We have had a very good week, I think.
Last Sunday we inflated the birth pool in the kitchen as a trial run to see how long it would take. We were both really surprised at the speed and ease of it! The pool has three rings which are inflated in sections and each ring took about a minute.Â All told, it was up in about ten minutes! We didn’t fill it with water, but don’t think that would take too much longer than the average bath.Â The only downside of the pool in the kitchen is that if I have a long labour we’ll be having take-aways on disposable crockery for a few days because only the fridge, kettle and left side of the kitchen sink are accessible! 🙂
I climbed in the dry pool and had the sudden overwhelming awareness of what exactly lies ahead for me. Being on my knees and clutching the handle bars the whole childbirth/motherhood/baby life change momentarily took on a ‘deer caught in the headlights’ feel, but it passed soon enough.Â Millions have done it before me and I’m not likely to be the last…
With my final week at work looming, I cannot tell you how ready I am for maternity leave. Just the ability to sleep whenever the mood strikes me is a phenomenal thought!Â I will go off the Fefol tablets, which have been playing havoc with my digestive system, and just sleep when the mood strikes me – which considering what my nights are like, might be all day! But I’ll get to that in a moment.
I have received my epi-no, so I can start preparing my perineum for labour next week at week 37, and I have stocked up on red raspberry leaf tea, so I can start having two cups a day this week to prepare my uterus for contractions. Preparation, I think, is the key to natural childbirth – it’s what God gave us herbs for, after all. Anyone who’s ever been on ‘alternative’ healing programmes will know that you might need a little longer to experience benefits than with normal medicines, so… preparation preparation, preparation.
I have not yet received my TENS machine, which I ordered about a month ago – the tracking system says it’s ‘on route’.Â Hmmm… from where?Â Hopefully it will arrive soon – as it provides the pain relief for early labour (by sending electric currents through the body) it’s not really the kind of thing you want to be waiting for the postman on. Especially not if you end up with a 30 hour or so labour!
I’m really looking forward to my baby shower next week.Â I think that will help me feel a lot more prepared for the actual baby part of this too – the cupboards are still a bit bare, although Geraldine, my mom in law, blessed me this weekend with a bag of goodies that included cotton wool, nappy sacks, baby bath products and creams, some gorgeous little booties and bibs and baby grows and a beautiful blanket.Â She’s also giving me (on loan) the bonnet and shawl my husband and her other children wore on their Christenings, so that should go really well with my own Christening gown.Â I’m looking forward to getting back home and popping all these ‘bits’ on the shelves!
Physically the pregnancy is going well. Button moves around a lot, especially when I’m trying to settle for the night, and I wake up a lot during the night and although there’s no way of knowing, I imagine it’s due to movements, kicks and so on. Somehow there still seems to be a fair amount of space in there, because s/he likes moving from side to side. Far as I can tell, the head is down where it should be, and the feet are under my ribs. The baby seems to enjoy moving from left to right and back to left, causing weird alien looking movements and causing me giggles often. It feels weird, and great, and I love it.
That said, I am experiencing additional pressure with the PSD, as the baby moves down, I guess more pressure is applied to the pelvis, so I find I get sore a lot more on things such as stairs, getting in and out the car or putting on underwear or pants (trousers)! Anything that involves being on one leg at a time, really.Â In an attempt to compensate for the PSD, I think I’ve been putting pressure on my coccyx as that has been very tender lately, but I am surviving that too, fortunately. After two days of doing a lot of walking around Prior Park Landscape Gardens in Bath and being touristy in the city of Wells, I was surprised today to find my ankles swollen to almost twice their usual size!Â My mother in law was kind enough to give me an ankle massage using a blend of aromatherapy oils – Lavender, Grapefruit, Frankincense and so on… all very good for water retention. It is an odd sensation though, peering over a huge belly to see swollen ankles. Pregnancy certainly does remove any sense of ownership over your body!
But all these little ailments aside, I have really been luck this last part of the pregnancy, making up for the horror of the first part, I think. I have started to feel the ‘walking on clouds’ feeling the midwife said to expect as the body starts pumping the ‘love hormone’ or oxytocin in to the system. I feel rushes of extreme love for Martin and our baby, although I think this could be down to him being simply amazing, supportive and incredibly loving himself at the moment, rather than just being a hormonal thing! I have moments of almost panic where I realise this is all happening so fast – the baby could healthily and naturally be born any time in the next two days to six weeks. I am not entirely sure that I’m ready!
I have also started to experience another side effect of the third trimester: weird dreams. I’ve never had the most straightforward dreams anyway, but these have been insane. In addition to just being really high activity and exhausting, they have been emotional and unusual. I have found myself waking up to escape the dream, getting up to take advantage of the awake-ness and get a bathroom break in, and return to bed to continue the same dream! Last night I kept myself awake for half an hour just to not continue a dream where everyone in my life was shouting at each other while I watched! Very bizarre.Â Latent issues? Perhaps, but I’m too tired to investigate!
Well – it’s all go now.
I guess I might write a bit more over the next few weeks as things step up a gear. In two days my precious gift is considered full term and all the world is changing.Â It was weird seeing a friend yesterday, my in-laws today and knowing that next time we would have a baby in tow. Wow. All the world is changing.
These last two weeks have passed in such a blur of activity and emotion and ‘baby stuff’ and ‘life stuff’ that I feel a little like my head is reeling.
My midwife never turned up for our 33 week appointment, so I had a day at home just waiting, but honestly, nothing more eventful happened the whole week.Â Â At the rescheduled appointment at 34 weeks, she prodded and poked and pushed and then prodded some more, but could not find your head at all! That was slightly worrying from the positioning point of view. By this stage we really want you to be head down:
However, you were not head down, but seemed by the shape of my belly to be either breech or transverse:
That can be a really big problem, because in the case of breech the midwives would not want me to have the birth at home, and in the case of adverse they would try to make me have a C-Section, which I really really do not want!Â I started doing a whole range of exercises and movements (on hands and knees, tilt the pelvis in and out, do a figure of eight and rotate hips;Â lie on your back with legs and bottom against the wall and tilt pelvis; bounce on a Swiss ball; always sit with knees lower than hips, just to name a few).Â At our antenatalÂ class this week the midwife, Sofie, checked me again and she said that although your head was not engaged (which is fine) you were head down again. I was so happy!
They say that babies sleep most of the day in there. That’s understandable, since there’s not a whole lot else to do, and whereas in the past you were very quiet during the day and got quite active at night, you now seem active all the time! You’re a little energizer bunny, constantly on the move. This does not bode well for peaceful sleep for Daddy and me again, well… ever!Â But IÂ do love feeling you kick, and as you get bigger and your space gets more limited, your movements are becoming bigger too. Sometimes Daddy can see you moving across the room! It’s very cute and makes me laugh often – especially when you retaliate to being poked at!
We had a great antenatal class on Thursday. It was really one of the more important ones for me – the life with baby stuff. How to fold a swaddling cloth, how to lie you down, change your nappy and so on. I found it really useful! We learned about the things that make babies cry, like hunger, temperature, being ill, need for comfort, nappy change and so on. Sofie said thatÂ parents usually eventually get to know the different cries, and what they mean. I’m sure my parent friends will have their own thoughts on this, but it did provide some comfort!
Today we attended a Pediatric First Aid class. Many of the principles remain the same, like the old ABC’s – Airway, Breathing, Circulation, and the ‘rules’ are the same. Such as firstly checking the room for any signs of danger, like a gas leak, but there are differences between first aid for adults and that for babies.Â For baby CPR for example, you cover the nose and mouth with your mouth, whereas with adults you pinch the nose closed.Â For baby compression you use two fingers to compress, whereas for adults you use the heal of yourÂ hand, and so on.Â The procedure for choking is also different. With a baby, you turn them upside down down your leg, whereas that would be somewhat harder with an adult.Â One of the mom’s in the class said that she had attended a class before the birth of her son, and when he began choking recently she vaguely remembered what to do (he is now 10 months) and decided to do the class again to refresh on everything now that she can put it in the context of actually having a child. I can’t imagine how scary it must be though. It is always useful to read about these things, and look at pictures in books, but being able to practice on a doll that makes sounds and movements when you do it right (like coughs up a little bit of rubber when you apply the correct force to the back!) really helped me to understand the force and pressure that you need.Â As Sue (the instructor) said, broken ribs heal, but stopped hearts don’t.
I’m starting to feel a little more prepared now, and beginning to slowly feel as confident in the ‘having a baby’ as I am in the actual process of having the baby! Of course there is much to learn, and I’m sure I’ll make many mistakes, and a lot won’t be as it is in the books and the manuals, but there are a few core things that I think knowing, makes easier.
Tomorrow we do a practice run on the birth pool, which I’m really looking forward to, and do a few more bits and pieces in your room, and then rest and prepare for my second last week of work!
Being around all those babies today made me really excited to meet you.
Love you my Button.
It has been a very intense week this week. Things are suddenly seeming to become very real, and I kind of feel like I’m riding an ever expanding snow ball – there’s no stopping it now!
I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at home with my feet up trying to lie very still while still doing work at the same time, due to contractions! It definitely wasn’t Braxton-Hicks, which feels like the tummy gets tight, but was a lot lower and caused a radiating pain in to the legs.Â On Tuesday when it started it happened every half hour or so, but by Tuesday night was down to about every two minutes! It was quite scary as it is way too early for you to make an appearance without having to go in to hospital for a while!Â Â I managed to get to bed when the contractions stopped around 10 PM, but woke up squirming in pain again at 4AM on Wednesday morning. I had a really long warm bath and that seemed to really help and the contractions stayed about 2o or so minutes apart all day Wednesday. I did also stop drinking the red raspberry leaf tea, just in case it was causing the false labour.Â I’ve not had any problems since, so I think I shall wait before drinking any more of that, just in case!
On Thursday Daddy and I attended our first Antenatal class where we spent most of the evening discussing fears, excitements and so on. It was quite a nice session, just getting to know the three other couples on the course, and hearing what other people are thinking and feeling at the moment.
For a lot of the ladies their fears were about labour, and pain and fear ofÂ epidurals andÂ so onÂ and for a lot of the men it was more about how they could just stand by and watch their partners in pain. It was strange because Daddy and I were the only homebirth couple, and we we were also the only ones who don’t really have particular fears about the labour and your birth.Â That is something we feel very calm and peaceful about. (I’m wondering if the Birth Beyond Fear CD that I listen to every night is rubbing off on Daddy too?)Â
For us, the fears we came up with in class were more about after the birth. Daddy had some experience of babies with Catherine and Michael, his sister’s children, but I haven’t had any of that. I’ve held a few babies over the past 20 or so years, but I normally give them back whenever they start crying, which is normally about 20 seconds after I’ve started holding them.Â So I do feel totally unprepared in that sense! I’m quite sure that it will all come with some sense of ‘naturalness’, I mean, how hard can wiping a bum really be?Â But, it’s still a little nerve wrecking.Â At the moment I wake up a number of times a night to go to the loo, and every time I wake up I realise that I’m walking in a half sleep state. I don’t even switch the lights on because I don’t want to disturb my eyes, and then I wonder whether I’ll be able to feed you in that ‘almost still asleep’ state.Â I guess I’ll find out soon enough!
I have grown quite huge over the last few weeks. I do feel like I’m carrying a spare tyre INSIDE my belly at the moment and you are still quite active. You move regularly, which is very nice, and I can feel your feet up against my ribs. It is not painful at all, which I’m pleased about.Â Just now and then when you try to stick your foot up between my ribs and my skin, then it hurts a little, but I just tickle your foot and you move it. Watching you move from one side to the other is really funny and still always makes me laugh. It just looks really weird! I wish you’d give me warning so I could film it for everyone else to see, but for now it’s just a little pleasure between you and me.
The books say you weigh about 2 kg at the moment. I can certainly feel that whenever I have to climb stairs or walk any great distance and your weight is especially noticable when I have to get myself off the couch or bed! I sound like an old man as I hobble around trying to live normally between the occasional Sciatica and SPD.
Well, we’re almost at 33 weeks now, and that means that in three weeks you could be full term and totally ready to meet the world.Â Daddy has finished building your cupboard, so now at least we have somewhere to put your clothes, and I got your blessing gown back from the dry cleaners on Friday.Â We have your moses basket ready and your room is looking more and more like a room after each weekend.
Looking forward to seeing you, Button.