Pregnancy Diary: 36 weeks!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

This week has been all over the place. I dropped Ollie at nursery on Monday and as I walked out of the building I suddenly realised how Autumnal it had become. I could smell a bonfire (God knows why before 8am!) and there was a really crisp cold wind. Even some of the trees are starting to turn golden orange. 

I remembered how excited Id been 2 years previously at the start of my maternity leave, and I thought about all that had happened since. I vowed to make the most of this time again, and quickly got myself home for a hot cup of tea. 

It was then that I realised I actually didn't have anything much to do. Ollie was being looked after and the house was clean and tidy (relatively) and to all extents and purposes FINISHED! For the longest time I have had a to do list for every single day. Suddenly I was free. But with that freedom came time on my hands, time to think. So I started thinking about the hospital visit at the weekend and about foetal movement. And that's when the anxiety that has plagued me all week really kicked in.

There is so much conflicting advice about foetal movement at the end of pregnancy. It seems it used to be very acceptable to expect a reduction in movement as baby engaged and ran out of room. Then suddenly reduced movement was a warning sign and NOT ok. Some institutions say you must feel 10 kicks an hour, some say 10 kicks in 12 hours, (including my hospital) which is a massive difference. The Count the Kicks campaign says it's not about numbers but tracking your regular pattern. If you google anything about this, you'll find forums where women frantically discuss why their baby might be moving less, and lots of threads appear with women who have suffered the horrors of stillbirth telling you that a reduction in movement was the signal of the end for them.

It's bloody terrifying. I have been a wreck all week. I've called the hospital and spoken to two different midwives.

The fact is, at times I think my baby's movements feel reduced. I am still getting significant movement pretty regularly, although the sleep periods between movements is longer (which is normal). The fact is, now baby is so low I struggle to feel a lot of the movement unless I am really focused on it. Before I had a frantically somersaulting baby who kicked me so hard sometimes it made me gasp. The kicks were pronounced and high up. Now I have a huge rolling baby bear who is very low in my pelvis and tends to gently roll or nudge or push. Very occasionally do I get a full on kick nowadays. 

I remember this with Ollie, a change in movements, but I never worried. It seemed understandable that a baby with less room would be less frantic. I didn't obsess on google, which is actually really unhelpful because women share horror stories and you have no idea of the background or give out advice which you have no idea of its source.  The difference is since having Ollie I have become a lot more aware of issues such as stillbirth and SIDS as my interest in and reading of parent blogs has increased.  

I guess this time my heart is also more emotionally invested in this, which might sound odd. I am not in any way diminishing the importance and precious nature of a first pregnancy, but when I was pregnant with Ollie I really didn't know what was coming. I felt quite detached until he was actually born, when I fell hopelessly in love at first sight. That was just my experience.

This time I know how much love you feel for the little thing they put on your chest afterwards. I know how much you would do and give to that child. How much they take over your heart. So I am emotionally much more attached, at an earlier stage. Once baby is here, I know I will love him and Ollie equally, but right now I find myself so anxious that he arrives safely I think I might combust with nerves.

The midwives have reassured me that everything seems fine. Ironically as I write this the baby is moving a lot, albeit much lower and in a less frantic way. It's probably the most it's moved all week, maybe it's realised I've been panicking! But it's hard to ignore the days when he's seemed sleepier, and it's been hard to differentiate between what is a change in movement type, and a reduction in movement generally. The fact that I think I actually can't feel it as much lower down doesn't help. When they put the monitor on me at the hospital, they said he was moving loads and I couldn't feel a thing.

If I gently poke where I feel baby, he always responds and pushes back against my hand. When my husband sings to him through my belly button he gets prodded and pushed.

The baby is responding to us. He knows we are here and waiting for him. I just need to keep faith and hope that all will be ok. Statistically it should be. I am low risk and have no health complications, other than I suppose being a bit too fat this time round. I just need to shake the anxiety that is hounding me.

I don't have a feeling about when baby will come. He is still very low, and I am having really frequent bowel movements as though everything is clearing the way! (nice). Boobs are still sore and leaking colostrum. Braxton hicks in the evenings are strong and uncomfortable. My back is starting to ache a bit, which is probably just the weight and strain. I also think baby is rolling round so is back to back at times, which I hope won't be an issue in labour. And my belly button is starting to pop out which never happened before.

I was convinced Ollie would be early and indeed he was, and this time I've had a similar feeling but I also wonder if after all this fuss about early babies, he'll take his time. I am 37 weeks tomorrow so unless I go into labour today which seems pretty unlikely, I just need to be thankful that baby has gone full term. It also means one more tick on the list of criteria for having the baby at the birthing centre where I'm hoping he will arrive.

I can't believe it is all going to happen soon. I really hope I can calm myself down. Baby is kicking lots this minute, I need to remember this. My husband has taken Ollie to the park so I am languishing in bed with a book, enjoying feeling the rolls and prods.

Please keep your fingers crossed for us. 

Thanks for reading xxx

Bravado Confetti Bra Review

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

I am not one of those women who loves their pregnant body. The truth is, I am a bit fat anyway, and when pregnant (this time noticeably more so) I pile on quite a lot of weight, puff up like a puffy elephant, and have an enormous bump. Stretchmarks galore etc., I don't feel like the "sexy peach" my first-pregnancy yoga teacher promised I would do.

There are some things that one can do about this though. Painting my nails and remembering to shave my legs helps me hold on to a little bit of femininity. As does wearing the fantastic maternity bra which Bravado kindly sent me.

I was sent their original Nursing bra in leopard print during my pregnancy with Ollie which I reviewed here. I loved it, and have continued to wear it as a sports bra in between pregnancies and now again during this pregnancy as a non underwired bra that doesn't look at something Grannys wear (sorry Mum). It's actually what I am taking in my hospital bag to labour in. I feel that the sporty nature of it will make me feel like an athletic goddess and help encourage me to have an active labour. I know that sounds ridiculous, but last time I didn't wear a bra and think it will help me feel a bit more 'together'. Plus I want my husband to try and get some photos straight after the birth and I would rather have a bra on in them, but one that I can quickly whip boobs out of when baby wants his first feed.

Recently I was contacted by Bravado's lovely PR and offered the chance to try one of their new editions which was officially released during August so is pretty hot off the press.

The new Sweet Pea and Confetti designs come in a range of colours, and look like normal bras really. I was thrilled to be given the chance to try one but a teeny bit hesitant that a bra that looked so "normal" would handle the pressure of holding up my 36F boobs (oh yes) without an underwire.

I needn't have worried.

I was sent the Confetti bra in Plum and it is a fantastic bra. The Confetti range fits larger breasts and it is so nice to see provision here as so many companies stop nursing bras at D cup which is pretty ridiculous.

It also works. It somehow holds my boobs up. It has a stretchy fabric, and I have no idea how it manages it, but I actually get moderate up-lift with this bra without having the straps ridiculously tight. Its the softest and most comfortable nursing bra I have tried, but practical as it has full drop away cups and easy clips. I also really love that it is purple, polka dot and has a bow on it! That's what us mummies need! A little bit of prettiness. I was also sent the matching plum seamless panty which is perfectly described by Bravado as "buttery soft". Matching underwear! Can you imagine. Really comfy knickers and again, the chance to feel a little more put together.

What do you do or wear to make yourself feel a little prettier in pregnancy? Which nursing bras do you wear?

Thanks for reading xx

Pregnancy Diary: 35 weeks!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

You might notice there is now an exclamation mark at the end of this post's title. The reason is simple. I know I sound like a wannabe gangster when I am clearly the opposite but, this shit got real.

You might have seen the quick post I put up yesterday about the scare we had and visit to triage. Baby is ok now, but a lot has happened this week that's made it very clear that I am now on the home straight and I am ready-ish. 

The baby dropped this week, so much. So much that everyone who has come into contact with me has grabbed me and exclaimed how baby is coming. To the point where I have felt undeniable pressure on my cervix and my already struggling SPD riddled pelvis has been pushed to the max. A midwife confirmed on my Tuesday check up that baby was not only head down but well into my pelvis, engaged in other words. The clear drops of colostrum I was producing have now turned a rich creamy yellow. Sorry for this, but I am no longer standard-constipated. Quite the opposite. Things are getting ready.

This week I decided to give in to advice and start my maternity leave. I am now officially mama-in-waiting. I can't believe that I don't have to go into work tomorrow. I still have to properly pack my
Hospital bag but it's all laid out in piles and I don't have anything left to buy. I have made a timetable for my best friends who are on call to come and get Ollie when I go into labour.

For obvious reasons I really don't want baby to come yet. I'm not one of those mums on a countdown. He isn't full term for another 8 days for a start and I want him to be safe. I would quite like a little time to have to rest before I am thrust into a newborn sleeping (or not sleeping) routine.

But I do feel like something's going to happen....soon. We'll see. You can laugh at me when I'm 41w5d and going in for induction.

Thanks for reading xx

Another scare

Saturday, 6 September 2014

I had a scare back at 20 weeks when I was having braxton hicks and an uninformed midwife told me over the phone that it was abnormal. We went in for monitoring and all was well.

This time was a lot worse.

I have progressively been feeling less well over the week. Utter exhaustion mixed with severe SPD has left me with sharp chronic pain in my pelvis, hips, lower back, spine, ribs and down the back of my legs. I'm sure if I was a different type of person id have been given crutches and ordered on bed rest by now. I've soldiered on at work, with the pain taking a real toll. I've felt really sick and hot and exhausted.

Then there's these famous braxton hicks that I seem to be particularly sensitive to. I've been getting them throughout the days and very strongly at night, to the
point where it feels like a contraction in early labour. As well as the constrictive sensation of the braxton hick itself, the pressure in my pelvis just exacerbates my SPD pain. A midwife appointment on Tuesday told me that baby is engaged and locked into my pelvis which is probably causing most of the drama.

I woke up at 3am this morning and felt very sore. My hips were pulsing with pain and my legs numb. I lay there for a long time trying to get comfortable before I realised I hadn't felt baby move. Normally middle of the night/early morning he's a real crazy thing. I had a drink, went to the loo, moved around, poked and prodded and drank some more. And nothing happened. I was so exhausted I sort of fell in and out of sleep in a mild state of panic, trying to convince myself baby was just as exhausted as I was. But then at 5.30 I was wide awake and acutely aware that I really had felt nothing. I started pacing and really pushing myself to make baby uncomfortable enough to move. Ollie woke at 6, probably woken by my stomping around, and when my husband opened his eyes to Ollie's "Daddy!" call up the stairs, I told him that we needed to go to the hospital.

To put you out of any suspense, the baby is okay. I was casually strapped to a monitor by a HCA who clearly had no comprehension of the emotional trauma I was feeling as I lay on a trolley with my frantic husband sat next to me, with ollie on his knee, pointing at my tummy saying  "baby there".

There was a strong heartbeat. They kept me monitored for an hour or so. Did all the usual checks. Baby is still very much engaged and had curled up very low in my pelvis. Once they started with the Doppler though he went crazy and was all over the place, stretching out with reassuring strength. 

It's so important to take any changes in movement or activity seriously. 3 hours of nothing, I probably waited too long and am lucky. I did really think at one point that I had lost my baby. That all this pain had been something wrong. I can't put into words how that felt. Only focusing on Ollie and my healthy living child was enough to keep me temporarily together. 

I have decided to trigger my maternity leave early and start on Monday. People don't understand how hard a pregnancy is with the added stress of SPD pain. And a toddler. And a house project. Of course I've just had a six week summer "holiday", but one where I've not stopped at all getting the house finished. I've pushed myself physically too far. 

It's time for the baby now. And the mummy. 

Thanks for reading xxx

Pregnancy Diary: 34 weeks

Sunday, 31 August 2014

This week has been absolutely crazy and hugely rewarding.

As I mentioned last week, we cancelled our holiday to Devon to stay at home and finish the house. I can't really believe we ever considered going after how much we've accomplished this week.

Suffice to say I can probably say now that the house project is finished. We have carpets in. There are no nails or tins of paint lying around. The builder is popping in next week to do a few bits of grouting, the extractor fan in the utility room is going to be fixed as it's making a weird sound, but that's it. We need to paint 5 internal doors which my husband has already primed, and we need to tackle the garden at some point. There is a massive double garage sitting in it which is now defunct as we have a new garage as part of the extension.

But internally, it feels like a home now. It doesn't feel like a building site. All the big jobs are done and paid for. There is not a skip outside or scaffolding. We are no longer really renovating. Just a few touch ups left. And fun stuff, like hanging pictures and decorating Ollies nursery with bunting or some such. 

We haven't redecorated the living room which was the only presentable room when we bought the house, and I guess we'll try and do that before Christmas, take a long weekend. I have hung new curtains in it though, although I totally cocked up "dressing them" and they have horrible folds and pleats in them in the wrong places.

Nothing has quite gone to plan with anything, but we'll get there. Steam
Cleaner ahoy.

Pregnancy wise, I've been just go go go this week. I am utterly exhausted and overwhelmed but feel so happy to have my home. Ollie has a playroom. I can walk barefoot around the house. I feel safe. It is clean, the baby will be safe and living in a clean environment. Psychologically that's made a huge impact, just when finally the prenatal mental health team have booked me an appointment. I feel much better.

My bump is so enormous people keep commenting that I won't last another 5 weeks (im now 35 weeks). I am getting quite strong braxton hicks at night which verge on mildly painful but trying to use them as practice with breathing. I've also had a few dizzy spells but think that's probably me doing too much. My boobs are full of colostrum and ready to go.

I feel ready now, really. Just want baby to hang on a bit to make sure he's fully ready to meet us and join in the craziness that is our little family.

I'm back to work tomorrow for two weeks, and Ollie starts in the 2-3years toddler room at nursery.

Life never stops....

Thanks for reading xxx
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