35 weeks: Pregnancy Update

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Un-glamorous work bathroom selfie at 35 weeks!

Weeks: 35 (NHS) / 34 + 2 (my dates)

New developments:
I’m 35 weeks, according to the NHS! This feels like a mini-milestone although I’m not sure why. Perhaps being, honestly, in the midst of hyperemesis hell, I truly did not believe that I’d ever get to this stage. It seemed so far away and every day seemed so interminably miserable. So, wow, amazing to be here.

Bug is still pretty boisterous. I’m not entirely sure when he sleeps as I feel like he is constantly awake and kicking me. He loves doing the odd roll also, which, literally, takes my breath away as he’ll move from one side to the other. I’m pretty sure he is now head down and I’m trying to monitor how I sit and lie down to encourage him to stay in that position.

My last set of bloods came back and my iron levels were quite low so I’ve started drinking Spatone which is iron but in a liquid sachet (apparently easier to digest).  I mix it with orange juice and can’t taste it. I’ve always had quite low iron levels so this wasn’t a surprise but I have been feeling super tired and breathless so hopefully the Spatone will help. I’m sure Mr Bug will appreciate it if I’m able to stay up past 9pm (or maybe not! It has allowed him to finish The Witcher without me whining that I’m bored…).

We’ve begun to get our hospital bag packed. I will do a post on what we’ve included as I found it a bit of a nightmare, if I’m honest. I guess part of the issue is you don’t REALLY know how long you’ll be in for so you’re probably going to pack either too much or too little. I’m shooting for too much. Also, I think we need to talk to mother nature about babies coming out as a standard size. It would make life MUCH EASIER.

Symptoms:
I still need to pee all the time! I’ve also been getting those sharp jabs to the bladder/groin area which, as you can imagine, are SUPER fun. Pelvic pain is still an issue, especially when I sit down and work at my desk for too long. It’s hard to keep reminding myself to get up but I do try.

My back is still quite sore, I can’t quite find a good position which stops it from aching.

Sickness:
Nausea is back. No vomiting as of yet (fingers crossed it stays away). The nausea is worse in the mornings, evenings and whenever I haven’t eaten so I have a stash of biscuits/fruit with me at all times. Special K chocolate cereal bars are my new best friend, diet be damned.

Cravings:
Curries. Still.

Bump:
I feel huge.

Maternity fashion:
I have found maternity jeans uncomfortable for the last couple of weeks so I’m currently living in leggings and tights. I dislike having anything constricting bump (and bug doesn’t seem to enjoy it either) so I think that is a personal opinion thing as others prefer more support.

I’ve just bought a couple more leggings as I’m living in them when not wearing tights for work. I’ve also bought myself a couple of long t-shirts from New Look as everything is getting just a tad tight.

My coat has stopped fitting around Bump, so I’ve nicked my Mum’s slightly larger, very warm North Face coat (she lives abroad so doesn’t need it, I’m not that mean). This should definitely last me until D-Day.

Anything else:
I’ve got one more week at work! My maternity leave starts on Tuesday 23 January. We then have the kitchen being ripped out and replaced (hopefully). We have also started on a hypnobirthing course, so I’ll post about my thoughts on that soon.

 

 

 

Project: Decorate the nursery (3)

 

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Project Nursery 2.0

Project Decorate the Nursery has come on apace since the last update! Which is good because Project Grow a Baby has come on apace too, and we now have just over 5 weeks until Due Date.

We painted the walls the lovely F&B Cornforth White, which I now want to splash all over the house just because it’s lovely and relaxing. We went to Ikea and had a bit of a mammoth furniture buy but I’m really happy with what we ended up with and how the room looks. So, below, is a list of what we went for.

Gulliver Changing Table in white – I wasn’t sure about a changing table. I mean, why not just a chest of drawers? But, actually, at £65 this not only looks pretty awesome, it’s also totally bargainous. We also got some really cute baskets from my brother and sister in law for Christmas which we can now use on the changing table shelves – you can see these better in the photo below.

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Bookcase and changing table fun

Bookcase – We went into Ikea full expecting to get a Billy Bookcase, as are 90% of the world I imagine, but we ended up with this one. I’m not sure if it’s Billy because I can’t find it online but I love the square box shelves. If I can find a link to it online I will come back and update.

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We have some totally cute book ends that we got from my mother in law (the penguins) and my cousin (the pineapple), as well as Olaf, which I bought because, well, why not?

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Chest of drawers from MALM – I wanted the biggest chest of drawers I could find that would fit this space, so ta-da. My other main criteria, apart from size, was that the drawers opened and shut really easily – I know that may sound DUH OBVS but, actually, I’ve come across quite a few chest of drawers that are pricey AND YET you have to really whack them shut. Which I hate.

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Cot and snuzpod – I’ve talked about our Rachel cotbed (John Lewis) before which I love. Apologies, I didn’t take a proper pic of it because we’ve shoved all of the furniture boxes on there so it’s less than ideal for instagramming.

The other thing Rob finished making yesterday was the snuzpod, which I’m super excited about. It’s chunkier than I thought it would be, which isn’t a bad thing. Once we’ve sorted our room out and baby appears then obviously it’ll be in with us. I’m not going to lie, it’s expensive, much more so than a simple moses basket, but I love sleeping and would totally represent the UK if it was an Olympic sport, so am willing to throw money at anything that could help make sleeping with a newborn easier.

Vinyl lettering / transfers – Rob has fallen in love with these things, so we’ve got two in Bug’s room: one of a very adorable looking giraffe (see pic above) and the other of a  hashed Napoleon quote. I actually love them both.

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I’m really excited by the Nursery and it is now my favourite room in the house. This may change in three weeks when, hopefully, our new kitchen will be in place but, for the moment, it’s all about the nursery. We’ve got a few more soft furnishings to buy, as well as a small sofa that turns into a bed, also from Ikea. It’s £95 though! Much better than the made.com sofabed/chair thing I was eyeing up for £499.

I think the most expensive buy in the nursery was the Snuzpod but, since that won’t actually BE in the nursery, it’s officially the cot at around £160. Everything else was £100 or less. All hail for Ikea.

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Are you judging my birth choices?

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New generation of birthing units

An overdue post! I’ve actually got quite a few posts to write up on various subjects (progress on the nursery, my pregnancy updates – am 34 weeks now! – and some reflections on pregnancy buying) but let’s start with this one as it’s a bit grittier. I love gritty topics.

I am generally discovering that I’m not immune to the parent / pregnancy / labour / birth / [insert any word ever] judginess that is rife on the internet and in real life. When people are really judgmental and nasty about the choices that you make or want to make, well, it HURTS. I think this gets worse the more personal the judgement is – and what is more personal than how you choose to give birth to your child? Which brings me onto my current post topic, and my current dilemma.

We went on a tour around our chosen Hospital the other day. Like many hospitals, it’s been set up with a midwife-led unit (MLU) and a consultant led unit / labour ward (CLU). During the tour, there was a lot of emphasis on having a natural birth in the MLU and how the CLU ‘should’ be kept free for the complicated/difficult/dangerous births. Obviously, though, being on the MLU means no doctors/anaesthetists so gas and air and maybe pethidine (there were conflicting responses on the pethidine question) is available. For more pain relief, a transfer (across reception, into the lift) to the CLU would be required.

We walked around the newly opened, very nice MLU and then around the CLU – this was then followed up with a Q&A session with one of the head midwives. I asked a question about their approach to mobile epidurals and received a rather bad-tempered, snappy response. Questions about transferring from the MLU to the CLU etc were shut down. Generally, the message was that, barring any medical issues/limitations, “women (should?) want a natural birth in a MLU”. At least, that was the message that I heard quite loudly. And, to be honest, it isn’t the message that I want to hear.

Let me be clear: I would LOVE to have a straight-forward natural birth. I would love to be able to deal with the pain, put my hypno-birthing training to the test and pass with flying colours. But birth, like life generally, doesn’t always go according to plan. There may be complications, bub may not want to come out. Or, heaven forbid, I may not be able to deal with the pain. If any of the above happens, I want the option of choosing pain relief for myself. Because, guess what, not all women DO want a natural birth in a MLU. We are, God forbid, all different.

What all women do want (I hope) is to be empowered and informed enough to make the choices they want. I know exactly what I want. I would like to start off with as little intervention as possible; gas and air; possibly try a birthing pool. But, if at ANY point, I decide I would like an epidural then I would like an epidural. I don’t want anything else (we have done research into all the options and things like pethidine aren’t going to work for me) and, importantly, I don’t want to be argued with. I want to feel that those around me are supporting the decisions that I’m making and respect my right to choose the birth that I want.

Which brings me back to my current issue with our Hospital. I did not get the impression that women are REALLY free to choose whatever they want. I got the impression that MLU-led natural births are what I’m expected to want, and I will have to argue for any deviation to that ‘norm’ that isn’t due to medical need.

Not to put too fine a point on it but: screw that. If I’m struggling in labour and decide I’d like an epidural, I will go ballistic if I’m ‘encouraged’ against it. It’s MY CHOICE.

However, I also know ‘me’. If, in that crucial, vulnerable, stressful, difficult moment, I am given the impression that someone, anyone, thinks I’m failing at birth because of the choices I am making, it’ll hurt. Because things like that hurt. It’ll stay with me, I’ll remember it, I’ll internalise it. Yes, my husband will be there and can advocate on my behalf but he’ll be stressed too and, importantly, he cannot control how other people act.

So, I’m taking steps to try and have the birth that I want:

  • On Saturday, we’re going to visit the other hospital near where we live so I can assess their attitudes and see if I feel more comfortable there
  • Arrange to speak to the midwives and explain my concerns. See if I can write something up on my preferences that make my issues clear.
  • Explore option of a doula.
  • If none of the above get me anywhere, check out nearby private maternity options.

I have no pre-conceived notions of what birth is going to be like because I’ve never given birth before. What I do want is to ensure that I feel as comfortable, relaxed and supported as possible. That’s what everyone woman should feel like going into labour, through labour and out the other side.

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