Wednesday, 1 October 2014

I have tried to write an update every day for the last 3 and every time just irritate myself with my impatience and inability to do anything but obsess over when the baby is coming.

This is all very new to me as with Ollie I felt this bizarre sense of calm and a very clear, very strong sense that he would be early. Which he was.

Now, I feel like a slightly crazy woman who has no idea what's going on or what to expect. All I know is that I am REALLY enormous and uncomfortable, feel constantly on edge, jittery with nerves and giddy with excitement. It feels like the baby's head is actually IN my vagina and when he moves like an elephant is rolling inside me.

I am trying to ignore the niggling worries of late pregnancy. The fact that my bump seems to be so large. I keep having dreams of 10lb back to back babies getting stuck and causing havoc.

Today I discovered that my friend Sian who blogs at Quite Frankly She Said had a beautiful little boy yesterday. I am SO excited for her, really truly genuinely so, and also this has put my impatience into overdrive! There is nothing like seeing a newborn for getting your hopes up. Sian looks beautiful and happy and after a much more traumatic (but in some ways similar) first birth, I am thrilled for her that this time was, in her words "quick and amazing". I am really hopeful of course that I will have a similar experience.

For now, I am drinking raspberry leaf tea, bouncing on a ball and doing pregnancy yoga. I had some aromatherapy and reflexology on Monday and am using the oils provided to keep myself calm throughout the day. I am also making sure I embrace and enjoy every second with my Ollie who is being particularly gorgeous at the moment. I can't imagine how it will all change but I am so proud of him and so sure that he was born to be an amazing big brother.

Thanks for reading xxx


Friday, 26 September 2014

I have now officially been pregnant for longer with this baby than I was with Ollie.

My waters broke at 3pm when I was 38+4. It was a big shock and I thought I'd wet myself for ages. When I realised that not only had my waters gone but they were green with meconium, I tried to shout for my husband, but he couldn't hear me. He then nearly had a heart attack when I phoned his mobile (he was in the garage and I was upstairs) and yelled at him to get upstairs. He had never moved so quickly.

I keep thinking back to those moments. To what happened next. So many small details etched into my mind. The faces we saw at the hospital. What everyone said and did. I can't believe it was all nearly two years ago. I can't believe how it all made me feel. So overwhelmed and scared and calm and spaced out and nervous and excited all at once. I didn't know when I went into hospital that I was going to come home with a baby. I hadn't started having contractions. I wasn't really in labour. When the midwife said "you're having this baby today" I was really stunned.

This time everything is so different. Knowledge makes the world a lot more scary and a lot more real and everything a lot more important. I feel much more anxious about what is to come, much more aware. Sometimes when I let myself think about the pain I feel so scared and I want to run away from it all. But then sometimes I am able to really centre myself and look forward to this and remember that for two years, since Ollie's birth, I have hoped and then have known that I will have a second baby and I will have the opportunity to prove to myself that I can do this. That I can survive the pain. That I can bring a baby into the world in a way that is empowering and not brutal and managed by everyone but me.

Of course I don't know what is going to happen. It still might not go the way I want. But I am very hopeful and optimistic. Rightly or wrongly.

Now that I have been pregnant for longer, I feel as though this baby is overdue, when of course he isn't yet. I think he will come next week. I don't think I will reach my due date but who knows. I had hoped, for no important reason at all, that I might have a late September baby. That we might squeeze the date in before October. So that September could be his birthday month, my husband's August, and October Oliver's, (and we just forget I'm an October birthday too! It's the 31st so I can have November...)

If he comes in September that means we have 4 days left. Then only 6 days of October before my due date. What if he is then late? What if he arrives on the 10th and shares Ollie's birthday?! What are the chances?! And why am I so consumed with thinking about birthdays all of a sudden?

I just want him to come now. I don't want to be pregnant, I want to be a mummy of two beautiful healthy boys and I pray that I will be blessed with that wish soon. I thought that I would feel very odd about the prospect of another baby joining our family but I don't at all. It feels right. I thought I would be worrying about Ollies reaction but I'm not. He suddenly seems to be getting it. Today he patted my tummy and said "baby there, my baby, baby brother. Baby pop soon" (because I told him the baby would pop out).

Of course I don't know what his reaction will actually be. How we will all cope. What Ollie will think or do when the baby cries or when I am feeding him or when I am exhausted. I don't want Ollie to feel he is replaced. But then I can't really imagine him feeling that because out of all little boys in the whole world, not one could feel more loved than I believe Ollie feels. Sometimes we tell him we love him and kiss and hold him so much I feel like the sentiment must be suffocating.

This baby will be loved so much too.

My boys. My family.

I wonder when it will all be real....

Thanks for reading xx


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

I've been doing my pregnancy diary at the end of each week, recollecting what's happened or changed during that time. But I'm breaking with tradition here and giving you an update 1 day in.

I'm 38+1.

On Saturday I woke up with the worst cold ever. Think of every cold symptom and I had it in abundance. Aching all over, congested, stuffy, sore throat. And then Ollie woke up and started crying, and we discovered him lying in a bed of sick which looked like a scene from some sort of horror film as the last thing he'd eaten was tomato based stew. 

Anyway, from that I'm sure you can imagine what the last couple of days have been like. When Ollie is ill I go into dynamic mode. Stripping sicky beds at 3am (that was Sunday), being very efficient with the washing, managing to turn off any natural instinct to gag when a sick-covered child lunges at you and just wants to be held. But I have felt so ill myself and completely exhausted it's been tough.

My anxiety has also crept up again...I'm no longer fretting about baby movement but baby position. It keeps turning and sometimes I'm sure is back to back and last night I think may even have come out of my pelvis and turned breech. My tummy went a bizarre shape and felt really uncomfortable for several hours.

 I tried to manipulate the painful lumps and bumps a little, and then of course panicked that Id manhandled baby too much when he went quiet. The midwife I saw on Tuesday who got on the floor in a foetal position and was lovely, told me I was just obsessing over everything. I am trying to remember that and stay calm. Baby seems in a more normal position and is moving lots this morning. 

But why am I putting myself through all this shit?! I never worried like this with Ollie. I didn't think about the baby's position. It didn't occur to me to think about it. I didn't fret about movements being different because it made sense they would be.

Week 38 is a biggy for me because my labour with Ollie started on day 38+4 and he was born 38+5. I never reached 39 weeks, let alone my due date. This makes me feel like this week is the week baby is coming, even though of course he may well not. If I go into week 39 or behond it will feel overdue to me, even though I know that's technically inaccurate. I didn't feel impatient last time at all, this time I can't quite describe why I'm so pent up. It's not really impatience, more of overwhelming sense of anticipation. Maybe it's just that I feel really ready this time. And I really want baby in my arms so I know where his head and feet are rather than tucked up inside and invisible doing bizarre gymnastics. 

Colostrum is now literally pouring out of my boobs. And I'm being kicked/head butted in the cervix, whichever way you look at it, because I've actually got no clue now how he's lying.

Did you become as anxious as I am? I wonder if it will all be over soon...fingers crossed.

Thanks for reading xxx

Pregnancy Diary: 37 weeks!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

This week has been generally a good one, although it's fair to say I am definitely getting "that point" now. The point where exhaustion and discomfort and general enormousness means the idea of pushing a full size baby out of my bits seems almost welcome relief.

On Monday a mental health midwife came to my house. I was referred to the perinatal team at 20 weeks when I told my normal midwife how awful I felt and that Id had a severe bout of depression in my early twenties. 17 weeks later, I get paid a visit. I felt quite nervous and uncomfortable because the truth is the episode of depression I was experiencing has passed. I'm struggling with general stress and the expected hormonal mood swings of pregnancy but I'm not mentally unwell, anymore, and wasn't for that long. I explained that the episode lasted from about week 20 to 28. Then I waited to see what she would say... And it turned out she was the loveliest person to talk to in the whole world ever. 

She got me completely and utterly after asking about 5 questions. She worked out the cause and trigger of depression for me (my childhood and sustained stress, respectively) and understood immediately the complex relationship I have with my mum, my lack of self esteem and belief, my joy at motherhood.  She was brilliant. I cried, a lot, which I wasn't expecting, just because talking to her was like looking in a mirror somehow. She made me feel safe and normal. She showed me great pity and empathy for the experiences which haunt me and make me struggle today. She told me I was a wonderful and very admirable mother.

So that was good. And then she left. And I cried because I didn't want her to leave, and I have no follow up sessions because I'm not technically depressed now, although she said to call if my mood dipped. 

Then on Tuesday I saw my normal midwife and baby is still engaged and has a strong heartbeat. She was SO reassuring about movement too, at one point getting on the floor and pretending to be a curled up foetus demonstrating his position! I am relieved he is still head down but he keeps rolling onto his back, so is back to back. Fingers crossed he doesn't decide to be back to back in labour!

My mum has been here since mid week helping me get things done. I bought Ollie a cuddly bear as his big brother present. I bought a new changing mat. She bought Ollie some new shoes. We had a date night on Friday and she babysat, which will probably be the last one in a LONG time especially if I breastfeed again. 

I am feeling a bit run down this weekend, so wondering if that's the start of something. I'm also getting the strong braxton hicks still. We shall see! My attitude right now is bring it on. I feel ready and I feel in the mood to put up a fight. I know that may not be an advisable state of mind, (overly aggressive?!) but with Ollie, I was so totally detached from the prospect of labour, the pain was a real shock, and generally it was so shocking when it didn't go the way I had thought. This time I feel very informed and positive. I have a plan of action for all eventualities. I do not want to have an epidural and I am brave and strong and can handle it. *And repeat*

Thanks for reading xxx

Pregnancy Diary: 36 weeks!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

This week has been all over the place. I dropped Ollie at nursery on Monday and as I walked out of the building I suddenly realised how Autumnal it had become. I could smell a bonfire (God knows why before 8am!) and there was a really crisp cold wind. Even some of the trees are starting to turn golden orange. 

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

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