I remembered how excited Id been 2 years previously at the start of my maternity leave, and I thought about all that had happened since. I vowed to make the most of this time again, and quickly got myself home for a hot cup of tea.
It was then that I realised I actually didn't have anything much to do. Ollie was being looked after and the house was clean and tidy (relatively) and to all extents and purposes FINISHED! For the longest time I have had a to do list for every single day. Suddenly I was free. But with that freedom came time on my hands, time to think. So I started thinking about the hospital visit at the weekend and about foetal movement. And that's when the anxiety that has plagued me all week really kicked in.
There is so much conflicting advice about foetal movement at the end of pregnancy. It seems it used to be very acceptable to expect a reduction in movement as baby engaged and ran out of room. Then suddenly reduced movement was a warning sign and NOT ok. Some institutions say you must feel 10 kicks an hour, some say 10 kicks in 12 hours, (including my hospital) which is a massive difference. The Count the Kicks campaign says it's not about numbers but tracking your regular pattern. If you google anything about this, you'll find forums where women frantically discuss why their baby might be moving less, and lots of threads appear with women who have suffered the horrors of stillbirth telling you that a reduction in movement was the signal of the end for them.
It's bloody terrifying. I have been a wreck all week. I've called the hospital and spoken to two different midwives.
The fact is, at times I think my baby's movements feel reduced. I am still getting significant movement pretty regularly, although the sleep periods between movements is longer (which is normal). The fact is, now baby is so low I struggle to feel a lot of the movement unless I am really focused on it. Before I had a frantically somersaulting baby who kicked me so hard sometimes it made me gasp. The kicks were pronounced and high up. Now I have a huge rolling baby bear who is very low in my pelvis and tends to gently roll or nudge or push. Very occasionally do I get a full on kick nowadays.
I remember this with Ollie, a change in movements, but I never worried. It seemed understandable that a baby with less room would be less frantic. I didn't obsess on google, which is actually really unhelpful because women share horror stories and you have no idea of the background or give out advice which you have no idea of its source. The difference is since having Ollie I have become a lot more aware of issues such as stillbirth and SIDS as my interest in and reading of parent blogs has increased.
I guess this time my heart is also more emotionally invested in this, which might sound odd. I am not in any way diminishing the importance and precious nature of a first pregnancy, but when I was pregnant with Ollie I really didn't know what was coming. I felt quite detached until he was actually born, when I fell hopelessly in love at first sight. That was just my experience.
This time I know how much love you feel for the little thing they put on your chest afterwards. I know how much you would do and give to that child. How much they take over your heart. So I am emotionally much more attached, at an earlier stage. Once baby is here, I know I will love him and Ollie equally, but right now I find myself so anxious that he arrives safely I think I might combust with nerves.
The midwives have reassured me that everything seems fine. Ironically as I write this the baby is moving a lot, albeit much lower and in a less frantic way. It's probably the most it's moved all week, maybe it's realised I've been panicking! But it's hard to ignore the days when he's seemed sleepier, and it's been hard to differentiate between what is a change in movement type, and a reduction in movement generally. The fact that I think I actually can't feel it as much lower down doesn't help. When they put the monitor on me at the hospital, they said he was moving loads and I couldn't feel a thing.
If I gently poke where I feel baby, he always responds and pushes back against my hand. When my husband sings to him through my belly button he gets prodded and pushed.
The baby is responding to us. He knows we are here and waiting for him. I just need to keep faith and hope that all will be ok. Statistically it should be. I am low risk and have no health complications, other than I suppose being a bit too fat this time round. I just need to shake the anxiety that is hounding me.
I don't have a feeling about when baby will come. He is still very low, and I am having really frequent bowel movements as though everything is clearing the way! (nice). Boobs are still sore and leaking colostrum. Braxton hicks in the evenings are strong and uncomfortable. My back is starting to ache a bit, which is probably just the weight and strain. I also think baby is rolling round so is back to back at times, which I hope won't be an issue in labour. And my belly button is starting to pop out which never happened before.
I was convinced Ollie would be early and indeed he was, and this time I've had a similar feeling but I also wonder if after all this fuss about early babies, he'll take his time. I am 37 weeks tomorrow so unless I go into labour today which seems pretty unlikely, I just need to be thankful that baby has gone full term. It also means one more tick on the list of criteria for having the baby at the birthing centre where I'm hoping he will arrive.
I can't believe it is all going to happen soon. I really hope I can calm myself down. Baby is kicking lots this minute, I need to remember this. My husband has taken Ollie to the park so I am languishing in bed with a book, enjoying feeling the rolls and prods.
Please keep your fingers crossed for us.
Thanks for reading xxx