70 per cent into our pregnancy

It hit me while putting Master X to bed tonight that there are only nine weeks until the baby is considered full term. That means 63 nights putting our first baby to sleep, 1 512 hours until my attention is turned to nursing, raising and loving another being outside my body. I feel overwhelmed by the thoughts of these times being so meagre, slim, short and that soon there will two hearts walking around out in the world that once beat in rhythm with mine.

So, what’s happening this week in our lives? Today I had my 28 week midwife appointment at the house. It was out first home visit and the house looked trashed, it was a bit embarrassing. I used unpacking the caravan to get it ready for sale as the excuse for things strewn everywhere, rather than the obvious which is I’m too lazy to bend down and clean stuff up. I have resorted to just kicking the toys over to the play area in a half attempt at organising. I manage to push the toys enough so we don’t fall over them when we blearily awake in the morning and stumble into the living area which is quite small. Win-win I think for 28 weeks! What made today’s appointment extra interesting was that there was a severe knock at the front door mid-way through the appointment and I thought it was the neighbours coming to rouse on the parking effort of my midwife (let’s call the midwife Sarah). It was quite a forceful knock, suggesting upset and abruptness. Anyway I could see the person was wearing a hi-vis yellow shirt so that deepened my suspicions of it being the neighbours so I grilled Sarah about her parking before heading to the door. I crack the door tentatively and ask, ‘hello?’ to which the burly man replied, ‘I’m here to put some glass into the bathroom for Shane.’ Ah yes, the glass pane we were waiting on, great. So I let him through the garage door and showed him the bathroom, explaining that there was a cat so please do not enter other rooms, and left him to it.

Sarah was performing the routine checks and I was laying on the couch with my top up and pants down so she had access to my pelvis and uterus, when the man barged into the room after a brief tap on the door. I hurriedly sit up and say, ‘Yes’ as he mumbles embarrassed, and closes the door. Sarah implored me to explain to the man that she was ‘just the midwife’ to avoid any confusion. Freaking hilarious situation and embarrassing for all!

Tomorrow is our appointment with the perinatal mental health team to make a plan about how we want the pregnancy and postpartum period to go, and what we will do to mitigate the risks of a psychosis or other possible implications. I am nervous as I feel like I am being pushed into managing my medication and pregnancy as high risk when the only risk I have shown is a hypomanic episode, which I caught and medicated and have recovered from quite well. I do not want an induction, preterm birth or lapse opportunity to breastfeed my child, unless there is obvious risk to myself or the baby or my family. Mr A and I are both attending the appointment as he feels unprepared for the baby and this is a way to start thinking about ‘what if’ and ‘what can we do’.

I feel okay this week, but it has been a week of holidays in Australia, so I only have to work for three days instead of four days. And two of those three days have appointments in the afternoons! Mr A and I decided to stop my antidepressant medication as per advised by the psychiatrist, and also to reduce to Olanzapine and one tablet of lithium. We realise that this is a lot of changes to do together so I promised that I would listen to him if he thinks my mood becomes tenuous at any time. I know that my mood has not been 100 per cent stable, but I think that it is manageable and Mr A agrees. We know the risks of coming off, but we also know the risks on staying on the medications, especially as I am on the highest dosage of lithium and olanzapine, however my blood levels for lithium are very low despite this fact.

I look forward to the weekend when we can relax and unwind. I wish we lived in Japan so we could visit a bath house – those places are such bliss. Maybe we will have to create our own experience at home. Mr a says that sounds good so that will be our plan!


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