Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Wot No Work?!

Monday morning has been and gone. I have not set the alarm clock. I am not on holiday. It's giving me a lot to think about this being on MATERNITY LEAVE! I can shower when I like, eat breakfast when I like, walk the dog when I like, be as busy as I like (or as lazy as I like). I rationalise this lack of routine by the fact that the birth of Gracie-wiggle is pending and I should give myself the chance to do whatever I like whenever I like as this is the end of life as I know it!!! The transition phase - from BUMP to BABY - is 5.5 weeks off. And whereas while I was still at work I was counting down and the time was dragging, now I find myself having thoughts like "there are only 5.5 weeks left"... a gear shift I feel!

So on my first day of maternity proper, I was a lady wot lunched. (I'm getting all the crap grammar out of the way now before I am forced to be a responsible adult and role model to a little lady in the making!). I met up with Christina in Sheffield for a spot o lunch at Zizzi, where mouthwatering Italian fare was enjoyed amidst talk of babies, nurseries and labour... enough to put even the most hardened mother-to-be off her risotto, but I haven't had seafood for a long time now, and I savoured every last mouthful of tiger prawns, calamari and salmon....mmmmm!

Obviously this picture is a little outdated - Christina and I on the beach at Halkidiki in Greece, around 25 years ago!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Last day at work!!!

Yahoooooo!!!!!!!!!! I have just finshed work for the last time this year, at 34 weeks and 1 day. Such a strange feeling, the end of an era so to speak. I've applied for another job internally which would see me moving to head office, so not only is this the last day at work for maternity leave, it may just have been my last day in centre with my team. I had the interview this morning and hear next week. It's exciting and sad at the same time - like I say, the end of an era. This picture is a bit blurred, bless Bev for taking it, but she was shaking a bit and her eyesight's not what it used to be :0)

As you can see, my little bump is growing nicely. The week has had its fair share of pregnancy perks - the odema is progressing at a rate of knots in this hot weather - I no longer have ankles, my hands look like they have been blown up by a bicycle pump, and as a result the carpal tunnel symptoms are far worse than they were last week - at the moment I can grip nothing smaller than the steering wheel in the car - mugs and plates are tricky, if not impossible. I'm waiting on the physiotherapist to get back to me on a treatment plan for this.

Matt and I have been to another hopsital led antenatal class - breastfeeding this week - and another session with the private NCT - pain relief in labour. We're quite enjoying getting to know people in the same boat as us and hopefully over time we may make some 'new parent' friends.

And so yes, I'm heading home now at the end of a long week - with nothing in the diary for the coming weeks other than sheer unadultered ME TIME. No doubt I will fill this time with visitng friends, enjoying time alone and time wiht the dog before she becomes number 2 to baby. My parents are coming for a visit which I am looking forward to. And Matt the Husband has a week off which we plan to spend doing day trips to the beach and Clumber Park and all the nice things that may be put on hold for a month or two when Gracie-wiggle arrives.

So the final countdown begins now that maternity leave has started.
34 weeks down, 6 weeks to go, and every single one of those days between now and then might be the last day I am just Heather, before I become Mummy!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

33 weeks pregnant

OOF!! What a week! So grateful to be on the home straight with a little girl in there waiting to come and meet the world. Ever so tired though and feeling very "OOF" is the only way I can describe it. And as for driving to the Hospital, I've been so many times I'm sure if I slipped the car in gear it would take itself off and get me there.

So my growth scan was ok, I went on Friday last week, still measuring big for her abdominal circumference and femur length - which is consistent with the private scan results. The amniotic fluid volume is spot on, and the measurements although big, are at the top end of normal range so the consultant has said no need to worry - just assume we have a biggy on the way! To coincide with this revelation of BIG-NESS, I passed the 2 stone gained barrier, gulp!

I've also had the joy of experiencing a glucose tolerance test, which while virtually painless was rather boring being sat in the waiting room for hours in between the two samples. Good news though, I don't have gestational diabetes - the results came back normal, and again point to a big baby for no other reason than for being big.

What else? Matt and I have had our first NHS antenatal class at the Hospital - we had a good look round the delivery suite and a birthing room and then got a bit twitchy with the midwife talking about pain relief options and positions for labour. We're going back next week for the second session - how to breast feed and how to look after the baby in the first few weeks. Wow, to think the NHS can cover everything we need to know in 4 hours is astounding... actually 3 hours, assuming the midwife sends us home early for the World Cup 7pm kick off again next week. Tragic!

We also attended our first "Earth-Parents" course as I call it with the National Childbirth Trust. £250 big ones, and I might just get value for money, even if it is a touch hippy and home baking. We have 13 sessions to attend, some lasting 4 hours a pop - vastly different from the NHS coverage. Having endured cringe worthy ice-breakers and getting-to-know-you's we were introduced to our 3 mentors for the coming sessions, and 8 other couples all due around the same time as us. Some interesting characters, and one bonafida earth-mum, fully kitted out with the trademark dialogue of "natural birth", "breast-feeding" and "feeding on demand". We're due again this Saturday for the next installment - these people might just give me ammo for a future novel if I run short of ideas!

Pregnancy perks this week? Very swollen ankles and feet (its been particularly warm), progressively noticeable Braxton Hicks contractions and an increasing panic that baby will come early and I wont have all the 'jobs' done. Touch-up painting where Matt has been swinging his arms round with the 'chip paint here' and 'put dirty hand here' card. Controlling the rampant growth of the bushes in the garden. And bushes in the garden [that second one is for you Donna]. Buying the last few bits that I keep putting off. Etc Etc - it seems endless. And ridiculous at the same time - my mind is a whirl of 'have to get dones' and 'yeah but you've got 6 weeks off before baby comes so there should be more than enough time' to the 'yeah but what if she's early and X isn't done?' AAARRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHH. I'm tempted to sink a large glass of ice cold Pinot Grigio.

As for work, all good, winding down (and winding Donna and Sheli up). And no Avril, you cant have a discount on the ice-cream, even if its after I've gone - Sheli and Sanchia will see past your fruit pastille bribes!!

Phew! 33 weeks down, 7 to go, 1 week left at work.... MOTHERHOOD IS PENDING!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

32 weeks pregnant

Well, here I am at 32 weeks pregnant, on the home straight to meeting little Gracie-wiggle. My bump is expanding steadily and along with it, my range of pregnancy perks. Matt the Husband took this pic about half an hour after I woke up so I apologise for my startled expression - I don't enjoy having my photo taken at the best of times and least of all first thing in the morning before the straightening irons have had the chance to tame my hair!

Anyway, back to pregnancy perks. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, would you believe. As you know my hands and ankles have been swollen for a few weeks now, then this little pleasure came out of the blue on Monday. I got cramp in my hand trying to use a tin opener! At the time I didn't think much of it, went to bed, and in the morning woke up with both hands numb and tingly, and a weird sense of not being able to send messages from brain to fingers to grip or make a fist. It seemed to pass by lunchtime, then same again the next day. Evidently the swelling in pregnancy puts pressure on the nerves in the wrist, causing temporary CTS - allegedly it passes soon after birth.
Last night really brought it home to me - I didn't have enough strength in my hand to pull the duvet back out of Matt the Husbands death grip..... It's now on my list to see the ante-natal Physio about this - there's a real risk it will worsen and I wont be able to flip the ring pull on my can of coke!

I've seen 2 midwifes since my private growth scan last week - the latter of the two referring me to the Consultant at the Hospital. I saw her yesterday and she agreed I did appear to be measuring big (36 weeks) but that she couldn't rely on the results of the private scan and would need to refer me for an NHS one. She also wants to rule out Gestational Diabetes which a big baby can be an indicator for. I'm having the test for that on Monday, and am due back to see her next week. Apparently the hormones flying around the body in pregnancy can fight the right of insulin to control levels of glucose in the blood, which leads to a type of diabetes which lasts until the baby is born and hormones subside. I'm not looking forward to the test - its a starved blood sample, followed by the consumption of a sugary syrup, a 2.5 hour wait then another blood sample. I HATE having blood drawn. Oh the joys!

As far as little wiggle is concerned, she's happy enough in there, poking me on and off all day. Although her lungs wont be fully developed until just before she's born, she's busy inhaling amniotic fluid to exercise her lungs. I'm putting on about 1lb a week, and about half of this is said to be baby weight. With that in mind, if I go to full term, I'm looking at a plump dumpling, somewhere in the region of 9-10lbs. That's enough to make a grown woman weep. Ah well, time will tell.

32 weeks down, 8 to go, and 12 days left at work.....

Thursday, 3 June 2010

3d scan at 31 weeks

31 weeks pregnant

What an emotional roller coaster this week has been! I am now 31 weeks pregnant today. Time has stood still this last seven days and it feels like a lifetime has passed. I am now officially in the 'past the blooming stage, ready to have her' camp.... my fingers are now too puffy for my rings, the feet and ankles are swelling daily, and as time passes I'm finding it harder and harder to take good deep breaths. Yes, I am officially pregnant and encumbered. And for a time this week I have felt very blue, grumpy, tired and tearful, and I have turned into that pregnant woman where nothing pleases (or at least not this week). Today my mood has lifted and I feel back on track to a certain extent, and I'm glad the blue phase has passed for the timebeing.

Things of note this week? My boss has now officially be made redundant, signed off, never to return. I've had time to prepare for this over the last few weeks, but the finality of it all leaves me feeling a little jaded and sad at the end of an era. I owe him alot for his time over the years and I wouldn't be where I am today without his faith in me. So I have a new boss... well, for 3 weeks that I have left at work until maternity leave kicks in!

I did an interim handover to the Manager coming in to cover me while I'm off yesterday, enjoyed the day and looking forward to handing over the reins on 25th. She works from our sister centre in Manchester so will be here supporting my deputies a few days a week... and thats a story in itself... one of them is pregnant, due 5th December. Something in the water perhaps??! I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Laugh today I think - the crying is so last week!

And then there's this new post Head office have created which is part time. Would that provide me a better work-life balance for when I return to work??! It's all happening here in my life at the moment.

Then lastly this week, the second attempt at our 4d and 3d scan for little Gracie-wiggle. This week she had changed position a little to give a slightly better view, but she's still very comfy in there, very chilled out and relaxed. Shy even. She's lying head down facing my right hand side. We saw her sucking on her hand and playing with her toes. Matt the Husband was looking at the wall when she yawned on the screen - that'll teach him to stay focused... that's men for you!

Interestingly she's measuring big, ish. Head is measuring spot on for her gestational age. Her leg length and belly circumference are both measuring big (both above the 95th percentile), which may indicate a number of things (or may indicate she's just going to be a big healthy baby). I'll see the midwife to check. At the moment she's estimated at weighing 4lb 14oz, thats some weight for a little lady with still 9 weeks to go.... I'll post a picture later.

So yes, 9 weeks to go, and counting!