So this week, my squished interior caught up with me. After a week of feeling uncharacteristically hungry, the baby must have had a growth spurt and now my digestive system is basically shutting up shop. I used to be able to fit food in until after lunch, with my evening meal and anything beyond becoming a real struggle, but now even my breakfast won’t fit. My prescription non-brand Gaviscon is getting some abuse and I am starting to miss stuffing my face – surely one of the major perks of pregnancy?! This has of course convinced me there literally cannot be an inch of space left for my chunky occupier and it must be about ready to exit. At 37 weeks, I have exactly a month remaining in which I could either spontaneously go into labour or be sent for induction – a month starts to sound like a long time when you’re this full of baby. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t mind if it could hang on in there until after 22nd as I’ve got a hair appointment booked and frankly I’ll be enough of a state in the weeks following delivery without having to worry about sprouting greys and split ends!
37 weeks, 0.85 days
Um, help. At exactly 9:17pm last night (well probably about then), I think the baby dropped. Given the digestive issues detailed above, it was something of a shock to suddenly feel ravenously hungry. I’m used to feeling a bit peckish in the mornings, at least until I get full up on about 12 grams of Shreddies, but not in the evening. And especially not that late. I had a Magnum and two slices of toast. And then I started to panic.
Hunger this pronounced can mean only one thing – the baby is on its way down. I didn’t have the accompanying pressure lower down yet so I hoped this meant it was just shifting position and maybe I had a bit more time. But this was logic talking. Far more prominent in my mind was PANIC!!! I’m simply not ready. I haven’t bought any of my labour-friendly snacks yet. I haven’t found my inflatable pillow or handheld fan. I haven’t given either set of my toddler’s grandparents a full debrief as to the minutiae of her daily routine and how to placate her when Mummy and Daddy don’t appear to give her a bath and put her to bed. I held it together for about an hour before having a breakdown in bed, The Fear™ once again taking hold as I panicked over the impending pain. I managed to calm myself down and passed out through sheer exhaustion.
37 weeks, 1 day
This morning, I’m in an agitated state of high alert. Dressing for work, it was clear my body had changed. I should have anticipated it really, yesterday the bump was rock hard, proudly protruding from, well, just about everywhere, and very uncomfortable. I could feel the pressure from within upwards, downwards and sideways too. This morning, it’s all gone a bit flat. The bump is lower, the protrusion less, and the wriggling feels very far away, lower down than it’s been before. I went for a wee twice in the night instead of once! (Unprecedented for me, I have an iron bladder. Okay, maybe that’s TMI. Sorry).
And the other signs? Frantic nesting? Check – although that’s been there for a couple of weeks already. I have already planned a panicked post-work dash to shop for a warm onesie for the newborn’s journey home. Mood swings? Check. I’m oscillating between cold fear, thrilled excitement and quiet acceptance. My heart starts to race every time I think it could be the day. Adrenaline courses through my body, which I well know is not conducive to a productive labour, but I hope that this early in the process it will compel to me to get out of work, get myself home and prepare everything before it kicks up a notch. I think I’ve scared my boss into actually believing I’m going to have the baby in the office within the next couple of hours.
The thing about a second labour is, it’s reputedly a lot quicker than the first. Yet you have significantly more last minute preparation to account for, as you have to pack a bag not only for yourself, your partner and your soon-to-be-born, but also for your toddler, trying to anticipate their every possible desire – will she want the green spoon or the purple? (Pack both, of course). The red trousers or the blue (again, pack both). Peppa Pig books or her fishing game? (This bag is going to be bigger and heavier than mine). Then you have to plan for every eventuality: if she’s at nursery, arranging for someone to pick her up, letting the nursery know, dropping off her car seat. If it’s the middle of the night and she’s in bed, getting a set of grandparents to come around and schooling them in the fine art of the video monitor and the range of breakfast cereals she may demand upon waking. And which Peppa Pig on the TiVo classes as ‘the lawnmower one’.
Alternatively, it may all happen so fast that I won’t have the luxury to plan in this much detail. And if this is the case, then so be it. Luckily, with willing and able grandparents on standby, whatever sudden changes may occur A. will be well looked after, and it won’t be long before she will be meeting her new baby brother or sister, and we can begin our new journey as a family of four. So it’s all okay. Breathe, woman, BREATHE!
37 weeks, 2 days
I’ve made it to my last day of work!
After a frantic dash around Sainsburys collecting a variety of bizarre labour snacks yesterday (Jelly Babies, Dextro Energy tablets and Animal Biscuits – remember those?!), and a jittery evening throwing all manner of things into my hospital bag and searching in vain for things like straws and handheld fans, I had a relatively quiet night, yet woke up feeling very much like the baby might still make an imminent appearance.
One day at work later, and it all seems to have gone quiet. I think I’ve over-hyped this. I’ve convinced everyone I’m literally about to drop but in reality, when you’re feeding your baby chocolate leaving cake at 10:00am in the morning, it’s probably not going to be in that much of a rush to come out, let’s face it.
It’s going to be late, isn’t it? It’s going to be hanging around in there until past Fireworks night and I’ll feel like a massive idiot. But at least I’ll have nice hair.
38 weeks, 0 days
And so here I am – despite my panicking, I have made it to 38 weeks. Despite another bout of painful cramps on Friday night, nothing developed, and the last couple of days the Braxton Hicks have eased off and the baby has been partying like my uterus is some sort of antenatal nightclub, so it’s clearly not in any mood to make its way out yet. It’s clicking really loudly too, which is a bit disconcerting. I’ve got a mini Michael Buble creating some sort of smooth jazz instead of blooming well getting out of there. It just won’t do!
It seems I’ve reached that stage in pregnancy where it’s totally acceptable for people in shops to ask me how long I’ve got to go, as if they’re expecting me to drop any second. I’ve even been ushered ahead in queues. To be fair, at 10.00am on a Monday morning they’ve every right to assume I’m a pregnant lady on maternity leave, not just a particularly rotund shopper enjoying a leisurely browse around the aisles and struggling with large boxes of nappies.
And so I wait. During the day I feel ready, prepared, almost impatient. When the evenings come around, the fear returns. I need to make arrangements to go into labour during the day, I think. As for my first couple of days of maternity leave, I’ve been catching up on sleep, cleaning out cupboards and purchasing fluffy blankets to pass the time. The midwife has this morning assured me the baby is engaged and ready to go. So… when will the big day arrive? Place your bets! I’ve given up trying to predict so you may as well have a go on my behalf. See you on the other side? Maybe. If not, I’ll be good and fed up! TTFN!