I’ll start with yesterday morning.
I’ve had an ante natal appointment booked for several months now and like all of my other appointments, I thought that it was just routine.
As with the glucose test last month (which came back fine for anyone who missed that newsflash), I was asked if I knew why I was there. Yet again, I had to say, “I thought that it was just routine.” It turns out that it wasn’t. It’s another appointment that has been booked because I turned 40 this year. With the resource issues in the NHS, I can’t help but feel a little resentment.
I was there at 08:35 for the appointment time of 08:40 and at 09:55, was taken into a room by a Maternity Assistant to have my blood pressure checked, my urine sample dip tested and to be asked if I had experienced any swelling – apart from the belly? No. At 09:20, a doctor called me in, advised me on diet (Really? Has he looked at the other women around here?), felt Baby’s position (she’s breech again), listened to her heartbeat (which left gel all over my tunny because he was struggling – the Midwife is so much better at it and does it in one) and then filled in a form to have me induced on my due date. WTF?!?!
Apparently, new research suggests – yes, that’s right, suggests – that at and beyond 40, it is beneficial to be induced at term.
Baby-girl, please oh please be two weeks early!
All-in-all, I felt that I had wasted another morning. because despite living only 5 minutes away from the hospital (by car – normally a 10-15 minute walk but much longer now that I am waddling), I didn’t get home until just after 10:00 and to be honest, the doctor didn’t do anything that my Midwife doesn’t do and he did those things less competently. His bit about diet made it seem like he was reading from a script, especially considering that my glucose levels were fine. The worst thing was that when he was feeling my belly, he tickled me and I flinched and he looked up, smiled and said, “The baby is kicking.” No, you idiot, that was me flinching because I am so damn ticklish!
Anyway, in the last couple of weeks, we’ve been working out some of the detail that hasn’t really been necessary up until now:
The birth plan (which is what we’ll be covering in next week’s Midwife appointment) is for a water birth, just gas and air, no cutting please in either direction unless necessary for baby, Mummy AND Daddy skin-on-skin time once she has arrived and if the worst happens (as with friends a few years ago) and they have to ask Daddy to make a decision between Mummy and Baby – Baby takes priority.
Hospital bag packing – a couple of items still outstanding but inbound.
Realising that we needed to get a tub of formula just in case I can’t breastfeed for whatever reason. That is now with the hospital bag “stuff”.
Researching reusable nappies.
Long before I was pregnant, I would read the County “Baby” magazine when I was sat in the Doctor’s waiting room because it was either that or auto-trader (or similar). It does tend to lean towards the ridiculously wealthy and I often found myself growling at the articles. Now that I am pregnant, we have had our own copies given to us so I can growl in the privacy of my own home.
The latest issue featured a set of books that came to us hot off the press:
Which can be purchased here if anyone wants them, they are an absolute delight!
Other than that, as usual, I found myself having a bit of a growl. On the page containing the magazine editor’s letter was a baby dress for £165. HOW MUCH?! Even when I was earning a decent wage, I wouldn’t have dreamt of spending that sort of money on a dress for a baby.
Then came the article about water birth, more specifically, the benefits of. Now, I want a water birth because of my problems with my spine and hip but I am not so naïve as to think that there aren’t any cons to go with the pros. I realise that an epidural isn’t possible with a water birth, that there is likely to be more tearing because the midwife won’t be able to support my perineum, that someone will have to stand by with a sieve and that if baby is in distress and I have to get out, the pain will hit me like a tonne of bricks but that’s all fine. For me, the pros do outweigh the cons. Unfortunately, the article wasn’t particularly balanced and that, to me, is wrong – people should be given the all of the facts in order to make a balanced decision.
Then came the short piece about why women aren’t breastfeeding. There was the point that there is insufficient support and that when awkward questions are asked in ante natal classes, they are glossed over or ignored because, “we don’t want to put anyone off”. The final line of the article basically said that we MUST point out the health benefits of breastfeeding. Now, it is only recently that I have taken a personal interest in breastfeeding but I can honestly say that there are only two things that I was aware of through the media; one of those is the anger of some people towards breastfeeding in public and the other is the health benefits for baby. Why not try using the three things that will actually make people sit up an take notice of:
- The fact that you will lose more pregnancy weight because breastfeeding uses 500 calories per day.
- That it will cost over £600 in the first year to feed a baby on formula – breast milk is free!
- When you breastfeed, you will save time because you aren’t having to sterilise bottles and mix formula for every feed.
I have decided to breastfeed (if I can) because I know that it will be better for baby but I see people in town with a little one in a pram that is holding a box of “popcorn” chicken or a pack of cheap fairy cakes. Those mothers don’t give a toss about baby’s health but one or all of the three reasons that I have suggested might make them pay attention. Yes, I realise that I will have to express some milk and have some bottles in Baby’s “bottom drawer” for exactly that reason and as I said earlier, I even have a tub of formula just in case I can’t for any reason but I am going to try. Of course, there is also a small environmental impact too, sterilising bottles requires energy (in my mind, steam but I expect a microwave could do the job too) and over the time that you are bottle feeding, that small amount of energy needed every day adds up – but that wouldn’t be a selling point for the mothers who don’t much care about the health benefits.
In readiness, I have bought a supply of breast pads; one box of disposables (for in case need to change them whilst I’m out and about) and some washable ones for the rest of the time.
I also have a lot of cotton, a sewing machine and some bamboo/cotton blend wadding for quilting so if I can work out the construction, I might make some more.
Which takes me nicely into my next point. Nappies.
There was an article about washable nappies. Oh I know they are referred to as “reusable” but let’s face it, that is just to make it sound prettier, more attractive to the more affluent mummy.
This time, the bulk of the argument for washables was about cost and the environmental impact. Depending on which website or article you read, the cost of using disposables varies but on average, it seems to cost about £1000. Then of course, there is the environmental impact: nappies take a long time to break down and make up a vast amount of landfill – again , the figures vary but at roughly 5000 nappies per child, I’m sure that we are capable of visualising it!
Again, I found that the article wasn’t really balanced. It blathered on about how with everything that you would need for using washable nappies, you would have to spend in the region of £350, which compared to the £1000 average for disposables, is very attractive. But you see, in my little scientific brain, there were questions about the environmental impact of washables. Surely they have to be boil washed or treated with harsh chemicals to kill off any nasties. What does that do to the environment in this day and age of washing at lower temperatures and using eco-friendly detergents? How much would your gas and electric bills increase by? What about drying? If, like us, you don’t have a tumble drier, do you then have to buy a second set of nappies, almost double that initial outlay, in order to be able to dry them in the Winter? If you do have a tumble drier, what are the environmental and financial impacts of the increased volumes that you are drying? Why did the article not account for the financial and environmental costs of baby-wipes and what are the alternatives there? I realise that the latter is probably because it is considered “negligible” but is it really? They may only be the size of a tissue compared to the bulk of a nappy but if everyone used 5000 baby wipes (and the rest!) over 2.5 years, what is the tonnage of landfill there?
Anyway, after conducting a lot of research myself and discussing it with Mr PinQ, we have decided to use washable nappies. However, we are not entirely stupid and have also realised that at each size stage, it will make sense to have a bag of disposables for things like days out because we would rather not have to carry around a wet bag full of soiled, soggy nappies as well as everything else that we will need to take with us. We also have a pack of disposables for when she is born just to get us used to the whole nappy thing!
As it happens, I was lucky enough to get a “Birth to Potty” pack for under £105 and the only bad review of said pack was from a woman complaining that the nappy covers (on the “unisex” pack) were all white. It was basically an angry one-liner because she expected pretty patterns on the covers like in some of the images and that “they should be done by the advertising standards”. Yes dear.
I haven’t really started nesting. It’s a bit of a struggle because I don’t know how soon we will have to move house so everything that I had planned for our home has gone out of the window. Why put the energy in and find that we have to leave in a month or two?