Postnatal Without A Baby

Once you’ve given birth in hospital, you’re usually transferred fairly quickly to a ward called postnatal where midwives look after you by providing regular monitoring of your blood pressure etc, help you establish breastfeeding if you’ve chosen to feed that way and make sure baby is okay too.

First time round, I spent 11 days between postnatal and labour wards after the birth, with Dylan allowed to stay most nights because of how poorly I was. Whilst it was tough and I was in horrendous pain – not just from the stitches and general soreness of giving birth but also from the clots and pneumonia that had decided to join me for the post partum experience – we met some genuinely lovely people there, healthcare assistants, midwives, cleaners and doctors.

The second time round, I was taken to postnatal (I gave birth in a different hospital this time) where I spent six days. But the key difference this time was I didn’t have my baby with me. He was downstairs in NICU and was really quite poorly at the time.

I know how severely under funded the NHS is right now and that you’re lucky to get a bed and some meds! But I so wish the money was there to provide a separate ward for all the NICU mothers before they’re discharged. Having a baby in intensive care is a pretty harrowing experience anyway, but to come back on to postnatal every night and hear the (healthy) cries of everyone else’s baby who is right by their side on the ward is awful. I remember hearing one baby cry while I was waiting for them to intubate Max for the first time because he was so unwell he needed a ventilator – that was probably one of the lowest moments of the whole process. Especially as I knew I wouldn’t hear my baby cry until he was well enough for them to take the tube back out.

I missed most of my regular checks because I was downstairs with Max and only popping back up to express, eat and sleep. I’m sure it was frustrating for the staff me not being there (although I’m assuming most NICU moms do the same?) but it came across in the tone of some. Like I was inconveniencing them or being a nuisance. Some of them would happen to catch me a few times during my shift and never even ask how my baby was doing.

Generally I felt fine. I coped with all that NICU life threw at us. But every time I was on postnatal or thought about it, I felt upset and angry. I dreaded going back on the ward and I couldn’t wait to be discharged. Everyone told me the parent accommodation I moved into for the rest of Max’s time on NICU was super basic and lonely but I breathed the biggest sigh of relief when they finally let me leave postnatal. I think I skipped off the ward at the thought of no more checks, no more stern words from some of the staff and mostly no babies crying.

If I suddenly became a billionaire I would love to fund special private wards for NICU moms where they could come and go as they pleased, chat to the other moms in the same situation and get some support from midwives trained to deal with how they may be feeling. It’s an ordeal but there are ways to make postnatal life easier for those who have sick babies.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Midwife Appreciation

Max is very happy we got a lovely midwife.

During every big life event you’ve ever gone through, the people around you will have mattered hugely at the time. Roll on a week, month, year or decade into the future and their name, manner or appearance may have blurred so badly that you can’t recall anything about them.

That’s certainly the case about birth. Both times I was in hospital for longer than average. 12 days in total on antenatal, labour and postnatal wards with Alexandra, then ten days on antenatal while pregnant and a week on delivery suite and postnatal with Max. (We’re just talking pregnancy/birth specific wards and stays here so not my long hospital admission postnatally with Alex or any of the care Max received)

Along the way we met many midwives and other staff who were utterly amazing, whose names and faces are imprinted on our memories, and none more so than the midwife who delivered Max. Her name was Antoinette and I knew from about 30 seconds after the start of her shift that I liked her.

She walked into the room on the morning of the 26th March, introduced herself and had a quick handover from the night midwife and then immediately began tidying the room. A woman after my own heart! She instructed Dylan what to get out of the bags then put them away, and got out everything she might need for the delivery even though it wasn’t imminent at that point. She wanted to be ready for every eventuality and, as someone who writes lists like it’s going out of fashion, I was won over by this!

She chatted to us about her family, asked us questions and got to know us as well as you can in a couple of short hours. Everything was sorted so she could focus on us – even fetching Dylan some breakfast. Then when everything ramped up (Antoinette told me once I got into established labour it would be quick and she wasn’t wrong!) she knew the time wasn’t right for chatter anymore and began guiding me calmly and efficiently through the process of giving birth. There was no panic, alarm or harshness. There were just suggestions, advice and care. She knew what to say and do at any moment and her decades of experience combined with the joy you could tell she still feels every time she helps bring a new life into the world.

Even once Max was born, she was fabulous. She made sure I was washed, changed and fed as soon as possible and kept me company while Dylan and Max were on the transitional care ward then got me in to see him as soon as possible once he started showing signs of being poorly and had been transferred to NICU.

I’m sharing all of this because I can’t believe what a difference having such a great midwife made to the birth. Altogether it was better anyway owing to the lack of need for intervention but she made it so positive and something I look back on fondly despite the pain and blood and gore!

Having someone championing you and telling you you’re doing great (other than your husband cause you know he’s GOT to say it and what does he know about delivering babies anyway), having someone who intuitively knows what you may need at any given point or how you may be feeling, having someone who makes you feel like the most important person in the world right now – let alone the room. That’s something you can’t pay for, you can’t order, it’s luck of the draw.

Whoever walks into your room to deliver your baby will be qualified, but what their nursing degree won’t have given them is that amazing attitude we saw that day where nothing was too much trouble, everything was kept calm (as calm as it can be when you’re pushing a human out of you) and we were the focus – not the doctors or the medical side of things or even Max, me as a woman giving birth and us as a couple having a baby that day.

Dylan’s had four children and been at all of their births. He can’t remember any of the other midwives’ names but we know we won’t be forgetting Antoinette ever!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Home With A Diagnosis

After a five-night stay in hospital, which I talked about here, Max (and I) came home yesterday. It was an absolute relief to be back with Dylan and Alexandra and we got back just in time for a trip to the park before bed.

On top of his CDH (congenital diaphragmatic hernia), Max now has a diagnosis of F-PIES – food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome. This essentially is a condition whereby babies/children have a severe reaction to certain foods. Rather than have a rash or any external symptoms, they are affected internally.

Max’s symptoms that we noticed were: becoming pale and lifeless and white loose poos. He also had a low temperature of around 35 – something which he had when he was in hospital after birth too, acidosis, dehydration and was essentially presenting the symptoms of sepsis which is why they started treating him for an infection at first. Apparently all this, including the sepsis-like symptoms, is common for F-PIES as well as vomiting which he doesn’t seem to be hugely affected by yet.

People with the condition can be affected by all sorts of foods and some can only eat a handful of ‘safe’ foods. Hopefully Max is only affected by cow’s milk protein, although one in three also can’t handle soy. Many children grow out of F-PIES but there’s no way of knowing when or if this will happen.

Obviously Max starting to wean is a long way off, but generally the plan would be to try him on soy at some point and then if he tolerates that begin to introduce dairy into his diet. Best case scenario is he tolerates it and can grow up eating a normal diet. Worst is that he’ll have to avoid certain foods forever (but as the doctor pointed out, it’s quite lucky to have a condition where the cure is to simply not eat something). There is no medication which can help from what I’ve read, doctors simply have to treat any symptoms children present with when they’ve had a reaction.

While I’m still expressing milk for Max, I have to avoid dairy (the dietician said I could potentially eat soy if I wanted to, but I’m cutting that out too just in case as one in three seems a high number!) as even the small amount passed through breast milk can be harmful to him – although it was the higher amount found in formula which triggered his reaction on Friday. He’s also got special formula so if he needs top ups or I decide to stop expressing then he can safely have that as it’s made without cow’s milk proteins.

I’m sure we will document his F-PIES journey along the way as we know this is just the start of a long road – and weaning won’t be as simple as it was with his big sister Alexandra. But at least we have a diagnosis now and we can keep him well now we know why he became so poorly.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

In Hospital Again!

Just when we thought we were settled, we had our lovely little family together and our biggest challenges were night feeds and nap times, poor Max is now back in hospital.

It began last Tuesday when he had his check up, where the doctor said although he was putting on weight it wasn’t enough and recommended us mixing 70ml of my milk with 30ml of formula at every feed. We did so and almost within a day began to feel he was much more unsettled. Then his nappy products didn’t look quite right. And then by Friday his feeding was all over the place, he was quite lethargic and by the evening he had gone really pale.

I’d sought advice from the health visitor who said it could just be the switch to formula but when Dylan came home he said there was a massive difference in Max’s appearance from that morning so we called out of hours and went for an appointment there, which eventually turned into an admission to the children’s ward at our local hospital (ten minutes away from our house compared to an hour for the women’s/children’s hospitals he was in previously).

That night was terrible. He’d lost 11 ounces in three days and at one point became unresponsive when they were trying to do a lumbar puncture on him. They pumped loads of fluids into him, some medication as he was severely acidic and did about a million tests.

Then they called the intensive care team to come and see him for an assessment, with it being touch and go whether he would be moved to another hospital with an intensive care ward. Luckily he’d responded to the fluids and meds so they said he could stay at our local hospital with the specialist teams from the hospital where he had his hernia surgery advising the doctors here.

He restarted feeding, small amounts at first which he wasn’t happy about, and has been gradually gaining weight each day. Currently (Tuesday) he’s still having lots of tests to determine if there is an underlying condition relating to his kidneys, liver or metabolism but he’s just come off his antibiotics because there’s no clinical evidence of infection.

One of the theories they’re working on is that Max has had a severe reaction to cow’s milk protein (there is a much higher amount in formula than cow’s milk which would explain why he became so poorly after starting the formula), so they’ve asked me to stop having dairy and they’re also doing some tests relating to that.

If he does have that then, rather than growing out of it like some children do, because he became so unwell at such a young age it’s possible it may be a life-long allergy.

He is doing well and is very alert and wanting to feed a lot which are all good signs. Compared to the pale little lifeless boy we had on Friday, he’s once again proved how strong he is and bounced back. We’re just hoping for an answer soon so we can take him home again as another round of this is not what any of us wanted!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Max’s Birth

I was just about to write a post about the differences between both my births and the advantages of having an amazing midwife, then I realised while I’ve written about Max’s first few weeks in hospital, I haven’t actually dished out the gory birth story details. Here we go:

We had always known I’d be induced and we’d had a date for weeks that we were working towards, although a hospital stay at 32 weeks had meant we knew there was a fairly good chance we’d go earlier than 37 weeks.

As it was, we had a growth scan at 34+6 so the three of us (myself, Dylan and Alexandra) went along to the hospital with the intention of doing something fun in the afternoon before having some friends over that evening. At the scan it became apparent quickly to me that there was an issue. Normally they’d talk me through the details straightaway but instead the sonographer asked us to go and talk to our obstetrician. She said it looked as if our son’s growth had slowed down from the 50th centile to the 10th since the last scan four weeks previously. There was also a concern over the blood flow from the placenta indicating it had potentially started to fail.

The doctor said all this, combined with me having slightly raised blood pressure, meant now was probably the time to start the induction process.

We had to wait a couple of hours and my sister came to pick Alexandra up while my parents sorted out the arrangements for getting all our bags and hers sorted. Then we were shown to our bay in the induction suite.

At around 7.30pm that evening (Friday) I had the first prostin tablet inserted. Overnight Dylan stayed at my mom’s to try and get some rest (it’s nearer to the hospital than our house) and I had another tablet in the morning.

They ended up doing a third one because, while I was getting tightenings, they weren’t regular enough and my cervix wasn’t dilating very quickly. Then the doctor came at around 4pm on the Saturday to check if I could have my waters dilated, this was the most painful part of the process including giving birth! In fact the doctor who did the check came back a few days later and apologised to me for how awful the check was.

It was then a wait to get a room on the delivery suite: we were told it could take days although I was given priority because of my condition. In the end it was about 12 hours before we went round. In that time we’d gone on endless walks to try and progress things. I tried sitting on the birth ball but found it really uncomfortable this time round (although it did wonders helping me dilate during Alexandra’s labour).

It then took an hour and a half to get a cannula in my arm before they could break my waters. Nothing much happened and then at 8am our midwife Antoinette came on duty. She was fabulous! She got everything organised straightaway and then after a couple of hours it was time to start the drip to see if they could progress my contractions.

Nothing happened for a while and then all of a sudden it was like a switch had been flipped. I went from 2cm to 5cm in a matter of minutes. They decided I could have an epidural (they’d said no originally because of the blood thinning injections I’m on – but it had been long enough since my last dose to make it safer) so I said I’d like one.

The anaesthetist came to have a chat to me about the procedure and I agreed to it but it became quickly apparent there wasn’t time. I had a check as Max’s heart rate had dropped a little, to see if he could tolerate the epidural, but by this point I was 8cm. I was just using gas and air (although probably mentioned a few times that it was painful and I’d really like some more pain relief!) and feeling really out of control during contractions. I then realised instead of concentrating on breathing in the gas and air during a contraction, I actually needed to focus on the fact my body wanted to push.

Because I had a ventouse delivery with Alexandra, I’d never experienced the urges to push so it took me a while to realise I just needed to trust my body and go with what it was telling me. Dylan said he could visibly see when that happened and I became much more focused and wasn’t thrashing around the place like I had been previously.

All of a sudden I was fully dilated and it was time to push. Then his head was out and one push later our son Max was born at 11.57am weighing 4lb 13.

He was lifted onto my chest and Dylan got  to cut the cord (for the first time even though Max is his fourth child – with Alex because she needed a bit of oxygen straightaway the doctors cut it). We had 15 minutes of skin to skin before he was taken for his checks and taken upstairs to transitional care while I was sorted out. Although that process was a lot easier this time (just a small tear with no stitches required compared to an episiotomy with 27 stitches).

Antoinette had said to us it would all happen quickly once it started and wasn’t she right! It was amazing to actually get to push the baby out by myself this time. As I mentioned earlier, I definitely want to discuss the differences between the births soon!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Max’s Story: Part 3

  1. This is the story of Max’s recovery and discharge from hospital. To read the earlier parts of the story, you can click on Part 1 and Part 2.

Day 10 –

A 2am call from a withheld number is never going to be good, especially if it’s about one of your children. I’d just got up to express when the phone rang and I knew instantly that Max’s lung had collapsed again. He’d been put back onto CPAP as he needed more assistance with his breathing and a X-ray in the early hours revealed his right lung had gone for a second time. The doctors were scratching their heads, wondering why it had happened.

I got about an hour’s sleep and returned downstairs to be greeted with the words congenital diaphragmatic hernia. A closer look at the latest X-ray showed part of Max’s bowel and liver had made their way up into the chest cavity and on examining the X-ray from when the initial collapse had happened, the doctors realised his liver was also in his chest then.

An ultrasound confirmed there was indeed a hole in our little boy’s diaphragm. From then on the day seemed completely hectic. It was arranged for Max to be transferred to the Children’s Hospital across the city and luckily they had a baby who needed to come back to the unit we were on so the swap was arranged for that afternoon.

I packed up the stuff in our parent accommodation and Dylan arrived and very quickly after the KIDS team arrived with the ambulance which would take Max to his new hospital. They explained the whole process and talked us through what would happen during the journey. Max was given medication to keep him sedated during the journey, although the little monkey decided he wanted to be wide awake so they had to give him extra doses to get him to drift off!

We went into the ambulance – with Dylan following us in the car with all our stuff – and after a journey of about 20 minutes we arrived on the PICU.

The difference between the two wards was incredible – from a little room with three other babies in to a huge open space with 31 beds for children of all ages needing intensive care. It was like going from a little airport like East Midlands to walking into Heathrow.

That afternoon he had numerous tests and scans and then we were told he’d be likely to have his operation the next day.

Day 11 –

Overnight I’d had to go and be checked at our original hospital as I wasn’t feeling well but luckily they had let me out to come back and be with Max. I stopped that night in a small room off the ward but was told in the morning there was a room for us at Ronald McDonald House just around the corner from the hospital.

Then the day became a process of waiting. Around lunchtime they confirmed they’d be taking him down for his operation at 3pm. It was set to take three hours so Dylan and I used the time to have some rest and grab some food.

At 6pm we received a call from his nurse to say he was back and everything had gone well. It was a huge relief although we’d felt quite positive from everything they’d told us before that it would have been. Unfortunately we just missed the surgeon so we didn’t get much more information than that they’d managed to do the surgery keyhole and hadn’t had to open him up so that was excellent.

Day 12 –

A chat with the surgeon confirmed when they had pushed Max’s liver back down into his abdomen, there had been enough diaphragm to stitch up the hole rather than needing to patch it. The overall recurrence rate is 20 per cent but this is significantly reduced when they’ve been able to stitch rather than patch it, so that was obviously a huge positive.

Everything seemed to be going well through the day and they were able to reduce his oxygen and pressure on the ventilator throughout the day before finally being able to extubate him around half seven in the evening. Alexandra and Dylan were stopping in the Ronald McDonald House that night so he was able to go over and see Max while I stayed in the room with sleeping Alex. It was incredibly hard to juggle things for Dylan so I was glad he’d been able to spend that time with his son.

Day 13 onwards –

The following day, less than 48 hours post op, Max was transferred to the neonatal surgical ward to continue his care there. The main focus was on getting him feeding so that he would start putting on weight and come home. Once they were happy with how much milk he was having every day and the fact it was making its way out the other end then that was a big tick in the box.

There was also plenty of talk about a brain scan he’d had which showed a small (around 4mm) area where there was either a bleed or a lesion. It’s in a part of his brain on the left hand side which controls movement and posture in the right hand side of the body. As of yet we don’t know what effect, if any, this will have on him. It could be as he grows that other parts of the brain will take on any function lost as a result of the bleed, or conversely it could get worse. So he’ll need regular monitoring and we’re awaiting a repeat brain scan.

However it’s not something they seem overly worried about and the lack of urgency about repeating the scan is reassuring as I’m sure they’d have been sending him for tests left, right and centre if they thought it was going to be a massive problem. Really it’s just a case of waiting and seeing – and we’ll have regular contact with the team at our local hospital to ensure any developmental issues are picked up on.

When our tiny little boy was 18 days old, the doctors on the ward round decided that he was truly well and fit to go home. After an (always) agonising wait for most the day to be discharged, we were finally on the way with our precious bundle in his car seat.

And so the adventure starts…

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Max’s Story: Part 2

As the post title suggests, this is the second part of our son Max’s NICU journey. If you haven’t read the first part, it would make sense to do so before returning to this post. You can find it here.

Day 2 –

Max’s bilirubin levels were measuring high and he looked very yellow so he was put on phototherapy for jaundice. We always knew this was a possibility because of him being prem, and having had a term baby previously with jaundice seemed to make it more likely (although I have no idea if that’s factual!). The hardest thing about that was him having to have his eyes covered (hilariously by a mask called an Eye Max) for days on end while he was under the lights. Not being able to hold your baby takes away so much of the experience of having a newborn so to not be able to see his eyes either is horrible.

Day 3 –

Things were improving today. Although we were told his initial swabs had tested positive for group b strep and that as a result they wanted him to have a lumbar puncture to check he hadn’t got meningitis. Although he wasn’t showing signs of it, the mere mention of the M word is enough to frighten any parent. I can’t imagine how horrific it would be to be told your child had meningitis so it was beyond a relief when the results came back clear.

Day 4 –

Today felt like an amazing day. Max was well enough to come off his ventilator and was coping well on optiflow. We got to hold him, just for 15 minutes each because he needed to go back under the photo therapy light. But that half an hour of cuddles was one of the best experiences of my life. Watching Dylan hold his son for the first time was truly incredible.

Just after, the midwife who delivered Max (Antoinette) came to say hello as she’d been doing a clinic down the corridor and then our friend Liz who works in the hospital as well came down to see Max at the end of her shift.

It felt like a good day. An amazing day in fact. I went upstairs to the postnatal ward (which was an awful place to be when your baby’s poorly! More on that later) feeling so positive. We knew they were trying to get Max moved back to the hospital in our town which would have allowed me to go back home and help Dylan who was trying to keep Alexandra in her routine. I was missing both of them a lot so the prospect was amazing.

Day 5 –

Dylan summed up this day as having the rug pulled from under you. He was right. There was no other way to describe it.

When I came down in the morning to see Max, it was immediately obvious he wasn’t feeling great. His chest didn’t look right when he was breathing and when the doctor examined him she said she wanted an X-ray done. The X-ray showed his right lung had collapsed. He was soon put back on the ventilator.

We were devastated. Looking at our tiny baby knowing his one lung wasn’t working was just horrible.

We tried to stay positive. We tried to reflect on the fact a baby who’d previously been in the cot next to Max had died that day and remember how lucky we were. But even now thinking back on that day makes my throat feel lumpy and my eyes sting.

Day 6 –

I was discharged from the ward and given the keys to a parent accommodation flat. Getting off postnatal was a huge relief and it also meant I could leave the hospital to get some food shopping and do some other errands. By this point Dylan and I had hardly spent any time together in over a week. It’s incredibly isolating to have a poorly baby, you’re constantly surrounded by people but not your family and friends. You talk to nurses and doctors constantly about their medical condition but you don’t get that privacy and time to talk to your husband about how you feel, to cry until your head hurts or just to lie down in a dark room for half an hour in silence.

Days 7, 8 and 9 –

Writing this a week on I’m struggling to remember these days. Each day passes in some sort of weird haze, punctuated by meds and nappy changes and discussions with doctors and X-rays and blood tests and tears and hopefully some smiles too.

Each day you wake up just hoping for some stability and for nothing to go horrendously wrong that day.
By day nine, Max was well enough to be extubated again and we dared to hope that this might be a turning point.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Take Two: Week 33

Apologies about the lack of post last Thursday, or any sort of update since my ‘I’m in hospital’ post. The good news is I got out of hospital on Wednesday evening – but I then managed to completely break our laptop and could not for the life of me log in on my mobile hence the silence the following day.

Last Saturday (March 11th) was when I turned 33 weeks which seems a long time ago now. I celebrated by being allowed out of hospital for four hours to eat some real food and go to the park with Dylan and Alexandra, the latter of which LOVES parks because not only do they have swings, they also have lots of ducks which are one of her favourite things in the world.

Everything was still very normal and stable when it came to my blood pressure and other obs, yet they were still talking about keeping me in until delivery so I’d kind of resigned myself to being there for the long haul. However on Wednesday my obstetrician decided that, if my haematologist and cardiologist agreed, I could go home later that day.

With the former having said yes during my appointment with him, it was over to the hospital over the road (in a mad rush because it’s their policy to send patients in a taxi – even though I had been walking over there by myself whenever I wanted to get off the ward – and there had been some kind of mix up with the booking. So I ended up running across without my notes because they couldn’t give me them). There had then been some sort of issue where my echocardiogram was booked in for a different day, so I had to wait 1.5 hours for that.

After all that I finally got discharged in the early evening and was able to come home. It has been glorious to relax at home and spend time with husband and toddler. It’s significantly reduced my Netflix consumption though! And my family have very nicely passed a delightful cold on to me so I’m struggling to sleep even more. But for now it’s three lots of monitoring a week and the aim of 37 weeks still.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

Take Two: Week 30

This picture is relevant, honestly…read on.

Week 30 really isn’t a milestone in your pregnancy, but somehow because it starts with a 3 and not a 2, it feels like one. I think especially when you know you’ll be delivering in a week beginning with a 3 not a 4, it makes it all seem eerily close. I don’t know if that really makes any sense but I understand it nevertheless!

This week has mostly been the same: feeling a little tired, struggling with my back and mostly just feeling HUNGRY. Like non-stop, I need to eat all the time, I’m angry because I haven’t eaten for ten minutes – although I’ve actually also got to the point where I’m quite looking forward to exercising after the baby’s born. I think about chicken nuggets a lot at the moment (I had not one single McDonald’s in the 11 months that I wasn’t pregnant between Alex and this baby. Now I could quite happily eat one every day. Nuggets are an all-consuming thought for me. I probably won’t get any work done for the rest of the day now because I’ll be thinking about nuggets).

In actual, important news I had a midwife home visit on Wednesday. This is where they normally talk to you about birth options I think (but obviously that’s highly irrelevant for me because I’m not giving birth in the county I live in) and they also chat a bit about breastfeeding. All the normal checks showed up fine, baby had moved again and was head up (I also got to feel his head which was pretty cool, the midwife said it was like a perfect little cricket ball).

Then on Friday it was back to hospital for a growth scan and an appointment with my obstetrician and rheumatologist. The scan went well, they estimated he was just under 3lb 12 and that equates to be just under the 50th centile. He’d moved again and was head down which is where we’d like him to stay! My regular obstetrician was on annual leave so there were some questions I went with which I’ll have to wait til next time to get answered, but overall the appointment went fine. I don’t have to see them again for another month which is longer than I was expecting, but I’m seeing the midwife weekly and the haematologist and cardiologist in two weeks so they’re definitely not leaving me to fend for myself!

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

 

Take Two: Week 28

28 weeks first time round and second time round.

If you’d like to read my summary of the second trimester of my pregnancy, you can do so here – I will be putting up other posts during my third trimester but intend to do a weekly update as I did with my first pregnancy.

Looking back on my Week 28 report with that pregnancy (available here), I was complaining of feeling huge and my back aching, we were halfway through our NCT antenatal classes and I’d just bought the blender I’d use when Alexandra was weaning. This time round, I don’t feel as huge (picture above for comparison!), some people have said I’m carrying around the same size, some have said I look a little smaller this time. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been this pregnant before (and I was 28 weeks with Alex in June 2015 so not really that long ago!) or perhaps because I weighed more last time (around the same when I got pregnant with Alexandra as I did at 24 weeks pregnant with Baby 2).

Either way, while I don’t physically feel massive, I’m definitely feeling the effects of carrying another low baby around all day. My back is really sore, I don’t remember it being so bad last time but maybe it was. Getting off the sofa and bending to do anything is a huge challenge and I’m looking forward to having a comfy night’s sleep at some point post partum. I’m really trying hard not too moan to much about it (apart from to Dylan who unfortunately has to put up with me yelping around the house a lot) because quite clearly there are bigger issues going on, both in pregnancy and more widely, than a sore back.

No NCT classes this time which is sad because I really can’t imagine having had Alexandra without the benefit of the classes and the friends which resulted from it, friends who we still keep in contact with and love dearly. But we figured we already knew what they were going to tell us this time, we’re still in touch with our course leader so could just ask her if we had any different questions, it would involve trying to sort childcare for Alex multiple times of an evening and we didn’t think we could like the new group as much as we liked our first group.

I had a midwife check on Monday – if I’m not at the hospital in any given week then I have to see the midwife for the blood pressure, wee and bump checks. All went well, I’m measuring fine, baby’s heartbeat is great and he’s very active, my blood pressure is reassuringly low and there’s no protein in my wee. Basically the second that BP starts creeping up and protein appears, then it’s a blood test and panic stations if my platelets have dropped.

So far, so good though.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x