The Baby Diaries – Judah – week twenty-one (our holiday in Paphos)
Most people like to use the excuse of ‘eating for two’ when they’re pregnant, although scientifically this is inaccurate. Your body is actually more efficient when you’re pregnant, your metabolism increases causing you to need about an extra 500 calories a day. Sorry.
My pregnancy journal as seen notes that your appetite will increase at around this stage. For me this wan’t the case, Due to my hypermesis gravidarum I could barely keep anything down and as a result had become very fussy, just wanting bland stodgy food like toast, potatoes etc. I pretty much took my only bump photo on this holiday, I stuck my tummy out as I liked looking pregnant (especially as I’m overweight to begin with, it was nice for a season to look like I had a genuine reason to be fat haha).
How beautiful is Paphos? and to think this was early February, being in the warm was definitely a welcome break. I enjoyed being on holiday a lot, we seemed to go at a season and to a resort were most of the people were aged 50+. Obviously we weren’t going to be out drinking and partying, we had gone all inclusive so that we didn’t need to worry about cost, so I had a lot of virgin cocktails whilst James enjoyed the watered down limitless spirits and cocktails. James and I decided to embrace the fun and join in most of the activities, I won the darts championship one day, shuffleboard (haha, now I sound old), sucked at the archery and rifle shooting, but obviously as an ex entertainer won their version of X factor singing Leona Lewis’ version of ‘Run’ in the talent show. We thought it was funny collecting the certificates and there wasn’t much else I could do as on the odd days we did do trips round the ‘Tombs of the Kings’ and to some beaches, and shopping, I was just too exhausted as it was hot and I hadn’t been able to keep down much food.
I have to say the only thing that upset me on this holiday was not having the girls with us. We kept seeing things that they would enjoy, activities they would be good at, sights we wished we could share. We vowed not to go away without children again apart from overnight or long weekends at a push. It was important for us to have that couple time before the babies came along and it continues to be important for us to have dates. Something we struggle to schedule in but are trying to get better at.
We would go swimming every day in the afternoon, so my hair spent most of it’s time plaited to not become a hassle. I hated dealing with my hair when I was pregnant. It just irritated me, funny what hormones do to you, I think if I could carry it off a pixie cut would have been adopted quick smart.
Here are the notes I made in my pregnancy journal this week :
How am I feeling this week?
Energy : Good, joined in most of the games, went swimming every day, early nights were still needed though.
Mood : great, had a fantastic holiday in the sun with my hubby to be. Took lots of photos in and around cyprus with bump.
Appetite : very little I can eat on this all inclusive, and I have a very little appetite.
Cravings : mainly salted potatoes ie. chips, hash browns etc. and ice-cream as it’s been hot but my body doesn’t want dairy.
Sickness : not really subsided but travel and heat won’t have helped.
The best thing was I got to spend Valentines Day with my amazing fiance, who was crazy enough to go into the freezing swimming pool, that NO other guests were using. Daniel Craig eat your heart out lol.
The Baby Diaries – Judah – week twenty (the anomaly scan)
There are a lot of questions you may forget to ask when you attend your anomaly scan, it is so easily done. There you are seeing your baby looking more like a real human as opposed to the more skeletal version you would’ve seen at the dating scan. This is when if the scan is clear you can make out whose nose baby has, or even if they have big feet. It is so mesmerising seeing your child there wriggling around and just that awareness that ‘hey, there’s a little person alive inside of me.’
Again, I was quite numb and unexpectant when I made my list as you can probably tell from above. I had the ‘Your Pregnancy Bible‘ book and had read it a lot. So, the questions I had written down where the ones I deemed important to me to check.
I found everything about going for the anomaly scan both exciting and nerve wracking. I was so nervous that there may be something up with our ‘rainbow baby’ but also was excited by the little tasks such as drinking the correct amount of water (approximately half a litre) to make sure that the sonographer could get the best picture that was possible.
This scan takes a lot longer than the dating scan as they have lots to check, that all the internal organs are growing and at the right size, Here is a list from babycentre
What will the sonographer look at on my scan?
The sonographer will examine all your baby’s organs and take measurements. She will look at:
The shape and structure of your baby’s head. At this stage severe brain problems, which happen very rarely, are visible.
Your baby’s face, to check for a cleft lip. Cleft palates inside a baby’s mouth are hard to see and are not often picked up.
Your baby’s spine, both along its length, and in cross section, to make sure that all the bones align, and that the skin covers the spine at the back.
Your baby’s abdominal wall, to make sure it covers all the internal organs at the front, as well as check the placenta, umbilical cord and the amniotic fluid
Your baby’s heart. The top two chambers (atria) and the bottom two chambers (ventricles) should be equal in size. The valves should open and close with each heartbeat. Your sonographer will also examine the major veins and arteries which carry blood to and from your baby’s heart
Your baby’s stomach. Your baby swallows some of the amniotic fluid that he lies in, which is seen in his stomach as a black bubble.
Your baby’s kidneys. The sonographer will check that your baby has two kidneys, and that urine flows freely into his bladder. If your baby’s bladder is empty, it should fill up during the scan and be easy to see. Your baby has been doing a wee every half an hour or so for some months now!
Your baby’s arms, legs, hands and feet. The sonographer will look at your baby’s fingers and toes, but not count them.
The other main thing they will check is where your placenta is lying. I had placenta praevia which meant that my placenta was lying low under the baby. They arrange for another scan in your third trimester if this is the case (usually at around 36 weeks) just to make sure that it has moved out of the way of the birth canal. If this isn’t the case they will usually recommend a caesarean section.
Don’t forget that it’s at this stage that you can find out if it’s a boy or a girl if you want to. My friends had a student sonographer who took a lot longer and then they forgot to ask even though they had previously intended to. They went the rest of the pregnancy expectant for the surprise and made the most out of it, don’t think they were disappointed with not knowing for long. I on the other hand would not have been able to cope with that. I’d have been paying for an extra scan.
You can arrange an earlier sex determining scan from as early as 17 weeks if you wanted to book one privately if you just can’t wait to find out. I debated this *coughs* control freak. I looked into the 4d scans, baby scan have places all over the country. I decided that I would still have to wait for the baby to arrive and it would be good practice for me to get used to waiting. Pregnancy definitely makes you patient, or teaches you patience in preparation for the baby that will require a lot.
We of course found out we were having a little boy and James was beside himself. He had decided in his head that he could only produce girls and was very pleasantly surprised. It was a special thing for me to able to provide him with his first son. It is hard being an expectant mum in a blended family and this was a special first for us as a couple.
The Baby Diaries – Judah – week five to twenty (am I really pregnant?)
After you’ve had a miscarriage it’s really difficult to accept that you are pregnant. They call a pregnancy after a miscarriage a ‘rainbow baby.’
The urban dictionary defines this as :
A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage or still birth.
In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.
The storm (pregnancy loss) has already happened and nothing can change that experience. Storm-clouds might still be overhead as the family continue to cope with the loss, but something colourful and bright has emerged from the darkness and misery.
“We lost our last pregnancy, but now we have a rainbow baby.”
Even though we had a successful 1st scan which showed that I had conceived only 10 days after I had miscarried I couldn’t accept that I was pregnant with Judah until we got to 20 weeks. This was so bizarre as I had horrendous hyperemis gravidarum all throughout this stage. I would say that baby was reminding me by my extreme morning sickness that they were in there, but a part of me still couldn’t believe they would make it to the outside world. I didn’t buy him anything, I stopped writing in the pregnancy journal. I was so fearful of losing him. My husband (then fiancé) and I attended a church in London (Hillsong) whilst we were down visiting family (we’d been to see ‘Les Miserables’ the night before). As we were singing along with one of the songs in the worship time the lyrics were ‘death has been defeated by love, You overcome’ I felt God speak to my heart. This baby would stick, this baby was not going to be allowed to die. This baby’s life was mapped out before them ready for them to step into. I began to have hope again for this child.
We got engaged in this season, this was pre-planned as we were waiting for James’ divorce papers (read my post on Our Complicated History to better understand), James was designing and having my engagement ring made. We were planning our wedding even though we weren’t engaged officially, as we had set the date, and wanted to go full steam ahead with plans as soon as we got engaged. I was still teaching at a Performing Arts Academy (that the girls go to now), basically, I had a lot to distract my mind in this season.
Only at the 20 week scan (which was on my 29th birthday) did I fully accept this pregnancy and begin to plan accordingly. I had scheduled our apartment with the registry office to apply for our marriage license for later in the day just incase of any problems, and we had a holiday booked for the next day. We had a week in Paphos, Greece which we then treated as our babymoon as we knew all was ok.
The things that I wrote in the beginning of my pregnancy journal for Judah aren’t actually about Judah. This seems bizarre looking back, I had forgotten this had happened, and was too sad to throw it away and buy a new one, seemed wrong.
So, I have the record of the baby we conceived before Judah in his pregnancy journal. I wasn’t sure whether to document it here, but all of my thoughts still applied to Judah, I just didn’t really go through the same emotions when I found out I was pregnant with Judah as I was so scared of losing him, I didn’t fully embrace the pregnancy until 20 weeks and my brain allowed me to acknowledge there was a little life growing inside of me. I have taken the information out of my pregnancy journal so that Judah can see and decide how he feels about it all when he’s older. One thing he will know is he was so desperately wanted. He lit up the world when he arrived.
Below in italics is everything recorded in my handwritten journal
I didn’t realise that this could be the month that I would get pregnant. My last period started on the 4th August 2011 (3 days late). I did a pregnancy test this week as I started spotting and though it was implantation bleeding. Test was negative (makes me wonder if I am indeed a month further along). James and I love each other very much. We were excited and planning a beautiful baby, we were disappointed when the test result came back negative. I had my routine smear and swabs at this point, all came back clear. Good start for baby.
This was an interesting week, I drank a bit this week (unlike me), went out with friends and had a drink, not knowing that I would conceive at the end of this week. Went out to a club and got thrown across the floor by the owner (don’t ask). Luckily this incident didn’t happen a week later or it could have caused an early miscarriage and I would never have known I was carrying a beautiful baby. I received a 2 hour full body massage this week, Bess massaged my tummy and I felt something healing. Little did I know I would conceive around the next day. I felt like something good must be around the corner as everything keeps going wrong.
How I felt when I found out I was pregnant
I didn’t find out at this stage, I was on holiday with my love at the end of this week. Had my last drink and gave up alcohol from the beginning of September. When I did a test a couple of weeks later I cried with happiness, I couldn’t believe it, I was overjoyed. I called James and then my mum straight away.
How my partner felt
In his words ‘I was elated and excited, very proud to make a baby with my beautiful lady. Impatient to see what baby looks like, if it’s going to look like it’s mummy. Very, very, very happy. Excited to tell people, Nanny and Grandad (of future baby) were very happy. Thinking little baby will be the cutest baby in the world…oh yeah! Yatta!!’
How am I feeling this week?
Energy – low, weak, needed sugar, fainted after coming out of a cave.
Mood – happy, was on holiday, felt a bit low at points, insecure for some reason.
Appetite – Ravenous all the time, felt like a pig this week, ate a lot of crisps and chocolate.
Cravings – anything bad that week. Ate all the goodies James’ parents had taken to the cottage.
Sickness – threw up in the cottage, mainly bile, headaches were awful that week.
Had a glass and a half of wine this week as I didn’t know I was pregnant, ate like a pig (at least now I know why).
Although with Judah’s conception it was different as it was 10 days after I had miscarried this baby. Had I not miscarried, the hope that was around at the beginning of this babies pregnancy would’ve been the same for Judah’s. I was so excited to have bought the pregnancy journal and started filling it in straight away. We went straight off to the supermarket to buy fruit and vegetables so that I could eat right. I hadn’t gotten as far as filling in the next few weeks before I started miscarrying. Read about my ‘Saying Goodbye’ here.
The day we lit a Chinese lantern and released it in the park to say goodbye to this angel baby was the day I told my Mum and my sister that I was pregnant again. I had no idea what would happen from then on, or that it would result in my beautiful baby boy, but I felt I needed to at least tell them. We all knew that evening we had hope.
Trying to find a picture of my baby bump for this post made me sad. I forgot how low I was feeling. There is literally not one photo of me anywhere in existence showing off my baby bump. There is only one photo of me from the entire time I was pregnant with Eden in existence and it was from the day I passed my driving test at 30 weeks pregnant.
The pregnancy with Eden was awful, I had severe hyperemesis gravidarum from the beginning until the end. As it hadn’t been long since I’d had Judah SPD decided to rear it’s ugly head from 9 weeks pregnant. I have hypermobility and am super flexible, was always great as I was a dancer growing up but a nightmare whilst pregnant. My hips would click in and out of joint (not good when you’re trying to walk around with a pregnant belly and you could collapse in pain at any time). For some reason my hormones were off the wall with Eden. We had an awful time as a family and I was on antidepressants the week I found out I was pregnant (had literally just started them as I didn’t know what was going on, and then found out I was pregnant, *aha* light bulb moment.
The combination of all of the above had me severely depressed for all of my pregnancy. It got worse as I was bed bound and gaining weight even though I couldn’t keep food down. What is all that about? (Actually there are scientific reasons but it still seems very unfair *groan*). I am setting the scene so you can understand why, at the end, I practically begged for an induction. I had heard all sorts of horror stories about inductions, and kept thinking I had come this far surely I should wait. The idea of going overdue and resulting in an induction anyway was just torturing me as I was torn between my emotional chaotic state and trying to do what was best for me and baby. When my hormones were so off the wall I was having thoughts like ‘if I throw myself down the stairs they’ll have to get baby out’ (I know, horrendous, I feel awful putting it in writing but this is where being pregnant took me this time) I decided having an induction was the safest thing to do for my sanity and for baby.
It was totally hormones, the moment she was out I was like a different person, from the moment I became pregnant till the moment she was born I suffered horrendous anxiety and depression. I managed to go all of my pregnancy without medication (aside from the first week when I didn’t know) but this was a fine line, I constantly kept in touch with the GP to weigh up what was best and had amazing support from my husband and some people in my church.
I hated being pregnant the whole time, I felt so guilty that I wasn’t able to be there for Judah properly. There were times I could barely hold him. I had to stop breastfeeding him at 10 months as he could take both (my husband had been supplementing some of his feeds with the bottle on days that I could barely keep down water) and decided the bottle was quicker, or that my breast was just a chew toy, as he stopped really drinking from me and was just biting. I had wanted to feed him until he was one and just felt like a failure. I believed he had rejected me because he hardly saw me, and all the other thoughts that go through hormonal mum’s minds. I couldn’t get down to his level to play with him, I was just always sat down on the couch, led in bed, too unwell to take him to the park.
I always tried my hardest with the girls. Isis was just doing better at school and I didn’t want to mess around contact, or throw any inconsistencies into the mix because I was so ill. This is a difficult part of having a blended family, as the fact is, if we had the girls full-time on the hard days they would’ve gone to stay with Nana or friends, but they needed their contact with Dad for stability and indeed with Judah and I too. We are a family unit and I was determined for them to feel we were all one and not two separate units, or to feel pushed out by new babies.
Anyway, that’s enough of my depressing pregnancy. There is a reason I ended up stopping blogging whilst I was pregnant with Eden, my mind was in far too negative a place.
I do want to encourage anyone who reads this though, if you are feeling low, depressed, or irrationally hormonal, make sure you speak to someone. You are not on your own although you will definitely feel like it at the time. Get some help and educate yourself with the local services that can serve you as they are set up to.
Thankfully with Eden, as soon as she was out my hormones settled and I was rewarded with the best baby ever. She is so easy, and so beautiful. I guess I had super strong hormones, because I was making such an amazing baby *gush*
I had a horrendous birth experience with Judah so I’m not saying anyone particularly enjoys labour but, in comparison giving birth to Eden was amazing.
The pregnancy with Eden was awful, you can read about it here to better understand why I asked for an induction. I went to see the consultant a few times from 38 weeks pregnant to be checked for favourability for induction but my body wasn’t ready.
I was due November 17th and on November 18th (40+1) I arrived at the hospital at 10:30am to be induced. I had to wait for them to start the process as no-one had informed me that incase my induction resulted in a section I shouldn’t have taken my heparin injection that morning (I was on it to prevent clots as my weight had ballooned and my pregnancy was spent mostly in bed). Well, I say I had to wait but it was more that I could’ve had the gel straight away as my body was ready to go, but instead I had the suppository. So I had to wait until 8pm for them to start the ball rolling properly and give me the gel.
Then my husband went home – the worst part of the induction process!!! Yes, I get it, in theory I should’ve had a nice sleep and been ready to go in the morning, but at 9:30pm I started full on contractions. I think my body had been ready for labour and just needed that final push, because none of the midwives seemed to take me on as they’d only just put the gel in me. Their logic was, it doesn’t work that quickly.
I was in so much pain, I had my TENS machine on full and was sitting on a birthing ball in the day room as I was keeping up the other lady in the room with my pain noises every time I had a contraction. I was in tears and almost screaming in pain at one point, the midwife came to check on me (I think she thought I was being soft as the contractions weren’t regular at all, they were sporadic), she told me labour hadn’t started yet and to calm down.
Grr… I was angry. Not in labour yet? This was not my first child and I have a high pain threshold. Grr… she wouldn’t even check me. Between contractions I was arguing with God that I had made the wrong choice being induced and that being away from James whilst having this pain was just cruel. I felt totally alone. Now you may think I’m a loon for what I say next but this is the way my relationship with God is and I can’t leave Him out of my birth story as to me He was so evident in it. I felt God whisper to me ‘go have a bath and then get them to check you.’ So off I hobbled to run myself a bath. I did not like having to take off the TENS machine, I thought God didn’t have a clue telling me to do this, but I did it anyway. The bath calmed me down, I relaxed, still having contractions (strong ones) but they seemed to calm. You know when people talk about labour like a flower opening up etc. yes, you know what I mean? I think yes, yes that’s very beautiful people but that is not what I think about when I think about labour, not after 5 days with Judah. However, I could feel my body opening up. I got out of the bath, got myself back in bed, pressed the buzzer and insisted they check me, it was now about 2am ish. ‘Oh yes, you’re 7 cm’s let’s strap you on the monitor and then see how you feel?’
Strap me on a monitor??? Are these people for real? I don’t know what the aim was here, maybe a midwife will comment and clue me in, to see how far I could go naturally? It took a while for my brain to engage, then I realised, hang on, if I was at home, you can get on to Delivery Suite once you’re past 4 cm’s. I pressed the buzzer again. ‘I’m done with the monitor, I am not coping, I NEED pain relief’ as soon as I communicated that, the response came ‘ok let’s call up to delivery suite and get you a bed, do you want to call your husband and get your stuff ready to go upstairs?’ Delivery suite was on the next floor up.
Of course I rang my husband and mum (I had 2 birth partners both times I was in labour), they were on their way. We had brought so much stuff, the worst part of labour for me was just being without my husband whilst in pain, and then having to pack my own stuff up between contractions. I had not lifted a thing for months, I had been a complete cripple then they think whilst I am in the throws of labour I can pack up my own suitcase? I was crying whilst I did it, and again thinking ‘God, this is cruel’ man it makes me cry writing it now, forgot how horrible that moment was, but I did it! So I got all my stuff packed up, into the corridor, and on my crutches waited for an orderly to come and take me upstairs. Then, like the prince on the white horse in the fairytales, my hero arrived. I have never been so glad to see James in my life (except from standing, waiting down the aisle for me on our wedding day lol). My hero! We went up to delivery suite and this tale becomes much nicer from now on.
We then went into our lovely room, I had my TENS machine firmly strapped back on. Got on the bed, was checked over and then was just moving around the room as best I could. My mum arrived, yay! I told them straight away on Delivery Suite that I wanted an epidural, off they went to find an anaesthetist (I had an epidural with Judah reluctantly but this time I wasn’t wasting any time).
I then remembered whilst we waited, I can have gas and air, so onto the gas and air I went. My husband and mum were there when I gave birth the first time too, apparently I’m a delight on the entinox. I had them laughing at my delirious comments. At one point I told them we could play a trick on the midwives and my Mum could lie on the bed and they would think it was her in labour because we were both wearing black dresses (comfy cotton ones, we weren’t in our ball gowns) Lol, where was my brain at? I wasn’t even in my black dress anymore, I was in my perfectly picked out nightie. Then I said ‘oh no, they’ll know cos we’re not dressed the same.’ My husband led next to me now just told me I said ‘let’s scare her!’ That’s apparently what I said. Lol, random brain. Probably not a good idea to scare the midwife who’s going to deliver your baby.
The worst part about an epidural (if it all goes smoothly of course) is taking off your TENS machine whilst you’re waiting for it work. Man, did I suck the heck out of the gas and air in the gaps I was allowed. Once it kicks in, it’s great, I just relaxed. Had a lovely chat to my Mum and James, made them laugh with my entinox delusions, then got checked at 8.30am, it had been 4 hours since they last checked me.
I was 10 cm’s and ready to go. As Eden was back to back, more painful to push and generally harder (I was aware from Judah) they monitored her, told me baby was happy and we could just wait an hour to see if she turned round and then push either way.
So, I just relaxed, I didn’t understand why we didn’t just go for it, and was a bit impatient, but my body was relaxed at this stage so I just did as I was told, although she had been back to back for weeks at all my appointments so didn’t know what difference an hour would make. My mum prayed for me, her exact words were ‘come on little Eden, be like your mummy and do a little pirouette to face the right way’.
A few minutes later the midwife came back in the room, it was time. The monitor started beeping, I was very concerned as it was about this stage last time I was whisked off to theatre. The heartbeat had gone from the monitors. I didn’t like this one bit. The midwife checked the internal monitor that was clipped to Eden’s head inside me. ‘Ooh she’s just done a little pirouette’ (couldn’t believe she used the EXACT same word) and is now facing the right way.
In 5 mins and 3 pushes she was out. Couldn’t believe it. She was such a little delight. She looked so beautiful but not what I expected. I thought she had downs syndrome (not that it would change how much I loved her at all, we deliberately didn’t have the screening as it was irrelevant to us) but I kept waiting for them to tell me. Hope that’s not too honest? I just hadn’t seen a new born baby before as Judah was whisked straight off to neo-natal and I wasn’t able to even meet him for 2 days. I quietly asked my husband a bit later, who corrected my thoughts.
The above pic was taken by my husband moments after.
Below are some more pictures of that day as Eden met the family. They were not taken with the best camera I’m afraid.