An emotional moment in the Turner household today as Little T was introduced to the wonders of Star Wars.
It was some time before I was brave enough to take Little T out for a walk on the road. He is a confident walker but also has a mind of his own so the thought of him so near passing cars frightened the life out of me.
We’ve now been out a few times and today it was so lovely as it was his first time to splash in puddles! It does take three times as long to make it to the supermarket but he loves it and is learning quickly to hold my hand.
So far he has yet to make it all the way home with out asking to be picked up, but I’m sure his stamina will grow quickly.
Today we were off for a play date with the lovely Mrs M and her two littles. As she has a boy nearly four she has experienced a lot more child friendly activities than I and has introduced me to many a new place. Today it was the amazing Little Street, located within the Frimley train station. I knew it would be great but was even more impressed than I expected.
It is a fairly small area with seven different role play areas: Cafe, Hairdressers, Doctor’s office, Supermarket, Dress up/music, Vehicle fun (giant fire engine and several ride on cars, Construction zone. There is an entrance area for sitting to take shoes off, store your bags or have a snack. There is a small baby zone there as well. A mini cafe keeps mummies happy with coffee and shortbread as well as a selection of wholesome snacks for the littles.
It is a really high quality play area and caters for children up to school age. I thought it was great fun for Little T at 15 months and I think he will enjoy it much more at any future visits. As with this time he was mostly interested in finding things to chew on, rather than actually acting out the activities. Though he was quite interested in the espresso machine which Mr T will surely have his eye on now to buy for him!
We went for their morning session, 09:30-11:00, but there are four sessions daily (and because of how great it is, it is essential to book). This left the three boys with quite an appetite, so we braved lunch at M & S Cafe at The Meadows. A bit of a three-ring circus but we managed lunch and a bit of shopping and had three smiling boys when we went to the car. A very tired Little T has slept and allowed me to write this post which I am ever so grateful for!
Getting back to blogging has been on my mind but I have really been struggling with what to write about. This morning I stumbled upon something that inspired me.
I left the house to get Little T some fresh air, he has been a bit poorly so I thought it was exactly what he needed. We would be out and he would tire himself out for a long afternoon nap. Of course life with children doesn’t always work out how you plan, he was asleep in the pushchair ten minutes after we left the house!
I continued on to explore. I had seen a sign for Blackwater Park behind a nearby industrial estate with a path following the river. It was a really peaceful and beautiful walk, but then I came upon a clearing and was really impressed!
A lovely meadow alongside the river with walking paths that go on for quite awhile. I got lucky as it is a beautiful day with blue skies and a fresh breeze. I can’t wait to bring the little man back when he can actually walk around and enjoy this nature right on our doorstep!
Even more exciting than finding this place is that I was able to sit on this bench and write this post as Little T slept!
We were so happy to welcome Baby T into the world on June 16. Since then we have been busy emptying our flat in Tianjin, packing up the rest of our belongings, finishing up work and shifting our lives to the UK. Baby T was fantastic on our flight at just three weeks old. Tomorrow he is one month old, so far it is lots of feeding, sleeping and diaper changes. He is starting to fill out and loves to cuddle! Mum and dad are doing well, enjoying our new adventure.
(As soon as we get a bit more settled there will be more posts to come, including our birth story)
Another intense appointment…
We were squeezing in our appointment around what is called a birth rehearsal class. We arrived to first have a fair amount of blood taken for several different tests, which I had to be fasting for. And for the first time we remembered to bring our own breakfast as boiled egg and prepackaged cake is not my favourite thing to eat. We then had our 20 minutes of fetal heart monitoring, heartbeat was strong and steady, though the monitor itself seemed to jump from very low to very high and there was nothing being recorded on the sheet. At this point we had to go for our class so we would return for more monitoring later.
Birth rehearsal class consisted of about 8 other couples, all Chinese. We of course had our translator with us, though I am sure I did not get all the info. Luckily I do feel quite prepared for birth based on my own reading and support of our doula. The important bits of the class were to know when to call the hospital (when contractions are 5-1-1, or when your water breaks), what phone number to call and whether or not to go in the main entrance or into the emergency entrance. We had another tour of the room we will labour in and stay in after the birth and then we were brought up to see the delivery room. We were pleasantly surprised to see the room looking very similar to the labour room, wood paneled walls, and soft colours. The difference from the labour room was the size (a bit smaller), and the bed (designed specifically for delivery). The teacher spent a lot of time talking here about the stages of labour. We were also informed that the operating rooms are just across the hall in case of any emergency.
At one point in the delivery room they asked all the men to go stand in either the bathroom or the closet so each of us women could have a go at sitting in the pushing position. It was quite funny seeing Mr T ushered into a tiny room with a bunch of men he wouldn’t even be able to talk to! I gave the teacher a bit of a scare when I asked if I could push in any other position, and demonstrated by turning around, getting on my knees and facing the back of the bed. I thought she would have a heart attack. The answer to my question was that I would have to speak to my own doctor.
That was the end of the class and we were back down stairs to finish the rest of our appointment. We had 20 more minutes of fetal heart monitoring, which was more successful this time. We were a bit confused about this as the nurse said they couldn’t get an accurate read if the baby was not active, but surely we thought the baby should have a heart rate whether active or not… just another thing we had to trust them on without understanding exactly the meaning. I then went in for an ultra sound as doctor wanted to check the baby’s position. Mr T stayed with me for a few minutes and then our doula joined me in the room (she had come along for the class and wanted to have a look at the baby’s position as well). The most important bit was that the baby is healthy and has a strong heartbeat, but seeing the confirmation of the baby’s head cuddled up against my upper right ribs, really hit me emotionally. I tried my best to not let anyone see, but I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. Coming out of the ultrasound room I had to sit for a minute and have a good cry. It is just that I know my body was built to give birth naturally and I felt upset that I might not be able to do it. This compounded with having no support or encouragement from the doctor. I knew in a few minutes we would walk into her office and she would be ready to schedule my cesarean.
The visit with the doctor was quite grim. All the same comments about the baby’s position and the way forward remained the same. I asked if I could get acupuncture as I have read and spoke to several women who it has helped to turn the baby and the doctor flat out said no, don’t do it. We continued to hold our position of wanting to go into labour naturally and then proceed to cesarean if necessary, she seemed to accept this though not agree with us. In the midst of this my pulse was rising due to the fact that the translator in the room was proving to be very weak. She could not articulate acupuncture, and had to be corrected by a doctor’s assistant in the room when reporting results of our blood tests (she said your kidney results are normal, when actually it was liver, not the biggest concern of mine however it made us wonder about other inaccuracies she may be reporting back to us). At this point I was adamant that the other translator return to help us.
So there we were sitting with four stone faced Chinese women in front of us and things turned even worse when I returned to the questions from last week’s birth plan discussion. The first point was Could our doula be with us for labour and delivery? flat out answer: no. This completely devastated us, it is something we had been clear about since the very beginning, she had attended an appointment with us and never had the doctor said she wouldn’t be allowed. At this point we both just felt so disappointed and felt there was no sense of trust. The only sympathy we received was a tissue passed to me by the doctor’s assistant (who we had only seen for the first time today) to dry my crying eyes. Our translator went through the remainder of the questions though I don’t really recall what she said as I was so upset. I had asked last week for her to prepare a list of procedures that are normally carried out on the newborn baby and she had not prepared it, so the doctor sat and wrote it as we watched, and the translator begin to rewrite it in English but I said don’t bother and took the doctors notes.
We arrived home that afternoon feeling the gravity of the choice we have made to have our baby overseas. I found myself thinking maybe having an optimistic, adventurous outlook may not suit all of life’s important decisions. It took a few days and many discussions and explorations of our options for us to calm down and accept our situation. I did clarify that our doula could be with us in the labour room and must wait outside the door of the delivery room, which did mean something, albeit it would have been nice for someone to say that in the appointment.
We will be sticking with our hospital, but with a very clear view that we need clear communication and know that what we want or expect may not be what they will do.
Read this very interesting article, if only all countries could look after new families in such a way!
Why Finnish Babies Sleep in Cardboard Boxes