Copy

Second Baby Estimated Due Date: How Am I Feeling Today?

Sarah Rooftops

So, here I am: hitting the baby's estimated due date.

Okay, strictly speaking, I wrote this yesterday. It's possible - but unlikely - that the baby's arrived in the meantime. But let's suspend disbelief for a bit and pretend that I'm writing it all right now, this morning, then hitting "publish" instead of "schedule".

It's the baby's estimated due date. As with last time, I've been trying not to focus too much on today. The key word here is "estimated"; there's about a 5% chance of the baby arriving on 19th November but anytime in the next two weeks would still be considered normal.

Matilda, for the record, was exactly seven days "late". It's popular wisdom that second babies come sooner but, having looked at the stats, the difference seems to be a matter of an hour or so - nothing there to pin too many hopes on!

So... how am I feeling today?

I'm feeling good.

Yes, I wrote recently about wanting the baby to arrive early. I do still feel parent guilt about how much time Matilda and I are spending at home but, firstly, she's been so snottery recently that she hasn't wanted to go out and, secondly, it's been easier to play at floor level since the baby shifted further into my pelvis. So there's a lot less guilt than there was.

And, physically, I'm doing pretty well. The heartburn's back but I'm sleeping better; the baby's head is so low that I can't even sit on a yoga ball comfortably but I'm not in any pain. There are times when I don't feel pregnant at all. Still. At forty weeks.

So I'm doing well. I'm not wishing the last few days away. I'm comfortable and calm.

But... okay, the final up-to-five weeks of pregnancy can be tiresome. Because there's so much waiting around, knowing that things are outwith my control.

You know when you're waiting in all day for a parcel? You want to nip to the shop for biscuits but you can't risk it in case the delivery arrives. You try to make the most of being stuck indoors by reading/watching box sets/cleaning/baking/whatever but you can't quite relax - you're constantly listening for the van pulling up outside, for the gate, for the tiny tap on your door (because your doorbell is apparently invisible), for the discreet slip of a Sorry We Missed You note sliding onto the lino. You suspect that the delivery will arrive at the very last minute - because they always arrive at the very last minute - but you're still up and showered by 7am, just in case. You wonder why all delivery companies can't be like DPD and have that map for stalking the driver because, seriously, if that technology exists, why have you been given a 12 hour delivery window instead of a 15 minute one?

Yeah... the final stage of pregnancy is like that. BUT FOR FIVE WEEKS.

(Yes, I already made this comparison on Twitter. Apologies if you were paying attention. As far as I could tell, the only people who read that tweet were angry men in their fifties who took it completely out of context and started messaging me ranty warnings about using Yodel)

As I was saying: five weeks. Five weeks of being scared to go anywhere in case your waters break on the bus/in the frozen section/all over a cinema seat. Of wondering how you would make it home if you were having contractions (or a very quick labour). Of monitoring your body for labour revving up. Of suspecting you will deliver at the very last minute but still waking every single morning, wondering if today's the day. Of wondering why nobody's invented a scan so accurate you could scribble "Baby's Arrival" in your calendar with confidence - maybe even nip out for coffee with friends that morning because you know the kid's not turning up until 3pm?

It's tiresome.

I'm getting more contractions now. Some of them are still very much Braxton Hicks contractions (low down, mostly triggered by the baby's movements) but some of them are a lot more... real. They're at the top of the bump; I can still talk through them but I couldn't change position.

They come on and off throughout the day, but they're more frequent in the evenings. I had weeks of this with Matilda so I know not to get my hopes up, but, still, they mean that I go to bed every night wondering if I'll be starting tomorrow with a new baby and I wake up every morning feeling a little bit disappointed that I'm not.

I'm a planner; I'm not happy about leaving this to my body's whims.

And, despite having been through labour once before, I can't get quite my head around the idea that, at some point in the next two weeks, my body is going to rocket out of my control. That I could be in the middle of playing with my child or watching telly with Steve and - BAM! - I'll be hit by a proper contraction; that, whether I feel ready or not, I'm going to have to ride through labour, breathe it all in and out until the inevitable end point is reached and there's a baby in my arms. That still feels crazy to me - that something that enormous can take control of my body, with very little warning, without my immediate say-so, and utterly change my life.

My life. And Steve's. And Matilda's, most of all. Matilda, who will be going from only child to older sibling - who is currently excited about this idea but, surely, can't really grasp what it means yet. There's a lot of future to wonder about there.

But, for today, I'm going to stick to wondering about the next two weeks. Or ten minutes. Or three days. Or however long it is until this baby arrives.

And I might even risk heading out of the house.


This Pregnancy So Far: Announcement20 weeks; 27 weeks; 37 weeks.

That Morning The Baby Didn't Seem To Be Moving

Hydrangea
Bus stop photography.

I was lying in bed yesterday morning, aware of Steve moving around the flat, getting ready for work. I wasn't aware of the baby moving around inside me.

I wasn't too worried, though; I rarely feel this baby moving when I'm lying down and I don't think I ever felt Matilda moving when I was in bed. For me, nights have always been my break from the prods.

I lay for a while, listening to Steve pootling around while I concentrated on the baby. I felt absolutely nothing.

I hoisted myself over onto my other side - a slow, complicated process at the moment, but one which usually provokes a little bit of shuffling around in there. Still no movement.

Steve got into the shower. I was effectively trapped in bed until he was finished; sitting up would have woken my bladder. So I lay there and paid attention to the baby. Who I still couldn't feel.

In total, I lay in bed for an hour and I didn't feel the baby once.

* * *

Once Steve was done in the bathroom, I got up. Peed. Prodded my belly a lot.

A lot.

I wasn't feeling anything.

For an hour, I pressed and prodded, trying to get some sort of reaction from the baby. There was nothing. Nothing at all.

Just panic, throttling me, pushing tears out of my eyes. What if there was something wrong? What if something had gone wrong in the middle of the night and I was too late? What if what if what if...?

The tiniest furtle was felt. A hand, low down. At least, I thought so.

And then a miniscule, hesitant kick.

Movement! But not the usual sharp elbows and frantic fingers. Tiny, gentle movements. Tired movements? Poorly movements? Was the baby actually okay in there?

I was sitting there, accepting that I would need to go and get checked out - just to be on the safe side - when my trainee midwife friend texted me. I told her what was happening; she told me to get to the hospital.

* * *

It was 8:30. I knew the day assessment unit would just be opening.

The day assessment unit is a new thing, in Aberdeen. It was launched while I was still early in this pregnancy. It's a specific place where pregnant women can go when they're worried; it's calm and focused and much easier to talk yourself into visiting than the previous option: a ward full of women waiting for their inductions to take effect.

I still didn't want to ring, though. I didn't want the hassle of making arrangements for Matilda. I didn't want the expense of a taxi or the hour of being jiggled around on buses. I didn't want to talk to anyone.

But, more than those things, I didn't want to deal with the horror or the guilt if I didn't get things checked out and... you know... failed to avert a disaster.

So I phoned and they asked if I could be there within the hour.

* * *

By the time I arrived, the baby was jiggling away inside me - normal, strong, frequent movements - but nobody minded; they all assured me it was best to get any change from the norm checked out, no matter how fleeting it had been.

They told me they were going to do a trace. This involved putting a belt and some sort of monitors around my stomach while I reclined (although not too far!) on a comfy chair. Beside me, a machine beeped along to the baby's heartbeat whilst scribbling a record on a piece of paper; in my hand, I held a button which I had to press every time I felt a movement.

I felt a bit daft, sitting there, constantly pressing that button. Constantly. The baby had clearly had enough of being still!

But I found it interesting, watching the spiky charts unfurl from the machine, seeing the baby's heartbeat rocket from 140bpm to 180bpm every time there was one of those great big "why can't I stretch out in here any more?" shifts against my stomach.

I sat there for half an hour, at which point the staff were happy that all was okay.

Because I hadn't had a scan since twenty weeks, they said they would arrange one for later that day, just to be on the safe side. It was booked for a little before lunchtime, which gave me an hour and a half to fill; I was welcome to stay in the unit, watching daytime TV, but I decided to go for a wander instead, getting a little fresh air then having an uninterrupted cake in the cafe at the far end of the campus. I cursed myself for not having brought my Kindle.

* * *

Bag and dress
Waiting room photography.

Eventually, it was time for the scan. I was feeling hot and exhausted by this point, glugging down water in the waiting room.

It was a quick scan - or, as quick as it could be, given that the baby kept thumping the umbilical cord out of the way, whenever the sonographer tried to check it.

A 39 week scan is nothing like a 12 or a 20 week scan. There is no clear, full image of the baby. There is one blobby body part filling the screen which the sonographer assures you is a head or a hand or a leg, while you nod and squint and wonder how on earth they can tell. I brought five lovely print outs of unrecognisable lumps home afterwards.

But all looked well with the baby (apparently). The head was fully engaged; the measurements would have put the baby at over 40 weeks; the heart was thumping away; and the cord was doing its thing.

The only concern was that the sonographer could only find one measurable pool of water; she assured me this wasn't unusual, but that she thought the doctors would probably want me to have another scan in seven days' time, if the baby hadn't arrived.

* * *

After the scan, it was back to the main room for a chat with the doctor.

Sure enough, she advised having another scan in a week's time. She assured me that, at this late stage, when the baby's taking up so much room, it's not unusual for there to only be one or two measurable pools of water, but that it was better to keep an eye on things than not.

Which almost reassured me.

And that was everything done.

* * *

It was a long day. I was so glad I hadn't had to take Matilda with me; I was out of the house for five hours in total and there was a lot of waiting around. When Steve finished his work for the day, I passed out for three hours solid.

But I'm glad I went in.

Even though, by the time I got there, I was as certain as I could be that nothing was wrong.

Because it was a relief to have medical professionals confirm that. It was a relief to hear my baby's heartbeat, to see knees (apparently) jolting on a screen.

At this late stage, I do so much monitoring of my own body ("Is this a sign of labour?") and so much hazarding of guesses ("Is tonight the night?") that it was helpful to have somebody tell me something definite: my baby's doing well.

My baby is ready to come out, they say. Which just leaves one question: when is that going to be?

Extra: Ordinary Moments

Dining room

Withdrawing
I'm drawing into myself now. It's that stage of pregnancy. As soon as Steve gets home, I retreat into a dark room and just... lie there. Most of the time, I don't even nap; I just lie on the bed, in the dark, and sometimes I remember to visualise a positive birth. I felt the same way last time - this deep need to hide from the world towards the end, to curl away somewhere warm and dark and quiet and safe, to have nobody around me but Steve.

That said, Matilda and I are having the nicest days at the moment. We both seem so calm while we play picnics and doctors and toy shops. We've pootled to the library and taken out every Topsy and Tim book she could find. We've hung out together, not feeling the need for anyone else. It's been lovely. Until 5pm when I want to go and hide.

Christmas cactus
Have successfully found a location the cats can't reach. Flowering for the first time in years.

On Saturday, Steve and Matilda headed into the garden to give me half an hour to myself. At which point a phone engineer appeared at the door - completely unexpectedly - wanting to sort out our broadband (which had been shuffling along at 17MB instead of the 63MB we're paying for for... goodness knows how long; as people who came of age in the dial up era, we hadn't really noticed).

I went into town in the afternoon instead. It wasn't the dark and quiet I was craving, but I didn't have to talk to anybody. I stuck to shops with self service tills. I skipped the novelty Christmassy hot chocolates because I didn't want to interact with baristas. I paid for the bus with my phone. I ACHED SO MUCH WHEN I GOT HOME.

Sunlight through autumn trees

Um...
So, usually, I break these posts up into a few little anecdotes. But that's it for this week: I'm retreating from the world and I'm ready for the baby (Wednesday night's pineapple curry did nothing to spur things along).

How are you?

Cat toy
Matilda broke Polly's scratching post (by standing on it to look out of the window); she chose this toy by way of apology.

Thoughts On Feeding, Second Time Around


I keep saying that I'm ready for Baby Number Two to arrive. The crib is assembled, the clothes are washed, there are nappies and wipes in the cupboard.

The truth is: I'm sitting here, at thirty-eight and a half weeks pregnant, still swithering about how to feed this baby. Which is a pretty basic thing, right? The kid needs milk, one way or another, and, at this late stage, I should have figured out how I'm hoping to provide it.

"I'm not going to let myself get stressed out about it this time," I tell everyone who asks (the midwife; the health visitor; a surprising number of people who are not medical professionals). "I'm going to try to breastfeed but, if it doesn't work out, that's fine."

What I don't admit is that, if it doesn't work out, that's more than fine. Because I don't really want to breastfeed at all.

You're not supposed to say that, though, are you? We all know breast milk is better for our babies than formula - what sort of terrible parent would choose to give anything less than the best?

Not me! Of course I'm going to try! Of course I'm going to offer the boob! Of course this kid's going to have the chance to get the good stuff! Of course I can't bring myself to be the mother who puts her own preferences ahead of her baby's health! I'm going to give breastfeeding a go!

It's just...

Do I have to?!

The thing is: my nipples are sore and I haven't even started yet.

The thing is: I want other people to be able to feed the baby so that I can have one-on-one time with Matilda.

The thing is: I want Steve to be able to do night feeds so that I can catch up on my sleep.

The thing is: I want my boobs back for grown up stuff. Soon.

The thing is: I want to be able to go out for a couple of hours on my own.

The thing is: last time around, I listened to breastfeeding friends' stories of mastitis and jaundiced babies and being used as human dummies and skipping important events because they couldn't take/leave the baby and bleeding nipples and night weaning and all the crap which can come with breastfeeding and I felt relieved. I had my misgivings when I first fed Matilda formula, but, within a couple of weeks, I felt like I'd had a lucky escape.

All of those things could be seen as selfish. I mean, honestly, yes, to some extent, they all are. They're all about me wanting a better experience of motherhood. But I don't hold with mothers being expected to play the martyr. Parenting should be enjoyable; nobody should be made to feel guilty if their path to a positive fourth trimester is different from the norm.

And the bits about wanting to be more present for Matilda? They're the most important things.

Last time around, all the other mothers I knew breastfed. All of them. They were all (outwardly, at least) supportive of me doing whatever worked for my family, but I was aware of being the odd one out. In my little world, breastfeeding was the default state and, for all their horror stories, every mother swore it was worth the hassle it caused.

So it was difficult to admit to myself that I didn't much fancy breastfeeding, this time around. It was one thing being the person who got "unlucky" once, quite another to quit under the pressure twice. I found myself guessing how other people would see this apparent weakness/laziness/selfishness of mine and being surprised to find that I cared.

But this time around, it's different.

Oh, I know people who are breastfeeding happily. Some of them are breastfeeding their second or third kids happily. They can't imagine doing it any other way and that's wonderful. For them.

But I also know people who are combination feeding. I know people who tried and tried and tried but ended up exclusively using bottles. I'm not quite the oddity I was before.

And I know people who are breastfeeding resentfully. They whisper about how jealous they feel of their partners' full nights of sleep, trips to the pub and lives which don't revolve around shoving boobs in a baby's mouth. They admit that they're looking for excuses to switch to bottles - bitey teething spells; thrush; whatever. They feel angry when their babies don't play along with the return to work weaning attempts. They're unhappy with the situation and I sit there, biting my tongue, trying not to shout, "I KNEW IT!"

So, with Baby Number Two, yes, I'm going to attempt to breastfeed. Of course I am. And part of me hopes that it's a revelation - that I find myself loving it; that I'm happy to carry on until the baby's had enough; that I never feel that it's an impediment to caring for Matilda or, for that matter, myself.

But, no matter how successfully the breastfeeding goes, the plan is for the evening feed to be formula. Because we know our priorities and our priorities are for me to spend fifteen uninterrupted minutes cuddling Matilda, reading her bedtime stories and chatting about her day, knowing that, if the baby wakes up hungry, Steve can wield the bottle.

As for the other feeds? Well, we'll have to wait and see.

But I mean what I've said to everyone who's asked: I'm not going to let myself get stressed about it this time. I believe that breast milk is better than formula milk, but formula milk is better than mother and baby spending the early days crying when they could be having cuddles. Whatever keeps us both contented is whatever works for me.

One Sunday In November

Cup of tea set against rainy window

Every so often, I like to have a day when I focus on photographing the little things. I like to catch what the weather was like, which tiny toys were strewn around the living room, what Matilda chose to wear, how it felt to be spending a day in our house at this particular point in time.

When it comes to making my photo book of the year, very few of these pictures are included. Some are, though. Some, I look at and think, "Yes, that was family life when Matilda was X months old," and I squeeze them into a corner of the book so I'll always remember the weeks when she was obsessed with THAT game or THAT toy or - right now, in November 2017 - THAT balloon from her friend's third birthday party.

I've tried to turn these days into a blog project in the past but, honestly, photo heavy posts get so little engagement that I tend to think, "What's the point?"

Perhaps there doesn't have to be a point. Perhaps I can just share little pieces of my life without needing a response or a bunch of people linking up, doing the same, and without having anything deep and meaningful to say.

Anyway, whether or not I start doing this regularly, I have decided to share our (very quiet) Sunday. Because, who knows? It might have been our last as a family of three. And that seems like something worth remembering.

Colourful balloon
Dark blue and purple hydrangea
Toddler hands holding suitcase
Black cat (Polly) sunbathing
Scone with jam

Extra: Ordinary Moments

Ghost cupcake
One last moment of Halloweenyness (real word).

Family Time/Couple Time
My mum visited this week. The baby did not arrive. I half expected to go into labour the moment she boarded her train home. But didn't.

Anyway, Steve and I took her visit as a chance to go on a date night. Because who knows how long it will be until our next one? We went to Handmade Burger because I really wanted a milkshake and some deep fried halloumi, and all we talked about was baby names (no decision, as yet).

I also spent a couple of hours waddling around town, trying (not in the least bit successfully) to find stocking fillers for Steve and Matilda. When I sat down afterwards there was a crazy amount of movement in my belly and my bump suddenly plummeted. The sunburst belly button which had been riding on top of the bump for months has now disappeared from (my) view and I can only sit in two positions: almost fully reclined or leaning really far forward with my knees spread wide. It's a glamorous time, for sure.

Reindeer shadow

Peppa Pig
The obsession shows no sign of waning. I'm inclined to let her work through this on her own, rather than launching into a battle of imposed screen time limits. In the meantime, I'm taking the chance to catch up on housework without anybody "helping". I may even *gasp* have grabbed a little time to read a book. During the day. With a two year old in the room.

Oh, and on the bright side: it was an episode of Peppa Pig which inspired Matilda to paint a recognisable picture of a tree.

Toddler paintings

Stranger Things
Meanwhile, Steve and I have finally started Stranger Things. Yes, we're soooooooo far behind pop culture, yadda yadda. Seems like Twitter might be right about it being good, though, eh?

Autumn leaves in puddle

Kids Don't Owe You Kisses

My daughter's gorgeous.

She's little and she's cute and she's ever so squishable. She has bouncy fluffy curls you just want to ruffle. You want to swoop in and smother her with cuddles. You want a hug when you arrive and a kiss when you leave.

And I'm fine with that if she's fine with that.

But it has to be her choice.

Post title image.

If you ask her "Can I have a cuddle?", usually she'll say yes. Usually, she'll go to you and give you a hug. Or at least a high five. Happy smiles all round.

Sometimes she'll say no and it will hurt your feelings. But, you know what? That's okay. You're a grown up. You'll recover. You asked and she didn't feel happy accepting and it's her right to decide who gets her touch her and when.

If you don't ask, I guarantee she'll back away.

If you loom down over her, grabbing at her for kisses, she's going to hide herself behind my legs. As well she might. As well you might, if somebody twice your size was towering over you, smothering you with their size, trying to touch you in a way which has suddenly caused you panic.

You do have to ask.

Kids' bodies are not there to please grown ups. They're just not. No matter how much you want to cuddle them. They are little human beings and they should get to decide who they are physically affectionate towards, just like big human beings should, too.

I don't want my child to ever feel she owes anybody physical contact. I don't want her to feel that, because somebody was nice to her, she must use her body to be nice in return. I don't want her to learn that it's rude to pull away if somebody touches her in a way she doesn't like.

Those are not lessons for girls to take into their teenage years. Those are not lessons for women to take into workplaces. We should all believe that when we tell someone, "No, I don't want you to touch me," our words will be met with respect.

Your uninvited hug isn't harmless if it teaches her that good manners involve being held in a way she doesn't want.

Yes, you really, really want to hug her. Hugs feel lovely. Hugs make us feel cherished. Hugs are special.

And that's why, when somebody my daughter likes and trusts asks her for a cuddle, she usually says yes. Because hugs feel lovely to her, too. Hugs make her feel cherished. Hugs are special. If she likes your company, she'll usually like your cuddles.

But give her the space to decide for herself.

When you push her, you push her away.

Timeline of Home Birth Preparation

When I first started planning for a home birth, I didn't know anybody who had had one; I wasn't sure what was involved in arranging one or what would happen and when.

It does seem like timings and procedures vary a lot from one region to another, but - for anybody curious about how it works - here's my timeline of planning a home birth in Grampian in 2017:

text

Pregnancy Week 28

If you know you want a home birth, you can tell your midwife at any point from your booking appointment onwards. The sooner, the better, really. I swithered a bit about whether or not I was brave enough, so the first time I mentioned it was at my 28 week appointment.

I felt really quite self-conscious bringing the subject up - home births are still very much the exception in Scotland, and I was a little nervous about what my midwife's reaction would be. Are home births seen as this year's pregnancy trend? Would I come across as high maintenance or self indulgent or completely detached from reality? But, as friends kept pointing out to me, it's my body and my labour experience and my choice - nobody had to like my decision but me (and, ideally, Steve).

As it turned out - and not surprisingly, given that she's lovely and has been unfailingly supportive of all my other choices - my midwife was great.

First, she talked to me about the benefits of home birth, which include a reduced likelihood of intervention, increased comfort and relaxation due to being in familiar surroundings, focused attention from two midwives, reduced need for childcare and less likelihood of being separated from your partner straight after the birth.

Then, she talked to me about the risks and drawbacks. These include the on call midwives being unavailable to support me as they're attending somebody else's home birth, the possibility of complications which would result in a transfer to hospital, the possibility of needing to go to hospital for stitches if I had a tear beyond the midwives' ability to repair (eek!), and the very minimal supply of gas and air (less than three hours, total).

She confirmed that there was nothing in my records which would cause her to advise against a home birth. She also confirmed that there was no reason the midwives couldn't go on call for me from my preferred date of thirty-seven weeks.

She reminded me that, if the baby went overdue, I would be offered an induction between seven and twelve days past my due date, but she stressed that it would be entirely up to me whether or not I accepted.

Suddenly, it all felt very real!

Pregnancy Week 34

Friday 13th. Good thing I'm not superstitious...

My midwife came round, firstly, to check our home is suitable for home birth and, secondly, to do my routine antenatal checks. In addition to the usual antenatal checks, I had to have an extra blood test for anaemia which can be a concern during home birth.

Our home needed to have good directional lighting in whichever room(s) I planned to labour in so the midwives could carry out their examinations. It also needed a hard, flat surface in case the baby needed to be resuscitated and stretcher access in case of emergencies. Women wanting to use a birthing pool (I didn't) also have to check that their property is structurally sound enough to support its weight.

She (awkwardly!) reminded me to have refreshments on hand for the midwives; they are on call for 24 hours and carry out their usual clinics and home visits during that time so, depending on the time of day and length of labour, they may have been on their feet for a very long time! I assured her that stocking up on snacks was already on the to do list; Steve can always be relied on to over-cater.

She reminded me that some of the midwives live and work locally, but others would have an hour's drive to reach us, so to call the hospital fairly early on in labour - a plan of action could then be made over the phone. It would be pot luck which two midwives were on call on the day - there was a good chance it would be people I'd never met.

We went through the birth plan section of my maternity notes, talking about who I hoped to have as my birth partner (Steve), what I wanted done about/with the placenta (injection and disposal) and whether I wanted the baby to have the vitamin K injection (yes). I didn't have any additional requests.

We went over the possible complications and the reasons the baby and I could be transferred to hospital again. She also explained that the midwives prefer to do an internal examination every 4-6 hours and to listen to the baby's heartbeat roughly every 15 minutes in the early stages and after each contraction near the end.

We confirmed that the midwives would go on call from 37 weeks. I stated that I was unlikely to accept a sweep, but that I was likely to accept induction at the latest possible date (40+12), purely because getting Matilda and me to and from the hospital for monitoring every other day beyond that is impractical. Under those circumstances, I would be offered an additional scan at around 40+7 to check fluid levels and the baby's growth.

She asked whether I would be happy to (theoretically) have a student midwife present, which I would.

Pregnancy Week 36

A couple of days before my on call period began, a very friendly hospital porter arrived at our flat with two big boxes of kit, one funny looking stool and five canisters of gas and air. He told me they recommend leaving the gas and air downstairs; he carried the buggy which usually sits at the bottom of our stairs plus the two boxes and the stool up to the flat and was happy to put things wherever I asked him to. He confirmed that the fire brigade had been made aware we had gas and air on the premises (it's explosive!).

On the pharmacy's last working day before my on call period, a community midwife dropped round a small box of drugs to be kept in our fridge.

And then I spent all day Saturday hoping not to go into labour - I would have been seriously gutted to miss out on a home birth by a matter of hours!

At 8am on the Sunday morning, my on call period began.

Has anybody else had a home birth? Tell me all about it!

Extra: Ordinary Moments

Matilda's toys

Dodgy Tummy Time
Most of this week has been spent dealing with the aftermath of Matilda's tummy bug. She had an unsettled stomach last weekend, but was wiped out for almost a full week afterwards; I had to keep reminding myself that, whenever Steve or I have had gastroenteritis, we've been signed off work for two whole weeks - of course she was going to take a while to recover. But, goodness, trying to look after a "not tired" toddler who can't do anything but watch Peppa Pig and find her life frustrating is a test of a person's patience - one I didn't always pass.

Dewdrops
Snail on sunflower

The First Full Term Weekend
As I mentioned yesterday, this pregnancy is now full term. Steve and I both made a point of socialising on this, our last pretty-much-definitely-baby-free weekend. He had friends round for gaming and curry (which did not kickstart labour) on Friday night, and, on Saturday, I met up with my book group. We went to the cafe at Duthie Park where I had The Best enormous pink rhubarb and rosehip cake (which did not kickstart labour).

Rainbow

Little Tiger
And, on Sunday, the families we befriended during my last pregnancy came round. We purposely didn't have a full on Halloween party this year - the thought of filling the house with more than a few small children was too much for me at this late stage of pregnancy - but, of course, given the timing, we did take the opportunity to dress the kids up in costumes. At one point, we had a skeleton, a pirate and a tiger sprawled on Steve's and my bed, all reading books to each other, while their parents looked on with geeky pride.

Honeycomb bat Halloween decoration

What's new with you this week?

Rooftops Second Baby Full Term FAQs

Cup of tea

I'm thirty-seven weeks pregnant today which - in the UK - means that the baby is considered full term (incidentally, isn't it weird how different countries can have different dating systems and definitions for something as apparently universal as pregnancy?!).

Being full term means that the baby is theoretically ready to be born. I could be in labour by the time you read this blog post. On the other hand, I could have another five weeks to wait before greeting Baby Number Two. It's a significant date though, so, as with last time, here are my full term pregnancy FAQs.

When are you actually due?

19th November, but I'm trying not to focus on that date - I don't want to feel too disappointed or frustrated if the baby's "late". If I end up being induced, it will be on or around 1st December, so I'm trying to think of that as my end point instead.

How are you feeling physically?

Over all, really good. I've said it many times before, but this has been a really easy pregnancy (so far).

That said, the baby's head is partly engaged now so I'm finding lying down more and more uncomfortable, my tummy feels very stretched if I do any walking and... well... let's just say I considered taking my Chromebook into the bathroom with me and finishing off this blog post in there (but decided against - I've got to preserve what little dignity the third trimester has left me).

This week, several random strangers have pointed out to me that I've "reached the waddling stage". Thanks, random strangers, much appreciated. Let's just clarify that the ONLY approved adjective when referring to a heavily pregnant woman is "glowing". Nothing else.

How are you feeling about the birth?

Calm, optimistic and a little impatient. All the home birth equipment arrived this week (more on that another day) so I feel ready to GET THIS DONE. I might have done a little too good a job of convincing myself it's going to be quick, easy and almost entirely painless, though - I think I might be a bit shocked if it doesn't all go smoothly!

Are you getting a Baby Box? 

We're not. I sometimes feel like we're the only family in Scotland to have turned it down. So, here's the thing: I think the Baby Boxes are an amazing scheme; I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity of using that scheme; and, if it had been available when Matilda was born, I would have found the box invaluable. However, as a second time parent who has already sent vast amounts of baby and toddler things to the charity shop, still feels like our home is being swallowed up by babygrows, knows there will be yet more gifts on the way when the baby arrives, and who generally dislikes clutter, I just can't bring myself to ask for an enormous box of MORE STUFF. The thought of trying to find room for it all was stressing me out.

Have you chosen a name yet?

We think so... there is one which keeps being suggested and which has received Matilda's seal of approval. My one hesitation is that the relevant email address isn't available - modern day parenting problems, eh?

Still not telling us the sex?

Nope. There's still time to guess.

How do you feel about having two children?

Good. I'm dreading trying to look after a toddler whilst sleep deprived - exhaustion and patience don't tend to go hand in hand - and I do expect Matilda to be a bit up and down while she processes such a big change. But, over all, I expect her to be a great big sister; I'm looking forward to watching the kids grow up together; and I'm excited about getting to experience all of the newborn and little toddler firsts all over again.

Is Matilda excited?

Yes. She's disappointed that she and the baby won't be sharing a bedroom at first as she wants to be the one who gives middle of the night cuddles. She also wants to change the baby's nappies. Both of these things work for me, but I suspect the novelty will/would wear off pretty quickly.

I've been trying to talk to her about the home birth, in case she's around and awake to witness any of it, but she has absolutely no interest in that - she just responds by asking whether I'll be able to hop, run and pick her up again when I don't have a baby in my tummy.

What about the cats?

Gizmo's having a last ditch attempt at claiming the crib and Polly's in a strop because she's not allowed to sleep on my hips, so I'd say: not entirely on board.

And Steve?

Desperately trying to cram in as much internet time as he can before the baby takes over our evenings. Otherwise, he seems excited, with a lot less nerves than last time! So: not too different from me.


More FAQs
This pregnancy: 20 weeks; 27 weeks.
Last time: 20 weeks; 30 weeks; full term; due date.