I have cruised through most of this pregnancy in some kind of fog of disbelief that I was actually pregnant and going to have a baby after all the loss and disappointment. For this reason, I don’t think I have really let it sink in what it actually means to be a mother and to have to take care of a tiny, fragile human being. Well that seemed to suddenly hit me out of nowhere this week and I have started to freak out.
I’ve started questioning if I even know how to raise a baby? I have only ever changed one nappy/diaper in my entire life and that was my niece when she was 18 months old and it was just a wet nappy, no poop in there. I’m also a perfectionist and kind of a control-freak so I am worried about handing over so many responsibilities to my husband for the time frame when I am incapable of taking on regular activities. Then I start worrying about how long it will be that I’ll be out of action. It’s a steady spiral of panic!
I”m sure his family will support us – they are very generous – but they are not the touchy-feely, earthy type that might be able to talk me through breast-feeding or baby sleeping woes (hubby was bottle fed anyway so the concept of breast feeding is kind of unfamiliar to his mother). I know lots of people have their own mum come and stay with them for a couple of weeks to help them out and generally make sure they don’t go insane. It’s not possible for my Mum to come as she has leukaemia and the travelling would be too much for her – and that’s before we even contemplate how she could continue her medial treatment while here. And my sister…. well… she’s a mystery. She doesn’t even send me a message to ask how the baby is. The last time she messaged me was 14 June and that was in response to me thanking her for sending my husband’s birthday gift.
I’m not mentioning this to invoke miniature violins playing tunes of sympathy – we all have our own stuff going on which makes life tough – it is just some context as to why I’m freaking out because I’m not sure how I am meant to learn all of this baby stuff with no one around to tell me how to do it. I do have some great friends here and back home who will only be a message or call away so I think that’s probably how it will go, but I am envious of those new mammas with stronger support networks to help them through the first few weeks where everything is so new and unfamiliar.
Anyway, in good news I PACKED MY BAG! Or should I say bags. I decided it was easier to give baby one small bag and me another so that’s how it’s turned out. During the bag-packing process I suddenly realised that the only baby blankets I have are quite thick and warm and didn’t seem very appropriate for roasting hot summer weather. I consulted a good friend who had her son here in early August and she advised me to get some light “receiving blankets” so I picked up a couple today in Mothercare. If I need more I can send hubby off to get them later as the shop is very close to home.
Other than that, I think I’m all set which is kind of CRAZY! I also think the packing of the bag/s brought on a lot of my freaking out as I suddenly got a sense of the reality of what was coming.
Weight gain: A good solid gain of 1kg this week (2.2 lbs) which I put down to baby packing on the weight and also I think I’ve taken on a bit of fluid this week what with all of the hot weather and rushing about Ive been doing. My feet and hands are still pretty good considering my late stage of pregnancy but they are bigger than normal. I think everything is a little bit larger than normal although I think I look ok considering. In total I am now up 16.5kg (36 pounds) and I think if I made it to 40 weeks I would definitely hit the 20kg mark so thank goodness baby is coming out before that can happen!
Symptoms: I have been plagued by Braxton Hicks contractions this week. They have been a real problem! They are undoubtedly triggered by doing too much, which is not how I expected my pre-baby maternity leave to go, but I’ve just found there are so many things that need doing. The worst day was Thursday where I found the BH got so intense that they were coming about every 10 minutes! My doctor had said if they are 5-8 minutes apart or particularly painful then I am to come in for monitoring. In the evening I counted one that was 8 minutes apart and so we were getting prepared for a visit to the clinic, but after some dinner and a lie down on the sofa on my left side they started to space out substantially so it was ok.
Even on a good day I still find I get the BH in the evenings when I’m tired although they usually come around every half an hour during this period. They were quite bad last night too but that was after the 2 hour maternity photo shoot where I had been walking a lot in hot weather and high wedge heels (the sacrifices we make for vanity), so it wasn’t like I didn’t realise why they were so bad.
I still have the issues with raging hot feet – they were particularly bad last night after the photoshoot / high heels situation – and so I continue with the ice packs and hope that this stupid symptom goes away after birth. I have some mild water retention in my fingers and toes but not something that others would necessarily notice by looking at me. I don’t have any other major symptoms which I think is pretty incredible actually!
Eating: Since I’m no longer at work I find myself munching quite a bit at home and I have to have a strong word with myself to make smart snack choices. I think I would be having those same conversations with myself even if I wasn’t pregnant as there’s just something about not having to go to work that makes you feel like you’re on holidays and calories don’t count. I don’t have any particular cravings though. I almost feel disappointed that I haven’t had any of those pickles-on-ice-cream-on-Doritos types of cravings that are some kind of urban myth.
Sleep: Not too bad considering my advanced stage of pregnancy. The afternoon naps have also been helping to keep me sane.
Movement: The small dude is still moving around a lot. I think a lot of his movements are kind of turns as it feels like every one of my organs is being reallocated a new part of my abdominal cavity whenever he moves. Not only does it feel uncomfortable but it looks so freaky!
Emotions: I had a bit of a cry yesterday when I went to my hairdresser friend for him to do my maternity photoshoot hair. He helped me to see how funny everything was so I felt a lot better afterwards.
Missing: Not much. Everything is good this week.
Purchases: I bought a couple of light blankets today after my bag-packing-panic, a top-and-tail bath thing, and another fitted sheet for the moses basket. The latter was purchased just because it was cute. Mothercare was a special kind of hell this morning (Saturday morning) so I will try and avoid going there on a Saturday again!
Looking forward to: The baby’s birth!! Yes, it’s little more than a week away now, hence why I am FREAKING OUT!! The small dude is going to be on the outside soon. OMG that is so incredible and scary and wild all at once!
I’m also looking forward to seeing the photos from our maternity shoot. I hope we took some nice ones.
Best moment: Not going to work this week was pretty awesome, but the highlight was the maternity shoot. It was a last minute decision to book it and even though I was totally exhausted and super-sweaty when it was done I think it was a really wonderful thing to do. Most of the photos were with hubby and I together and really we haven’t had that much intimacy during the pregnancy so actually it was a great way to connect. We chose a really gorgeous space to take the photos – a local park with Australian trees (it felt like home to me) and a lake – and we took the photos just before sunset so we should have got some “flattering light”
Here’s a photo I took with my iPhone when we were done. Hard to believe this is in the middle of a city?! (No filters or photoshop used!)
Exercise: I have been running about cleaning things, doing errands, ironing, mopping – all sorts this week so I think actually I have been moving my butt more than usual and certainly more than when I was in the office. Also, the photoshoot required a bunch of walking about on uneven ground in wedge heels and that was a special kind of workout all of itself at 8.5 months pregnant!
Bump update: The bump is sooooo big now! I look back at my bump shots from like week 20 and I laugh when I think that I thought I was huge then. I was not. So if you are midway through your pregnancy and you think you are big, let me tell you that you ain’t seen nothing yet! Hahahahahaha!