I can’t believe I have actually made it to term! Although we are so close, it still feels so far. I just don’t understand these people that say pregnancy flies by?! Madness.
It has been a busy few weeks since I last posted. Firstly, I am finally on maternity leave. Wahoo! The last few weeks were pretty difficult, dealing with such a long commute and unhelpful employer. I would have liked to have carried on working for at least another week longer than I did, but in the end I just couldn’t cope with the many challenges of the job on top of being the size of a house and being completely unable to sleep!
Secondly, as things turned out, it is probably good that I left when I did. I have had to have a number of medical appointments over the past week or so, which would have just created drama had I still been working. Although UK law is very good to pregnant women and we have the right to take time off to attend antenatal appointments without consequence at work, in practice employers can still make things difficult for you or find other ways of penalising you should they wish. (When I have the energy, I will post about the final saga at work: their decision not to award me any form of bonus, despite the fact I met all my objectives and the bonus period related mostly to 2015 when I was working insane hours, and to not give me my proper pay rise).
So over the past 10 days I have been to both the doctors and the hospital several times. Firstly, I came out in a horrible rash all over my feet, hands and thighs. OMG it was miserable. It sounds a bit silly and unimportant compared with actual pain, but it was horrendous being so itchy without being able to do anything to stop it! I had a number of tests which, thankfully, didn’t show anything of concern (the main concern being liver problems) and after being given some special cream the rash appears to have gone away (without wishing to jinx things!).
Next came the ridiculously swollen feet. Honestly, my feet swelled to almost double their original size. I couldn’t even get shoes on! Cue: lots of blood pressure and urine tests to check for pre-eclampsia. Again, thankfully, all negative. Seriously though, I looked (and still look) like one of those overweight, elderly ladies who you see hobbling around town…and it was also SO PAINFUL. I have been getting BT to do daily feet massages, which he is not too happy about!
Finally, at my 36 week checkup last week, the midwife did her standard baby measurements. We have always known that Baby Flat will be a fatty, as I was 9lbs 1oz, my brother was 10lbs 20z and BT’s siblings were also similar weights. When she measured me she was shocked that I had shot up off the chart and was measuring at over 40 weeks when I technically should have been around 36 weeks. Cue: emergency scan to check fluid levels and Baby Flat’s weight. Thankfully there did not seem to be a problem with there being too much fluid, he’s just a little fatty! At 36 weeks he was already weighing over 7lbs. Yikes.
Since then we have had a bit of a nightmare trying to get sensible advice from someone who knows what they are talking about. I have been pushed from pillar to post by different midwives and have been given so much conflicting advice by them.
My main concern is that Baby Flat will get into difficulty if he is extremely big and we attempt a natural birth. In short, the risk of shoulder dystocia (in noddy terms, where the shoulders get stuck) increases dramatically and the risk of stillbirth goes up slightly. As both BT and I were overdue, there is a genuine likelihood that Baby Flat will also be overdue and by that stage he will be a whopper. From our perspective, if he comes at 40 weeks or before then things may be ok, but if he is overdue we would prefer to have an elective c-section. We know the risks involved with a c-section, but to us the risks of attempting a natural birth when the baby is massive are worse (i.e. stillbirth, general distress to the baby coming out, horrific tears requiring further surgery down the line etc). We simply cannot see how an elective operation in a controlled environment is worse for the baby, or me, in this situation. There also seem to be a lot of stories of people who have tried to have their big baby naturally, who have then been rushed in for an emergency c-section when the baby gets stuck. This seems to carry all sorts of risks for the baby (as they often have to yank the baby ‘back up’ the canal) and greater risks to the mother of serious haemorrhage. Why risk these things happening?
Anyway, the main midwife, who has been fantastic throughout and who I really trust, said that she would arrange for me to have an appointment with a consultant so that I could discuss my concerns and chat about birth options. When she was unable to book this appointment she left a note for one of the other midwives saying that this appointment needed to be booked. The next day, when I saw that midwife, she refused to let me book the appointment and basically said that she could answer any of my questions. As we have found over the past 8 months, many midwives seem to have a real hatred of doctors and go out of their way to prevent you from speaking to one. Unfortunately, while I have so much respect for the good midwives and think they are brilliant at what they do, there are certain questions that only the doctors are qualified to answer. After bursting into tears through pure frustration after she couldn’t answer any of my questions, she eventually agreed to book me an appointment with the doctor, which I had today.
Where we’re at now, is that we’re “not allowed” to have an elective c-section. We had wanted to book one for when Baby Flat is a week overdue, but have been told that this will not be allowed. It is very frustrating because we actually have the right to elect to have a c-section and we know many people who have had elective c-sections simply because they preferred that option over a natural birth, without any particular medical concern. Instead, I have a follow-up appointment with the doctor in two weeks and will have another scan to see what size he is then.
It would make things so much easier if he could just come a week or two early!!!