Tag Archives: labour

Post-labour days at maternity hospital

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After giving birth to my amazing little ray of sunshine, my life has changed. Now that we have been home for almost a month, again, I finally have a spare moment and am in the mood for writing about the three days spent at the maternity hospital after the baby was born.

Before I got pregnant, I never knew how not easy pregnancy is and only then I realised what my friends with kids have gone through. Now I have a whole new appreciation for that. The same I can say about labour and the time after giving birth – I didn’t realise how hard it would be physically to be in labour and give birth, and also – what I would feel like post labour. And oh my, it is hard.

Whilst I was exhausted from labour and birth process, felt physically weak and poorly, I still had to attend to my new-born baby and feed it every three hours. The first night and day with the baby were quite difficult, and thank god I was lucky enough to have my partner with me, helping me with everything. Because of the pain in my lower back and bum it was a challenge getting up from the bed, as I couldn’t sit, not even on my side. Next challenge was undressing and dressing, and showering (with the goal of having the first pee after birthing – that was successful). With all of these things my partner helped me – he dressed me and was next to me in case I’m unable to stand on my own or get dizzy and faint. I didn’t get dizzy or faint though, luckily. But I was so weak that it was a challenge even stepping into the shower, I couldn’t bend over or squat down to pick something up from the floor, I couldn’t dry myself after the shower. Good thing I was able to pee, otherwise they would have put in a catheter down there, which I believe is not very pleasant.

After showering and peeing I got a few hours of much needed sleep. My partner stayed that night and day, but left in the evening of the first day, so that we wouldn’t have to pay extra for him staying and he could bring unnecessary things home, as well as get some rest at home too. So the rest of the days he came during visiting hours. In the three days I was there I didn’t get much sleep at all because at night the baby was fussy, having his first tummy aches. You would think that I could then compensate during the day, especially when my partner was there, but no – every day was busy, not only caring for the baby, but also going to see children’s doctor, gynecologist and getting my blood pressure measured every day. On the second day I also had to go and get an x-ray done for my lungs. In addition to these errands, people would just pop in my room to either examine me or the baby, the janitors came already around 7 or 8 AM to clean up the room and mop the floors, as well as food was brought to the room three times a day. So with all these activities – no sleep for me. On the third day a nurse came at 6AM and just took away the baby to have blood drawn from his hand for some tests. Well, no aspect of that is normal.

When I did have to go to doctors and other errands, that was not easy again. Because all the intestines were kind of loose in my tummy without a baby in it, it was hard to breathe when I was standing up or walking, my diaphragm was sort of misplaced. For this reason I couldn’t even stand straight with shoulders back. Whenever I went to doctors, or to the x-ray, I had to wait in line because they call in many women to the docs at once. I couldn’t sit down to wait and had to stand there, breathless, hunched over. As a law, everyone just had to tell me to sit down, and ask why I can’t sit and I had to explain about my new friends – hemorrhoids. Some other new mummies though didn’t look affected by labour at all, walking around cheery like nothing has happened. I heard one of them say: “oh, not a big deal, I only have given birth, piece of cake!” I envy women like that. But there were some who were worse than me too – I saw a woman who looked extremely exhausted, with terrible bed hair, barely able to stand or walk. Would not want to be her. So I guess I was somewhere in the middle with how I felt.

On the first day I barely ate anything, all I had was some yogurt and maybe a banana or two because I was afraid to go to the toiled with No.2 due to the painful hemorrhoids. On the second day I realised that I don’t have a choice and have to eat, as lack of nutrition was one of the reasons I felt so weak. So I started eating somewhat normal again, and the food that was served was quite nice, I enjoyed it. The one thing I didn’t eat was buckwheat – I hate it. It did happen – I needed to go No.2 soon enough, which was quite an experience, but was not as bad as I feared, I survived. 😀

Every day I brought the baby to children’s doctor who examined the baby, weighed him, he got his eyes and nose cleaned, as well as his skin crevices. His umbilical cord was attended to as well. In the first day the baby spat up bloody liquid. When the doctor examined him and I told about it, it also happened in her presence. It turned out it was from my breast – colostrum in my right breast came out slightly bloody. So nothing scary, I just had to feed more from the other breast and put compresses on the right one.

In the first days babies lose some of their birth weight through pooping, peeing and just drying out slightly. My baby lost about 200-300 grams, but on the third day showed a little growth in weight, so feeding him was successful. On that day my breasts also swell up and were hard and very sensitive – the real milk was starting to come in. The doctor was so satisfied with all this that she offered me to get discharged that day, even though I wasn’t on the planned list. That was happy news for me – we went home just before Christmas. 🙂

Before leaving we had to run final errands – getting baby’s blood drawn from a toe for testing, he had his TB shot done, I got checked by the gynecologist the last time as well.

Around 4 PM on the third day we left the maternity hospital. Before that we, of course had to pay invoices for the epidural and the rooms that we stayed in. I knew that if you have a Riga public transport card, you can get a discount for the services provided by the maternity hospital. Unfortunately, for that one of the invoices need to be redone, and it was even more stupid because the woman at the reception was extremely upset and grumpy about needing to do that. According to her, you have to tell beforehand that you have the card and want the discount, and now she has to do extra work just before Christmas! She didn’t even end up doing it – she called someone else who came and redid the invoice. Such lack of manners, even though I apologised and told I didn’t know, etc. In the end, the discount only applied to the charge for the room I stayed in after labour. I still had to pay fully for my partner staying over, for the room we stayed at during induction, as well as the epidural. Guess how much I saved – 3 fucking euros. If I knew that it would take all this for only 3 euros I wouldn’t have bothered. But it is so stupid that that is all I could get a discount for. I don’t understand why everything else couldn’t be discounted, especially the epidural. So unfair, Riga!

The woman at the reception did lighten up a little and even wished me merry Christmas when I gave little presents upon leaving. I’m generally not a rude person but I have to say it. Bitch!

What I was also unhappy about is that in the last examination at the children’s doctor, my baby’s umbilical cord got basically torn off, leaving a little stub left on the belly button, which I would then have to clean with an alcohol wipe every day. I expected for them to do the right thing – leave the umbilical cord, so that it would just dry up and fall off on its own. They taped a pad over it, which would protect it from infection, and it had to stay on until next day. However, on the way home the baby had a major poop explosion in his diaper, which resulted in the pad soaking in poop, so we had to take it off as soon as we were home. And later it also got soaked in pee from the diaper. It didn’t look good, the remainder of the umbilical cord was basically raw white stuff that wouldn’t dry up, as it was covered all the time by the skin of the belly button, like a hood. Luckily nothing got infected and it did end up healing well. It did anger us anyway that this is what they did to our baby, it was just not right.

Overall the stay at the hospital was both good and bad, there were things I didn’t like, and some I did appreciate, such as having food served three times a day. Now at home I have to serve myself. :p But being home is always the best, even if it is slightly harder. I feel better and better with each day, and hope to be completely back to normal soon. 🙂

 

Baby is here! Birth story

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In the evening of December 20, 2016, my sweet little ray of sunshine was born. He is now two weeks old, and finally I have some time to sit down and write our birth story.

According to my doctor, I was overdue 41 weeks and 3 days, hence he gave me a referral for induction. Therefore, I couldn’t go to the hospital I had planned to give birth at because they specialise more in births with complications. Instead, I had to give birth at the Riga maternity hospital. So on the morning of the planned day I went there with my partner, both packed up and ready for the big event. At the reception I was looked at, admitted and told that my partner cannot come with me because they are out of “family” induction wards and could only place me in a shared room with someone else who is getting induced. He would have to wait until noon when visiting hours start to see me, and if I didn’t go into active labour until 8PM, he would have to leave until I get transferred to the labour ward. All that is a weird system and I don’t get it – it’s just ridiculous that he can’t be there with me and support me in the process.

Luckily, when I was with the staff member who allocates the rooms for induction, she asked me if I would like to have a “twin” room formally turned into a family room so I wouldn’t have to share it with other expectant mummies and could have my partner there as well. For an extra payment, of course.

So, we got there, I got the baby’s heart tones checked, a doctor saw me, and I was told to take a dose of a powder hourly. That is what I did, was in quite a good mood, just chilling at the room with my partner. Some very light contractions came in moments, but I could barely feel them, I could compare them with training contractions that I would get during pregnancy. With the second dose the contractions got a bit stronger, the pain was around 3 out of 10. Went to check heart tones, contractions showed up there as well. I was still chilling, feeling OK, sitting on the fitness ball and colouring in my adult colouring book. Lunch was brought to us in interesting boxes, and I even ate in spite of the contractions. Interestingly, I could choose vegetarian meals when I got allotted the room. The only difference from a non-vegetarian meal though was that my portion didn’t have a piece of chicken meat on top of rice but my partner did. 😀

At 3 PM I took my third dose of powder. Around 4PM my pains got more intense. Also, I got only about 2 – 3 minutes of rest between the contractions. The contraction timer app on my phone said – “immediately go to hospital!” I still could cope with them, could breath through them by standing up and supporting myself against the wall with elbows. I had another session of heart tones done on me as well. After five hours spent having weaker and then stronger contractions and pains, a doctor examined me – I was only 1 cm dilated. Inspiring, isn’t it? After that I got injected a spasmolitic something in my bum, which was supposed to do I don’t know what. Help with spastic pain, I guess. Also, at some point here, my mucus plug came out.

Funny how the contractions were so close to each other right away – that is quite tiring. The normal labour process would go differently. the first contractions would be around 20 minutes apart, and slowly the intervals would decrease to 15, 10, 5 minutes and the pains would gradually increase. An interval of 2 minutes would normally be there at full dilation, about to push the baby out. But for me – nope, no luck, 2 minutes it is, all the way. So tiring!

Around 5PM my pains had gone very intense, standing propped against the wall wouldn’t help anymore, I was on my knees, supporting my chest and arms against the bed. I struggled to breathe properly through the very frequent contractions. My partner already earlier told me to go get somebody and ask for some pain relief, as this didn’t look normal to him that I’m struggling so much. Eventually I did go to complain that I’m in a lot of pain and contractions are VERY frequent. However, the woman who did the heart tones for me looked at me like I’m a whiny bitch and said – “And what do you want from me?” So after this moment of attitude I retreated to the room to suffer and wait for 7PM when a doctor was scheduled to examine me again. Those two hours were not nice.

At 6.45PM, while I was in my on-the-knees-and-bed position, still suffering, my waters broke. That’s when my partner had had enough, bless him, and ran out to tell the staff that my waters have broken and I need to be seen. Of course, he spoke English, not Latvian. So the only thing that the staff member did was show thumbs up to him, as in to say – very good. She did finally come to see how I am – miserable with pain, moaning. She called for a janitor to come clean up the mess on the floor. I went to rinse myself off in the shower, which felt so nice on my back during a contraction. All the while, the woman came and rushed me to be quicker and that the doctor is now waiting to examine me. I couldn’t even dress myself in the birthing gown and dry myself, my partner did that for me. In the very beginning, I liked that woman, we were chatting about my bump and other things while my baby’s heart tones were taken. At this point I hated her guts, she was so indifferent to how I was and acted as if I was simulating pain or as if I was a weak pussy that I couldn’t handle it.

So, finally I got seen by the doctor, and surprise surprise – my cervix was dilated only mere 2cm!!! Two fucking centimeters after hours of exhausting pain every two minutes! Bless the doctor, she asked if I’m considering an epidural. Yes, please, as soon as possible, please!!!

However, it didn’t happen as soon as possible – first, the had to check the heart tones again, and only then we can move on to the labour ward upstairs. Luckily, at least my partner was packing up all the things in the meanwhile, even though no-one had told him that we are leaving the induction room. Finally, the heart tones were done, and we could move on to the labour ward. Someone said that maybe I should get a wheelchair to go, but the heart tone bitch woman right away said no, she’s walking. I didn’t really need a wheelchair, but who the fuck is she that she can just blatantly say it like that!!! Thank god, I never saw her again and everyone from this point forward was nice and thoughtful to me.

As we got to the labour ward, I was told by the midwife (who was nice) that before calling the anaesthetist,  they have to look at the heart tones for at least ten minutes. Yes, again, even I had just done it, just in a different room of the same institution. But oh well, what can I say, what needs to be done, needs to be done. All this lingering and waiting for pain relief was like an eternity of pain for me, I was well miserable. And nauseous – I needed to have a vomit bowl with me all the time while I suffered. That’s when I regretted having that nice meal earlier. Later, as I was pushing, I was having nasty heartburn and burps with acidic aftertaste of rice. Yuck! Luckily, I did hold my stomach contents in. 🙂 Also, at this point, up until the time when I needed to push, I was shivering like a freaking tambourine and I couldn’t help it.

After these very long 10 minutes, the anaesthetist finally came, gave me an epidural, after which every next contraction became less painful, but still a good half hour passed until I could smile and just breathe through every contraction, rather than wailing as if I was dying. God bless epidurals! 🙂

This is where everything gets grosser – you have been warned! :p

A bit more than half-hour after the epidural was done and I felt like a human again, during one of the contractions, I felt my cervix just opening up and baby’s head sliding down. And even further down with each contraction. The midwife came at 9PM, I told her this, and she examined me – fully dilated! She said that either the epidural had worked miracles by relaxing me so much that my cervix dilated so quickly, or my cervix has torn. In the end, it turned out to be the second version had happened. Because of very strong contractions so often, my cervix just gave up and ripped open. Nice. Again, god bless epidural, because If the cervix ripped while I feel all the pain, I would fucking go mental from pain and panic. Unless the tear of the cervix would be painless. In that case, never mind.

Although I wanted to give birth in a somewhat vertical position, and it seemed like a valid option then, that didn’t happen. I had to push the baby out the standard way – laying on the birthing table on my back, with my legs wide open. Well, whatever, I just rolled with the situation and did what the midwife told me. In the beginning I had to push mildly with my diaphragm, whilst uttering a hissing sound. However, a bit later I had to switch to proper pushing hard. Then, towards the end I also had to hold my knees and push in that position. Everyone was encouraging me, midwife told me to do the pushes like I’m angry, my partner was next to me telling me that I’m doing great all the time. And I was a mess, saying that I can’t do this, it’s too hard, and so on. I did still performed as good as I could. That was proper hard work, I was read from the efforts and sweating. That all was awful. It was the worst when the baby’s head was actually starting to come out, that’s when I was getting panicky. It was the worst when I did manage to push the baby’s head out, but when it was halfway out, the contraction ended. That is when I proper panicked and was saying that I can’t do this, it’s not coming out, why couldn’t it just come out, why did it have to get stuck like this! The midwife then was telling me to listen, like, 15 times, and tried to bitch-slap me out of the panic by telling me to focus, that the baby is almost out, and to thing about the baby, etc. It’s not like I would stop pushing or anything when the next contraction would come.

When the next contraction came, finally I did the last pushes and the baby’s head was out and so was he, a huge relief, and I met him. He was instantly put on my tummy and wrapped in a changing sheet. He only had a little cry and then was just quiet, making just small sounds, being a nice baby. 🙂 I had been pushing for less than an hour. And yes, I pooped a little during the pushes (sorry!). It didn’t matter though at the time, that wasn’t really on the top of anybody’s priority list. 😀 The umbilical cord was cut by my partner already 2-3 minutes later. Although I protested that we should wait until it stops pulsating and only then cut it, the midwife said that it’s not pulsating at all, and gave me to feel it, so there is no point in waiting, it needs to be cut. A moment later, the placenta coming out was nothing, I barely felt it. I did start to feel my vagina burning a bit.

I did have a minor tear of the vagina in addition to the torn cervix. The next worst part of the labour was the stitching process. Even though I got an extra dose of epidural medicine, plus I got injected a local anaesthetic down there, that was awful. The doctor who sowed me up put spreaders in there, and maneuvered them around there to get to all the corners of the cervix and put stitches on. Sowing up what had torn in the vagina was slightly less awful, but still awful. All this took place while I was holding the baby on my tummy. Then, after everything was stitched up, the next awful thing that was done, is pushing on my stomach right above the pubic bone, to see if all the bloody gunk is coming out of my vagina from there. Why? Why do you need to do that?

The baby got weighed and measured and examined, everything was well. My partner put on his first diaper – he already had started pooping. 😀 And he also dressed him. Everybody there was praising him for doing so well and being so confident, dressing the baby, saying that it is rare that daddies are doing that and being so good at it.

According to the midwife – my baby was definitely not overdue. He weighed just over three kilos, he was still partly covered in vernix, and his skin was fine – overdue babies look like they’ve had a too long bath, wrinkly and their skin start peeling. Also the placenta was small and had no signs of ageing. So, my little nugget was forced out instead of coming into this world naturally. I could have waited at least two more weeks, as he looked more like a 38 weeks old, not  41+3. However, I do understand that doctors won’t risk being responsible for waiting in case any trouble happens with the pregnancy and child, so I can’t blame them.

After the baby was dressed, I breastfed him for the first time, and then we were left alone for a while to spend some time there and somewhat recover. Then we were taken to a room – I had to sit in a wheelchair, which was adjusted in a way that the back is down a bit. My bum was very painful, a lot of pressure-like pain there, and just plain pain. Luckily, the room I got was a private one, costing only 15 euros, rather than 60 euros for a family room. For my partner to stay with us the first night, we had to pay extra 30 euros per night. I don’t know how I would manage without him then – I was so exhausted and weak and in pain, so I’m lucky to have him there.

Of course, when we were in the room already and I was laying down, someone came to see me, and again, felt the need to push on my stomach again to see what’s coming out of me downstairs. Why? Why?

To have the first post-labour pee, I had to do it in the shower, instead of on the toilet. I needed my partner’s help getting up, undressing, drying me afterwards and just being there in case I get dizzy and need help with just standing. While showering, I realised one of the reasons why my bum hurt so much – I had pushed out huge hemorrhoids. It is much better now, but then they were horrendous, I felt like I had grown a set of testicles and was half-man now. Again, awful. For a few days I couldn’t sit, not even onto a side, I could only lay on my side. Even laying on my back was painful. That, however, was partly because of the epidural, according to what my partner said.

I then fed the baby again, and he, being the good boy that he is, was so good with latching on to the nipple and suckling. And he still is. 🙂 He is my ray of sunshine, I love him so much that thinking it makes my eyes tear up.

So that was my day at the maternity hospital, giving birth, having an awful experience. All the things I wrote in my birth plan – in vain. Labour didn’t start naturally, and I was induced, I got an epidural, I couldn’t choose a somewhat vertical birth position or sit on a birthing stool while pushing, I couldn’t “breathe the baby out” and was pushing my guts out instead, the umbilical cord was cut without waiting. The only things that I wanted and did happen is that my waters broke naturally, I had my baby put on my chest for skin-to-skin contact, the umbilical cord was cut by the father, and I got a demonstration of what the placenta looks like. But well, at least I didn’t need a c-section and the baby came through the right doors. 😀 Right after he was born, all I could say repeatedly, was “That was awful” and “Never again!”. Now, two weeks later, when the big pains and recovery process is almost over, I’m thinking – maybe one more time, but not any time soon. I hope nobody gets discouraged or scared of giving birth because of the horrible things that happened to me. 🙂

I’ll try some time later to write about the three post-labour days at the maternity hospital, if I have some spare time and baby lets me. Poot! :p

40 weeks pregnant! Baby, come out!

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Here we are, I have reached full term of pregnancy. I weigh 72 kg; bump circumference has reached 110cm. Today I’m actually two days overdue already, yet I don’t feel like giving birth yet, I don’t see any signs of approaching labour. Overall I feel great, I don’t have much of any pains, don’t feel tired (unless I’m active, I’m still lazy though).

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Hopefully the last bump picture of this pregnancy

There were two days over a week ago, when my hips hurt a lot suddenly to the point where it even hurt to walk, it was very painful getting inside bed and positioning myself comfortably. At that point I was certain that labour will start in a day or two, otherwise my hips wouldn’t be doing that. It literally felt like someone had taken a hammer and smacked my bones into many small pieces. However, that pain went away, and my hips are almost OK now. There is still some of the old hip pain there, but I can live with it very well.

Last time I went to doctor, everything looked good or even excellent – heart tones, baby’s positioning, my blood pressure. I did blood and pee test, and turns out these have improved too, as I no longer have iron deficiency anaemia, ferritin is within norm and haemoglobin has risen to 113 (below standard for a normal person, but good for me). That I’m very happy about.

Throughout my pregnancy, I’ve managed to stay healthy and not get ill, except the time when I had stomach flu. I was hoping to stay healthy for the rest of the pregnancy but, unfortunately, I did catch a cold last week and was a bit poorly. At first, my tonsils were swollen and painful for 3 days, then that went away but I had a sore throat and a slight cough for a couple of days. That has gone too, but now I’m still dealing with a stuffy nose. All in all, I’m happy that all of this came in a light form, with no high temperature, and I managed to deal with it naturally, and nothing progressed to a cold badness. I’m also happy that labour didn’t start while I was in this not so good condition.

This week we also managed to do shopping for the last things baby will need – crib bumper pads and a changing surface for the wardrobe, which we have finally also received and which I assembled. We also got a festive fake Christmas tree with built-in fibre-optic lights, which I was joyfully jumping up and down about. That is the first Christmas tree I’ve had since living away from parents, and although it’s small, I love it and it means a lot to me. Now there is one little wrapped gift under it, waiting for Christmas.

Everything seems to be done now, and we are completely ready for the baby to come. I hope it will come soon, at least soon enough that I wouldn’t have to get induced. I trust that the baby knows his own karma and when he needs and is supposed to come. And I hope he knows I don’t want him to tear my vagina apart completely. Well, I don’t want a C-section either, so if a slightly torn vagina is what it takes to not be cut open to get the baby out, I’m even OK with that.

Tomorrow is my hopefully last doctor appointment before the birth, we’ll see how we are then. Who knows, maybe labour will have started even before this appointment. Only the baby knows with his karma situation.

Courses at hospital about childbirth

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Yesterday was the last of three days of classes at the Hospital about giving birth. Overall it could have been better because much of the content was quickly rushed over, just touched upon, and there was little to no interaction with the attendees, or any practical part. We all just sat and listened, I took some random notes. Only a few bits of information  were new to me, for example, that it is time to go to the labour ward when your contractions last around 45 seconds. But otherwise, I went in already knowing a lot, thanks to the classes about pregnancy and babies that I attended in the yoga centre. Otherwise, if I went there as a blank page, I wouldn’t have understood much.

In the end of each class we watched some videos. On the first day it was about birthing positions, second day – about the actual birth process, and on the third day – about breastfeeding. The videos were really old, from the 90s or so, in video cassettes, and the first one about the birthing positions just gave me and my partner the worst giggles! I tried suppressing my laughs so bad, to not let them out loud, I was in tears! 😀  The combination of the old style clothes, the man’s moustache and the circling hip movements made by the woman, together with her partner – it was all just too funny!

What I did like about these classes is that they cleared up some fears and stereotypes about the birth process and the procedures of the hospital. After the first video I asked the hosting midwife if the fact that a woman wants to give birth in any of those positions is supported by the staff there, because my concern was that it is inconvenient for everybody if I want to do it any other way than on the bed (I was the only one asking any questions, by the way). The midwife responded that you have to come with your own initiative, and be prepared for the labour both physically and mentally . According to her, the problem is that majority of women have not done any of that, come to the labour ward, and instead of moving around, knowing how to breath during contractions, etc., they just get in the bed and stay there, ask for epidural, and that’s it. She said that even if you get an epidural, and it is done correctly, you should still be able to move around, walk and do things and take different birthing positions, you don’t just get paralysed from the waist down. So, if you are the opposite of that, then you will be able to do it how you like it. Unless I change my mind about giving birth there, then I’ll see in December if this actually works out in real life.

All in all, the midwife just encouraged to aim for the process to be as natural as possible, without any interfering with hormone drips or inducing methods, and to try give birth without pain relief. To try to have a peaceful mindset without fear or tension, to see it as hard work rather than an excruciatingly painful nightmare that you don’t know how to get through. If you need interference, then fine, don’t beat yourself up about it, doctors do know better in the end, and many mummies do have complications. But in the ideal scenario the doctors would be there to just monitor your process and be ready to help if anything goes wrong.

Regarding the pushing out period, she told and emphasized that it is not necessary to PUSH the baby out. There should be no need to push as much as you can to get the baby out. Your body will basically take care of it itself, that’s what the contractions are there for, they move the baby out gradually, and there is pressure there, etc. Especially if you are in a position where gravity helps the process as well. Emphasis on making the birth less brutal, make it a beautiful peaceful process and, again, if you have prepared for the birth, breath the baby out. 🙂 Just like I was taught in the pregnancy classes in the yoga centre.

Also, as of recent years they also don’t cut the umbilical cord right after the baby is born, but wait a few minutes until it stops pulsating. It is scientifically to do with the baby’s blood system and lungs rearranging, or something, I didn’t get that completely. But I’m glad about that, it was one of the things I want to happen.

After the baby is born, you are left holding the baby for at least two hours and then a doctor comes to assess, examine and weigh the baby, and a nurse will dress it in his/her first clothes.

So, mostly what I heard was positive and encouraging, I’m glad I don’t feel afraid anymore that I’ll be forced to do something I don’t want to in the process or that there will be objections about birthing positions, or that meds and induction and whatnot will be forced on me. Any medical manipulation that is done, must be explained beforehand, and with some of them you have to sign and give your permission. So that’s all reassuring.

On the last day we also went to see the labour ward, the rooms, premises and equipment. It didn’t look too bad. They don’t have abundance of equipment, but the birth rooms did have a beanbag and a fitness ball, so at least something to use. According to the midwife, they also have laughing gas for pain relief, which is the least intrusive one, and it is also for free, good to hear that. They only have two showers for the entire ward, and the same ones did not look very fabulous – not a positive. We only saw one room for staying in after the birth, which was a private one. It looked very basic and small, but at least it would be private. We didn’t see any of the shared rooms though. If you have a private room, your partner can stay overnight on a very modest worn-out folding bed, but at least that would be for free, instead of ~60 euros per day, like it is in other places. Although, it depends on pure luck if a private room is available for the time of birth or not. I really hope for the best, that we will get a private room, because my partner will definitely not be OK with going home and leaving us for three nights.

Mostly this was a positive experience, although initially there was something that threw us off too. In order to not disturb the main entrance and area of the labour ward, we were told to go and use a lift that isn’t the main lift and brings us to the back of the ward. To do so we had to go through the cellar, which looks quite scary, and even had a cat hanging out there, which is probably not very good for a hospital. My partner joked about the appearance of the place – not only the roads in Latvia have potholes, but also the hospital floors! But I guess that is only the cellar where you wouldn’t be supposed to go normally, and other premises are not scary. 🙂

In the end we were also given two books – about breastfeeding, and one about pregnancy and labour in general. That will be something to read. 🙂

 

12 weeks pregnant! I think…

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According to my calculations of how long I’m pregnant since the moment of conceiving, it was exactly 12 weeks two days ago. Glow app on my phone says I’m over 13 weeks. We’ll see what doc says and what my due date is. Again, counting 40 weeks from the date of conceiving, the due date is just before Christmas, but from the first day of the last period – around 13th December. One of my BFF’s first child was born on 13th of December. And also Taylor Swift was born on this day. 😀 What would bet the odds of that happening? The chance is not high though because very few women give birth on their actual due date.

So, I have finally marched into the second trimester. Still waiting for the glow, lol. So far, the feeling of toxicity is rarely present but does show up sometimes, which I blame on surge in hormones, as it coincides with tenderer breasts and sensitive, crampy uterus.

Also, the one thing everybody promises you is that during pregnancy your skin, nails and hair will be growing stronger, shinier and prettier than usual because of a hormone. While my nails I can’t complain about, my skin isn’t that fabulous, I’m getting some minor acne. But my hair… well it has not become stronger and shinier – I sometimes feel like it’s strawlike, dryer and falls out more than before. My hair has been falling out a lot always, but now more than even that. It’s everywhere!  I’m shedding like a cat when spring and summer comes! The little nugget inside me has been sucking the life out of me! 😀

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I used to have a cat. Look at that smug face after I combed all that out of him! Well, that is me now!!!

I do feel a bit more energetic now, so it isn’t too bad now. There are still a few days where I just can’t do without a nap but that’s not often. I’m quite lazy though and don’t exercise much, like should be. Walking a lot is something I do, that counts too, I guess. Not because I go on walks, but because I have to go places, ha ha!

An “interesting” thing I was “lucky” to get two weeks ago is the stomach flu! Well, that was not a good time! For two days I was trying to fight through it myself, just hydrating a lot and still trying to eat something, because, after all, the baby needs food! I might as well have not eaten anything because it just went through me without absorbing any nutrients whatsoever. On the third day I decided to finally take action and bought diarrhea meds suitable for pregnant women and children, and started taking them. By then I was VERY weak and dehydrated, and lost two kilos of precious weight. Should have started treating myself from day 1. That was basically an involuntary two day fast. I was worried about that affecting my little nugget, but I guess a woman’s body and pregnancy is built so that it would not be too much affected by such things – there are some reserves in the body that the baby can take in case of emergency, and the amniotic fluids protect it against high temperature.

On the second day of my stomach flu, I had a scheduled 12 week ultrasound for the baby, and despite me feeling poor, he/she looked very much OK, moving around and being active. Thankfully, everything is going well, everything is developed nicely, the heartbeat is nice and strong. It’s just so unbelievable how quickly it has grown from a little blob to a little human with limbs, eyes and all other organs. It has grown so big! Also, the determined age of the baby according to the size at that point, which was nearly 2 weeks ago, was 12 weeks and 2 days. So it’s growing nicely, even faster and bigger than supposed to. Take that everybody who say that vegetarian diet isn’t sufficient! In your face! 😀

In honour of finishing the first trimester, now everybody knows about the nugget – my parents, my partner’s parents, our friends (the most important ones), and my boss too. Everybody is happy and ecstatic about it, congratulating me, there’s even been some tears of joy. It’s really a relief because I’m terrible at keeping secrets and there were a few times when I almost accidentally blabbed, just because I’m used to talking about it with my partner and forget to switch the filter on. It’s also so much nicer now that I can share my experience with my BFFs and discuss every little symptom and get their advice because they both have gone through pregnancy twice. When they were pregnant, it didn’t look difficult from my viewpoint at all, and now that I’m pregnant, I understand and am able to appreciate what they went through too.

One of the things I’ve needed advice about is where to give birth. I know it’s probably a bit too early to think about that but it is on my mind quite a lot. The two options here is the Riga Childbirth House and Stradini Hospital. The first one looks nicer aesthetically but the problem with that is the quantity of women going through there, I don’t want it to feel like a conveyor belt process where I’m just the next one. I also know that the place is understaffed and underpaid, so what can you expect from a sick and tired midwife, or anybody, really? The second place one is not aesthetically pleasing at all, the building is old and intimidating, but the staff is allegedly nicer and more professional, they are better equipped. So just because of that I’m more inclined to choose the Stradini Hospital, despite the looks of the place. Like one of my friends said – when you’re in pain while in the labour process you will not care about the looks of the place, you won’t even notice any of it.

Then again, I do want to have the option to choose a water birth, or at least to try to relax in a bathtub before delivering. Or to choose the position that I’ll be in, maybe use a birthing chair, etc. The latter probably wouldn’t be a problem, but about the water birth – don’t know about Stradini Hospital, but the Childbirth House does offer that, if you pay extra for it, and also have an individual contract with a midwife or doctor, which also costs. That would round up to almost 600 euros together. I would get my special treatment though, if I paid. But the costs don’t end there – if my partner wants to stay overnight, the room for both of us, plus the baby, would cost 60 euros per day. They keep you there for three to six days, depending on your condition and if there’s been any complications. so that is a minimum of another 180 euros. Summing this up – what I want costs at least 750 euros and can reach 930 euros. If I suddenly realised that I can’t do this all and need an epidural – that also costs, nearly 300 euros. Excuse me, but I have other expenses to think about, like baby clothes, a pram, a car seat for the baby, and all other small things that add up to be a lot. I can’t afford to spend 1000 euros on just giving birth. I know, if I don’t choose anything fancy, it can be done for free. But I do want to at least have the option to have all these nice extras too!

I have been watching One Born Every Minute a lot lately, which is an awesome British show about how women give birth, it shows all the real stuff going on. The aforementioned pricing argument and also just seeing how it’s done there really makes me want to consider to go do it there. Spend less money on tickets going there and give birth there for free in any way that I want to. I do understand that I should not expect rose petals and chocolates and whatnot from England, the grass is not always greener on the other side, but from what I’ve researched, it seems a better and better idea every day. It is a big and important decision, not easy to make. Even harder to make, considering the opposition that will definitely come from my family, especially mum. Her criticism is what I fear the most, even if it isn’t there in the end. Oh, decisions, decisions… I do have a lot of time to think about all this and I am planning to go to some classes at the Stradini Hospital, see how really everything is, meet some staff members, see the rooms and wards. Maybe it isn’t too bad, I don’t know. We are also going to UK this summer, and I would very much like to go and see where I would give birth there if I chose so. Really, in the end, is it even possible to plan anything in life? When you make plans, god laughs at them, right? I might not even be well enough to go anywhere… I guess, I can just live and see how everything goes. 🙂

Tomorrow is doc appointment in honour of the first trimester ending, I’ll hear him out about my blood test results, ultrasound, ask about, the due date, what is normal and what isn’t, ask about flying  to UK this summer, etc. Hope it all goes well. 🙂