Category Archives: Belly Pics

So, this is new (with a belly pic)

I am 39+4 today.

E. was born at 39+3.

And, since this has been a pregnancy filled with stress and anxiety and that can often lead to earlier babies, I think I have been assuming all along that this baby was going to come before E. did. Especially since I’m teaching this online course- the earlier the baby, the more chaos that would ensue with my teaching.

I swore up and down that we HAD to get to the 13th (39+1), no exceptions. I had more than one person laugh at me, because I am obviously not in control here, but I willed that baby to stay in.

And s/he did.

And now here I am on the 16th, with all the prep work that was on my to-do list finished. I still have things I can do, of course. I don’t have every lecture written. I don’t have all of them recorded. I’m missing PowerPoints for the ones that I have written. But I am three full weeks ahead, and the mad panic that I have felt for the last couple of weeks has evaporated.

I make a to-do list each morning now rather than making one for the week. They are shorter. I could have written a lecture this morning but I opted to sort out some house administration and write here instead. I am reading a book for fun again. Each day is a bonus.

Any day now is a good day to have a baby.

The baby gets until the due date (which is Sunday) before we’re going to shift into the mental space of, “Ok, baby, you need to come out NOW”, largely because Q. is supposed to go overseas to give this keynote at a conference eight days after the due date. Which, when we were convinced we were going to go a bit early (or quite a bit early) seemed ages away. But I suspect if I wake up still pregnant on the 20th it’s going to feel a whole lot closer.

I have done nothing to try to evict this baby, and I will continue to do nothing to try to evict this baby until Saturday afternoon, at which point, if it is a nice day, I might go for a very very long walk and do some gardening and maybe buy pineapple and eat curry and do all the things that may or may not make a difference in encouraging an exodus.

I’m greedy. The idea of getting both a Mother’s Day baby and a Father’s Day baby is almost just too delightful to contemplate.

“It would be a beautiful story,” as E. says. “But it is unlikely,” as E. also says.

I had a midwife appointment yesterday. Fundal height was 39 cm, but I think that’s probably an overestimate because it was the student who measured and she was too far down on my pubic bone. I assumed my midwife would measure as well, but she didn’t. So I’m probably 38 or so. Still bigger than I was with E., because this baby continues to dip in and out of the pelvis and hasn’t dropped. S/he did drop Sunday night- I woke up on Monday with a bowling ball in my pelvis and was convinced I might have the baby that day, but then s/he changed his/her mind and floated back up. The back is still shifting from one side to the other- my midwife said this baby probably has a bit more room than E. did so has more opportunities to move even at this late stage. BP was 110/64. P.’s heart rate was a rollicking 152. E. came with me to the appointment and asked to help with the exam again so he got to push the button to turn on the heartbeat. He was again deeply pleased.

The new thing for the last couple of days is I’m having actual contractions, usually in the evening and into the night. They are not very painful and they are extraordinarily inconsistent, but they are strong enough to disrupt my sleep (which makes it even more annoying when they promptly go away in the morning after I shower). Last night’s contractions were stronger and more frequent than the first round on Tuesday night, and I’ve had a few this morning as well. So I know that things are happening and I would be surprised if I make it to my next midwife appointment on the 21st. My primary midwife thinks it is not all that likely either, but one never knows. If I do get to that appointment (which will be 40+2), I’ll opt for a cervical check to see what’s happening. My midwife said she could do one yesterday if I wanted, but she and I both felt I was getting enough signs on my own that things were percolating, and I didn’t see the need to investigate any further.

I still feel well. Were it not for the conference, I would be happy to still be pregnant at 41 weeks. I will never be pregnant again. These wiggles and kicks and pokes and hiccups and squirms are the last I will ever feel. I know what’s coming, and I’m still not in a rush to meet this baby.

It’s a waiting game now. Every mother I know at school checks to make sure I am there each morning at drop off and then still there in the afternoon. Q. and I were talking about it this morning, and we must have gone through this limbo period with E. because I had contractions and cramps for a solid week leading up to his birth and I lost my mucous plug five days before he was born. But we can’t remember any of it.

It is surreal. One of these days I am going to have a baby.

The baby knows when, but P. isn’t telling.

I took a bump pic yesterday, at 39+3, the gestational date at which E. came into the world. It’s hard to take these by yourself (with no smartphone I have utterly failed to master the selfie), but I really wanted a photo to mark the day.

39+3 web

And here is what happened within thirty minutes of setting up the bassinet in our room a couple of weeks ago:

IMGP0444

And this is the sum total of the space we have made for the baby (complete with a pile of E’s artwork on the very top and the filing cabinet with assorted stray books still sitting right next to it):

IMGP0448

The rest of the study is still clearly a study (and a messy one at that):

IMGP0449

What can I say. Second-time parents.

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Countdown is on! (plus a belly pic)

How far along? Thirty-nine weeks. You have NO IDEA how happy I am to be posting this tonight, especially as everything kicked up a notch today in terms of cramping, backache, Braxton Hicks, generally feeling weird, etc. But I have felt pretty much the same all day and nothing has really changed, so I am going to cross my fingers that nothing will happen tonight and I can wake up tomorrow with labmonkey in the city and my primary midwife back on call. And then if we could still not have the baby for a couple more days, that would be ideal. Tomorrow I’m planning to record two weeks’ worth of lectures to really get myself ahead. I’m four weeks ahead in terms of what I’ve written, but I’m at the stage now where taking a day to record and edit is probably more important.

Conversation with Q. about thirty minutes ago:
Me: “Well, if we don’t have the baby tomorrow, I have enough PowerPoints finished that I can record three lectures and get two weeks ahead.”
Q.: “Surely even if things get started tomorrow you can record the lectures anyway in the early stages and just edit out the contractions!”

Vital stats? I saw my backup midwife on Tuesday when I was 38+2. Fundal height was 37. BP was 92/64. P’s heartbeat was a solid 140. Back on my left side (although s/he’s right in the middle as I’m typing). P. is still head down, with head “dipping” in and out of the pelvis.  Unfortunately, as my midwives keep telling me, that’s no indication of when labour will start this time around, as second babies don’t have to engage to get things moving.

How am I feeling physically? I will say this now: I will be really surprised if we see our due date. I’ll be very happy to get there (we never did with E.), but I find it hard to believe that I can feel like I currently do and still have another week to go. P. is getting so squished in there that most movements (and s/he does persist in trying to keep wiggling around) are uncomfortable and some are downright painful. I was driving on Friday and realized I need to stop driving because if the baby is awake it’s extremely distracting and I’m probably not as safe on the roads as I should be.

The cramping (until today) was far worse in the evening and peaked right before we went to bed, which meant I’ve spent this entire past week wondering every night if I’m about to go into labour. And then I wake up in the morning and feel fine and P. is usually asleep until after breakfast and the whole thing starts again.

It’s cooled right down, but my ankles are still a bit swollen. I think that’s them for the duration now.

I get a lot of pain in my hips and pelvis if I stand up the wrong way or walk too quickly- the midwives said it’s the relaxin stretching everything out. It’s probably the most annoying side effect at this stage because I like walking and I’m not feeling bad otherwise but I have to stop quite frequently to recover when the pains strike.

I’m still weeding. I can still pick things up off the floor with no trouble.

I feel as big as a house.

How am I feeling emotionally? I think I’m doing a bit better than I was last week, largely because the baby has stayed put for another week and I did manage to get almost all of the work done I had planned. I’ve prepped the next two rounds of assessment. I missed writing one lecture, but it was a conscious decision because I had a lot of marking to do and I didn’t feel like I should assume I had the weekend to do the marking. I finished all the marking. And then I spent my work time this weekend making PowerPoints so I could spend tomorrow recording. This was largely Q.’s suggestion because, as he pointed out, if I end up having a C-section, I’m not going to want to have to sit up in front of the computer to get lectures recorded. Better to get a few extra done now.

I am still hideously stressed about the E. management side of things, largely because it’s a movable feast depending on when we need help and for how long, and these are things I cannot know in advance. This must be the case for most people with second and subsequent children, unless they have retired parents in the city who are happy to be on call 24/7 for as long as it takes. I am sure it eats at me more than at most people because a) it is really bothering E. and I don’t like him worrying about it, and b) I am not good with NOT KNOWING THE PLAN.

I can see why some people like scheduled C-sections so much.

I think I am moving from resignation to acceptance. I honestly think I will be much less stressed once labour starts and I know E. is looked after. But that is also because I’m assuming I will have a labour like E’s was. I’m not sure I’m mentally prepped for something out of the ordinary, but right now I have no reason to expect it- baby is head down and my midwives feel that I’m most likely to just do what I did with E., only faster.

On that note, someone on my birth club had a baby the other day in an ambulance 30 minutes after her water broke (which was when she was sure she was in labour)- her doula, her midwife, and her husband all missed the birth and the ambulance had to pull over on a major road when it was clear she wasn’t going to make it to the hospital.

As I said to my backup midwife at the appointment on Tuesday when she asked, “My only birth plan is: do not give birth in the car.”

Movement: P. has been SO busy this week. Still regular patterns- asleep at breakfast, large protest party when hungry before lunch, dance party in the evenings- but I guess s/he is so big now that all the movements feel huge. I stole a few minutes on Thursday when I was marking and took a video of my belly shifting and wiggling. We didn’t have a camera that took video with E. and I suddenly realized I wanted to be able to remember this. Fewer hiccups this week. Lots and lots of “let’s bounce my head on the cervix and see what happens”. S/he seems to like (or at least likes to react to) the classical music station we play in the car.

How does it compare with E.’s pregnancy? At thirty-nine weeks, here’s what I was thinking about sleep:

Bump’s change in position is definitely affecting the bladder as I’m now up to at least two trips to the loo per night, and sometimes three (usually at 12.30, 2.30 and 4.00). Other than that I’m sleeping pretty well, although I am waking up for good most mornings a touch before 6.00, which seems excessive.

That has been the biggest change with this pregnancy. I’ve carried so high the entire way along (and am still carrying high now) that the ‘loo trips in the middle of the night have never been an issue. I have had some early morning wakeups, but those are usually because Q. has woken up and I wake up as soon as he does no matter how much he tries to be quiet. (Notable exception: this morning, but that was probably because E. was up for two hours in the night, which is not like him at all.)

Also this:

It just seems insane to be saying this, but I am still feeling generally fantastic. I know people say that first-time mums need to reach the stage in the pregnancy where they are so uncomfortable they just want the baby to come out, and that means they’re not worried anymore about labour and the birth. I have totally NOT hit that stage… Yesterday I walked all the way down to a lunch date and then most of the way home again, which was probably a good six kilometres or so. And today I walked the forty minutes to my midwife appointment and then home again.

I’m still happy enough being pregnant (and I cannot believe the number of people who have made comments to me along the lines of “You must be so sick of it now and ready to get that baby out!” starting from around 37 weeks- I’m not even at my due date), but I do miss that ease of walking. The hip/pelvis pain is new to this pregnancy, and I’m not much enjoying it.

And this:

There are signs that things are gearing up. The cramping is becoming much stronger and more consistent and is especially bad in the early evening and at night. It’s strong enough now that sometimes I catch my breath and have to stop what I’m doing to concentrate on it. I was getting frustrated with the cramping until my mucous plug started coming out on Tuesday, and then I decided it’s obviously accomplishing something. I figure anything now makes actual labour easier!

This is one of the reasons why I’m so glad I recorded everything on this blog. I posted on my birth club that I was quite sure I’d had no real warning signs that labour was approaching with E., and then I went back and read this and realized I had just forgotten. I posted this on a Thursday, so my mucous plug would have started coming out at 38+5 (E. was born at 39+3). No signs of that happening yet, but again, my midwives keep telling me that these sorts of things don’t mean as much when you’ve already had one baby because your body doesn’t need the lead time.

My fundal height at 39+0 with E. was 36 cm because he’d already dropped. I suspect I’m still measuring larger than that, since with E. I was measuring 35 cm at 38 weeks, and with P. I was measuring 37 cm at 38+2.

On my mind? I haven’t stripped the diapers yet. I did get the last load of baby washing finished, so all the carriers are ready to be used, as is the bouncy seat and the breast-feeding pillow. I have what I need to strip the diapers but it always seems like too large a task to get started in the morning before getting E. off to school. If I don’t have the baby tomorrow I might make time to get it done on Tuesday.

I have made my peace with the fact that this baby will not have a nursery until s/he is ready to go into his/her own room at the six month mark. The bookcase is working perfectly well at the moment and there’s a part of me that is happy to have a chance to get to know our baby before making decisions about the room.

Sleep? Despite everything else, I am still sleeping well. I still push the belly pillow off the bed during the course of the night, and I do have nights where it takes me a long time to get comfortable and shut my brain down, but generally I am well rested.

Best moment? Not pregnancy related, but on Friday I took E. to buy his first real bike (he has had a balance bike for a couple of years now and he really “got” it last spring). Saturday we went over to the school and E. demonstrated quite quickly that we’re not going to need to put the training wheels on. His major issue is confidence- he gets worried when he starts to go “too fast” (i.e. fast enough that the bike is not in danger of tipping over from lack of momentum), but I can see he’s going to figure it out. I’m really proud of him- the bike is big and heavy compared to his balance bike and now he has pedals and brakes (coaster and a hand brake) to think about. He is not a naturally courageous child, and the bike did tip on him almost as soon as he first tried to get on it, but he picked himself up and kept going.

As for the pregnancy, I am just glad to be here at 39 weeks with a baby who spends a great deal of time announcing that s/he is feeling just fine, no need to worry, Mum.

And here’s a belly pic, at 38+3.

For comparison, here is my last belly pic with E., which was also taken at exactly 38+3:

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How to terrify your unborn child (and a belly pic)

Here is a funny story that stopped being funny and then became funny again.

Yesterday, after I had my third appointment with my therapist, I needed the ‘loo (of course I did- I am 35+ weeks pregnant).

The washrooms at this particular hospital have self-flushing toilets. Very enthusiastic self-flushing toilets as I had discovered on a previous visit.

I sat down and probably ten seconds later the toilet flushed.

It was loud.

Very loud.

My uterus was very close to the sound.

The baby FREAKED out.

And by freaked out, I mean engaged in some of the strongest movement I’ve had this entire pregnancy, causing my entire belly to contort.

Funny story! My baby was frightened by a toilet!

And then I woke up this morning and kept feeling baby bits where I wasn’t used to feeling them, and the movement was different, and all I could think about was: Oh fuck, it scared the baby so much s/he flipped and now is breech.

Luckily I had a midwife appointment scheduled for today, so I didn’t have too long to stew. My backup midwife correctly read my state of mind and suggested we check baby’s position at the start of the appointment rather than at the end after discussing Vitamin K shots (yes), eye drops (no), cord clamping (delayed), heel prick to test for various issues (yes) and oxytocin after delivery (wait and see).

The baby, both she and her student reported with confidence, was still very much head down. But s/he had changed positions and the limbs were now facing more out towards my belly rather than towards my spine. A big enough change to explain the crazy movement in the bathroom, but not one that would affect labour plans.

I was relieved my instincts were wrong (when I described what I’d felt, my midwife said that it sounded just like what women describe when their babies do flip).

And now it’s just a funny story again.

My baby was frightened by a toilet!

And here is the latest belly pic, at 35 weeks exactly:

For comparison, this is the closest I have with E’s pregnancy, at 35w6d:

I think I am carrying pretty much exactly the same.

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Capturing Joy

I have felt a lot of things over the last few months.

Exhausted.

Anxious.

Numb.

Grief-stricken.

Worn thin.

And as I struggled to book a session for maternity photos, because every time we tried to pin down a date I had another family health crisis throw my schedule into even further disarray, it became harder and harder to rationalize doing them.

It’s too much money.

You’ll probably have to be out of town anyway.

What if the weather stays miserable?

The truth is, I didn’t feel like there was anything to celebrate.

I have not felt beautiful.

I have not felt joyful.

Yet somehow, my photographer managed to find both.

And I am so incredibly grateful that she did.

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Thirty-one weeks (and a belly pic)

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).

Also this:

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.

Sleep? Inconsistent. Sometimes I sleep all the way through. Sometimes (like this morning) I wake up early (4:30 a.m. today) and can’t get back to sleep. Generally it’s still pretty good. The pillow under my belly helps a lot although I tend to push it off the bed at some point in the night.

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:

30w6d web

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Twenty-seven weeks (and baby and belly pics)

How far along? Twenty-seven weeks (plus one day because I did not get this finished yesterday). Third trimester, in many books. WHEN did that happen??

Vital stats? I had a follow-up ultrasound at 25w5d and baby was in the 64th percentile and estimated to weigh two pounds. S/he would be bigger now. According to a random search on Google, s/he would have a 90% chance of surviving if born now, but obviously we would all prefer that s/he stay in there until June. Baby’s heartbeat was 148 at my midwife appointment on the 8th and s/he was still head down. My blood pressure was a bit higher for me, at 98/62, but it was still fine. I am assuming I passed my gestational diabetes test because they didn’t call, and they said they get the results within a week, so that is good news. The really good news is that the right kidney was bigger than they would expect it to be at the scan, which means that it is growing to compensate for the missing one, just like we hoped it would.

And here is Phaselus, at 25w5d. I’m so glad the tech printed this photo as we really haven’t had a nice profile shot yet- P.’s always been looking right at us or had his/her mouth open:

Baby 25w5d web

How am I looking? SO pregnant. I FINALLY got round to taking a belly pic and by total coincidence I had one from E’s pregnancy that was within a day of where I am now, and there is a big difference. I’m also carrying much higher and more out in front (I think- it’s a little hard to tell because I’m not wearing an identical shirt).

This is me, with E., at 26w4d:

26w4dAnd here I am with this pregnancy, at 26w5d (on a slightly weird angle because E. took the picture from on top of my bed):

26w5d webThe critical difference in comparison is just how much my belly has gone past my boobs, because I’m wearing the same bras I was wearing when pregnant with E., so I think they’re comparable in size.

How am I feeling physically? I still feel generally well. I don’t have a lot of complaints. But I am really, really starting to run out of energy. I’m sure part of this is not pregnancy-related (see my answer to the next section), but I do find that if I have a big burst of activity I feel like I want to lie down afterwards. Yesterday I did all the laundry and vacuumed the house (which is typical for a Saturday morning) and then spent the afternoon in a total haze until I grabbed forty-five minutes to lie down while E. was out playing with a friend.

I can tell that I am carrying more weight around. Things are harder to do and I’ve started to occasionally bump into things with my belly. My hips and back get sore when I walk. The biggest (and most annoying) change is that lately if I’ve been walking somewhere relatively quickly I get ripping pains across my lower abdomen. They’re really uncomfortable and I have to stop and then wait for them to subside before I can continue walking, much more slowly. I’m not sure what’s causing it, and it’s obviously a sign from my body telling me to slow down, but it’s irritating because walking is the one real form of exercise I get.

I also get more Braxton-Hicks than I did with E., but my midwife warned me this was very normal. They’re not painful, just uncomfortable and a bit odd. But they’re useful in terms of determining how high my uterus has grown!

My appetite isn’t very predictable. I struggle with eating dinner, which is hard because Q. has taken on the lion’s share of the cooking and he’s working really hard to make me nice things that I’ll want to eat. I just don’t have much of an appetite by the end of the day, so we keep ending up with heaps of leftovers because I’m eating maybe a third of what I would normally eat. I also need to crack down a bit on sugar as I’ve been relying a lot on baked treats to get me through the day up at the university, which is both expensive and unhealthy. The baby still wants to eat steak, avocado, sour cream, and fruit, and could do without pretty much everything else (other than baked goods, which apparently are always a good idea). I’m eating Shredded Wheat at breakfast almost every day just to try to keep my digestion moving along as it’s also struggling (again, probably not helped by all the processed white flour).

But, like I started with, in general I feel healthy and well and this pregnancy, at least physically, has thus far been as easy as E’s was.

How am I feeling emotionally? I still have no idea how to answer this question. I think I am doing about as well as can be expected, considering both my father and stepfather are currently in the hospital. I have two weeks left in the semester, and I’m just trying to get through, one day at a time. I feel numb or exhausted most of the time, but I’m feeling better than I was last week when my stepfather was in hospital but hadn’t yet had his surgery.

I am trying to take a bit of time every day to just enjoy being pregnant, because I know this is the last time I will ever be carrying a baby. But I’m not going to lie- it’s hard. I have so many other things weighing on my mind that when I do steal a moment to sit down and put my feet up, I’m more likely to start worrying about my father or my stepfather or my mother.

I am making time to read, usually when I’m commuting, as I’m too tired to read at night. I’ve had a biography of London Fog on my hold list for ages and it finally came in a bit over a week ago. I’ve come to the conclusion I’m going to have to return it, put it back on hold, and then suspend the hold until I’m out of semester and maybe in a stronger frame of mind. It requires a certain level of concentration which I’m just not capable of at this point. I’m really disappointed about this, as I’ve been looking forward to reading it for months, but right now I just cannot do it justice.

Movement? I’m just about at the stage where the midwives want me doing kick counts (six in two hours) if the baby goes suspiciously quiet for too long. It’s now very obvious when Phaselus is sleeping as if s/he wakes up, I feel all the wiggles and squiggles and squirms, even with the anterior placenta. The kicks and punches are quite powerful. Last night I was getting punched in the cervix at dinner and the feeling was uncomfortable enough to make it hard to eat. Q. gets some good big kicks most nights before bed. E. has had his hand on my belly while the baby was kicking and claims to have felt it. I am more excited about this than he is- he tells me that “it’s so boring” to put his hand there. One thing I haven’t felt yet are hiccups, which I noticed E. having for the first time at 26 weeks. E. had them almost every day towards the end of the pregnancy, and it’s one of my favourite memories, so I hope this baby follows suit.

The other interesting thing is the baby can obviously hear sounds outside the womb and now reacts to them. I woke up early last Thursday. P. was clearly asleep and then Q.’s alarm went off and s/he started kicking and flailing around- obviously the alarm had startled the baby awake. I took E. to the theatre to see a play last week as well as it was his March Break, and the baby was kicking and moving the entire time (and then took a huge nap once it was over).

I still don’t notice much movement when I’m busy, but as soon as I take the time to sit and concentrate, either s/he wakes up, or I’m just more aware of it. The baby has occasionally had a big dance party while I’m lecturing, which is somewhat disconcerting, but I’ve managed to keep my concentration.

How does it compare with E.’s pregnancy? I had a massive cold at this point in the pregnancy last time around, but otherwise my main physical complaint was this:

This week the pain in my right hip has started to become more noticeable. It’s not serious- more of a minor niggle, and an awareness that the muscle/joint is not happy. I am positive it’s related to sleeping, as I sleep exclusively on my right side.

I started sleeping with pillows for support soon after and the pain disappeared entirely. I don’t feel like I’m at that stage yet, as my hips get sore when I spend a lot of time on my feet but not from sleeping. But I bet I’m getting close.

Also this:

We still haven’t done anything to get the nursery ready.

Hurray! I was procrastinating equally as much last time, and it was all done before E. arrived. Q. had to paint last time too, so there was more to be done. Clearly the women on my birth clubs just like to do things well in advance.

And this about movement:

I’m definitely at the point now where I would worry if I hadn’t felt movement all day. I’m not doing kick counts yet, but I’m more aware of the baby’s usual active periods, and I try to make sure to pay attention at least a couple of times a day to what’s going on down there.

That’s the same. This baby has very similar active periods to E., and I know I’d fret if suddenly s/he went quiet.

On my mind? Cars. Q. has stepped up to the plate and has started to do some research on car safety. I keep having women tell me it’s impossible to fit two car seats and an adult in the backseat of any vehicle, but I just had a mum on a facebook group the other day tell me that she’s able to do it in a Toyota Yaris using the seats I’m thinking about purchasing. I think our plan is to take our current seats with us in April to a dealer and just start fiddling with them. If they’re obviously impossible, but we can see how it will work with slimmer seats, then we can go from there. We might get the slimmer seat for E. anyway (the Harmony Defender) as it’s not expensive and we might then be able to use E.’s current seat as the rear-facing convertible for the baby, which would be much cheaper than buying the slimmer convertible (the Clek Fllo) for the baby. Plus the Harmony Defender converts to a booster in time, so E. would get years of use out of it. I feel like he’s ready for a more grownup seat in terms of structure, even though I plan to keep him in the five point harness for a long time yet (and the Harmony Defender allows them to stay harnessed until, I think, 65 lb).

I’m also getting a bit twitchy about the fact that we haven’t yet done anything to get prepped for the baby. I can’t do anything about this until semester is over, but I think once we hit April I’m going to take an hour every day just to work on taking apart my study and purging what I don’t need to keep so we’ll be in a position to rearrange. I’ve mentally moved furniture around our house quite a lot by now, and I think I’ve figured out how to place two of the three bookshelves in my study, but that still means I need to do some purging of books from both downstairs and from my own collection. I find purging books so difficult, but we’re maxed out for room. And, if I’m honest, I have plenty of books on my shelves that I will never read again (or will never read) that I’m keeping just because I find it comforting to have them around. I need to be ruthless.

I need to try to track down a bassinet stand as friends lent us a bassinet, but they didn’t have a stand. I’d like to use that in our room instead of the full crib, at least for the first couple of months, as I can fit that beside my side of the bed and then I won’t have to get out of bed to check on the baby.

I still have lots of time, but I can feel that June is going to come very quickly. I also think I’m just mentally starting to need to think about getting ready. I’ve spent so much of this pregnancy ignoring the reality that we’re going to have a baby in this house come June, and I think mentally I’ve realized it’s time to start coming to grips with this.

Sleep? It’s not as bad as it was a week ago- I think some of my stress over my stepfather has dissipated because he’s successfully come through surgery and the cancer’s been removed (along with his colon). But it’s still not great. I am having a lot more trouble falling asleep, and I’m waking up before the alarm (often around 5 a.m.) probably four nights a week. Last night I did that but then managed to fall back asleep again, which I haven’t done in a couple of weeks, so that was a noticeable improvement. I think a lot of the exhaustion I’m experiencing stems from lack of sleep rather than emotional or physical stress.

Best moment? Feeling the baby be startled awake by the alarm. I love that P. can now react to what’s happening in the outside world because it reminds me that s/he is learning to recognize Q. and E.’s voices. The scan at 25w5d was also a big moment because I was reassured, yet again, that this baby is doing just fine, and that this is still a normal pregnancy. And not pregnancy-related, I had a simply wonderful day with E. on Thursday. We went to watch a play, which was a resounding success both in terms of E’s interest and his behaviour, and then we wandered over to the market building for lunch. I was reading out the pizza and pasta options when E. pointed to some raw fish on ice at the fishmonger across the way and said, “Let’s have fish!” So we found a fish and chips place, ordered haddock and chips, and sat up on stools sharing our lunch (they gave us three large pieces of fish and E. devoured two of them). Then we went and found a bakery and ordered dessert (E. had a vanilla macaroon and I had a lavender shortbread), visited a cheese shop and bought cheese for all (three-year-old cheddar for E., smoked Jarlsberg for Q., and brie for me), and rode transit home. In the afternoon he helped me take bump pics and we read a bunch of books together (E. has recently cracked the idea of reading and is very keen on it, which I think is amazing). It was just a wonderful day. He is such good company right now.

Other stuff? I see my endocrinologist on Monday so will know if my TSH is behaving itself. I finally completed the booking process for our maternity and newborn photography sessions. The photographer has been extremely patient- I started the process before my father’s accident and have spent much of the last few weeks not returning emails within any normal length of time and then fussing over details of the contract. But I think it’s all sorted out now and once semester is over I’ll have a bit of time to think about what we should all wear to the maternity shoot. It’s going to be at the end of April, so it’s very hard to predict what the weather will be doing. I am spending an obscene amount of money on these, but I don’t care. I regret so much that I never did them with E., and I love this photographer’s work, so I’m hoping they’re going to be worth every penny.

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

On a brighter note: bump and baby

19w1d web

19w1d- first belly pic of the pregnancy (for comparison, see this post from December 2010, when I was 18w3d with E. and my breasts were still bigger than my belly- clearly NOT the case this time around).

IMG_4242

Baby- 19w3d, at the anatomy scan. Only one kidney, but an awesome spine!

3d anatomy scan web

Wear his/her umbilical cord like a feather boa. And waving his/her hands in the air like she/he just doesn’t care.

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Filed under Belly Pics, Me? Pregnant?!