Still not D-Day?

So here’s the latest in the delivery drama.  I’m going to describe some of the gory details here so if you are particularly squeamish or coy I guess you should go read something else!  

I came in to hospital on Wednesday to be induced.  Method here in the UK is to attempt to artificially rupture the membranes (break your waters), if the expectant mother’s cervix is in a position to allow it.  Yes you’ve guessed it, my cervix was posterior and closed so that wasn’t possible, and a propess pessary was inserted.  Lovely little thing, kind of like a tampon but with a ribbon long enough to use to tie your hair in bunches afterwards! It is inserted behind your cervix and has the role of getting everything up there soft and ready. The intention is that the propess remains up there for 24 hours, or until something happens.  That something could be simply getting the cervix ready, to stimulating labour to the point that the mum is fully dilated and goes into labour. 

After about 8 hours of having the propess inserted, I began to have intense abdominal pain every 2 minutes.  Felt like contractions to me (remember this is baby number 3 for me). The pain began niggling right in the area you can imagine your cervix to be, then quickly rose to an almost unbearable level before moving round my back and easing off.  Yay! I was surely in labour!! Nay! Was I heck!!

Aside: I had been on a ward with a girl called Ellen in the bed next to me.  She had the propess too, about an hour and a half before me.  Throughout the night we were matching each other pain for pain. Separated by just a curtain we were partners in pain as each contraction rose and fell.  She cried out for pain relief after a considerable number of hours like that.  I figured I could go a bit longer before ‘caving in’.  I’ve had two babies with zero pain relief, a fact I wear like a trophy that shows I am a strong woman!! It also shows I am a stupid woman, because trust me labour fekking hurts so I don’t know why I don’t just take the meds!!  

I think it must have been about 4am when the girl had some codeine, and a little later she upped the ante and asked for diamorphine. Still we matched each other contraction for contraction in a relentless 8 hour onslaught of pain that hit us at 2 minute intervals.  At about 4:30am I had an internal examination which delivered the blow that there had been no change at all in my cervix.  All that pain had been for nothing. About half an hour later my ward-mate was examined and told the same. We were both gutted.  Exhausted by the pain and lack of sleep, we both laid and cried in disappointment. 

At around 7am my partner in pain called the midwife and asked for diamorphine. She didn’t come right away and by 8am she was shouting for an epidural.  She was examined there in the bed next to me.  I stood there in horror 10 minutes later as she began to shout that she was pushing! We weren’t even in the delivery suite! Panic ensues and the midwives try and get her in a wheelchair, but her waters break (I heard the splash on the tiled floor and the panic in the poor girl’s voice). I was shaking and crying – it was frightening, especially after a night without sleep.  A midwife saw me and asked if I wanted to leave and I made a swift exit.  I was traumatised! Having spent the evening listening to induced labours and seeing women go into labour and be whisked off to the delivery suite, hearing their pain and their cries all through the night, this was all too much. I sat and cried uncontrollably, and then I heard the cry of a baby and knew she’d had her baby right there in the bed next to mine and they didn’t get a chance to take her where she needed to be!! From that point in I began to panic that the same would happen to me. Except what my body actually did was put itself into survival mode and decide that today was not a good day to go into labour and everything stopped; no more pains, nothing! Remarkable what the human body is capable of.  The midwife said “if you were a wild animal giving birth and a predator attacked, labour would stop immediately and the animal would protect itself until it was safe to begin the labour process again.” Fascinating.  My body said “now is not a good time for any of that malarkey” and stopped playing.

Which is what led me to an examination yesterday afternoon that delivered the second blow of the hospital visit – still no change after 24 hours.  I laid on the table and cried and cried. If you’ve read any of my earlier posts you will know how anxious I have been about whether this baby will be ok. To go from expecting to meet her one day, to realising that this wasn’t going to happen any time soon was a devastating blow.  Add to that the sheer despair that comes from a painful night without sleep, and you’ve got a blubbering wreck on the examination table.

At this point the propess was removed. Which was a relief, as it has to be one of the most unhygienic experiences of my life. Warning: gross bit coming up! Ok, so if you ever have a propess Pessary inserted and have to go to the toilet for a pee, make sure that ribbon is tucked up where it should be or you are going to pee on it.  If you fail to remember this point, please do not be surprised if, like me, you spend 24 hours smelling like you ought to be in a retirement home! So get it tucked up there ladies or it ain’t pleasant, take it from someone who found out the hard way! 😳

Plan was to put me on the monitor and decide the next course of action, which was likely to be a faster release Pessary.  Waited 4 hours for said monitoring to even begin, during which it was recorded that those 2-minute pains had returned.  As a result of those tightenings (not regular enough to be considered contractions), the doctors made the decision not to move to the next stage. They were afraid that with me already experiencing quite intense and relatively regular tightenings, the prostin Pessary could accelerate labour at a rate that could be potentially dangerous to baby and incredibly painful for me. They agreed to leave my body to see if it would progress naturally, and let me get some rest, ready to start again Friday morning (just a few hours from my time of writing, which is 3am as I have been rudely awakened from the best sleep I have had in weeks by the most horrendous snoring woman and her equally annoying snoring partner who now occupy the bed beside me!). 

Nothing has progressed naturally through the night. In fact if I didn’t know better, I feel like I haven’t been through any of the last 36 hours at all!! My body has returned to the state it was in before I came into hospital.  My bits and pieces no longer feel like they are falling out, and I have finally managed to have a poo! Yay!! So I guess that means that today is going to feel like I’m starting from scratch and I fear the same is going to happen and I will hit another dead end.  At least the prostin is only a 6-hour process. I have the pleasure again of more painfully intrusive internal examinations, where ultimately the midwives will be aiming to break my waters and kickstart labour.  Warning do not Google images of this process! I mean who in their right mind would Google that during their hospital stay???! 😳 <sheepishly backs away whilst remembering vision of large crochet hook>

So I am going to attempt to get some more sleep (not easy with the snoreasauruses next to me), and look forward (!) to what the new day will bring. Will I get to meet my baby today? That is anyone’s guess.

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D-day?

I guess I thought today would be the day, with me going in to be induced.  That’s what happened with my son – went into hospital at about 9am, midwife attempted (without success) to break my waters, went into labour naturally later that day and gave birth at 22:11.  So surely it would be a similar pattern this time? Except this time with it being number 3 it would all happen much quicker, right?!

Wrong!!

I’m being induced because my local hospital prefers not to allow us older mums (40+) to go overdue.  So I was booked in for the due date (today) and advised to go along to the hospital at 11am.  It was 1:30pm before the propess pessary was inserted.  It’s now nearly 11pm and there is not a sign that this baby is planning on joining us any time soon! I’ve been getting pain in my abdomen and across my back pretty much every 3-5 minutes, but it’s not something I can’t cope with so I’m guessing it can’t be labour?! You’d think with me having had 2 children already I might have an idea, but I just don’t know what the feeling is and whether it’s just a pain related to everything that’s going on down there, or if it is labour starting to progress.  God knows!! What I do know is that today has been one of the longest days of my life and I’m starting to feel that there is still no light at the end of this tunnel.  Praying for a clear sign very soon.

Update: 04:38

Just had the worst news ever. Things were started 15 hours ago and I have been having regular pains across my abdomen (every 2 mins). All was looking good, but I’ve just had an examination. I would have been happy  with 1cm even, but nothing?? Nothing at all. Cervix is still posterior. No dilation. Not even a millimetre.

The Seven Deadly Sounds

So I am laid in bed wide awake at stupid o’clock and can’t get back to sleep because there is a snoreasaurus in the bed next to me. And as I lie here wanting to punch said snoring animal because it is driving me nuts, I get to thinking about the sensitivity and irritation that is caused by certain noises.  It must be one of the symptoms of my highly-strung personality, because I am sure most people do not feel the urge to kill rising upon hearing a certain noise!

  1. Snoring – obvious one I know, but this one has to be in the top spot.  I think it has something to do with timing – generally it is when I am trying to sleep, and when I am shattered but can’t sleep through the constant pig grunts that it fills me with despair!
  2. Chewing – the sound of anyone chewing drives me nuts. Doesn’t matter what they are chewing (some people have a particular aversion to people chewing gum), I feel my insides churning up and it is all I can do not to scream at the perpetrator! I think crunching fits into this category too.  Loud crunching of say, cereal, is enough to send me over the edge!
  3. Dripping tap – again another obvious one. We’ve got a leaky tap in the en suite that drip, drip, drips into the bath. If we go to bed and forget to close the bathroom door then I’m done for! If I wake up and that tap is dripping, there’s no going back to sleep for me. 
  4. Cold-related noises – I’m talking coughs, sneezes and sniffles. Wow, that’s a hot topic in this house at the minute with a husband and 2 children full of cold!! With every sniff I want to scream “blow your fekking nose will you!!!”.  Coughing annoys me if it is persistent, and I can’t help myself from barking “go get a drink for gods sake!!!” when it gets too much! Sneezes aren’t too bad, except that my husband has the most annoying attention-seeking-blow-your-head-off kind of sneeze that winds me up if I’m in the wrong kind of mood!!
  5. Buzzing. Not from creatures, but from electrical equipment mainly. We have a lamp that buzzes for some reason. My husband could never hear it, but even with the TV on I would be driven to distraction and have to switch the thing off. We have changed the bulb now, which seems to have rectified the problem.
  6. Whining. Kids. 2 of them. Hearing them whinge at each other and bicker (as siblings often do) drives me nuts!
  7. Clocks. The ticking kind. Again this is limited to the middle of the night when I’m trying to sleep. If I sleep anywhere other than home and there is a ticking clock in the room, I have to remove it or bury it in a drawer somewhere.

There are probably more, so I may add to this at a later stage. For now, there are just the seven deadly sounds that could be enough to incite violence! And I am not a violent person at all. I guess my response to these sounds varies dependant on how much sleep I’ve had, and my mood at any given time. I’m sure someone somewhere could give this anxiety a name (other than me just being plain neurotic!).   For now, I’ve gone into the spare room to try and get some noise-free sleep 😴😴😴

Getting Closer

In 4 days I will be going into hospital to give birth to my baby girl. I can’t believe it is nearly here! Last night I realised how many questions I have for the medical professionals but fear I may have left it too late to ask them now! Let’s hope I make it to my antenatal appointment on Tuesday and can ask the midwife (who I can bet you won’t know the answers!).  I’m a bit apprehensive about being induced when I have Group B Strep. Need to ask about the order in which they do things so I can be clear about when to expect the antibiotics etc.  I’ve had a couple of nightmares over the last few nights, and I think they are driving the anxiety. 

In my first dream, I found myself at the hospital just after having given birth to a healthy baby girl. My best friend was packing up my stuff for us to leave (she’s a strong believer in getting home ASAP whereas is stay in forever if it meant getting looked after!) and then I realised I hadn’t told the midwife about the GBS! No precautions had been taken to protect the baby from infection, and after a few grave looks from the midwife my baby was whipped away to SCBU. That’s when I woke up so I don’t know what happened next. I don’t think it has helped that although my maternity notes are plastered with GBS warning stickers, the consultant at the hospital has never quite understood that I have tested positive in THIS pregnancy, not any other!! Doesn’t fill you with much confidence does it!! 

The next night I dreamt that my waters broke at home and I was alone so had to get myself to the hospital quick so I could get the much needed IV antibiotics. Suddenly some kind of drone-robot thing was flying at me shooting, preventing my exit.  I had to get passed it and get myself to hospital but everywhere I turned there it was.  Some time passed whilst I battled with the thing, and I finally made it to the hospital.  This time I made it really clear that I had GBS and needed antibiotics.  The midwives acknowledged me and off they went to get what I needed, except they never came back. They were busy running around doing their job, but never returned to me to give me the vital medication. Again, I woke up so I have no idea how this ended.  I have a vague recollection of searching hospital cupboards for the medication so I could self-administer, but can’t tell you how that worked out!

I knows these are normal worries.  Every expectant mum will experience some level of anxiety as they approach  D-day.  It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been there, labour is unpredictable, and giving birth to a healthy baby is a miracle! And if you have any risks or complications, those worries are clearly going to be amplified as the date draws nearer. 

I did some research on GBS last night. More research! And I know that the Internet can be dangerous when you are already worried about things, but this was really useful. Firstly the article shared the odds of a baby becoming infected with GBS.  Without diagnosis, and therefore the necessary antibiotics, the odds were in the low 100’s.  With a diagnosis and antibiotics, those odds dropped dramatically to around 1:6000.  So I’m in a good place, because we know I have tested positive, and (as long as neither of my dreams come true and the hospital is switched on) I will get what I need to give my baby the best chance.  

What will be will be, I have no control over it. Today I am more excited than scared.  Oh, and want to hear something funny? My blood group is B Positive! I had to smile at the irony of that yesterday!! 

Scared

I’m scared

So scared I’ll never hold you in my arms
Scared you are going to come to harm, if not before then after and you’ll be taken away.
I have never wished so hard for a day to come.
I just want this to be done, so I can have you here, hear your cry and feel your heartbeat against my chest.

I wish there was some way of knowing,
Confidence that you are in there growing strong enough to fight your way into the world.
I let my guard down, allowed myself to get carried away with pink bows and pretty things – 
Your room is beautiful; I sit in there nearly every day, rocking in the chair imagining you are there with me.
And then I imagine coming home without you and I don’t know what I would do if that were to happen.

This journey has been such a long one, and now we’re nearly done I need to know you are going to be alright.
With every ounce you have grown, I have grown to love you more than you will ever know. 
And so I need you to fight little one, fight against whatever my body throws your way, and make it into this world ok. 

What’s in a Name?

Who would have thought that choosing a name for baby number 3 would be so hard?! I guess having already had a son and a daughter who were bestowed with my favourite names for their genders, I was going to have a tough time. In the last 36 weeks or so (less really given that I didn’t know I was pregnant until 7-8 weeks) I have read every list of every name I could find on the Internet. Pages and pages of names in alphabetical order, boys names, girls names, unisex names, classical names, pretty names, biblical names, Italian names, floral names…you name it, I’ve seen it! Add to that the attention to every TV and Film credit, every magazine, every Facebook comment; all in the hope that the perfect name would appear to me. Sure, there were names I thought were ‘nice’, plenty of pretty girls names out there, but adding each ‘nice’ name to the list didn’t give me any indication that I had found ‘the one’.  And I kept waiting for lightning to strike.

Then there’s the sharing. One of the most asked questions of a pregnant lady must be “have you got a name?” That’s where the pressure starts! Panic! No I haven’t! I don’t have a clue! She is going to be nameless for ever!!  And of course when you share your thoughts, you must be prepared to deal with the feedback. Everything from the blatant “Oh, I don’t like that” to predictions about how the child might be with a name like that; naughty, ugly, precocious.  And then the guilt by association; “I knew a *** who was a bully in school”, “I teach a *** and they are really naughty”, “I once saw a really ugly ***”. So of course, that rules all of those names out!! I learned pretty quickly to stop sharing as more names were crossed off the list. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t have a mind of my own, it’s just that I hadn’t been 100% convinced either so I was easily swayed by the negative comments.

Then you get the suggestions. Everyone tells you the names they like. The names they would have called their own children. And it’s funny how their reaction to your rejection of their offerings far exceeds your own reaction when they ungraciously rejected your own choices for your unborn child! Ironic! 

My friends recently threw me a baby shower and one of the ‘games’ we played was a name game. My best friend knew I was struggling on the name front so each guest was asked to write down a name for each letter of the alphabet. I think there were about 10 guests, so I came away with about 260 names that day and still nothing! Why was it so hard? I think there were a number of reasons.

1.  Naming a child is a big responsibility. They are likely to have this thing for life. It could be one of the reasons why they love you or hate you as they grow.

2. There are so many expectations on you to wow with this wonderful gift of a name. It has to be pretty or strong, uncommon, individual and best of all it needs to represent a personality that you can have no idea about!

3.  You have preconceived ideas and high expectations. You see, both of my children have been named with a nod to my literary favourites. There is a reason why their names were chosen, they weren’t just names I liked. And this one can’t be different can she – wouldn’t be right!

4.  There is too much choice! When pretty much anything goes and you’ve got celebrities calling their babies North and Apple, the possibilities are endless! Where do you start?

5. It has to ‘go’ with the other children’s names. Now I personally don’t buy this one, but I’ve heard it a lot.  Apparently it is imperative that when the 3 names are seen together, they sound ok.  So now I am naming my child based on what will look ok in a greeting card!

6.  It has to ‘go’ with your surname. I’m not sure I’m convinced about this one either. I mean, surely if the name is said often enough it becomes that familiar that it ends up just ‘going’.  And if you’re having a girl it’s kind of a moot point because at some point they are likely to get married and take their husband’s name and the trouble you went to to find a name that perfectly matched your surname will all be forgotten! Heaven forbid she marries someone whose surname doesn’t match her first name! Wow, finding a life partner is hard enough without throwing that into the mix!

All the while though, this lack of a name has weighed heavily on my heart. I have attached huge significance to my inability to find one. My initial thought was that maybe this was my body’s way of telling me the hospital had got the gender wrong.  The little voice in my head would say “perhaps you can’t think of a girl’s name because it isn’t a girl?”  So I waited for a further scan to re-confirm whether baby 3 was pink or blue, believing that once I knew for sure a name would present itself to me in a dream or something! Once it was confirmed that she is most definitely a girl (I’m still kinda sceptical about that one if I’m honest) and the expected lightning strike didn’t materialise, other thoughts crept in. What if it was a sign that this baby wasn’t going to need a name? Something bad was going to happen. And maybe the fact that I didn’t have a name would somehow influence that outcome? I know, I know. It’s completely irrational. What happens when I’m in the labour room has nothing to do with whether I have thought of a name or not! But I’m an over-thinker, a catastrophic thinker, and I have a friend called ‘Ant’ who likes to remind me of these potential perils every now and again. You’ve read about me right? 

This name game has kept me awake many nights during this pregnancy!

One of the ‘pearls of wisdom’ I have heard a lot is “It will come to you when she’s here.” Never got that! If you have no idea what you like and you haven’t got a shortlist how the hell are you going to ‘know’ just by looking at a crumpled purple newborn face? Don’t all babies look the same? Do you call them the first thing that pops into your head? Because if that’s the case the first thing I’m likely to be thinking about when it’s all over is Vodka!! Hmm, that’s got a nice ring to it…😉

Anyway, I’ve gone on far too much so let’s get to the punchline shall we. After weeks of agonising and sleepless nights, I deployed a new search tactic to the Internet trawl and was hit by a name. Didn’t know why I liked it, but it just gave me a feeling that I can’t describe. I did a little bit of research and found the literary links that I have with my other 2 children’s names. (Aside – feel I must share that as I typed ‘I have’ in the last sentence the autocorrect changed it to ‘Isabel’! So you can guess how that messed with my overthinking brain can’t you lol!) Anyway, a bit of juggling with other names I had on the list and it fell into place.  I actually cried! I know! I’m nuts right?! But for me it was hugely significant given the journey I have been on. I couldn’t give birth to a child with no name. I’d reached 36 weeks with a nameless baby, and suddenly I felt like a connection was sparked once the name fell into place.  She is no longer just a thing growing inside of my body.  She is my daughter, and she is going to be here anytime soon 😊

When to Finish Work…

So, being the martyr that I am, I decided that I would do what was best for my employer and stay at work as long as possible. I guess I feel like I owe them for giving me this promotion knowing that I was pregnant. Plus I am just forming a team, so who will show them the ropes if I move on? I’m the only one of me in my business so there is nobody else to teach them.

For any pregnant ladies who might be asking themselves the same question, here is my advice (for what it is worth). Leave when you feel physically and mentally ready to leave. Do not allow any other influences to decide when you should or shouldn’t work. Your body will tell you. I am 34 weeks pregnant and was ready to leave a couple of weeks ago! But I’ve made commitments and I am in a senior position so I need to honour them. If I had the time again I would have been more selfish.

Reasons why I wish I could leave already

1. I am tired. Too tired to get up, too tired to get dressed. Too tired to learn. Too tired to listen. Too tired to care.

2. I ache. All over. By lunchtime, my back aches from leaning over my laptop. My shoulders burn with pain. When I get up to walk somewhere my groin feels like it used to after I’d been horse-riding. I look about 90 hobbling around!

3. I have nothing to wear. Even my casual clothes are too tight now and I am loathe to buy new ones this late in the day.

4. I am super-stressed. Setting myself huge milestones to reach and promising the world to my employer has become a source of real physical stress since I realised I have only 4 weeks left at work to do it all in! I think I experienced my first panic attack in the early hours of Saturday morning, and I’ve felt short of breath ever since. I feel like a coiled spring.

5. I have lost my ability to learn! This role is new and I’ve no-one to learn from. Things are being thrown at me from all directions and I don’t understand them all. And I don’t seem to be able to find the energy to learn.

6. I cannot concentrate. Lack of sleep is affecting my ability to concentrate on anything or anyone. And when I can’t get my head round something that I need to do, I feel the panic rising like bile from the pit of my stomach.

7. I am incredibly emotional. Tears and tantrums. Mostly tears. But some people (particularly work colleagues) are beginning to seriously grind my gears!!

8. It’s too much. I have 2 children (10 and 5 years old). The 10 year old is a dream generally, but is going through a very sensitive stage! My 5 year old is incredibly bright and gorgeous, but has anger issues. Hit me so hard yesterday that it took half an hour for the red mark to fade. And today he punched a teacher. I have a meeting with school next week, but I don’t have the energy to go and I most certainly can’t afford to leave work early. And there’s still housework to do, and preparations for the arrival of baby. I actually cancelled my birthday weekend away (I’m 40 on Thursday) because I know I will have nothing left by Friday.

9. I hate the travelling. Sometimes my journey to work takes me about an hour there and invariably 90 minutes back. That is mentally and physically tiring in itself. But my main concern is the paranoia about going into labour when I’m not near my home! Having Group B Strep I’ve been told I should go to the hospital as soon as I know I’m in labour to get the IV antibiotics into my system as soon as possible. The further away I am from my home town, the longer that will take. Those are valuable minutes that I don’t want to lose.

10. No-one will think any better of me. Ok so I do think that my boss appreciates the fact that I am doing what I can to help them out before I leave. But he has no idea how much physical and emotional stress I am putting myself under in doing so. And so he’ll never truly appreciate how hard it has all been. And when I don’t deliver some of what I have promised, there will be no allowances made for my reputation!

So, whilst that might all have ended up sounding like the ravings of a bitter woman, I hope you take it as it is intended. Make sure you go when you are ready and listen to your body. Right now I am so exhausted that I have nothing to give my family. Work are getting the best of me. My family are left with the tears and tantrums; shouting at the kids, sobbing into my husband’s shoulder. The ironing piles up, and new dust settles on the old. My body is saying “slow down”, and I’m ignoring it. If you can listen to yours, please do!

Noise noise noise!

I don’t know if I’m tired, or what, but my God have I been irritable tonight! Every sound has been like fingernails down a blackboard. I found myself wanting to gag my 5-year old son! He never shuts up! He’s a lovely, lovely boy, but jeez does he know how to talk. He doesn’t have an off switch and there just doesn’t seem to be a single moment when he isn’t making some noise or other. I was glad to get him into bed tonight, even though he continued to chatter to himself for at least an hour once he was there.

Lying on the sofa, my eldest was splashing about in the bath. Every move she made went through me like a knife. I had to call her to tell her to wrap it up because I couldn’t take any more of it! And then into the lounge she trundles with a cup of milk and a biscuit. The cup she chose was a chinky China mug that holds a similarly chinky spoon in the handle. A chinky spoon chinking against the chinky handle of the chinky mug that chinks on the chinky glass coaster every time she picks it up or puts it down. Are you feeling my pain?! Add to that the crunch, munch, crunch of what must have been the crunchiest biscuit in the tin. Oh, and just for good measure, why not chuck in a dry little cough here and there whilst wriggling about on the beaniest bean bag we have! Time for bed dear daughter!

Husband is relatively quiet, although he’s laid on the sofa next to his favourite lamp which for some reason doesn’t seem to ring in his ears!! After getting him to turn it off and on again a few times, he finally concedes that the lamp is indeed making an annoying ringing sound which rivals any tinnitus attack and turns it off for good. Unfortunately he seems to have caught that dry little cough from our daughter and that hacks out every now again. Oh, and he seems to have particularly itchy feet this evening so keeps rubbing his socked feet together to deal with that little issue.

Wow! Even writing it down I realise how completely nuts I am about noise! I don’t think I’m like it all the time, but I guess today I am a bit more tired than usual. At times like this I realise that I am quite highly strung at times. If my best friend was here we would have a little giggle as I say “I’m living on my nerves!” 😂. Every single noise has physically affected me like someone clawing at my skin and I’ve found it hard not to scream out at them to stop! Glad I got the chance to get it off my chest here though, lol! I do hope my noise hasn’t caused you too much pain 😉