rather have an epidural
  • I do not want any form of pain relief that could have a negative effect on the baby
  • I would like a managed placenta delivery
  • If it is safe for the baby I would like delayed cord clamping
  • I would like skin to skin as soon as possible
  • I would like to try to breastfeed
  • I would like the baby to have Vitamin K via injection

Sadly this week did not go completely smoothly; my midwife appointment this week left me feeling very frightened. I had felt the baby move all morning even right up to the minute the midwife asked me to get onto the bed so she could listen to the babies heartbeat I was sure everything was fine. When she got the Doppler out she put it onto my placenta and seemed to be struggling to find the babies heartbeat, her face went white and I really started to panic this couldn’t happen not now we were so close. She then said yes it sounds fine and turned the Doppler off. I am convinced she did not find the heartbeat. I left the appointment terrified, went out to the car and was about to call triage to go and get checked out when the baby started moving again. I have no idea what happened and why the midwife couldn’t find her heart beat but the baby was absolutely fine and routine CTG monitoring showed that there was nothing wrong at all. Unfortunately it left me very scared and the mental impact of the event has shown as I am now struggling to sleep, having nightmares and convincing myself every morning that the baby has died over night. I need these next few weeks to go quickly and to get this baby here alive in my arms!!

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To read Stacey’s next post, please click on the link below: