Thursday, August 30, 2012


I feel as though I'm constantly moaning on this blog.. and indeed I am. There is always so much to be happy and joyful about. So let's start there.

1) The beautiful weather we're having - sunny days and cooler nights.

2) Raf's love of his new school. Today I had to collect him again and he was such a happy little guy, and so confident, too.

3) All of my sisters who have been super kind to me, especially Melissa who emails me throughout the day and sends me pictures of Raf's cousins.

4) So many lovely friends who have visited, sent things for baby Toast, Raf, and me, and who read this blog and 'like' my pictures on FB even though there are so many blogs and so many pictures. And so many friends who have offered to give and loan us things after our mould debacle.

5) Baby Toast for hanging in there.

6) Raf's politeness when he's being a real bossy boots. For example, 'mummy, lie down, please', 'fetch that, mummy... thank you'.

7) Rich's sudden discovery that he can indeed make a super green shake!

8) Computers, iPads, and phones that keep me occupied all day long.

9) That I'm now 34 weeks and out of the danger zone for this little guy.

10) The best fellow-bed-rester that anyone could have...

So many good things. Yet it's also been a lousy few days. Last night I got a bit of a shock when I realized that there was no pay day for me today. They're re-structuring how they pay department chairs at work and somehow I didn't pay enough attention to the memo which, last month, told us to plan for no paycheck. This couldn't have come at a worse time with Raf in school far more than we had intended at this point, a massive property tax bill, and endless things we need to get for this baby. I even called my mum and asked if she would buy a few newborn outfits now for Toast instead of waiting to get him something afterward as I find myself in such a state of anxiety around so many things. I feel so stupid for not planning better and for overlooking all of this - and now, for leaving everything until the last minute when, as my dad would say, the coffers are empty.

I did have my 34 week appointment today, too. Lots of exams and swabs to try to work out what the blood in my urine is (no UTI, it seems), as well as the increase in nausea and vomiting. Yesterday I vomited at least 8 times, and it was only because I increased my zofran that I didn't spend the day huddled over the loo. The nausea is very different to the usual pregnancy nausea I have and is more from constant pressure and discomfort. Kristen, the midwife, was a little concerned about kidney stones or infection but hopefully the cultures and blood work will tell us more.

I did get my hopes us a little as she also repeated the fetal fibronectin test and if it had been negative then bed rest would have been altered to modified bed rest, which means that I could at least go out and get a few things done (though no house cleaning or much walking...). I came home feeling hopeful about the test but unfortunately it was still positive so two more weeks of bed rest.

I'm having all sorts of doubts this evening about how I will cope with another baby. My body has felt completely awful for over a year with the pregnancies we had and lost, and with a new little one I wonder how on earth we'll manage. Rich is incredibly busy with work and college and I return to work after 3 months, and I worry about that, too. I was up nursing Raf many times each night until he was at least a year old, and this time I return to work much sooner, Rich will be away from the house most evenings, and now I'm beginning to really, really panic about the financial aspects of having a family of 4, as well as my ability to manage working full time and caring for a toddler and newborn. I feel overwhelmed and also more than a little selfish as I wonder when I will ever have any time to myself.

But to put all of this this into perspective I had devastating news from two lovely, kind friends who both lost their babies in the last two days. Devastating does not come close to describing this. As I was sat at the midwives today waiting to have blood drawn when one friend texted to say she'd lost her twins - that there were no heartbeats.

So shocking and so sad - and so deeply unfair. Both friends have had multiple losses, and both are simply the kindest, loveliest women you'll meet. And of course these losses throw into sharp relief how blessed we are to have Rafi and his little brother on the way.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mid-week catch up (aka, whine).

I had another appointment this morning so I got to drop off Raf at preschool. He was so sweet running in, and as I chatted to his teacher, Ms. Nicki, he ran off in the playground and sat in a circle with some of his friends. He looked really happy. Rich and I both went to collect him and, again, he looked so happy. In his little journal Ms. Nicki wrote that he's been 'joyful' all day!

I did get to speak with his teacher a little and she said how easy-going Rafi is, and how he enjoys everything they do. We're so relieved that he's settled in so easily and quickly.

One thing that has backtracked is his potty training. We don't push it at all but today when I wanted to put a training nappy on him, he said, 'no mama, I want my baby pants'! I took him downstairs half naked to find one and he gratefully said, 'thanks, mummy'. Not sure what to do at this point but I have a feeling that pushing it won't achieve much.

In appointment news I had to go to the midwife to give a pee sample as I have been feeling pretty terrible. I vomited as soon as I got there, which didn't bode well. There is blood in my pee so that may mean a UTI or an infection of the kidney. The latter fills me with dread since this is what led Raf to be induced (well, kidney problems) so I am a little nervous. I have a proper appointment tomorrow but won't get the results until Friday.

Whatever is going in it's pretty miserable. Lots and lots of vomiting.. Oh, yes, I clearly do pregnancy very easily! As I said to Rich this evening, the end result is so very worth it, though I feel a bit withered.

I also haven't managed to order anything. We discovered that one of our car seats has long since expired in terms of its use so now we have to buy another one, and we're stuck with only one type since there is only one that is compatible with our stroller. I thought I'd found a super deal on an older model but, alas, of course they're all sold out. Anyway, tomorrow I MUST order this car seat and I also need to order some new little nappies. Oh, and some newborn clothes! Yikes.

34 weeks, which I officially hit tomorrow, feels like a big milestone and it marks only two weeks to go of bed rest. Woo hoo!

We've not taken any pregnancy photos this time around so on my way to the bathroom I took a quick photo on my computer. Excuse the crumbled bed clothes and raggy old hair. I was hoping to get some maternity shots this time around, especially with big brother Rafi, but with all that's going on it may not be practical.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

34 weeks

Thanks, all, for being so kind...  I'm trying to prioritize things and that is helping. I think the added layer is not really knowing when this kiddo will show up, and so I don't know whether to buy newborn clothes or even a couple of premie outfits. One thing I need to work out is the breast pump and nappies - so I shall try and get to some of that tomorrow.

But it was my 34 week scan today! I could tell that Toast was seeming to lie much lower than usual, and at the sonogram it was evident that his head is very low down, which explains all the lovely new symptoms. Mind you I am so short waisted that this hasn't done much to alleviate my heartburn though I am getting kicks much farther away from my poor old ribs, while the head-butting is, well, an issue! It also helps to explain why I went to the loo every 20 mins in the night. It does seem a bit soon to have dropped, and I'll ask my midwife whether I should be concerned about this. From what I've read it's common to drop early in your first pregnancy, but during subsequent pregnancies the baby normally drops much later on. Fingers crossed that this is not an imminent sign that he's coming!

It was a great scan, though. Janet, my favourite sonographer was there, and Baby Toast passed his biophysical with flying colours. He was measuring in the 29th percentile, which seems to be fine in that he's following a curve of his own, but still a bit unnerving for me since Raf had a growth curve which saw him getting bigger and bigger. Of course this little guy's head is measuring ahead while the rest of him is measuring a little bit behind. Still, he's a good size (around 4 pounds 8oz) and is so active, which is a very reassuring sign in and of itself.

It looks as though he's showing off his guns in this photo! And again, we think he looks so much like Rafi. Janet made the same observation (she also did many of our scans with Rafi), and she thinks he looks like a George or a Charlie. 

Just over two weeks until we hit the magic 36 weeks... I was a bit fed up today, I must admit. A combination of having too much to do (but not really any ability to do it), work stress (gah), and feeling generally crappy. I'm not sure what's going on but the nausea is awful (even with zofran) and today during the sonogram I felt as though I was going to vomit from the pressure on my lower abdomen. But the end is in sight and I really cannot wait to meet this little monkey.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Deciding that we really do need to get organized, I sent Rich to the basement to retrieve key baby items and to see what we need to get/replace.

Much to our dismay things that we thought we had have been completely ruined by mold. We're not sure if this happened in our old house, during the move, or from just being in our cellar. But at any rate the magical swing which kept rafi happy and rested during nap time when he was a baby is completely ruined, and worse, my very expensive breast pump is complete dust.

I could just cry (and I actually may have done).

I'm already feeling a tad overwhelmed by the long list of things we have to get, if not immediately, then in the near future, and not being able to go out and get things is not helping. I am, though, about to order a new car seat - finally. So that will be one urgent item off of our list.

But not just a dreary news update. Yesterday, after 4 days of basically not getting up out of the bed, Rich and Raf took me out for a quick bite to eat at one of our favourite places on the coast. Raf said that 'chips' (fries) make him happy... so much like his mama!

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Busy day here.. well, not really. We're getting into a bit of a routine... I wake up super early, and just as I'm about to fall back to sleep after being up for a couple of hours, Raf, like clockwork, wakes up between 5:30 and 6am. I bribe him with homemade videos on youtube on my iPad, and for about an hour he's fairly happy and then Rich takes him downstairs for breakfast.. and I have another little nap.

Oh, it's such exciting times!

This morning Rich took Raf to get some trainers (sneakers, in American speak). We haven't been able to pry him out of his crocs so we didn't think this would go well. But Raf picked out a pair he liked - a lovely colour but they are Nike (which we don't like) and he's actually wearing them. Thanks to the age of digital communication Rich was able to text me pictures of the shoes so I could approve, or not.

I was just happy that he liked any shoes other than his crocs, so a very successful morning for Rich and Rafi.

Meanwhile I had an unexpected visit from my boss and her mum, who didn't mind sitting on my bed as they kept me company. Jeanne noticed that my eye was sore, and indeed it does look as though I have an eye infection which is having the effect of closing up my eye. Sadly I'm blind as a bat in my other eye so I'm hoping it clears up soon.

Raf and I had a lovely couple of hours together while Rich had a bit of a break (and boy does he deserve it). Fortunately Rafi has really taken to bed rest with his poor old mum and we cuddled up while he watched more homemade videos on youtube. He is funny: as he finds a new video he says, "I like this one', and I have to respond with, 'do you?', and then he can watch it... he has no idea if he likes it or not but it's quite sweet that he says it.

We had to coax Raf out of the door to head to the park and away from bed rest and his iPad, but he had a fine old time with his dad and even wore his new shoes!

I have to say that the worst part about being confined to my bed like an invalid is missing out on these times with my little family. It's much easier during the week when Raf would be in school anyway, and I would be at work (I embrace bed rest then, frankly!), but on Saturdays and Sundays I do feel pretty fed up. I'm hoping to feel up to just being able to sit on the beach and watch Raf play for an hour or so. Fingers crossed.

To finish off the day Rich brought home some Thai takeaway to celebrate a big exam he just passed for his MA. We're incredibly proud of him and it represents a lot of hard work. Raf really enjoyed the fried tofu triangles!

He's getting so grown up!

Sweet Rafi

"I love you, Rafi"
"I love you, mummy"
"I miss you when you go to school"
"I miss you at school, Ma"

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lowlights but lots of Highlights

In three weeks I'll be enjoying bed rest freedom! I'm already plotting what I'll be doing, and it does involve the beach, apple picking, and some walking and yoga (though perhaps not all on the same day). Until then I'm embracing life in bed, and I have to say that Raf is becoming quite a fan. This morning he didn't want to go to school and wanted, instead, to spend the day with me in bed. And as soon as he got home from school he was in bed with me, embracing resting with his mama.

I have been feeling very uncomfortable since last night, though, and so today wasn't my most favourite day. Some lowlights were vomiting numerous times, ongoing tummy ache, and a general feeling of fatigue.

But there were some wonderful highlights!

First, Raf was so funny and sweet in bed this morning (and I must write a post about how the kiddo is still sleeping with us and how I am a bit worried with his brother coming any week now). The second highlight was hearing from my friend Kate and being asked to chair the board of directors at their fantastic non-profit (this is more a figure head position but it was an honour to be asked. The third highlight was receiving the beautiful, amazing quilt from my friend, Anna.

I can't explain how exquisite this quilt is. Each tree has some detailed embroidery of a butterfly, cloud, rainbow, and more. And in the middle tree are Mine and Rich's initials along with Rafi, Toast(!), and Papa. It's really such a touching gift. 

And then yet another highlight... a very, very unexpected present from my friend Sarah Hope who sent Raf and I a book each! Again, just so touched by people's generosity. 

And then Raf came home for more 'bed rest', and while I am not feeling my best and a wee bit worried again, I'm so lucky to have so many lovely, lovely people in our lives. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Thanks for all of the name help, everyone! We're settling on a few favourites now, though anything could happen as nothing is really popping out to us as it did with Rafi.

I have hit the 33 week mark, which means that I'm 3 weeks into my 6 weeks of bed rest. I had a really good appointment with my one of my favourite midwives yesterday. My tummy measurements are almost back on track and Poppet passed his non-stress test with flying colours. Rich was also able to come, which was a nice surprise as I wasn't expecting him to be able to join us...

The midwife also thinks that we'll get to 36 weeks with bed rest, and who knows, Baby Toast might just want to hang tight in there for a few more weeks after, which would be fine with us as I would love to get some strength back and things more organized before he decides to put in an appearance.

Baby Toast did, though, receive his first present! A lovely colleague sent him some beautiful hand, knitted socks, which she picked up on a trip home to Canada. We're loving the colour, especially as red is Raf's favourtie. Thanks so much, Amy!

In Boy Wonder news... Rafi continues to enjoy preschool. Rich was running late from work yesterday so I picked him up and delivered him to gym class where Rich was waiting to accompany him. He is getting so good at listening and paying attention, and he really, really loves his gym class. I watched (not a good bed rester yesterday) and he was so funny and sweet. There are some pretty wild boys in his class and I have to say that he does seem fairly angelic in comparison.

Until we got in the car. He wanted some water out of a white cup, which we didn't have in the car, and when I explained that to him he screamed and cried for almost the entire journey home. Rich mentioned that he'd done this last week after school and gym class. He was quite exhausted from such a busy day, but we think the screaming has more to do with containing himself all day and all evening - following rules and his peers - and when he's with us all the frustration of 'disciplining' himself and internalizing expectations just gets to be too much. I let him scream (heck, I had no choice!) and expressed some empathetic words, and he was feeling a lot better when we were a few minutes from home. Poor little guy.  He was so tired. When I came to bed his nappy needed changing, and honestly I dreaded waking him up because I imagined he'd be very grumpy and would then find it difficult to get back to sleep... Much to our shock - as it's never happened before - he didnt even really stir as we took him to the bathroom, laid him on the floor, and changed him.

That was one tired kiddo.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Names part 135...

The latest list... forever changing.

Bertie (Albert or Bertram... though I think we'd be setting up the child for a lifetime of grief!)
Hector (Rich doesn't know about this name yet and I don't think he'll be a fan)
Eddie (Edward?)
Lachlan (Rich may have vetoed this)
Xavier (was a top runner but now is highly doubtful

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

33 weeks

I was looking forward to today as I had my weekly scan booked which meant, a) seeing Baby Toast, and b) getting out of the house. Alas, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling very nauseous and miserable and couldn't get back to sleep. I'd also run out of Zofran, which was very stupid on my part. After vomiting everything I ate and drank I made my way to Portland and did get to see the little poppet. It wasn't a growth scan, but a check to see if he's practice breathing, moving, etc. He scored 8/8. We did have to wake him up to make sure he was doing all his movements and I have to say that he looked thoroughly cross as a result. I think I know who he takes after there....

Both Rich and I think he looks a lot like Raf, so we shall see!

Sadly the misery continued and I've been so ill today with nausea, vomiting, and heartburn that we had to cancel our picnic plans.

I have felt like crying most of the day. Part of me would like a third kiddo but, honestly, I don't seem to do pregnancy graciously at all and I can't imagine putting the entire family through this again.

Not a good day.

Monday, August 20, 2012

23 days...

until I hit 36 weeks and I should be then allowed to move around somewhat freely. It seems like a long way off but also no time at all, and much better than the alternative.

Today I spent my day receiving texts from Rich who was out on a super, super fun day with Raf. I'll let Rich write a blog about it, but it involved a train ride, a trip to the train museum (heaven!), a trip to the park, and a picnic! What more could a little guy want. They had a brilliant time, and Raf even got to ring the train's bell. I also had a nice visit from Ayala who brought around some sweet treats.

Tomorrow I have my 33 week scan and I intend to lie down (not even sit up!) all day so that I can sit outside on the beach and have a picnic with Karla and Raf's two friends Sawyer and Colby in the evening. Having a few things to look forward to really helps.

I can hardly wait for September, though. Not only does it mean making it to term with baby toast, but Jen is organizing a baby sprinkle to celebrate this little poppet! I can hardly wait. She's kindly having it at our house as I will officially still be on bed rest, but it's literally just a few days before the reprieve.

Lots to look forward to, indeed.

Here's Raf this morning, joining me for some bed rest after his breakfast downstairs.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Shopping and stuff

Funny thing about bed rest is that I'm not actually bored, just a bit fed up. Thank goodness for my ipad and netflix. Right now I am working my way through the remaking of the Miss Marple series... no comments!  And thank goodness for internet browsing and online shopping. I've become completely obsessed with diaper bags. My friend Kate had one made for me when I was expecting Rafi, and since he's still using it for preschool I'm in the market for something new. The trouble is the one I like is not inexpensive and so I am doing my best resisting buying it. It's a Cath Kidston bag, which won't probably mean much to my American readers, but she is an English designer and reminds me of home so much. Perhaps I will save my pennies for things like gas bills, though :)

I have been doing useful bits of shopping, too, and have been searching for some new cloth diapers. We can still use many of Raf's but we need to get new prefolds and some all in ones as I'm hoping when he starts nursery (possibly the place where Raf is going) that they'll be willing to use cloth if we make it easy on them. Other bits and bobs include breast pump bits and pieces, bottles, and some warmer clothes. These things are not as exciting to search for, except the clothes! Our lovely friend Karla donated some fantastic clothes and we're so grateful as it gives us a great starting point. I never really thought that having babies in different seasons. We're forgoing a double stroller since we do have the double Chariot but we'll see how that goes... Raf loved to be worn in the sling and then soft carrier so I'm hoping this baby will be the same. I was thinking of investing in a Moby wrap given that it'll be cooler when he's a newborn. Does anyone have any experience?

We're being treated to some beautiful homemade gifts, too. Louisa is crocheting a beautiful blanket and I get daily video updates of her gorgeous work. And my friend Anna has created the most phenomenal quilt. It's incredibly special and I can't wait to see it in person... Here's a sneak peek:

Isn't it amazing?

I keep putting actually ordering things off. Despite the premature labor worries it still seems to far off.. yet of course it's not even if we make it to full term. It's all becoming much more real. Life is going to be crazy!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Odds and Ends

Raf is not a fan of bed rest. He doesn't understand at all why I'm never feeling very well and he's desperate for me to go and play on the beach or to swing him over my shoulder as usual. Yesterday was a bit of a nightmare day as his school was closed, Rich had meetings most of the day and wasn't getting home until late, and I felt terrible calling someone to help take care of Rafi, so it was just me and him.

In the afternoon I ended up putting him in the car and taking him to the bookstore where I'd at least be able to sit down and play with him, and while it was a nice reprieve from rest I was feeling very worse for wear when we got home. Thankfully we've signed him up for Fridays at his new school for the foreseeable future so hopefully we won't have any repeat of that. And even more thankfully he's really enjoying school. This evening I asked him what he'd like to do tomorrow, and he said 'see his friends at school'. Poor Rafi, he'll be hanging out with boring old mum and dad instead

After a really good Tuesday appointment it's been a very up and down week with symptoms intensifying and then easing... it really is a matter of waiting things out. It's frustrating as there is so much to do here - and at work - and while I'm supposed to be on leave I've postponed going on official leave until I can square away a few important things. I also need to work out a plan for the department whilst I'm gone. Most of my department have been fantastically helpful and supportive... alas, not everyone. And it's very hard on Rich, too, who is doing his best to entertain Raf and get things done. And then he has a grumpy spouse...

Baby Toast is seeming to thrive, though, and that's the most important thing, right now. He's such a mover and shaker, which is very reassuring. This week I have another scan onTuesday and another midwife appointment on Wednesday, when I think I'll be having another non-stress test. Fingers crossed that all looks good.

Despite Raf not being a happy camper about the bed rest, he is feeling much better and is being fairly feisty! He says 'no' with such fervor that you'd often think I was asking him if he wanted to drink some poison as opposed to offering him a yogurt! At the same time we're getting a lot of 'I wuv yous'. This morning it was one of the first things that came out of his mouth. It makes the very early wake-up calls much easier to cope with! And his sentence construction seems to be improving everyday. Previously he'd say something like, 'help!' or 'help, please', and now he says, 'I need help, please'. He seems to be really catching up with his expressive speech. (as an aside, and this will teach me to be more careful, he asked what Rich was doing, and I mumbled, 'oh, being a lazy sod', and of course called Rich that... bad, bad mummy.)

And names... who knows what we'll call this kiddo. I'm trying to think of a derivative of Archie (for my dad.. I have a nephew with that name otherwise that would be the name we'd choose) so if you have ideas.

Raf and me receiving a quick foot run with cream!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Raf is thriving in his new school! Last week he attended two days - and was sick on the second day - but nonetheless he seemed to be enjoying it. This week marks his first full week... well, three days! Rich has been doing most of the drop off and pick ups, but today I had to pick him up as Rich wasn't going to get home from a meeting in time.

When I got there Raf was playing one on one with one of the teaching assistants. He was super happy to see me, but you could see that he was perfectly happy. When Rich drops him off, he simply says, "bye, daddy', and runs off into the playground (they play outside with all the other classes until 8:30). After that first day when I left him looking overwhelmed I had serious misgivings, but he has really adapted, and adapted very quickly.

The lead teacher, Ms. Niki, has been writing in Raf's journal. This is something they did at ROOTS, and Dani, our old nanny, continued to do it. We love seeing the highlights of his day. Here are a couple of entries from this week.

"This week Rafi is learning about fruits and vegetables. At art he painted with corn on the cob. In the Dramatic Play area he was sorting the fruits and vegetables. He played alphabet bingo. He was very focused and seemed to enjoy the game. Also, he is learning new computer games. He is doing well controlling the mouse. He slept 2 hours today and woke up dry. He peed on twice on the toilet with prompts to use the bathroom. he is able to follow the class routine with no issues. Is is a pleasure to have him in the Friendship Room!"

And today...

"Great day! At art Rafi used potatoes to stamp with. He practiced writing the letter 'R'. He plated a board game with a peer. He did well waiting and taking turns. The game exposed him to counting and colors".

We're so happy that he seems to be enjoying his new school. He seemed to confident when I picked him up. He was in another classroom and we went into his room to collect his bag and he showed me where his milk and water are kept, and just seemed to know his way around already. Rich says that there's another little boy who seeks Raf out. So glad that he already has a little friend. Indeed we know one girl from gym class, and this evening at gym class Rich reports that they went around the circuits together!

He is really growing up!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

32 weeks.. almost!

I've just returned from a really great ultrasound and midwife appointment. Baby Toast is doing brilliantly and seems wholly unaffected by all the things that have been going on lately. We got some super snapshots, including a very cheeky one where he's sticking out his tongue, and the video shows him wiggling his fingers as though he's waving. He's weighing in at a guesstimated 3 pounds 11 oz, and while Raf always measured ahead - and thus big - this little poppet is a bit smaller - and today was at the 35th percentile.

In really, really excellent news, though, a recheck of my cervical length showed a really marked increase and it's now considered normal length. I cannot tell you the relief I feel. It seems as though bed rest does indeed work in my case, and while I hoped that it might mean less restrictions, alas, it just means that I will continue with it since it's having such a positive effect.

I felt really confident as I went off to my midwife appointment. While there I had a stress test and while poppet was asleep for the first part, he did eventually 'pass' with 1 good acceleration and one marginal one. That's good enough for now.

I did ask about his size as I am measuring small and while the first growth scan had him around the 60th percentile that's fallen to the 46th percentile two weeks ago and now he's at the 35th percentile. The very experienced (and lovely!) sonographer wasn't worried at all, and my midwife wasn't super concerned. She did note that I have lost quite a bit of weight and that my weight gain has been quite minimal, though I honestly think bed rest and my atrophying muscles can account for that. But this week it's operation 'eat', hungry or not, just in case it is because I'm not getting in enough.

Anyway, I'm feeling much more relieved and positive and the end of bed rest - well, 4 more weeks - seems perfectly doable.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Moan

The weather is beautiful here in Southern Maine, and the boys have been texting me lots of pictures of their day out at a wildlife center and beach. Here's a pic of Raf 'birding' on the beach... though his new fear of seagulls (at least when they get too close) make me wonder if this is a good idea!

By all accounts, from Rich's texts, they're having a lovely time. Raf, though, is really finding this bed rest malarky almost as difficult as I am. He wants me to play outside or wrestle with him when he's hanging out on the bed, and he just seems sort of sadder this past few days. He has been poorly so that might be part of the problem, but over all this is very tough on everyone. Poor Rich is almost single handedly looking after a toddler when he's not in school, and cooking and making sure things are ticking over. 

This weekend was especially hard on us all. Not only was Raf poorly but the weekends are generally reserved for family time and a lot of activity. Instead I spent almost all weekend actually in bed, and yesterday I was experiencing so many symptoms that my midwife sent me to the L and D for extra monitoring. I was there until the wee hours of this morning and eventually climbed into bed at 3am. 

They rechecked my fetal fibronectin test, which was once again positive. They weren't able to check my cervical length (I have an ultrasound booked for tomorrow) but my cervix is 50% effaced, which again wasn't super reassuring. Apparently I have a very irritable uterus and a swab showed an indication of some maternal infection, which might be triggering all of this. They've given me a script with the hope that it clears things up. I have everything crossed.

I have been feeling pretty low because while of course this is all worth it, it's a massive challenge. I'm missing out on so many good times with Rafi, and our plan had been to make this month or two as special for him as possible. It is really difficult for him and it's impossible for him to understand. It's of course worth every second of rest but I have to admit that the next few weeks will be enormously challenging on many levels. We'll get through it, and hopefully we'll be meeting baby Toast... sometime in October.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

School, 31 weeks, and Sanity

With all that's going on with Poppet I've not given an update on big brother Rafi. This past week he was supposed to start preschool - just one full day to gently get him used to going before starting more regularly. After his first morning there last week I was feeling a little nervous because I wasn't sure he'd get the attention he needed. I know that we have to let him struggle a bit, for him to develop and to draw on resources as he navigates new experiences. This is much easier to do in theory, and yet when you see your little one upset, bewildered, and more, you just want to scoop them up...

So I was sort of glad not to be able to take him to school on Wednesday. Rich spoke to his teacher a bit about Raf possibly needing a bit of extra support during these first days, especially with all the changes underway and with me mostly in bed. They seemed receptive and Raf seems to have had a good day. Rich picked him up and took him out to dinner before going to gym class, so he was exhausted when he returned home! The next day he seemed happy enough to go to school - which was another sign to us that he's coping just fine.

It's just us!

Poor little Raf, though, became very poorly and the school called us in the afternoon so we could pick him up. I was at a medical appointment and Rich was in a meeting so we were both late getting the messages. Our friend up the road, Margaret, was called and just before she kindly left to pick him up. Luckily I was en route home to bed and detoured to pick him up myself. Poor poorly Raf was on the stand-in teachers lap being rocked back and forth and he was burning up horribly with a temperature of 104. On cue he vomited just as I took him and he was sat on my lap but by the time we got home, got in some medicine to bring the temp down, he was doing much better. He's definitely under the weather and the fever returns horribly once the medicine wears off, but he seems to be getting better.

Let me say, though, that a sick toddler on top of bed rest is just a bit of a nightmare. I am feeling the benefits of bed rest, for sure.. less cramping, less lower backache (often a sign of preterm labor) but today I think I was close to going bonkers. It's not that bed rest is boring.. there are things to watch, read, and listen to, it's just that this body of mine does not enjoy sitting still. This afternoon I could literally feel the energy pulsate through my body, willing it to run. Instead we all watched Mo Farah win his second amazing gold medal as he took first place in the Olympic 5k. Simply phenomenal.

I keep hoping that our next appointment or ultrasound will bring good news and at least a downgrade from bed rest to modified activity, but I'm also resigning myself to a few more weeks of this, and hoping that I don't wither away in the process.

September can't come fast enough. I may have bankrupted us with online shopping, too! Today I discovered ebay and put lots of bids on clothes for Raf and the baby! I won my first auction this evening on a nice little Mini Boden jacket/cardigan for the poppet. Hope I don't win everything I bid on!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Packing, plans, and names

It seems much too early to pack bags, but I'm making lists today for things that I need to think about packing. This time I have to think about Raf's little overnight bag as well as the logistics of having Raf be someplace while we go off to the hospital. Our old nanny, Dani, has courageously agreed to have Raf overnight should things happen in the wee hours, and then we'll have him dropped off at preschool. We're trying to make a few contingent plans in case it all falls through, and of course this is when I wish we had some handy relatives living close by to watch Rafio as his little brother arrives. We had thought Raf might be there at the hospital, but I suspect he'd be terribly bored by the entire thing...

So we're making some plans. I can't remember what was useful last time, though I am sure I overpacked.

Last time I had a nice birth plan written out - and I was so sure it would go smoothly - and it did - and I never ever really considered that things might not go our way. We did consider the possibility of a C-section, but we weren't thinking of having to deliver in a bigger hospital with a NICU with Drs we don't know. We didn't have to really think about whether our wishes would be respected because Deb was our Dr. and the nurses at Mercy are well known to be wonderfully supportive of different birthing choices.

I met with one midwife today and we chatted a little about what could happen. In a perfect world I will make it to 37 plus weeks and have my lovely water birth at Mercy with the midwives. In an almost perfect world I will make it to 36 weeks and, while I'll be risked out of a water birth, I'll still be in Mercy with midwives I know in a setting which is comfortable and relaxed.

If baby decides to put in an appearance in the coming few weeks then, well, we'll be at the bigger hospital. This IS an amazing place, by the way. We're pretty spoiled in the Portland area when it comes to super places to have a kiddo, but it is a high risk place with quite a different culture, with OBs and residents and interns everywhere, and while it is absolutely the best place to be when there are risks to the baby, I have to say that I'm nervous about going there. I asked the midwife if it was worth meeting with a Dr., but the truth is it could be one of hundreds of Drs who helps deliver this boy, so it would be a little pointless. I may do a tour of the hospital, though, so I cam ask some questions about expectations and policies.

Any advice on planning for a potential high risk birth would be much appreciated. I suppose we're going to need at least 3 different birth plans.

And names... I feel terrible that we're not really sure of a name. Nothing is jumping out at us and names which were on the list have now been firmly removed. Theo is out and probably Xavier, too.

Keep ideas coming!

Edited to add: my bed rest was not downgraded (though it's not as strict as I suspect it could be) and in fact the midwife has signed me out of work until the baby comes. I have no idea how I'll manage this as I have so many things I need to finish up. She did caution that any form of stress was just not good.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Oh Poppet!

Poppet is still hanging in there. I ended up going back into the hospital on Sunday morning, but this time to the bigger, tertiary-care hospital. I was having more cramping and discomfort and felt very off. Everyone was really lovely and I ended up getting the sonogram to measure cervical length. I was hoping that this would be very reassuring since cervical length together with the fetal fibronectin test is more accurate in determining preterm labor risk.

It wasn't quite the news we'd hoped for. The measurement came back as 26mm, with 25mm and less being very worrisome, while 35mm is the average. So... not terrible but certainly not ideal and not reassuring. I spent all morning there being monitored. Poppet looked great, though amniotic fluid was at the upper level of normal, and I was discharged but this time on full bed rest. I also was given a steroid shot to help mature the baby's lungs, and yesterday went back for another shot.

Honestly it's been very difficult. I feel guilty that I've not listened to major signals that I needed to slow down. Running has helped to up my energy levels but the day to day running around after a toddler, with guests, putting up bunk beds, working, working, working... and not really sleeping very well. Well, in hindsight it seems very stupid. That being said it's not easy to slow down, and because I'm not doing much of anything I find it hard to actually sleep. This led to a sleepless night last night and a 3am trip to the L and D when in my sleep-deprived state I became very, very concerned that I hadn't felt the Poppet for a long, long time. So there I was again, everyone very kind, wondering, probably, how many times they'll see me this week :)

I have a midwife appointment tomorrow and I'm expecting (hoping) that they downgrade my bed rest to at least modified rest. 

I have lots of photos to post of Raf and his cousins and stories to tell, but in the meantime I'll post a picture of Raf with his cousins on the final day.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Stay Put, Poppet.

We sadly said goodbye to my sister and Raf's cousins on Thursday. We already miss them so much. I will post some more pictures and stories of their stay very soon. We managed to get some super snapshots, and I hope Raf has a few memories lodged in their somewhere.

I drove the gang back down to Boston on Thursday and en route I developed some horrible backache. It seemed very muscular and I didn't worry at all, but that night I was up a lot with lower back pain and just felt off. I got out for a lovely run and actually felt some energy return and my backache was seeming much improved. All good. But that afternoon - with the high temps - I started to feel very ill and by the evening was having lots of cramping, Braxton hicks, and more. Rich had taken Raf to bed and I was feeling so 'off' that I called the midwife. The midwife on call, Kristin, had me come into the L and D for some fluids, thinking that I was dehydrated and that fluids would calm things down. And in fact it did help a lot...

They were planning on discharging me and did a fetal fibronectin test as matter of routine. Much to my shock it came back positive. Basically this test is used to rule out preterm labour as a negative test is very accurate and gives a good indication that you will NOT go into labour any time soon. A positive test is much more ambiguous and is suggestive that preterm labour is around the corner.

I'm honestly a bit in shock. It has been a very stressful year and this past few months have been almost unbearably stressful for many reasons. I don't think it's helped. Back to back pregnancies, hyperemesis, anemia and ongoing extreme exhaustion have really undone my body and the only time I've felt like myself is when I run a few times a week.

So it was a shock. I had driven myself to the hospital thinking I'd be in and out after some fluids but I ended up being admitted for the night for more monitoring. My cervix looked good this morning and they discharged me though the threshold for being readmitted is very low. I've been advised to restrict my activity and stress levels (sure!) and to get much more rest. I'll have an ultrasound on Monday or Tuesday and will see my midwife again if nothing happens between now and then. 

I feel so guilty that rest hasn't been a priority for us. I've felt so crummy for so long and I think after a while people - including me and Rich - stop taking it seriously and you carry on as usual making everything but rest and how I'm doing physically a priority. 

I feel incredibly low, right now. It's difficult with no family around, and though lovely friends have volunteered to help out with care for Raf, etc. I honestly don't know how I will cope in other ways. My biggest stress reliever is running/being active and of course that's not possible until I hopefully at least reach 36 weeks, and poor Raf is used to a very active mama. I'm hoping that things will settle down so that I can at least resume normal parenting activities. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Poppet - 30 weeks

In the midst of a lovely time with my sister and Raf's cousins, I've had a few Poppet appointments this week. I saw my midwife on Monday and yesterday I went to the maternal fetal center for my 30 week ultrasound and check-in with the periantologist. I have been feeling quite sick still, so hadn't gained any weight in the last month and I was a bit worried as my stomach was measuring a little small (though within normal limits). Still. I was glad to have the check in the next day and to have an ultrasound to check on growth, and so on.

We got to see one of our favourite sonographers, Janet, who had put us in her calendar so she knew to look out for our chart. Fortunately everything looked super, though he had dropped in size percentile moving from just over the 50th to just under. 

We were lucky enough to get some super shots, though he was covering up his face most of the time with his little hands. It was very lovely. Both Rich and I think he looks a lot like Raf in utero and one of the pictures showed that he already has hair growing! We're hoping that like his older brother he's going to have an impressive hairdo when he's born :) He weighed in just over 3 pounds and unlike Raf doesn't have a large head, but does have longer legs (at least according to the scan data).

This is my favourite photo of the little one's legs crossed... getting ready to kick!

I really have so few pictures of my tummy so I stole this from my sister's camera as it shows how big this baby is getting!

At 32 weeks I go to the high risk maternal fetal place for ultrasound and monitoring and I also start seeing my midwife every other week and then, soon after that, weekly. I can't believe how close this baby is to coming. We're not ready at all, don't have a name - or even much of a list. We still need suggestions...