And breathe.....it feels good to let that out....and more on breathing in the coming weeks!!

Contact me by emailing theeasybit@hotmail.co.uk

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Why I wanted Down's screening

When I was asked by the midwife which tests I wanted I basically just said 'yes to all of the above' without giving it much more thought than that. It was only when I was talking to a close friend who is also pregnant that it occurred to me that not everyone would do the same.  In fact she had opted to not have Downs screening on the basis that she wouldn't abort the baby whether it had Downs or not.  I suppose you could see that opinion as admirable but I also think that it's a bit short-sighted.  Not that I should criticise because I hadn't felt the need to give the subject a great deal of thought myself at that point.

However, I had said yes and so it was part of my 12 week scan. It forced me to think about why I wanted the tests and what I would do with the results.  For those of you that don't know the process, the first part of the test is to establish if you are high risk or low risk.  That is done by measuring the fluid at the back of the baby's neck via ultrasound.  They also take some of your blood and with the fluid measurement and the blood they are able to say if your risk is high or low.  If it is high there are further tests available which are considerably more intrusive, painful and risky in terms of potential miscarriage.  Again you are told what the chances are of your baby having downs syndrome rather than a definitive yes or no.  So the first stage is a piece of cake but the second is a serious decision which still only calculates your odds.

So I had the first stage done and spent spent some time considering deeply what I would do if the results came back as high risk.  It's not a decision to take lightly and everyone is entitled to their own opinion on it depending on their particular circumstances.  For me, I wouldn't consider aborting my baby even if it did have a high chance of having Downs but I would have wanted to educate and prepare myself properly.  I know nothing about caring for a baby (or child) with special needs and I wouldn't want to try and cope with that at the same time as learning how to deal with a new born.  I'm sure that those first few months are going to be hard enough as it is.  I also decided that if the first stage tests came back as high risk, I wasn't prepared to go through the second round of intrusive tests which would risk my baby. 

I felt very happy with my decision and then just had to wait for that letter to arrive.  I had been told that I'd get a phone call within a week if I was high risk or a letter within three weeks if I was low risk.  Remarkably, I got a letter three days later (wel done NHS!!) and was delighted to see LOW RISK.  According to my age and history (not sure what they mean by history) my risk factor was around 1:600 that I would have a Downs baby but after the testing that figure has changed to 1:13500. 

I'm so pleased that I had the tests done!  I know, being the type that I am, that this would have been at the back of my mind for 9 months if I had decided to decline the tests.  This way I have complete peace of mind and I don't have to do a whole lot of unnecessary studying!  Let me be clear though - this was the right decision for me and I would never consider someone in the wrong for deciding to do things differently.  Whenever something scares me (like my endometriosis or my mum's bowel cancer) my way of coping is to learn as much as possible but I am fully aware that makes some people feel worse rather than better.   

Friday, 17 September 2010

My poor bum!!

Thanks to the endometriosis I've had for years, I've suffered more than my fair share at the hands of constipation and diarrhea.  But pregnancy constipation is a whole other matter!  For the last two months, I've struggled to 'go' more than once a week.  I had a brief spell when it went up to twice a week, which certainly made my life a bit easier, but it seems that I'm back to square one at the moment.

For someone who goes on a daily basis when things are in full working order, this once a week business just isn't enough.  My insides end up feeling incredibly clogged up and solid and, when I do finally go, it's agony.  Today it felt like giving birth without the dilation or drugs!!  Of course, that's a bit of an exaggeration but it's natural to push and strain when you're giving birth.  That's against the rules when you're going to the loo unless you're prepared to risk haemorrhoids! 

I'm going food shopping tonight and will be looking for even more ways of squeezing some extra fibre into my diet!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The top 12 benefits of expecting

I thought I would write this in case anyone thinks I am being ungrateful and whiny about being pregnant!  With all my talk of fatigue, supersonic sense of smell and being denied rare meat, I suppose my readers could be forgiven for thinking that I'm not as enthusiastic as I could be!

So here are the top 12 benefits of expecting a baby in my opinion:-

1) The biggest and most obvious has to be that in nine months you'll have a baby to love, adore and brag about.  Such a massive benefit that I don't think anything else needs to be said.

2) All that shopping - not only for things that the baby needs but also for maternity clothes.  Now I appreciate that if you're having financial problems you might not see this as a benefit but I can't wait to get spending!  For my birthday I asked for vouchers so the maternity clothes shopping starts this weekend - woo hoo!  We're still holding off on buying any baby stuff until we know what sex we're having so there's another couple of months of saving before that pleasure starts (although we have already been window shopping to see roughly how much money we'll need).

3) My husband catering to my every whim has to be high on the list!  Not that he wasn't adorable before but he is particularly good for running to the shop depending on what 'baby' is demanding I eat at any particular point in time.  For example, the ice lolly run last week, or the cracker run a month or so ago.

4) I've always enjoyed reading and now I can indulge my hobby with all sorts of baby books.  After my scan on Tuesday, I spent most of the day reading What to Expect When You're Expecting: Fourth Edition which I thought was a really well written and informative book.  It was recommended to me by a friend and I would be happy to pass that recommendation on as well since I enjoyed it more than other pregnancy books I've read.

5) Doing less chores - not only is my husband having to run to the shops for me but he also has to do more cooking and cleaning now thanks to my fatigue.  I'm not at the point of milking it yet - I genuinely need more help from him - but I imagine I won't be able to resist asking him to do things which I am perfectly capable of doing myself at some point!

6) I'm really enjoying talking to other pregnant ladies and mums.  This group of women, who I used to not be able to relate to, are now a wealth of useful and interesting information.  I used to do my best talking to them but I was regularly jealous of their pregnancies and children and found it very hard stay focused on what was going on with them.  But now I can waffle on for hours in a way which some other women would find incredibly tedious!

7) No periods!!!  As someone who has had endometriosis repeat on them several times over the last 10 years, this is a massive benefit for me.  I've had surgery 7 times during those 10 years and it's great to know that I have at least another 6 months of being pain and surgery free.  

8) I might not be that far along but I can already see that my hair is thicker and glossier.  I know that it'll thin out once I give birth but I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts!

9) Seeing any gain on the scales as a good thing! I lost 7lbs during my sickness and nausea spell and since then I have gained 4 of them back.  I seem to go 2lbs higher each time my period is due but, unlike when I actually have a period, those 2lbs don't vanish again once my period is over.  I know that this rate will pick up as I get further along and, at the moment at least, I am looking forward to it. 
10) My eczema has cleared up.  When I first got pregnant it flared up quite badly but now it has settled down again and is much better than it's been for a long time.

11) My nails are growing so much quicker and stronger than they ever have before.  It makes it harder to type and text but looks really nice!  I think I'll treat myself to some manicures as my pregnancy progresses. 

12) It's something I've not done since my school days but I've really enjoyed knitting since I found out I'm pregnant.  It's lovely to be doing something which I know is for my baby and which he or she will hopefully cherish as a reminder of their childhood.  So far, I'm just working on a blanket but I'll definitely be more adventurous once I know what sex we're having.  And there are some great designs out there even if they are cute and silly - check these adorable booties out http://www.knittingonthenet.com/patterns/slipperchick.htm 

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The best birthday present.....EVER!!!

Yesterday was not only my birthday but my 12 week scan and it was absolutely amazing!!  By far, the best present that money can buy!

I had a scan at 7 weeks just to make sure that everything was going ok because I couldn't bear the idea of having to wait 12 weeks (I've never been very good at suspense because I have an overactive imagination and am very capable of thinking the worst for no apparent reason).  The scan was enjoyable because we got to see the heart beating away but the baby just looked like a cashew nut so it was hard to get overly excited about it.   

But yesterday, the moment the ultrasound was in place, we could see the baby waving his or her arms and feet around and bouncing about in there.  It was absolutely incredible and I really wish that I could afford my own ultrasound machine so that I could look at the baby every day!

I'm starting to get my head round the idea that I'm actually going to have a baby now!!  I'd been struggling to believe that I was pregnant never mind starting to grasp the idea that there's going to be a baby in 6 months' time.  That might sound silly but we had such a hard journey getting this far that we'd started to think that it was never going to happen for us.  We'd even started to plan how we could have a fulfilling life without having children of our own but now all of our dreams are coming true. 

I'm so happy to have this little miracle growing inside of me.  It makes all of the fatigue, sickness, smelly breath and well-done steaks more than worthwhile!

Scan 12-4

Scan 7-3

Scan 12-4

Monday, 13 September 2010

How would you feel if someone dangled a bear in your face?

I've been watching lots of baby shows and, for a first time mum to be, they have been quite educational in some ways and have certainly made me think about how I will handle particular situations.  But I have been really quite shocked and angry by how some of the parents behave with their pets once the baby has been bought home.  As an owner of 3 cats, I understand how pets can feel like part of the family and you can think that you know them very well.  However you really can't assume that you'll know how your pets are going to react to a new baby, especially if it's the first one in the household.

I've been astonished and furious after seeing people dangling their cat over the baby - close enough for the cat to scratch the baby's face should it be so inclined and one cry from the baby and who knows for sure how a shocked cat is going to react.  I've seen other cats allowed to sleep on changing tables and in cots - I wonder how they'll react when the baby steals their new nest? 

Never mind dogs licking the baby's face or being allowed to wake the baby up.  You might know that your soppy dog wouldn't harm a fly but how do you think your baby is supposed to know that? (never mind the fact that lots of dog attacks are done by dogs which have never behaved aggressively before according to their faithful owners).  One surprising use of a dog when it comes to child care was seeing the baby's sick being cleaned up by the dog - and no, not with a mop and bucket.  Gross but, I guess, practical.   

I'm not saying that you shouldn't have pets but I really think that some of the parents featured on these shows need to think things through a little bit more, particularly in the sense of how your pet appears from your baby's point of view and how your pet might feel about the new addition who is stealing all the attention from them. 

I know that our cats are going to be cheesed off that they will be getting less attention in the early days, particularly Luke who is a real mummy's boy.  Fortunately they always get scared away by having people over so I'm sure we'll be given some space to start off with and they won't be allowed in the bedrooms at all.  Despite what some people think, it is possible to train cats and we'll be starting early so that they know some of the boundaries in advance.