October 2009

Had my dating scan today, which brought the due date three days forward from the one I’d been expecting (it’s now 8th April), so in a few days’ time I will be 17 weeks.  That’s rather good given that four weeks ago a doctor thought I was at 9 weeks!  And almost at the halfway mark…

Mum came along to see her grandchild, which was great, because I’ve had loads of scans now (a few extra ones for G – and R, I think) and know what to expect, but this was the first one she’s seen.  I have to say, though, that this is the first one where the picture’s been clear enough that I saw not only the eye sockets but the actual eye itself.  The baby was as active as mine usually are (actually, I think I’ve been feeling kicks the past couple of days) – a great sign for the future, I’m sure…


Saw the consultant this morning and my blood pressure has come down dramatically!  He was surprised, too!  It still has further to come, but this is the first time it’s moved away from high readings into the range of mild hypertension, so hooray for that.

Given that pleasing news, he was more amenable to listening to my complaints about the hated drug.  I took along my leaflet with the now 12 side effects I have experienced circled in pen and described how it seemed to have turned an active mother of three into a shuffling, housebound, fatigued old woman.  He let me halve the dose this week and we will see what happens next week – there is a possibility, he said, that he might let me drop it altogether – but I don’t want to get my hopes up.  I shall see if I notice any improvement this week and concentrate on that.

Have been having some nice phone conversations with E recently.  (I’m not generally up to chatting on the phone but make exceptions for my children – and husband!)  She’s quite confident speaking on the phone (has had plenty of practice from the past when Daddy was able to travel) and is now of an age where she will ask questions of me as well as chatter away about herself.  It’s quite touching:  she was asking all about my tablets the other day – she’s an old pro on the subject because she’s used to seeing me line them up on the breakfast table.

And the other day, I was lucky enough to talk to all three (and my husband, but he’s got the hang of talking on the phone quite well now, so talking to him isn’t so sweet), including a good detailed description of the day from R (“I played till lunchtime and after lunch I played some more…”) and a lovely “Hello, Mummy” and later, “Bye, Mummy” from G.  Ahhhh…..

Yes, rather high-tech hermit – I’m not relinquishing my internet connection…

But I do feel like I’m retreating from the world a little.  I thought I would write here earlier, tell you about the midwife’s visit, but on Saturday I spent large chunks of time slumped in my chair, not even up to reading a paper and certainly not up to the busy, noisy TV, so sitting up and thinking creatively seemed out of my reach.  Then on Sunday I stayed at home while my parents went to church – I had fully expected this to happen since about Wednesday, but it was still a little disappointing – made less so by the existence of Christian radio.  Listening to a service on the radio is great – like church with sofas and regular breaks to make drinks, snacks, visit loo etc.  When my parents returned from church, my brain was so full of cotton wool that I could listen happily to what was being said but offer no real contributions of my own…

When I was making plans to return to the UK, I thought Skype would be a good way to keep in touch with the children.  Now I’m starting to wonder.  Currently, I’m managing to wash my hair once a week, I have an attractive group of spots mushrooming on my face and I left all my make-up behind.  I could go shopping, but based on the last experience I can only manage one shop per trip – and I want to buy something to send for E’s birthday before I think about shopping for make-up…  Ah!  I’ve just realised – that means that buying a webcam is way down the list at shopping trip number three.  So I think I can stay hidden for another week or two, then…

I had a rough day yesterday.  I thought once I got to the UK and had nothing to do, no responsibilities, I’d feel a bit better, but yesterday proved me wrong in that, just as I’ve been proved wrong in so many other optimistic thoughts…  Yesterday it took me nearly till midday to finish taking my morning tablets.  I then overdid it by washing my hair – and had to leave getting dressed till the afternoon.  I did get a lift to the shops and back, where I made a couple of necessary purchases, but I paid for my activity in the evening by feeling wretched again.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to bed early because I’d taken my first dose of the awful drug so late that I was waiting around to take the third dose!

Mum understands all this weakness better than I do, as she has had ME for twelve years (and if you don’t know much about ME, watch this – it’s a brilliant introduction to the illness, although a bit close to home for me at the moment – I was in tears by the end!).  So she says wise things, such as “You did too much today, washing your hair and going to the shops,” and I’m still thinking, how can that be too much?

Anyway, to wallow in my misery, I took out the leaflet from the box of yukky tablets and circled all the side-effects that I’ve experienced.  There are eleven of them!  Some of them you won’t want to hear about, but the most comical is that I have developed a shuffling walk – and, in my pink, fluffy slippers which I’ve been happy to be reunited with, I feel particularly old-lady-ish!  I’ve tried lifting my feet up a bit, but it’s too tiring on my legs, so I’ve given up now and just giggle when I walk (as long as I’m feeling well enough!).  The other day I sat around the house most of the day wearing a skirt with socks and plenty of bare leg showing between the two – ooh, senior fashion!

And the doctor the other day commented on how young my mum is – so I’m on my own in this one!!  😀

So what did I discover at the hospital this morning?

  • I was right to worry about the medication the previous doctor had suggested when I was admitted to hospital before my return
  • The new tablet has done nothing to bring down my blood pressure.
  • The awful horrible tablets are here to stay, so I’m preparing to feel awful for six months.
  • I am borderline underweight – and those of you who know how much I eat will know that I fight against that as much as I can!  Maybe being in a country of so much delicious food and such variety will help that…

I had a few tests – blood, ECG – but don’t know any results yet.  Next appointment in a week’s time.

But in the meantime I have a first appointment with the midwife (at home!) to look forward to on Friday.  It’ll be nice to feel normally pregnant for a few moments!

M is returning to the children now, flying tonight.  By all accounts, they’ve been coping marvellously, but are starting to feel a little adrift at times and looking forward to seeing Daddy again.  I wish I knew when I am going to see him – and them – again…

Wow.  It’s a completely different experience from travelling with them!  Pity I wasn’t feeling great for bits of the flight, so couldn’t quite make the most of it – and needed to sleep during the flight that had loads of good films on, but M and I did watch Mars Attacks! together on the first one which was as much fun as when we saw it the first time.  Hopefully, when I return they’ll show The Time Traveller’s Wife; I loved the book, so it’d be interesting to see the film and immerse myself in the story again.  Mind you, perhaps as I loved the book it’d be a mistake to watch the film…

As soon as I explained to people that I was three months’ pregnant and finding it difficult walking and standing, I got loads of support from everyone.  On both flights, we were moved to business class for landing so that we could be among the first off the plane.  M and I managed Dubai airport together, but I was worried about Heathrow because it’s huge and we landed first thing in the morning (after not enough sleep), so I knew I’d be feeling at my worst.  However, I was allowed to ride in a buggy with the wheelchair users to passport control.  M had to walk, so he went on ahead to get the rental car.  The queue for passport control looked dauntingly large, but the woman assisting the wheelchair users said she didn’t want me trying it on my own, so I obediently waited for help.

A man came along who said he’d accompany me through, and as he was taking an empty wheelchair with him, I thought I might as well sit in it!  He then took me all the way through to arrivals, since he was off for his coffee break!  All so much easier than I’d feared… and I just had time to buy a snack for the journey before M arrived with the car.

Drove down to Dorset and to the doctor’s appointment that Mum and Dad had arranged for me.  I’m still on the horrid drug for the time being (and am now trying to swallow one mega-tablet instead of two far-too-big tablets each time… grateful for Mum’s tablet-cutter!), but they’ve added in a new one and I have an appointment at the hospital tomorrow.  M’s staying here to come with me to the hospital (and look after Mum and me as Dad is out all day) and then he’ll have to fly back.

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying TV in my own language and having no responsibilities beyond getting my own bowl of cereal and the occasional drink!  And given that I still need a good sit down after doing anything as energetic as that, and lots of sleep, I’m feeling grateful for pretty much everything…

Have just re-read the last few entries and realise I haven’t told you anywhere where the children are!  My wonderful sister-in-law, who lives, as some of you may know, in the same city as us, is looking after them this week, along with her three of similar ages to ours, and while also working as a primary school teacher.  It won’t surprise you to hear that she’s one of the people I’m feeling most grateful for this week!

Apparently when G’s nursery “teacher” (can you call them that at that age?) asked him where he slept last night, he said, “In a bed,” so his feet are firmly on the ground and it doesn’t sound like he’s having too hard a time.  “What house was the bed in?”  “S’s.  I see B and E.”  These are his three favourite children after E and R, so he and the girls are probably in the best place they could be at such a difficult time.

Right, very brief update, because I should be going to bed but don’t know when I’ll next get a chance to write here.

I have been to the doctor here this evening, who said my blood pressure was fine for me to fly.  He also scanned the baby and we saw it kicking about happily.  So we’re expecting to fly tomorrow evening, arriving in the UK on Monday morning – and then I’ll head to Dorset to stay with my parents (unless I’m admitted to hospital there as well, I really don’t know what to expect).

I’m not looking forward to the flight, as I find walking very very tiring and standing virtually impossible for more than a minute, but M is flying with me, so I’ll be well looked after.  I am very much looking forward to being in the UK, of course – and of course you all understand when I say that that I would also prefer to be with my family and that I’m worried for M and the pressure he’ll be under.

The parting piece of advice from the doctor this evening was:  once this is all over, get your tubes snipped, woman!  It’s too risky to do this again.  I have to say I agree whole-heartedly with him in that point!!  🙂

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