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Last November I took part in NaNoWriMo – a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days – and succeeded. Yesterday, a friend suggested embarking on a similar challenge for the next few weeks – with a reduced target of 1000 words per day (as opposed to 1667 words per day for NaNoWriMo). It seemed like a fun idea until I was faced with a blank screen this afternoon at the start of the challenge and possibly the worst case of writer’s block I have ever experienced. I must be mad. Somehow I have managed to meet today’s target though.
Having now got to the stage where getting myself comfortable and ready to go to sleep involves three extra pillows, it was clear that it was time to finally give in a buy myself a proper pregnancy pillow. I’ve opted for the Dream Genii, or as it’s now become known in our house, the ‘elephant pillow’ – well, with a bit of imagination it does vaguely resemble an elephant’s head with a long trunk. Have to say I have been quite impressed with it so far – am sleeping so much better and on the plus side, the SPD has also improved.
I have to say my friends have been amazing this week. With Michael being away, and given everything else that is going on in our lives, everyone seems to be making sure that I don’t have to sit at home on my own unless I really want to. I have had two friends over for lunch this week, several phone calls catching up with other friends and also been over to my in-laws for dinner. Tomorrow my mum will be coming up to spend a week with me. Thank you everyone for all your support – it is very much appreciated.
It is 11 years ago today that I first became a Christian. Before then, I had always believed in God and prayed regularly – my parents having brought me up to believe in God – but the only times I went into a church were for weddings, christenings and funerals. It wasn’t until I went to university and met people who were practising Christians, some of which are now amongst my closest friends, that I started going to church on a Sunday and felt the desire to want to get to know God more closely and build a personal relationship with Him.
Despite the fact that it has been raining for most of the day, it has just been a lovely day for spending time with friends and family. My mum has come up to spend a few days with me and keep me company while Michael is away and it has been great to be able to spend so much time with her. We ended up spending the afternoon with my friend Clare who was having a barbecue for her birthday (which still went ahead despite the weather) and then went to visit my cousin Andy and catch up with him.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the theme for this week will be ‘sleep deprivation’. With two women now just beyond their due date and a third looking like she is going to have her baby a little earlier than anticipated, it could end up being quite a busy week. Having spent last night with a client in early labour (fortunately did get a little sleep though) and with tonight looking set to be another disturbed night, sleep is not looking high up on my agenda. I love my job but prefer it when things are a little less busy!
It is so good to have my mum staying with me this week. I love spending time with my mum and living a little further away from my family means that I don’t get to spend quite as much time with them as I would like. Plus as well as being able to enjoy spending time with her, she has been amazing at helping out doing all those little jobs round the house that the baby bump makes it a little more difficult for me to do. It also means that I’m not quite so lonely whilst Michael is away.
In the last few days, Jessica seems to have got a lot more wriggly. Some of the movements seem to be quite big ones now and I can see my bump moving about when she has a wriggle about which is just lovely. I love being able to have time to sit still and just enjoy the moments when she is moving about and those moments are just so very precious. I feel bad for Michael being away for a couple of weeks because he is missing out on these things at the moment and can’t share them with me.
I’m hoping that tonight I will get an uninterrupted night’s sleep in my own bed after three nights in a row of being out all night although not sure quite how likely it is given that I still have two women who are waiting for their babies to arrive. It was good to welcome a beautiful baby boy into the world late last night, particularly after he’d decided to take a few days deciding whether he was going to arrive or not! It was also very, very good to finally arrive home to my bed and get some much-needed sleep!
It’s funny how people seem to all have an opinion about what size you should be at various stages of pregnancy. I have been given a whole range of opinions ranging from being told that I look very small for five and a half months to being told that I’m going to be enormous and even being told that I look ‘ready to pop’. Fortunately, I’m fairly happy that Jessica is just the right size that she should be at this stage but I can see why women start worrying about whether their babies are growing at the right pace.
I sometimes get asked if I’ve had any strange cravings so far in my pregnancy – I don’t think I have though (unless you count the duck, banana and lychee curry that I’ve had a couple of times at a local curryhouse!) One thing I have noticed is that I have developed a sweet tooth – I used to be someone who never really wanted dessert and now I absolutely have to have dessert. Particularly if it is ice-cream. Well, the old wives’ tale does say that you crave sweet things when you are expecting a girl. It’s certainly true for me.
Every year, I agree to organise one of the monthly lunches for people living alone that our church puts on and each time I do it, I always seem to end up being on call which makes it a little more stressful. Normally, Michael is around just in case but not this year and although my mum is still around to help out, I was still a bit worried about being called out. Fortunately though the phone stayed quiet and I managed to do a lunch for 45 people with the help of my mum, Michael’s mum and Michael’s aunt.
Having my mum stay with me for nine days has been wonderful. I don’t think I have spent so much time with her since back in my university days when I went home for the summer. I felt quite sad taking her home today – it has been so lovely to spend the time with her, not to mention how fabulous it has been to be so well looked after whilst she has been here, although the time went by too quickly! On the plus side though, Michael is due back tomorrow so looking forward to having my hubby home again.
After more than two weeks of him being away, it is so good to have my hubby back home with me again. Apparently my bump has grown quite a lot since he left – one of his first comments was about how big I suddenly was looking! Jessica’s wriggles are also a lot more noticeable now – he couldn’t always feel her moving about before so he got a bit of a surprise when he rested his head against my bump for a moment and Jessica promptly gave him a big kick as if to say ‘get off, Daddy, you’re squashing me!’
We have been praying for hope for our little Jessica and today it seems that our prayers are being answered. We had been exploring the option of fetal surgery to enlarge one of the holes in Jessica’s heart to improve her chances of surgery post-birth and at today’s scan it was confirmed that this is an option and we have been booked for this surgery on 28 June. It will be the first time (as far as we know) that this procedure has been carried out in the UK and it is risky but it will give her a chance.
Since finding out about Jessica’s heart condition, I have tried to stay positive and to keep hoping for the best. There are moments when I am very scared and moments when I just need to have a good cry but on the whole, I would still say that I am enjoying my pregnancy and most of the time feel happy and blessed to have been given Jessica as my daughter. I love feeling her move, love it when Michael kisses my bump (giving Jessica kisses is the one thing he can do that I can’t!) and am treasuring every moment.
Work has been quite busy over the last few weeks – June did look set to be a busy month though with a few babies due. Being busy has been a blessing in some ways – I haven’t had the time to sit at home and worry, but have still managed to have time to bond with Jessica whilst sitting in traffic jams travelling to visits. There have been times when I have found my job a little harder, but my situation has also meant being more able to empathise and support my clients when things aren’t going so well for them.
Had an early start to the day – being called out at 4am to go and support a client in labour. I caused a little confusion when I arrived at the labour ward – they thought I was a patient when I first arrived until I explained that I was a midwife and there to support someone else! Several hours later, there was the joy of welcoming a beautiful baby boy into the world. It feels odd to think that this could be the last birth I attend for some time as I shall be going off work in a week’s time.
Father’s Day is another one of those days when I just miss my dad a little bit more although I do like to believe that he is still watching over all of us even though he is no longer with us. I always tried to go home on Father’s Day to spend time with him even if I was on call. I always liked to surprise him by not telling him that I would be coming home although given that I did that most years, it probably wasn’t really as much of a surprise as I thought it would be!
I feel like I have spent most of today sitting in traffic jams and running late for all of my visits. Why is it that the traffic jam always seems to start just at the point where you are left with no choice but to sit and wait it out rather than just before the junction where you could have turned off and found an alternative route? And the traffic update that would have alerted you to the problem only comes on the radio once you already quite aware of the traffic jam as you’re now in it. Very frustrating.
My bump is now big enough that the ‘Baby on Board’ badge I wear when travelling on the Tube is probably not necessary. It doesn’t always produce the hoped-for result – I made a beeline for the last remaining seat on a crowded train this morning only for a man on the other side of the train to rush ahead and grab it even though he’d clearly noticed the baby bump. He didn’t even look slightly embarrassed when the nice lady next to me offered her seat instead. Chivalry may not be dead but it’s not exactly alive and kicking either…
I have managed to avoid telling my clients about the concerns with my own pregnancy until now (although had introduced back-up midwives with the explanation that I had a family member who was unwell and would possibly need time off to support them). Now that I’m finishing work sooner than anticipated, I have had to tell a couple of clients the full story (particularly as one hasn’t yet had her baby) which has been really hard. I don’t want my clients to worry about me but I needed to let them know why I can’t stay involved in their care.
Came home from work the other day to find the kitchen floor absolutely flooded. It wasn’t a complete shock – our washing machine has been leaking a little for a while but with an overflowing wash basket thanks to Michael’s trip away, I had hoped it would hold out a little longer. After the hassle of trying to get it repaired last time and having to be without it for eight weeks, I think it is time for a new washing machine. Preferably a quieter one – ours sounds like a plane trying to take off when it is on spin cycle.
This week seems to be going by too quickly for my liking. One thing I have learned over the past few weeks is just how precious time really is and how important it is to make the most of every moment; to really live in the moment and not look too far ahead into the future. I try not to think of the things that lie ahead and just enjoy those precious moments that I have right now – the moments when Jessica wriggles, when Michael and I cuddle up on the sofa and tell her how much we love her.
I have had quite a few ‘bump’ photos taken so far to show how Jessica has been growing as the weeks go by, but there have been no photos capturing those precious moments of Michael bonding with our daughter and I felt it was important to have some photos with Michael in as well which didn’t look too formal or posed. Thanks to our lovely friend Brian, who was one of the photographers at our wedding, this has now been achieved and we have some beautiful photos of Michael listening to Jessica’s heartbeat and generally bonding with our little girl.
The cast were clearly enjoying themselves from the very first moment they appeared on stage in SOS’s production of
, an updated jazzy version of the G&S classic, resulting in some very enthusiastic and energetic moments, particularly in the ensemble numbers. Jason Sly and Vicky Wilson in the lead roles of Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum were somewhat overshadowed by Matt Sturgeon and Marlene Hill who both gave superlative comedic performances in the roles of Ko-Ko and Katisha – the latter being particularly well suited to the part with her rich, soulful voice and dominating stage presence. Overall, a very enjoyable show.
The end of the month is always a bit of a busy time but with Jessica’s operation drawing near, I can’t really think about anything that needs to happen after that and so I have been trying to get everything done a few days early which has led to a day of feeling a little bit like a headless chicken. In some ways, the distraction has been good and has managed to take my mind off what is going to happen this week. In other ways, the busyness has made today feel like it has gone by in a whirlwind.
And so the big day is here and Jessica’s operation is scheduled for this afternoon. I am scared but I know that my baby girl is surrounded by so much prayer at the moment and there are so many people out there praying that the operation will be a success – family, friends and friends of friends. I know that Jessica is in God’s hands and that He is always with all of us – throughout the operation and in the days ahead. Every little wriggle today is precious and I pray that there are still many more of them to come.
Jessica is wriggling away this morning which is a beautiful feeling. We are going to be re-attempting the surgery again today though as she wasn’t in the best position to place the needle in her heart to do the procedure although the team did try a couple of times. She seemed to cope well with it (although tried to kick the needle away when they were taking the amniocentesis sample before she was sedated!) We have been told the risk of the procedure is 10-50% so any prayers for Jessica to get through all this will be very much appreciated.
The team at Oxford managed to carry out the surgery on Jessica yesterday evening and it looks like the hole in her heart has been enlarged although it is too early to tell whether it has made much difference to blood flow or whether her odds for post-birth surgery have improved. She seemed to cope very well with it all and is moving about this morning which is just the most amazing feeling in the world. We feel so incredibly blessed to be here right now with her still wriggling about – God has really been amazing throughout all of this.
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