Pregnancy Diary: 37 weeks

Today I am 37 weeks and 4 days pregnant.

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Baby is approximately 48cm long and could have hair that is 3.5cm long-madness! I don’t pay any attention to the old wives tale about acid reflux being a sign that your baby will be born with hair as I’ve had it increasingly badly with each pregnancy and Sophia had a head of dark hair but Isaac was completely bald (and remained that way until 18 months bless him) so am curious to see with this one! Baby is now officially term so I could go into labour at any point in the next 4 and a half weeks.

I’m not going to lie, I hope it’s sooner rather than later! My lovely midwife came on Thursday and said baby is 3/5 engaged which is very exciting but accounts for the worsening of my SPD. I am now very limited in my ability to walk much further than to the car or local park which is inconvenient so I’m hoping baby D number 3 arrives soon! Luckily, I am blessed with amazing friends and family who have been more than pulling their weight with helping me with the kids so it’s all good!

I’ve also had increasingly frequent braxton hicks contractions which bodes well, I keep reminding myself that even these ‘practice’ contractions have a job in helping to soften and prepare the cervix. It is all a step in the right direction towards meeting little one skinside. I have my midwife’s on call schedule and although I know you can’t choose when you give me, I believe there’s a certain psychological element to it so am hoping I can coincide with one of her shifts as we really get on and I would love for her to be there.

I must apologise for the quietness of my blog in non pregnancy related posts, I am aware these aren’t everyone’s cup of tea so I will ponder other topics anon. There have been murmurings of proposed legislation to monitor and possibly restrict home education in the home ed world so I’ve been trying to read about that, how much truth there is in them and what we can do and how concerned we should be. Once I’ve gathered my thoughts on it, I’m sure you’ll hear all about it from me here. But until then, I hope this finds you all well and enjoying this gorgeous sunny Monday!

Three.

I can’t quite believe it but our gorgeous small man is now three.  From this…

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to this…
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In the blink of an eye!

Where to start with Isaac? (It feels weird writing his full name, we all shorten his name to Iss – pronounced Eyes but you can’t really type that as it looks odd. Anyway, I digress). He is at that age where his personality is starting to shine through more and more by the day and man, he’s a character! He is a stubborn, determined little thing, in that respect the complete opposite to his more amenable and easy going big sister. Once he wants to do something, that is all he wants to do and he won’t be easily persuaded away from it. He seems to transfer this trait to his interests and will become obsessed with doing something and nothing else for weeks or months on end (this year it was puzzles, followed by brio and building toys, replaced by colouring and then the current obsession of stickers and aliens. The only constant has been tractors which he adores-he is adamant he’ll be a farmer when grown up and will tell you in detail what he’s going to grow!). He can get quite distraught if things aren’t going his way as he is so single minded but is placated with cuddles.

He lightens up this stubborn streak though by being an absolute joker, a real comedian in the making. He loves to laugh and make people laugh and takes real delight from the joy and happiness of others. His latest joke is to pretend to be an alien that loves carrots, words would never do justice to how funny this is to witness! He likes to rough and tumble with Dan possibly more than anything else, loves to climb, to run, to be outdoors, to be racing and exploring.

He can be quite a sensitive little chap, he’s not a massive fan of big groups of people (hence the tiny party yesterday which he loved) and is happiest with Dan, myself, the Grandparents or a select few close friends of ours. Having said that he’s recently become much more confident with strangers and says hello to everyone we pass in the street or encounter in the shops (much to Sophia’s bemusement)! He’s got a heart of gold and gets genuinely concerned if people are sad, hurt or cross asking ‘you better now?’ ‘Are you happy again now?’ until he gets an affirmative answer. He’s very much looking forward to the baby and talks about him/her daily and what the baby will be able to do and how he’ll be able to help and cuddle them.

He’s also developing a slight control freak/planning side to him (don’t know where he gets that from 😉 ) and asks every night before bed what we are doing the next day. I sympathise for my Mum now as I apparently was similar as a young child!

I know I said the same about Sophia last month but he is a real joy to be around, every day is an adventure, sometimes challenging but guaranteed to be sprinkled liberally with lots of laughter and cuddles. I feel blessed and privileged to have him as my son and to be able to spend my days watching him grow and learn.

And so I guess that leaves me with nothing more to say but Happy Birthday little man, we love you!

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He still wants to be a 'tractor boy' when he grows up!

Pregnancy Diary: 36 weeks

Today I am 36 weeks pregnant.
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Apparently baby is now approximately 47cm long and definitely in my case, has descended somewhat freeing up some space at the top of my tummy! Does make for some uncomfortable walking though…

I was asked to have a growth scan last week after I went into hospital with reduced fetal movement (baby was fine, just being a tinker!) and the midwife there measured me small. I uhmmed and ahhed as I have read that growth scans at this point can be pretty inaccurate with quite a large margin of error. In the end I decided to go in so they could check placental function and that the cord wasn’t compressed and decided to just ignore any size predictions. All was fine and in fact, baby plotted right where it should have on my personalised growth chart. My suspicions about the position of the baby were confirmed though, not just head down but incredibly low and engaged (hence the waddling)!

My acid reflux has been better the last few weeks but my SPD is getting worse as a result of bubba being so low! I’m also struggling with tiredness but that’s par for the course I guess! I’m (not so) secretly quite glad that I only have a week left until I’m 37 weeks and therefore, officially at the start of the 5 week period of being term. Having said that though, I’m aware that is probably going to be my last pregnancy so I’m trying to savour these last few weeks and not wish away the final bumpy moments. The kids are getting increasingly excited about their siblings imminent arrival with Isaac predicting that he or she will be around this weekend for his birthday! Hopefully he’s mistaken and I’ll be able to bore you with another diary entry before the Inevitable influx of newborn photos!

Setting the temperature

A good friend of mine introduced me to the phrase ‘your child is your mirror’ several years ago. Admittedly at first I thought she was being a crazy hippy, but I quickly realised how true it was and it is a concept I find it useful to remind myself of time and time again.

Over the last few weeks the dynamic in our home hasn’t been great. Isaac has been mildly destructor-like and ignoring me a lot and both him and Sophia have been very shouty and irritable with each other. I’ve been blaming it on the post holiday come down, the imminent arrival that we’re expecting, hormones, the lack of routine as everything we attend took a seasonal break, too much screen time… However yesterday I took a step back and realised that the problem actually lay with me! I’ve been mega grumpy the last few weeks. A mixture of having to finally stop weightlifting (so I’ve lost my exercise endorphins) and my SPD having got much worse and painful and limiting my mobility and ability to get out had left me glum and down in the dumps and it was rubbing off on everyone. Yesterday, I decided to make a conscious effort to be happier and not shout or be grumpy. And low and behold, everyone was much happier and it was the best day we’ve had in weeks! My children really are my mirror!

At first I said to Dan what a huge responsibility it is, being able to affect the mood of the whole household. To be honest, I almost slipped back into being blue as I pondered how tough it was for me 😉 But then I realised what an idiot I was being! It is in my own best interests to be happy and positive and if that rubs off on the rest of family then that is ace!!

I’m not saying that it’s always easy, old habits are hard to break and, for reasons I’ve never fathomed, sometimes it seems more satisfying and easier just to bark and shout rather than staying calm and talking through what feels like the hundredth sibling squabble of the morning. But I’m finding that for me it’s about reaching deep into my reserves to search for that last shred of patience in order to try and model good conflict resolution skills. And the funny thing, the more I do this, the easier it is to do the next time, and the next… Of course, we slip up every now and then. Yesterday Isaac thought it was hilarious to run away from me in the library and refused to listen to the waddling mother slowly dropping behind as I asked him to come back to the children’s section. In the end I told him there’d be no ipad when we got home if he couldn’t listen. That stopped him in his tracks! I didn’t feel comfortable having resorted to bribery but at least it was a calm solution. It’s a constant evolving process of trial and error, this parenting malarkey! But I am committed to being less shouty, less of a dictator in my own home and actually trying to engage in dialogue with the kids. If I want them to show me respect, I need to model it through respecting them as humans (albeit small ones).

It all seems so idealistic and easy when they are babies, but as they get older you realise that no matter what you do, they all want to push boundaries, to explore their own ideas about what they want to do. Some of the mainstream parenting techniques might seem appealing but I genuinely believe that communicating through talking rather than shouting, being reasonable in the boundaries you set and trying to parent from a loving, gentle perspective, although may take longer to see results, is a viable and successful approach.

So that about sums up my rambling thoughts for this Saturday morning. I discovered The Orange Rhino last year, a site set up by a Mum who challenged herself to go a year without shouting. I think it’ll be a site I keep going back to for support and advice in my attempt to change my parenting style to maintain a quieter approach this year. I really hope this post hasn’t come across as preachy, I just thought I’d share what I’ve been pondering over the last few days in case it was useful to anyone else. I hope you all have a lovely weekend, whatever you find yourself doing.

Hello New Year

A very lethargic but heartfelt Happy New Year from all of us to anyone out there reading this!
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Wishing you all a 2015 that finds you healthy, happy and having some wild and wonderful adventures (if that’s your cup of tea…if not, some comfortable and calm experiences)!

After not much sleep (for a variety of reasons) we braved the outdoor swimming pool in Topsham for a New Years Day swim this morning and I for one, am very glad we did! The water was warm, the giggles from small people were plentiful and it was the perfect way to both wake up and start the new year. I think we’re all excited about the pool reopening after Easter for regular, local, swimming trips.

I’ve long shied away from resolutions but can’t deny that the 1st January seems like a good time to make plans and goals for the year ahead so have some vague thoughts about how I’d like this year to pan out. Although, given that we unexpectedly moved twice in 7 months in 2014 and am expecting a third sprog imminently I am well aware that even the best laid plans, as was famously written, gang aft alay.

But in general, I want to try and maintain the lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise that we established last year. I realise that the exercise will be put on pause for a while once bubba arrives but hoping that by the summer I can get back into it.

I’m aware that I struggled having a newborn and toddler when Isaac was born and morphed into an angry shouty person as my way of reacting to the sleep deprivation and challenges of parenting more than one child so my biggest goal for this year is to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Having learnt from my experiences, I know I need to ask for and accept help more often, be kinder to us all, not try to achieve more than is practically possible and not to expect more from the older two than they are capable of. Part of achieving this will also be finding a balance to Sophia’s education that fulfils her desire to learn and do some structured bits with me but also suits life parenting three children aged five and under. I’ve made moves to putting this in place by choosing to not follow the winter curriculum and to have a break from the wee folk art for January and February before restarting with the spring curriculum ‘Bugs and Butterflies’ in March.

A small one is that I’d like to try and get our gardens tidied up, looking nice and perhaps grow a few bits and pieces to continue the kids love of gardening and growing their own.

Finally, I want to make sure that Dan and I still find time for ‘us’ in the haze of newborn madness. Even if this just means a film, bar of chocolate and making an effort to talk about something other than the smalls once a week whilst we have a tiny asleep on us! I do think it’s important to keep our marriage healthy and vibrant, even in what will be such a tiring and turbulent time. After all, we’re the backbone of our family so it’s good to keep it strong!

For those reading this, I’d love to hear what your plans, goals and resolutions for this coming year are. Here’s hoping 2015 is a good one!
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Pregnancy Diary: 34 weeks

Today I am 34 weeks and 2 days pregnant.
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Baby is apparently roughly 45cm long and approximately 4lb 13oz so fast running out of space! 99% of babies born at this gestation and beyond have no long term health problems and usually few immediate ones. Although obviously hopefully he or she will stay put for a few more weeks this feels like a good milestone to have reached. I’ve been having a lot more braxton hicks than with the last two as well which makes me wonder if maybe they’ll be slightly earlier than the other two who were both 39 weeks and 5 days when they arrived skin side.

My SPD has been much worse the last few weeks so I went to see the physio yesterday who gave me a big stretchy band to wear and gave me strict instructions not to over do it and to get lots of rest. For those that know me in real life, you’ll know that I am particularly bad at sitting down, leaving chores until later and accepting help. I don’t have much choice though as just spending an hour or so earlier today helping Dan in the garage and doing some gardening with the kids has resulted in a fair bit of pain and me feeling absolutely exhausted so I’m under a blanket on the sofa writing this whilst the kids play with playdough next door!

I think the extreme fatigue isn’t helped by Isaac who is waking 1-3 times a night and not being particularly able to get back to sleep easily each time. I’m really hoping he starts sleeping through before the bubba arrives but there’s not much you can do to physically prevent a (nearly) 3 year old from waking so to a certain extent we just have to suck it up and get on with it!

I realise this post is coming across as quite negative and my apologies. On a positive note, I’ve got the reusable nappies sorted, got some clothes out, got a car seat, bouncy chair and our slings sorted and borrowing a co sleeping cot from a friend this week hopefully so feeling quite excited and not so ill prepared as I was last week!

I’m also starting to think about the birth a bit more now. I’ve now decided for practical reasons not to hire a pool and feel peaceful having done so, I can stop agonising over it now! I figure I’ve got the bath and shower if I need water at any point. My good friend Fab is going to have the kids if I labour in the day (Sophia has decided she’d rather go with her than be at the birth) but I kinda hope/think I’ll labour at night, seems like it would be easier/calmer! I got given Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin for Christmas and am enjoying reading that to get my head in the right space. I especially like her describing contractions (or surges/rushes) as ‘an interesting sensation that requires all my attention’! Am feeling cautiously ready and looking forward to meeting this baby, whenever they might arrive!