8 and a bit months in – 8 and a bit months out: and my (abridged) Birth story

SONY DSCPippin never actually spent the full nine months inside, but for comparison reasons, here’s my big girl at 37 weeks old with a picture of my giant bump at 37 weeks pregnant:

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Obviously, I never made it to the full 40 weeks. As I had Gestational Diabetes I was having growth scans every couple of weeks, and at 34 weeks the Dr’s felt Pippin had had a bit of a growth spurt. They felt that if the growth spurt had continued at my 36-week scan it would be best if they scheduled an elective section for 39 weeks.

Gestational Diabetes is Diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It is usually diagnosed during a screening between 24 and 28 weeks, called an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). Basically, they take a blood sample, make you drink and sugary drink before waiting and taking another sample. Usually, you’ll only have this screening if you’re having symptoms or considered to be in a high-risk group for developing Gestational Diabetes. I was high-risk, because of my weight and because I have a family history of Type 2 Diabetes.

I managed the Diabetes through my pregnancy just by diet, and I had to take my blood sugar levels either before or after meals, dependant on the day. I carried around my little kit and book and couldn’t indulge in all the sugary snacks I really wanted to. C’est la vie.

Theoretically managing your blood sugar levels well should help reduce complications, but there are increased risks such as macrosomia (a large baby, which can lead to birth complications), perinatal death and neonatal glycemia (baby having low blood sugar).

What developing Gestational Diabetes had meant for me was that they were unwilling to let me go ahead with a home birth, as Pippin would have to be monitored after the birth to check that the blood sugar levels were normal.

So, at the 36-week scan, they decided that Pippin was well on track for an 11lbs birth weight, and there was absolutely no way they were willing to let me go to full term. In the end I was booked in to be induced on the 25th August. They didn’t want to leave it any later in case I went into labour ahead of schedule.

So I went in to be induced on the 25th. This is where I am going to be fairly brief. Frankly, the whole experience was a hell, and not something I have come to terms will yet.

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I had my first pessary at about lunchtime on the 25th,  and I think my waters were broken at about 3 pm on the 26th.

I had more monitors than I care to think about attached to me, and I was pretty much immobile. I managed the pain quite well, at first, by just breathing. I then had gas and air and then diamorphine.

After fourteen hours they decided that 4cm was probably as dilated as I would get, and I was prepped for a C-section. Pippin came out crying and was an 8lbs13 little girl, which is pretty much what they estimated she would be at that gestation.

Unfortunately, I had quite a bit of blood loss, and we both had infection markers. I got given some antibiotics, and Pippin got taken away to have a cannula fitted for her medication. Then they were still unhappy with her breathing, so they took her away and put her on oxygen and a nasogastric tube. She wasn’t allowed to feed because they were concerned she might aspirate some of her milk.

After three days she was allowed back on the main ward with me, and after a further two, we were allowed to go home. Which was nice.

Although, those first few weeks are a whirl of medication and injections. I was on lots of tablets for pain relief and for infections, and I had one injection a day for six weeks after the birth to stop blood clots.

The birth wasn’t ideal, but we got through it relatively unscathed. But it still feels pretty raw, and I don’t much like talking about it – even eight months on. I know that I’m dealing with some negative emotions around the birth, emotions I will probably have to face at some point. I’m not there yet though, I’m just not ready to relive it. Not right now.

Pippin is here

Baby Pippin made her arrival into the world just over a week ago today.

She was born via emergency Cesarean section at 7:44am on the 27th, and weighed 8lb13.

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It hasn’t been the easiest of rides for us so far, but we’re home now and one the mend. Currently we’re just trying to get to know our new baby and settle in as a family of three. Hopefully I will resume life as (new) normal in a few weeks, but until then I’m going to retreat into my little nest with my beautiful little girl.

A deviation from the normal routine

I’ve disappeared again recently, this pregnancy lark has been harder than I imagined it could be and, frankly, I imaged it being pretty hard!

So, last weekend we took another little trip to the hospital, as I said, which turned out fine, and Little Pippin appeared to be happy and healthy, and the unexpected bleed was just that, an unexpected bleed. Pip was measuring a little big, but not anymore than throughout the rest of the pregnancy and the only issue was that my consultant couldn’t tell if Pip was breech or not, because baby’s legs appeared to be curled up underneath. With me only being 33 weeks they weren’t too fussed and off we went home. Sunday was spent lazing around and sleeping, because hospitals are tiring.

Wednesday I had my next growth scan – we ended up seeing a consultant because they were concerned at the rate Pippin had grown in the space of two weeks, especially since my midwife had recorded Pip as following the curve perfectly on the previous Friday! My blood sugar had been normal, and they couldn’t explain why there was such a massive jump.

The reason they were so concerned about the massive jump was because, if correct, it means that little Pip isn’t so little, and we’re looking at a birth weight of 11lbs +. They don’t think that giant Pip will manage to come down the birth canal in the way little Pip might have. I can’t say I disagree with them there. So, after my growth scan next week I’ll know whether I’m to be induced early, at somewhere between 37 and 38 weeks, or to have an elective cesarean section at 39 weeks.

So things over at Pip and Blossom HQ have become a little hectic, its all hands on deck to make sure that we’re ready for Pippin’s arrival, which may be three weeks sooner than we were expecting. I’m washing cloth nappies and cleaning like there’s no tomorrow, and hubs has been busy finishing all the little jobs that needed doing, plus we’ve drafted in both sets of parents to help clean/paint/take things to the tip.

I feel we should have expected this, as a couple we can’t just do things in the standard way. I’m a bit scared to be honest, this isn’t the birth I planned for, and I just want Pippin to be ok and not to have problems because of the diabetes. I’ll know more in a weeks time.

Did anyone else have to prepare for the birth of a giant baby? Any tips for a slightly scare first timer?

Emma’s Diary 34 week Pack

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So I got the 34 week Emma’s Diary pack from my midwife on Friday. Spoiler, I was actually only 33 weeks – don’t tell Emma.

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When I first started getting these I was looking everywhere to find out what I might get. This one had bigger samples than the last.

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There’s a small sample of Fairy non-bio pods, and the safety information leaflet about not letting children get anywhere near them (of course!). This pack also comes with a sample pack of four size one Pamper’s nappies. We’re planning on using cloth, but I’ve been putting any samples of disposables in my hospital bag, thinking that would probably be easier than carrying home dirty reusables!

There’s also a sample packet of Dettol Wipes, as well as £8 worth of vouchers off Dettol products. Unfortunately I don’t really use Dettol, but I’m sure I’ll use up the wipes and I think a lot of people would find the vouchers really useful. There’s even one for money off a Dettol No Touch Handwash System, and I’ve seen those for anywhere between £10 and £12, so it is quite a good saving.

The biggest sample in the pack is a full-sized tube of Bepanthen Ointment, in the 30g tube, which is around £3 in Tesco. I’m not sure if I can actually use this with reusable nappies, some brands say not, but it’ll go in the nappy drawer just the same.

There’s also a guide to Labour & Birth included. Which, admittedly, I haven’t actually read yet. But I probably will!

33 week pregnancy update

What has happened?

Well, we did a bit of this again today:

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Back in the hospital because of an unexpected bleed. But Pippin was doing ok, after the initial panic hubs and I were doing ok and I got to come home again within a couple of hours. The staff at the hospital were amazing, and I got to see the delivery suite, so prep for birth I guess? For some reason it has a mural of a lovely Caribbean beach in there, I couldn’t quite work that one out.

Shout out to the taxi driver who drove me to the hospital and walked me in, I think he was scared to leave me in case I went into labour then and there. Luckily, Pip is going to cook for a little bit longer, which is much needed. Though it has given me a kick up the bum to get my bags packed, and keep my mobile charged too, scary times!

Pippin’s room is pretty much there too, its just a case of cutting in the paintwork and then getting the furniture in. IKEA has also become a bit of a second home and I can’t wait to get all the lovely accessories in we’ve bought.

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Baby is:

Well on track for a 9lb9 birth weight (ouch!). Pippin is still wriggling away, so much so they struggled to get a regular heart rate. Baby also objected to being on the monitors and spent its time trying to boot them off.

Baby also engaged this week, albeit briefly. I felt the head drop on Tuesday, Midwife confirmed it on Friday but by the time I was in hospital today baby had moved back up again. We’re head down though by the looks of things, which is good.

Mummy is:

Sore and struggling to sleep. Bump is now so big that getting anywhere is a struggle, and there’s still weeks to go! I’m still (supposedly) diabetic, but my blood sugar levels are actually too low according to the nutritionist? So that’s a discussion for the consultant.

In other, vaguely amusing, news, I did my bloods on Friday night and got a whopping 10.7. It had only got up to 9.9 after my GTT. I sat there for ten minutes running through everything I had eaten, which was pasta and quorn meatballs in a tomato sauce, homemade. I could not get my head round it. Until I remembered that I had been holding a McFlurry for hubs in the car and some had spilled on my finger. Turns out those things have a lot of sugar, which will show up in your results even if it mixes with the blood outside of your body… My levels were actually a respectable 6.0.

 

Best Pregnancy Products So Far

Right now I’m entering the ‘too uncomfortable, just please let the next few weeks pass quickly’ stage of pregnancy. I can’t sleep, I can’t sit down and I certainly can’t walk more than fifteen paces without either stopping to catch my breath or being clawed in the cervix.

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So these are the products that are making life just a bit more bearable for a 33 week, diabetic, gluten free pregnancy lady with hip pain and sore feet. You’re welcome.

  1. Bio Oil: I started using this at about week 25 or so. No, it’s not stopped the strech marks, but it does help with the terrible itch and I think its making them less red? Wishful thinking?
  2. Pregnancy Pillow: This thing has been a sleep-saver from the first trimester. Its long enough that it can go under your hip, between your knees, between your ankles. I’ve even used it behind my back to stop me rolling over and getting stuck. Pregnancy is very elegant. Bonus, it can also be used for breast feeding.
  3. Lip Balm: I have hayfever, and being pregnant there’s not much I can do about it. Lip Balm means that my lips don’t get too dry as I snore and snuffle my way through the night. (See previous comment about being elegant)
  4. Tena Lights: Yeah, that’s self explanatory. Moving swiftly on (which I hope this will do after baby arrives).
  5. Water Bottle/Cup/Glass: You need to stay hydrated during pregnancy, and it will save you a lot of money going to the vending machine. Do not let yourself get dehydrated, it will make any and all symptoms worse. You have been warned.
  6. Maternity Jeans: If you are pregnant and haven’t already got yourself a pair then what are you thinking? If you aren’t pregnant just get yourself a pair, you will never want to go back. The elasticated waist of stretchy comfiness. Don’t go squeezing yourself into those normal jeans, just buy some maternity ones and get on with your day.
  7. E45: My skin has been awful throughout the pregnancy. If your skin is dry just buy a big tub of this and slather it on, good for keeping the skin on your tummy stretchy too, probably.
  8. Sun Cream: You burn more easily in pregnancy, so you need to make sure you’re working sun cream and probably a hat. I burnt after standing talking to my neighbour for half an hour, on a cloudy day.
  9. Bubble Bath: It doesn’t really matter what it is, you will just want a bubble bath. It really helps with the pain. We’re doing this thing where I’m using baby products to get the cats used to the smell, then they don’t think baby is weird and new. It isn’t working.
  10. Birthing Ball: For obvious reasons, but also if you’re having any sort of hip and pelvic pain most of the exercises they give you will require a ball. So its worth it.

And the bonus. For the love of God get yourself a comfy chair, get someone to set it in front of the tv and rest. You’re growing a tiny human, you deserve it.

31 weeks pregnancy update

I disappeared, again! There’s been so much going on that before I know where I am I am at 31 weeks pregnant with only another 7-8 to go. We aren’t ready for that kind of reality yet!

What has happened?

Well, I finished work on the 1st July, so am now officially unemployed with a baby on the way. But the rest is nice and I feel like I can get the house sorted for the new arrival. Bad and good points I guess.

Pippin’s room has plaster, and nearly paint. So that only leaves flooring, radiator and furniture before we can actually start to put all baby’s stuff in there. Which is amazing because it means I can get the rest of my house back, and have an office space again, and generally not live in a building site!

I am diabetic. Not the biggest surprise ever, since I was considered high risk anyway with a family history and being overweight and all. But it is a pain, and means we’re having to reconsider birth options, for example baby might have to make its arrival at around 39 weeks rather than allowing for it to choose its own time. At the moment my bloods are keeping stable via diet management, and there’s no reason for me to be on medication, plus Pippin is measuring right along the line, so no worries there either. For the moment I’m having growth scans every two weeks, just to keep an eye on things. Although, being a gluten free, vegetarian diabetic is no mean feat and this little kit has become my constant companion.

I can’t complain about the care I’m getting through, the midwives are doing their absolute best to get me the birth I want, and I do believe that if they can manage it I won’t have the medicalised birth I am more than a little scared of. Can’t say fairer than that really.

My iron levels are still low, even though I’ve been taking one tablet a day from around 20 weeks and two from 28 weeks, so they are a little bit concerned about that. But I’ll be having blood tests to monitor my levels, and hopefully they will pick up. Now, where’s that bag of spinach?

Also, we had the labour and birth class yesterday.

Baby is:

Getting quite big now, by the feeling of things anyway! According to the growth scan Pip is in the 90th percentile. The wriggling is getting far more pronounced now, my whole tummy ends up being thrown around by it, and one of the midwives got kicked in the head four times when trying to listen to the heartbeat! (Sorry, about that!). I like to think that means Pippin will be far less lazy than me and it’s daddy. Baby is also head down, but at this stage that’s probably temporary, but I’ll take the switch. Baby had been breech for weeks, so hopefully it doesn’t turn round again!

Mummy is:

Flipping tired by now. I’m getting sleep in, maybe, two hour chunks if that. What with discomfort, needing to pee and getting too hot, sleeping has gone out the window. For me and the poor husband. Hips are getting more painful, especially at night or if I’ve been sitting or walking too long. So, constantly. Plus baby’s kicks are getting strong enough to hurt now.

I’m having loads of tightening across my bump. Assuming this is Braxton Hicks or something? Generally I’m just feeling quite big and uncomfortable. I’m 31 weeks pregnant, what do I expect really? I have to be honest, this stage is uncomfortable, and I feel it will probably get worse, but it still beats the vomiting nightmare that was the first trimester, hands down.