You are browsing the archive for 2007 April.

Of dogs, cats and the reason for porridge brain

April 23, 2007 in Uncategorized

On saturday, at the vet (with 1 x german shepard bitch (highly pedigreed, hyperactive, seeing a shrink), 1 x german shepard male (previously fractured elbow, still seeing physio) and 1 x gutter special cat (he is in shape – round is a shape); 3 x vaccines and deworming), I met a woman who started chatting to me about pregnancy.

Her first child is now 14 and she is longing for another baby, who would be quite a laat-lamejie. It comes out that she loved being pregnant. She didn’t suffer morning sickness (unlike me, who projectile vomited on the male dog, it’s a wonder he isn’t the one seeing the shrink); didn’t suffer extreme tiredness (I fell asleep on the toilet at work. I was going to close my eyes for 5 minutes while sitting there. 45minutes later I woke up because my bum was numb and going into pins and needles); didn’t get stretch marks (she had the perfect little bump); didn’t infact suffer any pregnancy symptom whatsoever and had a 45 minute labour. And the part she loved most was the attention she got – people fussing over her, standing so that she could sit, touching her belly. She doesn’t remember the first year being hell. In fact, she got that glossy look when thinking about her perfect angel (who must never have screamed and cried and pooed and puked). And that got me thinking. I have found the reason for porridge brain.

My hypothesis goes as follows – Nature wants us to continue to reproduce. Pregnancy (and although I haven’t experienced it yet, I can imagine labour too) is hell. So nature starts playing with our memory banks and all other parts of our brain – like the part that controls logical thought or even dexterity of fingers (much clumsier than normal). So that after pregnancy and after the first year, we don’t actually remember what truly happened. And then we are “reprogrammed” by the media – happy, smiling, glowing women with the perfect 5 month bump modeling pregnancy clothes and featured on the front of glossy magazines (no head down toilet pics here), cute, smiling, gurgling babies (sans puke, poo or tears), wonderfully groomed new moms pushing strollers with the perfect babies (when exactly would a new mom have time to do her makeup and get her hair styled?). And we get that broody feeling back. And because nature played with our memory during pregnancy, we have forgetten all the bad parts and only remember the good parts (baby wiggling, husband kissing tummy, excuse for eating as much tom-yum goong as we want).
And suddenly we’re pregnant again and wondering where our brain has gone.

Unfortunately, I will only be able to test this hypothesis out if I decide that baby needs a sibling. Currently my reaction to doing this again is “touch me and you die”. But maybe Mother Nature has other plans.

In the meantime, it doesn’t help my 400 percale 100% white cotton duvet cover and sheets that somehow found their way into the washing machine with a deep red raw silk cushion cover. They’re now a charming patchy pink. Porridge brain 2, Kirsten 0.

Feeling emotional

April 20, 2007 in Uncategorized

Feelings of worry about the cordio results have now been replaced again with the feelings of worry and concern about the clubfoot issue. The problem is everyone tells me that they either know someone who had clubfoot, or that it is correctable etc. and that I shouldn’t be worried. And in a very weird way, all the reassurances, which were comforting a week ago, now make me feel as if my emotions are invalid – that I shouldn’t be feeling like this. and that then makes me feel guilty. So now I feel worried and guilty about feeling it.

Throw into the mix that I still feel guilty about it (I know, I know, there is nothing I did wrong – but I did fly in my first trimester, and drink coke, and and and…maybe there is something I did wrong that caused this?) and I actually think I’m just one big ball of emotions.

So if you see a small little woman, dressed in black today, with a rather large bump, having a temper tantrum or just sobbing, give her a tissue and leave her alone. she’ll be just fine. as soon as she gets over her issues.


April 19, 2007 in Uncategorized

It’s been an incrediably stressful week, priming ourselves to that fact that we may lose another baby (I had an ectopic pregnancy in August last year. Might have been just an embryo then, but to me was a very real baby). But the wait is over and the miscarriage risk is over too:

We have got the results of the cordiocentesis – our little girl doesn’t have a chromosome abnormality!!Which means that in all likelihood her clubfeet is isolated and we can deal with that when she is born. 

What a huge relief! The support of our friends and family, and those on the blog site, has been phenomenal. All to all these people, my thanks for their support and love.

Both the gynae and fetal assessment clinic want to keep a close eye on us now, just to make sure that she continues to grow and develop as she should. I’m convinced that from now on all will be just fine.

We’ve been playing with names – currently Talia Morgain is top of the list. But in true indecisive nature of first time parents, it’ll probably change next week. Apparently there are only two definite things about naming a child – she’ll hate it and ask you why you couldn’t have called her something else, and you’ll believe that its perfect and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

My little wiggle worm

April 17, 2007 in Uncategorized

The waiting continues. And is hell, the slowest week ever. And my little girl continues to wiggle and squirm and do water aerobics in my tummy. I felt my husband emotionally pulling away from her for a couple of days. I think he has been trying to come to terms with this in his own way. And bracing himself incase we had to make “that decision”. But, I think, we’ve both convinced ourselves now that it will all be fine and that the test will confirm that its not a chromosome issue (and thus more likely to be idiopathic/isolated talipes) and I’ve felt him come closer to us again. It has been very tough on him. I at least have the reassurance of her movements.

Last night, she kicked so hard that we could actually see the skin move on my tummy. Up until now my hubby has only managed to feel one or two kicks – usually she goes still when he puts his hand on my tummy. Last night he managed to feel her wiggle for a good 10 minutes. Her kicks are getting stronger.

It reassures me – surely it can’t be that bad if she is such an active little wiggle worm.

The waiting game

April 15, 2007 in Uncategorized

We had the cordiocentesis on Thursday morning. It took her about 5 goes to get into the placenta with a really long needle through my uterus in order to draw some of baby’s blood. Entry point just above my belly button. she asked me to keep my eyes open and on the screen so that I could see what she was doing in order to avoid any jerks or jumping on my side. I’m not sure who the procedure affected most – myself in pain from the needle, or or my hubby who saw the blood on my tummy and the actual length of the needle (lying down, I managed to avoid looking at that). He was the one who almost fainted afterwards (and he wants to be there during the labour?!). And now the waiting game has started – the first 48 hours of pure bedrest to reduce risk of miscarriage (I think we got through that one, although every twinge and niggle had me checking for all signs of a miscarriage) and then the wait until Thursday to get the results. 

In the meantime we have been doing as much research into bilateral congentital talipes as possible. And its scary. Provided there are no other problems with her (my biggest fear is mental retardation that won’t be picked up with this test or any of the scans), it looks like the first few years of her life will not be pleasant. Depending on the severity and the method chosen by the specialist, it may mean casts, physio and/or surgery. There seems to be a non-invasive method of correction called the Ponseti method, but the only practicing doctor in SA seems to be in JHB (this only determined by a google search – we will need to do more investigating into this). But we are considering the possiblity of having to spend 6 months in JHB while she undergoes the first phase. what this will mean for my new business I am trying to launch, my husband’s career or our other three children (of the furry, 4 legged kind), I don’t know. 

Its been a hectic, unpleasant past few days. I went to a pregnancy workshop on saturday which, in hindsight, was not a good idea. It was really difficult to look at all the other pregnant women and think that they were carrying “normal” babies and mine is deformed. Or listen to the talks on what to do to ensure a healthy baby (and thinking that there is nothing I can do now to help mine). And then always in the back of my mind, considering the fact that if the test comes back positive for a chromosome abnormality, then we may need to terminate (a chromosome 18 abnormality is terminal – baby would die within a few days of birth). But we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

In the meantime, one thing at a time. we carrying on waiting.



weather mimicing my mood

April 11, 2007 in Uncategorized

 She wiggled all night. A constant reminder of life in my belly. I don’t want to lose her.

To test or not to test – a life at risk

April 10, 2007 in Uncategorized

How do you make a decision that could potentially kill your unborn child? Especially one you can feel wiggle and squirm and that tickles you from the inside out. When she moves it feels like a paint brush being run along my insides. When she kicks, its like a little muscle spasm – like when you get a little tick in the muscle in your eye. These little feelings are the only thing I have enjoyed about pregnancy – it has made the 24 hour sickness / food aversions / headaches / extreme tiredness yada yada yada all worthwhile. These make me smile and make me feel perfectly at one with the world. I can sit for hours just waiting for her to move.

Then we had a scan. It was supposed to be a routine 22 week scan. And for half an hour it seemed perfectly routine. Everything was fine. baby’s head, heart even her little kicking legs were fine. Then we saw her feet. her tiny little deformed feet. her tiny little clubbed feet. and everything just fell apart.

And the questions started. what had I done wrong? I haven’t had any alcohol. Not a single glass. Although I’d craved it at times. I’d taken all my folic acid. ok, honestly, I might have missed one or two days. Was that enough to cause talipes? Maybe it was the ICSI part of ivf. It was all my fault we couldn’t fall pregnant in the first place. Maybe I’m just not meant to do this. 

Then came the what can we do about it – months of casts, surgery, physiotherapy. My poor little girl. How do I breastfeed when both her legs are in casts? how do we get close and bond? How much pain will she be in while they contort her feet to the correct angles? Will she ever walk normally? will she ever dance / run / play sport? We won’t even know how serious it is until she is born.

Then came the rest of the bombshell – club feet are linked in some cases to chromosomal abnormalities. Specifically chromosome 18 abnormalities. a lethal defect, she will die shortly after birth if this is what is wrong with her. Or it may be a range of other chromosomal things. Things which equal mental retardation. In 10% of the cases, its not just club feet its something else as well. something more sinister.

Or it could be nothing. Just nature’s cruel way of providing me with a child who is special.  And in time, her feet will be fine and she’ll walk and run just about like any other kid. The problem is right now. Do we test for the possibility that it is linked to a chromosomal abnormality? The test itself, cordiosentisis, runs a risk of 1% of miscarriage. Do we take the risk to be able to rest assured that our baby is not going to suffer any other deformaties, knowing that it can kill her, us just finding out. And if we did find out, and there is a chromosome problem, what do we do? Can I be strong enough to terminate? Or even stronger to carry on loving her and hoping for the best when she is born. knowing that if it is a chromosome 18, I won’t have her for very long.

The test is booked for thursday morning.

Poridge Brain

April 4, 2007 in Uncategorized

From a hyper organised, memory of a small elephant type person, the kind of person who has memories from her first trip to the UK at the tender age of 2 and a half, I’ve turned into the kind of person who puts staplers in the fridge and can’t remember where she has put something she had in her hand five minutes previously. Locking the car has become a treasure hunt afterwards – I never know where the keys are going to end up. The dogs are loving me, I’m forgetting that I’ve fed them already. My husband’s concerned – he’s now walking in going, “its me – your husband” – worried that he’ll be the next one I forget. Or maybe he’s worried I’ll put him in a strange place too.

Its incredibly disconcerting.

And its not due to copious amouts of drugs. well actually it is, but not of the illegal kind. These ones were perfectly legit and got me pregnant (drugs used for ivf unfortunately are not of the fun kind). So now there are two people sharing the one brain cell which feels incrediably overworked and has resorted to giving memory space to the small being growing in my belly. Leaving me without any access to the memory banks. But what exactly does small-being-in-belly need to remember at this stage? All she can hear is my stomache growling and rumbling and the occasional loud noises from the radio or the dogs barking in glee (supper time again). Does she remember these things at birth? 

I’d love to know. I’ll have to ask her in 4 months when she’s born and gives me back my memory brain cell.