Tag Archives: pregnancy

Caroline’s birth story – pt 2

Read part 1 here.

Before I get to the real nitty gritty of the delivery, I have realized I can’t describe Caroline’s birth story without acknowledging my state of mind of going into it, because I have realized that it is inherently part of the story. Although it had every medical intervention possible short of a C-section, Sam’s birth went well. Due to an undiagnosed case of von willebrands (plus I suspect, some bad luck), the post-birth part did not go well. Aside from brief outbursts of emotion, this was something I realize now that I chose not to fully process.

In part, I think it is hard to process something that you are unconscious, or heavily medicated, for. In larger part, it is frankly easier, if more cowardly, to go into something that nearly killed you last time pretending that it didn’t nearly kill you last time. The first sign that I might in some sort of denial may be that I refused to believe I had von willebrands for a while. OK, I still don’t really believe it, but I do accept my smart hematologist’s edict that we have to treat me as if I have it, given my “history”. But as mild von willebrands essentially needs no treatment in day to day life, that issue didn’t rear its head too often.

Another sign might have been that if someone brought up how close the call had come, I was genuinely shocked and surprised, and little awkward. I remember my friend Taylor saying on Sam’s birthday “Hey – it’s the anniversary of you surviving!” and I just kind of stared open mouthed like a guppy at feeding time, and then scowled and changed the subject. And when I transferred to my new OB (Dr. Dryden) the nurses muttered to each other “Dryden saved her” – and I just scowled again and labelled them as “over dramatic”. But again, this was not something that often came up – people don’t generally like to bring up nasty medical experiences (at least, not if they want to keep their friends…).

Things started to change when (1) expert people telling me how serious the situation really had been; and (2) having to prepare to give birth again. When I saw my OB at my first trimester appointment she brought up my chart and started stutter as she read the history saying “I can see you had a massive transfusion“. I did. Massive transfusions are not good (well.. they are good, it’s just the situations requiring them is not good), and when I initially told people about my birth experience I would say “As I went to OR I just remember the words ‘massive transfusion protocol'”. But then I decided that I probably dreamed that, or made it up for dramatic effect. So I was kind of shocked to hear the surgeon in charge of the birth state it. And see it there in my notes for all to see.

During that visit, my OB said to me “You’re lucky to be able to have another child!” and I said “well… it’s due to YOU” and she looked confused and I reminded her “You were the one who delivered my son… you saved me and my uterus by using a new procedure… you sewed the balloon into my cervix which hadn’t been done before.. right?” and the light dawned, and her eyes went wide with recognition and then a kind of fear and I’ll never forget her saying “Oh my God… it’s you… you’re you… You came back!” [aside: of course I came back – she was the most awesome surgeon ever! And my kiddo is the greatest kiddo ever]. I nodded and my OB – my extremely experienced OB who seems to specialize in high risk cases – said “I will never forget your birth”. Seeing how seriously she took the situation was not something my “it was no big deal” mindset was ready for. I looked her straight in the eyes and said “It’s fine… you did great last time with no warning, I have no worries about this time with plenty of warning… I trust you completely”. Then I pretty much packed up my things and left. Which was nice for my OB, but essentially what I was saying was “I don’t want to think about this, or deal with it, so I am shutting the whole conversation down”.

The I vowed not to think about birth until I hit the second trimester and the highest risk of miscarriage passed. And then, at that point, I would start to think things like “do I want an epidural?” and never really get very far with my answers. And suddenly I was 35 weeks and it was my beautiful baby shower and I was telling people that ‘yes, I was totally ready for everything” but when they got to specifics ‘no, I had not bought diapers yet…’ and ‘no I had not packed my hospital bags..’ and ‘no, I had not sorted the nursery’ and ‘no, no, no’. And that triggered something in me… some deep seated awareness that holy crap, I was actually going to have to do this again. And suddenly the darkest recesses of my mind took over and would pipe up at inopportune times. Like when I was reading Sam a book, something deep in my mind would say “I hope that if you die someone will tell Sam that his Mum used to read him books and do all he silly voices with him..”. I would squash the thought but later on the voice would say “If you die, hopefully people will tell your children ‘she loved you so much, she risked everything to bring you into this world'”. It wa startling to me how strong these thoughts were.

The next day I was in Starbucks and I had to walk past my hospital and while standing in line waiting for ‘the usual’ [tall decaff PSL, no whip, just one pump of syrup] I began to shake and cry and it is very awkward when heavily pregnant women start silently bawling in public because no one thinks they can ignore them and everyone thinks it is about the baby and tries to help . And when strangers asked if I was OK, it’s not like I could regale them with the whole birth history that I was trying to deny….

It’s funny, looking back, I don’t think I truly accepted what happened after Sam’s birth until after Caroline’s birth. I was taken up to a postpartum recovery room, and the nurse in the room said “Have you given birth here before?” and I said “Yes! Almost three years to the day I delivered my son here” and she said “OK, I am going to be honest… I knew that… I remember you… No one will ever forget your birth” and I thought “Geez… even nurses not involved in the situation are freaked out about this”. And my OB came by to visit me, and everything was perfect (and as you’ll find out in part 3 she has been utterly amazing in the birth) and I was holding my sweet Caroline and fully recovered within about an hour and my OB could finally say “I’ll just never forget your first birth… it’s just emblazoned in my memory and I can’t shift it”. And I thought ‘crap.. it really was that bad’.

So I didn’t finalize the process before Caroline came along, but I did begin to accept that I was utterly freaked out about giving birth again – not necessarily because I thought the same thing would happen, but because I realized that anything could happen. So I began to accept that I was scared, and angry. I was angry at my body for letting me down. My strong, half marathon and tough mudder running body builders body. And I was angry at the ‘natural birth’ community. I was angry at their message that ‘women were made to do this and should just trust their bodies’ (because where would that have got me? Let’s say it: dead is where) and even more angry at my treatment after birth. Basically, from all the natural birth communities I engaged with while pregnant, suddenly not one of them wanted to share my birth story, which left me feeling excluded and shunned. And then angry that by purposefully denying these stories, some parts of the natural birth community are lying to their followers: they simply discount the very real, and very rare, dangers rather than acknowledge them and allow women and their partners to make informed choices.

It was a tough few weeks and probably contributed to a lot of the depression I suffered with at the end of Caroline’s pregnancy (not something I have admitted before). I was scared and felt trapped – trapped into having to do something I was scared of. But, the reason that this is so part of Caroline’s birth is that I eschewed all thinking about actual birth before going into labor (in fact, possibly while in labor, which is why I didn’t accept I was until I was fully in transition. Although sleeping through labor definitely has some up sides…). Consequently, I didn’t have any kind of plan for what I would do in labor. At all. I just ticked the ‘no epidural’ box on my hospital pre-addmission forms and that was it.

So, I went into the delivery room really quite unprepared…

I’m glad I have written this down now. I am still 28% hippie and believe in things like the damages of repressed emotions, so I am glad to have written it down and am now able to really move onwards an upwards.

 

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End of the second trimester

28 weeks, 28 week bump, second trimester bump

28 weeks

Doctor’s orders – I have been relegated to bed. Well, doctor’s and Wesley’s and just for the afternoon. We had a scan last week (all looking good. Bubble at ~50th percentile, currently no polyhydramnios, movement as expected but still transverse) and I mentioned I was having ‘rather a lot of Braxton Hicks, but this is normal, right?’. The doctor said no, nothing too concerning, but it was soon. We talked about the importance of rest (the nurse said ‘Are you still working?’ – Girlfriend, this is the US. I’ll be working in labor and again soon after!) and carried on with the scan. While scanning the nurse noticed how strong and how frequent my Braxton Hicks were, and worried a little more. She asked if I was a ‘Type A’ person and when Wes responded to the affirmative (why do I ever think it will  be a good idea to take him with me??) a lengthy lecture ensued on how how Type A people are problems and how they don’t relax enough and how the house should just be left – I was to work, but then at the end of the work day I was to rest.

28 week scan; second trimester scan

Alien baby. AKA one of those pictures parents think is adorable and the rest of the world can’t make out / get scared by.

Hello? I have a toddler. And a large house with a garden. That has a toddler in it. And I’m nesting. With a toddler. Did I mention I had a toddler? They don’t tend to respond well to ‘hey, Mom is tired, why don’t you just open yourself a bag of crisps for dinner and sit quietly? Perhaps you could bath yourself and put yourself to bed before, say, 8?”, Apart from the crisps part. Sam would happily comply with that.

Why I don't rest. This is him taking his scooter up the stairs of the water slide.

Why I don’t rest. This is him taking his scooter up the stairs of the water slide.

Anyway, Wes came back from getting the car detailed to find me following up 3 hysterical texts with a babbling about how we were never going to get the house in order for the cleaner coming. He looked around at 2 previously horrendous and now immaculate rooms (including a throughly cleaned and organized larder) and glanced regretfully down at his new fish purchases, seeing his Sunday of leisure fly away before his eyes. “You’ve been working hard haven’t you?”. “Yes! Of course! It’s never going to get done!”. He sighed. “OK, here is the deal. We set a timer for an hour, you go to bed for an hour, and I clear up. At the end of the hour, if you still think the house won’t be ready you can get back after it”. Seemed fair enough, so here I am in bed.

The second half of the second trimester has been way better. My exhaustion has eased somewhat and I can do some work and run the house a little. I don’t feel like I have the ‘flu 24/7. My nausea is minimized. I have found changing my diet up a bit has helped – adding in more protein, reducing fat, and lots of lots of salads, although I still think I have too much caffeine. I have also been seeing a great chiropractor who has made a big difference to my back pain. The heat (100 degrees and counting) and humidity is a challenge, but hey, that’s what air conditioning and pools are for, right? I am even considering finding time to go back to the gym as I am quite disappointed by how inactive I have been this pregnancy.

37 weeks with Sam

37 weeks with Sam

27 week bump second baby

27 weeks with Bubble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have suddenly grown – however. I walked passed a mirror with no top on the other day was did a double take – I am pretty sure I look quite like I did at 37 weeks with Sam. I wouldn’t mid, but with 12 more to go I am worried about how far this is going to go (!). Cliche though it is someone *actually* asked me the other day “how many are in there”. Bloody cheek! For those that care, I have gained ~15 lbs which is not bad for 28 weeks, so I’m not worried about it. Just generally disconcerted and surprised by the number of spaces I can no longer squeeze through.

And, I am oscillating between tearful sadness that this will be my last child, and my last pregnancy (Wes decrees it is so) and my dream of 3 children is ending soon, and cold, soul gripping fear at how we will manage with 2. I really do go between the two. I sit here in bed and think about how I always wanted 3 children, how I pictured them (although I pictured 2 older boys, 2 years apart and then a little girl 4 years later… so it was never going to be anyway), how I always thought it would be that way… And then I think about the practicalities of how it can take 2 of us to manage him at a party, and how hectic the mornings can get, and I wonder how we are going to deal with 2 in these situations. Of course we will, and many do, and many do with twins, triplets and more. But, you know, there is still some trepidation.

sick toddler 2 year old

It’s not always like this you know

Plus, it is nice to think about clearing out all the crap you have to store (fits with my crazy nesting instinct). We can slowly starting giving away / donating the car seats, bouncers, pack n plays, endless clothes etc. I am starting to think about how it will be nice to have the time and motivation to get fit again (a looooong way down the line, I am sure, and I am OK with that). And how I am slowly regaining my sense of me 2.5 years into Sam’s life (loving make-up, trying to hair styles, making some vague nod to fashion, even wearing – gasp – perfume), but I know it will go in the haze of postpartum life in a body that doesn’t feel mine so it will be nice to eventually get that back (again, a  long way down the road, I am sure). It’s positive, it’s just not how I pictured it.

Roll on the third trimester! These next 12 (I hope 12!) weeks will fly by, and I pray I will have some time to savor them too.

EDIT: OH MY. Lest anyone doubt I am bigger this time around and want to say ‘it is all in your mind’; this is how I looked at 29 weeks with Sam:

29 weeks with Sam

29 weeks with Sam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Methinks the “secret” that I wasn’t very good about maintaining an active lifestyle between kiddos is out ;-). Oh well, I like to think I made better hair decisions this time around at least.

21 weeks – nesting

20 week bump; 20 weeks pregnancy; second trimester

20 weeks

Half way there. It feels great, I can’t wait to meet this little girl (although, obviously, please keep baking for a hood while longer). The sickness clears more and more each week – and I feel my old brain come back more and more. It has been nice not only to be able to focus on work when needed, but to enjoy doing so.

This pregnancy is different from Sam. Although I am less hungry, and seem to eat less, I am putting on more weight – 10 lbs so far. I don’t mind really, but I try to be mindful of only eating when I am hungry and stopping when I am full. Other than that, the second trimester (so far) has been characterized by exhaustion and nesting – neither of which I really felt with Sam.

The exhaustion is mind-blowing. By 9 am I feel like my limbs are heavy and my head is already fuzzy with tiredness. The physical exhaustion seems to be accompanied by a general malaise: everything seems like too much effort. A blog post? Too much. Do some crafting? Can’t lift this mass off the sofa to get to my crafting room. I have spent a lot of time on the internet surfing around, ‘pinning’ pictures for the nursery and watching TV (Parenthood is my current binge watch of choice).

Binge watching buddy

Binge watching buddy

It is sort of sad because Wes is determined that this will be my last pregnancy, so I had decided to full revel in it, in a way I couldn’t with Sam as so much was going on (new marriage, new job, new state, new house… yeah, not sure I would recommend that as a course of action).  And I love looking back and reading my posts about being pregnant with Sam (if that sounds weird, I am generally obsessed with pregnancy blogs), so I know I’ll regret not having more for Bubble.

But the tiredness is pervasive and unexpected. It might be because I am chasing around after an (adorable) toddler, or it might be because, as expected, I am bigger this time around

21 weeks with Sam

21 weeks with Sam

21 weeks with Bubble

21 weeks with Bubble

Or

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

because work has been harder, or because I am 100% less fit going into this endeavor (think 1/2 marathon running body builder benchpressing her bodyweight vs. struggling with a 5K and doing 10bs weight while walking on the treadmill). Doubtless it is a combination of all these things. But it also feels different, this pregnancy (almost as if my 1.5 children are totally different individuals 😉 ). The other sad upshot is that I have been having caffeine every day, which I have been really trying to limit to one cup a day. Not always 100% successful if I am honest. And I am also cramming sugar into my mouth to help with the tiredness. So yes, I’ll take my tea with a side of McVities Caramel Digestives and a dose of guilt, thanks.

Have also developed a teapot obsession. This one was $100 (!). That's maybe a topic for another post.

Have also developed a teapot obsession. This one was $100 (!). That’s maybe a topic for another post.

Wes is often on at me to ‘slow down’ and spending time doing nothing immediately productive has been a fun discovery. Discomforting but fun.

The other major difference to Sam’s pregnancy is nesting (not hugely compatible with exhaustion, I have to say). Serious nesting. I never understood what nesting was, and really thought it was just a fancy name given to people who wanted to decorate their nursery, or some such. Ha! Now I know. Now I know that it is fixating on every little out-of-place object. It is feeling deep discomfort that WE HAVE NOWHERE TO SORT OUR MAIL – and demanding hysterically to know: what are we, Savages? It is staring at a PC lying quietly in the corner of the room and hearing it mock you until you scream “I can’t take it anymore” drag it into the garage. None of this happened. OK. All of this happened.

Wes pressure washing the house. An essential home task, I felt.

Wes pressure washing the house. An essential home task, I felt.

Luckily Wes has been supportive – think two IKEA tips on his own. And pressure washing the house. And building a bed for my Mum who  is coming immediately in August. Why, you ask? Either (a) He feels sorry for me, as I have been dragging my ass out of bed at 6 am and cleaning like a crazy person until 8, while also getting ready for work and getting Sam ready for school. Picture me, toast wedged between teeth, mug of tea in hand, wielding a duster while potty-ing a toddler; (b) He likes the result and wants to contribute to it; (c) he can’t take the nagging; or (d) he is having an affair with a lady who doesn’t need chub run in the Texas heat and feels guilty about it (I did get flowers this week. Hmmmm). IN THE END I DON’T CARE. As long as he is hanging up our chalkboard mail sorter, dressing windows and choosing rugs, I am good with the motivation.

And, while the nesting is genuinely stressful and exhausting, I am glad it is here for a minute. I have cleaned out almost every room, coordinated all the upstairs to a palette of grey, white, blue and yellow, got the downstairs functional and cute and our home is now just that: our home – not an impersonal house. The kid(s) (

Greatest thing ever

Greatest thing ever

So… I’m wondering, with he house furnishings budget depleted to nearly nothing, and the cleaning covered, what I am going to spend up to 2 hours a day doing now? What will be my new ‘thing‘? What on Earth will I nag Wesley about? Can our marriage take the strain of a tidy house? Probably. I am sure there is something else I can obsess over.

17 weeks second pregnancy

Second trimester

7 week scan

This makes it all worth it, right?

It’s been a rough ride to get to 18 weeks. It started out so well – I was way more relaxed about the whole pregnancy than I was with Sam. With Sam there was this constant disbelief that my body would actually grow and birth a baby and while I was not sure that something would go wrong, I lived in fear of it. I was lucky enough that my first pregnancy went well, and so I went into my second pregnancy aware of the statistics, but more relaxed, more confident. No pestering doctors, no terror about a single – gasp – caffeinated drink. I just relaxed into it. More than that: I looked forward to it.

12 week bump

12 weeks – really?

Sam’s pregnancy was consumed with choosing a job, finishing up a postdoc, findgin a home, buy a home, packing up an apartment, moving to a new state, starting a new job – by the time all that was done and I felt vaguely settled I was well into my third trimester and the whole thing had passed. I’m a pintrest-er and a scrapbook-er and a project life-r and a blogger and and and…  and there were no weekly photographs with kitchy chalkboard, no announcements, baby books – I barely even blogged about it. I was looking forward to this pregnancy being different – Wes has made me swear that it will be my last (which breaks my heart), so I wanted to document it!

IMG_8653

But then there was the spotting, and the sudden blood loss, and then the vomiting, so much vomiting, until 24 hours of keeping nothing down had passed, and I threw up a lone popsicle. So then there was the hospital and the doctors, and the weeks of it continung, and the isolation and the fear of getting behind – so behind – at work, and the worry about losing earnings, and the heartbreak of not being able to be with Sam, and the talk of zofran pumps, but the need to wait until after week 9 for insurance reasons and UGH, I couldn’t lift my head without heaving so I certainly wasn’t taking any photos or writing any blog posts. And I thought I would go back and do it retrospectively but I find myself pretty unwilling to revisit that time.

IMG_8654

But then, at 10 weeks, I could at least get myself into work and keep the vomiting down to a few times a day. And I could function, if somewhat unwillingly. I could be around my son without the smell of him making me hurl. I could contemplate a few foods that sounded good to me.

17 weeks second pregnancy

17 weeks

And then at week 16 the vomiting stopped and my brain seemed to return and I thought – yes, I can enjoy this now, I can look forward to it. I might even write a blog post or two about it 🙂

Perfect Last Day

So, there are up sides and downsides to being induced. As of now (pre-labor) I would definitely always choose no induction. But we didn’t get that choice. The positives? A definite date – meaning you can schedule your life around it, eat properly, store up some sleep. Of course, you also get a slightly surreal day where you know it is your last ‘real’ day pregnant / as a non parent. Here is how I spent mine:
I woke up quite early, and the induction was obviously at the back of mind as Wesley told me I had been a foul little beast to sleep next to (think sleeping diagonally across the bed, slowly taking over inch by inch, and throwing no less than 3 elbow jabs to his mouth. Tip: Don’t watch ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ before bed.). I had planned to get up early and do some work, but the work I was supposed to do had not been sent to me (the girl forgot) and I kinda wasn’t motivated to do much else except pick at the tasks that *had* to be done that day.

I lolled around, I emailed some friends, and then I bathed, washed my hair, styled it and put on my favorite maternity dress to go out to lunch (I am sure I will need it in the coming months, but this was my last chance to wear it with a HUGE bump).

39.5 week bump

39 weeks 4 days

We hit up my favorite food spot: Guru (subtitle: Burgers + Crepes). We both scoffed a huge 6 oz burger and fries (MY excuse was ‘energy for labor’… not sure what Wes’ was 😉 ) and then we wandered the mall.

Really, I just wanted to be up and about and not at home stressing. We didn’t have much to buy. Wes then played ‘most awesome and considerate husband ever’ by suggesting that we go to ‘Build a Bear Workshop’ and each make Firework a special teddy bear. It was super romantic, a little emotional, and I was a little choked up that Wes was acting so excited and pleased.



The woman at Build A Bear told us she was induced with both her kids, had no epidural and it was a painful, but super quick and easy birth. I told Wes that all women should say this when told someone else is being induced, whether it was true or not.

Then, Wes decided to play ‘not so awesome husband’. Just for larks. At some point in our (very random) conversation the phrase ‘flames came out of her vagina’ occurred. I don’t know how, but it did. Which led to:

Lekki: No! That once happened! Seriously, a woman failed to sue her OB, but did sue a medical company because during a C-section…
Wes: She caught fire? Common.
Lekki: *thinks ahead to what she is doing later today* I don’t think it happens that…
Wes: Common. Alcohol used to clean the woman catches light. Common.
Lekki: *blinks*
Wes: As emphatically as possible: “Common”.

Of course then there was a moment of realization at what he had just said… and its exact timing. We looked at each other in wide-eyed horror, then began to giggle uncontrollably. Wes said “Er… maybe I should define common”. But we just giggled out way to Barnes and Noble.

Time to pick up some magazines, and go and get some pizzas for when we come out of hospital. Of course we bought a few baby things 🙂 (Nothing exciting: talcum powder and a thermometer). On the way home I started getting antsy and nervous and a bit quiet, but… sweet distraction! A box on the doorstep

:

It was….

A baby shower in a box from my friends in AL 🙂 Greatest thing ever! I unpacked it, and cheered up IMMEDIATELY. The timing could not be better. Inside were loads of gifts, loads of hand me downs / ‘we used this and it saved our sanity’ type pieces, aaaaaaaaaaaand (since I had already been lucky enough to have a diaper cake), a diaper wreath made by my friend Kelly. I went upstairs to put our bears up in Firework’s nursery:

Build a Bear Workshop Bears

Colonel Karl and Albeart

Take a picture of the incredible diaper wreath (which I will share soon) and sit down to do some work emails… give the dogs their ‘you’re getting a new brother’ bones:

Italian Greyhound with a bone

Walter is ridiculously pleased

when the hospital called…

To be continued 😉

Happy Halloween

***So, I have read this time and time again. The writing is terrible. I don’t know why, and I can’t seem to fix it. Baby brain? Worryingly I am working today, so I feel for my poor students whom I trying to help, if my brain is this shot. Oh well, I suggest you just look at the pictures**

So, we didn’t know whether I would (1) make it to Halloween still pregnant (39+3) or (2) be up for it if I did. So, we held a Halloween cookie / house warming / baby shower party 2 weeks early. I don’t know why I lumped everything together – maybe because they were all things I wanted to celebrate but did not think I had enough friends / reasons to justify any particular one on its own?

Sadly, most of my pictures have disappeared off my phone, which is both odd and annoying. But, some did survive and I can show you that the preparations started the night before with pumpkin carving:

Pumpkin carving

Mine didn’t go very well 😦 It was supposed to be a cat:

Pumpkin carving fail

Fail

And continued on the next day with cookie making:

bargainalicious from Target

And we set up a cookie decorating table:

which I thought was surprisingly fun (so now want a Christmas cookie decorating party).

I got some beautiful and unexpected baby gifts (Americans really spoil Moms-to-be):

Spoiled, so spoiled

containing a shark hooded towel (heh heh heh), clothes, Aden + Anais swaddle blankets (which we had been told from more than one source were absolutely indispensable, but had not got around to obtaining) and 2 toys: one of which recently made the ‘PopSugar’ top 30 list for newborns, and one of which just appeared here on Caitlin’s blog as her baby’s favorite; the Rhino Toys Oball. See? Spoiled I tell you 🙂

As an aside, is it weird to refer to a blog writer by their first name (like “caitlin”), when you have not only never met them, but never even entered a comments discussion with them? But you have been reading their blog for 2 years? Hmmmm… bit stalkerish?

Back to Halloween. We also had some decorations – really cute coffin style napkins and plates – and I made a jack o’ lantern cake (which turned out to be super awesome as I had glittery orange and green gel icing) but the only other pictures that survived were Walter in his costume:

Italian Greyhound Halloween dinosaur costumeItalian Greyhound dog dinosaur costume

I just wore a dress (which is good as we only invited 2 couples, and neither of them dressed up!). But, as I made it to Halloween without ejecting the wee one, AND got a Halloween party invite, I did get a chance to make a costume featuring the bump after all. Heh heh heh:

Painted bump Halloween

I made the belly paint out of:

1 part Ponds cold cream
1 part corn starch
1/2 part water
Food coloring

It dried, but would flake off if rubbed, so it was a bit messy. However, being made out of cold cream, it came off very easily and my bump is very moisturized.

Pregnant witches costume

Yes, the Christian part of me is not fully on board with celebrating Halloween. But. When in Rome…

37 weeks & mixed emotions

37 week bump

37 weeks

37 weeks! Full term 🙂 You think I’d be leaping up and down but for the first time… things have seemed a little hard.

Let’s focus on the positive: I still feel, physically, great. I sleep very well, can still focus at work, have no back discomfort (thank you chiropractor), no heartburn, and still actually forget I am pregnant, periodically. Seriously, TMI moment, but when I go to the bathroom, I sometimes expect my belly to have gone down when I leave… I just don’t feel much ‘different’. I don’t feel ‘pregnant’ as I expected to. I just feel great.

Mentally, this week has been a little harder. I love being pregnant, I love the energy, I love how I look, I love how I feel. I love how things are between Wes & I: we have this neatly settled life that runs so smoothly. We’re both happy and healthy and liking Houston, it makes us gentler on each other and ourselves. We’re getting to know each other better than before, and acting as a real partnership. Not two people doing their own thing towards a shared goal, but actively building something together. We have a routine that works so well (well, it does for me, but I am not the one doing all the housework 😉 ). And generally: life is good. It makes my heart sing.

I think that it is then only natural that in a way, I don’t want to upset all this. Let’s face it: when you love your pregnant body, a post partum body is not exactly something to look forward to. Clearly our life is going to become vastly different and I worry about what it will be like. I worry that Wes isn’t looking forward to being a 3-person family, that he isn’t looking forward to that in and of itself. I do also worry about not loving my kid… or not loving being a mother. I start think ‘holy moly, what have I (we) done?’. This intruder is going to be in our house and in our lives and basically all the pieces are going to be knocked down and who knows where they will land, and how we will pick them up, and what we will rebuild with them? I guess I am scared of what I have to lose, without knowing exactly what I will gain. It gives me a lot of respect for people who keep unplanned children, because at the end of the day, I keep telling myself ‘well, this is what you wanted, Lekki, one time you wanted this so desperately…’.

37 week bump

Love my bump – can’t believe it will be gone in 2.5 weeks!

I think this is partly motivated by the post grant-submission slump. I have written about the grant process before, and shared that while one would hope that when it finally goes in, when all those 2 am nights pay off (or 8 pm + some weekends if you are pregnant) one would hope you throw all your redundant drafts in the air, whoop with joy and run screaming to the pub. In reality you are far too tired, and far too behind on the rest of your work (and if you are like me, far too panicked about actually hitting ‘send’ when you *know* there are more typos). So, I don’t think I have ever felt good after submitting a grant… rather I have felt drained and panicked. And worried about having not been productive enough while I was writing it. And usually quite despondent at my chances of getting funded. Bleurgh. It’s just stressful and I get easily over wrought at the end.

The other stresses hit (e.g. finances… changing over our bank accounts to a local Texas bank has been so difficult! My paypal account got disconnected, which meant we couldn’t get money to the UK… which lead to a whole new load of stress because people treat you like you are a 47%er [sorry Romney fans, couldn’t resist 😉 ] ducking out of your responsibilities, not just someone doing their damned best in a difficult situation). And ugh. I think this is why I slept from 11.30pm on Saturday night – 9 am on Sunday. Then 10.30 am – 12.30 on Sunday. Then 12.45 – 3 on Sunday. Heh heh heh. And trust me it was an effort not to have another little nap at 5.

Welcome to my pity party y’all.

But. But. I am glad I have my faith, because I do try to trust that it will all be OK in the end. I do look back at my life, and see how I have got out of bad spots before and continued to love life, and love where I have ended up. I tell myself all the usual platitudes about how mothers do love their children, and they do adapt, and most choose to do it all again, and really, I do believe that having children can be the most wonderful thing (if it is what you want). And, I tell myself that those evil hormones are playing tricks on me. I spend my prayers in a different way at the moment: Instead of worrying and asking God for help and praying for forgiveness, I am focusing on Thanking God and basking in His love, and sending Him my gratitude and my love – it’s certainly a bit more positive 🙂

I do also recognize the fantastic support network I have – friends, Wes (who is consistently amazing at doing everything to make everything outside of work and pregnancy minimally stressful) and family. Just today a friend Skyped me and gave me words of encouragement about the inspirational power I have that brightened my day. From there: it is an upward spiral. Once I see people believing in me, I start to believe in myself, and my body, and my mind, and my work. It’s all good.

So, I don’t want people to think that I am miserable, or rocking in a corner crying to myself. I just wanted to acknowledge that sometimes things are hard, and not always as straightforward as one would hope, and write about it honestly. But also write that things are pretty darn good too.

And, when things all get a bit shaky, I can look at the latest pictures of those gorgeous chubby cheeks and remind myself just how excited and lucky that I am:

37 week 4D scan

He looks like he is smiling