Growing a rainbow baby: 35 & 36 weeks pregnant

 

Well today I have made it to 37 weeks (full-term – yay!) and I’m a little late with my update of the last two weeks so here we go…

How big is Baby Button-Nose this week?

At 36 weeks, Baby Button-Nose is over 2.6kg and still piling on the weight at a rate of about 30g a day, is close to the size of a romaine lettuce. (Length: 47.4cm, head to heel.)

Mood: 

Mostly OK although I am finding that I’m becoming more grouchy and short tempered as the days go on. The tiredness, hormones and being generally uncomfortable is taking it’s toll on my mood.

Aside from all of that, Jasmine’s behaviour has been really challenging at times (I think she knows that change is afoot, even if she doesn’t quite understand what that change is).

Symptoms: 

A few times over the last week I’ve felt like things might be starting to happen. I’ve had period cramps most days this week. I also felt like I’m ‘opening up’ down there, as if baby could just fall out at any given moment! But I guess it’s just a pressure thing when baby is head down and engaged. It’s eased off the last couple of days so I’m wondering if Baby BN is no longer engaged again!

Pain under my ribs – particularly on my right side (I think this is where Button-Nose likes to park his/her feet!)

Acid reflux

Backache/SPD pain

Increased discharge (Yuk – sorry!)

Calf cramp

Greasy skin/dull hair (Waah!)

Night sweats have suddenly made an unwelcome return!

Insomnia

Braxton hicks

Tiredness. I seem to hit a brick wall in the afternoon and desperately wish I could nap. The toddler didn’t get the memo unfortunately.

Highlight of the week(s): 

Having the house deep-cleaned on Monday – I had been looking forward to this for weeks and I’m so glad we had it done. Now to just try and keep on top of it.

Whilst we had the cleaners here (for 6 hours!) I thought it would be nice to take Jasmine to the cinema for the first time. I wasn’t sure how well behaved she’d be but I figured as it was a Junior showing and only cost £3.60 for the both of us, there was no real loss if we had to leave. She was as good as gold though and sat perfectly through the whole thing – so proud of her. It made me a bit sad that we won’t get to do things like that, just us, for quite a while. I can’t wait for her to be a big sister but having another baby does feel quite bittersweet at times.

And finally, on Saturday I had a ‘day date’ with Stephen. We went to a local Thai resturant for lunch (the food was amazing) and did a bit of Christmas shopping.

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Baby movements: 

It certainly feels like Button-Nose is snug in there – my tummy feels really tight. I tend to only really feel two types of movements – hiccups (low down) and feet sticking out of my right side.

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Fundal measurement: 

At 36+2 my fundal measurement was 35.5cm – that’s quite a lot of growth since my last antenatal appointment, however this measurement was taken by a different midwife.

Appointments:

36 week midwife appointment (home visit) – 

I had my 36 week home visit on Wednesday. I was a little sad that it wasn’t my own midwife who came out for it but this midwife (Stephanie) was equally as lovely. She was here for about an hour. She did my usual check up – wee, blood pressure, bump measurement etc. (all fine) and then talked in more detail about my birth plan and reasons I may have to transfer to hospital etc. She left a big box here full of all sorts of bits and bobs – plastic sheeting, needles, random medical bits and pieces. It all seems very real now.

She checked baby’s position and is pretty sure that they are head down with spine on the left and limbs out to the right. This fits with movements (feel hiccups very low down and kicks on my right side) so I’m confident that baby isn’t breech!

I’m able to have a homebirth from 37 weeks (so from the 31st October)!

Things I’m missing: 

The ability to tie my own shoe laces.

Sleep: 

Rubbish. (And yes, I know the sleep situation is not going to get any better any time soon!)

Pregnancy/baby related purchases: 

I finally ordered our Chicco Next-to-Me (the cramps scared me into action) – although we’ve yet to put it up. Dare I say it, I think we have everything we need now.

I’ve also packed my ‘just in case’ hospital bags.

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Life Lately: The Calm Before the Storm

With less than one month to go until Baby Button-Nose’s due date, I thought it would be nice to sit down and just write. Not about anything in particular but whatever springs to my mind in a period that I’m currently calling the ‘calm before the storm’. Before our lives change again. Before we become a family of four.

Yesterday we had our house deep cleaned in preparation for a homebirth and regardless of whether or not that’s the kind of birth I end up having, I’m glad we’ve had it done. It’s just another one of those things that make me feel a little more ‘ready’. I’m a bit of a clean freak at the best of times so you can only imagine what I’m like when I get into nesting mode. However, I’ve realised that I need to start taking it easy – this pregnancy has been so much harder on my body. Some days, walking up the stairs is a real struggle due to hip and back pain so scrubbing walls and floors myself isn’t an option. I have been going crazy with my label maker though – now that’s my kinda nesting!

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As the cleaners were working in our house for 6 hours, I decided it would be best for me and Jasmine to go out somewhere, to get out of their way. I thought it would be fun to take Jasmine to the cinema for the first time (if you don’t count the Big Scream showings I took her to when she was a baby). I was a little nervous as although I know she is able to sit and watch a whole film at home, I’m wasn’t sure how she’d behave at the cinema. Especially as she seems to have developed a fear of the dark. I booked tickets to a Junior showing of Ice Age: Collision Course which only cost £3.60 for the both of us (bargain!) so I figured if she played up or wasn’t keen on being there – we’d just go to the park instead and there was no real loss.

I needn’t have been so worried because she was as good as gold – sat through the entire film perfectly. She’d occasionally get excited and shout something like “Look mummy, a hotcano! Look everybody, a hotcano!” (That’s a volcano to you and me.) She munched her way through a big bag of popcorn whilst I spent most of the film watching her watch the film. I couldn’t stop from smiling. I also felt a little sad that our days alone together are numbered. Having another baby is so bittersweet. On the one hand, I cannot wait for Jasmine to meet her sibling and become a big sister but on the other, I will miss our time together, just the two of us.

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We had our annual visit to Undley Pumpkin Patch at the weekend (we’ve gone there every year for the last 3 years). It’s only when I look back at our photos of our visits that I realise just how much Jasmine has grown and changed. This will probably be our last ever visit to this particular pumpkin patch as we are relocating back to the South West early next year. I’m sure we’ll be able to find somewhere just as awesome to pick our pumpkins!

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I’m not sure how much Jasmine understands about the ‘baby in mummy’s tummy’. We try to talk to her about the baby but it’s a lot to take in for a 2.5 year-old. Hell, sometimes I can barely get my head around it. To think that I’m growing a brand new human inside of me – it boggles the mind. I do think Jasmine understands more than I give her credit for though – the other night she pointed at my tummy and said “baby”, completely unprompted. When asked “Do you want a brother or a sister?” which tends to be something that family, neighbours and strangers ask her a lot. She’ll either reply “no” (oh.), or more often than not, “a baby brother”. No pressure then.

She’s also become quite protective over me, shouting “my mummy” at strangers in the supermarket. As if she suspects the lady buying milk and baked beans is going to pick me up and carry me away. To be fair, she reacts the same way with the toy cars at playgroup. (“My cars!”) But at least there, the threat is real. You’re gonna have to learn to share real soon, baby girl!

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I should probably touch upon my mental health, seeing as I’ve written about it a fair amount on blog over the last few months. I’m still taking my anti-depressants and I feel like I’m currently in a good place. Yes, I feel quite anxious at times but at 36 weeks pregnant, I think that’s perfectly normal. On the whole, I am excited about meeting our newest addition and whilst I know it’s going to be a big adjustment. I feel I will be able to cope – and if I can’t, I won’t be afraid to ask for help.

I ordered our last few baby essentials last night. I’ve packed our ‘just in case’ hospital bags. Put a box together for my homebirth. Bought biscuits for the midwives! Written a birth plan.  And so I’m feeling as ready as I’ll ever be.

There are a few things I’d like to do before baby arrives such as have a dental check-up (joy!), get my bump Henna’d and treat myself to a haircut and some reflexology. Time is of the essence so I need to get a move on!

Any advice for a soon-to-be mummy of two?!

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Antidepressants and pregnancy: My experience so far…

When it became apparent to me that I was suffering with antenatal depression, I spent a lot of time reading blog posts about others who had been in a similar situation. Reading those posts was what gave me the courage to walk into my midwife appointment and tell her everything I had been feeling. However, what I found frustrating was that nobody really talked about what happened AFTER they’d been to see their midwife/GP. Did they take medication? Did it help? Did they opt for some kind of talk therapy? Did that help?

I, of course, don’t expect anyone to have to write about such personal details for the whole world to read. But I was desperate to know what worked for people and what didn’t. Which is why I thought I’d write a bit of an update post for anyone who is the same same boat as me.

A little bit of background information:

I suffered with depression in my late teens/early twenties due to stressful family situations and although I was eventually prescribed antidepressants, I gave up on them in less than a week because I was scared they were going to turn me into some sort of emotionless robot. I taught myself CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) and through using the tools I learned, managed to find my way out of a deep, dark hole and become ‘happy Jenna’ again.

In February, I found out I was expecting another baby (after having a second miscarriage back in November 2015) and was cautiously excited to be growing a new member of our family. I had a much easier first trimester than I did with my daughter, only being sick a handful of times in the first 3 months, as opposed to every single day. Other being tired – I felt well, both in body and mind.

Unfortunately, shortly after reaching my second trimester things started to go downhill and I knew from past experience that I was almost certainly suffering with depression. I was crying every day and had stopped enjoying life. I was no longer looking forward to having another baby, and instead, dreading it. I felt like a terrible mum to my two-year-old because I, quite honestly, was hating spending all day, every day with her.

The cause of my depression is very much situational. I live hours away from my friends and family and I miss them all terribly. The isolation and loneliness of being a stay-at-home mum, in a town so far away from my loved ones, for over two years had finally taken it’s toll on me. Add to that, all the raging hormones and emotions that come along with pregnancy and I was broken.

At my 25 week midwife appointment, I broke down in tears and explained that I thought I was suffering with antenatal depression. I instantly felt better for having it ‘out there’ and that conversation has lead to me being where I am today. I booked an appointment to see a GP – who was wonderfully supportive and offered to help me in which ever way I saw fit. I asked for medication.

Type of medication and dosage:

My doctor prescribed me Sertraline as it is safe to use during pregnancy (and breastfeeding).

Sertraline is an antidepressant in a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Sertraline affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression, panic, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms.” – Source.

The standard daily dose of this medication is 50mg, which is the amount I’ve been prescribed. However, my doctor explained to me that because I’m pregnant, my body will break down the drug a lot faster, meaning I’m only really having half the dose. I was told that if I felt it wasn’t enough then I should let her know and she would up the amount. At this moment in time, I don’t feel the need to do so.

The side effects: 

My doctor warned me that for the first couple of weeks of taking this medication, it may make my anxiety worse. She told me that if this did happen, to continue taking antidepressants and plough on through it because it wouldn’t last. Fortunately, I didn’t experience heightened anxiety but I thought it might be worth mentioning it in this post as I got the impression that not everybody gets this warning from their GP when they start taking Sertraline.

For me, it’s been hard to tell if some of my ‘side effects’ are a direct result of Sertraline or whether they are normal pregnancy symptoms – or a mix of both.

In the first week or so of taking the drugs I experienced dizziness and heart palpitations (at the same time). As you can imagine, this was quite unpleasant, and I remember being sat in a restaurant with my husband, my heart racing and the room spinning, but feeling unable to talk. But, it passed quickly and I’ve haven’t experienced anything like that again for several weeks now.

I also had (and still get) hot flushes several times a day. I can safely say I am not looking forward to the menopause!

The side-effect that I’ve suffered with the most, and still continue to do so 6 weeks into my treatment, is the night sweats. These are very much like the night sweats I experienced in the weeks after giving birth to my daughter, when my body was expelling all the excess fluid I had left over from pregnancy.

Every night I wake up absolutely drenched in sweat – my duvet and sheets are sopping wet. It’s pretty grim and makes me feel disgusting. My bedsheets had never the inside of a washing machine quite so much as they have over the last month or so.

How is my mood now?

Better, so much better. I haven’t cried since I first walked into the doctor’s office 6 weeks ago. I haven’t become an ’emotionless robot’. I have days when I feel grumpy and fed up, just like anyone else would but the difference is that my moods are now on a much more even kilter. I’m finally starting to embrace pregnancy and look forward to having another baby. I feel like I’m a much better mummy to my daughter because we play and laugh together. I’m more inclined to take her out to the park or playgroups whereas before my depression and anxiety would stop me from doing so.

I still wonder how on earth I’m going to cope with two children but I think that’s normal, isn’t it? I know it’s going to be a big adjustment but I will cope.

I should also mention that since I’ve started taking antidepressants we’ve had some quite big news which will have also affected my outlook on life. My husband’s job role will be changing in the next few months which means we will be able to relocate back to Bristol in the New Year. It still seems like a long way off but it’s given me a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. In all honesty, I don’t think the antidepressants are 100% responsible for my change in mental attitude but they’ve certainly helped. I do not regret starting medication and I will continue to use it for as long as I feel I need to. I suspect once we’ve moved house and I have my support network of family and friends back, I will feel ready to stop my prescription.

If anybody reading this wants to talk about this topic further then do feel free to send me an e-mail or tweet me @_tinyfootsteps. 

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This post was originally published on the 29th September 2016.

Growing a rainbow baby: 33 & 34 weeks pregnant

How big is Baby Button-Nose this week?

At 34 weeks Baby Button-Nose is about the size of an average cantaloupe melon, weighing 2.1kg. (Length: 45cm, head to heel.)

Mood: 

Honestly? I’ve been feeling massively fed up. I’m in so much pain almost constantly that I’m struggling to do ANYTHING. My due date still seems so far away (even though it isn’t, not really) but the thought of being in agony for the next 6+ weeks makes me miserable. I hate moaning about pregnancy aches and pains and usually I just grin and bear it but the last few weeks have been a real struggle.

Aside from from the pain I’m generally feeling a bit ‘meh’. I think I look like a big, fat frump. I’m still waiting for my soddin’ ‘glow’ to arrive.

I also keep having mini panic attacks when I think about giving birth. I’ve started getting super, super nervous about going into labour and y’know, pushing a baby out. I was sat in the waiting room before my midwife appointment and I suddenly thought “Oh crap, I’m going to have a baby”- which was then followed by heart palpitations. I used my Daisy Birthing breathing techniques to calm myself down.

Symptoms: 

Stretching/burning sensation around my rib cage (below my breasts)

Acid reflux

Backache/SPD pain

Bloody nose

Bleeding gums

Occasional cramp in feet

Boobs have been leaking colostrum every single day. I also keep feeling the ‘let down’ sensation.

Skin breakouts.

Highlight of the week(s): 

We booked a last minute Air BnB trip to Norfolk at the weekend. It will almost certainly be our last weekend getaway, just the three of us, before Baby BN arrives. Although it was only two nights away, it was lovely to have a change of scene and spend some quality family time together. We took Jasmine to Dinosaur Adventure Land which she LOVED.

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Baby movements: 

I still can’t quite work out what position baby is in most of the time. I’m pretty sure I’ve felt some little feet sticking high up out at my sides over the last few days which hopefully means baby is head down. Baby BN seems to be most active late morning around 10/11am and in the evenings.

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Fundal measurement: 

At 34+3 my fundal measurement was 32.5cms – right on track. :)

Appointments:

34 week midwife appointment – 

I always really look forward to my midwife appointments because Claire, my midwife,  is so lovely and she always seems to make me laugh and feel relaxed about everything. Blood pressure, pee and bump measurement were all fine. Because I’ve noticed an improvement in my energy levels (finally) she said I wouldn’t need to bother having another blood test to check my iron levels. She was happy for me to just continue taking my tablets. Oh and I am now booked in for a homebirth – eek!

My midwife asked if she could have a feel of baby’s position because she “cannot resist having a prod” even though she said she probably shouldn’t be checking the presentation until my 36 week appointment (I think this is only the case for subsequent babies, not your first one). She said she couldn’t tell if baby was head down or not as my stomach muscles are too tight (I can assure you, they don’t look it).

She also arranged my home visit for my 36 week appointment, unfortunately I don’t think it will be Claire that is coming to see me even though she tried to make sure it was. It will be an hour long appointment to go through all of the practicalities of having a homebirth. (Claire told me that the most important thing to have ready for a homebirth is biscuits for the midwives!)

Things I’m missing: 

Actually quite fancied some pâté this week!

Sleep: 

Not too bad – but I seem to wake up a lot feeling uncomfortable or laying on my back which I know isn’t very good for me and baby at this late stage of my pregnancy. Even though I have always preferred to sleep on my left side, I seem to really struggle to do so at the moment. A big baby lump sticks out into the mattress and it makes me feel queasy so I end up turning over.

Pregnancy/baby related purchases: 

I’m coming to the end of my shopping list now (although I’m convinced I’ve forgotten something important) but my only baby purchase over the last couple of weeks was a Close Caboo baby carrier.

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Doesn’t it look gorgeous?

I didn’t wear Jasmine much when she was a newborn – I found my wrap too fiddly. Obviously with a toddler to wrangle, I’m gonna need my hands free as much as possible when baby arrives so I’m hoping this will be the answer.

The last things on my shopping list are: muslins, our chicco next to me (which I will probably order in the next two weeks), bottles and a steriliser.

 

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Growing a rainbow baby: 31 & 32 weeks pregnant

How big is Baby Button-Nose this week?

At 32 weeks  Baby Button-Nose is taking up more and more space in my uterus, weighs about 1.7kg and is as long as a kale. Length: 42.4cm, head to heel.

Mood: 

Pretty good. :) I’ve definitely started nesting and I’m on a complete mission to declutter our house. I’ve also sorted through all of Jasmine’s newborn clothes and washed all of the unisex stuff (I had more than I thought).

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Symptoms: 

Leg cramps

Braxton hicks – albeit not very frequently.

‘Fanny daggers’ – soz.

Really bad lower back pain – and my hips have been clicky too! Ouchie.

Stretching/burning sensation around my ribcage (below my breasts) – it’s pretty much constant and so uncomfortable.

Highlight of the week(s): 

I’ve booked a deep clean of our house for when I’m 36 weeks pregnant and I am so, so excited about this. Because I’m planning a homebirth it was important to me that I don’t feel like the house is dirty and at the moment I always feel like it is because I find it hard to keep on top of the housework. If I do ultimately end up having baby in hospital then I’ll still be glad we have a nice clean home to come back to.

Baby movements: 

I’ve had some big movements over the last couple of weeks, ones that have made me go “ooof” out loud. But generally this baby doesn’t move around all that much. There’s a hard lump that sticks out just to the right of my belly button and I’m not sure if it’s a bum or a head! I feel hiccups quite low down so I’m thinking it’s probably baby’s bottom. My midwife hasn’t felt for baby’s position so I think I’ll ask at my next appointment. I’m paranoid about having a breech baby!

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Fundal measurement: 

At 31+3 my fundal measurement was 30cms. My midwife was a little worried I was measuring small at first but once she plotted it on my growth chart she realised that I’d actually had quite a big growth spurt over the last few weeks.

Appointments:

31 week midwife appointment 

All OK at this appointment except that I was told that my 28 week bloods showed that I was anaemic. Why it took 3 weeks to tell me, I’ll never know. Luckily I managed to get my prescription for iron tablets then and there (a doctor just so happened to be loitering behind the reception desk which saved me another trip back to the surgery later that day).

I have been feeling tired for weeks but had just put it down to being pregnant and being a mummy to a boisterous 2-year-old! I’ve been taking the tablets for a week and a bit now and I can’t say I’ve noticed much of an improvement in my energy levels but my blood will need retesting again soon so hopefully my iron levels have gone up.

Things I’m missing: 

Energy!

Sleep: 

It takes me ages to get comfortable and fall asleep – I’ve ditched all of my pregnancy pillows because they weren’t really helping and were just making me hot! Once I’m asleep I’m soundo until the morning but I do wake up busting for a wee!

Pregnancy/baby related purchases: 

After a lot of umm-ing and ahh-ing, we finally decided on and purchased a travel system – I’m planning to write about which one we chose in a separate blog post but so far I’m really pleased with it.

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I’ve bought quite a lot of bits and pieces over the last few weeks and there’s not much left on our list to get now. My latest purchases include: some gorgeous unisex baby bits from La Redoute, Ewan the dream sheep and protective floor mats (for my homebirth).

 

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