Saturday, 13 January 2018

36 Weeks Pregnant

I'm writing this, sitting in bed, chilling and watching the first episode of Minder (Mr Click's latest choice for Saturday morning viewing). Yesterday was my last day at work before Baby Bo is born.

It was also the day I hit 36 weeks and had another midwife appointment. All in all it was a pretty busy day.

And I did it looking like this:

It's funny looking at this photo because I'm not sure I actually feel as big as I look. I keep catching sight of myself in mirrors and windows and doing a doubletake because surely that's not me.

The midwife appointment went well. Despite the massive bump, Baby Bo is measuring smack bang on the average line for growth. My belly measurement was 34 weeks which is consistent with where I measured at my 28 week appointment. I'm curious to see where his actual measurements at next week's scan put him.

And he's definitely getting ready for the off.

Last week I said I thought he was starting to drop. This week I know he definitely is, though he's still able to get those long legs all up in my ribcage.

His head is down in my pelvis and he's still in his comfy spot along the right hand side of my bump, bum up on the right, feet off to the left (sometimes he stretches them out the side and sometimes tucks them up under my ribs). I thought I heard the midwife say this was an LOA presentation but on reading up online it's actually ROA which isn't a bad spot for him to be in, except there's a risk of him rotating clockwise and going back-to-back during labour.

We chatted a little more about my birth plan, then about recognising the signs of post-natal depression and things you can do to help, and then a little about breastfeeding. It turns out that we can borrow a breast pump from the local midwives which is fantastic news and something I may well take them up on should the need arise.

Then it was back to work for the rest of my last day.

As far as last days could go, it went well. I was worried someone would get it into their head to make a big fuss and I really didn't want that. I did have a fairly steady stream of people coming through to wish me good luck and give me hugs which was nice.

It felt a little surreal walking out the door at the end of the day, knowing that was me done. I mean, I'll be popping back in during the next few months and I've left the two teams I'm involved with my contact details in case I'm needed urgently for anything, but otherwise I'm focusing on my new job as Bo's Mummy.

At the same time, walking out the door sort of felt like walking out the door on any other Friday. I still feel like I'll be walking back in again on Monday (which given my baby brain is actually a definite possibility, I did inadvertently steal someone's lunchbox on Thursday night when I took it home thinking it was mine).

I shouldn't be back on Monday though. I've got a week's holiday booked, and it's a pretty action packed week as well, what with a plumber visit, a hospital visit and a lunch date planned. And then I'm officially starting my maternity leave.

I still can't quite believe it. I waited eight years for the chance to go on maternity leave. I stuck with the job through some pretty tough times for the guarantee of that maternity leave. And now it's finally happening.

It still doesn't really feel real!

Saturday, 6 January 2018

35 Weeks Pregnant

And only one week left to go at work now! Yikes! I don't think I ever fully realised how scary that thought is before it got so close.

To put this into perspective, I started school at the age of four and a half and was in continuous education until I was twenty-three. From there I took over running the family business until a brief month long period of unemployment at the age of twenty-five when I got my job at my current place of work and I've been there ever since, celebrating six years service in August. I'm sort of institutionalised!

Technically my maternity leave doesn't actually start until I'm 37 weeks 3 days. I'm taking a week's holiday first and I'm both looking forward to it and feeling kind of nervous as well.

On the one hand, I'm really looking forward to having a little more flexibility to my days (at least until Baby Bo shows up). Sleeping is not one of my strong points at the moment and I've never napped so much in my life, which obviously isn't really an option when you're spending most of your day at a desk (despite my team leader's insistence that I go lie down in the Quiet Room if I need it).

The alarm goes off at 7am right now and we leave the house at 8.30am. And we're lucky that it's only about ten minutes commute to work. Most days I drag myself out of bed somewhere between 7.45 and 8am. After a full day at work I try to potter at much as I can when I get in because the minute I stop, I'm done for the day. There have been several occasions when Mr Click has sent me to bed at 5.30pm and that's where I've stayed (except for loo breaks) until the alarm the next morning.

Over the Christmas and New Year period I was asking at 7am for my tablet, snoozing til 9am while Mr Click took care of Tara and other stuff, then getting up for breakfast. I'd often have a nap after lunch as well. It's amazing how much of a difference those naps make to my energy levels!

People at work keep telling me I look tired and to be honest, I'm kind of used to that tired feeling so I didn't notice it too much, until going back to work after that break.

And I can see it in my bump photos for the last couple of weeks too. My eyes look tired and I understand why Mr Click keeps sending me to bed.

I'm not sure it really shows in these two photos but I think Baby Bo might be heading south ready for his exit at some point in the next 34(!) days.

A couple of people have commented on the fact that the bump has changed shape this week.

I think that might be partly my fault. On Wednesday I had the worst backache all day. I think Bo had moved and was stretching or pressing something. Mr Click insisted on running me a bath when I got in and it made a world of difference.

I ended up lying slightly towards my left hand side and when I came to get out my bump, looking down from above, looked like a lopsided 'n'. Bo had wriggled down into the bit which was under water.

It took a lot of prodding to get him back into a more comfortable position.

I've actually had a bath today and he must have remembered Wednesday night's bath because the minute I got in, he wriggled over to the left again! So I lay towards the right to keep him on his toes!

He's alternating super active days with quieter ones at the moment. When I say quieter day, I'm not talking no movement, he follows his usual pattern but is just more relaxed. Then the next day, like last night, he'll have a full on workout. Last night something that was either an elbow or a knee kept trying to poke through my belly button. Now, that's an odd sensation!

I've got a feeling that this coming week is going to be a strange one. It's a little weird to think that everyone else is going to carry on being at work, doing work stuff and I won't be there and involved. I'm hoping to make full use of my 'keeping in touch' days because I took on an extra role at work last year and I want to stay in the loop.

And of course I'll be back to visit everyone with an adorable baby in the next couple of months.

I'll let you know how this coming week turns out!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Body Positivity and Pregnancy

Warning: this post includes a photo of me in my underwear. Just as a heads up.

I, like many women I suspect, have often struggled to feel comfortable in my own skin. I was a little bit worried about how I'd feel during pregnancy as a little being took over my body and made it go through all sorts of weird and wonderful changes.

I worried even more when in the throes of liver failure inducing hyperemesis because clearly that was yet another sign that my body wasn't up to the task I was asking of it. Just like it had let me down when I wanted it to get pregnant in the first place and when it had decided that five foot two and a half inches was a perfectly respectable height for me and so we were done with that pesky growing business.

I can remember writing in my diary as puberty hit, feeling utterly confused by the way my body was developing. Boobs seemed to creep up on me gradually, while hips appeared almost overnight (leaving me with some nice attractive stretchmarks which seemed to take years to fade from angry purple-red to the creamy colour they are today). All the books seemed to talk about how your body would change but mine, like everyone else, followed its own schedule and I'm not sure I was too happy about the reminders I was growing up. I've never really been that good at accepting change.

As teens and young women do, I compared my body to those I saw around me; actresses, singers, models, adverts. Even though I wasn't into fashion as such, I was aware that their body types were rarely an example of my body type. And I just wasn't into hair and make up and clothes the way many of my peers were, I just wanted to be comfortable, which for me meant keeping as much flesh as covered as possible.

And those hip stretchmarks bothered me more than I really realised at the time. There are probably zero photos of me wearing a swimsuit, though I did go swimming, even out at the beaches on the island (those of us raised in Scotland think little of putting on a swimsuit and jumping in the sea during almost 20 degree weather, it's summer damnit!) but I'd often wear boys' swim shorts over the top of my swimsuit, the better to cover up those chubby little thighs.

In my mid- to late-twenties, I gained a little more confidence. I started wearing dresses and feeling happier with the way I looked. Sure my bum could be smaller and my legs more shapely, but my nose is cute and I've got a pretty awesome chest in the right bra!

Surprisingly, this coincides with our fertility treatment. Once you start regularly undressing from the waist down and exposing yourself in front of a myriad of medical professionals, suddenly a bit of thigh flab doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore.

My journey to get pregnant has obviously shaped how I view my pregnancy with Baby Bo. After so long of thinking it would never happen, perhaps I see these changes in my body as just a little more miraculous than some mums-to-be might. I can't help but be amazed at the changing shape of my belly (even if the appearance of my belly button grosses me out more than I'd care to admit).

My breasts are doing weird and wonderful things, like changing colour and trying to leak a sticky sort of gel, but I'm cool with that, they're getting ready to feed my son. I could do without the constant up and down size changes as it's going to cost me a small fortune in bras at this rate. But I can feel happy about these changes, they don't seem to bother me as they might have in the past. Because it's all happening for a very good reason.

Roughly a month ago I took a shower at my in-laws' house where they have a big mirror in the bathroom and as I stood staring at my new body I couldn't help but feel proud of myself. So I did the natural thing and snapped a photo.

This is probably the most flesh I've shown in public (albeit virtually) since I was about ten!

I'm all pink and scrubbed from the shower. My hair is wet and unbrushed. My bra and pants don't actually match (but you weren't looking that closely, were you?)

And I feel absolutely gorgeous.

My body might have failed at being sporty, at allowing me to reach stuff on the top shelf in the kitchen, and actually getting pregnant without lots of physical, emotional and financial effort. But you know what? It's really got a handle on this baby growing business, and I've never felt so good about it before.

And as for the future?

I'm aware that in the next two months it's going to change again. My belly will go from being round and firm to soft, flabby and empty. My boobs will almost certainly have another growth spurt. I'll probably have stretchmarks, possibly new scars, and I'll be learning how to provide for a new little person myself rather than letting my perfectly capable body handle all the important stuff.

But I'm hoping I can see those upcoming changes as badges of honour, proof that together we did this, my body and I.

And hopefully I'll be able to continue to look in the mirror and feel fabulous.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

Hope you're all recovering from last night and are ready to face whatever 2018 decides to throw at us.

Amazingly, I stayed up for the bells, without even having an afternoon nap. I have gone on to sleep almost right through the night and only really woke up when Mr Click brought me my breakfast at 9am, and if you put me back to bed right now I'd probably sleep another good couple of hours.

Bo is obviously confused by my strange waking habits. I got a few good rib kicks at about 6am when he was clearly baffled by my return to bed after a loo trip, but barely a peep out of him since, aside from some little bum wiggles. He's only a very little guy and the excitement of his being in 2018 is a little too much for him.

I can't help but think back to this time last year. I got my period and so began frantically calling the hospital to get started on our final round of IVF. At the time we weren't openly calling it our final round, but we both kind of knew it was. It was our last NHS go and while there was the option of going private again, we had bought a new car so there wasn't really the prospect of paying privately until we'd finished paying for the car, and that wasn't likely to be for a couple of years.

We didn't really discuss it, but had last year's cycle not worked, we'd have had to make a really big decision about whether to throw more money at more treatment, or whether to accept the hand we were being dealt and try to move on workout any more IVF.

I'm so glad we've not got to make that decision. Ultimately we'll have to decide about using our frozen embryos (at £1000 plus meds per shot, so somewhere in the region of £2000+) and those little guys need to start paying rent this year (£250 per year storage costs) but at least for 2018 we have someone else to focus on, and aside from the storage bill, those things will be put off until 2019 at the earliest.

2018 is the year of Baby Bo.

Last year I kind of fell off the bullet journal wagon, thanks mostly to pregnancy exhaustion and then hyperemesis. But I'm picking it back up again now in the hopes of getting well organised for the baby coming.

Last year's word of the year was SUCCEED and my first three points on the list were:

  • Successful IVF/ICSI
  • Healthy baby in 2017
  • Frozen embryos for the future
There were other items on the list, many of which I've failed at (knitting, writing and Welsh spring to mind), but those three were the most important points.

And I think I did succeed. I mean, okay, so Bo wasn't actually born in 2017 (thanks to his short stint in stasis), but he's been healthy for the duration of the year, so I think that counts for something.

Having a word of the year helped keep me focused and positive, even when it was tough to find something to be positive about. So I've selected a new word for 2018:

I'm going with GROW this year. I actually settled on this as my focus word way back in about September or October.

And the number one point on my list? Grow into my new role as a mother.

I'll let you know how that goes.