Weeks 36 – 38

Workin’

Around week 36, my  nasty fainting habit came back, and resulted in me getting my ass stranded in ultra-glam Radcliffe on Trent as I wasn’t entirely convinced I was able to stay conscious behind the wheel of the car. The next day at work, I made it to 10am before I was lying on the floor around the corner in the meeting room trying not to vom and asking Neil if he could take me home.

At that point, he pretty much told me I wasn’t welcome back in the office and I should be working from home. I pretty much hate admitting defeat or showing weakness in any form so I wasn’t too up for this, but then the heatwave hit, and I realised that working from home meant I could work sat on the sofa in my knickers and take a nap on my lunchbreak and suddenly the whole arrangement looked a lot more appealing.

ESPECIALLY on the day it was 34’C and I bought the last 3 desk fans in any Argos store in the Nottingham area, made my little brother assemble them and turned them all on full blast, close range, all day. That was Excellent.

34.5 degree heat in a car with no aircon makes Kate a mardy arse

34.5 degree heat in a car with no aircon makes Kate a mardy arse

Finishing work

A day shy of 38 weeks, I cleared my inbox for the last time, set my out of office and officially finished work for maternity leave. Earlier this pregnancy, I had thought I would work a bit later than I did last time, to save potentially being off work for a month with not a lot to think about other than WHY THE HELL HAD THIS BABY NOT COME OUT YET? whilst frantically googling early labour symptoms. BUT, we work up 8 lots of stairs in an old factory building with no aircon and no lift. And, as much as I freaking LOVE my job, it does involve you being on top of your game most of the time, something which got increasingly hard as time went on. Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion my maternity cover is going to end up being better at my job than I am, which is a bit of a pisser.

So instead, I’m going to potter around the house, take naps, read books, and make the most of these next couple of weeks, as I’m not going to get the chance again until I hit retirement.

Also, massive props to team Fat Free for an excellent leaving fuddle and pressies.

La Leche League

This month I also trotted off to my first LLL meeting. To be honest, I had a few pre-conceived ideas about LLL and 10 year olds who were still breastfed, but the people I met were resoundingly normal. I got some advice shed on some of the problems I had last time around (two and a half years late, but whatevs, totally my fault) and, having been there before, I’d be far more confident turning up for support with any problems I have this time around.

36 weeks

36 weeks

The thing about being no work and all play is that it doesn’t make for very interesting reading. So, I have very little in the way of interesting anecdotes for you. Soz about that. Here’s some bulletpoints that range from vaguely interesting to downright dull:

  • Despite the fact that I’ve been walking between 3-5k every day and eating healthily *most* of the time, I’m putting on weight at a rate of about 1lb a day at the minute. Not feeling quite so smug about my 4 months with no weight gain, now that I’m heading towards weighing EXACTLY the same as I did at the end of my pregnancy with Billy. Ah well, it only took me *whispery voice* 18 months to lose it last time, sigh.
  • Had this idea that I would work through the stack of novels on the bookshelf and set myself a challenge to see how many I could get through before baby arrived. However, now I’m actually on maternity leave and free to do what I bloody well want, I feel a bit guilty for reading anything that isn’t birth prep/hypnobirth/breastfeeding related. It’s like being at uni and never getting to the point that you feel you’ve read enough all over again. So, the fiction pile remains untouched, but what I don’t know about a theoretical good latch at this point isn’t worth knowing (can’t wait to give birth and have my memory erased and have not a clue what to do with this baby, which is what will inevitably happen).
  • Me and my best friend have developed a tradition where we spend a day with one another before the baby arrives and do something lovely like go to a spa or have a pedicure or something. Now we both have 1 child under our belts, our concept of “lovely” has changed slightly, to the point that the thought of a meal out without having to chase after a toddler / eat with one hand sounded rather decadent, so we ate approximately 4,000 calories at Reds True BBQ and Pudding Pantry. This is the exception to the “mostly healthy eating” comment in bulletpoint 1.
  • Insomnia is a complete bitch, especially when coupled with people giving you a little chuckle and telling you it’s good practice for when the baby gets here/that I should wait til the baby gets here because it will be so much worse/etc. Look people, I know newborns are up all the goddamn time, I have done this before. I just don’t reckon a month of agitated sleepless nights is the best preparation for the upcoming months of sleep deprivation. Also, STFU.
  • That said, about once a week, I will have a decent night’s sleep where I don’t get woken up by Bill talking bollocks in his sleep (“No that’s MY broccoli”), hunger or random insomnia, and I only have to get up for 3ish wees in the night. When I wake up after one of these rare “good” nights, I feel properly invincible for at least 4 hours (so, basically until naptime).

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  • I heard a rumour that second babies weren’t meant to engage until you went in to labour. I was looking forward to this as I’d walked around with Billy’s head lodged in my pelvis for the last 6 weeks of pregnancy last time, and can confirm that the pregnancy waddle is SO not a good look. Anyhoo, this baby didn’t get the message about not engaging until it was time to go, and was 3/5ths engaged at my 36 week appointment, and “as engaged as it’s possible to be without being in labour” by my 38 week appointment.  Cheers, kiddo.
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38 weeks

So I know I’m only a week in, but so far, this whole maternity leave thing has been bloody brilliant.

We started off the week with some friends coming to stay for the weekend. Then, pretty much as soon as they’d left, Laura arrived and we spent a very chilled out 24 hours watching DVDs, going for facials and eating cupcakes.

38 weeks pregnant

 

The rest of the week was taken up by growing stretch marks and (according to my belly shot above), back fat. And having some minor freak-outs that I’m going to be responsible for a tiny human being in a couple of weeks time. When I wasn’t busy gaining body fat or freaking out, I had some bloody lovely visits from friends: Jen and Archie popped over for a fish finger sarnie in our local pub, Kerry came for tea, I popped in to the office for a meeting and attempted to swim myself in to labour with 40 lengths with Bec at our local pool. Other than doing a very good impression of one of those buoys they put in the sea to show boats the way to go, any attempts to induce labour were sadly unsuccessful.

You know everyone tells you about these nesting urges you get when you’re expecting? Where you’re frantically scrubbing floors at 2am and downright refusing to go in to labour until you’ve defrosted the freezer? I was kind of looking forward to that bit. I’m naturally a bit of a scruffy bugger, so some short-lived neat-freakiness would have gone down a treat. However, it seems that unless you’re Monica from Friends BEFORE getting up the duff, you’re unlikely to turn in to her at 39 weeks. The floors haven’t been scrubbed, the cupboards haven’t been emptied and refilled, the nursery has not been painted and I’m entirely at ease with all of those things. I suppose there’s a chance that the baby might take one look at the nursery and tell us they don’t think much to the effort we’ve made, but then again, I doubt it somehow.

Plans for next week involve: a whole lot of napping, small quantities of baking, flicking through a few books about what to do when the baby actually gets here followed by another nap. Sounds awesome.

On stretch marks

Stretch marks and pregnancy go hand in hand. I’ve read the research, I know that logically, all the cocoa butter in the world is not going to stop stretch marks from appearing, and your genetics and rate of growth/weight gain have a lot more to do with it. However, all this logic didn’t stop me from religiously slathering on almond oil, rose hip oil, pure Vitamin E oil and various other butters and potions twice daily throughout the pregnancy in a bid to avoid them.

From the age of 11, I grew a bra size approximately every 5 minutes, until the point that I found myself as a 15 year old girl, in charge of 34G boobs and an impressive array of unsightly dark purple stretch marks peeking out from whatever over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder was available from a mail order catalogue before the high street realised that not everyone was blessed with perky 32As and gave us decent bras for well endowed ladies. I was massively self conscious about my boobs and my stretch marks, but it did get better eventually, with the passage of time. I really can’t remember what came first, me getting over myself, or the stretch marks fading in to little silvery lines. Probably the latter.

So, when I got further and further in to the pregnancy and found myself miraculously stretch mark free, I’ll admit it, I was a teensy bit smug about the whole thing. I had a few thread veins around the side of my bump which I could cope with, but I’d got away without gaining the unsightly purple stripes I’d seen on the forums I frequent. I put it down to looking after myself, assumed the religious application of various oils and creams had stood me in good stead and counted myself as one of the lucky ones.

Then, at the start of week 38, in an attempt to get out of the house quickly, I opened the door on my bump and bashed myself in the belly. I didn’t do it hard, and it didn’t hurt, so I didn’t think anything of it until later that evening when I noticed a purple line in around the same place and passed it off as a bruise.

But the next morning, there was another one next to it.

The morning after that, there were a few more.

Suddenly, I wasn’t so smug after all.

Now, whenever I look at my belly in the mirror (which is roughly a billion times a day), there seems to be a couple more. They’re currently exclusively taking up the space between my belly button and my underwear, meaning they can only be seen properly in a mirror, on tip toes, whilst thrusting belly first at the mirror, much, I’m sure, to the amusement of my husband. I can feel the difference in texture in the skin, and it feels tight and uncomfortable, although there is every possibility this is entirely in my head.

And, as all the books and apps tell me, the home stretch of the pregnancy is where the baby gains the most weight, not to mention the extra water you’re probably retaining. It’s also the time that you’re the least mobile you’ve ever been, due to the fact that you’re the size of an actual house. All this adds up to the likelihood of gaining a lot more weight between now and having the baby, which therefore suggests that my new-found go faster stripes are going to get worse before they get better.

So, in summary: I know there’s nothing I can do about it. I know they’re not as bad as a lot of people’s. Neil has done a wonderful job of listening to me moan and reassuring me that he thinks they’re badass. And I’ve grown another human being, dammit  That’s a pretty amazing feat, and if my body doesn’t look the same as it did before, then so be it. Pinterest is full of images of stretch marks and motivational clichéd phrases about tigers earning stripes, and it looks like I’ve finally earned mine.

However, none of this changes the fact that I got THIS CLOSE to the finishing line before the first one appeared, and if my skin could have held its elasticity just a TEENSY bit longer, I would have got away scot-free. For that reason alone, I wholeheartedly reserve the right to be miffed. Neither does it change the fact that I’m grumpy, my hormones are all over the shop, and I’m probably overdue a nap.

/rant