Category Archives: Week-by-week

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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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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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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Thirty-three weeks

How far along? Thirty-three weeks. Now when people ask me when I am due, and I say, “Mid-June,” they say: “Oh, that’s soon!”

Vital stats? I got on the scale yesterday just to get a sense of where I was at, as I’m still finding it hard to care about food, and I’m starting to get comments from people about how tiny I look (I do not feel tiny). I’m up 21 lb, which is perfect, and I’ve gained 3-4 lb in the last five weeks, so even though I’m struggling to eat a lot of the time, I’m obviously still taking in enough calories overall. I’d gained 24 lb (or thereabouts) by thirty-four weeks last time, so I’m maybe a little bit under where I was with E. Still on track to hit the expected ‘normal’ range.

At thirty-two weeks with E., I said this about food:

I’m also not eating very much in between meals. Maybe an apple in the afternoon, or a handful of nuts or some yoghurt. In the morning I rarely eat between breakfast and lunch. Q. continues to provide nutritious and delicious meals on a regular basis. I am SO spoiled.

This is pretty much identical to what’s happening now. Thank goodness for Q. I’d be living on cereal and toast if it weren’t for him.

I had the growth and BPP ultrasound on Tuesday. Baby is head down and very busy. S/he helpfully practiced his/her breathing, which is one of the things they need to see at a scan like that. No pictures to share- the tech tried her best, but P. is just too big for a good shot. I will get the report when I see my midwife next week, but I’m assuming all is well because no one has called me to say otherwise. Baby was measuring three or four days ahead (except for the head which was measuring much larger, just like with E.).

How am I feeling physically? This week was rough. I spent the previous week visiting my Dad, and I wasn’t careful enough with standing and staying hydrated and my ankles and lower legs really swelled up. It took me at least three days after getting home to get everything back to normal. And there is a lot of pressure on my lady bits (even though baby is still sitting high enough that I don’t need to use the ‘loo at night) and elsewhere in my lower half with unfortunate results. And the heartburn is starting to become an issue most evenings. And I have been woken up twice in the last week by hideous leg cramps (despite eating bananas daily).

In the grand scheme of things, I still feel relatively well and I would classify this as an easy pregnancy. But I have definitely had points this week where it hurt just walking E. to school. And this is the first time where my experiences have sharply diverged from my pregnancy with E.

Case in point- my description of how I felt physically at thirty-three weeks in March 2011:

Having my shoes back has made all the difference in the world. I find I can maintain a pretty good walking pace (my Dad was visiting on the weekend and he even commented on how speedy I was when we went out for a wander in the neighbourhood). I do get the occasional ache or stretch or twinge, but nothing serious.

Yeah, no. I felt that way a couple of weeks ago, but not any more. Things have been better on all counts the last few days, so I’m hoping now that I’m done with the hospital visits I can be more proactive about getting off my feet.

How am I feeling emotionally? All over the map. My Dad was much, much more positive when I saw him last week, so that has relieved some of my anxiety. And I had a good impression of my new therapist when I saw her at the start of last week. What I most appreciated was her willingness to acknowledge the limits of what she can do for me. We talked about how my anxiety usually manifests and she said that normally she’d focus on CBT (which I was expecting) but then she said, “The truth is: we can work on those strategies, but ultimately you’re going to feel what you feel. When someone is in your situation and the impossible has happened, there are some parts of CBT that don’t work well, because we teach you to ask yourself whether something is likely or logical. And you can’t take any comfort from statistics and it’s extremely hard for you to assess risk and probability because you’re in a situation that logically and likely should never have happened.”

So she seems like a good fit, and I feel better having a consistent appointment in my schedule and knowing that if everything comes pouring out when the baby is born, I will already have an established relationship with her.

I did get my contract (finally) for the summer course, so I stopped worrying about that and started worrying instead about actually teaching said course. It starts in the second week of May and I thought I’d be a lot further ahead than I am at this point. I’m sure I will muddle through, but I think the first couple of weeks will be messy until I get into a routine. And then things will get messy when the baby comes.

I think I’m still totally in denial that this baby is coming (and coming relatively soon).

Movement? I haven’t yet had to even think about doing kick counts. The baby did have a couple of quieter days at the end of last week, but I think it must have been a growth spurt because s/he then went right back to his/her usual daily partying. Tons of wriggles and pushes. Lots of hiccups. Large-scale movements across my belly seem to happen at least once per day. The baby is big enough now that depending on how s/he is lying, my belly can fluctuate dramatically in size.

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

Lots of wriggles and pushes now. Q. can feel them even when his hand isn’t directly over where the movement is. Pretty sure I’ve still got feet pushing up above my navel. Bump really does seem pretty chilled out, which is awesome. S/he does seem prone to hiccups- we had at least four cases of them this week.

And that’s all holding true with this baby. Q. gets kicked in the side fairly often now when we’re snuggling, and the hiccup attacks are in full force. S/he had a major one at dinner tonight which was the first time E.’s felt the hiccups.

At thirty-three weeks, I said this:

Bub definitely has patterns, and tells me in no uncertain terms when I need to go and eat something. When s/he shifts around from one side of the uterus to the other, I can really feel it.

Again, exactly the same. This baby also gets super active when I get very hungry and then tends to go to sleep as soon as I’ve eaten.

I’ve been convinced this baby is busier than E. was, but reading back through this stage in the pregnancy, I don’t think that’s the case. They seem to have very similar patterns.

Last time around I was starting to really panic at this point that we were going to be bringing home a BABY. I was worried we would regret our decision. I think I feel a lot of the same emotions right now, just for different reasons. I know we won’t regret the decision, but I also know just what we’re in for. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

On my mind? I’m realizing that once we get back from our conference in a couple of weeks we’ll have just over a month until the due date, so maybe I shouldn’t just put all the baby-related stuff in the “do after the conference” basket. Mind you, I also looked at my study today and thought: “Hey, the change table will fit where the bookshelves used to be, and the bassinet will be in our room, so we could just ignore the rest for another few months!” So I both want to finish setting things up and also can’t be assed to do it. I guess we will see which one wins out in the end (knowing me, I am going to bet on getting things finished).

In order to get to the change table and the Rubbermaid bins with the baby clothes and receiving blankets, we have to pretty much empty our (massively full and disorganized) basement storage cupboard. Q. and I are both dreading tackling it. I think we’ve decided to put it off until the long weekend in May.

Sleep? I push the extra pillow off the bed at some point in the course of the night (every night), but my hips aren’t sore, so it must be doing something in the hours before I evict it. My insomnia is officially back. I spent much of the last two weeks waking up at 4:30 and not being able to get back to sleep- something I haven’t had problems with for more than two years now. The last couple of days have been better. It was helpful waking up that early when I was visiting my Dad because I marked exams before heading in to the hospital.

Best moment? We had our maternity photo session this week. It’s been unseasonably cold and every day this week was cold and overcast (or even rainy) except one- the day of the shoot. So we had gorgeous light and it was warm enough (just) that I could wear my original outfit (even if Q. and E. had sweaters on). It felt great to do something positive and special for this pregnancy.

Other stuff? We bought a car! That ate up a lot of our time this week, but everything’s signed and we pick the car up on Monday. It’s a relief to have that all sorted out. In the end we went with a 2015 VW Jetta- we really wanted to love the Golf Wagon, but the backseat was just too cramped with two seats plus an adult. The Jetta’s extra leg room made all the difference. I wouldn’t want to always have two seats and an adult back there, but it’s definitely manageable for the occasional trip when we have my sister or Q.’s mum in tow.

I had lunch with a friend on Tuesday and she gave me two big bags of maternity clothes (spring/summer) and good clothes for nursing. I’ve finally sorted through them all and have a pile of nursing shirts to wash later, a pile of clothes to wash now, and a small pile to pass along to others because the clothes either aren’t going to fit me, are the wrong season, or just aren’t something I would be comfortable wearing. She was happy to get it all out of her house, and I am thrilled to have some options for when it gets warmer (assuming it eventually does get warmer).

I missed a midwife appointment because my backup midwife had to cancel her clinic last week and I couldn’t reschedule because I was out of town. So I’m looking forward to seeing my primary midwife next week as I’ve now gone three weeks between appointments and I’m supposed to be seeing them every two weeks now. I also have the second appointment with my counsellor. It seems every week now I have two or three baby-related items on the calendar.

(And yet, I am still totally in denial that this baby is coming in the really-not-so-distant future.)

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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


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

75% cooked

How far along? Thirty weeks. Oh man. We need to get organized.

Vital stats? I should have had some new information for this week, but I had to reschedule my midwife appointment. So I don’t have anything official to report. I have to assume that all is well.

How am I feeling physically? Hanging in there. I had a nice mental boost from all the nursing staff at the hospital where my Dad is when I was visiting this week as they all commented on how good I look and how well I’m carrying. I still feel rather massive, but people keep telling me I’m not. I’ve started sleeping with an extra pillow in bed- just the one tucked under my belly for a bit more support. That has definitely helped with the niggling aches and pains that were starting up. I’m also having more trouble with my ankles and lower legs swelling up. I have to be careful about how much I drink during the day and how much time I spend on my feet (I wasn’t good about either while at the hospital and it really showed).

If I walk somewhere quickly, I tend to get ripping pains across my lower abdomen, which I don’t remember from E.’s pregnancy. They’re not at all pleasant and they force me to slow down. I am trying to remember to leave more time when going somewhere, but sometimes I forget and plan according to my usual speed.

But, like I say to anyone who asks, I can’t complain. It’s been another straightforward pregnancy for me, at least physically, and I’m grateful to be feeling so well as we start to enter the home stretch.

How am I feeling emotionally? Hanging by a thread. What I want, more than anything else right now, is a day where I can stay in bed, read a comfort book and cry and cry and cry. I feel like I don’t have the time to cry as much as I need or want to. I’m in the middle of the end of semester craziness (which equates to marking, exams, more marking, uploading grades, etc. etc.) and I have this online course I’m teaching over the summer that I have yet to even begin to plan. I am stretched too thin right now, and it means I can’t see where on earth I could take some time for myself. Q. is at a conference all day today and then has his exam tomorrow afternoon, so I can’t ask him to give me a break (nor would I want to given I just got back last night and I want to catch up and spend time with E., who also missed me and is also grieving).

I am not making room to grieve any of it- not my cat, not my fears about my father and stepfather, not the loss of all the future things I expected I would get to do with my Dad (or that E. and P. would get to do with their Grandpa). Occasionally things boil over (usually on the train) and I do weep for a bit but then I shove it all down and go back to functioning, because I have to. I’m the adult. I have to keep holding it together. There’s nothing more I can ask of Q.- he’s already taken over virtually everything to do with the house (cleaning, cooking, etc.). All I have to do is be pregnant, be E.’s mum, be a good contract lecturer, and somehow function in the middle of these many family crises. But it’s still too much. The weather is not helping. We had a fairly mild winter but April has yet to show any signs of spring. Q. had to shovel last Monday because we had 10 cm of snow overnight, and it is currently well below zero out there, which is just absurd.

As for the baby, I either feel fear that s/he will die during labour (or before) or dread that s/he won’t die and then we’ll have everything else happening as well as a baby. I keep finding myself looking at parts of our life, like our morning routine before school, and thinking, “This works so well! This is usually not stressful. We have time to get everything done. Where the FUCK are we going to fit in the baby?” I know these are not new fears for second-time parents and I also know we will eventually figure things out and find a new normal after an extended period of chaos. And I know it will get easier. But right now I’m utterly terrified.

Oh and then there’s the guilt, because I am not exactly providing an ideal uterine environment right now, nor am I particularly excited about the prospect of this baby arriving. I am sure I will love the baby when s/he gets here, but right now I am just relieved s/he is in there and not causing any problems.

Movement? Anything and everything. This baby loves to do a full body wriggle that causes my whole stomach to jump. E. saw it happen this morning, which was awesome. S/he is also fond of pushing up against my ribs with what must be feet, which is starting to get quite uncomfortable. Doesn’t stop him/her from also pressing on my bladder, especially if I’ve just got on a bus or in a car. The baby is also big enough that I can easily find a bum/back any time I look and sometimes s/he sticks that out as well, so I’ll get this hard bulge on one side or the other. I am grateful for the consistent movement, both because it helps with the anxiety and because it lets me take a moment to connect with the baby.

How does it compare with E.’s pregnancy? Last time, at thirty weeks, I said this:

I still feel quite huge and ungainly, but doing things doesn’t appear to be as much of a struggle. Maybe I’m just getting used to the bulk. I was up at the uni the other day and three of the secretaries made a point of coming to find me to tell me how great I looked and how they couldn’t believe I was in the third trimester because I looked so tiny, so I guess it is just a matter of perspective. I really do think my height is helping keep bub from sticking out too much. That said, the belly button is now a borderline official outie.

The thing is, I was tiny last time around- at my 29 week appointment, I was measuring at 28.5 cm, so a touch behind, as opposed to this time when I was measuring (at least at the last appointment) 2 cm ahead. The exact same thing has happened with my belly button though- the top part is an outie and the bottom part is just flat.

And this:

Bub is pretty busy these days, and has definite movement patterns. On Saturday morning we’d set an alarm (I think by accident) and it startled bub awake. This was the first time I was certain s/he was reacting to an outside noise. It was so funny- all of a sudden there was this flurry of activity…and then bub ended up with the hiccups.

This baby reacts a lot now to outside noises and gets the occasional bout of hiccups. Not as frequently as E. did.

Other than that, E.’s pregnancy is starting to sound quite different. I was just enjoying being pregnant at this stage and was sad that I only had about three more weeks of my prenatal exercise classes (as opposed to this time around where at one point I intended to go to yoga and then just never did).

On my mind? There are new recommendations (in the U.S. but not quite yet adapted in Canada) that pregnant women should get the Tdap vaccine during their third trimester (and before they hit 35-36 weeks) because this has been shown to help protect newborns from pertussis (whooping cough) before they are old enough to be vaccinated. I need to schedule an appointment with my GP because that’s not something my midwife can do, but I wanted to just double check with my midwife first. Q. should get one too if he’s due for a booster- we need to check. And I could ask anyone who is likely to have a significant amount of contact with the baby, which probably means my two sisters and maybe my mother, but I want to see what my GP and midwife think before saying anything to them.

I also want to make time to get my hair cut as my maternity photos (which at this rate may have snow in them instead of the lovely spring leaves I was hoping for) are coming up at the end of the month. And Q. and I need to get organized for our conference in early May, to which we may or may not be bringing E. (depends on how my stepfather is doing and whether my Mum thinks she can manage having E. there too. I know she WANTS to be able to manage but that’s not the same thing). I think we’re just going to book our accommodation assuming that we need to have E. with us and then if he is ok to go visit Grannie we can have a bonus couple of days child-free. We’re certainly not getting away otherwise before the baby is born.

We’re trying to buy a car too, but we need E.’s new narrow forward facing/booster seat first because there’s no point in going to a dealer to discover our current seats won’t fit, because I’m already 99% positive that they won’t. This seat is apparently out of stock everywhere, but I’ve ordered directly from the company and their representative assures me that the seats are in the port in B.C. and they just need final clearance from customs before they can get them in the warehouse (and then ship ours directly to our house). I’m sure it will get sorted out soon, but it would be great if we could buy a car before the conference as then we can avoid the cost of the rental vehicle. But if we can’t buy it until later in May, we’ll survive. We have a meeting with the bank tomorrow morning to see if setting up a home equity line of credit to finance the purchase (as opposed to dealer financing) makes good sense. We should have our financials ducks in a row at least before we go to see any cars. And if the seats fit, we’re pretty set on what we want to buy (assuming we like driving it). If they don’t fit, we have one more clear option and then we probably have to rethink our whole approach which will slow everything down.

Sleep? Sleep is becoming an issue. I’m still not waking up at night to use the ‘loo, which I think is because I’m carrying so high this time around, but I am becoming more and more prone to waking up early in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep. This past week it’s been as early as 4 a.m. at times, which is just too early. I really notice that I drag through the rest of the day. The extra pillow is helping, but it can’t do much about shutting off my brain. At least the baby doesn’t wake me up at night, which is the advantage of the anterior placenta.

Best moment? Probably having the baby bounce around while I was having a great chat with my Dad. The last time I saw him he was communicating through blinking (and not doing that at all well because he was also fighting pneumonia, recovering from surgery, and souped up on medications). He’s now mastered speaking on the ventilator, so we spent most of my visit getting properly caught up. We had some good conversations and some hard ones, and I can’t say I left feeling reassured, but I’m so glad we had that chance to connect.

Other stuff? My appointment with the psychiatrist is on Monday, so I’ll have a chance to try to process some of what I’m feeling. I’ve rescheduled my appointment with my midwife for Wednesday and I’m now into appointments every two weeks, so I’ll see my backup midwife the following week as well. And if I’m supposed to have one more ultrasound scan to check growth, I guess that would be coming up soon. I am being well looked after.

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Third trimester

How far along? Twenty-eight weeks. That is third trimester, no matter which book you read.

Vital stats? 84 days to my due date. I had to see my endocrinologist this week, so I got the scale out to make sure his wasn’t wildly out of line with mine. I was up 17 lb earlier in the week. Apparently I was up 18 with E. at exactly twenty-eight weeks, so despite all my fretting this pregnancy has progressed pretty much exactly as my first one did. I guess I didn’t gain much weight in the third trimester with E. (or I redistributed my weight). I never knew what my final total was, but it was definitely under thirty pounds. Anyway. That plus the gestational diabetes test results (I must have passed as no one called me) has meant I’ve been indulging a little bit in Easter taste-testing. I went to bulk barn to pick up a few things to hide around the house for E. and ended up getting a couple of things for myself too (chocolate covered jujubes and sour jelly beans were the main offenders). I really should never go in that store.

How am I looking? This might be the last week for this category. I didn’t keep it for the third trimester last time around and I’m not sure how many creative variations I can come up with for “Um, massive?”. I know the bump keeps getting bigger because this week I’ve started to hit things with it- I no longer realize how much space I take up. Also narrow bathroom stalls are becoming a real challenge.

How am I feeling physically? Ok. This week I’ve noticed myself running out of breath more easily than usual- even while lecturing. I guess the uterus is starting to push up on my diaphragm. I’m also starting to notice more heartburn and discomfort around my ribs. All signs that we’re entering the home stretch, and it all sounds familiar from E’s pregnancy, so I’m not worried. I am just about at the stage where I need to set up my extra pillows at night as the hip pain on my right side (which again I remember from E’s pregnancy) is starting to become more than just a niggle when I first wake up in the mornings.

How am I feeling emotionally? Still taking it one day at a time. This was generally a good week for my hospitalized parents, especially for my Dad who has just been moved hospitals to get him to a facility that is connected to a rehab centre. Ordinarily they won’t take patients who are still in the ICU, but they are making an exception for Dad because of his health and his age and his attitude. Their long-term goal is to get him off the ventilator. There will be other forms of rehab, but that’s the big one. This would make such a huge difference for my Dad in terms of his quality of life, the level of care he will need, and his long-term life expectancy. I don’t want to get too excited because I know it will be a long road, but it’s so nice to hear something positive. The other great news for the week is Dad has been using the eye tracker that my techie almost BIL organized, so I have had a couple of emails this week that were from him. Not about my Dad. FROM my Dad. Typed with his eyes. I’m not going to lie- I cried when I got the first one.

I am still too anxious for my own good. I chased up the counselling service and made another appointment with the psychiatrist. They prioritize women who are further along in their pregnancies and they’ve had a lot of referrals, but I felt like I was hitting the point where I needed to speak to someone again. I am having a hard time getting away from thoughts that the baby will die during labour. Logically I know it is extremely unlikely, but what’s happened to my family in the last couple of months has been way more than unlikely, so it’s difficult for me to shake the fears. Hopefully after I see her in a couple of weeks they’ll have space for me with one of the therapists and we can get into something more regular.

Movement? I’m trying to figure out if this baby is more active than E. was, or if it’s just that my anterior placenta isn’t quite in the same place and/or it’s easier to feel the movement because it’s the second time. S/he is a BUSY baby. P. tends to wake up in the morning and bounce around while I’m eating breakfast and then there are always a few more active periods during the day if I have the time to sit and notice. And s/he still loves to boogie at night. S/he’s still so stubborn- I’ll be getting heaps of kicks and my belly will be bouncing all over the place, and then Q. will come put his hand on my belly and the baby will go quiet. The kicks are strong enough now that Q. can feel them on his side if I’m just lying next to him, and he can feel the pushes and wiggles as well.

How does it compare with E.’s pregnancy? Last time I said this:

My online birth club had a thread started recently called, “You know you’re in the third trimester when…”. What struck me was how little I was affected by these various complaints. I can still see my feet. I put my socks and boots on standing up (without too much difficulty). I can still roll over in bed in one motion. I can’t use my belly as a table, I have absolutely no swelling or water retention, etc. etc.

Now, most of these are still true, but my feet? Hahahahahaha! I haven’t been able to see them in a couple of weeks unless I lean waay over. And rolling over in bed definitely takes two stages.

And this:

We always get kicks as I’m going to sleep at night, which is great as it gives Q. a guaranteed moment to feel bub. That said, bub already shows a stubborn streak: s/he has an incredible sense of timing and will often stop kicking as soon as Q. puts his hand on my belly.

This baby obviously is taking after his/her big brother.

On my mind? We have started to think about our management strategies for E. when the baby comes. E. has been campaigning to watch the birth, which is just not going to happen. I love that he is curious about the process and wants to be involved, but it’s a layer of complication I don’t need. Ordinarily we would probably rely heavily on my sister who lives in the same city, but she’s likely to be overseas at the critical time. Labmonkey is around, but she’s a bit over an hour away. I think we’re going to have to just make the longest list we can of friends and neighbours who are going to be around. If labour starts while E.’s at school, that will be easier than the middle of the night, as that will give us time to get in touch with labmonkey or my aunt and uncle who also live around an hour away. But there’s no guarantees of course.

I am definitely getting twitchy about getting my study transitioned, even though I know there is no real rush and it makes absolutely no sense to try to do things during the semester. But I can see us tackling things a bit at a time over the next few weekends. I guess I just don’t want to assume that this baby will be sensible and will keep cooking until 39 and 4 like E. did.

Sleep? Better than last week, thank goodness. I think my body managed to process the new anxiety over my stepfather- it just took a few days after his surgery for it to trickle through. I’m still having trouble getting to sleep most nights (especially if I stay up working or chat with my sisters about parents), but the early wakings have, thank goodness, more or less stopped. I am not yet having to get up at night to use the ‘loo, and I hope that continues- that was a problem by this stage last time.

Best moment? For the pregnancy, it was P. getting hiccups for the first time. By this point E. was getting them frequently (it was almost daily by the end) and I just loved recognizing that rhythmic little movement. I was hoping this baby would get them too, and s/he obliged after breakfast one morning. E. made a big leap forwards with his reading this week- he started wanting to read books he’d never seen before, so we dug out some of the board books. He read Dear Zoo without any help, and then sight read I am a Bunny needing help with maybe 10 or 15% of the words. Then we finished off with Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and once he figured out the pattern he read most of it without help (occasionally he would flip forward a page to see if his guess was correct). The best thing is he’s so proud of his accomplishment and he loves reading to others- he read a whole bunch of stories to his Australian Grannie when we were on Facetime last night. We also had a lovely moment this morning. E. woke up at his usual time for school (classic weekend- during the week I almost always have to wake him up), and came and climbed into the bed. Normally he then insists on hiding under the covers and making us play “Where’s E. gone?” but this morning he was content to just curl up and snuggle. So there were five of us in the bed (including E’s best stuffed dog) and the baby was kicking away and it was just peaceful and lovely.

Other stuff? My TSH must have been fine as I never heard back from my endocrinologist. I’ll see him again in very late May and we’ll discuss what sort of dose I should go on after pregnancy. After E’s pregnancy he put me on a slightly higher dose than had been my normal and the results weren’t good. I’m hoping this time we can just start with my regular dose.

We also this weekend unexpectedly made progress on the whole “turn my study back into a nursery issue”. E. wanted all the board books out to practice reading and we didn’t have room for them. We ended up spending all day yesterday organizing our books and moving bookshelves around. We still need to consolidate my work books with Q.’s in his study, and we have a huge stack of purged books to donate, but otherwise all the books and most of the bookshelves are out of my study. There’s still a lot to do, but I think that will help settle my need to nest for another couple of weeks. E. is calling it “the big change” and keeps asking what else we need to do to get ready for “the big change”, which Q. and I think is hilarious.


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

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.


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