Monday, 30 August 2010

Another scan

I took my first 'bump' picture the other day. You can't tell yet when I'm dressed that there's anything there, but I know that this is definite bump and not just too many cakes! Usually my tummy is pretty flat - you can see where it starts off fairly straight and then begins to stick out. Normally it just goes straight down, no sticky out bit. It's pretty exciting having the very beginnings of a bump, I want it to hurry up and get bigger!!

This week we went for another scan - our second attempt at a 12 week scan so the doctors could get the measurements they needed for the downs syndrome screening. I was a bit nervous about this one because one of His uncles had downs syndrome so that gives us an increased risk. But there was nothing to worry about coz the measurement was 1.79mm which falls in the middle of the normal range. Anything over 3.00mm is said to increase the risk so although we've not had the official results, we should be ok :)

The actual scan was AMAZING. So much better than last time. The baby was lying the other way around to how it was last time, and was wriggling around loads. It was kicking its little arms and legs about and rolling sideways, towards and away from the camera. We were pretty overwhelmed by how much it was moving, and how much more like a baby it looked than last time. I wish we could have had a video from this one because the pictures really don;t represent how good the whole thing actually was.

In this first one you can see the baby facing directly to the camera. It looks like a bit of an alien - its face is on the right side of the picture and you can see its round body and little stumpy arms and can just about make out its legs on the left hand side.

In this one, the baby has rolled away from the camera and has its back to us, again with its head on the right hand side. You can definitely make out it its head, and body and an arm on the top, and its legs on the left hand side. I think this is my favourite picture of them all!

This one has the baby lying on its back, like the last scan. The white line under its head is the bit they take the measurement from for the downs test and the other white line under its body is its spine and you can just about make out legs on the left side of the picture :)

In other news, I've finished my dissertation for my masters and now have 5-6 weeks off until my PhD starts. I'm really looking forward to it now. A change of project and direction, new things to learn and do, a totally different course structure, new supervisors, a new environment too. It'll be a great fresh start for this next stage of my career - and I'm so looking forward to having a regular fixed income for the next three years!

I've been working almost full time hours at the cafe for the last few weeks, and although it'll be great when my pay check comes through, its killing me doing so many hours. I'm sure in a couple more weeks once the tiredness caused by my pregnancy has passed, I'll be able to cope with it but right now, I come home from work and I go to bed. Even if its 5pm. I'm on edge all the time and I find myself snapping at customers and colleagues, and constantly wanting to burst into tears. Its safe to say, the pregnancy is becoming more obvious to everyone who knows me!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

The first Scan

Yesterday was a really special day for me (and hopefully for Him too) as it was the first time we ever saw our baby. I spoke to the other half about it the night before and asked him how he felt about it. He wasn't sure how to feel, but was adamant that he had to come with me to the hospital, even though it meant being there by 9am!

I was so excited when I woke up in the morning, I don't think I really slept properly. I just wanted to get to the hospital as soon as I could so I could see that there was actually a baby there, and that it was OK - and so I could go to the bathroom. You have to go with a full bladder to an ultrasound, it helps them get a clearer picture - its certainly not nice having the lady pushing around in your tummy when you're desperate for a wee!

Despite the discomfort, I still couldn't help but giggle when this wonderful little Jellybean popped up on the screen in front of me...

The large heart shaped area is my rapidly expanding uterus, and the baby, shaped like a kidney bean/peanut/jellybean is sitting at the bottom. its head is to the left, and the little bit on the right that's sticking up is its leg (not boy parts)!!

The sonographer also gave us a close up picture...

In this one, you can see everything more clearly. If you look at the head, theres a dark spot in the centre which is one of the babys eyes, and the whiteish area, which I think looks like a pair of lips, is its little heart, which we could see beating away on the screen. I think, but I'm not sure, that the blackish line that runs around the inside of its head is the outline of its brain, but don;t quote me on that one. It looks a bit out of proportion, and like things are in the wrong place, but thats normal. As the baby grows, its head will become smaller in proportion to the rest of its body, and will also lift off its chest, so its heart wont look like its in its mouth!

The most important thing that we learned from the scan is that the dates calculated by the doctor/midwife/general custom when you have a baby were wrong. Its all worked out from the first day of your last period, which was May 18th and you count 40 weeks from there to give you a due date. When I found out I was pregnant, I checked my diary and did some calculating based on when I thought we may have conceived, and placed it sometime around May 29th.

It turns out that I was (almost) right all along, as the scan has revealed the baby was conceived on May 31st and is now due on March 7th. Although I'm disappointed as this means I've effectively lost two weeks I'd already ticked off, it does give us extra time to prepare for the baby, and gives me more time to get all my PhD work done.

This week, we also booked a holiday!! My wonderful step-father decided me and Him needed some time to ourselves before the baby comes, so he has booked us a weeks holiday in BARBADOS of all places, at the end of October. I will be 21 weeks so it's perfectly safe for me to fly, and although it means i have to submit an assignment a week early, it does mean we get an all inclusive week in the Caribbean sunshine which will be just wonderful! So thankyou lovely step-grandad to be :-)

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Making it all work

So, now that I've got used to the idea of becoming a mum, I've had a bit of time to figure out how I'm going to fit my studies in with a newborn. Obviously, I am not expecting my carefully concocted plan to work, as babies are pretty unpredictable, but I have got Plan A, and B and C and maybe all the way up to M or N so I'm well prepared.

My PhD course is taught in week long crash courses, and you usually only take classes in the first year. My course is comprised of 5 modules - 2 of which I don't have to do as I've done them as part of my MA course and one runs 2 weeks after my due date so my supervisors have said I can take that in 2nd year, which means there are only 2 modules left to do. The first is in the first week of October and the assignment is due a month later, and the second is in December with the assignment due a couple of days before my birthday.

I do also have to write an 8000 word literature review before I have my first year review, which is scheduled for June, but can be pushed back depending on the amount of time I have off after the baby is born. In all honestly, I'm not planning on having any official time off, because if I take a suspension period, then my financial support stops, and I don't get any maternity pay as part of my studentship. If i'm 'working from home' then the money carries on, and as long as I'm organised, I can get a good chunk of the review written before the baby comes so I won't have a huge amount left to do before the first year review.

By the time I start proper serious data collection in my second year, the baby will be 7-8 months old and can go to nursery - I'm already on the waiting list for the university nursery, and the cost is subsidised because I'm a student so thats all perfect. Between the birth and nursery, either He will have to take his days off on the days I do go into uni. or mum can have the baby for a few hours. Its only really the first few months when I need to be there for breastfeeding, that the option for me to go to uni all day is pretty limited. Depending on where my office is based and how many people I share it with, I could even take the baby in with me for a few hours.

So thats the plan - obviously I'm aware that I may NEED to take some time out after the baby is born, and we'll just have to hope that financially we can cope by then - and this is all assuming that the later stages of my pregnancy are uncomplicated. I do always have the option to defer if things are getting too tough for me. The PhD can wait if needs be, spending time with my child can't.