Weeks 31 – 35

Right, what have I got to moan about this month?

London weekend
Well to start with, I tootled off down to the big smoke on the glamorous national express to stay with Stef and meet up with my friend Holly. We ate tapas, looked at dead things in jars (so much better than it sounds), Sky Gardened and ate steak.

At the Sky Garden

At the Sky Garden

Oxford weekend
A couple of weeks later, I had ANOTHER girly weekend, this time in Oxford with more steak (its for the anemia, yo), afternoon tea and dominoes. The non-pregnant amongst us (so everyone apart from me) also had a shit tonne of prosecco and a hot tub. Honestly, preggos miss out on all the fun.

Oxford

Oxford

On the Sunday, we went for a mooch around the grounds of Blenheim Palace, which was gorgeous. On the 5 minute drive back, I passed out twice and ended up having an ambulance called for me. I thankfully managed to avoid the public pooping this time, so be grateful for small mercies. My blood pressure was low but my blood sugars were fine, so its been put down to heat and dehydration. I think (with my extensive years of medical training) that diet played a part, as this weekend was more cookies and junk food than bran flakes and complex carbs. But I feel fine now, and I’m taking it easy, OK?

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

For the record, I did this last pregnancy as well, but that involved me being naked except a pair of knickers and some massage oil, leaving an imprint of my bum on the floor. 

Tits!

Around this time last pregnancy, I posted a blog about all the nursing bra research I’d done and which ones I bought.

Nursing bras, the PJs I bought to fit me in later pregnancy and the big boy-short pants I bought to wear after giving birth are the three items of my maternity wardrobe that never *quite* made it in to storage and stayed in my general clothes rotation. OK, so they might make your tits look like shit but hot damn, those things are so comfy I’ll forgive them. This does however mean that 2.5 years down the line, I have a lot of nursing bras which my boobs looked crap in when they were brand new, which have been washed and tumble dried and worn a million times, to the extent that there are patches where the lycra has given up the ghost and gone completely see-through. Not in a sexy way.

32 weeks

32 weeks

So, it was time to look for some alternatives.

It basically turns out that all the brands and types of bras I used to like have been discontinued, so I dropped a couple of hundred quid on figleaves and bought all the nursing bras I could get my hands on. Either DD+ nursing bras have come a long way in the last 2.5 years, or I made some terrible choices last time around, but I was pretty bloody impressed with my haul. Special shoutout to Cake’s underwired bras in particular for being pretty, supportive and not making ones tits look like a sack of spuds.

 

The “nursery” 

Seeing as we’re still calling “the nursery” the “junk room”, we’ve got a long way to go before it’s going to be on anyone’s pinterest inspiration board. This month, Neil did do a heroic 4 hour flatpack session to make the 8 drawer Hemnes unit so at least we have somewhere to put all the baby shit when we get it out of the loft.

Not that we’ve actually got to that bit, like.

34 weeks

34 weeks

 

Home Birth Meeting 

This pregnancy, my pre-natal care has been shared between community midwives and an obstetric consultant, what with the previous massive baby and all. This has culminated in the grand total of two 30 minute consultations (and a 3 hour wait each time) with a registrar in the consultant’s team who hummed and hawed about me having a home birth until I told them I had the express blessing of both the consultant AND the supervisor of midwives so HA.

Firstborn being all gorgeous

Firstborn being all gorgeous

Side note: I’m not being a crunchy militant home-birther for the sake of it, I love the NHS with all my heart and I know the suggestions I received from the registrars were done so with (what they perceived to be) my best interests at heart. What I do take offence to is consistently not being listened to, being given shoddy “facts” that don’t stand up to AIMS, NICE and NHS guidelines and being scare-mongered in to something for which there is no statistical evidence that the outcomes will be better for me or the baby. For the record: “…home birth is equally as safe as a midwife-led unit and traditional labour ward for the babies of low risk pregnant women who have already had at least 1 child previously”.

I’m also well aware that there are a million and one reasons that might mean we have to transfer in to the hospital, and if that happens, I won’t have failed, or done a bad job. Basically, if there’s a chance I could have this baby in my front room and then get in my own bed with a cup of tea and a packet of biscuits, then that sounds pretty ideal to me.

Important Baby Related Purchases this month

Important Baby Related Purchases this month

Anyway, that all got a bit serious for a minute, but what I was actually trying to say is that my community midwife and the supervisor of midwives popped round to meet with me and Neil and discuss our plans. They were on board with everything we said and were refreshingly straightforward about the whole thing. My community midwife has also typed up the notes from our meeting for the benefit of the midwives who attend when I’m in labour and has generally been a bloody star. SHOUT OUT TO JEAN FOR BEING AWESOME.

My maternity cover started at work

This month, an amazing lass called Kerry started with us at Fat Free Media to take over from me when I leave. Last time I went on maternity leave, my employer took so long to organise my maternity cover, that it never bloody happened, so this is a bit of unchartered territory for me. I’m used to being the person who knows everything, who has their fingers on all the pulses, all of the time, so it wa’ a bit bloody weird to hand over the reins to someone else. At first, we seemed to awkwardly be working on the same thing at the same time. Then we’ve transitioned to her doing some things and me doing the others, and we’re now working towards her doing pretty much all of it, and me solving problems/being there for back up if and when she needs it. Soon, I will be entirely surplus to requirements, which is probably a good thing, especially as, at one point, I had very real concerns about being back at work with a week old baby in a moses basket under the desk.

Battle of the bellies with Neil's best friend's wife

Battle of the bellies with Neil’s best friend’s wife

What this process has taught me, is that I bloody love my job. So that’s good, isn’t it?

Hospital bags

The little pregnancy app on my phone I like to largely ignore and occasionally roll my eyes at keeps reminding me that I should have packed a hospital bag by now, and to make sure I remember to pack warm socks and fluffy slippers because people’s feet get cold when they’re in labour. HAHA FUCK OFF, I wouldn’t have even known I had feet when I was in labour.

So far, have only packed biscuits and sanitary towels. On two occasions, I’ve taken the designated hospital biscuits out of the bag due to an unforseen emergency* (*hungry) and had to repack them a couple of days later.

That’s pretty much all my bases covered, right?

Disclaimer: I will at some point actually pack my hospital bags, I just probably won’t be so organised and smug about it as I was last time. Don’t believe me? See “On Hospital Bags” and the slightly less naive “On Hospital Bags…reloaded” if you want a quick lol.

Next month: Who knows what new and exciting things I’ll find to moan about next month. Probably the fact I’m finishing work, I’m too sweaty, I can’t sleep and that crocheted blanket I thought I would leave until I was spending more time sat on the sofa when heavily pregnant is really fucking hot and definitely not a good idea to have on your lap when it’s 34′ outside.

Progress

Progress

32 weeks

Week 32 started off with a day working from home, a cheeky nap between 5-6pm, and then me waking up in a foul mood. I’d slept in too long, hadn’t left myself enough time to get ready, and to make matters worse, couldn’t find a SINGLE BLOODY THING TO WEAR. I suddenly felt it was entirely inappropriate to wear clothes that my friends would have seen me wear over the last few days (even though the chances of them noticing and/or giving a damn are slim to none), and everything I tried on either looked like I was trying to squeeze my new-found body in to something that didn’t fit, or looked like a bloody Muu-muu. And with 8-10 weeks left, I’m a bit hesitant to go out and spend money on maternity clothes that are going to be worn all of 10 minutes, but then again, 8-10 weeks is a bloody long time to go feeling like you’ve got nothing to wear.

So, having had no time to properly blow dry my hair or put any make up on other than some hastily applied mascara, I left the house at 6:50pm, knowing full well that I would be late. The first person of the evening to get on the receiving end of my foul mood was the arse driving a Vectra who could clearly see I was doing a turn in the road when he left me approximately 11 inches to complete the manoeuvre. I then gave MYSELF the evils when I realised after completing a pretty skilled 3 point turn (even if I do say so myself), I wasn’t  going to get very far without my purse which was on the sofa. Once the arse in the Vectra had gone off on his merry way, and my purse was once again in my handbag, I made a quick pit stop at Co-Op for a sticky toffee pudding, some custard and a couple of bottles of Schloer. To the guy in front of me at the check out that though it was a good idea to comment on the basket of shopping held by the 8 month pregnant lady with the crazy hair and tell me that it “looked like someone was having a fruity night in”, you deserved every evil/eye-roll you received. What does that EVEN MEAN? Why take it upon yourself to comment in the first place? FYI, totally judged you buying your 2 bottles of Spitfire and ready meal for one on a Friday night, so INYOURFACE.

I may/may not have given “fruity night in” guy a further laugh when he walked past me sat in the drivers seat, glugging Schloer straight from the bottle like a mofo. WHAT? I was THIRSTY and that stuff is DELICIOUS.

So, I picked up Hol and arrived at Sarah’s at exactly the same time as everyone else, thus proving that my friends can always be relied on to be 15 minutes late, and that I probably had time to do a proper blow dry AND flick some Vs at the “fruity night in” guy. Gutted.

Here’s a photo of ma ladies (stolen from the facebook of the lovely Bec, cheers luv). Also, the Lumberjack shirt is a trend that has completely passed me by, but clearly has a solid grip on my friendship group.

Christmas Meal at 32 weeks

So, that was Friday night. What else has happened this week?

Well,. my inability to sleep has reached some excellent new levels, with a typical timeline as follows:

  • 10pm-12am: sleep
  • 12-1am: go for a wee, toss and turn for a bit
  • 1-4am: broken sleep, turning every half an hour or so as my hips complain
  • 4am: another wee
  • 5am: realise sleep isn’t coming any time soon
  • 5:30am: give up and go downstairs
  • 6:30am: finally fall asleep on the sofa
  • 8:00am: wake up

The cat thinks this new development is great, as she has a captive audience to watch her 6am christmas tree climbing sessions, although she is getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of available space on my lap for napping purposes.

Cat sharing lap-space with ever increasing bump

I, on the other hand? Grumpy as hell. I’ve reduced caffeine intake, tried gentle exercise, hot baths and kept naps to a minimum, but still, nothing seems to work. Here’s to hoping it’s just a phase.

Speaking of ‘gentle’ exercise, on Saturday, we attempted a trip to town to spend various vouchers, get fitted for a nursing bra and meet some friends for lunch. I’m not sure at what point over the last 32 weeks shopping became so difficult, but an hour and a half of walking around town left me more tired than completing a half marathon. Gone are the days that our shopping trips went on until Neil got grumpy, this time, it was me calling the shots and demanding a sit down. From now on, EVERYTHING is being bought online.

On Sunday, after another bad night’s sleep and very few movements from Baby R throughout the day, we got the doppler out to have a listen. For the first time, we noticed that the baby’s heart rate was nowhere near consistent, it went very fast all of a sudden, followed by some big dips that we weren’t very happy with. We called the maternity unit to be on the safe side, who told us to come in to be checked for half an hour. I was secretly hoping this might also result in a cheeky ultrasound so we could have a sneaky peak at the baby’s goods (or lack of), but no such luck. I got strapped up to a monitoring device, and after about 10 minutes, we saw a pretty big dip with the heartrate down to around 110 bpm for a couple of minutes. This was shown to a doc, and a consultant, and a couple more people, and then they asked me to sit in a more upright position and be monitored for another half an hour. This came back absolutely textbook, and we were allowed to go on our way to enjoy the rest of the evening and my mum’s birthday takeaway.

My view from the maternity assessment unit

I learned a couple of interesting things whilst I was there:

1) I have developed a very low tolerance for other people. Especially if you happen to be in the monitoring bay next to me, do the dying duck any time a midwife comes in to earshot, and then chat normally to your boyfriend as soon as you think you’re on your own. Get a grip woman.

2) The sound of babies being born down the corridor is way cooler than I thought it would be.

New Year’s Eve involved a lot of faffing around with my mum and painting my nails in the daytime. Neil bought me a UV Lamp and some Shellac nail varnish for Chrimbo, so I finally got around to giving it a go.

UV lamp for Gel Nails

 

Finished product:

Shellac Hot Chillis

I’m pretty impressed! Next time, I’m going to try using the Shellac base and top coat with some of my existing non-UV varnishes and see how that works out. Check me out being all girly and stuff!

So, my top 5 NYE’s have all involved good people, good food, and usually too much wine. I don’t like going out, I resent paying over the odds for taxis and don’t really get the appeal of seeing in the new year with loud music, strangers and a dark room. Yes, I am that much of a old fogey.

So, given that wine was off the menu, this year’s plan involved one handsome husband, some comfy PJ’s, “Restless” on iPlayer and the most epic sofa picnic known to man or god.

New Year's Eve

We were in bed by 11:30pm and for once, I woke up in bed, and not in pain, rather than grumpy and on the sofa with a cat on my head.

New Year’s Day was bloody lovely, so Neil and I chucked on our boots and headed to the local park to work off the cheese hangover. Ten weeks ago, I managed a 4 mile walk, and I planned to do a similar route today. This was a bit of an over estimation on my behalf as we got half a mile in before I turned around to go home, then had a 40 minute nap to recover. When did this stuff get so HARD?

Neil had to work for the rest of NYD, so I took the opportunity to write a birth plan, which started off as a list of bulletpoints, then began to resemble my undergrad dissertation, then was condensed back down to bulletpoints. I don’t for one second think that giving birth will work out the way that it does in my head, and I wanted our birth plan to reflect that, e.g. this is best case scenario, but if other stuff happens, here’s what we’d like to do. It’s not very prescriptive, but it was an interesting process researching and writing it, and a good way for us to work through the process and to make sure that we were on the same wavelength, even if the end result is essentially a bit of paper that says “I’d like to have a baby, please?”

So the rest of the week I was back to work, which considering it was only a 2 day working week, lasted about 4 months in total. Other than visits from Jen and the adorable baby Archie, and Hol and Bec coming over for tea and biscuits, that’s about my week covered.

I forgot to take a proper bump shot this week, so here’s a crappy one off my phone:

32 weeks 6 days bump