We discover we are expecting a baby. It dawns on us that our lives will never be the same again ……..
An early scan, at a little over six weeks, indicates that slug is 2.6mm long! The flickering we could see on the screen was, apparently, a tiny little heart beat. How exciting will it be when we have the next scan as we should be able to see a whole little person!! It felt quite strange to be sitting looking at an image (or should that be a grey blur?!) on screen that is our baby-to-be as we’d only ever seen that sort of thing on television before!
The due date is 10 May 2005 so it will be a late spring / late autumn baby depending on your hemisphere.
Kate has met with her midwife for the first time. Her name is Zoë and she is lovely (apparently). She confirmed that everything is going well, although gave Kate some bad news … she shouldn’t be eating pizza with meat on!! She estimated the due date as 9 May 2005, but said that the baby could come anywhere between 36 weeks and 42 weeks! That covers the period from 11 April to the very end of May so I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Anyone want to have a little sweepstake?!
We have to decide whether to have a nuchal translucency scan at between 12 and 14 weeks, or whether not to, in which case the next scan would be at around 16 – 18 weeks. Kate and I have talked about it previously and both agreed that, if a nuchal translucency scan revealed any problems (although this is pretty low risk given Kate’s age), we would continue with the pregnancy anyway, so we wouldn’t look to have the early scan on that basis. However, Kate was told the 12-14 week scan will generally show the whole baby on screen at once, whereas if we leave it until later the baby would have grown and would be bigger than the screen. So we will probably end up going for the early scan anyway.
Kate is still feeling pretty queasy most of the time, although hasn’t actually been sick yet. She is also giving the cats a good run for their money in terms of how much sleep she has each day!!
Kate is starting to feel a little less queasy, and we’re due to go for our 12 week scan next week (yes, yes, I realise it will be 13 weeks for those amongst you who’ve been counting). Although having less of a problem with queasiness, Kate is currently having difficulty with toothpaste! I don’t mean getting her to use it, I mean she is finding it makes her gag. That certainly makes for interesting mornings/evenings!
Slug is now the proud owner of a car seat and a pram (and an "I love Daddy" bib!! (guess who suggested buying that one?!)). We thought about whether we should go for a pram that has a car seat built in, which makes it easier when getting a small person into and out of the car. In the end, though, we felt we would go for a car seat that will last us as the baby grows bigger, and decided to buy a pram and seat separately.
For anyone interested in the details, we bought a Bertini Steerable Shuttle (see picture on the right) and a Safe n Sound Royale car seat (see picture on the left).
The shuttle is a four wheeler with steerable wheels. In fact it’s quite clever in that as you steer not only do the front wheels turn but the rear ones turn the other way to help with the steering. The stroller comes with a storm cover (sounds quite scary!) and a boot cover, but we bought an additional fleecy "sleeping bag" which will make sure slug stays nice and warm. Given s/he is due to be born towards the end of autumn we think it will come in very handy quite quickly!! The back of the pram has four or five settings including lying flat so hopefully baby will be quite comfortable.
The car seat will work for a baby up to 18kg (that’s about 40 pounds in old fashioned language) which should last us quite a while. It comes with a mat to keep the car seat clean (some hope!), a sun hood, and a storage pocket. It can recline into four different positions and can be used facing front or rearwards.
We also had a look at cots and changing tables but decided we can wait until later to buy those!
We are going to try to get the scan pictures in a format that we can put them on here. That’s assuming that we’ll be able to see anything other than blurs, of course!
13 weeks – 1 November 2004
We go for our nuchal translucency scan and get to see the baby on screen! The good news is that everything is going according to plan. Slug is 8cm long from "head to bum". Apparently that’s quite large for this stage in the pregnancy, so it looks like we’re gonna have a big ‘un!
We can see the baby’s little heart beating. It’s really quick. Baby was lying on its side looking as though it was having a snooze! It appeared to be waving a hand at us dismissively as if to say "go away, I’m sleepy!".
We could see the arms and legs and, when looking at it from above the top of the head, we could also see a brain! Phew!
14 weeks – 8 November 2004
Kate had another midwife visit today, and Dan got to meet Zoë (and can confirm she is lovely). Kate and Zoë waited for Dan to arrive home from work before checking for the baby’s heart beat. It took a while for two reasons. Firstly, Zoë was using a new machine that she wasn’t used to and secondly, Slug was moving around quite a lot! After a few minutes of searching (and hearing Kate’s pulse often enough to confirm that she was definitely still alive!) we got to hear Slug’s heartbeat. How exciting?! It was really quick – 147 beats per minute. According to Zoë, girls’ heartbeats tend to be quicker than boys’. But she also said that boys’ tend to be between 130 and 140 bpm and girls’ tend to be between 150 and 160 bpm. We’re therefore none the wiser as to what it’s going to be as it’s in between the two – you never know what that might mean these days! It certainly seems to be in touch with its feminine side!
The results from the scan last week put the due date at about a week earlier than previously estimated so who knows, Grampa Neil may yet get a grandchild for his birthday!!
After ‘a good squidge’ (Kate’s words not Dan’s!) Zoë said that Kate’s uterus was as big as she would expect it to be at 17 weeks, whereas Kate is only 14 weeks pregnant. However, she also said she’s not sure if Slug is filling the space, or is enjoying the opportunity to have a good swim round! Kate commented that the uterus size thing may also explain why her waistline appears to be expanding at a great rate of knots!
16 weeks – 22 November 2004
Today we have added pictures of the clothes that we have bought so far (for Slug) onto the website. Both Dan and Kate have come down with colds which is far less enjoyable for Kate as she can’t take anything! We are hoping that it won’t take too long to clear up. Not a huge amount to report for this week – Kate doesn’t see Zoë again until the 6th December and will have another scan after that. Things are progressing well (as far as we can tell) and Kate thinks that she might have felt the baby move a couple of times……..then again, it might just have been wind! (Dan – she’s had plenty of that so far, I can assure you!!)
19 weeks – 13th December 2004
Kate had another midwife’s appointment last week and we’ve booked to have our next scan next week. Slug’s earlier rapid growth spurt seems to have slowed down as Zoë only put Kate a week or two ahead of her dates (based upon what she (Zoë) was feeling) whereas the last time she put Kate three weeks ahead (see 14 weeks).
Slug’s heartbeat was 154 this time, slightly higher than before. Kate’s blood pressure was nice and low, though, so let’s hope that continues throughout the pregnancy. Kate was amused by the fact that Slug had hiccups while they were listening to the heartbeat!
Kate is feeling Slug move around quite a bit these days. This is often triggered by something Kate eats or drinks; although Kate’s not quite sure whether this indicates Slug is approving or disapproving of what is being consumed!!
20 weeks – 20th December 2004
We had another scan last week. This indicated that everything is progressing well. We were able to see Slug in much more detail than previously. S/he is doing fine according to the radiologist. We were pretty much able to see all of Slug, including the little heart, which, I’m pleased to say, was still beating!
We asked if we could get the images in a different format so we could put them on here. Unfortunately they are only available from the Radiologist in x-ray film format. We therefore had to take them to the Kodak shop and get them to take a photo using the film as if it was a negative. From there Dan had to scan them into electronic form on the photocopier at work. We therefore tried to pick two of the pictures that we hoped would turn out the best. Click here and judge for yourselves!
22 weeks – 3rd January 2005
We had another midwife visit this week. All is continuing to develop well. Kate’s blood pressure is fine as are her protein and glucose levels. Slug’s heartbeat was 146bpm this time and again s/he seemed to have hiccups – it must be something about Zoë’s gadget! Kate is relieved that her bump is becoming "more like a proper bump", although she will still admit to suffering from bump envy on occasions. Luckily she still gets excited whenever there is a small person in her shop so we should be OK!!
The general size of Kate’s insides still puts her about a week ahead of her dates, although everyone is under strict instructions that Slug is definitely NOT going to arrive on 2nd May (even though we all know the weather will be good on that day!!).
24 weeks – 17th January 2005
Progress is continuing well for Slug if not for Slug’s room. The first coat of paint has gone on but we’ve not been quite so quick to put up the second! Well, the weekends have actually been nice since new year, so we’ve been going out to get some fresh air and haven’t got round to doing the painting yet. And when we get home from work in the week the energy and motivation to do it just isn’t there! We have also bought a few more things ready for the new arrival…
The cot is from a local company called Touchwood, who are based in Wellington. They make a number of cots and beds from various different timbers. We have chosen one from Rimu (or red pine), a type of tree found commonly in New Zealand. It should last us a while as it possible to make it into a bassinet, a cot, a child’s bed and a sofa. The picture on the right shows how we have it set-up at the moment – in the bassinet position. You can move the base down to the bottom and the side nearest the camera moves up and down to turn it into a normal cot type of bed. Once Slug is bigger it is possible to get a junior bed end that would replace one of the existing ends (having removed the sides) and turn it into a bed. Or you can just remove the side and use it as a sofa. All in all very versatile! (In case you were wondering, the picture was taken before we did any of the painting. Once we’ve finished we’ll take some more so you can see the room as it will be when Slug arrives.)
On the left is the moses basket complete with stripey blanket. The main cushion is a natural wool futon mattress which should help to keep Slug warm. We are planning to encourage Slug to sleep in the basket at first so that Kate can have Slug nearby wherever she happens to be and Slug will hopefully start to get used to the every day sounds and learn to sleep through them.
The changing table (on the right for those that haven’t seen the photo already!) is also made from Rimu so matches the cot. We chose this one because we felt it would be useful that it folds up completely out of the way if needs be. It is also a good height for both of us so won’t involve too much bending over. It has also been tested for sturdiness by both cats and they are happy to report that it is both sturdy and a comfortable place to go for a snooze! However, mean old Mummy and Daddy don’t let them do that very often as the room is being reserved for Slug. (Besides, it’s currently full of newspaper, paint, brushes, etc.!)
The inside of Slug’s wardrobe is starting to build up as you can see. It’s quite weird having small person’s hangers and putting small person’s clothes on them! We’ve put photos of more of the clothes in our gallery (click here to see them). I’m not sure how long the wardrobe will remain this orderly once Slug arrives! Still, we can start as we mean to go on, at least. In fact, Kate’s just pointed out that this photo was taken just after Christmas and we’ve bought a number of things since then. So in fact, there’s probably more clothes in the gallery than in this picture!
26 weeks – 31st January 2005
We had our latest midwife’s appointment this week. Dan has felt Sluglet kicking a few times already, and Kate has been able to see her stomach move when the baby has been moving. All indications are that Kate and Slug are progressing fine. Kate’s blood pressure was fine, given that it was 30 degrees outside and Kate had just finished a long day at work! Slug’s heart beat was between 134 and 142 which is the lowest we’ve had so far. We asked Zoë to guess what she thought it was, but she wasn’t going to be drawn! She said if it had been at this level throughout she would have said it would be a boy, but it has been higher before. So … who knows?!
When Zoë felt the size of Kate’s uterus she put Kate about 4 weeks ahead of her dates – at 30 weeks! If she is still that far ahead next time we see Zoë (early March) then Zoë will have a think about what the best next steps will be. It might involve seeing an Obstetrician and having a scan to determine if the baby is ‘too big’. If it is they would probably try to deliver it early. Whatever happens, it looks like Sluglet is not going to be a delicate soul! But then it was never going to be a delicate soul with parents like us!
We finally got around to finishing the painting in the nursery! Hooray! Once we’ve put up the border and pictures we’ll put some photos on here.
28 weeks – 14th February 2005
We took Slug on his/her first holiday (well, second if you include the trip back to the UK when we first found out we were pregnant) when we went to the South Island this week (see details on our travels page).
There isn’t much to report progress-wise this week other than Slug is still alive and well and moving regularly. Kate has noticed that Slug has got into a bit of a routine in that it wakes up somewhere between 4am and 5.30am, spends about half an hour doing some exercises, then goes back to sleep again! Next week is Kate’s last week of full time work before she goes part-time for a few weeks. Needless to say she is looking forward to finishing!
31 weeks – 7th March 2005
We are in the process of renaming Slug "Mammoth"! At Kate’s 30 week midwife check-up she was still measuring 4 weeks ahead of her dates (or 6 when Zoë measured using a tape measure!). We therefore went for a scan to check that all was well. That is, to check that the reason for Kate’s size was a big baby and not an average baby with lots of fluid (which could indicate a problem). According to one of the books Kate’s reading at the moment the average baby is 2lbs 8oz at 30 weeks. According to the scan, Mammoth was 4lbs 2ozs! Let’s just hope Slug’s just having a growth spurt and doesn’t decide to keep on growing at that rate for the remaining weeks!
We started our ante-natal classes on 28th February. There are 11 couples in our class, all bar three of whom are having their first baby. Apparently there will be no practice breathing, and no watching birthing videos for us to contend with, thank goodness!
33 weeks – 21st March 2005
Kate has now moved into fornightly midwife visits territory, so had another one last week. This indicated she was only a couple of weeks ahead of her dates, so perhaps Mammoth was just having a growth spurt after all. We’re pretty close to having done everything we need to in the nursery. We recently bought some blinds which we’ve put up, so all we need to do is put up the border (although they call it a frieze over here) and the pictures (photos of which are in the gallery) and we’ll be done.
35 weeks – 4th April 2005
Zoë is going to be on holiday for most of April, so the visit from her last week was the last one we’ll have with her for a few weeks. She brought a student midwife (Cheryl) with her and it happened to be while Nanette was visiting us too, so it was quite a houseful. After Zoë had had a prod and a poke at Kate’s stomach, and then Cheryl had had her turn, Kate asked Nanette if she wanted a go too so she didn’t feel left out! She politely declined!
The good news is that Slug’s growth spurt seems to have slowed yet again, as Kate was only about a week ahead this time, which is generally what she’s been since the beginning. Her blood pressure was the lowest it had ever been, and Kate’s protein and sugar levels were also good. Unfortunately, having been head down pretty much all the way through, Slug decided to see what life was like the other way up and turned into a breech position. Although this is not ideal, there’s always a chance that it will turn back the other way before the big day, and there are things that can be done to encourage this (although these seem to involve ironing boards and standing on your head, so Kate’s not entirely convinced!). If it doesn’t turn then it can always be delivered by Caesarean section.
Kate now finds that all the poking and prodding makes her feel quite sick, and generally a midwife visit is followed quite quickly by a trip to the toilet to relieve all the pressure on her bladder!
36.5 weeks – 14th April 2005
Slug was extremely active early this week with lots of kicking or punching or pushing. We were hoping this was a positive sign and sure enough at the midwife visit on Thursday she confirmed that Slug was back in the head down position. She estimated that the head was about 1/5 of the way into the pelvis, which will hopefully encourage Slug not to turn round again.
As Zoë is currently away the midwife visit this week was with one of her back-ups – Ginny. We met her at the Domino midwives office where another student midwife (Jenni) attended too. Having completed the visit we took a tour to the hospital (which is just over the road from their offices) so that we will know where to go when the big day comes, as well as what we can expect at the hospital. There are two special birthing units that Domino’s like to use. These include a birthing pool as well as things like a swiss ball. The units are tucked away in a quiet corner of the hospital, which should hopefully mean they’re not too noisy, and apparently the hospital staff will not enter the room without being invited in.
The plan will be to spend the early parts of the labour at home (it will be nice if our bath can be made ready before then but we’re not holding our breath!). This should hopefully help Kate remain as relaxed as she can. At the later stages we plan to head to the hospital and Zoë will ring ahead to check whether one of these birthing units is available. Hopefully they will be. Ginny said that in the last 18 months she’s only known them both to be in use once, and on that occasion she only had to wait half an hour. If the units are both busy, though, there are a number of normal delivery rooms that we would use, and, of course, the operating theatre is nearby in case we need it.