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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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

Weeks 27 – 30

Third trimester
The second trimester is known for being the best bit of pregnancy apparently, because you’re not massive and sore and stuff just yet, and you have marginally more energy than in the first and third trimesters. I say “apparently” because those benefits passed me by completely.

Either way, that bit’s over now, so we’re technically on the home straight.

Turkey
This month we swanned off to Turkey for our jollies, and our close friend’s 60th birthday. I was a little apprehensive about travelling when pretty pregnant, especially when I realised I couldn’t use my Ehic card, but luckily everything was fine.

At least, it was fine until we left the house to drive to the airport and I started feeling decidedly peaky. In the short version of the story, I ate a krispy kreme donut for breakfast and then had a funny turn and passed out/had a little fit/convinced myself I had gestational diabetes.

The longer version of the story involves having an emergency poo at the side of the road before I passed out, whilst having an internal dilemma over whether it was less embarrasing to point my arse towards the cars (anonymity) or my face (no exposed arse).

LOVE a good sunset

LOVE a good sunset

(I went with face, by the way, in case you’re interested)

Neil wanted to get me checked out at the hospital but that pretty much guaranteed that we were going to miss our flight and I was pretty convinced that there were both medics and English breakfasts at Stanstead airport departure lounge – both of which would probably sort me right out. By the time we ‘d got finished with the emergency poos, got through roadworks, caught the bus to the terminal and got through security, there was actually only time for the English breakfast, but luckily it seemed to do the trick as I felt much better after that.

The view from our balcony

The view from our balcony

We’d upgraded our room to a 2 bedroom family suite apartment because every time we’ve ever shared a room with Billy since he was 6 weeks old, it’s resulted in none of us getting any sleep. It turns out it that this was a Very Good Move, but not because Billy was the problem, I became the problem. Or, more specifically, my insanely loud pregnancy snoring became the problem. So I had a superkingsized bed and en suite all to myself, and my poor suffering husband bunked in with Billy in a single bed. Soz Neil.

26 weeks "all inclusive" food/baby

26 weeks “all inclusive” food/baby

GTT tests

As soon as we landed back in the UK, it was time for my Glucose Tolerance Test. Basically, in my area (other areas test everyone indiscriminately), if your BMI is over a certain number, you’re over a certain age, fit a certain ethnic profile or had a fat shit baby before (TICK), they want you to fast for 15 hours, then drink a pint of lucazade whilst they test your blood.

Bearing in mind my recent history with Krispy Kremes, this was not an experience I was looking forward to as I’d done a fairly good job of convincing myself I had the diabeetus and was going to spend the rest of this pregnancy eating lettuce. But, like all things I’m utterly dreading, it was actually FINE, and my blood sugar levels were exactly the same before the lucazade as they were 2 hours after the lucazade. I think this is a good thing? Either way, no Gestational Diabetes here, pass the Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.

My Magic Chiropractor/Wizard

Now I don’t know about everyone else, but my pregnancies seem to have been plagued by very specific and annoying ailments which appear overnight, stay for a few days and then disappear as quickly as they came on. Conveniently, they seem to disappear at the same point you reach the end of the Google search engine results pages and have tried every pregnancy safe remedy in the book. Examples of this include: insanely sensitive teeth that stop you eating or drinking, a scalp so itchy it stops you sleeping at night and mysterious hives that come and go as they damn well please.

One such ailment was the appearance of a completely dead left leg and bum cheek, which made getting up the 8 flights of stairs to the office a teensy bit tricky. After 4 days of this, I found a chiropractor that specialised in pregnant ladies and kids and families and whatnot and thought it would be worth a go.

Pretty much as soon as I booked the appointment, I got up from my desk and my left leg had magically come back to life. Bastard.

Still, with PGP/SPD rearing its ugly head, I went along for the appointment and it was the SINGLE BEST THING I’VE EVER DONE. Seriously. You don’t have to hurt when you get out of bed. Putting on your knickers needn’t be a mammoth task. She’s even cured me of heartburn! Although she’s patiently explained it to me a million times, I don’t have the foggiest how it works, but I’ve decided I don’t need to. I’m just more than happy to turn up once every couple of weeks feeling all wonky and achey, and then walk out 25 minutes later with a spring in my step and a perfectly aligned pelvis. If you’re reading this and you’re pregnant, just bloody go, you definitely won’t regret it.

Anemia

This month, I was also diagnosed with anemia, which I think might have had a thing or two to do with my fainting episode, on reflection. I hate iron tablets with the fire of a thousand suns, so I looked into some alternatives and found Spa Tone sachets, which taste like shite, but don’t give you anywhere near the tummy upsets that iron tablets do. For good measure, I chucked in some Ferroglobin tablets too. Stitch that, anemia.

Definitely not thinking about squeezing that chick

Definitely not thinking about squeezing that chick

On weight gain

When I was pregnant with Billy, I pretty much avoided the scales at all costs. Except when I was in labour, when I weighed myself and got the shock of a lifetime when I discovered I’d put on 45lbs. With Billy being such a chunk, I’ve always felt a bit guilty that maybe the amount of fish and chips I ate had affected his gargantuan proportions, and vowed to eat healthier this time around.

…Which I largely have. I’ve not had the same food aversions this time around, which is good, because when you’re starving hungry but the thought of every meal under the sun makes you want to vom (with the exception of fish and chips), then fish and chips you will eat.  This time around, I’ve been able to eat a lot more protein, I’ve eaten a lot of hard boiled eggs, bagels, sultana bran, berries and dried fruit. I’ve not eaten anywhere near as many takeaways, biscuits or chocolates, so I deserve not to put on as much weight, right?

WRONG. On my 27 week blog when pregnant with Billy, I commented that I’d put on 16lbs so far. Guess how much weight I’d put on by 27 weeks this time round? 16 FREAKING LBS. I can’t wait for the 18 months or so it’ll take me to work off those 45lbs again this time around.

Next month: I pass out some more, get an ambulance called for me, but miraculously avoid emergency roadside poos (progress).

On due dates

Dear Baby,

We’ve had fun, these past 40 weeks or so, but I’m afraid to say, the time has come. In fact, you’re currently 3 days late. GTFO. Or else.

Yes, I know due dates aren’t real. They’re an estimate, and normal pregnancies last anywhere between 37-42 weeks, and no amount of pineapple eating or Clary Sage sniffing is going to make it turn up any faster. I know all that. BUT, we’ve spent the past 9 months preparing for your arrival. We’ve watched the instructional videos on how to fit the car seat, we’ve even attempted to test the baby sling on the cat (not a successful mission, FYI), not to mention the fact that I am getting spectacularly more grumpy by the day, and my stomach has started to resemble a London underground map. So just HURRY UP ALREADY.

To make matters worse, when all the people on the pregnancy forums due within a few weeks of me all seemingly do a big sneeze two weeks before their due date and end up with an adorable instagrammed newborn curled up on their chest, then I start to get a teensy bit cats-bum-face about the whole thing. It’s not just people on the interwebs either. Remember when I moaned about people coming out of the woodwork to share their overly dramatic birth stories? Well the ante has officially been upped. In the last couple of weeks, these have been replaced with stories of people’s friend’s sister’s neighbor’s colleague who came back from a long day at work, cooked a 3 course meal for 12 people, put together some flatpack furniture, sat down with a cuppa and had a baby, all in the time it takes me to seal-dive my gargantuan ass of the sofa to put the kettle on.

I know all about the walking, and the bouncing on yoga balls, the red raspberry leaf tea, hot curries and eating seven freaking pineapples, but to be honest, that’s just stuff to distract you whilst you finish gestating, isn’t it? Because I’ve bounced on my yoga ball so much it’s become slightly mis-shapen, done more laps of Wollaton Park than I care to count, have taken so many raspberry leaf tea capsules I’ve now ran out, yet still, no baby.

And then you get to the well meaning texts and phone calls asking if there are “any signs?” which have been coming through thick and fast for, oh…about a month now. From the vast majority of people, I’m genuinely pleased to hear from them and welcome them checking in. From other select people (especially if the words ‘dropped’, ‘popped’ or ‘sprog’ are used), I want to incredible-hulk-smash my phone against the nearest hard surface and go in to hibernation until you make an appearance. Don’t get me wrong, the rational part of my brain is TOTALLY aware how ungrateful this makes me sound, but unfortunately, the irrational side doesn’t care. Sorry about that.

I’m not scared of labour. In fact, it’s one of those things I’ve always wanted to do, long before finding myself in the family way. Like running a marathon. You know it’s a stupid idea, you know it’s going to hurt, but you’ve just got that itch, and it’s got to be scratched. But somewhere along the way, I’ve set up some additional parameters in my head. I’ve tried very hard not to have a prescriptive idea of what labour will be like, but you just can’t help having a best case scenario, and therefore, a worst case scenario too. My best case scenario involves not going too far overdue (like, NOW would be excellent) and being able to cope with what mother nature deals us. My worst case scenario involves actually being pregnant forever. Slightly irrational, but there you go.

Assuming you don’t stay in there forever, whether you come out of your own accord, or whether you get a bit of a push in the right direction, you will be here at some point in the next week and a half or so, but if you could make it sooner rather than later, that would be just super – both for me, and for the poor people who have to come in to contact with me on a regular basis.

Lots of love,

Your grumpy mother

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

37 weeks

I am pathetically apathetic when it comes to politics and current affairs. Once upon a time, the first thing I did in the morning was turn on BBC News to catch up on the latest world events over the previous 24 hours. It was 10 years ago, at the start of the Iraq war, and I knew everything there was to know about everything (or so I thought). Fast forward a couple of years and I find myself in University doing a course that revolves around global relations, politics, war, migration patterns, ethnic relations and gender equality issues. And robots. And body modification. And a bit of Buffy the Vampire Slayer thrown in for good measure. I had an opinion on everything and pretty much thought I was a badass.

At some point since I graduated, I’ve started listening to less and less Nick Drake and more and more Girls Aloud. I still kept up to date with current affairs, but found more and more that the constant cycle of depressing political news had me over-involved and teary eyed, so I slowly retreated in to a world of blissful ignorance. I figured anything I needed to know about I would find out about from Twitter, or from the little push messages the Sky News iPhone app sends you when something they think is really important happens.

In direct contrast with my decline in to ignorance, over the same time period Neil has gone from an edgy larger drinking student to a Radio 4 listening, real ale drinking, DIY-doing grown up. A grown up that gets excited when he finds out that the BBC are coming to Southwell to record “Any Questions” with a few politicians and one of the Dimblebys. Probably also one who will be mad at me when he reads the above paragraph. Whatever, ITS ALL TRUE.

So this has been a very long way of saying that we started the week at a recording of BBC Radio 4’s “Any Questions” in Southwell. Well. First we had AMAZING bangers and mash at the Bramley Apple pub and a slice of cake at my Grandmas, and THEN we went tot he live broadcast of “Any Questions”. BBC Radio 4 Any Questions Southwell Nottingham George Galloway, Keith Vas, Kenneth Clarke

Considering my documented lack of interest in politics, I enjoyed the show much more than I was expecting, especially the heckling from the audience. I wasn’t a fan of the hard wooden seats and we made out exit shortly after the recording ended so I could get some much needed beauty sleep.

Saturday was all about making American pancakes for the first time and a dash up the M1 to see my Grandma, Aunty and Uncle. My Aunty and Uncle had previously asked what they could get us for the baby, and we’d asked for this foldable baby bath – what I wasn’t expecting was them to have filled it with really sweet and practical gifts like “In the Night Garden” DVDs, Sudocrem, bibs, socks and scratchmitts. We were really touched.

My first attempt at pancakes

My first attempt at pancakes

Neil’s parents made a flying visit from up North on Sunday, and we did the “Behind the Scenes” tour of Wollaton Hall after Kerry’s recent blog about it.  The tour costs £3 for concessions and £5 for adults, lasts just over an hour, and is well worth a visit. You get to see lots of rooms that are normally closed to the public, including the caves beneath, the kitchen, the beautiful room at the top of the house and the roof. The top two photos are borrowed from Kerry’s blog on the subject – thanks Kerry! Click on the photos for the link.

[props to Emma for teaching me how to make a pretty gallery]

After the tour, we tootled (or waddled, in my case) over to Fothergills by Nottingham Castle for a lunch with both sets of parents. This was our first time eating at Fothergills (other than Cake Club) and I have to say, I was bloody impressed. It was, hands down, the best Sunday lunch I’ve had (except my Dad’s, which rocks), and their fudge brownie was out of this world delicious. Unfortunately for my little sister (who’d actually ordered the brownie and not the lemon posset like I had), this meant that she didn’t get much of her own pudding. Whatever, baby needs brownie.

This week was my last week in work, and I got myself in to a little routine of working 8am-4pm, catching up on admin on my lunchbreak, then getting stuff done between about 4-7pm before having dinner and relaxing for the rest of the evening. Hospital bags have been packed, babygrows have been unfolded and refolded for the umpteenth time, the nursery has been cleared and the laundry has been done.

As of tomorrow, the out of office is on, and I’m officially on maternity leave. I originally had plans to sit on my arse and wait for the baby to arrive, but now I’m actually on the brink of being able to do that, there’s too much I want to get done before the baby gets here. I have stuff to return to shops, grocery shopping to do, we’ve got friends coming to stay for the weekend, my best friend Laura comes to stay on Monday and we’ve got a facial booked, I’ve got the midwife on Tuesday, Kate and Jen coming on Wednesday and a meeting at work (WHAT? I’ve only just left!) and swimming on Thursday – which takes me nicely to 39 weeks. By which point, I might just be ready for that sit down.