Category Archives: Me? Pregnant?!

Transitions again

Hello readers (if you are out there). So life with two while still teaching is, um, different. I am keeping my head above water but the whole “I’ll just finish the course before going on maternity leave” decision makes a lot less sense this side of things than it did before P. was born. I know it is still the right decision, but oh man I am SO GRATEFUL she stayed in as long as she did because if she’d been born any earlier I would have been screwed. As it stands I wish I’d somehow found time to write all the lectures, because P. is over two weeks old now and I have written exactly one. Only three left, but writing them in snatches of fifteen minutes here and there is really hard.

Some thoughts on the first couple of weeks (in bullet form and written over several days because that’s now how I roll):

  • How to know you’re a second-time parent: I was in the shower, with P. in the bouncy seat in the bathroom. I heard a sound that made me think she was spitting up. Looked out- sure enough, milk everywhere. How I assessed the situation: 1. Is she choking? (No.) 2. Is she upset about being covered in milky vomit? (No.). I finished my shower!
  • I had my first round of solo bedtime at the weekend because Grannie was out picking up Q. at the airport. It included sitting on the toilet nursing P. while E. was having his bath; lying down on the bed nursing P. while having “snuggle” time with E. as he read books and leapt around the bed occasionally pausing to bestow kisses on P’s head; and then trying to moderate my discussion forum while also keeping P. from screaming (she was not having a great evening) while E. kicked the walls of his room and sang at the top of his lungs that he liked to eat yoghurt and bananas.
  • That particular evening aside, P. is already showing signs of being far more laid back than her brother was. Whether this is due to her personality or due to my second-time approach to parenting (read: it’s ok if the baby is not immediately on a predictable routine) is yet to be determined. But it’s a nice change regardless of what’s caused it.
  • E. still having school for eight days after P. was born was the best thing ever. Then we had Grannie here while Q. was overseas, and Q. is taking this week off and then next week E. is in day camp. So I will only have two weeks left in the course when I have both of them home with me full-time and hopefully we will survive and it will be a bit easier to leave the house.
  • Packing to leave the house for any length of time now feels like setting out for the base camp at Everest. Gone are the days of “Got a hat? We’re good!”. I knew this would happen but it has still been a big shock.
  • E. thus far has been great. He asked me the other day how old P. was. When I said she was twelve days, he said, “I’m already getting quite attached to her.” He is starting to notice how unavailable I am and was getting tired of Grannie as a substitute. But he loves getting books that I can read when I’m nursing, and he loves giving P. kisses on her little head.
  • Nursing was really hard in the first week (poor latch when milk came in and I got engorged led to a lot of pain) but things are much better now and have been for a while. P. gained a whopping 7 oz between Day 3 and Day 5 (and was 3.5 oz over her birth weight by Day 5) but then only gained 5 oz in the next week. This is above the minimum but only just, so I’m going to take her back in this week for a weight check just for peace of mind. The midwives are not worried, but of course I am.
  • P. is sleeping really well at night. I feed her around 10 p.m. and then swaddle her and put her in the bassinet and she’s been known to go fairly regularly through until 3:30 or 4 a.m., and will then go three hours before waking again, which gets us past 6 a.m., which I then consider morning as far as I’m concerned. So I am getting a reasonable amount of sleep. I still feel like my head will float off my shoulders around 4 p.m. though.
  • I survived driving P. down to the midwives for her two week appointment (at 12 days). All of my anxiety about parenting this time around seems focused on the car, because we never had one before and Q. has done most of the driving in our big city. P. was happy on the way there (fell asleep) and then screamed like mad on the way home, only calming down when I sang an invented “We’re ok, P.” song (she loathed my efforts with the Wheels on the Bus).
  • We took P. and E. out to see labmonkey and Pea on the weekend, but Grannie did the driving that day. P. was again really good on the way there but did a lot of screaming on the way home. She was superb while out though- happy to just fall asleep in the carrier when we went out to a park. E. was great and would give us P. reports: “Her eyes are open! Oh, they’re closed again!”
  • I need to buy one of those mirrors to mount on the seat so I can actually see her when we’re driving as if I don’t have E. to give me reports I find it extremely stressful.
  • P. is the NOISIEST baby ever. The only way to describe it is she breathes over her vocal cords, so there is this near-constant hum of noise when eating or sleeping. It is a testament to how much less anxious I am this time around that I am able to sleep right next to her with that racket whereas with E. I was still sleeping in the basement at this stage (and then using earplugs for the rest of time he was in our room).
  • Physically I had a much easier recovery, although I’m still having trouble with bleeding because I don’t spend enough time resting (curse of the second-time parent). My midwives spent a lot of time in the hospital making the point that my body had worked very hard even if I didn’t think it had. Emotionally and mentally it’s been much easier too. I’m just in a much better place than I was at this point with E. I’m prepared for all the newborn madness and I’m genuinely enjoying the snuggles. I’m already finding it hard to balance the needs of my two children, but I knew this would be the hardest part for me.
  • I am happy. So very, very happy. She is safe, and she is here, and my family has the piece that has been missing.


Filed under E.- the sixth year, Joy, Me? Pregnant?!, Midwives, My addled brain, Nursing, P.- the first year, Siblings

An introduction

I have a daughter.

She was born on Saturday, 18 June, at 5:07 p.m. at 39+6.

She was 7 lb, 12.5 oz at birth and 21 inches long, with a head circumference of 34.5 cm. She was nearly identical to her big brother’s stats at birth (7 lb, 15 oz; 20.5 inches; 36 cm).

Her first name is the same as this author.

And her middle name, which is a family name on both sides, is the same as this first name.

Her labour was nearly identical to E’s. I was unable to sleep on Friday night because I had contractions that were long enough and frequent enough (every ten minutes or so) to keep me awake. When I got up on Saturday morning, ate breakfast, and had a shower, they dropped right off again and were sometimes forty minutes or longer apart. By lunchtime they were back to being ten minutes apart, but they were long enough (a minute) and strong enough (I couldn’t ignore them) that we thought we should make sure labmonkey and Pea were on their way in (although I told labmonkey I thought she had time to go to her appointment with the bank first).

Around 2:30 p.m. my midwife called to check in as I had spoken with the student midwife that morning. I told her what the contractions were doing and she said to page back either when they intensified or got closer together.

Around 3 p.m. I decided to have a shower to see if that made a difference, since the one that morning had stalled them considerably.

While in the shower they started coming every 2 minutes apart. By the time I was dressed again they were shorter but still very close together and intensifying.

I paged the student midwife and told her in no uncertain terms I wanted to go to the hospital RIGHT AWAY. This was a difficult phone call as I had a contraction in the middle of it and E. was freaking out that suddenly we were leaving, so he was trying to hold on to my legs and crying while I was on my hands and knees on the bed coping with the contraction.

labmonkey and Bean arrived and we basically threw E. at them and went out the door. (E. was fine as soon as we left and had a wonderful time with them).

Despite having a birth plan with only one item- DO NOT have the baby in the car- there was a point in the twenty-minute drive where I thought we’d left it too late. I was starting to get a lot of pressure. The contractions were still two minutes apart and very intense. Q. did a fantastic job getting us there (he said afterwards, “I’m so glad I bought the German car with the powerful engine”).

I had a contraction as we parked and got out of the car and was then determined to get into the hospital and into the elevators before the next one came. Q. said I made quite an impact on everyone milling around outside the main doors. I can vaguely remember hearing someone say, “Ooh that woman is having a baby today!” as I willed myself to keep walking.

I had another contraction in the elevator and two more before we could get into a room. As we were walking down to the room my midwife said to the student, “We’d better page the backup midwife right now”.

We got into the room and the student midwife offered to check my dilation. I was happy to do this because there was a part of me that was worried I was still going to be at 5 cm and the contractions were becoming really hard to cope with.

I was at 9 cm. This explains why the car ride was so horrible- I was in transition.

We decided I had just enough time to get into the tub, so my midwife filled it. I got in, they managed to do the admissions bloods in between contractions, and probably within eight minutes or so my body started trying to push. I didn’t want to give birth in the tub so I had to get out again and I had one horrific contraction while standing before we could get me back to the bed.

By this time the backup midwife and her student had arrived, so I had four midwives plus Q. to support me. They were checking P’s heart rate regularly and reassuring me that she was doing well and that everything was normal.

I think I pushed for around twenty minutes- this was more intense than it was with E. and I found it really hard to control what my body was doing.  When she was born there was this pop and explosion of liquid and I was terrified that it was blood and I’d torn badly, but it turned out that P. was born in the caul and that explosion was the sack breaking open at her birth. Q. said afterwards it was a bit like a horror movie because she was flailing like mad as soon as she was born to try to get out. The midwives were very excited and said it just made her that much more special.

I ended up with one tiny cosmetic tear, much like with E., that my midwife stitched just because otherwise it wouldn’t join back up. After the birth I was incredibly cold and they kept bringing hot blankets (I remembered these with E.- they are the best possible thing at that time). The placenta delivered without difficulty and was intact. P. came up onto my chest straight away and we delayed cord clamping. We said yes to the Vitamin K shot, no to the eye drops, and yes to oxytocin to help the placenta detach.

E. at birth squawked a bit and then had a long period of “quiet alertness” where he took everything in. P. came out MAD and she stayed mad until we were finally able to establish a decent latch. She wanted to get nursing straight away and became increasingly frustrated when she didn’t immediately demonstrate mastery of this skill.

“Fiesty!” said one of the midwives.

Two other comments: “She doesn’t really look like a newborn at all!” and “She’s so alert!” were identical to what they said with E.

P., like E., has a lovely round head because she didn’t have time to get squished during delivery. Her Apgars were 9 and 10. The critical issue of whether or not the kidney is functioning was resolved that first night with proof of a wet diaper. The rest of her newborn exam went well.

We opted for early discharge, like with E., so we were back home by 8:15 p.m., early enough that we told labmonkey to keep E. up so he could meet his little sister. E. was wildly excited (there were many kisses on P.’s little head) but did manage to go to sleep that night when we finally packed him off to bed just after 9:00 p.m.

Q. and I were all set to learn from our mistake with E. about not sleeping on the first night when the baby is tired, but P. apparently missed that memo and went straight to “cluster feed every hour for the entire night”. She did this again last night before finally falling asleep at 3:30 a.m. and sleeping until 6 a.m., which was the first chance I’d had to get some sleep since Thursday night. All that effort has meant my milk is in already and I’m hoping for some more settled nights at some point in the near future.

It’s been an emotional couple of days. We went through so much to get here, as you all know. And now she’s here, she’s safe, and she’s real.

Our daughter.

(Feel free to email me at rescogitataeATgmailDOTcom if you’d like to see pictures.)


Filed under Anxiety Overload, Joy, Me? Pregnant?!, Midwives, Second Thoughts

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:


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):


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


What can I say. Second-time parents.


Filed under Belly Pics, Me? Pregnant?!

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

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.

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

Full term (eek!)

How far along? Thirty-seven weeks. On the one hand, I am obviously excited that we made it to full term without incident. On the other hand, full term means THIS BABY COULD COME AT ANY TIME. I am still hoping s/he cooks for a couple more weeks, just like E. did.

Vital stats? I got on the scale on Friday, and I was up 26 lb. So despite all of my angst over my rather rapid first trimester weight gain, it seems to have all evened out in the end. I doubt I’m going to gain much more at this point, even though the baby is growing rapidly. I just don’t have enough room to eat very much, and I know it’s normal for women to maintain or even lose a pound or two in the final weeks.

How am I feeling physically? I am managing. It has been STUPIDLY hot here this week (like middle of July hot) and I’ve really noticed a difference in my energy levels. I am so so so grateful for my friend’s bag of maternity clothes which she gave to me when we had lunch a few weeks ago- she had a couple of short-sleeved T-shirts and a couple of knee-length skirts and I’m basically living in them now. May was cold the year E. was born and I never needed anything other than jeans and three-quarter length T-shirts.

The heat has affected my ankles despite my best efforts, although they are still nowhere near as bad as they were while travelling. And I’ve taken my wedding ring back off again, just to be safe. Yesterday we had E’s birthday party (which I delayed until the end of May because I was worried around his actual birthday it might still be too cold to hold it outside, ha ha), which meant I was running around on my feet for much of the day. Q. was downright horrified by the state of my lower legs and ankles by that evening.

The cramping and Braxton Hicks continue, and I’ve started to have a bit of digestive upset as well. KEEP COOKING, BABY. I’ve switched into nesting mode and spent much of today pulling apart the basement storage closet until I could access the bins with the baby things and I’m not sure my body thought that was the greatest idea, but things have calmed down since I spent part of the afternoon with my feet up (watching a Winnie-the-Pooh movie with E.).

There is so much baby in there now. I’m still getting quite a few comments about how I don’t look like I’m at all close to my due date (one Mum at the party thought I was due in the fall), but people who see me all the time have commented that I’ve ‘popped’ in the last week or so. Given how much time I spend ricocheting off of things with my belly, I certainly feel like I’ve increased in size. I think I’ve now officially run out of room to expand upwards, so I now have to expand outwards.

If E. and I end up at the top of the stairs at the same time, and he then tries to sneak past me, he hits his head on my belly. He’s done this three times this week and it makes me laugh every time.

When I pick E. up from school, he often wants to play at the playground before we go home (where he runs around at the back of the playground by himself, telling a story and ignoring all the other children). I usually sit at the edge of the playground and chat with the other mums. It is becoming quite a challenge to winch myself back up onto my feet.

How am I feeling emotionally? All right. I’m in the middle of a nasty situation with my online course (surprise, surprise- a course on women and gender brings out misogynistic comments from privileged white males), which has taken up most of my emotional energy this weekend. I am finding myself generally low on patience with E. and needing a lot more quiet time. I think I recognize I’m about to lose all of my alone time for the foreseeable future. I really do not have time to read at the moment with all the course prep, but I have managed to make enough time to almost get through Moon over Soho, which is the second of the Ben Aaronovitch novels (which I started on a recommendation from Mel and am really enjoying them).

I am still worried about the birth and about what we will do with E. and about how I am going to cope with having a newborn, but I feel like I’m moving out of denial and into resignation, which has to be an improvement.

I’ve also finally hit a stage where I NEED to get things ready for my own peace of mind, hence the mad unpacking of the storage closet (Q. was out staining the trim on the sheds at the time while E. “made a flood in the whole garden!”, ended up absolutely drenched, and had a wonderful time). We’ve organized the things we’re going to donate when the truck comes past on Tuesday, which will clear out a reasonable amount of space in the nursery/study, and I’m hoping that will inspire us to maybe next weekend move the rest of the furniture around. And now that I’ve found all the baby things, I can wash them. I found the onesie E. wore when he came home from the hospital, and we’re planning to put this baby in it too. I got E. to hold it up against his chest- I need to take a picture. I think Q. and I were both shocked. E. was able to get the onesie over his head, but then it basically looked like a kerchief around his neck. And then I put away a bunch of E’s winter clothes and reordered the bin which holds the clothes he’ll grow into, and there was a snow jacket in there that will probably fit him next year, and the size discrepancy hit me all over again.

Movement? This baby does not have a lot of room left, although you wouldn’t know it the way s/he sometimes carries on. I’m still getting quite big movements as s/he switches from side to side. E. was much more settled and hung out mainly on one side. This week has been the first week where movements have often coincided with some truly miserable pains in my cervix, which makes me wonder if s/he’s engaged a bit more and dropped. But I can still fit my belly over the kitchen counter, so not much change there.

The baby is clearly asleep when I am up in the wee hours of the night. Long may this continue. S/he still likes to party at around 10 p.m. and (worryingly) around 5:00 a.m.

How does it compare with E.’s pregnancy? At thirty-seven weeks, I said this:

The vast vast majority of the baby stuff is now organized to a point that I can live with it, even if it isn’t how I want things to be. Once Q. puts up the shelving in the closet that will help, and then I need one trip to I.KEA to get more of the storage boxes we’re using, and I’ll be sorted. I’m still happy being pregnant, but I am getting very curious to meet our baby.

Yeah, no. But we did make at least some progress today. E. was absolutely fascinated with the stroller and wanted to sit in it for ages. This was useful because when he wanted me to strap him in I realized the shoulder straps were no longer attached to the harness. I had a vague memory of putting them on the shelf at the top of our coat closet and (procrastination for the win!) they were still there. I have pretty much given up on getting to I.KEA before the baby comes (I wanted to get whatever they’ve replaced the Expedit with as E. has one of the eight squares Expedits in his room and I love it), but Q. seems willing to do a smash and grab one evening, so that might still happen. Not much point if we don’t get the furniture out of the room first.

I hope the baby likes the bassinet we borrowed from friends because currently we have no plans to a) assemble the crib or b) buy a new mattress (I gave our mattress away with our crib and I didn’t like the mattress that came with the crib a friend of a friend gave us).

I had a dentist appointment this week and ended up having to have the hygienist work while I was on my side, as during the initial exam I realized very quickly that if I stayed on my back with my head lower than my heart I was going to either pass out or vomit, or possibly both. I tried to help Q. clear some things out of the basement (the renos continue) the other day, and got exhausted after four or five trips up the stairs. I keep hitting things (frying pan handles, doors, etc.) with the belly, as I clearly have no sense of spatial awareness and how much room I’m now taking up. So little things like that remind me that I need to watch my activity. But in general, I still feel fantastic.

Lying on my back right now is just not an option. Even reading propped on pillows can be problematic. I think I have more endurance this time around. Or maybe I’m just busier and therefore not listening to my body and not taking very many breaks. I definitely overdid it this morning, but I moved a lot of things around before I really got tired. And then in the afternoon I did all of the laundry and packed away all of my winter maternity clothes and swapped around my winter and summer clothes in my closet and convinced Q. to go through his closet to add clothes to our donate pile. See? Nesting.

On my mind? Getting organized. While I know we pretty much have everything set up that we really need in the first instance, I can tell that I’m going to feel better about things once everything’s washed and the diapers are stripped and the nursery resembles a nursery. I also need to wash and put away our winter gear because I haven’t had time to do that yet. This wasn’t bothering me until it got really hot this week and now every time I open our shoe cupboard and see E’s winter boots it drives me crazy. Plus I want to dust and organize E’s set of shelves in our living room because they’re once again chaotic rather than orderly. And I want Q. to pull out the stove so I can clean behind it. (See? Nesting.)

It has occurred to me I should probably pack a hospital bag at some point. Just because we were only at the hospital for six hours last time and we barely used anything we packed doesn’t mean it will be the same result this time around.

This week I have the home visit from the midwives, an appointment with my endocrinologist, and an appointment with my therapist. It’s going to make for an interesting balancing act with all the online course prep I need to do. I don’t see much reading for fun happening.

Sleep? Ok, but not great. E. is obviously doing something developmental as he’s been taking ages to fall asleep at night and then waking up ridiculously early (6:00 a.m.). And Q. is still getting up most nights to visit the ‘loo, which usually wakes me up. I don’t yet feel super tired, but I’m frustrated because I know just how terrible my sleep is about to get and I would really like to get as much sleep now as I can. Last time around I was having a lot of trouble sleeping by this stage, but right now I feel like my sleep is fine- it’s just that I’m being woken up by others.

Best moment? E’s birthday party. We kept it really really simple- we told E. he could invite five friends and he opted to only invite four (three of whom brought siblings with them, so it was probably best we didn’t have any more). We went to the biggest park in the city and did a nature scavenger hunt and rode on the train and played in the playground and had cupcakes and fruit and fishy crackers and even though it was RIDICULOUSLY hot and poor Q. spent practically the whole time shuttling the car around to try to minimize the distance which the cooler had to be carried, it was still a great afternoon. E. had a grand time; his friends had a grand time; and I think the adults had fun too. Both sisters and my BIL came along, and it was really nice to see all of them, although I didn’t get enough time to chat with them, especially not my youngest sister who headed off overseas that same night and probably won’t be back until this baby is born (unless s/he goes very close to the due date or over). Plus I can’t remember the last time all three of us were together, with my BIL, without it being in a hospital.

And then we came home, with E. sitting in the backseat occasionally saying in a dreamy sort of voice, “That was the best party ever!”, and we unpacked the book boxes that labmonkey and Pea had saved for us, and they had put a bunch of things (new special things!) for P. in one of the boxes. A hooded towel and two swaddle blankets and wash cloths and a baby book and nursing pads (which I still haven’t managed to pick up, so that saves me one trip) and personalized onesies (I am going to take a picture of them and post on here because they are too good not to share). It was just so lovely and thoughtful and I am glad this baby will have something new (says the mother who is happily planning to put the baby in the SAME OUTFIT that E. wore home because it’s likely to fit, so why not).

Even though when I woke up that morning I had done absolutely NOTHING to get ready for the party and we then had to grocery shop (Q.), buy a few things for the party bags (E. and I), print out nature scavenger hunt cards and add a bonus animal (E. and I), assemble party bags (mostly E. with help from me), bake cupcakes (me), ice cupcakes (me), decorate cupcakes (E.), organize fruit and pack the cooler and backpack (mostly me with help from Q.) and I found myself, completely exasperated, putting cupcakes in the fridge to cool them down so I could ice them before we had to leave, and said to Q., “And this is a SIMPLE party!”, it all worked out in the end, and it was a wonderful day. And, most importantly, I didn’t go into labour before or during the party!

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

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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On the perils of eating while pregnant

12:00 p.m.
Me: Oh. It is noon. I should eat lunch soon. I’m so close to finishing this PowerPoint though. I’ll get it done in the next fifteen minutes and then I’ll eat.

12:15 p.m.
P.: Wriggle, squirm, wriggle.
Me: Yes, I know I need to eat something! I am almost done! Maybe four slides to go.
My stomach: Rumble, grumble.

12:30 p.m.
Me: I KNOW! I am hungry too! Look, I just finished. Now I can record it this weekend and it will be ready to post on Monday. Ok. What are we going to eat for lunch?

12:32 p.m.
Me (in kitchen): I will make avocado and goat’s cheese on toast. That will take maybe four minutes to make, so it is super quick.

12:33 p.m.
Me: Why am I SO HUNGRY? I need to eat RIGHT NOW.
*puts down bread in toaster; starts slicing avocado, realizes hands are shaking*
P.: *general sustained protest at lack of nourishment*

12:34 p.m.
Me: Why does it take SO LONG for toast to finish?
*starts searching in pantry. Eats six rice crackers, three dried apricots and four thin Oreos in time it takes toast to pop.*

12:35 p.m.
Me: I really don’t like Oreos. I should throw them out since I only bought them to make the wheels on E’s steam train cake.
*eats another three Oreos while spreading avocado and goat’s cheese on toast*

12:39 p.m.
Me: *finishes inhaling eating two enormous slices of toast with avocado and goat’s cheese and drinking two glasses of water. Shaking subsiding. Rational brain returning.*

12:45 p.m.
P.: *hiccup. hiccup. hiccup.*

12:55 p.m.
Me: Well, I hope you are feeling better now, P. I can’t decide if I feel sick because of all the sugar I ate or because I just consumed twice as much food as my stomach has room for at the moment.
P.: zzzzzzzzzzzz

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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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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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