We’ve just come back from having a scan to check the location of the placenta (which was very low at the 22 week scan). We are very thankful that the placenta has grown up, the location is no longer a problem. The baby seems to be doing well – the estimate on weight is a whopping 7lbs 12 oz!! (and I’m only 36 weeks). I knew I was right not to buy any newborn clothing!
We finally managed to do the hospital tour last night. The midwife showing us around was so nice, and everything was very peaceful on the wards (no screaming to be heard!). To my surprise the standard delivery rooms were nicer than I’d imagined, and the “home from home” rooms (these are all available free on the NHS, it just depends on staffing levels) weren’t as nice as I’d pictured. The “home from home” rooms have much more space to move around (active birth philosophy), and have en suite toilet and bath facilities (this is what sells them to me!). The only pain relief available on them however is gas and air (just as it would be if I had a home birth), and after the estimate on the baby’s weight at today’s scan Simon said to me, “So, does the weight of the baby affect which room you’d like to request? He has a point, I think I might well like to have the option of other, stronger, forms of pain relief!
Well, top marks to the osteopath and to the NHS physio I have just started seeing (who happens to be a friend from church). I am now considerably more mobile than I was a fortnight ago, and also in hardly any pain. I was even able to walk to the hospital and back for my physio appointment this morning (a good 2 mile round trip)! And all this is despite having spent the last two days cleaning the house!
Our house is now fully double glazed. It took the workmen 7 working days – I can’t believe they did everything so quickly and with so little damage to the inside of the house. It is definitely warmer in here now, and the heat is staying in the house instead of going straight out the windows! Oh, and everything looks cleaner and brighter (clean windows inside and out!), the new white plastic window frames will be much easier to clean and will never need painting. Hurrah!
Well, I am HUGE! Technically my bump is exactly the right size for my dates, but everyone keeps commenting on how big I am, and whenever I look in the mirror I am completely taken aback. (I guess all that eating during the first 4 months may have had something to do with this! I have put on about 13 kilos/ 28 lbs in total)
Finding clothes to wear is a challenge. I’ve been blessed to receive some hand-me-downs, and I’ve bought several new items, but a lot of items in the shops seem to be very low cut on top. Most maternity collections do not have any skirts in them this winter (most have short dresses), and nowhere I’ve looked at has any long skirts. Obviously the answer is to make my own clothes (though fabric is expensive here), but I haven’t started on the curtains for the nursery yet, and, frankly, curtain making is stretching the current limits of my sewing ability. Footwear is also being a challenge – I’ve had to go up a shoe size. I have wide feet anyway and tend to go for sensible, comfortable shoes, but it got to the stage a few weeks ago when I had to buy a new pair of larger shoes or spend the rest of the pregnancy wearing walking boots/ going barefoot!
My carpal tunnel syndrome is bad – my hands and wrists are very swollen and my palms painful when I use my hands. However, this pales into insignificance beside the pelvic pain I’ve been suffering from. I’ve been in some measure of pain on one side for the past 3+ weeks now, originally I assumed I’d pulled a muscle, but early last week it got so bad I could hardly move around the house at all. The doctor has referred me for physiotherapy (and I’ve just got an appointment for that for tomorrow), and I’ve been to see an osteopath privately. Seeing the osteopath certainly helped, helped a lot – although in some discomfort still (discomfort not excrutiating pain) I am so much more mobile. This time last week I could barely move; this morning I walked to my ante-natal class and back, a distance of around 2 miles. The osteopath reckons she can help with the carpal tunnel syndrome as well, and has given me some exercises to do.
I’m still anaemic, and have just been given a new batch of iron supplements to take, my indigestion has been getting better though.
All this probably makes pregnancy sound terrible, but I certainly don’t feel that way about it. My bump may seem huge (to me and to everyone else), but I’m astounded by how little it actually limits my movement. I feel delighted every time I feel the baby move. I am so grateful that God has made us part of His work of creation through this miracle.
Well, the re-painting works have come to a grinding halt. Not because of the size of the bump (as Sharon foresaw and I feared), but because of these:
Apparently all the pain and swelling (and the numbness at night) I’ve been suffering with in my hands is pregnancy-related carpal tunnel syndrome. So now I have to sleep with wrist splints on, and I am also to wear them when my hands are at rest during the day. I am hoping that after a few nights of wearing the splints I might be in less pain during the day and might be able to get back to doing a bit more again (like the painting, say). Simon has said he will finish off the painting when he has a couple of days off after Christmas.
In the meantime, we are off on holiday! We are going to Bruges (Belgium) for 4 days, coming back on Saturday night. We have been before, both separately and together, and it is a charming place and quite easy to get around on foot. I’m looking forward to those Belgian chocolates!
My appointment with the midwife, and the scan both went well – the baby appears to be healthy and doing well. My iron (haemoglobin) level is under what it should be (10.8 instead of between 12 and 16), and I’ve been given some heavy duty iron supplements to help with that. This level is from the blood test taken just before the medication change and the 10 days I spent vomiting round the clock, so I’d imagine my levels are slightly worse than they were before! I’m curious that they are so low since I’d increased our red meat intake and I had also been taking a basic pregnancy supplement. All this is especially interesting when you recall that according to the World Health Organization no western woman should need iron supplements (according to them we are abundantly supplied through our diet) – I was sceptical when I first heard that, and even more so now.
By the way, we are having a girl! Simon wasn’t as keen to find out as I was – I really didn’t want to wait until birth to know. Now we can have some more focussed discussions on names, and I can decorate the baby’s room. I’m going to start with a shopping trip for curtain fabric – I’ll then plan the room decor round that. (yes, the baby will be sleeping in our room for the first 6 months, but I still want a dedicated room decorated and ready).
I am so bowled over by God’s gracious love and generosity to us!
We’ve just been down to the hospital for a nuchal fold scan. We weren’t going to have this done as we won’t abort and I wouldn’t want to have the more intrusive and risky amnio or CVS. This meant there was little point to having this scan as it is only a screening test (for Down’s syndrome) and so would give us a risk factor which might just worry us. Anyway, talking to the midwife when I had my blood tests last week I decided to go ahead with it just to check everything was progressing OK – I was beginning to doubt there was anything in there! Result:
One extremely active baby in there! I am now officially at 12 wks, 2 days – three days further on from where the hospital’s previous calculations would have had me. The radiographer said everything appeared to be developing normally. We did get the estimated risk for Down’s syndrome based on the nuchal fold measurement combined with the blood test I had last week. I’m glad we did:
the normal risk for a baby whose mother is 35: 1 in 243
the risk they calculated today: 1 in 3145 !
(This is a risk factor assessment only – it doesn’t mean that we have the all clear, it just makes the likelihood of Down’s very small.)
Based on these results they wouldn’t give me amnio or CVS anyway, so whether I would or would not be willing to have them is immaterial!
It was so amazing watching the baby moving around – s/he was asleep when the scan started but then woke up and started moving around. A lot. Reminiscent of the dog who goes from 0-60 in about 2 seconds. Oh, dear!