A bumpy ride for the bump and I.

I feel like an old car that is falling apart bit by bit while the passengers sit unharmed inside. I’ve not been well at all for the last month or so, hence the radio silence. At first it was a bug that quite literally left me unable to stand or stay awake for a good couple of weeks. I just slept. Once the bug began to subside there was no rest. I feel as if I have lived in and out of St. Mary’s hospital for the last couple of weeks having endless tests and scans. It started when the glucose count in my urine got high. That meant I had to have another Glucose Tolerance Test, where you have to fast, have a blood test, drink a high glucose drink and then have another blood test. The first time I’d had it I passed out in the waiting room and I was very anxious about having it done again. This time I was out cold by the first blood test! I was unconscious long enough to have a little dream about being on a Carribbean beach with the lady taking my blood! I spent that morning in a zombie like state feeling utterly wretched being wheeled around in a wheelchair. I’ve been lucky in that my wonderful independent midwife Jo has been with me every step of the way. She wheeled me around and carried my bag and coat and sponged me down to bring me round when I passed out. The morning just got worse. As I lay on a hard examination couch feeling barely conscious I heard the obstetrician say that my most recent blood test results showed that the obstetric cholestasis had returned. It’s the liver condition I had with Jessy and the reason I had an induction and a hospital birth last time. I thought I’d escaped, but it was back. I was sent off for a liver scan, meaning I had to wait even longer until I could finally eat which I knew would make me feel better. My induction date was booked after the scan.

A couple of days later we had more bad news – the GTT test showed that I do have gestational diabetes. I knew that was the most likely outcome so I’d been pro active and researched what I should be eating and changed my diet which made me feel slightly better. I was shown how to monitor my blood sugars with finger prick tests which have to be done 7 times a day. My body seems very reluctant to give up the red stuff though and it takes me up to 4 goes each time to get a good drop which means I have very sore fingers! Despite my best attempts the blood sugars weren’t staying within the desired levels. Usually the next step is medication, but they were concerned the medication might interact badly with my liver problems so I was put on insulin. Injecting the insulin is nowhere near as unpleasant as the finger prick tests, but I do feel rather like a human pin cushion at the moment! My life seems to revolve around tests, medication and injections at the moment!

My new life!

My new life!

The scariest moment was the middle of last week when one of my liver counts went so high there was a bit of a panic. The normal range for ALTs is 5-40 and mine went up to 669!! Nobody seems to know why. They told me to come into the hospital and that I probably wouldn’t go home and they’d induce the baby early. Luckily my lovely doula Lisa had come to see me that morning and she helped with the sudden flurry of organising childcare, pet care, packing a hospital bag and alerting everyone who needed to know. Jessy was already at Dennis’s as I had a hospital appointment scheduled, so we went round there on the way so I could explain what was happening to him. It was all quite overhelming for him and his eyes filled with tears as I told him the baby would probably be here within a day or so. He’s coped so bravely with me being in and out of hospital, finding out about the various complications, but I know it’s been difficult for him. After all of the chaos, I ended up just being put on a monitor for a while which showed the baby was fine and they sent me home!

It probably isn’t surprising that I haven’t thought a great deal about Home Education over the past few weeks! Jessy has been away so much and we’ve really missed each other. Luckily though, through a combination of taxis and good friends he’s carried on doing all his usual activities. I know he’s done lots at Dennis and Phoebe’s house too. He’s learned to knit and has been enjoying detailed Role Playing Games with Phoebe and the other kids where they invent their own character profiles and deal with various situations. He’s also been going swimming which I haven’t done with him for a while. When he has been at home we’ve stuck to quieter activities. He’s continued looking after Bellatrix the hedgehog, although she’s definitely more grumpy since he’s been away and she hasn’t been out everyday.

Miss Huffy Pants as we often call her!

Miss Huffy Pants as we often call her!

I used to love playing Clock Patience as a child and I’ve got Jessy into it too. He hasn’t had one that’s worked out yet but he was a maddening one card away once!

Clock patience

Clock patience

It’s Jessy’s birthday tomorrow, but I planned his party a week early this year just in case I did have to go in to be induced which turned out to be for the best. In some ways it was an added thing to worry about, but in other ways the creating of Pass the Parcel and Treasure hunts and stuffing the pinata was a welcome distraction. I really wanted him to have his celebration in the midst of so much uncertainty and difficulty. The party was a big success with over 20 sugar filled children bouncing around – quite literally on the bouncy castle. My wonderful friends helped so much that they actually left the house tidier than it had been before the party which is no mean feat!

Bouncy castle fun

Bouncy castle fun

Cake!

Cake!

Jessy got some lovely presents and spent the evening building one of them – a lego eagle:

Lego Eagle

Lego Eagle

Tomorrow, for his actual 9th birthday he wants to have a couple of friends and his cousin round to play on his new X-box which he has been absolutely bursting to get his hands on! After that I will have Thursday and Friday to get my head around the fact that I’m going in for induction on Friday evening. It really has been a complete whirlwind. My head is reeling and try as I might I’m still finding it hard to feel anything other than bitterly disappointed that the natural Home Birth I’d planned has turned into a high risk hospital induction. I know that if I dig down deep though I do have the power to make this birth experience positive and it is very exciting that the baby will be here so soon. Please keep me in your thoughts on Friday evening and Saturday. I very much believe in the power of positive thought and don’t believe that I can have enough of it!

To end on something that makes me smile, here’s a photo of Jessy the other night when he decided to go to sleep in my Santa sleepsuit!

Jessy in my sleep suit!

Jessy in my sleep suit!

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Anatomy, Magnetism, Biscuits & Baby.

I’ve been knocked out by a nasty bug for a while, hence no blog last week. I slept almost solidly for about 3 days and then on and off for almost a week! Luckily it wasn’t the kind of bug where you feel terrible – just sick and exhausted, but staying awake has been, quite literally, impossible. Jessy stayed with friends for a few nights while I slept off the worst of it.

So, there’s a bit to catch up on! A finally went back home to live with her Mum and brothers again. It was an anxious time as we really had no indication of time scales. I had a very disheartening phone call with the people handling her school admission, where it seemed they hadn’t even received the forms I’d sent and had no idea how long the whole process was going to take. I phoned my sister to tell her the frustrating news only to find out that she’d been left a message on her answer machine saying that A had her school place and could start on Monday! Clearly, the communications are not working well in that department! It was already Thursday which meant that A would go home the very next day so that she could have the weekend to unpack and settle back in at home. It was quite a shock when I told her and I still feel sad that our careful efforts for a smooth transition didn’t work out. Although we had already had her leaving party I felt that the occasion needed marking in some way so we went up the road to The Nawaab – the very nice Indian buffet that I go to on my birthday.

A farewell meal

A farewell meal

Happy cousins

Happy cousins

A is happy to be back home and I’m glad that this anxious time is over for her, as even though I know she’s enjoyed aspects of being home educated and living with us, it’s not the same as being at home with your Mum. She knows she always has a second home here, though, should she need it. She’s going to carry on going to Martial Arts and Scouts too which means she’ll be round on Mondays for dinner, so we will at least see her once a week.

Now that I’m back to just the one child I’ve had a little more time to notice the things that Jessy is showing an interest in. He was playing a lot with the magnetic base from a little sculpture he has, to the point where he didn’t want to stop playing with it at bed time so I ordered him a magnet kit. I got a small one at first to see how much he enjoyed it. I’d imagined exploring it together, but he had already opened it and got stuck in before I was awake! As well as doing the experiments suggested, he’s come up with some of his own and also used it to create a model of a battle ship which he played games with for days.

Exploring the magnet kit

Exploring the magnet kit

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Another day he created a rather gory picture by colouring a piece of paper red, drawing a person on top of another piece of paper and then cutting slashes into the person to look like he’d been cut! I felt a little disturbed by this creation, but it did give me an idea to use the concept a little more constructively. I thought of using it to learn about human anatomy and cutting the person on top in order to find different organs. We couldn’t find any anatomy pictures in our books and our printer is playing up again, so we went to the library. Again, we didn’t find anything is the books but we found something online and printed off a few different sheets of anatomical diagrams. A first Jessy wanted to make his own, but we found the inaccuracy made the game quite tricky, so I also made one using the anatomical pictures. It was a fun way to learn about the human body.

Anatomy

Anatomy

I’ve been interested to notice this week that despite having a room full of toys and drawers full of craft materials, Jessy often finds inspiration in simple things around him. This week he was inspired by the tiny little premature baby socks I bought. (Jessy was so small and thin that socks never fitted him so I’ve bought some as a precaution!) He said they looked perfect for making little toys. He decided to buy a set with his pocket money and we then agreed that he could have one of pairs I’ve bought for now. He can get a little frustrated with the fiddliness of sewing and often wants to give up and get me to do it instead. I’m encouraging him to persevere so that he improves which in turn will improve his frustration. He’s already got a lot more competent at threading needles. I sewed a little face on the toy for him but he did the head and the arms. He did stop part way through for an all out stroppy whinge complete with rolling around on the floor, but once he had got that out of his system he went back to it and now has a cute little toy named Spuddy.

This week Jessy has also independently baked a batch of delicious biscuits. He decided to copy out all of the ingredients and method, including all the weight conversions so he doesn’t have to work them out each time. On Thursday I was dealing with square roots before 9am which is good going for me! Jessy was working out the square roots for large numbers after I showed him the symbol to look for on a calculator. He then tried squaring the numbers by inputting them himself to see how accurate the calculator had been. After months of not doing much independent reading he’s been up reading so late that he actually fell asleep on the sofa one afternoon! He’s always had a very good radar for when I start to feel wobbly about something. I’d just got to the point of feeling that I needed to schedule in some time each week for independent reading, when the tide of autonomy turned and he got back into it himself!

We’ve had Bellatrix the hedgehog for a little over two weeks now and I’m very impressed by how well Jessy is caring for her. Even on a Wood School morning he makes sure he’s up in time to change her food and water bowls, and clean her litter tray. He feeds her in the evening and makes sure he plays with her every day. She’s quilling at the moment, which is a process all young hedgehogs go through where their quills all fall out and the adult ones grow in – like humans losing their baby teeth. It makes them rather sore and grumpy. Jessy is luckily not taking her grumpiness to heart. He had some confidence problems at first when he was finding her difficult to handle as she’s spikier than he’d expected, but he now wears thick gloves and has regained his confidence. I’ve supervised him with the big weekly clean outs but he has pretty much done everything himself, including putting the fleece liners on to wash in the machine and then putting them in the tumble drier. We are struggling a little with finding time for her in the evenings as we don’t want to wake her too early, but it can be difficult to fit in enough time between dinner and bedtime. We find she really does need to be handled for at least half an hour to stop being huffy and calm down a little. Luckily he often holds her in the early mornings when she’s still awake.

Holding Bellatrix in thick gloves

Holding Bellatrix in thick gloves

Bellatrix in her new play pen

Bellatrix in her new play pen

Bellatrix

Bellatrix

I’ve been busy making final preparations for the baby and I feel much more organised now. I’m 34 weeks pregnant and growing by the day. The baby still moves lots and feels strong. I’ve washed all the clothes and nappies and muslins and organised everything into sizes. My house looks ready for a baby. I went to the hospital today for blood tests to check whether I have Obstetric Cholestasis again – a rare pregnancy related liver condition I had when I was pregnant with Jessy. It has a high recurrence rate and I’ve felt anxious about it as I would just love things to go simply this time and to have the home birth I am so much looking forward to. I’ll know in a few days whether it has come back and if it has I’ll have some difficult decisions to make. I’m still under a lot of pressure to have growth scans because Jessy was so small, but at the moment I’m still not feeling that is something I want to do. I’m loving having the support of my Independent midwife Jo and my doula Lisa. We all got together for the first time this week and I felt really happy that these wonderful women are going to be with me when I birth my baby. I feel that, as a team, whatever happens I will birth with good support around me, hopefully in a peaceful way in my own home.