Wednesday, 30 July 2008

I have the use of my sisters car for three weeks so we should be able to get out of the house for a bit and have a few wee adventures. I also have the pleasure of her dog for three weeks too. Though she seems no trouble so far.

On Monday we went to the hospital as requested to have Dan's blood checked. The midwife was rather vague about the whole issue of antibodies in my blood, but Dan kept pressuring her for some answers. Why are they always so reluctant to reveal what is going on with ones body and unborn child? She said that there are antibodies in my blood that could harm the baby. All due to me being of a rhesus negative blood group. They are trying to find out if Dan also has antibodies. If he hasn't then it means that somewhere my blood and the baby's blood has mixed (as far as I can work out from her sketchy brief explanations). She said that baby will be more closely monitored with blood tests and scans every two weeks, and that baby may need to be delivered early if it is showing signs of ill health. That's as much as I could find out so far. But I can feel the baby kicking and moving around a lot, so that puts my mind at rest. I am now 20 weeks, exactly half way through the pregnancy. Doesn't time fly? (I'm sure I wont be saying that in another 20 weeks time!)

The weather had improved somewhat over the start of the week. The kids have spent some quality time out in the garden. Here are Barney and Annabelle enjoying the sunshine and taking Hudge the guinea-pig for a wee swing!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Baby has a heartbeat

This morning saw Barney and I visiting the local midwifery clinic for my 2 week pregnancy check up. Barney was particularly impressed that he got to hear the new baby's heartbeat before his brother and sister, and before his Daddy. His little face lit up with excitement and amazement when the midwife asked if he could hear his baby siblings heart beating. I couldn't help beaming a big smile myself just from watching his wee enchanted face.

My blood pressure was even higher than usual at my checkup and the midwife seemed suitably worried. She is coming out to the house tomorrow to take it again and is requesting that I get some medication at last to bring it down.

This is turning into a bit of a pregnancy blog as I'm just not doing anything or going anywhere to report. As soon as something fun happens I'll be sure to let you all know!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Feeling the stress

The last few days have been a bit of a bummer, to say the least. On Friday some good friends of ours came to visit. It was great to see them again after so many months, but the exhertion of entertaining them (not that I lifted a finger really) sent me to bed that night with the start of a migraine. It seems that my high blood pressure doesn't affect me if I sit at home and do nothing. But as soon as I have guests, go out somewhere, or try to do anything other than rest, my blood pressure shoots up and I end up in bed with a migraine. I can't even get to Tesco's for some shopping without two days of sleep afterwards. So after our friends left I spent two full days in bed, with vomitting, the banging splitting head feeling, and severly disturbed vision and sensitivity to light. Dan tried to blacken out the windo in our bedroom but I still had to put a blindfold over my eyes. Today I made it out of bed and have been ok, even managing some housework and cooking.

But this afternoon I received a call from a midwife at my hospital. She said that the blood tests they'd taken on my last visit showed antibodies in my blood. I am rhesus negitive and Dan is rhesus positive, so theres always a risk of my body having difficulties with a rhesus positive baby. Out of the 3 kids I've had so far, only one of them was rhesus positive like their father. Us rhesus negative blood groups are a rarer type and I usually have to endure anti-D injections after the babies are born. Anyway, the midwife said they needed to see Dan at the hospital to test his blood. They asked me if he had ever had any blood transfusions (which he has) and asked me to send him in for some tests. The midwife wouldn't say much more about it, and all I know is that my body can fight a rhesus positive baby if there are antibodies present. So I guess I'll just have to wait and see what they say when we visit.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Baby at 18 weeks

Taken in 1965 by a Swiss photographer, this image was the first of its kind to show a live fetus inside the amniotic sac. This is a baby at 18 weeks gestation, which is exactly where I am at the moment, and so I wanted to post this picture onto the blog.

Right now my baby is kicking against the desk table. He is only 6 inches long from his head to bottom, but is already causing quite a commotion in there. I think she's having a rave right now. My baby can now hear sounds from the outside world, including my heartbeat and voice, and the voices of others around me. At almost half way through the pregnancy she is already a perfectly formed little human, just growing in strength and size until the big day.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Baby names

Doesn't everyone like a good chat about baby names? Well, women do at least. Especially mothers or expectant mothers. It's amazing how a group of women can while away the hours discussing names for the protruding bump. I am no exception. I do like to come up with my short list of baby names well before the baby is born. That way I have time to mull over the names in my head and decide whether they will stand the test of time, and am less likely to name my baby something I'd forever regret. I also have childhood memories of my littlest sister, who remained nameless for 6 weeks after birth because she was supposed to be a boy and my parents had run out of girls names.

I've received quite a few emails now asking about baby names so I thought I'd throw them out here onto the net for your perusal and comments. Please feel free to suggest any other names you feel are apt. I've received a good few suggestions based on the fact that our baby was conceived out in the deserts of New Mexico on our travels, names such as Sandy. So feel free to suggest names along those lines too, although I can't promise that I'll choose any of them!

No, we don't know the sex of the baby. We have never asked the sex of our babies and I highly doubt we will this time. I do like to hear my husbands emotional tear-jerked voice announce "its a boy/girl" at the end of all that damn hard work.

So here is our shortlist, so far. Basically if its a girl its probably going to be named either Emily or Zoe, with the middle name of Grace, Rose or Skye. Our family is unanimously agreed on that one, so I doubt any newer suggestions are going to tempt us away. But do go ahead and try. Our boys name list on the other hand is longer, and far less definite. I have so far used my favourite boys names and have a hard time finding any that I like as much as the ones I've already used up. But the shortlist so far include ....

Charlie, Jack, Oliver, Harry, Jamie, Henry, Rhys, Tyler, Harvey, Harley, and Joel. This list is set to change dramatically as the weeks pass. With additions and subtractions along the way. At this point let me say that our three children have biblical names so far, but this is purely coincidental. Samuel, Jude and Luke are biblical names, but were not chosen because of this. So non biblical names are perfectly fine. But one thing is for sure, I'm not calling it Randy.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Setlling back in

It's taken a little while to get used to being back at home. Especially as things are so different now. Neither of us are working at the moment, we don't have a car, or any money left, and we have the excitement of a new baby on the way. I've found it hard to settle back into home life. Firstly because we spent 5 glorious months traveling every day. Just waking up and deciding where to go and what to do. No ties and no boredom what so ever. Now, back at home I can't go anywhere as we don't have a car and I'm not well enough to get about the place. Secondly, life is not what it was before we left as we no longer have the business. Dan is at home, and taking over all the household chores, a) because I'm not well enough, and b) because he likes to keep busy. So, I'm a bit restless and redundant, although I cant complain as we've just had the best year ever.

The weather has been awful since we got home... rain, rain and more rain. I'm desperate to get back out into my vegetable garden. The only bit of home life Dan won't want to take over, lol. I've made it out briefly, twice, in between rain showers. What was once a beautiful healthy vegetable, fruit and herb garden (see here for the before photo) is now a jungle of 4ft tall weeds! Oh, the heartache!

I've cleared a few of them away, but I really only manage about 20 minutes of gentle weeding before my blood pressure goes up again and I have to lie down in a dark room. I'd really love to be able to get some lettuces planted, if nothing else. I do find it so therapeutic. This is me in my weed garden sporting some lovely pink welly boots and a 16 week baby bump.

The kids are settling in quite well. For the first week we barely saw them. Barney still keeps discovering toys he'd forgotten about. And the bigger kids have been inundated with offers for sleep overs, trips out with their friends etc. Barney says he misses the RV and misses America. He likes to sit and chat about all the things we saw and experienced out there. The bigger two kids are using the summer to catch up on school work they missed. Annabelle only needs to catch up on some maths, but Jimmie has two hours of school work each morning, which covers French, Science, Maths and English. They don't seem to mind doing it. I think they realise they got a pretty good deal with the trip.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Home at last

Thanks to everyone who has sent concerned emails the last few weeks. I have just read them all this morning. Yes we are home, alive and well. I've spent most of three weeks in bed, watching Dan do most of the housework. The journey home finished me off and I thought I was going to sleep for the rest of the pregnancy. Its taken till today to get our internet switched back on, and so I've had no way of posting since we left America.

Three weeks after our big trip across the US, it all almost seems like a dream now. I have found it hard to settle back into home life. Going from driving to new destinations every day, to being housebound, unwell and with no car has been a bit tough. Not to mention the worry about our baby and whether it was ok or not.

But I'm happy to report that yesterday we had our first baby scan and little bundle of joy number four is alive, well and kicking. My blood pressure is still very high, although not as bad as it was in America. The doctors are keeping an eye on it. In 8 weeks time they will carefully scan the placenta to make sure that its ok. High blood pressure can cause clots to form in the placenta from around that time, so they are going to keep a check on it. The scan was amazing. Junior lifted his/her head right up as if looking into the scanner and started blowing kisses at us!
I will post more in a day or so when there isn' a queue of family members waiting to check their emails.