How far along? Thirty-one weeks.
Vital stats? I saw my primary midwife this week. She confirmed that I passed the gestational diabetes test (which I had been assuming was the case because no one had called to tell me otherwise). My iron levels were also still good. Fundal height was measuring at 30.5 cm, which was absolutely spot on for my dates, and pretty much in line with the measurement the last time I saw her. Not sure why the other midwife had me measuring 2 cm ahead. She did let her student run the clinic, so it’s possible it was just a lack of experience. Or maybe baby had a big growth spurt last month and has now settled down. Blood pressure is 88/54, so obviously no concerns there (other than I really have to pay attention to how quickly I get up these days).
Baby is still head down (good baby!). I didn’t get the fetal heart rate but it was nice and strong and healthy. As my midwife said, “I have absolutely no concerns about the baby or the physical aspects of the pregnancy.”
How am I feeling physically? Really not too bad. It takes a lot of work to roll over in bed, and I get out of breath climbing stairs or walking too fast, and I tend to make concerted noises of effort when I have to stand up, but in the grand scheme of things, I’m still doing well. I do get pain under my left ribs in the evenings, but I think there’s a foot up there much of the time, which probably explains it.
Sometimes I waddle. I don’t remember waddling with E., and I find it really embarrassing, but sometimes the baby’s head is just sitting so low and there’s so much pressure I find it hard not to waddle.
I probably feel as well as I do because Q. has taken over pretty much the entire house. I haven’t cleaned in at least a month and I’m down to making dinner maybe twice a week. I do run out of energy easily these days, and I am extremely grateful he’s just stepped in and taken over.
How am I feeling emotionally? About as well as can be expected, under the circumstances. When I was visiting my Dad last week he made it clear that he’s not sure whether the life that is available to him is one that he feels is worth living, which was an added layer of stress and anxiety I really did not need right now (although I understand why he wanted us to know). It is impossible to try to hold so many competing potential realities, especially when Dad’s current timeline means after this visit I likely won’t see him again until very close to the six month mark, which is what he’s given himself to before reassessing. So I’ve put that in a box along with all the other anxiety and grief I’m carrying around.
There’s no nice way to say this: I am openly dreading the arrival of this baby. I really hope maternal instinct kicks in. I know I will love the baby and I know we will find a new normal, but right now I cannot see how this baby will fit into our lives. I see babies at the park and I feel dread. I keep reminding myself that I have never liked other people’s babies (I am not a baby person), but I did love E. very much, and I did find a lot of joy and fun in his babyhood, even if, in retrospect, I was a lot happier once he got a bit older. I don’t want to wish away this baby’s infancy. I am hoping I can roll with the punches a bit better than I did with E., now that I know things get easier. But right now I feel like it’s worse than it was when I was pregnant with E., because this time I know what we are getting ourselves in for. And all I can think about is how wretched those first few months were.
I have all the usual second-time mum fears (What if I don’t love this baby as much as I love E.? What if E. has a terrible time adjusting? Will I ever get time for myself again? Have we made a terrible mistake?), which wouldn’t be an issue by themselves. But heaping them on top of everything else I’m carrying around makes the whole thing look insurmountable.
Also. I really really really miss my cat.
Movement? My midwife did the kick count talk with me this week. Basically she said I should be feeling baby move in the morning, afternoon, and evening (and more is a bonus). If I have a day where I hit the late afternoon and can’t remember feeling much, I’m to look for six movements in two hours. I would be surprised if I ever have to do a kick count with this baby, as s/he bounces around all the time. I’m positive the placenta is in a different spot than it was with E., even though both times it’s been anterior.
My midwife also made a point of emphasizing how good nutrition and staying hydrated leads to more movement because otherwise the baby conserves energy. I am eating well because Q. is looking after me. Left to my own devices, I would be struggling. So whenever we eat dinner and the baby gets really excited partway through, I make a point of telling Q. the baby likes his cooking.
I can find the baby’s bum pretty much any time I look for it now. Sometimes s/he likes to push it right out against one side and my belly ends up lopsided.
How does it compare with E.’s pregnancy? At thirty-one weeks last time, I had this to say:
I really do think my body is starting to tell me to wind down, slow down, and just rest up in preparation for labour, birth and bringing the baby home. I’m not uncomfortable. I have no real aches or pains. I just feel unbelievably lazy, pretty much all the time.
I generally feel the same way except I’m too busy to listen to my body. I’m still wrapping up last semester (had one exam on Thursday and another one tonight) and there’s the summer course to think about. I do find excuses to lie down and put my feet up when I’m home with E., and luckily he’s usually happy to hang out in bed for an hour with me reading and chatting (and getting himself drinks by pulling a wagon carrying a cup up and down the hallway to the bathroom and filling it with tiny amounts of water each time).
I keep having to remind myself that I cannot bend over to put on my boots right after eating if I then take too long to zip them up- I end up feeling like I’m going to be sick.
YES. Exactly. I do this to myself at least three times a week.
Last time we still hadn’t made any real progress with the nursery by this stage, and I was refusing to buy anything until after the baby shower, so even though I feel like we’re behind with this baby, we’re really not. I feel like we’re not likely to get anything done until mid-May once we’re back from our conference. I think that’s fine. I did purge E.’s artwork this week (which was being stored on top of bookcases in my study), so that’s progress.
On my mind? Still sorting out the car issue. E.’s new seat is supposed to be delivered on Monday, so we’ll have to wait to test drive vehicles until after I’m back from seeing my Dad. We have an appointment with the bank this morning to apply for a HELOC, as that makes the most sense in terms of financing and our expected income surplus over the summer. I’m trying not to panic about the fact that I still don’t have a contract or a letter of invitation for my online course for the summer. I know my Chair is fighting with the administration, but I’m not sure what the problem is that’s causing the delay. I just hope it all gets sorted out soon.
I’m also stressing somewhat about the week in late June/early July where Q. is going to be overseas (he’s the keynote at a conference). Originally my Mum was going to come down to help, and now that my stepfather is ill she’s worked out a trade with my sister, because Mum loves tiny babies and my sister does not. So C. will go stay with my stepfather and Mum will come here. But if my stepfather is undergoing chemo or radiation at that stage (which seems likely), Mum can’t come (obviously). I’m sure we will figure something out and I’ll muddle through, but my Mum was such a comforting presence last time around. I will really miss that if she’s not able to come. And I know she will feel sad about it as well, because she really does love tiny, scrunchy, newborn babies.
Best moment? I brought E. with me to the appointment with my midwife and she got him to help her measure my uterus and listen to the baby. The look on his face when he pushed the button on the doppler and heard the heartbeat was priceless- this giant, uninhibited smile of pure joy and wonder. That was awesome.
Other stuff? I went shopping with my sister, C., to look for an outfit for the maternity photos that are coming up in a couple of weeks. It was a remarkably painless process (not at all what I had been expecting) and I ended up buying the only pair of jeans I tried on and the first shirt. We did run through a bunch of other shirts to confirm the first shirt was the best. I’ve been reading tips for these photos online and they always say to wear solid colours and this shirt really isn’t, but whatever. It’s cute, it fits well, it’s appropriate for spring, it wasn’t outrageously expensive and I like it. Most importantly the shirt and jeans still look like me, just a slightly better dressed version of me. I was never going to opt for a maxi dress. I have almost no spring/summer maternity clothes, so I’ll get decent use out of them both over the next couple of months. Other than one $20 dress from Old Navy, these are the only clothes I’ve bought the entire pregnancy, so I don’t feel too guilty about the splurge.
I also did manage to find time to get my hair cut, so I’m all ready. Just have to finalize what I’m making Q. and E. wear.
I’ve finally had a therapist from the reproductive health program call me, and she had a cancellation for Monday, so I’ll be able to meet her before I head back to see my Dad again. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a few sessions in before the baby comes so she can be up to speed on the issues. As the psychiatrist said this week, “You are putting all of your grief and anxiety in a box. It’s going to come out eventually. And it will probably come out when the baby is born because that’s a very vulnerable period.”
My midwife is also going to call me on Monday to have a chat about my fears about stillbirth, as we couldn’t discuss it with E. at the appointment. She wants to get me to work on some self-care and coping strategies to help deal with the intrusive thoughts when they pop up. We also talked about how willing I am to have students at the birth (still fine with it, but don’t want them in charge) and what extra levels of monitoring they can provide if I get worried (like listening to the heart more frequently).
I booked the growth ultrasound for the week after next. So next week I have an appointment with the therapist and an appointment with my backup midwife to get back to our usual rotation. And then the following week I have the ultrasound and maternity photos. It’s getting busy!
And here is a bump pic (30w6d), courtesy of E: