2014-11-20

My boy is six months old today.

What a remarkable six months it has been. Remarkable in how unremarkable it has been. We’re now a very ordinary family.

After a truly horrendous pregnancy, my resilient boy got himself born and then… thrived.

Read the rest of this entry »

Arran

So here’s what happened next.

As you’ll recall, after spending four of the worst ever weeks of my life in hospital with the doctors trying to avoid me getting the life threatening condition eclampsia… (someone died of it on Downton Abbey as the nurses kept telling me) I got the life threatening condition eclampsia and I had a three minute eclamptic seizure. Soon after, baby Arran was born by emergency caesarean section and went straight to the neonatal unit.

At the time I thought I was conscious the whole day, but my recollection is a little hazy now and I don’t recall having a seizure. But it was fine, I’m not traumatised in the slightest. I was just glad to be getting it done and over with. It actually felt like a positive day to me.

I was then in hospital for a further nine days while they sorted out my blood pressure. I recovered from the caesarean easily within that time. That was no trouble at all, I stopped taking painkillers after a week and I can see how the scar will heal up very neat. Oh, and I’m now 2kg lighter than when I got pregnant. I assume due to the general illness. I’m less toned though, to be fair due to not exercising for many months. I’ve left the hospital on one type of drug (having been on four) and I’m to reduce this over time via my GP. I’m also to have a liver scan to check if there is any permanent damage as eclampsia basically shuts down your organs and my blood results look a bit weird. I feel alright though.

We were very well briefed on having a premature baby and we saw a neonatal specialist twice while I was still pregnant. We got shown round the unit and they explained what would be likely to happen at each week of gestation that he might be born. This helped us a lot, and we told ourselves that being in the neonatal unit was just an artificial substitute for a baby being in the womb for a while. So when it happened, honestly it was fine and we were excited about having him rather than terrified of it. I think we were well briefed, and lucky to have the notice of this rather than it being a surprise like an early labour. Also Arran was not ill, just needed to be taught to breathe and eat as is expected of a baby of his gestation. Arran was in intensive care (incubator) for three days then special care for three weeks. They say you can expect you baby to leave special care around his due date but Arran left three weeks before that. He just sailed right through it. I find it amazing how resilient he has been – I’ve been so sick and he’s just been fine.

Another thing about special care is the nurses show you what to do and how to care for a baby and it was so helpful to have three weeks of that. You could watch them handling the babies and learn from that, or they would show you how to do stuff, and you could practice in a safe environment. I think that has eased us into caring for him at home, made that much easier for us.

We’ve had the baby home for a week now and it has been going OK, no major disasters as yet. Well the baby wees on his clothes quite often but I have learned to deal with that sort of thing. He is sleeping about 3-4 hours between eating, which I am led to believe is quite good. I’m tired though. And each moment I’m scared of what the next one might bring but so far it has all been OK. The health visitor seems quite satisfied with us. And I’ve not cried yet. I’m told that is unusual.

People seem quite surprised how physically and mentally well I am now especially as the circumstances have continued to be theoretically challenging. But I feel physically better than I have since autumn, and I’m just glad to move on.

So that is the end of our IVF journey. Blogging has been terrific for me, so therapeutic and it has really helped get me through all this and process what has happened. I’m glad to have the honest record of the whole thing, unpleasant reading as some of it is.

So I’m going to leave it there and sign out.

BabyMaybe no longer, BabyDefinitely.

Thanks for reading, for commenting, for supporting me. If you would like to follow Arran’s journey, you can do so here.

2014-05-20 Arran's Birth_0025

Friends, I am sorry to keep you waiting for this most auspicious announcement…

I am delighted to let you know that baby Arran was born safely this morning weighing 4lb1 and we are all doing well.

Quite unexpectedly, after a month in hospital of careful monitoring, it all kicked off today and turned out to be an emergency after all. I woke in the morning feeling a little weird and slightly headachy. I’m told I appeared disorientated and that the doctor was called, at which point I had an eclampsic seizure (exactly what they have been trying to avoid for a month!) and so I was taken straight down to be delivered by emergency caesarean section. My blood pressure was very up and down and they were pumping me with drugs, but eventually they just jumped in and got him out in minutes. I had a spinal anaesthetic and do have some memory of the events, mainly positive it didn’t feel like a big trauma and was enough like I’d been briefed to be not too scary.

I’d been told preterm babies might not cry when they were born but Arran did, which was lovely to hear.

I went to the high dependency unit after that, and baby Arran went to neonatal intensive care where they will help him with breathing and feeding. I was wheeled round later in the day for a visit. He’ll be in for a while, but he’s not sick – just early.

Arran is lovely, doing great, and I am absolutely thrilled with him.

2014-05-18

From the husband:

Thank you for all your lovely and supportive comments for my wife. I really appreciate that so many of you are following her journey and supporting her.

Some of you have, quite rightly, suggested that she might need some sort of support. Those of you who have been following her story for a while will probably know that she’s very aware of her own wellbeing needs and has made arrangements for counselling throughout the IVF process and pregnancy so she has someone to talk to – at least at critical points.

It is somewhat ironic that being admitted to hospital has both placed her under greater stress, and deprived her of her usual counselling arrangements. 

Of course, both my wife and I are trying to make sure she gets the support she needs – we make a good team I think, and she is very brave about asking for what she needs. In fact, we’ve been asking for counselling for more than two weeks now.

The midwives are kind and supportive, but the specific team they have called in to help (we’re still not clear what their official title is!) has not been very helpful. They have suggested that my wife get out of her room more, and makes positive plans for her day. Usually these would be great recommendations for someone who is depressed, but they rather ignore the practicalities of her situation. She is too exhausted to get out much, and any plans she makes tend to fall by the wayside either due to the need to sleep or the constant medical stuff that drives her routine at the moment – monitoring, scans, blood pressure checks etc. Their other suggestion – using the online tool – is something she has tried before and does not find helpful (and having looked at it myself, doesn’t really have answers for someone stuck in hospital with little control over their environment or schedule).

She has always found counselling highly effective in the past, but the hospital seems to have NO capability to provide this even when pressed.

Fortunately we have (FINALLY – after two weeks) been able to make our own arrangements – after we created a bit of a fuss. The hospital has decided that she can be allowed out once a week to see the counsellor she was seeing before she was admitted. I think it’s pretty poor that the hospital can’t provide the service, but at least she will be seeing someone she knows and getting some continuity. Hopefully that will help her deal with everything she’s going through a bit more easily. I have my fingers crossed.

She is having a really, really difficult time. Sometimes it gets on top of her, but every time I see her we manage to enjoy a good chat and a game of Yahtzee (or three!). She really is magnificent – I don’t know how she is coping as well as she is. I would have been reduced to a gibbering wreck by now…

2014-05-17

Today was our first NCT antenatal class, which I missed because I was stuck in hospital. I was desperately disappointed as for many many infertile years I’d heard tales of the class and how important it is for learning about birth and caring for a baby and perhaps most important making new local friends who are due with their babies around the same time.

The husband bravely went along without me He said it was weird being amongst healthy pregnant women!

2014-05-12

Three weeks in the hospital and no sign of getting out. Having a bad time. My blood pressure is too high but stable so there’s no news each day. I’m finding it so desperately hard to manage here. I cry, often, which is very much not my usual self. If I do any activity (and I include reading, having a bath, speaking to a visitor) I need to sleep for at least the same quantity of time after. The sleep is never refreshing. I am exhausted. I hate it.

Here are some things that I believe:

I believe that I’ve been somehow tricked into being here. That I was (sort of) happy going about my life then thanks to a stupid irrelevant rash I dropped in to see my GP and I never knew that’d be the last time I’d be allowed to live at home before Kipling was born.

I believe that living in public is shit – having people in and out of my room every half hour with no privacy and no comfort and feeling so homesick.

I believe that I can’t cope with this. That my last ditch coping strategy (wrapping myself up in my duvet and staying in my bed all day) is no longer open to me and I don’t know how to manage the endless days.

I believe I’m missing out on several important bits of pregnancy – going to antenatal classes, opening all of Kipling’s furniture and packages as they arrive, generally getting ready for a baby.

I believe that after nearly five years – the IVF, the awful sickness, the day assessment and now the weeks in hospital – my resilience is gone. 

I believe that there’s two of us being treated here – me and Kipling – but that he’s the only one anyone cares about. I’m doing as I’m told, accepting every pill and injection and treatment without complaint as the best thing for him. But none of this is the best thing for me and no-one here listens or gives a crap to how I’m being affected by this.

I believe I just want him out of me.

I believe I am the worst parent ever because I don’t want to be pregnant anymore. I know the best thing for Kipling is for me to keep him inside me, but I can’t stand being here and I don’t have the strength to do this.

I’m believe that my lovely shiny star Kipling is slipping away from me, that the only thing keeping me going in the pregnancy is no longer the most important thing to me. Because I’m a terrible selfish bitch that can’t sit tight and manage a few weeks in hospital.

I believe that neither the lovely endlessly patient husband or poor helpless Kipling deserves that.

2014-05-07Drugs I take every day:

More than two weeks living in the hospital and I’m really struggling. I’m so desperately pleased that Kipling is still safe inside me and we’re getting to the point now when if he’s born the neonatal care he’ll need will be less invasive. The blood pressure is still too high and does fluctuate a bit, but has not escalated as quickly as the doctors expected. Which is good. But it means I have to stay here, maybe for another seven weeks. I desperately hate being here, being in hospital, all the routines, being away from home and the husband. I wish the pregnancy was over. And I feel terribly terribly guilty every time I feel that.

To document how it is going, here’s some stats:

Cyclizine (150mg) and Metoclorpromide (10mg) (for nausea)
Labitolol: 900mg (was on 400 when I came in)
Nifedipene: 60mg
Daltepanin Injection

My blood pressure – on the drugs – is fairly ‘stable’ at around 150/95. This highest it has been this week is 180/125.

The normal day goes like this:
2am: Blood pressure test
6am: Blood pressure test
7am: Breakfast
8am: Blood pressure test, blood draw, urine test, drugs
10am: Doctor’s rounds
11am: Trace of fetal heartrate
12noon: Lunch
2pm: Blood pressure test, drugs
4pm: Blood pressure test
5pm: Dinner
6pm: Blood pressure test, drugs
8pm: Blood pressure test
9pm: Tea and toast
10pm: Blood pressure test, drugs

2014-05-03

Kipling has still not been unceremoniously cut from me, and my blood pressure remains somewhere that is both stable and far too high. So I have to keep living here in the hospital. I’m tired, oh so tired. I’m on so many blood pressure drugs.

The doctors decided I was allowed to go out for the afternoon today and I was given some of my pills to take away with me.

The husband and I went along to Musselburgh where we had lunch near the race course, then we went to look at some of the little local harbours and along the river to see if we could see ducklings (no). It was all a bit much though, I had to have a nap on the back seat of the car and elected to go back to the hospital early because I couldn’t manage being upright any more.

So I suppose the afternoon was a great success but also a big disappointment. I realised how ill I am and that I can’t manage outside the hospital.

2014-04-29

A bit from the husband…

This pregnancy lark has definitely proved harder than expected. When we embarked on IVF 16 months ago, we were rather under the impression that IVF would be the difficult part. I saw pregnancy as an objective rather than the next challenge. Oh how naïve I was! Read the rest of this entry »

2014-04-27

The baby still hasn’t been taken out of me.  Some mornings they talk as if he will be imminently other days they talk about occasions where I will still be pregnant in a few days or weeks.  It is hard to know how to think ahead.  Just got to take it a day at a time.  Somehow I don’t believe anyone will ever make the decision but I suppose it will be done some day.

Read the rest of this entry »

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