Thursday, 22 October 2009

How I almost gave up breast-feeding

Most of you will know that I am rather pro-breast-feeding. While I won’t criticise you for deciding to formula feed, I will offer lots and lots of advice and tips if you’re undecided or having problems (which, let’s be honest, probably comes across like sanctimonious criticism). Most of you will know that I breast-fed Rosemary for over two years. Most of you will know that I felt myself to be a bit of an expert at the old breast-feeding lark, though not a trained breast-feeding counsellor.

So, when embarking on being a mum to a small baby for the second time in my life, I felt pretty darned confident that breast-feeding would come easily. She would latch on the second she was put on my chest after birth and there would be no positioning problems, no need for Lansinoh, no cracked or bleeding nipples, no mastitis, no topping up with formula. None of the problems we had last time. Because I was breast-feeding mum extraordinaire, who lived through many a tooth and gave her eldest daughter absolutely the best and healthiest start any child could possibly have.

You see where we’re going with this story, of course?

She didn’t latch on immediately. She did feed briefly after the birth and again in the morning. She continued feeding when we went home, but her positioning was really pretty awful.

I had completely forgotten about my oddly shaped nipples, which cause problems at the start – or I’d assumed they’d still be ‘fixed’ from Rosemary’s two years of administrations. The left one has a kink and tends to bleed, crack, warp in various ways at the bend. The right one is somewhat inverted and gets all horrid in the inverted bit, to the point where it looks like bits of the nipple are actually going to fall off. The left one is bearable and the baby learns quickest with that one. The right one is the most problematic. That’s where I got mastitis with Rosemary. That’s where I got mastitis with Eleanor.

The mastitis with Eleanor came at the same time as the inverted bit was so infected that Eleanor would not touch it. She actually sniffed it and turned away – sniffed the other one and latched on (with a bad latch, but latched on nevertheless). Many of you will know that what you need to do to get rid of mastitis is to feed, feed, feed on that side. But that was not happening. So I was hand expressing – just onto a muslin, didn’t occur to me to try to catch it and give it to Eleanor somehow – to try to get rid of the mastitis.

Then Eleanor was weighed. She had lost a pound. She was below 10% under her birth weight. The midwife (not my usual one) just told me to ‘Feed, feed, feed. Feed yourself, then feed, feed, feed.’ Uh-huh. Difficult when your baby won’t feed from one side. My midwife phoned the next day to talk it through with me and explained that between 10-15% under birth weight they have to put together a weight-gain plan and that if it goes below 15% they are obliged to refer it to the paediatricians.

I said I wanted to try pumping from the right side to try to get the mastitis out of the way, and Chris and his dad went up to the maternity hospital that evening to pick up the pump and a feeding cup, to try giving Eleanor the expressed milk. We tried the feeding cup, but it was no go, and I recalled that Rosemary never managed to take anything from one either. The pumping was fine and it got rid of the mastitis, but the nipple was still very infected and Eleanor was still not interested in it. In fact, by that point I was reluctant to offer it to her as I didn’t see how it would ever heal if I did.

In the meantime was starting to fret a lot on the left breast, taking 15 minutes to latch on and screaming the whole time. She wasn’t even managing to feed a normal amount of time, let alone extra in order to stop losing weight. When she did finally latch on, she’d only stay on for a few minutes and then come off and scream and scream again.

The midwife came on Sunday to weigh her. She had lost an ounce and was now 13% under her birth weight, which was scarily close to the referral percentage. Somewhere I really didn’t want to go. We’d avoided SCBU this time, I really didn’t want to end up in hospital anyway, with Eleanor being tube-fed. I told the midwife that I wanted to try offering the breast-milk from a bottle. Rosemary had had a bottle (formula top-ups, rather than expressed breastmilk) and had managed to combine it fine with breast-feeding – giving it up voluntarily after a couple of weeks and never touching it again. I knew the risks, of course, but felt it was probably the only way we had a chance of her not losing more weight, with the current state of my right nipple and her latching-on issues. The midwife agreed.

Chris gave her some breastmilk in a bottle. She loved it. Drunk it all up and I had to pump to keep up until she’d had enough. The trouble was, the next time I put her to the breast, she had forgotten what to do. She latched on and then either fell asleep, if she was tired, or came straight off again and screamed… and screamed… and screamed. I tried and tried and tried and tried and she could not do it.

I cried and cried and cried. My daughter was losing weight and she wouldn’t take my milk. I couldn’t feed my daughter. I felt useless. I felt like my whole raison-d’ĂȘtre had been taken away from me. I felt like I was dying inside. In fact, I even wondered, at a particularly low point, whether there was any point in my continued existence. Fortunately, a picture of Rosemary came into my head and got rid of those darkest thoughts.

By Monday morning, I was in a terrible state and didn’t really know what to do. I was expressing as much as possible, but it really wasn’t enough to satisfy her. I was reaching the point where the only thing I could really consider was formula. But I wasn’t considering it so much as a top up, but more as a complete alternative. I phoned the maternity hospital to speak to my midwife, but she wasn’t in that morning. She was due in in the afternoon. I spoke to her counterpart, who told me to keep doing what I was doing – expressing from both breasts (now that she wasn’t taking from the breast at all) at least every three hours and feeding it to Eleanor. Keep offering the breast before the bottle, but don’t leave it too long if she still refused, otherwise she wouldn’t get enough. And she scheduled my midwife to come and see me in the afternoon.

I broke down when my midwife came. Told her I thought I would probably change to formula as I just couldn’t cope any more. I wasn’t getting any sleep or any time for anything other than trying to force my baby to take milk from my breasts, express milk, and feed her the expressed milk (though other people could and were doing this sometimes, of course). I was hardly seeing Rosemary at all and just wanted to spend an hour reading with her or baking or doing something normal together, or even just having a good cuddle. I couldn’t see how it would ever be possible for me to leave the house, do any work, or basically do anything other than attempt to feed, pump and bottle-feed. Oh and cry. I couldn’t stop crying.

My midwife understood. I think she may have been the only person who really did. And she knew me well enough to talk me out of making a snap decision when I was at such an incredibly low point. She pointed out that I wouldn’t be able to stop cold turkey anyway, at that point. I’d need to keep expressing for a few days, otherwise I’d be in real trouble with my breasts. And she asked me whether I didn’t think it was a decision that I might very well regret deeply in the future, given my history. So, between us, we came up with a way to take a bit of the pressure off for a few days, so that I would be in a better position to make the decision later on.

Stop offering the breast completely. Keep pumping. Give her all the expressed milk and top up with formula (I would like to stress that, at no point did my midwife bring formula up or try to pressure me into using it; it was my idea and she agreed that it was probably the best way in these very difficult circumstances) until she’s satisfied. She said that, if it weren’t for the weight loss, she would suggest stopping offering the breast for 24 hours, anyway, maybe trying a feeding cup. Because sometimes babies and mums just need to stop and try again fresh. She also agreed to look for no loss when she came to weigh Eleanor on Tuesday afternoon, rather than looking for a gain. Which took a bit more pressure off.

And that was fine. It was still hard work, expressing eight times a day. It took 40 minutes each time and did hurt – not as much as the bad latch at hurt, but still painful. Working out the timings of expressing and feeding was a bit of a logic problem, but it worked out that I expressed immediately after a feed during the night and about an hour after in the day. That maximised the chunks of sleep I could get at night and the time to do things like eat breakfast, have baths or spend time with Rosemary, during the day. Not having to deal with the screaming and flailing of arms and the incredibly depressing feeling that your baby does not want to take nourishment from you, made me a thousand times calmer. Which was good for everyone.

The next day, I got a fever. There were no red patches on my breasts, though the left one felt very engorged. I was very shivery and dizzy and just wanted to sleep lots, just like I had on the first day of the mastitis the week before. Despite this, I still managed to keep up with the expressing, though I handed over most of the actual feeding to others. In the afternoon, my midwife came. She agreed that it didn’t look like mastitis, so the next obvious culprit is the uterus. Looks like there was an infection there, which had quite possibly been there since the birth, if the lochia odour was anything to go by (stupidly, I had no idea it wasn’t supposed to smell like that). She was onto my doctor immediately to get some antibiotics and took a swab to send off for testing (results tomorrow, though I have improved enough to know that the antibiotics are working).

Then it was time to weigh Eleanor. She had gained – just under two ounces. What a relief. And she doesn’t have to be weighed until Saturday now, then not until next Wednesday, which will be the last midwife visit and the health visitor will take over from then on (all being well, of course, but there should be no reason why it wouldn’t).

My midwife came back yesterday morning to check how I was – not to look at Eleanor at all, as she was no completely happy with her (and assured me she would poo). And then she told me I could try putting Eleanor to the breast any time, if I wanted to. She said that Eleanor was getting enough food into her and had gained weight, so there was no pressure. I didn’t have to try, but if I wanted to, I could just put her there, and she might have a bit of a comfort suck. Or she might not. But it would not be a worry, because we knew we could get the food into her. I nodded and smiled, but didn’t really feel like trying anytime soon.

Last night, Eleanor did her first proper, non-meconium poo. This was cause for much celebration, as I have already mentioned. This morning, at around 10.30am, after giving Eleanor 30ml of expressed milk, I unclipped my nursing bra and held her to my left breast. She latched on immediately and sat there and fed for over 10 minutes, then swapped to the right breast and fed for another 10 minutes. I sat there for a few moments, silent tears of joy trickling down my face. Then I called upstairs ‘Guess what Eleanor’s doing?’ ‘Breastfeeding?’ came the reply and Chris came downstairs to witness me bawling my eyes out yet again – but this time in absolute happiness, rather than despair.

She has since breast-fed a few times and is currently sleeping peacefully in her crib having fallen asleep on the breast (oops – not supposed to be doing that, but I am so not going to worry about bad-sleep-forming issues at this point!). We will continue with the formula top-ups, at least until next Wednesday, so as not to risk her losing weight again. I was only managing to express 30ml at a time, so it’s possible that I’m not yet overly productive in the milk department. I know it will come, but I’m not going to risk her losing weight again just yet, especially as she seems to now be quite happy to mixed feed. (And, frankly, it’s nice to have a break sometimes – and Chris enjoys it, too, so maybe we’ll keep one or two formula feeds in there for good, or buy our own pump.)

Hopefully you can imagine how happy I feel at the moment, because I really am not able to put it into words.

Did you have feeding ups and downs, or were you one of the lucky ones? Now I’ve come out the other end, I’m happy to hear all your stories – even if they make me a little jealous!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The poo has landed

One of those big changes in life that come with parenthood is the ease with which you talk about and deal with poo. It’s not unusual to get covered in the stuff, you discuss its consistency, clean up the product of a caught-short potty trainer with whatever is it hand, be it leaves, post-its or Co-op receipts and, of course, blog about it.

For the past week, we have been waiting for Eleanor to poo. She did her meconium poos fine, so we knew that she had the mechanism to do one. But she had not done a proper poo yet. Combined with her having lost over 13% of her birth weight within the first week (over 15% and they have to refer to the paediatricians), this was rather worrying, though she was producing plenty of wet nappies and was very well in herself. She has now put on some weight, after changing her feeds to a combination of expressed breast milk (as much as I can produce) topped up with formula (a whole other, very emotional story, which I will go into soon), and the midwife assured us that she would poo. Once she was getting enough milk into her, it would just be a matter of time.

And lo and behold, she just did poo. Lots and lots. Not quite an explosive, leak-everywhere poo, but pretty impressive nonetheless. I have never been so happy to mop up runny brown goop with cotton wool and warm water.

So, has a poo ever made you incredibly happy?

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The birth story, or Finally, not a false alarm

Saturday 10 October, Rosemary woke up at 6.30am and I went into her room, where I had to kneel on the floor and lean on her bed, because I was in a lot of pain. It was similar to the pains I’d been getting from the downward pressure on my pelvis for ages, but not quite the same. After a few moments, the pain passed and we headed downstairs where, as usual, we let the dog out the back. While outside, I had another wave of pain and had to lean on the wall, trying to talk to Rosemary about the moon and stars that were exciting me. When we went back inside, I had to immediately go and sit down, rather than making tea and getting Rosemary a cup of milk. After a while, I had another, and realised that these were definitely different to the pain I’d been having before, so I asked Rosemary to go and ‘Tell Daddy to get up now, because Mummy’s having different pains.’

There then followed another day of timing and waiting. These were definitely contractions, and strong ones, though they were all concentrated at the bottom of the bump, just above the pelvis, rather than being waves of pain travelling down the whole bump. But, the problem was that they weren’t regular. They varied from about 6 minutes to over 20 minutes in frequency, and from just under a minute to 2.5 minutes in length. They weren’t getting closer together, though did seem to be getting stronger.

The majority of the day I spent sat on my gym ball, timing the contractions. I put off phoning the maternity unit, because I was sure they’d just say ‘Wait until you get three in ten minutes’, but in the end Chris persuaded me to phone anyway, just for reassurance. I was pleased I did, because it was my midwife who answered the phone. She reassured me that it sounded like the real thing and that it was just a case of how long it would take. She also said we were welcome to come in whenever we wanted. I wanted to stay at home as long as possible, but it was wonderful to know that she would be there, because I trust her a lot.

My mum had come and taken Rosemary out for the day and offered to have her overnight, which Rosemary was keen on, so we were free to prepare without worrying about her. Chris made dinner and we ate at five. And I decided, after dinner, that it was time to get active and try to move the contractions on. I had known that that would help, but I had been avoiding it all day, because they hurt too much and I was suddenly rather keen to avoid the whole pain thing. But by 5.30, I felt it was time, so I started walking round and round the dining room table. Within minutes, the contractions had moved closer together, and it was hardly any time before I was getting them three minutes apart.

We called Eva, to get her round to dogsit, called my midwife to let her know it was time, and called Emma to come and get us. And off we went, with the ridiculous amount of stuff – labour bag, Eleanor bag, my bag, and an extra bag with food in it.

We got to Stroud Maternity at about 6.30pm, where we were welcomed by Sarah, who had got our room ready – darkened, calm music on, ball and mat on the floor. She settled us in and took my vitals and then left us to to it for a bit. I soon found that sitting down, whether on the ball or on a chair, caused the contractions to slow down again, so I was pacing up and down the room a lot, to keep them going forward.

At about 7.30, Sarah examined me and I was 3cm dilated. I was disappointed that it wasn’t further ahead, but also relieved because a little part of me still had the possibility of its being yet another false alarm in my head. At 9pm, Sarah popped home to have some food and we were being looked after by Sandy, the midwife who had been there during last week’s false alarm. She suggested I try a hip swinging, almost stationery motion instead of pacing, as it uses less energy and, at the same time, helps baby’s head to get even further down. It definitely seemed to work as, when I tried to sit down on the gym ball for a minute, it was too uncomfortable as I could feel the head. Sandy also got the bath filled up, as she thought it shouldn’t be too long.

At that point I moved to kneeling on the mat on the floor with my arms resting on a beanbag. I was also swivelling my hips between contractions, though by this point they weren’t really slowing down. I had started on the gas and air a fair while earlier, and was definitely needing it. At 11.30, Sarah (who was back again), examined me and I was 7cm dilated. So it was time to go through to the pool.

When I got in the pool I was very impressed – it felt wonderful. I (thought I) had two contractions and didn’t even need to use the gas and air. But then I had another one and, oh boy, did it hurt! The next contraction was very weird. I honestly thought the baby was coming, even hearing Sarah and Chris saying ‘There’s the head. Just keep pushing and you’ll have a baby.’ I kept pushing (seemingly) and screaming and really thought I’d pushed her out, only to ‘come to’ and hear Sarah saying ‘Wow, that was a really big contraction.’ Huh? But where’s the baby?

I was fairly out of it on the gas and air, as you will have seen from the after pictures, so most of it is blurry. I know I kept getting cramp. I know that I was shouting and swearing lots and not doing very well at breathing through the pain. I remember Sarah telling me at one point that some of my waters had gone and then a bit later saying ‘That’s the rest of your waters’. I remember getting to a point where I couldn’t carry on any longer and saying so, then shortly after that I heard someone say the head was out (and it was this time), then not long after that, she just sort of slipped out – or so it seemed – and then I was having to step over the cord, so she could be put on my chest.

Fairly quickly, I was rushed back to the delivery room, as I was losing too much blood to stay in the water (thought lost 200ml less than last time). Chris carried Eleanor through and she got put on my chest again. Tried offering the breast, but nothing doing. Placenta came out at some point and apparently the umbilical cord was huge. Then Sarah stitched me up – had a small tear, because she came out so quickly. I think I managed one sip of tea and didn’t eat any of the toast.

Then we got wheeled down to the ward and settled in there. Eleanor had a quick feed and then went to sleep in the attached cot, next to me. Chris went home to rest. I went to sleep. Eleanor stirred a few times during the night, but settled very quickly.

And we were home by about 4pm the same day.

[At some point I will write the epic tale of weight loss, feeding, expressing and so on that we were negotiating our way through at the moment. But probably not until it’s resolved.]

Sunday, 11 October 2009

4,000 words, idiomatically speaking

She was in labour, she's not in labour any more...

For those of you sans Twitter, Eleanor Brianna born 01.01 11.10.09, 7lb 14 1/2 oz. Mother and baby fine. Baby feeding, mother dreaming, father spacing out.


Monday, 5 October 2009

The Name Game

OMG Pregnant has passed this meme to me and, in light of my current situation, it is jumping to the head of the queue, before all the other memes and awards that I have building up. Because, look, it’s all about naming babies!

Here’s the deal, from Mommy Words: Names are important. Your kids’ names were chosen for a particular reason and they mean a lot to you so this would be a great story to share! If you don’t share your kids’ names on your blog you can just tell us where you got the catchy nickname for your little ones or just go through 1-10 and amuse us with your naming antics! No problemo! Copy the image above to use on your blog. Go ahead and answer the questions and then pass this Name Game and the simple instructions on to 5 other bloggy moms or dads who you think might want to share their story! Make sure to let Mommy Words know so she can follow the Name Game!

  1. Do you have any cultural or religious naming traditions?
    Not to my knowledge, though we did know there would be two middle names, as my surname needed to be in there as a middle name. (We are married, but I kept my name – there’s a post all about it, somewhere.)
  2. Did you or your partner come to the marriage with pre-selected names?
    I didn’t and don’t think Chris did.
  3. Did you consider the sound of the first and middle and last names together? Did this make any sad eliminations?
    Yes we did consider these things, and for Eleanor, we also considered how it would sound with her big sister’s name. Don’t remember whether it caused eliminations!
  4. Do you have veto powers?
    We wouldn’t have anything that we didn’t both like, I believe. So, I suppose we both had veto powers.
  5. Did the baby naming cause arguments?
    Not really. First time round there were some names I was disappointed to have to let go of, but I don’t think there were actual arguments about them.
  6. Do you think it is easier to name boys or girls?
    Well, this time round a boy’s name was easy to come up with, as we’d already chosen one last time round and kept it! But apart from that, I don’t think one’s easier than the other.
  7. Did you eliminate names because of people from your past or present who you don’t like or because a certain image comes to mind.
    Not really. We probably eliminated some for being a bit too popular at the moment, though, which was a factor.
  8. Did you / would you survey your children to get their thoughts on the name?
    We asked Rosemary for some ideas when we trying to come up with girls’ names, but she wasn’t hugely interested. As soon as we had chosen, though, she started coming up with alternatives. For a fair while, she went around saying the baby in my tummy was called Holli (a choice we wouldn’t have made, as I have a cousin called Holli). These days, apparently ‘Eleanor has four names – Eleanuh, Eleanor, Chicken-Beef and Poppy’
  9. Did you tell people the name or possible names before the baby was born or were they “in the vault”?
    We shared the names, as soon as we had come up with them. It’s really important to us (or possibly to me and Chris has kindly gone along with it?) to be able to bond with the baby while she’s inside and knowing the gender and being able to talk about Rosemary or Eleanor, rather than ‘it’ or ‘the baby’ makes this much easier. It’s doubly useful this time, because it has allowed Rosemary to more easily appreciate that there is a baby inside my tummy and she talks to her and sings to her.
  10. Did you use baby name books?
    I don’t think so, but think we may have looked at some naming websites.

Drumroll Please… What did you name your kid(s) and why?

Rosemary Alice Goddard Clark

Rosemary is a combination of two of our grandmothers’ names. Rose was Chris’ Nanny and Mary was my Granny Mary. Chris’ Nanny was still alive when Rosemary came into the world and so she knew that Rosemary was partly named after her, which is nice. It was also very important for us to have a long name that the child could choose to shorten in various ways as and when (and if) they wanted to, because not everyone is always happy with their given name. I had been quite keen on Maria, after my Granny Mary, but Chris had some issues with names ending in the letter A, so that was eliminated. I honestly can’t remember who came up with the combination, but we both really liked it – the name and also the fact that it had meaning within both families, we also liked that it was an older name that isn’t especially common at the moment.

Alice we came up with in hospital, after my waters broke and waiting for contractions to start. ‘Oh no. We don’t have a middle name!’ We just went through a few, taking turns suggesting them and saying ‘Hmm, maybe’ or ‘No!’, or ‘Yes’ and we both liked Alice and sounded good with Rosemary! I do have a second cousin called Alice and had a childhood friend called Alice, but they’re both really nice.

Eleanor Brianna Goddard Clark

With Eleanor, we were again aiming for a name that could be shortened in various ways and also wanted something that would be sound good when said with Rosemary. We considered a combination of the other two grandmothers, but that didn’t really work (Treena and Lena), so it was just a case of coming up with ideas and finding one we both liked. I’m fairly certain that Eleanor was Chris’ idea, initially, and I really liked it, too. We discussed it a bit and looked up things about it – it’s what Sam Gamgee called one of his daughters, though with a different spelling, for example; there’s an Eleanor in Sense and Sensibility, again with a different spelling. As with Rosemary, it’s not hugely common in this day and age, which we like. And we like it. We do both pronounce it differently, which is amusing – one of us will probably end up using the other’s pronunciation in the end!

Brianna is a female version of Brian. If Eleanor had been a boy, then her middle name would have been Brian – at my request. My father (Brian John Goddard) passed away in 2007 and I wanted his name in there if it was a boy. Chris was quite happy with that, and then came up with the suggestion that we might be able to find a nice female version of Brian for a girl. We were neither of us too keen on Bryony, but liked Brianna, which sounds (and possibly is, I don’t recall) more Celtic (my dad was Welsh) and again, is a little unusual. It is a little too unusual for some people, and we do often have to spell it out and people hear ‘Rhiannon’ instead of Brianna when we say it sometimes.

They both have the surname Clark, but have Goddard as a second middle name. We didn’t want to go with the whole double-barrelled surname, because it’s a bit too much to lumber a child with. For the most part, Rosemary is Rosemary Clark, just officially, Rosemary Alice Goddard Clark. Sometimes people stick the Goddard onto the Clark to double-barrel it and they are corrected. It was important for me to have the Goddard there, so people wouldn’t question my parenthood, but I could remain Tasha Goddard and not have to change my name. Though I have found, since becoming a mum, that I am far more often called ‘Mrs Clark’ and Chris is far less often called ‘Mr Goddard’. I let it go a fair bit, these days, especially if it’s someone I’m going to see once (e.g. British Gas engineer), but will correct pre-school staff and doctors’ receptionists and so on. If I phone up nursery school or playgroup, I tend to say ‘This is Tasha, Rosemary’s mum.’ and just leave the whole surname out of it.

Well, that was fun. Took my mind off Eleanor still not being here (no more contractions since they were gone on waking Sunday morning, by the way).

I need to pass this on. Am trying to think of anyone else who uses their children’s actual names, and OMG Pregnant has already passed on to two I would have chosen (Emily at Maternal Tales and Amy at And 1 More Means Four, who is currently suffering through first-trimester tiredness with her fifth, yes fifth, baby):

That’s everyone I can think of who uses their children’s actual names on their blogs – and I might actually be wrong about them! I shall also throw it open to anyone else who wants to do it, because I find names fascinating.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

She’s in labour, she’s not in labour, she’s in…

So, those of you following Twitter, Facebook or Babyworld updates may have been under the impression that Eleanor would be here by now. And you wouldn’t be the only one.

Unfortunately, this was not to be. The contractions that started on Thursday afternoon and got closer together and stronger until, yesterday lunchtime, they felt strong enough and close enough to go the maternity unit, have now completely and utterly disappeared.

We spent a couple of hours at the maternity unit, but the contractions got weaker and they needed to witness three strong (“toe-curling”) contractions in ten minutes before they would examine me to see how dilated I was (or if I was).

They’re all fairly convinced it won’t be long, considering how far down the head is, but we still need those strong contractions. Waters are still intact. I have a feeling I won’t get the really strong contractions until the waters have gone, though I know plenty of people’s waters don’t go until they’re well into labour, so may be wrong there.

Anyway, they said we could wait there, or go home where it’s more comfortable and the TV works. What do you think we chose? Yes, of course, we came home. And Chris went out to get a curry – an extra spicy one for me. Seems to have had the opposite effect to the desired one, though! And I really, really don’t like hot curries – ow, ow, ow.

I think (barring an actual birth, of course, which would have been the best outcome), I prefer that the contractions have stopped completely for the moment. Because everything was very much on hold, waiting for them to get stronger and for something to happen. Obviously, we’re still waiting for something to happen, but we’re back to the possibility that it could still take another three weeks, or happen any minute. So, Chris will take Rosemary swimming as normal, this morning and I’ll do a bit of work while they’re out and send some invoices, so that when Eleanor does finally arrive we can afford to buy nappies. And, while various relatives will be keeping their mobiles charged and glued to them ready to come look after Rosemary and Wesley, give us lifts to hospitals, or jump in a car and drive all the way from Scotland (somehow, how I think that won’t happen until they have pictorial evidence that she’s been born!), we will be carrying on much as normal and will deal with labour as and when it actually occurs. Properly.

I’m wondering whether I should keep completely quiet (at least about Eleanor) now until I have an actual birth to announce. I’m aware that I am getting everyone’s (not least my own) hopes up every time I tweet about all these false starts. Would you prefer silence until I can say ‘Eleanor Brianna Goddard Clark was born at XXX on XXX and weighed XXX’? Or are you happy to (unintentionally) teased by false start after false start after false start? Of course, I get so excited when I’m convinced it is happening, that I might well ignore your wishes and tweet, etc. anyway.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Quick update

Not in my usual style, I'm going to do a quick update to keep all the inquisitive people out there satisfied...

Eleanor is still tucked up inside me. But she is now fully engaged - in the words of the midwife yesterday 'Really, really, right down there,' and will be coming very very soon - again, according to the midwife. She has booked me in for my 39-week appointment next Thursday, but says she'll be extremely surprised if I need to go and that it's more likely to be within the next couple of days. She said there's no way I will go late, let alone make my due date and this baby is very much ready to come out and meet us.

I am now more pregnant than I have ever been before, which is kind of odd. We actually got to talk about methods for active labour and positions for birth and so on, which I never got round to last time - and had pretty much no choice over. She has given me her 'other mobile number'. The one which you call if you're in labour. And she will be there to help out if at all possible (she is off over the weekend, though), which is really nice. All the midwives I've met up at Stroud Maternity have been lovely, but the possibility of getting such continuity of care and being able to have the same midwife present at the birth who has seen me throughout the pregnancy is just perfect - even if she can't make it, knowing that she would like to makes a big difference.

Anyway, after all that, last night was the first night in ages when I didn't have any contractions. Perhaps because I was feeling happier and more relaxed?

So, hopefully the next post will be a birth announcement.

For more up-to-date information, check out the Twitter feed to the right (or follow me on Twitter), or add me on Facebook (link on the right, again), as these are both easier to update from a mobile phone than the blog, so will probably see the news there first.