A gorgeous little girl, born six weeks early on 25th February, by emergency caesarean, weighing 2.03kg (4lb 7oz).

I’m off the hideously awful drug – yippee!

She’s gaining weight steadily – hooray!

And we’re out of hospital and back in the real world – which takes a little getting used to after over eight weeks “inside”.

Oh, and she’s getting a lot more sleep than I am…  Just as well this is our last baby.  🙂

Hello all!

Just popping in while I’m home from hospital – on day release as it were – for a few hours to let you know how I’m doing.  I was admitted to hospital (for the third time this pregnancy, second time in the UK) four weeks ago today with high blood pressure.  Putting my already considerable medication up by 50% seemed to fix that eventually and after ten days in I was allowed home.  Well, I managed four days before I got sent back!

This time my blood pressure has been misbehaving quite dramatically – enough one evening for me to be moved up to Labour Ward – not for labour but to be monitored more closely.  Seeing the midwives worrying and calling the doctors, who then worried and called my consultant, was a little unnerving.  The arrival of a senior doctor who wanted to look deep into my eyes (to examine the blood vessels at the back for damage) did little to make me feel in less danger, until he pronounced there to be no damage and said this was probably a big fuss about not much.  Soon after, my consultant arrived, grumbling happily about missing dessert and coffee at the restaurant he’s been in when he got the call, and calm was restored.  (He also said it had made him look important, a martyr to the call of duty in front of some colleagues, so I wasn’t to worry at all!)

The problem is that high blood pressure in pregnancy is a symptom of pre-eclampsia, which can be horrible and very dangerous, so they have to respond urgently.  So far my body has been stubbornly pre-eclampsia free, although it could develop at any time.  The baby seems completely unaffected, and at this stage would probably not have serious problems if I developed pre-eclampsia tomorrow.

My other consultant (I have two!  Actually, at one stage I had three – one for weekends so that the first one could get some rest!) came to see me the following morning and prescribed another hike in medication and I returned downstairs just before lunch.  The next three evenings brought enough further worries for the doctors to be called, who asked lots of silly questions about awful symptoms that I might just have but not have thought to mention – as if to say, “Well, things could be a lot worse, you know” and then prescribed one-off doses of familiar and unfamiliar drugs to make sure I still rattled every time I moved.

Fortunately, a tweak in medication and banning of the machines that were reading inaccurately high has helped a bit and I can now go three or four days before my BP misbehaves, but this is not quite good enough to send me home.  So I am in until delivery, not many more weeks now …

The days are falling into some sort of pattern:

0800   –  wake, take tablets, go back to sleep

0900   –  eat cereal, go back to bed

1000   –  eat toast, read paper

1200   –  tablets, round 2

1230   –  lunch

1400   –  tablets, round 3 and visiting time

1500   –  snack, puzzles, read, maybe CTG (listens to baby’s heartbeat for ½ an hour, done every day)

1730   –  supper

1800   –  more tablets, then TV, book, maybe worry a few doctors

2000   –  tablets again

2200   –  last tablets and bed.  One BP check in the night and plenty of trips to the loo as I’m currently drinking 2 litres of water a night, thanks to the tablets.

It will all be worth it in the end!

A number of you have been asking how I’m getting on, which reminded me that I haven’t written here for a while.  Actually, I couldn’t write for a week, because they wouldn’t let me out of hospital!

On Wednesday 16th, I woke up early morning (perfectly normal behaviour at the mo) and in the short period before I went back to sleep, noticed a circle in my vision, as if I’d looked at a light and was now seeing the after-image.  Assumed the backlight on my mobile screen was round (always look at my phone during nocturnal excursions for a time check) and went back to sleep.  Thing is, when I finally woke after a good eleven hours’ sleep (perfectly normal behaviour, too), the circle was still there.  Visual disturbances are not a good thing in pregnancy, although the flashing light or blurred vision sorts are the more-quoted types.  Decided after breakfast that it should probably be checked out.  Phoned the hospital, who agreed and asked me to come in…

Turned out my blood pressure was not quite where it should be and they kept me in for observation.  It then turned out that my blood pressure was not at all where it should be during nights, so after a few days of watching this pattern my consultant put me on a new drug timetable.  Same three drugs, new amounts and timings.  Guess which one he doubled in quantity?

That’s right – the horrible one!  I told my consultant that I didn’t like the tablets and I wasn’t that keen on him, either, but he wasn’t to be intimidated.  🙂  Actually, he comes across as knowledgeable and the sort of person to inspire confidence – but I, as you’d expect given the subject, was in no mood to be inspired…  So, on the Saturday evening, (with Christmas six days ago and no sign of my being let out of hospital) the new regime began.  That Drug, four times a day, smaller doses at 8am and 12pm and bigger doses at 6pm and 10pm.

For those of you who don’t feel as strongly about the awful stuff as I do, and therefore may have forgotten the reason I hate it: it goes back to the beginning of this pregnancy, when the side-effects I experienced on it were many in number and horror!  I was somehow virtually unable to walk, found sitting unpleasant and preferred to be lying down (was unable to get lunch on one memorably bad (and non-nanny) day and E had to make some cheese spread sandwiches to feed herself and little G), slept all night and most of the morning, had a very dry mouth so had to drink constantly, shuffled when I walked, and had a few problems in the bathroom direction.

So, returning to last week, there was one advantage to an increased dose:  I had my first decent night’s sleep since arriving in the hospital!  Felt awful through breakfast and tablet-taking, blood-pressure-taking, blood-sample-taking and doctor-visiting and slept the rest of the morning away.  Woke an hour before lunch, didn’t feel like starting a new book, did a sudoku or two instead, struggled to get lunch down me and found it difficult to hold a conversation when Mum and Dad came to visit.

And through all of this was wondering how I was going to make it through the next 16 weeks, not to mention the actual giving birth bit!

Sort of woke up around 4pm and read my new book on and off till 10pm and time for bed again, by which time my wrists were causing me quite a bit of unexpected pain, which had been coming on all day.  Slept for a couple of hours, and then was woken up by the pain and could only sleep again after taking painkillers.  Apparently, this was carpal tunnel syndrome, a common thing in pregnancy – and I was assured that it would disappear once I’d given birth.  Oh, thanks, that’s all right then.  Meanwhile, I’ll add soluble paracetamol to my daily intake of drugs, shall I?

By this stage, clearly, I was feeling as though I was falling apart and I was never going to find the energy to get out of hospital and I wasn’t looking forward to Christmas in any case…

Fortunately, as you’ll have guessed by the fact I have energy enough to write all this, things are not now as bad.  In fact, things are hugely better.  The side-effects decreased in intensity over the next few days and by the time I was allowed out of hospital on the eve of Christmas Eve, I was able to feel quite differently about my consultant who had worked the miracle of stabilising my blood pressure, somehow without wrecking my entire life in the process!

That lovely consultant of mine said that he was hopeful that things would now continue on a fairly even keel for a good few weeks.  Hooray!  And home I went for Christmas…

PS:  The circle’s still there.  Faint and unchanging, ignoreable in the light, but definitely still there…

Last Thursday, on a trip to see the midwife, I was surprised by another fainting thing coming over me.  Surprised, because this time I hadn’t been on my feet at all, really – in fact, I was given a lift to the surgery, which is only ten minutes’ walk away.  Still, I felt worse, probably, than last time – although at least this time I was in the best place for it!  Appointment with the midwife was conducted almost entirely with me lying down!  I kept trying to sit up so that she could take my blood pressure, but it was a while before I could sit up long enough!  And when she did, no surprise I was feeling so weird – the numbers were both about 40 lower than they’d been the day before!

Oh dear, I have succumbed to an attack of the exclamation marks again.  A mark of poor writing, I always thing – and one I frequently succumb to – although perhaps there are just days which seem to be full of them.  If so, this was certainly one of them!

The suggestion by the doctor, seconded by my consultant, was that I should spread out my tablet-taking, so as not to give too much of a ‘pow!’ to my system at the start of the day.  So… I am now taking medicines at:

8:30-10am (depending on when I get up)

12pm

2pm

4pm

8pm

and I do feel a little as though they are taking over my day…

The first day I tried this, all it did was give me a faint patch later in the day (97/55 for those of you who understand such things – just ridiculous – I’ve never seen such numbers!), but since then, I’ve had the excitement of my children’s company – and that’s raised my blood pressure just enough to prevent any more faints!  🙂

 

A little insight into the sleepy life of our quiet house…

We all stay in bed until it’s light, which means a nice lie-in on days like today when it doesn’t get light until half past nine.  Okay, that’s not true – actually, we were all up by 8:30am and each of us taking our tablets soon afterwards.  I am the tablet-taking loser of the household, as the other residents all finish theirs before I do; but I am also the tablet-taking winner, as – although I am only equal-first in number of tablets to be taken in the morning – during a whole day, I take the most tablets and at the most times, too.

I’m also the undisputed jigsaw-champ, having recently completed my second 1000-piecer of the season.  However, I only boast about this because I can get the hang of the crossword.

The sprightly young things in the home took me out for a little drive yesterday.  To hospital, it’s true, but it’s nice to get out and, at my age, you don’t get many opportunities.  I had a scan and it was ever so interesting:  I saw bones and limbs and internal organs and all sorts.  They said everything was fine, so off home I went for a cup of tea.

By evening, we were all of us sitting round the telly, pretending not to fall asleep.  What a busy day!

Have you ever started a day wondering how you will fill the hours till it ends?  Stuck in the house feeling fairly unwell because of a cocktail of drugs, miles away from your family and your normal life?  Well, I’ve been there – and here’s my advice…

…sleep as late in the day as you can.  Get up only when you’re desperate for food.  If you’re pregnant, this’ll probably be quite early anyway.

…eat cereal and at least four slices of toast, but not all at the same time.  You can while away most of the morning eating breakfast.

…take your tablets.  This will fill the rest of your morning.

…enjoy lunch – actually, enjoy all your meals and snacks.  Food and sleep are two of the greatest things in life and not to be undervalued.

…have a nap, to recover from the exertion of the morning’s activities.  Don’t forget your medicine if you need it around now.

…read the paper, thoroughly.  Cultivate an interest in politics, and world news – from whatever country it may come.  Try to cultivate an interest in business and sport – this is much much harder and I’m still struggling with it.  Do the sudokus (4 in my paper!) and the concise crossword.  Do the cryptic crossword if you’re clever enough.  (I’m not.)

…sit and look around the room for a while.  You don’t want to overdo it, now!

…wonder vaguely why you’re yawning when it’s only 6 o’clock and you only woke from your nap three hours ago.

…spend the evening yawning.  Listen to conversations, join in if feeling very alert, watch TV if there’s something good on, read a book or at least open it on your lap so that your eyes have something to do if they feel the urge.

…go to bed early.  Don’t think at all about how many times you will be up in the night.  Sleep is great, and what you miss in quality you can always make up for in quantity.

Well, I do hope you’ve found something useful in there.  I can’t imagine who my audience might be for this post, as I don’t think I know of anyone in this peculiar situation.  Still, if you ever find yourself unexpectedly plunged into a similar predicament, you are now armed with some ideas!

🙂

An apt follow-up to my last, up-beat post, I feel…

Went to town again yesterday.  Needed more medicine from the chemist, so thought I’d try getting it myself.  Popped into the toy shop on the way past.  It’s brilliant – much bigger than last time I went and full of lovely things.  Couldn’t decide on anything to buy there and then, but spent a while looking at all the gorgeous doll’s house things you can get for not too much…  That was probably my mistake.

Next stop the stationer’s, for a couple of things I need if I’m to make Christmas cards this year.  (Reading the newspaper cover to cover and doing the sudokus only takes you so far through a day…)  Feeling a bit woozy, but it’s only as I approach the cash desk to pay that I realise I really have to sit down.  And as I do, everything goes fuzzy and sounds are distant.  I need to lie down.  Or be sick.  Or get to a loo?  Glass of water, maybe?  Oooh, I feel dreadful.  And so hot!  Need to get my coat off.  And my jumper.  Better phone Dad…

I guess I was on the verge of fainting, but having only done that once before, I don’t have a clear idea how it feels.  In any case, it was rather embarrassing – take up the time of the shop assistant in a busy shop with my requests for water and help finding the loo…  A lovely, lovely customer with wonderfully chilly hands from being outside put one hand on my forehead and one on the back of my neck as I sat, unable to move and only partially aware of my surroundings, beside the till.  Funny, that.  In any other situation, it would be incredibly odd to accept such touches!

Dad came to pick me up, and I felt wobbly for a little while, and headachy and fragile for the rest of the afternoon.  And I thought I was getting back to normal, a healthy 30-something pregnant woman.  Was I naive?

I just walked back from the doctor’s (about a ten minute walk).  To some people that might not sound like much to remark on, but you may have gathered from earlier entries that I’ve been housebound.  Seriously.  In the “shuffling walk” days a couple of weeks ago, I could shuffle from the living room to the kitchen, but gratefully made use of the chair in the hall on the way.  That awful drug was to blame, of course, and two weeks ago my dose was halved.  Some of the side-effects lessened straight away (eg the dry mouth – suddenly I was able to go twenty minutes without having a sip of drink!); others disappeared (shuffling walk), but some hung around persistently and inability to walk further than the next room was one of them.

Perhaps it’s taken a while for my system to adjust to the new dose, but over the past two or three days, I’ve been feeling better:  getting up less in the night, feeling less nauseous, getting dressed before lunchtime, able to stand for more than ten seconds.  Maybe it’s a miracle.  Or just pregnancy changes.  Whatever it is, that’s the furthest I’ve been able to walk for three months.  Three months!

It would be just the right time, too.  Although I’ve been persuading myself to believe that I’m just an incubator for the next few months and my own health (serious issues aside) and spirits are of limited consequence, there is the persistent awareness of children and a husband that used to be part of my life… and whom, indeed, I’m hoping to see at the end of the month when they next have a school holiday.  If I continue at this level, I will be able to enjoy their company rather than just struggle through it with a painted smile for the sakes of the children.  Wouldn’t that be great!

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…..