There’s something about 34 weeks that all of a sudden makes it sound like we’re nearly there. I think it’s because I’m thinking of it as 6 weeks to go, and 6 weeks doesn’t sound that far off, though of course I know it could be anywhere between 3 and 8 weeks, and the nearer end of that range, just 3 weeks, sounds incredibly close! This week involved a midwife appointment (my last was at 29 weeks). According to the NHS Pregnancy book, at this appointment my midwife should: give me info about preparing for labour, including how to recognise active labour, ways of coping with pain in labour and developing my birth plan; measure the size of my uterus; measure my blood pressure; and test my urine for protein.
She did the latter points in this list, and all is fine – no signs of high blood pressure or protein-filled wee, and bump is still bang on the average line for size at this stage in pregnancy (it’s nice to think we’re ‘normal’ in some way at least 😉 ). Baby is also currently the right way up (or down I should say – head down), so that’s positive, though of course he/she still has time to move, but hopefully not. We didn’t talk specifically about labour, though I presume she thinks it’s not necessary to tell a second-time mum about these things, and I agree, I can certainly remember how I recognised active labour – it blimming well started to hurt a lot more all of a sudden! I came across the handout from the work preparation workshop that Tom and I attended, run by the lady who did the antenatal yoga classes I went to with Andrew as a bump. It went through the various natural techniques for coping with pain, like breathing and movements, and I know that these definitely helped me last time. Unfortunately, because the lady has recently had another baby herself (fancy that!), she doesn’t offer antenatal yoga classes anymore, which I would go to if she did, but she does do one-to-one sessions for birth prep still, so I’m thinking of booking her for one, as I believe that was money well spent last time and would like a refresher session to remind me exactly what to do.
Anyway, back to the midwife…. she did, however, talk about home birth (AGAIN!! – Tom reckons she’s on commission or something the amount she’s gone on about it in my appointments). I told her my thoughts are still the same, i.e. plan to go to the Birth Centre, but if it all happens quickly and smoothly then stay at home. She sounded pleased and said that in that case, she would do my 36 week appointment at home so that she could assess the flat and help us by going through what we need to prepare. This sounds like a good idea to me, as I need to ask her some questions that arose from the home birth leaflet I read, like do we have a big enough work surface and what kind of plastic sheeting is good (a friend suggested old shower curtains, which sounds good to me, but the home birth leaflet I have talks about ‘non-slip’ sheeting). So I’m looking forward to that appointment, to get things clearer in my head about what would happen if I decided to stay at home. I also can’t believe that I’ll only have one routine midwife appointment after that, at 38 weeks; only if baby stayed in until 41 weeks would I get another appointment to sort out induction (hopefully it won’t come to that).
I also wanted to talk to her about the results of my last blood test; this was an extra one due to my slightly low platelet count and slightly high cholesterol level, which I wrote about at 30 weeks. I received a letter in the post from the doctor last week, but it was very vague and didn’t tell me anything other than she wanted me to have another test in a month’s time. I guessed from this that neither the platelets nor the cholesterol are a big issue, otherwise they would let me know, but still I’d rather talk these things through with someone, not just rely on assumption from a vague letter! And I was right, there’s nothing to worry about in terms of platelets. My first count at 28 weeks was 129 (thousand per ml of blood), and three weeks later at 31 weeks it was 130; the normal range is 150 and above. The fact that it hasn’t dropped further is great, and the midwife said that as long as it stays above 100, I’d still be allowed to have a Birth Centre or home birth. That’s good news. Annoyingly the cholesterol issue is still in the air, because for some reason (admin error I presume) a glucose test was done instead of a lipid test on my fasting blood sample. So if I want to pursue that, I’ll have to have another fasting blood test and hammer home to them that it’s a lipid test! On the plus side, my fasting glucose was completely normal, so that’s another check to say I definitely don’t have gestational diabetes.
Things other than the midwife appointment that the NHS pregnancy book mentions for week 34 of pregnancy are: make arrangements for where you will give birth, including childcare for any children you already have; ask about tours of maternity facilities for birth; think about who you’d like with you in labour; get your bag ready; attend antenatal classes now if you’re doing them; you may feel Braxton Hicks contractions (tightenings that aren’t painful); you may feel quite tired so make sure you get plenty of rest. Well I think I’ve got most of that covered, including the tiredness! I know where I’d like to give birth if possible – the Birth Centre – and handily I got to have a sneak preview tour of the brand new building a couple of months ago as part of my role as Editor for our local NCT branch magazine. We have a few options for childcare for Andrew – Tom’s mum is coming for half-term week, which is the week before baby is due, so if he/she arrives early, Grandma can toddler-sit whilst we go to the hospital. If baby doesn’t arrive in that week, Andrew’s Godmum has kindly offered to come round when we need to go into hospital – she lives about 10 minutes away – and my parents will be prepared to come and take over when needed – they live about an hour and a half away (in good traffic). Like last time, I’m only planning on having Tom with me during labour (and of course the midwives!); I got so ‘in the zone’ when giving birth to Andrew that, to be honest, I didn’t really notice who was there with me! Regular readers will know that I got my hospital bag ready last week. We have a refresher antenatal class booked for three weeks in October, the last night of which is quite close to due date, but it was either that or do the course in July, and I didn’t want to forget it all by October. We’re doing the course not so much for the info about birth (I think I can remember what that was like and how I got through it), but more to make friends with others who are also expanding their families – it’s a course specifically for expectant parents who also already have a child or children.
To finish with, I’ll just mention that we made a decision on the baby/toddler transport situation for now. We’ve bought a second-hand single buggy, a Bugaboo Cameleon, which has great reviews for being robust, and we’re in the process of preparing our iCandy Cherry for selling. I’ve already used the Bugaboo this week and I’m really impressed with how easy it is to push and manoeuvre, as this was my main issue with our compact stroller that we leave folded in the car. I can imagine that it will be easy to push when I have baby in the sling too, as it just glides in front of me really. Andrew loves it too, especially because he can climb in and out on his own. I’ve been practising with the new Moby wrap for baby that arrived last week, and it feels so comfortable with a (weighted) teddy in compared to the slings I used with Andrew as a baby. So I feel like we’re sorted for now. That’s not to say that I’m ruling out the possibility of a double buggy when baby is bigger. But Bugaboos seem to keep their secondhand selling price pretty high (though we got a real bargain, thanks to my mum’s hawk eye on eBay 😉 ), so we could sell it later and get a double if necessary, or if we only need a double occasionally, I’m sure we can pick up a cheap bargain double that folds small enough to not take up too much room in our flat as well as keeping the single. As I mentioned before, I’ve almost finished writing a post about how unimpressed we are with our iCandy buggy, but I’m not going to post it until I feel the time is right in terms of our complaint process.
Next week I think I should write about (or indeed just write) my birth plan. And next week is my last week at work, so I think after that it’ll really start to feel like baby could come soon. Having sorted out all of Andrew’s newborn and older baby clothes this week, and got various bits of equipment like the baby carseat and rocker chair down from Mum and Dad’s loft, I do feel much more organised and prepared for when baby decides to arrive. Exciting times 🙂