The One Where I Worry About Breastfeeding

With just under 6 weeks to go until my due date, and with the Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt going on, I thought it appropriate that I write a post about breastfeeding.

Just for the sake of clarity, I will start by saying (as I say a lot) I am NOT anti formula, I am PRO breastfeeding.

There is a difference.

Although, I think, even in this day and age, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. So I think everyone should just make the decision that’s right for them and not be judged for it. Breast or bottle, you should be supported whatever your choice.

I never made a conscious decision about breastfeeding, it was just something I knew I wanted to do,and Neil was on board. It was never a question.

I managed to feed Jake exclusively for 4 months, then combine fed until he was 7 months, when unfortunately, through no choice of my own, I had to stop completely.

With Zack, I thought I was doing OK but his weight said otherwise, and we were admitted to hospital for 24 hours, and I was pretty much forced into combined feeding. I felt like there was no support for me breastfeeding and I had to fight to have help.

After doing a bit, and I really do mean a bit, I haven’t spent hours trawling the internet or anything, but I wonder whether my thyroid has anything to do with my inability to produce enough milk for Zack. I’ve spoken to a few other mums that have thyroid issues that struggled to feed, and it just seems like too much of a coincidence, but the consultant says otherwise.

We live in another city now, and the midwife speaks very highly of the support available for breastfeeding. They have support workers that will actually come out to your house. I am wondering whether to buy a new breastpump to see if that will help too.

So yes, I am worried, but I know that some is better than none, so I will try not to beat myself up too much if I struggle again this time, but I won’t be scared to ask for help and support if I need it, and I will fight to feed for as long as I can.

The One Where I Talk More About Homebirth

So I’ve mentioned before that I want a homebirth this time, and unless there is a problem with baby, I am fighting for it.

Home Births aren’t for everyone, and I totally understand and respect that. And likewise, I expect my choice for a homebirth to be respected, and mostly it has. I think it helps that recently on the news, there was a big push about home births and how more people should have them.

So, why am I so determined to have a home birth this time?

Our local hospital doesn’t have a birthing centre, otherwise I would have perhaps opted for that. I am having a straightforward pregnancy with no complications. My consultant is fairly laid back and is only seeing me three times throughout the whole pregnancy.

At home I am guaranteed a pool. I’ve never had a water birth but it’s something I really want. At the hospital I *might* be able to have a water birth *if* someone else isn’t using the pool when I get there.

At home, I am in my own surroundings, I’m more comfortable, therefore more relaxed. If Neil wants a cup of tea or some toast, he’s free too to go and make it, and he doesn’t have to worry about what shoes to wear, something he wishes he’d given more thought to when we were in hospital while I was having Jake.

At home, if I go into labour in the middle of the night, I don’t have to worry about finding someone to look after the boys, they can stay asleep in bed and hopefully wake up in the morning to meet their new sibling.

At home, I’m not confined to visiting hours. If I give birth in the early hours, Neil doesn’t have to go home and leave us. The boys can meet their new sibling when I want them to, not when the hospital says they can.

At home, I can have my music on and not have to worry about whether I’ve brought enough batteries with me.

At home, I will hopefully (providing I don’t give birth before JUly 29th – as she is on holiday until then) have my community midwife with me. Someone I’ve learned to get on with, someone I know I’m comfortable with, and someone I know I can trust. Who I’ve spoken about my birth plan with, who I know is on board with my wishes.

At home, after I’ve given birth, I know that I can have a bacon sandwich if I want with *proper* coffee (or maybe even a sneaky glass of bubbly) rather than chewy hospital toast with cheap nasty coffee.

Those are some of my reasons why I’m determined to make it happen this time. This is our last baby so I won’t have this opportunity again.

If I tell you I’m planning a home birth, I’m not asking for your approval or acceptance, I’m simply telling you.

Yes, I know things can go wrong. I know I may end up in hospital anyway, and if I NEED to I absolutely will. I’m not willing to put myself or baby at risk. I’m a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them.

 

 

The Struggle

I’m struggling. I’m feeling down.

Watching your parents get older, and deteriorate is horrible. The people that you’ve always relied on, that have been your back up, suddenly, almost as out of nowhere aren’t the strong ones anymore.

We haven’t got a dementia diagnosis for mum yet, but we are fairly sure we are going to get one. The more reading I do, the more information I find, the more convinced I am.

She’s not though. She thinks it’s just part of old age, and keeps having the same argument with Dad day after day after day about something that happened over 30 years ago, keeps bringing up the face that 45 years ago he forgot something and made a mistake and he didn’t go to the doctors about it.

It’s frustrating. Like, REALLY frustrating, and it’s hard not to lose patience when you’ve been told the same thing 3 times in a fifteen minute period, or asked for the 20th time how long the kids are off school for.

It’s sad. It’s like you are grieving for the mum you used to have, because she isn’t the same person anymore, but she’s still here, she’s still my mum. But then there are these moments where she has clarity, and she is MY mum.

My dad. The one who’s always been the strongest, the one who does the looking after and the caring. He has unstable angina. Heart failure. And he is finding it difficult to cope. Struggling emotionally. Tearful. Not being able to keep calm when he’s been having the same row everyday for months on end. But he’s the carer. the one she relies on. The one who makes sure she has her tablets, and has her insulin and checks her blood sugar, and covers for her more than you realise.

But all of that is his fault apparently. Because he’s always done her tablets, and if she’d been left to do them herself it would have been ok. It wouldn’t have been though, because she would have forgotten to take them, or take them twice. It’s so hard to reason with someone who doesn’t realise they have a problem.

And I don’t know if it’s denial, or if she really believes there isn’t a problem. I don’t know.

I’m struggling. Really struggling. And I can’t see it getting any better.

Home birth – 3rd Time Lucky?

I’ve always wanted a home birth. It was planned with Jake. We had the appointment for the midwife to come and deliver the magic box at 37 weeks, but I had a bleed at 35, and so the doctors decided that they didn’t want me to go overdue just in case my placenta was failing, and I was to be induced. With Zack, I didn’t even get as far as suggesting it. My consultant (I was consultant led due to having my thyroid removed) needed convincing about me using the Birth Centre instead of the Delivery Suite, but when I had *that* scare, even Birth Centre was off, and Delivery Suite it was.

I know now, after spending a LOT of time researching things, that actually, I could have still had a home birth if I wanted to. They aren’t allowed to say no, but it would be against medical advice, and a Supervisor of Midwives would come and explain the risks to you.

Ultimately, they have a duty of care to attend you. The Nursing and Midwifery Council says ‘Should a conflict arise between service provision and a woman’s choice for place of birth, a midwife has a duty of care to attend her… Withdrawal of a home birth service is no less significant to women than withdrawal of services for a hospital birth.’

And so, this time, pregnancy number 3, and once again I have brought up the subject of home birth. I never started this pregnancy wanting a home birth particularly. To be completely honest, I thought it was beyond the realms of possibility being consultant led. But then she said she would discharge me back to midwife led care at 36 weeks providing my second growth scan was fine, and I had no reason to believe it wouldn’t be, seeing as Zack’s birth weight was a healthy 7lb 4oz. So I started the research, and then I chatted to Neil, and I we decided that we would give it a go this time, so I joined some home birth groups on Facebook, and I reserved a birthing pool. I’ve chatted to my midwife, who is fully on board, although she suggests the the SOM will still want to talk to me about risks as I’m not *normal* due to my thyroid issue, but doesn’t see it as being a problem.

I should stress the point here – I AM NOT ANTI HOSPITAL BIRTH. I’ve had two healthy babies delivered in hospital, with two very different labours, and I am grateful for that. I am however, pro home birth.

Yes, I know there are *risks*. But don’t we take risks every day? Every time we cross the road, we risk getting run over. Every time we get in the car, we risk having a crash. We go to a shopping centre, we risk a bomb going off, etc etc blah blah. But you  know what? Most of the time, we are okay. If I need to transfer to hospital for any reason, we are literally a five minute drive away. It would be quicker to get Neil to put me in the car and drive there than to wait for an ambulance.

I have carefully thought about it, weighed up the pros and cons and decided that this time, home birth is the better option for me, for my family, and it’s going to take a lot for me to be convinced otherwise.

 

The One With the Growth Scan

Now that I am in the last trimester, the appointments are being stepped up a notch. I had my GTT at 28 weeks, and thankfully, if not unsurprisingly the results were fine. I’ve had to have one in all my pregnancies due to the fact my mum has Type II Diabetes. It’s a simple enough test to do, just very boring as it involves lots of sitting around on uncomfortable chairs.

I have really been struggling the last few weeks. The tiredness has reached a whole new level, and I found myself needing a quick power nap even after a task as simple as doing the school run. Not really ideal as I still have Zack to look after. I wasn’t sure if it was just third tri lethargy or if my thyroxine dose needed increasing. Luckily I had an appointment with my consultant and for a growth scan last week.

With Jake, I didn’t need growth scans as I was “healthy” and had no medical ailments. Then with Zack, because I’d had my thyroid removed, I had growth scans every four weeks from 20 weeks. This time I’m only having two growth scans, one at 30, and one at 36 weeks. I’m not sure if this is because everything was fine with Zack, or if it’s because I’m at a different hospital with a different consultant, either way, less is more as far as I’m concerned because I’m planning on a homebirth this time.

Neil couldn’t come with me to the hospital last week as he’s manic at work, so my mother-in-law came with me as moral support. I’m sure I would have been fine on my own, but I always like someone with me to talk things over with afterwards.

First up was the scan. They had to check the placenta this time around as as the last scan it was low lying. Thankfully this time, the placenta had moved out of the way, which I was really pleased about, as I don’t want anything to stand in the way of the home birth.

We had a 4D scan at 27 weeks and that showed that baby was head down. Now, baby is lying oblique. I’m not too worried about this just yet, I have another scan at 36 weeks, and am fairly certain s/he will have moved again by then, but just in case, I’ve had a look at Spinning Babies to find some exercises that might help.

As regards growth. Well, baby is bang on target, and estimated weight is currently 1627g (approx 3lb 9oz) and is measuring just below the 50th centile. Although, I know growth scans are to be taken with a pinch of salt. According to previous growth scans, Zack was going to be 9lb + whereas in reality, he was 7lb 4oz!

growth chart growth scan

Then it was through to the consultant. Blood pressure etc was all fine. I explained how tired I had been feeling, so they repeated my thyroid function blood test. I assumed that I would need my dose increasing, so agreed to call my GP in a few days for the results. I didn’t get that far as the consultant called me on Friday and said that she’d looked at my results and thought I was taking too much so has in fact reduced my dose. After a quick nose on Dr Google, I found that the symptoms of too much thyroxine are very similar to the symptoms of not enough, so I’m hoping to start feeling better in the next week or so.

I have a midwife appointment this week, then won’t be seen until 34 weeks, at which point I will be on fortnightly checks.

It’s all starting to get a bit real!