Thirty five weeks today.
Thirty five whole weeks since this little madam arrived.
Thirty five whole weeks of love.
As most, if not all, of you guys know by now, Olivia was a bit too punctual for her own good. Looking at her now, it often surprises people that she was 5 weeks early, as she has MORE than made up for it. Thankfully it’s lead to nothing more than an interesting pregnancy/birth story and, as quite a few people have asked about her prematurity and whether there had been any signs or indications that led to me going early, I thought I’d dedicate this week to my pregnancy journey. Whats particularly special this week, is that Olivia is 35 weeks old today, which means she has officially been outside my tummy for as long as she was inside. How amazing is that?!
Its funny because, while the last 8months have felt like they’ve gone in the blink of an eye, my pregnancy 8months felt like it lasted 880 years. And don’t even get me started on the ‘trying’ part.
I didn’t ever have myself down as an impatient person but i must have been about 4weeks 1hour pregnant when i actually tested, I just couldnt wait.
Of course, after telling my husband (with a very cute hand decorated babygro and customary pee covered stick lovingly placed on top) we had the usual ‘oh my god, is this really happening?!’ thoughts. Excitement and happiness, tinged with anxiety, fear and a bit of ‘Where the hell are we gonna put all the stuff?’ OBVIOUSLY I’d had the nursery mentally planned out since the mere whisper of ‘let’s start trying’ and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I had SO many thoughts and ideas of how this pregnancy was gonna go…..
Of course, i needn’t have bothered. For the vast majority, it was absolutely nothing like I expected it to be. Especially the first trimester. Take the morning sickness part…. ‘Morning’ sickness. HAH! I would have given my left arm for my sickness to be confined to the morning. But alas, there I was, dashing to the loo at any opportunity available to christen the toilet bowl with whatever I’d rammed down my throat to try and keep the sickness at bay – usually dry crackers which, for anyone who suffered from the dreaded preggo sickness will KNOW, are bloody awful when vommed back up.
Unfortunately, my whole first trimester was blighted by it. That coupled with the extreme fatigue meant i looked like ‘Salad Fingers’ uglier (and greener) twin by the end of it. Bang went my visions of eating well, keeping active and developing that pregnancy ‘glow.’ I thought of it as an extreme cardio workout just getting up from the couch some days.
It really is quite cruel that it’s the ‘done’ thing to keep your pregnancy quiet until the 12 week mark. Trying to hide the fact that you’re spewing 37586 times a day is NOT easy. Nor is doing a stint of nightshifts with a particularly bad bout of D&V on your ward. It did come in as a great excuse mind you, when I came as close to spewing on another person as I ever have in my life.
Nevertheless, the weeks crept by in a blur of 8pm bedtimes, day long carb binging and mad alcohol avoidance plans (pouring non alcoholic wine into an empty wine bottle, absolute winner FYI ladies) and it was finally time for our 12 week scan. Baby wasn’t playing ball (obvs) and it resulted in me doing jumping jacks in the scan room to jiggle her awake. Encouraging a woman suffering from extreme sickness to do this, is an absolute disaster waiting to happen….. But at least the baby finally woke and allowed the sonographer to get all the measurements she needed. This perhaps should have been my first sign that this little diva was doing things HER way.
The second trimester thankfully brought an end to the sickness, and a little glimpse of the life i had left behind. You know, the one where i could brush my teeth without getting the boke and watch an entire half an hour programme without falling asleep. I felt the best I had in a long while. I was still binging on carbs like there was no tomorrow (hellllo, eating for two, you judgemental witch) but I had managed to get myself back to the gym regularly, so ‘balance’ and all. I was even managing to attend social events past 9pm and without having to mentally map out the fastest route to the toilet. Of course with the lack of PHYSICAL symptoms, my mental health decided to more than make up for it – paranoia that there was something wrong with the baby (‘if my symptoms have disappeared, does this mean my baby has too?!’) anxiety at the thought of the 20week anomaly scan, constant self doubt (‘What if i cant ‘mum’?!’) and MAJOR insecurity at my ever changing shape.
Although I was growing RAPIDLY (50% baby, 50% jammy dodgers) I hadn’t yet got to the size where I was uncomfortable. I had a decent sized bump from fairly early on and with being a petite 5ft 2, it probably made the bump seem even larger. People on the whole were brilliant and I’m so lucky to have a lot of amazing friends who were kind in what they said (or chose not to say) but what i will never understand, is the sheer amount of people who made judgemental comments in regards to the changes in my body. Those who thought it was acceptable to call me ‘huge’ and point out areas that had got bigger. I was well aware that my arse gave my bump a run for its money and that my face was the size of the moon, but I was carrying a whole other human! Growing an actual human!! I know that a lot of people didn’t necessarily mean to make me feel crap about myself or meant any nastiness with their throw away comments but would you ever say to an overweight person – ‘God you’re absolutely huge!?’ It shouldn’t be any different just because you’re pregnant. In fact, it’s pretty damn dangerous saying that to a hormonal and tired woman with an added 10kg of weight to her…..
Aside from that drama, by this point, not to blow my own trumpet, but I was an absolute joy to be around. Kinda like old Emma, but with a bit more padding and dressed in leggings 24/7. Hell, I even joined pregnancy yoga so that I could learn to be all Zen and learn about hypnobirthing etc.
Lets just say ‘third trimester me’ laughed in the face of poor little naive ‘second trimester me.’
Although impatience had been a running theme throughout, it REALLY ramped up a gear by this stage. I found myself constantly thinking about giving birth. We’d not finished the nursery, nor got the house prepared and don’t even get me started on packing hospital bags. But in a completely unrealistic and impractical way, I was ready and just wanted her to arrive.
So i can’t really judge the poor gal for HER impatience now, can I?!
Aside from a little bleed at 30weeks, at which point I was advised to ‘take it easy’ and obviously ignored, there had been little in the way of troubling symptoms. Well, it troubled me that I appeared to be unable to do anything other than WADDLE by week 33, but nothing troubling to the pregnancy.
I enjoyed a weekend away with some friends where I spent the majority of it in the bath because my back decided to remind me that binge eating share sized crisps on a nightly basis has it’s consequences. But it was still lovely to just chill. And do a casual 5mile walk, as you do. At this point, I still had a fortnight to go before my maternity leave was due to start so i was pretty worried when by shift 2, I was absolutely exhausted and my back pain liked to remind me of itself at least 63756 times day. What I probably should have been a tiny bit more worried about, was the fact I seemed to be leaking every time I stood up. Dashing to the toilet, cursing myself for not doing those pelvic floor exercises as often as I should, i just put it down to yet another awful late-stage pregnancy symptom. Coupled with the intermittent back pain i’d been having, surely alarm bells would start to ring?! But at 34 weeks, it was FAR too early to be anything serious, right?!
No such luck…..
‘Welcome to pre-term labour hun.’
So there we have it. My non-interesting, non-eventful, relatively healthy (if you ignore my food intake for the ENTIRE time) pregnancy. No real indicators that I was going to have an early baby and certainly nothing I could have done differently to avoid it. Once all infection swabs came back negative (usually the number one cause of PROM (premature rupture of membranes)) it left me thinking that it was obviously something I had caused – maybe by doing too much or working too hard, stressing a lot?!
Thankfully most health professionals have reassured me by saying it’s ‘just one of those things’ and there’s nothing I could’ve done to prevent it. Something I’ve struggled to get my head around – ‘mum guilt’ at it’s finest hey??
It does put me at higher risk of another premature (and fast) labour – read more about my birth here if it tickles your fancy – but I’ll worry about that if/when the time comes.
For now? I’m gonna enjoy a bit more of my delightfully impatient, fiercely independent and determined little EIGHT MONTH baby.