When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was asked by the managers of a (now defunct) diabetes website to write a weekly diary about how my pregnancy was progressing. I didn’t realise it at the time (this was, after all, 2004!) that I was, in effect, writing a blog. 

They wanted me to focus on how the pregnancy impacted my diabetes – and how diabetes was impacting my pregnancy. I’ve decided to republish the diary here, with some additions from the the handwritten journal I kept for the 38 weeks.

I’ve thrown in a few photos of the kidlet when she was little – really little – and am publishing this today on her twelfth birthday when she is not so little anymore. But still perfect. Still loved. Still wonderful.

WEEK 6
I have written a note to Aaron for when he gets home from his gig. It reads ‘I have bad news and I have good news. The BAD news is that we won’t be going to Europe in June/July this year. The GOOD news is that we are having a baby’.

I am pregnant again. Six-and-a-half months after I miscarried. Ridiculously, I called my endo to share the news with her – at 8pm on a Thursday, fulfilling the promise of ‘I’m the second person you tell after your husband’. I have an appointment with her in a week and a half and she is happy to wait until then to see me if that suits me. Sure does! The following day I speak with the obstetrician who tells me he will see me in a couple of weeks.

I am excited. I am terrified. I don’t know how I will cope if I miscarry again. All I want is for this little, tiny bean in me to become the baby I hold in 9 months time. Can I do this?

WEEK 7
It’s a waiting game. And my mind is playing tricks on me. This is how a typical conversation in my head goes:

Me – How are those pregnancy symptoms?
Me – Still there
Me – Are my boobs less tender today? Oh no- there must be something wrong
Me – I feel like throwing up. How fantastic!
Me – Where is the nausea today?
Me – Bloody nausea is back

Etc etc etc.

I visit a dietitian who leads me through the ‘what’s in/what’s out’ last of foods. I can quite easily avoid soft cheeses – I don’t even eat cheese! But no sushi? That is going to KILL me. I have already made Aaron promise that he willl bring me a huge sushi banquet into the hospital the day I deliver. He obliges, as he has been doing with great consistency. He has also adopted using the phrase ‘That’s the baby hormones‘ when anything untoward happens. For example – me getting up every three minutes to pee, or me complaining about the exhaustion. Or me bursting into tears because there is no chocolate in the house. Powerful things, those hormones!

WEEK 8
First visit to endo who announces an HbA1c of 6.3 per cent. She is happy with how I seem to be travelling – both diabetes-wise and emotionally – and will see me in a fortnight at the Royal Women’s Hospital (RWH) diabetes and pregnancy clinic which I will be attending for all my antenatal appointments. She is all words of encouragement and positivity and says this pregnancy is off to such a good start and I am giving the baby such a good beginning. I go home and make a huge dinner of veggies and lean meat!

If only I could relax a little and start to feel less anxious. I am afraid to feel excited and happy. I’m terrified to think beyond this moment of the pregnancy. I want to start to plan, look forward and imagine my baby. But it’s too soon. I’m still too raw.

WEEK 9
This week I go to a presentation by Professor Stephanie Amiel, a visiting diabetologist from the UK. She’s talking about diabetes and pregnancy. At her clinic, BGL targets for all women (whether they have type 1, type 2 or GDM) are:

Pre-meal: 3.5 – 5mmol/l
1 hour post meal: 4 – 7mmol/l

I am coping pretty well with the pre-meal levels, but my one hour post meals are not looking too much like that. If I was 4mmol/l an hour after a meal, I can pretty much guarantee I will be hypo within the following half hour.

Decide I need to speak with my endo about those targets and wonder just how realistic they are. I also think I’ll need to do some tweaking of my basal rates. Perhaps that will help with bringing the post meal levels closer to those targets.

Speaking of hypos – wow and whoa!  I’ve never been so low, so consistently. I can’t seem to get my BGLs up, and I feel that I am eating constantly. I’ll have a lot to speak about at next week’s clinic visit – I’m making a list that so far is over two pages!

WEEK 10
First visit to the RWH diabetes and pregnancy clinic. It’s a one stop shop for all things diabetes and pregnancy related. Here I can see my endo, my ob/gyn, an ophthalmologist, a dietitian, a diabetes educator and I am sure that I could probably organise an interior designer to come and fit out the nursery if I was that way inclined. Should I be that way inclined?

Aaron is with me and nearly passes out when I explain to him what an amniocentesis is – which I’m hoping I won’t need. I can see how useful he is going to be at the birth and decide now is probably not the best time to let him know that this baby will probably be delivered by caesarian. He may do a runner and not show up until 2006.

The obstetrician calls me in and we have a little chat. He asks what my last A1c was and I tell him 6.3 per cent, but I have had another one since and expect it to be better. He is pretty delighted with the 6.3 per cent! (I am too!) He then takes us into another room to do a little scan to check for a heart beat and date the embryo.

This is the point where I start to freak out a little. I can’t get out of my head what happened last time (which in a nutshell involved me needing two internal ultrasounds – the second by a specialist sonographer to even get a picture). I am warned that as it is so early in the pregnancy and if my uterus is tilted, I will need an internal. I don’t care – I just want to know that all is OK and see a flashing heartbeat. A strong, flashing heartbeat.

I lie down and Aaron holds my hand. The obstetrician puts the gel on my tummy and puts the sensor on top and straight away says, ‘There’s the heartbeat’. HUGE sigh of relief from me and a look of utter disbelief on Aaron’s face. Tears gently fall down my cheeks as I stare at the jelly bean shaped blob on the screen that is going to be our baby. Our baby. Do I dare write it and say it yet?

Next stop, endo. I don’t remember much from the visit apart from being told my A1c is down to 6.1 per cent. Am in a daze and wanting to do a jig! I pat my tummy and think ‘I am doing ALL I can here, baby. Stay with me, sweetie. Please.’

WEEK 11
The most interesting thing to happen this week is the budget announcement that pump consumables will be subsidised on the NDSS. This is a huge victory for the many people with diabetes and diabetes organisations who have been lobbying the government to have the costs of lines and reservoirs added to the NDSS. For me, this adds another $300 in my pocket each month. Methinks that will come in handy over the next few months!

Pregnancy wise – still plugging along. My fingers are raw from all the BGL checks I am doing and I am so exhausted that the other night I fell asleep half way through a conversation with Aaron. At the dinner table. For the record, his conversational skills are most entertaining.

I can’t believe that I am only this far gone and already have a bump. I’m having a very hard time hiding my expanding waistline from work colleagues and have become an expert in being creative with scarves. I also bought myself a poncho to hide the paunch and am trying to convince myself that I look really cool. The last time I wore a poncho I was eight years old, my grandmother crocheted it for me and it had pom-poms.

WEEK 12
‘Look at your tummy’, exclaims my grandmother as I walk through her front door. Yes, Nonna, I am pregnant – which she knows and yes, I know how pregnant I look. But thank you for drawing attention to the fact that I am starting to resemble a beached whale. I obviously will not be one of those Hollywood pregnant types with a pert little bump on stick insect limbs. Never mind. I am quite loving my changing shape – and I have no intention of naming any child of mine ‘Apple’.

Birth day

Birth day

Scan number two and I was totally unprepared for what I got. I was expecting to see a slightly larger jelly-bean shaped blob. Instead as soon as the scanner hit my tummy I breathed in sharply and exclaimed ‘It looks like a baby!’ A puzzled obstetrician asked ‘What were you expecting?‘ He then moved the scanner a little and the baby started dancing – and then it waved!The tears started then (from me – not the obstetrician; he continues to be incredible professional despite my frequent tears and silly questions), and we now have our first baby photos. I walked into work and was greeted by one of my two colleagues who know my ‘secret’ with ‘You are absolutely glowing‘. I was still flushed and excited from the scan.Due date is confirmed around the first week of December, but as the medicos keep reminding me, I won’t go full term. So, it looks like my 31st birthday present may be a baby. I was hoping for diamonds, but I think a baby is better! Or both. Yes. Both would be good too.

WEEK 13
I finally decided that I REALLY needed to go and buy some clothes that do up around the waist. So, off maternity shopping I go. Let me tell you this was nowhere near as exciting a trip as I expected.

As a seasoned shopper, I am famous amongst my friends for easily buying a whole new season’s wardrobe in a lunch hour. I figured this would be a leisurely shopping trip – and hopefully the shops would have those pregnancy pillows so I could see how I would look when I was nine months pregnant! (I know, tragic.)

I walked out of the second shop empty handed, (an absolute first for me), and was beginning to think that the next 6 months would involve looking like I worked at Darrell Lea in the 1980’s. (For those not old enough to remember, they used to wear brightly coloured smocks with huge bows around the neck).

After throwing a tantrum in the third shop, (‘No, really, I don’t want a t-shirt that reads ‘BABY UNDER CONSTRUCTION’), I asked a complete stranger (who was pregnant) if she knew of any decent places. She pointed me in the direction of an inner-city shop (naturally, right around the corner from home. I didn’t even know it existed). I walked in and was thrilled to see exactly the sort of clothes I wear now – but with expandable waists – now THAT is a great idea! Twenty minutes later, I walked out with four new skirts, a few tops and a pair of pants – and not a teddy bear, flower or arrow pointing to my tummy in sight!

Diabetes-wise, a very bizarre week that basically involved me struggling to get my sugars above 3.5mmol/l. Spending entire nights hypo is not fun at all, and really there are only so many Natural Confectionery Company snakes a person can eat! My new pump allows me to do all sorts of fancy temporary basal things such as reducing my level by percentages. I began by setting the pump to deliver at 90 per cent of the usual basal and kept reducing it until at 65 per cent the hypos numbered under 5 per day.

This week marks the end of my first trimester. You’d think I’d start breathing a little easier (especially now I have some clothes that don’t pinch in my diaphragm!). But no! Each week brings new concerns. Next week I have my big screening ultrasound, which has me worrying about all sorts of neural tube defects.

WEEK 14
We have started telling all and sundry our ‘news’ and I have ‘come out’ at work. I kinda wish we had held off a little. We went to a friend’s birthday party the other night. I had rung them the day before and told them that we were having a baby. We didn’t want our announcement to spoil the birthday boy’s big day. HA! ‘When are you due? What are you having? Will you find out? How are you feeling? Any morning sickness?’…..and so it goes. (The answers to those are: ‘End of November. Not sure yet. Yes. Fine, thanks. Only a little’.) And I have another six months of these questions.

I was so apprehensive about telling people. I felt like it would jinx how well everything has been going. I am absolutely not the superstitious type. I’m still scared something may go wrong. And I want to protect our little secret. It feels safe and secure with only our nearest and dearest being in on it.

Wednesday was the day of the complications screening scan. I couldn’t sleep the night before and got out of bed grumpy and not looking forward to three hours at pregnancy clinic. But all it took was one look at our dancing baby and I was happy again.

The ultrasound consultant informed me that based on all the measurements, the risk factor for any major issues was small – in fact, that of a woman who is 24 years old, not 30.

I skipped into the appointment with my endo feeling incredibly sprightly and youthful. Latest HbA1c came back as 5.5 per cent – too low for me in my books. And all the hypos I’ve been having suggest the same thing! I have decided that it really isn’t worth spending my days in a hypo-fuzz just to have a low HbA1c. I think I will be happy if it sits closer to 6.5 per cent for the rest of the pregnancy. The endo says that anything around 6 per cent is fantastic, but agrees that the constant hypos are worrying. We make some small adjustments to basal rates. We’ll see how this impacts on things the next time my A1c is done.

WEEK 15
We do a tour of the maternity ward at the hospital I will be delivering at. Whilst all my antenatal appointments will be at the wonderful RWH, I  will be delivering our baby at Francis Perry House – the private hospital which occupies the top couple of floors of RWH. Pretty rooms and a lovely delivery suite.

All the other women on the tour were asking about the use of the spa bath and fit balls during labour. I was asking about where I’d be getting my caesarian. I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I will be delivering this baby via the sunroof, and all those plans I had for a bean bag, my nearest and dearest, and some cool jazz music on the CD player while I wear some exotic little slip of a nighty (or my favourite flannel PJs) have flown out the window.

And whilst I am a little disappointed at the medicalised nature of my pregnancy and the way that our baby will be entering this world, I am very focused on the desired outcome is: a healthy baby in our arms. I really don’t care how it gets there. As long as it does.

This week marked the first time I have ever passed out from a hypo . (Is that something I should be putting in the baby diary as a fond memory?) I have no idea how I got from work to home the other night, apart from the fact that I was a passenger in my own car and a work colleague drove me. I am still freaking out about the whole incident and have no desire to go through anything like it again. This led to a re-education session for Aaron on how to administer a Glucagon shot – which in some ways scares me more than another black-out hypo!

WEEK 16
Well, I do have a little more energy and have managed to not fall asleep in a meeting for a whole week. I am patting myself on the back big time! Oh – and I haven’t passed out again either. All in all a good week!

WEEK 17
Another visit to the RWH diabetes and pregnancy clinic. I’m super lucky to be using the public clinic and yet see the same doctors each time – who also happen to be the doctors of my choice. And the mornings are also a social occasion. I seem to know so many of the women there, and it is a great chance to see how everyone is progressing and coping with this weird state called pregnancy. Yet another example where peer support is so important when it comes to living with diabetes!

First week at home.

First week at home.

My obstetrician asks me his usual first question, ‘So Renza, is there anything that has worried you over the last three weeks?‘ Ah – yep! ‘Why am I so ridiculously anxious? I am really thrilled about being pregnant, but I can’t seem to relax.‘ He explains that many first time pregnant women feel this way, and adds that the fact that I miscarried last year is probably adding to my fears. I need to calm down a bit more – I am only planning on doing this once and don’t want all memories to be of me being an obsessive, anxious twit. Another little scan shows the baby is lying face down – my preferred may of sleeping! I am a little reassured as I leave knowing that the baby is doing all that it is supposed to be, with a strongly beating heart.

WEEK 18
I have taken this week off work to try and do ‘get-ready-for-baby‘ things. And each day Aaron and I have convinced ourselves that this involves sleeping late, going out for brunch and then having an afternoon nap! Not all was lost, however. We did manage to buy a new car which will accommodate a pram in the boot and we also went and had a look at some prams. I nearly had a heart attack when the first price tag I turned over showed $1,599.00. I asked the sales assistant if that included a live-in nanny for 12 months. Sales assistant did not look amused. I tried to explain that my first car didn’t cost that much, and there was no way that my child’s first mode of transport was going to cost more than my first car.

This week I have delved into the later chapters of the pregnancy books and read all about caesarian sections which is how this baby is coming out. And now I am trying to work out ways to keep this baby in! I have decided that I am going to forfeit my usual attitude of ‘read up and be informed‘, instead trying ‘ignorance is bliss‘, and stop looking at gruesome pictures.

WEEK 19
The end of this week will mark the half way point of my pregnancy. All of a sudden I have become an absolute nervous wreck! Okay, I’ve always been a nervous wreck…now everything has just escalated!

The most exciting thing to happen this week is that I have started to feel the baby moving around. After two days of thinking that I was getting some very bizarre tummy rumbles I realised that perhaps this was something a little more. The pregnancy books call it ‘the quickening’ and say it feels like butterflies, and I guess it does.

The movements are very unpredictable and happen at any time of the day – although slightly more frequently at night. Every time it happens I have been exclaiming very loudly ‘Ooh, the baby is moving!‘. Aaron has immediately thrown his hand onto my stomach to try and feel a kick, but of course by that time has missed it. He has tried to coax a kick and will sit for ages with his hands on my tummy to no avail. This has lead him to proclaim ‘Well obviously it’s a girl – it is already being stubborn, obstinate and contrary’. He thinks he is amusing. I think he is wrong.

One more week until the next scan which will tell us what brand of baby this is. Everyone has their own theory as to what it is and why. Apparently I am carrying a watermelon shape and according to some weird ritual involving my wedding ring and a necklace I am having a girl one minute and a boy the next.

I am waiting for the doctor to have a look and point out the relevant bits to me before I commit one way or the other. Having said that I am putting my neck on the line but will say that I think I am having a boy. Will let you all know next week what the scan says.

WEEK 20
And….it’s a girl!

We walked into the room and as usual I was anxious and Aaron was hiding any concerns he had. He held my hand as the doctor got everything ready. ‘Um, we want to find out if we’re having an Elvis or a Priscilla’, I said to her. She smiled and said she’d do all she could to find out for us.

Aaron and I were surprised at the detail this scan went in to. We not only got an overall impression of the baby, but also had a very close look at all her organs, fingers and toes. Each of the chambers of her heart were examined closely looking for anything that could cause concern. But the doctor kept nodding and saying everything looked fine.

She then turned to us and asked if we were sure we wanted to know the gender of the baby, We both nodded eagerly, holding our breath. ‘You’re having a girl‘, the doctor smiled at us. ‘I’m 99 per cent sure, it’s pretty clear!‘ Aaron and I looked at each other and I burst into tears. Of absolute joy. A baby girl. Our daughter. I allowed myself to picture her for a moment and to fast forward a couple of years where I imagined her in a tutu covered with mud as we played in the garden . And I saw us dancing around the kitchen to Beatles songs. A daughter. We’d have a daughter. I could barely breathe I was so overjoyed. And the look on Aaron’s face showed exactly the same emotions.

In amongst the elation, it’s also been a terrifying week.

I realised when I woke up on Friday (two days after our scan) that I’d had a seizure in my sleep. There was blood all over the pillow (and an incredibly mangled tongue in my mouth) and I continued to throw up blood for an hour after I woke. Of course I was terrified that something had happened to the baby and I called the obstetrician as soon as I could. He saw me that morning and did a scan to alleviate our concerns. All was OK. I am unsure as to why I fitted – I did treat a terrible hypo before I fell asleep, but was pretty confident that I had eaten enough. This roller-coaster is really quite scary at times!

On a lighter note, I had an interesting conversation with the obstetrician at the first visit for the week. After chatting in the waiting room with a couple of other women who are all pretty much at the same stage of their pregnancy as I am, it occurred to me that my tummy is somewhat larger than theirs. One woman doesn’t even look pregnant. I asked the doctor if I was going okay – size-wise. He looked at me and said ‘You are a GOOD size’. I thought that was quite diplomatic. He then continued with ‘I hope you weren’t expecting a small baby – because you won’t be getting one! You’ll be getting something somewhere between average size and a boofer’. Boofer? He clarified that by saying, ‘Boofer is a highly technical medical term’. So, our beautiful baby girl is now fondly being referred to as ‘Boofer’. I really hope that doesn’t stick!

WEEK 21
It hasn’t been a great week. Following my seizure last week I am still experiencing horrific back pain. I’ve discovered I don’t deal with pain too well – especially drug-free pain! Perhaps I could be hooked up to an epidural pump from now.

Delighted to say that Flossy (new nickname) is kicking continuously which is delightful, and Aaron has actually managed to feel a few kicks. Speaking of names we are having absolutely no luck coming up with names. I am open to anything, so if any readers of this diary have suggestions, please let me know.

And finally, the other exciting news for the week – MY BELLY BUTTON HAS POPPED OUT!

WEEK 22I think – truthfully, I have no idea!
THINGS THE BOOKS DON’T TELL YOU

I have myriad pregnancy books to which I refer at every twinge, cramp, tummy rumble, WHATEVER! And some of them have been truly fantastic at moments of particular anxiety. However, here are some of the interesting things the books neglect to point out:

1. Your feet get bigger. Now as excited as I am at the prospect of needing an entire new shoe collection, I am somewhat perplexed by the fact that I can no longer fit into most closed up shoes. At this point in time, I have no fluid retention that is contributing to this, rather I have gone from being a size eight to needing a size eight and a half to nine. This has meant I’ve had to buy some comfortable (read: not high heeled) shoes for work and play.

2. It’s all people want to talk about! Now I know that a pregnant woman elicits excitement and questions from those around her, but as I am still the person I was six months ago (actually, I am half the person again, but this isn’t about weight gain!), I find it perplexing that my opinions are no longer sought. In fact the other day, someone asked me a work related questions and before I could offer my well thought-out response, she commented. ‘Why am I troubling you with this – you’ve got enough on your plate. So….which pram are you going to buy?’

3. Usually polite and ‘normal’ people suddenly feel it is appropriate to ask personal question. And my size – okay, this is about the weight gain – has become fair game for anyone. This ranges from ‘Gosh – you’ve put on weight’, to ‘Thank goodness you’ve put on weight – you used to look anorexic’. Not helpful, people; not helpful at all.

img_1632And now I need to talk about pineapple. Until recently I had been smugly telling anyone who asked that I’d not succumbed to any sorts of cravings whatsoever. However recently I have had a hankering for all things pineapple. I can’t get enough pineapple juice or fresh pineapple. I can eat a whole pineapple in a sitting – although I’m trying not to! Oooh – is Pineapple a good name? Probably not.

Pineapple has a lot of sugar in it. And, you know, with the me not making my own insulin thing, that means I need to cover all the pineapple-y sugar with insulin.  A lot of insulin. But, when I want pineapple, I need pineapple. I just wish my pump had a turbo setting for it.

I do seem to be terribly emotional and will cry at the drop of a hat. I was in Safeway the other day and was a snivelling mess at the site of a gorgeous pink and white striped grow suit in a size 000. ‘Look how small it is‘, I blubbered to my alarmed mother who thought we were just in there to buy a pineapple. Then I looked at it again and realised the little munchkin who fits into that has to come out of me. Then the sobbing really started.

Ooh – and possibly the most exciting news is that Aaron and I think we have hit the name lottery and come up with a beautiful, gorgeous name to suit our little one. We’ve gone back and forward with a few suggestions and a short list of names. There are some names I absolutely love and Aaron is okay with, and some names that Aaron loves and I am okay with. But the other day we hit the jackpot with one we both love and adore and think will work perfectly for our girl. But nothing is set in stone and there are still weeks to go so any suggestions are still welcome – and I was kidding about Pineapple! I think.

WEEK 23
I feel as though I spent most of last week sitting in the waiting rooms and offices of health professionals.

I started off with my osteopath who is trying to fix whatever the hell I did when I fitted (over three weeks ago now), then another visit to the clinic to see my obstetrician, and then my endo.

And I finished off the week seeing my ophthalmologist. I was more than delighted when he informed me that there was absolutely no deterioration at the back of my eyes, which can happen to some women during pregnancy. He said he wasn’tt surprised considering my A1c and blood pressure, which at my last appointment was 120/80.

I left all visits with a report of ‘normal, normal, normal‘. And if there is any time in your life when you want to be told that you are normal, this is it!

img_1634My concern about all my weight gain – yep all 17 kilograms of it – seems to be my concern alone. I mentioned to it the obstetrician and the conversation went like this:

Me – I have put on sooooo much weight.

Him – Well, what has been going on with your basal insulin dose?

Me – Nothing! It hasn’t increased at all.

Him – Okay, what are you eating lots of?

Me – Pineapple. And pineapple juice.

Him – That does have a lot of sugar in it. Maybe cut down a bit.

Me – Okay. But really! It is so unfair. If I was going home and eating a two litre tub of ice cream each night I could completely understand where you are coming from. But pineapple?

(Him – trying to not roll his eyes)

The conversation with my endo went like this:

Me – I have put on sooooo much weight.

Her – Oh – what’s going on?

Me – It’s all pineapple. (Poking and prodding my tummy)

Her – (horrified expression)

Me – What? That’s all I have been craving and eating to excess.

Her – (relieved expression) Oh – I thought that is what you were going to call her!

And so, I have 15 weeks to go. Really, I have had such a terrific time to date that I am wondering if it means I have a horrifically tumultuous third trimester to look forward to. I seriously hope not. I would be more than happy to have normal, normal, normal reports for the duration!

WEEK 24
I am feeling very grumpy today due to serious lack of sleep. I woke last night at 2.30am. I was hypo and then spent the next half hour trying to convince myself that I wasn’t really low – it was all in my mind. Finally, I gave in, threw down a glass of milk with Milo and climbed back into bed, ready for some serious sleep. Ha! Flossy decided that if I wasn’t going to watch the gymnastics, she would provide a few routines of her own. Three hours worth! She’s pretty good, I have to say and I reckon she has just about perfected her tumbleturns.

img_1633The exhaustion is starting to get intense. Pregnancy combined with draining working weeks results in ridiculous emotional irrationality. I have been bursting into tears at the drop of a hat, and if I want to climb into bed and sleep and can’t for some reason I become weepy. Poor Aaron has started walking into rooms and trying to gauge whether I am about to cry before he says something as horrible as ‘Honey, can I get you cup of tea’.

Am I ridiculous to start feeling anxious because we are not really organised yet. Apart from a change table (which still needs painting) there is nothing in the house that would indicate a baby is on its way. (Well, except for me and my scarily expanding stomach.) We have chosen the pram and all other paraphernalia we want, we just haven’t bought any of it. And the baby’s room is still very much a study. I have started writing to do lists, and leaving them all over the house in the hope that some genie (or Aaron!) will come by and knock up a whiz-bang nursery. At this stage I think I’d be happy if we had a cot so at least the little munchkin has somewhere to sleep. Maybe next week.

WEEK 25
My insulin requirements this week have gone absolutely berserk. After maintaining the same basal rates for the last 10 weeks, this week has seen BGL and insulin gymnastics. No matter how much insulin I pumped as correction boluses I couldn’t get a reading below 12. I was checking every 45 minutes and bolusing accordingly. I finally bit the bullet and upped all my basals 35 per cent – except the ones from midday to 5.00pm which ended up 50 per cent higher. I also changed my insulin to carb sensitivity factor and correction factor to accommodate. Must be a lot of growing going on!

I finally came to the conclusion that part of the reason for us not having bought any ‘baby stuff’ has been me being a little (a lot!) superstitious. Okay – that and the fact that I am a little (a lot!) disorganised. When I really examined the reasons for not wanting to actually commit to buying anything I realised it has been because of fear that something could still go wrong.

Even though we’ve chosen everything we want, we haven’t bought it and brought anything home. So, Saturday morning saw us up bright and early, heading off to buy a pram. I had narrowed down the choice to two, yet it still took two hours of trying them out to make up our (my – Aaron was happy with either) minds. I wheeled, turned, dismantled, assembled, loaded into the boot of the new car, unloaded out of the boot, lifted and raced each of them. In the end I had absolutely no idea which one I preferred. I’m a little embarrassed to say we did end up with the pram that cost more than my first car. Seriously, explaining why is far too long a story for here, but let me tell you it had something to do with the colour of the pram, my dad and hurricanes.

So, well done to us! We have made a purchase. Although we won’t be picking it up for a few weeks yet. I asked if I could have it delivered the first week of November. Baby steps, Renza, baby steps!

WEEK 26
An absolutely frantic week and thank goodness it is over!

The highlight of the week for me was the chat I had with my obstetrician regarding the delivery of the baby. Finally, I felt ready to broach the subject and was prepared for the gory details. I have had so many questions, and have been writing them all down, yet not ready to ask them. It’s as if I feel that if I were to actually discuss the delivery and the reality of having a baby I would be jinxing myself against it really happening.

My main concerns have involved the process of a caesarian. Epidural or spinal block, and what is the difference anyway? What happens after delivery? Will I be able to hold the baby? What will I be able to feel? Will Aaron be able to stay with her when she is taken to the Special Care Nursery?

Well, I will be having a spinal block. Yes, I will be able to hold the baby once she is delivered. Or as the doctor explained – both Aaron and I will be able to have a big cuddle while I am being stitched up (ick!). I will feel a bit of pulling and tugging, but absolutely no pain. Aaron should be able to stay with the baby while she is taken away.

I was so relieved at the fact that I will be able to hold her once she is delivered that I burst into tears. Again.

I had fears of her being whisked away before I even had a good chance to have a look at her face. This is really such an emotional ride. I seem to be in tears constantly – often from sheer happiness, other times from exhaustion and other times because it all seems too much and I am simply terrified. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. I have thirteen weeks before I get to see my baby, to hold her. It has been such a difficult and long time coming that I can only feel joy. The trepidation is what all expectant mothers feel – but for me, there is the history of getting here that reminds me just how special it is.

Plus diabetes adds that extra dimension that other women don’t have to deal with. I hear my friends without diabetes discussing their pregnancies. Of course they have concerns and are nervous about things. But they don’t have to consider a health condition that behaves however it wants; a health condition that can seriously impact the baby and mum.

This is probably the only time I’ve ever really resented having diabetes, and it’s not because of what it’s doing to me. It’s about how it could affect our baby girl. I am doing all I can to protect her and keep her healthy and safe. But I can’t always control what diabetes is doing. I can only hope that the work I’m putting in is enough.

WEEK 27
For the last two weeks I have been on the cusp of a terrible cold/flu/virusy-thing. I think it has officially started today. Thank you to my darling husband for passing it on to me. Serves me right for boasting to a million coughing, snivelling Melbournians that this pregnancy has obviously improved my immune system because I’ve survived the whole winter without a sniffle.

img_1637I had a bit of a panic (what’s new?) the other day when I was sure the baby wasn’t moving as much as she had been. After a day of silently worrying, I called my obstetrician who saw me that afternoon, pointing out that in 99.9 per cent of the cases it would be nothing, but let’s check things out anyway. He poked and prodded around my tummy and said all felt fine and then did a scan, which showed all was okay. Seems she was just having a quiet day. I felt ridiculous and paranoid, but so much more relieved knowing that everything was travelling fine.

Growing, growing, growing! I am starting to feel uncomfortable doing pretty much anything. Putting on socks or stockings has become a bit of a comedy routine with me stumbling and rolling all over the place. And I have simply decided to dress for comfort now – my choices are starting to be quite limited. Pregnancy really is not glamorous. Bloody women’s magazines perpetuating the myth that one day you get pregnant, then develop a bump, then pop out a baby, give it a stupid name and three minutes later are back to a size six.

WEEK 28
10 weeks to go.

Insulin requirements have almost doubled in the last three weeks leaving me fearing next week’s ultrasound. I am expecting confirmation of the ‘boofer’ status my obstetrician predicted.

I seem to have overcome the psychological hurdle about increased insulin doses. I really haven’t liked the fact that my insulin requirements had been going up and am checking my BGLs every thirty minutes and making tiny bolus doses if my sugars are out of range. For some reason I had this ridiculous equation of ‘more insulin = bad’ in my head, when really the equation should have simply been ‘need as much insulin as you need!’ My sugars have been better as a result of this shift in attitude.

Happy to be plodding (or waddling as my husband so fondly puts it) along with things at the moment. Ten weeks is ages anyway, isn’t it?

WEEK 29
It’s the ‘more frequent’ stage of pregnancy: more frequent visits to the myriad HCPs who I see more than I see most of my friends; more frequent visits to the toilet (I feel I am turning into a little puppy who can’t pass a tree without marking its territory. Although I haven’t quite been reduced to stopping behind trees. Yet…); more frequent basal adjustments; more frequent correction boluses; and more frequent hypos too.

Last week’s clinic visit started with an ultrasound. It had been a few weeks since we had seen our Flossy, so we were keen to see how much she had grown.

I was petrified that due to the almost doubling of insulin requirements, we’d be seeing a huge baby, and I was dreading the M word: macrosomia. Instead, we are told that she (and yes – still a she) is smack-bang in the middle of the normal range and is currently measuring 1.1 kilograms. Everything else looks good too apparently. I say apparently, because at this stage of the game, we can’t really get a full picture of our baby anymore as she is so big. We did get a lovely picture of a foot though which had been planted quite firmly on my bladder for a few days. Not particularly comfortable from my point of view!

Tummy gymnastics have reached a new level of proficiency. Aaron couldn’t believe the kicking and pushing the other night as she was trying to turn around. Obviously it is getting a little crowded in there for her, so it’s limbs askew as she tries to reposition. I was just glad the foot had moved!

WEEK 30
Someone forgot to tell me that due to my O negative blood type, I needed an ‘Anti D’ shot at my last clinic visit. During the week I received a frantic call from a midwife saying I HAD to go in and see the obstetrician for the injection. Grrrr – not keen to spend another morning at clinic. The good news was that I spoke with the obstetrician (not my usual one as he has a couple of weeks off) about the size of the baby and what it meant. He read the ultrasound report from the previous week and announced that she is in the 50th percentile. I asked if babies born to mums with diabetes often grew excessively in the final few weeks, and he said that even at this stage, if the baby was going to be huge, he would have expected her to be above average at this point.

I seem to be relaxing a little about the ban on all baby items in the house. Okay, that is a gross understatement. I have been buying baby stuff like there is no tomorrow. I can’t help it! Every store has huge discounts on baby wear at the moment, and who am I to pass up a bargain? And everything is so gorgeous.

Even though I am becoming more and more uncomfortable, I am enjoying this part of the pregnancy. Last week I went to the Impressionists exhibition at the NGV, and spent nearly five hours walking around looking at the beautiful paintings. It’s amazing how something as magical as a Van Gogh or a Renoir can take your mind off back pain and swollen ankles!

I really feel that I want to savour the last two or so remaining months. I have said all along that I plan on doing this once and once only. So, bearing that in mind, this is the only time I will be pregnant, and these last eight weeks will be the only time left to revel in it!

WEEK 31
Feel huge.

Feel tired.

Feel like peeing constantly.

WEEK 32

Most attractively, I am calling this final part of the pregnancy ‘The Swollen Time‘. Swollen ankles, swollen belly, swollen fingers. So glamorous!

img_1639Aaron and I attended our first antenatal class this week. We booked into a two-week course on breastfeeding. The class was held by a breastfeeding advocate who proudly announced as soon as the class started that she has been lactating continuously since January 2001. She has just recently weaned her three-and-a-half year old, but continues to feed her ten month old and fed both together for some time. When someone (quite practically, I thought) asked if we should have an emergency supply of bottles and formula at home she nearly passed out in horror. Honestly, by her response you would have thought that the question was ‘Should I try to poison my newborn while neglecting him/her?’.

I can totally understand the reasons for breastfeeding – and I really hope that I can breastfeed our little one. But I can also understand the need for there to be options for women who are unable to feed or choose not to.

I had a couple of questions that were very specific to me and my situation. The first question was, ‘Given that I will be having a caesarian delivery, how do I ensure I give my baby that first essential feed within 30 minutes of birth?‘ I could tell by her expression that she wasn’t happy that I was planning a caesar.  She started to ask me why, but I think the look on my face told her to back off. I didn’t particularly want to have to explain in front of a room full of strangers my medical history, but I was prepared to take her on if she wanted to have a go at women for making a different birth choice to her. Her suggestion to my question was that I express colostrum before the caesar and ensure that the baby is CUP or SPOON fed  (i.e. not bottle fed) until I can breastfeed her.

My second question was, ‘My baby will be probably be taken to Special Care immediately after birth and I don’t know for how long. What will she be fed?‘. Express, express, express was the response. Basically, her answer to all questions was ‘Avoid formula – it’s bad. Don’t use bottles – they’re bad.’

I didn’t get around to my next questions which had something to do with breastfeeding sometimes bringing on hypos and what would be the greater risk – making sure my baby was breastfed or risking dropping my baby as I pass out mid-feed?

I was quite furious when I left the class, and now fear how the hospital will deal with me if I found that I simply could not, or did not want to breastfeed.

I had check ups with my endo, and my obstetrician rather cutely said ‘Wow Renza, you’re 31 weeks. You must feel that you can just about reach out and touch the baby’. I burst into tears – a mixture of joy and still-there anxiety. I know I’m getting close. I know that everything is going along well. I just can’t feel confident yet. Because I’m not holding her in my arms; I am not looking at her face.

WEEK 33
A huge sigh of relief that the week is over.

I finished up at work last Thursday after a frantic week of trying to get everything done. By Thursday afternoon, I realised that I wasn’t even going to get close to completing everything and was simply going to have to hand over everything knowing that I had done all I could.

I had the second part of my breastfeeding antenatal class with a far more understanding midwife/lactation consultant. I am feeling a little less stressed about the whole issue – unlike a woman in the class who nearly fainted when we were told that we may have to breastfeed our babies eight to 12 times a day. The poor little thing was certain it was a three times a day deal –(‘You know – like normal people’).

img_1635So the end of work came with mixed emotions. On one hand, there was the thought that I would be able to fully focus on getting things ready for the baby (let’s just NOT even go there. At this point in time, the baby will be sleeping in a drawer somewhere). On the other hand, I have no idea how I will cope NOT working. I love my job – I really do.

Who am I now that I don’t have my job? And does this mean that all I will be able to offer in conversation is feeding and nappy changing patterns? Pregnancy changes a woman in so many ways. There is the physical which is probably the most obvious side. Then there is the part of facing how relationships will change and how having a baby will fit into already crazy lives. I have spent thirty years becoming me. Will having a baby change all that so dramatically that I won’t be recognisable to myself or anyone around me?

More than anything, I want to be our baby’s mother. But somewhere in there I still need to be able to find me.

WEEK 34
What a delight my first week off has been. I had imagined myself sleeping until all hours, waking up in time to meet people for a long lunch, home in time for an afternoon nap and then greeting Aaron at the door, looking like a glamorously pregnant ’50s starlet – a vodka martini in one hand and a plate of carefully crafted hors d’ouevres in the other.

The reality is that I spent the week cleaning and organising things. We now have a tidy laundry (who knew we had an iron and a vacuum cleaner?!), amazingly clean kitchen cupboards and a bathroom that looks straight out of a magazine it is so spotless. I have managed to round up a gardener, window cleaner and brick-layer for next week and have a to-do list the length of my arm.

Oh – also very excited about the fact that Flossy now has a bed! Yes, I went cot shopping with my father-in-law last week. I think he was impressed with the speed in which I decided which one we would like. I wanted a white cot and said ‘Yep – love it!’ at the first one I saw. In and out in 10 minutes! It is still in it’s packaging, but Aaron has a four day weekend coming up – and a to-do list as long as HIS arm (written by me) with the first task – ‘assemble cot’.

With last week’s visit to clinic came the announcement from both my endo and my obstetrician that I am easier to work with when I am pregnant, (HbA1c of 5.9% – brag, brag, brag!). I hope they’ve enjoyed these nine months then, because this is it for me and this pregnancy caper. Next week’s visit will involve another scan and the setting of a date for the caesarian.

So with four weeks to go, I’d think that I am getting my head around things and getting a house that looks like a baby will be living here soon. I need to lower my expectations, though. The baby will not be emotionally scarred forever if everything is not perfect when we bring her home. I will be able to function perfectly well if the house and garden do not look picture perfect and ready to be photographed for some home-design magazine. Aaron will be able to get on with things….. well in pretty much any situation!

Thank goodness one of us is level headed enough to see the reality of the situation. We are having a baby. We are bringing her home to love and care for. I am off to hyperventilate now for a bit now. And then get stuck into cleaning out the garden shed.

WEEK 35
We have a date! Flossy’s birthday will be November 24. The caesarian is set for 7.00am. I asked the midwife some questions about the process and she happily noted that, ‘Bubs will be born at around 7.10am, but the overall operation will go for about 45 minutes. The doc has some rather fancy needlework to do...’. I stopped her there with protestations of ‘La, la, la…that’s quite enough talk about fancy needlework, thanks!’ So the countdown is on in earnest now. I had my final scan which showed that our baby girl is still in the 50th percentile weight-wise. I was so thrilled that there is no evidence of macrosomia I hugged the doctor doing the scan.

Another ridiculous week of nesting – I should have stayed at work! However, the house and garden are now baby-ready, and I am a lot more relaxed about things. I have stopped making stupid comments such as, ‘We are going to be terrible parents – the TOP of the kitchen cupboards hasn’t been dusted’. Well, they have now, so I guess Aaron and I may win a parenting award somewhere down the track.

Having said that, my obstetrician told me if he heard any more tales of me standing on the top of kitchen benches to dust things he was going to have me admitted to hospital for the rest of the pregnancy. He couldn’t believe it when Aaron said that he came home to find me climbing onto the benchtops (using a step ladder) with a feather duster in my hands. Actually, Aaron couldn’t believe it either, but I suspect that has more to do with the fact that he’s never seen me dusting anything. (FYI – we don’t live in a mess, we have a cleaner. One that doesn’t dust the top of the kitchen cupboards.)

img_1638The most wonderful thing was setting up the baby’s room. It looks just gorgeous and I can’t walk in there without getting a little teary. Actually, I can’t do much without getting a little teary – these bloody pregnancy and nesting hormones are making me cry at everything.

Now that all the in-house nesting is done, I guess it is just a matter of the final touches to the in-womb nesting being completed. Flossy is obviously getting quite tight in there and has taken to trying to stretch out her squashed up legs. All of a sudden a foot juts out of my right-hand side and causes me to yelp.

The other morning I woke up with a cry and sat up in bed gasping ‘I can’t breathe’. One or both feet were wedged firmly under my ribcage and I couldn’t draw a breath. Aaron thought I had gone into labour and was up, out of bed and almost in the car before I could explain what was going on.

Poor Aaron. At this stage of the game he is just playing along and letting me dictate the rules – which is not so reassuring when you consider I am making them up as I go along!

WEEK 36
I feel like Violet Beauregarde – the girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory who inflates and looks like a blueberry balloon. My ankles, feet and lower legs are terribly swollen as are my hands in the mornings and I have developed a lovely double chin. Feeling particularly attractive at the moment, thanks! However, my blood pressure remains good and there is no protein in my wee, so apparently looking like a swollen cow is MY particular pregnancy look. My obstetrician promised I would get my ankles back when I complained about how revolting they look. I’ll believe that when (and if!) I see it.

I did as I promised and slowed down last week. I actually spent two hours a day reading and sitting with my legs elevated. There is so much I want to be doing though that it seems a waste of time.

I have nothing too excited planned this week. I am off for my weekly clinic visit tomorrow to see the obstetrician and have some foetal monitoring done. Let’s see how much more I can swell in the next week….. anyone got a pin?

WEEK 36
Amazing – I have continued to swell. For the first time, I have to admit that I am not really enjoying being pregnant. I am actually in quite a bit of pain from the swelling in my legs and feet and am not sleeping all too well. It doesn’t help that I am getting up between four and six times a night for a wee.

Last week’s clinic visit went so well. I had a lovely chat with the obstetrician about what to expect during the caesarian and how the process works. I think that I must be his nightmare type of patient, really. I live with a health condition that I self-manage. I monitor, I self-medicate, I often self-diagnose. And then suddenly I have a doctor saying to me ‘Renza, you need to trust me with this and leave it in my hands’. I have so much faith in this doctor, but I can’t completely hand over the control for which I have so carefully worked. I need to know as much as possible before hand, so I can mentally and emotionally prepare. Of course a lot of the questions he can’t answer – the main one being ‘How long will Flossy be in Special Care’, but I still need to ask the questions.

My bubble about the size of the baby was slightly burst last week. As the obstetrician was measuring my tummy he said ‘Hmmm….a good size’. ‘But,’ I said. ‘The ultrasound showed she was in the 50th percentile. That’s not huge – that’s average. The doctor said she would be about 7 pounds’. His response to that was ‘Bullshit! She is going to be at least an 8 pounder. There are no worries about her being macrosomic, but she is still going to be a very good sized baby. If we were to go to term she would be around 9 pounds‘.

img_1636The funny thing is, I don’t really think an 8 or a 9 pound baby is a big baby. No one in my family has had a baby under 9 pounds, so I can’t imagine that Ms Type 1 Diabetes over here is going to have the family’s first ‘petite’ baby!

The rest of the week was spent trying to do things in fits and spurts. My energy levels really have decreased and I feel like the proverbial bull in a china shop. I managed to get just about all my Christmas shopping done and wrapped. My bag is packed for the hospital as is Flossy’s. I am just waiting…waiting….waiting. 9 days to go!

WEEK 38 – Aaaaaahhhhhh!
Well, today is Monday, November 22, 2004. In two days, Flossy will have been delivered and Aaron and I will be parents.

I have spent the last 5 days in bed – by orders of the doctor. I squelched into last week’s clinic visit with a pair of ankles looking like loaves of sourdough bread and feeling very uncomfortable. I had awoken at 2am and said to Aaron as I returned from the loo for the bazillionth time ‘I think that I am going to go today. This swelling is getting worse and I bet my blood pressure has gone up too’.

Sure enough, my BP had risen to 140/90 which was enough for me to be admitted into the Pregnancy Day Care clinic for monitoring. Four very boring hours passed. The doctor then decided that I could go home as long as I returned in two days for further monitoring and promised to do nothing but rest with my feet up until then. I was ready to kill the next person who said to me ‘Make the most of it…in a couple of weeks you’ll be crying out for time to do nothing but put your feet up’.

Friday morning’s monitoring saw a return to my usual, normal BP and an announcement from the doctor that ‘We are back on for Wednesday. Keep your feet up and take it easy’. I suspect the raise in BP was because I’d spent the night before finishing off all our Christmas shopping. Rushing around the city was probably not the best idea.

So here I am. 38 weeks pregnant exactly today. I have my bags ready for the hospital, I have done everything I had hoped to do before the Big Day and our house is ready for our baby.

As the textbooks told me, my insulin requirements have stopped going up and have, in fact, reduced about 10% in the last couple of weeks. I am desperately trying to get my overnight levels perfect (huh?) so that I don’t hypo at 2am, which is quite a regular occurrence. I am meant to fast from midnight on Tuesday. As of this morning, I think I have got things pretty right, but we’ll see how I go. My A1c is still sitting at around 6%. When I found out I was pregnant it was 7.1%, but apart from that it has been between 5.5% and 6.1% which has impressed the doctors no end! And yes, I am pretty proud of myself too!

We are spending our ‘last night as a couple’ with friends at Marios for dinner, and then I suspect I will lie awake and count every minute until the alarm goes off at 5.15am. Aaron and I will get to the hospital at 6am and I will be prepped for the caesarian which will begin at 7am. Our baby will be delivered by 7.10am and the surgery over by around 8am.

And really – that is where my preparations have stopped and the mystery begins. I have barely allowed myself to think about the delivery day let alone beyond. I am just now starting to entertain thoughts of what our baby will look like and how it will feel to hold her for the first time. I have no idea how I will react when I see her or touch her in those first moments.

I really have enjoyed this time. Being pregnant has been the most beautiful experience for me – I have loved every minute of it. To think that there is another life growing inside of me is quite amazing. I feel so connected to this little baby and yet, I have no idea what she will be like once she arrives. I have loved every kick, squirm, somersault and flutter. Every chance I have had to look at her or hear her heartbeat through scans I have been overwhelmed at her very life. And in two days we will be introduced to each other. I can’t wait.

ARRIVAL
I want to write this while it is all fairly fresh in my mind. Each day that passes means that I lose just a little of my memory of the birth of our baby. So, here is what I can remember of the amazing time.

Aaron and I left for the hospital at just before 6am. I’d woken every hour to go to the loo and then dozed and woke, dozed and woke. I was up at 4.30am, deciding there was no point in even considering trying to doze until the alarm went off. I don’t think I have ever been so nervous in all my life. I barely uttered a word to Aaron as we were preparing to leave. All I could think about was that I was about to be cut open and our baby would be pulled from within me. I almost wanted to yell ‘Wait – I’m not ready…WE’RE not ready. We have been doing just fine with the current arrangement and I think we will leave things just the way they are if that’s alright with everyone!’

week-oneInstead, we got to the hospital and were admitted by one of the fantastic midwives, Chris, who was to be my lifeline for the next five days. Chris explained the whole procedure and tried to prepare me for what to expect. We were shown to my room and I was told to change into a hospital gown and lie in bed. Chris came back with the announcement of ‘shaving time!’. A bikini wax the week before (yes…I know I was meant to be taking it easy!), meant that I could avoid at least one indignity!

My next visitor was the anaesthetist who described how he would administer the spinal block. Aaron would not be allowed in the operating room for that part – apparently blokes have a tendency to pass out when they see a large needle being shoved into the backs of their loved ones! And then, I was wheeled up to the operating theatre, accompanied by Aaron, the anaesthetist and a nurse.

I was trying to take really deep breaths, relax. Ha! Not a likely proposition given what was about to happen. We arrived in the corridor of the operating suites and my ever calm darling husband muttered, ‘Okay, now I’m nervous’. Great – what a time to lose his nerves of steel. The anaesthetist put in a drip, and Aaron kissed me as he was directed towards a room where he would change into his ‘scrubs’ and wait until the spinal block was done.

Into the operating theatre. What seemed like a million nurses and other staff were milling around and all introduced themselves to me and told me that I was in the best hands possible – and that it would all be over in no time. My obstetrician came in and held my hand and reminded me that we were about to meet the reason for the last nine months. All the monitoring, all the hypos, all the everything was about to be worth every minute!

My heart was beating at a million miles an hour and I was trembling – with both fear and anticipation. I was moved onto an operating table and with the help of a couple of nurses and the anaesthetist sat up, dangling my legs over one side of the table. I leaned forward and awaited the sting of the local anaesthetic going in. Next, I could feel the pressure, but not the pain of another needle going in and then my legs went warm, tingly and dead. I was helped to lay back down…and suddenly felt terrible. The catheter was inserted – again, no pain, but I could feel pressure. I started to dry reach and honestly thought (quite melodramatically, I may add) that I was going to die.

Aaron was shown back in and sat at my head, holding my hand. Later, he said that he had never seen me look so unwell or witnessed anyone look so terrified. And yet once he was there I felt fine. Suddenly -at that moment – I knew it was all going to be okay. The anaesthetist, who now his job was done suddenly turned into a comedian, stood at my head and chatted and joked with us.

And then it started. I can’t even begin to describe the sensation of having a couple of doctors and nurses playing with my insides. I do remember saying at one point – ‘Gee – they are really pulling and pushing there aren’t they?’ After less that ten minutes, we heard a cry – a bleat really. It was the first sound we heard from our little baby girl.

Aaron and I looked at each other and gasped. The anaesthetist grabbed our camera from Aaron and started taking photos of her being pulled out of me. ‘She’s got lots of black hair,’ exclaimed Aaron as he got the first look at his daughter. The obstetrician held her up to us, and I reached out and gently touched her for the first time. There she was, her little face screwed up as she took her first breaths – the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She was perfect. So, so, so perfect.

The paediatrician took her for about two minutes, Aaron following closely. And then with the announcement ‘First cuddles for mum’, he brought her back and laid her on my chest. She was…she is beautiful! The tears were flowing down my cheeks as I looked into her little face, and tried to take in everything about her. A head full of dark hair and face full of cheeks!

I pulled at the clothes swaddling her to free her from them and pulled away my gown. I wanted to feel her beautiful soft skin against mine, drink her in – every little part of her. I held her for about 10 minutes and during that time I have no memory of what else was going on. The surgery was all over then. My obstetrician was finished and congratulated us both. ‘Thank you – thank you for our baby’, was all I could say to him.

I was led to recovery and Aaron and our baby girl were taken straight to the nursery near my room. The paediatrician decided her blood sugar was fine and she wouldn’t need to go to the Special Care Nursery after all.

I lay in recovery for only about 25 minutes as alert and raring to go as I have ever been. The adrenalin pumping through me and the feeling of absolute euphoria was amazing – I just wanted to get back to my room to see my little baby again.

As I was wheeled in, there she was. Aaron, still in his hospital gear, was sitting in a chair holding his daughter as if it was the most natural thing in the world. And it is. I am so overwhelmed, delighted, in love with and terrified by this little creature. I have known her for only days and yet I can’t imagine her not being here. She is my daughter – I am her mother. We have so much to get to know about each other and so much time. I just want to savour, cherish and remember every moment of her life. She is just beautiful!

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