It’s scary how time flies when you’re having fun – or that’s the saying isn’t it?
So you might have noticed that I’ve been MIA since my last post, Growing a Human: Part Two back in May. Who’d have guessed that the end of the 3rd trimester might be a bit manic, what with giving birth and having a baby and all!? Ha Luckily I was kinda organised and made notes throughout my 3rd trimester, before my baby brain settled in. It feels like it was a million years ago now, but here are the thoughts & feelings from the final stage of my pregnancy…
The Third Trimester
Antenatal classes. I know people say a lot of bad things about the NHS but we are so lucky to have access to free healthcare, including antenatal classes to help prepare new parents. Jack & I were both pretty clueless when it came to anything baby related so were keen to learn everything we could about birth (and beyond). We talked through before, during and after the birth in both a scientific and emotional sense over 5 weeks, including that all important birthing suite tour (despite knowing that we wouldn’t give birth at that hospital, boo). It was also great to talk about our worries with the other parents-to-be – it was reassuring that they were having the same thoughts. We both felt a bit sad when the classes came to an end (and still didn’t feel ready to have a baby), although a Whatsapp group was set up for any questions. Definitely recommend signing up to the free NHS classes (and a birthing suite tour) if they’re available at your hospital (this was at the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel).
Bye Bye London. Not sure if I would recommend moving flats at 7 months pregnant, but hey… we love a challenge! We packed up our 1 bedroom flat in Bow, East London and moved to a 2 bedroom maisonette in Colchester, Essex with help from Jack’s family and our friends. I felt really sad about leaving London for the first few weeks as we adjusted to our new life but knew that it was a good move for our future with a baby. I continued to work (remotely) until my Maternity pay/leave began, travelling into London once a week and I quickly realised that commuting as a heavily pregnant woman wasn’t much fun! Our weekends were kept busy preparing for baby’s arrival, setting up the flat and exploring Colchester, but I felt quite lonely and really far away from our friends. I missed our old life in the city, whilst also knowing that life with a baby would’ve been financially and logistically harder in London.
Transferring Hospitals. It was never going to be easy, but at 31 weeks pregnant I knew it was important to get my maternity care transferred from London to Colchester ASAP. I thought the transfer would mainly happen on the hospital side (like they’d send a referral email or something), but actually I had to do it all myself. I found a self referral form on the Hospital website but the first step was to get registered with a local doctor. When that had processed (4 days later!) I sent my self referral email to the Hospital and waited to be assigned a Midwife. And after waiting almost another week I decided I couldn’t wait much longer and called the doctors surgery to ask about the process. Luckily I spoke to a really helpful receptionist who told me to chase it via the hospital. Four department transfers later I was put through to a Midwife that found my application in the system and fast tracked it (after I explained I was almost 32 weeks). I feel like the NHS should have a better system in this day & age?
NCT classes. So we’d already done the free NHS classes in London and learnt a lot, but as we were new to Colchester I decided to pay for the NCT course to meet some local parents. It’s pretty expensive at £196 – for five 3 hour sessions, (and I don’t think I would’ve thought about doing it if we were staying in London), but as we didn’t know anyone in Colchester I thought it was worth the investment. And in hindsight, it was WELL WORTH IT! It did feel a bit weird essentially paying for friends, but we met 4 local couples who are all really lovely and will hopefully become good friends with… and not just because we’re all having babies. In the lead up to the births we set up Whatsapp groups – one for everyone, one for the Dads and one for the Mums. It was so great to be able to talk about how we were feeling, what was to come and celebrate when the babies started to arrive.
Nursery Nesting. After using it as a junk room for 3 weeks, we finally bit the bullet and bought some furniture for the nursery. Having the nursery ready isn’t really essential as usually the baby doesn’t sleep in the nursery until they’re 6 months old, but I needed something to keep my hands and brain busy on maternity leave. During weeks 36 and 37 we DIYed a chest of IKEA drawers – I painted a homage to my first baby, my co-working space mural, so I can enjoy it every day. Working up to my due date in an attempt to coax baby to come, in week 39 we also DIYed the cot. It didn’t tempt baby (more on that later) but it kept me busy and excited when I was feeling lonely, bored and really uncomfortable.
Baby shower. It’s quite an American thing, but seeing as we were moving out of London I thought it made sense to have one last get-together, and a Baby Shower seemed the perfect excuse to get all of our family and friends in one room. I didn’t want a big fuss though – mainly a celebration of a new chapter in our lives! The result was an afternoon of eating cake, games and a dance off, obvs. We had all of our favourite people together and I felt SO loved!
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✨ Oh baby ✨ Feeling so loved & lucky after yesterday’s baby shower/ celebration of our next chapter with the craziest bunch of people (our friends & family) 🙌🏼🎉😜 I wasn’t sure if I wanted a shower at first (they’re a bit American, aren’t they? 😅) but any excuse to eat cake, have a dance off & pose like a real life preggers emoji… for ref:🤰🏻…in front of that Insta-famous mural ( 🎨 painted by myself & @_ellamasters_ ) 😂🍰🎉 Although I’m pretty sure this skirt is ruined after so many hands rubbing my belly… RIP satin midi skirt! At least you had a good send off 💃🏻💚😅 📸 by @emmajanepalin (my official photographer, forever ❤️)
Maternity Leave. I decided to start my maternity leave 4 weeks before my due date. I didn’t want to stop working too early because I wanted to make as much money as I could pre-birth and I also predicted that I’d be bored if I was just waiting around to have the baby. So what did I do for 4 weeks? I made a big list of everything I wanted to get done before the baby came… and then I got so fed up of being a giant pregnant lady that I didn’t really tick any of it off! Of course. I think I spent most of my time wishing the baby would hurry up, oops!
Exhausted. Like never before. I’m not usually one to moan about being tired but I felt like someone had hit me over the head in week 28. I was falling asleep at 9pm every night. I was so tired that when I trekked all the way to Tesco (already exhausted) and they didn’t have any beansprouts for my tea, I cried. True story ha! As my bump got bigger, I got tired more easily but I was still trekking around Colchester right up until the baby came!
Human pin cushion. One word – OUCH. Previous to being pregnant I’ve not been great when it comes to jabs, needles, blood tests, blood in general but feeling pretty proud of how far I’ve come in these few months. I once fainted at the mention of blood, but I’ve powered through like a trooper. I had my Anti-D jab to prevent my body producing any mean antibodies and attacking the baby should our blood come into contact before/during/after birth. I wasn’t even worried as I thought I was a pro at jabs by now, but OUCH that one hurt – I think it goes into a muscle?
Pregnancy Yoga. I was invited to try a Pregnancy Yoga class at Psycle London. I didn’t really expect to like it if I’m honest and my preconception of yoga was that it’s for yummy mummys a.k.a not my vibe. BUT I gave it a chance and actually really liked it. It might seem weird to say, but just practising breathing was really soothing – it’s something we just ‘do’ without thinking about it.
Belly Button. Ohhh, it was so tight and painful as it was being stretched and pushed outwards! Jack noticed it had changed a bit about week 26 and by week 29 I was convinced it was going to pop out at any moment. And it was basically popped at week 33 (much to Jack’s delight).
Bad Skin. In the 2nd trimester I had little time off from the hormonal spots, but not for too long! My face was just generally red and I had those really annoying, painful angry spots on my forehead, neck and shoulders.
Week 33. Up until this point I’d been quite ‘lucky’ and not really suffered that badly. But week 33 was a real test – acid reflux, constipation, broken sleep, back pain and really painful piles. I was feeling so sorry for myself, couldn’t move (because EVERYTHING hurt) and when Jack came home from work one evening, I just cried because I was so fed up.
Week 38. After week 33, everything seemed to calm down and I was back to ‘normal’. I’d seen so many pregnant women complaining about being ‘fed up’ and ‘so ready to have their baby’ but I really didn’t get it… until week 38. GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME! Oh my. Being heavily pregnant in the heat is really hard! And then I injured my back really badly to the point I basically couldn’t walk for 2 days – I hobbled around like Quasimodo. This was also the week where I had 2 sweeps (if you don’t know what that is, google it at your own risk) to try and encourage labour so I was sore in all areas.
Sunny but a bit foggy. Generally I was feeling great and continued to feel like myself, just with a few hormonal wobbles (beansprout-gate ha). However, I did notice my brain starting to get a little bit slow and forgetting a few things, oops! But there was a lot happening with the move to be fair. It just made me up my organisation game – lots of notes, lists and reminders on my phone.
Loved up. Having a baby is one of the biggest tests a couple will go through in life, and maybe I’m jumping the gun saying this, but I feel like Jack & I are bossing it. We are closer than ever before and every time I look at him I get a warm fuzzy feeling – sickening, I know, but true!
Week 37. The end is nigh… and the stress is high! With baby measuring quite big, I was booked in for a growth scan and afterwards met with a consultant to discuss my options. This guy told me that baby was fine, but that because they were measuring big it was unlikely I would be able to deliver them naturally. He said, quite casually, that they’d probably get stuck, get brain damage or die… and then asked me what I wanted to do. I was shocked and felt under a lot of pressure to opt for a c-section (which I didn’t want), despite being told that my baby was fine. I didn’t want to be pressured into making a snap decision right then, so I spent the next 4 days upset and stressing about being forced into having a birth that I didn’t want. SO MUCH STRESS – just what you need as a pregnant woman, eh? Thankfully the next consultant I saw was a lot more understanding, and we made a plan. To be continued…
And that is the end of my pregnancy story! Well, not quite… as I’m yet to tell you what happened when Baby was born of course. Spoiler alert: I made it to 40 weeks + 3 days.
Thanks for being patient with me – I’ll get there eventually!