Sunday, April 28, 2013

How it all went

Thank you thank you for your lovely comments! I'm sorry Mike didn't get to post further updates as he promised so now that I have some time I'm going to do it myself!

The c-section: I went to the hospital early with mom, while Mike was taking care of Oliver and bringing him to the creche. I was checked in and I knew there were 4 sections scheduled that morning but I thought I would have been last. That was not the case! Mike wasn't anywhere near the hospital when the nurse said "I can bring you up to the theatre now..." or dear...I tried to call Mike on his cell which wasn't under coverage (he was just parking) then texted him and went up with mom to the prep room. Mike called a few minutes later, he had parked and forgot the phone in the car, run back, saw the txt and panicked! He was running to the hospital at that very moment! He made it in the end, I thought it was actually quite funny, didn't get distressed and was very focussed on meeting the baby, hoping she would be healthy and that all will be just fine.
The c-section was a breeze, very calm and relaxed unlike of course my previous experience...Dr. W is truly wonderful. He went through the previous scar commenting how low it was (he said about 2cm lower than normal...odd as he did it!). As he pulled the baby out and above the curtain for me to see, he said "You are having a little lady!" what a surprise! She looked beautiful, wasn't crying (but she was obviously breathing) and just had this curious look...amazing. He then chatted away to me while baby was being checked by the paediatrician, saying it wasn't an easy delivery due to the position of the incision but they managed nonetheless. I think they had to use a forceps as our little girl had some bruising on her left eye and forehead.
Of course we had no name at all...or actually, we had her third name, Phoenix as per our tradition, but that wasn't enough! We had thought in the previous pregnancy that if it was a girl we would have called her Erin, but to me she just didn't look like an Erin and the name (while I absolutely love it) didn't seem to fit as her first name...Erin would be her second name so. It took us a couple of days before settling on Martina. I love Martina. She is the sweetest thing. I thought Oliver was an easy baby, but Martina tops it without a doubt. She is content all the time, cries if she's hungry, that's all.

Oliver: Oliver came to the hospital with Mike the day after Martina was born, I had a nice private room and thankfully visitors (though restricted to immediate family) were allowed. We took the approach of not making a fuss about the baby (she wasn't named at that stage) and just focussed on him till he took an interest in the baby (she was in the plastic transparent cot) and we followed his lead. He asked to touch the baby and we had no problem with it, then I asked him if he wanted to hold her and he was beside himself with happiness. This is one of the best pics of that day...look at his face! Very proud big brother!

Now that we are home, he is still very sweet, though we try and dedicate as much time to him as possible and this is made easy by Martina who is no fuss at all. Martina is in our room but in her cot and this doesn't seem to be a problem for him. He doesn't wake up at night when we are feeding her or changing her nappy etc which is great, but he is waking up very early and coming to the bed which is a killer as I may just have gone back to sleep after the feed...So the plan is that Mike is going to take care of him once he's up in the morning, hopefully he'll settle back into his normal sleeping pattern soon.

Martina: She is adorable. The feeding is a bit of a problem as like Oliver, she doesn't latch on...and this time I have a bit more milk, not much mind you (wishfully thinking it can still get better) but I do have it. And she is voracious. So I am back in the trenches of pumping, feeding her my milk, trying to latch her on with any device invented, giving her an additional bottle and settling her back in her cot (which is literally just putting her back down). In total this takes me over one hour. I can already tell we will be doing elimination communication with her very easily...she is very easy to read and already last night I got her to poo in the loo (well the sink effectively, sorry TMI!). She doesn't have a feeding pattern yet, can sleep between 2 to 4/5 hours and unfortunately for the moment the longest stretches are during the day! But I can't really complain. Having a toddler to mind though seriously adds to the fatigue and I can't thank my mom and Mike enough for ebing so helpful.

Emotions: It's definitely much better than the first time. Of course I didn't have a traumatic experience this time and I was nearly at the of the pregnancy. I did enjoy the pregnancy, can perfectly remember everything about it (you may remember after Oliver was born I had a total black out on the pregnancy experience) and loved Martina exactly like I love Oliver from the minute I saw her. I am also not worried about SIDS as much as I was with Oliver. All this helps. But of course there is a "but". I am addicted to hospitals and medical environments. Though I again went home after 3 days of hospital stay rather than the recommended 5 (once again I had no real need for pain management, felt well and up and about very quickly), I am mourning the fact that this is likely my last pregnancy ever, I won't get to interact with Dr. W anymore (you know the way your OB feels to you as the person that makes your longed for miracle a reality, brings the baby into the World and hands it to you, to me he has very much a god-like status), I won't get to experience one of the happiest things in my life which is the birth of a healthy baby. Then I think maybe just maybe we could have a third one, we still have 4 blasts after all...and then I think how difficult it would be not only economically but also practically to have three children...and then I think how people do manage and so on. So I don't know. Maybe this door is still open but it has to be for the right reasons while at the moment it seems to be for the egotistic wrong ones.

Well if you read this far, thank you, I'm going to try and pump some more!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

She's here!

Yes - a girl!  We haven't settled on a name yet, so she's still Phoenix for the moment.  At one stage I thought I was going to miss the birth (eh?) - (Mike writing this, not Francesca) - I had just parked the car in a long-stay car park some distance from the hospital, thinking we'd be waiting for hours before being called to theater, when I got a text from Fran saying she was going in.  It was like something from a bad Hugh Grant movie - I sprinted to the hospital, dramatically ran in the front door, and demanded to see my wife who was right now giving birth.  I'm sure they've seen it all before.
Anyway, back to the matter in hand.  Phoenix was delivered by c-section at 10:26am, and Francesca is now feeling much better (having had nausea for a lot of the afternoon).  She was 3.045kg (6lb 11oz) at birth.  Here's a picture of both of them having a nap (Phoenix is the one on the right):

Phoenix seems quite happy to be with us - she just wanted to sleep for most of the day after her rude awakening this morning.  Here are a couple of closer-up snaps (including some rarely-seen open eye shots):

Oliver was happy to scroll through lots of photos of Phoenix ("Baby!") on my phone as I collected him from the creche, but we'll really get an idea of what he thinks of this new addition to our family when I bring him to the hospital for a visit tomorrow (hopefully).
More updates tomorrow (hopefully).

Saturday, April 20, 2013

39 weeks and the last belly pic!

Wow things are happening. Yesterday OB visit was good in so far as placenta, baby size, heartbeat, blood-flow in the cord, fluids etc. Then the internal check verdict was that my cervix has no intention of cooperating and is shut, long and posterior. Thanks cervix! So we have a scheduled c-section for....drum roll please....tuesday!! I'll go in early in the morning and then depending on emergencies and theatre availability I'll meet Phoenix sometime during the day... I'm excited, a bit worried about Oliver's reaction, sad that these are my very last days of ever being pregnant (at least I enjoyed it this time!) and happy it's not looking like there's going to be a panic like we had when Oliver arrived. I just took what I think it's going to be the last belly pic ever...

In keep with our style, we have no name selected, we think we are going to use Phoenix as a third name like we used Elvis for Oliver (surely Phoenix is suitable for both boys and girls, right?) and I have no idea as to whether it's going to be a boy or a girl. It'll be a total surprise!
My mam is arriving in a few hours, it will be lovely to have her over and I have no doubt she will be great help. 
Oliver has started waking up quite early in the morning recently (say before 6am) and then shows up to our bed and comes in for a cuddle...if we are lucky he sleeps a bit more, but normally not. For the last few nights he also woke up crying around 1am. I'm not sure what to think other than he's sensing something is going on and he is a bit distressed by it. We got presents "from the baby" to him, apparently there are mixed feelings out there as to what is the best thing to do to try and minimise the jealousy...some say it's the bigger child who should have a present for the baby not the other way around. We'll have a present from Oliver to baby too just to be on the safe side...but to be honest I think it will make very little difference. At the moment Oliver is very fascinated by babies and loves watching youtube clips, but when we will have one here to stay I'm not sure he'll be so happy!

In any case, I hope I will be able to update on tuesday or at least Mike may do it, positive thoughts that all will be well are much appreciated!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The kitchen project

Here it is finally! I know you have been holding your breath to see it! Have a look at the various stages, it was a very small job, but it made a huge difference in the space we now have available!


the extra unit is in and the mw has been relocated

Mike is tiling (thankfully we had left over tiles)

Tiles are ready to be grouted and dinner was getting ready too

Grout is done and wall behing the mw has been painted

Mike has fitted the undercounter lights, the mw and he is darkening the new granite top

Here it is in all its beauty!

Next project...changing the house front door...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

OB visit, 38 weeks and a plan!

Another week has passed with nothing much to report and yesterday I had another check with the doctor. Everything looks still good and Phoenix is growing which is great news. Dr. W has guessed a weight of about 3kg should he be born in the next few days. He'll see me again next friday (if nothing happens before then) and then we have to make some decisions. He suggested to give me an internal and we can have an idea about the cervix. If it's favourable, soft, maybe a bit dilated already, short etc, he could break my waters and hope for labour to start. If not then it'll be a c-section. If the cervix is unfavourable then there is no point in trying anything to bring along spontaneous labour and we'll just plan a c-section. So here we are, not long till we meet Phoenix! Very exciting yet seems so unreal still...
Today I'm 38 weeks and feeling well, but definitely I'm also feeling the weight! I seem to be sleeping a bit better which is great and the nose is also behaving not giving me much trouble. I have officially finished work on friday but to be honest the idea of being home alone is not that appealing to me...Mike works in the same college as me, so I think I'll go in with him and hang around the least I will be among people! I am very happy as I managed to do all the things I wanted to do before the baby came so there is nothing pressing that could cause stress.

In other news, we got yet another terrible news in Mike's family. One of his cousins, 32 year old girl, got diagnosed with lung and liver cancer...I found this absolutely shocking and terrifying, she never smoked, is a lawyer and very healthy overall. We don't know much details, but she will be starting chemo on monday. I read a bit about lung cancer and was very surprised to read that while 80% of that type of cancer is smoke related, 20% isn't smoke related and very common in young, otherwise healthy females... it apparently kills more that ovarian and breast cancers combined. Mike is going to visit her this weekend (she is in a hospital in our city) but the prognosis is not good as far as I can tell. And then of course I got frightened by the fact that I have also had this odd cough for months now which I blamed on the continuous colds Oliver brought home and awful weather. It is much better now but my hypochondria has undoubtedly kicked in. Anyway, if you can spare a thought for this young girl it will be much appreciated.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

37 weeks, new record!

I'm 37 weeks today, and I'm one day over the length of Oliver's pregnancy! At the appointment yesterday Dr. W took a first measure of the abdominal circumference, and didn't look too good, I think it was measuring something just short of 35 weeks...he commented on the fact that like the last time this baby is smallish but kept going on to look at the spine, at the fluids (which look still good) and the placenta which is a smooth as a peach this time around! We got to see Phoenix practicing breathing (I had forgotten they do this) and Dr. W said it was a very healthy sign. Then went back to the baby's belly and said this was a better angle for measuring it and gave it another go. The circle expanded and expanded to measure over 36 weeks!! Dr. W was absolutely delighted, said "I think this baby is actually bigger than we think s/he is!" and so was very happy to give me an appointment in a week time. He would like to give Nature a chance to do her job and let me go into labour spontaneously, but doesn't want to risk anything either, hence the close monitoring. I asked him how far in advance do we have to decide if we want to schedule a C-section (we still won't exceed 40 weeks gestation even if all is well) and he said no time at all, that we could decide to do it tomorrow or in case of need we could have walked across the corridor and do it there and then! So we have no date yet but I'm really pleased for now all looks as it should be. With Oliver I had gone into the hospital as I thought my waters were leaking, but then it wasn't ever clear if it was the case or not given that IUGR had set in and nobody cared about the waters. I now think I really was leaking because this time I definitely don't feel that wet and it's more normal discharge.

In Oliver news, the potty training at home is a great success I have to say, we may have the odd accident if he's distracted looking at a book or at Peppa Pig in tv, but in the creche is a different story. The first day it was super, only minor accidents due to the fact that he didn't seat properly on the toilet (he wanted to do it by himself!) and so he wetted his pants a bit, but from the second day onwards it was a disaster, there was an average of 4 accidents a day! The carers are great, kept saying it's very normal, not too many children are toilet trained in that room and so maybe Oliver isn't too bothered yet but he will get better. They don't want him back in nappies. On friday it was a better day, Rebecca (one of the girls) brought him to the toilet often, he peed a couple of times in the toilet and had still a few accidents. When we picked him up we actually witnessed about 3 accidents in the space of 15 minutes!! Here how it goes: he wets himself a bit, you bring him to the toilet, he says "Finished!!" you put new pants on and by the time you pull them up he pees a bit more! Mike was doing all the changing, we picked him up early after the OB visit and wanted to go for an ice-cream, till at one point I took over and told Oliver to sit on the loo and let me hear the noise the pee makes...and so he did!! Last pair of dry pants went on and we managed to have our ice-cream and get home without further accidents! Today was a breeze (so far anyway) but we prompt him very often and I don't take no for an answer. That's all folks for now, I leave you with a new belly pic, does it look to you the belly has dropped a bit since last week? I had a couple of days with strong back pain and a million BHs...