Home stretch

How far along? Thirty-eight weeks. I am glad to be here. I also want to be posting another one of these updates next weekend. I have told this baby in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that we are just not interested in meeting him/her before the 13th at the absolute earliest. This is for a host of reasons: both Q. and I desperately need another week to get work done; my midwife is off call from the 10th to the 12th (I like my backup but my primary midwife delivered E. and I trust her implicitly); and as of the 13th one of my sisters is likely to be in the same city from that point onwards. Also, I don’t want an early full-term baby if I can have a nice properly cooked one like E. was.

You would think by now I would have figured out I’m not in control of this, but when we were waiting for E., we told him he couldn’t come out until the carpet was laid in our basement. They finished with the carpet on the 6th, I told E. on the 7th he could come when he wanted to, and he was born on the 8th. So if the mother being mentally ready has anything at all to do with things, I am NOT YET READY.

Vital stats? We had our home visit from my primary midwife this week. I was 37+2 and fundal height was 36.5, so pretty much on target. BP was 98/64. P.’s heartbeat was good and strong. And I am GBS negative, just like I was with E. Hurrah!

How am I feeling physically? Hanging in there. I had a bit of a scare on Thursday where I thought I might have been leaking amniotic fluid and it took most of the morning and part of the afternoon to decide that it wasn’t (critical factor: it stopped leaking which amniotic fluid wouldn’t do, even when I lay down for thirty minutes and then stood up again, so it was probably discharge with a possible “oops I just pissed myself” moment first thing in the morning- second baby = just so glamorous). I’m finding things now much more stressful than they were with E., I think because I’m having more signs of things getting ready (which I know are normal and not necessarily an indication of anything happening soon). I know I’m not likely to have a lot of time before we need to go to the hospital, and the “what will we do with E.?” question weighs on me. This weekend was particularly bad as labmonkey was well out of town, our two sets of neighbours were away, one set of good friends were away, and the second set were dealing with one half recovering from major surgery. Q. asked me what would happen if we went into labour at 2 a.m. and I genuinely had no idea. So I’m glad to be here on Sunday night as my neighbours are back now, and labmonkey will be back in the area as of tomorrow night.

Lots of cramping. Lots of Braxton Hicks. The occasional contraction. Lots of stabbing/shooting pains up my inner thigh and into my pelvis, especially when walking. I don’t feel “bad” but I am really slowing down.

“Look at the state of my ankles!” I said to Q. the other day, when I had done a bit more walking and standing than usual.
“What ankles?” quipped Q.
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

A mum I know from school gave me a bag this week with a pair of maternity shorts and a pair of maternity capris and a bunch of t-shirts, so at least I can dress for the heat.

I can still pull weeds out of the garden every morning (I do a burst of twenty minutes or so after I’ve dropped E. at school before I start writing lectures). And I did a lot of laundry this week. But generally I’m running out of steam.

How am I feeling emotionally? Stressed, especially after the scare on Thursday. I just have this feeling this baby is going to be earlier than E. was (which I know is partly because labmonkey looked up the statistics and babies that emerge from grief-heavy/anxious pregnancies do tend to be a bit earlier). The not knowing is really hard. If I can get through this week AND get everything work-related done that is on my to-do list (which is saying a lot), I will be in fairly good shape for managing the rest of the semester. The problem student issue has been resolved, so the course is not taking up as much emotional energy as it was last week, but now I’m more worried about when I’m going to go into labour. I have been assuming all along that it will be much like E.’s birth, only faster. When I thought I was leaking fluid and I had to face up to the possibility of having to be induced because labour hadn’t started, I really really freaked out. I should probably be more flexible mentally about how this will go, but I don’t have room to hold lots of possibilities.

I did make progress with getting organized this week, which made me feel better. I still have one more load of laundry (carriers and things that don’t go in the dryer) and I have to strip and prep the diapers, but I’ve washed all the baby linens and clothes (up to 6 months because they were all in the same giant bin). I ended up putting everything on the bookcase that was still in the study/nursery in lieu of a dresser and that seems to work for now. This morning Q. pulled out the change table and carried it up and then E. and I washed it, and it fit next to the bookcase, so even though 2/3rds of the room still looks like my study (and is likely to continue to do so for quite some time if I’m realistic here), we have a space for the baby. We also fit the bassinet in next to my side of the bed in our room (and almost immediately I found our cat sleeping in it, which was just so predictable). I put some things in a bag (amniotic fluid scare- useful to spur yourself into action!). And this afternoon E. and I went out in the car to buy some disposable diapers and some wipes (for the early days and at night as we never found a cloth solution we liked for overnight). It still pales in comparison to the planning and organizing we did for E., but I’ve made my peace with that.

I was able to get all the washing done because E. was home sick two days this week (I was refusing to do laundry during school hours because I need every second to work). The school called me at lunchtime on Wednesday to say that he’d been lying on the floor in the quiet centre all morning and was complaining of a headache. He was running a low grade fever that afternoon but the headache was the biggest issue and he had no appetite. One of those days where he wasn’t well enough to be at school but he wasn’t sick enough to just sleep or lie in bed, so my work was very much derailed. Thursday he still wasn’t right, so I kept him home again, but it worked out from a work perspective because he spontaneously took himself up to bed and slept for two and a half hours (during which time I wrote a lecture). He was much improved after the sleep.

Q. and I think that much of this was related to anxiety about the baby. His sleep has gone down the drain since we started getting things out and moving things around, and he told us at dinner one night this week that he was feeling “Very worried about the baby. I feel jealous that the baby will take up so much of your time. And I am so worried about who will look after me when you are in the hospital because we don’t know yet who it will be.” Obviously we’re really happy he can articulate this and I want him to feel safe to confide these kinds of feelings to us, but it was also heartbreaking to know he is struggling. He does best with predictability and routine- I’m not surprised that the whole “at some point we will go to the hospital to have the baby and someone will look after you, but who it is really depends on when we have the baby” issue is causing him stress- it is a HUGE source of anxiety for me. I suspect he might have just needed a couple of days at home with extra time with Mummy and extra sleep to help settle himself.

Sometimes he’s quite excited about the whole idea- it was his idea to help wash down the change table and he took it very seriously. (Then I let him wash his trucks while I tried to finish a PowerPoint for a lecture I had to record later in the day and he basically flooded the floor, so parental fail there.) We gave him the choice of what outfit the baby should wear home from the hospital and he picked out one with Winnie-the-Pooh on it. But I know it’s going to be a huge upheaval and there will be a lot of adjusting that has to happen (for everyone) and it makes me so sad that he is so worried.

I am also having a bit of survivor’s guilt because yesterday I went to the dentist and got the latest update from my hygienist who is also now a friend. Her most recent round of IVF (her third fresh cycle) was a total disaster- they were supposed to do PGS on the embryos, but she ended up with only one making it to blast and then the clinic pressured her to do the PGS anyway and it came back with trisomy 18. She has been at this for four years, with only (I think) one chemical pregnancy to show for it, and she is really getting beaten down. I think they’re going to pull back from treatments for a few months at least and just see how they feel. I felt like a bit of an asshole sitting there with my giant thirty-eight week crazy natural pregnancy belly, but she was really happy to see me. I just hate it when it doesn’t work out. I want everybody to get the happy ending.

Movement: Yesterday was one of the first days in weeks where I was a bit concerned about how quiet the baby had been, but by lunchtime s/he was wriggling around like normal. There is definitely a lot of baby in there now, and I can find a foot fairly often. Hiccups still happen pretty much every day. And s/he still reacts to noises- Q. dropped something in the kitchen today and the baby did a great huge wiggle.

How does it compare with E.’s pregnancy? At thirty-eight weeks, I said this about how I was feeling emotionally:

Nervous that bump might come any day- really would like another week!

Ha! Sometimes I get really caught off guard by how similar these two pregnancies have been. I feel like this pregnancy has been so different, but then I’ll go back and read my blog entries and more often than not how I’m feeling and thinking aligns.

Some signs that things are starting to get moving: I’m getting loads more Braxton-Hicks and they are starting to be much stronger. Not painful, but noticeable. Get some cramps from time to time, especially first thing in the morning. Bump has dropped down and fixed his/her head in my pelvis (midwife rated him/her at 3/5 at the home visit this morning), so I get a fair amount of bouncing/scraping on my cervix. Bump is also thinking about shifting from my left side to the middle of my uterus, although s/he hasn’t committed to this yet.

The cramping and Braxton Hicks started up much earlier this time around. Right now my cramps are much worse in the evening- last night they were strong enough that it took me a while to go to sleep because I was fretting they might turn into contractions. I don’t think this baby has dropped yet, but the midwives have said with second babies they don’t have to drop until right before they’re ready to come out. My fundal height at 38 weeks was 35 cm because E. had dropped. This one is still way up high.

The one interesting thing is this baby regularly shifts from left side to right side and back again, unlike E., who was pretty consistent.

On my mind? I am feeling SO much better after we moved some things around today. It was not a big job, really, but now the bassinet is in our room and the change table is ready to go and all the extra stuff that was in the basement has been moved back into the storage closet. I got all the winter clothes washed and put away this week, as well as washing almost all the baby things. Nothing was really essential (as Q. said, “Well, we would have been able to get the bassinet out of the basement once we came home with the baby- we did know where it was”), but I clearly needed to get something done.

I need to strip the diapers, which I’ll do one day this week since it involves soaking them in the bathtub for several hours.

I am worried about E. (see above), but I also know that he will eventually adapt and adjust.

I am worried about me and how I will adapt and adjust. There hasn’t been a lot of space in my life for me to really engage with my ambivalence about having two children and my outright terror at the thought of doing the first year over again. Something like 30% of the women on my birth club have already had their babies (they keep going two weeks early, which I also find stressful) and so we’re getting the posts about trouble establishing breast feeding and worries about the baby’s health and cluster feeding and sleep deprivation and every post just drops on me like a rock. I really want to have a nicer time with this baby than I did with E., but I’m not at all sure that will happen.

I think all the time about how my father will never be able to hold this baby. I think about it all the time, but only for about ten seconds at a time, because I have to keep functioning and if I open that box I am afraid I will just fall into it and not be able to find my way back up to the light.

Sleep? This is the one thing that has been consistently better than my pregnancy with E. I still get up too early in the morning if Q. gets up when I’m in a light sleep, but getting up to use the ‘loo has been a very rare occurrence. We had a crazy thunderstorm last night and it woke me up at 3:30 a.m., but I was able to go back to sleep. It is hard to get comfortable enough to fall asleep, but as long as I wedge a pillow under the belly I can usually settle and drift off.

Best moment? Q., E., and I went out for dinner tonight, just the three of us. E. is such good company in a restaurant now and we had a lovely time even though the weekend itself had been a bit of a challenge. We would have been fine, the three of us. We would have been much more than fine. And I know we will feel our way into the new reality of four. But right now I am making a conscious effort to appreciate what we have as three.

1 Comment

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

One response to “Home stretch

  1. rainbowgoblin

    I’m sure you’ll just keep doing what worked for you last time, but just in case, cloth nappy solutions for overnight that really worked for us (and our kids are very heavy wetters): Tots Bots Bamboozles and Itti Bitti Boo (Itti Bitti is an Aussie brand, too!) Best of luck for the last little bit.

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