Saturday, 16 September 2017

Despite sporting a pretty sizeable bump now (these photos were taken at 35 weeks!), I'm still not sure it's sunk in that we could have a baby any day now...will I feel like this for the rest of my life - I can't believe I have a 2 year old/another baby/etc. My friend Jo, who shot our wedding photos (this time last  year!!), was staying with us for the weekend so we nipped out to Tooting Common with the dog to take a few maternity photos. It took a little while to get into having my picture taken - especially with other dog walkers lurking around! - but having the dog there really helped things feel a lot more natural and for 10 minutes of feeling awkward, I have beautiful pictures to remember this time for the rest of my life. NB Baki appears to be looking adoringly at my bump, but in reality he is waiting for me to throw his ball, luckily hidden by the long grass!

One thing I do wish I'd done is keep some notes during my pregnancy - it really would have only taken a few seconds every day or week to jot down some of the things I'd been feeling both mentally and physically. The weird thing is, the past 8 or so months have gone by so quickly, yet feel like an eternity at the same time; every point you are waiting for the next 'thing' to happen - feeling the baby move, knowing that the baby is kicking and you haven't just got gas, wearing loose clothes to keep your bump a secret, wearing tighter clothes so everyone knows and bloody well gets out of your way!  So, while things are still somewhat fresh in my mind, I thought I'd jot down a few things here and hope my memory serves me well.

The first few months
I just didn't feel pregnant. I knew I was pregnant, my belly was growing every day - imperceptibly to everyone, including me - but nothing really felt different and I was in my normal clothes for quite a while. Having to start undoing my top button (I used a hair tie through the buttonhole to eke out the shelf life of my favourite jeans) was definitely a sign that things were indeed changing and I did write a short post about some of my thoughts at 12 weeks here. I was slightly nauseous right at the beginning, but I couldn't tell if that was just because I knew I was pregnant and thought I should be feeling sick..! No cravings to speak of, though I did just feel like carbs and didn't know what I wanted to eat most of the time, which is unusual for me. I wasn't hugely keen on meat, but there were definitely days where I polished off a giant steak. The beginning of pregnancy is an odd stage - you have a scan at 12 weeks to confirm everything is in order and then I don't think I had another appointment with my midwife for a good few weeks after that. As a first time mum, it definitely feels a bit like you're left to your own devices and I felt that midwife appointments were very much led by anything I wanted to know - which I didn't know what I wanted to know! So they ended up being quite short. I've struggled with anxiety in the past, but surprisingly have felt calm throughout pregnancy - I think there's something about everything being out of my control that puts me at ease, which I'm sure has the total opposite effect for most other people.

The one thing I do remember, now I look back on it (it's amazing how quickly you forget), is being ridiculously tired. I constantly felt like I was nodding off at my desk and when I get home I couldn't do much more than lie on the sofa and cuddle the dog, which is probably why I didn't feel like eating much either. It was like a fog and then, suddenly, it lifted.

The middle bit
Waiting for a baby is a strange thing - I really just felt like we got on with normal life. I didn't want to buy any baby things like a pram or Moses basket until we'd seen at my 20 week scan (which ended up being around 22 weeks) that everything was okay, so we just kept on as we were. Around 15 weeks I told work because I felt like I was really starting to show, but my team were so sweet and excited...and no one had really guessed! I had been wearing my normal jeans and a few floaty tops and dresses, as body-wise I've been mostly bump. The other reason why I shared the news was so I could start wearing my Baby On Board badge on the tube - Londoners have been lovely! Everyone has asked if my commute is awful, but in reality it's so much better than normal because I get to sit down every single day. Prior to being pregnant, I'm not sure I'd sat down on my morning commute for about 18 months! I started wearing more form-fitting things and it was nice to be able to appreciate my changing body a bit more.

At 17 weeks, I felt the baby move. I think I was lying down in the bath, reading a book and very still, when I felt the tiniest little bubble-like feeling really low down in my abdomen. It definitely didn't feel like a baby kicking! But it was nice to feel that something was happening in there. With my energy restored, I felt pretty great through most of the second trimester - I hiked in Cornwall, rushed around with the dog and felt like I had a spring in my step. Such a relief after the first trimester...people tell you you'll be less ill/tired/etc. after the first trimester, but when you're in the thick of it, you can't imagine that things could suddenly change!

We signed up for our NCT classes and I've met a lovely group of local women - we're quite different, but we're all first time mums and no matter what your age or background, it seems everyone has the same concerns and worries. The babies have started being born and I've suddenly realised how unusual it is for a friendship group to all be going through the exact same thing at the same time. I'm a total teacher's pet, so I loved the classes, which felt like the good bits of school - I wish our group leader Wendy was our next door neighbour. She was so brilliant and reassuring. Ultimately, Darren felt like he knew most of the content of the course already...though the labour session was a bit of an eye-opener for him, I think!

The final stretch
And so that brings me to the third trimester. I've started to slow down again - whether it was my slightly low iron levels or general third trimester tiredness, I'm not sure, but I am absolutely knackered and the simplest things have become surprisingly energy-zapping. I'm not just saying this to get out of doing it, but leaning over your bump to wash up at the sink definitely puts a strain on your back! Slowly we've bought all the things we need and started getting our flat in order. Through my second trimester I was a mad woman, getting rid of things left right and centre, clearing out all the clutter from our flat. It's been quite cathartic to just throw/give it all away! And now we finally have a little nursery for the baby - who won't be sleeping in there until next year, but it's a lovely space for us to relax in too. And I'm hoping it'll be more appealing than the previous 'junk cave' when we come to try and sell the flat again next year.

Yesterday was my last day at work - I've been building up to it for a few months, going through a huge recruitment drive for my growing team, trying to find my replacement and getting everything in order before my final day, all while doing my normal job too. I am completely exhausted and was so ready to finish yesterday, but it's bittersweet too; I've been at my job for nearly 5 years, over 2 of which I've been managing a team that has grown from 6 to 13 people! The past few months have made me feel so confident in what I'm doing, that I really know it inside and out and I've felt like I'm really good at my job...I got a bit emotional yesterday thinking about the fact that I'm moving into a new adventure where I don't feel confident and I don't really know what I'm doing.

And now here I am, officially on maternity leave! I've already made an impressive dent on my diary next week, booking in British gas appointments, lunches, a mother-in-law to stay and more cleaning and nesting. But luckily there will be many hours spare to cuddle on the sofa and watch telly with my pup.

Thanks for indulging my rambles! They're probably quite boring, but I'm glad I've got everything down in writing, as I'm sure once I've been through birth and the first few weeks of looking after a newborn, my pregnancy will seem like a very distant memory!

No comments:

Post a Comment