Archive for October, 2008

Hello baby


Evie Louise arrived 31st October at 13.50hrs, weighing in at 7lbs 13ozs.


and here’s how it all went……………………………….

Her expedition into the outside world was encouraged yesterday at 12 noon when DIL had her first, and as it turned out, only prostin pessary. Before the pessary was inserted she and baby were monitored for half hour, ensuring that all was well before the stress of induction of labour. Following an internal examination, to assess if it would be possible to rupture the membranes without using prostin, the pessary was inserted high in the vagina, monitoring was then recommenced for an hour. At this point all was well so DIL was released from the monitor and encouraged to mobilise. At 3pm frequent ‘prostin’ pains started. They caused the uterus to contract, frequently, causing Mum and baby to become distressed. Monitoring was recommenced, increasing DIL’s distress as it made mobilizing more problematic. At 6pm a repeat internal examination was performed, there was no intention to repeat the prostin as would normally be the case if it were needed due to the intensity of the uterine activity. Unfortunately there was no change in the cervix, unsurprisingly DIL was disheartened and after that it was taking a huge amount of support and encouragement to cope with each contraction. By 10pm it was all too much, TEN’s was ineffective and so pharmaceutical pain-relief was offered in the form of pethidine, this was given by injection. The opiod helped her to relax for a couple of hours but after 3 hours she had used up all her, and our (!), reserves and was extremely distressed. Another internal examination was performed and……..hurrah, the cervix had opened enough for the membranes to be broken (ARM). For this to happen we had to transfer to delivery suite, and unfortunately there were no beds and we had to wait another hour and by the time there were beds DIL was demanding an epidural prior to the ARM. This was nearly a problem as there are restrictions upon the number of women with epidurals on labour ward, in the end the fact that I was there saved the day. Oh well, I do have my uses!

Once the epidural was sited, and working, all became super calm, the waters were broken and two hours later the syntocinon infusion was started. DIL and Son settled down for a well-earned sleep, whilst I kept watch, labour ward was super-busy so their midwife was caring for three women in labour, totally unacceptable but par for the course in today’s under-resourced maternity services.

When the day staff came on they had their own midwife so I decided to come home, have a power nap and return rejuvenated, or at least refreshed, just after the next scheduled examination at 11am. On the way home I nipped to the bakers and bought some sausage rolls for son’s lunch and some iced doughnuts for after the birth. At 9.30 I flopped into bed, and at 10. 30 I was awakened by son phoning to say that it was all systems go, DIL was going to start pushing at 11am. Thank heavens the roads were clear and there was a parking place at the hospital!

By 1pm it was starting to become obvious that baby was not going to make an entry into the world by just it’s Mummy’s efforts. So frustrating as it was so nearly there but, push as hard as she could, there was no further advancement, a Doc was asked to review. After much encouragement, and a very exacting assessment of how baby was lying, doc explained that baby was trying to come out without flexing her head, so a larger diameter is attempting to deliver, something which causes delay. Baby was, by now, becoming tired, after every contraction the heart-rate was dropping from a baseline of 130 beat per minute to 70, and staying down there for a minute, action was necessary, a ventouse was decided upon.

At 13.50, after one pull of the ventouse, baby was born with with her hand up by her cheek and and a real cone-head. Whilst the Doc was stitching DIL up she started to bleed, he estimated about 1 litre. The IV syntocinon was increased, bi-manual compression was used and ergometrine was given, the bleeding stopped quickly, and DIL appears to have tolerated the blood loss.

As you can imagine it was all quite emotional, I think that all of us had been keeping our angst’s under wraps and the wonderful arrival of Evie has released our feelings, the relief is palpable.

Photos tomorrow when I’ve had a long nights sleep.

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Still waiting, but not for long

No news.

Induction of labour starting tomorrow. I suppose that there is always the chance that things may kick off tonight, but I’m not holding my breath.

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This was the beginning of son’s journey to life with an ileostomy. How naive was I back then? I was so sure that this was not a major problem, that it would all be sorted if he stopped drinkng alcohol.


Next week is Son’s birthday, so a(nother) family meal looms large but I shall rejoice as he has had a few worrying months recently but hopefully much of the worry is now resolved. Back in the late summer he phoned me up and said he was filling in an application for personal insurance, and needed to know if there was any family history of cancer. I didn’t really pay much attention to be honest, just replied that although my Father liked to scare us with reports that he has bowel cancer, he hasn’t really got it, and no one else has either. Over the next couple of weeks he asked other questions, one day about blood tests, a week later about endoscopy, another time about colonoscopy but it wasn’t until he asked what blood results show if someone had cancer that I realised all this was referring to him. I questioned him but he just told me there wasn’t anything serious, not to worry. Not worry, the boy (man) must be joking, I’m his Mother, it’s my job to worry. I enlisted the help of Hubby, told him to take him out and find out what was going on, absolutely useless, do men ever really talk about important stuff, can they? Eventually I sat son down, stuffed bamboo under his nails, attached electrodes where the sun doesn’t shine and found out some of what was going on. No specifics about symptoms but at least I found out he was seeing a Gastroenterologist and had undergone a colonoscopy and was waiting for the results of the biopsy. Anyway, he had the results this week, ulcerative colitis, not good news but certainly better than a malignancy. He has started on the drugs, seems very positive, but refuses to accept a link between his symptoms and drinking alcohol, there’s none so blind……….takes after his Father you know.

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Day 14 in a winter wonderland

I’m sitting here in my snug sitting-room whilst outside it’s cold and snowing, in October. Weird day really as this afternoon I was in the garden mowing the grass, chilly but the sun was shining and it was a lovely autumnal day. In the distance I could see threatening, dark clouds but I carried on tidying up grass until I realised that large raindrops were falling, an hour later the rain had turned to wet snow. Now, I’m just wondering whether this may be an indicator that Tinkerbelle is going to put in an appearance as, if I were on-call, I would be bound to be called out. DIL had the second stretch and sweep this morning, no change in the cervix from last time, we can but hope. This evening mum-to-be has backache and aching lower down and the bump has changed shape, nothing definitive though.

Son saw the nurse again today, the wound is looking cleaner and is not as painful, so hopefully all is going well on that front. She wanted to see him again on Friday but son said that he would be otherwise occupied with his new baby (here’s hoping)!

Outside is now lying snow with big flakes still falling. Global warming?

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My spirits lifted this evening, when son uttered a monumental statement ‘ I’m feeling loads better’. Not only does he feel better than he has for weeks but he looks better as well as the yellowish pallor has been replaced by a healthy, pink hue. He still has extremely sunken cheeks, huge eyes, a sinewy neck and a skeletal frame but he looks more alive than dead now. This morning he and DIL went to the local supermarket and bought him some clothes to tide him over until he starts putting the weight back on, he has lost 4 stone in 8 months. Today is the first day when he has not suffered any spasms from his intestine and that has just made a huge difference to his whole perspective on life now and in the future. He still worries about infection, and pays a great deal of attention to any discomfort around the wound. This extends centrally from just below the xiphisternum (the bottom of the chest bone) to about 3 inches below the umbilicus, which it does a little detour around. It is healing well but around the staples there is slight inflammation, it will be good when they are removed on Tuesday. Life around him is not a bed of roses, he is often anxious, frequently short-tempered and he hogs the remote control, but it is all worth it just to see him looking so much better.

DIL is positively blooming, she seems to be coping exceptionally well with her pregnancy going post-dates. Tonight we had a curry. While son, yes he ventured into a less bland cuisine, had an extremely mild garlic chicken, DIL had a bhuna which is more spicy than she would normally have and, I suspect, a final ditch attempt to avoid a stretch and sweep! This afternoon she asked me if it was really brutal. I went off into my explanation ‘ I would describe it as uncomfortable rather than painful. Basically, the midwife will do an internal examination and attempt to find your cervix. If the cervix is in a central position it’s not too bad, but if it’s behind the baby’s head it is more difficult’. At this point I took my sock off and, with the aid of an orange artfully placed into the foot and masquerading as the baby’s head, I demonstrated how the cervix (the cuff) could be pulled up behind the orange (the head), bit like an eclipse really. I recommended that if the cervix was posterior then she should clench both fists and put them under her buttocks, no, not punch the midwife. Once again using my sock containing the orange, I showed how tilting it would alter the degree by which the cervix (cuff) was posterior so making it easier to stretch, the cervix, and sweep, the membranes. Americans call it stripping the membranes as basically the aim is to ‘encourage’ the membranes to lift from the uterus. During this Hubby and son sat there exchanging uncomfortable looks, I suspect that it was a case of ‘too much information’. Hubby has announced that he is going out tomorrow morning!

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Day 10 +

It was with concern that I went to work today, I really didn’t want to leave son but my manager had made it clear that she expected me to be in so, in the absence of DIL going into labour, I put in an appearance. Within 10 minutes I was seriously regretting my ‘dedication’, why hadn’t I declared that I had the sore throat which is doing the rounds, after all I do have it, or told them that I am too stressed, which I am? Was I rewarded for my commitment, no. I have just spent the day feeling intensely resentful toward those midwives who have declared themselves unfit for work, so ensuring that I would not finish work until early evening. Yes, I am a grouchy grump who is full of self-pity.

Back to son. I was right to be unhappy about not being around to supervise. He and DIL went out this morning for a short wander around the local shops, they have bought me some lilies and my own tub of marshmallows but when they came home they noticed that the car had a flat tyre. What should have happened was that Hubby, who was at home, would have taken the car to the local tyre fitting place but no, son and DIL took it off to have the tyre replaced. Too much, too soon and he is suffering for it now. I have showered Hubby with guilt drops, as a penance he went and did the supermarket shop this evening, I feel that there is more mileage in it yet though!

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Day 9

Son is recovering but there are lots of ups and downs, especially with regard to the functioning of the stoma. It is obviously a case of getting used to it and realising that it is still early days and the intestines have suffered a great deal of trauma during the surgery, so they will not be working as easily, or reliably, whilst still swollen as they hopefully will in a few weeks. There was excellent news this morning though, the consultant phoned with the biopsy results and the inflammatory process was definitely ulcerative colitis, not crohns. That is excellent as it means that once son has recovered from this surgery and, fingers crossed, the ‘take down’ surgery he will be almost back to how he was 2 years ago and before his ulcerative colitis started.

Son’s moods are hugely variable, rarely relaxed, often quite short-tempered and frequently anticipating some complication. Every twinge is a possible sepsis, stoma not functioning for an hour, it’s obstructing, he is constantly undertaking a search for symptoms which may be indicating a complication developing. I suppose that he has experienced such a short, but intense relationship with ulcerative colitis, with suggestions that this drug may work, that diet will reduce the symptoms, but all ultimately failing dramatically, that he cannot believe that the operation will be a success. He has lost even more weight since the surgery, he refuses to weigh himself or have photos taken. He caught sight of himself in a mirror the other day, and was horrified by how emaciated he looks and so says that he doesn’t want any reminders of how terrible he looks. I think that it may be quite positive, especially if he gets down about his ileostomy, as he will be able to look back on the photographic evidence of how ill he was, and accept that his stoma has, quite literally, saved his life.

The stoma nurse visited today, and that was great, as she answered questions and reassured son, DIL and clucking Mother. She was also able to discuss the practicalities of ordering supplies, prescription charges and diet. Diet, what diet? Being a greedy little being I am oh so slightly jealous, no one has ever told me to eat high carb, low fibre food. A professional has never said to me ‘ I want you to eat jam doughnuts, chocolate, full-fat milk shakes and chips’, there again I have never been so thin that I find it painful to sit on a padded dining-chair.

Still no new grandchild. Stretch and sweep booked for Sunday

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Day 8

Time was in short supply yesterday so this entry is a day behind. Son is anxious about everything; is the stoma working properly, has he got a wound infection, are DIL and unborn baby alright? I suspect that there may be huge issues about the ‘new him’, body image etc. which he is concerned about, but too male to voice, which are being expressed by stressing about everything else. Lots of TLC going on. I feel like some modified holiday camp entertainer, Mrs Laugh a Minute, what with remaining positive with son and DIL and looking after the twins, there must be some entry in the Guinness book of records for keeping a smile (rictus grin) in place regardless of how you actually feel and I must be in contention.

When we checked on bambi there was no sign of it. DIL said that she had heard major kerfuffles during the night, much ‘barking’ from mummy deer and crashing through the herbaceous borders but, other than a hole in the lawn where she had ripped up a divot and some flattened shrubs, there was no sign of mummy and baby munjack. I’m just not thinking about what may have happened.

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