Well… where to begin? I had my midwife appointment booked for bloods and measurements at lunchtime today, and Mothercare emailed us to say the travel system and cot had arrived! Hooray! We got Millie ready for school and headed into town to go and collect the last of our glorious baby treasure and loading up the car I simply had the biggest grin ever on my face driving home. We cut it quite close to the line for getting home and unloading the cargo before our appointment but somehow we made it on time and had to wait an extra quarter of an hour because they were running late with the prego ladies. I’m so picky about ALWAYS being on time, I always have my little anal lists in my handbag of things to do and goals to hit throughout my day and logic in my mind is the only way to balance a day and make sure everything gets done. It has definitely kept me calm knowing that I am prepared, and crossing off that last box on the lists of baby essentials is like blowing all of the haze and clouds out of the sky and seeing a glorious blue horizon.
So when we finally got to see the midwife I was hyped about getting home and building up the goodies. The bin men will come first thing tomorrow morning and I’m childishly excited about smashing up all of the packaging and boxes and standing them proudly by the wheelie bin for them to take. Like flushing the toilet after a nice plop, take it all away and let me bask in my serenity. Bliss.
The midwife started by taking my blood pressure which is nice and healthy, and then asked for a urine sample in a decent sized pot for the first time ever! I waddled to the toilet and with amazing precision didn’t waste a drop, M15 my C.V is in the post. She asked me how I was and I mentioned that last night I developed a bit of a tight stitch down my right side and had found it a bit uncomfortable to sleep, hoping that it would go away overnight but it was still there even now. She had a thought and didn’t think it was a problem as I wasn’t in any pain; it was just a bit tender. So then it was time to lay on the bed and have the bump-a-lump measured and Gabriele was kicking away nicely, I laid like a proud turkey on a Christmas dining room table ready to be presented; but when she pushed to feel for the top position of the tape just below my ribs I almost punched her in the face in a knee-jerk-reaction to the pain. It was unbelievable; as if someone was stabbing me straight through my body I wanted to cry, throw up and scream at the same time. Fortunately I didn’t spontaneously smack my midwife; I just let out a bit of shocking prepubescent squeak and grimaced. So she tried again to position the tape and the same pain shot through me, it only hurt when she pushed down to feel for the point to measure and she wasn’t even doing it hard.
So to be safe she called the midwifes office to ask for advice as Luca and I sat like doe-eyed deer’s listening to her every word. I watched somewhat frustratingly as she twisted the curly telephone wire around her fingers saying “yes, I’ll hold”, she flipped through my notes with one hand and clicked her pen off and on repeatedly twisting around on her swivel chair and looking up out of the window in silence. I sat anchored to the bed willing her to hurry up, every morsel of me sending all of my telepathic waves right between her eyes but to no avail. It was a good few minutes before somebody returned on the other end of the phone, and by then I’d already pictured the scenario in my mind of taking the clicking pen out of her hand and replacing it with a crayon and biting the wheels off of her swivel chair whilst on all fours before fitting a nice venetian blind at her window. It passed my mind that doctors should also banish those annoying curly-wired phones that they always seem to tangle and occupy so many hollow minutes with each day by dropping the handset and letting it spin round to unravel and I could picture from the depths of my memory with vivid clarity a nice large-buttoned model in the Agros catalogue basic whites range.
So without having had my bloods done or bump measured she informed me the delivery suite would be expecting me immediately as they would be better equipped to investigate the tenderness and discomfort. So I was leaving my midwife to go and see… a midwife whose car park charges by the half hour and sandwiches in the ‘deli’ cost the same as a small child’s pair of shoes. Perfect!
We arranged cover for Millie to be collected from school and after dropping the car load of baby goodies at home I reluctantly stroked them goodbye and kissed the cardboard before being ushered out of the door by Luca. We got to the hospital shortly after and checked in at the labour ward. Naturally the doctors were hard pushed to meet the demands of the women already in there before us, so we waited for some time hooked up to the baby heart monitor expecting the usual half hour wait, the expected beeping to say criteria met and “have a nice day you time-waster Miss Kiss!” from the pleasant midwives. We were in a small stuffy room with another lady contracting but not yet dilated, who was either a great actress or a complete wimp, as she was breathing so hard and heavy that the already stuffy room whose windows were open only a mere crack seemed to have condensation gathering readily from her lungathon. And I childishly couldn’t help but wonder if she made as much of a sing and dance about it when she was putting the baby in, her poor husband!
As we weren’t expecting to be in the hospital today we had yet to eat, so knowing I was at the mercy of the heart monitor for the foreseeable future Luca took a bid for freedom and dashed off to find the cafe for some sandwiches and treats. I lay on the bed staring at the ceiling, counting the screws around the plug sockets, reading all of the funny signs that were within my focus reminding people to wash their hands and flush the toilet, and listened to the offensive rhythmic moaning and groaning of the poor woman opposite me. In my opinion the loud ladies who kick up such a fuss should all be placed in the same room together so that they can do vocal battle with one-another, I think it would spur them on to out-do each other on who could moan loudest and longest and induce a little healthy competition at the same time; and the polite quiet ladies should have a nice quiet room with windows letting in breeze, perhaps a Jane Austin novel on the bedside table and a glass of fresh water, prim daises on the side, fluffed up slippers tucked nicely under the bed, and a rich tea biscuit to hand if suits. They used to let you decide to go smoking or non-smoking in a restaurant so why should a labour ward be any different?
A midwife popped her head around the corner as I looked up eagerly to catch her glance, but instead she ferreted over to my folder, eyed up the machine, back to the folder, creased up her nose and then disappeared through the door and I listened on baffled as her footsteps faded away. A few minutes later another midwife came in and approached the machine, holding the paper edging its way from the machine with the squiggly lines and taking a deep breath as if she was going to speak but then frustratingly sucking it back in and looking over my folder again. My eyebrows must have given quite a performance worthy of a Russian dancer as I watched on from only a few feet away strapped in the bed in anticipation before she asked if I was feeling ok. I said that my side still felt a little tight as if I had a stitch but that it wasn’t pain, just a little discomfort. She asked again if I felt anything and I said no, and then she offered me pain relief, which seemed a bit pointless seeing as I had already told her I wasn’t in pain. Then she showed me the paper printout from the machine that had been running for almost an hour already, and pointed at the line that was counting my contractions. Sorry, my what? Yep, that’s right, I was having regular constant contractions, only I didn’t realise.
The midwife then tried to push around my bump to see that Gabriele is still head down, his bum right where the tenderness had been when she pushed my ribs. And the tenderness was still there only this time I bit my lip when she pushed down so as not to excite the lady opposite. She informed me I would need a scan to check if there were any underline causes for the two tender areas of my stomach and left me on the machine until the appointment was booked. When Luca returned triumphantly with his bag of treats I was bursting for the toilet so he called in the midwife and she undid my shackles. The only problem with being in a shared room is you can hear every noise big or small, and knowing that I was desperate for a poo I nervously took up my stance to try and aim for the side of the toilet pan in an effort to silence my cargo. But it didn’t work and the other couple, Luca, the midwife and nurses dashing in and out all heard my bowel performance. I sheepishly appeared some moments later from behind the toilet door and shuffled back to the bed where the monitors were reattached, my dignity literally down the toilet. Luca and I tucked into our expensively packaged sandwiches, hand cooked crisps and cream eggs while we waited.
Some time later two ladies appeared with a speculum and rubber gloves and explained they needed to conduct an internal examination of my cervix as the scan had been booked for an hours time and it was routine to make sure all was ok. So doing my best frog impression I laid back and counted the ceiling tiles once more. They advised that they would carry out a test that would pick up on labour hormones to define if I was in premature labour or if the contractions were just a false alarm, but again I would have to wait for the results. After, I focused again on the machine watching the contractions building and the printer clicking away but still unable to feel a thing, no pain or tightening – but I wasn’t complaining!
Eventually we had our scan and the sonographer checked over the tender areas and made sure Gabriele was ok. And he was doing absolutely fine, all as it should be and the only thing they could put the discomfort and tenderness down to was my muscles moving apart to house our glorious babies buttocks in his position of choice. She was able to tell us that Gabriele is a very healthy 5lbs10oz at 33wks with Millie being 7lbs1.5oz at 39wks and I thought she was a big baby, boy oh boy!
When we returned to the labour ward we were greeted by a doctor this time who advised I could be safe to deliver the baby as of now providing I have a steroid injection to prepare his lungs, as it was best to be safe than sorry if my body decided to make today the day. So moments later the nurse appeared with her lovely needles and asked me “bum or leg?” to which I begged leggggggg almost too eagerly. She said it shouldn’t hurt to have the injection but that the liquid might sting for a while, which was the understatement of the century and suddenly I felt I’d earned my stripes on the noisy-ladies ward! Jesus did it sting, like somebody had hit my thigh bone with a hammer, the ultimate dead leg and cramping pain at the same time with no escape. I tried to walk it off but my foot refused to make contact with the floor, so I stood gripping the bed like a chicken on hot coals, my bump leaning over, one leg cocked in the air rocking back and forth and breathing like a goldfish. Eventually it died down and the doctor asked if I would be ok to stay in; immediately I thought of Millie, the dog being locked in the kitchen, the breakfast dishes left in the sink, my spin cycle on the washing machine flashing green and ready to be hung out, and those beautiful cardboard boxes stood proud like soldiers ready for parade with the addictive new-bedding smell batman-signaling me to return home to base.
I remembered back to when I had Millie and the midwives asking me to go home, stretch some more, get a little further along, be in a bit more pain, take a paracetamol and then come back in when things were moving faster. So with my powers of persuasion and my desire to finish emptying my bowels in my own bathroom the doctor signed me out. My contractions were still frequent as I left but I was still feeling no pain or obvious signs of being in labour. Since we’ve been back I’ve cooked the dinner, done the dishes, hung the washing, put together our travel system, cot and bedding and had no further signs of labour. They had to break my waters with Millie and I don’t recall having a show with her. I never felt my contractions all those years ago either until I got into established labour, so as far as I know the contractions could have stopped or doubled and I’d be none the wiser. I’m waiting for a sign to return to the hospital, and at the same time running through emergency clean up procedures in my mind if I unexpectedly have the baby at home. Rubber gloves, bin bags, bounty kitchen towel with twice the absorbency which we have in a multipack under the sink, a cup of sweet tea and a cream egg nicely chilling in the fridge for afters. They already informed me if the baby comes at home then I’m not to cut the cord until it’s properly tied off at both ends first, and I have the car seat and hospital bag ready and waiting at the starting blocks in the baby cave.
So now it’s a waiting game, until tomorrow when I’m due my second cheeky steroid injection at the hospital. If things haven’t progressed by then I’m hoping they will be able to tell me if I’m still having contractions or if the 4hrs they monitored them for today were just a one off. So now that my Kingdom is in order, and I’m fully prepared I have a few hours sleep before the school run and work and I’m crossing my fingers and toes that it will either be very quick and painless or hold off until closer to our due date of 6wks and 5days time. We shall see! You really do keep us on our toes little Gabriele, which means you’re getting at least one raspberry on your tummy for this one! x x x x keep safe little one. x