Unfortunately, my clear run of sleeping has ended spectacularly, and I’ve spent the last week or so struggling with waking up at odd hours, not being able to get back to sleep, and having difficulties getting off to sleep in the first place. I’m certainly blaming some of it on the heat. We have a thermometer in our bedroom – most nights it’s 29 degrees, whether we have the air con on or not. Or it could also be the constant need to pee, vivid dreams, racing mind, or this huge belly of mine getting in the way. It doesn’t really help knowing that third trimester insomnia is very common. But whatever the cause, it sucks!
The countdown has begun! Today I am 30 weeks pregnant, with 10 to go. On the one hand, that’s pretty exciting. On the other, how are we going to get everything done? I’ve got this sudden rush of “oh my god, I’ve got to buy a cot, work out how to use a breast pump, clean out the spare room, wash the windows, and learn how to keep a baby alive RIGHT NOW!”
There’s also another unofficial countdown going on – I only have 5 weeks and 2 days of work left. Yippee!!!!
Last Thursday Chris and I went to our first childbirth class. We’ve opted to do an “intensive” program where you only go twice, but it’s for 3 hours each time. At first I was a bit worried about whether we were going to get the condensed version, but then I heard from other pregnant women that the extended classes just have more fru-fru (icebreakers, lots of videos and so forth). And the advantage of the class we’re taking is that it’s run by our midwife Rowena, who we already know and trust.
Both Chris and I wholeheartedly agree that we’ve done the right thing. Rowena gave exactly the right amount and kind of information. She was very funny, reassuring and informative. I’d done quite a bit of reading about labour prior to the session, and I have to say that there’s only so much you can learn about labour from reading. Rowena was able to give us really practical advice on everything from how to avoid tears/episiotomy (don’t push really hard right at the moment when the head’s coming out), to how important it is to stay on top of your anxiety (it’s the number one reason why labour doesn’t progress and requires intervention).
We also made an unexpected decision to give water birthing a try. Previously I’d assumed that water birthing might be weird, uncomfortable, yucky or difficult to arrange. But I discovered from the session that every labour suite at our hospital has a private bath. Also, sitting in the pool during labour is apparently very relaxing, so if you’re really anxious, it’s a good way to calm down. It makes sense; I’ve been swimming a lot lately and one of the main benefits is that I completely relax in the water. There’s also something to the fact that you’re in a weightless environment, and at this stage of the pregnancy that’s one thing I don’t often have the pleasure of feeling.
I felt greatly relieved that we weren’t shown any gruesome birthing videos. Believe me, I know that labour could be gruesome for us, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t need to anticipate it. At this stage I’m happy to be blissfully ignorant!
A lot of people have been asking me lately how I’m doing. I thought it might be useful to comment publicly.
I’m doing great. In fact, I feel incredibly lucky that things have gone so well so far in the pregnancy. I know tonnes of women who feel miserable throughout pregnancy. I feel happy, relaxed, fit and well. I’ve also been expecting that the third trimester would bring a whole lot of new issues, but so far I haven’t had had much to complain about. I’m definitely slowing down – it’s getting harder and harder to walk to work most days. And around about 3pm I feel dead tired and want to lie down under my desk for a nap. But I’m still getting to the gym, going for swims, walking, etc, and I feel that this is a big help in making me feel comfortable. I don’t have backache, swollen legs or feet, heartburn or sciatica (common late pregnancy complaints).
If I was going to complain about something (and why not, since the rest of this post has been embarrassingly pollyannaish) it would be that the heat is making me feel miserable. Generally the daytime temperature in Sydney has been around 25-30 Celsius (77-86 Fahrenheit), which is not all that hot for this time of the year. But the humidity! I feel like I’m walking through soup when I’m outside. At work I’m safely in an air-conditioned bubble, but at night I really suffer. At one point last night I woke up feeling like I couldn’t breath. Chris got up and put the air con on, which really helped a lot. I hate the thought of using all that energy, plus how it’s going to blow out our electricity bill. But honestly, it’s worth it.
Recently I was reading an interview with Matt Damon where he said that becoming a father was like joining a club he didn’t even know existed. I now know what he means after undertaking one of the most daunting tasks of becoming a new parent: visiting a baby shop.
The post-christmas sales/saturday morning double whammy meant that the place was insane. We could see dozens of annoyed couples waiting in line to purchase their goods. All around the store there were people frantically trying to grab the attention of the sales staff. There was stuff strewn everywhere, babies crying. Who knew that such a place existed? The weird thing is, out of all this madness we actually managed to come away with several key items: we bought a portacot and baby bath (for the use of baby Talullah when Pip and Brent come and stay in a few weeks). And the biggest miracle occured, we managed to snag the most challenging of all baby items to purchase: the stroller.
The stroller seems to be a touchstone moment typifying pre-birth folly for some parents. I know people that spent months selecting their stroller. Some women confess to wanting to scratch the eyes out of yuppie mums pushing the infamous bugaboo stroller (costing a cool $1600 in Australia). All expectant mums have heard stories of new couples that purchased the wrong stroller: either the wheels locked up, or it broke within weeks. They didn’t choose one with extendable handles and developed crippling back pain as a result. Yes, strollers are that important. So it’s with some pride that I can report that we spent all of an hour selecting our stroller. Who knows, maybe our stroller will have a harmatia? But I feel blisfully happy knowing that our stroller is bought, that we got it for a good price, and that finding out its annoyances will be several months down the track.
So Chris and I got back from NZ on Sunday and I’ve got to say that it’s been much harder than I thought re-adjusting to being back at work. After my first day back I was so tired that I fell asleep as soon as I got home. Chris woke me up to have dinner, and then I fell asleep again. He had to wake me to go to bed. Oh how I wish I was still on holiday sleeping for 10 hours a night and having afternoon naps! If there’s one consolation, it’s that I only have 7 (nearly 6) weeks of work left, and then it’s the high life for me! (If I don’t get a flood of angry comments from overworked new mothers after that last quip I’ll be bitterly disappointed.)
I had an appointment with my obstetrician today, and she reports that everything is going well. So well that she no longer thinks that the 30-week ultrasound is necessary. The only issue I discussed with her was that I sometimes worry about the baby’s movements. My baby certainly kicks a lot, but they’re very gentle kicks, and mostly it feels like a turtle floating around in there. She said that as long as the kicks are regular (at least 10 a day), then everything is normal. While some women experience very dramatic movements, it’s also perfectly normal to have a more laid back baby. I didn’t share with her my hope that this would translate into us having a “champion sleeper” baby once born. But please, let it be us!
And now that I’m in the third trimester, I’m going to be touching base with her and my GP (I’m doing a shared care arrangement) every two weeks. I’m pretty relieved that I’m alternating appointments with my GP, because at my obstetricians office there’s usually a 40+ minute wait, and there are often other pregnant women looking anxious and harassed. My GP’s office is much calmer.
The next big thing to happen is that I’m having a glucose test for gestational diabetes on Monday. Dr J. didn’t think this was absolutely necessary, she’s just running it to be on the safe side. It requires eating a high-carb diet for three days, then fasting for 12 hours. In the morning you go to a lab and swallow a sugary liquid, then wait for two hours. After that you have a blood test. It’s not going to be fun. However, I’m getting used to the idea that my body is becoming one big science experiment.
Sorry for the radio silence lately – I’ve had a couple of emails from people wondering if everything is okay. I should’ve warned you all – Chris and I have been enjoying a nice internet-free holiday in New Zealand. We’ve been staying with his parents, but catching up with my family as well. Hopefully I’ll have some photos to share when I get back to Sydney.
Being on holiday has been fantastic: lots of yummy food, walking along the beach, and having afternoon naps. My stomach seems to be getting bigger and bigger every day. The books say that the baby is just over 2 pounds, but will treble in weight over the last few months. I have to say that the word “treble” made the blood in my veins stop. I already feel huge! The baby’s movements have been normal and regular, although more pronounced. We went to see the new James Bond movie the other night and the baby squirmed and squirmed, it felt sort of like I was giving birth to an uruk-hai. Anyway, I feel very thankful that everything is so normal and there haven’t been any dramas.