Week 39: Nearly There!

This was a really good week. It was my last week at work and I mentioned that I was planning a big event for Tuesday which was a milestone I wanted to get to see through. I was afraid of going into labour before Tuesday (or worse, having my waters break during the event!) but none of that happened and everything went well. I was exhausted after but felt great about it.

On Wednesday we had a team lunch and my team surprised me with cake, flowers, chocolate, a stuffed animal for Coconut, a card and a gift card! It was all so lovely and completely unexpected. I was totally, totally shocked. I really did not expect anything. I’ve only been there six months and this was so incredibly sweet.

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The rest of the week was spent wrapping up and handing things off; it was all a bit stressful and I hope I left it all in a good place. The plan is for me to come back in six months, and I know that time will absolutely fly by, and I’m lucky to have that much time off compared to my American friends. When I left the office on Friday afternoon though, I was nearly about to tear up. I was really lucky there; it was a great job with interesting work and a great boss. I know things will be different when I return, and that’s fine. It’s just that work has always been important to me, and I can’t imagine what it will be like to just not be working. I’m worried about being lonely and isolated and missing adult conversation, but I’ll be fine. Change is hard, and I am so excited for the next chapter with Coconut.

Here is a bump photo from the end of Week 39, my last day of work actually. While I haven’t gained any more pounds in the last few weeks according to the scale, I think my bump is looking and feeling bigger every week. The baby is moving all the time and at times the movements are starting to feel painful, as s/he tries to find a comfortable spot in there. There is no more room at the inn!

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On Saturday morning I had a midwife appointment at the hospital and the midwife this time was really lovely. She measured the bump (37 centimetres, still small but fine), we heard the heartbeat, and she felt around the bump. The baby is still head down and has started to engage! That doesn’t mean labour is necessarily imminent, but it is a good sign and means that baby is getting in the correct position for birth. Great news. I read that lots of walking can help the baby get into a good position, and I certainly have been doing that. We talked through my birth plan and she explained what to do and when to call the hospital in various scenarios.

We basically had the rest of the weekend free since making plans now is kind of silly. It was nice and sunny both days, and we spent Saturday going for a long walk around the city, including some time in Regents Park, a Thai lunch at Kiln in SoHo and some shopping; I needed new trainers (sneakers) and other odds and ends, and it felt good to get miscellaneous things crossed off the list. We ended the night at home with dinner and a movie on the sofa.

Sunday was an even nicer day, sunny and vaguely warm, so we went for brunch and a long walk, and then spent some time cleaning the flat inside and out. I planted flowers in our window box and Andy trimmed the overground hedges, and it felt great to have the house looking nice and ready for spring. Then we went and sat outside our local pub in the sunshine, reading the paper and enjoying life. A nice weekend for what might be our final one as just us!

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I’m actually writing this now on my due date, Monday the 27th of March. I can’t believe I’ve made it until now! It feels so long ago that our little one was just a sesame seed and I was out in California the week I found out, my mind whirling with this new reality. So much has happened since then. Every Monday I’ve been counting down the weeks (plus one extra week since Week 11) and now here we are, finally at Week 40. I can’t believe it. I am so glad the baby didn’t come early, and so glad to have finished out work.

Today, being at home, not working, not sick, feels completely, completely strange. I don’t really have any signs of labour being imminent, and I don’t know if that means anything or not, but I do know my body pretty well and I feel like I would *know* when it is getting close. I have read about how being stressed or uptight can delay labour, and that increased relaxation creates oxytocin, signaling to the body that it is time. I do believe in the mind-body connection and I wonder whether now being off work and feeling more “ready” to have the baby will make labour more likely to happen this week.

I wouldn’t mind a few more days at home to do things like get a haircut, do some laundry, that kind of thing, but I don’t want to go so long that I have to be induced. Any time near the end of this week would be perfect – but it very well could be next week. Can’t wait to meet baby Coconut!

Week 39 Summary

 Baby Size

Watermelon! Oof.

 Symptoms

  • Very thirsty
  • Pretty hungry a lot (even woke up in the middle of the night hungry twice) although once I eat, I feel uncomfortably full for a long time after.
  • Lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions, which basically feels like a tightening in my abdomen (but not painful) and often paired with tightness in my chest. The shortness of breath is worst when laying down, even on my side.
  • Really tired at night but then I keep waking up in the middle of the night and early morning and can’t sleep; several times this was with my mind racing over work stuff in the final week. I hope that will calm down now.

Workouts

  • I only had time for one workout video this week, plus a few early morning and evening short yoga sessions on my own.
  • But I did lots of walking, nearly every day, plus a lot of house and yard work on Sunday.

Weight Gain

Still holding steady at 18 pounds total.

Weeks 37 and 38: Date Nights and Nursery Prep

I’m combining these two (the weeks of the 6th of March and 13th of March) since we’re running out of time here!

Since so many of my (non-)bump photos that I took in the early days were of me in workout clothes in the mirror in the spare room (what would become the nursery), I thought it would be funny to compare a photo from the early days with one from 38 weeks.

That is Week 8 on the left, and Week 38 on the right. None of my clothes fit anymore and I’m really looking forward to being able to wear more variety soon! (Also looking forward to summer and wearing shorts again.)

Both weeks have been pretty busy with work, and the weekends have been a good combination of baby and nursery prep and trying to enjoy this time of peace and freedom before the baby arrives, as everyone has told us we must do.

With that in mind, we went out last Friday night after work for some mocktails and dinner. My office is right on the Thames and Andy stopped in to see the view from my office, and then we went across the river for the acclaimed mocktails at Dandelyan, and then a drink with a view from the bar at the Oxo Tower.

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Then we moved on to Lamb’s Conduit Street, where Andy had made a reservation for dinner at Noble Rot, a restaurant and wine bar we have really been wanting to try. No wine for me but the dinner was incredible – we both said it was one of the best meals we’ve had in London.

On Saturday we made progress in the house, giving away a large dresser (with some sadness) to make room for baby furniture, before taking advantage of the nice weather and heading over to Hampstead Heath for a ramble on the trails and some time laying in the grass on Parliament Hill. I really, really miss going for country walks right now and badly needed some outdoor time.

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We had an excellent pub lunch at The Bull and Last, where we sampled the sticky toffee pudding. We’ve been on a kick of trying out the sticky toffee pudding at various places and this was one of the best.

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We wrapped up the night playing cards and talking about baby names at a cozy pub in Hampstead called the Duke of Hamilton, a place we went to way back in 2005 on our first visit to London together. Never would have guessed that 12 years later we’d be living here and starting a family.

On Sunday we had the requisite Ikea trip to buy a new, more compact dresser for me and other odds and ends, and then spent the day setting up and getting organized.

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Andy hard at work; don’t mind all the miscellaneous stuff around him. Work in progress.

We also received a lovely shipment of baby clothes and gifts from friends and family via our baby registry and spent time unpacking and doing baby laundry; all those little onesies are too adorable.

It’s been slightly frustrating that our flat is so small that we can’t quite get it set up as perfectly as we’d like, but it’s a work in progress and we’re doing our best, and it will be perfectly fine for our little coconut. The baby’s room also houses my dresser and the closets are full of our stuff that has nowhere else to go. It also serves as our laundry drying room.

We are still waiting for the baby’s dresser/changing table to be delivered this week, and the side-sleeper cot is in our bedroom, next to our bed. Here is a preview of what we’ve been able to do!

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The books and art and other things on the floor against the wall will go on the walls and atop/inside the other dresser. Laundry drying racks just have nowhere else to go. I love the baby rocker and world map rug.

We have a basket of toys, loveys and books for the baby, and a little chair with my own favorite stuffed animals and Andy’s cubby bear.

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We put family photos on top of my dresser as a nice reminder of the extended family members that already love the coconut.

Week 38 was more of the same with work stuff – trying to get everything done and leaving things in a good place before I leave – and wrapped up with a doctor appointment at the end of the week. For whatever reason, the Week 38 appointment is with my regular GP, not the midwife, and everything went well. I was very happy to hear the baby is still head down. But he said the baby is not yet “engaged” so I think we still have some time.

I also mentioned to the doc that I had had some cramping and lower back pain the day before my appointment, and I had wondered at the time if it could be a sign of early labour, but since it went away clearly it wasn’t. I’ve also noticed in the past few weeks that I’ve had shortness of breath and a tightening sensation in my chest. He listened to my lungs and all was fine, so it’s just a factor of the baby/uterus pushing up into my lungs since there is no more room in there.

On Saturday we went to the cinema to see Beauty and the Beast (loved it!), followed by a walk around Islington and a quiet pub dinner and a few rounds of cards.

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Other progress on the baby front includes testing out the TENS machine I hired from Boots to help with labour pain, creating a playlist to listen to while in labour and half-packing the hospital bag. We are getting all the little things ticked off the list so we can relax in the final days.

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Maybe it’s because the end is in sight, but I think third trimester has been my favourite. I like feeling the baby move all the time and knowing that we are almost there, and I’ve been lucky to be generally pretty comfortable. I also like that we are so close now and I am less worried about something bad happening to the baby, knowing that now being full-term the baby can survive outside of me. In first and second trimester, I worried a lot, and also was self-conscious that I didn’t really look pregnant. It took me awhile to completely get used to the idea of being pregnant and all the changes, but now I feel like I’ve really found my groove. I really think I will be sad when I’m no longer pregnant.

Also, I don’t at all feel like the stereotype of women in movies who are huge and hateful about being pregnant at the end. I’m perfectly content and not in a rush for the baby to come out. This may be partially because I have another week of work and a big event this week that I want to see through, and then other little things in the house that I want to finish before the baby comes. In the UK, since people get such long maternity leaves, many women stop work several weeks before the baby’s due date and many people have commented that they are surprised I’m still working and they can’t believe my due date is so near and I make it look easy. I am really lucky that I haven’t had complications and I acknowledge that for some women, pregnancy can unfortunately be really difficult. But I also think that pregnancy is not an illness. I’m perfectly capable of continuing to work and use my brain and be productive, so why not?

Weeks 37 and 38 Summary

Baby Size

As long as a leek or a head of romaine lettuce.

Symptoms

  • Super thirsty all the time; I cannot get enough water in
  • A sensation of tightness in my chest and shortness of breath
  • Slight cramping one day and some lower back pain

Workouts

  • A few cardio/strength videos in the mornings before work, which have left me weirdly sore (probably due to the relaxin in my body).
  • 4 or 5  long walks each week. I love that it is getting daylight by 6am these days so I can go for walks before work in the sunrise. I have also had dreams about running!
  • Just one pregnancy yoga class.
  • I’ve also been doing yoga/stretching on my own most my mornings and evenings. I’m hoping the yoga  will keep me in shape for labour and help the baby stay head down and engage in the optimal position for birth.

Weight Gain

Holding steady at 18 pounds total.

Week 36: Birth Centre and Party (not together)

Week 36 (the week of 27th of February) was busy busy.

Most of the week I was focused on work stuff; I still can’t believe that in a few weeks, I just won’t be going to work anymore. I can’t imagine how much my daily routine will change. Work and being productive has always been a big part of my life, and I can’t imagine what it will be like to completely shift gears. I’m afraid of getting cabin fever and being a bit lonely in the house all day, and feeling kind of disconnected from the world. As soon as we are ready, I want to take the baby out for walks and get together with my several mum friends and the other mums from the NTC antental class. I know it’s nothing to worry about now, and that maternity leave will be over in a snap. I just can’t imagine how much things will change.

A nice big highlight at the end of the week was my 36-week midwife appointment. I met with the Italian male midwife I had seen once before, and he is definitely my favourite. We heard the heartbeat and he said the baby is head down and has “dropped”. I even got to feel the baby’s head (from the outside!). That was amazing and so exciting. I’m so glad the baby is not breech since that would make me much more likely to need a c-section.

We went over my birth plan, and I was really happy to hear that the standard practices of UCLH (University College London Hospital) birth centre are just in line with what we want. I’d like to avoid medications and use active labour positions (I’m bringing my yoga mat, and they provide yoga/birth balls), and the midwife assured me they encourage all of that. He said they are quite nimble and they can deliver babies in all kinds of positions!

I also got to tour the birth centre! I hadn’t seen it before and I really wanted to see what it was like. All of my appointments have been at UCLH which I am glad about since I’m already familiar with the hospital from being there so much. To clarify, UCLH has a birth centre on the third floor, run by midwives, and this is where I will give birth if everything is healthy and uncomplicated.

The setting was quite nice and I was happy to get a preview: there are large private rooms to labour in, and two of the rooms have labour pools (large bath tubs). I’m not sure if I would want to actually give birth in the pool (I’ll see how it’s going in the moment), but I would like to labour in the pool. The nurse who toured me around was lovely and I really appreciate that their approach is so progressive. I’m going to try to get through labour without any meds, relying on breathing and hypnobirthing, yoga and massage, the birth pool, the TENS machine (something I had never heard of before, but seems common in the UK and Australia) and gas and air. If I have complications and things are too hard, I’ll be open-minded, and if there is any risk to the baby then of course we’ll do whatever is needed to move birth along.

If a c-section is needed or if I want an epidural or opiates (!), I would need to transfer to the labour ward for a delivery under obgyns. Once you go to the labour ward, the likelihood of further medical interventions rises, so I want to stick with the birth centre and midwife approach if possible. However, I am really happy the birth centre is co-located in the hospital with the labour ward, so if any complications do arise, I can quickly get medical care. UCLH has a really good reputation in London and the UK so I know I am in good hands there.

Once the baby arrives, it is also important to me that we have skin-to-skin contact right away, that we delay cord clamping and that we breastfeed, and it sounds like that is all very standard protocol in the birth centre. I’m so glad to hear that because I might be wrong, but the impression I’ve gotten is that in the US, you really need to advocate if you want the hospital to “let” you do these things (depending on the hospital). This whole experience has made me think a lot about medical institutions and differences between health care in the US and UK. I’ve always thought of doctors and hospitals as authorities who can tell you what to do, but I’ve come to understand a lot more about patients’ rights and our options to choose what we want as long as things are healthy. I’m glad to hear that UCLH seems to support that. The NTC classes we took support this line of thinking as well.

For recovery, if I stay in the birth centre we would get a private room, and depending on what time of day it is, could be discharged within six hours! More likely, we’d stay one night and then go home. However, if there are any complications or if the baby needs extra support, we would need to move to the labour ward for recovery in a shared ward with four mothers to a room (separated by curtains). Obviously hoping for no complications, but at the end of the day, a healthy baby is the most important thing.

The other fun news this week was we had a small party at our house on Saturday. This was a really fun opportunity to get together with friends and family before the baby arrives, and it was our first time entertaining in our flat. We were nervous since our flat isn’t very large and we’ve not really hosted people much in the past, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and it was really lovely to see our friends and chat all night. I made non-alcoholic elderflower cocktails, brownies and salty oat cookies, and Andy made these goat cheese leek crostinis that went down a treat, along with wine, beer, negronis, cheese, hummus, crudités, charcuterie, etc. My brother John and Tina and Ciara and Jack even came in from Oxfordshire and it was so much fun to see them and catch up; we’re so lucky to both have siblings living in the UK.

We didn’t take any photos during the party, but snapped a few before the guests arrived.

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And, the weather is finally turning to spring! So excited to be having a spring bébé and looking forward to lots of walks in Clissold Park with the baby.

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Week 36 Summary

Baby Size

Crenshaw melon, whatever that is.

Symptoms

  • Definitely more Braxton-Hicks contractions.
  • Definitely more tired.

Workouts

One cardio/strength video; one pregnancy yoga class; several long walks plus squats and yoga/stretching on my own. My hips have been super tight and I feel weird and lethargic from sitting at a desk all day and not working out nearly as much as I used to, but I know it’s only temporary.

Weight Gain

I saw varying numbers on the scale this week, but one day I was up 19 pounds! Not worried about weight gain anymore. I read most women gain the most in the second trimester, but for me it has been really inconsistent.

Week 35: Weekend in Paris!

Week 35 (the week of the 20th of February) had two big highlights: an unexpected extra ultrasound, and a weekend in Paris!

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As I mentioned in my last post, at my 34-week midwife appointment she noted that the baby was measuring small and sent me for a scan to be sure everything was okay. We were quite nervous for this but the good news is that everything is fine!

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I feel so lucky that we got to have this extra scan on the following Monday. The doctor performing the scan (in the UK it is doctors, not technicians, who do the scans) was the same we had in week 20, and she was very nice and very thorough. She spent probably 45 minutes checking all the organs and taking all kinds of measurements, and was very careful about not accidentally revealing the sex.

It was so nice and reassuring to see the baby and learn that the heart and brain and everything else is developing as it should. She said that the baby isn’t actually measuring that small; she estimated the gestational age to be just a few days behind 35 weeks, and that the current weight was about 5 pounds, 4 ounces, meaning s/he could be around 7 pounds by birth. Wow! I don’t want the baby to be any larger than that at birth! This was all such a relief and I am going to (try to) stop worrying now.

At our final antenatal class on Tuesday we learned about treating the different variations of post-partum depression, and techniques for caring for crying babies and managing sleep schedules. Our antenatal class was great and I am really glad we took it; I’ve definitely learned a lot and feel more prepared for birth and the early newborn days, and it’s been really lovely to meet other couples expecting babies around the same time. We are in a WhatsApp group together and look forward to all getting together when the new additions are here. Every other couple in the class is having a boy; we’ll have to see if we complete the pattern or contribute some balance!

And finally, we had our Paris weekend! We took Friday off work and got the Eurostar bright and early Friday morning to Paris. We stayed in an Airbnb near the Bastille and it was an absolutely lovely weekend. We were keenly aware that this would be our last time traveling just the two of us for a very long time, and made the most of it. We spent time exploring markets, shopping (buying more for the baby than ourselves), walking around in the sunshine, reading in cafes, enjoying some excellent meals and seeing some classic Parisian sites we hadn’t visited before.

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We also took some bump photos!

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We were up very early on Saturday to visit Notre Dame in the sunrise and beat the crowds, and it was well worth it. Notre Dame gets so touristy but if you can get it when it is empty, it really is breathtaking

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Following that, we went to Saint-Chapelle, an absolutely gorgeous 13th-century chapel I had read about.

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On Sunday, we went to the Panthéon, another site we hadn’t visited before, and walked around the Luxembourg Gardens, one of my favourite parks, before walking across the city to the Palais-Royal, another favourite.

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One frustrating thing was how slow I am walking now. Paris is such a compact, walkable city and I am so used to walking everywhere. But long distances are tough for me now; both my lower back and lower abs felt really sore every day. It was frustrating to have to walk slowly and take the metro more often than I am used to.

On the plus side, I noticed that people in Paris were really friendly and excited about me being pregnant. People on the metro gave up their seats for me instantly, and waiters at restaurants and cafes were so kind and friendly, commenting on the bump and offering congratulations. That never happens in London; even wearing my “baby on board” badge the tube rarely gets me a seat offer. We’ve always said that the stereotype of French rudeness is absolutely untrue, and this confirmed it; we find people in Paris and across France to be much kinder than Londoners.

Also, pregnant women get priority queuing in the grocery stores, as shown by this helpful drawing depicting just what is going on in our bellies!

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At the risk of sounding sappy, it was a really lovely weekend for just the two of us. I know that we are fortunate to have spent years taking many amazing trips together, and we’re ready for our new addition. But it was really lovely to have this weekend as just us in one of our favourite cities. I can’t wait to return with our bébé!

Week 35 Summary

Baby Size

Honeydew melon. Various types of melons and tropical fruits seem to be a theme lately.

Symptoms

  • Braxton-Hicks contractions have definitely begun, although they are not painful. I just feel a tightening sensation across my abdomen; it took awhile for it to dawn on my what these are.
  • Tired/heavy/sore from lots of walking.

Workouts

One yoga/strength video; one pilates video; one pregnancy yoga class and lots of walking in Paris.

Weight Gain

Around 17/18 pounds

Week 34: A Baby-Filled Week

This was a fairly eventful week in baby world.

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We had our prenatal class on Tuesday night, where we learned a lot about Ceasarean sections and other medical interventions that may be necessary, including both the forceps and ventouse. I thought both of those methods were out of practice generally, but apparently not. It was a sobering class but good to know what all the potential scenarios are to be prepared.

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Did some light yoga and stretching to help with back pain; Leyva loves it when I do yoga

On Wednesday we had another nursery visit. This one is in an ideal location, just a few blocks from our house, but we’re not sure if it is the right place for us. It has very high ratings and uses the Montessori style, which I thought I would like. But after seeing the nursery we are a little on the fence and I’m not sure we want to commit to that style of teaching kids.

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Went for a long walk in Clissold Park on Friday morning before work

On Friday afternoon I had my 34-week midwife appointment at the hospital, for the standard check-up. The midwife and her student assistant were very kind and easy to talk to, as all the midwives have been, but I had a bit of a scare when the student couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat! The midwife had stepped out of the room to send for my bloodwork and that was the longest minute of my life while the student hunted for the heartbeat. I couldn’t help but start crying as horrible scenarios flashed through my head. I had just felt the baby move that morning and the student assured me there was nothing to worry about, but it was awful.

Then the midwife came back in and she was able to find the heartbeat and I was able to finally relax, but was still shaken up. I’ve been so worried about something going wrong. They measured me and the bump is 32 centimetres, a little small, and so the midwife said she would send me for an ultrasound on Monday. Usually the NHS does not do ultrasounds after 20 weeks unless there is a problem, so I was really worried that something might be wrong, but she was very reassuring and I was also glad that I would get to have a scan to check everything out. Part of my wonders if the midwife sent me for the ultrasound because she could see how scared I was.

Upon leaving the hospital I ran into a friend from my antenatal class and it was so nice to see someone friendly when I was feeling shook up! Andy and I worried over the weekend but – spoiler alert – we had the scan on Monday, the start of week 35, and everything was totally fine. Nothing at all to worry about. Whew. I’m really grateful I got to have the extra scan and it so nice to have that reassurance now – more on that in next week’s post.

On Friday night, we had dinner reservations at another restaurant we’ve been dying to try, that we knew would not be baby-friendly: Petits Pois, a French restaurant in Hoxton. This is a charming little restaurant and we loved our meal; the one bummer is that the waiter wouldn’t let me have their famous chocolate mousse because it has raw eggs. Raw or runny eggs are supposed to be fine in the UK, but I didn’t feel like I could argue with him and since I don’t know the source of his eggs, I let it go. Maybe we’ll make a post-baby return after all!

On Saturday we were back at the hospital yet again for the hospital’s antenatal class; we were afraid this would be overkill with the NCT classes we are already doing, but thought it would be a good chance to see the actual birthing centre and everything. Unfortunately, because of a flu outbreak they are not letting visitors tour the birthing centre, so that was a bummer. But we did get to see the intake area where we go when we arrive and get some questions answered about overall hospital practices on various things, so it was worth it, though it was a long day.

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Sunday was a fairly social day; I had breakfast with my friend Natalie and her four-month-old, then we had lunch with friends who live in the neighborhood and are expecting a baby in June. On the way home, we stopped at a bookstore and bought a few children’s books to start the Coconut off right:

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So a very baby-filled weekend! We both needed a break from baby conversation topics by the end of the week!

Week 34 Summary

Baby Size

Cantaloupe. Still calling it Baby Coconut though.

Symptoms

  • Heartburn/acid reflux/generally feeling really full after eating just a small amount of food.
  • Started to feel the first pangs of what I think are Braxton-Hicks contractions.

Workouts

The week started off slow on workouts because I was extra-busy with work stuff the first few days, but then on Wednesday I made it to prenatal yoga which was exactly what I needed. I went for long walks every day after Wednesday but no time for any other workouts, sadly.

Weight Gain

Hovered around 16 or 17 pounds so pretty much the same.

Week 33

This was quite a busy week with work and I ended up working much of the weekend, so I don’t have a ton of exciting news. It’s crazy to think that in seven or so weeks, I won’t be working. I really can’t imagine what that will be like.

One exciting new development is that Baby Coconut now has a place to sleep! Thanks to my mother-in-law Jill for sending us this co-sleeper crib.

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The NHS recommends putting your baby to sleep in the same room as you, but not in the same bed, for the first six months. Many people use a Moses basket next to their bed but we liked the idea of this co-sleeper better, since it can attach right to your bed, making breastfeeding easier, and the baby can sleep there or separately in the crib as a standalone.

We also got the Sleepyhead pod which fits inside the co-sleeper; we’ve heard great things about how it helps babies sleep. Andy did a ton of work rearranging our furniture and we are getting rid of our extra bed next week, so pretty soon we should be able to start to get the nursery more organised. He also ordered a car seat so they baby can come home from the hospital safely.

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In other practical matters, I’ve been listening to the Birthful Podcast on my commute to work on the recommendation of a friend, and finding it really informative. I’ve heard a lot of great episodes about managing pain during labor, breastfeeding techniques and what to expect those first few weeks.

This week’s antenatal class was pretty helpful, focused on preparing for labour and the first day or two with the baby. It’s a lot of information to absorb and you can’t plan everything, but I like preparing myself with the facts and then knowing that there is plenty we’ll just have to learn as we go. I like that the instructor focuses on non-medical techniques and has showed us some yoga positions to manage pain, and I also practiced some acupressure and yoga positions on my own that are supposed to be helpful in managing contractions.

Week 33 Summary

Baby Size

Pineapple. Still calling it Baby Coconut though.

Symptoms

  • Really nothing new. I had one day where I didn’t notice the baby moving very much and got scared, but then it kicked right back into action and has been moving a ton the rest of the week.

Workouts

Not too many this week, mainly because I was pretty busy. I tried twice to get to prenatal yoga classes but work got in the way.

  • One cardio/strength video
  • One prenatal yoga video
  • One Bumps class at Frame
  • A few longish walks

Weight Gain

Still up about 16 pounds.

Highs and Lows: Week 32

I’m a week behind! I never got a chance to finish and post this for Week 32 (the week of 30th January). In writing this, I realized this week was really full of highs and lows.

High: the week started with a meeting at London City Hall and a pretty fabulous view.

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High: I also had a doctor appointment (for whatever reason all my appointments have been with midwives at the hospital except this week send you to your normal neighborhood GP for a checkup). When I got there my doctor said, ‘You don’t look at all like you’re this far along!’ I told her I was a little worried that I hadn’t gained more or gotten much bigger, but we listened to the heartbeat and she measured me and felt all over my bump, and said there is nothing to worry about. She said everyone is different and there is no reason at all to be concerned.

That was a relief but I’ve decided to cut out coffee for the rest of pregnancy. Even though the guidelines say that up to 200mg of caffeine per day is fine, and I was only drinking one small cup a day, I’m worried about how caffeine can cause low birth rates. I know that is just relevant if you have excessive (like more than 400mg per day, or multiple strong cups of coffee) but I can’t help being worried. I am  having one cup of English tea each morning, which has about 40 mg of caffeine, just enough to stave off caffeine withdrawal headaches. I plan to start tapering off the tea too as the due date gets closer; I don’t want the baby born addicted to caffeine (is that possible?). Besides, I suppose it is better for me to not be addicted anyway, as much as I love coffee. I’ve reached the point of pregnancy where now I am second-guessing everything I’ve done and becoming terrified I’ve somehow hurt the baby. 😦

But how pregnant I look really varies from day to day, and especially depends on what I am wearing. Later that week I wore this maternity dress and it definitely makes me look pretty big:

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Don’t mind the messy bed; this room is a work in progress.

High: In other news, I completed my 30-day meditation challenge and really enjoyed the opportunity to breathe and relax every night. There were some nights I didn’t want to do it, but I always found it a helpful way to calm down and just breathe. I’m continuing this month with a new meditation app and have started listening to some hypnobirthing meditation tracks as well.

Low: Despite the relaxation techniques I had three awful nightmares about neglecting the baby this week. In one, I left the baby in the back of a hot car and forgot. When I came back the baby was fine but really hot and I was horrified. We don’t have a car nor live in a hot climate. My second dream involved forgetting to feed the baby after s/he was born, and the third involved forgetting I was pregnant and drinking a margarita and then having a miscarriage scare. They sound silly now and I know they are just dreams but at the time were all completely horrifying and shook me up a lot. 😦

High: Aunt Lindsey sent us this fantastic onesie! I love it so much for so many reasons. Thanks Linz!

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High: On Friday night Andy and I went to the theatre! For Christmas, Andy gave me tickets to see Matilda and this was the night. We started with some small plates at Frenchie before going to the show. It was so much fun to go to the theatre, and the show really impressed me. I loved this book as a kid and really enjoyed the stage performance, especially all the kids in the show. The girl who played Matilda was incredible.

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Low: Our cat got really sick this week and we ended up at the animal hospital with her on the weekend, where she had to get a blood transfusion for severe anemia. She’s had anemia in the past but we thought the problems were solved. Apparently not, and she is home now but still not doing very well. 😦

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Poor Leyva. She loves doing yoga with me.

Week 32 Summary

Baby Size

Either a head of Romaine lettuce or a large jicama. We’re sticking with coconut.

Symptoms

  • My abs and entire stomach area felt sore a few days, not like round ligament pain which I’ve felt in the past, but more like I can feel my entire abdominal wall stretching and separating. Eeesh.
  • Really tired, like a new level of exhaustion. I don’t think it’s just the lack of caffeine, but overall just completely weary at the end of the day, and too tired to get out of bed in the morning.

Workouts

  • One spin class; I love Boom Cycle but I think this was probably my last. I felt good during class but I was generally just so tired this week that getting up really early in the dark and cold to get to a 6:30am class is just starting to feel too much. After class, I felt so tired and my walk to work took forever. Maybe it’s time to put these classes on pause, as much as I love them.
  • On a more positive note, after swearing off prenatal yoga I decided to give it one more shot since I’ve been investigating yoga poses that will help with childbirth and I thought maybe I would find prenatal yoga more valuable now that I’m further along. I went to Stretch, one of my favourite studios in London, and finally, I found a prenatal class that I like. It was just the right blend of active and calming. I will definitely be back.
  • One Bumps class at Frame; I really like this class and intend to keep going as long as I can. A friend from my prenatal class joined me this week.
  • Several long walks.

Weight Gain

Up about 16 pounds now.