Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Crisis averted

I joined Sue in her hospital visit today, not sure if she'd be joining me on my way out.

There were concerns over her bloatedness and her blood pressure, enough to get her mid-wife to refer her to the hospital for follow up exam.

I don't want to say it was anti-climactic or an emotional let down, but the tense situation I was gearing up for at the hospital never materialised.

Sue's blood pressure is within acceptable levels, the consultant also said that bloatedness and carpal tunnel issues are normal and gave some advice on how to deal with it. As a matter of course they also took some blood, and sent us off with a "see you next week".

Yep, the baby's due in less than a week. These people do this for a living, so my bets are firmly on a late delivery.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Counting down the days

Well, we're now into the final week with baby being due this coming Sunday. Sue's energy levels and physical abilities are at an all time low. She's being wiped out by showering and folding, so is spending large chunks of time in bed, which she desperately needs. She's likening her condition to having the flu, but with no flu symptoms.

We're off to the hospital tomorrow to get her checked out for blood pressure and fluid retention / puffiness concerns. Hopefully the more rest she gets, the lower the blood pressure goes.

Sue's also been reading that if you have aches in your shoulders or arms, it can be pre-eclampsia (sic) which is never good, so it's even more pressing we get to the hospital tomorrow.

I've been reading stats on what you can expect during Week 40, and only 5% of babies arrive on time, with 80% missing their due date. I imagine this time next week our lives will be irrevocably changed, for the better.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Maternity action!

Not sure who's bright idea it was to decide to move with a baby on the way in about a week, but alas, the shift from two bed flat to full on house is upon us.

To that end, Sue's been using her maternity time so far to do far more than the required stretching out on the sofa and relaxing. We've ... well, Sue's now packed a number of boxes we've taken to storage and she's been running around doing all manner of things not befitting someone who's about to drop one.

Everyone's amazed that Sue is as active as she is with so little time to go. Apart from the nesting / packing / getting the place ready to put on the market, she's driving around town and attending University twice a week.

That would be a herculean task if she was only preggers, but with all that ails her, I am amazed and impressed that she finds the power to get out of bed in the morning.

A new ailment crept in the other day, aching knees. Will this laundry list of physical ills never end? Actually, it will... in about 10 days time.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Last class and new friends

Had our last ante-natal class last night. It was a bit bitter-sweet as we grew to looking forward to the Thursday evening meetings the last five or six weeks.

Having said that, as we're (us and the other couples at ante-natal) all moving into a new phase of life, we've all agreed to meet up again next Friday.

The women are doing lunch, the men are doing tapas in Purley. Hopefully, with the girls all on maternity leave, they can meet up regularly as a motherly force. Life can be lonely in a big city, and having common interests like being a first-time parent is a good way to make friends.

Here's to making new friends that aren't based on work, music or football. I imagine there'll be more to come.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Breastfeeding session

Went to the breastfeeding class last night.

Wasn't really sure what to expect when we got there. Unlike the other ante-natal classes, this one took place in the home of one of the breastfeeding counsellors.

It was quite a laid back, almost question / answer session, where the pros and cons were laid out in front of us.

Having said that, apart from feeding every 2-3 hours (the look of Sue's face at the mention of that was priceless), there really seemed to be no downside to breastfeeding. The baby gets contact with mum, immunities and antibodies are passed down through the milk, baby needs less feed and less winding (as there's not much air in the breastmilk delivery method), there's less need to sterilise bottles, etc. and the most important thing - I don't have to feed baby.

It looks like we'll try it for about three months, and then see how much sleep Sue's actually getting.

I've been wearing an NCT bracelet that says "Breastfeeding makes a difference" for months, mainly because I paid admission to the NCT nearly new sale and received it in my admission pack. What I was wearing as an almost defiant joke I now actually believe. Funny that.

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Monday, 11 February 2008

Maternity leave and pain

It's Sue's first day of maternity leave today and I don't think she's doing too well.

On the phone today, she said she was feeling pretty rough, like she was hung over and that she had a headache.

This pregnancy's been pretty hard on her, and I can't help think how she'll deal with baby number two when we have it.

I feel quite helpless (and just a tad guilty) with everything she's going through. I can't help her at all, any relief you usually seek is through pills or lotions that are a no-go area for pregnant mothers. Add to that, I have to do nothing during the pregnancy - no morning sickness, no avoidance of headache remedies or alcohol. I guess that's why most dad's feel quite useless quite a lot of the time.

Still, I can only hope that having no work to worry about will only be a good thing for Sue, at least in the couple of weeks before the baby arrives.

Tonight we have an NCT breastfeeding class, and then this Thursday is our last ante-natal class. I can't help feeling a bit more desolate at the thought of being alone again (come Friday) in this whole adventure.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Real Life babies!

At the ante-natal class tonight, we had real life parents come in with their newborns.

Good grief are they small! They literally are sleeping, pooping, eating machines at that age. It was incredible.

The new parents regaled us with tales of birth giving and gave us hints on how to survive what could be 12 hours or what could be 3 days of labour.

The rest of the class we discussed what we'll actually do with baby and what different poos looked like. One apparently looks and smells like pesto. Bring that one on! "More garlic in the breastmilk, please mummy!"

Twas another good evening and I was kind of saddened to realise that we only have one more week left. However, we've got a bumper week as Monday is breastfeeding class and then there's the usual Thursday.

We're still no clearer on when our baby might come. One of the new parents was 10 days late, the other was pretty much on time.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Child care worries

Anyone reading this with any regularity will know that I am racked with a huge amount and number of worried about our impending bubby.

Some of them are about the health, nature and future of our child and others are about how we will cope.

Touching on the second, I received an email from Fool.co.uk today with an interesting article on the cost of child care.

It doesn't really say much we didn't know except that the cost of caring for a child is going up probably faster than anyone's pay. While this is good for the child carers, people WITH children aren't millionaires so we need a happy medium.

The article also discussed the Childcare Vouchers Scheme which Sue and I will probably be eager to take up.

Still not sure how we're going to drop off / pick up bubby with our horrible work schedule. The article didn't touch on that.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Hospital tour

We did the tour of the hospital today.

Saw the labour ward and the post-natal ward. It's not as grim as I was imagining and nowhere near as posh as shows like Scrubs make it out to be.

The waiting room was a disaster. They had filled it with ripped banquets that seem to have been salvaged from the local tip. The mid-wife then added "we ask family and friends to stay at home to await the news" as if anyone could survive more than a mere glance of the waiting room.

We saw the room with the bath in it and all the PatientLine phone/TV combos. Of special note there, I own shares in that collapsing company so was intrigued to see my ill advised investment at work (bought shares at £1.30 each, currently trading around 4p).

One of Sue's books has advised to pack the hospital bag now! and the NCT class advises us to bring cleaning supplies, which Sue asked the mid-wife at the hospital about.

I was really hoping she'd say "yeah, we're so filthy our patients double as cleaners", but she gave the usual line that an MRSA-denier would "No, we're clean. That [your info] is wrong."

So now we know where to go when the waters break.