THE ROAD AHEAD
Hey everyone, this will be my last blog post for a little while. I have a few posts backed up and a couple of Easter ideas I'll be sharing but I don't know when I'll be regularly posting again.
I'm due to be induced in the coming days, we don't really know when things are going to happen it all depends on what condition he is in when he arrives, which treatment works and how well it works determines when he'll have his surgery. So every day will just be playing it by ear, we're hoping to take our daughter to the zoo on surgery day just to try distract ourselves, but again that depends on how quickly after birth they operate as I'll still be recovering.
Best case scenario is about a month until we can bring him home.
So what happens next?
In the coming days I'll have an obstetrician appointment to see if his head has engaged. If it hasn't they'll do a stretch and sweep and hope for the best. Everything has been booked in for the induction with the paediatrics team ready as well as the cardiologist so re booking would be a nightmare. We also want to avoid a caesarean if possible.
Provided his head is engaged I'll go in the next night and they will put a balloon with gel, on my cervix to help it ripen so it's ready to open in labour. The following morning they'll break my waters and start me on the hormonal drip to induce labour. Being my second baby I am hopeful that it won't take as long as my first. I was induced with my daughter after my waters broke and from time of induction to birth was about 15 hours, it was a very long day. It's not the exhaustion I'm worried about so much as the timing of his procedure. the sooner I can deliver him the sooner they can put the balloon in his heart to keep it open and then the sooner I'll be able to see him. I'm hopeful it won't take too long but it can be around 6 hours sometimes for the procedure.
During labour my husband and mum will be with me and once he's born my husband will go with him to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) while they take his measurements and prep him for the balloon. My mum will stay with me and I'm sure we'll both have a good cry.
From there we don't know when things will happen, I don't know when I'll get to hold him. I don’t know if I'll have the chance to breastfeed him before his arterial switch operation at the Royal Children's. There are so many variables and so many unknowns.
This pregnancy is not what I expected, and not just for the obvious reasons. I struggled with hyperemesis gravidarum (severe morning sickness) with my daughter. I had moments of isolation and depression with friends and family who didn't understand how hard the pregnancy was on me or didn't think we were ready to be parents. Physically it was hard on my body, my hair turned horrible, dark, oily and knotty. I got more pimples than I did in puberty and I gained 30kg. I suffered from leg cramps most nights and due to severe swelling carpel tunnel at the end. And to top it all off I got new stretch marks just about everywhere.
This time I feared would be the same, the morning sickness wasn't as bad which I was especially grateful for because I was still able to look after my daughter. Family and new friends were a lot more supportive and excited about baby number 2 because they've actually seen that we are capable parents. Physically not much has changed, my hair is fine, I have a few pimples no more than usual, I've only gained around 12kg this time and only have a few new stretch marks on my belly due to extra fluid and him measuring big. Plus second babies don't drop as early so he's sitting high and stretching out the top of my stomach. I've also had a bit of pelvic instability this time that hurts like hell but I can cope with it.
Mentally though, every day is like walking through a mine field. I don't know what to expect. Some days I'm okay and positive about the prognosis, and then some days I just break down and cry because I'm so afraid. I was fairly positive when we first found out about his heart, I don't know if it was due to shock or just trying to be strong for my husband while he struggled. As the pregnancy progressed we've kind of switched rolls and he became more calm about it all while I grew anxious and upset. But as the day gets closer I think we're both terrified and only just keeping our heads above water.
I feel like once this is all happening reality will hit for a lot of people and it will be a shock to the system but I don't have the time or the energy to worry about them. My sole focus has to be on my little family, not just my son, I have to remember not to neglect my husband or daughter either. It's going to be a tricky juggling act as it would be so easy to be consumed by everything that is going on, but I'll do my best.
After approximately 18 weeks since finding out, I'm glad it's nearly over and while he'll no longer be safe inside me, we can hopefully soldier through the next stage and then bring him home to start a normal life as a family of 4.
The next few months are going to be hard, the hardest of my life, and I've been through my fair share of shit.
The hardest part about packing my hospital bag this time was that I knew exactly what I needed to pack, except I didn't need to pack it because he'll just be in nappies that the hospital provides.
Having him taken away straight after birth without a cuddle. I don't know when we'll first get to hold him.
Not being able to do skin to skin, not having him next to me in his bassinet after birth.
Knowing that when I leave the hospital I'll be leaving him behind. And even when he's transferred it will be about another week before I can sleep next to him for the first time.
I'm worried I'll struggle to maintain a good milk supply through the stress of everything long enough to actually be able to breastfeed him.
I'm worried about my post natal mental health. With a history of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and depression we were worried I'd get post natal depression the first time. Luckily this wasn't the case but under these circumstances I'm fearful I won't be so lucky this time.
It's going to be hard.
It's going to be terrifying.
It's going to be exhausting.
But we just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
One step at a time.
One day at a time.
Thank you for reading, for more on our story you can check out my blog post When Things Don't Go as Planned.