Bump Update: Due Date!

How Far Along: 40 freakin’ weeks!

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How I’m Feeling: really good! Too good. Like, am I gonna be pregnant forever or what?

Sleep: same old story – I’m getting 7-8 hours but get up about 4-5 times per night.

Exercise: Daily strolls around the neighbourhood (I stay pretty close to home) and plenty of strolling ’round the kitchen, but that’s it.

Position: baby is locked and loaded in head-down position! Unfortunately she seems to be quite content staying there for the time being. 

Symptoms: nothin’ new! Just over here with my tiny bladder and no patience.

Appreciating: a surprise visit from my mama today – she brought me flowers and took me for lunch because she remembers being due with me in mid-February almost 31 years ago, and how much a surprise flower delivery from my Auntie Cath cheered her impatient spirits. 

Baby Prep: we should probably move that car seat from our front hallway to the car…

Looking Forward To: our first family picture and our one-year wedding anniversary later this month. 

Trimester Overview

Since we’re nearing the end of this little gal’s time in utero I thought I would take a moment to document the journey in terms of the symptoms I experienced. This way if there’s a “next time” (I can hear my mom saying “IF?!” already), I’ll know what to expect from my body without having to read What to Expect.

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At 12 weeks: I thought it was SO obvious that I was pregnant, HA. At 25 weeks: wondering how much bigger I’d get over the next 15 weeks. At 38 weeks: happy to be nearing my due date!

The First Trimester

Throughout the first trimester I worked as a server so I clocked some serious on-my-feet mileage despite experiencing a fatigue like I’ve never known before. This could be due in part to a later discovery that I was very low in iron, or perhaps to the fact that I had given up coffee. I had some mild nausea in the mornings but it was usually abated by eating something good and carb-y, so I happily rekindled an old friendship with bagels that I had broken away from years ago. In fact, the whole first trimester was a time of constant and glorious hunger, usually including 1-2 midnight snacks from my bedside table. Despite this, my weight gain was slight and infrequent. From the very beginning of my pregnancy I suffered my fate as a small-bladdered woman, getting up to pee 2-3 times per night on average.  My must-haves during this time were Cheerios (the fastest breakfast I could muster when I woke up ravenous) and healthy takeout that I didn’t have to cook myself or feel guilty about (I think we kept the Lebanese place around the corner in business). I fell asleep reading Sherlock Holmes stories every single night, usually around 7pm. We bought a pregnancy pillow on sale after hearing what a “must buy” item they are, but it turned out to be a “don’t need” item for me and I still haven’t used it.

The Second Trimester

At the beginning of the second trimester I hung up my serving apron for good after 13 years as a waitress and spent some time off work when the in-laws visited Vancouver from England! My energy returned tenfold and I was able to bake and cook a lot again (no more aversions to raw chicken!) and take myself for daily walks around the seawall, usually 1-4 hours long. I reintroduced my morning iced coffee as well, but went for a half-caff brew instead of full strength. I still woke up 1-2 times per night but started sleeping in a little longer because my body wasn’t waking me up from hunger. I “popped” at 18 weeks, suddenly looking pregnant after seeing no belly for over 4 months, and then rapidly put on weight until around week 28. My must-haves during this time were my two pairs of maternity shorts, Ina May’s “Guide to Childbirth”, and multiple crochet projects. The second trimester was definitely the most comfortable and the sunniest and for both of those reasons it was my favourite! I’ll always look back fondly on those long summer walks around the city, day-dreaming of the babe I was to meet.

The Third Trimester

In the third trimester I started working again, this time from home. The baby’s movements ramped up a lot and made evenings in bed my new favourite time because she was most active then. I started doing prenatal exercise videos in my living room a couple times a week to get some low-impact cardio in and kept walking a lot until week 37 when I slowed down to about a half hour per day. My weight gain slowed down a lot compared to the months previous and I felt relatively comfortable (and super lucky about that!) right up until week 37. I started noticing swollen ankles at week 35 and made an effort to put my feet up for an hour or two during the day. Braxton Hicks contractions started sporadically shortly after 30 weeks and ramped up more and more over time – not feeling painful, just tight. My night time bathroom breaks became more frequent at about 4-5 times/night, or roughly every two hours. I was able to wear a lot of my non-maternity shirts and dresses until about 38 weeks pregnant, when I realized I would likely have to wear the same two sweaters from Tom’s side of the closet for the remainder of my pregnancy. I started feeling very occasional pains halfway through week 37 but at almost 40 weeks still haven’t felt too much to hint that the end is near.

What Surprised Me

I think I’m the most surprised that I enjoyed pregnancy as much as I did because I’ve always thought I wouldn’t, though I’m not sure what I was basing that assumption on. While the list of symptoms in the front of my What to Expect When You’re Expecting book was extensive and frightening, I realized quickly that these are only possible symptoms, and thankfully not every pregnant woman experiences all of them. That said, I was quite surprised by how pregnancy can affect so many other parts of your body that you wouldn’t think would be impacted, like your gums (sensitive!), nails (amazing), and skin (even my moles changed!). The effects of hormones are far-reaching! Speaking of hormones, another surprise is that I haven’t felt at all like the hormonal “crazy” pregnant woman stereotype; while I haven’t been immune to the worries and anxieties of approaching parenthood, I haven’t cried or felt overwhelmed… guess I’m saving that for post-partum.

 

Bump Update

How Far Along: 38 weeks!

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How I’m Feeling: most days pretty tired and useless. Also SO curious to know when the baby will arrive. Patience is not a particular strength of mine, and the fact that her arrival could be mere days away or still four whole weeks is a bit agonizing.

Sleep: certainly not the best sleeps I’ve ever had, and my hips ache when I wake up, but it could be worse (and will probably get worse very soon!).

Position: baby is still head down, but I get the feeling she is posterior (aka “sunny side up”) these days so I’m hoping she turns around before d-day so I don’t have a long back labour.

Symptoms: fat ankles, achey hips, inability to fit into clothes I fit into even a week ago, increasing fatigue, and growing listlessness (and excitement, and apprehension). After rejoicing in having no symptoms in my update last week, I certainly feel like I’ve turned a corner into “real” pregnancy now. But since I made it to 38 weeks without a whole lot of trouble I can hardly complain about that!

Appreciating: bedtime – I’m relieved to go to bed every night knowing that I’m a day closer to being back to normal, or whatever our “new normal” is going to look like! At the same time though, I’m also appreciating the kicks and movements and quiet moments with the baby still safe on the inside. 

Prep: spent the week making soups and stews for the freezer that we’ll be able to heat up easily later, and finally got my hospital bag in order. I also cut the tags off the carseat (ha) but it’s still in the apartment rather than in the car. 

Looking Forward To: at this point all I’m ever doing is looking forward to my daughter’s birthday! I’m eager to know how everything will go, anxious to know how I’ll cope with it all, and very, very excited for that moment when we finally get to meet her face to face.

Bump Update

How Far Along: 35 weeks!

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How I’m Feeling: exciiiiiiiteddddd and energized!

Sleep: Pretty uncomfortable. Rolling over is close to impossible and I wake up to pee every 2-3 hours or so like clockwork. At least I’m consistent! 

Exercise: was able to do a LOT of walking this week – all around Vancouver: downtown, the seawall, even a night at the track with some light jogging! I stopped doing my prenatal living room workouts this week though, my joints are getting way too loose and creaky. 

Movement: she’s running out of room in there and pressing harder and harder against my ribs, bladder, and belly, but she still hasn’t slowed down! Very, very active baby in there. 

Symptoms: I know that a lot of pregnant women are already feeling the beginnings of some labour-related pangs at this stage, so I’m incredibly grateful to just feel heavy and sluggish. I’m carrying a 30lb basketball in front so I definitely have an achey back at times, but otherwise I’m doing great!

Baby Prep: made a list of what to include in our hospital bag this week (though we won’t be packing it yet).

Looking Forward To: seeing who she looks like! And having a normal bladder again…

A Shower for Baby Procter

We had our baby shower this weekend and it was wonderful to spend some time with family and friends celebrating the baby we’re so eager to meet! Having so many people I love in one room was overwhelming in the best way possible. I’ve found that there is an abundance of encouragement, wisdom, and experience to be gained from the women/parents in our lives, from sharing regretful or hilarious parenting moments to a favourite brand of swaddle blankets or a cherished book, and I felt very tapped in to the network of moms, aunts, grandmas, cousins, and friends who have already “been there” or are currently there.

We have avoided buying any baby things since we found out the news (not easy for an expectant mama!), and it made receiving so many thoughtful, practical, handmade, and downright adorable gifts from those who love us (and her!) even more exciting. We were truly blown away by everyone’s generosity – thank you to all!

Fun Fact: this morning I did a little research about the origins of baby showers, and found that they are quite uncommon in the UK. Instead (according to Wikipedia) of celebrating a forthcoming baby by “showering” the mum-to-be with gifts and advice as we do in North America, Brits “wet the baby’s head,” by taking a new Dad to the pub for pints when his baby is born. Two very different (and very gender-cliche) customs! I think our little family will have to do both 🙂

*all photo credit goes to two of my aunties who saved the day by documenting all of the best and cutest moments! Thank you both!

Bump Update

How Far Along: 33 weeks!

How I’m Feeling: dreamy and agitated, and sometimes a bit lonely and bored during the week. I am constantly daydreaming about what this baby is going to look like, what her personality will be like, and how it’ll feel to bring her home from the hospital. These thoughts inevitably lead to “will we have everything we need?” and “are we emotionally prepared for this?” Probably not, but parents have been wingin’ it since time immemorial, right?

Sleep: it hasn’t been a great week for sleep – takes ages to quiet my mind, I wake up multiple times throughout the night, and I have a lot of joint pain in my hips and shoulders when I wake up. But I’ve had such a great pregnancy so far that I don’t think I’m in a place to complain about some shitty nights. Surely I signed on for those..! 

Movement: two words: spastic baby. She never stops! It’s still my favourite part of being pregnant, but who knew that a four-and-a-half (ish) pound baby could kick a mama’s ribs so hard?! Sometimes I’m quite shocked by her strength. 

Appreciating: that I can still enjoy my long walks, and that the weather was perfect for them all week long! Sunny but not too hot. I’m really hoping I can keep on walking right up to my due date and beyond (if needed). Walk that baby right outta there. 

Craving: marshmallows! Of all things.

Symptoms: ever-growing belly, tiny bladder, creaky knees, intermittent heartburn, and constant excitement with occasional moments of panic. 

Nesting: looking forward to packing our hospital bags over the next couple weeks; feels like a rite of passage as well as a sign of how close to the end of this pregnancy we’re getting!

Looking Forward To: celebrating Baby Procter at her baby shower this weekend.

Labour Day

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Yes, I know that Labour Day is supposed to be a day that celebrates workers and trade unions (by giving salaried employees a day off while most low-wage and shift-work employees actually still have to work..). But for an expectant mama in her third trimester, Labour Day is feeling a little different this year.

Throughout my pregnancy I’ve made a point to try and equip myself with the knowledge I need to approach labour feeling confident, informed, and flexible. I’ve shied from making a set-in-stone Birth Plan because in my experience, life rarely goes according to my detailed strategies, leaving me feeling disappointed and anxious that life has deviated from what I was expecting. Instead, I’ve compiled a birth “wishlist” that we’ll use as a guideline within the constraints of whatever circumstances we’re given. I’ve read a lot of positive, realistic birth stories, asked a million questions of everyone I know, hired a doula, read a few recommended books, and then tried to push it (no pun intended) to the back of my mind.

But with a Halloween due date and our muggy summer heat transitioning into cozy Autumn weather lately in Vancouver, it’s creeping into the forefront of my thoughts more and more often. Every time I see leaves falling, Halloween candy on sale, or costumes in store windows, I’m reminded how close I really am to the end of this pregnancy. While this heightens my constant excitement to meet the baby, it also makes labour feel less like an abstract concept looming in the distant future and more like a real event that I may actually have to experience, like, soon.

So here’s to learning to let go of those thoughts, to trusting my body and trusting the baby and to not having a panic attack in the next nine weeks.

Bump Update

How Far Along: 31 weeks!

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How I’m Feeling: heavy and slow, but I know there’s still many weeks of growth to go.

Sleep: some nights good, some nights bad (it’ll probably be that way for a couple of years).

Movement: it’s so fun when she gets interactive with us and kicks against our hands when we rub my belly at night.

Appreciating: all good news from the midwife at this week’s appt. Strong heartbeat, good blood pressure, and measurements on track.

Symptoms: achey hips and joints, some back pain, and really creaky knees and ankles when I work out! Otherwise I feel fantastic most days and I’m so grateful for that.

Nesting: lots of cooking and baking happening again now that it’s cool enough to use our oven, but we’re still waiting a while to buy all the baby stuff.

Enjoying: September! Fall vibes, and the weather’s still warm. Love it.

Looking Forward To: we have three baby showers to attend this month (one is our own), so I’m looking forward to celebrating some mamas and babies this month!

Bump Update

Having a baby is full of little and large milestones that are so much fun to revel in, especially when you’re experiencing them as a first time mama. Even though they can’t all be ‘movie moments’ – our first ultrasound was not a special experience and finding out the sex of the baby was anti-climatic as well – they’re still memories that we’ll laugh about and cherish. Personally, I like the rites of passage that occur in our own homes rather than in a lab, like telling our families that we were expecting (even though no one was surprised), watching Tom assemble the crib we picked out for our daughter, and feeling her kick for the first time (she hasn’t stopped since).

 

For some reason though, I’ve always held the 30 week mark in my head as a major milestone – and it’s today! While I recognize that I still have a ways to go, these last 8-12 weeks feel like the home stretch. The baby has a lot more growing to do before she’s ready to be earth-side and we have some more preparations to make before we’re ready to have her here, but when we feel her little feet pressing against my belly it isn’t very hard to imagine how soon she’ll arrive. So hey, baby! Keep growin’ in there, we’ll see you soon!



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How Far Along: 30 weeks

How I’m Feeling: warm and muggy in this late-summer heat, but otherwise okay! I think I’m entering the “big” stage of pregnancy when moving around becomes more of a struggle, but I’m still getting my daily long walks in.

Sleep: hard to stay comfortable in any position, and poor Tom wakes most mornings to the sound of my grunting and groaning as I heave myself from our low bed. 

Movement: my belly sometimes gets contorted into some truly weird positions as she swims around in there, but it’s a pretty delightful feeling that I just don’t think I’ll grow tired of.

Reading: Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding – who knew there was so much to learn about boobs? This book covers a lot of interesting stuff, including a lot of anthropological background information about nursing in North America – the history, the stigmas, the movement towards formula, and the mainstream shift back to breastfeeding that we’ve experienced more recently.

Nesting: feeling nostalgic in general and enjoying hearing stories from family members about their own experiences being pregnant and birthing their babes! My dad also pulled the 34-year-old bassinet out of the attic and cleaned it and put it together again with Tom. My aunt hand-sewed the linens for it and we can’t wait to have it in our living room.

Enjoying: being pregnant. While I’ve always wanted kids and consider myself to be deeply maternal, I have never looked forward to being pregnant, and actually thought I would hate it! It’s been a nice surprise to find that I’m enjoying the process (especially considering it’s a long one!).

Looking Forward To: going for a run again next spring. This is the longest hiatus I’ve ever had from running!

Bump Update

How Far Along: 29 weeks!

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Movement: this baby is as squirmy as Tom when he’s trying to sleep after a few beers! If she ends up being half as mobile on the outside as she is on the inside, we’re going to be running after her for many, many years to come. 

Appreciating: having a car (thanks, Mom!), and also restaurants that whip up booze-free mocktails for prego’s so we don’t have to drink yet another water or iced tea while out with friends on a hot summer patio. 

Craving: the arrival of September. Even though I love the summertime, I’ve always been an Autumn enthusiast. Ideally I would be going back to school every year at this time, with fresh notebooks and a new backpack and endless possibilities for learning new things (dork alert), but knowing I’ll be having a new baby before Christmas is a pretty good “consolation” prize.

Nesting: trying to keep the apartment as clean as possible with little jobs. My most recent projects have included alphabetizing the record collection, cleaning my makeup brushes, and wiping all of the individual slats of our wooden venetian blinds.

Enjoying: feeling nonstop kicks (even when they hurt my ribs a little) and movements. I feel like I have a constant companion wherever I go! The novelty of this may wear off as she starts to weigh more and more over the course of this last trimester.

Looking Forward to:  finishing Tom’s application for Permanent Residency, which will be a relief to finally submit and get off our hands.