Group B Strep testing at home.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Group B Strep and what it is and why you should know about it.

That post can be found here; Group B Strep, are you aware of it?

You are to do the test between 35 and 37 weeks, so as I turned 36 weeks I thought it was the perfect time to do the test.

So I opened the envelope (they post you everything you need and the information on how to get a test is in my last post about Group B Strep) and this it what it contained;

Testing Kit

An information sheet, a prepaid envelope, 2 swabs and a test request/payment form.

You simply take 2 swabs as instructed, one from the “front”, one from the “back” and pop them in the prepaid envelope with the completed form and your payment which is either a credit/debit card or a cheque. If you wish you can include your mobile number and they even text you your results.

It was really simple to do, it took me 5 minutes, I was actually quite surprised with how easy it was, which made me ask the question why don’t the NHS test for this, it takes 2 minutes, could be done as part of a midwife appointment and costs £35, which in the grand scheme of things is a tiny amount.

Complete Test

I then went to the post office, popped it in with the post and the results should be available with in 3 working days.

I will update when I get my results.

Advertisements

35+6 Growth Scan and Consultant Appointment

Yesterday I went for my growth scan and consultant appointment.

The hospital were super busy due to them only doing consultant appointments on a Monday and of course last week was bank holiday Monday so they were playing catch up.

My appointment was at 9.40 and we didn’t get seen till 11.40! Wow, have to admit I was starting to get the the end of my tether when they called me in.

Whilst we were waiting I saw a midwife and she checked my blood pressure (all fine! as good as my booking in appointment), my urine (all clear) and then much to my mortification she weighed me! Oh my lord, first time since booking in at 12 weeks, safe to say I thought I had put weight on, but not quite this much, its that much I don’t quite feel comfortable divulging the figure!!

I saw a consultant I hadn’t seen before, she scanned me and we found that she is still 97th centile and they estimated her weight to be 7lb 5oz! So still a chunk. Consultant just checked I felt well and told me to book another appointment in 2 weeks (37+6) but that she didn’t expect to see me as she thinks I will go into labour before then? Personally I am not convinced but this has prompted my husband to cancel some working away he was meant to be doing, which has made me feel a bit better about the whole thing.

After my appointment I went to boots to buy maternity bed sheets just in case my waters decide to go in bed as we only bought a new bed/mattress a couple of weeks ago!

I also picked up some colic drops at the advice of a friend, that its best to have them in just in case!

Maternity Notes

Zita West Vitamen & Vitafem Vitamin Give Away

If you have been following my blog you will know I am currently 35 weeks pregnant and it took us a while to conceive as I am reproductively challenged.

I wrote a little blog post about our journey here; My Infertility and our miracle.

I thought it would be nice to give something back.

Zita West is one of the UK’s leading fertility and pregnancy experts.

Her website is www.ZitaWest.com.

During my IVF cycle I used Zita West’s relaxation CD  and well it worked! I found a great help and really aided me in staying calm and turning off at night.

So I am giving away one months supply of Zita West Vitamen & Vitafem vitamins.

Zita West Vitamins

Just follow the link below to the rafflecopter page and follow the instructions.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

Binky Linky!

This linky is for bloggers who have been blogging for a year or less. It’s your chance to link up your favourite post of the week. It’s a great way to find new blogs to read and to raise your blogs profile.Binky is the American term for a dummy which babies obviously use. I thought the name Binky Linky would suit seeing as this linky is aimed at newbie bloggers!

 Emily from Our IVF Journey is your host…
…and your co-hosts are…
…and…
Rebecca from Babylove Beckha
The rules are simple…
1. Link up your best post of the week below
2. Visit other peoples posts and leave a blog comment on at least 3 other blogs
3. Share this linky via Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest etc using the hashtag #binkylinky
4. Follow other bloggers via their social networks
5. Every Friday at 12.01am until 11.59pm on Sunday, this linky will be open to share your posts
6. Please include the linky badge or a textlink onto the linked blog post or sidebar so people can find the link easily and to see other peoples entries
 
 
Binky Linky
 

Well, I’m 35 weeks pregnant!

Sitting here thinking how has all this gone so fast?

It seems like it was just yesterday that we were doing our injections for our IVF, and now BAM we are 35 weeks pregnant!

It’s finally starting to feel a bit real. I mean I know I’m pregnant, I felt movement from 15 weeks but I guess I never truly believed I would get this far? That I would be this lucky?

I’m currently consultant led, I was consultant led from the start, just because this is an IVF pregnancy and that is what they do here. I was downgraded at about 28 weeks, and then put back to “high risk” again by my midwife due to me having some issues with high blood pressure and migraines, then I had my “your bump is measuring 4 weeks ahead” appointment and was referred for a growth scan, which showed she was 90th centile, which again meant I had to see the consultant.

My last consultant appointment he did another scan, turns out she was then 97th centile and they would like to scan again, so on Monday we are off for another growth scan. I am kind of hoping she was just having some crazy growth spurt and has calmed down a little, but I guess Monday will tell all. I’m hoping to be downgraded so I can have a water birth, but I just want her here safe.

So here’s my 35 week bump. I am really going to miss it when its gone, but I honestly cannot wait to meet her now.

IMG_7098

She also seems to really enjoy hanging out on my right hand side. It makes my bump look so lopsided and odd!

IMG_7104

We are all prepared for her to arrive now, the only thing I really need to do is get my car fully valeted as it has been used recently for ferrying our dog about as we have just bought a dog/baby friendly second car, a Volvo estate which will make traveling up to visit my family in Lancashire a lot easier.

My mum is currently down with us visiting. We did some shopping today and I picked up these from JoJo Maman Bebe;

IMG_7081

They were only £4 and are really handy and can be used to clip muslins onto car seats and prams to keep your baby shaded.

They can be found here online and they sell them in store; http://www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk/sp+clam-p-clips-in-breast-and-bottle-feeding+d3173

Tomorrow we are off to a little town called Abergavenny for some afternoon tea and will be visiting my favorite baby shop Cuddle & Cwtch, they stock so many beautiful things, including Frugi clothing (my favorite!!). If you fancy a look their website is http://www.cuddleandcwtch.co.uk/ and you can shop online with them!

Did you miss your bump when it was gone? Anyone told they were having a big baby? What action was taken? Were you induced? It would be good to hear other peoples experiences.

Packed my hospital bag, finally.

I am 35 weeks today (or tomorrow depending on whose date you go off, 35 weeks today is my official NHS date).

My husband may have slightly been pestering me to pack my bags, as he is convinced little miss will arrive early, I myself am not so convinced.

So today I packed my hospital bag, well I should say bags, 3 of them. I have never been one for traveling light, so I have a bag for baby, a bag for me, and another bag for me… whoops!

First up is clothes, this may look like a lot, but our problem is we have been told we are having a chunk (another growth scan on Monday) so I have packed various sizes, mostly 0-3 months but also a few newborn bits in case we have a surprise smaller than expected baby (we all know growth scans aren’t an exact science!). These have yet to be prewashed, as I’ve been a bit scared of doing it just in case something went wrong? This will be done this week. I have to say my favorite is the Frugi rainbow vest, I just adore Frugi and their designs. All their clothing is also organic and ethically made.

Image

For baby I have also packed 2 blankets, one cellular and one thicker one, muslins, dummies in a steriliser case, nappies (I plan on using cloth but will be using disposable whilst in hospital), nappy bags, water wipes, and some “emergency” formula and teats.

You may have noticed I have no cotton wool, and that I have packed formula when I want to breastfeed, the no cotton wool is because I have Waterwipes and these are approved by midwives for use on newborn skin, as they are exactly what they say on the packet; all they contain is water and a very small amount of natural grapefruit extract (this makes them smell divine!). The formula even though I don’t plan to use it I always like to have just in case, in an ideal world I want to breastfeed, if for some reason I can’t I don’t want baby to go hungry and I also want to make sure if I do have to use formula it is one I have chosen, rather than been given by the hospital.

If anyone has any suggestions or advice for things I have missed please feel free to let me know!

Image

Next up things for me;

Image

I very luckily won a nearly ready to go hospital bag from the lovely people at BabyNatal (part of the NatalFamily) who can be found at http://thenatalfamily.co.uk/

This included a beautiful bag from Mia Tui and lots of necessary toiletries (travel size shampoo ect, maternity pads, disposable knickers) and some gorgeous Frugi muslins and a very cute Bambino Mio newborn reusable nappy and wrap (nice little top up to my huge cloth nappy stash!).

All I have had to add myself is nightdresses (2 of, one for labour and one for afterwards) which are both button down so breastfeeding is easier, slippers, more knickers (in this case cheap ones from Tesco, in size 20!! as I think the last think I will want after birth is tight pants!!), straws which I have been told are SO important, last thing you want when your mid labour is having to sit up for a drink, and Lansinoh breast pads (which were recommended to me by a friend) and Lansinoh Lanolin nipple cream.

In my other bag I have packed my breast pumps, a manual and an electric. My manual one is Dr Browns and my electric is the Medela Swing which has come highly recommended by lots of people. I have yet to prepare and sterilise these so they are just in the box in the bag at the moment, in this bag will also go my make up, dressing gown and things like my hair brush that I use on a daily basis.

Image

I have also packed this;

Image

This is a breast care kit for new mums that I have been kindly sent by the lovely people at Medela to review, its perfect to pop in your hospital bag to give you a good start to breastfeeding.

It all comes in this handy little case that I will be able to use after hospital as a make up bag.

Image

I will be reviewing this fully after baby is here and I have chance to use to so keep an eye out for that in a few weeks (5 or 6!! eeeek!!).

So here are my hospital bags all (mostly) packed;

Image

I have used babies changing bag (£25 from Next, absolute bargain!!), my gorgeous Mia Tui Amelie and my good old overnight bag that I have had for years.

The Mia Tui bags can be found here; http://miatui.com/

If you think there is anything I have missed, or anything I need, please do let me know as any help is appreciated.

I glanced at this list on Babycentre to give me a rough idea of what I needed; http://assets.babycenter.com/ims/pdf/uk/hospital_checklist.pdf

Thanks for reading!

Group B Strep, are you aware of it?

If you are aware of it is probably due to the wonderful work of Group B Strep Support which is the charity that made me understand what it was.

If you’ve already read my blog you know that this is an IVF pregnancy after years  of infertility, I am an avid twitter user and have a huge network of other people who are struggling with infertility, some have become pregnant, others have not. I first read the words Group B Strep on twitter from one of those who was pregnant, I didn’t have a clue what it was and I had never heard about it before. Me being me, I love to know everything and I pride myself on knowledge of things infertility and pregnancy, I’m a reader, so I had a google, what I found was that it’s an infection that anyone can have, but lies dormant with no symptoms, so whats the big deal right? Well in pregnancy it can be a VERY big deal, if you have this infection present when you are full term, there is a chance of it being passed on to your newborn baby during birth, if you baby contracts it can be very dangerous, make baby very poorly and can even be deadly.

I then read that this is something that the NHS do not test for, my first reaction was shock, especially when I learned that its routinely tested in pregnancy in countries such as Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Oman, Poland, Spain, Slovenia, Switzerland and the US.

So the NHS do not test, Group B Strep support suggest that women ask their NHS midwives and consultants to ask for the test, so maybe they become aware that there is a demand for it, and an awareness.

I personally am going to pay for a test privately, they cost around £35 and can be ordered online, done at home (it really is that easy and each test is provided with instructions) or you can ask your health care provider to do the swab for you (they may charger you a small fee).

I have just ordered my test today, they advise to have the test done between 35 and 37 weeks as Group B Strep is something that can come and go, test too early and a negative result may not be negative a month later. This also gives enough time for them to get the results back to you before baby makes an appearance.

There are various suppliers of tests and they can all be found here; http://gbss.org.uk/sub_sub_section.php?section_id=3&sub_sub_id=21&sub_id=121&content=ECM%20test.%20Where%20&%20how

So now your thinking what happens if my result comes back positive? My baby is going to die of some horrible infection?! No, it is easily prevented by IV antibiotics during labour, or if you choose not to have antibiotics close monitoring of your baby by trained medical staff for 24-48 hours.

More in-depth information can be found here at the charity’s website; http://www.gbss.org.uk/home.php

I will update with my self testing experience and results when the time comes.

The charity was founded by Jane Plumb who’s son Theo sadly passed away due to a Group B Strep infection shortly after birth 17 years ago, after his passing she found that his death could have been prevented and has been campaigning for awareness and testing ever since.

This year she won the Tesco Mum Of The Year Award for her work. An amazing achievement.

Are you pregnant? Are you aware of Group B Strep? Are you a mum and were you tested during pregnancy?

charity-causes_group-b-strep-support

My infertility and our miracle.

I thought I would shed a little light on how I got here, we are 33 weeks pregnant today and I still can’t quite believe it, every day is like we have won the lottery.

I have a long fertility (or infertility) history that started when I was 20, I accidentally fell pregnant on the pill, it was a huge surprise, we weren’t ready at all (this was with my ex partner), sadly this pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 5 weeks, literally days after finding out I was pregnant. I then contracted an infection, and due to my cervix being open, this turned into pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which went on to basically ruin my reproductive organs unbeknown to me.

Fast forward a couple of years, I had no idea my fertility had been ruined. I was suffering with pain quite a lot of the time, my GP finally refered me to the hospital to see the gynae, I had scans, tests and nothing was found, I was then offered a laparoscopy as they suspected I may have endometriosis, I went in for the operation, no endometriosis was found, which was great but they had found that my entire pelvic cavity was covered in scar tissue and that one of my fallopian tubes was stuck to its self. There was dye flow through the other one, over the years I was told by many different doctors different things about which of my tubes was and wasnt ok, swapping sides with which was the bad one.

I then had a second lap to try and fix my tube that was stuck. A few months after this lap I started having terrible pains one day in my lower abdomen, I had only had my period 2 weeks before, I did a pregnancy test and it was positive, there was much confusion, I went straight to A&E as I knew I was at risk of an ectopic. Long story short, it was ectopic, I ended up with emergency surgery and my tube being removed and losing my baby, again,

A few months later I had a HSG (xray and dye test to check tubes) and was told my remaining tube flowed, but not as it should. I was basically infertile, whilst I was in for my ectopic the nurse scanning me also noticed that I had polycystic ovaries, another blow.

Me and my then partner then went separate ways, for reasons I do not feel comfortable blogging about just yet, but maybe one day.

Then one of the best days of my life happened, I met the man who is now my husband, my rock, my soul mate. I was very open from the start about my lack of fertility. We moved in together and never used any contraception, because we knew the chance was so tiny and we also knew that we wanted to spend the rest of out lives with each other. After a while we decided we wanted to start a family, we started to pursue being referred for IVF via NHS lines, we then learned that the waiting list in Wales where we live is 2 years plus, the only other was to go private, so we started to look into it.

I started looking online and discovered something called egg sharing, basically you receive nearly free of charge IVF treatment in return for donating half of your eggs to someone who needs them, for me it was a bit of a no brainer, we get our IVF without the wait and I get to help someone who is in a similar position to us.

We started pursuing this in february 2013, we went to the clinic and had our first consultation, we then went on holiday to spain with my family for a week in march, I was meant to start my period before we went, but it never came, I put it down to stress and ignored it, it eventually came a week late, we flew home and the day after I returned to work, I started having pain, I instantly knew what it was, another ectopic, to make sure I went and did a test, it was positive, straight to A&E. I ended up in hospital again but this time I was treated with methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug, which made me very ill.

Due to having this drug I had to put off my IVF for 3 months, as you are not allowed to conceive due to its effects on your folate (folic acid) reserves.

As soon as we could we started our IVF, it was the hardest most draining thing I have ever done in my life, I also ended up with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) which hospitalised me for a week and I will blog about sometime.

Every moment of pain and exhaustion was worth it when we found out we were pregnant, another one of the best days of my life.

Just wanted to give an overall view of our journey and I will blog more in depth about parts of it as time goes on.

Our baby as a 5 day old embryo before transfer:

Iphone September 2013 1061

And here she is during a growth scan at 31 weeks pregnant:

iphone pictures 090414 1346

Birth plan, planning a birth?!

So today I am going to write about birth plans.

All I ever hear from people who already have children is “don’t have a birth plan”, “birth plans are pointless”, “I won’t do a birth plan again”.

I’ve gone against this advice and made one, well sort of. I have made a list of wishes. It includes things like what my wishes are in certain circumstances. I certainly understand that birth isn’t something you can plan but I want to have something for us (more importantly my husband) to refer to if we need to.

The things it contains are who I want as my companion if I need a caesarean section, if we want our baby to have vitamin K after birth, if we want delayed clamping of the umbilical cord, if we wish to breastfeed and if we want skin to skin contact immediately.

It also contains my current feelings about pain relief, in a perfect world I would like to only use maybe gas and air if I feel the need, I would prefer to avoid pethedine (I have had it before for gynae pain and my ectopic and didn’t find it helpful or like the side effects). I would also prefer to avoid an epidural and have an active labour if possible. I’m sat here now imagining women who are already mothers reading this and shaking their heads at me but please note I have written what I prefer, rather than what I will and will not do/need/use.

If I do end up feeling the need to have an epidural or a C-section, I will not see myself as a failure or that I have gone off my plan, after all you cannot plan a birth, so I have decided to call mine a list of thoughts/wishes rather than a plan.

The most important thing to me in all of this is getting here baby safely.

I used the NHS choices website birth plan to help me write mine, it gives you an idea of the things you may want to think about.

This can be found here: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/birth-plan.aspx#close

Did you have a birth plan? Did you find it useful?

Here is my list of thoughts/wishes:

Read More