Thirty-five weeks

How far along? Thirty-five weeks. Ooh that is a big number. At the conference this past week I had quite a few unsolicited comments from academics I don’t know. No one was making jokes about me having the baby at the conference, but lots of well wishes for the birth (one older gentleman told me a Greek phrase which apparently means “be it like a chicken laying an egg”). Q. also thinks I’m now stopping traffic, as we seem to have cars yielding to us at a highly unusual rate when out walking around.

Vital stats? I last saw my midwife at 33.5 weeks. At that point fundal height was 32 and BP was 90/64 (which stressed out her student who took the measurement until my midwife said, “Oh, no that’s totally normal for Turia”). They were pretty sure the baby was on the right side but (like with E.) it was hard for them to distinguish between my abdominal muscles and the baby’s back. P.’s heartbeat was 138 (I think- I don’t remember exactly). More importantly, I got the report from the growth scan and BPP that had been done the week before and P. scored a perfect 8/8 on the BPP and was measured in the 75th percentile (I didn’t write down the weight estimate). So everything looks great on that front. The report did say that the kidney was still missing but really, if they found it now, I would be shocked.

I feel like the baby (and, as a result, the belly) has had a huge growth spurt in the last week. The difference between what I see in the mirror right now and how I looked in my maternity photos (which were two and a half weeks ago) is quite significant. I think I must have run out of room for my uterus to expand upwards and now there’s nowhere to go but out! The other thing that makes me think there’s been a growth spurt is I now (for the first time) feel unbalanced- I constantly feel like I’m leaning backwards when my back is straight- I think I’m just being dragged out in front and my centre of gravity is off.

How am I feeling physically? Between thirty-three and thirty-four weeks (when I didn’t have time to do a weekly write up), I felt really quite well. This week has been a lot harder again. I think I am able to spend a whole lot more time at home with my feet up than I think I do, because now when I’m travelling, the swelling in my legs and ankles by the end of the day is terrible. I’ve taken to sleeping with a pillow down at the end of the bed so I can prop up my feet overnight to try to get them back to normal by the start of the next day. I just took off my wedding ring last night- my hands aren’t swelling enough that I can’t get it off, but I’m starting to get worried it’s going to happen.

This is all very new for me. Looking back at E.’s pregnancy, I was noticing something similar at thirty-five weeks, but it’s much more extreme this time around:

I do still have a bum in my ribs, and I’m noticing my legs swelling more frequently in the evenings, but that’s about it. I am getting very tired very quickly. I told Q. the other day that I think I’m not far from the point of becoming a “one outing a day” kind of girl. If we’re out shopping for any length of time, that does me for the rest of the day.

I later said that my ankles can be kept under control if I don’t wear socks for very long, which isn’t the case now. Even without socks, I bid my ankle bones and my shapely lower legs adieu by the end of the day. I don’t know if this is second pregnancy or if it’s because I’m pregnant later into the year (maybe it’s the warmer weather), but it has been a big, unpleasant change.

The “one outing a day” kind of girl comment is interesting. I know I am much, much busier than I was during E’s pregnancy, and I average far more than one outing a day right now (especially this week at the conference). So maybe it’s not surprising that I’m feeling things a bit more.

I am also still getting the occasional terrible leg cramp in the middle of the night. It’s only one a week, if that, but when I get them, they’re horrible. Three nights ago I was writhing around in pain, trying not to cry, and trying to get out of bed to stand up to make the cramp go away, and Q. woke up in a total panic because he thought I was in labour and we were going to be having the baby in Romantic Old City instead of giving our papers (which were scheduled for that morning).

My linea nigra is back and it runs above my belly button right up to the top of my uterus. I think it turned up in the last couple of weeks as I don’t remember seeing it before then.

I was having some issues with heartburn the previous week, but nothing this week, which has been nice.

How am I feeling emotionally? More settled (I think). We got to our conference and my paper was very well received. I’ve started teaching my online course (while being at the conference- hurray for online options!). Those were the big work things to get out of the way before the baby came. I’m hoping that the baby can stay put until 39 weeks, because if I go like mad for the next four weeks, I think I can prep two weeks at a time of my course, and that will mean I’ll only have three weeks to do from scratch after the baby arrives. I’m feeling a little less panicked about it, which has helped my overall mood.

We picked up a bassinet stand from a friend and we installed the infant car seat in our new car before the conference (as insurance to make sure I didn’t have the baby in Romantic Old City because we were showing the universe we were prepared), so we can get the baby home safely and put him/her somewhere to sleep. I want to buy some newborn size diapers, and I do need to dig out the clothes bin with the tiny clothes, but honestly, if that’s all we get done in the next month, we’ll manage. I do think we’ll get it all ready, but I’m not going to freak out if we don’t.

The weekend before we left for the conference, I was feeling really frazzled. It was E’s birthday, and Mother’s Day, and we’d ordered 4 cubic yards of mulch for our garden, which we had to spread before we left, and my course was starting the following Monday, and I’d realized I was (for the first time ever) going to have to go to the conference with my paper still to be completed. But it all worked out- we got the mulch spread, E. had a lovely birthday, Q. made me a tasty Mother’s Day breakfast, the steam train cake E. had requested turned out really well, despite my total lack of artistic talent when it comes to cakes, my course went online and everything worked, and I did get the paper done in time to present it.

I had an interesting conversation with my therapist when I saw her for the second time. We very much talked about the baby, which in itself was nice, as I never talk about the baby or how I am feeling about having said baby, and she pointed out to me that I had over a year to get used to the idea of life as a family of three, and I’ve had less than that to wrap my head around this whole family of four thing that seems to be about to happen, as well as a whole slew of other events which have taken up my emotional bandwidth. It made a lot of sense and it wasn’t something I had thought about much before.

Movement? I said to Q. this week that the movements now feel like what I imagine it must be like for a whale in the ocean- these great, big, long, slow twists and turns. P. still has obvious patterns of movements, but is also obviously running out of room in there. Most days s/he still moves his/her bum from one side to the other. And hiccups are (just like with E.) a daily (or twice daily) event.

How does it compare with E.’s pregnancy? At thirty-five weeks, I had this to say:

Interestingly, I’m now starting to wake up with my extra pillows shoved out of the bed or moved away from where I’d carefully placed them the night before. When I first switched to using these pillows, I’d wake up in the morning and it was obvious I hadn’t moved at all during the night. So either I’m sleeping in a more disrupted fashion now, or the pillows just aren’t as comfortable, or it’s a combination of the two.

I know I’m sleeping in a much more disrupted fashion now, so I’m not at all surprised that my pillows are in total disarray by the end of the night.

I still felt great physically (overall) and this is how I felt emotionally:

Fantastic. I am so high on all the pregnancy hormones coursing through my veins. I love everything about my life right now. It doesn’t hurt that it’s finally spring here, which always gives my mood a major boost. I’m still worried about aspects of labour, birth and baby care, but I’m not fretting over them all that much. I’m having too much fun listening to bump’s hiccups and finding random baby bits to have Q. poke. Honestly, I’m probably sickening to random passers-by.

I am enjoying the hiccups and I do like playing “where the baby’s bum now” and I rub my belly a lot, but I wouldn’t call myself high on pregnancy hormones. Poor second baby. At least I am not super excited for the baby to come out right now like most of the women on my birth club seem to be. I want P. to cook as long as possible- not only because every week in utero means another week of my course done but also because I want a healthy, full-term baby.

This was what I said about movement:

All normal and usual. Still on the left side, still sticking his/her butt in my ribs, still kicking away if I’m later with food than s/he would like, still utterly sacked out at night. It has this ridiculous habit of stopping moving as soon as Q. puts his hand on the belly. Also still gets hiccups on a daily basis- they seem to be caused by the tiniest things- if I eat, change positions, if the baby changes positions, if a cat sits on my belly, if the alarm goes off, etc. etc.

I think it is so interesting how similar this baby is to E. in terms of movement patterns, hiccups, etc.

On my mind? Well, the conference is now over, so all the baby-related things that have been in the “worry about after the conference” basket are about to come out. I think Q. and I need to sit down and have a chat about our schedules for the next month and see what our options are with weekends for doing things to get properly ready. I’m still planning to spend all of my time when E. is at school working on the online course (except for when I have baby-related appointments), so I need to think about how E. can be included.

I really want to make E. a small photobook called “When I was a Baby” with simple sentences he can read and pictures of him doing all the things the baby will do. I think this might help him with the adjustment period. Hopefully I will be able to carve out a bit of time to do that. I also want to start compiling the list of email addresses for when we want to tell everyone the baby is here.

There’s also work stuff going on because we’re at the point where they start appointing course directors for the fall/winter session. While I’ll be on leave, I need to accept contracts if I’m offered them, and then take leave from those contracts in order to protect my seniority. The other adjunct in my field (who is a friend) and I spent part of the conference planning and scheming to figure out what was the best way to freeze out a couple of others (who are not qualified in our field but who could well try to sneak in because of weak wording in the ads). Hopefully I will get a c0uple of contracts, which will keep me moving forward in terms of seniority, and if we’re really lucky, I’ll vault over one of the problem individuals, which will mean fewer problems in the future.

Sleep? My insomnia got a lot better as soon as I successfully recorded my first lecture snippet for the online course, so I was clearly fretting about that. Sleep this week has been a bit more difficult. We rented a flat through Airbnb for the conference. It’s worked out really well, except that it is a bit noisy in the street outside until later than I would want it to be, and the blinds in the master bedroom aren’t good enough to block out the streetlights, let alone the sun when it rises. So my sleep has been a bit disrupted, and I have been tending to visit the ‘loo most nights.
I’m now sleeping with three pillows- one under my head, one under my belly (which I usually shove off the bed during the night), and one down at the bottom of the bed to prop up my feet. Arranging myself in bed is becoming hugely complicated. Q. usually doesn’t laugh at me.  Much.

Best moment? We left E. with my mother and stepfather for the conference, so we’ve had a mini-break from parenting. We skipped the keynote address one day and instead walked down to the old port and had a wonderful meal in a beautiful restaurant with great views over the river, just the two (well, three) of us. It was really lovely. Q. and I got engaged in Romantic Old City (almost ten years ago now!) and we were here in 2010 before getting pregnant with E. (for the same conference). We love this city and we always have such a nice time when we’re here. It’s been nice to have a bit of an escape, even with having to present and attend panels.

And this is not my moment, but labmonkey is really, seriously pregnant, and I am just so excited for her. Go on over to wish her congratulations and sit with her while she waits for that first ultrasound.

Other stuff? We’re very very pleased with our car. Its first big test was the (rather long) drive to Romantic Old City and it performed admirably. I will say that after we’d dropped off E. and we were driving the final leg with the two empty car seats in the back I did have a moment of feeling very very middle-aged- car and two kids. It feels very different from the life we’ve been living for the last five years. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I know it will take me a while to get used to the changes. Q. is beyond excited about having a car- it’s quite sweet really.

I see my backup midwife this week and my therapist. And then at the end of the month, when I’m 37 weeks, my primary midwife and her student are going to come do the home visit. That, at least, will force us to make sure we have a few things ready. But when we were booking the appointment I couldn’t believe we were already at that point! And then it will be appointments every week in June until this baby appears.

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Filed under Me? Pregnant?!, Week-by-week

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