Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Morning at the hospital

Today has been.... arduous. I had to go to the hospital in the morning for the Down Syndrome scan and I also had to give a blood sample to check for gestational diabetes. The first required me to have a full bladder and the second required me to fast for 10 hours beforehand. With morning sickness and a hacking cough thrown into the mix for good measure, you might have some understanding of why I used the word arduous.

Phil and Michael came along with me. Unfortunately we had a long wait everywhere we went. Most importantly, the scan went well. The sonographer took a very long time examining the baby in silence. I tremulously asked if there was anything wrong after watching her face for a time, and she told me that she was just concentrating on capturing the perfect image to measure the neck fold. The baby was looking wonderful. We saw the spine, which always astounds me with its perfection, and we heard the heartbeat for the first time. I won't find out my risk for having a baby with Down Syndrome until the results of the scan are combined with the blood test results and the average risk of someone my age. After the scan was over - and, incidentally, ow! Being jabbed in the belly for 15 minutes is not fun! - I dashed to the toilet. I completely forgot that Michael can get upset when I disappear from view and I could hear him crying for me. He is such a happy little guy that I forget how much he still needs me. The sonographer told me that he is my little satellite, orbiting my world and the reason he has confidence is because of my presence.

Michael was pretty unhappy after we left the sonographer's room. He didn't want to go into the waiting room when I went to get blood drawn. He kept taking my hand and trying to lead me away. Eventually I got seen and managed to get away with a finger prick test rather than having to give yet another vial of blood. We were all very happy to leave the hospital, although I haven't felt all that well since. I didn't get anywhere near enough sleep last night and I don't think the fasting helped much. Eating little and often is the thing that keeps the morning sickness at bay. I had been putting off having the gestational diabetes test for weeks because I didn't want to have to fast. Ah well, all done now.

I wanted to write an entry devoted to Michael but I feel so drained that I don't know that I'd do it justice. If I write when I'm tired, then when I read it back it seems passionless and I want to do Michael justice. If I get a good sleep tonight I promise to post in lavish detail about my wonderful son. I'll also force Phil to upload some new pictures to the gallery so I can show you what he looks like now (cute as a button, but in serious need of a haircut!)

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Decided to announce the pregnancy

I decided to publish all the posts I have been keeping back regarding my pregnancy. I had a bleeding scare at the weekend and an emergency scan on Tuesday. The baby is absolutely fine and there was no sign of bleeding. He was scratching his ear and twanging the umbilical cord which was fabulous :o) The scan was slightly longer than normal because the sonographer was explaining everything she was doing to a young, male trainee. I am never a big fan of men working in gynaecology but I guess everyone has the right to choose their profession.

You may be wondering why I am referring to the baby as a 'he' this early on. Although there is no way to be sure until the anomaly scan, the sonographer had a good look at the baby's bottom and it looked to be a boy. Also... the feet were huge so I can't believe that it could be a girl! No wonder I've been feeling some movement already!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Chocolate Rain

I've had the "Chocolate Rain" song in my head all day long. It is Phil's fault, really. He sent me the link to the YouTube sketch I posted about earlier. From that I started looking at other Star Wars sketches and I found a Chad Vader cover of "Chocolate Rain". Naturally, I had to watch all 8 Chad Vader episodes and seek out the original version of "Chocolate Rain". Now I have an earworm that just won't leave so I thought I'd spread it around.

Here is the original "Chocolate Rain":

This is the Chad Vader cover:

Enjoy and don't say I never give you anything ;o)


For your urgent comedy needs.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

New due date

I went for a dating scan today at the hospital and was told that the baby is measuring 5 days ahead of dates. I know my dates are accurate because I was charting and using OPKs on the month I fell pregnant. I guess this means it is going to be another big baby. My due date has been changed accordingly to...


How cool is that for a birthday?!? I know it is only something like 3% of babies that are born on their due dates but all the same, very cool. I'm anticipating that it will be another boy given the size and the fact he/she slept through the whole scan. The midwife was even trying to wake him/her up by jabbing my belly. The cheek! Poor baby. If you can't get some peace and quiet in the womb then where can you?

We would probably have gone out to dinner tonight to celebrate but we are all exhausted with a capital 'E'. Michael just isn't sleeping well at the moment. He wouldn't nap at all yesterday and ended up crashing out on me for a while. In the middle of the night he woke up crying and then a couple of hours later he was whimpering for some considerable time. In the end, an hour before our alarm was due to go off, we were all awake so I brought him into bed with us. He promptly curled up in the crook of my arm and slept the sleep of the innocent for the full hour. Lucky him. I just couldn't get back off to sleep and had a dead arm to boot. It was lovely to snuggle up with him, though. I've given him some Nurofen tonight and have to hope he sleeps better although I am not optimistic as I have already been up to him once.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008


Every time a new series of Masterchef starts, I do a lot more cooking and baking. For many years I was incredibly passionate about cooking and loved to try new recipes. I can't quite explain it but that stopped when I had my first miscarriage. I mostly only do family meals now and am not as adventurous as I used to be. It is difficult to find the time to get the spark back when I'm chasing around after a toddler.

I thought I'd start with some simple baking so I made some soured cream soda bread yesterday (with half the salt that the recipe called for) and an old-fashioned cherry cake today. The cherry cake isn't out of the oven yet but the smell is heavenly. Unfortunately, I won't be able to eat it because the stupid glacé cherry manufacturers put E127 (Red #3) into the ingredients. This colour is considered unsafe in pregnancy in the amounts commonly consumed so I can't have any. I decided to make a cherry cake because I have a lot of ingredients left over from Christmas. I'll probably make a bread and butter pudding sooner or later to use up all the currants, raisins and sultanas.

I love cooking for Phil because he appreciates practically everything I cook. I say practically because in the eight years I have been cooking for him, he has disliked only one dish. I can't blame him, it was a vegetarian dish that called for large chunks of fennel. You either like the flavour of anise or you don't. Phil doesn't.

Michael has also developed a healthy appreciation for food. He'll eat anything, and if he can steal it from my plate then so much the better. I am so pleased about this because he was still eating fully puréed foods at 13 months. I began to wonder if he would ever be able to cope with a coarser texture. Almost overnight, it seems, he turned into a mini gourmand. I watched him eat an incredibly stinky piece of cheese that was offered as a taster in a shop a few weeks ago. He ate every crumb, but unfortunately smelled like his Daddy's feet for the rest of the trip. Whiffy doesn't cover it!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Pregnancy update

I haven't posted in quite a while but I'm actually armed with a good excuse this time - I have had pretty horrible morning sickness for the last month and, coupled with exhaustion, I haven't felt like posting. It would probably have been a big moan, anyway.

So... here I am at 9 weeks pregnant. I had a scan at 7 weeks and saw a baby that was perfect for the dates with a heart pumping away. It is quite amazing the difference between a scan at 6 and at 7 weeks. With Michael, I was scanned at 6 weeks and just saw a flashing dot. At 7 weeks this time I saw a chest and the heart itself pumping. Amazing. The sonographer could see a small bleed on the scan but said it was probably an implantation bleed that was being reabsorbed.

Today I saw the midwife for my booking in appointment and I cannot believe the huge amount of paperwork I have been given! I have a dating scan next Wednesday, a consultation for the Downs Syndrome testing on Thursday, then I have to give a huge number of vials of blood and have another scan at 12 weeks to check the nuchal fold. Because Michael was such a large baby I have to have a test for gestational diabetes. I have had two diabetes tests in the past (one during pregnancy) and both have been normal. I think that the midwife should just take a look at Phil and recognise that no child of his is going to be small. Michael is still pretty much off the chart for height at 16 months. Still... I can't blame her for being cautious.

I have probably mentioned before that homebirths are standard in Holland unless there is a medical reason necessitating a hospital birth. I have been advised to give birth in hospital because of the complications with Michael's birth. His size led to a ventouse delivery and him suffering a broken collarbone. I can have the baby at either Spaarne Ziekenhuis in Hoofddorp or the VU in Amsterdam. The difference is that an epidural is not available at Spaarne outside normal office hours. It will probably all come down to how quickly the labour progresses. There will be regular growth scans in the third trimester and I may be induced if the baby is approaching a size where there is concern that I won't be able to deliver naturally.

I informed the midwife that Michael is still breastfed and she is happy for me to continue as long as I am comfortable to do so and the pregnancy remains low risk.

Whilst all this information was being exchanged, Michael was charging around like a small bull elephant and managed to bang his head on the desk twice. Poor Phil had a hell of a time keeping him still. I think he'd better stay at home next time!