34 Weeks = An Achy Start to My Week

I have been pretty lucky so far in that I have not been plagued by any of the negative side effects of being pregnant – no sickness, food or smell aversions, no pains and no weight gain other than the bump. OK, that lists sounds smug written down! I was obviously counting my blessings too early as the start of this week brought with it severe fatigue and aches and pains in my lower back, at the bottom of my bump and right at the top of my inner thighs. I think the baby has dropped down a bit, hence these new “symptoms” and my bump is noticeably lower than last week so I think that’s the explanation.

Everyone has been saying to me “Your body is working hard growing a baby, you’re bound to feel tired” but it has knocked me for six a bit after I have been full of energy the rest of the time. I did stop going to Yoga and Pilates after Christmas as I was finding I couldn’t comfortably do a lot of the positions/moves due to my growing bump and the fact the classes weren’t specific pregnancy ones. But I have been going for a walk most work days even when I have been feeling tired just to make sure I am staying active and I think my “chores” of an evening and weekend also count towards that! Maybe I am trying to a little too much. The thing that annoys Sam the most is the way that I am bending over now! I maybe do need to take more care with that if only to make sure I only have to do it once – I struggled and hopped around putting tights on standing up last week (I can just about reach low enough for a millisecond to pop them over the end of my toes!) only to realise I had put them on back-to-front so I had to start the whole process again. I will sit down next time.

I accidentally left it too late to freeze my gym membership from February onwards so I might take advantage my free days after I FINISH WORK NEXT MONDAY (as I keep on telling everyone who will listen!) and go for a swim in a less crowded pool (I feel very conscious about accidentally being kicked/bumped in a crowded pool on an evening now) and maybe try some of the daytime Yoga sessions too. After I enjoy my daily lie-ins of course – everyone is telling me how important it is to get as much rest and relaxation as I can in the weeks leading up to the baby’s arrival and who am I to disagree with their sound advice!

Actually, I think it is only right to plan more evenings doing the below than cleaning once I finish work next week – don’t you?

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Onesie, recliner and a pistachio Magnum – bliss

Bathtime Panic

I can’t stand spending evenings on end doing nothing at all so I have still been trying to do little jobs here and there most nights but I did resist last night and run a bath as soon as I got in from work as I felt completely drained. It felt so nice to just have 45 minutes in a warm, bubbly tub with a book and I definitely felt less achy afterwards. However, I did give myself a mild panic attack half way through when I looked at the water and noticed it was a dark pink colour. Cue me thinking I must be bleeding and something had started happening with the baby/birth *argh*…that is until I remembered I dyed my hair red at the weekend and that the logical explanation was that the dye had seeped into the water as I slowly turned myself into a prune. What an idiot!

Dismissive Experts at Hull Royal Hospital

Due to there being a history of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome/Cot Death) on my mum’s side of the family for several generations the midwife referred me to a consultant at the hospital to arrange for us to get some baby resuscitation training and speak to someone about getting a apnoea/breathing monitor. I got a letter in September last year asking me to phone the consultant in the new year so that it’s closer to my due date.

I called the consultant’s office in the first week of January and the secretary passed on my message and assured me the doctor would be in touch soon to arrange the appointments. I still hadn’t heard anything by the start of last week so I phoned again and the secretary said she remembered talking to me and did pass on my details but my request had likely gone to the bottom of the doctor’s inbox…I finally spoke to the consultant on Friday when she phoned me back and confirmed that she had indeed had a very full inbox and apologised for the delay. I am an understanding person and know she must be very busy but so far I was not being filled with confidence.

I gave the consultant a brief overview of my medical history (there has been a cot death in every generation of my Mum’s side of the family for the last four to five generations, the most recent being my own little brother who died around 25 years ago and my little sister Sabra having to be resuscitated on at least one occasion as a small baby) as a starting point. I also explained that both my sisters had been given an apnoea/breathing monitor for their babies and that Sabra used it for six months and had it go off several times. This was, unfortunately, answered with the consultant’s views that Cot Death is very much down to the circumstances in which the baby lives and the way that they are looked after, for example: temperatures in their room; smoking in the house; co-sleeping, especially after smoking, drinking or drug use and the position in which you put your baby to sleep.

The frustrating part is that every mother is given this “safe sleeping” advice by their midwives and during antenatal classes and it is consistent with any advice you read online as it is linked to guidelines set-out by SIDs charities/organisations. So, in short, I knew all of this but it didn’t differ from any advice someone with no history of this issue would receive. She didn’t engage at all with the possibility of our risk being higher due to the clear genetic link (I guess she cannot be an expert in all aspects of neonatal care) and very much dissuaded me from having an additional monitor as it could cause us to panic more than necessary. She did say we could choose to have one if we really wanted to still but I wasn’t given any indication as to how to go about this.

I was left feeling a bit confused about what was best to do about it as I had assumed that our conversation would result in us getting a monitor to use. I have done a lot of reading about SIDs, have raised money for The Lullaby Trust doing crazy events for the last three years and have been given lots of information from my Mum and Sabra so I am, luckily, well-informed. Unfortunately I did have a bit of a tense conversation with my Mum and Step-Dad about all of this at the weekend due to a misunderstanding about the decision Sam and I were making about the monitor (I think the important point is that we wanted to make the best/right decision as parents as to what was best to do but, for obvious reasons, it is a very emotive subject for my Mum). However, I was told by my sister to phone the CONI (Care of Next Infant) Project, which is past of The Lullaby Trust, directly to arrange a meeting with one of their reps to organise getting a monitor so I am just waiting on that appointment to be arranged.

On top of this I was given the number to phone the resuscitation team at Hull Royal to organise some training for Sam and I in the next few weeks. I was asked for our details including the baby’s name so I explained they weren’t born yet. The curt (bordering on downright rude if I am honest) answer I got was, “They’re not born yet? So why do you need to organise the training then?”. I was totally taken aback and said “Urm…so..I…know what to do…when they are here…incase something goes wrong…!?” – to me that much was pretty damn obvious. After a quick explanation of the family history she softened and arranged the training. Apparently it is more usual for them to offer training to parents who have a hospital birth and who subsequently find out their baby has a condition so they train them before they go home. However, if I hadn’t been so sure of myself and the situation I could have easily been rebuffed and have ended the conversation without organising a session after thinking I was in the wrong.

I think it was the stark contrast between how brilliant our midwife has been about everything, especially dealing with this aspect of my family history (she kept on checking if I’d been seen by the consultant yet) and then how unhelpful or dismissive the staff at the hospital seemed that shocked me the most. I think without the strong support network I have (Sam, my family and midwife) I could have easily felt very confused about what was best to do!

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