The long and winding nights…

The Miracle is almost seven months old. Where did that time go, friends? As I type, my living room is full of twinkling Christmas lights and I’m aware that it’s not that much further on than the point last year in which I shared our somewhat surprising, but happy, news with you all.

By seven months, you’d think that The Miracle would be starting to sleep a bit, right? Wrong. Despite embracing the revelation of food – and believe me, he really does embrace food – The Miracle is resolutely a boob man. Food is wonderful; it’s a joy, it makes him laugh and smile and he can’t get enough of it. But it categorically does not take the place of his milk. Especially his nighttime milk. He’ll feed around three to four times a night and he soon worked out that at night, I’m not rushing around after his sisters and he can take his time. A feed can take anything from five minutes to an hour. My mum says it’s a habit, but with the amount of milk he takes, I don’t think so. That, and the variation of times suggests that he is hungry or, at the very least, thirsty. Besides which, what am I going to do about it? Not only is he my final baby, so I’m going to indulge him – sorry, but not sorry about that – but if he kicked off, the whole house would be woken up and Big, Medium and Little would join in the cacophony of screams. I’d like to say Lovely Husband would wake too, but he probably wouldn’t. (As an aside, why do people say they want to sleep like a baby? They should say they want to sleep like a husband).

And it’s not just The Miracle that’s stealing my sleep. Medium, in her angst over school, has been glued to me at night too. We have a king-sized bed and between her and The Miracle, I may as well be sleeping on a shelf. Add to that Big’s predilection for calling me to tell me that her duvet is ‘wrong’, her ‘pillow is too cold’, she’s got an itch, it’s dark outside (I kid you not!) and ‘is it tomorrow yet?’ along with Little’s sudden insistence for dummies of a particular colour, and I do wonder how I’m still standing. Sleep deprivation is a killer and, since The Miracle arrived, I’ve been known to:

  • Put my car keys through the dishwasher;
  • Find my phone in the fridge;
  • Make a cup of tea and put the used tea bag in a new cup, then throw the cup of tea in the bin;
  • Get in the car and drive to school, despite needing to go to the doctor’s in the other direction;
  • Actually, get in the car and drive to school regardless of where I’m meant to be going;
  • Break eggs for a cake and put the shells in the mixture and the eggs in the bin;
  • Completely misread a message from Lovely Husband, explode in rage at him at what I thought he’d said and then have to back down when I realise I’d flown off the handle at…. er, nothing;
  • Leave my bank card in a payment device and wander off;
  • Leave cash hanging out of a cash machine (thank you, honest person that chased me).

And that’s the tip of the iceberg. I sometimes think I’m going a bit mad.

My rambling aside, I’ve been sent a bottle of Infacare’s Night Time Baby Bath to try, and they’ve said that I can have a couple of spares to give away to you. Comment with your best sleep deprivation faux pas, and the best two will receive a complimentary bottle of bubbles.

Their blurb says that Infacare’s Night Time Baby Bath produces masses of long-lasting bubbles, perfect for  little ones to have fun with and the gentle, powdery fragrance helps to relax, easing tots first into bed and then off to sleep. If you think I’m wasting that on the kids, you’re mistaken. Anything for a good night’s sleep. This bad boy is mine.

RRP – Infacare Night Time Baby Bath £3.49 for 750 ml. Stockist details: available from all major supermarkets, as well as Lloyd’s Pharmacy and Boots. For more information: www.infacare.co.uk

 

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The long and winding nights…

The pain of infertility

This week was National Fertility Awareness week. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of fertility issues, the treatment they require and to provide support to the couples that need help.

One in six couples will experience fertility problems. One in SIX. Think of your group of friends; one of them is likely to be in their wilderness years, and I can tell you from bitter experience, it sucks. Your friend may not have told you about their struggle to conceive. They might shrug off their childlessness or failure to produce a sibling for their firstborn with a brave, “Oh no, I like my lie ins too much.” or “How can we improve on our perfect firstborn?”. Trust me, inside they are bleeding.
Unless you’ve lived in the doldrums, you cannot imagine how hard it really is. On the outside, you look okay. You look healthy, a functioning human being. You keep yourself busy. So busy that finding time to spend with friends with children becomes difficult, accidentally on purpose. But inside, something definitely isn’t working and even the most pervasive painkillers won’t stop it hurting.
Every time you log into Facebook, someone has posted a scan picture. Every time you go to the supermarket, you wish you had blinkers on to avoid the protruding bellies and glowing faces. Even popping into Costa for a caffeine fix isn’t safe; over in the corner is an NCT meet up, with perfect babies in their mothers’ arms. Suddenly, yours just feel so empty. In fact, all of you just feels empty. Cavernous. Empty, empty, empty.
Every month, you bleed and you mourn the loss of another opportunity. You cry, you hit the wine and you order an enormous take away. It doesn’t help. As your period subsides, you begin to build your hopes again. You buy gadgets that will tell you exactly when to jump on your partner (these are real passion killers). Instead of cosy pillow time, you shove a pillow under your pelvis and start bicycling your legs like crazy. You don’t drink. You only eat fertility foods. You have acupuncture, reflexology and any other ology that someone has told you might help. This time… It’s definitely worked, this time. And then you start to bleed again, and the tears just keep coming.
Then there are the people; oh my, the people. The helpful friends that tell you their partner only had to look at them (bully for you), that you need to relax (oh, silly me, I’ll just pop my desperate desire for a child out of my mind!) and even question if you’re ‘doing it’ right (yes, really). Then they’ll ask why you don’t ‘just adopt’. Adoption is a huge process in itself – it’s not like going to the supermarket and picking a child off the shelf. For some, it signifies an acceptance that a natural child is never going to happen for them and to these brave people, I take my hat off to you.
You may not know that your friend is currently going through IVF. They may have just gone a bit quiet while they’re treading the path through their own private hell. The process is overwhelming and all consuming, so if you suspect they’re going through a cycle, just back off – especially in the first two weeks.
In most protocols, the first fortnight is spent being plunged into menopause by a drug called Buserelin. When we undertook our first cycle, our lovely consultant told Lovely Husband to go on holiday. By himself. Mood swings, hot sweats, headaches on top of headaches and absolute exhaustion start as soon as the needle has left your skin for the first time. For the first time in years, you wish for your period to start. When it does… If it does (sometimes the Painted Lady likes to play her own little games on you and mess up your plan) you then live for your scan that tells you all is quiet and you can start to stimulate your ovaries to create eggs.
Now, your ovary is about the size of an egg. During ovulation, it grows to around the size of a walnut. During IVF, it grows to the size of a large orange. So yes, the uppers improve your mood a little, but you bloat and look pregnant, prompting the obvious questions. You need to drink gallons of water to prevent a condition called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome that could put you in intensive care. You live for the progress scans. The stress of these is worse than running huge budgets for major companies (trust me, I’ve done both). If you’re not ‘performing’ as the clinic want, your cycle is scuppered. Eventually, you (hopefully) get there. Egg collection. A surgical procedure to remove up to 20 eggs from your ovaries using a long needle.
Then the 24 hour wait to see if anything has fertilised. In our first cycle, nothing happened. The embryologist called and said it was like a school disco with the girls on one side and the boys on the other. We moved on to a more intrusive process called ICSI, which ultimately was successful, but I’ve seen friends who’s cycles have failed and every time, my heart has broken for them.
Assuming you successfully made embryos, you go for transfer and begin the bum bullets – a progesterone supplement that supports a potential pregnancy. The side effects mimic those of early pregnancy. You will feel nauseous, have sore breasts and go off certain foods. For the next two weeks, while you wait to carry out a pregnancy test, you live on a see-saw of has-it-hasn’t-it-worked. You plunge from wild optimism to abject despair at what you’ll do if it fails.
Your friend is dealing with all of this; they don’t want to deal with you as well. That said, if they tell you they’re going through IVF, be there. Listen to them. Don’t feign interest – really listen. Be there with a bottle of wine and a vat of chocolate if it fails and let them cry. Whatever you do, don’t dismiss it. And for god’s sake, don’t ask why they don’t just adopt.
The World Health Organisation lists Infertility as a health condition, meaning that sufferers can and should be offered treatment. With so many primary care trusts now refusing to fund IVF and the criteria for those that do provide funding becoming ever more obscure, the treatment of couples suffering from infertility is becoming inhumane and the condition is being labelled as a ‘lifestyle choice’. And that’s just it, it’s not a choice. PCTs will fund gastric bands, treatment for smoking and drug related conditions and not those that are living with failure to conceive? If we’re going to base clinical treatment decisions on whether a condition is borne because of a lifestyle choice, then we can slash the NHS budget considerably. Infertility leads to mental health issues, depression being a major factor. Is that a ‘lifestyle choice’ too?
I realise it’s not that simple, and I shouldn’t be flippant. I realise that not every couple can be helped, just as not every cancer sufferer can be saved. But this condition needs to stop being brushed under the carpet as something appertaining to ‘lifestyle’, or being labelled a ‘choice’, because trust me – those wandering in the wilderness really do not choose to be there and think about the process itself: Would you choose to go through that?
We have always been open about our wilderness years and the inception of the three ICSI pixies, and our consequent Miracle. But they are all miracles and without funding to those that need it, the joy of parenthood for those with fertility issues will become domain of the rich.

Find out more about National Fertility Awareness campaigns and give your support: http://fertilitynetworkuk.org/national-fertility-awareness-week-2017/
The pain of infertility

The worst mother in the world?

There are 200 children that attend Big and Medium’s primary school. The majority go in smiling and excited about their day ahead. Big absolutely loves school. She skips in, and comes home full of news about her day. She strongly believes that her teacher is a real-life princess. So does Lovely Husband.

Medium, on the other hand, hates it. As soon as she wakes up, she’s surly. She doesn’t want to eat breakfast or get dressed. Eventually, she’ll come round enough for us to feed her and get her ready for school. She’s subdued on the journey there, but usually bounds into the playground happily to play with Big and her friends.

But then the bell rings to start the school day, and to start Medium’s tears. Her response is almost Pavlovian. “Ooh, bell – I must cry.” The Reception children face a long walk from the playground to their classroom. It’s even longer when you’re grasping your sobbing child’s wrist and half pulling them up the path, before untangling them from your leg and bowling them into their incredibly kind and patient teaching assistant.

I have tried staying with her, but it makes her worse. I have tried putting notes in her pockets and giving her something of mine to ‘look after’. I point out a particular cloud or some other landmark each morning and tell her that every time she looks at it, Mummy is looking too and that I’m never far away. I tell her what she’ll have for tea so she can look forward to it. I tell her the exact time I’ll be picking her up. I excitedly wonder if the dinosaurs will be out for her to play with, and if her friends will have bunchies or plaits today. Nothing works. She’s developed a vocal tic that disappeared over half term, but returned as soon as her uniform was laid out.

I’m left wrung out before the school run is over, and constantly questioning myself. Medium is only four. She doesn’t legally have to be at school, and I wonder if I’m damaging her somehow by making her go. I’ve considered deferring, but she’d lose her Reception year and the jump to Year One is big enough without that hurdle to cross too. The speed at which they rattle through the early phonics – something she doesn’t find easy anyway – in Reception rules out the possibility of her losing that year. Put simply, she has to go.

This week, she starts part-time hours and breakfast club twice a week to see if that eases the anxiety she feels at leaving me. She’ll miss assembly for a while, and school are trying to work out coping strategies for her at lunch times. They’re supportive, and we’re meeting regularly to come up with new ideas to make this easier for her.

But nothing makes it easier for me. My guilt at leaving her so unhappy lasts all day. It’s exhausting. Medium is my sunshine child; the child that smiles all day and throws out so much love. I just wish she’d come out from behind this cloud.

The worst mother in the world?

A letter to Medium’s teacher

Dear Reception Teacher

RT (do you mind if I call you that?), there are some things that you need to know. I realise you’ve been doing this job for donkey’s years. There’s not much that you don’t know about children. You’ve encountered all sorts of personalities and brought the most unruly into line. I know that. I respect that. But this little fuzzy haired blonde in the line? She’s mine.

I know that all children are special. I know that every mum standing in line with their child will be giving you the same doleful, anxious eyes as they hand their child over to begin their school career. I know you don’t want to see our tears or take on board our anxiety. And you’re right: We’re adults and your concern is educating our babies.

But that’s just it. These are our babies. Medium has only just turned four. She’s the youngest in the year. You don’t care if she can write her name (she can’t), but you’d like her to be able to dress herself and wipe her own bottom. She tries, I promise, but it’s hit or miss. She is only just four. I don’t always see the capable little girl that she’s growing into. Sometimes I still see the big blue eyes staring out of her baby blanket and remember the first day that beautiful face broke into a smile.

That face smiles a lot. She’s a cheerful soul. She’s the kindest child I’ve ever known, always first to pick up her sisters if they’ve fallen, ready with a kind word if her brother is crying and happily approaches other children to join in her games. She’s great at sharing and she makes friends easily.

Her imagination is incredible. Her role-play is legendary, with her often staying in character for weeks. And when she’s in character, so is everyone else. It can be exhausting.

She sounds a dream, right? Not always. She’s complicated. Medium feels things so deeply and she’s easily hurt. A slight from you will take her weeks to get over. If a friend says a harsh word, it wounds her. She doesn’t retaliate. She doesn’t fight back. She just takes her hurt and stores it away. So, please… Please don’t let her get hurt.

She worries; she really worries. She’s worried about starting school, and change unsettles her. She’s a homebody at heart; her favourite times are when she has her family around her in her own home. She’s going to find starting school tough. I won’t be there and, as far as she’s concerned, a few minutes on Mummy’s Lap can end wars. Mummy’s Lap won’t be there, and that makes a the knot in my tummy twist.

You need to know that she still sleeps with her cuddly Horse, now somewhat loved a bit too much. She’ll shout for him if she’s hurt herself. Is it okay to pop him in her backpack or is that too ‘baby’? Remember, she is my baby after all.

I know you’re great and I know how well you took care of Big, but I look at my newly four-year-old Medium and she just seems so young to be joining the playground throng so soon.

So RT, I give you my Medium and I beg you to remember that Big School is a big deal – not just for Medium, but for me too. I beg you not to change her. She’s awesome as she is.

Love

Second-time Reception Mum x

 

A letter to Medium’s teacher

Family Friendly Breaks: A Split-cation

With four children under six, the chances of us hopping on a plane are remote. I’m not sure our baggage allowance would allow for two travel cots, steriliser, double buggy and all the other paraphernalia! Our pixies are all fair like me, and none of us like the sun. Consequently, we tend to favour a good old staycation and, in a variation on the theme, this summer we went for a split-cation. Our destination was Devon Heaven. I really don’t know why the county is not renamed as such. It’s stunning. From the captivating landscape of Dartmoor to the classic, unspoilt sandy beaches, as a destination Devon Heaven has it all. And it has scones. Lots of them.

Devon Country Barns
Our first week was spent in Tractor Barn at Devon Country Barns, Lifton. Now, we have history with this place. We first stayed at this small cluster of thoughtfully and tastefully converted barns at our lowest point in the Wilderness Years. Our first IVF attempt had just failed spectacularly. We literally ran away, and into the arms of the Apple House and the warm welcome of Devon Country Barn’s owners, Richard and Ute. Since then, we’ve stayed several times as our family has grown and staying here genuinely feels like coming home.

Let me be frank (you can be Jeremy): Devon Country Barns does not market itself to young families, and nor should it. I’d hate to see this peaceful haven of tranquillity changed. Nestled in the Thrushell Valley, the Barns are marketed towards couples, families with older children and – most importantly – dogs. Dogs are really welcomed here, with the owners themselves avid fans of Flatcoats (although a Parsons Russell terrier has sneaked into their pack).

That said, if a family with young children books in, they are welcomed too. If your children need specific play areas and ‘organised fun’, then this is not the place for you. If, like ours, they can get hours of enjoyment from skimming stones on the river, having a ride in the owners’ golf buggy and exploring the fields, then they’ll love this slice of Devon Heaven. The barns are 5* luxury with all the mod cons and their decor is stunning. In fact, we totally copied the bathrooms when we renovated our own. Devon Country Barns always has been and always will set the bar for us.

Further afield, you are on the edge of beautiful Dartmoor. Every time we have stayed, we climb ‘our Tor’. With the Miracle in his wrap on my chest, Lovely Husband tried to bundle Little into a carrier for the four mile walk. Determined little character that she is, Little refused to be carried and climbed to the very top of the Tor herself! Big and Medium entertained each other all the way, loving crossing brooks on stepping stones and a good dose of Devon air.

Other excursions included a trip to Castle Drogo, rockpooling on Bude beach, a local activity farm park and a visit the infamous Country Cheeses shop in beautiful Tavistock.

Flear Farm Cottages
Our week in Lifton was over all too quickly, and we were soon packing our bags to cross Devon Heaven to the South Hams – East Allerton to be exact and to Flear Farm Cottages. This was our first stay here, but suffice to say it won’t be the last. Before we’d even spent our first night, we were online looking at all the cottage options to book for next year. Before we left, we booked a whopping three weeks in The Stables next summer.

So, why did Flear Farm invoke such a strong reaction from us? Put simply, it’s perfect. Intuitively designed for families with charming owners that have young children themselves, Flear Farm cottages themselves are brilliantly equipped for young families while still retaining the creature comforts and a touch of style and elegance for the parents. The cottages vary in size. We stayed in The Stalls with one double and two twin rooms, but the grandparents stayed in The Dairy – perfectly sized for two. Our pixies loved running between the two cottages.

Cottages aside, the facilities are fantastic. As you arrive you are greeting by a sweet natured pony, alpacas, Bantams, a peacock that just arrived one day and never left and a cat that’s also adopted the farm as her home. Once you’ve patted and petted the livestock, there’s the play barn. Now many cottages boast playbarns. These, in our experience, are often half-baked efforts. Flear Farm’s playbarn is exceptional. Boasting a climbing frame, swings, play house, toys, ride-ons and even bouncers for smaller children, there’s also table tennis, a trampoline, table football and pool for older ones. Amazing. Beneath the barn, there’s a swimming pool, hot tub, steam room and treatment room.

Outside there’s further play equipment, putting, tennis, a bridge for pooh sticks and a camp fire, on which we enjoyed making dough twists, burning sausages and mingling with fellow guests. The estate is vast and there are woodland walks, orchards and fields to explore. You really don’t need to leave the cottages; the estate itself offers multiple opportunities to create incredible memories.

That, however, would be a great disservice to a fantastic area. The South Hams boasts the best beaches in Devon. Picturesque Bigbury, with its tidal island, and beautiful Bantham opposite have both donated their sand to the floor in my car. Nearby Totnes and Kingsbridge offer a spot of boat watching and some fantastic places to eat. Our favourite eatery though has to be the Oyster Shack in Bigbury. With a menu that changes with the daily catch, this rustic and charming restaurant is brilliant with children without compromising on their exceptional food and ambience.

I’m trying to find a downside to Flear Farm, but I’m struggling. Even the streaming cold and lung proffering cough I developed didn’t put a dampener on our week there. If I’m being really picky, I’d love them to offer service washes rather than trudging off to the laundry myself, but if that’s the best criticism I can come up with, I think it’s time to stop digging. We’ve struck gold. Three whole weeks at this charming destination next year. I cannot wait.

IMG_7861

Family Friendly Breaks: A Split-cation

Tears with fears

Today, the Miracle is two weeks old and, I won’t lie, it’s been a challenging time. He was sleepy, and difficult to feed. I became engorged and, as the Miracle grew steadily more yellow, he made less effort to latch and refused to even try on my swollen, hot and excruciating mastitis-threatening side. When the midwife came, my temperature was starting to climb and, combined with my Day Three Blues which hit like a sledgehammer this time, I was feeling pretty ropey. A La Leche leader came to help me. These ladies are brilliant. The service is free, and she was here with her knitted boob within 15-minutes. The following day, things had improved. The Miracle was feeding better and the threatening mastitis was making a slow retreat.

But it didn’t last. By his seventh day, once again he was very lethargic and it was taking me over an hour to persuade him to latch. I’d bully him, stripping him off and tickling his toes all the time with tears running down my face. I called the midwife out again. By this time, not only could he have auditioned for a part in The Simpsons with his yellow tinge, but he did a weird wee that looked like a cross between lemon jelly and clarified butter. The midwife decided to call it in, and Neonatal asked us to go in with an overnight bag ‘Just in case’.

In actual fact, we needed a six night bag. Our little Miracle was poorly. He scored below the treatment line for jaundice, but two urine dips came back with a positive result for a UTI. We later learned that it was caused by E.Coli, but on that first night, we were warned of sepsis and an attempt at a lumbar puncture was made. The medics don’t like mums being in the room while they do the more invasive procedures, but my tears fell from a couple of doors away. The procedure failed, and the following day was unsuccessful again. By this point, the paediatricians were confident that his malady was down to the UTI and decided not to make a further attempt at a lumbar puncture.

With an NG tube in place, it was decided that I would try for half an hour every three hours to persuade him to feed normally. If he wouldn’t try, then he’d have my expressed milk through his tube. That first night was a cacophony of alarms going off to feed, to pump, for obs, for antibiotics… The soundtrack to the fear that our Miracle was properly poorly and the questions constantly running through my head: What if we hadn’t brought him in? Did this happen because of something I’d done or failed to do? I had a UTI in late pregnancy, did he somehow catch it? Eventually, a paediatrician told me to stop looking for reasons to feel guilty and that this was ‘one of those things’ and there was nothing I’d done or could’ve done to prevent it.

If he days spent in hospital were long, the lonely nights were even longer. It felt like years since I’d seen Big, Medium and Little when Lovely Husband brought them in two days after our admission. Little had grown exponentially. Medium was shy and Big was just pleased to go to the playroom on the children’s ward and see the nurse that looked after her when she was poorly. Escaping the stale air with a walk outside became a daily target, though finding time amongst the calls for obs, IV antibiotics and doctors’ reviews was a challenge. Meeting amazing but exhausted mums whose babies had been born too soon brought home how lucky I was. I guess the upside was that I could just sit and cuddle the Miracle and sniff his beautiful head. As he improved, I sat singing to him while he cooed in reply.

He has a journey ahead of him. Six to seven months of antibiotics, blood tests, consultant appointments, various scans… But the Miracle that we brought home two days ago is a different baby to the one that was admitted to special care last week. This baby is pink, alert, feeding well and determined to spend all of his time in my arms. Once again, I am truly thankful for the diligence of the medics, for the love and support from Lovely Husband and my mum and for the Miracle himself for fighting back.

We are home. We are six. There is so much love.

Tears with fears

Hard work with little to show

Take a look at this picture, friends. This represents 90 minutes of hard work. Really hard work. As a gestational diabetic, I have to harvest colostrum three to four times a day from 36 weeks. Babies of diabetic mothers – gestational or otherwise – can experience a fall in their blood sugar postpartum as their sugary party comes to an end*. The midwives want extra colostrum to help them to bring their sugars back up. 90 minutes may not sound like a lot of time over a two day period, but believe me, when your squeezing your boobs until tiny drops appear and then trying to catch them in a spoon while simultaneously pressing play on a Peppa Pig episode and separating warring siblings, it redefines multi-tasking and hard work. You end up knackered and sore. Squeezing (excuse the pun) in colostrum harvesting while juggling three smalls is not easy.

When Big was born, she spent ten days in special care because her sugar levels were critically low. This stemmed from a mass of clusterfucks by the hospital. Amongst them, a refusal to repeat my glucose tolerance test at 28 weeks (I was borderline), to check her sugars at birth, to notice her tongue tie or to give me adequate feeding support. While in special care, a nurse mistakenly fed her someone else’s breastmilk – thankfully, it didn’t contain any medication. It was a difficult experience for a first time mum and completely avoidable. As a consequence, Medium and Little were born elsewhere and the experience was very different, with properly managed diabetes for me and incredible support from fantastic midwives. Needless to say, the Miracle will make his appearance at the same place.

The Miracle may not need the fruit of my hard work. Little never did. The bag full of lovingly expressed liquid gold went in the bin when I found it at the bottom of the freezer months later. Hours and hours of pummelling and squeezing into the bin. That kind of hurt. I hope the Miracle doesn’t need it. I’m doing my best but Nature’s not being too helpful at the moment. I have 13 days to get as much as I can for him before he is evicted.

Eviction is planned. He’s a big boy, above the 95th centile, so my consultant has opted to induce at 38 weeks. They asked if I was ‘Open minded on pain relief’. ‘No,’ I replied. ‘I’m very closed minded. I want all of it.’ I don’t know why his size surprises me. Lovely Husband is a man mountain with shoulders wide enough to take on the world. I really hope the Miracle hasn’t inherited those shoulders. It makes me wince almost as much as the 90 minutes it took to produce that 0.2ml of colostrum.

Labour ward are nervous. With a history of postpartum haemorrhage, gestational diabetes, geriatric maternal age (yes, they actually said that), a previous emergency C-section, and two VBAC births with one requiring ventouse assistance, I think the booking midwife is hoping she’ll have the day off when I arrive. I have my concerns too, but for the Miracle’s safe arrival rather than for myself. I just want him to arrive healthy, happy, safe and well. Isn’t that all any mother wants? I’m not religious by any means, but for his safe arrival, I pray. Boy, do I pray.

So, this is it. The final furlong, He has 13 days to beat the rubber gloves and their eviction methods, some of which sound a bit odd. I’m huge, he’s huge and getting through the day has become a challenge. The school run feels like a marathon. Getting out of the bath is a cacophony of grunts and oofs. But very, very soon, I will be kissing that perfect little newborn head and life will have changed immeasurably once again. Five will be six and there will be even more love. I can hardly bear it. This Miracle? He will complete us and I cannot wait to feel his velvety skin and just sniff him.

colostrum

* This state is temporary – their risk of developing diabetes is not increased from their mother having gestational diabetes. This risk differs if their mother has Type One or Type Two, though.

Hard work with little to show