Monday, 26 December 2011

39 Weeks


It's a real struggle writing this post today. I am by far the most uncomfortable I have been throughout the whole pregnancy today (and for the last couple of days) and I was dearly hoping to interrupt the usual weekly broadcast with news of an arrival. Frankly, I'd really like to just crawl back in to bed right now but as I will be full term tomorrow, this really is the last chance to write the 39 week post and you know I always remain loyal to my fans. That's all of you lovely people.

It turns out my maternal instincts are pretty terrible all round. I didn't particularly feel pregnant when I found out I was; for the first 17 weeks of Shrimpy's life I was convinced he was a girl; I had a premonition he was coming on 23rd December and then I was convinced I had definitely started labour late Christmas Eve and, at that point, couldn't have been more sure really that I was going to witness the second coming on Christmas Day. Wrong on all counts, so if anyone says "trust your instincts", especially if you're me, poke them in the eye and send them on their way. I no longer have any faith at all in my instincts - they have underperformed too many times now.

My symptoms have changed quite a bit this last week. I mean, most of the usual ones continue but in addition I have been feeling very dizzy, headachey and nauseous for the past 3 - 4 days, hugely lacking in energy (apart from one day when I had a sudden burst, further convincing me that labour was imminent), the contractions, which I know now must have been more Braxton Hicks contractions (as Shrimpy is not here), have been stronger, longer and more frequent and I think the worst thing is the pain in my pelvis. The Shrimpy one's head is clearly wedged deep in to it now and I can feel it being pushed apart quite severely which results in all the nerve endings around it hurting quite a lot constantly. In fact the only thing that makes me vaguely comfortable at the moment is being in the bath. I don't think I've ever been so clean! Oh, and the other thing which I am finding particularly unpleasant is the swelling. My whole body is very swollen but I have really noticed it in my pinkies this week. A couple of days ago I noticed that my fingers were so swollen I couldn't even clench my fists anymore (which makes it kind of hard to threaten people) and my beautiful engagement ring from Ron is now making a firm indent in my sausage finger. Goodness, I hope the swelling goes down after birth, I don't like looking like a giant marshmallow.

I made Ron take one final (or so I thought) picture of the bump this week as I was so sure it wouldn't contain a baby for much longer. I have taken the liberty of removing my head and thunder thighs from the image to cause minimal offence.

Me, Shrimpy and Sausage Fingers

Whilst the constant that runs throughout most weeks of watching a lot of Judge Judy (did I ever mention that this woman is my true hero?) has still been there this week, I feel like a lot of other things have also happened since I last wrote so I think I'll just go through them chronologically.

On Tuesday, following my request to change midwives last week, I saw a new midwife, well, two of them actually, a new to the area lady but with the community midwife manager also present. The experience could not have been more different from my previous appointments which have been really disappointing and, at times, quite upsetting, so I couldn't be more pleased that I finally requested the change (seriously, ladies, if any of you are experiencing a similar thing, I cannot recommend strongly enough you request to see a different one). The pair of them were really nice and genuinely seemed to care about how I was feeling rather than just running through the absolute basic checks (which my last midwife had not even always run through). They almost went a bit over the top with the making sure I was OK thing, it was a bit like, "OK, Natalie, I'm going to use this biro to make some notes about what we discuss today, is that OK? Or would this pen be better? Are you happy on that chair? I can get you another one?" etc. etc. which was not necessary but was such a refreshing change that I made the most of it and requested the use of a fountain pen instead.

Anyway, it turns out that the baby's position, which was something I was really keen to know, is head down but in a back to back position, which isn't the ideal position for birth but not a disaster. What this means is that the baby's spine is against my spine and all his limbs are at the front. I'm fairly sure he hasn't turned since that appointment as the large bump which I now know to be a foot is in exactly the same position. Ideally, the baby's back will be to either side or to the front. This helps the baby come down the birth canal with the least amount of obstruction due to the shape of the baby's head and the position it needs to be in to come out through the pelvis and little hole comfortably (well, as comfortably as a person can come out of a person). If you imagine putting on a really tight polo neck jumper and the position you would put your own head in to do this - you would tuck your head in a little so that the part of your head that is at the top and slightly to the back goes through the hole first. It's a bit like this and it's difficult for the baby to get that part of its head facing first in the back to back position, although that's not to say it can't be done as babies can freakily turn their heads a full 180 degrees and this is what my little Shrimpy owl will need to do.

Babies can turn at any point, even right up to the latter stages of labour so I'm not getting myself too stressed about the positioning at the moment, it's just good to know that Shrimpy isn't breech. All in all, seeing the new midwife was a very positive experience and I feel so relieved that I shouldn't have to see the other midwife again.

On Thursday, it was my birthday! It was a very different birthday to normal as I had put it to the back of my mind really and it was impossible to plan too much but, for the first time in years, I wasn't working for it which was nice and my parents came up and took me to lunch and then Ron and I went to a lovely local restaurant in the evening. It's always a struggle eating large meals at the moment and by the end of the Michelin star meal I was ready to pass out but it was really tasty and the whole day was very enjoyable given how uncomfortable I am generally feeling.

On Friday, I met all the NCT ladies who haven't yet sprogulated for yet more coffee and cake which was very enjoyable as ever (a great set of ladies) and then, on returning home, had the huge burst of energy I made earlier reference to. I've been pretty tired for quite some time so it was unusual to feel so energetic so, because it's what pregnant ladies do, I cleaned the house again from top to bottom, went to the shops and just generally did fairly energetic things. I went to bed that night with a feeling of being completely ready for the Shrimp arrival and thought, this is it, it's going to start tonight and he will arrive tomorrow. On Christmas eve morning, I woke up feeling incredibly nauseous and completely lacking in energy and could barely be bothered to get out of bed all day. This continued and by late evening I was having fairly strong contractions that were frequent but not regular. I've been having Braxton Hicks contractions since about week 30 that have been fairly strong but these were different, they were much stronger and I had that feeling that the baby was about to drop out through my pelvic floor so I really thought that was it and the poor little blighter was going to arrive on Christmas Day. I woke up about 01:49 (ok, at exactly that time) on Christmas Day morning to a very strong contraction and got up and basically spent the whole night on the sofa downstairs waiting for the contractions to become stronger and more regular. This didn't happen and by about 7am after a few hours of totally erratic and irregular contractions they stopped completely and all I felt was exhaustion. It was then apparent that this was a false alarm. Strangely, having spent the whole pregnancy desperately hoping Shrimpy wouldn't come out on Christmas Day (as it would be a rubbish birthday to have), I had psyched myself up for it so much by the morning that I found myself feeling quite disappointed when alas everything quietened down.

So, since then, I've had the usual sporadic contractions and now the severe pelvic pain so I still feel like the baby is coming pretty soon (jeez, the thought of another two weeks of feeling like this is really not a pleasant one) but who knows, as I say, my instincts are pretty rubbish. One thing is certain though, I have lost yet another £1 bet to Ron about when Shrimpy will arrive (that boy is bankrupting me) as we are now closer to his prediction of 28th December than to mine. Grrrr.

On Christmas Day, again a very unusual one for me, Ron and I had very few plans and had got some food in in case we were indeed at home for the day and, for the first year since I was born, I wasn't with my parents which was strange and I know my Mum found this quite upsetting. We went for a very light walk, however, which nearly killed me and popped in to our local pub, The Anchor - a very special place to us (where Ron and I have had some quite significant moments including him proposing to me), for a small glass of wine and a mince pie and then came home to cook our roast duck and open some pressies. I'm not a huge one for the actual day itself and tend to enjoy the build up to Christmas more but it was a very relaxed and pleasant day and I got some lovely presents which I can't wait to play with when I'm not feeling quite so rubbish.

And that pretty much leads me up to today, Boxing Day, the day before Shrimpy is due - a day I have been thinking about for almost 10 months! The parentals are arriving shortly and I am desperately hoping I don't go in to labour whilst my Mum is here as she'll then have maximum timeage to get herself in a state of epic proportions but, at the same time, I want Shrimpy out now because of the fairly severe discomfort so I'll see what happens - that's all I can do really but one thing's for sure, I hope before next week's post I will have news of a little person arriving safely in to the world.

The only other thing of note to mention this week is that curiosity finally got the better of me and I decided to weigh myself! Now, I'm not generally a fan of weighing myself for lots of reasons - partly as a hangover from my anorexic days many, many moons ago, partly because I actually really don't care what I weigh and partly because I have such a heavy brain that the figure on the scales is fairly irrelevant anyway! So, I hadn't weighed myself recently before becoming pregnant but the last time I had, I was about 10½ stones and I'm fairly sure it would have been around that when I fell pregnant. As I haven't really been interested in my pregnancy weight, I hadn't done any research at the point of getting on the scales a couple of days ago as to the expected average weight gain during pregnancy, I just assumed that with baby weight, the placenta and some fluid it would probably be about a stone and a half or so, so you can imagine my shock when it turned out I weighed 13½ stones!!! Holy Macaroons! No wonder my poor ankles have been giving away under the extra strain. I was really concerned initially that I had overdone it on the cream teas but having now researched this area, anywhere between about 2 and 3 stones weight gain is fairly normal so whilst I'm right at the top end of this, it's nothing to be concerned about. It did make me chuckle though and explained a lot about why my body feels so tired. I weigh nearly as much as Ron now!

So, tomorrow, I am officially full term and from that day on, Shrimpy becomes overdue so come on Shrimpster, if you are any child of mine you will make sure you are on time and on budget!

Current Symptoms:
  • More frequent and stronger contractions
  • Headaches, dizziness and nausea
  • Very sore pelvic area
  • Swollen everything
  • Bleeding gums
  • Shortness of breath (slightly lessened now the baby has dropped a bit)
  • Sore shoulders
  • No contact lens wearing


Daddy will write a post when his little boy pops out but until then he'll just be waiting patiently and calmly and trying to look after a crazy, pregnant lady. This is a full-time job.


I'm over 50 cm tall and probably weigh about 8 pounds or so by now (although we'll all find out more accurate measurements pretty soon).

I'm pretty fed up this week to tell you the truth for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Mummy didn't give me all the required information a few weeks ago when I started trying to get in to the right position for exit. I'm pretty smart so I did what she said and made sure my head was down but she didn't say anything about where my blinking spine had to be! Had I known two or three weeks ago, I think I could have made the turn but now that my head is wedged firmly and deeply in this hard casing, struggle as I do to turn around, it's pretty impossible, so I think I'm stuck like this for the delivery. Not ideal for either me or Mummy so I'm just going to cross my fingers and hope for the best but it looks like a mahoosive cone head is on the horizon. Awesome.

Secondly, it turns out I get no say when I come out either! I decided a couple of days ago after a particularly squished and uncomfortable day that today was the day and then I thought, ah crap, I don't actually know what the procedure is! I struggled and pushed and kicked and squirmed and did get some help from the water bubble I am in seemingly squeezing me down a bit but then it just stopped and nothing! Balls. I even shouted "I'm a baby, get me out of here", as I had heard similar phrases being shouted before that seemed to work for other people when they wanted to get out of where they were but nothing happened - not even a cheeky crack from AntandDec.

So, I'm well and truly ready but it seems that only Mummy's body gets to decide when I come out so I'm going to have to just lie here exercising patience, again. What a life!

Let's hope by next week's post I'll be meeting you all in person (well, you'll be seeing a picture of me and my cone head anyway).

Á bientôt (oh, I probably didn't say, I've been so freakin' bored in here I decided to learn a few languages - starting with French. Haw-he-haw).

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