Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Well everyone, I am sorry that I disappeared completely. I see there are so many of you who are still reading my posts and I thank you for it. I now have a five month old son, he is three months old in the picture above. His name is Jake Xavier. :) He is wonderful, so if you are going through some terrible pregnancy dramas now, just know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you will be delighted in the end.
I was actually afraid that I wouldn't love my baby because I was so miserable and in so much pain during pregnancy. It was to the point that when I was 9 months and 3 days pregnant, one day before I gave birth, I remember having words with my bump and saying "You have to come now, or I might just hate you." I look back at that now and can't believe I even thought that. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He is my sunshine in this mediocre place that I live in.
Pregnancy was no picnic for me, I hope it is better for you. Now looking back on it, I think several things were at play. Firstly, I was super ill and had no energy, Secondly, I had moved to a country that I really didn't like and had none of my close friends around for support and Thirdly there is a general lack of beauty and nature here, the landscape is bleak, flat and uninspiring.
If there is one bit of advice I can give to pregnant women. Unless you know that you love the country or locale you are moving to, and have a support network already there, for God's sake do not move to somewhere unfamiliar when you are pregnant. You feel hormonal and vulnerable. It's just not the time. Stay somewhere safe and warm and nurturing.
This is my 12th country, so I am sort of a seasoned veteran when it comes to moving country, but this one knocked me for ten. I was alone, miserable and in what felt to me to be a totally hostile environment. It didn't help that I had no energy to go and meet people ( in particular expats). I am only now meeting people and starting to enjoy it a little bit. However when I was pregnant I really wish that I had been at home where a bunch of my friends have just had kids,and are fun, warm and charming. I am finding a group here now but it has been really hard work.
Ok ladies, so here it is in all it's gruesome glory. The birth. You never know what you are in for until it happens. The questions like What does a contractions feel like? How long will labour last? Will sex be good again? Well I will do my best to answer all this.
I went into labour on a Friday night at around 8 o clock. I was staying with my mother in her lovely house in the country side and had a week of false labour. A week you ask? Yes. Combined with dreadful heartburn, haemorroids and painful kicks to the ribs, I think I didn't get more than two to three hours sleep that whole week and was absolutely miserable. I couldn't do much at all. Walking had become painful, when driving in my mother's car ( which is a horrible sportscar) I could feel literally every single twig that we passed over. It was desperately uncomfortable. The haemmoroids were inches long and exacerbated the pain that seemed to coarse continually through my body. I was terrified of having to push with haemmoroids that were already agonising. However, the one bonus was that I knew I was going to have an epidural and that I hopefully wouldn't feel it.
I had three hours worth of, what I thought were, contractions every night for a week. I now laugh at thinking that they were anything like contractions. They were very mild period pain like cramps. I thought at the time,' This isn't so bad.'' Well, let me tell you, I had no idea what I was in for.
So here we are at 8 oçlock in the evening and it starts to kick off. My mother thought that I would have labours like she had. She had a four hour labour with me and a 2 hour labour with my sister so she was adament that I hot- tail it to the hospital. We went at about midnight and were told that it was my choice whether I stayed or left, but heard all these women moaning in the labour ward, and thought, it was the last place I wanted to be, so I went home.
Twenty minutes after I got home, I lost the mucous plug and then the actual pain started to kick in. It is so sharp, unlike what I was expecting. It feels like something blunt is punching your soft squishy internal organs. When you think of it though, you have the delicate tissue of your uterous contracting against the bones of your baby to push him out.
2 a. m Saturday We went back to the hospital. Ron was sent home until it was time. I was having contractions every 3 minutes. In the beginning I used the TENS machine. It was ok for about two hours. Then it just became annoying. On the low settings I think it was helpful, on the higher settings I think it exacerbated the pain. It got to a point that all I wanted to do was throw it against a wall.
There was one woman in the ward that just said "'Shit' every time her contraction started. I understood. There is no way you can't make a noise. I found myself almost mooing like a cow. It was much more painful than I had expected. Any of these classes you go to where someone says that it's like a pressure that slowly gets stronger, bollocks, it's like someone whipping a baseball bat around your lower intestines. Why the planet is so overpopulated is beyond me. Labour is no fun.
6 a.m. I asked for an epidural. The midwife told me the baby was back to back, which apparently is the most difficult and painful position. The midwives took me to a room and put me in a birthpool, the weightlessness helped a bit and they gave me some gas and air. Now I have always been a massive fan of gas and air, I had used it when I had a bad kidney infection and it worked wonders. Now, it helped a bit, but after a while I may as well have been biting down on a spoon. This panicked me a bit, I thought, if this is not working and I have been in labour for 10 hours already, how am I going to make it through?
The midwives at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital were fabulous, from the time I got into the pool to the time the baby was born, I wasnt left alone for one minute. The midwife talked me through every breath told me to breath in deep at the start of every contraction which were now every two minutes apart, and told me to drop my shoulders, which helped a lot. It got rid of a lot of the tension I was holding in. The pain was incredible, I asked when I could have an epidural. I was informed that the baby hadnt fully engaged and that they couldnt give an epidural until he had or there would be an increased risk of c-section.
Ron was brought in. I wan't sure I wanted him to see me in this state. What if I pooed in the pool? I had heard of this happening. Luckily nothing like that came to pass. But the pain was really getting on top of me. I put my head on the side of the tub and said to the midwife " Ï dont think I can do this." It was horrible.
Saturday 10 am. Finally I had an epidural. A short Chinese man came in to administer it. Now normally this physicality is not my type, but I challenge you not to fall a little bit for your anaesthetist when he takes your pain away. I said to him 'You are about to become my new best friend.'' He laughed. When he put it in I felt an electric jolt go up my left side and then slowly the pain started to get less and less, but was not quite gone, I still had a lot of pain in my stomach, he came back to reposition it and I was in heaven.
Sunday 2 am I don't remember a lot about the next few hours, when I finally dilated to ten centimeters at 2 am on the Sunday morning, I started to push, and push I did for two hours. They said to me, there is nothing wrong with your pushing, but your baby is getting stuck and is getting tired, we are going to have to get a doctor in here to assist you.
Sunday 4.a.m They brought in the doctor. She said to me, we are going to do this by ventouse and I will most likely have to do an episiotomy. I said to her, I specifically requested in my birth plan ( which by the way, I don't think any of these people read - Just put in something brief like GIVE ME DRUGS) that i don't want an episiotomy. She said, well, we are going to try by ventouse, if that doesn't work we will try forceps and then we will use episiotomy. If all this fails we will go for c-section.
Now this sounded like way too much for me. I said to her. I don't want episiotomy because I know that if you tear it heals better and that episiotomies can often cause more complications.
She said to me 'most women don't argue.'
I said, 'Most women don't do the same amount of research that I do. You don't sound confident in your own procedure, If you think c-section is the likely outcome, take me into theatre right now. I don't want to distress the baby any more than I have to. What is your track record of success with ventouse in the room and not in theatre?"
She said, "What,? Mine or the hospitals?"
I said," YOUR track record."
She said "It's very good."
I said "Is it 50%? 60% , 90% ."
She said, "it's good."
I said "Good is a relative value. What is your track record? "
She dodged the question again and said " I don't know if ventouse will work though and I want to have all these options."
I said to her, "' If you are not confident and don't trust yourself with your own procedure and can't give me a straight answer about what your success rate how can I trust you. I want a second opinon." There was a sharp intake of breath in the room as I effectively dismissed the doctor.
However to their credit they got the head doctor in. I asked her the same question and said. "I don't want an episiotomy I would rather tear and I want to do this by ventouse, do you think this is possible?"
She said. " This will work by ventouse. We will do it in the room, and I have a 100% success rate. If I say it is fine here and not in theatre it will work".
I said " Fine. Let's go." And that my friends is how you fire and rehire a doctor in about three minutes ;)
Sunday 4:30 am Now I had been having a ton of break through pain during the pushing because the baby was so enormous. I couldn't beleive how much it hurt WITH the drugs. I felt every bit as I pushed and he came out. It''s like having your internal organs ripped out of you. Awful. And then next thing I knew he was there. Now some people say they have this overwelming feeling of love the second the baby is born. I didn't . My feeling was just being overwhelmed and concerned. Everything felt so surreal and I was terrified because he didn't scream. The cord was cut by the doctor quickly without it throbbing which I really wanted to happen to ensure he got all the good stuff from the placenta, and Ron missed out , which I didn't even realise for many weeks after. This is the only thing I'm still upset about it. He was whisked away to a resuscitaire to make sure he was ok after being born into 2nd degree meconium. They had to ensure he was breathing ok.
Finally after a few minutes he was handed back to me, and I had this baby handed to me, mewing a bit like a cat and I got it into my head what had happened. I had a baby.
The hospital stay. Because after a 32 hour labour he was born into meconium, they were worried about jaundice, I couldn't feel my legs and was on a catheter, they kept us in the hospital for a couple of days. I didn't have the baby sleep in his own bed, we cuddled up together in my hospital bed and were inseperable for those next few days. I actually couldn't sleep for another 24 hours, maybe too much adrenaline. We stared at each other, taking the time to really bond and realised that from this point onwards we would be together forever and it was the nicest feeling in the world.
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Happy Hippo with New and Improved Stomach
I have a new favourite thing i like to do. I call it the Happy Hippo. I run a nice warm bath, get in it and watch my stomach move around all by itself. As I wallow in soapy goodness, I watch little bumpkin do his alien impression. It's weird to see bits of yourself wander around involuntarily.
My bump has definitely taken on a life of its own. The other night I woke up to Ron giggling. He had his hands on my stomach and was saying "Oh that's sooo cute". He was getting thumped from the outside and obviously enjoying having future son-to-be doing his judo routine. Really strange that something that you are cooking in your own tummy oven is awake when you are asleep and going about his daily routine.
In the meantime I have been having these crazy mood swings. Hormones are tricky sometimes to deal with. First happy, then sad, over it, up for it, really tired, exhausted beyond belief, whatever it may be. I am only 9 weeks away from my due date now, and don't feel quite like myself. The heartburn has returned with a vengeance and I haven't slept properly in I don't know how long. It can't help.
Well, I am looking forward to going back to the UK to see all of my lovely girlfriends and settle down in the country side for a bit. I'm not very good at dealing with the general coarseness of the population here in the Netherlands and looking forward to seeing the people I love and relate to once again. It feels like it has been way way too long.
Friday, 3 August 2012
BYE BYE BACK PAIN
I had terrible backpain. Pain that wouldn't let me sleep at night, or turn from one side to the other without bolts of electric anguish flashing down my legs. Walking hurt and I was worried that if it got any worse that I wouldn't be able to any more. I have sorted it out. How you ask? The Physio? No - she was pretty useless. Yoga? Nope - haven't been.
These three things did the trick:
The first thing that happened was that Ron, because he is a fabulous human being, went out to get me one of those long spaghetti pillow things. It's a massive bolster that you curl yourself around so you sleep with it between your knees and then wrap your arms around it and totally relaxes your back muscles. After the birth it serves as a breast feeding pillow and it is mega comfy. For those of you who are boyfriendless or in need of a more cuddly partner, I think this is probably a pretty good substitute ...
The second thing that happened was I got a belly band. It just holds me in place as I walk around. It is seamless and doesn't show under my clothes. I love it.
The third and most important thing MAGNESIUM. What? I hear you say. Yes. Magnesium. Apparently 80% of people are somewhat deficient. A midwife who is a friend of mine in California recommended it. She said take it before the birth and it will make the birth easier and allow for quicker recovery. Many obstetricians also recommend it but not for prolonged usage. Obviously if you are going to take it ask your doctor or health care provider.
Being the geek I am, I researched it. Magnesium is necessary for about 300 functions in your body, and is especially good if you are getting, muscle aches, prone to kidney stones, bleeding gums, cracking nails, split ended hair, constipation, or if you can't sleep. I had the aches, gum problems, bad nails and constipation. So I put two and two together and realised that bumpkin was slurping out all my magnesium.
Now there is some controversy. If you look on the internet there are two camps - Doctors who say that magnesium is very beneficial for the baby and those who say it is not. Do not take it in your first trimester. Magnesium citrate has been classified by the FDA as a grade C which means it may or may not have been tested and that it could potentially cause problems for the fetus . So I went to the pharmacist and asked. The pharmacist gave me Magnesium hydroxide and we looked it up to make sure that it specifically stated that there were no contraindications for this. She told me to take it in 500 mg doses when I had backpain, which is in line with the Recommended Daily allowance.
I told her that before I had read about possible complications. I took one dose of 400 mg ( the recommended daily allowance) of magnesium citrate and it literally knocked out my backpain. This after I had been suffering for three weeks. She told me that my one off dosage of 500 mg of magnesium citrate would be no big deal because it was such a low dosage. However we both agreed that the Magnesium hydroxide sounded like the better solution because it came with a sheet saying that it was safe for pregnant women, and I have decided to only take it when backpain becomes an issue.
One warning however... It is also used as a laxative so make sure if you take one, to drink a ton of water afterwards.
I then talked to my friend Donna and told her about my revelation. She said she had become addicted to Gatorade when she was pregnant and had almost no less leg cramps in her third pregnancy whereas she had a lot in her prior two pregnancies. We then found out it has a ton of magnesium in it.
So the lesson here - Eat foods with loads of magnesium - Brown bread, nuts, rolled oats peanut butter, whole grains, tofu, various legumes, spinach, oily fish and broccoli or get a decent multivitamin with magnesium in it and avoid severe back pain. :)
Tuesday, 24 July 2012
Obese People, I Salute You
Ok, so what do you get when you cross a hippo with an elephant and make it waddle like a penguin?.......... Me.
I am 24 weeks pregnant and am really not loving being this fat. Getting out of the bathtub is a particular delight. I make sounds like this Uuuuuuuungh. Waddling through department stores and feeling the little heart beats in my toes is no picnic. I am bored of being out of breath because I just rolled up to the deli counter to get a sandwich.
I now look at fat people everywhere and wonder how the hell they do it. Their feet must kill them and their backs must hurt. Mine do. It's really uncomfortable being this large. You sweat more because it takes a ton of effort just to move around. When your thighs rub together as you walk like a penguin it's no fun. I feel like one of those Russian dolls that has a whole bunch of other little russian dolls inside. Well, I have one anyway...
So give the morbidly obese a little bit of respect and say a prayer for them as they order their third Big Mac of the day or knock back a litre of chocolate milk, because every time they stand up and walk to the fridge it's like a gym work out. It's knackering being massive.
Friday, 20 July 2012
Bump that goes Bump in the Night
I almost 24 weeks pregnant, 16 more to go, and I can't wait until it's over. I am now a massive eater. I went from eating like a normal person at 20 weeks to a rabid carnivore at 24 weeks (I used to be mostly veggie). But, the more meat I eat, the more heartburn I get, so vegetable hunting I will go, and it's easier, veggies don't run as fast and are easier to catch.
As for my Bump he is wriggling a lot, moving around, doing judo practice and jumping jacks. He likes to say goodnight and has an entire calesthenics routine to show off with. I have insane back pain to the point that I can't roll over in bed without lightening shooting down my spine to my legs. The physio is very nice but pretty ineffectual, that seems to go for most of the people I meet in relation to pregnancy here though. The midwives here in the Netherlands are the same and do precisely nothing. They literally take your blood pressure, weigh you, squish your stomach a couple of times and push you out the door. No routine blood tests, urine tests, to measure protein, sugar and dehydration nothing. So they are pretty much useless. I have no idea what they are paid to do other than smile and squish.
If you are in the same position as me, and have ineffectual health care providers, you can ordered your own dip sticks yourself - 100 for 8 pounds ( 14$) from Amazon. Thank God I ordered some, I found out I was really dehydrated. I thought I was drinking enough... clearly not. It would have been helpful if I had known this before because I have only recently had a kidney infection and I really don't need another one.
I have friends who keep on saying they miss being pregnant. I definitely will not have that problem. What is fun about it?
Monday, 16 July 2012
I had my step daughters here for a few weeks and thought I'd do some fun little projects with them. So, with trips to the library, walks in the woods with the dog, and games being played, I thought we'd do something a bit more creative and out came the sewing machine. Milla wanted to stay with Papa, and Emma needed a bit of one-on-one time, so we made a little adventure out of it, and went to Anne and Max Cafe for iced tea and cake and then on to the Fabric Shop.
She did make me laugh, all little kids like soft things or really sparkly things, so after touching the velour on the way in and saying ''Oooh I love this", like a little magpie she went up to this shiny ( think tinfoil) polyester/ lamee ( I know I spelled it wrong I just can't figure out how the accent works on this keyboard), and said 'Ooooh, this is what I want to make my dress out of.' She was really insistent so,I said, "oh sweetie, we can't use that, it's for... um.... couches." The things we tell kids... I then tried to picture the most gaudy couch ever from Liberachi hell..
However all is well and we ended up with a couple of simple stretch cottons and Emma found a simple rayon material that had a cute flower design all over it. Then she found some lace she wanted to add to it and off we went. She loved watching the fabric being cut out and then said to me, " I want to learn everything from you because I want to be a designer." Too cute.. However I think she may have picked the wrong person as these are the first two dresses I have ever made, and other than slip covers, and a couple of little bits and pieces, I am a total rookie.
We got home and I took a couple of their old dresses and pinned them to the material and cut around them. Doing the seams I really wished that I had an overlocker, but never mind, it just took longer than it would have otherwise. The girls liked being measured, I think they found it special to watch something made for them that they could help to design themselves. Milla wanted a short dress, which actually came out a bit shorter than expected (whoops) and Emma wanted a longer one.
So after a day's work, two dresses and two matching headbands were complete. I took a couple of pictures of them, and with huge grins on their faces they posed for me. Milla started leaping around and posing, so I got a couple of cute shots, until the theme tune of Dora The Explorer played and then off they went to hear all about the baby jaguar who had to find a mountain. Or something like that.
Milla is now saying that she wants to wear the dress every day. I said, " If you wear the same dress every day, you will be known as stinky Milla." she said, " We can wash it" I said, "Ok, but then you will be known as polka dotted Milla, and like batman no one will recognise you without your polka dots on." She didn't seem to mind, and shrugged her shoulders. So for the last three days she has worn it every day and it has been washed every night... haha.
Here is a blanket that I knitted as well. My dog and the kids commandeer it most of the time. I actually strongly recommend that you don't knit a blanket because it takes forever...
Sunday, 8 July 2012
Weird Things People Say and Do When You Are Pregnant
The other day I was at a get together, and an older woman was there whom I have met a couple of times before. She asked me if I was pregnant. I said I was. She asked me if it was a boy or a girl, I said it was a boy and she said... wait for it..... "In the Netherlands we say that if you are having a boy your husband is a lazy lover." And then gave a little smile. This was her only comment. What the HELL.
Now luckily I didn't say it, but while I smiled at her, wishing her instant death and for the ground to open up and aliens to come out, ripping the flesh off her body and consuming huge chunks while she watched in horror still alive, before finally slaying her with a double aged serrated blade covered in a mixture of itching powder and poison, and dragging her soul down to an eternal hell, I thought "Funny that, in the UK we just say congratulations." Insulting old cow.
Now I posted this on my facebook page and had a lot of friends comment to say how weird and rude this was, but a couple of them said that they had similar experiences.
One friend who has four really cute little boys, had a woman say to her when she announced she was pregnant with her fourth boy, "God bless you," like it was some kind of curse to have boys, and then looked at her in a pitying way. Nice one. Way to make someone feel good.
Another said, "So you are about five months pregnant?" my friend said yes. The woman said, " Oh I know someone who just miscarried at five months." What a twit.
Another had a random strangers come up and ask to rub her belly ( maybe she thought a genie would come out and she would get three wishes). Christine just said, " I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat, so no you can't." hahahaha.
She said to me, "The thing is, why do total strangers think it is ok to go up to someone they have never seen before and grab their stomachs. If it was the other way around and I grabbed someone's non-pregnant belly, they would call the cops for assault and harrassment. "
She said to me, "The thing is, why do total strangers think it is ok to go up to someone they have never seen before and grab their stomachs. If it was the other way around and I grabbed someone's non-pregnant belly, they would call the cops for assault and harrassment. "
So when dealing with a really hormonal pregnant woman who is probably more than a little sensitive. If you don't know her - don't assume that her bump is public property, and if you do know her, ask first. It's really inappropriate to grab people's body parts without their consent. That's what molesters do.
Also, don't say loads of crass, stupid things. Be polite or leave the room. People are idiots, and I have come to expect that. Don't be one of them.
Thursday, 5 July 2012
I did the dumbest thing I have done in a while today. I thought, I need a fan, some cloth napkins, egg cups, and a couple of bowls, so I know what I will do. We have one close to us, so I will go to IKEA. Muppet.
What the hell was I thinking? Normally I'm pretty much allergic to the place. I really haven't been into an IKEA for years. I forgot that you had to be a marathon runner to get through it. I don't know if they are all the same, but I think they are, in that there is only one exit, and you have to walk past miles and miles of MDF hell before you get to the cash registers at the other end. Oh, and by the way, guess what IKEA doesn't sell... a fan, cloth napkins and egg cups.
So after bumbling ( I no longer walk) through the entire store to get to the promised land, the cash registers, (signal angels and pearly gates now), and picking up a bunch of stuff I had no intention of buying in the first place: three pot plants, plates, bowls and huge rug, I then realised that one of the plates I had bought was chipped, so I thought, I'll go back and get another one, forgetting that the plates were in the middle of the store about 200 miles away from where I was standing. I turned around to go back, walked in circles a couple of times past the rug section, and finally after finding two sales assistants who sent me off on a wild goose chase, found a nice one who knew the store.
I said 'I need to find the dinnerware section, two of your colleagues have sent me in the wrong direction, I'm really pregnant, I'm really tired and I can't go in a circle again.' She was so sweet and said, 'I get it. I've done it twice, and being pregnant is no time to be in IKEA. I'll take you to the section you need to go to.'
At that moment I think I fell in love with her. My short dumpy, slightly butch, IKEA saviour.
She delivered me like a guardian angel back to the cash registers, I bought my set of crappy plates, cute plants, enormous rug, and made it home. Phew. Very happy to be curled up with my little dog.
I do take my hat off to IKEA though - they understand the meaning of Captive Audience, and know that after 2 hours of walking through a jungle of crap that you are likely to buy something just so your trip wasn't a total waste.
Sunday, 1 July 2012
Abracadabra! And Now For My Next Trick.
Down to the hospital we went, Ron driving a little faster than normal and hitting the bumps, which in turn hit my little wriggling bump and made it squirm even more.
I said 'Emma, out of curiosity, how on earth did you swallow a coin'. It turns out that Papa was doing magic tricks, hiding the coin and then pulling it out from behind her ear and doing basic slight of hand stuff, and then Emma decided that she wanted to be a magician too and to make a coin disappear, so she put it in her mouth, lost her footing, fell over backwards and swallowed it. Haha. "Well", I said, " You succeeded, you are a magician and you made it disappear."
We went to the hospital they gave her some slimey custard and some liquid that looked thick like cough syrup and it slithered its way out of her esophagus and is now being cleaned by the hydrochloric acid in her stomach. We are waiting to see the new and improved Euro soon.
We official now have the only kid who poos money. I wish I could....
Tuesday, 26 June 2012
We are really happy. Ron has two girls already and so is over the moon. I was happy with either flavour but am really excited to be having a boy. Now I can get all set to paint the nursery and get it organised. :)
Here are a bunch more pictures..
|Sucking his thumb|
|At 11 weeks - the 4D scan. Unfortunatley they didn't do it at the place we went to in the Netherlands.|