Since hitting the 30 week mark, I feel a massive dip in my energy levels. Everything seems to be a challenge: waking up, commuting to work, doing work, cooking, even sleeping. Especially sleeping. Getting out of bed is quite an act; I have to forcefully press down on Nizar’s arms to push myself up with my big belly. Also, nothing fits, NOTHING. I am 18kgs heavier, miles away from my recommended gain of 11.5kgs, and feeling pretty shit about it. Finding something, anything that minimizes my Humpty Dumpty meets Penguin look requires a massive effort. We are doing a maternity shoot at 33 weeks and I am struggling to find a nice dress that won’t blow my budget because the shoot definitely will.
The exhaustion has made me suffer from bouts of depression and highlighted how much I am missing out by not having my loved ones around. It’s hard not to feel lonely and upset when you are exhausted out of your skull and there is not a soul around to hug or help you. Of course there is Nizar and his footrub service, the sole reason I am still mobile. But there is only so much we can do for each other while one of us is exhausted 24/7.
I have been crying – a lot. Thanks ping-ponging hormones! With a kicking baby in my tummy, an inbox full of urgent deadlines, and a great exhaustion looming over it all, I have never felt less able to go through a day. It’s a helpless feeling when all you want is to stay buried in bed but you need to bury yourself in an avalanche of emails instead.
Baby brain has been throwing me off my already poor game. Yesterday, I withdrew £60 to pay for my driving lesson and lost the money. To motivate myself for an 8 am lesson when all I want to do is stay curled up on the pregnancy pillow, is very very hard, especially given how anxious I feel about driving. Nothing has been harder for me to crack in life than learning to shift gears. I thought of the little one nestled in my tummy and how important it is for me to have a flexible commute, then launched myself into the maze of roundabouts and give ways. I completed my lesson, winning some, losing some, and then as I reached for my purse, I realised the money wasn’t there. It took me a long time to figure out that I never got the cash out of the ATM. Luckily no one took my money so it went straight back in and the bank was able to issue a refund. Talk about drama! I spent it buying random baby stuff: a Gro Egg, disposable breasts pads, a bath sponge, and some toys.
We have done three antenatal classes so far. I had to travel to London on the day of the first lesson – it was the only date I was able to match calendars to conduct a very important meeting. Of course it overran. I ended up reaching Southampton so late that we barely made it to class. I had woken up at 5 am, commuted for 4 hours and then spent my evening staring at an art gallery of bursting vaginas. By the time I collapsed in bed, I was ill from over exhaustion. The illness stayed the entire week. Something had to give, I told myself. So in preparation for the next one, I worked from home, then rocked up to class all calm and composed, bump and brain as ready as you please. Give me all the 10 cm dilation talk, come on!
Baby is big and playing footy in my belly which is at once amazing and a bit distracting. I pause mid sentence in the middle of telecons, forgetting what I was talking about. Yesterday, mid meeting, my colleagues and I stopped our discussion to stare at my tummy, awed by the little furtive movements. Pretty insane.
The birthing ball has finally arrived. My midwife strongly recommended spending time on the ball to encourage baby to go head-down. In other words, encourage baby to go all out with his favourite pastime called lets-headbutt-mummys-bladder.
There is still a lot of shopping to be done but I am trying to pace myself. It is the only way to keep my sanity in check. Who knew shopping could make me so miserably murderous? Something about car seats pisses me off. CAR. SEAT. 😡 There you go!
Nothing like choosing a baby name to question your true feelings for Facebook friends. You realise between yourself and your partner, there is an army of people you dislike. Quite a shocking realisation. Maybe we are not the nice people we thought we were.
31 weeks plus has meant crazy hunger. I have been so hungry that if I don’t eat regularly I get hangry, and if I let the hunger run too long, it becomes insatiable no matter what I eat. Braxton Hicks contractions have been coming and going and the period like cramps are here to stay. My shoe, the lone survivor from the pregnancy footwear camp, is crooked and bent out of shape. I am obsessed with staring at my tummy and cradling it unconsciously. I keep trying to work out baby’s position and in doing so, feel little limb-y bumps that give me the shivers.
My face has taken a hard hit: a combination of darkened under eyes, puffy face and general swelling making me look like I am recuperating from a nasty punch on the face. My wrists are fat and unforgiving: opening my wedding bangles at airport security brought tears to my eyes.
My bump is a conversation starter everywhere I go. Some are just surprised reactions from work people, others are kind offers of help. Mostly people keep asking me, on repeat, when I am going on mat leave and it’s always a surprise when I say I plan to work until Week 39. So far my resolve has been rock solid but I feel like it’s going to get a hell lot tougher than I had anticipated.
I travelled on Monday and Tuesday for site visits at Heathrow, looking like a neon Easter Egg bursting out of her Hi-Vis. I was asked to sit down for most of the actual surveys. I ended up spending a lot of time in cars and receptions dozing in and out of sleep while my colleagues went around poking their heads in dusty corners, debating on power lines and what have you.
The tiredness is making the baby brain powered me less and less functional. Most women would happily slow down by now but I have Rushing Woman’s syndrome built into my psyche. It’s hard for me to accept that I cannot be soldiering on with willpower alone. I can barely waddle without getting out of breath, it’s stupid of me to expect to run marathons.
The weather is transitioning into milder climes as we enter April, forcing me to sever ties with my trusted woollen dresses. It’s nowhere near coats-free season though. Caved in and bought a new coat from Topshop sales to accommodate my ever-growing bump. £35 well spent because as soon as I put it on, I realised I needed it.
Spent Wednesday working from my birthing ball, dancing from left to right answering emails and conducting teleconferences like a pregnant circus trouper. The skills I am acquiring in this pregnancy will make for an impressive CV update.
I panicked at our last antenatal class realising most parents were done with doing up their baby’s nurseries while Nizar and I are still scratching our heads over the Moses Basket Vs Cot decision. I don’t know if we suck at being parents, or just suck in general.
I had an appointment with my midwife this week. As always, she asked for a sample of my pee (I swear the vials are getting smaller), checked my pressure and asked me if I was walking everyday. She also asked me whether I have felt depressed. I said I was excited about the baby but feeling down with the overwhelming tiredness. She urged me to find ways to cut myself loose at work and put myself first. We listened to baby’s heartbeat and exchanged a cooing moment.
I took Thursday off to do pending chores. I waxed myself everywhere, got a facial, bought some healthy food alternatives from Holland and Barrett and picked up more baby clothes – I simply cannot resist. Then I went on a hunt for nursing bras at M&S, only to be turned away by the fitting lady. Apparently I need to return when the baby ‘drops’ further and my breasts get fuller – sometime around 37 Weeks. These inbetweeny wardrobe situations of pregnancy, gah! What if my baby decides to come early?
Still looking for a birthday dress, even scrapping the idea of doing anything because I honestly cannot be bothered.
My big ASOS order arrived yesterday and was a bigger disappointment. I don’t know how something can be classified as maternity wear when the dress won’t even zip over my bump! I am not growing a dinosaur now am I?
Over Easter break we did some major spring cleaning and unpacked a lot of our purchased goods. A little baby sure needs a lot of things. I packed some essentials into the hospital bag and updated our shopping list.
Everyone who sees my tummy scars does a double take but I do not mind. If anything, they make me feel proud and wonderful. I am not thrilled about the weight gain but the stretch marks feel like my very own badge of honour. They say, ‘I am growing a baby.’
Had the most relieving midwife appointment today. Baby was diagnosed with a two-vessel umbilical cord at his 20-week scan which is usually the last one provided by the NHS. Given the single artery situation, we were offered a third scan. The 12 weeks that passed in between were a long, hard wait, and I had to give it my all not to Google and Worry (Google and Worry should totally be a term, like Netflix and Chill). The scan revealed a happily growing little champ. Following the successful scan, I now feel ready to announce my pregnancy to the wider world.
My colleague did a double take seeing me after Easter hols. Apparently I have grown bigger over the long weekend. Commuting to and back from work feels like a mission and every day I feel proud of myself for getting through it. I am also working on my mother’s visa paperwork, studying for the Life in the UK test and craving foot rubs every second.
Today we found out Nizar’s two week paternity leave has been rejected. I sobbed and cried and howled about how unfair it was to anyone who bothered to listen. Yes he has not completed the required time period at his current place of employment but he is out by only a few days. I tried to calm myself down by washing the first round of baby clothes.
My head seems ALL over the place, just like this journal entry. A friend knocked asking if I was OK given how quiet I have been. Well, for starters, I am having crazy heart palpitations. Every time I look at my reflection, my eye bags seem a shade darker. My back HURTS. Washing and drying my feet have become precarious jobs. Can you blame me for lying low?
I finally sorted out a birthday venue in London and have never felt prouder for arranging a do. Coordinating and multitasking feels like a strategy game these days. Still no birthday dress though. The umpteenth maternity shoot dress showed up in the mail, refused to zip all the way. They should make pregnancy punch bags just like pregnancy pillows for these I-paid-next-day-delivery-and-went-up-two-sizes-but-my-dress-still-wont-zip-goddmammit situations. Nizar forced me to find and order yet another dress. I am seriously annoyed at the fashion world for being so blatantly dismissive of pregnant women’s needs.
I worked from home most of the week following Easter and tried to relax and rest. I have a genuine fear of going into labour when I am tired and stressed out.
I got a lot of things squirreled out of the way this week so when it was time to wake up bright and early on Saturday morning, I felt a surge of positive energy. Getting my hair done while talking babies over a cup of tea with a chatty hairdresser seemed to be just the thing I had been missing. The maternity shoot was great fun even though I was wiped out by the end of it. I had two minds about splurging on the shoot but now I am really glad we did it.
I finally announced my pregnancy on social media. The revelation brought forth private messages from pregnant and mommy friends in droves. Suddenly I had a lot in common with people I had not spoken to in years, bumping swollen limbs on this crazy procreating bandwagon.
Why isnt hibernation a thing in the third trimester? Because all I want to do is curl up and give in to nature. Just like the grizzly bear I have taken to impersonate. I feel like I have relapsed to first trimester days when I suffered from episodes of feeling incapable of doing anything other than lying down. Walks are becoming painful because my feet hurt and I get out of breath pretty quickly. The pressure on my pelvic floor is I N T E N S E. The build-up is making me feel this nervous anticipation that I haven’t experienced since exam days.
I had my performance review at work this week and it went really well. My manager was full of praise and gave me some amazing feedback. It made my unconscious efforts to strive for the world’s most sincere preggers employee award seem worth it. Travel + manic deadlines + a**-hat colleagues + pregnancy = pregshaustion, which is, FYI, a very difficult equation to balance. That being said, my pregnancy has progressed with zero complications so in the overall scheme of things, I feel grateful and lucky. Everyday.
I have forced myself to slow down with work and I am grateful that people have been taking things off my plate and not adding anything new. My workload has not been this light in months and I can feel a positive shift in my mood. Even my skin looks better!
The down side of working more from home is having to prepare breakfast and lunch. I miss my office canteen and their veggie provencale. I try to prepare dinner by late afternoon so that I don’t get forced into ordering greasy takeaways.
Baby has established a vague pattern of sorts. He wakes up around the same time every morning and afternoon, nudges me for a bit, then goes back to sleep. It’s the evenings when he is truly wide awake. He keeps knocking on my tummy with 1 second intervals for like half a minute or so. Bob Dylan runs through my mind when he does that. In my hormone riddled thoughts, my cervix is the metaphorical heaven’s door.