Saturday, June 6, 2015

To test or not to test

I want to go and get a pregnancy test and do it early just to see, if maybe there is something happening. My app (see "there's an app for that") is telling me wait 5 days or the result is more likely to be a false negative. I know this, I know how the test works and that time is needed to let the hormone build up. It’s quite late and I would have to drive to a chemist to get a test, but I have considered getting out of my pyjamas and going for a drive to buy a test (I just asked the Husband and his response started with "we talked about this...")

I’m a little impatient at times. Like at Christmas when I badger the Husband for weeks for hints about my present, and then I wake up earlier than my kids on Christmas day, giddy with excitement. Not about my presents (which are usually delightfully quirky and thoughtfully chosen by the Husband) but about the Bright Spark and the Little Prince finding Santa’s surprises under the tree. I was beaten out of bed last Christmas by the Bright Spark who I recall having a 4 am start (it being summer the sun was not too far behind him), but every other year I have been laying away in bed waiting to hear the pitter-patter of little feet through the house.

Patience is something I have had to practice as I have gotten older; Patience with my students, definitely patience with my children. For me patience is part of compassion. To show compassion towards my children I am patient with them, even when in my head I am screaming “hurry up” or “no you can’t …”. That inner voice is sometimes hard to keep inside and when it is let out I become “grumpy mummy”. The Bright Spark is now at an age where he can identify the presence of grumpy mummy and when he realises he deploys grumpy mummy deflection devices like “quiet” and “best behaviour”. This happened on our regular Sunday morning outing last week to our local farmers market. The Husband had been sick and I was a bit over my two delightful children (which is usually related to the amount of sleep I have not managed to get or the level of distraction of the Bright Spark) with whom I’d been spending lots of quantity time as the Husband spent time in bed. Anyway, as the Bright Spark dawdled his way into the car and through the process of putting his seatbelt on grumpy mummy appeared and shouted at him to put his seatbelt on. Before we got to the second corner of our journey he was telling the Little Prince to keep quiet so grumpy mummy wouldn’t shout. This was a time when I should have been a little more patient. But as I am a fantastic mum, and not a perfect one I can forgive myself for this small slip in my patience.

But the thing I am impatient about now is getting pregnant. And the stupid thing about it is this; this is our first month of trying. But I am in that final week of my cycle when it too early to test and I read every little creak and niggle of my uterus as a sign; A sign of an oncoming period or maybe implantation. And I’m not even sure if it was a good idea to start trying this cycle. We’ve got our first family holiday as a family of four planned for next month. This would most likely coincide with the beginning of morning sickness (as it has with my other pregnancies), and the idea of being in a car for 12 hours each way, with the three people I love the most in the world, while nauseous every waking hour of the day is not really my idea of fun. And (a little selfishly, I know) if I do conceive this cycle there is a very real chance I will have to share my birthday month with a much wanted child. My birthday is really the last thing that is mine. I share most things in my life (often including a shower and my food) and I would like my birthday to stay my own. So there will be silver linings to not really getting started this month. It will also mean I will not be spending the last term of teaching my year 12 students exhausted and felling like I might need to vomit at any time, which would also make life a little easier.

But knowing if this is the start of a new journey is what I am impatient for. I want to know whether I am on the count down to that intoxicating day when I get to bring a new person in to the world and meet them for the first time. That fresh newborn smell and those perfect little features. I want to see the faces on my boys when they meet the newest member of their family for the first time. I want to see the Husband bursting with pride (and probably anxiety) at the tiny little package that is half him and half me. Waiting to find out is like waiting to read the next chapter of the story that is my family and my life.

So I have to wait and not be too impatient. A little like putting down a good book so I can go to sleep (also something I have trouble with) I need to be patient and show some self-compassion – the hardest kind I think.

Monday, June 1, 2015

there's an app for that

So we’ve started the whole trying for a baby thing. Again. When we started trying for the Bright Spark the Husband was in the middle of a health crisis and suggested we wait for a few months for him to get further into his treatment. A few weeks later we were pregnant. We’re not rabbits by any sense of the imagination. It only took once and there we were with two pink lines and worrying about birth with no idea how much our lives were going to change. 

With the Little Prince we’d been waiting to start after I’d had surgery to remove a tempestuous gall bladder full of stones. When we had the post-surgery all clear I began doing basal temperatures, checking cervical mucus, counting days to ovulation and all the other wacky things a clucky woman does to occupy the time. This was all kept in my bedside journal and new details of intercourse and mood were pencilled on a regular basis. It was probably a wee bit obsessive, but as previous posts have mentioned I like to be organised and this was all that I could control. The Husband was quietly patient about the whole thing. He didn’t need much convincing to jump when I said “jump”. It took us a few months to get things started then I miscarried early in the pregnancy (see "from tragedy I grew a garden"). Within one cycle I was pregnant again with the Little Prince. Again, one shot wonder. 

So I have high expectations that we can again get things going by simply declaring to the universe that we’re having unprotected sex and bring on another baby. But quite frankly I don’t have the time or energy to monitor whether my cervix fells firm like my nose or soft like my lips, but the simple cycle monitoring I’ve been doing in our family calendar didn’t really seem like enough. So yesterday morning I found myself in the app store searching for “ovulation”. And up popped about a dozen different trackers making claims about how much faster than the national average time I would conceive if I used their app. I quickly reviewed and selected one to download. So now I have this app on my phone which contains all the intimate details of my menstrual cycle and when I have sex with the Husband, and tells me how fertile I am on any given day of my cycle and when I should expect “aunty Flo” to visit next. Also how many days I need to wait until I can pee on a stick and scare the living daylights out of the Husband again by presenting it to him randomly during his morning shower. I was quite comfortable knowing there was something allowing me to track these details in the mobile age when the thing I carry everywhere has an app for most things I need.

Then this morning I was checking my email and there in my inbox was a message telling my how fertile I am today. And the thing is I already knew this. Because last week when I was in my fertile stage even just the sight of the Husband was enough to get me thinking about baby making activities (and subsequently running late for a morning meeting), and today I was much more interested in folding washing and making banana bread. Not to mention the Husband has been nursing a rather unattractive sore throat and head cold this weekend and was much less uninterested in baby making than he was last week.

My body knows when it’s fertile; I love that my monthly cycle has that period where my husband is the sexist man on earth and I must have him now. It’s one of the reasons I have not gone back to hormonal contraceptives after the Little Prince was born. I spent over a decade taking the contraceptive pill in my teens and 20’s and it was a revelation to come off it before I tried to conceive the Bright Spark. When I teach my students about the ovarian cycle I tell the boys to watch out for the girls when they were short skirts and more make-up at this is probably their fertile period and they’re quite literally on the prowl for lov’n. Our bodies are so well adapted for reproduction if you can tune in to the nuances of your cycle you don’t need a fertility tracker – but that won’t make money, so there’s an app which will do it for you and also help you keep a record of your lifestyle and diet choices.

So went back into the app and found my way to the settings where I turned off the daily fertility reports. You see our first two kids were conceived out of heat of the moment, hormone fuelled, “I must have you now” passion, not “the ovulation test I just peed on suggested we’re coming into my fertile window so are you feeling lucky?” type sex. I think I prefer it this way; it makes for better stories and why would I want to rush from the fun of baby making sex to the exhaustion and nausea of the first trimester (I really do but that is a whole other post).

P.S. I also put a password lock on the app – you don’t want that information falling into the wrong hands (not sure whose hands that would be as some app development company is already getting the intimate details of my sex life…).

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Shhh, don't tell. It's a secret!

We're trying for number 3. The Little Prince is sleeping through the night and the Bright Spark is in full-time school. We seem to have the fine balance of work and life sorted out (this week anyway). So we've decided to throw a spanner in the works and have our third child.

And it feels like one of those presents you give yourself, that is for no one else. Everybody is excited when the first one is on it's way; grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles. Friends tell you stories about their births and give you "useful" (and mostly unsolicited) advice. When you have number two it was a given that you would give the first one a sibling. When I told my head of learning area I was expecting my second child he told me this story about a friend of his whose only child had had to play alone in the dirt because he didn't have a sibling - and then he died and his parents were left childless.

But number 3 is not expected. In fact, in the climate of economic down turn and sustainable living, it seems like an extravagance. We are not just replacing ourself in this planet, but adding to the burden (although the two unmarried brothers who will probably remain childless make us feel like this is less of a burden). And how will we pay for this one? We're still getting over the financial hit of the second one.

And the clock is ticking. It was mentioned in passing by my obstetrician after the Little Prince was born that I shouldn't leave such a big gap before the next one, that having a baby on the "wrong side" of 35 is something to avoid. At the ancient age of 36 my ovaries are shrivelling and my eggs are developing random chromosomal abnormalities and the chance of having a child with a chromosomal fault increases massively. Not. The odds are still very much in my favour of having a perfectly healthy child. I have friends whose perfectly healthy children were conceived when thy were well into their late 30's to give me confidence I will also have a perfectly healthy child.

But really we have wanted a third for a while. When discussions were had between the Husband and I when he was still the Boyfriend, he wanted three, I wanted two. It was stated that negotiations would be had at a later date - maybe he could get pregnant with the third one? But over the years I've come around to the idea. I come from a family of four kids. There was always someone else to play with, to talk to. When my parents separated we were a pack, supporting each other and sharing the childhood burden of our parents broken marriage. Although we're not particularly close as adults, we still see each other regularly and are a part of each others lives and we are there for each other. The Husband has one brother. He suffers from debilitating mental health issues, partly caused by the death of his mother. The Husband also has chronic depression stemming from the death of his mother, and carries the burden of worry for his brother. There is no other sibling to share this burden with. He doesn't have a pack.

So we finally decided to jump off the cliff together and leave the condoms in the box. Life has gotten a little easier this year and the kids are getting more independent. We have decide to use the public health system instead of paying to go private; this is the birth the government pays for. We made it through the last lot of maternity leave without going bankrupt so I'm sure we can do it again. I'm more secure about our finances, we seemed to do ok with the first two and we will go into debt when I'm on leave but we will pay it off when I go back to work.

Now I just have to keep it a secret. A secret that we are trying for our little extravagance. I get to wander around with that "I'm trying to make a little human and having lots of sex" smile that makes me look like I'm just having a good day.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Dancing in the aisles

The Bright Spark is a intelligent, well spoken, quirky little boy. He has always been so. He started chatting away in sentences when he was about 17 months old and has been a chatter box ever since. He was a charming toddler, telling his carer at daycare one day she was wearing a "beautiful dress" (it was an apron) and stopping randomly in shopping centres to boogie to ambient music. The terrible twos came and went without being really terrible.

Over the last year or so we've been battling some of the quirky behaviours. Having to immediately stop and remove sand that has snuck in to sandles due to pending tantrums, runnning around in supermarkets, being drawn like a magnet to rocking chairs and needing to be on the move are just a few of them. Being sensitive to sound has been an issue for a while. I carry ear plugs just in case. When we go to see fireworks, which he loves, he has to wear them or he would be in tears. We thought these were things that he would grow out of as he got older but they have remained.

I find myself repeating "Move away from the television", "stop jumping on the bed", "take that out of your mouth" and I wonder if these are normal behaviour for a child only a few months from being five. More recently he has had behaviour problems at Kindy; not listening to the teacher, poor eye contact and hyperactive behaviour.

I've had a gut feeling that things were not quite right for a while. We had his hearing tested a few months ago and the results were normal. But last week there were several things over a couple of days that got me thinking. I spent some time online and found a quiz on the website of an occupational therapy clinic. One that examines sensory processing. This is how the body perceives the outside world and in turn reacts to it. In some children it seems that the information gets jumbled up as it goes into the brain and they perceive the world differently. When I compared my results to those of the husband I soon realised we needed to take it further. I'm thinking the Bright Spark is one of these "sensational kids".

So now we're on the, hopefully short, path to diagnosis and then the journey of treatment. I have thought a lot what giving my child a label like "sensory processing disorder" will do for him. My mother has suggested that the Bright Spark is fine, labelling him could be damaging. While I partly agree with her, I also know that with a label comes treatment, and hopefully improvement. My son is in his first year of at least 14 years of formal education. It is a time to get things right, to set the foundations for his future, so he can relate to his peers and enjoy his years at school. We want him to be a sucess at school and in life. And if something is in the way of this then we want to know what it is, help him overcome it or adapt his lifestyle to make it more comfortable for him.

I also want my quirky boy to be happy as he grows up and know why he might be a little different to other kids. Why clamps his hands over his ears in public toilets with hand dryers and that it's OK to be him. Undiagnosed Sensory Procesing Disorder can lead to anxiety and depression, things members of his immediate and extended family are challenged by. I would move mountains to see him maintain good mental health thoughout his life. If sessions of occupational therapy as a preschooler can help him to be a more resiliant for the rest of his life, then bring it on.

I don't want to change my son. I would like to make his life easier, and maybe mine a bit too. I would like to understand why he goes out of control in shopping centres and why with one light touch I can get his undivided attention after yelling his name across the room for two minutes. I love his little quirks, they are an intrinsic part of who his is. I am happy for him to keep dancing in the aisles.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

the cat ate my birth plan

I'm the kind of person who likes to plan and organise. I like to be prepared. Not that I go to pieces if my plans fall through or things don't quite go to plan, it's just that I like to think I'm ready. It gives me a small sense of achievement if something I organise pays off. A well packed bag, a thought out route, a well laid garden bed.

Often things don't go to plan. This is the nature of motherhood. Being ready to leave for work on time and stopping to enjoy life for a few extra moments, like the rainbow the Bright Spark and I stopped to look at the other day instead of getting him into the Husbands car for the daycare drop off. The Husband subsequently ran a little late for work. Actually as it wasn't my plans that were thwarted, maybe that doesn't count.

Birth is not something that can really be planned for. I feel prepared. Kind of. Didn't actually make it to an Active Birth class, but I read the book. I understand the basic physiology of labour. I'm drinking raspberry leaf tea. I can count the minutes between contractions. I did some reading up on new born baby care. That did make me think twice about the whole having an infant thing. But then the Husband pointed out it was a little late to reneg on that decision and I'd better get used to the idea of sleep disturbance and sore nipples pretty quickly based on the size of my belly.

Despite not being able to plan for birth, I think having a birth plan is part of the preparation for labour. For me it's about clear communication of the type of birth I'm hoping for, a natural labour. Last week I finally put a birth plan down on paper. More a birth philosophy really. Let me stay upright, encourage me. Don't offer me drugs, I'll ask for them if I need them. That sort of thing. Also things like let my son have skin to skin contact with me and breastfeed early. It's what I'd like to happen if all goes well and there is no reason for these things not to happen.

I also put in things like "show me the placenta". I'm a biologist by nature and I have a slight academic curiosity about the placenta. I'd just like to see it. Not eat it or bury it under a fruit tree. Just want to have a bit of a look at the marvellous organ that has kept my son alive all these months. I didn't even think about it with the Bright Spark until it was too late, so this time it's in the birth plan.

I also included some affirmations and some visualisations. Stuff like "contractions are pain with reason" and "imagine you are swimming with dolphins". A little new age-y, a little bit Earth mother-ish, but stuff that might work. My mother claims that doing affirmations before a university exam got her enabled her to excel at the exam. It was the only time her exam mark was better than her course percentage. And why not think about swimming with dolphins when in the throws of a contraction if it helps to release endorphins and keep me away from an epidural. I'll give it a try.

The other thing I'm doing differently of course, is going to term, which changes the management of labour and gives me more freedom because if things are going well I shouldn't need continuous monitoring and I'll be able to be out of bed, bounce on a birth ball, soak in a shower and move at will. Going to term is not something I can plan of course, but I have managed to this time, after the Bright Spark was born at 36 weeks.

So I typed my birth plan, affirmations and visualisations. I printed them onto coloured paper and even laminated the affirmations and visualisations so I an take them into the shower with me (that made me feel very organised). I folded up the copies neatly; green paper for us, yellow for the midwife on duty. I put them at the top of my open suitcase with some photos of the Bright Spark and some ultrasound printouts of the Unborn Unit. I was ready. A couple of days later I came into the room to find the copies on the floor. The cats had eaten my birth plan. Chunks had been taken out of my neat printouts and little bits of yellow and green confetti were scattered over the floor. This sort of thing you can't plan for really. So I printed them again and secured them inside a bag where they couldn't be tampered with by a bored feline.

So the birth plan is done, the bag is packed and I'm feeling as ready as I need to be. Which is good, because I've been sitting here on my birth ball for a few hours typing away and timing contractions. I'm not sure if this is strong pre-labour or early labour. If I'm lucky it's established labour and I get to be one of those people that walks into the hospital 8 cm dilated and laughing. It feels real this time and I think the Unborn Unit may become the Born Unit today.

The Bright Spark has joined me now and I feel like I need to spend some time with him before these contractions get on top of me. I'll finish this up before he finishes watching "Franklin and Friends" on the iPad and then maybe we can have our usual breakfast ritual together. I think his world is going to change forever today.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Is this It?

So here I sit, on my fit ball at 2.35 am on Sunday knowing this is not It but wondering if it will develop into It this time. Not that I'm a hurry to see this baby into the world enough to medically intervene, but my bladder would really like some more room and my pelvis would like a little break from the pushes and shoves of a developing foetus.

So the reason I sit here is because at my last anti-natal appointment the midwife suggested that if I started to get niggles in the middle of the night again I may want to get up and work with them to see if I can get them to go somewhere. After being woken up by the Bright Spark at about 1.30 am, for a drink and a dummy, I went back to bed with the niggles. A little cramping, a few Braxton-Hicks tightenings.

So there I lay feeling the niggles for about three quarters of an hour. And here I am now still feeling them, every now and then...

2.41 am

I know that each labour is different and that second labour are suposed to be faster than the first. The Bright Spark entered this world about six and a half hours after my first contraction and I'm hoping that his brother will be faster, but I'm not going to put money on it. He's stayed in longer, making us wonder whether the obstetricians jokes about induction will become actual plans. I'm not against medical intervention where necessary, access to the best medical technology is one of the reasons we chose to live in a big city during my childbearing years and have made the financial sacrifices of engaging a private obstetrician...

2.55 am (there was one in between but I had to take a quick toilet break)

...but I would like to avoid the potential cascade of interventions that can follow an induction and failure to progress. I have faith in my body's ability to push out a child. I got through labour last time, albeit with a little help to get the Bright Spark out at the end due to foetal distress (we joke that he was pulled out with salad tongs). I had an intense but short labour, aided by an epidural after the 3rd hour.

This time I would like to avoid the epidural. This is my Everest and I'm planning to summit without oxygen. I'll have it there in my pack, just in case I get stuck an a storm near the peak. I know most people taking my route use oxygen but I hear that the view from the peak is better without it. My support team knows my plans and I have come a little more prepared than last time. I've got a good Sherpa, he's a little concerned but I know if I fall into a glacier he'll be there on my belay line to pull me out. Sure, I'm a little trepidatious about the journey, but many people have summitted before me and I'll keep them in mind as I make the journey.

3.10 am

It does seem though that the journey will not start tonight though. I feel like I'm stuck at base camp, ready to go but I'm happy for a few more days of preparation before I set of. It seems tonight's niggles were just another training run, and I'm going to retire to my tent for a few hours sleep before the Bright Spark wakes me with in a few hours for cuddles and books.

3.19 am

I'll go back to drinking my Raspberry leaf tea and sitting in my fit ball and practising affirmations and visualisations. I may even start to consider a few other natural ways to get things moving, although the Husband and I will have to get a little creative with positions in the bedroom if we're going to try that tried and tested method.

So for now this is not It but I'll keep you posted.

3.26 am

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hell fortnight

Yesterday I cracked a tooth. Not just a little chip, but cracked a premolar in two. It seems that the larger piece is also no longer attached to the root and I think I'm going to end up with a crown at best, or an implant at worst. One small blessing is that it's not painful, so I can wait until tomorrow to see the dentist in relative comfort. The reason for the lack of pain is the root canal treatment I had done in November last year, during the second month of my pregnancy.

This was part of the hell fortnight I had last year.

It involved morning sickness, two jobs, a root canal, an ear infection, a sick cat, a bout of gastro and an uncomfortable fungal infection.

It started with the pregnancy. I must have been about seven weeks along and all day sickness had kicked in. Nausea from the moment I woke until the moment I fell asleep again, vomiting a few times a day and just generally feeling tired and crappy, as is common in early pregnancy. So I munched dried crackers and fruit and sipped water to manage it as best I could. I had morning sickness with the Bright Spark as well, but this was a little worse and coming at the end of a busy school year. Fortunately classes were winding up and my contact hours with students were decreasing so I was able to snack at will to manage the nausea.

This was one of the reasons for the second job. I had decided after 9 years of teaching final year Biology I really should get some experience with external exam marking. Our university bound students sit an exam at the end of each of their courses, known as the Western Australian Certificate of Education Exams (WACE Exams). The results of these exams contribute to their university entrance score, the Australian Tertiary Entrance Rank (ATAR), so they're the stressful culmination of a year of hard study for our year 12 students. It's considered excellent professional development to have some experience marking the exams and it was something I'd been meaning to do for a few years so I applied in June before I was pregnant and had received a position as a marker in early October, also before I was pregnant. But between saying I would participate and the actual exam being sat I had sunken into the fatigue and nausea of early pregnancy. But I could still do two jobs at once as well as being a mother and house wife. The Husband would pitch in more for a couple of weeks and the Bright Spark would spend a few extra hours in childcare, but the money would help out around Christmas and it would be a good career move for me. A few small sacrifices for some gain. So I attended the three hour Friday night session to learn the marking key with a bag of dried fruit and crackers and at all started well.

That Saturday night I developed a bit of a tooth ache. I thought I'd hurt my gum and was developing a bit of in infection, something that had happened a couple of times during my pregnancy with the Bright Spark. I turned down the Husband's offer to do a midnight run to the chemist but as the night wore on and the pain got worse I was beginning to think there might be more to it than just sore gums. After an early morning run to a chemist for codine and booking an emergency appointment with a dentist I was diagnosed with a root canal infection and the first stage of root canal treatment was done. This was the start of several days of pain followed by another root canal treatment. In the middle of this I was also diagnosed with an ear infection which had followed a head cold from the previous week. Now the pain from an inner ear infection can be pretty uncomfortable, but coupled with the pain of the root canal infection and treatment I was in agony for a couple of days. It was, however, at this point that I decided I could do natural childbirth. If I could handle this pain pushing out a baby would be a walk in the park. So I took as much paracetamol and codine as was safe and pushed though. Eventually the pain subsided, the antibiotics did their job and I could walk around without every step sending shooting pain through my jaw. I did a few hours marking and even managed to turn up to work for one day that week.

Then came the sick cat. Actually the cat had been a point of concern for a few weeks and things weren't improving. Dippy, our little feral from Carnarvon, was not doing well, showing signs of respiratory distress and off her food. She'd lost a bit of weight over the previous few months while we'd been distracted by miscarriage and new pregnancy and now after a week on medication she was doing no better. We made the decision to have her euthanased after a series of tests. We said goodbye to another beloved pet. She was a quiet little tortishell with a bob tail, probably from an injury sustained as a kitten. She was an untouchable fascination to the Bright Spark and "Dippy" was one of his first words. We used this as a chance to give him a lesson about death, letting him pat her after she had passed away. This was the first time he had really been able to lay hands on her and after a vigorous pat good bye and an explanation that mum was sad because Dippy had died and gone to heaven, while carefully dodging the words "gone to sleep" we left her at the vet.

I negotiated to reduce the number of exams I would mark and with the help of my colleagues at school I managed to complete final weeks of term and see my students to their exams. I was sad at losing Dippy, relieved that the root canal treatment was done for now and almost finished my antibiotics. Then came another hit. Gastro.

When our son spent his first winter in daycare he experienced many colds and had a runny nose for most of winter. We became experts at diagnosing colds in their early stages and using steamy showers to help clear a stuffy little nose became part of our bedtime routine. We thought colds were pretty bad and went out of our way to avoid kids who were symptomatic in an effort to reduce our viral load. We were relieved when spring arrived and the Bright Spark's nose dried up after months. Things were looking up. Until gastro struck.

Gastroenteritis is a blanket term used to describe a range a bacterial and viral infections that cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. They also cause mummy fatigue, washing over load and daddy downfall in our house. You see when the Husband gets gastro he goes down like he's been shot. He vomits uncontrollably, dehydrates quickly and requires home visits from doctors to have shots of anti-nausea medication into his bum. It's pretty nasty for him. The first time the Bright Spark had it we had to take a trip to the hospital for rehydration. We also managed to share it with his Nana and Aunt, all over the hectic Christmas period. So the first signs of diarrhoea and nausea send us to battle stations.

The bout of gastro that hit me during the hell fortnight was, fortunately, relatively mild and required a few days off work to rest and hydrate. I was already nauseous and tired from pregnancy, I was happy to take a few more days off work to put my feet up and focus on drinking electrolyte solutions. It was thought that the antibiotics had probabl started it and it passed pretty quickly. Then came the final blow.

As they had interfered with my gut flora, the antibiotics for my ear infection had also interfered with the fine balance in other parts of my anatomy and I developed thrush for the first time in years. So now I could add itchy and sore to tired and nauseous. I was also a little over worked too. After another trip to the chemist and the application of some soothing cream "down there" I powered through the finally hundred exam questions and beat the deadline for completion of marking. I also managed to turn up to work a few more days and get though the pile of marking from my teaching job. The year was coming to a rapid end and I had survived a complicated and exhausting fortnight.

I was booked to have the final part of my root canal treatment completed six weeks after my son is due. Unfortunately the oat bar I was snacking on yesterday had other plans for my poor tooth and now I await tomorrows appointment to find out what will become of it. After years of good dental health it seems that pregnancy, and muesli bars, have once again taken their toll on my teeth. So fingers crossed for tomorrow's trip to the dentist and lets hope I don't go into labour in the next 24 hours. I don't really want to be able to do a direct comparison of the pain of dental treatment against the pain of labour.

Postscript; After 26 months I am just about to recieve the crown for my implant to replace the tooth I lost while pregnant with the little Prince. It has been a long journey, but in two days my smile will finally be complete again!