stupid blood

This week I’ve had to accept the fact that there is a chance that our little guy will need to go under general anaesthetic in the next 6 months.

Petrified doesn’t really seem like a strong enough word to explain how this makes me feel.

Archer’s tongue-tie was detected at birth but the seriousness of it wasn’t truly noted until he was about 6 days old. We were referred to a pediatric surgeon with the understanding that there would be a very simple procedure done in that one appointment to fix his tongue-tie and off we would go. Apparently not.

In filling out the pre appointment medical survey, I told the doctor of the history of Von Willebrands in my family (my niece has the condition). This in itself is not an overly serious diagnosis. If the disease is present, prior to any surgery, treatment is given to ensure the blood clots correctly to avoid excessive bleeding.

Prior to this appointment I hadn’t even considered that my son my have this disease. I certainly hadn’t considered the fact that the tongue-tie snip may be a procedure that could be dangerous if he did have Von Willebrands. I’m thankful for the cautious nature and thoroughness of our doctor in detecting this as a concern!

DNALong and short of it is, they can’t test Archer for the Von Willebrands until he is 6 months old. They wont cut his tongue-tie until they eliminate Von Willebrands. Once he is older than 12 weeks, they wont do the tongue-tie procedure unless he is under a general anesthetic. Catch fucking twenty two.

So, what we decided to do was to test N and I to see if we are carriers of the disease (highly unlikely N is, the gene is in my family – but better to be safe than sorry!). Essentially, if we aren’t carriers, Archer can’t have the disease and snip snip we go. About a litre of blood taken later and as expected, N’s results are negative. Mine are inconclusive. Fuck fuck fuck.

We now have a referral to a hematologist for me to see if we can eliminate me as the carrier. Its not looking good but I will be doing everything in my power to beat the clock in getting some sort of result.

So the countdown is on. 7 weeks to go and I need to – get an appointment with the hematologist, discount me as a carrier (fingers crossed), get an appointment back at the pediatric surgeon and get my little dudes tongue fixed.

Or its general anesthetic time in October.

It terrifies me to think that Archer would have to have any sort of procedure. But the thought of him having a general anesthetic in his tiny body makes me feel ill.

I know its not a definite yet and there is no point getting anxious over something that may not happen but I am allowing myself to mentally prepare for the just in case. In the meantime, a warning to the hematologist and pediatric surgeon – I will be stalking you for appointments daily until I can get this resolved – the clock is ticking!

Have any of you lovely readers had to face surgery for your little ones?

Xx A

Ps… you can learn more about Von Willebrands here

that wasn’t in the brochure….

Before I got pregnant, I thought I knew a thing or two about the joys of being up the duff. I was by no means an expert but I had witnessed numerous friends and family go through the process, so I thought I was pretty up to speed on what to expect when expecting. And I was. Except for a few little things that people had magically left off of the list….

Here are some of the gems that I have learnt along the way.

  1. medium_6832566733You’ll miss your vagina. Seriously, I haven’t seen it in weeks, maybe months. I miss it. I’m pretty convinced it needs some “tending to” (mental note to book waxing appointment asap)
  2. You might want to consider buying a dog. Much easier to blame those stinky farts that will haunt you for 8 months on a dog than a partner who knows it wasn’t him.
  3. You’ll share things with people like never before. Something about having a pregnant belly makes you community property. Not only will everyone want to share their story with you, but also towards the end, you find yourself having no concerns at all sharing your bits with whoever will listen. In the last couple of weeks I’ve had in depth conversations with other women about the state of my vagina and what is/isn’t normal this far along in my pregnancy – conversations I never thought I’d have.
  4. The boobs you always wanted might just piss you off. This was a real disappointment for me. I had always looked forward to the perks of perky boobs during pregnancy. But when I found myself carrying around a set of double D’s, they were no where near as fun as I had imagined. Disappointing for N too… am sure he’s been dying to play with them the whole time. Poor bastard.
  5. medium_2685851866Heels WILL become the devil. As much as I thought I was going to be “different”, I’m not. I don’t care who you are, being 8 months pregnant and wearing heels to anything other than a super special occasion is insane. I look forward to welcoming stilettos back into my life in a few months time but for now, they are the devil.
  6. People will touch you. A lot. Not only doctors, family and friends (all of which are fine), total strangers will have a good old feel around too. Stranger Danger has been a pretty constant issue for me.
  7. You’ll miss the simple things. Putting on shoes with ease, bending over in general, eating ham. Oh how I miss thee.
  8. It is possible to want to vomit AND eat, at precisely the same time. I was very lucky in the early days of my pregnancy and didn’t suffer a lot from morning sickness. But, who knew that at precisely the same moment, you could have the strongest desire to scoff a bowl of carbs AND throw up. Lucky for me, the carbs usually won.
  9. You will learn the meaning of true patience…. From your partner. Those poor boys. Seriously, I have a newfound respect for the patience of my man. Putting up with me for the last 9 months is something I wouldn’t want to do. Must remember to thank him for that with afore mentioned waxed vagina in about 6 months time. 😉
  10. You’ll pretty much be petrified the entire time. From day dot, I’ve been scared about something. The first few days were pure terror from the realization Fearfulthat there was no way in the whole world that I was ready to be a mother. The next 12 weeks were full of fear about being able to hold onto the embryo that I didn’t realize I wanted so badly. The next 6 months have been a constant balance of irrational fears about eating the wrong food, my baby not moving enough or in the right way, an upcoming scan and basically everything and anything to do with the health of this little person I am carrying. Then there’s the birth bit – you can read about the fear associated with that here.

The most valuable thing people dont tell you is that you are stronger than you think. Through all of the panic and sometimes uber uncomfortable parts of pregnancy, you’ll be fine. You’re tougher and more resilient than you ever gave yourself credit for. Mentally AND physically. That’s why women get to do this bit. Men would crumble.

What surprised you about your pregnancy journey? I’d love to hear from you.

Xx A

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questions for my son….

What will you look like? What will you smell like? Will you have your daddy’s hair and my skin? I picture you with a mop of dark locks and big brown eyes. Handsome like your daddy and pale skinned like me. I think you will smell like pure joy and the occasional bit of vomit but that’s ok, we’ll take the good with the bad.

Will you be as big as you feel inside my belly right now? You feel strong and long limbed. You’ve been trying to break my ribs for weeks now I’m sure of it. The doctors think you’ll be a very healthy sized baby but looking at your daddy’s build, that’s no surprise. Long legged like me and broad-shouldered like dad.

What will you be like? Calm like your daddy, slightly eccentric like me? A night owl with him or an early riser with me? My sister insists you will be a night owl, based on the series of kicks you give me from 7pm every night. A sign of things to come she says – an active baby belly at nighttime means trouble for your sleeping pattern. I think I’m ready either way. You haven’t let me sleep properly in weeks now, so my body feels prepared for late nights, early mornings and catching a nap wherever I can.

What will we do? My days will be so different to those I have now. I’ll have you to look after and I’m not sure exactly how that’s supposed to go. I see us taking some time to figure each other out but slowing falling into a routine that’s just for us. I think we’ll take walks to the beach and I’ll watch you sleep and when daddy comes home you’ll make him smile like no one else can. I know I won’t do all of it right every day. I’ll mess up along the way. There will be tears from the both of us but I promise I’ll do my best. I’m new at this too, but we’ll figure it out.

Where will you go? I bought a picture for your bedroom the other day. It’s a quote by Dr Seuss. “Oh, the places you’ll go” Dr Seuss proclaims. I know you’ll go far. You’ll have the drive of your mummy and the travel bug like your daddy, I’m sure of it. I don’t see you being a wallflower. Not with our genes. You’ll be bold and brave and want to challenge yourself and the world. Go everywhere. Do everything. Just make sure I know where you are.

What will you be? Whatever you want is the answer! If poppy gets his way, you’ll be the captain of the Tottenham Hotspur’s. If daddy teaches you well enough, you may be a famous guitarist. I think you’ll be creative and smart. I think you’ll leave your mark on the world as well as our hearts. I think you’ll be amazing at whatever you choose. I think you’ll always be yourself and that is perfection to me.

medium_1077946

What will I be like? Being your mum is a pretty big deal. I still can’t quite believe that I get to meet you soon and that you chose us to be your family. I feel full of something I can’t quite describe. It’s a fear of the unknown mixed with an almighty sense of joy and excitement about what our future holds. I never knew that I wanted you so badly, but now you are on your way, I have never been so sure of anything in my life.

I don’t know what I’ll be like as your mum. I know that I’ll work harder at this than I have ever worked on anything in my life. I know I wont be perfect but that I will give you the best I possibly can. I know that I will make sure you never go without and that you know you are loved every single day. I know that I’ll kiss you too often and probably embarrass you along the way. I know one day you’ll be taller than me but that I’ll still call you my baby. I know that I’ll be proud of you no matter what and that whoever you become I will support you. I know that from now until forever, you will be my son and I will be your mum. I know that I love you to the moon and back and you’re not even here yet.

I can’t wait to meet you.

Love your mummy. x

xx A

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taking away the fear

Yesterday was antenatal class day. A day that I had predicted was going to be painfully tedious and awkward and that was a little frightening, as it signifies how close to the end of this journey we are getting (ie: holy crap, we’re actually having a baby – soon!)

Up until this point in my pregnancy, I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted my birth to play out.

Healthy baby. Save my vagina. Don’t shit the bed.

I had no grand birth plan or divine script of how I wanted labour to be, except for one thing. Epidural – GET. IN. ME.

medium_3289103242My thoughts on the matter hadn’t come from any research or reading on childbirth. It hadn’t come from any drawn out thought on pros and cons. I think they had come purely from FEAR. The fear of the unknown and the fear of the pain that is obviously going to come with pushing a watermelon out of your body.

Couple that with my allergy to a quite a lot of pain relief and anti nausea drugs, the thought of going epidural from the get go was quite appealing.

Then I did the class.

Now I have a plan. A real plan. One that makes me feel strong and ready and most importantly, prepared for what is going to happen at some point over the coming weeks.

The class was not what I had expected at all. I had gone there thinking it was going to be a huff and puff class. You know the ones, sitting in a circle with your partner learning how to breathe through the process, huffing and puffing as if it was the real thing.

It wasn’t. It was a day full of empowering information about choices and about truly explaining the process my body is about to embark on. It was extremely liberating and calming and to be honest, is probably the most valuable thing I’ve done since being pregnant.

The midwife running the class was neither for nor against drugs or no drugs during labour. She provided equal information about both options and remained extremely vigilant in making sure we knew what our options were and that either way, we would be supported. She made sure that we understood the stages of labour and what our body was going to do.

Most importantly, she reminded me that our bodies are meant to do this. I can do this. I am designed to do this. This is not as scary as I thought.6081060-plan-a-and-plan-b-on-a-blackboard

Now I’m not saying that I’m going all “earth mother” and taking a no drug stance during labour. Not at all. It’s just that my friend the epidural is now a last resort as opposed to a first resort. An “if I need it” rather than an “I’m definitely going to need it”.

Thanks to the education of the lovely midwife Gaye, I now have the right information to make an informed choice. I now know, with some degree of certainty, how I want this labour to play out… it’s simple and short and it goes a little like this…..

  • Stay at home as long as possible (within reason!) by using a Tens machine to distract some of the pain.
  • Once in hospital, pop myself in a nice warm bath in our room and add some gas and air into the mix.
  • If needed, jump on board the pain killer wagon and see how I go. Add in a new anti nausea drug that I have discovered I’m not allergic to (miracle!) and hopefully I am almost ready to meet my little guy.
  • As a LAST resort, an epidural is there as an option.

All sounds a bit more mature and thought about than “don’t shit the bed” right?

The biggest take away from the class for me was options. How empowering it feels to have options presented and to feel informed about something that was previously so unknown. Take away the unknown, take away the fear.

I know it’s going to hurt like a bitch. I know its probably going to be one of the hardest things my body ever has to do. But I know now I can do it. I know I have choices and I know what I can do to help my body do its job.

I have a plan.

A birth plan.

And it feels better.

xx A

(Disclaimer: I’d still like to save my vagina and not shit the bed…. Any tips welcome)

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turning into a secret softie?

Those who read my blog often, know that I’m not the type of pregnant woman who gushes over her bump and finds the process of growing a baby to be some sort of divine experience. I’m more from the school of “can’t wait for the end product but could do without the being pregnant bit”.

I’m absolutely thrilled to be having a baby and cant wait to meet our little guy, but the whole being pregnant bit isn’t something I have really loved.

But I may have found one little part of it that I love.

It usually happens around 8.30pm each night.

I’ve usually had a busy day, running around for work and renovations and probably pushing myself harder than I should. I’ve usually just finished a quick dinner and finally sat down for the night to relax.

Within about 10 minutes or so, I feel it. It starts as a little nudge, usually on my right 5769573400_a7bdbf4f9f_zside. Then turns into an evening of rumble and tumble. My little dude trying to get comfy or find a way out through my belly button. Throughout the night he shifts and turns, occasionally kicking but mainly gently nudging, responding to the jingle of my harmony ball or the voice of his daddy through my belly.

Before I was pregnant, if another mother had spoken of being kicked in the belly by her unborn baby, I was a little grossed out. Even as my belly started to grow and I felt those first few kicks, I was a little freaked out by the soft flutters I would feel.  But soon, they became a part of my day; a lovely reassurance that my baby was doing well and getting strong. Going longer than a few hours without feeling a little nudge suddenly felt quite frightening.

Now, those moments at night when he rolls and rumbles inside my belly are some of my favourite moments of the day.

There’s something immensely connective about feeling your baby move, something that I didn’t quite understand before. It’s selfish, but also very warming to know that its something only you will ever feel. In a way, it’s the first real conversations you have with your child; a private moment that no one else can interrupt and take away.

So the hard woman in me may be softening. I wouldn’t say I’m going all “earth mother” on anyone anytime soon but I have definitely found one little aspect of pregnancy which turns me into a bit of a softie.

Sshhh… don’t tell anyone….

xx A

 

a little perspective

It has been a big week. Emotionally, physically and mentally draining, it’s been a week I would rather forget.

It was a week where everything seemed to pile on at once. Between the stresses of our renovation, living out of a suitcase, having a crazy busy time at work and the whole “being 7 months pregnant” thing, there were also some very sad things playing out around us this past week.

I’m not going to go into detail but life can be tragic and unkind. And sometimes it has a way of slapping you sideways, forcing you to think with a little perspective.

That’s what it life did to me this week. Gave me some much-needed perspective about what is truly important.

Lately, it has been far too easy to get wrapped up in the daily grind of everything that we have going on. So easy to loose sight of how lucky we are and how simple our life truly is.

I have found myself, over the last few weeks, becoming highly irritated and stressed about the most superficial of things. When will my shower screen be measured? When will my tiling be done? When will the driveway be free of that pile of sand? When that timber floor will be ordered? When will my to-do list at work get shorter?

who-fucking-cares

Really, who cares? That’s not what’s important.

In the scheme of life and all its trials and tribulations, the things that tend to send me into a tizz really don’t matter at all. The shower screen will get measured, the tiling will get done, the driveway will be finished and the floor will be ordered. It may not be in the exact time frame that I had expected, but it will be done, and it will be fine. I just need some perspective.

Nothing we are going through at the moment is hard. Nothing is truly a struggle. Hard is knowing that your wife won’t make it to March. A true struggle is burying your son before he had a chance to live. Our daily stresses don’t matter. None of it is important. Love and life and health and family. Those are the things that matter. That is what’s truly important.

This is the perspective that this week has given me.

So I’m giving up sweating the small stuff. I’m giving up wasting energy on worrying about things like the renovation schedule and my to-do list. It’s just not important.

I’m saving my energy for kissing my man and hugging my family and growing our baby boy. I’m keeping my mind free for that which is important.

I’m taking the time each day to stop. Reflect. Appreciate. Just how lucky we are and how simple our life truly is.

So to those people whose stories this week have forced me to look at my life, firstly, I am truly sorry for what you are going through. Nothing I say can make it better. I wish words were enough to take away your pain and sorrow so we could shout them from every mountain and make the world right again. But no words can fix it.

Just know that your stories have touched people. And hopefully made others, as they have made me, look at life with a little new perspective.

Xx A

stranger danger

I feel like this post needs a disclaimer before I begin. So, if I know you, if we are friends, if we are family, I am not referring to you in this post. Don’t go getting all weird on me and taking offense. You are not the reason I write this.

So, now that is out of the way, lets talk about my belly.

Yes, I’m pregnant. Yes, I now LOOK pregnant. Yes, my “is it a food baby?” bump now looks like a dead set “up the duff” bump.

Its lovely, it makes people smile. I get it. The miracle of life and the glow and all of that, But seriously, stop with the uninvited touching!

cant touch this

Numerous times a day I come into contact with new people. Most of them are polite and charming and have all sorts of lovely questions about how I feel and when I’m due and all that jazz. Most of them keep their paws to themselves. Most of them are self-respecting normal human beings who know a thing or two about boundaries and personal space.

Then there are the gropers. The people who after a matter of seconds in my presence feel it necessary and reasonable to put their hands straight onto my bump and have a big old feel around. No “can I have a feel?” no “would you mind?” no preemptive questions at all. Without any warning – in they come, all grabby and intimate. Rubbing my belly as if I’m some sort of good luck Buddha.

I wont bring you good luck.

I wont bring you good luck.

Now look, I’m not a total cow. I understand that a pregnant belly has a certain force field attached to it. A force that apparently makes people suddenly loose their shit and think that my belly is a new toy. But is it too much to ask for permission before going in for the kill?

Some people even take it that one step further. Not just going in for a simple pat around the belly button area (a pretty safe zone for those playing at home) but taking it to the extreme and mapping out the entire width and girth of my belly with their hands, inspecting me in a way I’m only comfortable experiencing with my obstetrician or my babies daddy.

I wouldn’t dream of walking up to a non-pregnant woman and having a nice little feel around her belly. I wouldn’t really touch anyone I don’t know without asking first (Unless you’re John Stamos. In which case, watch out, I will probably feel you up in a totally uninvited and inappropriate manner).

I guess for me, a simple “would you mind if I touched your belly?” is not too much to ask? I’ll always say “sure, go ahead”. It’s not the touching I take issue with (remember to stick to the belly button zone though thanks). It’s the lack of permission sought by strangers that irks me.

It’s a type of stranger danger I didn’t know existed. People don’t warn you about this when you first get pregnant. There’s no memo sent out saying that “oh, by the way, total strangers are going to feel you up in supermarket cues and at the bus stop”. It just happens. And it’s annoying.

So, to all of you strangers out there. I know my belly makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. Its lovely, I get it. But do me a favour – if you want to have a little rub, just do me the courtesy of asking me first. I promise I’ll say yes.

NB: unless you are weird and a bit dirty. In which case, this is awkward but no. Please go away.  

xx A

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up close and personal

We were given a wonderful gift from friends recently –  a session at The Ultrasound Nursery. So tonight, off we went to see our little dude in a fabulous up close and personal 3D/4D scan.

To start with little Mr Peanut was not at all cooperative. After a few attempts of coercing him to get into a good position, Doc suggested a walk around the block to get him wriggling. Luckily, that, along with a stern word through my belly to the little guy, seemed to do the trick and when we returned, he was camera ready.

It’s pretty amazing that we were able to see him in such detail. Talk about making the whole thing feel real. So, this post is my first ever total parental bragging moment. A totally selfish display of how cute I think my little dude is.

A few things that we learnt from todays scan:

  • He is extremely flexible! At the start of the scan, his foot was on his head. What the?
  • He loves a good ole chomp on his own umbilical chord. Kinda gross but hey – slim pickings down there for things to chew on.
  • He has a rats tail. A good sign for that long rock god hair we hope he has one day.
  • He has the perfect feet for a pair of soccer boots. Pretty sure dads having a pair measured up as we speak.
  • He is definitely a boy. We have a graphic pic for his 21st birthday to prove it.
  • He pretty much has the cutest nose in the world. Even the Dr thinks so. And he wouldn’t lie to me.

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Love him.

xx A