Sunday, 16 March 2014

Post Natal Diaries

I returned to the post natal ward the next day at 10am, the earliest that I was allowed in, after stopping off to buy yesterday's Daily Echo as a memento for Dexter when he is older and a bunch of flowers for Sophie. I could not have been prouder of her for doing so brilliantly during labour to bring our little man into the world.

I was en route to Sophie's bed when I found Dexter having his newborn check in The Nest, a communal space for babies to be washed and have their checks. The midwife confirmed that Dexter had the correct number of fingers and toes, and had no obvious abnormalities or concerns. She said he had what they call a stalk mark on the back of his neck, but that his was bigger than usual and they therefore felt it was also a birth mark.

Sophie had not had much sleep, having to get up every couple of hours and feed Dexter, and was very pleased to see me when I arrived, just in time to change my first nappy! This was the meconium, which is a jet black and very sticky tar-like substance. Certainly one to remember!

As we were leaving The Nest to go back to Sophie's bed, we saw our Life After Baby friends and their little boy Jackson, who it turns out had been in the bed opposite Sophie overnight! They were taking him home so we said goodbye and promised to stay in contact to see how each other and our babies get on.

In hospital, there is very little to do, especially when your baby's routine consists of sleep, eat, poop repeated every couple of hours! I made sure to bring some magazines, books and the iPad to entertain us whilst he slept, although I mostly amused myself on my phone (in between staring at my new baby boy of course) whilst Sophie caught up on her sleep too!

We noticed that Dexter was not having very much of a feed, and would often fall asleep after only a couple of minutes. We checked with a midwife who said it was nothing to worry about, that some babies sleep more than others and to leave it longer than the 2 hours we were initially told to feed him. So we left it another hour, but still the same result. So we buzzed again and spoke to a different midwife (who it turns out was not actually a midwife, but an assistant as she was wearing a different colour uniform), who again advises us that all babies are different and some feed for longer than others and at different intervals. We then left it another hour and were seen by a senior midwife with a view to going home. It was at this point that she told us that we could not be allowed to go home until they were happy that Dexter was feeding appropriately. This was a big surprise to us, as no-one had indicated that there was a problem with his feeding, or that this was a pre-requisite to going home. We were understandably upset to learn that Sophie would have to stay in another night with Dexter, and had to keep a feeding diary in conjunction with the midwives on duty overnight to ensure that he was getting everything he needs.

A very lovely assistant took overall charge of Sophie and Dexter for the night, and I was allowed to stay later than the usual 9pm curfew to help support with the feeding. I left at around 11pm after a couple of successful feeds, and felt upbeat about the possibility of bringing my wife and baby home for the first time the next day.

I arrived the next day at 10am again, and was not there long when one of the assistants came over and said that some blood test results confirmed that Dexter was jaundice, and that they had to give him phototherapy in order to help break down the bilirubin in his blood. This basically means that he had to be put in his cot, wearing just his nappy, under a giant UV lamp with a visor protecting his face in The Nest. How long he would be under there depended entirely on how successful the treatment was at reducing the levels of bilirubin, but were told would be at least 24 hours. We were only allowed to stop the treatment to feed and change him, or to give him cuddles if he was really distressed, but were told that the longer he was under there the better for him, and the quicker the treatment would be.

This was something that had been mentioned in our life before baby class, but shocked both me and Sophie very much. I think Sophie struggled with it, thinking it was something she had done to cause it, and was very upset.


We wanted to wait until we got home to introduce Dexter to everyone, but as this was not going to be for at least another day we contacted Sophie's Dad for them to come and visit. Although normally only parents were allowed into The Nest, due to the exceptional circumstances the staff allowed one visitor to go in with us at a time. Sophie's Dad, Step Mum, Sister and Brother In Law all came during afternoon visiting hours were able to have some cuddles and say hello to our new introduction to the family.

Our friends from Birmingham had come to visit but it was outside of visiting hours so I went down to meet them outside to show them pictures of our little man and accept their lovely gift of a nappy cake, which to my joy was not in fact a cake made of nappies! 




When I got home, I slept in what would soon become Dexter's bedroom as I didn't want to sleep in our bedroom until we were all home. Another restless night was ahead worrying about our little man. Sophie called me at about 3am to say that a consultant had been to see her and explained that Dexter's bilirubin level would need to drop below 9 for two successive tests in order for him to be allowed out from under the lights. His levels were still higher than they would expect and so he would need to remain under the lights. I could not get back to sleep and made sure I was there early ready for the doors to open.

Another day of sneaking cuddles in between keeping Dexter under the lights was ahead, but what was always exciting was seeing what would be on the lunch and dinner menu. Sophie's usual was mac n cheese with soup for lunch, and dinner was different each night. We usually ended up sharing although this was apparently against the rules. I never got a look in with the mac n cheese though! The strangest item we saw was on the lunch menu, a marmite and tomato sandwich, YUCK!


We attended a session on how to bath baby, as well as a 'going home' talk so that when we were ready to leave we would be as prepared as possible for looking after our new addition the best we could.

Sophie's Mum and Step Dad visited again in the evening and it was good to see them and we were very grateful for their help and support in what was a difficult time for us as we just wanted to be home and get on with our new life as parents.

I left at the usual time for fathers and came home to find a house plant with a box of chocolates and big helium balloon with "ITS A BOY!" on outside our flat. Sophie's best friend had sent them to welcome Dexter to the world and it was a lovely sight after such a tough day.

   

The next day I was very surprised to see Dexter next to Sophie's bed when I came in! Shortly before I arrived, the nurse had confirmed that the last blood test taken in the early hours of the morning was 9, which meant that he could come out from under the lights. They would still need to take another blood test and make sure that his levels were continuing to drop in order for us to go home, but it was a step in the right direction and meant that we could have lots of cuddles whenever we wanted. Feeding was getting so much better, especially as Sophie's milk had come in (by the bucket full!!) and the fact that Dexter wasn't so tired now that the jaundice had been treated.

We started to pack all of our things up in anticipation for a positive result and Sophie very much enjoyed declining the lunch order. A few hours later, when the bloods should have come back, we buzzed to find out what the results were. The midwife went to check but could not find the results. When she called down to pathology, she was told that there was a delay due to the bloods being collected late. They said it would be another hour or so until they had completed the tests.

Another hour had passed and we again had to chase for the result. This time, we were told that they had only partially run the test, and would therefore need a new sample in order to complete the test. They came to take another sample and advised us that they would treat it as a priority and get a result within an hour, rather than the usual four.

As Dexter had needed to provide so many blood samples already, with the regular monitoring of his levels, his poor heels looked like they had several paper cuts on them as this is the only place that they like to take blood from in newborn babies. They took quite a while to disappear too, and it was at times quite distressing to catch a glimpse of.

As it was now gone 6pm (yes, the whole palava had started before 10am), we were asked what we warned for dinner. Sophie opted for a curry, and could not believe how spicy it was! Not great for a breastfeeding mother! I would like to say that I reluctantly finished it, but that would be lying as I could not get enough of it!

The hour was almost up when a consultant came to our bed holding Dexter's file. She confirmed that his levels had indeed dropped and we were finally allowed to go home with our little baby, HOORAY!

I went down and took our several bags worth of stuff to the car, which I had parked on a residential road behind the hospital due to Poole hospital having possibly the smallest car park known to man. Sophie dressed Dexter in a new sleep suit with lots of sausage dogs on and SILLY SAUSAGE emblazoned across the front for his welcome home.

For some unknown reason, Dexter decided now would be a good time to do a massive smelly poo, followed by a long ol' feed, delaying our leaving time a fair bit. Clearly he was not as excited as us to be going home!

Once he had a full tummy, we got him strapped in to his car seat for the first time and were given a final 'debrief' before being sent out into the big wide world, left to care for another human life all by ourselves.

I don't think I have ever driven as slowly or safely as I did on the drive home, and we made sure to take lots of pictures to document the moment. We celebrated by ordering a Papa Johns pizza and showed Dexter around his new pad, which was much quieter and cooler than the hospital.



At about 10 o'clock, I rather naively assumed that we could turn the lights out, kiss Dexter goodnight and he would go off to sleep. Oh how wrong I was!! And thus commenced many a sleep deprived night on the sofa as he didn't seem to want to settle in our bedroom for the first few nights. The only upside to this experience, was getting to watch lots of TV programmes that had recorded, and stumbling across an infomercial for the Insanity workout, which I vowed to do in order to get myself into better shape for Dexter.

Friday, 31 January 2014

May The Fourth Be With You, Young Padawan!

We made our way down to the hospital as requested by the Midwives on Friday 3rd May 2013 at 9pm in order for Sophie to be induced. As we were walking into the hospital, we saw one of the expectant Dad's from our Life After Baby class, who told us his partner had had their baby, a little boy named Jackson, that morning. This great news got us excited about our impending arrival, and we agreed to let them know once our little one had arrived.

We were buzzed in as it was outside of visiting hours, and we were greeted by a midwife who showed us to the only spare bed on the ante-natal ward. We made ourselves comfy as it was a good 15 minutes until someone came back to see us and explain what was going on. We were told that they needed to check the baby's heart rate and position to ensure that they were not in distress, and once they had confirmed this, they would then insert a hormone releasing pessary to attempt to fool the body into labour. This could take up to 3 hours to work, and the baby had to be monitored at all times via what I can only describe as a giant version of the end of a stethoscope attached to an old fax machine. We had to take turns in keeping in place, as the equipment wasn't exactly state of the art and kept dislodging and losing signal with the baby, which was very frustrating as the midwife could not be satisfied that the baby was safe without an uninterrupted 10 minute recording.

We eventually managed to get the desired recording, only to then be told a 1:30am that there was nothing else they could do now, and visitors are not allowed to stay overnight so we had to leave Sophie and go home, only to return at 8am. Sophie was panicked by this, quite understandably, as the contractions were getting stronger and she was alone.

Of course, none of us were able to get any sleep!! It wasn't a very nice time for Sophie, not much information was given and she spent the night in pain, just wanting me and her Mum. We arrived bang on 8am, although I was relishing the last morning as a man without much responsibility by taking a long time to get ready, which Sophie's Mum, who is an early morning person didn't appreciate!

When we arrived another midwife was just finishing a check of Sophie and the baby, and advised us that as the delivery suite was busy, we would likely have to wait until the afternoon to be taken down and put on the drip to begin the labour process. Whilst we were initially dismayed, we soon settled in and got comfortable. We felt in competition with the other pregnant women, in the hope we would be picked first, like at school! And..... we were very surprised that, after only one bite of toast which Sophie's mum thought to bring in for her, poor Sophie had to get ready to go down to the delivery suite now for induction!! She did manage to finish the toast before we made our way down to our delivery room. It also meant I had to pack everything up that I had just spent ages unpacking! Tsk!

We were taken to a private room, with a large window, which was quite nice and thankfully had a radio we could sing along to keep us amused whilst we waited for the pains of labour to ramp up.

Our midwife, Fiona, was super lovely and made us feel at ease straight away with her friendly manner. Something else that surprised me was the sheer amount of paperwork that they are required to do! It seemed that every movement and word spoken had to be written down. As Sophie was under consultant care, we were visited by the consultant on call with what appeared to be his groupies. He explained that it might still be up to 48 hours before the baby arrived, so not to expect an instant reaction once the drip started. I didn't like hearing that considering I had my heart set on a Star Wars baby so I encouraged Sophie to get the baby out by midnight!

The anaesthetist who was with the consultant explained about the epidural if it was needed, and then they were off, as quickly as they arrived. Fiona showed Sophie the gas and air, then called a senior midwife in to assist with the starting of the drip, starting with an antibiotic to prevent any infection beforehand, and we were off! This was at approximately 10:30am.

The midwives also managed to stick a clip onto baby's head to monitor their heartbeat, rather than the contraption that we had to use in the ante-natal ward thankfully. This confirmed that baby was happy staying inside for the time being, although I was very much hoping that they would arrive on Star Wars day, and was even wearing my Yoda t-shirt to welcome them into the world.

At around 12.30 Sophie was still very comfortably chatting away so I took a moment to go to the local petrol station to get some lunch. Whilst I did feel bad that I was eating in front of Sophie, who was nil by mouth whilst on the drip, I had to think of my strength. I was 10lb 9oz when I was born, so I needed to make sure that I was ready for when I would be holding my newborn baby.

It was around this time that Sophie's contractions began to increase in frequency and severity, and she started to use the gas and air when they began. They told us that 'active labour' would be when Sophie experienced 4 contractions in a 10 minute period, and she would need to be 6cm dilated. When she came down, she was 1cm dilated, but told that her cervix was very thin which apparently meant that it would be easier for it to dilate (they could even feel the babies head before going on the drip which was a very positive sign!). When she was 10cm dilated, that would be when she could push. We had a way to go.

Whilst using the gas and air, Sophie was listing food that she had been dreaming of during the day, mostly those which she was not allowed to have during pregnancy, such as soft cheese and pate, but most importantly, a pulled pork sandwich from BBQ Shack in Brighton!

Fiona was telling us that she had recently been over to Ireland as part of her ongoing training as a midwife, and she said that in Dublin, they start all women on the drip at 64mgs, and ramp it up from there. As a comparison, Sophie was started on 8mgs, which was doubled each time until it had the desired effect. As a result of starting so high in Dublin, they have the lowest rate of women needing to stay in hospital post birth, and the highest turnaround time from going in to going home in Europe. They also have the lowest births without requiring assistance which is good for both the hospitals and the women!

As Sophie's drip was increased, it made her a little bit delirious. The contractions were coming thick and fast, but still not enough for them to warrant checking how far dilated she was and give any indication as to how close we were to meeting our baby. To lighten the mood a bit, I made a joke about how the drip was 'doubling and doubling' in Ireland, which Sophie found absolutely hilarious! Now, she doesn't usually laugh at my jokes, so it must have been the drugs, but I made sure to take a picture of her reaction and will live on this glory for many years to come!! (This has now been put in a frame on our lounge wall!).

As the labour intensified, so did Sophie's realisation that she was actually having a baby. The midwife encouraged Sophie to try different positions in order to ease the pain of the contractions, but one position moved her away from her beloved gas and air and the pain she was in prevented her from moving towards it! She was certainly stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Both me and Sophie's mum were trying to help her - rubbing her back etc, but it seemed I was unable to replicate what her mum was doing which annoyed Sophie. It also didn't help that Sophie had the gas and air in her mouth, and was having contractions, therefore making it very difficult for me to understand her (and for her to talk I presume).

After a while Sophie became very insistent that she needed to poo, but refused to use the bedpan her Mum offered her, declaring she would NOT poo in front of me (aaw, how romantic!). It was only when Sophie was sat on the end of the bed becoming more and more agitated with each contraction, she released a guttural roar which made the midwife check how far gone she was..... She had wanted to check previously, but as mentioned above, she was under the care of a consultant and they refused to let Fiona check.

When they did check, at approximately 4:30pm, she was actually 10cm dilated, and was immediately told to get ready to push!! Sophie found the most comfortable position for her was on her back on the bed with her legs in stirrups, so I held her hand on one side, whilst her mum did the same on the other, with each of us being told off at various points for either touching her too much, or not touching her enough!

Fiona told Sophie to stop using the gas and air, and listen to her when she gave instructions. Sophie listened, and I panicked when Fiona told her to push, and after only 2 pushes, and with hardly any noise at all, a head appeared between Sophie's legs.

We were all saying, "The head is out", but as Sophie was concentrating so much she misheard us and was asking what it was! We then had to explain she had to push a little more for us to find out. She continued on, and 3 pushes later, at 4:54pm.....

He was here, yes that's right IT WAS A BOY! On STAR WARS DAY!

He was put straight up onto Sophie's chest, and I was crying uncontrollably, repeatedly saying "IT'S A BOY! IT'S A BOY!', I even took a selfie of my emotional face to cherish the moment! I can't have made much sense to my parents or Sophie's Dad when I phoned them to tell them the great news!




















He was perfect. As the waters had broken a while before he arrived, he had no 'muck' on him, and he was absolutely perfect. I was asked to cut the cord, and was more than happy to do so. I can only describe it as trying to cut through a bit of gristle with a blunt knife, but it was such an amazing feeling.

We were given some time to cuddle and get to know him, with his little woolly blue hat on, which the hospital give to all baby boys (pink ones for a girl), until Fiona was ready to weigh him. He weighed in at 9lbz 9oz, so definitely takes after me!

As soon as Sophie saw him, she asked me if we could call him the name we had both agreed on for a boy...Dexter Arthur. We both felt that Dexter was an uncommon, but not entirely unusual name, and Arthur has family meanings for both of us, as well as fitting nicely with our surname of O'Mahoney.

Due to the nature of Dexter's arrival, Sophie required some attention from the midwives, which took a while to receive as we had to wait for a senior midwife. Whilst she was being treated, I was looking after Sophie, and her mum held Dexter. She had not had anything to eat all day either, and after going through the emotional rollercoaster of labour with us, was already very tired, let alone with holding a 9lbs 9oz baby! Sophie was also very tired, as evidenced by the fact that she was falling asleep whilst she still had the gas and air in her mouth and woke up choking! I did my best to keep her awake and take her mind off things, although not as successfully as earlier. Clearly the drugs had worn off!

Once the midwives had worked their magic, I went out to see some of our family that had turned up but were not allowed in to the delivery suite and showed them photos of our not-so-little bundle of joy, as well as attempting to explain the drama of the last 24 hours to them. After promising to let them know when they could come back to meet Dexter in person, I went back to see how Sophie was getting on as she had gone for a shower and had some tea and toast waiting for her when she got back.

Once all our stuff was ready, and the relevant checks and paperwork had been completed on Sophie and Dexter, we were taken up to the post natal ward where they would both be staying for the night. Unfortunately, as it was nearly midnight by this time, I was not allowed onto the ward as the mums and babies would be trying to sleep. I was advised that visiting hours for fathers were between 9am and 8pm, so kissed my little family goodbye and made me way down to the car to drive home.

En route, I stopped at our local takeaway and got myself a large kebab and chips to celebrate the joyous occasion, which I ate at home before going to bed in order to be ready to take on my responsibilities as a new father the following day.

Monday, 16 December 2013

It's The Final Countdown!

Saturday April 27 was our due date, and in the week leading up to this, we saw our midwife who recommended that we arrange to do something then, as most first babies do not appear on time. We heeded her advice, and walked into town to have a look round the shops and enjoy what might have been our last meal out together alone for a long while!

We thought we would try the old remedy of spicy food to bring on the labour, and opted with one of our favourite restaurants, Wagamamas. I didn't quite understand that it is the woman who is supposed to eat the spicy food, and ordered one of the hottest dishes I have ever tried, while Sophie enjoyed a much milder, although still spicy dish! Unfortunately for her, this had no effect, and our little baby was still safely tucked up inside come midnight.

Over the next few days, there was lots of bouncing on her gym ball, more spicy food, eating of pineapple and several other old wives tales to try and bring on the labour, all of which were unsuccessful, much to my joy and Sophie's frustration!

We were booked to see or midwife again the following Saturday, with a view to booking an induction for the week after if there was still no signs of baby coming, but after 2 nights of ramping up the heat with choices from our local Indian takeaway Tiger Bay, the garlic chilli chicken managed to succeed where others had failed, and Sophie's waters broke around 9:30pm on Thursday.

I must say, I was initially disappointed as we calmly phoned the local hospital and were told to leisurely drive down there for an examination. I was led to believe by TV and films, that when a woman's waters broke, it was all hands on deck, with people rushing around like blue arsed flies to get her to hospital before the baby just fell out. Oh how the illusion was shattered!

We arrived at the very quiet birthing suite of the hospital and Sophie was checked out by a midwife, who confirmed that her waters had indeed broken, but that this did not automatically mean that baby would follow. According to the WHO (World Health Organisation, rather than the legendary ageing rock band), a baby should be delivered within 72 hours of the waters breaking due to the massively increased risk of infection beyond that. It was with this news that we were sent home to see if labour would happen of it's own accord, with an appointment to go back again the next night at 9pm if it hadn't.

We did not tell anyone at this point, as I'm sure they would all have had the same reaction as me and assume baby would arrive in the next couple of hours. We did, however, tell Sophie's mum, as she would be present with us at the birth and therefore needed to be put 'on alert'.

Neither of us slept much that night, as the contractions and onset of early labour kicked in not long after we got home. We borrowed a TENS machine from one of Sophie's mum's friends and this did seem to help with some of the sporadic pains that she was feeling. I took the Friday off work in case Sophie went into 'active labour', and it was spent in bed catching up on sleep in-between contractions and packing our bag ready for the imminent trip back to the hospital that night.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

A boy it is!

"It's a boy!" were the first words that our new baby, Dexter Arthur O'Mahoney, would have heard, as he came into the world at 4:53pm on Saturday May 4th 2013.

Obviously, as you can tell from this very delayed blog update, babies take a lot of your time up! I will be posting a few different blogs in the next week or so that cover the time periods that I have missed in not posting, the first of which focuses on the last few weeks before our due date.

Time Is Running Out

We really enjoyed the 'Life After Baby' classes and learnt a lot about just how much life will change once our little bundle of joy arrives. The most interesting thing was a 24 hour clock, where we had to input how we currently spend our time on one side of paper, and then how we would likely spend our time post-birth. The first thing we were told to do was to input a feed every 4 hours, for approximately 2 hours!

We also managed to fit in 2 ante-natal classes just before our due date, which were much more focused on the birth itself and the first few days with baby, how their stomach develops and grows, what their nappies will look (and smell!) like etc.

The decorating is all done and we have a nursery now! We opted to keep it neutral except for one 'feature' wall of green, which we will likely put some decals on once we know the sex of the baby. We've also put up the baby changing unit and fabric wardrobe which we bought in advance, and have given our spare double bed to charity to make room for the cot when we eventually buy it.

Our fourth and final scan went well, again showing that whilst the baby is on the big side, they are growing in proportion and within normal ranges. The consultant was happy enough to sign us back into the care of the midwife, who we have since seen and made appointments to see again, unless the baby has other ideas and decides to come out beforehand!

We had a baby shower thrown for us by our super lovely and amazingly talented friend Elysia, founder of the incredible Hello Morello Cakes, which was more an excuse to eat her scrummy cakes than anything!

Sophie finished work on 18th April and I took her out to a fancy restaurant called Isobel's to celebrate. It is recommended in the Michelin food guide, and we were not disappointed. We were given canopes on entrance, and the waiter/waitresses were all lovely to us. We had a fantastic time, and will definitely be going back in future, if we can find a babysitter of course!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Preparations afoot

Well, it is just over 2 weeks since we got married, and all the focus is now firmly on the baby and our impending parenthood. We had a lovely day and were very lucky to have our friends and family there with us to celebrate our special day. We topped it off by spending a few days in Bath which was very enjoyable, if tiring for my 31 weeks pregnant wife!

3 days prior to the wedding, we had our third scan and another meeting with a consultant, to check on the baby's growth and development. Everything went well and the baby is growing within the normal centile ranges which is good news. We're due to go back again for a fourth scan at the end of the month, as well as another consultant appointment.

In preparation for Baby O arriving, we have set a date for decorating the nursery with the help of my father-in-law. We've now got to clear the spare room and choose the colour scheme in the next couple of weeks to make sure we're ready to crack on with the painting. Sophie is looking at decals to stick onto the walls, and getting very excited. I think she may go crazy decorating when we have the baby, considering we won't know their sex until they are here!

We went to a nearly new sale in Lymington on Saturday, which is the second one we have been to. They are a fantastic opportunity to pick up barely (sometimes never) used items, particularly clothing, at a much reduced price. It will definitely be a go-to place when we have the baby to get their clothes and toys etc. We were very lucky to buy a BabyBjörn Comfort Carrier for less than half retail price. I had a far more successful attempt at trying this one on and, unlike the last one I tried, this has lower back support to evenly distribute the babys weight, as well as being made from 100% organic cotton which is super soft for both me and the baby. Not only that, but it is easy to put on, and looks really good!

Tonight, we attended the first of two 'Life After Baby' classes which was a great opportunity for us to meet other parents-to-be as well as learn how the baby will affect our life and routine and how to cope with the changes afoot. We watched a fascinating DVD about how babies are only born with "half their brain", and how the rest of the brain develops in the first few weeks. We also learnt some very valuable pieces of information, such as the fact that the baby could feed for up to 40 minutes at a time, and that the next feed could then be a little over an hour later!!

As time goes on, we are getting more and more excited, and can't quite believe we will have a darling little baby with us in (hopefully) 6 weeks!! I do keep reminding Sophie that if the baby is a week late, it would mean they would be born on May Fourth, lets keep our fingers crossed for our very own, Luke, Chewy or Leia!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Hello, you must be the third trimester

Last weekend saw the start of the third and final trimester, with Sophie becoming 28 weeks pregnant. She is now 29 weeks, and in only 2 weeks, we will be into the single figure countdown! I always used to find it frustrating when I used to ask people how far gone they were, and they would always reply in weeks, meaning I had to convert it into months with my poor maths skills. I soon realised though, that being pregnant is all about the weeks!

A lot has changed in the past 6 weeks for us. We have completely rearranged our bedroom and living room in preparation for our little bundle of joy, and already had a big trip to the tip, with another to come very soon! The nursery is starting to take shape, and we will start decorating after the wedding, which is now only 2 weeks away!!

Preparations for the big day have really ramped up over the last couple of weeks, and now almost everything is ready. Hopefully the weather will hold out for us, at least for the photos anyway!

A friend of ours brought us The Baby Owner's Manual for Christmas which we are both really looking forward to reading, which is weird because I don't usually like reading manuals!

Last Saturday we made our first big purchase of the pregnancy...the buggy. We have opted to go with the Baby Style Oyster as it suits our needs best due to its lightweight and easy to fold down frame, easy clip in travel system functionality and overall style. We also ordered a car seat from our local baby shop Discount Baby Equipment and bought a Snugglebundl which looks extremely versatile and will help us tremendously in carrying the baby.

Whilst we were in the shop I tried on a few baby carriers after a couple of fathers at my work highly recommend them. This must have been absolutely hilarious to everyone else in the shop, as I really struggled to even put the first one on! I found the Baby Björn ones i tried to not be very supportive for me personally, as all the pressure is spread across the shoulders. We have since looked at the Britax and ErgoBaby original carriers as both offer lower back support to evenly distribute the baby's weight across the whole back and shoulders.

We saw a consultant a couple of weeks ago who checked Sophie's blood pressure and discussed potential risks of childbirth due to having an increased BMI. The consultant was quite 'to the point' and it was quite overwhelming as she seemingly was running through a checklist in her head, rather than necessarily reading our reactions and allaying our concerns.

Another test that Sophie has gone through this week is the glucose tolerance test, which checks for gestational diabetes. This required a 12 hour fast, followed by downing some Lucozade and 2 hours of sitting in the ante natal waiting room to see how Sophie's body used up the glucose, in which time I got through a few comics on the iPad! Thankfully, the results were all clear and the next appointment we have is another scan and consultation in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

20 Week Scan

Today, we saw our baby for the second time, thanks to the 20 week scan. This is the scan where they check the measurements to ensure the baby is developing normally and they check for any abnormalities such as cleft palate or clubfoot. It is also possible to tell whether it's a little boy or girl floating about in there.

We had both said prior to getting pregnant that neither of us would want to find out the sex of our baby, as we would prefer the surprise of finding out at the birth. I personally liken it to Christmas presents...you wouldn't want to find out what you're getting in June, as you won't be that excited come Christmas Day when you unwrap the present.

We therefore made our request clear before the scan started, and luckily the baby was lying in such a way that it was not possible to 'accidentally' find out. Just like last time, the baby wasn't playing ball when the sonographer wanted them to move around to see their feet...must have inherited my laziness then!

After a little break and 3 cups of water though, the party had started and the sonographer was able to see all that she needed to. She talked us through what she was looking for, and we got to see the tiny hands and feet (including fingers and toes!), the spine and rib cage, the face (both profile and head-on), heart (with all 4 chambers), brain, kidneys, stomach and placenta, which was not blocking the gangway.

We then went to a friendly little independent baby shop in Upper Parkstone called Discount Baby Equipment and had a look at the seemingly millions of necessary items and optional extras available for the baby and you. I had a fab time in a rocking chair with rocking foot stool! It was a real eye opener as to just the vast array of different styles, sizes, colours and shapes that baby stuff comes in. We looked at buggy's, most of which looked the same, with their own minor tweaks in the chassis or colour or design of the carry cot etc. but have now found one we both like and is perfect for us functionality wise.

It's starting to become more 'real' now, and soon we will begin the epic task of de-cluttering our spare room (which is currently a visiting room/study for me) for what will become the baby's nursery, and decorate it accordingly. Exciting times ahead!