Two significant things happened today. I entered my third trimester. And our new super kingsize bed arrived. I am not sure which means most to me, however I can confirm that sleeping in a space the size of a postage stamp, arranged carefully around a perpendicular toddler was not massively comfortable, so I’ve left her to her own devices in her new floor bed to take up residence in my new bed which, relatively, feels like the size of a small swimming pool. Oh, sweet sleep, sweet comfort.
Oh, the acres of space I have to enjoy for the short time I have remaining until sleep once again becomes a thing of the past.
And oh, yes, that other thing… It’s now just three months until I have to squeeze another human out of my unmentionables.
The night-time panic has set in this week, mainly fuelled by the above realisation. After six months of coasting along not really giving the birth process much thought, The Fear™ has finally hit me. And it’s gripping me with a vengeance. Pregnancy number one was replete with internet fact-finding missions, NCT classes, hypnobirthing CDs and yoga. This time around I’ve managed to drag myself to yoga a handful of times, I’ve skipped the classes as I feel like I should know what I’m doing this time around, and the dulcet tones of the hypnobirthing CD have not come within so much as an inch of my earholes. Because who has time for that?!
I spent my first labour breathing. Oh, yes, BREATHING. I got through it with no pain relief purely through the practice I’d had at yoga and at home in the blissful peace of my sunny garden listening to the CD and imagining myself on a desert island. This time round, I can’t breathe through my nose pretty much ever, and the closest I get to blissful peace is the 20 second-odd window I get between laying my decrepit carcass down in bed and plunging irrevocably into a pit of sleep. I am banking on the two week window I have between leaving work and my due date to get some much needed breathing practice in and my goodness, is some oxygen going to get abused in the North Shields area as I frantically try and remember what it is I’m supposed to be visualising whilst gulping in lungfuls of the good stuff and trying to make my exhalations longer than a long thing in lengthy-land. Because breathing out makes pain more manageable, and suchlike. Apparently. (Before you snort and call me a deluded fool, don’t worry – I’m not one of those zen hypno-goddesses who breathe the baby into the world whilst imagining their foofoo is a blossoming lotus flower – labour bloody well knacked, it just so happened that breathing out A LOT – as per the practising, but with added bellowing – gave me something to focus on to prevent myself collapsing in agony. And because by the time the hospital FINALLY decided to allow me in I was too far along for the drugs, anyway!)
What else? At around 26 weeks I must have done something to anger the foetus as it turned into Kung Fu baby overnight. Maybe I ate a vegetable by accident. Not even born yet and it seems it’s been plotting with its big sister – A. tenderised me in pregnancy number 1 and now number 2 is going in for the killer blows, cavorting around my interior like I’m some sort of pinball machine, and performing upside-down trampolining on my cervix to Olympic standards (that’s an Olympic sport, right?). Thankfully in the last couple of weeks it’s reverted to its more chilled self, although it must be ticklish as every time something so much as brushes my midriff it wriggles.
And I’ve got minor pregnancy ailments for days – you name it, I’ve got it. Nothing serious, so I can’t really complain, despite feeling several shades of crap almost all of the time. From head to toe, I’m a walking encyclopaedia of pregnancy symptoms – headaches, blocked up nose, sinus pain, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, heartburn, indigestion and nausea, sore hips. And that’s just what I can remember off the top of my (throbbing) head. I’m considering becoming a shareholder in Rennie, Gaviscon and paracetamol. My handbag doesn’t just rattle, it’s a mobile rubbish bin filled with the debris from a hundred over-the-counter medication packets. I’m so rock and roll. The only place pregnancy hasn’t yet migrated to is my ankles but I don’t expect it to be long. Around week 25 it all took a distinctly third trimester-y turn, despite that particular milestone still being 2 or 3 weeks away (I’m never sure quite when the trimesters begin and end – will somebody just decide and let the rest of us know?!). Does this mean the baby will be early I hear you optimistically wonder?! I doubt it. I am quite confident that this baby will continue to abuse my interior for as long as it darn well pleases. Which could be another 14 weeks. Which is terrifyingly close. Help. I’m caught in an eternal paradox of ‘hurry up!’ And ‘help I’m not ready yet!’
And oh, the size of me. According to the midwife I’m only measuring one single centimetre larger than I should be, yet I look and feel huge. How can this be? Well-meaning family and friends have fallen into a fairly predictable repertoire to which I can only smile and nod, and parrot my expected responses. It usually goes something like this:
All people: ‘Ooh you’re looking big!’
Me: ‘Yes, I’m huge.’
All people: ‘How far along are you again?!’
Me: ’28 weeks.’
All people: ‘Oh so you’ve still got…?’
Me: ‘3 months to go.’
All people: ‘3 MONTHS?! Goodness you’ll be huge!’
Me: ‘Yes I will be huge.’
All people: ‘It’s going to be a big baby.’
Me: ‘Yes I imagine it will be some sort of record-breaking behemoth.’
All people: ‘Are you sure it’s not twins?’
Me: ‘Yes I’m sure it’s not twins.’
It’s enough to make a girl feel self-conscious. But they have a point. The dresses I spent the final weeks of my first pregnancy languishing in are already starting to look a bit stretched, and I’ve had to remove my rings as I was getting a rash from how snug they were becoming. Just how big WILL I end up? Watch this HUMUNGOUS space to find out!
A. is finding new and imaginative ways to spread-eagle herself across the bump. Not to be defeated by my rapidly expanding girth, she wriggles about trying to get some purchase on Mount Mummy whilst on the inside, the squiglet gives as good as (s)he gets, returning elbows and knees in a vain effort to get an early foothold in the battle for sibling supremacy. A. has been rigorously schooled by family and nursery staff on the contents of my tummy and how it differs from everyone else’s, and now proudly tells anyone who will listen that there is ‘a baby… AND food!’ in Mummy’s tummy and has on more than one occasion enquired if ‘all the other babies’ are in there too. Er, thanks for that, poppet. Even she thinks I’m massive.