Oscar’s birth story: a not-to-plan Caesarean

You can read all of my previous pregnancy posts here.

Last Tuesday I was booked in for a Caesarean section.  My baby had been breech at every single doctor’s appointment, no matter how much ball bouncing, floor scrubbing and every other turning technique I dedicated time to over the past few months.

The idea of having a Caesarean really scared me.  For someone who likes to be in control of things, you would think that a Caesarean would be a more appealing option; I would know exactly when I would be having my baby, almost able to pinpoint it to the nearest hour.  However, I felt that a C-section would remove my control of the situation and place everything in the hands of the doctors, anaesthetist, nurses and midwives in the theatre.  I wouldn’t be doing any of the work!

There was no way round it though.  My baby was very much breech, with bum stuck down and legs up high.  He was too risky for the hospital to allow an attempt at a natural birth, for fear that it would result in complications and an unplanned emergency section anyway.

Dan and I arrived a little after 7:15am on the morning of Tuesday 27th September and managed to find someone to buzz us in to the otherwise silent Fetal Health Unit.  One final scan was made to ensure baby was still upside down.  Of course he was.  Looked like this C-section was going ahead!  My details were confirmed and then I was branded with a tag displaying my name, DOB and hospital number.  I was issued with a hospital theatre gown to change into and the tightest stockings to wear which Dan fought to get over my stocky calves.

Over the course of the next hour each of the people who would be present in the theatre for the operation came and introduced themselves to Dan and I, explaining their role in the procedure and asking us a series of questions.  Amongst other questions, each one asked if I would consent to a blood transfusion if necessary, and later on I also had to sign to this effect as well.  In total there would be about seven people present for the operation, each one with a slightly different role.

There were two of us who had scheduled sections planned for Tuesday.  Once both Mums-to-be had been visited by all staff involved, the core team stood outside our beds and discussed the order in which we were going to go in.  As they listed the complications involved in the other pregnancy, I knew that we would be second in line and this was confirmed a few minutes later when a doctor told us to expect to head down to theatre about the middle of the morning.  Along with the other woman we were then walked through to the Maternity ward, and allocated the beds we would be staying in for our time at the hospital.  I was due to stay in Bay 3, Bed 2.  The bay contained four beds in total and I was thankful to have been given the one next to the window.  It was super hot up there and it was nice to get a slight breeze from outside.

From here we waited.  The other lady was due to head in for her section at 9am and perhaps rather naively, knowing that the procedure wouldn’t take more than an hour, we expected to be in by perhaps 10:30.  10:30 came and went though and still nobody came to see us.  Dan started to get hungry so picked through some of the snacks in my hospital bag.  I was still unable to eat so I napped on and off for a while, having struggled to get much sleep at all the night before.

Dan and Me before the Caesarean

A friend’s Aunt worked on the ward so stopped by to see how I was getting on which was really nice of her.  I was getting nervous by this point and was doing anything I could think of on my phone to distract me from what was to come.

At 12:05, Alice, the midwife who would be present for the procedure came to collect us and walk us down to the theatre.  All of a sudden things got very real and my legs began to shake.  As we were walking down the final corridor, a guy popped out from behind us in the corridor and led Dan off to get his scrubs and special shoes on so that he was able to join us in the theatre for the operation.  Alice pushed open the doors to the theatre and I followed behind, only to discover nothing like I was expecting at all.

The theatre was a massive room filled with all of the people we had met that morning, now all scrubbed up and busy bustling around with charts and equipment.  The room was perhaps even larger than the downstairs of my house and everywhere painted a clinical white.  Everything in that room seemed to glow under the incredibly bright lights beaming down from the ceiling.  In the middle of the room was what appeared to be a very small operating table and coming from this trailed leads and cables headed off to portable trolleys at the far end of the room.  I’m pretty sure the examination table at the vets I take Bella to is larger than the one I was due to get onto in a few minutes time!

Dan still wasn’t there and I rather tentatively followed Alice around the bottom end of the table and allowed her to help me clamber up.  All of a sudden I became the main focus and everybody clustered around me, both in front and behind the table I was sat on.  Not knowing what was going on and still unable to see any sign of Dan I became rather upset and somebody brought me a tissue and held my hand.  Dan arrived at this point and began earnestly talking to me about running and races and everything I would be able to go ahead and enter after the day was over.  He did a fantastic job of distracting me from the cannula going in to the back of my left hand, and kept me calm when the anaesthetist insisted that I stay sat upright on the bed to have my spinal administered.  I am not very good with needles on a normal basis, but knowing the size of the needle that they were to place between the vertebrae on my back and the consequences if I was to move or they were to not get it in quite the right place were terrifying.  I was barely aware that it was happening though and Dan, along with a female doctor, a midwife and nurse kept me talking the whole way through.  I had worked myself up much more than I needed to and it honestly wasn’t as bad as I was making it out in my head to be.

Once administered, they helped me to lay down on the table (I did fit!) and got to work putting up a blue screen to shield my view.  Everybody had a role now and the hustle and bustle began to increase as instruments were gathered and the operation discussed.  We were asked whether I wanted them to hold the baby up above the screen once it had been delivered or to take it off to be weighed and checked before being brought over.  I said that I would prefer the baby to be taken off and checked over and Dan would then be able to see the baby and know that things were OK.  It had been in my original birth plan for Dan to announce the gender of the baby, and this way it meant that he would still be able to do this.

Dan stayed by my right side as they were getting everything in place and allowing the drugs to take effect.  On my left a doctor repeatedly questioned me on what I could feel.  He got me to pinch my hand, and then my stomach to the same degree and report back.  He asked what I could feel as he moved his hand lower across my stomach and the last point I was aware that he was still touching.  A catheter was inserted and this was probably the most uncomfortable part of the whole procedure.  Eventually the doctor told us that they were then going to do a cut test and if I could not feel that, they would then begin the procedure and work on getting our baby out.

Alice was with Dan again now on my right side and I asked her how long it would take after cutting me open before our baby would be here.  We were told no more than 15 minutes.  It can’t have been more than 3 minutes though before we heard the loud cries coming from behind the screen.  Dan, to take my mind off things had been rattling on about going for gait analysis at Peterborough to buy some new road trainers for next season.  He didn’t even change his tone or lift his head and instead continued talking about Advance Performance and how often you needed to buy new shoes!  I couldn’t concentrate on him anymore though and, vaguely aware that they were taking our baby round to the blind spot in the corner of the room over my right shoulder, I urged Dan to go and see.  Alice led Dan over and Dan tells me everyone around was pointing down at the baby to show what gender it was!  Dan said he hoped that he would have been able to work out on his own!  He came straight over to tell me that we had a boy – a son (still sounds weird!) and reappeared a few minutes later with said son so that I could see.

He had so much hair.  Bright, blonde hair and he was tiny.  He came over sucking his fingers and it’s something he’s still yet to stop doing!

I can remember Alice holding him up to my face so that I may kiss him, but I wasn’t ready for that yet, so just shook my head and stared at him in amazement instead.  We announced his name, so that they may add bands to his arms and legs.  Oscar Daniel Pearson.  He was born at 12:48pm and weighed 6lbs 13, – more than they had predicted based on the scan we had been shown the previous week.

Oscar's legs

Dan continued to sit with me and chatter.  I could no longer respond though.  There was a very tight feeling on my chest and although I could communicate by forcing my mouth to make the shapes and breathe out the air, no real sound was coming out and it was very draining trying to communicate in this way.  I was content being nattered to though and listened to Dan nattering away whilst not taking my eyes away from Oscar.

The anaesthetist appeared at my left shoulder again and asked if I could feel what was happening below the screen.  I tried to mouth that it was uncomfortable but that I couldn’t feel pain.  He told me that he couldn’t hear me and Dan tried to explain that the amount of pressure meant that I hadn’t been able to talk for a while now.  The anaesthetist tried to get me to talk again, which I still could not do.  He then administered something through the cannula in my left hand and disappeared briefly.  Although I couldn’t see the people in the theatre I could sense the urgency in their voices now and grasped from snatches of conversation going on that I was badly bleeding and that I would have to be put right out so that Dan would have to leave.  They came to collect Dan and Oscar who were quickly ushered away.  I remember somebody holding on to my throat and then I remember nothing.

I came round a couple of hours later in a bed placed inside an individual monitored recovery bay in a high dependency unit, where somebody had remained at my side tracking my stats whilst I was out of things.  A drip was attached to the cannula in my left hand and I was aware of a bag of blood hanging from the side of the bed.  I immediately asked for Dan and Oscar and somebody was sent to get them.

Whilst I had been in the operating theatre Dan had been sat with Alice in a small room and had the chance to have skin-to-skin with Oscar, as Oscar was yet to spend any time with me.  Oscar was apparently very thumb sucky, causing people to think that he had perhaps been thumb sucking for a while when he had been inside me.  I was too weak to hold Oscar and my stomach and just generally, my whole body was too swollen and sore to have him near to me with his kicking legs and punching arms.  The midwife tried to help me feed him, but when this didn’t happen straight away, it was deemed more urgent to get some colostrum into him by any means, rather than get hung up over breastfeeding, as he had been delivered several hours ago now.  I was shown how to massage my breasts so that milk appeared, which was then suctioned off with a syringe and fed to Oscar in small doses.  I was told that it was common for breastfeeding to take a little longer due to not having had any skin-to-skin time yet and having not spent the first few hours of his short little life with Oscar.

Over the next hour or so they drip fed me pieces of information about the surgery.  As they were stitching me back up my uterus had torn and bled badly, resulting in blood loss of more than a litre.  They had had to undo stitches and repair me, before sewing me back up again.  Not knowing how much blood the body contains, this didn’t mean a huge amount to me at the time, but on Googling later to discover that there are only about 5 litres of blood in an adult body, I realised just how much this was!

Once I was awake I needed to have bloods taken, which seemed bizarre to me.  I’d just lost a ridiculous amount of blood and they wanted to take more for testing?!  The veins in my right side are rubbish for needles and so I always have to advise using the left side when I go for blood tests.  They couldn’t use my left side now though, as the bag of fluids was dripping through my veins so any test results would be skewed.  A nurse tried twice before calling for a doctor and then even he took two attempts before being able to get any from me, leaving four cotton wool balls strapped to the inside of my elbow and side of my wrist.

Having lost so much blood, my iron levels were now declared very low and I did indeed feel very weak.  It wasn’t until we were here and all obs taken that we finally had a second to call our parents and let them know that Oscar had arrived.  Dan’s Mum had rung and texted several times over the past few hours and I knew that my own parents would be worried by now, knowing what time we were due to go in that morning.  It was nearly 8pm.  Having not eaten for more than 24 hours by this point, my stomach started to rumble and I was glad when I was brought two slices of toast which Dan buttered for me to devour.

They brought Oscar over and handed him to me in bed, – the first time that I had gotten a chance to see or touch him.  He was tiny.  A porter arrived and between her and a midwife, they wheeled my bed through to the bay we had been in that morning, with Oscar by my side and with Dan following closely behind.  Crossing the threshold into the lift was absolute agony as the wheels bumped over the edge and I whimpered in pain.

Oscar's fingers

We were left for a little while and so quickly called or messaged the few people that had known we were due to go in that morning as there was a good chance they would be worried by now having not heard from us for so long.  Everyone else could wait until at least the following day.  It was gone 9:30pm that evening before Dan left for home.  We had made the decision that he would begin his maternity leave once I left hospital, as I would need much more help around the home than if we were able to have a natural birth.  This meant that he would have to be up and off to work at 6:30am the following morning, and he intended on coming straight through to the hospital from work in the evenings to visit me.

Recovery post C-section was much harder than I thought it would ever be, but I shall save that for another post…

For the time being, Dan and I have made the decision not to publicly share any images of Oscar on social media or the blog.

39 weeks pregnant

I started to write this post before going in to hospital last Tuesday, but didn’t quite get it finished in time so wasn’t able to schedule it for last week.  It should have gone live on Tuesday 27th September, so imagine all of the following a week ago yesterday…

39 weeks pregnant

 

39 weeks pregnant – just one week to go until my due date on October 4th, and in actual fact, at 39 weeks it was the day I had been scheduled to have my baby.
This week was a rollercoaster of appointments and madly rushing to get both housework and schoolwork finished in time.  I’ve never had such a busy week!

On Wednesday I was booked in for a turning appointment, or ECV (External Cephalic Version).  As Dan couldn’t get the time off from work and my parents were visiting for a few days, helping install our new kitchen, my Mum attended the appointment with me.  We arrived early and were seen straight away, just like Dan and I had been the week before.  I was taken into the scan room in the Fetal Health Unit to establish whether or not the baby was still the wrong way up.  (It was!)  A few minutes later I was taken onto the ward and had a band wrapped around my stomach to monitor the baby’s heart rate, which also monitored any minor contractions I may be having.  I was left like this for a little while in order that the midwives could determine how calm the baby was, but there didn’t seem to be any problems.  I also had my blood pressure taken and about 15 minutes after arriving, the consultant who would be performing the procedure came in to meet me, ensure that I knew exactly what it was that they would be doing and to determine where the baby was currently lying.

Using her hands, she forcibly pressed down hard at the base of my belly, causing me quite a lot of discomfort and announced that the baby already appeared to be about 3/5ths engaged (this didn’t mean a whole lot to me, and kind of made me think that perhaps the baby was already more than half way out! – not the case!) She established that baby’s bum was already heading down into the birth canal and that it’s legs were stuck straight up in front of them, back up towards their head.  She used a portable scanner in the bay to confirm that there wasn’t a huge amount of fluid inside me and then turned to give me a realistic run-down of her findings.

With the baby in the position it was currently laying, so far engaged and with very little fluid surrounding it, the chances of being able to turn the baby were very, very small.  The consultant explained how she would have to push the baby up, using a lot more force than she already had, – move the baby higher in my belly and then flip it completely, with not a lot of give in the baby’s completely stuck-up legs, and not a lot of fluid to aid the movement either.  She told me that she would go ahead if I wished but that the chances of success were very limited and that in trying to turn the baby, it could result in complications and an impromptu Caesarean there and then.  Having given me the facts, the consultant then left me with my Mum for a few minutes to talk it over.

I had really mixed emotions about trying to turn the baby.  From one side, I really did not want to go down the Caesarean route if I didn’t have to.  I knew that the recovery would take so much longer and I was concerned about being unable to drive, lift or run for a long period after the birth, as well as worrying about not bonding with the baby following the operation.
On the other side, having to endure what could be a painful procedure – which had been given only the tiniest chance of success – only for it not to work or for me to be rushed off to theatre, completely unprepared and with Dan more than a two hour drive away, would not be ideal.  I took quite a while to weigh up the pros and cons of each option, turning to my Mum for advice.  After a bit of prompting, my Mum shared that she felt I should not go through with the ECV, and when a nurse came to check my obs a few minutes later, she agreed that I should take on board the comments of the consultant about how unlikely it was that the procedure would be successful, and my decision was made.  In a much more guilt free manner, as everybody had seemed to agree with it.

When the consultant returned and I shared my decision, she also agreed that it was the right one to go for given all the factors, and then sent in a nurse who would go through what would be required the following week for my Csection and pre-op which would take place the day before.

When Dan and I had visited for our presentation scan the Friday before, the 27th September had been pre-booked as our Csection date, – the date we were setting as our child’s birthday and when we would first meet them.  It seemed rather surreal at the time, and even more so now, when it was being confirmed and I was signing paperwork for the operation to go ahead.

I had informally moved my maternity start date forward by a week to the Friday of that week (23rd September), and now needed to confirm this with work, as the pre-op was scheduled for first thing on Monday morning.  I spent my last day working late, desperately trying to fit my workload in before leaving so that I didn’t have to take anything away with me on maternity leave.  My car was the last one left in the car park.  (Not for the first time!)  Might also have had something to do with the large number of trips I needed to take to the car with flowers and cards and various bits from my classroom that I wasn’t sure when I would next need again.

Final run, and last parkrun for a while when I ran the inaugural Kettering parkrun on the Saturday.

Last #parkrun for a little while! This week I was at the inaugural #Ketteringparkrun . #39weekspregnant

A photo posted by Mary (@ahealthiermoo) on

I was super chuffed to run my fastest time for months, despite now being very heavily pregnant and due to have my baby just three days later!  It was a lovely finish to what I would class as a very successful running stint through my pregnancy.  I had hoped to get out again over the weekend for another run, but the list of things still to do before going in to hospital was huge and I just ran out of time.  I finished on a high though, and I shall be back at parkrun to volunteer as soon as I feel comfortable to be able to do so again following surgery.

I wasn’t quite sure what would happen at a pre-op, but when I arrived a little before 10am the following Monday morning, I was scanned (yep, baby was still breech!) hooked up to a machine to check the stats of the baby, weighed, had blood samples taken and my own stats recorded.  When they were taking my heart rate and blood pressure I wasn’t paying a huge amount of attention, as I’d just had two small canisters of blood drained from my arm.  The nurse told me that she was just going to redo my tests, so hooked me up again and then commented on my heart rate being incredibly low.  I pointed out that I was a runner so it probably would show as slightly lower and she disappeared, leaving me hooked up to the machine.  Returning a few minutes later with a couple of other members of staff to show what she announced to be the lowest heart rate they had ever seen on the ward, topping 54 beats per minute.  I wasn’t sure how good this was in relation to other people, but just had a Google and found this chart online

Resting heart ratesI’ll take being classed as an ‘athlete’ at 39 weeks pregnant!

Having not weighed myself for a few weeks now, I was curious to see what the scales would show when I was taken to be weighed.  In actual fact, I had gained 19.9lbs in total over the pregnancy – barely anything in the final few weeks, and a gain that was considered to be quite a small amount, although my baby was also showing on the small side, so this probably also had something to do with it.  The nurse commented that she would be happy to be at my weight despite not even being pregnant!  Walking through to be weighed was quite an experience.  The scales were located in the maternity ward – which I had yet to visit, despite being attached to the end of the Fetal Health Unit, which I had visited several times now.  As I was led through I was taken back by the complete silence on the ward.  Occasionally we passed couples in the corridor – the woman would always be barely shuffling along, with the man usually supporting his partner’s arm and carrying a baby.  It was the silence which scared me though.  I expected the ward to be buzzing, filled with energy and baby cries, but there were none.  It felt like I was in a zombie apocalypse.

39 weeks pregnant

Before leaving the hospital, I was given a bunch of leaflets to read through ready for the following morning, some tablets to take both that evening and before heading in to hospital the following day, and a bottle of hibiscrub to shower with.

When I’d seen friends on the Friday evening and shared news of my upcoming Csection they had tried to cheer me up by pointing out how everyone around me would arrive panting and sweating with hair slicked back across their faces and looking rough as anything as they experienced labour.  Whereas, I would be able to do my hair and slap on some makeup and waltz in wearing a selected outfit looking all stylish.  NOT the case at all apparently!  No makeup or nail varnish to be worn and I had to thoroughly shower every part of my body and head using the bottle of hibiscrub on the morning of the operation.  I was told to avoid a stodgy meal in the evening (so settled for one at lunch instead!) and had three tablets to take before bed, after which I would no longer be able to eat before the operation.  I managed to choke back my tablets with a glass of milk and headed to bed, getting possibly the worst night of sleep I’d had in a long while and worrying how I would be able to take the remaining three tablets without any food and no more than the two sips of water I was allowed before leaving for hospital the following morning.

Although I had already packed my hospital bag a little while ago, there were still a few odd items to include that I couldn’t pack until the day, and I’d also washed some clothes the day before which had been left out to air overnight ready for packing the next morning.  Bella obviously also insisted on being packed, and it took a little while to prise her away from the bag in order that I could complete the task.

Bella in a bag

Although I normally finish my pregnancy posts with the Tuesday, I plan on writing a separate birth story as this post is already very long, and there are lots of bits I want to remember from the day itself.  Hopefully I should have something up within a few days.

You can read all of my previous pregnancy posts here.

38 weeks pregnant

38 weeks 1 day pregnantThe size of a Pomeranian apparently (a tiny little dog!)  Fourteen days until my due date (or thirteen now, as I’m posting a day late again this week).

Appointments

So Friday was my big appointment.  The one where they planned on giving me another scan to determine exactly how the baby was lying and whether or not they would be able to turn it.  The appointment was booked for the middle of the day, and luckily both Dan and I were able to get the day off from work, so that we didn’t have to rush straight over a couple of hours after starting at school.

We were seen almost immediately.  In fact, Dan was still parking the car as I was called in to be scanned, despite us arriving in plenty of good time!  I knew that the baby was still head up and breech, although the head now felt much lower than it had done.  It only took a matter of seconds for the sonographer to confirm this, although she then had to take measurements of the baby for my pregnancy file.  She told us that the baby was measuring at approximately just under 6lbs and when I asked if this was about what it should be at, she told us that yes, it was spot on for 37 weeks (of which we were just over).

We were then sent upstairs to the Fetal Health Unit where we had a slightly longer wait before being taken into a room filled with beds.  Here we were spoken to by a doctor who went through our options for the birth now that the baby was confirmed as breech in the 38th week.  The room contained several other pregnant ladies, all with screens partially round their beds and who were strapped up to baby monitors, which were loudly beating away all at different rhythms.

Both the doctor and the two midwives who spoke to us whilst we were in this ward were lovely and explained in detail what was involved with an ECV (External Cephalic Version) because hospitals are rightly unenthusiastic about the complications which may develop when delivering a breech baby.  Therefore, the best option to encourage a natural birth is for a consultant to have a go at ‘turning’ the baby whilst it is still inside the mother in order to try and manipulate the baby into a more suitable head-down position ready for a natural birth.  An injection is given, in order to relax the muscles in the Mum and the consultant uses forceful hands to push the baby up and turn them into the correct position.  (All completed from the outside…I told someone about how the procedure worked the other day and they were horrified that a consultant was going to do it from inside me!!!)

The chances of it working are pretty slim.  I was given a 30% chance of them being able to turn the baby, but then of that 30% chance, there was a 30% chance that it would spring back into it’s current position again!  There was also something like a 10% risk of the baby becoming distressed, or the cord getting tangled, which would then result in an emergency delivery anyway.

Lots of things to weigh up when making the decision whether or not to try and turn the baby!
They left Dan and I alone for 10 minutes to talk it over.  Despite really not wanting a Cesarean, I had already come to terms with this option in my head.  To try and turn the baby, delay the birth and potentially end up with an emergency Cesarean was not overly appealing to me, but after a long chat with Dan we jointly came to the decision that it was worth a shot and I was assured that I could still change my mind right up until the day.

Next problem was the fact that I was already 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant.  The hospital only books ECVs in on Wednesdays, and they were already fully booked for the following week, the last Wednesday I would have available for turning before hitting 39 weeks (the latest they would want to schedule a Cesarean).  A few phone calls were made, another consultant brought in, and they managed to slot me in for a morning appointment the following week (today).

The consultant commented on the fact that our baby was rather on the small side when marked on the chart.  This is the first time it’s really been marked properly on the chart before, and you can see just how close it is to being on the borderline of the 10th percentile.

10th percentile babyThis means that my baby is currently among the smallest 12ish% of babies at this stage.
Had it been marginally smaller, it would have been regularly scanned throughout pregnancy to ensure it was growing enough.  The last two of my friends to have babies have had them measured at just over the 90th percentile (the top thick line)!

Whilst I was there, the hospital also scheduled the pre-op and Cesarean itself.  It seemed very weird learning of our child’s birthday 10 days before there were any signs of it being here!

It does mean another day off work for the turning, and finishing work a week earlier than I had initially planned.  I had planned to start maternity leave at the end of the month, but my last working day will now be the 23rd September.  Cue a busy week of trying to fit a two week workload into just four days!

Purchases

No purchases again this week.  I feel like we’ve accumulated a lot just lately though.  We’ve had some lovely gifts from people, and unlike a few weeks ago when I worried about having to send our child home from hospital dressed as Santa, we now have plenty of options to choose from for their first outfit!  Many of which are baby boy clothes!  It seems everyone is convinced I’m having a boy, despite us not having found out!

Blue baby clothes, bibs and socks(How cute are those little socks though?!)

I was late home on Saturday night as I’d stayed in Norfolk at my parents’ the night before.  Dan was already in bed by the time I arrived back and as I crept up the stairs I realised he’d left the light on in the back spare room (the one we intend on using for the baby).  I opened the door to turn the light off and saw that he’d put together the furniture, put up the curtain rail and curtains, the lamp shade and started to put items away ready for use.

Baby nurseryIt’s still a long way off being ‘finished’ (skirting needs painting, ceiling needs boarding, carpet needs to go down…) but I feel like I’ll be able to find things now once the baby arrives, rather than sifting through mountains of bags of bits that we’ve been given or collected samples of.

Running

Obviously I’m still running.  Surprisingly it’s still going very well too.  (Touch wood!)  I still ran my 6-7 miles of trail on Tuesday night, and at a slightly faster pace than I had done the week before.  I’m pretty sure I’d still be able to keep up with the trail group on a Wednesday evening, but I don’t want to take the risk in case something goes wrong, or a bunch of super speedy runners turn up for the session one night.  I think most people stop running before this point because their bumps have grown out so far and have left them unbalanced and wobbly on their feet.  My bump still isn’t massive and I struggle to remember I’m pregnant for a lot of the time.  Now that baby has dropped slightly I’m much more flexible than I was a couple of months back and can happily stretch and bend and reach things on the floor again, causing me to forget even more frequently!

I know that it’s likely that my booked Cesarean will go ahead, so I’m hoping to get in a few more runs this week before I have to take six weeks off completely to recover from the op.  I’m hoping to still make the new Kettering parkrun this coming Saturday.

I didn’t make parkrun again last weekend as I was off helping to crew at the Round Norfolk Relay instead.  Post to follow about this – a team event that circles the border of Norfolk and at nearly 200 miles in total it’s definitely a race I’d like to be involved with again next year.

Have you been involved in team relay events before?
Have you had to take time off from running/another sport due to a planned operation?

You can read all of my previous pregnancy posts here.

37 weeks pregnant

This week was a big one in terms of baby, so expect a long post below.  Life has been absolutely manic just lately and with taking on 190 year 11 students for these first few weeks of term, alongside still renovating the house, trying to keep up with running, managing to fit in a wedding and christening at the weekend (both in different counties)…it’s been a struggle this week and I’ve really been looking forward to my bed each evening!  I’m desperately missing blog reading, and the cathartic process of blogging itself, but there literally have been no spare hours in the day.  Perhaps once my maternity leave begins I can have a proper catch up!

Once again, imagine that I was super organised and had posted this on Tuesday morning, not Friday morning…

37 weeks pregnant

First off, I am now 37 weeks pregnant.  Baby is apparently the size of a striped skunk.  (I gave up hunting for fruits that measured the same size as baby as there didn’t really seem to be very many towards the end, so I moved onto the animal kingdom instead!)

21 days until my due date, although my delivery date may be much closer.  More on that to follow though…

Appointments

Last Thursday was a busy day for me with both my Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) in the morning, followed by a midwife appointment in the afternoon.  I didn’t believe that I had gestational diabetes, despite a trace showing up twice.  The baby has always measured as small, and I don’t eat a huge amount of sweet items on a day-to-day basis anyway, but I really went off chocolate and dessert in general when I fell pregnant at the start of the year.  To be on the safe side though, the midwife booked me in for a GTT following the two appointments where my samples showed a trace.

A GTT involves fasting from 10pm.  You then arrive at the blood centre the following morning to have a sample of blood taken.  This blood is used to measure the baseline level of sugar in the blood.  After your blood has been taken, you are given a sugar-based drink to consume.  Speaking as someone that barely strays from water or milk when it comes to drink choices and who had been dreading downing a sickly, sugary drink on an empty stomach, it wasn’t actually that bad.  I did have to sip it slowly though and it won’t be anything I rush off to stock up on in my fridge!  You’re then moved into the waiting room, where you have to sit still for two hours until they can take another sample of your blood.  Sitting as still as possible whilst baby feels like it’s squirming around in your stomach – high on a sugar rush – is very difficult and I felt rather squirmy myself by the end of it!

37 weeks pregnant

I returned to school for the afternoon following my GTT, only to rush back after my final lesson for a midwife appointment at 4:30pm.  I felt much better at this appointment than I had done at the previous visit.  My sample showed no trace this time, and when questioning my blood results from that morning, I was told that my iron levels had increased marginally from 105 to 107.  Still a lower number than they would like, but heading in the right direction.  The midwife wasn’t able to confirm the results from my GTT at the time, but I have since had confirmation that I do not have gestational diabetes.

I told the midwife that I was pretty sure that the baby was still head up, despite my attempts to turn it with bouncing on my gym ball amongst other things.  She confirmed almost immediately that this was the case, and the baby’s head was in fact still very much lodged up in my ribs. She located the heartbeat with ease and everything sounded healthy from that respect, before measuring bump at just under 33cms.  For the first time she commented that this was rather small for the number of weeks that I was at.

After returning to my seat she told me that she was going to refer me to a consultant at Kettering Hospital.  Baby should not still be this way up in the 37th week and Kettering Hospital would not let me deliver naturally if the baby was to remain breech.  She explained that the procedure would be to head in for a scan at the end of the following week (today) where they would determine the exact position of the baby and establish whether or not attempting to turn it would be an option.  Attempting to turn can itself become a problem if the waters break or the umbilical cord becomes tangled.

If turning was an option, then they would offer it to me, and if not/if turning failed, I would be booked in for a caesarean at 38.5-39 weeks.  NOT the news I wanted to hear, and I was rather upset on Thursday night following my midwife appointment.  The midwife was so sure that the baby wouldn’t turn at this point and that they would also be unable to turn it manually, that I do not even have any more midwife appointments booked in following my scan.

I have come to accept the decision over the course of the week and obviously know that if ultimately the decision is made by the hospital that I require a caesarean, that they know best, and it will be best for both me and baby.  But it still wasn’t the easiest to get my head around.  (I will blog about my feelings on this at some point in more detail.)

Purchases

Not a purchase as such, but the midwife handed me a Labour Information Pack at my appointment.

Labour pregnancy pack from the midwife

To be honest, it was a bit of a kick in the teeth after literally just having said she probably wouldn’t see me again before the baby as I would need a caesarean so I’m not sure what use she thought a ‘labour’ pack would be if she didn’t think I was going to go into labour!

Labour pregnancy pack from the midwifeI didn’t open it straight away as I took time to get my head around the possible caesarean first.  It contained the usual though – lots of small samples of baby products and a booklet on what to expect during labour.  One of our upstairs spare rooms is pretty much full with samples now!

Social

Although work has been manic Monday-Friday once again, Dan and I still made it to the pub quiz on Monday night, where the regulars all questioned me on how I was doing.

On Saturday we were at a wedding in Norfolk.  Dan offered to drive luckily (on the condition that I was to drive home afterwards so that he could have a drink).

Dan and I at Mike and Jo's weddingUnluckily, this meant that Dan was then free to drink quite a lot of the red wine (of which we ended up with four bottles on our table?!) as we were sat with friends – quite a lot of them who had kids.  Moment of the evening: when Dan fell over our friend’s 16-month-old at the table and poured an entire glass of red wine over the top of her, covering her and her white dress.  She just looked up with wine dripping off her from everywhere!  Luckily her Mum was prepared and had brought a spare dress.  Before swapping them though, she quickly opened up a new bottle of white wine and started dousing her child in that as well!  Apparently white wine eliminates red wine stains!

The wedding was for one of my friends from uni, and it had been quite a while since I had seen several of the crowd that were there on Saturday.  In fact, having not made large announcements about my pregnancy on social media, and not being one to rush to text people when we got our positive test, none of them actually knew I was pregnant until I saw them at the weekend.  It took a friend’s partner to say “Oh congratulations, Al never told me you were pregnant!” following the service before everyone else uttered noises of “I’m so glad you said something!” to her and began asking me questions about the pregnancy.  It was really good to catch up with friends who I had spent all my time with at uni and find that we could just pick up where we left off.  Nearly all of them have young children now, and so I heard lots of birth stories and was asked lots of questions about things Dan and I hadn’t even considered yet!

Wedding food…(as that always gets photographed at weddings!)

Roast dinner…

Wedding roast dinner…followed by a trio of desserts (cheesecake, sticky toffee pudding and brownie), all adorned in flowers (which no-one on our table were brave enough to try…were we supposed to eat them?  Or were they just for decoration?…!)

Wedding trio of desserts

We stayed at my parents’ house in Norfolk on Saturday night, before making it back to a different friend’s (also from uni) Christening for her daughter.

Dan and Me at Vicki's kid's ChristeningDan and I were both knackered and had to really put a face on for day two.  Getting in past 2am is not an everyday occurrence for us nowadays and we both struggled to function the next day.  Plus, Dan’s car alarm had gone off three times during the night.  Not ideal!

Running

Just the once this week as I couldn’t make parkrun on Saturday due to the wedding, and any other spare evenings were spent working on our house or completing work for school.

I still managed to slot in what has now become the regular-10k trail run on a Tuesday night with a  friend though and despite feeling a bit rubbish during the day (the hottest day of pregnancy so far!), managed to surprise myself by running at about the same pace that I have done for the majority of my pregnancy.  I’m quicker to slow to a walk up inclines now, but other than that I’m still running fairly consistently and at a chatty pace, which is nice so that I don’t feel too out of the loop from the running crowd.  Although I stopped running the group trail runs several weeks ago now, I feel a bit safer running with just me and a friend as I am able to dictate the pace a little more if necessary and don’t feel pressured to have to keep up with the group if any faster runners turn up.

For the first time my legs felt a bit stiff following the run, and stiff again the following morning, although the feeling soon faded.  I don’t know if this was perhaps because I only ran the once this week?  I’ve only just been hitting my 10,000 steps a day challenge over the week as well, purely because of the amount of work I’ve had on and the lack of time to head out on a specific walk each day.  I’m still fairly active at school though, easily ticking off 5,000 steps during teaching hours at the moment.

Symptoms

Other than leg cramps through the night, I could easily forget that I was pregnant quite a lot of the time I think!  The baby feels as though it has moved down slightly now.  Although it’s head is still up, not down, it no longer feels like it is wedged in my ribs and I can do my sandals up again once more!

You can read all of my previous pregnancy posts here.

Could I have eaten those flowers on my dessert?!
When was the last time you caught up with old friends?
Have you been to any weddings/christenings lately?