Tuesday, January 31, 2017

37w6d - Cycle all the way

This is me on my last day of work. Many people have expressed surprise that I'm still cycling at this late stage of pregnancy. In fact, cycling is FAR more comfortable to me than walking. When I walk, every step pushes on my bladder in a very unpleasant way. When I cycle, I'm sitting! Yes, I get winded more quickly, but I've never been a speedy cyclist. So here I am, on my bike, 37w6d pregnant.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

36w1d - baby belly bump

I'm 36w1d today, which is really nearing the end. On the one hand I feel like I've been pregnant forever, on the other hand, it all feels so quick. I think this is what happens as you get older anyway, but it doesn't change the strangeness.

Lately I've been thinking about, or trying to understand, that there is a real baby inside that belly of mine. I see pushing and movement, but what I see is a big skin balloon. I don't see 'a baby' and yet, at 36w there is a baby, pretty much completely formed and almost certainly capable of survival. But I just see a bump! I never had a 3d/4d scan of the baby so I don't have a particular impression of her physicality. Looking at regular scans is fine, but it's not a three dimensional baby you are looking at. I feel I'm getting more excited (and nervous) about her getting here.

I'm also at work for less than 2 weeks now. Handing over to my cover which has been great to have a 3 week overlap. Strange to think how easily I can be replaced! But actually work stuff is all good for me right now, as I will come back to a slightly different role doing something more in keeping with my background and expertise. So actually, work is really exciting, it's just strange to be leaving for a while. But I'll be very busy with other things!!

Also hard to believe my mother is going to be here in almost a month. This is an ongoing tension as my mother means very well and her heart is in the right place but she questions everything that I want or do. I keep telling her that I don't really feel the need to justify every decision to her and that it's insulting to me. But she keeps doing it. I think she also feels on some level she needs to put me down in order to make herself seem more needed, which is completely unnecessary. So I'm nervous about the help she is going to be giving me- if it's actually going to be helpful or if I'm going to want to kill her. Only time will tell.

I think the other thing about my mom coming is that she acts as if I'm all alone in the world with no one to help me other than her. As if my single parent journey isolates me in some way as opposed to being something I've been thinking about and actively planning for years. I have a good network around me to support me, and I'm also happy to pay people (like my doula) to support me post-natal. Not to mention the boyfriend, other friends, etc. But to my mother, every time I talk to her I have no one and nothing to help me (other than her). Again, it's frustrating, but we'll get through it. And I know I have my village/network so it's really more her issue than mine.

I need to get some more pictures of these final weeks! I really just can't imagine that soon she's going to be here and it's all going to be different. Eep!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

35w4d - Bigger and bigger

It's weird how pregnancy is counted in weeks, but most people not involved in pregnancy think in months. So today it is one month until my due date. hard to believe!

I'm pretty much almost ready for baby girl to arrive. The nursery furniture is finally pretty much complete and I've started washing things. There is a lot of stuff to wash!! So many hand me downs. I'm not at all complaining, I think it's great to get so much free stuff, most of it really nice and hardly worn. It's just a lot of laundry and sorting since I have bags of various sizes. The nursery actually looks like a baby room which is kind of exciting. The only thing I have left is for the blackout curtains to arrive and swap over from what's there now. And I'm still on the hunt for a petite rocking chair I can put in there as most gliders are just too big for the space, but I think a rocking chair would be nice to have.

My hospital appointment with the head midwife went well, and I'm approved to go to the birth center if labor starts on its own. I've done a first draft of my birth plan. I've starting eating 6 dates a day. I'm also doing the perineal massage  with Elastolabo and in a little over a week I'll start the Epi-No. I'm not sure why the Elastolabo is no longer readily available, but I have some tubes of it, so I'm using it. All of this preparation and I think it will be just my luck and I end up with a Cesarean or something. It will be what it will be, but I'm trying to do as much preparation as possible.

Meanwhile I now see the midwife every week. Not this Tuesday, but next Tuesday I'm supposed to have my appointment at the hospital in the birthing center. I wasn't able to call this week so I need to get that arranged first thing tomorrow.

Baby girl is getting bigger and so is my belly. She isn't the most energetic baby. She does move around but often it feels very mild and I have to pay attention. Sometime she clearly gets into a position where I feel her much stronger (and can see her moving) but mostly it's subtle feelings. This can stress me out because I keep getting told to pay attention if I don't feel anything, and often I really don't. Overall, pregnancy has sort of suited me. Aside from the small issues I've had, I generally feel comfortable, healthy, and fine. Pregnancy doesn't have to be this big uncomfortable ordeal. I do feel for women who clearly are having issues, but it also obviously doesn't happen to everyone. So overall I feel lucky. I mean, this is probably the only time in my life that I will be pregnant (or at least that's how I feel right now), so I'm glad that I'm sort of getting to enjoy it. I'll definitely miss feeling baby girl moving around in there. It's been truly special.

Next thing to get on top of is packing the hospital bag. My friend was down this weekend and helped me with some of that (and brought me a bunch of stuff we'd bought together when I visited in October). So I'm probably halfway packed. I was thinking of making some chocolate peanut butter oatmeal energy balls for snacking on during labor. And I should think about stocking up the freezer with some ready meals of some kind or another.

Work is so busy right now (although all in positive ways, so that's good)- I can't believe the first 2 weeks of January are already gone. Soon I won't be at work, and soon after baby will be here! I can't even begin to imagine how my life is going to change and what it's going to be like to have her here for real, separate from me. It's still terrifying to some level, but exciting as well. And it's going to be soon now!!

Friday, January 6, 2017

34w2d - Obstetrician meeting

I am pleased to report that my meeting with the consultant obstetrician yesterday went very well. Unlike the first one I saw, this one was very relaxed about my birth. She checked that I knew I was there to discuss induction. I did, and said that I was inclined to not have one at 39w but would be open to one at 40w as long as I had a check first to see if anything was happening on its own. She then suggested that was fine, and that I actually wait a couple more days, especially if I had a 'stretch and sweep'. So an induction has been tentatively scheduled for February 17th. But, she also said that if I don't want one then, I don't have to have one and can just be monitored. So basically, she offered the expectant monitoring without my having to ask for it. It was all a very reasonable and unexciting conversation, so that was great.

I had my last hypnobirthing class last night which was more about after birth and once baby arrives. Which had a lot to do with breast feeding. I am intending to breast feed, so I wasn't in need of any convincing. I did say though, that for some people it just doesn't work, no matter how well intentioned, and that similar to c-sections or other things related to birth, we need to stop demonizing other choices people make. I don't have any reason at this point to think I won't be able to breast feed, and I will try everything possible to get it going. But if something is wrong and I ultimately need to switch to formula? Then that's fine too.

On Monday I have my last hospital appointment for a while, this time with one of the head midwives at the birth center. My last hoop to jump through is to get permission to be allowed into the birth center if labor starts naturally. They are not inclined to allow this initially due to my age (of course) because they want continuous monitoring which can only be done on the ward. Except there doesn't seem to be any benefit to continuous monitoring, and anyway, the birth center is one floor down from the ward, so if needed, I can be moved. Anyway, I'm hoping that the meeting goes smoothly like yesterday's did and then everything is settled.

In the meanwhile I've been working on my birth plan. I'm torn between some of the visual/picture ones I've seen and just writing one out with bullet points. At the moment I'm going bullet points because I don't have the software on my computer here to do the visual one. I'll send a draft copy to my doulas to get their input and point out anything I may have missed.

The first week of January has really flown by. Granted it was a 4-day week. Still, baby girl is going to be here before I know it. I can't believe it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

34w - Scan

Had a scan this morning due to my advanced maternal age. Apparently they offer it at 34 weeks if it's your first baby and you are and old mama.  It was exciting to see baby girl although she definitely does not fit on the screen anymore. She was presenting 'cephalic' which means 'head down'; so, basically in the right position which is good. We could only see bits and pieces of her. All the measurements were on target and baby girl is measuring above average at about the 80th percentile. Her estimated weight was 5.9lbs (2.689kg), so a healthy sized baby right now! I got to see her heart beating, and a good look at her thigh bone. We also listened to the blood pumping through the umbilical cord. We couldn't get a good look at the face as her hands were in the way, although we got to see an eye poking out. Overall it was a fairly efficient appointment and all was as it should be, so that was good.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with the consultant obstetrician again. I imagine this is where they are going to pressure me to schedule an induction for 39 weeks. I am going to decline the 39w induction but tentatively agree to a 40w induction. I've looked at the research and I'm not convinced that the 39w induction is necessary or helpful. I will try to give my body as much time to go into labor as possible before resorting to an induction. This also means that at 40w, I want to be checked to see if labor is starting on its own in which case I will again reject the induction and give it a couple of days. Should be a (not so) fun talk with the doctor tomorrow. Anyway, we'll see and I'll try to report back. At least one of my doulas is coming with me which will be helpful I think.

Went to NCT prenatal (antenatal) class last night which was good. Boyfriend came with me and managed it well, and I felt positively about the experience in general. There were 7 other couples there- all traditional (man/woman, married). I think what I'm learning is that I'm more curious than other people, or that I shouldn't be so surprised that people don't do as much reading or research as I do.

Last month at work now which is all a bit mental. It seems as if there is so much to do!! And I still don't believe at all that baby can possibly come early although one of my colleagues voiced concern about that. I think after all this waiting and being pregnant for so long, this month is going to fly by!