Archive for Appointments

The end is nigh

It seems weird to look back on the time when I wasn’t even sure I was pregnant yet, but landed myself in hospital with OHSS.

In some ways this pregnancy has flown by, but taking all the hormones to prep my body for IVF almost feels like a lifetime ago.

You may well have heard on the news about an NHS trust that is going into administration. I don’t think this issue will affect me, but having said that, I’m not convinced I’ve had the best level of care during my pregnancy.

Ironically, as someone growing two babies inside me, I’ve had “consultant-led” antenatal care, rather than midwife-led. I have had access to a community midwife, but only through a once-a-week drop in and I wasn’t encouraged to use it until I was near the end of my pregnancy as, in theory, I wouldn’t need to see a midwife as I was having regular doctor appointments.

Despite my care being “consultant-led”, I have yet to meet the consultant. My mum pointed out that this is probably a good thing inasmuch as I probably would have only had to see the consultant in the event of my pregnancy having extra complications, which it hasn’t. However, instead of seeing the consultant each time, I have seen a DIFFERENT registrar at every single appointment.

Again, this needn’t necessarily be an issue, but despite the fact that they are handed my notes prior to me entering the room, none of them seem particularly to know very much about me. I have been asked on multiple occasions why I had IVF, who L is or a question about my “husband”. One pair of registrars expressed concerns about the sizes of the babies after the 20-week scan and I had to have an additional scan at 24 weeks in order to check the twins were growing as they should. At the follow-up appointment to the 24-week scan, the registrar I saw didn’t appear to have even realised that I had just had a scan and had no idea that the appointment had been made due to a specific concern. He was very blasé about the babies’ weights and since then there has never been another concern expressed. Indeed, I can’t believe how much the twins’ estimated weights were at the 36-week scan as I never thought they’d reach ‘normal’ singleton body weights.

After the 36-week scan I assumed I’d be booked in for induction fairly promptly – and actually, expected to go into labour naturally before 37 weeks as I had yet to encounter a twins story that didn’t involve the babies coming early. However, the registrar I saw explained that the consultant had expressed a desire for me to not carry beyond 38 weeks.

Well, duh, considering the NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidelines for twin pregnancies state that women should not be allowed to go beyond 38 weeks.

I was disappointed, but equally was keen to go into labour naturally rather than be induced, so I didn’t argue the point and accepted the appointment they gave me for the following week.

At the next appointment, which was on Wednesday, the registrar we saw seemed concerned that an induction hadn’t been booked yet and immediately went off to discuss with the consultant and then ring the labour ward to book me in. The earliest she could get me in was Monday evening, by which point I’ll be (according to the due date created by the sonographer at the 12-week scan) 38 weeks +1 day. In actual fact, if you base it on when I had egg collection – and therefore when the babies were conceived – I’ll be 37+6, which I suppose is marginally more acceptable.

I have given up on the babies coming of their own accord as they seem well and truly settled in my belly and, although my bump has certainly dropped a great deal and the babies feel much lower than they were, all the twinges and Braxton Hicks I’ve had don’t seem to lead to anything.

Unfortunately, aside from being hugely uncomfortable because I have two rather large and wriggly babies in my belly, I am also now suffering a great deal of pain in my pelvis and am finding moving around increasingly difficult. Presumably this is due to the 12+lbs of baby I have weighing down on my pelvis, which I feel really should have been a consideration when deciding how long to leave me before inducing labour.

Not only, though, has the continuity of care been somewhat lacking, the timekeeping at the antenatal clinic has been atrocious. At times I have gone into my appointments over AN HOUR after they were scheduled. On Wednesday when we arrived at the clinic and I checked in, I asked the lady manning the desk if they were running behind at all. She told us that she didn’t think so – she’d had no complaints.

We went in over half an hour after the scheduled time.

Even once I was on maternity leave, I had far better things to do than sit around in a waiting room and when I was actually missing work to be there it was even worse!

Still, despite the multiple reasons that I have to not be surprised this particular NHS trust is going into administration, at least the end is in sight now. The hospital I am delivering in is actually not the same one where I’ve had my antenatal appointments and I have heard good things about the labour ward. My biggest concern now is that my pelvis will be so painful that it will actually affect my ability to push these babies out.

But one way or another these babies will come out and hopefully by Tuesday or Wednesday I will actually be able to report 20 tiny fingers and 20 tiny toes, not to mention whether we have little boy parts or little girl parts!

At this point I just really can’t wait to not be pregnant any more!

Home Sweet Home

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Last Monday we FINALLY moved into our new home. As you can see from the photo, I am now massive and very close to actually having these babies. We’re expecting them within the next two weeks. Wow!

The house is getting there in terms of us being unpacked and organised. Despite moving from a flat to a house, we’ve actually had to down-size in a number of ways – not least because what was our spare room in our flat is now the babies’ room in the new house, so we can’t just pile all our junk in there (although, shh, don’t tell anyone, that’s exactly what it looks like right now!).

Because we’re not quite totally unpacked yet, I don’t have any “after” photos to show yet, but here are some “before” shots I took when we were still waiting for the removal men.

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Living/dining room with fab view of the garden.

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Kitchen with door out to the garden (cats were locked in the bathroom at this point, bless them!).

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Garden (at a bit of a funny angle – not sure quite what happened there).

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Front living room

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The babies’ room

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Our bedroom (I realise these last two are exceptionally rubbish pictures, hopefully all will become clear when I am able to take the “after” shots!).

We need a couple more bits of furniture, most of which will hopefully be provided by the in-laws as my father-in-law has just got a job in London, meaning they’ll be moving down from Birmingham permanently and, consequently, down-sizing. Unfortunately the compromise with free furniture is that we may well have to go a few weeks or even months without.

Still, I am starting to feel like we might be ready for these babies soon. The cats, who were imprisoned in the back room for just over a week, have now started exploring the garden. Although Hercules is proving a bit of a scaredy cat and doesn’t often venture outside, Rocky and Barney are loving it!

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I am tired pretty much ALL THE TIME and even starting to get bored of maternity leave – not that I want to be at work you understand, but with the constraints of money and energy levels there is only so much I can do to keep myself entertained! Thankfully L only has one more week left at work after this one, as the head has agreed to let her start her paternity leave on the 9th July, whether or not the babies have come yet.

(God I hope they have!)

We’ve had a bit of a sweepstake amongst the family based on the birth date and combined birth weight and tomorrow marks the earliest date anyone has bet on. Which means we really are entering the realms of imminent arrival!

I have a final scan on Tuesday, which will dictate our next steps (Caesarian, induction, spicy food lol) and then it really will be just a matter of days until the twins arrive!

I am so excited but equally terrified, although I am looking forward to no longer being kicked in the ribs by two pairs of feet – at least from the inside anyway.

How to waste time and irritate people

So we had our 32-week scan on Wednesday.  What a lark that was!

Our appointment for the scan was at 9:40 and our clinic appointment was 10:20, so already we were going to be cutting it fine, despite them being just down the corridor from one another.  When we arrived at the ultrasound reception desk, however, I was told my appointment was 9:50.  Apparently, it turned out later, a load of appointment times had been changed – I’m not sure why.

So we went to sit and wait, knowing we had an even longer wait ahead of us than we had originally anticipated as we’d arrived not long after 9:20, having misjudged the traffic and made it to the hospital in less than 20 minutes.  However, 9:50 came and went and we still hadn’t been called in yet.  By the time we were eventually ushered into an ultrasound room it was almost 10 past 10, so I told the sonographer that our clinic appointment was only 10 minutes away.

She was clearly having a bad day all of her own and wasn’t impressed that all these appointments had been changed.  She had a student with her, who carried out most of the ultrasound – which I thought was perhaps not the best idea as we were in kind of a rush – and they both seemed flustered.  Twice I had wiped my belly dry and got down off the bed when she asked me to get back on as she’d missed a measurement.

So then we were running almost 20 minutes late for our clinic appointment.  We rushed down the corridor and checked in at the clinic reception.  The receptionist didn’t seem too bothered that we were so late.  She also didn’t tell me that the clinic was running late.

At 11:30 I went back out to reception to ask when we were likely to be seen.  The receptionist then explained that they were running later as they only had two doctors on that morning (she didn’t say why), but that she was fairly sure I would be one of the next couple of people called as I’d already had my notes collected and my blood pressure taken.

Eventually we were called in to see the doctor sometime after 12.  I don’t know exactly what the time was because by then we had both pretty much lost the will to live.  He looked at the ultrasound printout, agreed that the twins were both now cephalic (head down) and said that I needed to come back in 4 weeks, after my next scan.  To say the appointment lasted 5 minutes is probably being generous.

I had some blood taken to check my iron levels, booked an appointment for the 4th July and we left, 3 hours after we had arrived.  We didn’t even get any pictures from the ultrasound because we didn’t have any change and neither did the sonographer, besides which she had only managed to get a profile of one baby (the right one this time though!) and I would have had to get back on the bed a third time and be gelled up again in order to try and get a picture of the other twin.

There seriously has to be a better way to run a hospital!

The long and short of it is that the twins are now in the correct position and in fact Rightbaby is now the lower of the two and very low at that – the student sonographer struggled to get the probe low enough on my belly to measure the head accurately.  They are also both kind of big!  Rightbaby is 3lb 12oz and Leftbaby is 4lb 4oz!  I am a little afraid that in 4 weeks’ time I’ll be carrying the equivalent of a 12lb baby, which, on my 5’2″ frame, is not a prospect I relish!

As a result I started panicking about not having packed a hospital bag yet – I’d been fairly convinced I would end up needing a caesarian and therefore have a set date to go into the hospital – so the wife and I have been out shopping to make sure we have everything we need. It’s amazing how expensive it all is!

It looked yesterday like we would be ready to exchange contracts today, but our buyers’ solicitors are making it extremely difficult for our solicitors to get hold of them and our buyers are first-time buyers and not pregnant and I guess therefore are not harassing their solicitors the way we are.  Hopefully – HOPEFULLY – we will now exchange on Monday and then complete the following Monday.  Please keep everything crossed for us!

And finally, for your viewing pleasure, comparative bumps:

6th April / 6th May / 6th June… Never mind the bump, look how puffy my face has got!

No I haven’t dropped off the face of the Earth…

Our broadband router is broken.  We don’t know what’s wrong with it, but it is definitely broken.  Sky want to charge us for a new one, which is not going to happen because we are leaving Sky when we move and will actually live in a Virgin Media area.  So yah boo sucks to Sky.  Except this of course means we have no broadband at home, and the phone reception isn’t great, so I’ve been clinging onto the bare minimum of internet access by the skin of my teeth for the last couple of weeks.  So frustrating!

I have about 3 half written blog posts saved in my drafts folder, and wanted to blog about our weekend in Birmingham a couple of weeks ago, but it’s taken this long to get somewhere I can actually get online.  We’ve managed to do the odd bits and pieces at work, but to be honest we have too much work to do at work to have time to use the internet for much else.  Today, however, I am round at my mum and step-dad’s (they are away in their caravan) and using their super fast Virgin fibre optic broadband.  Whoop whoop!

So makes yourselves comfy, because this post may well end up being somewhat on the lengthy side.

We had a great time at the Baby Show in Birmingham on the 19th May.  It was great to be in a position to be able to actually buy stuff for the babies as by this point I was 30 weeks and my wife, with all her superstitions, couldn’t deny that it was in fact starting to get a bit desperate that we buy the essentials.  We were able to buy the buggy we wanted at a fantastic price and I’m ridiculously excited because it’s coming on Thursday, along with a cup holder and changing bag.

Bugaboo Donkey Twin in black and stone

We also ordered two cots from Mamas and Papas at a very good discount and I then went a little crazy in the Mamas and Papas nursery section as all their nursery accessories were 30% off, so we bought cot bumpers, some bedding, mobiles, changing mats and a lampshade, all from their Gingerbread range, which is mostly green and yellow and therefore very unisex as well as being ridiculously cute!

We also bought a bottle starter kit and some breastfeeding essentials, all at fabulous discounts.  There were lots of gimmicks that we ummed and ahhed over before deciding they were unnecessary and some great bouncy chairs that we really wanted, but missed out on because we prioritised getting the buggy and cots ordered and they were sold out by the time we went back.  All in all though, a great day.  I can’t believe how many hours we managed to spend there without getting bored!

The next day was great as well – although we couldn’t stay in Birmingham long as we had to head back to make sure our cats were okay and hadn’t destroyed the flat in our absence – as we got to meet Lauren and Sarah from 2 Brides to 2 Mummies!  Our first blogger meet up.  My wife gets very anxious about meeting new people, which was good in a way as it meant that I couldn’t afford to be anxious about it because I had to be upbeat and chipper and encouraging and tell her that she’d have a lovely time, which of course she did!  We met the girls at Starbucks in the Bullring and although we were only able to stay for an hour, due to needing to get back to London, we easily could have stayed and chatted for so long!  It was really great to meet them in person and find out that they really are as lovely as they seem on Twitter and their blog.  Hopefully, we’ll get to repeat the experience soon, whether that’s avec bump or avec babies!!

In the meantime, we have STILL been waiting to exchange contracts on our sale and purchase so we can actually move house.  The solicitors have been dragging their feet a little and L has had to ring them almost daily, but finally it looks as though we really will be in a position to exchange next week (after about 50 million Bank Holidays of course, what fabulous timing!).  This week is half term, which is a very welcome break, and our removals company delivered our boxes on Friday evening so, amongst getting a bit of school work done, we can start packing up the flat.  Or, at least, L can start packing up the flat and I can direct from the sofa.  Actually, I should be able to be slightly more helpful than that, but only because the temperature has dropped.  Last week I looked like I had elephantitus of the feet and ankles, which thankfully was only due to the heat and not a sign of pre-eclampsia as the midwife I saw on Friday said my blood pressure was still nice and low.

We’re hoping to enjoy this week off together as much as possible as, or course, it’ll be the last school holiday we have without the twins actually being here!  We’re planning to go to the cinema and maybe  hit the crazy golf if the weather picks up a bit.  It’s weird to think that I only have one week left at work when we go back after the break.  It’s been a long time coming, but now that it’s imminent, it’s a little scary as well as a little sad that I won’t get to see the year out with my class.  I know I’m leaving them in good hands though, which is reassuring.

This week we also have our 32-week scan, which should give a clear indication of how I am likely to deliver these babies.  The midwife I saw on Friday thinks that one twin has turned out of the breech position, but if she’s right, it’s the wrong twin.  In order for me to attempt a natural birth, Twin 1 needs to be in the correct position, as this is the lower twin and therefore the one that will come out first.  It’ll be interesting to see on Wednesday what position both the babies are in, although it’s also a bit scary to think that as a result of this scan, I may be booked in for a caesarian in a  few weeks’ time!  It really isn’t long now until the babies arrive – it could almost be any time now! – and aside from not even being moved into our new place yet, I feel there are tons of other things we need to do to get properly ready for their arrival.

One thing we have done though, is buy a car.  We need to be a two-car family as L will still need to drive to work, plus we currently have a Toyota Aygo, which although it is a great little car, has the boot space of one of those Little Tykes red and yellow toddler cars.

Come to think of it, the Cosy Coupe may have more boot space than we have in the Aygo…

So, in order that we have a car that can actually fit our babies and their giant buggy, we needed to find something a little bigger.  However, it couldn’t be too big, as our new driveway is slightly on the small side.  In fact, it’s not even that the driveway is narrow, it’s that the turning space on the road in order to get onto our driveway is narrow.  Regardless, we had very specific requirements when it came to size that thankfully ruled out the Nissan Qashqai my wife was desperate to get.  We looked at quite a few cars that fall into the “bigger-small-car” range and settled on the Ford Fiesta, which these days has a very spacious boot (I know because I measured it myself!).  We managed to find a 3-year-old Fiesta Titanium, which is the top of the range model, for a reasonable price that we could get finance for.  And yesterday I put a deposit down on it.

Because it’s the Titanium, it has loads of mod-cons including climate control, Bluetooth and various other gimmicks and gadgets.  We are also getting them to Diamond Brite it, which is kind of like scotch-guarding and will hopefully protect the upholstery from the worst of the babies’ messes, as well as getting them to throw in a parking sensor for free, which will really help with manoeuvring it on and off the drive.  Hopefully I’ll be able to pick it up the weekend I start maternity leave, so I won’t be stuck at home relying on buses when L goes off to work.

Did I mention it’s pink? Well, “hot magenta” if I’m being totally accurate. Love it!!

About time for a little update

Ah, my poor neglected blog.

It’s not that I haven’t had topics in mind to blog about – I have – it’s that, during the holidays I had plenty of time to blog, but also needed to plan a lesson observation for the first Thursday back at work.  I tried to get all my work done at the beginning of the holidays, but after a fruitless hour spent on the computer, I put it aside for another day.  I eventually finished all my work over the last weekend of the holidays.  This meant that, during the holidays, although I was technically procrastinating the whole time, I couldn’t really justify sitting down and blogging because then I would be actively avoiding doing my work and…I don’t know…does anyone else have that kind of mind set when it comes to procrastination?  If you’re not really doing anything, you can’t possibly be procrastinating.

Anyhow, then we were back at work and I had my observation and that meant that week was totally hectic.  Plus, over the weekend my amazing wife ran the London Marathon (SO! PROUD!) and between seeing relatives who had come down to support her and actually traipsing around London to catch a glimpse of her on the course, we didn’t have a lot of weekend left.

The babies are wriggling like crazy these days, which is so exciting!  I am even starting to identify different body parts – at least in a vague “that must be a limb, that must be a head” sort of way.  Rightbaby is breech (and still very obstinate as evidenced by the scan pictures below) and his or her head is constantly trying to make its way under my ribs.

Leftbaby, 25 weeks 1 day

Rightbaby, 25 weeks 1 day

We had a scan at 25 weeks and the babies had grown, although they still seem to be on the small side of average.  The doctor we saw this time wasn’t at all concerned (there’s a whole other post in that) and we’re back again at 28 weeks for our regular twin scan and appointment.  Maternity leave is growing closer (only 6 more working weeks after this one) but still seems ages away – particularly as our friend at work, who is 8 weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy, is finishing next Friday.  Jealous doesn’t even begin to cover it, even though I know I’ll only have a few more weeks to wait and that after SATs in 3 weeks’ time, my working day will become a hell of a lot easier.  Work has definitely become less of a priority since I’ve been pregnant.  I really did want my observation lesson to go well – particularly as I knew it would be my last before having a year off – but I’ve found it hard to put as much effort into work as I would usually.  If I could have my way, I think I’d have sat at home for the last few weeks just watching my bump ripple and talking to the babies.

We’re getting closer to exchange of contracts on our sale and purchase but still aren’t quite there yet.  I am so desperate to have a moving date and can’t wait until we can seriously start thinking about nursery furniture.  Once we’ve bought our buggy (which will hopefully be from The Baby Show, this time in Birmingham near the end of May) we also need to look into a second car.

So whilst I am eager and anxious for the time to come around when the babies arrive, we still have a great deal to do before they make an appearance!  Hopefully things will fall into place and we’ll be well and truly settled by the time these babies are out in the real world.  If not, I know we will muddle through, whatever happens.

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