I’m currently getting déjà vu when having conversations. At 38 weeks with my first child they all seem to run along the same lines. Beginning with “Oh! Look at you! Not long to go now?!”. This is then closely followed up with a series of other probing questions:
1.“How are you feeling?”
How long have you got? And how squeamish are you about details?
Physically, for the last 9 months I have felt varying degrees of nausea and hunger, a lot of the time not being able to tell the difference. I have had a near permanently blocked up nose (no one tells you about that one), heart burn I could breathe fire with and I haven’t seen certain parts of my body in months. In fact, I’m not even sure my beautician was easily able to locate my pant line when I went for waxing a week ago because even that appears to have more folds than it did 9 months ago! I have more spots than I ever did as a teenager, however my hair and nails are great thanks to pregnancy vitamin supplements! I sometimes get a glimpse of my ankles through the puffiness and I haven’t worn any jewellery on my hands for a couple of months.
Right now, I feel huge (yes, thanks for the kind comment informing me I don’t but I have seen pictures and I look like Jabba-the-Hut in some). I waddle when I walk and I am making the noises of an over-weight hippo when attempting to move from any stationary position. I can’t get comfortable in one position for any length of time (be that seating, standing, sleeping) and even when I do The Ache sets in. The Ache is variable, it likes to move around choosing either the back (upper, lower, one side or both are sub-categories here), hips or calves as its main targets. The Ache usually chooses night-time or early hours of the morning to really kick in and no amount of pillows or positioning soothes it for long. I have 1 set of clothes that fits comfortably and is not really suitable for public viewing but if I don’t get out the house I’ll go nuts!
Added to this I have a small person inside the pod protruding from my anterior. Said small person now feels like they are periodically trying to escape, either through my lungs and ribs (although this is less now the bump has dropped) or more often, through my bladder/bowels. I can go to the toilet and almost instantaneously need it again, especially when she is in the mood for dancing. Yes, it is amazing to feel this, however, I am now at the point of the novelty wearing off and would love it if she didn’t coincide these dance sessions with me trying to get to sleep, she is in direct planning with The Ache to prepare me for sleepless nights.
How do I feel? That just about sums up the physical…….. mentally? Well, I feel like I’ve been slowly losing bits of my identity through little things that may not seem like much to others. I was always prepared to get big, I’m growing a human being! It’s an amazing thing the human body can do. However, I wasn’t prepared for how body image conscious this would make me. A couple of weeks ago, I went to get fitted for nursing bras. In the shop and wandering in the city afterwards with my husband I was all good, the bras are comfortable, functional, pretty even. I put one on the next day, got dressed, looked in the mirror and cried. I didn’t know who the person or the figure was staring back at me anymore. Am I losing me to become ‘Mum’? I don’t know. I do know that I want this with all my heart and will adjust. It’s going to take time.
2.“Do you have a birth plan?”
Yes. I plan to get to the hospital. That is about it! Yes, I have considered pain relief and what I would ‘like’. However, I am not about to get my hopes up about some movie dream sequence event of how it will all happen, life doesn’t work like that.
This question, for me (a paramedic by profession), is often followed by: “Not planning to get an ambulance then?! *snigger**chortle*”. Er, No. No one should ever ‘plan’ to get an ambulance. Least of all someone who is going to need to look colleagues in the eye in a professional capacity again knowing what they have seen!
3.“Have you decided on a name yet?”
No, and even if we did we are not going to tell you.
Yes, we know the sex and have informed people of this but the name is a surprise and will remain so. You can ask this question as many times as you like in the coming weeks, you may even change how you ask or try and squeeze clues out of me through the general conversation route but I will not budge. I’ve waited this long, you can too!
4.“How is [insert other half’s name here] doing?”
Why don’t you ask him?! I can guess and yes we’ve talked but I suspect there are fears and anxieties beyond anything I can imagine for him at this present time. He is worried about seeing me go through pain and push a small human out of a place that previously gave degrees of pleasure and satisfaction to us both. On that note, he’s probably horny as hell, while I feel like a whale with the libido of a sloth! Yes, I know that’s the only thing proven to work (prostaglandins and all that) but really?! I can’t even roll over in bed without multiple manoeuvres, pillows being removed and stupid noises!
I catch him looking at me from the corner of his eye when I move, rub my belly or tell her off for attempting to escape through my pelvic bone via a nerve she appears to be twanging. But through all this he has been amazing, sensing my body hang ups and making it clear none of it matters to him. However unsexy I feel he doesn’t see that and finds me as attractive as ever (or so he says) and he is proud of what I am managing to do (while being equally terrified and frustrated at me trying to do too much).
5.“Are you ready?”
How the hell do I know???!!! Do we physically have everything we need to bring a baby home safely? Yes and more! Are we ready and prepared for what labour will be like? From a professional side yes, but not from this side. We don’t have a clue! Are we ready to be responsible for a tiny human being and all the demanding needs they have? We have to be! Are we ready for how this will change us, our relationship, our views on the world and what we consider important in life? Not a chance! But we will face it and work on it and learn together.
These were the top 5 questions that came to me initially but there are many other I am sure you are all familiar with, and if you are also late into your 3rd trimester like me, a little fed up of hearing/answering; “Any signs yet?”, “Is your bag packed?”, “Are you excited?” etc. But to quote the opening statement/question: “Not long to go now?!”…………
I have to add, throughout this Daisy Birthing has been a life line. Not only has it introduced me to a social network of Mum’s who understand all this and don’t judge. It has also put me in touch with people on the same journey of 1st time parent discovery within a two minute walk from my front door! Mummy-Baby play dates already in the planning (just add wine!).
Through the couple’s class it has allowed my husband to understand what I mean by wanting an active birth and to help me through the labour as best he can. But most of all it has allowed me to realise, it’s ok to feel negative things about being pregnant, while the world expects a happy, glowing, excited mum-to-be, it is cathartic to know you can walk into that hall on a Tuesday night and say “I feel shit” and not one person there will judge.
Thank you Daisy and I look forward to continuing this relationship into the next part of the adventure!