Archive for Nothing like good organisation

Note to Self

When you schedule a half-finished post for a few days’ time, try to remember to actually finish it.


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!

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!

Raison d’etre

What was that you say? This blog was supposed to be about us having babies and instead I’ve turned it into some wedding-obsessed freakout-fest?

Well rest assured, the baby factor is back, because we have reached that joyous stage in our journey where medical types stick unmentionable things up your hoo-hah and you’re supposed to be okay with this.

Of course, when I say “you” that is because I am using the second person to distance myself from the mere concept of such an experience. I know, I know: having babies = complete lack of dignity and I better get used to getting my bits out to be manhandled on any number of occasions. But that still doesn’t mean I’m particularly looking forward to it.

There are a number of tests that need to be performed before we can go ahead with a cycle of IVF. I’m still not clear on exactly what this will involve – beyond an internal ultrasound – as once again the relevant staff at Guy’s are proving more elusive than the Scarlet Pimpernel.

We have made several phone calls in order to confirm what tests need to be performed and even had two returned phonecalls, but the clinic is only open between 8:30 and 4:30 and no one seems to appreciate that it is generally nigh on impossible for me to answer the phone within those hours. “Excuse me, kids, carry on with your work, I just need to talk to this nice lady about the lining of my womb.”

So, once again I find myself playing a frustrating game of voicemail tennis just to try and book an appointment – the thought of which leaves me rather more than cold.  Hopefully someone at Guy’s will get back to us this week.  I just can’t wait!

Of shoes and ships and sealing wax…

Well, not the ships or sealing wax so much. It’s not that type of wedding. But shoes.

Shoes are what have been on my mind the last few days.

We had a quiet but productive weekend. We ordered our favours and I finished off our table name cards on the computer (more of which at a later date; they are top secret for the time being but I officially LOVE our table names). We heard from our photographer and just need to finalise an evening next week when we can meet up at the venue to discuss specific shots we’d like. We were on a roll when it came to wedding organisation! ON A ROLL, I tell you.  Can you sense the upcoming irony of that statement?  Our plan was to go out after work on Monday and find some shoes for the bridesmaids.

We didn’t have the maids with us, but we were armed with their shoe sizes, so we spent a couple of hours walking around Bluewater shopping centre and, despite the sales, which were EVERYWHERE and, frankly, not useful when you want to buy four pairs of shoes in a range of sizes, we did find a few pairs we liked.

I tried them all on as, of course, we want our bridesmaids to be comfortable, but the main problem was that every pair we liked was towards the upper end of our budget (again, we needed FOUR pairs!). Finally, however, we found a pair that were reasonably priced and very comfortable. WIN WIN!

OF COURSE that meant they didn’t have all the sizes we needed available in store. But they checked online stocks and assured us we could order them from home.

(Some advice: when people in a shop tell you this, it is not always true.)

So we skipped off home and I subsequently spent an extremely frustrating hour and a half on the Internet, repeatedly failing to be able to order these shoes in the sizes we wanted, not only from the shoe shop we had looked in, but also from every other online distributor of those shoes. L was very philosophic. “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be,” she told me, whilst I tried to refrain from hurling the MacBook across the room.

Frustrated would be an understatement. I was really annoyed – not least at the fact that we had left Bluewater without looking in every shoe shop because we thought we’d found the pair we wanted.

In the meantime I’d also been looking through some information we’d been given by the venue when we’d paid our deposit. Apparently we’d need to pay an additional 30% 6 months before the wedding, 25% 3 months before the wedding and then the remaining balance 6 weeks before. This is interesting when you consider that we paid a £1000 deposit 17 months ago and have not been invoiced for any more since. Saturday will be 6 weeks until the wedding. So that’s another phonecall to add to our list.  To enquire whether they, you know, actually WANT our money.

Last night, L’s mum was round. She offered to look for the bridesmaids’ shoes up in town during her lunchbreak so I pulled up the website to show her a picture. Wouldn’t you know it: the stock status of every different size of that particular shoe had changed and I ordered them so quick I almost got a friction burn on the credit card.

Sweet, sweet relief. Internet, you did not forsake me!

Whilst, clearly, the course of true love (including wedding planning) never runs smooth, there are times I really do feel like fate is on our side. Now my to do list is only as long as most of my arm. Which is an improvement. Believe me.

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