Less than a month!

How far along? Thirty-six weeks. We hit a month before the due date this week and, I’m not going to lie, it freaked me right out. I am still SO NOT READY mentally to have this baby. My birth club is full of a) babies who are arriving a bit early and b) women who are at 37 or 38 weeks and are complaining endlessly about not having had the baby yet. I just cannot understand their perspective (although clearly they must be feeling worse physically than I am). Research distinguishes now between “early” full term babies (37/38 weeks) and proper full term babies, and I do not want this baby coming early, for his/her sake as much as for mine. Every week the baby cooks, I can write and prep lectures for two weeks of my online course. I wrote out a schedule for myself and if the baby can stay in until 39w, I can get all the lectures prepped except for three weeks.

Vital stats? I saw my backup midwife this week, at 35w2d. Baby was still head down (despite my breech fears after the automatic toilet incident) and heart rate was around 150. Fundal height was 34, and BP was 98/64. Creeping up for me, but definitely not anything to worry about. I also managed to get in to my GP this week to get the pertussis booster. She said I didn’t look at all like someone a month from her due date. I am getting that a lot from people now- I guess it’s just a compact bump.

How am I feeling physically? I think I’ve determined that it’s travelling that causes most of my physical problems. Being back home this week (and being able to work on the couch with my feet propped on a pillow) has been quite an eye opener. My ankles and lower legs are back to normal with no signs of swelling at all, unless I’ve had a particularly busy day where I’ve never had a chance to take off my socks and put my feet up. And even then the swelling is gone by the following morning- much more like it was with E.’s pregnancy. This is unrecognizable from the week away where I was struggling to get my feet into my shoes by the end of the day and my lower legs felt so heavy and borderline painful. Clearly I either wasn’t resting enough or hydrating enough while away (probably both). And I’m sure running around on cobblestone streets in ballet flats wasn’t ideal either.

The big change this week has been the cramping and Braxton Hicks. My midwife warned me this was very normal with second pregnancies- the body knows what to do and starts thinking about it a bit earlier. It doesn’t necessarily mean that anything’s going to happen earlier, but I find it worrying whenever the cramps settle in for a couple of hours, because (see above) I am just not interested in having this baby for at least another three weeks.

My belly changes shape dramatically depending on which side the baby has his/her back, and if I sit down and lean forward I usually hit the baby’s bum. Definitely no more room to grow up, so I guess from this point on it all has to be out! Baby is still high (although my midwives have both said with a second baby s/he might not drop until labour starts), so breathing is hard but I’m still sleeping through the night most of the time without a ‘loo break. I measure by the fact that the belly still fits above the kitchen counters and the sink when I’m washing dishes.

Even though everyone says I look small, I don’t feel small. I feel more like a rhinoceros. I am still feeling generally well, but I do feel very very large, and everything takes more effort.

How am I feeling emotionally? Ok at the moment. Like I said last week, a lot of stress evaporated with the conference ending and my online course starting. The online course workload is manageable, other than the lecture writing, and I can see how I will be able to keep track of the discussion forums when the baby comes. The marking will be a challenge, but I’ve been strategic about when I’ve assigned it, and Q. will just have to take on heavier baby duties in those weeks.

I am starting to think (read: fret) a bit more about the birth. Everyone always says that you forget about the pain, etc., but I remember some aspects of my labour with E. very clearly (particularly transition), and it’s hard to feel relaxed and at ease going forward knowing what’s coming. In the long run, of course, I had a relatively fast labour and a straightforward delivery, and it was a very positive experience. I’m a bit worried about how much faster this one could be- the absolute LAST thing I want to do is have this baby at home or in a car.

E. had a field trip this week, which I didn’t go on (writing lectures) and afterwards I really regretted it, because I realized that next  year when he has field trips I’ll have the baby and won’t be all that helpful a parent volunteer. One of my big fears with this baby is the change that is coming to my relationship with E. In the long run, I am certain it will be better for him to have a sibling, but we have spent so much time together over the last five years and we have a very close bond. I am mourning the loss of that right now (which I think in itself is a good thing as it at least acknowledges that this baby is coming).

We had another family health curve ball launched at us this week in that my stepfather had a heart attack while undergoing his second round of chemotherapy (said heart attack probably caused by one of the drugs in the chemotherapy cocktail). What’s going to happen next is still very much up in the air- we know what the cardiologist has recommended, but he and my mother still need to meet with the oncologist. The good news is that as heart attacks go it was relatively minor and there doesn’t appear to have been obvious lasting damage. It’s not that I’ve brushed it off, but I just can’t panic about family health stuff right now. The baby and the upcoming birth are starting to lay claim to their share of my emotional energy, and I only have so much to spread around.

My Dad, at least, is doing really well (given the circumstances), especially mentally. That made it easier to leave him last weekend knowing I won’t see him now for a couple of months.

Movement? Slowing down as space runs out, but still frequent enough that I don’t have to do kick counts or worry. S/he noticeably reacts to Q. and E.’s voices, which is nice. I think s/he’s gone back to having the back at the front and the limbs pointing towards my spine, which means that the shift from being frightened by the toilet was short-lived. I still occasionally get a baby dance party happening, but it’s usually when I haven’t eaten recently and someone wants to draw my attention to this fact.

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

Still waking up once a night for the loo, but now it seems to be closer to 5 am, which means I don’t always get a great sleep before the alarm goes off. I’m still tossing my extra pillows out of the bed…and then really noticing it in my hips in the morning. So my body can’t figure out what it wants.

That’s pretty much me in a nutshell right now, except the 5:00 a.m. ‘loo wakeups are usually for Q. rather than me, and then I just wake up by association. I think I’m starting to sleep much more lightly than I was a few months ago- it used to be that Q. getting up wouldn’t wake me up. I’m only using one extra pillow under my belly (I stopped needing the one for my feet earlier in the week), and I shove it off the bed every night without fail.

I’m focusing on listening to my body and trying not to do too much- the Braxton Hicks get very strong when I overexert myself.

The Braxton Hicks are really something now, especially if I walk somewhere too quickly.

And this:

The crib is assembled. The nursery is finished, except for the shelving in the closet (which I think Q. is going to sort out this weekend), and all the baby stuff is now in there rather than in our living room. I washed everything we’d received (although I have more stuff to do now that I’ve had a couple of packages arrive), and sorted all the clothes and linens. I added to my lists of what we still need to get pre-baby, and what we can wait on until bump arrives. We had our breast feeding class. We would have finished our childbirth classes, but our instructor was unwell, so we’ve still got one more week left with those.

Hahahahaha! First-time parents! I suggested to Q. this morning that we should empty out the storage closet in the basement on Monday given it’s a long weekend, which will free up the change table and the bins with clothes, receiving blankets and diapers. Then I can at least wash things and strip diapers (not that I will have anywhere to put them since the “nursery” is still full to the brim with my study furniture).

I did at least call this week to organize a pickup from the Diabetes Clothesline, so we’ll have all the extra books and a few bags of clothes out of the house soon.

But yesterday morning we drove up to a huge garden centre and filled our trunk with perennials for the front garden. Apparently I am determined to work on the garden but not the nursery. Make of that what you will. I suppose I feel I can wash baby clothes at 38 weeks pregnant but I may not feel like digging in the dirt.

Also second baby- no packages in the mail from friends and relatives. Which is absolutely fine- we have pretty much everything we need (although I suspect when I open the bins I’m going to realize that we gave away our swaddle blankets and our 0-6 month sleep sacks) and the baby won’t know the difference. But it is a really noticeable change. The baby shower when I was pregnant with E. happened when I was 34+weeks, and that was SUCH a nice time. I think it’s in quite bad taste to have a baby shower with a subsequent baby, and I never would have wanted one, but I do feel bad sometimes that this baby is given so little attention (worst offender: me).

On my mind? Driving to the conference, I was telling Q. that I need to get my passport renewed, because the last time I renewed it I was heavily heavily pregnant with E., so obviously it was coming up. Then I realized that E. had already had his birthday. And sure enough, when I got home, I found that my passport expired the previous week. Not that I can fly anywhere right now, but I’m annoyed with myself for letting it lapse. At least the conversation in the car made Q. realize that HIS passport expired back in March (and he is going overseas at the end of June), so he’s now put in the paperwork for renewal. I’ll get photos done this week and get the application sorted out.

I cannot stress strongly enough how out of character this is for both of us. It really says something about what the last few months have been like that not one but both of us could end up with expired passports.

I also have a conference call coming up this week to finalize my maternity leave with the university. I thought I was going to get through the week with no baby-related appointments, but no such luck.

We’re also trying to sort out our options for who will look after E. when the baby comes. I asked a few mothers at the school if they were willing to be on a list of potential helpers if we end up with “Oh shit, the baby’s coming now and E.’s at school- we need someone to pick him up”. They were all happy to volunteer of course, and they all made a point of telling me how the most stressful part of the entire pregnancy with their seconds was trying to figure out what to do with their first child when they went into labour.

I am most worried about the “go into labour at 2 a.m.” option, because most of our friends have kids of their own and it would be a challenge to ask one of them to come over in the middle of the night. I’m talking to our neighbours too.

Q. and I also had the conversation where I told him from this point on I have to be able to reach him at all times and he cannot put his phone on silent, not in a library, not in a meeting. He’s also trying to make sure he tells me when he’s going swimming, and he’s given me the phone number for the aquatic center if I need to get him out of the pool.

Maybe this sounds like I am overreacting, but active labour (including pushing) with E. was under four hours. I really don’t think we’re going to have a lot of time once things get started.

Sleep? Meh. It is not terrible. I am having trouble falling asleep if I work right up until bed (which should not surprise me since this usually happens). The worst night was when I opened up a file Q. had sent me with sample outlines of chapters for the edited volume we’re working on, which meant I went to bed thinking about my outline. It took close to two hours to finally turn my brain off so I could sleep.
If I wake up after 4:00 a.m., I’m pretty much up for the day now. That used to be my normal, so I’m counting myself lucky that it’s only started to happen at this late stage.
I’m not going to say I feel super well rested right now, but I also don’t feel like I’m running on empty.

Best moment? Learning the baby was still head down at the appointment with the midwives, because that had been a miserable morning of wondering what had happened. I haven’t spent much time thinking about the birth, but when I thought s/he’d turned breech, I was really upset.

I will admit to enjoying having all my neighbours compliment me when they see me out gardening. It is not easy to do a lot of things now (including gardening) and it is nice to have someone else notice that I am still managing fairly well.

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

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