Reaching the end of pregnancy – where’s your head at?

I love reading pregnancy updates. Other people’s that is. Where they’re at, what they’re feeling, whether the wedding rings are on or off (mine are still on by the way and at 38 weeks I think I’m most proud of THAT stat). I like to compare, to totally judge (ha) and to feel comforted by hearing about somebody else going through the exact same thing.

Pregnancy can be a lonely place sometimes. It’s just you and the baby, trapped in one body, both of you struggling for room to breathe, to grow.

And you know the baby always wins.

As happened in my previous pregnancy, I go quite insular when it comes to blogging or writing about my experience. It’s probably a combination of wanting to remain private, of not wanting to whinge or moan – to not open up that part of my life. It feels quite intimate. And I can’t shake the feeling of – well why would anyone care anyway? Who wants to read about heartburn or restless nights or fatigue?

And then I think about me reading everyone else’s updates.

So… where am I at?

Well, as mentioned – we’re right at the very end – almost 38 weeks. I am so glad to have gotten this far. Not just to have survived it – but to have been lucky enough to grow my baby till now. I feel blessed. I am thankful for my womb doing its job and not causing me any problems. Seriously – do you know how many things can go wrong – or the worries you carry, especially early on?

I am looking forward to not being pregnant anymore. It hasn’t been that uncomfortable – I seemed to have carried small and it’s really only in the past week or two where I’ve had that terrible full up from baby feeling, that only a nine month preggers person can understand.

When turning over in bed, requires a skill involving both your hands and a backwards press up. When walking becomes so much effort, you just don’t. When you feel like you might actually burst open from heart burn or else this giant baby. And when you feel fat – all around your face and ass, but mostly your face. That includes lips and nose – they grow too you know.

The thing is pregnancy wise – I’ve had a good pregnancy. There’s been no major issues – everything has been fine. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t suffered. That I haven’t been unwell.

Bloody hell, I’ve been unwell.

The sickness was much worse this time. All the way till 17 weeks. There were times when I was so down about it and so upset that I had all these weeks ahead of me of illness that I found it very tough going and I remember thinking at the time, that it was possibly the lowest I’d felt in my life.

I will forever sympathise with anyone battling morning sickness and I think, in a way, society and work places, need to be aware of what a woman may go through if she has particularly bad symptoms. I also wonder whether more medication should be prescribed to women – if it’s safe that it is.

When the sickness eventually left, I got a new lease of life and I felt very well through months five and six. It was around the start of month seven, in November that I caught a cold.

I battled the cold, thinking it was just a sniffle really and all was ok, until I noticed that I’d developed a bit of a breathing problem. It had been coming on for a while, and it was something similar to the heavy chest feeling I’d experienced on my daughter. A vice grips on my lungs. NO. AIR.

Presuming I was just carrying the baby high, I got on with things, until the not being able to breathe really became not being able to breathe. A few days after the book awards, at 4am on a Saturday night to be precise, I had to visit the emergency doctor as the lack of air was so bad, I felt that it might be affecting baby.

The doctor said my breathing was restricted due to an upper respiratory infection, prescribed antibiotics and an inhaler and said I might have developed pregnancy asthma.

Great.

Still I was happy that things weren’t more serious and I got back to my wheezy life. Stairs were out. And when I did have to climb them I needed to lie down to recover. I’m not joking – for weeks, I huffed and puffed my way through my days, struggling for air and noticing how the antibiotics hadn’t really worked and I still felt pretty bad.

Until one day I could breathe again. The air came back. Maybe baby dropped. And it was such a relief that I started breathing ALL the time.

So let’s see, that was the sickness and the breathing, what next?

Well remember that cold I told you about at the start of the November? Yeah it loved my body. And my throat and my sinuses and my ears and my chest. It decided to do a few laps – of my head.

Getting rid of a sinus infection in pregnancy is like [insert everything that is impossible here]. It’s still not even gone and it’s January. My friends now refer to it as ‘the plague’ with texts regularly coming through enquiring as to the status of the plague. Most of my replies were ‘shoot me now’. For weeks. But I’m happy to report that over the past few days, things have improved and I’ve only small pockets of sticky stuff lingering round my head.

Oh joy.

Three other things happened mid and post plague.

  • I got the flu.
  • I got the vomiting bug
  • I developed SPD – self diagnosed, but I can’t walk, so I’m pretty sure.

I am going to stop complaining now. Even I can’t listen to myself.

So. Let’s talk about the birth.

My first daughter was born by caesarean section after we discovered she was breech at 41 weeks. (Thank you doctors for missing that one!) All along in this pregnancy I’ve been hoping to avoid a section because I found the recovery tough and that was with only one baby to look after.

For a variety of medical reasons, and perhaps related to all the illnesses I’ve struggled with this time round, the option of an elective caesarean looks like what we’ll be going with again. It’s not my first choice, but it may be the safest choice and I’ve been coming to peace with it over the past week or two since it was confirmed at the hospital.

With this news, comes a very different feeling towards ‘the end’. I’m not wondering when I’ll go into labour or how far overdue I might go. I’m not worried about pain relief or trauma or raspberry tea or bouncing on big gym balls.

The what ifs and wonderings are gone. In their place, I have a plan, a date, the makings of a childcare schedule for my two year old. I feel good having this control. I feel calm, knowing what’s ahead. But it does take some of the excitement away. And already I’m feeling the pain of that c-scar and the recovery and feeling a bit emotional about having to go through surgery again.

Slowly I’ve been cleaning the house to a standard where I feel it’s fit to bring a baby home to. Definitely some nesting going on. The fact that I’m on my maternity leave now has contributed to that and over the next few days I hope to finally pack my hospital bags (still not done, wow, I’m kind of ashamed and proud of myself for that at the same time) and do mammy things like cook meals and stock the freezer and give my daughter all the cuddles in the world as it’s the last few days where it’ll just be me and her, curled up on the couch.

The house is filled with paper bags full of new baby things. And big knickers. And nightdresses. I can’t wait to sort them all out. We have a ton of jobs to complete, from building our cot, to sterlising buggies and breast pumps and car seats and all the other stuff that went before. Second time baby. Means second hand things. And with that comes cleaning!

We are so looking forward to expanding our family. We feel incredibly lucky to do so and in my head, I will be enjoying this baby more, coming at it from experience and knowing that I have the ability to feed, to nurse, to mother, to soothe. To be a parent. And all that it brings.

Because we’ve been through it before.

And we’re ready to do it all again.

At least I think we are.

And if we’re not, it’s a bit late now anyway, isn’t it?

14 Comments on Reaching the end of pregnancy – where’s your head at?

  1. Yikes, you have been through the mill with the illnesses. Part of me thinks that if there is a next time, the thoughts of a scheduled c-section which can be planned for and around will be a calming force – I’ve had to make my peace with a VBAC just not being an option for me and my body. I know the pain of the pregnant sinus infection – I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy! Hopefully the end of the pregnancy runs smoother and it’ll all melt away when the little bundle of squish is in your arms!

  2. Reading this has made me look back fondly at my pregnancies. The first was a doddle and I didn’t even look pregnant till after 7 months. The second was much tougher but both are happy memories.

    Hoping the next few weeks are smooth and lovely.x

  3. Yep! Sure is too late now 🙂 You’re so right about enjoying it when you have some experience – I was quite anxious on number 1, fairly laid back by comparison on number 2, and now with number 3 it’s crazy busy but dealing with the newborn aspect of it is probably the simplest part! Can’t wait to hear your news

  4. For a man reading this post, I can’t imagine how tough it is for a woman to be pregnant. What reading this post will do is ensure that I’ll be as supportive as I can be if I’m ever lucky enough to have a son or a daughter come into my life. Solid read 🙂

  5. Pregnancy is a sheer mix of emotions. I was so excited to have this little life growing inside me but oh my god I hated being pregnant. With my third child I was signed off work at 26 weeks and I couldn’t walk at the end I was in so much pain.
    It’s all worth it though. I hope the birth goes smoothly and look forward to seeing pictures and hearing about your new little bundle of joy x

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