Friday, 1 January 2016

Baby news before 2016! :)

I'm so sorry to be such a long time in updating. I had a new post open that I was typing bits into for the last THREE days, because I know me, and if I just post a quick thing then I'll NEVER get around to the details that I wished I could have posted, and I didn't want that. But it looks like I am just not getting around to it quick enough and everyone is waiting for news, so I will have to do the quick news update and hope I eventually manage the details! :/

Rosalie is here! :) She was born something like 19 hours after my last update, wondering if my waters had broken! Everything went fine, and she was born at home, in my bed, at 10.40pm on December 28th. She had a really short cord (just like Lydia!) so I couldn't pull her right up onto my tummy and chest to hold her after she was born, I had to just hold her around hip level, but it was fine. The first thing I noticed was her cheeks! She had such chubby cheeks for a 39 weeker! They didn't measure her length, but mentioned she looked quite short in length, just really chubby for such a little baby! :)

She weighed 8lbs 1oz!! The same as Arthur (he had an extra half ounce on her though)! At 39 weeks! They are going by my scan dates (mine are more accurate as I know when I ovulated), so she is officially down as born at 38 weeks and 6 days - really surreal to consider, for me, since I "only" go into labour and give birth after my due date! :)

She has chubbier cheeks, but she looks to me EVER SO like Matthew (and Samuel, who also looks most like Matthew - he had the newborn cheeks that she has, but he was 9lb 9oz!). I love this because I haven't had a Matthew/Samuel-looking baby in 5 years, and also I feel vindicated because I KNEW we had a pattern going, lol! ;) I find it fascinating and almost unbelievable how this pattern is playing out predictably with every baby we have! There is no reason why it would, but it is! After Lydia (who was an Arthur/Benjamin pattern, right on schedule), the next baby "should" have been a Matthew/Samuel pattern. The only thing that threw me was the bleeding in the first trimester, which was a Nathan/Elijah thing to happen. Also Matthew and Samuel were my 41 weekers, which I expected this baby to be as well, but she has made herself a first and broken all patterns! :P BUT she definitely is like Matthew and Samuel, just exactly as predicted. Amazing! :)

She is 3 days old on this New Year's Day (will turn 4 days old this evening), and doing fine. I need to write more about how she has been and all about the birth, but I can't write any more just now, and I am honestly not sure when I will get to it. :/ That's why I wanted to wait until I'd finally written a whole big post about it all, so that I knew it would get done, but it was just taking too long.

Here are some pics of Rosalie meeting her siblings (they were thrilled to meet her when they got up the next morning!), and then a couple from the next day or two. I am so so pleased with my sweet new baby girl! She's perfectly precious! I will write more when I can...




These two are from the next day - about 36 hours old. :) Her cheeks make her look bigger than she is in photos, so I put my hand there to show how teeny she really is! I took one of Samuel at a similar age just before Christmas 2010, where he looks very similar to her in the second photo, just more swelling in his face from the birth. :)


This last one is from the same day, just a few hours later. I was burping her after a feed, leaning her chin onto my hand to prop her up, and I looked down and saw her sweet sleeping face and could not get over her CHEEKS, lol! So here's a memory record of that! :)

Here we are last night as the midnight struck and fireworks went off outside our windows. :) Love that I am here breastfeeding a newborn baby, when I thought 2015 would be all about gestating and it was 2016 that we'd be looking forward to meeting her in! :) So happy she's here in my arms!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Update on the post I wrote 3 hours ago!

So I just wrote a big post a few hours ago before going to bed, about how I'm 39 weeks pregnant tomorrow and I never have a baby before my due date, etc. etc. And then I went to shut the laptop down to go to bed, and leaked some fluid! And then it happened again! I thought maybe I should have been for a wee earlier (lol!) so I went  to the loo, only to find LOTS of clear fluid which was completely pink stained!!!

Waaaay too much adrenaline kicked in and I became really anxious about what lay ahead, and being on my own to do it all. Everyone was asleep, and I didn't know what to do. No contractions other than random very uncomfy Braxton Hicks. When I wiped, there was a cm or 2 sized piece of mucus plug with pink fluid. Wiped again and had pink streaked "goop", which has continued to be there every time I have wiped over the last few hours since then. Fluid seemed to clear up and not return, but I texted my midwife and she came over.

Baby sounds fine - now 3/5 palpable so more engaged than on the 23rd. She is very wiggly and seems to be twisting and shifting - good sign that she's getting in position for something! ;) Her heart rate was great, and all my vitals were fine too, except for a bit of blood in my urine (not surprising if I'm losing blood-stained plug). I did a GBS swab which the midwife is taking to the hospital lab tonight so it will be ready in 24 hours for a result. In the morning I am to go to labour ward for a swab for amniotic fluid again, and if it's positive they will offer me induction on the spot, OR to go home and wait for 24 hours (which I will obviously choose). This hospital's policy is to wait 24 hours and then induce if no labour, but I have done 48 before with Elijah and thankfully gone into labour right at the 48 hour mark! I wouldn't want to wait longer (or maybe even that long...) this time though. If I am contracting by the morning then no labour ward, just midwife over here and have a baby. :)

It might have just been adrenaline, but my bowels got kind of aggravated so I had to go to the loo a couple of times - that can also be a good sign of impending labour, but we'll see.

ANYWAY, after the midwife left, I was updating various places where people are praying for me over about 20 minutes, and during that time I had 3 contractions - mostly the same old strong BH type feeling, but the 2nd one lasted longer (about 50 seconds rather than the usual 20-30 seconds), and during the 3rd one I had a sudden "welling up" of fluid - sorry for the descriptive detail! ;) So my pad is officially properly wet and it's NOT urine, and I'm actually excited about it! :D I have continued to have the odd contraction since then, so I'm hopeful that labour isn't too far away. I am dumbfounded that it's happening in my 38th week though!!! :-O Never fathomed such a thing, lol!

So I am going to bed now, and hoping for some good sleep before morning. It's almost 4am. If I start having contractions that feel like "the real deal", even just a few in a row, my midwife said to call her and she'll come straight over. If I have ONE that's a doozy, I have to do the same! ;) She said no messing about, it's my 8th baby, lol!

So Rosalie may be coming tomorrow! December 28th - phewee, so close to Christmas! One right before and one right after! If my waters have indeed broken (and honestly I can't imagine the test would be negative, it seems pretty obvious to me right now), but I DON'T go into labour, then she will be here before January for sure, all the same. December 29th I would think, at the latest. Such a surreal thought!

Neil has been up with me while the midwife was here, and he went a bit frantic putting the dishwasher on and a laundry load (he gets really embarrassed about mess with people coming round), but he has gone back to bed. He wants to "totally blitz" the house tomorrow getting it tidy for "company" (sigh) but I have hopefully made it really clear that my absolute priority for him to do for me tomorrow is to get the newborn baby girl clothes out of the garage and WASH THEM ALL!!! I have one sleepsuit that I bought at eBay recently, that is washed and on my bedroom floor in a pile to put away, so thankfully if she comes before her clothes can be washed, at least she has *something* to wear, lol! And I finally got around to buying newborn nappies, maternity pads, breast pads, etc. etc. 2 days before Christmas. But I haven't packed a bag. And I will not really relax until I know her clothes are washed and dried ready for her, so I hope Neil will be okay with doing that first thing rather than random housework.

Just had to update, in case things happen! Will update again when I can. For now, my focus is sleep.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

38 weeks and 6 days!

I'm still here!! So sorry for the long silence! Just crazy busy with Christmas coming up, and Samuel's 5th (!!!) birthday a few days before that. Everyone caught a cold that Neil brought home from the office right before Samuel's birthday and of course I am the last to get it - on Christmas Eve. I have been down and out since Christmas Day feeling grim, but apart from still having no voice, I am doing better since this afternoon. :)

So much to say, but no time! I am tired out, and it's nearly 11pm. I am trying to listen to my body more and rest, but I'm not very good at it!

I have had 2 scans since I last updated - one at 34 weeks because my routine midwife appointment gave the midwife concern that maybe Rosalie was on the small side, as my bump measured 33 weeks (really not something that concerned me at ALL, but they seem a bit paranoid here about my baby's growth, so hey ho). I went in the next day, and she was fine - measuring pretty much spot on. They estimated her weight as 5lbs 1.5oz at 34 weeks. Her tummy was the biggest for dates, and her little leggies shorter than her dates, bless her! :) I do have some children with my short legs, so it looks like Rosalie is another of them! :)

Then I had my 38 week appointment (all of these are at home, as I am under the homebirth team and they only do things at home, yay!), and everything was fine, my bump measured 38 weeks, and the baby was 4/5 palpable (starting to engage, which is good/unusual for an 8th baby), but she couldn't be 100% sure that she was head down. Because she didn't want me to go into labour and THEN have a query over the baby's presentation, she sent me for a scan on Christmas Eve, late in the afternoon. Neil worked from home, thankfully, so I could go, and honestly I think it was just about God providing me with my hubby close to home on Christmas Eve, without a 2 hour drive back! I was already stressing about the chaos of organising overly excited children for some nice Christmas Eve traditions and stockings and all that, without Neil home from work yet! But, because he worked from home and they let everyone off at 2pm, it was as though he had the day off by the time that time of day rolled around! :) Slightly frustrating to have to be away at the hospital having a scan close to stocking-hanging time, but never mind!

Of course she is head down. :) Her tummy is the biggest-for-dates measurement as before, measuring 39 weeks! :) Her leggies measure 37 weeks, and her head, which was 35 weeks last time (at 34 weeks gestation) measured 36 weeks this time... They wanted to double check, but it was the same, and they said everything was fine... I hope it is! :/ They estimated her weight on Christmas Eve as 6lbs 9oz, which is lovely! :) Now I hope she won't take until 41 weeks to arrive (which she very well could), because I would love her to be 7.5lbs or less! I love teensy babies, and she has some sweet little hand-me-downs from Lydia that she won't fit if she's over 8lbs! ;)

I have gained a LOT of weight this pregnancy! More like my earlier ones. I now weigh 12 stone 5lbs, which is something like exactly 4 stone from my pre-pregnancy weight (I *think* I was 8 stone 5lbs, but I can't remember if I was 8 stone 7lbs... I think it was 5...). That's 56lbs, people!!!!! That's what I gained with my first two or 3 pregnancies, and at least one other (Samuel??). I didn't gain as much with Elijah or Lydia, but I was at my lowest pre-pregnancy weight before this baby, and frankly I don't think 8 stone and 5lbs was good on me. I need to be a bit heavier, but I had health issues and lost too much weight, in my opinion. So maybe I needed to gain more this time? I hope I don't lose too much too fast again after this baby. I look and feel better when I am between 8.5 and 9 stone, I think. So yeah, big weight gain this time! ;) I don't caaaaaare! :D It's all in a good cause and it'll fall off. Not straight away, but most definitely after a while, and then I can't stop it once it starts, even when I want to. Right now the down side is feeling very huffy and weighty when getting about. My thighs are huge, and I have more chins than I used to have! :P Getting upstairs is pretty exhausting, but other than all that I really don't care one bit about how much weight I've gained. It's great for my upcoming milk supply! :)

My haemoglobin levels are fine, and have remained fine at various checks, but my iron stores (ferritin) were low when I asked them to check at 28 weeks - at 14. I got my results back at 34 weeks from the re-check, that they had DROPPED to 10!! :( That was a bummer because I had been supplementing with Floradix, so I couldn't understand why they had gone down. It explains my exhaustion and ringing ears, dizziness, and breathlessness that I'd been putting down to "just pregnancy". Also I learned that I probably have had very low iron stores for many years, with back to back pregnancies and bleeds and so on. I was put on proton pump inhibitors (omeprazole) for 2 years for GERD, which I took myself off last year, when I was feeling so unwell all the time. I haven't had GERD trouble since really, but since then I have learned how much those drugs mess you up! They prevent iron absorption (amongst many other things), so I probably have not been able to absorb whatever iron I was getting in my diet anyway, along with many reasons that my iron stores were being depleted as well. I hope that now I'm off the PPIs that I'm absorbing iron again, but I'm not so encouraged by the drop in my ferritin levels even with natural supplements... The baby is taking more iron from me than ever before in my 3rd trimester, so it could just be that what I'm getting is going straight to the baby and then some, at the moment. The doctor wanted to put me on iron tablets, but my bowel and general digestive tract is not a cheerful part of my body at any time (!!) and the side effects from those tablets can be horrible. I decided not to take them. If I was anaemic with low haemoglobin, I would take them and hope it didn't do a number on my bowel, but since I'm not, I decided to double my Floradix AND take a double dose of Spatone daily, which is something I haven't tried before. It's spring water with a very high natural iron level. The only thing is, I have been really poor at remembering to take it since I started! :/ So it hasn't been consistent at all. I am trying to eat red meat 3-4 times a week minimum, and not take calcium with it, make sure I have vitamin C with it, etc. I'm hoping it's coming up, but I will keep taking as much iron as I can naturally well beyond the birth, so hopefully it'll rise if it hasn't already. I think the midwife will test my blood again before I'm discharged, maybe even before Rosalie is born... So we'll see. My Vitamin D levels were great though! :) First time in years for that, so yay! :)

The week before Christmas, I had some crazy strong Braxton Hicks contractions that were very regular, every 5 minutes for a couple of hours, and many of them painful. The ones that weren't were unpleasantly tight and very distracting. I didn't want the children around me, and it reminded me all too much of the start of Lydia's labour. It was late in the day so Neil was home part-way through, so at least that wasn't a stress. Eventually I decided that no way was I ready to have a baby yet (Samuel's birthday was like two days away, lol!) with so much to do, so I got stuck into the bedtime routine with the children, and the contractions gradually faded out, thankfully! I SO did not want to have a baby before Christmas! Especially right on top of Samuel's birthday. His birthday has been so stressful to prepare, AGAIN - every year it is. I don't seem to cope too well with a birthday so close to Christmas, and the thought of adding another one was suddenly overwhelming! I'm SO relieved to have both his birthday and Christmas out of the way at last. I don't want Rosalie to arrive too close AFTER Christmas either, because I think it's going to be nicer for her to have a birthday that's separated from Christmas a bit. I am hoping to go to my due date or a day or so later, but then NO FURTHER, lol! Because Nathan's birthday is Jan 12th and I like my sanity gaps between preparing big family events! ;)

Since that contract-y evening, I have had some evenings of very strong Braxton Hicks contractions, but nothing as regular as that first one. I also thought I was getting a dental abscess after 3 days of a really sore gum at the back, which developed like a blister-type-thing on top on Samuel's birthday (the 21st). So the next day I went to the dentist and he said no abscess. :) It's much better now, so I guess it was just gum irritation like he said. After my appointment I went into town to do some last minute Christmas shopping, which I would otherwise NEVER get the chance to do alone. People stared at me everywhere I went, lol! I guess I am looking VERY pregnant now! ;) My bump is big, and also very low (like I usually carry). I must have looked ready to give birth right then and there in the shopping mall! ;)

Anyway, not being used to walking for any extended period of time, I pretty much had contractions and back pain for the rest of the day. Also Rosalie was SO quiet, I was getting nervous. I hardly felt her move at all, and when I poked her knee, she at least responded but it was just to lift it up slightly and then put it back again. After a whole afternoon, I was about ready to call the midwife. I had already tried orange juice and lying down, and so on. All of a sudden she seemed to wake up and move more normally, so I don't know what that was about. My midwife came the next day anyway and she was fine and wiggly then, with some hiccups too, and fine again at the scan, so... She has been quiet this morning, making me nervous, but wiggly and active ever since. She seems to be completely out of space in there right now. All her movements are squirms or slight part-way stretches of one leg, etc. She really doesn't move vigorously at all like she used to, and it makes me so nervous! I have counted the times she's moved since I got up this morning and so far she had 10 different sessions of movements, so I guess she's fine and I need to stop getting frantic about it!

I lost a little bit of mucus plug the day after my Braxton Hicksy evening, nothing since then until this morning I had a tiny bit more when I wiped. NOT blood-stained so it doesn't really mean a lot, other than my cervix is maybe possibly thinning out a little bit. The midwife said with all the contractions I've been having, and it being my 8th baby, I am to text her the MINUTE I think it's the real deal, lol! She lives in the next road and will be right over! ;) The only thing is, my midwife only works 3 days a week, and even then she is going on annual leave from right before my due date to 6 days AFTER my due date! :( I am sure she won't be around when I do go into labour, and I don't know anyone else from the midwife team! I won't have Heather with me. :( She is finally starting to feel better since the week before Christmas but she has made it clear that she can't be a doula for me this time. I am so sad and anxious about it, but I can't really tell her that. I have asked my best friend from school to come and hold my hand. I haven't seen her since Arthur was a baby, and before that, not for close to a decade, so we haven't really kept in touch much outside of Facebook. BUT she was always the most steadying influence for me, especially with my tendencies to be anxious about everything. She hasn't had children and has never been at a birth, and is worried that she won't be any use, but I know my body and my labours, and I told her I just need someone WITH me, to hold my hand through the hard contractions, etc. Neil will be doing the childcare, or could be needed at any moment, so I need someone like a doula who will be 100% dedicated to being by my side at all times, just so I have that security to look forward to. If I have to go into hospital, then I would want someone with me, and it wouldn't be Neil because he would have to stay home with the kids. I wish SO MUCH that Heather could be okay and come to be with me... My friend Katy lives just over an hour away from me by car, and she said she is on annual leave from my due date for a week, which is perfect really. She's willing, although she would need 2 hours notice to get to me, and I hope that I would have enough time... I tend to be in denial for AGES in early labour, that I'm actually IN labour, so would have a hard time deciding to call her until I was sure, and by then I think 2 hours might be too long....

Anyway. I am praying it all goes smoothly. I am getting nervy about the actual process of getting Rosalie into my arms! It's so hard to bear the hard stage of labour and the actual pushing stage is overwhelming, but OH SO WORTH IT!!! I can't WAIT to hold her and have her actually here in my arms at last, but I'm apprehensive, shall we say, about the slight hurdle of getting her here! ;)

Okay, I absolutely have to go to bed! I tend to do better at updating here in the last days of my pregnancies, so hopefully I'll update again much much sooner. I am 39 weeks pregnant tomorrow (only 8 days to go, today!!!) and it's absolutely surreal to have arrived at the very end of my pregnancy already! So blessed to be ripe with child, with a lovely round tummy and a wiggly new life on the inside, and I know that maybe this is my last chance to experience it. I am not in a hurry to get any of this wonderous privilege over with, even though I am looking forward to meeting my baby girl so very much. It's such a blessing, and really way too fleeting!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

32 weeks pregnant!!! :-O

Aaaargh, I keep trying! Honestly! I tried an update when I reached my 3rd trimester at 27 weeks, never got to write enough worth posting! Then I have had a draft post titled "30 weeks (THIRTY!!!)" sitting here not getting finished, and it's just NO GOOD! I can't get a blog post written, much as I want to, and see the comments coming in wondering if I'm okay! :/

I am dizzy and headachy with exhaustion tonight and it's already nearly midnight, but there is NO other time to write for long enough to make a blog post with everything I need to update about! So I have to push into sleep time to do it. I know I will want these posts to look back on in any case, so it IS worthwhile. Just a way of explaining why on earth I haven't been here in so very long! First I will copy and paste the little I'd written for the 30 week post:

"Such a long time since I updated - so sorry! I just can't seem to make time for updates, as they take a block of my time and I don't have any spare blocks of time! :/ I will try this entry in bits and pieces and hope I remember to return to it to continue instead of leaving it as a draft until next year, lol!

Thanks so much for the comments on my last entry, and for chasing me up to see where I am! :) Jane, I would be happy to help if I can re. the little one on the autistic spectrum - can you email me (I think you can click a link on my profile)? I will try to reply as soon as I can.

So I have shifted gear from the 20s to the 30s ALREADY!!! I am 30 weeks pregnant, three-quarters of the way through my pregnancy, and therefore less than 10 weeks from my due date! I can't belieeeeeve how fast it is suddenly going, though I expected it, because I knew from previous pregnancies how fast it goes as we get nearer to the end. I know the next 10 weeks will flash by, getting faster and faster, and there is SO MUCH TO DO in that time, I can't tell you!! It's a bit unnerving actually, but exciting too.

Lydia turned 2 last week! She really did! I have never had a two-year-old without also having a younger one. It also means it'll be ages before I have a one-year-old again, now that Lydie isn't one any more. Usually it's only a few months before the next little one turns one. Things feel quite different this time around, with a bigger gap than I've ever had between babies! Lydia is very "grown up" in her ways (this could be read as "bossy", "assertive", etc. lol! but she's very sweet with it!). Her speech is more advanced than any of her brothers at her 2nd birthday, which helps. She can tell tales on her brothers in sentences (sigh!), explain why she is saying no to something, tell me what she wants to do and what she needs to do it, etc. It's so lovely for her to be able to communicate so much at this age. Now that I've seen it, I can only imagine how frustrated my boys must have been (especially those who only had a bunch of single words at their second birthdays!), having all these same things in their heads to say and yet no method of communicating them. She isn't having tantrums like they were, though she can definitely throw a strop if she needs to! So I'm wondering if that was what the tantrums were about? SO different having a girl, and it turns out to be true about girls and language skills, although the other side of the coin (boys being quicker at motor skills) is 100% untrue in Lydia's case. She is advanced on motor skills as well - walked earlier than the boys, threads laces and cuts well with scissors, and has somehow taught herself to hold a pencil in a perfect writing grip, to draw! She's SO girly, sings all the time, has a very definite opinion on clothes (hers and mine!), and still has sweet high pitched little giggles that none of the boys have done, when she's being cheeky with her daddy, or being tickled. :) We all love her SO, and we're so happy to have a little girl in our family! I am absolutely pinching myself at the moment that I get to have TWO girls! I mean, one is just the most amazing gift and blessing, but TWO?!! I can't get over it. Amazing God."

That is all I managed to write, and then my time was up, and though I kept meaning to find time to continue, it never happened. So that's not a method I will try again - adding to a post bit by bit to get it done. I will try to say as much as I possibly can as quickly as I can right now, lol!

So I am 32 weeks pregnant! How surreal is that! I feel like just yesterday it was completely surreal that I was entering my 3rd trimester. I know my due date will be upon me LIKE THAT. And I'm not ready, and so it's starting to stress me a little!

We have so much to get ready, and honestly I cannot fathom how we can get it all done - but it MUST be done!

* Samuel (nearly 5), Elijah (3.5) and Lydia (2) sleep in the big master bedroom with us. The boys have a shorty "bunk" which is really a cabin bed with a mattress on the floor underneath for the "bottom bunk". We keep our little ones close at night while they are still waking and needing us, and the older four boys rarely wake, but come to us if they need anything. Samuel wakes most nights just from a bad dream or needing a drink, or cold and tangled in his covers, etc. Some nights he's restless and wakes more often. He is starting to get up and get the drink from the shelf himself now, without disturbing us, and he can also put his covers back on himself some of the time. Elijah wakes sometimes, and cries like a little one until someone comes. They are almost ready to be in their own room now, and I would not have been comfortable about it any sooner, honestly. I think they will be able to learn to come to us if they need us, or hopefully we'll hear 'Lijah cry and get up and go to him if needed, if they are in their own room. Anyway, they NEED to move out of our room in time for the baby to arrive! Our smallest bedroom (we have 4 now) has been a "junk" room since we moved here, because we had a ton of boxes and stuff to sort that we never had time to do, and that particular room was used as an office by the previous owners, and that was the only room in the house that they smoked in, ugh. It was not awful, but you can still smell the yucky smell if the door has been closed for a while, so I want to strip it of EVERYTHING - wallpaper, carpet, lightshade, blind - that was left by the last people, and rip out the fitted wardrobe which is just taking up space (and harbouring the smell), and re-decorate it completely. We have been here 14 months now and STILL haven't found time to get it done, but our time is officially up so we have to get it done somehow. The little boys need it for their bedroom. I am panicking about how on earth we can do it. We can't afford decorators, Neil has zero time off work between now and Christmas (I will be 38.5 weeks at Christmas and it DEFINITELY has to be done well before then!), and we are up to our ears in parenting small children for every waking second that he's home! :/  We are slowwwly getting the junk and boxes shifted over many weekends, but there aren't enough left now!

* Lydia has always slept by my side in the double mattress on the floor. Neil is next to our bed in another double bed (proper frame, not on the floor), but mine is the "nursing bed". :) Safer for her so she hasn't got anywhere to fall out of. So she has never slept apart from me, and she is still nursing on demand day and night. She wakes at night maybe once or twice, though if she's unwell or having a bad night, she might wake several times and be very clingy and whimpery. She doesn't like Neil to lie with her instead of me, like when I'm unwell and can't be next to her because I'm pacing around nauseated downstairs (it turns out that I'm having fairly frequent attacks of IBS or something, but with SO MUCH NAUSEA, urgh. I was sure it was a tummy bug the first time, but it's recurring and seems very IBS-like, so probably not. :/ ). She just cries and stays awake until I'm there! Which is also a nerve-wracking thought when I think of how soon the new baby will arrive.

* For the first time we plan to have Lydia stay in the room with us, the same room as the new baby. The only time we ever did this was with Arthur, when Nathan was born. Matthew and I went into a different room and left Neil co-sleeping with Arthur, when Matthew was born. I meant to move Arthur in with Matthew in time for Nathan's arrival, but of course he came at 35 weeks (PLEASE NO, BABY!) and Arthur was still where he was! He stayed a few weeks and was disturbed at first by Nathan's wakings, and then got more used to it and slept through most of them. I was glad to have a space for just the baby and me though, and after that we had "the boys' room" at our old house, and every time a new baby was nearly due, we moved the previous baby out of my bed and into the boys' room with his older brothers. Because they were so little when moving in (less than 18 months old), Neil slept on the floor in their room so he could attend to their wakings, which they continued to do frequently until they were between 2 and 3. Neil actually got better sleep that way anyway, because I was up a LOT with a tiny baby. Soooo, this time, we're in a new home. We have no "boys' room" for the littlest to move into, and we don't want to go back to Neil moving onto some child's bedroom floor to attend to wakings! BUT we don't feel right making such a huge transition for Lydie. Away from my side, night weaned, and out of our room completely, very obviously "replaced" by a new little person! Nope. So the only option we can think of is that the boys move out, and she gets a fancy new toddler bed to entice her to sleep where their bed was, in our room. I need to night-wean her the moment we get her in there, and hopefully she will adjust to the disturbances of the baby waking at night for nappy changes and milk, etc. If it doesn't work, I guess we will have to think of an alternative, after the baby is here and we've tried it for a while. The alternative would have to be me and the tiny one moving out of the bedroom, I think, but I am not sure where we would go as all the bedrooms are full! :/

* Before that, we have to redecorate our bedroom! The blinds that were fitted when we moved in have pulled the plaster off the wall and fallen down, exposing brickwork! So they are "pinned" up and taken down every day which is a huge pain, and we need those areas replastering. NO IDEA what we are going to do! Plastering isn't something you can just hop up and decide to do, and we can't afford to get someone in to do it! :( We have wallpaper here (I hate wallpaper with small children!) and the little ones have peeled it in places so it looks awful! I plan to give birth in that room (unless it's night time of course, and then I guess I'll be downstairs?! I hope it's day time. I would MUCH rather give birth in my cosy familiar bed...), and therefore midwives and various others will attend me in there, so it CANNOT look like that still when my due date rolls around.

* Then there's the various things I have not even turned my mind to yet, like writing a birth plan (new midwives here, new hospital, so much that I'm not familiar with!), packing a hospital bag, planning what to do if I end up transferring to hospital for any reason, etc.

* Big spanner in the works right now: My dear and lovely doula, who we haven't seen in over a year (well, briefly for an afternoon at their wedding anniversary renewal of vows in September), is suffering terribly from depression and is completely debilitated by it at the moment. She wrote last week to tell me she's SO sorry but right now she cannot doula for me, she is just not able. :( I feel for her so badly. I have been there with debilitating depression, and know how awful it is. Also I just love her so much and wish her better! MUCH less importantly, but still valid, I am not sure what to do about not having someone to count on when I have my baby! :( Of course I wrote back telling her not to worry about a THING from my point of view, that I would be absolutely fine if I needed to do it without her, and she must not feel guilty. But I am starting to get anxious! Neil can't be there for me, at home or in hospital, even in an emergency, because he's needed for the children day and night. My parents can't (and probably won't) come all the way from France. They were my support plan for my 3rd baby, but they were in France when he arrived early and so we realised that it really wouldn't work. My labours are quick. And I don't like to have it hanging over me that my desperately needed support very likely won't make it to me in time - it's a stress leading up to the birth, and I don't want that. Heather lives an hour or so away by car, which is already a new thing to work with, but she was planning to come and stay with us for a few days leading up to my likely time of labour, and then stay afterwards for a few days as well. Now she won't be able to be here for me at all, and I feel rather lost and scared wondering what will happen.

* Soooo, I need prayer! Please pray that Heather will respond well to the new treatment she's started for her depression, and feel so much better in the coming couple of months that she will be able to come and be here after all. I don't want to be selfish about it - her wellbeing is more important! But I so hope she'll be okay, and I won't have to be alone... Also, please pray that I will have a perfectly healthy, safe, straightforward homebirth. I would hate to transfer to hospital ANYWAY, even with Heather by my side. It upsets me hugely to leave my "nest" and my little ones when I'm in labour. But I can't fathom doing it without someone by my side to support me, help me breathe and pray for me when I am having a panic attack (which, likely, if I go into hospital, especially given that to do that I would have to be having some sort of worrying complication in the first place), and hold my hand if I cry. Neil absolutely can't. There's nobody we can leave the children with, and it would be for too long to have someone at our house who they are not completely used to (for overnight, or bedtime routine, etc.) - they just wouldn't cope with not having a parent at home, especially the Asperger's ones, and the tiny ones. :( Also please pray that the timing of the labour and birth would be perfect - not just at home and uncomplicated, but at a time of day or night that means I am able to get on with it feeling supported and surrounded, even if I don't have a doula with me. Right now I am thinking it would have to be day time. Night time means that Neil would be on hand for me more, but he isn't the best birth support person, I feel awkward saying it, but it's true! :/ He doesn't know what to say or do, isn't tuned into me to know when I need comfort, or calming, or just a hand to hold, and comes over faint even before the birthy part arrives, lol! He hasn't been there for the last 3 babies at all, and just nipped in for Benjamin's (4 babies ago) to see him born as I really wanted him to. So it isn't as straightforward as all that to just hope for night time and having Neil with me - he isn't as comforting to me as even a midwife, let alone a doula, and I would constantly be distracted being concerned that he was feeling faint or funny. *sigh*

I currently feel like day time labour and birth would suit me best. I get anxious easily at night, even in the evening like with Lydia's labour, I was strangely anxious and uneasy with the time of day - even in my familiar room that I always gave birth in (don't have that any more!), and Heather by my side. I just put it down to it being a different time of day, one that I am most prone to anxiety in. Day time would mean I would feel more in control, more surrounded by normal life around the house, and people coming and going - not hushed and "strange" like night time. I would feel comforted that Neil was looking after the little ones having their normal day, and I could hopefully tune in to my midwife (who I may not even have met, as I only have one named midwife that I see every time - nice idea but not that useful when she only works 3 days a week and therefore isn't likely to be on hand for my birth!) as my source of support.

Urrrrghhhh. The whole thing is making me anxious. I just hope it all goes smoothly, and I somehow manage the difficult parts of labour where I typically panic and need MAJOR support (transition and actual birthing), without anyone to give me that support. Even with a good "chin up!" attitude to it, I realistically know that I won't cope well in those moments without a doula or similar support. Heather doesn't charge us any more - she doesn't take doula clients any longer, and only comes to us because we are close friends and she wouldn't miss it for the world! :) I'm so blessed to have her! We can't afford to just get another doula. We couldn't afford Heather if she was still charging us either.

Changing the subject! :/

* We finally decided on the baby's name! Neil wasn't sure about it STILL, but he gave in in the end because he had no ideas - he liked Sophie and Amy, but I really didn't like Amy and Sophie just didn't feel "right" for this baby somehow. I kept coming back to how the boys have wanted a sister called Rosie. Time is just passing and we were getting nowhere, and I started to fall in love with Rosalie again (which I previously loved but then became unsure - this baby has been the hardest to name by far, lol!). Neil said he wasn't sure if he'd ever like it (!!) even after saying it was really nice just a few weeks earlier!! It's hard to work with him on names! ;) Then this week he said he had sat in the car and tried it out, as though calling her or telling her off, lol! And he likes it well enough. So that we don't change our minds again (I REALLY don't want to anyway, I love it!), we officially told the children yesterday after cutting Arthur's birthday cake (he's ELEVEN!!!! *gasp*).

Our baby's name is Rosalie Averil. :) She will likely be called Rosie by her brothers (they are just SO pleased!!), but I also want to call her Rosalie, and Rose. I am really happy with her name, it's girly and pretty and versatile enough to change about if I want to. We haven't used the letter R before, so it works well! Lydie pronounces it, "Rosie-Rosie" :) I LOVE having a name to use now, as I coo over her and talk to her when she pushes her feet about in my side! :)

PLEASE DO NOT mention her name at all if you know me on Facebook! I desperately want to keep it a surprise for the birth announcement! Sometimes friends have slipped up in the past, so I'm just asking again, please try not to let it slip! Thank you! :)

So, Rosalie (yay!) is very active and busy in there. She gets hiccups several times a day, and is now very vigorous with her feet, always pushing them out of my bump on my upper right side. She is always head down with her back always on my left side. Occasionally she swings round to my right side, but never stays there long. :) A couple of weeks ago, we discovered that she's exactly the same size (to the cm!) as the baby dolly that Lydia got for her birthday from her Grandma (the one named Averil!). We even measured the doll's head circumference and found it was the same measurement as a baby in the womb at 30 weeks! So we had a good life-size reference, and I curled it up and placed it over Rosalie's position on my tummy. It was really eye-opening to see, and I think the children really "got it" when they saw that example! The doll's bottom was in the same exact place as the solid bump they could feel right underneath inside my tummy, and the doll's feet were an inch from where they could actively feel our baby's feet kicking at their hands! They got to see that her head must be way down in my hips. It was really great to have that visual! :)

I am tired and generally feeling more yucky this pregnancy. Not terrible (except when these rounds of horrible nausea and bowel issues kick in), but worse than I'm used to at this stage of my pregnancies. I didn't feel so good with Lydia either, and some of my friends have said that they felt worse throughout the pregnancy with their GIRLS, than their boys. So maybe that's all it is? I wondered if it's just that I'm getting older. Maybe...

I had a midwife appointment at 28 weeks, unwell at the time because I'd been up ALL night trying not to be sick (happened to have a bout of whatever this IBS-type issue is, which has recurred several times since). She did my routine bloods and I asked her specifically if she would test not only my haemoglobin, but also my ferritin (iron stores). I felt that with allllll that bleeding I did early on, I may well be low on iron. Sure enough, my haemoglobin came back okay, but my ferritin was low. I have been taking Floradix iron supplements since then, though not always consistently if I am feeling sick.  She wants to re-test at 34 weeks to see if it is coming back up, as low ferritin might not be a good idea at the time of birth. :/ I hope it's coming up.

My midwife phoned me yesterday and asked to pop in and see me that afternoon, but it was Arthur's birthday so she is coming tomorrow instead. I am slightly unnerved, because she was really clear that there are no appointments until 34 weeks, as a routine. I wonder why she is coming?

Okay it's so late and my head really hurts. I was up most of the night 2 nights ago decorating Arthur's birthday cake, and then I had another late night last night, so I was DESPERATE for an early night tonight, but alas! :/ Nearly 1am now. I will try to go to bed with the children tomorrow, and hope I manage through the day  - they have swimming lessons tomorrow which will be a challenge!

I remembered I never posted the last 2 belly pictures I took (25 weeks and the special one I always take at 28 weeks with the children around me), so I am going to finish with those tonight. I randomly grabbed the camera and used the timer to take a quick one for 32 weeks tonight too, so yay, at least I've covered a few weeks now! :) It's so easy to forget to take belly pictures! Here they are (I think photobucket has made my photos poor and grainy looking for some reason, which it didn't used to do!):

25 weeks:

28 weeks, with all my lovely treasures! :)

32 weeks:

Random thing I almost forgot! - I now weigh exactly 11 stone, so I have gained 35lbs (I think?? I can't remember if I was 8st 5lbs or 8st 7lbs at the start!) so far. My weight gain is odd (to me!) - I didn't gain a thing for several weeks, not one pound, and then in one week I gained 6lbs and felt dreadful the following week - exhausted and achy with my leg muscles in particular trying to catch up with their extra load, lol! I wish I could remember how many weeks I was when that happened... I think it must have been before 28 weeks because I remember mentioning it to the midwife and she just nodded and said weight gain can happen like that - so long as it slows down again, it's fine. And I *think* it had JUST happened, so maybe 27 weeks was when I gained 6lbs? Anyway, for 3 weeks following, I gained NOTHING, no lbs at all! Again! I was bracing myself for another 6lbs after those 3 weeks, lol! But, I have gained just 2lbs since, and have held steady with no weight gain for most of this past week. Interesting!

I will TRY, I really will, to update again! I am just so pushed for time. I forgot to say that never mind all the baby prep listed above, Samuel's birthday is less than 6 weeks away, with Christmas 4 days after! And I need to have everything ready for Nathan's birthday by then too (Jan 12th) because I know I won't have time to focus on it once it's baby time, and it will be a stress hanging over me if it's not all nicely ready and packed away before Rosalie is born. :/ Please do pray for me, getting everything done, and not going insane stressing over things! Thank you! :)

Friday, 18 September 2015

24 weeks pregnant!

Oh this is terrible!! It has taken me so long to update - a whole month has gone by! :/ I just can't seem to find time to update this blog, because I know I will need a good bit of time every time I update, with all the long-windedness and news from my head that I always like to write. I am no good at short updates, lol! I'm starting this even though it's mid-afternoon, someone is working on a pooey nappy that I'll need to change in a minute, and I need to get on with the next thing to do (some school lessons, and also making spaghetti Bolognese). It's the absolute worst time to sit and start writing a blog update, but WHEN am I going to aside from this?! I know I may only get a paragraph in, and then stop for days, but at least I'm making a start from which I can continue (and maybe be more motivated to remember, as I've made that start) any time I get a moment.

I have been so tired, and going to bed with the children about half the nights in a week, every week, just to maintain life. That means my only waking hours are the ones where I'm on the go constantly with all the children - most of them get up before I do in the mornings, and if I go to sleep before some of them doze off, well, I just have no time for my own pursuits, aside from much less time-consuming updates on Facebook. (Julie from Heartlight, I haven't forgotten your request!! I don't have a way to contact you, but yes I would love to friend you on Facebook, after all these years! :) I am generally picky about friending anyone I do not know, and never accept a friend request if it's not accompanied by a personal message - because honestly, I have no idea who most of you are, lol! It's nothing personal, but if I don't know you I'm unlikely to accept a request - I am pretty open on Facebook, but my name and location and such are there, so I'm picky.)

So I am getting bigger. Much bigger, these last few weeks! I feel "properly pregnant", which I guess is my way of saying that I feel "really pregnant", but I know I can't really say that yet at 24 weeks, since it pales into insignificance compared with 35 weeks and beyond, in my experience, lol! I feel physically more restricted now. Uncomfortable a lot, and my bump gets in the way of my diaphragm when I am sitting down - I have to keep straightening my back to take a deep breath. Bending over sharply without thinking results in pain low down under my bump, and I'm slowly learning to remember not to make that sudden move any more. It's hard to cut my toenails, and I feel breathless a lot, and night time isn't very comfy at all, getting a good position to sleep in. I still have a lot of searing ligament pains, even at night when I'm in a perfectly comfy position and not moving at all! I guess the baby suddenly moves and then my ligaments are pulled on differently, so they complain. It's harder getting up from my mattress on the floor that is mine and Lydia's bed, now. In the coming months, we'll figure out and implement a plan for where she'll sleep, and get ready for the new baby moving into bed next to me. Neil is nearby but Lydia still breastfeeds on demand at night, so it affects his sleep less when he's not on the same mattress as us! As it happens he's a terrible sleep-mate, lol! I have never had a night's sleep as good as before I got married, mostly because I'm attending little ones every night for the last 10 years, and then pregnantly disturbed (!!) for the months before that, but in the few years before we had children, I was constantly disturbed by Neil. He thrashes about, has no awareness of another person in the bed, and snores. He talks, mumbles and shouts in his sleep, and wakes violently from bad dreams! I thought I would get used to it over the years being married to him, but nope. I am thinking of separate beds in the same room after we've finished having little ones in the room, lol! Need my sleep!

Children are doing chores now. I can carry on for a few minutes.

We haven't settled on a name yet for this baby girl! We keep thinking that we have the one we're going to use, and I actually say it when I talk about the baby and things that I see that will be set aside for her (things that Lydia has outgrown, etc.). But then the next day I will think, "Is that REALLY going to be her name?..." and I feel not quite settled with using it. I still think it pretty much IS the name we'll go with, so I keep using it when I refer to her. But in the not-knowing, and therefore getting to 24 weeks and not having told anyone at all about a name we might use (except for the shortlist I mentioned here last time) I am feeling more and more drawn to keeping the name a secret for announcing at the birth, like I usually do for the rest of the world, only here and with close friends at Facebook too! :) Never done that before... I always like to talk about everything in my head here, as it happens, and that includes calling my baby by his or her name from as soon as I know what it is and it's therefore in my head all the time in reference to the baby. Maybe it's because I'm not quite 100% sure that we WILL use this name in the end, and maybe once I do feel sure, I'll want to use it here. But I'm quite enjoying the secret, and that nobody knows - everybody can't wait to find out, but nobody knows! :) It's nice! Sorry for the frustration, but it's nice, hehe!

It IS one of the names on the shortlist, but there's a chance we might change it for another one on the shortlist. Also there's a slimmer chance that from out of the blue, another name we hadn't considered will cross our minds and we'll end up choosing that. I *think* we are settled. The boys won't know until we've absolutely decided. Most of the time we are sure, but there are still moments of doubt for me, and maybe that can be normal in pregnancy, but it's not my norm so I'm unsettled by the feeling.

Meg asked how we'd pronounce Rosalie in the comments after last entry. If we use that name, we would absolutely pronounce it Rose-a-lee. I had a moment when I read that, of slight panic, thinking I didn't want a name that might be mispronounced! I had never even considered "Roz-a-lee" as a way to say the name, and went straight to as many baby name websites as I could find. After 10 websites in a row said that the only pronunciation was "Rose-a-lee" I was reassured! It isn't like Rosalind, it's a "Rose" name, and doesn't have an option for "Roz-a-lee" on the how-to-pronounce info, so hopefully not many people would think it was pronounced that way, if we choose it. The good thing about Charlotte, Rose and Hannah is that they are classic, obvious names that nobody will mispronounce or mis-spell!

Baby girly has had hiccups for the first time, a couple of weeks ago! I was so excited!! I love this stage, big walloping kicks (compared with the teeny fluttery ones of the early months), obvious baby bump, and hiccups! I love baby hiccups, I feel so proud of my little ones knowing that they are practicing their breathing in there, and that is why they are getting hiccups. In the past week I saw my tummy going up and down rhythmically for a moment, and I recognised it as practice breathing. :) Good girl!

She is now viable - hooray! I know it's still super early, but if she was born now, she would have a chance of survival outside my body. Bizarre and surreal thought - I really feel like I haven't been pregnant very long yet! But I'm so relieved to reach the 24 week milestone! :)

I haven't taken a belly pic in ages, and am not sure when I can get chance! I will if I can. I know that Arthur will NOT let me forget the traditional 28-week one with all the children around me and my littlest on my hip. :) He asks pretty much every week if I'm pregnant enough for "the family picture" yet. I am excited about that picture! It will be the third pregnancy in a row that I've done one, and it's building a sweet run of pictures that show how the children are growing and changing, which I love! :)

Lydia got kicked for the first time, a few weeks ago! She and Elijah were the first to feel this baby kick, other than me. Neil has since felt hiccups, and Arthur and Matthew have felt little tiny taps, but not big kicks yet. Lydia was kneading my tummy while Elijah, who asks to see my "big tummy" every single day, was having his viewing of my tummy while we sat on the sofa having a cuddle. She came over and squashed it about this way and that. I've been telling her there's a baby inside, but how could she really know?! ;) Anyway, baby sister kicked Lydia right on her hand, and she snatched it back with a sharp gasp, like she'd been stung, lol! She stared with wide eyes and open mouth at my tummy for a few moments, and then turned the same expression to me, for some reassurance I guess! I asked her if she had felt the baby move, and she said yes, in total amazement! ;) Now, on Elijah's daily viewings (!), she comes over and points to my tummy, and then says very seriously, "Baby. Baby indide." Yes, lovey, there is! :D She still can't understand until the baby arrives, of course, but it's a start! ;)

Lydia will be 2 next month. I have never had a two-year-old who is about to have a baby sibling before, except for those who are about to get their SECOND baby sibling! ;) Lydia will be two and will have never had a younger sibling before, which is totally new territory for us. She is more advanced and more aware therefore, than her brothers were when I was pregnant and due to have a baby, being that bit older. A few more months will make even more difference to her development. It's weird to me, lol! I'm used to much shorter age gaps! I hope it will be okay...

I am still in absolute awe that I am having another girl! So delighted, and just honestly shaking my head with disbelief that God has been THIS good to me! We were on a long drive last weekend to see family, and Neil and I were finalising the baby's name (or so we thought, lol!). Then we were quiet for a while, and there was a crazy huge influx of motorbikes coming down the motorway. Neil is practically obsessed with motorbikes, and military, and cars, and football. The boys (all of them) are following in his footsteps, shrieking with joy over the sight of motorbikes, asking, "WOW, what car is THAT!" at a fancy or fast car on the road, and having a fairly obsessive interest in military aircraft, which is mainly Arthur's but his enthusiasm for anything is always infectious to his brothers, so they all talk, read and draw about military aircraft every. single. day. NONE of which is a problem, and of course Lydia could share their interests, BUT.... I could not possibly be more bored with each of those subjects! My dad and brother have always been heavily into football, and to my mum it's like nails on chalkboard, lol! From early in childhood I seemed to identify with her over it, and football and cars and other "man" stuff really super irritates me. I just do my own thing when there's football on, and take as little notice as possible for my own sanity, as I did growing up, but now that all the children are joining it, it's impossible to get away from the constant talk of air strikes and code names for planes, and cars and motorbikes, etc. I love their healthy interests, but sometimes I reach a point where I want to SCREAM - it's SO boring!!! Aaaargh! I have some hope that maybe Lydia will be - at last! - someone to keep me company during the absolute boredom of all the male hobbies, lol! I know she might choose their interests too, but I so hope not! ;) Another girl makes me hope for double the companions, hehe!

Anyway, so this parade of motorbikes went on and on, and the boys and Neil got more and more excited about it. I tried to make interested comments and noises for a while but after 20 minutes (there must have been an event they were going to), I was honestly about to lose my MIND with the whole thing, stuck in a van with endless 2-wheeled vehicles and 20 minutes of maintained crazy excitement, mostly from Neil, lol! ;) I got to the, "Yes, yes, it's a BIKE." response stage (!!) and then lay my head back on the head-rest to close my eyes and try to escape. I think I had hormones going on as well, emotionally speaking, so that didn't help! ;) To distract myself while the excitement over parply-noised-vehicles continued, I tried thinking back on our conversation about the new baby and her name. Then suddenly it hit me that I was shortly going to be the mother of TWO daughters. Two girls. My GIRLS - girlzzzz! :D It suddenly was overwhelmingly amazing to me again, and unbelieveably wonderful, and in the face of all the blokey thrill of motorbikes, to suddenly think I would have two daughters growing up by my side with all these boys... I just suddenly choked up with tears right there in the van, thinking how GOOD God has been to me, how gracious and kind, to give me TWO daughters after all these precious sons. I guess he knew I would need them! :P

Well, that's all the time I have, and I am pleased to have been able to write more than I expected! :) I will try to update again like this, and get a picture up sometime soon as well. Thanks so much for all the lovely comments and congrats on my newest daughter! :)

Friday, 21 August 2015

20 weeks - I had my scan today!

I meant to update again in the last couple of days before my scan appointment, just to catch up on how things are going (after my last post) and final thoughts on boy or girl stuff! I'm sad that I didn't get chance! But oh well.

Here's my little treasure!


Of course we had the entire scan before they checked to see what gender the baby was - that's the usual procedure. The scan is mainly about checking for abnormalities, and thankfully, there were none! :) The sonographer said that our baby had "the best heart" she had seen all morning! :) It was probably one of the quickest 20 week scans we've ever had, because the sonographer was very efficient and quick, and also the baby was in the perfect position for measurement every time she went to measure any body part! :) She said straight away, "Baby is head down... Little feet up over the top." Ahhh, my precious love! I felt SO in love, just watching. *sigh*

We're always interested in the measurements because we have various body types amongst our children, and we always wonder which type each new baby will favour. I'm 20w4d today (the scan pictures and my report say 20w3d because they are going by the dates on my last scan - only one day out from my own dates, which is negligible, so I'm sticking to my own - I know they are more accurate since I chart!). The baby's abdomen measured 20w5d, so almost spot on! The little leg bones measured 19w5d, which the lady said was pretty spot on really, but I know better, haha! ;) Anyone who has measured less than 20 weeks in the leggie department has ended up with shorter-than-average legs (like their Mummy, unfortunately! Mine are very stumpy!) - Arthur and Benjamin are the two I'm thinking of! ;) Lydia is their body type but her legs weren't as short and still aren't. They're more in proportion to the rest of her (average measurements). Arthur and Benjamin also had slightly bigger tummy measurements, and heads that were bigger than their dates by about a week. This baby has head measurements all pretty much spot on 20w3d to 20w5d. :) Nothing over 21 weeks like those two boys had.

We saw the little kidneys, the heart beating beautifully with all 4 chambers and valves flapping away. We saw the full stomach and full bladder, two beautiful straight little feet (hooray!) crossed at the ankles, beautiful delicate teensy fingers opening and closing gently, and that gorgeous sight of the string of pearls that is the spine. All the brain looked normal, there was skin over the lower spinal cord, the blood flow through the arteries and veins was normal in and out of the heart, the umbilical cord was attached normally and blood flow through it was great. When it came time to check the little upper lip for a hare lip, the baby had shifted to lying on its side, cheek and part of the mouth all smooshed up against me. :) The cheeks weren't at all chubby yet, of course, but the squish was firm enough that the little mouth was pushed open a bit by it. It looked DIVINE - just gorgeous little lips and that beautiful triangle nose that I've seen so many times before. :) We could see one side of the top lip, but the other wasn't visible, and the baby looked so relaxed and happy there. After a while a little arm came up and a hand rested in front of the face so we could see even less! Then the sonographer wiggled the probe gently on my tummy and said, "Come on, little one! Let us see your mouth..." and almost as if in response, the arm moved down, the little chin was lifted, and the mouth became visible really clearly (no hare lip!). The sonographer said, "Thank you, little one!" and I fell in love that bit more than I already was before. :)

There was a sweet moment in the scan where I saw what looked like the baby putting a little hand to its mouth, which I remembered my heart melting at during scans with my other babies (although not all of them did). The little mouth was opening and closing a little, and I commented on how sweet it was with the little hand to the mouth like that. Then the sonographer told me that actually the baby was sucking its foot, lol! ;) I don't think we've ever seen that at a scan before! ;) She said the baby was sort of bent double at that moment, with the feet up over the face, and a little hand above the head, and the other by its side. Ahhhh, my heart-strings! I love this little one! :)

She moved on to processing the images she'd gathered, and I began to worry that she wasn't going to even suggest checking the gender, because we hadn't mentioned it, and that she'd switch it all off and say goodbye or something, lol! A worrying moment! ;) But thankfully she said, "Are you wanting to know what you're having?" and I said, "We are... yes, please!" So she went straight to the "potty shot" as it's referred to so often! She was zooming in and out, trying to get the right depth for a still shot to clearly look, and all I could see was nothing protruding in particular, but I didn't see any lines or anything like that. She froze the image at last, and so I knew that was IT - the "there it is!" answer to the big question, but even with alllll the gender ultrasounds I'd laid eyes on, I didn't immediately see a clear gender! After a moment I realised that there was nothing - NOTHING - between those legs, and then the sonographer broke the silence by saying, "There are three lines - do you see?" And she pointed to three not-that-clear-but-definitely-there white lines, and said, "It looks like a little girl!" As she shifted the image again, we got a better view of proper girly bits with the labia as well, so that was much more reassuring to see! I knew - ABSOLUTELY KNEW - that it was a girl, but even so I was overwhelmed and stunned and just lost for words, that I have actually managed to conceive a girl, AGAIN!!! :D I felt quite emotional and tearful, even though it wasn't the same as the utterly mind-blowing experience of last time, finding out that we were expecting a girl for the very first time! ;)

It was weird because that was suddenly the end of the scan, and we had to wait for a few minutes in a very busy and close-seated waiting room with bored people looking at us (we must have looked "interesting" as I couldn't stop smiling and my eyes were probably all shiny, and I was clutching the photos above in my hand!). I wanted so much to talk to Neil about it, but I knew my voice would be too loud and squeaky because of The Overwhelmingness and the excitement and joy, and it was really hushed in that waiting room! So we waited, and then the sonographer came out with my notes, and then we went back to the car through busy corridors and in packed lifts. Everything felt way too normal and run-of-the-mill, paying for the parking at the machine, and we were almost at the car when I began to be out of breath keeping up with Neil's swift longer-legged pace, and suddenly said, "I can't keep up! Can you slow down because I've got a - (and then sudden excited squeally voice!) BABY **GIRL**  ON MY BLADDER!!!!" haha! It just erupted, and from that point on I was bubbling over with excitement and constant, "I can't believe it!" and "It's a GIRRRRLLL!!! I'm so happyyyyy!" and so on, all the way home! ;)

I phoned my parents from the car, before we even pulled out of the hospital. They are on their way to England (they live in France) to visit US!!! :) They haven't been to visit us personally in what feels like years - I think the last time was after Lydie was born. *sigh* I wish they would come and see us more often. Anyway, they are only just coming to see our new home, and we've been here a year in about a week's time! They were in the process of driving up France to catch a ferry across the Channel, and I knew I had to tell them the news before the got on the ferry otherwise there would be no signal until they docked (late in the evening). So I phoned them as soon as I possibly could, and they were thrilled to hear they would be having another granddaughter! :) They are staying with friends over the weekend, and coming to us on Monday and Tuesday before going back home. I just can't WAIT to see them! :)

On the way home, I made Neil stop at the shops because I wanted to pick up something that would be a cute way to announce to the boys when we got home. Nicola was babysitting all 7 of them because the hospital here won't allow children of any age in the scan room. She's a star - she brought her three little boys, so she was watching ten children ages ten and under! And everything went well, which was a relief! :) So thankful, because Neil was able to come with me to the scan - the first and only one this pregnancy that he's been able to attend. It was really nice to share that together.

He was very smiley, by the way, after we found out the baby is a girl, but not very verbal! ;) He says he is really pleased that it's a girl - he so wanted Lydie to have a sister, and now she does! :) He is doing better at the moment (bit of an aside to update on last entry), and thus so am I. He hasn't sought help yet, and I don't know if he will, but I'm grateful for the lift in the difficulties at the moment. I find his depression difficult to deal with (in answer to Valerie's question) because coping with a spouse's depressive illness is REALLY hard. There are support groups, I found out! And I read that in many ways it can be harder on the spouse than the depressed person, even. And that statistically, up to 50% of wives of depressed husbands end up suffering from depression of their own whilst trying to cope with their husband's. It's just really hard, even without the demands on me of a large family and pregnancy, and my own tank being completely empty. Anyway. It's easier right at the moment, and we feel "back to normal" in our relationship again. I hesitated to say "for now", but I'd rather just not focus on that, and enjoy the improvement. :) Thanks so much for the prayers and the very supportive comments last entry!

So, we went to the shops and ended up buying a pink teddy with "Baby" and "Girl" written across its feet, and a pink helium filled balloon with "Here come the girls" written on it! ;) When I saw it, I wanted it because I suddenly wanted to take a photo of Lydia holding it, as a way of announcing. Right now she's "the girl", but I loved the idea of "here come THE GIRLS"!!! :) We bought a balloon box so we could hide the things in there for a surprise when we got home, and the headed back. All the way I was just, "Oooooh, it's a GIRL!!!! I can't believe it's a GIRL!!!" to Neil, haha! ;)

We got home and straight away they wanted to know what was in the box. When they were all gathered around (Nicola's boys too), I opened the box and let them lift the plastic bag off the surface, and up floated the balloon. They all went nuts grabbing for it (forgot to think about the fact that the balloon itself might be a bit of an overwhelming over-stimulation for some of them, whoops!) and in the huge load of noise and movement I can't remember who started yelling, "It's a GIRL!" or something along those lines, but I think it was either Arthur or Matthew. :) ALL six of the boys have been longing for the baby to be another girl, and I was getting a bit worried that if it did turn out to be a boy, they'd end up disappointed! But they are just beside themselves with joy over the news! :D

I handed the teddy to the nearest calm child (only Benjamin fitted that category, lol! He's generally calm, shy, and steady by nature, so wasn't leaping for the balloon and making noise). Benjamin was standing by my side, so I gave it to him, and before I could even explain that it said "baby girl" on its feet, he was whispering to me earnestly, "Rosie is a nice name... we could call her Rosie..." I LOVE that because Rose and Rosalie are on our short list, and the boys don't know the names we're considering. :) I have no idea where that came from, but he has said the same thing to me much earlier in my pregnancy, and I remember telling him that yes, it was a nice name, but that it might not even be a girl, so we'd have to wait and see! He still remembered it, and it was the first thing he wanted to communicate to me after we announced the news! Weirdly (I'm SURE he hasn't talked to his brothers about it), when I went to tuck Nathan and Arthur in at bedtime, Nathan suddenly said, "What would you have called the baby if it was a boy?" On the way to the scan, Neil had said to me, "You'd better prepare yourself... in case it's a boy..." I knew that he didn't expect me to be disappointed, but he could see how very much I was SURE it was a girl, and thus had my hopes quite high for a second daughter, so he was trying to protect me. In that moment I told him about how I had quite fallen in love with the image of this baby as a fluffy-haired little baby boy, and that I loved the name Charlie for him, and he instantly said yes, that would be a great name for the baby is it was a boy. So it would definitely have been Charlie, if it was a boy. :)

So, I told Nathan that the baby would have been called Charlie, and straight away he said, "That name does NOT fit with our family rhyme." ;) I said, "What family rhyme?!" and Arthur piped up from his top bunk, "You know, the family rhyme - 'Ar-thur, Matth-ew, Na-than, Benja-min, Sam-uel, Elijah, Lydia..." and Nathan finished for him, "... Charlie. It doesn't go with our family rhyme." His tone was so serious and final, it just amused me somewhat to listen to them talk about it! ;) And I LOVE that they call the list of their names "The Family Rhyme", bless their hearts! So sweet! We have enough children that when you say all their names together it sounds like a verse of sorts! :D

Arthur said that he felt that Charlie belonged in the stories of books he reads, but that Solomon goes very well with our family rhyme! I think that was the name he was hoping we might choose, actually, given that he's dropped hints with it before! ;)

THEN, Nathan, having been all quiet and thoughtful while Arthur was talking to me, suddenly said, "Rosie goes well with our family rhyme..." and Arthur gasped and said, "Oh YES! Or Rose!" and then, "Is that one of the names you might choose from?" and I had to tell him that yes, it was - that and Rosalie, which is just a more girly-sounding version of Rose. Arthur hugged himself with glee and said how pretty Rosalie was, and how it was "like a combination of Rose, Rosie, and.... Lee?!" ;)

Soooo, watch this space! Neil and I both feel more attached to the names Rose and Rosalie now that we know that three of our children have out-of-the-blue suggested or really loved the names (or variants). I don't recall that any of the children have suggested any other names, even! And they are already names on our very short shortlist! But we're not 100% sold on ANY of the names yet, and I don't know how long it will take us to choose the "right" one. I have looked at literally 600 girls names, and only these ones have currently made my shortlist (the middle name will be Averil (even though it means "boar battle", lol!!) after Neil's mum) - I've put the meanings by them. Meanings are important to me, but not many of them have "strong" meanings to me... my least favourite is probably Sophie, and so far my favourite has been Charlotte, but Neil's favourite is Sophie, and his least favourite is Charlotte, lol! He also just said, "Grace... no, she'll be naughty..." and vetoed it on that basis, haha! ;) This is my own shortlist, but honestly I have looked at All The Names - lots of them very lovely, but I've narrowed it down to these which I like enough to use on my own daughter. Probably. ;)

* Charlotte Averil  (feminine of Charles - "free man")
* Hannah Averil  (grace)
* Ivy Averil   (plant name - ivy)
* Isabelle Averil  (devoted (or pledged) to God - I like this!)
* Grace Averil  (grace)
* Maisie Averil  (form of Margaret, meaning "pearl")
* Rose Averil  (flower name - rose)
* Rosalie Averil  (variant of "rose")
* Sophie Averil  (wisdom)

Wow, it is suddenly really late! I will post the three photos I chose of the many I took of Lydia, to announce our new daughter on Facebook (cruelly, 45 minutes AFTER I posted "Back from my scan! :) Beautiful healthy baby, measuring spot on for dates. I will post a pic in a bit! For anyone who was waiting to know the "big news" - it's another..." Ahh-ha-ha-haaa! :D I know that was SO mean of me! Hee hee! Something Neil and I thought of as we got home! ;) ).

Thursday, 13 August 2015

19 weeks pregnant!

Waaaay too long since my last entry here! Sorry! Thanks for the comments and emails, I really appreciate you guys asking if I'm okay, and sending me well wishes. :)

I need to write a proper update but I am just SO TIRED. My morning sickness eased up at 16 weeks for good, yay! I have had the odd queasy evening since, but nothing in the last two weeks at all, so I am still going to say 16 weeks for when it went away this pregnancy.

We were all ill for AGES with that horrible coldy virus that I was suffering from last time I wrote (at 15 weeks). I am STILL coughing, but very occasionally now, at least. My energy is returning and I'm so thrilled about that! I really can't wait for all the hormones to kick in and get me organised, active and efficient. Pregnancy is my best time of life for these things, and I know it is coming soon! :) Been missing that zap for a couple of years now! ;)

I can't even think straight about summarising the last 4 weeks... I'm trying but I am just tired out. Neil is away today and tomorrow, visiting his mum in hospital. It's only August but I started school with the boys last week (which did not go well!) and this week is much better already. They have had a LONG break from formal lessons, intentionally. We have been unschooling, but I finally couldn't stand them not having instruction in the 3 Rs a moment longer, so we're back at it! ;)

I am not sleeping great at all. Mostly just insomnia like I have had in the past with pregnancies - I just can't get to sleep until 2 or 3am. OR, I am increasingly likely to be exhausted enough to fall asleep nursing Lydia at bedtime, which is GOOD because then I get a super duper early night and catch up on some sleep, right? Well, it works until I wake after about 4 or 5 hours and THEN I can't sleep again for at least 3 hours. I usually doze off after it has got light, an hour-ish before the little ones wake up. I am having some trouble with Restless Leg Syndrome but it's not awful, yet. Some nights my feet have been just burning up and that alone keeps me awake, so I put them up on the wall as vertically as I can, lol! That brings enough relief after maybe 20 minutes, for me to be able to settle and try to sleep again. I'm not even hugely pregnant yet! :S

I am feeling more hormonal and weepy and overwhelmed than I feel is familiar from previous pregnancies, although I have had bouts of such feelings in all my pregnancies from time to time. Neil is depressed at the moment and I am not handling it too well. His issues are long, long-term, and I'm feeling pretty worn down right now. I am crying a lot, which I don't normally do hardly ever. Marriage is a strain when things are like this. I will probably regret even writing this much where people can read it, but I'm tired and just... saying stuff, and so there it is. There ARE better times! :)

My little one is wiggly and active, still with the very tiny little pops and kicks. I can see the movements on my tummy now, and feel them with my hand, but nobody else has had the chance yet. Neil isn't interested, and the kicks are mostly when I relax in the evening after the boys are in bed, so they haven't had the chance to feel them. They are still very light to the touch with a hand, but so lovely! The boys will be so excited! :)

I got a 16 week (almost 17) belly pic, which I haven't uploaded yet, and really really need to take another (I planned to at 18 weeks, but missed it). I can't believe I will be 20 weeks pregnant - halfway there, already!!! - in just 4 days! Tomorrow is Friday, and that is one week exactly until my scan! :) I have such an overwhelmingly strong feeling that this baby is definitely a girl - more than I ever have with any of my other pregnancies, but maybe it's just because I have had a girl now (so I know it's possible, lol!) and perhaps I am letting myself be too influenced by what LOOKED like a girly nub at the last scan... I had a mushy moment this evening when the baby was kicking, laying my hand on my tummy. I was overwhelmed with love in the softest part of my heart, for this baby, and I knew I wanted to just cry with joy imagining if the baby I was laying my hand on was a boy. So, I know I will be happy with a boy, if I'm wrong. :) Maybe I will be... I can almost picture him already, and yesterday I seriously needed protein for lunch for the first time this pregnancy. I wanted egg, beans, cheese, ANYTHING protein-y all on one plate, haha! That's a first, which is unusual for a boy pregnancy, but the protein desire itself is a boy thing for me, so.... The fact that I have spent my first 19 weeks not interested in protein much is DEFINITELY a girl thing for me. Maybe I just needed some extra protein this week for whatever the little one is working on in there? I just can't wait to find out! :)

We have no name ideas yet. Well, *I* do! :) I have a favourite, and a second and third favourite, but Neil isn't sold on any of them yet. He hasn't vetoed them - they are "okay", but he hasn't come up with any himself yet. We didn't name Lydia until we knew she was a girl - we didn't even start looking at names until then. So we have plenty of time!

Okay, I am too tired, so I will stop and go to bed. I will try not to leave it so long!