Thursday, March 08, 2007

Labour update

Well, it definitely would seem to be labour, but there could be a fairly long haul ahead of us yet. The contractions got to 4 mins apart quite quickly, although each one was pretty brief (and fairly bearable pain), so I woke Karen and we rang the hospital. Our midwife came around but I was only 1 finger dilated and contractions deemed neither strong enough or long enough to get busy or excited about yet! So we have been labouring at home since - time really flies! The contractions got further apart after the internal examination, but have become quite a bit stronger, and rather longer. I'm to go in to hospital as scheduled for my sweep at 10.45am and they'll assess me again then and see where we go from there. We should meet Pip quite soon!

This could be it!

Yes, it looks like things are starting to happen, exactly when I always thought that they would - overnight on the 7th/8th March (UK time). I had a lot of pelvic pressure all through Wednesday, very twingy, especially in the pelvic/hip joints, and then got rather back-achey in the evening. Anyway, it didn't feel like anything I haven't already experienced over the last few weeks.

We went to bed at 10.30pm, and I woke up needing the loo only 2hrs later - except it felt like a real desperate need to pee that didn't disappear when my bladder was empty; rather like when you have a bladder infection. I went back to bed for a while, but similar sensations were happening, albeit irregularly, so I got up and came downstairs. I really wasn't at all sure that they were contractions at first, as they felt nothing like the Braxton Hicks I have had, nor like I imagined contractions to feel (i.e. a kind of physical clenching sensation). Instead, it's more like a "sheet" of pain that comes and goes (only lasting for about 30 secs at the moment), although I'm not sure that pain is quite the way to describe it; it's certainly a strong sensation, but by no means unbearable. In between, it feels like I'm probably imagining it - until the next one starts!!

Anyway, I'm up and wandering around with my TENS machine on, and the contractions are coming roughly every 8-10 mins, although it's not a completely regular pattern yet (I'm taking the homeopathic remedy caulophyllum to try and encourage regular contractions). Haven't woken up Karen yet, as I think that it's best that she rests until I can be more sure that it's labour proper. She'll be thrilled if she doesn't have to go in to work in the morning though!

I may be back on here later with an update; maybe not, depending on how quickly/slowly everything progresses.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Since there's no action regarding Pip's arrival, instead I'm sharing a picture of my niece Ella and nephew Lewis chilling out yesterday on a hammock in their local park in Melbourne. It's lovely to get pictures, but I do miss them!
I'm resigning myself to the fact that the birth may well not be until next week at this rate - it certainly doesn't feel in the least bit imminent. I went to see my regular acupuncturist yesterday, and she did some extra work to try and bring on labour, but it doesn't seem to have produced any results. Tomorrow I go up to the hospital for my "1 week past due date" sweep - if my cervix has softened since Saturday - and I've got reflexology booked in for Friday. If neither of those things start off labour, I can go back to see my acupuncturist on either Saturday or Monday for another session, and I will also try my herbal/homeopathic combo over the weekend to try and start labour (black and blue cohosh plus caulophyllum). I don't want to try too many different things on any one day! And if Pip is perfectly happy in there, I don't really want to be overzealous with attempts to get him/her out before s/he's ready. The hospital will want to make a provisional appointment tomorrow for a chemical induction; probably for next Tuesday/Wednesday. I want to avoid this if possible, but I'm not really sure that I want to go past 2 weeks overdue.

All my friends/family keep asking if I'm fed up with waiting; the answer is not really. I feel quite chilled out about it, but the uncertainty over when we'll actually have our baby is a bit frustrating, especially for Karen who never quite knows if she's going in to work next morning or not. However, we can fairly safely say that Pip is going to be here within the next 7-10 days at most. It does feel a bit like I'll be pregnant forevermore though.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Bread and boredom

Following on from Mark Bittman's no-knead loaf, I wanted to try his sourdough recipe from How To Cook Everything, following Emilin's recommendation. I actually made the starter and the first loaf over a week ago, but I think that I rushed the process a bit. The starter is supposed to sit and sour initially for 24-48 hrs at room temperature, so as my kitchen is warm, it was already smeeling sour and looking fairly bubbly after about 24hrs, so I moved on to the next step, of mixing the dough, and then leaving it to rise, which can be for anything from 6hrs to overnight. Because I mixed it at lunchtime (using just under half wholewheat), I baked it the same evening. It turned out fine as a loaf of ordinary bread, but didn't have much in the way of the sourdough flavour that I craved. The texture was quite finely crumbed, and reasonably firm/dense without being heavy, but not chewy. However, it did keep very well, staying fresher for longer than a regular loaf would. Anyway, having refreshed the starter, I left it in the fridge for almost a week to get nice and sour, and made a second loaf late last week, giving it much more rising time etc. This turned out better, but it still didn't have the flavour I was hoping for. I have to say, I think that I prefer the no-knead recipe. I'm going to try this one again today/tomorrow.
I'm feeling totally bored today - I really had to summon up the energy to even come on-line, which is so unlike me normally. I started a cold over the weekend, so I'm feeling very lethargic and sorry for myself. It's not a really bad one, but I hope that it goes quickly.
Karen came home on Friday night having had a terrible day at work, at the end of a draining week. So she was totally ready for Pip to arrive ASAP, just so she wouldn't have to go back to work on Monday! I started taking my black cohosh tincture to soften the cervix, and when the midwife came on Saturday, we decided to try for a membrane sweep - as much to judge the state of the cervix as anything, since it was only 2 days past EDD. It wasn't the most comfortable of procedures as my cervix turned out to be extremely posterior, way up behind the baby's head so the midwife had to do a good deal of digging around just to locate it. Ouch. Not surprising that I couldn't find it when I tried myself the other day. Sadly, it was very tightly closed and still pretty thick, so there was no chance of an actual sweep. However, all the fiddling around didn't cause Pip any agitation, as his/her heartbeat was exactly the same before and after the procedure, at 150bpm. And the head is now an extra 2/5 engaged compared to the exam 10 days earlier, so that was good news. I've been bouncing on the yoga ball, and walking as much as I comfortably can to try and get the pressure of the head to cause the cervix to thin out. Plus continuing to take my tinctures etc. At this rate though, I think I'll probably be making the "official" sweep appointment at the hospital's antenatal clinic on Thursday, 1 week past the due date.
Now that it looks like I may well go reasonably overdue, my mother is coming down tomorrow to keep me company (original plan was to call her when I went into labour; she's going to be with us for a week after I give birth, to look after us while we get to know/look after our new baby). I'm looking forward to it, as the waiting around is getting rather dull. We've asked her to be there for the birth now that she'll definitely be around, which she was really moved by. We'd both really like her to be there, and we know that she will be supportive without being interfering. And if it turns out to be a long labour, it means that she & Karen can take turns to get some rest/re-fuel.