The Difference a Year Makes

It's almost Christmas time! As I sit here and look at my slightly neglected blog - sorry, blame the baby! - the tree is flickering in the background and the decorations are up.. I keep thinking about what a year it's been.

This time last year, I was in a bad place. I was excited for the season, because I adore experiencing it through Georgia's eyes, but I was completely ready for the year to be over. I had just had my third miscarriage, and we were no closer to expanding our family. I spent December exploring other options for us, and my hopes were very low.

Little did I know that just the following month, we would see another positive pregnancy test, one that would stay, and grow, and develop into the tiny human who is snoring in her bouncer at my feet.

This Christmas, our family grew by two feet. This beautiful girl, she's the miracle I dreamed for last year - a sidekick for Georgia, a partner in crime. Claire is a gift, that's for sure. I'm so excited to be here.


On Hating the Car

Some days I think I'm doing okay with the whole 'keeping two small children alive' thing - and some days, I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water.

Throw in two medical procedures in three weeks, and it's been pretty tiring. First Claire's tongue tie, then Georgia's tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy, and we're all still in the recovery phase. It's been full on.
Both girls have come out the other side and are on the mend - which makes all the stress worthwhile. But I'll admit, it's left me feeling a little a whole lot frazzled. This mama needs a drink, a massage & a night out on her own.. stat!
The big kid is a 50/50 mixture of sweetness and attitude, serious attitude. When she's good, she's very very good, but when she's bad... oy. Brace yourself. She can be hard work - and requires a lot of patience.

The little kid is a ball of smooshy squishness and is absolutely adorable. I still can't believe she's here. She's turning out a lot like her sister; in that when she's happy, she's delightful. But when she's not happy? We ALL hear about it. In fact, half the street probably hears about it. Girl's got lungs.
The hardest thing about life with the two girls right now is going anywhere. Not because I can't cope with the two, or that they're hard when they're out - that's going ok for the most part, and getting out of the house is good for everyone. No, it's the way we get there.
You see, Claire hates the car.
HATES IT.
Not just dislikes, not just fussy; I'm talking hates it with the intensity of a thousand white-hot suns. Our car rides are filled with ear piercing yells and screams, crying that builds up to fever pitch, that cannot be soothed until she's out of that hell on wheels.
Unfortunately for us, we're in the car a fair bit, especially on the hour round trip to Georgia's daycare. I literally have to brace myself at every traffic light.
I've tried nearly everything I can think of: with additional head support, with the head support removed from the car seat, car shades on the window, lullaby music, white noise on repeat, a mirror for her to see me, dangly toys, no dangly toys, dummy in (doesn't last long), her vibrating elephant doll that acts as a soother, air conditioning on arctic levels to ensure she's not sweating. I've even been to the doctor to make sure she's physically okay - and she's got the all clear.
It doesn't matter if I stop the car to comfort her; nothing works until I actually remove her from the car. And if I cuddle or feed to soothe, it's all well & good... until we get her back in, and she starts all over again. 
Has anyone else had a car-hater? I'm quite prepared to try anything to help her out of this phase. 

Two Months Old

What a doozy of a month this was!

Claire didn't put on a great deal of weight in the first half of this month, likely due to her tongue tie issues. It's been just over a week and she's feeding a lot better - so hopefully she'll just keep on gaining at a  healthy pace from here on in.

My little baby is not a newborn anymore - she's smiling, responding to you when you talk, watching Georgia like a hawk. It's lovely seeing her interact with her environment, her bouncer toys, and even the cats!

That said, those glorious sleepy newborn days are also gone, meaning she's awake a lot more and wants to be snuggled ALL THE TIME. Which is totally fine by me (babyyyyyyyyyyhugs) but means that poor hubby comes home to an empty dinner table more than I'd like to admit. Cereal for tea, anyone?

Claire has glorious munchable thighs, just like her sister had. In some respects, she's so much like her - in others, she's completely different. If I had a dollar for every time someone compared the two girls and exclaim that 'they look nothing alike!' I think I'd be a millionaire... and she's only 8 weeks old.

Yep, she's certainly different - she's her own little person, after all. And I LOVE it!

Tongue Tied

Turns out, I was right. In short: Claire had a pretty obvious tongue tie, which was 70% restricted & affecting her feeding.

Her checkup with the paediatrician was fairly boring - which was a good thing! Even after telling him about my breastfeeding concerns, he brushed off the idea of a tongue/lip tie, and barely even looked inside her mouth. I thought he might take me seriously when he weighed her & she was showing fairly slow growth on the charts.
She was 4.1kg at birth, 3.8kg on hospital discharge, and at 7-weeks old, she weighed in at 4.8kg. That means, she's gained an average of 100g a week (a 700g difference) which is under what they'd like her to be at. She's gone from being on the 97th percentile at birth, to under the 50th percentile now. It's not that average is bad; it's just that the drop has been consistent every week. 
Despite this, and despite me sharing that the pain from post-breastfeeding was bad enough to consider giving up, the paediatrician told me to 'just persevere until she hits six months, as that's a good age to aim for while feeding.' 
Are you kidding me? I left that appointment fuming. To disregard our breastfeeding troubles like that, to a Mum who has done this before and KNOWS something isn't right... well, it wasn't a great feeling.
That same afternoon, I rang a qualified Lactation Consultant who specialised in feeding issues and ties, and got an appointment for the following week. That was on Monday.
We had a lengthy consultation, and she spent a lot of time watching Claire feed, and performing an oral examination to see what was going on inside of her mouth. She commended us on feeding and gaining as she had been, and declared that Claire was working the hardest she could to feed well - but despite all of our efforts getting her latch as deep as possible, it was still too shallow to be fully effective.
Claire had a tongue tie that was fairly restricted. She could poke her tongue down, but couldn't reach it up or sideways. She wasn't forming an adequate seal at the base of the breast while feeding, and she was constantly running out of energy because of all the reattaching she had to do to keep up with the feed. She's also got an extremely high palate - likely not helped by the tongue tie - meaning she was never able to draw my nipple as far back as it needed to be.
The LC showed me a few tips to help us continue as we were, with Claire opening her mouth as far as she could to feed; but she also gave me the option to get information about the frenectomy procedure too, so that I could make a decision as to what to do next. I decided to go ahead with that option, and we had it done that same day.
The procedure itself was over with quickly, but not particularly pleasant. We opted to go the scissor route, and so it was fast - but bloody. Claire was a real champion; I was a mess! She fed straight after it was done, and fell asleep not long after that - leaving me covered in breastmilk mixed with blood. (I forgot how much mouth wounds bleed!)
It's been four full days since her tongue tie was revised, and she's definitely feeding better. Her mouth is open, her latch is wider, and she's coming on/off the breast a lot less. It's too early to say whether it's been a lifesaver for myself, but it'll take time to perfect everything - the trick will be whether we can encourage her to change her habits and become more efficient, which should in turn help with the overuse of my nipples that has been leading to vasospasms. We will see! 
All in all, it's been a good learning experience - and it's shown that I need to trust my mama-bear instincts more. :)

Update: I forgot to mention- they observed her upper lip too, and while she has quite a thick frenulum, it is not impacting her feeding and is very flexible, so that was declared completely normal & did not require revising.

Boob Talk

I'm going to talk about boobs for a bit, so if that's not your thing, feel free to skedaddle for a bit. :)

So - breastfeeding.

A bit of backstory: When Georgia was born, she ended up in special care from that first day. We never had skin to skin time at the beginning, and when we were finally allowed to attempt breastfeeding, she never mastered how to latch on to the nipple. It took her a long time to develop her suck reflex, and we were never able to feed without a nipple shield. Due to this combination, our journey was always going to be a rocky one. We battled on though; expressing for top ups after each feed, 3-hourly feeds for what felt like months, using messy shields - and we happily made it to that magical 12 month mark.

Needless to say, I was wary of how feeding would go with Claire. It was different this time; we had a good hour of cuddles post-birth, she latched straight on to my boob immediately, and even though there were a few days in special care with formula bottles, she still managed to breastfeed too - and my milk came in just before we were both discharged from hospital.

It's been anything but easy, though. So far, we've gone through extended engorgement, crappy latching (adjusted thanks to lots of help), on/off feeds, forceful letdowns, oral thrush, and breast pain in the form of nipple vasospasms - agony!

It's been a bit of a vicious cycle:

Wear breast pads all the time, so you don't leak all over the place with every letdown.
Don't wear breast pads, or change them frequently, because they can hold in moisture & exacerbate thrush.
Let your nipples dry naturally after breastfeeding to help the thrush disappear.
But then don't do that, because dry cool air will cause you to have painful vasospasms.
Use lanolin cream as soon as you're done feeding, to keep nipples from drying out.
But then we're back to wearing breast pads, in fear of ruining all of your clothing.

Good lord, this is ridiculous! Boobs, man. What's a girl to do?

Anyway - we've done our thrush treatment and both of us seem fine now. We're back into the 'keep boosies warm at all times' stage, meaning as soon as I'm done with a feed, I whack on the lanolin ointment, and make sure I have breast warming pads in my bra to keep things at a warm temperature. I've also been prescribed nifedipine to see if that helps combat the circulation issues that are causing the vasospasms

Her feeding has definitely improved since those early weeks. When Claire was two weeks old, it was bad - really bad. There were multiple nights where I was up in the wee hours, sitting in the rocking chair and sobbing my heart out, because she was hurting me, my breasts were throbbing, and couldn't we just do formula? My poor husband felt so helpless. Lack of sleep makes everything seem so, so hard. I got a lot of help after that point, and we kept moving forward - making sure she is only feeding with a deeper latch, taking her off if it's even slightly uncomfortable, and feeding off the least sensitive breast first.

It's a lot better now.

The only lingering issue I have is the vasospasms - but I'm trying to combat that with everything I've got. It is uncomfortable, but it's manageable.

I'm meeting with Claire's pediatrician next week & we're going to re-examine her for tongue tie, to see if that's been the cause of some of the issues - but we got the all clear at birth and at our 2-week check, so I don't expect much to come of it. The research seems to be varied; some practitioners don't believe it to be an issue, others don't bother with them unless they're very severe. We'll see what he says.

Whatever happens, I'm grateful to so far have a decent supply that is feeding Claire nicely, and I'm happy she's not stuck using a shield constantly. I've also been expressing (just once a day, after her morning feed) so I have a little bit frozen in case I need a break. We're six weeks in & still going, and that's something. Now to see how the journey goes from here on in!

Did you struggle with breastfeeding? Any hints, or tips, or suggestions for this mama? :)

One Month Old

I think it's safe to say that this past month has been the fastest one in history.

Claire turned 1 month old - and is an absolute delight.

I was so excited to be taking her monthly pictures, like I did with her big sister - and even more so when she decided to take that opportunity to turn some tummy time into roly-poly time. Best of all, I caught it on video. Such a clever little chicken. :)

These next few weeks are likely to be pretty busy. We have both her and my 6-week appointments with our specialists, and Georgia has an appointment of her own, visiting an ENT specialist that she's been on a waiting list for.

One thing's for sure - second babies have to learn to go with the flow. I've carted Claire out and about constantly, and the infant capsule has been getting a great workout between the car and the pram. Definitely worth the investment!

The Newborn Haze

Somehow I blinked and Claire hit three weeks old and counting. That's almost a month old.

A MONTH OLD.

Whaaaat? I swear I was just walking in to the hospital for my induction yesterday.. and now it's nearly November.

Just look how much she's grown!
The last few weeks have been a blur. A happy blur, emotional blur, exhausted blur, full of surprises blur.
***
Flailing hands and fumbling breastfeeds.
Plenty of snuggles and sniffing that sweet newborn scent in her hair.
Heart exploding moments watching these two girls get to know each other.
Sobbing moments in the wee hours of the morning, trying to re-learn how this all works.
Face twitches and cheeky smiles while she drifts off to sleep.
Hours spent memorising her face, taking in every feature of this new little person, who is so different to what I imagined, but so exactly what I had been dreaming of for the longest time.
***
I have so much to say, and no energy to say it all.
Let me just tell you this right now: I've never been so tired, or so happy, in my entire life.. and I'm loving it.
These moments are worth all of the heartache and the disappointment and the frustration. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Claire's Birth - part iv {birth and post-birth}

The pushing stage felt weirdly good - weird, because it still hurt like hell, but good because it gave me something to focus on.

I remember sobbing and begging my doctor to 'not let me tear!' and 'please don't let her get stuck!' - both of which were my biggest fears about the labour itself, aside from the baby being okay. We had discussed both of these at length in prior appointments, which is why my OB gave me the option of having the epidural at the beginning of the induction - but it was too late now, and my doctor just kept guiding me through it. Jase was alongside me holding my hand because I was a nervous wreck, so he didn't get to witness the whole experience first-hand like he did with Georgia's birth.

Having the baby without an epidural felt so, so different. It was hard and it was painful, but it felt really amazing at the same time - even though I was so terrified of the aftermath. I just wanted our little baby out and safely out; the rest didn't matter. After a few pushes, her head was born - and she'd managed to turn herself during the labour to present face-down, thank goodness! Not long after, the rest of her followed. I heard my doctor exclaim that she was indeed 'a good size!'

(Random gas-induced hallucination for good measure: have you ever watched an episode of One Born Every Minute? Well, it's been a ritual for me during both pregnancies to go on a binge-watching spree in the third trimester, perhaps to mentally prepare myself for my labours? When a baby is about to be born, there's this music that plays - just an instrumental sound really - well, as I was pushing the baby out, that music was going through my head, as if I were a Mum featured on the show.)

They placed her up onto my chest immediately, and wrapped her in a towel - and the first thing I saw was her dark, dark hair. We were expecting another brunette like Georgia - but our newest little lady had a crop of pitch black hair that was twice as thick as what her sister's was. Since her birth, it's the first thing that people have commented on - so much hair!

This is my 'I just pushed this kid out with no epidural' stunned face. Also featuring: my trusty gas nozzle.

I was still half anticipating someone to have to take her away from me, that she'd end up in Special Care, so when they told me I could enjoy some skin to skin time and just soak it all up, I wasn't quite sure what to do. I snuggled that sweet baby girl fiercely, let me tell you! Hubby got to cut her cord {again, something he missed out on doing last time} and then we just sat together and soaked it all in.

The doctor checked everything out downstairs, and gave me some good news - I didn't tear! I was so relieved, I could have cried. He said he'd check again once the placenta was delivered {which was pretty uncomfortable, and which I was glad to still have the gas & air tube for} - and when he did, he said that all looked very well, and that there was a slight internal graze that would heal on its own; no stitches required. I couldn't believe it!

They don't generally weigh the babies right there in delivery suite, preferring to do it in the nursery for their initial checks - but the OB was curious to see her weight. We were all guessing the high 3's - so somewhere around 3.8 or 3.9kg. The scales in the room showed her as 4.070kg. I grew a 4kg+ baby in there - oh my gosh. Lots of 'ooohs' and 'aaahs' and I was pretty damn relieved that I had trusted my OB's intuition and had the induction based on her size, because she would have been a very large baby if we'd left it another 2-3 weeks for spontaneous delivery. He then bid us goodbye, and headed back to his office.

(I found out later from another Mum who was waiting in his rooms for her 11am appointment, that my OB had literally sprinted out of his office and down the hallway after receiving a phone call - she commented that she had never seen him move that fast before. That was just before 11am... and I delivered the baby at 11:04am. Thank goodness his rooms are located across the road from the hospital!)

Our little girl - Claire - was amazing. Ten fingers, ten toes, smooshy cheeks and rolls for days. She latched on and breastfed within the first few minutes. Nobody rushed us, which I'm grateful for. I got up to shower and hubby had some skin to skin time with Claire in the recliner, and then we bid farewell to the delivery suite and headed to the ward. First stop: the nursery!

They organised her official weight and measurement check here, and on their scales, Claire weighed 4.140kg. Even bigger than we had thought! She was 49cm long and a gorgeous dark pink/red colour. All checks aside, they let us wander down to our room - our room! We had a baby in our room!

That afternoon, Georgia got to visit her baby sister - and my heart just about exploded with happiness.

How could we be this lucky? After all the heartache, all the scares this pregnancy, the bedrest, the anxiety, the fear... I got to witness my daughter becoming a big sister. Everything was worth it for this moment alone.
We had an uneventful first few days together, but then Claire's jaundice levels started rising, and on Day 3 she was admitted to Special Care for time under the bilirubin lights. It was really upsetting for me, after the tease of her being in the room with us.. but she was such a content little baby, and she spent the entire two days snoring peacefully with her little sunglasses on. We stayed an extra night in hospital afterwards to ensure her feeding continued to take off {as she'd needed to supplement with formula while in the SCN, as extra hydration kicks the jaundice faster} and then we were released home.

Home! With my daughters - DAUGHTERS! Oh, man. Is this real?

So there you have it: a successful induction, a two-hour labour with no time for pain relief apart from gas and air, a good sized and healthy baby girl - and finally, a family of four.
It feels like she's been here all along.

Missed part of Claire's birth story? 

Our Rainbow

October 15th is a special day for us.

It is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day - a time to honour all those wee ones who have passed during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

Not only is Claire our rainbow baby - a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss - her official due date was today, October 15th. If that wasn't a sign of a rainbow coming after the storm, I'm not sure what else would have been.

I'm so glad she's here with us safely, after many months of sadness & wondering if we would ever have another person to add to our family. She was worth the wait.

Sending thoughts to my fellow mamas who are missing their small ones, and to my own three lost littlies - without them,we wouldn't be here. I'll be snuggling my two beautiful girls extra tight today.

❤️💛💚💙💜
Noah - August 2014
Baby #3 - October 2014
Baby #4 - October 2015

Claire's Birth - part iii {labour takes off}

Where we last left off, the syntocinon drip had just started. Hubby was hanging out in the recliner and checking his phone, while I was sitting up in the bed with my music on, already starting to feel the contractions taking off. I still had the CTG belt on, so I was watching the monitor to see if the contractions were strong enough to register on the chart - and they were! I laid there fascinated for a little while, watching them rise and fall in tune with the pains.

I remember remarking to Jase that I had forgotten just how uncomfortable contractions actually were, and then soon after, that they felt very close together. I assumed it was because they were being artificially induced, and so I was getting the full hit of them all at once, rather than building up gradually. With that said, the midwives came in at around 9.30am, confirmed that baby's heart rate was much better now, and that she was tolerating the drip just fine so far - and they notched it up a dash.

She then showed me how to unhook the drip, so that I could go to the bathroom and walk around if I wanted to. As soon as I stood up off the bed, I had a contraction that was sharp enough to need hubby's help to stand through - it was so intense it almost took my breath away. It took me at least fifteen minutes to get to the loo, because I was having them pretty close together. I'd sit down, have one. Reach for the toilet paper, have another one. Stand up to finish, have one more. As we headed back into the room, I asked if I could have a fitness ball to sit on, as I really didn't want to be lying down.

After I was situated on the ball, I had the midwife lower the bed down, so that I could lean forward on it with my arms during the stronger contraction. This was about the point where I told hubby that either I am a massive wimp whose pain threshold has marginally lowered since the last birth, or that they felt completely different this time around. He rubbed my back for me while I did figure 8 hip rolls on the ball, leaning forward and breathing through each contraction. I was still aware enough to want to use my phone, but there was zero signal in the delivery suite, so I stuck to just playing music instead.

I'd read a hypnobirthing book in the weeks before, hoping to take some strategies on board with this particular labour. One of my biggest regrets last time was that I got all the way to the end before having the epidural; I was hoping to get through without it, but simply wasn't able to because of the length of labour & the eventual use of the drip to finish things off. That said, I was under no illusions; if things got too intense, I'd definitely be okay with asking for one again this time, should I feel I needed it. Things were different, after all: an induced labour, a larger baby, and the drip from the get-go. For now though, I stuck to the breathing exercises I'd practiced and hoped for the best.

Those contractions - wow. They were hard and fast, and breathing through them took every bit of effort. I'd have one, take a breath and relax, and then feel another one coming not even a minute later. Worst of all, because of my position on the birthing ball and the constant hip rolling that was helping me cope with the pain, the CTG monitor wasn't registering the contractions on the screen - so the midwives weren't actually able to see what was going on from their external monitoring. I worried they wouldn't realise how strong they were, so we buzzed them in & asked for some gas and air.

Jase mentioned how fast they were coming along, and the midwife sat and monitored me first hand. She said that she didn't need the monitor anymore, and that she could tell by my breathing that things looked like they were progressing well. She hooked up the gas and air, and left us once again.

The contractions continued hitting hard and fast, and I felt like I couldn't keep up with them. The idea with the gas is that you inhale as they start to build, so the actual effect is already taking place by the time the contraction reaches its peak, and then let it go as the wave settles down. Well, I was barely feeling the effects before another one would hit, and I was struggling big time. I felt really helpless; was I really this bad at labour? I'd only just started for goodness sake - how was I meant to get to the end without an epidural if I couldn't even last half an hour with the gas alone?

As well as the constant contractions, I'd started having a gush of fluid with every one - to the point where I was leaking all over the fitness ball and the floor. It felt good to let it come out, so I didn't stop it, but it did make me wonder just how much fluid I'd had in there altogether. {Seriously, if you added the amount I'd lost a the initial rupture of the membranes, plus the constant gushes with each contraction, it must have been pretty epic.} The fluid leaking out seemed to make the contractions feel more intense again, so I told Jase that I thought it was time to start organising the epidural - I was done. The control I'd been hoping for was going, and I was getting a bit panicked.

Hubby called the midwife back in again, who told me that in order to get the anaesthetist organised, they'd need to do an internal and make note of what my progress was. It was about 10.30am at that point, and it had only been about an hour and a half since the drip had started - so I was nervous it was too soon, and that I wouldn't have dilated much further than that initial 3cm. That said, I was contracting so strongly, that she thought it was worth checking. It took me at least ten minutes to get myself positioned on the bed, and ready for the cervix check.

It was about this point that I started making this guttural groaning sound - it's not a sound I remember ever using before, so it must come from somewhere pretty deep. I don't know why, but it helped me get through each contraction, and I remember the sound of it well (though I doubt I could replicate it now.) Internal exams while in labour are the worst, and even though my midwife was gentle, I was so preoccupied with worrying that I'd still be stuck at 3cm, I felt every single stretch and movement.

She announced that I was around 6-7cm, and then as I had another fierce contraction {while she was still in the middle of the check!} my cervix decided to open to 8cm, with baby's head right there. I watched the midwife yank her gloves off and immediately call my OB from the phone in the room. She came back to my bedside, and told me it was too late for an epidural, and that I'd be just fine - Jase was holding my hands and trying to get me to calm down and breathe. For some reason, gas and air makes time seem to slow down & makes me get a little bit loopy, so I wasn't quite sure if I'd heard her right. Did she say 3cm? Hubby told me that no, she said 8cm, and I couldn't believe it.

Honestly though, it was all I could do to groan my way through each contraction at that point. Things stayed slightly fuzzy from that moment on, but I remember the midwife telling me to listen to her, listen to my husband, and to push if I felt like pushing. She then rang the OB once again - so she must have realised things weren't far off happening. Not long afterwards, I looked up and saw my doctor running through the door. It was time!

Claire's Birth - part ii {the induction}

We arrived at the hospital and headed straight for the birth unit. It felt so surreal walking into the hospital NOT in labour!

The nerves had well and truly set in by now, and I was full of anxious anticipation. When we arrived, we were shown into our room. One of the midwives offered me a hospital gown, but I was really hot, and preferred to just stick to a singlet. I hate hospital gowns, and wearing one while almost 38 weeks pregnant is akin to a circus tent, so I'm glad I could skip it.

They popped me up on the bed and put the baby on a trace, and this is where things got a little crazy. My pulse was racing, and baby's heartbeat was fast. Like... really fast. It was not a typical reading for me, and they were concerned that she might have been in distress - so they monitored it for a good half an hour to see whether she would calm down when I did. It stayed high for a while, and one of the midwives started talking c-section with me, which resulted in my pulse racing even faster. Hubby suggested listening to some music and trying to relax before my OB arrived, so I did that. It helped, and baby started calming down too, though still not regular enough for their liking.

They decided to give me some IV fluids to see if it helped hydrate both me & baby, and in preparation for the syntocinon drip. Unfortunately, my veins picked that morning to shut up shop, and the midwives had loads of trouble finding a vein. They called in one lady who butchered my left arm {seriously, the bruise has only just started fading now, 11 days later} and left me slightly traumatised. They were about to 'have a go' on my other hand, when my doctor made his appearance and took over - thank goodness for his timing, as he got it placed first go - wish they'd spared me the first trauma!

He wasn't concerned about the baby's heart rate at all, and that was reassuring enough to calm me down too. It was almost 9am at this point, and we went over the plan for the day and discussed pain relief. I'd decided the night before to just start out with nothing and go from there, with every intention of getting an epidural later in the game if I felt I was done. My OB left it up to me, and we decided to crack on with things.

The internal showed I was still 3cm dilated, and it was easy for him to rupture my membranes. I forgot how odd that felt {though I was in transition last time, so slightly distracted!} and man, it gushed. And gushed. And gushed. If my waters had gone at home, it would have made a right mess. The fluid was clear, which was reassuring - and as the midwife was changing the bed sheets, it tipped all over the floor and splashed everywhere. Awkward!

They decided to attach an internal monitor to the baby, so that I could be up and about during labour. This was slightly fiddly and uncomfortable, but it was way more preferable to being cooped up in the bed the entire time.

Once that was done, my OB switched on the syntocinon drip & left us to it, disappearing to his regular appointments and promising to check back soon. I'm not kidding you; within five minutes of that drip starting, I was having my first contractions. And they weren't gentle ones; they were hard and firm and required breathing from the get-go. Unlike my labour with Georgia, these ones didn't have much of a break in between. My labour had officially begun.

Claire's Birth - part i {decision time}

This time a week ago, I was sitting at home on the couch full of nervous anticipation for the following day. Why? Because we had made the decision to go ahead with an induction - and the date was set!

My doctor and I had been going back and forth over my options for the past few weeks, though we both still assumed that my body would make that final decision for us because of all the cervical issues and signs of pre-term labour. All that said, with each weekly appointment that we checked off, it appeared that everything was somehow holding steady. Once we passed the magical 37-week mark, I couldn't quite believe it - how did we get here?

The one thing that stayed constant was the fact that baby girl was measuring ahead - and as the weeks progressed, we kept a close eye on her size. Size alone isn't often a good enough reason to induce, but when combined with the anxiety of reduced movements thanks to my anterior placenta & the stress of the past few months of resting, it was an option I was interested in hearing about. My OB left the decision totally up to me, which was both reassuring but difficult. Georgia's birth was spontaneous, she came when she was ready; but it resulted in a LONG labour and a special care stay. My 'plan' for this baby was to try for a vaginal birth, because the thought of a c-section genuinely scared the heck out of me; but that was about it.

It became clear that we had two choices:

  • Let nature take its course and wait, with the risk of an extremely large sized baby at the time of birth. This wasn't a guarantee of course (ultrasound isn't 100% accurate) however we had seen consistent growth, both baby and my bely measured at full term size already, and I had a history of birthing large babies.
  • Go ahead with an induction at 38 weeks - keeping in mind the risk of potentially needing other interventions to assist with the delivery and to ensure the safe arrival of our little one. My OB told me that conditions were favorable for a successful induction in my case; I'd had a previous vaginal delivery, my cervix was ideal, baby's position was great {apart from a posterior presentation} - but of course, there were never any guarantees.
I spent a long time researching the pros and cons of both, but in the end my anxiety won. I didn't want to spend another fortnight worrying about the baby, about whether she would be okay in there, whether her size would hinder the delivery we wanted, whether the risk of having a stillborn was worth the risks of inducing a baby that wasn't ready to be born. Hubby & I both agreed that if things still looked the same at my 37.5 weeks appointment, we'd confirm and be good to go.
At that appointment, baby's growth was off the charts. She was head down, engaged and healthy, but measuring ahead as usual. We did a manual exam and my cervix had shifted to 3cm dilated, and my doctor was able to perform a stretch and sweep at the same time. It was uncomfortable, but not unbearable.

We discussed what the induction would look like; the plan was to skip the cervical ripening stage, as mine was already good to go. He would break my waters, pop me on the drip, and just let it go from there. I was concerned about being on a strict timeline for delivery or being rushed into a c-section if progress was slow, but he assured me that second births are generally faster than the first ones, and that my body would remember what it needed to do. He was very pro-epidural, even encouraging me to have one before the drip even started - and we had a lengthy chat about what I wanted. I was mostly worried about being stuck confined to the hospital bed if we did the epidural immediately, as I wanted to be up and around if possible. He was warning me of it being a fast labour, and that if I waited for pain relief, I might not have time to get it. I promised to think about the options and see how we felt on the day, as my gut was telling me to just take it one step at a time.

This all happened on the Wednesday; the induction date was set for that coming Friday morning. I think we all still assumed that the baby might just come on her own accord before then, particularly as the membrane sweep and dilation were pretty easy to do. Over the next few days, I lost my mucus plug and had a small show.

The night before the induction, I started having pains, but while they were uncomfortable, they were also very inconsistent. I tucked Georgia into bed that night and tried to watch a show with my Mum {who was staying over to help the next day} but I couldn't concentrate and ended up going to bed early myself. Part of me wondered whether I might have been going into early labour, but the next morning, I was still pregnant! 
It was time to grab our stuff, head to the hospital and get this show on the road. :) 
The last belly shot of this pregnancy - 37 weeks + 6 days. :) 


Missed part of Claire's birth story? 

She's Here!

Welcome to the family, Claire Elise
Born September 30th, 2016. We are all so in love!

37 weeks + 4 days

I'm cherishing whatever time is left with this girl as our only child. All the feelings.. I has them. I'm an emotional wreck!

She's so excited for what's to come - and I love seeing her interact with my belly, and tell everyone all about it. But she has no idea how much her world is going to change - and let's face it, neither do we. This is BIG.

For three and a half years, she's been our whole world. For a very large part of that, she was very well going to be it - not for lack of trying, but just because of the heartache of infertility and pregnancy loss. Getting to the stage where things looked good, where we could share the news of a sibling with her - that was a magical moment. Magical, but scary.

I always wanted children close together in age, and it was one of the things I really struggled with after we miscarried Noah - they would have been two years apart, almost to the day.

Now though? I'm grateful for all the time I've had with this little human - who's growing up so much every day. I've had three and a half years of firsts with her, and those are things I'll never forget.

The last few days, her personality has shifted a little; she's over-excited, acting out a bit, just not her usual self. My mum tells me that was something that happened with me as a child just before my brother was born - that they sense that something is changing, and get a bit overwhelmed.

I hope that while her world is rocked, it's rocked in a good way. We'll all be learning together! :)

37 weeks + 2 days

I came to a realisation this week - I have completely forgotten about how to parent a new baby.

I'm deep in the throes of preschooler-hood, so I'm great at tantrums and bargaining and routines, but I feel like I've blocked out a lot of those early days.
So... since we're {hopefully} in the home stretch of this pregnancy, I'm putting the call out to my fellow mamas for help:
What was some of the best advice that you found helped during the newborn days? 
Bonus points if it is specifically for baby #2, but I'll quite happily take any and all hints and tips.
I think the one thing I'll 'plan' on doing (and I say plan VERY loosely) is to get new baby used to going with the flow with Georgia & I's schedule - because while I had the luxury of doing everything by the baby the first time, we have a lot of stuff that needs doing these days... but we'll see how we go.
Otherwise, I think I'll just prepare to be thrown back in the deep end and just see what this little lady's personality is like.
Oh my gosh .... I can't believe I'm going to take another little person home with us soon. This is insane!

Baby #2 - Week 37

How far along: I am officially the most pregnant I have ever been IN MY LIFE. And not considered pre-term anymore!

How big is baby? A beach ball. An extra large and super heavy beach ball! You spin me right round, baby, right round...

Image credit here

Sleep: Georgia has been sick again, and has passed it on to me. These seasonal colds are the worst.

Symptoms: Weirdly? Nothing. Tightenings continue, but really nothing much else. #tumbleweeds

Best moment of this week: Hitting the 37 week mark. We made it!

Miss anything: Nope... I'm feeling good.

Movement: Lots of kicks way up high to the rib cage, and hiccups in my crotch.

Food cravings: Nothing much this week. Although I kind of feel like a fresh juice right now.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Just this chesty cold!

Gender: Girl!!

How's your mood? I'm excited! I'm scared! I'm proud of myself! I'm petrified! Worried that baby girl is growing rapidly and looking to be a big baby, but also relieved that she's growing well - at least I managed something right this pregnancy. I'm starting to think ahead to actually giving birth & hoping that baby girl might be able to avoid special care - but then, I don't want to get ahead of myself, since you just don't know how labour and delivery is going to go down.

Looking forward to: My next OB appt is on Wednesday. I just want to see her again.. if not in my arms yet, on the screen.

The Bump: I think it dropped a lot compared to last week, actually. What do you think?

36 weeks + 3 days

And I'm still here!

I was reading back over my blogs from Georgia's pregnancy, and at 36+4 things had already begun ramping up. A tonne of contractions and some fairly obvious signs that labour was on its way - even if I didn't know it at the time.

As for me this time around, well.. I am predicting that nothing will happen on its own. (I KNOW, I can't believe I just typed that - just a gut feeling I have!) I am absolutely massive, but apart from the painless tightenings that I'm having fairly regularly, I haven't had a 'show' yet, and everything else just seems to be hanging on the same as usual.

I'd love to push it to Saturday (which would make 37 weeks) just so that I could be considered term. That would be so cool!

Otherwise, no news is good news, right?

Since my bed rest has been successful, I'm easing my way back into regular activities - even though I am totally puffed doing normal things like walking up my stairs and cleaning the kitchen. Doing nothing for all that time has meant I'm completely useless! Jobs I've managed to complete this week included cleaning out my cupboards, organising and sorting the fridge and pantry, cleaning the upstairs bathroom for the kids, and getting my hair done. Priorities, right? It had been MONTHS since I have had my hair cut, it was in desperate need of some love!

I'm off to the OB tomorrow, and I've gotta tell you - I'm so nervous to hear what her weight estimate will be then.

Baby #2 - Week 36

How far along: 36 weeks & I'm sort of giggling on the inside; here we are, almost at G's birth gestation - and still baking!

How big is baby? This week baby is the size of a honeydew melon. Which doesn't seem so scary, when it's all cut up. Though since this kid is measuring almost two weeks ahead, perhaps I should jump ahead to the scary beach ball images?

Image credit here

Sleep: Taking it whenever I can get it. The usual zombie stagger to the bathroom and back six times a night.

Symptoms: Mainly just tightenings this week. Not too painful, just constant.

Best moment of this week: Realising that I'm almost at term - the end is drawing near, one way or another!

Miss anything: Nope. I will miss this big old belly though.

Movement: Still very sporadic, but I appreciate it when she has a little wiggle. A LOT of hiccups this week.

Food cravings: Does anyone want to make me bread and butter pudding? :)

Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.

Gender: Girl!!

How's your mood? I'm actually really, really good. Regardless of whether this kid falls out of her own accord prior to 37 weeks or anytime after that, we're in the home stretch. I baked her through the scary parts, she held on and grew like a champion, and we're almost ready to meet her. I can't wait!

Looking forward to: OB appt is on Wednesday, and I can't wait to see her little (or not so little) face again.

The Bump: Has reached epic beach-ball stage proportions already. Feels stretchy and sore, and my tiger stripes multiplied this week... but it's carried a healthy baby girl (well, two in fact..) and for that I am grateful.

35 weeks + 5 days

It seems hilarious, but at today's OB appointment, we got the great news that all is looking perfect and that my cervix is behaving appropriately - but that baby girl is still measuring HUGE!

So while she is healthy, engaged and looking beautifully chubby (which is wonderful) my anterior placenta is making for reduced movements and a little bit of anxiety on my part, so we're starting to look at birth options in case she doesn't fall out of her own accord.

(I know - can you believe we've gone from worrying about a baby that's tiny and trying to come too early on her own, to the opposite end of the spectrum with a baby that's measuring ahead and may need a little exit boost?)

Anyway, we have a few weeks to play with to decide what we want to do, but the great news is that I can relax on the bed rest front and go about life relatively normally for these last few weeks of pregnancy. First things first: THE NURSERY!

I finally got some time to knuckle down and tackle it - got a few newborn and 0-3 month loads of washing done, and now it's starting to resemble an actual baby's room. Want to see some pics?

So we've re-used all of Georgia's old nursery furniture, just changed the theme up slightly. I still need hubby's help to hang up the mirror over the dresser, and a few prints on the walls - but the main stuff is finished. I have somewhere to sit and nurse, the baby has a bed (even though she'll likely be in a cradle in our room initially anyway) and .. it's pretty!

OH MY GOSH WE WILL HAVE A BABY WITHIN A MONTH!

35 weeks + 3 days

I'm starting to feel a little bit drained.

In a perfect world, I'd potentially still have four and a half weeks to go - so it seems a little bit silly to be this tired this early on. I think it's all mental, though. Let's face it; I've been on constant labour watch since 29 weeks - it's just taken its toll. 
I wonder how many more weeks we've got in us! 
In the meantime, who's up for a guessing game? Hair, eyes, date, length, weight.. good luck!

(As to when this little lady decides to make her grand appearance, well, your guess is as good as mine!)

Baby #2 - Week 35

How far along: 35! 35! 35! Aaaaah!

How big is baby? A coconut? A coconut is TINY! Her HEAD feels like a freaking coconut, let alone the rest of her!

Image credit here

Sleep: So bad. The late pregnancy insomnia has officially kicked in - can't get comfortable, raging back pain, lying awake and staring at the ceiling... it's so frustrating.

Symptoms: Back, ribs, pelvic pressure. Ouch,

Best moment of this week: After a few scary days of quiet movements, she seems back to her normal self a little, so I'm taking comfort in every wiggle. I'll miss the comfort of the movements once she's here.

Miss anything: Stinking hot baths. I want to lie in there and shrivel up like a hot, hot prune.

Movement: Hit and miss, but CTG monitoring shows she's still doing well, so I'm trying to just be aware.

Food cravings: I feel like a Whopper with Cheese. Yep. Hamburgers.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope. I'm ok, except for the tiredness.

Gender: Girl!!

How's your mood? I'm so grateful this week! We are at 35 weeks, she's a growing girl with a hefty weight (how crazy going from fearing a premature 29 week infant to anticipating a gigantic baby!) & we have held on this long - life feels pretty damn good right now.

Looking forward to: Meeting this little lady - whenever that will be.

The Bump: Waddle waddle waddle.

34 weeks + 4 days

This morning saw me head to the hospital for monitoring, as I hadn't felt baby girl move too much in the wee hours of the evening or this morning. Everything was okay - despite not having any huge movements during the trace, her heartbeat showed appropriate base lines and accelerations - so could well just be positioning or a quiet day. I'm back home now and monitoring some more, but I'll just see my OB as per normal on Friday if all goes well.

Despite the fright, I'm glad I went in. It ties in nicely to something (not so nice) that's been on my mind during these last few days - which is an irrational fear of something happening to the baby in the home stretch of this pregnancy.

I know it feels silly; we've beaten so many hurdles so far already. From surviving a first trimester where we were sure it was all over, the bleeds, the scares - to the bed resting and threat of pre-term labour early in the third trimester. But the fear of something going wrong now, or of baby being stillborn, it is a real thing.

I think a lot of it comes from seeing information scattered on social media, about stories and awareness. It's so important, yes - but it scares me. I just want this baby to get through the last few weeks of pregnancy (if we can stretch that far!) and come out the other side in our arms, safe and sound.

Almost 35 weeks... come on, baby girl. We can do this!

Baby #2 - Week 34

How far along: We are at 34 weeks! Can you believe it? :)

How big is baby? Oh, I do love me some butternut pumpkin.. nom, nom, nom.

Image credit here

Sleep: Great, aside from the peeing.

Symptoms: It's ALL in my back (and ribs) this week - and painful!

Best moment of this week: Just nailing one more week. It's so nice getting great reassuring news from my OB. From now on, baby should hopefully be a-ok after birth, just needing some special care time to help with feeding and what not. I can do this!

Miss anything: I have a random desperate craving for big slabs of brie and camembert cheese & a glass of wine.

Movement: Quieter this week, except for the odd sharp boot to the ribs.

Food cravings: I'm just hungry in general!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope, all good here.

Gender: Girl!!

How's your mood? I'm doing ok! Sore, but happy. I am so glad to be here, I'm happy that the baby is doing well, grateful to still be home, relieved to have a good doctor and medical team, lucky to have help from my family. And SO thrilled it's September! A September baby sounds a lot less scary than a July or August one would have been. :)

Looking forward to: Next Friday's OB check in - one more week to try and hit, so that I can see the baby again.

The Bump: I'm at the point where I'm going to miss the bump again when it's gone. I do so love it.

33 weeks + 5 days

I feel like I should start every blog post with 'I'M STILL PREGNANT!' - huzzah!

Somehow we are still hanging on at almost 34 weeks.

Baby girl is averaging at 2.38kg (just over 5lbs) so growth is great, cervix has dilated to 2cm now, but membranes are still intact. We might just get to Georgia's gestation (36+) after all!

Also... I bit the bullet and ordered a wee personalised swaddle for her, so it looks like her name is set in stone too. I hope it gets here before she does.

The only negative is that baby has her spine to my spine, and is currently sunny side up - which explains the horrendous back pain I've been having these past few days. Let's hope she rolls over before the big day (ouch!)

Here's Squish-face McGee - a shocking photo because of her positioning, but... look at those cheeks!!

Baby #2 - Week 33

How far along: 33 weeks today & pumped!

How big is baby? What is a Durian, and why is it so pointy? Ouch!

Image credit here

Sleep: So,so happy being back in my own bed.

Symptoms: This week is mostly crampy, but the rib pain is making a reappearance too.

Best moment of this week: Getting through another week, hearing that the bedrest and meds are paying off, and seeing my beautiful girl doing well!

Miss anything: Not peeing every five minutes.

Movement: Lots of wiggles and thuds. I love it so much. :)

Food cravings: I feel like a piping hot bucket of hot chips with gravy.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not this week; I'm feeling great for the most part.

Gender: Girl!!

How's your mood? I can't believe how much better I feel just being back at home. What a change it has made. Don't get me wrong; I know I was in the safest place for baby.. but I can breathe here. It comes with its own challenges, like feeling so helpless with basic house chores, being a hindrance to my poor husband, relying heavily on family for help, and constantly having to explain to Georgia why Mummy can't just get her a snack or play on the floor... but it'll all be worth it.

Looking forward to: Another OB visit next week.. let's see how far we can push this!

The Bump: Running out of clothes that I can squeeze into.

32 weeks + 5 days

Just a small update -

We are at 32+5 now, and seemingly holding steady!

I saw my OB today and the baby is doing great, my cervix remains open at 1.5 - but with only a small increase in mucus discharge (sorry, TMI) he's confident we can push it for as long as possible. My home bed rest continues and I am to stay on all the medications (nifediprine and progesterone) until further notice.

Best of all, even if I DO go into labour, I'm at a steroid covered gestation that my local private hospital is accepting of, so I can deliver the baby close to home and with my own doctor.

Thanks everyone for the support... I'm bored and tired but I would do anything to keep her in as long as possible, so I'm really chuffed to have gotten here from 29-almost 33 weeks!! :)

No pictures this week, unless you're keen to see what my cervix looks like from the inside, haha - but I'm feeling really happy and hopeful as we have hit some good milestones.. here's to hopefully hitting some more!

Still bumpin' along!

32 weeks + 2 days

I'm back home!

My doctors finally spoke to each other and agreed that since I'd made it from 29 to 32 weeks with no additional cervical opening or preterm labour scares (plus the fact that the baby is seemingly doing very well in there) I could finish up at the hospital and continue my bed rest back here.
So here we are, enjoying the comforts of home and LOVING it - I have my little sofa station all set up with the television, laptop, dvd's, books and puzzles. Up for loo breaks and seated showers. I'm only letting myself go upstairs once a day (just before bedtime) - the rest of the time I'm down here permanently.
While I'm so chuffed to be home, my doctor did remind me that it's just as if I was at hospital - same resting conditions, with the goal continuing to be keeping this baby in as long as possible. I'm breaking it into milestones again:
First: Make it to 33 weeks
Next: Stretch it out to 34 weeks
Dream: Get safely to 36 weeks (I wish!)
I see my OB on Thursday for a follow up appointment, and we'll take it from there. For now, I am just enjoying the feeling of my little one wiggling away in my belly. Keep on growing, kid! :) 

Baby #2 - Week 32

How far along: We made it to our next milestone - 32 weeks today!

How big is baby? Baby is now the size of a pumpkin!

Image credit here

Sleep: Not great last night, but overall I'm doing pretty well. Can't complain there.

Symptoms: Pelvic pressure, a sore back and lots of gross discharge ramping up again. Delightful!

Best moment of this week: Seeing the baby, albeit briefly, on the hospital ultrasound. If all else goes pear shaped, so far she is tolerating all of this really well and growing beautifully,

Miss anything: Being close to home. :(

Movement: We have started having more hiccups lately (which feel so, so weird) and lots of little ninja jabs to my side. I hope she's still head down in there.

Food cravings: Cripes, I'd gladly accept anything apart from this horrific hospital food. ANYTHING.

Anything making you queasy or sick: The food. Yuck.

Gender: Girl!!

How's your mood? I'm not doing well. Hitting 32 weeks should be amazing (and it IS - three weeks of this down!) but I was promised I'd be moving to my old hospital ... and yet I'm still here. I hardly saw my hubby this week, as he started a new job and has been getting home too late to visit the wards. Georgia is starting to act out and is almost at her breaking point. My mobile coverage is playing up, we had some sad family news, and I'm just EXHAUSTED. I think I've done pretty well coping with the bed rest so far, but today I'm crumbling. :(

Looking forward to: Having a plan in place for what happens next... I don't cope well being in limbo, I need to know what's going on so that I have something to look forward to.

The Bump: A little growth spurt this week?

31 weeks + 4 days

Bed rest.

It sounds so restful, doesn't it?

I take my hat off to everyone who has been here and done this, because it is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

First up, I'm grateful to even be here, because I feel like at the very least, I am doing everything in my power to stay pregnant right now. Whether it helps or not is controversial at best, but for me and my anxiety, I know my doctor has made the right call. And with only being 29 weeks when the cervical issues were discovered, I'd rather play it safe than risky.

So bed rest it is, but restful.. it is not.

My mind is always racing, worried about things I need to do, appointments I will need to reschedule or delegate, wondering whether Georgia is coping at home or daycare, thinking about all of the baby related things I still need to do, and jobs that hubby will have to take over.

The first hospital maternity ward was busy, filled with itty bitty newborns and busy nursing staff. The second hospital is a women's health ward, which needs doors opened at all time, and is noisy noisy noisy! There are meals every few hours, medications every few hours, beeps, flashes, passers by running up and down the hallway; the works. There are visitors (oh thank you, you have no idea how much you're helping pass the time!) and CTG checks, and lots of time spent staring at the ceiling.

But the beautiful thing about this time is that I feel really connected to the baby right now. Hearing her heart beating through the regular monitoring, having the time to lie still and feel her movements, talking to her and telling her to sternly stay put and keep growing... I feel closer to her than ever.

We are over two weeks into this, and she is still baking. I'm so proud of her.

A quick ultrasound earlier this week showed that she is measuring above average in all areas, bringing her estimated weight to around the 2kg mark for 31+ weeks. I'm so relieved that if nothing else, at least I can grow babies that are nice and chunky, as every little bit helps when it comes to an earlier than expected delivery. She's tracking on par to what Georgia was - and she was 3.5kg at 36 weeks! Guess we just make tall baby girls! :)

Keep your fingers crossed that we can get to the next milestone of 32 weeks this Saturday!

Baby #2 - Week 31

How far along: I honestly didn't think we would make it to a new week, so I'm really pleased to be here.

How big is baby? Baby girl is the size of a pineapple... and I feel like I am about to pop her out at any minute.

Image credit here

Sleep: The bed in this new hospital is surprisingly comfortable - so I'm sleeping fairly well here,

Symptoms: My rib pain is gone, as baby has already lowered so far. Instead, my biggest complaint is pelvic/butt pressure. It's so uncomfortable, and I can actually feel her pushing on my poor cervix.

Best moment of this week: Getting here! Baby nailed her CTG monitoring yesterday, so seems to be doing well.

Miss anything: I miss the food from the previous hospital. The food here is virtually inedible.

Movement: Some days are wigglier than others, but she's certainly making her presence known now!

Food cravings: The last meal I had at the previous hospital was an amazing chicken caesar salad. I would give my right leg for another one of those right now. Seriously... so good!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Just the food. :)

Gender: Girl!!

How's your mood? I'm feeling okay this week. We did a tour of the NICU here at the big public hospital that we got transferred to, and I feel a bit more at ease about what could happen when baby girl arrives early. They keep warning me that I need to buzz them with any signs at all, as the fear is that I'll labour fairly quickly, as everything is already in place. I still really want to get another few weeks under my belt, but realistically, I'm just trying to get through each day as it comes.

Looking forward to: Hopefully having another growth scan later next week, to see what baby is up to. And if we make it that far, I'd love to think about transferring back to my previous hospital. Just have to cross our fingers and toes.

The Bump: Doesn't really feel much different again, I guess because she's so low, it's sagging down and not popping out?

30 weeks + 6 days

So, about that cervix...

Unfortunately the last 9 days of hospital bedrest didn't work their magic like we'd hoped. The scan yesterday showed that my short cervix has now effaced completely... and has dilated to 1.5cm. Baby is engaged, the amniotic sac is so so low, and I am having the most intense pelvic pressure already.

So what does that mean?

We've been transferred from my comfortable, local hospital to the big, busier public hospital about a half hour away. The reason for this is basically for baby - this hospital is the best place for me to be with the threat of premature labour looming, as their NICU is top notch. The frustrating part about moving is that my OB can't deliver me here if I go into labour before 32 weeks, so I've been (hopefully) temporarily handed over to a high risk MFM OB that works out of this hospital. I know I'm still in great hands, but it's not the same - my doctor has been incredible, and I'm so sad that there's a large chance he won't deliver this baby he's helped to keep baking for all of this time.

The plan is essentially the same. More hospital bedrest, the same nifediprine to stop contractions, progesterone pessaries to try and strengthen whatever little bit of cervix is still trying to hold on, and daily monitoring of the baby to make sure none of this puts her into distress. Because the risk of rupturing my membranes is so high, they won't be going near my ladybits if they don't have to - so we just wait and see whether my water breaks, if contractions begin, or if I can somehow keep this baby cooking a little longer while we're here.

My old milestones still stand:

Hitting 31 weeks (tomorrow - can we do it?)
Hitting 32 weeks (when I could potentially be transferred back to my local hospital)
Keeping this kid on the inside as long as possible.

I'm so scared, though. The support from friends and family and even complete strangers has been so, so special - and hearing positive stories about little ones born at or around this gestation is great. But I'm still scared. Our special care stay with Georgia was minimal (just a week after her 36 week birth) but I still remember how I felt during that time - so trying to mentally prepare myself for a lot more care and a longer duration... it's proving to be a pretty emotional experience, and she's not even here yet!

But all we can do is wait and hope. One day at a time - heck, one HOUR at a time! :)

30 weeks + 2 days

Dear Baby,

I have been desperate to meet you for so long, I can't even begin to put it into words. You are so loved, so yearned for, so special.

We thought we had lost you so many times. From the early days after your embryo was transferred, when the lines on the pregnancy tests stayed faint and gave us the sinking feeling that something wasn't right. From the multitude of bleeds that rushed us to the hospital, fearing the worst yet again. From waiting around anxiously to hear genetic results, hoping against all hope that you would be the one to come home and join our little family.

If there's one thing I know about you already, it's that you're a fighter. You've never stopped fighting.

I can't wait to see your face. I can't wait for to watch your Dad fawn all over you. I can't wait to introduce you to your proud big sister, who has been telling anybody and everybody all about her 'baby sister' for the past few months. I can't wait to see people's faces light up when they meet you.

But for now... please stay baking just a little longer. We will have all the time in the world when we finally hold you in our arms, and we won't let you go. Patience, grasshopper. For you AND for me!

Love,
Your Mama.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Dear G,

My fiesty, brave, stubborn firstborn.

How can I ever explain to you how much you have changed our lives? You are the greatest thing that has ever happened to your Dad and I. You are a miracle, baby girl, and I'm so proud of you. As I sit here in this hospital bed and watch you visit me, I'm blown away by how much you have grown up. Gone is my squishy, perfect little baby with epic hair. She was replaced by this walking, talking, attitude filled little human... that I made!

I know this part must be scary and confusing for you, with me being away and your whole world shifting. Your baby sister isn't even here with us yet, and life has changed so much. I know you must be worried about me, and wishing I was back home with you. It breaks my heart being away from you, but I know that you will be okay - you have the best Dad in the world, and I hope this will bring you even closer to him.

You probably won't remember all of this and that makes me happy. But what REALLY makes me happy is knowing that I would do all of this again, a dozen times over, if it meant that I could see you grow up with a sibling. And if your baby sister is as half as awesome as you, we'll be the luckiest family around.

Be good baby girl, and try and sleep in your own bed please!

Love,
Your Mama.

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Dear Husband,

I've told you so many times over the past week just how amazing you are - but I don't think I can ever put into words how grateful I am. I've always known you were a good man, and I've always known how lucky I was to have met you - but these last few days have reinforced just how special you are.

Thank you for taking care of our daughter so beautifully,
Thank you for sacrificing your new career for the sake of our little family.
Thank you for the constant back and forth visits, so that I can snuggle with G.
Thank you for always supporting me.

I love you. These little girls are so damn lucky to have you as their Daddy.

Love,
Me.





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