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!

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Pregnancy Diary: 32 weeks

Today I am 32 weeks and 3 days pregnant.
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Baby is now apparently 42cm long and his or her skin will be getting less wrinkly as they will be putting on a third to half of their birth weight in the next seven weeks..what a fatty! ūüėČ According to the baby centre update for this week I’m likely to put on around 450g a week from this point on. Must make sure am continuing to eat healthily I think if I’m going to be after some extra calories (though maybe I’ll wait until afer Christmas to start in earnest!)

Apologies for missing the 31 weeks update. A combination of having already blogged about my jaunt to the labour ward, Sophia’s birthday and then going to Dan’s parents for a long weekend meant that I didn’t think it was necessary and didn’t really have time!

We had a lovely time away; spending time with the Durdin contingent is always fun and this time was no different. Isaac was especially sad to leave them behind as we left this morning. We mostly just relaxed, pottered around the house, did crafts and games with the kids then yesterday headed to Horsell Common to see where the aliens landed before going on to Woking to visit the metal alien and the big man in red. Both of these attractions were met with excitement but I think the aliens might have slightly won out for Isaac! (For those wondering, I’m referring to War of the Worlds as H G Wells based his famous book in the area).

My acid reflux has been much better the last few days. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been avoiding foods that set it off or because the baby has moved down slightly but either way, it’s been more manageable. Bit sad at the prospect of a Christmas with minimal mince pies and chocolates though! My SPD however has flared up as I haven’t lifted weights since Tuesday. I’m hoping a session tonight and then a warm bath will get me back on track and keep it at bay once more.

Other than that, bump and I are both well and had no more oddness since our scare the other week which is ace and I’m hoping it’ll stay that way now until February!

Pregnancy Diary: 30 weeks

Today I am 30 weeks and 4 days pregnant.
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Baby is apparently now 39cm long, can probably see what’s going on in the uterus around it and has eyelashes and eyebrows. If I remember correctly, most critical development has taken place and the emphasis for the last 10 weeks is on weight gain.

I have mostly been feeling pretty tired and worn out this last week. I don’t think it’s all pregnancy related though, I’ve been going to bed too late, Isaac has been waking a lot and I’ve been a bit stressed about Christmas/Sophia’s party which I think is taking a physical toll. Acid reflux is getting worse, I’m almost at the chugging gaviscon from the bottle stage!!

But I don’t mean to come across negatively so something positive… my SPD has been much much better, almost non existent in the last few weeks. I think this is due to continuing my weight training. I’ve been lifting three times a week still and I think it’s keeping my core and muscles strong enough to battle the SPD which is great. I haven’t had to do the self referral for physio and I don’t see any reason why I won’t be able to continue lifting until much nearer the due date so hopefully it’ll continue that way!

Pregnancy Diary: 28 weeks

Today I am 28 weeks and 5 days pregnant.
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Apparently baby now weighs just over 1kg and will turn it’s head if it sees a bright light shining continuously…fun with a torch and the kids to be had I think!

I was due to have my anti D injection this week but there had been an error and it wasn’t at the surgery so I’ve got the pleasure of that next week instead now(!) I did talk my midwife’s ear off though about all sorts of things birth related. She is so lovely and we get on really well, I’m so hoping she’s on call when I do go into labour.

Other than that, all is well. My acid reflux is under control as long as I avoid tomatoes and too much sugar and my SPD is okish. I’m going to self refer for physio so I’m hoping they might give me a stretchy band like they did last time! I am starting to feel heavier and more tired though. Third trimester is definitely kicking in, I do feel like a bit of a wally for getting out of breath from going upstairs though!

Anyway, enough rambling. That’s me on bump related rambling for the week. Over and out!

Pregnancy Diary: 27 weeks

Today I am 27 weeks and 5 days pregnant.
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Baby is apparently approximately 36cm long and according to Baby Centre ¬†some experts think that at this gestation babies begin to dream! I’ve never read that before and find it simply amazing, what one earth would they dream about?! Incredible.

I’m nearing the end of my second trimester and am starting to feel the slowing down that comes with the third and final trimester. I’m getting out of breath easier and feeling more tired even after getting a decent amount of sleep at night. I’m not particularly bothered by either of these symptoms but am experiencing a third which is I’m definitely not enjoying. For the last few days I’ve had really painful ankles and tops of my feet. They’re not swollen but just feels like I’ve walked 10 miles around Dartmoor. I know it could be so much worse but I’m used to being on my feet most of the day and am struggling with the concept of having to sit down a bit more!

Other than that, we’re all fine and dandy, Isaac and Sophia are talking about the baby on an almost daily basis and definitely looking forward to the arrival of their new sibling. February seems like an age away but with both their birthday’s and Christmas before hand, I reckon it’ll be here before we know it. I don’t think I’ve much else to say this week, just wanted to mark the end of the second trimester on here to keep up with my documenting of this pregnancy.

 

 

 

On birthing at home

One of the first things I said to Dan after finding out that we were expecting baby number three was ‘I can finally have a homebirth’! He laughed and said he’d been just waiting for me to announce this. I am really excited by our plans to birth at home and hope that all goes smoothly to make this plan a reality. I’ve talked a little bit about my previous two births before on here so won’t repeat myself but allow me a moment of indulgence if you will…

When pregnant with Sophia, my midwife asked if I had considered having a homebirth but to be honest, I didn’t know much about them and was put off by the thought of mess and worrying about who would have to clean it up! By the time I was pregnant with Isaac I was much better informed about all things birth related and longed deeply for a homebirth (this article having helped me with my questions surrounding mess). We were living on Pinafore by then (our 31ft sailing boat) but despite this, my midwives were unfazed. They said they had supported births on boats in the marina before and were happy to do so again. I excitedly booked in and that was that.

However, at 36 weeks I started to rethink my decision. The boat was really very small…. the only place to labour was on our bed (which was a table in the saloon during the day) and there was no space really to pace or move around. Furthermore, the midwives would have been quite literally, about half a metre away from me at all times due to the cramped environment. Quite possibly, a bit of a claustrophobic atmosphere! I wasn’t even sure where we could have a hard surface for their equipment other than in the cockpit and in January, it would have been pretty chilly! So I concluded that it wasn’t a good birthing environment for me and decided to have him in the hospital (the nearest midwife led birth centre being 45 minutes drive away). I went on to have a¬†very quick, natural, unassisted birth in the pool and it was nothing short of amazing! The only downside was the hours spent in hospital afterwards as a blood sample got lost and paperwork took an age to complete – I just wanted to be home in bed.

So this time, it was really a no brainer where I would plan to give birth.

But as I participated in a playful poll about parenting styles the other day, I was surprised to see how few people were supportive or on board with the idea of birthing at home. I went searching and found that in the UK in 2012 only 2.3% of babies were born at home. This is a startling low figure; I knew it was low but hadn’t realised quite how small it was. And I have to say, I’m still at a loss as to why so few people choose to give birth to their babies at home.

I’m guessing that a lot of people would state that they feel safer in hospital and with quick access to medical equipment and knowledge if needed. I assume some people are put off by the idea of mess (as I was) or don’t have a suitable home environment in which to have a homebirth. Possibly, it doesn’t even enter into the minds of expectant parents as an option to consider. The default place to have your baby has been the hospital for many years. But is it time for more of us to consider another option?

The Birthplace Study¬†of 2011 concluded¬†that ‘for women having a second or subsequent baby, planned home births are as safe for the baby as planned birth in hospital,¬†and offer health and other benefits for the mother¬†(emphasis added by me). However, for first-time mothers there is a small increase in risk for their baby.’ The benefits that the report refers to are listed as lower risk of induction, cesarean section, episiotomy, vaginal tears and augmentation. In my opinion, these benefits are not to be scorned at!

Dr Sarah Buckley adds to this list by highlighting what you might call the ‘soft’ benefits to having a homebirth. She talks about the ability of fathers to have a more ‘intimate involvement’ in the birth, of siblings being able to be present, of having a midwife consistently caring for you throughout the birth and of being able to offer your baby a more gentle and quiet welcome to the world. I think all of these are factors¬†that appeal to me. Sophia has asked to be there when the baby is born and I’m more than happy for this to be the case but it wouldn’t be possible if I was to give birth in hospital.

Furthermore, I relish the idea of being able to labour in my own home, with my own things around. To be able to potter, make food and drink as needed, to distract myself. I especially love the idea that once baby has arrived all I need to do is climb into bed with our new little bundle and relax. There is no waiting for paperwork to be completed, no trying to keep small children quiet in a curtained cubicle while they excitedly meet their new sibling, no having to get dressed and in a car to get home. We’ll already be there! We can just relax in our own environment. For us it feels like the most natural choice in the world.

Hombirth Reference Site (a brilliant resource for those thinking of or planning a homebirth) is a veritable treasure trove of information and birth stories from people in a variety of different circumstances and with varying reasons for their desire to give birth at home. If you are interested and would like to read first hand, some accounts of people giving birth at home, it’s definitely worth a visit.

By writing this post, I’m most definitely not trying to browbeat every pregnant mother into having a homebirth. I am more than aware that it won’t be the right choice for every family for personal or medical reasons. But I would love it if someone benefited from reading this information and my experiences, from knowing that it could be an option where they didn’t previously. Having your baby at home can be safe and highly beneficial. But like so many things, it doesn’t get talked about enough in a considered, balanced manner. The media is biased towards sensationalist, dramatic birth stories (a la One Born Every Minute) as they make better entertainment, better reading. But birth doesn’t have to be that. It can be calm, gentle and most importantly, it can be a positive experience.

For more information, check out http://www.tellmeagoodbirthstory.com or the Positive Birth Movement, two brilliant organisations that are trying to turn the tide on the negativity that overwhelms the discourse surrounding birth.

isaac

Pregnancy Diary: 26 weeks

Today I am 26 weeks and 2 days pregnant.
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Baby is now apparently 36cm long and their hearing is getting better as the network of nerves to his or her ears are almost complete. I don’t doubt this for a second as bubba moves the most when the kids are curled up chatting incessantly as I read books to them! I still have absolutely no inkling as to whether it is a girl or a boy. Sophia is rooting for a boy as she wants to have her own room¬†forever¬†and Isaac changes his mind on a daily basis!

I’m feeling a bit blah this week. The acid reflux hasn’t been great and my hips and pelvis have been quite painful, probably due to the move. None of this is particularly helped by Isaac waking up 2-3 times a night after having just mastered sleeping through before the move. By the time evening comes, I just want to veg with trashy shows or a book, I feel like I should be being a bit more productive! But I’m hoping once we’ve set up the weight bench in the garage I can get back into lifting a bit (having not for two weeks due to the move) as that tends to help both my energy levels and mood.

I’m also¬†aware that my mood is mirrored in the kids so am trying to make a conscious effort to be a bit more positive and focus on the good….like going to look at new beds today at Dreams – our current bed is almost 14 years old and has definitely seen much better days!! Hope you all have a very cosy and chilled Saturday on this wet and dreary November day.