Archive for June, 2011

June 20, 2011

sleeping like a baby

Whoever coined the term ‘slept like a baby’ to describe a nice, long, deep sleep was surely on crack.

While my beautiful bundle does (thankfully) have a few periods a day when she sleeps like the proverbial, it’s short lived (especially at night – poor mummy!).

And much like her birth, how and where she sleeps is the opposite of what I’d hoped and planned.

I’d envisioned an ‘unspoilt’ child that slept in her own room/cot from day dot.  I would be the loving, yet somewhat strict, mother who fed her at predetermined intervals, and getting much needed beauty rest in between (or perhaps lunching with friends – tennis anyone?)

Then I read about the link between SIDS and sleeping in a separate room to your baby, and thought it best that Lottie share a room with us.  Cue quick trip to Baby Bunting to pick up a bassinette.

But who knew babies could be so damn noisy?  Ours sounds like a gremlin on steroids.  Grunting, sneezing, snoring, mewing and occasional cries – all this before the 2-3 hourly real cries for more food.

Darling dad jams his ear plugs in (and awakes the net morning asking if she slept through the night because he didnt hear a thing) but thats not an option for me.

So to get some sleep?  Ive ended up sleeping with Lottie on my chest.

This apparently also brings with it an increased risk of SIDS, the very reason I didnt want her in her own room to begin with.

But there is now way I could put her in a cot on her own now that Ive met the little beauty (maybe she would be ok with it, but I couldnt bear it).

Theres nothing better than snuggling up with her little body next to mine on these cold nights, and we both end up getting a better, longer sleep.  Less wakefulness and grunting from her, less in and out of bed for me.

Am I worried?  Not at all.  I wake up after sleeping like this in exactly the same position, reinforcing the notion that a mothers natural instinct will prevent her from rolling over on her bub (unfortunately dads dont have the same instinct so I cant share the duty/responsibility).

Im sure many will disagree but I feel like this is the most natural way for us to sleep, and also safe considering the other precautions I take (wrapping her up separately to our bed linen, making sure she cant fall off the bed if she were to roll off me, not wearing loose clothing, not going to bed drunk – are you kidding? I dont have time to drink! etc).

My dad gave me a bit of grief (the male prespective), making some thinly veiled comments about ‘not forgetting my husband’, the marital bed, cough cough etc but I think he comes from a less inventive time – you can find other times/places to do the deed (and to be honest there isnt that much of that going on, baby in the bed or otherwise – apologies if that’s just way to much information!).

I do worry that it might one day make it harder for her to transition to sleeping on her own but for now, it works for us.

This early phase is a special time and wont last long, so I want to make the most of it.  There will be plenty of time for my baby to spend hours alone in her room when she’s a teenager!

June 12, 2011

how miss charlotte got here (and other news)

Have finally found some time** to write about how Miss Charlotte came into this world!  

I hope I don’t scare anyone (especially those with a strictly ordered birth plan) but telling this tale will be a cathartic exercise for yours truly, so here goes.

In early May, at 36 weeks pregnant, I went along to the hospital for one of the standard midwife appointments.

Everything during my pregnancy had gone smoothly and I had no reason to suspect anything was wrong.  The only thing I wanted the midwife to check was the baby’s position.

My doctor had suspected she was tranverse (lying sideways) and I agreed – although I couldnt discern hand from foot I seemed to only get kicking on one side of my belly.

Doc said she was still likely to move which was great news for me as I desperately wanted to avoid a c-section.

I asked the midwife to check bub’s position, hoping she had moved by this late stage, and was greatly relieved when she said that not only had the baby moved to the ideal position for birth but her head was engaged. Not long now til delivery day!

The midwife explained that if she had any concerns at all she would order an ultrasound to check the position but she was positive all was OK, and told me she had never in her career had an undiagnosed breech or transverse lying baby.

I left this appointment relieved, and excited for the upcoming arrival of our little one.

That Sunday (appropriatly enough being Mothers Day) I dreamt my waters had broken, after which I awoke to what felt like mild period pains.

In the back of my mind I thought ‘hey, this could be ealy labour’ but only being 36 weeks pregnant pushed the thoughts away, assuming they were only wishful thinking.

The ‘period pain’ got progressively worse throughout the morning however, and got to the point while out at the in-laws house for lunch that I was feeling pretty uncomfortable.

At this stage I dont think anyone (including me) thought I was in labour as the pains were bad, but I wasnt writhing around on the floor screaming as I thought I would be.

Nevertheless, we took early leave from lunch to go home, pack the rest of the hospital bag, and wait to see what happened next.

After a couple more hours and worsening pain, I called the hospital – I couldnt remember if I was meant to call when the pains were 5-7 minutes apart, or go to hospital at that stage.

When I called the phone service, I was advised that it was probably false labour and to have a panadol and wait it out.

Ignoring my gut instinct yet again, I agreed and relaxed on the couch assuming the pains would go away.

But go away they did not, and when I started bleeding a little with each pain (now even I was convinced these were contractions) I called the hotline again only to be told “this is the bloody show, you are probably still days away from true labour”.

OK, I thought, not wanting to be one of those women who rush to hospital only to be told to go home again (especally as we are a good 45 minute drive away, and by this stage is was around 8pm on Sunday night).

A couple of hours later I called the help line again – these pains werent going away, and were now stronger and closer together (although still not agony inducing – more like really bad period cramps).

A different midwife answered the call and, god bless her, suggested that it was still probbably false labour but as I was not yet at term to come in just to get everything checked out.

By the time we arrived at the hospital it was around 11pm. I was convinced I’d be sent back home after a quick check. 

But by 11:45 I’d been told I was already 7cm dilated and due to the baby being in breech position (damn that midwife!) I needed an emergency c-section.

Being petrified of the idea of a needle in my spine I asked if there was any way I could deliver naturally but due to baby’s position and my advanced stage of labour it was either the spinal block or a caesarean witout anaesthetic.  No prizes for guessing which one I chose!

Darling boy and I chatted during the op, he with camera at the ready, neither of us believing we would soon be proud parents.

After what seemed like an eternity we began to wonder what was taking so long.  Dont they just pull it out and sew me up?

At this stage, the surgeon leant over me and gave us the last news we could ever want to hear:  “We’ve got your baby out.  She’s not breathing, so we have to take her away. You’re losing a lot of blood due to a uterine tear so we’re going to have to put you under general anaesthetic now”.

WTF?? A minute ago we were looking forward to meeting our new baby and now…well now darling boy was being ushered out of the room and I was being put to sleep, thinking I had a stillborn baby and was about to have a hysterectomy.

When I awoke I was being wheeled into the intensive care nursery to meet our new daughter, all the while being filled in on what had happened over the past three hours.

Our baby Charlotte (which was a name we hadnt really considered but quickly agreed on) had a very rough start – apparently the drugs they gave me to stop uterine contractions once the c-section was underway hadn’t worked and when they tried to pull Lottie out my uterus had contracted around her neck.

This resulted in her having no oxygen for a significant amount of time without oxygen (the doctors couldnt say and gave us anywhere between 3 and 18 minute timeframes).

It also meant my uterus had to basically be torn open to get her out, resulting in more than two litres of blood lost.

Meeting our baby girl for the first time I felt a number of conflicting emotions – all with an anaesthetic induced hangover which made everything more surreal.

Lottie had tubes coming in and out of everywhere and at this stage we still had no idea what the prognosis was – would she survive? And if so, what effect would the trauma of birth have on her?

Turns out she is a little trooper.  Both of us had to spend over a week in hospital (I’d planned om a 12 hour quick discharge), but she was out of the intensive care nursery after day 5.

At her first checkup with the pediatrician, he told us that he had expected her to have a lot of problems when he read the report of her birth, before meeting her. 

But after a thorough exmaination he said that if he hadn’t known about the problems she encountered during birth he wouldnt have known there was anything wrong with her at all!

It’s still early days but it’s looking good for now, and to us she is the perfect little angel.

Moral of the story – go with your gut instinct and if you think something is wrong, insist on getting it checked out.  A mothers instinct is powerful and you shouldnt put all your faith in the medical profession (who, in my experience, are overworked and time poor, and often looking for a quick way out!).

** despite only taking probably 20 minutes in total to write this post, it has been a 6 day work in progress.  And I always thought those women who said babies take up a lot of time were exaggerating!