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Tania's Pregnancy Journal

17 Weeks

17 Weeks 2 Days ~ June 6, 2011 ~ Midwife Appointment

Last Tuesday was my second ever appointment with the midwife.  I wasn't too impressed with the new midwife who I first met the last time.  I shouldn't compare her to my previous one, who was real "old school" and matronly but with a heart of gold.  She had a no nonsense approach yet absolutely, without a doubt did her job thoroughly, cautiously and she knew what she was talking about.  She was over seventy, having worked in midwifery for over fifty years until one day last year, during my pregnancy with Joseph, she fell and banged her head.  She died in a week of a brain haemorrage.  Very sad.

I went alone for my 10am appointment.  Young children were missing their routine naps and older ones were having to postpone the day's lessons.  My new midwife wasn't there, with a stand-in taking her place that day. It turned out that my midwife had booked several ladies and not entered them into the diary, plus double booked my appointment with another lady.  Consequently we were not seen until an hour after my original scheduled appointment, by which time the kids had used up all their patience and good behaviour in the hot, stuffy waiting room and were ready to crawl the walls once we finally got to see the midwife.

Regardless, the stand-in midwife, whom I much preferred, did all the checks she was supposed to do. She also finally sorted out my iron tablets so I finally felt like I had been given some kind of ante natal care at last.  Then she told me it would be nine weeks until my next appointment.

Nine weeks?!

This is what they mean by more regular checks for a high risk, multiple pregnancy?  I do see the consultant tomorrow but then that would still leave eight weeks of not seeing anyone.  I was not happy to do that, so I awkwardly told her so.  I do feel bad, you see, like I'm being difficult.  But I know I would have very likely complained and worried constantly for the eight weeks that the babies and I were being left, and you, my loyal couple of army of readers would have had the earache (eyeache?) from it. So it seemed only fair for your own sakes that I stated my unhappiness about it.

"I am not very happy about that."

And she explained that it was the new guidelines and that yes, it was for high risk, multiple pregnancies. She would, however, be happy to book me in sooner if that was what I wanted.

Um. Yes, please.

Apart from that I've felt pretty good this week, considering.  The tiredness still knocks me out at times but I am hoping that the magic iron tablets will do the trick very soon.  I am still shocked at how cumbersome and heavy I feel already though.  I know that I'm carrying double the baby and double the placenta and double the sac and double the weight of everything but I still cannot get over how different this pregnancy feels to all my other (singleton) pregnancies.  There is no question that I do feel heavier and more off balance so much sooner.

There is no way on this earth that my maternity clothes are going to last the distance.  Some of them aren't even looking optimistic for the next month, so I'm going to have to sort something out on that front unless I'm to start walking around naked.  I am not planning on doing that any time soon though, to your undoubted relief, so sorting out larger clothes it'll be.

The last few days I have been getting tightenings after periods of activity.  My mornings are always very busy for a few hours. By the end of my morning chores and by the time everyone is ready and settled for lessons or  morning naps, I'm in discomfort.  I know I experienced practice contractions earlier and earlier with my other pregnancies but not for another three months or so yet. I don't know whether to be concerned or to just accept that this is how it is for twin pregnancies.  Perhaps I should mention it when I visit my consultant tomorrow? I don't know.

According to the Babycentre app on my phone, at 17 weeks each baby now has their eyes at the front of their heads, their ears in the right places and their cartilage skeletons are beginning to harden.  They each measure about 13cm and weigh about 140g. That explains my heaviness, doesn't it? (!)

Anyway, like I said, I'll be off to see the consultant tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to someone being able to give me firm answers.  At the moment I feel like a first time mum all over again, unsure of what will happen and what to expect.  It's a strange thought to know you've been through pregnancy and birth (both normal and c-sections) nine times already but you still don't know what the expectations for your pregnancy this time around will be.  My main question being, given that I these are my 10th and 11th children and the last three pregnancies ended with c-sections, how does this affect when my c-section (as they will not even consider vbac) will be performed if all goes well?

Answer to be received tomorrow... hopefully.

17 Weeks 4 Days ~ June 8, 2011 ~ Doctor Appointment

Yesterday I had an appointment scheduled with the consultant. Mike took the day off work so that he could stay home with the children and I could go alone.

The kids always love it when dad is home. He does cool stuff like taking them to the park and library and baking... Mum just nags them to clean their rooms, change their underwear and do their work. No contest really.

I went along to my appointment alone and in peace. I do like seeing the ladies at the ante natal clinic. Having been going there for my appointments pretty much annually since 2003, we've got to know quite a few of them. They are always so sweet and so quick at praising the children for behaving so quietly in the waiting room. Praise works well because the kids strive to act nicely every time we visit. Because they are always so lovely I took them in a box of chocolates as a thank you. They make us happy so I thought it would be nice to do something small for them. As I was chatting to one of the receptionists there was a midwife with half of her face covered by her hand. I looked at her, looked again and realised that she was meant to have retired last year. Turned out she retired for a whole 4 days then came back!

She also remembered me and got very excited when the receptionist told her we were expecting twins this time around. The midwife, an Irish lady who was one of fourteen, was thrilled! I love reactions like that! "I'm going to knit something for the twins!" she said excitedly. Oh yes please!

My appointment was at 2.15pm and I having never been seen on time before I didn't hold out much hope this time around. I was called in five minutes early. Well, that was a welcome first!

The doctor I saw worked on my consultant's team and she was lovely.

"We had a look through your notes," she said laughing.

"I'm a nightmare for you, aren't I?"

"No!" she replied, "We're all highly excited about you!"

Highly excited?!

Well, isn't today a day of firsts?!

It's obviously not an every day occurrence for women to be visiting the clinic with their tenth pregnancy, let alone a tenth pregnancy where twins are expected.

She told me that they normally aim to get twin pregnancies to 38 weeks but given my c-section history plus the fact that you never can tell what's going to happen in a multiple pregnancy they will be reviewing the situation constantly and deciding nearer the time as to what action needs to be taken, if any. Fair enough answer. I just wanted to know the longest I'd possibly be pregnant for and they will not let me past 38 weeks which would be 29th October.

She told me that I would be seeing the consultant or one of the team after every scan I had to have where they would discuss any findings or concerns. My next scan, an anomaly, is due on 7th July so my next appointment with the team has been made for the 12th. This is the one where we hope either placenta hasn't attached onto my caesarean scar as that would not be good, so fingers crossed and lots of prayers for that not to be the case.

I mentioned to her the tightenings I had been experiencing and she said that yes, it was early to be getting them so soon in the pregnancy. She made a note of it in my records and told me that I'm to stop what I'm doing if they start and to rest until they stop. If they don't stop or are accompanied by bleeding or discharge or anything else out of the ordinary I'm to go straight over for monitoring.

Finally, she listened to the heartbeats. Two strong, healthy heartbeats. Twin two is lying in the middle of my tummy, to the left of my belly button. Twin one is lying further down and on the right. At seventeen weeks I am measuring the equivalent of a 24 week singleton pregnancy. I still can't believe how lucky we are to be experiencing this and it still feels so surreal.

So I'm a little more reassured and a lot happier to have talked to someone that could give me actual answers to my questions. The day was going well until I got a text a couple of hours later from Stephanie to say my mum had text her to say that she and my dad were in hospital after being attacked by someone in their town. A few frantic phone calls later and I managed to get hold of dad who told me that someone on a bike started the "What are you looking at?" confrontation with my dad, a 65 year old man walking down the road waiting for his 60 year old wife following. The guy demanded respect from my dad because he had a mental breakdown. Dad and mum were trying to placate him and reassure him that nobody was staring at him when the guy who was holding something in his hand pushed my mum over so hard she flew off her feet landing on the ground unable to get up. Then he started hitting and punching my dad and thankfully, a large Polish man came to the rescue and pulled him off. Dad said it was just in time as he felt his heart pounding (he had a heart attack a couple of years ago resulting in them putting a stent in). Other people came out of the shops having called the police. My mum has a fractured elbow and dad had a cut to his ear caused by "some sharp instrument" - a knife, razor, who knows?

I'm thankful they are ok but so angry at the state of the world today. After a day of seeing how lovely, kind and sweet human nature can be to this.

What a world.

~Tania

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