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 31

The bump featuring my nephew Zachary

Week 31 was fairly uneventful – although it’s getting to the point now where we’re on super alert in case something happens! The plan is still to get to 37 weeks although we know there’s a chance of induction before then. So it’s one day at a time at the moment.

I’ve been busy working a lot this week. I’m very lucky in that being a freelancer I can pick and choose what I do, but it also means some weeks are busier than others. It’s been a very welcome distraction from the worry of what’s to come! I’m intending to work right up until 36 weeks then having a week off before Baby 2 arrives, but that’s obviously subject to him staying put til then.

Symptoms wise I’m still getting away fairly lightly, and haven’t experienced any of the third trimester sickness (yet) that I had last time. I am super hungry all the time and eating enough for about 57 people, obviously tired and my back is achey but I’ve been very lucky symptoms wise this time. Although, you know, the whole ‘super high risk’ thing isn’t the best so don’t feel too envious of me!

I haven’t actually been to the hospital this week so a midwife appointment was the only thing on the calendar – all was fine there. Knowing we’re only five weeks away now we’ve reached 32 weeks seems very surreal – at this point last time I thought I had ten weeks because I was so sure I’d go overdue. I keep looking at Alexandra thinking she’s only got a very short time left as the baby! So many emotions about that, although she loves babies so much I’m hoping she’ll take to him pretty quickly. Or at least not strangle him.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

Baby Showers

Alexandra and nana at Henrietta’s baby shower – on a side note, I don’t think my mom’s appeared on the blog before, hi mom!

I was asked earlier in the week about my thoughts on baby showers. It’s something I’ve probably never mentioned on the blog before and that’s mainly because I’ve never had one. That’s not because I’m against them though – I don’t have this big ‘oh they’re so American’ quibble about them that some people seem to have.

When I was pregnant with Alexandra, my best friend Manda and helpers were busy organising my hen do – as many of you know we were intending to get married the same year we had her. So I was actually nearly 34 weeks pregnant when I had my hen do. In some ways although it was a theatre visit and then a meal, so it didn’t take the traditional format of a baby shower, it involved most of my nearest and dearest friends and female family members so it felt a lot like one!

I kind of feel baby showers are normally a first time mom thing so I’d never really considered one this time round. Although by absolute coincidence, my NCT friends organised a lovely second hen do for me (as we’d been forced to delay getting married for a year) and, although I didn’t know it at the time, I was actually about four weeks pregnant with Baby 2. So maybe ‘pregnant hen dos’ are my thing rather than baby showers!

But in between my two hen dos/pregnancies, I actually organised my sister’s hen do for her when she was pregnant with my nephew and that was lovely. We did it at her house and kept it fairly low key – a lady made some delicious cupcakes for us and I bought some bunting and plates/cups to match, we came up with a quiz about Henrietta and I also collected baby pictures from attendees beforehand so that everyone could guess who the baby was (hilariously, Henrietta guessed herself wrong?).

It was a really nice afternoon and also the first time our family had met Henrietta’s boyfriend’s family so that was lovely too – we’ve got a great picture of the two nans together with Alexandra.

I’ve only ever been to one other baby shower, which was five years ago and also held at a house with games and presents etc. It was a lovely day and my friend actually ended up going into labour that night and having my goddaughter the following day! So maybe that’s a word of caution about getting too excited on the day if you’re close to your due date!

Personally, if I was going to organise my own I’d probably follow the same format of it being a relaxed affair at home with close female friends, some activities (but not that one where you put chocolate in nappies – that makes me feel all shades of ill!) and food. That way it’s nice and low key for the pregnant lady and there’s more opportunities to chat with everyone than if it’s a big extravagant affair.

One other trend which also seems to have originated in America, is gender reveal parties (where they get both families and friends together and reveal whether they’re carrying a boy or a girl – everyone guesses beforehand, they do fun things like all those tests you’re meant to do that tell you which one you’re carrying, normally they have a cake or a box of coloured balloons for the surprise). I could genuinely watch YouTube videos of gender reveals for most the day and not get bored, especially when it’s twins!

That would never have worked for us as I was so shocked Alexandra wasn’t a boy I couldn’t have kept it secret for any length of time – my open jaw would have given it away! And we were told Baby 2 was a boy at 12 weeks and this was then confirmed again at 17 weeks before the official 20 week scan so we’d have had to keep schtum for eight weeks before any sort of reveal. (On a side note, but related to secrets, I go to write Baby 2’s actual name every time I mention him and then have to stop myself. Dylan has a ‘no revealing on social media before the birth’ policy in case we change our minds at the last minute! But we’re referring to him by name around our friends and family so it’s hard to stop myself typing it too!)

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

 

Take Two: Week 29

Alex has been spending a lot of time practising how to look after a baby. It’s going well…

So here we are, into week 30 and reflecting back on week 29. Less than seven weeks left now til induction. I’ve just quickly read back by week 29 post from my pregnancy with Alexandra (you can read it here if you like) and the summary was the morning sickness was back, I was really tired and it was my birthday that week.

Well I’m happy to report that I’m not feeling sick at all this time round in the third trimester (so far) and clearly, it wasn’t my birthday this week! As for tiredness, I don’t think I’m as bad as I was last time – then I was getting up mid morning, needing a nap in the afternoon and feeling wiped in the evenings. Now Alex, working and various other commitments just don’t allow for that. It is getting more of a struggle to go out and do things, and I’m definitely starting to notice the bump slowing me down a bit now. But by and large we’ve been continuing life as normal here at the EE house.

My last lot of blood results have come back within normal range which is obviously great and there’s no concerns at the moment about myself or baby. He’s very active, a lot more so than I remember Alexandra being, and his little kicks and rolls are now becoming really obvious both on the outside and the inside. Alex was head down, ready to exit for basically the entire time but this one is in a different position every time I get measured.

We think we’ve finalised his name. For a long time we were scouring through boys’ names trying to find ones we both loved. Eventually we settled back on the name we would have used for Alexandra had she been a boy, but were looking for a longer version of it (so he would have a long name on his birth certificate and use either that or the nickname day to day, like we do with Alexandra/Alex) and we weren’t really set on any of them. So we think we’re just going to use the short one as it’s a name in itself and we don’t see the point of giving him a full name he never uses.

Nothing else to report at this stage, which is always reassuring!

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

Your Second Pregnancy

So you get pregnant for the first time, it’s great, you spend hours languishing in the bath, you sleep in, you spend most of the time eating and eating and eating, you wander in and out of the nursery just to touch their tiny little baby clothes, you spend hours in that middle part where you can feel the baby kick but no one else can getting your other half to put their hand on your belly ‘that was a kick’ ‘I didn’t feel anything’ ‘that was definitely one’ *repeat a trillion times*. That was my experience anyway. As a mother of a bump, you have all the time in the world to revel in your pregnancy, to wallow in sorrow or immerse yourself in the joy of it all. Your focus is the baby, a lot of conversation revolves around the baby, you probably have one of those little chalk boards to count down the days.

I’m heavily editing out all the time you spend rearranging pillows – at least 50 per cent of your pregnancy, and moaning about various aches and pains – probably another 40 per cent, with baths taking up 9.9 per cent of the remaining time. I also didn’t have a stereotypical pregnancy in that I wasn’t working from 12 weeks onwards so there was a lot of extra time for baths.

Now, roll on to your second pregnancy. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m positive this child is trying to claw his way out through my spine currently (I’m now at the stage where every moment has to be accompanied by a dramatic sound akin to the sound I imagine a pensioner would make if they ever had to run for the bus) I would barely notice I’m pregnant. I mean yes, I attend more than my fair share of hospital appointments and I have to pee A LOT all night. But gone are the wistful days of standing in the nursery looking at all the baby’s stuff – I sorted out Baby 2’s wardrobe as quickly as possible while Alexandra threw coat hangers everywhere (incidentally, is it just my child who goes gaga for a coat hanger?). Gone are the two-hour baths, instead I try and manage a half an hour one a couple of times a week.

I spend more time than I’d like to on the floor picking up toys (and all 300 of the balls from the ball pit which regularly gets tipped up, because it’s a HILARIOUS game!), lugging a toddler in and out of the car or up and down the stairs when she’s having a grump or we’re in a rush, oh and did I mention picking stuff up?

All in all, it’s crazy how different the two pregnancies have been. In some ways, I’m slightly envious of my first pregnancy self, who was just completely selfish for nine months, but in other ways being so occupied with a toddler is probably helping this pregnancy go much quicker!

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

A High Risk Pregnancy

I’ve seen a lot of women ask on baby forums and elsewhere about seeing consultants and I think there’s a general lack of knowledge around low/high risk pregnancies so wanted to write a quick post about it. Please remember I’m in no way a medical expert and anything I say here is based upon my own limited experience – please ask a midwife/doctor etc anything you’re not sure on!

When I had my booking in appointment during my first pregnancy, I was categorised as potentially high risk as I’d got a history of mental health issues, including a previous hospital admission the summer before. This meant I had some extra appointments to see a specialist mental health midwife so they could check how I was doing and put in place a plan should my health deteriorate following the birth. Being high risk also automatically means they want you to give birth at a consultant-led unit rather than a midwife-led unit or at home.

At 33 weeks, it was decided because I hadn’t been on medication during my pregnancy and hadn’t been unwell at all, they would step me down to low risk and I’d just have a follow up appointment six weeks after the birth. But then because I started showing symptoms of pre-eclampsia at 37 weeks and my platelets became dangerously low, I ended up becoming high risk again and giving birth in the consultant-led unit after being induced.

This time round, I was automatically high risk and as such won’t even be giving birth at the hospital I had Alexandra in, I’ll be going to Birmingham Women’s Hospital which takes on the complicated cases from around the region. This has meant monthly obstetric and rheumatology appointments (more often from the end of the second trimester), monthly haematology appointments with plenty of blood tests, frequent cardiology appointments and echocardiograms and ECGs to check how my heart’s performing, weekly midwife appointments from 16 weeks (luckily I’m able to have these at my GP surgery) and more frequent scans (so far at six, eight, 12, 17 and 20 weeks as opposed to the standard 12 and 20).

It’s also meant a change in medication (although actually taking fewer tablets each day) and twice daily Clexane injections (which are a bitch but worth it if it keeps us safe!). We were told very early on that as soon as we had any worrying signs or symptoms we’d need to have a frank discussion straightaway. They will deliver at 37 weeks (considered term, although your due date is 40 weeks) but would be more than happy to deliver at 34 weeks if needed and will consider it beforehand if necessary. Thankfully we’re now at the stage where they would be looking at early delivery with every medical intervention possible to ensure baby was healthy, rather than being told we need to end the pregnancy to save my life.

Of course, a lot of this is fairly worrying and yes it would be lovely to have a low risk pregnancy! But equally, baby has been perfect on all scans so far and I would be much more upset if we had to contend with the thought of our little one being poorly. I’ve said from the outset that, while some people may have considered it too much stress to go through, this pregnancy and everything that has gone with it will be more than worth it if we have a healthy baby at the end of it.

If we’d been told at the start of our pregnancy with Alexandra what was about to happen, then maybe we would have considered our options. But knowing what we know now, and having her in our lives, would we go through that again? Absolutely, a million times over. And I think that’s what’s made this second pregnancy easier, knowing how much I already love our second baby and how much more I’ll love him once he’s here and I can hold him and watch him grow every day. Knowing how much being Alexandra’s mom means to me and knowing I have a chance to have that all over again and to give her a sibling to grow up with – a few people have said to me they couldn’t deal with the injections and all the appointments and the stress, but it’s more than worth it for that chance.

Sorry we got all a bit slushy towards the end there! Here’s to reaching 24 weeks this weekend and trying to keep baby in there for a few weeks longer!

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

Take Two: Second Trimester Part One

21 weeks pregnant with baby two.

If you’ve not yet read my Take Two: First Trimester post then you can find it here or if you want to read my summary at this point in my pregnancy with Alexandra, then click here.

I’m now a couple of weeks further on but when we actually announced our pregnancy online, I was 21 weeks which marks the halfway stage of the second trimester and the point where, even if you were to go overdue, you’d be halfway through the whole pregnancy. Being as we’re going to be delivered at 37 weeks if not before (post coming up soon on the medical side of things), we’re already past that point which is nice.

The second trimester has been fairly good for me, as had the first if you read that update. I haven’t had any sickness or nausea and I’ve been able to pretty much carry on doing all the things I was doing before in my normal day to day life. This is a huge relief as, although lots of women have it much worse than me, I was particularly exhausted throughout the whole pregnancy with Alexandra (we didn’t know then but my illness was working its magic on me!) so I think myself and Dylan were both concerned this one would be even harder with the added complications of a toddler to look after.

Yes I do feel tired, but I do anyway! And show me the mother of a toddler who feels perky and bright all the time! I’ve also been struggling a lot with my lower back/hips, more towards the end of the day if I’ve been doing lots of jobs or walking. Years of bad posture and spending a lot of time haunched in front of a computer has meant my back isn’t great even when I’m not pregnant, and having babies who like to sit as low in my belly as possible the whole time adds to it! But having had a few days with Alex where she’d lodged her bum in my ribs and I could barely breath, I would much rather them be low than high!

I’ve definitely been feeling very emotional and have had a few moments where I’ve had a small meltdown at the enormity of what we’re going through. But they’ve been few and far between and I think I’d be entirely subnormal if I didn’t have those times – most of the time I’m carrying on being upbeat and positive, every day we get through is a day closer to 24 weeks and viability, and every day after that is a day our little boy has got bigger and stronger ready for delivery whenever that needs to happen.

We hit 28 weeks and the third trimester on Saturday, February 4, so I’ll be back to provide an update around then but of course will be posting in between.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

Great Things About Being Pregnant

Exploring Wales

I feel like when I was pregnant with Alex, I focused a lot on the negatives. Mainly because I was fat and tired and grumpy. This time round I’m trying to embrace it a little more, although still ticking all three of those boxes. So I decided to list some of the good things about pregnancy:

FOOD. I don’t care that you’re not meant to eat any extra calories til the third trimester. I don’t care if there’s probably some study showing your kid will get better GCSE grades if you eat a diet of lettuce and grapes. I will spend the next nine months gleefully eating anything and everything that takes my fancy. I will without any regret send Dylan out to the shop for food when I want something we don’t have in (although I’m always very thankful!). I will not care about the scales one jot while I grow a child.

TOP TRUMPS. Nope I’m not talking about wind, I’m talking about the fact ‘because I’m growing a whole human inside me’ is enough to win any argument. It’s a valid reason why you should get the last cake or be excused from doing anything boring and/or tiring. Try as they might, your partner will never be able to better ‘but I’m carrying around your child for nine months AND THEN pushing it out my hoo ha’.

KICKS. There aren’t many times when I appreciate being kicked but being pregnant is one of them. I’m not gonna get all slushy here but there’s something a little bit magical about being the only other person in the world who knows when your baby’s moving around. It’s an incredible bond to have with another human.

HUSBAND. I like to think I appreciate Dylan and all he does for us most days but I think when you’re pregnant and you need a little extra help or perhaps a back rub or just someone who understands that you’ve gone absolutely mental because hormones and just lets you cry for utterly no reason and doesn’t back out of the room and/or leave you, that’s when you most appreciate that you live with someone utterly lovely.

SEATING. People always let you sit down when you’re pregnant. If they don’t then you need to get some new friends.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

Take Two: The First Trimester

I’m writing this at the start of November at 14+6 so almost a week into my second trimester, but due to ‘announcement’ timings will be a few weeks further on before it gets published, just to clear up any confusion if I’m referring to being further along in other posts.

Back in April 2015, I wrote a blog about how I’d found the first trimester of my pregnancy with Alexandra (you can read it here). In it, I spoke a lot about tiredness and sickness and I sound generally like a very grumpy pregnancy lady (I was about 18 weeks when I wrote it). So when it comes to an update about this pregnancy and how the first trimester has been, it’s refreshing to be able to confirm it’s completely different!

We found out at five weeks, around the same time as we confirmed we were pregnant with Alex and, as before, I started feeling quite sick around that time (including a few actual vomit episodes. If you’ve ever been crouched over a toilet bowl chucking your guts up with a toddler stood next to you crying then I feel your pain!). I thought here we go again! But actually about a week later I stopped feeling sick and I’ve barely vommed since. Hurrah!

Food wise I haven’t had weird aversions like last time. Mostly with Alex I was disappointed I suddenly hated the thought of Diet Coke despite drinking it religiously beforehand. I’ve never actually gone back to drinking it so we don’t have that to contend with now.

I am always tired of course, but show me a toddler mom who isn’t! Luckily I’ve definitely got more energy than last time round. I don’t know whether it’s a baby gender thing, just because it’s a different pregnancy, because I’m on meds this time, or just because life decided I didn’t need two shitty first trimesters, but whatever it is I’m full of gratitude.

Obviously the first 14 weeks were a little more medicalised than last time. With Alexandra by this point I’d had one booking in appointment and one scan, with baby two I’ve had three scans, two booking in appointments, two haematology appointments, one cardiology appointment, one echocardiogram, one ECG, one rheumatology and obstetrics appointment and about ten blood tests. And this list is set to increase weekly during the second trimester. But clearly for good reasons.

 There’s not a whole lot else to report but I’ll definitely update at some point during the second trimester.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x