Eh-up chucks. Extremely pregnant person here, checking in for an update. It’s been a fairly eventful and alarmingly rapid last four weeks. And it started with a trip into hospital…
Since the early morning episode at 32 weeks when I thought the baby might have decided it was time to come out, I’ve been having cramps and Braxton hicks like there’s no tomorrow. Every day, several times a day. A couple of weeks back, I had a few cramps that lasted quite a while and something told me I should phone the midwife for some reassurance. She sent me to the hospital for monitoring. Not that reassuring, but as it turned out, it was quite eventful. The midwife hooked me up to some monitors and told me to sit tight for 20 minutes or so before disappearing. As I lay on the bed, listening to the booming sound of my baby’s heartbeat confirming that everything seemed in order, I decided it would be an opportune moment to catch up on some sleep. I was just starting to drift off when an almighty BANG shocked me awake – it turned out it was just the baby kicking, but with the volume on the monitor turned way up it sounded like gunfire. The shock sent me into a fit of giggles during which I managed to dislodge the belts holding the monitors in place, and felt like a naughty schoolgirl when the midwife came back to check on me.
Although they had other things on their minds at Rake Lane that morning, as a girl who I swear walked in just before me decide to spontaneously deliver her baby – I heard the whole thing and quite honestly it put the fear of god into me. Something about hearing those primal screams when already in a slightly vulnerable state of mind can chill you to the core, especially when you know it will be you making those noises in a few weeks’ time. (I later told my husband – who hadn’t even been there that morning – ‘I’m sure I can’t have been that loud’. ‘Trust me, you were LOUDER.’ Was his emphatic response. Fairly certain he’s scarred for life from the first delivery). The fear was all erased in an instant though, when I heard the first cry of the freshly born baby. I found myself rather moist of eye and couldn’t stop smiling. What an incredible privilege to overhear those first precious moments and from wondering how midwives cope with listening to all that pain every day, it all suddenly made sense. There was a sense of jubilation in the hallways of the hospital as the attendant midwives, who haven’t delivered a baby there in some time due to deliveries being moved to the new hospital in Cramlington, celebrated the surprise arrival, and I left feeling excited – relieved that all was well with my restless little one, and so ready to meet him or her.
I finally feel like the baby has caught up with the bump now. It’s rock hard most of the time, with the little squiglet squirming and wriggling about trying to find a comfy spot. The bump development is one of the main differences I’ve noticed between pregnancies. The first time around, your bump grows with your baby, the little resident patiently stretching its abode as it grows. The second time around, it’s like your body is on some sort of super-efficient power trip: ‘oh, I see you’re pregnant! I do believe you’ll find THIS useful!’ And it proceeds to pop out a baby-sized bump by about week 16, which you are then free to fill with baby as and when it decides to grow. Which subsequently seems quite slow, probably because baby has a lovely big space to boing about it and is in no hurry to get overly snug.
And pregnancy in general is catching up with me. I’m exhauuuuusted. Sleep is sweet nectar and I’m doing it every chance I get like some sort of snooze junkie. The pelvic pain has returned but with the giant bump in tow, at least I now look a bit more like I have an excuse for my slightly pitiful waddle. And I’m struggling for breath as the not so little lodger makes itself at home in the space where my lungs used to fit. And for similar reasons I have resorted to the minty nectar that is liquid Gaviscon.
Yoga is helping loads and last Sunday’s Relax and Breathe session with Janine was a brilliant opportunity to reconnect with the whole notion of labour and in particular natural, calm, relaxed labour (yes, yes it’s a thing – determined that it will be me this time around!). I’ve started bouncing on the birthing ball in my living at night and I’ve even packed my hospital bag. Sort of. Even though it currently mainly consists of a variety of different sized baby sleep suits, a selection of juice cartons and a bottle of bubbles (the toddler kind, not the Prosecco kind, sadly – ask Janine!).
I finally feel like I’m ready and have switched into nesting mode, off to shop for teeny nappies and slings and baby clothes, and trying desperately to figure out the best solution for transporting a pair of poppets around the place – double buggy, one of those stacked-up double-decker malarkies which look ace but all seem to cost about a million pounds, some sort of ride-on board for the toddler or just a regular buggy for the toddler and a sling for the baby? The excitement and trepidation of the unknown is still ever-present even though I’ve done this once before – no two babies are the same and although this time around I am determined to wear the baby as much as possible, if no. 2 is anything like my firstborn, it just won’t be an option. A. hated the sling – flat out refused to go in the first one I tried and only reluctantly endured the second for very short periods of time. I guess I’m not that surprised – cooped up in a cosy womb for 9 months, it’s not surprising the wee ones want the freedom to kick their legs about a bit once they escape – I’m just hoping this next one might want to stay snuggly for a little bit longer as I know it will make my life so much easier!
So… four weeks to go, then… perhaps less? The assistant in the bra section of Marks and Spencers confidently assured me she didn’t think I’d go all the way to my due date and of course, she would know, so there you go. The midwife – rather more scientifically qualified to comment on the situation you would think – laughed off the notion of me going overdue, and booked me in for my 38 week appointment with the throwaway comment ‘if you hang on that long!’
The promise of a potentially early arrival has sent me into a frenzied state of preparation and I’m mood swinging rapidly between excitement, elation, worry and dread. I hope to bring you one more post as I start maternity leave and have nothing to do but eat cake and watch One Born Every Minute whilst trying to stay calm and visualise my happy place. If I bring you two more posts, then I’ve gone over my due date and will probably be getting a bit antsy. Three and I’ve either gone loopy through boredom or just have too much to say for myself. TTFN!