Week 36: "Forget your aching back (and everything else!) by trying to focus on your baby, who is now about six pounds and 20 inches long. Growth will experience a slowdown now, both so your baby will be able to fit the narrow passageway to the outside and also so he or she can store up all the energy needed for delivery."
So, yeah, WHERE did all that time go? Only seems like yesterday that I was banging on about relentless morning sickness back in January - probably because my 'morning' sickness has returned unabated, complete with constant nibbling, heaving and vomiting, but with the added joy of having to haul a bump around to different covert places to spew.
This Friday is my final day before maternity leave. My due date was June 22nd, but - given the extreme nature of Lara's birth, the consultant has deemed it medically necessary to have another C-Section a week prior. I have mixed feelings about this, but - hopefully - this time around I'll be awake for it.
Given we've addressed the aforementioned morning sickness, along with various other topics such as maternity wardrobe choices; exercising while pregnant; dealing with stretch marks; the importance of pelvic floor exercises; hospital bags for you and baby; perineal massage (complete with pictures - consider yourselves warned); preparing child number 1 for child number 2, and more, it seems fitting to sign off this series of Bump Blogs with an actual "birth story".
Here's one I wrote earlier (back in 2014 to be exact) for our sister site regarding Lara's entry into this world. I hope some of you find it useful...
"I obviously wanted to have a natural birth, preferably at home (mainly due to the fear of hospitals; people vomit a lot there and what with me being an emetophobe a hospital naturally scared the bejaysis out of me), but something kept urging me to go down the hospital route, probably because it was my first baby. I got the hypnotherapy CDs, which I listened to daily. I went to active birthing workshops, read the books. I felt "prepared." And then Lara refused to leave. No amount of fit ball bouncing, positive thinking, curries, waddling, raspberry leaf tea quaffing, or pineapple chunks would shift her. So, two weeks after the due date, she was served an eviction notice in Holles Street.
For the record, Unit 3 isn't as hellish as I'd been lead to believe. All the midwives were beyond brilliant. Increasingly long story short, I was in labour for about 10 hours. Because it was an induction, the contractions weren't entirely natural, so - after five hours of minute-long contractions with 2 minute breaks in between - I thought 'Screw this, I'll be having the epidural please.' Breathing was a life saver. All you really "need" to do is shut out everything, and breathe. Breathing was especially helpful when Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell came on the radio mid-contraction. I was trying (and failing) to indicate to Mark that it was OK to laugh, but he didn't - so fair play to him.
When the epidural man arrived, I nearly hopped him. As fate would have it, it only worked on one side, which meant - when Lara's heartbeat disappeared off the monitor - that I had to be knocked out for an immediate C Section. Eight nurses and doctors descended on the delivery room and whisked me off to theatre in a matter of seconds. In theory, I was fine, I was being knocked out, I didn't have to "deal" with anything - my main concerns were Lara, and Mark, who was suddenly left on his todd. Partners aren't allowed into theatre when you have a C-Section under general anaesthetic. They used to be permitted - until one dad-to-be fainted at the sight of his wife being knocked out and sliced open. Bit of an insurance nightmare...
Because I'd had a lorrah lorrah drugs, and the C-Section, I couldn't go up to see her in ICU (routine with some C-section babies). Mark took some photos and a little video, so that tided me over until she was wheeled into us six short hours later. I remember looking at her thinking, "Well... you could be anyone's, really." The fact she was wearing someone else's baby grow didn't help matters (no idea where all her carefully wrapped baby clothes went to in the panic). However, after our first few nights together, the bond came with a bang (at 3am, when she stared me square in the eyes, hoisted herself up and let out the biggest fart for the littlest person). Without sounding too corny, she's the reason I was put on this planet.
I may not have been awake for our daughter's arrival, we may have missed her first breath, her first cry, and the first time she opened her eyes, but she got here safely and that's the main thing. The experience - or lack thereof - is, for want of a better word, incidental. It's all part of a process. The likes of One Born Every Minute obviously places a lot of stock in said process, but it's the end result that counts - so don't be given yourselves a hard time now, you hear? Just go with what's right for you and your liddler.
No matter what your situation might be, always hope for the best and expect the unexpected. Life loves throwing you curve balls. And, whatever you do, DO. NOT. FORGET. TO. BREATHE. That goes for you too, Birthing Partner ;)"
In short; it's nice to have a "birth plan" but it's more beneficial to expect the unexpected and go with the flow. Oh, and the breathing thing. Extremely important - especially when it comes to contractions.
So, as we all head off into the unknown, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank those - good friends, complete strangers, and everyone who crawled out of the wood work - who took the time to contact me to say they enjoyed reading this little blog. Thank you so much for reading. I really appreciated the positive feedback and will continue to strive to bring you "honest", "bullsh*t free", "unpatronising" and "arse splitting" musings sometime in the future.
Until then, enjoy meeting your little ones. It's a very precious (and F*CKING MENTAL) time in your life, so PLEASE remember to look after yourselves...