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When Stockings aren’t Sexy!

On our return flight from Italy last weekend, the Italian, again, booked me in for wheelchair assistance.

It was once we had passed controls and had been taken through all the secret passage ways of the airport to reach the gate that the Italian asked me “Amore, hav’a you got ur’a stockings on?”.

The assistant shot us a glance. I had forgotten to put on my DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) tights under my leggings which was one of my GPs conditions of flying so late into the pregnancy. I nodded a no.

Once the wheelchair was settled in pride of place at the front of the queue, the Italian parked Bambina in her pram next to me. He then started shuffling in the bag and pulled out one rolled up pair of DVTs.

“No!” I whispered to him “I can’t put them on now, I can’t reach my knees let alone my feet! AND I haven’t shaved my legs for about two weeks!”.

As fast as I could blink the Italian had whipped my shoe off and had the right leg of my legging rolled up. Now, anyone who’s ever worn DVTs will know that they are massively restricting and not that easy to get on.

As the Italian struggled to get the first stocking over my toes, I noticed that the two ladies sitting in priority boarding opposite us were breaking out into fits of giggles. Obviously this made me laugh and the Italian struggled even more.

Once the tight stocking was forced over the toes, the Italian went into combat with the swollen ankle! Once passed that, he took in a deep gasp of air and forced the rest of the stocking up my leg before pulling down my legging and replacing the shoe. He let out a gasp.

At this point the two ladies were in hysterics and I could hardly see for the tears streaming down my face. Bambina was joining in with the comedy by providing her I don’t know what you’re laughing at but ill provide a fake one just to join in! type of laugh.

As the Italian lifted the left leg of my leggings, with the second DVT stocking in his hand, he turned to the two ladies and said “I can’a see’a the headlines’a now: DVTs save heavily pregnant woman from clots while husband dies of a heart attack from putting them on!!”.

As I squirmed my second swollen ankle into the stocking, the Italian gave a final heave-ho and it was done! Battle won. Game over.

Have you had any embarrassing flight tales? Do share.

X-O-X

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Posted by on November 3, 2012 in London

 

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Bambina Mia

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We have just returned from a rushed weekend to Italy to bring my mother in law home from hospital.

At 30 weeks pregnant I had to get a medical certificate to fly but thankfully everything was ok. I had contemplated not going at all but how could I not, under the circumstances?

Anyway, enough of the dreary tone.

The Italian booked me wheelchair assistance as our flight out was at 6.30am. What a genius idea! It worked a treat and is actually a service provided by Ryanair. We were taken straight through controls and escorted all the way to the aeroplane steps. Brilliant!

Having woken Bambina from her slumber at 4am I half expected her to have a tired tantrum or two. No. She was a delight. She sat in her pram just watching the early morning world go by. She didn’t utter a word or a groan.

As we were boarding the plane, Bambina got excited and squealed at the sight of having her own seat belt and pull down tray. I was so proud of her, so well behaved.

She sat on the Italian’s knee for take off, all buckled up and holding on tight. As the engine roared and the plane took flight, her little green eyes looked at me to confirm everything was ok. I smiled a reassuring glance and she happily nestled her head of curls into daddies chest, closed her eyes and went to sleep.

She woke up when the captain announced our decent. The lady that was sat behind the Italian tapped him on the shoulder to tell him what a wonderfully behaved baby we have. She was amazed at how Bambina hadn’t created one ounce of fuss. The Italian beamed and rewarded his good girl with a big kiss on the forehead.

It’s a lovely feeling when strangers pass comment on how wonderful your child is. It makes me/us feel like we’re not doing that bad a job of raising a good little person. I couldn’t have been happier that my little Bambina Mia had taken the early bird flight in her stride and as always adjusted to her surroundings. She’s just amazing!

Grazie Bambina for being absolutely adorable… Mamma loves you!

What things do your little ones do that just melt your heart? Do share.

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2012 in London

 

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Big Baby

I think it’s quite normal for a second pregnancy bump to be huge. I am huge. I feel huge. I think I look huge. In comparison to when I was expecting Bambina, I swear it looks like I’m carrying a football team!

A few weeks back I had to see my consultant about making a decision between a natural (give me drugs!) vaginal birth or another c-section.

Bambina was twelve days late so I was induced. Three times. It didn’t work. Eventually my waters were broken and although I had been having contractions, nothing else happened. The Italian almost electrocuted me from playing with the knobs on the TENS machine but nothing else happened. After twenty hours, I had dilated two centimetres. After a further six hours I had dilated an extra centimetre and retracted to two again.  I also had an allergic reaction to the epidural.

I was insistent I didn’t want an epidural, or pethadine, or a c-section. I had all of it. I was exhausted. I don’t recall the c-section that well, except for my legs convulsing so much that they had to strapped to the table. I don’t recall seeing Bambina that well for the first time. I just remember a blurry image of white, whether that was the towel she was wrapped in or her still covered in mucus, I don’t know.

I don’t want that experience this time around. Bambina was stuck in the birth canal as she was so huge, 10lb 4oz. The consultant thinks that this baby could be bigger given the size of me now at 29 weeks.

So, I was offered a helping hand or the chance to go it alone. If your hand is willing to help me, I’m ready to bite it off! C-section it is.

I’ve just had a GTT (Glucose Tolerance Test) to measure the amount of sugar in the blood.  This is not just for determining pregnancy related diabetes but can also be a guide as to why some mothers deliver whopping babies.  My gut feeling is that my glucose is absolutely dandy.  If you saw the Italian and his father, they’re not exactly small framed people so I think that any baby that I have will be on the large-boned side of big.  Nevertheless, I did the test and we’ll see what happens.

As I’m now on countdown with only 10 weeks to go, I’m actually looking forward to the c-section this time. I know the date, I know the plan, I know I won’t be in pain (ish).

I know that my big baby will arrive in to the world, happy, healthy and huge!

The countdown begins… !

Was your baby a whoppa? Tell me everything!

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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in London

 

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Bonding

Now that scare of Down Syndrome screening is behind us, it has finally dawned on me that in exactly twelve weeks time we will have a new-born in the house.

Until now it has all felt a bit surreal. Despite my ever-expanding stomach, I don’t think that I had actually accepted that I was pregnant. So, I have been making conscious efforts to try to bond with our new addition.  My last pregnancy with Bambina was such a different experience and in comparison I was carefree.  Now, have to work full time, keep house and look after a 15month old – she’s just a baby herself.  My time is completely full now compared to when I was expecting Bambina so I really have to make an effort to have some “me & you” time with the new one.  Its important.

When I was expecting Bambina I used to sing to her. She was quite partial to il Divo and would kick away frantically. I find that ironic really, what with her being half Italian. It was in her genes even in the womb! I danced with her, moving my stomach about. I listened to calming, birthing relaxation downloads on my iPod (that didn’t calm or relax me one iota) and let her listen via daddies headphones resting on my stomach. Even now, Bambina LOVES music!

Now I have to find out what stimulates this little’un. Music? Reading? Talking? I’ve started the bonding process by familiarising myself with what’s going on on the inside. Whats the little’un up to? How is she or he growing? Whats happening this week? My Pregnancy Week by Week book has been a God send, again.

What bonding tricks did you come up with when you were expecting? Do tell!

X-O-X

* Fotos mine, courtesy of http://www.jameslarkinphotography.com/

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in London

 

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The Name Game

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When the Italian and I were choosing a name for Bambina, it was easy. I had always loved her name and luckily it was a perfect match for an English / Italian mix. We have an unusual Italian surname so finding a first name to match that could also have proven a task.

Now that the new addition is on the way, we are faced with the same challenge – what do we call it?? Will il Nonni be able to pronounce it if it’s an English name? How will it sound spoken with a Liverpudlian accent if it’s an Italian name?

I started in my quest a few evenings ago by googling the most popular Italian baby names of 2011 and 2012. The problem with Italian names is, well, they’re Italian and some of them sound completely ridiculous in English.  I just can’t imagine myself screaming across a busy playground, ‘Giuseppe, come on, we’re going home for our dinner now, get off that swing!”.

If you’re English and you’re male, with an Italian sounding name, it can tend to sound a bit cheesy.  I mean, there’s Gianni which conjures up images of a teenage, grease-backed hair Lothario that chats up anything in a skirt. Then, there’s Enzo, he could work in the local pizzeria – it makes me think of red and white checked table clothes.  What about Adolfo? No? Ok, me neither.

Whilst there are a few obvious Italian sounding choices, the ladies names aren’t much better to be frank.  The Italian likes the name Elisabetta (Elizabeth) which, said with an Italian accent sounds beautiful.  However, said in a Liverpudlian accent… sounds wrong! Then there’s Donnatella which conjures up female ninja turtle.

As you can see we are at a loss for both camps.  So this is where I urge you to provide advice! Do you know any European sounding names for a girl or a boy who might be a consideration? Think of your family and friends, celebrities etc, do they have Italian names that I may not think hideous? C’mon, the child’s life and school yard taunts depend on it!

X-O-X

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2012 in London

 

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The Gift

So, yesterday, D-Day, I met with the consultant from Kings College to discuss the options of non-Down Syndrome screening.

I didn’t really know what to expect from her. I probably expected her to try to fob me off with rubbish or excuses. She didn’t.

The Dr was extremely frank, woman to woman. She thought I was a drama queen. I probably have been. She thought I was right to create a fuss. I know I was. She said my odds of having a Down Syndrome child, without having any screening tests at all, were extremely low. Lower than with Bambina. Based, purely on my age group and the overall healthy growth of the new addition!

After a few shed tears of relief, I hugged the life almost out of her and said my thank you’s. She said “now go home, have a cuppa and a huge slice if cake because you’re going to be very busy after that…bonding with your new son or daughter”. As she reached out to hold one hand, she looked me in the eye reassuringly, “just like your first one, this child truly is a gift!”.

Let the bonding commence…

I would also like to end this post by saying a massive thank you to everyone who showed concern, offered support and gave truly kind words. I really do appreciate it from the bottom of my heart! Mwwah!

*Foto my own.

X-O-X

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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in London

 

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A Bit Down

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The last few days, I have been feeling a bit down .

Finding out about a pregnancy five months into the gestation has proven somewhat of a chore so far. First, I missed all the required checks that are to be done at 12 weeks. Second, I missed all the required checks that are to be done at 20 weeks. Third, I have been wrongly advised about Down Syndrome screening by my hospital.

The first of the Down Syndrome screening is carried out between 11 and 14 weeks. This is the Nuchal scan when the build up of fluid at the back of the baby’s neck is measured. This test offers a 94% accuracy rate.

The second Down Syndrome screening is offered at 20 weeks via a simple blood test. This picks up the baby’s chromosomes through your blood but only offers a 60% accuracy rate.

Depending on the results of either of the above, you can go home happy knowing that the chance of delivering a baby with Downs is small, or, you will be offered an Amniocentesis test. This is the most intrusive and requires a slim needle through the stomach and into the womb to extract a sample of the fluid from the baby’s sack. The chromosomes in the fluid are tested and although invasive, this gives you the best result. However, if done earlier in the pregnancy it can cause miscarriage. The usual cut off for this is 20 weeks.

When I was pregnant with Bambina I didn’t endure any of this and perhaps quite ignorantly on my part, I didn’t do much research given that Bambina’s nuchal tests results were incredibly low risk.

Three weeks ago when I had my first, emergency, scan at 21 weeks and 2 days, I was told by the sonographer that I would do the blood test screening at my next visit.  I didn’t have any reason for concern at that point.

Two weeks went by and the time arrived for the next scan. On Thursday last week I was told that I had been misinformed and in fact, I had missed the national cut off for the blood test screening. I was horrified. Did this mean that I had to go through the next three months not knowing whether I am carrying a child with Down Syndrome? Why on earth didn’t the sonographer spot that I was on borrowed time but went ahead and booked me in for a bloody test two weeks past the deadline?

The Italian and I had obviously discussed our options.  Woman in their forties, late forties, give birth to bouncing healthy babies all the time.  But, we were not sure that our lives could afford looking after a child with Downs. But what was the alternative? Termination? Adoption?

A flurry of questions ensued: What if it is? How severe might it be? How do you find a child minder? Are there any? Would it face a life of constant investigation? Would the italian have to give up his job to look after it? What impact would it have on Bambina? Is that fair? What if something happened to us, what would happen to the child then? Surely we couldn’t ask an elderly grandparent to take the burden? “Burden”. Is that how we would feel, as parents, that our child was a burden?

The obvious reality is that many people with Down Syndrome grow into healthy, fun, fit children and progress into adulthood with independence. The average life expectancy is actually 50.  Some work and study, some live on their own. However, some need constant attention. Some have huge behavioral and health problems.

The sonographer advised me that the cut off for the blood test was at 21 weeks 6 days. That meant that I had only a four day window in which to do it. A four day window that the previous sonographer two weeks prior had failed to notice. A life long critical decision had been taken out of my hands and forced upon me in the blink of an eye.

I cried. I sat down. I cried. How could someone be so careless? I enquired about Amniocentesis and was told that an appointment would be booked for me to speak to a consultant.

I went home. I cried. Once I had wiped away the tears, I called Bupa to confirm the deadlines for the tests to be done privately.  However, all private hospitals are bound by the same national guidelines as the NHS.  However, my private consultant told me that according to the national NHS guideline, the cut off for the blood test is 20 weeks whilst the cut off for amniocentesis is 22 weeks. I had in fact missed everything!!  The original sonographer was wrong on two counts.

I spoke to Marie Stopes, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and Spire Health Care, another private company.  All confirmed that at 23 weeks and 2 days there was nothing more I could do but hope for the best.

Eventually, after several heated and tearful phone calls from me to my hospital, I finally got to see the consultant on Friday morning. She reassured me that according to the scan and foetal measurements, everything looked fine but that she obviously couldn’t offer that as a true medical diagnosis “and anyway, the blood test is only 60% accurate”, she said. That would have been 60% more peace of mind that I would have had if they had not have taken the choice of having the blood test away from me!!

She continued, “We will not offer amniocentesis at this stage as the risk of damaging an otherwise healthy child by forcing pre-term labour far out ways the risk of a child being born with Downs. However, if at 32 weeks you are still dissatisfied we can carry out the amnio then and if you so wish, we can carry out a termination”.

Ok. After carrying a child for eight months, feeling it kick, move, breathe, hiccup, you would carry out a termination if I so wished?? Is that even legal?? Who on earth agrees to that? At 32 weeks, even now at 24 weeks, the decision has been made for me because your STUPID, incompetent staff didn’t do their jobs properly!!  How can I even consider anything else now but sit back and pray that God has gifted me with a healthy child?

I battled and fought and finally got an appointment next week with a Downs specialist from Kings College. She will check my scans and measurements and compare that to those of a Down foetus.  Again, this wont be a medical diagnosis but purely to set my mind at rest, as best as can be under these circumstances.

Apparently Down Syndrome can also be detected by a scan as Downs children do not have a nasal bone at this stage, the base of the neck is thicker and organs may appear displaced.

Speaking to the consultant won’t change anything but it may help me feel a bit more reassured, it may help me chill out a bit for the next three months and try to enjoy being pregnant with our second child. All I can literally do now is wait, hope and pray that this was all a big storm in a tea cup.

So yeah, you could say, I’ve been feeling a bit down.

Contacts:

Marie Stopes – 0044 845 300 8090

BPAS – 0044 845 30 40 30

Spire Health Care – 0044 208 950 9090

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in London

 

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