Minor Complications, Major Stress

Today I did practically nothing.  It was a low day.  I made a few jokes on Facebook to try and make myself feel better, but the stress of the last two weeks since finishing up at work hit me emotionally like a tonne of bricks and left me feeling drained. I felt like the best thing for me was to just sit, nap, rest, just do nothing.  So I did. I didn’t even put pants on until around 2pm and only because I was cold.  It was nice.  It was also the first day since going on maternity leave that I haven’t had a million things to do.

Maybe it’s just Murphy’s Law, but I’m at the pointy end of the pregnancy now, it’s time to be sitting around waiting, but I haven’t had much chance to.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done a lot of sitting around, I don’t have a choice, some mornings a shower tires me out.  I’m carrying a lot of extra weight (as you can see from my awesome maternity shoot photo below) and definitely need to take lots of breaks.  So I do.  But I’ve also had a lot of unexpected issues since leaving work which has meant less quality time with the couch than I’ve wanted.

I got jerked around with the car seat which took a couple of days and extra stress to sort out.  I’ve had to rush around gathering the last minute things I need before baby arrives and for some reason I’ve gotten fussier about what I’ll settle for which is unnecessary stress I’ve been putting on myself.  I’ve been freaking out about how tidy the house is (even though it doesn’t matter) and I’ve had some last minute minor complications with the pregnancy that both Anxiety and medical professionals have blown out of proportion. I’m finding it much more difficult than usual to remain positive and upbeat. I haven’t given up though and that’s what’s important.

I’ve had to go for last minute scans and blood tests, a last minute glucose tolerance test and even an appointment with an obstetrician since leaving work and I’ll have another one next week.  At 38 weeks I was diagnosed with Polyhydramnios, which means that I have excess amniotic fluid.  There are many different reasons why this happens, the most common seems to be larger babies or gestational diabetes.  Based on the scan and blood tests, I have a large baby (not unsurprising as Zombie and I were both very large babies) and I do not have gestational diabetes.

I freaked out when my midwife told me about the Polyhydramnios.  I had a friend who had the same condition in her pregnancy and she had quite a difficult time at the birth.  Of course she had other complications as well which were more of a contributing factor, but as soon as my midwife said excess fluid, Anxiety took over and wouldn’t let me think clearly for a while.  All I could think was ‘I’ve had a textbook pregnancy, no issues aside from low iron and it’s turned to shit at the end.’

My midwife came around the next day and explained to me that I was only borderline with my excess fluid.  1cm to be exact.  If I lived in another country, I would even be considered 3cm under.  We are just a little more cautious here.  We discussed everything, she answered all my questions and I felt better.  I can no longer go to the hospital I wanted to for the birth anymore, but I’ll be in good hands, so it’s not the end of the world.  I also spoke to my friend about it, who reminded me that she had so many  other complications as well and I was able to get a handle over Anxiety after that.

She referred me to an obstetrician just to be on the safe side, but said that it was just a precaution.  At the last minute they decided they wanted another glucose tolerance test done, so on Monday morning I was rushed off for another one, with good results.  No gestational diabetes.  The following day I went to the obstetrician appointment in good spirits, thinking that everything was fine.

I have to say that was the weirdest medical appointment I’ve ever been to, even weirder than the eczema appointment I went to years ago where the doctor spent most of the appointment rushing back and forth between the room and his car which was illegally parked.  I was sitting right next to the obstetrician and yet I could barely hear her she was so softly spoken.  She spent 2o minutes telling me about gestational diabetes and then told me that because I didn’t have it that I had nothing to worry about and they would be sending me on my way.  She did a brief feel of my belly and then said she was going to talk to her boss.  I was left alone for ten minutes while she did this, wondering why I’d even needed to leave the house that day.

When she returned, she asked me if I drank fizzy drink at all.  I told her that in the last couple of months I have drank some each day, but not in ridiculous amounts.  I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s been a craving, but it has been a lot more appealing than water for the last little while.  She then told me that I might still have gestational diabetes because of that and that I needed a blood test and to come back in a weeks time to discuss c-sections.

WHAT!!??

That was an extreme bounce from, you’re fine, we’ll leave you to it, to all of a sudden I was probably going to have to have a c-section, all without any tests done and just what seemed like an in passing question about soft drink.  I was confused, stunned and instantly started freaking out.  That was the end of the appointment, so I went to get my blood test and then sat in the car and cried.  A lot.  I had no idea what was going on and I was freaking out on a major scale.  I was also so confused because if I suddenly really did need a c-section then why were they being so vague and treating it with a lack of urgency?  I was so upset I ended up driving straight to MHAPs and managed to squeeze in an emergency peer support session.  Luckily it was with a woman who had had two c-sections in the past, which helped immensely.

After I’d calmed down I spoke to my midwife.  She was confused too, especially since the blood test they ordered was one she had done on me several times throughout the pregnancy, the last one being two weeks ago.  She promised to get to the bottom of it, which proved quite a difficult task.  She just couldn’t seem to get anyone to return her calls even though as the person who had referred me she should have been sent the notes after the appointment anyway.  It didn’t help that I couldn’t remember the obstetricians name.

Today I got an urgent courier sent to me, with another ultrasound appointment notification.  Nobody had told me this would happen, so I called my midwife and let her know.  Luckily the letter had the doctors name on it, so she was finally able to get some information.  She still isn’t sure why they are redoing all the tests she has already done, but once they have all the information they are going to sit down with me and discuss my options for the birth.  I may be induced early, they might recommend a c-section as an option, or they might let things pan out naturally anyway.  My midwife has agreed to come with me so that they don’t try to confuse me again and has told me that unless it is in the best interests of myself and the baby that I do not have to agree to a c-section if I don’t want to and she will be there to help me make any decisions.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against c-sections in any way.  I know that they can be life saving and that in many circumstances the best option for everyone involved, I just personally only want to have one if it is for one of these reasons instead of just as a precaution.  I also feel like the whole situation could have been handled better instead of putting a heavily pregnant woman who is already emotionally unstable due to the hormones and her mental state under unnecessary stress by being so vague about the situation.  I am just so grateful to my midwife who I trust and has both mine and the babies best interests at heart.

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The appointment is next Tuesday, which feels like a lifetime away, but I’m no longer nervous about it.  I’m still hoping for a natural birth, I’m really hoping for it to be any day now (so is Zombie, he is even more excited than me about our impending arrival), because I just want to meet my little one and begin my journey as a mother.  I definitely could have done without these last minute issues, but at the same time I’ve been incredibly lucky throughout the rest of my pregnancy having had little to no issues at all.  But, hopefully next time I blog it will be to announce that I have a son or a daughter and that everything went well.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

 

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Pregnancy Woes: The Public Toilet

Ugh.  Public toilets.  I’m not a fan and never have been.  They smell, you never know what state you will find them in and just the thought of how many people have sat on the seat between cleaning is enough to make me feel icky inside.  I genuinely would rather pop a squat somewhere than use a public toilet.  And I have (well hidden of course and only for number ones).

Luckily, for most of my life I’ve had a bladder of steel and managed to avoid using them much.  There was the occasional time I had no choice (especially when out drinking although I didn’t seem to mind them as much whilst under the influence), but I could usually rely on my bladder to get me home without having to even think about using a public toilet.

Then along came pregnancy.  Yes, I wanted to be pregnant, but the constant need to pee wasn’t something I was looking forward to.

My bladder went from strong to weak within moments of discovering I was pregnant.  Not exaggerating.  Gone were the days when a pit stop on my lunch break at work would suffice, suddenly it was every time I stood up, every time I looked at water, sometimes even every time I shut the bathroom door after using it was enough to trigger the need to go again.  The only time I didn’t need to go was when I was asleep, but for most of the first trimester I felt like I was spending at least a third of my day on the toilet.  It let up a little during the second trimester, but came back in full force once I hit the third.

Public toilets are necessary.  We’ve all got to go sometimes and when we’re out and about it’s nice to know that most places offer us a place to relieve ourselves.  They’re usually far enough away from the action of the mall or wherever we may be that the people who aren’t using them don’t have to be bothered by them either and I’m sure everyone can agree that it’s much better than business being attended to on the side of the road in broad daylight for everyone to see.

But they’re disgusting!

It’s actually ridiculous.  I’m over 39 weeks pregnant and can still make it through most nights without needing to get up for the bathroom (no idea how), yet as soon as we leave the house, BAM!  I need to go.  Even if I’ve just been.  It’s like my bladder has developed some sort of vendetta against me and knows exactly when I’ll have no option but to use public facilities.  I imagine it sitting there laughing at me while I try not to think about what I have to do.  I wasn’t happy about it, but I figured that I’d gotten myself into the situation so it was in my best interests to suck it up and just deal with it.

But I had no idea how difficult it would be.

Let’s start with the smell.  Pregnancy heightens the sense of smell.  I can smell chocolate and other noms a mile away these days, but, I can also smell yuck from a great distance.  This makes approaching the toilets the first challenge in a line of many.  Some are worse than others, but they’re all bad no matter how recently they’ve been cleaned.  It’s a mixture of human waste, sweat, bleach, perfume and air freshener type fragrances mixed together on a grand scale unleashing the biggest oxymoron of an assault on the nostrils.  Seriously, putrid and overly sweet at the same time is not a good mix.

Then there’s the fact that you don’t know what state you are going to find the cubicle in.  I avoid cubicles with closed lids at all costs.  I’ll wait longer if I have to.  In my experience, those are unflushed or have skid marks a boy racer would be proud to make with his car.  I don’t want to see other peoples business, I’ve a delicate stomach since becoming pregnant and if the smell hasn’t made me gag then an unflushed toilet will.  Unfortunately the open lid toilets often aren’t any better, but at least I don’t have to touch them to find out.

The floors are always wet.  I don’t know if this is from women who can’t aim (not even sure if that’s a thing), from the over zealous toilets that spurt water far and wide when they flush, or just from bad wiping etiquette.  They’re just never dry and it’s not right.  Add dropped toilet paper that people have munched into a pulp as they’ve walked across into that mix and you have quite the eyeful of disgusting to be contending with.  And this is in public toilets that get a high level of cleaner attention.  Although that is because they get a high level of public use.

I’ve learned to live with these things.  There is nothing I can do about it, complaining about it won’t change anything (although I am enjoying this rant). I just need to go in, wipe the seat if necessary do my business and get out as quickly as possible.

But my biggest issue with public toilets is that that so many of them are just not designed to accommodate the bump!  So many of them have a tiny gap between the edge of the door and the toilet seat during the closing process.  So small that I’ve had to contort my body whilst gripping the door for stability and still putting enough pressure on it to get it closed at times.  Pregnant women do not have the strength for this, it’s hard enough for us to get up off the couch let alone limbo our way over a public toilet seat just to garner some privacy.  The process is exhausting and results in a much needed rest period before the relief process can begin, all the while trying not to throw up from the smell and the state of the facility.

The sinks are usually tolerable, water everywhere but most of them have touchless taps these days which I must give high praise to whoever came up with that idea, they are just wonderful, so I can quickly wash my hands and get on to the only part of the experience that I enjoy, the time to GTFO!

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I’ve heard that this bladder weakness will be with me for life now but even if it’s not, I’m pretty certain that I’ll have a toddler who will need to use a public toilet the second we arrive anywhere and then again just before we leave for good measure.  I’ve accepted that public toilets are now an inevitable part of my life.  I just don’t have to like it.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

 

The Final Stretch

So it’s been over two weeks since I last wrote a post, which is very unlike me.  I’ve barely written at all which is not ideal especially with the course I’m doing.  I’ve just had so much on both mentally and physically that it’s just been easier to completely blob when I do get a chance to sit down, which is what I should be doing at nearly 39 weeks pregnant anyway.

I’ve finished up at work now.  It was the strangest feeling to leave work last Friday, knowing that I wouldn’t be going back until much later in the year.  I managed to get through the last two weeks after my freak out week really well, but I have to admit it got harder each day just due to my tiredness.  My boss was really cool and set me up with a spare computer in an office by myself so all I really had to do was potter around with a couple of small projects and take any calls from the new guy if he needed help, instead of being amongst the action and getting myself overwhelmed again.

I’m only three days into my maternity leave and I’d like to say that I’ve been relaxing, but unfortunately I can’t, unless you count sleeping in, which I kinda don’t since I don’t really sleep much at night anymore!  My plan was to get everything that still had to be done finished on Monday, which was the car seat installation and the finishing touches on the babies area, but of course it didn’t happen.  The place I was told would sort the car seat didn’t tell me that they closed at 1.30 on Mondays and I ended up spending the afternoon selling my old car and catching up with a friend instead of sorting the babies things.  Having said that, it’s good to finally be rid of the old car and seeing my friend forced me to sit down for a few hours which was really nice.

So Tuesday became the get things finished day, except of course that didn’t eventuate either.  The place that was supposed to do the car seat installation apparently doesn’t do the installation part, just checks it’s installed properly, despite telling me they would install it when I rang them.  They weren’t rude, but they were incredibly unhelpful, told me it was going to cost around $200 and that I’d have to sort it myself with a mechanic.  Luckily I have friends in the car industry who pointed me in the right direction and I managed to get the car seat ready to go today, for only $50, by a seatbelt company that I would absolutely recommend to anyone.  They were very friendly both on the phone and in the shop, incredibly helpful and even gave me a discount because apparently I had an easy seat and an easy car to deal with.  I felt bad and wanted to pay the extra $10 but they wouldn’t hear of it!

As well as getting the car seat sorted today, I also had a growth scan as at my last midwife visit she was a little surprised at how much the little one had grown in the six days since my previous appointment.  The really cool part about this was I got to see my babies face for the first time!  It is so cute and I am absolutely in love (like I wasn’t already).  Baby wouldn’t stop moving the entire time which made the scan difficult, the complete opposite issue of the 20 week scan, but it’s so reassuring to have such an active baby that I don’t mind at all.  Based on the scan they are saying that baby is already 9.5 pound and I still have over a week until my due date, however a lot of people have said that the scans aren’t always accurate.  I’m not too worried anyway, it’s gotta come out somehow and I just can’t wait to meet the little one!

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I’d like to say that I’ll be resting up tomorrow, but no, I still have to put babies things away and tidy the house a little (this nesting thing makes me feel like I have to spend every second I’m at home cleaning which I am not a fan of!)  I’ve got a pregnancy photo shoot and I’m also doing another radio interview like the one I did last year on mental health, this year on mental illness and pregnancy.  But Friday is clear plus Zombie is not working that day so I’m sure he will force me to spend the day on the couch.  I have no plans to object!

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie

Stepping Back

This week I lost sight of what’s important and went running full speed into the wall. I caught myself before I reached the wall, but unfortunately it was too late to avoid it completely.

I’m 36 weeks pregnant now. I’ve got less than two weeks left at work and Murphys Law has ensured that the last few weeks while I have been training my replacement have been difficult. Issues I’ve never come across before in the nearly five years I’ve been in the role have been cropping up all over the place and we’ve been getting more and more behind as a result. At a time when I should be relaxing, letting go of the reins, focusing on the upcoming arrival, I’ve instead been working myself into a frenzy about the state I’ll be leaving my job in.

My problem is I care too much. About everything, not just my job, but my job is important to me and this week it took a front row seat in my mind. My job is not easy and it’s often stressful (I work in export and distribution which is usually full on and full of deadlines) and I do have freak out moments at times, but I’ve usually been able to go home at the end of the day and leave work behind until the following morning.

Not this week. Actually, not throughout most of my pregnancy, but this week was notably worse. I’ve put it down to hormones and tiredness, but this week I let the stress take over, so much so that even after realizing that a panic attack was on the way, I was unable to avoid it completely. I saw my midwife on Thursday after seeing how stressed and exhausted I was, she decided it was in my best interests to take a day off.

Unfortunately the thought of getting even more behind freaked me out completely. I immediately decided to ignore the advice and go to work the next day, which in turn freaked me out about how I would react to another busy day at work, which was the final piece needed to start the panic attack. Thankfully only my second since falling pregnant (the first at about ten weeks), but still, two too many. Once I’d calmed down I realized just how much I needed to let go of what I can’t control anymore (work) and to focus on the important stuff. Looking after myself and baby.

So this weekend I haven’t done much at all. I’ve put my feet up, I’ve had some naps, watched some movies and even refrained from doing any housework. Zombie has done all the cooking (which has been fantastic and deilicious) and I think the best thing was my baby shower yesterday, where I got to have a complete break for a few hours and catch up with family and friends, some who I haven’t seen in ages. I didn’t have to lift a finger the whole afternoon and it was just what I needed to pick myself up and get excited again about  the major life change I’m going to have in a few weeks time.

Tomorrow is a public holiday so I’ve still got another day to relax before heading back to work for nine days before my maternity leave starts. My intention come Tuesday is to take a step back and just watch, which is what I was doing when I first started training my replacement. I need to give them time to get a handle on what to do when things go pear shaped and just help out when needed. This is my usual approach to training and I just somehow managed to get myself lost this time around.

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There’s only a few weeks to go before a whole new potential for stress comes my way, so I’m planning to make the most of the time I have left by just enjoying it as much as I can. After a few days rest I’ve got my energy back and I intend to keep it for as long as I can, by listening to everyones advice and calming down.

Smiles and Sunshine
Katie