Disney Matter!

Hey-ho! We’re off to Florida tomorrow! Theme parks. Mega meals. Disney characters. Fun in the sun (Hopefully). My hubbie has packed his suitcase – I’ve packed for the rest of us! So let’s hope it’s all there.

Hubbie  says the largest bags of all are under his eyes!! Well, Yes, I agree with him. Baby Charlotte is still not sleeping through the night  and it’s taking its toll on our looks! So nothing new. It’s just living with  constant light sleep, peppered by us awakening when she is not awake (but you do anyway), and then being pulled from any deep sleep by her gentle whimpering which starts to crescendo into cries, intermittent, then gradually into a constant shrieking if left unattended for more than 5 minutes. Charlotte has learned to roll over onto her stomach but cannot move from this position yet. Most of her night wakes are due to the fact she is on her tummy and frustrated. She needs moved back to lying on her back but by the time I’ve dragged myself out of bed she is all but awake. I rush her into my bedroom to feed and comfort her and promptly lay her by my side and we both fall asleep somewhere between 3 and 5 in the morning. A bad habit! She can then sleep to after eight o’clock. Sweet.

So a nine hour plane journey awaits us from Glasgow to Orlando. The kids are so excited. We are going on holiday with one of my sisters and her family, and her friend and daughter.  We will be one of those families whom people want to avoid on planes.  A bunch of noisy, excited, lively, hyper children – a  lovely 7 month old child who rarely sleeps during the day (unless in the car or pram),  an 11yr old, 10 yr old, 9yr old, two 8yr olds and a  7 yr old –  all super animated and, most likely, hyperventilating at the very thought of stepping foot in Florida!

I’ve been to Orlando  a few times in the past  –  but not with so many children. This will be a different type of holiday to that enjoyed in the past. Not a bad thing. Just need to be more organised e.g. I’ve ordered pre-made milk formula and feed from the pharmacy at the airport to avoid any issues with liquid allowance as  we go through the necessary security checks. I’ve packed enough nappies to ensure we are covered for every eventuality! I’ve brought teething gel, teething toys (Charlotte has two teeth growing in now), soft toys, squeaky toys, comfort toys etc.  My older kids have suitcases packed with clothes for any kind of weather! Reports state that sun to thunder and lightning is forecast for our two week break!  But Disney awaits, Disney matter about the weather!

So looks like we’re all set to go. Taxis are ordered for the short journey to the airport early morning.

Ha! What can go wrong! 

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And It Had Been So Easy!

My pregnancy had been straightforward, only frequent nausea superseded by stinging heartburn had been the price to carry my little angel. She  hadn’t caused me any worry or alarm. In fact,  my Consultant stated that he was impressed at my healthy blood pressure at each clinic visit as well as my level of fitness and energy. I was secretly smug, feeling I had proved that older mums can have a good pregnancy, especially if they live a consistently healthy(ish) lifestyle prior to falling pregnant.

I ended up spending 6 days in hospital after my little girl was born at 10.04 on 11th March. She was  small and fragile, but healthy. I was, and still am, grateful for this little treasure who has chosen to live with our family and who trusts us to raise her and guide her in life!

I was taken down to theatre around 8pm later that evening after I’d started to bleed in bouts (post partum haemorrhage). In my naivety, I thought this was  something that was common to most new mums and ‘had to be done’ as a precaution. My baby was wheeled  down behind me, as were my belongings,  and all placed in one corner of the room. She slept the whole way and for a number of hours later.

Once in the room, a team of nurses swarmed around me and I was hooked up to various machines. There was little small talk. I was asked several times what my little girl was called, but I explained that my husband and I couldn’t agree on a name yet! As I gazed around the room I was impressed at the teamwork of the nurses and the efficiency with which they carried out their roles. Each new the part they were playing.  I wasn’t aware what they were giving me but I know they said my name each time they administered a fluid into my veins and told me what it was. A doctor, who never made eye contact, advised a speculum was being inserted to catch the flow of blood to measure it ….a nurse stated they had collected 500 ml…….900 ml…..now a 1000 ml…..I heard them announcing the time certain medicines were injected (9pm , then 9.30, don’t remember much after that). I noticed a nurse was vigorously massaging my stomach for the entire time and I thought that this action should hurt as I’d had my C-section only hours before. I didn’t feel a thing! It hadn’t dawned on me that I had been given a strong painkilling drug! I was given gas & air and every inhaled breath made me feel lightheaded and drowsy. I felt I was drifting off and remember thinking that this is strong stuff!  I looked over at my sleeping bundle of joy wondering if my condition could be fatal and would she be left without her mother. I thought I can’t die without giving her a name. ‘Charlotte’ I said to the nearest nurse ‘Her name is Charlotte’.

I wasn’t sure where this name came from as it wasn’t on my top 5, nor my husband’s,  but it felt right.

Then a nurse told me I was being given warm fluid to raise my body temperature.  I realised I was sweating. I asked her outright if my condition was dangerous as my thoughts had turned to my own mother who had not survived a hospital operation two years before, and had been given a warm fluid in intensive care to warm her cold body as she lay unconscious, the family around her willing her to survive. She couldn’t and didn’t.

‘Could this be fatal?’ I asked a nurse, as I looked down at the large pools of blood spilled over my bed sheet, over my legs, splattered on the cabinet next to the nurses, then looked back to my young daughter, sleeping soundly. ‘I have up to 7 shots of this anti-clotting drug I can give you. You’ve only needed two  shots so far’, she said. ‘That sounds fairly positive’, I thought to myself.

I was given oxygen to inhale alongside the air and gas. Time stood still for me.  One by one the nurses left the area, including one who had been splatted on the face by my blood caused by an over zealous ‘collection’  by the overseeing  doctor who had been manually lifting the fluid into bowls to be accounted for. ‘Yuk!’ I thought ‘Poor lady!’

Then it was over. I lay in recovery for a few hours , then was asked if I was able to walk around before being taken back to the maternity ward. So at 3am I found myself gingerly shuffling  up and down the corridor feeling proud of my attempts.

I was back in a ward around 4am. Disorientated. Tired. Sore. And Charlotte wanted fed!

Despite my mini-drama, I was woken at 05.30 by a soft tapping against my bed…the daily ward cleaning was underway and a brusque Auxiliary was mopping around me, the head of her mop gently brushing against my bed frame. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. No long lie-ins for me in this ward. Well, better get used to it!! Preparation for things to come as a new mum!

 

 

 

She Has Arrived

There are no scheduled Caesarian operations on Saturdays – only Mon to Fri –  but I was advised that mine would happen at some point that day and to be prepared to go to theatre at 9am in case I should be taken first. Weekends are reserved for emergencies.  So I psyched myself up for a potential delivery in the morning, which could be pushed back anytime into the rest of the day.

Showered and fasted, I walked with a nurse to theatre to the floor below before 9am whilst the porter put all my belongings on my bed and wheeled it behind us. My sister was arriving at 8.30 am at the house to let my husband come to the hospital. We are lucky in that we live only a few minutes drive away. My husband arrived and was asked to change into theatre clothes as I was getting wired up to monitors, blood pressure machines and being given step by step information on the spinal anaesthesia procedure. The topic of C-sections had been covered at one of my ante-natal classes so I was comfortable with the process.

Once the fluid was administered into my spine, the anaesthetist stated that I would feel my bottom getting warm –  a sign that the epidural was starting to work. In a few moments I sure did feel the warm heat travel through my bottom and then I couldn’t feel my legs.

Everything then happened very quickly… a large screen went up, and off they went. My squeamish husband sunk low into his chair afraid he might catch a glimpse of the operation taking place on the other side! Whilst I, on the other hand,  had noticed that if I gazed up into the lights I could see about twenty small mirrors reflecting the procedure and my curiosity got the better of me. I could see in miniature what they were doing to me but all I could feel was a slight tugging! Strange!  Then the pressure in my stomach lifted and I said to my husband “She’s out”. Only a few minutes had passed by since the first incision.

Then the glorious sound of her crying loudly could be heard behind the screen as she was taken over to one side of the room to be checked and weighed. My husband was asked to cut her chord (which I knew he wanted to do but would find it grotesque at the same time!)

The midwife exclaimed that the baby had peed on her hand. “Well both her lungs and waterworks are in good working order”, I thought.

As the doctor sewed me back together, the baby was wrapped up and brought over to us. Small, adorable, healthy, perfect……a precious gift. Weighing in at 6llbs 7oz, she was like a delicate doll.

I couldn’t hug her as I was still strapped up to monitors with both my arms outstretched, but the nurse put her head next to mine and I felt the warmth of her cheek against my own and a tear stung my eye.

The dream I dared not dream had come true. The hankering to have my own child, although abated over the years, did not truly go away, and I had held the vision and belief that it could happen for me one day. She has completed our family. I love my adopted children. They are ours and are part of us. This little lady has arrived to cement the team and, although only early days, has brought so much love and excitement into our family unit, it has made me so proud to have held dear my conviction to have a baby …. it’s just that it happened for me later in life !

 

 

Head – Engaged!

Less that two weeks to go and finally her head has settled in the downwards position. In the post, so to speak. Preparing to make her appearance. I guess this is what they call the ‘drop’. The baby has shifted to my lower regions, nestling comfortably on my bladder. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been experiencing tightening Braxon Hicks ‘contractions’ on an adhoc basis, most noticeably in the supermarket mid-shop last week, which then lasted for the rest of the evening bringing nausea as a companion. However, no major side-effects that I’ve not experienced before. Heartburn is not so intense now. Happy days!

I continue with my light exercise Mon-Fri mornings, including my Body Balance classes. These are so good for stretching and balance. No matter how run down, tired or ‘out of sorts’ I feel before a class, I feel great by the end of each session. For me, fitness has always been part of my life and I’m determined to keep it up to the (messy?) end 🙂 of my pregnancy. No doubt to the concerned looks of my fellow exercisers!

The thing is,  I’m supposed to be taking a daily ‘baby’ Aspirin to reduce the possibility of clots and pre-eclampsia, so this is my way of keeping the circulation moving! Whenever I took an aspirin tablet in the past I had nose bleeds early morning which I’ve never had before, so, to me, aspirin is not required. My blood pressure is excellent and no swelling on feet or hands.

Running around after 3 children (11, 8 & 7) is also a good way of keeping active! The food doesn’t shop for itself, neither does the washing, ironing or housework kindly arrange to be completed without manual intervention! Kids clubs and hobbies continue as usual and my husband and I are often going in opposite directions to deposit a keen swimmer, footballer or dancer at their chosen clubs!

Anyway, life will change forever shortly. And the little kicks on my right hand side below my ribs remind me it won’t be long now.