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A new life ahead

Last November, my DH accepted a job offer in Pietersburg/Polokwane. I was 6 months pregnant and we were living in Cape Town – about 1,800 km from DH’s new office. DH was due to start early in January. My little boy was due on 6 March. Can you believe such horrible timing?!

I decided to stay behind in Cape Town until the arrival of my boy as it seemed unwise to move to a new city / new gynae / new world in the last trimester.

On being a ‘single’, working, very pregnant mommy

The month of January passed me by in a blur of heat waves and exhaustion.

My little girl became (rather abruptly) heart-breakingly unhappy at daycare and was sobbing quietly in the mornings as dropped her off. I got the impression that her daymother was leaving her in her cot for hours. (The woman increased the number of babies in her care that month from 4 to 7 with no prior notice. Argh, I still feel furious about that!)

My little girl craved lots of attention every late afternoon/evening. She (and therefore I) was often awake for two or three hours at night. I remember one night she managed to switch on the light (using the remote control) and started pushing her doll’s pram around the house – at 4:30 am!

A logistic nightmare

At my 34-week gynae appointment in late January, there were signs that my little boy might come early (just like his sister) and I had steroid injections to mature his lungs – just in case he decided to show up that very same week. At the time, the thought of having a prem baby to added the mix of challenges was pretty scary.

DH could take 2 weeks of leave to come to Cape Town for the birth. But when should DH have scheduled those leave days in order to be present at the birth?? DH was guaranteed to miss the whole thing if I went into premature labour and the gynae seriously doubted we’d make it to my due date (6 March). DH decided to come in mid February (at 37 and a half weeks).

We also had to make arrangements with the removal company in order to get our stuff moved to Polokwane and for our house to be let once we left. Not knowing when baby would have wanted to come to party made the scheduling a nightmare!

An elective c-sec or induction at 39 weeks were options I was less keen on (provided baby and I made it that far!), since I’ve had such an uncomplicated labour (as labours go..) with my little girl. If I were expecting another girl, I would have been less reluctant to go for one of these options, since baby girls do better when they’re ‘evicted’ (as opposed to being allowed to pick their own birth date).

Getting closer..

My baby – good little boy! – hanged on in there till his daddy arrived in Cape Town in mid February.

My sweet mother-in-law (MIL) came and stayed with me after that scary 34-week gynae appointment. I remain very indebted to her for coming to help out at the time. It also meant that my little girl no longer had to attend daycare. Yay, yay! She instantly started sleeping better, if not well.

We decided that my little girl and I would go stay with my MIL and FIL after baby’s birth. We’d join DH in Polokwane as soon as the little dude was a bit bigger and stronger.

The perfect date

Beforehand, I mentioned to my mother that the perfect date for the birth would be Monday the 27th of Feb. It was the one day that truly fitted our schedule! On that specific day:

  • Baby was almost 39 weeks along and doing well.
  • My DH was in Cape Town (for only 5 more days mind you).
  • I was officially on maternity leave, having completed all the major things I wanted to finish off at work. Must say, it took much longer than I had hoped to reach that point – my brain was seriously uncooperative when I tried to do anything that challenged the grey matter.
  • I was packed and ready to go live with my MIL after the birth.
  • The moving company was due to start packing our stuff in boxes on that day. I wasn’t too keen on hanging around in that kind of mess while I felt hot (not in the sexy way) and about to pop.
  • If baby didn’t arrive within the next two days, I’d have had to consider the c-sec or induction route. Also, we’d have had to move out of our house and go live.., hum, I didn’t actually know. My SIL? A friend? In a B&B? DH and I couldn’t come to an agreement on this.

Shame, I felt so sorry for my boy. After telling him for weeks to please hang on, I suddenly needed him to snap into action. Instead of being a time of joyful anticipation, the last days of my pregnancy was rather tense, although I did my best to take things one day at a time.

Note: I’m cheating by posting this post-dated post a month late.

As always, I eagerly looked forward to yesterday’s scan and seeing my little boy again, yet dreaded the thought that the FAS might pick up a problem – especially since the gynae mentioned at the 19 week that the little dude had bilateral choroid plexus cysts in his brain (which is linked to a higher incidence of Trisomy 18 and possibly Down’s, but also occurs in perfectly healthy babies).

Yesterday’s scan didn’t pick up any additional problems that could indicate Trisomy 18! Although LB’s risk of having Trisomy 18 remains a little elevated above the normal background risk for my age (which is 1 in 412), the FAS didn’t give me additional reasons to worry about our little miracle. LB’s back also doesn’t show any visible signs of spina bifida, although the risk for this is also still slightly higher than normal since it runs in our family.

So this is the best oucome I could have hoped for in terms of the assessment. Yay! Our little miracle is measuring on the 50th percentile in terms of growth, which is just perfect.

The FAS stressed that a amnio would be the only way to get a definitive answer on whether our little dude has Trisomy 18 (or Down’s). However, I don’t think I’d be able to deal with it if we were to lose a healthy little boy following an amnio (due to the inherent risk of the procedure). So we decided against it.

Personal news: DH has accepted a position in Polokwane, starting in Jan, so we have a hectic time ahead! I plan to stay behind (with LG) and first have our little dude here in Cape Town, rather than tagging along at 7 months pregnant and switching to a new gynae at Polokwane Medi-Clinic. My exam last week went well and hopefully earned me that degree I’ve been working towards!

Lastly, before the FAS appointment, I made arrangements for the scan with my work, with LG’s daymother and with DH – who also made arrangements with his work. DH and I got up early, dropped our LG off early and walked into the FAS’s office – only so I could realize we pitched a day early!! Worst thing is that I had the appointment date right, but the ‘current date’ wrong! Ugh, how could anyone possibly be that blonde.. or that pregnant, perhaps (weak attempt at making myself feel better)?

P.S. As we left the doc’s office after the scan, I turned to DH and said that I wanted him to stop worrying about our little dude since the scan went so well. DH just smiled slightly and said that he’s bound to spend the rest of his life worrying about our little dude and his sister..

Note: I’m cheating by publishing this post-dated post 6 weeks late..

Sorry for being so quiet! Life is a little hectic at the moment. I write a pretty stressful exam next week. My little girl is now an absolutely delightfully lively and inquisitive toddler – who still wakes up an average of twice per night. We’re busy with final negotiations that will probably lead to us relocating to Polokwane in January. And then there’s work too, although I’m hoping to become a SAHM in Polokwane next year! Yay!

So to be honest, I barely have time to remember that I’m pregnant! Apart from the pregnancy symptoms and the fact that I sometimes need to use crutches to get around due to PGP (which is pretty embarrassing as I’m normally very active; also, I don’t even have a bump yet!).

My darling little boy has in the past week started kicking and wiggling to help remind me to dream of him and start loving him, which is wonderful! “I’m here too, mommy! Meeting you all is going to be awesome!”

His growth was on the 50th percentile at the last scan. The scan went fine.. until the doc said not to worry about it at the moment, but LB has bilateral 5mm choroid plexus cysts in his tiny brain. Well, who would ever worry about cysts in their baby’s brain?!!

My research on this showed that all is truly likely to be absolutely fine, although he has an increased risk of having trisomy 18 (which would make survival beyond his first year unlikely). I decided to try and not entertain that thought until our next FAS appointment in November. In my heart, I really believe that our little miracle will be fine.

Phew, I really can’t complain about being bored at the moment – lots of challenges and adventures await me and my family. It’s stressful, but it also makes me feel very alive.

Last Friday’s fetal assessment went so well!

‘Babaliefie #2’ has a nuchal fold only 1.54 mm, very obvious nose bone (looks like a little Jew, actually!) and a risk of 1/3000 for Down’s (out of 85% of my maternal age risk of 1/200). So I’m thinking of not going for an amnio despite my age. I hate to consider that 1/400 risk of miscarriage that an amnio has – although I’m almost tempted to go just to see such a big a$$ needle!

Baby was a perfect size for 12 weeks 3 days. Heart rate 143 bpm.

The specialist scared me a little by saying the risk for spina bifida is much increased for baby, as I have spina bifida occulta (like my brother and dad too) – a practically symptomless version of the condition that only shows up as a vertebrae or two missing the spina part. But by the time she said it, I was already way too chuffed to really worry. Baby was busy drinking some amnio fluid and kicking its feet. Who could be worried there would be something seriously wrong while you’re looking at that?

I suppose it’s true what they say about second pregnancies (following a previous pregnancy that had a happy ending): you worry a lot less. True, you don’t have as much time to sit around worrying about your pregnancy while you’ve got your hands full looking after a little baby/toddler. Also, you’ve seen everything working out fine before – which is such a priviledge.

Lastly, baby seemed to try and flash those privates for us. It’s early days of course, but I’m going to have to start dreaming in baby blue!

Something amazing happened just more than a year ago the first time I held my tiny, newborn baby in my arms. I looked at her and knew, just knew that she was perfect – that she would become the brightest, prettiest little girl ever. She had unlimited potential and could become anything she wanted, from a rocket scientist to a ballerina or rock star.

Inevitably, as I got to know my beloved baby angel, worries and doubts started to form. Shouldn’t she have smiled by now? Would having been born a month prem have a lasting effect on her? Was her head circumference at birth too small? Does she have enough trunk rotation (the silly paeds OT in me here)? Will she be OK in school someday? Am I doing enough to stimulate her? Is my full time work influencing her negatively?

I recently saw a blog where a mom had listed her little genius’s milestones and it went something like this:

  • 3 weeks 6 days: Smiles at mom
  • 2 months: Rolls over
  • 5 months: Crawls at 44 km/h
  • 9 months: Gets distinction for Applied Maths degree

OK not quite – but it was along those lines. (And of course parents brag about their babies! I really have no problem with that!)

I guess in the past year and a bit I’ve learned that a baby is like a wonderful gift, beautifully gift-wrapped. It will take many years to carefully unwrap this gift and to get to know this brand new little person.

Although my baby angel doesn’t give me (or her paediatrician) any reason to wonder whether she is anything but developing beautifully, I suppose it will be quite a few more years before we really know what talents, problems, limitations, dreams and fears my little girl will have to face during her lifetime.

Some things are already evident, e.g. she is waaaay too tall to become a ballerina, dancer or gymnast. (Not surprising of course, considering how tall her parents are!)

I suppose what I’ve learned since that first magical moment I’ve held her, is that she is unique and real – and human, just like me and my DH.

My greatest wish, having come to that realisation, is that I will be able to be there for her always – a guiding hand, a shoulder to cry one, a mentor. I hope that she will be able to trust me with her secrets, to share with me her joys and sorrows and to delight me with her achievements – whatever they may be.

Having been blessed with this wonderful baby, may God also grant me this wish: May I be able to be ‘there’ for her, through all of her winning, losing and trying – now and for the remaining days and years (God willing) of my life.

Here is a list of thoughts that swirl around in the head of a primary IF after a spontaneous positive HPT test when she had already been blessed with a one perfect little baby:

  • This is too good to be true.
  • I’d better not get excited yet.
  • Life is terribly unfair. How could it be my turn again?
  • This could not be happening.
  • Could I ever love another baby with the incredible intensity that I love my first miracle with?
  • My first baby is my little miracle. I’m not prepared for her to have to share that podium with another baby yet.
  • I should not get too excited.
  • How could I not get too excited?!
  • It’s not my turn.
  • Oh no, how could anyone survive morning sicknes and pregnancy while you’re the mom of a baby?
  • I am so incredibly blessed.

This is way too good to be true.

After a terrifying week of bleeding and spotting, we saw one beautiful, strong heartbeat today! Little bean is on track and DH and I am overjoyed!

I called my FS (he’s already on holiday) last Saturday, totally panicky after my 6w scan showed a 5.1 mm bean without a heartbeat. According to lots of texts on the internet, this gets classified as a ‘missed miscarrriage’. My FS said not to worry: the little beans don’t read the textbooks and are known to do their own thing. I’m so grateful that he was right!

Today’s temporary FS (vd Merwe at VP) said I’m likely to see a lot more red in the coming weeks due to the little lost twin and I shouldn’t worry too much if it happens. I should just take things easy.


August 2020