Pregnancy update - 30 weeks

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At 30 weeks, I’m at that point in my pregnancy where everything is uncomfortable all of the time, the insomnia is back and it feels like this baby is taking up my entire body. I can feel her simultaneously squishing my bladder and prodding at my ribs, and it’s a toss up between which one is causing me more discomfort. She kicks or hiccups or wriggles almost all of the time, and is particularly active at night when I’m trying to sleep. There is no configuration of pillows that keeps me comfortable and pain free at night, and if I do by some miracle find a position that I can lie in for more than ten minutes, my restless legs soon puts a stop to that. Strangely, despite the discomforts, I think I am enjoying this stage of pregnancy the most this time around, probably because I am very much on the home stretch with only another 9-12 weeks to go. I’ve had a fairly restful Christmas and New Year, and am just steeling myself for another 3-4 weeks of work before I take a good chunk of time off to prepare my mind, body and home for the birth. I have a couple of London shoots, and one local one, but once I’ve wrapped up all those edits I am very much looking forward to putting work to one side and spending some time on the sofa, watching movies and having a go at weaving on my new loom. Something I meant to do when I was pregnant with Rory, but I never gifted myself the time or space to do so. This time, I am protecting my maternity leave like a lioness, banning all visitors, overnight guests and anyone trying to overly book up my time before the baby arrives.

Talking of sleep disturbances, my big girl is going through a major three-year sleep regression and has been waking constantly at night, so we’ve resorted to sharing a bed from about 10pm onwards so both of us can get some sleep. Gav has moved into the spare room for the time being, so mine and Rory’s disturbed nights don’t become his too. With my big old belly there just isn’t enough space for us all in the bed, and when his alarm wakes us at 5.30am after a rough night…well needless to say it’s not the happiest I’ll ever feel in the morning. We’ve tried every strategy we can think of to help Rory sleep better in her own bed again, but what it really comes down to is that the only sustainable option for us right now is for Rory to sleep in with me. I’m too pregnant to keep getting up in the night, going down stairs and trying to settle her every hour, sometimes more. After five minutes crouching by her bed I can’t feel my legs, and my patience wears thin very quickly. With Gav working so much we just aren’t able to commit to having three bad nights in order to try and help her sleep in her own room again. We just all end up miserable. So, for now, this is what’s working for us. And if I’ve learnt anything as a parent in the last three years, it’s to trust your gut, do what works for you, and ultimately do anything you can to get some sleep. I’m past the point of frustration with it all, and instead I’m soaking up all the cuddles, sweet midnight chats and tender kisses I get from my girl each night. I just love waking up to her, and these days of it being just the two of us are numbered. So if we have to share a bed to feel the closeness we both want and need right now, well then that’s what we will do.

I feel so huge already, I can’t quite work out how this baby still has another 3lbs at least to put on, and how I am going to feel any bigger and heavier than I already do at this point. I’m only 5ft tall so pregnancy feels like quite a strain on my little body, and I’m starting to get comments from cashiers in the supermarket asking “when’s it due"?” and then looking utterly shocked when I tell them I still have another 2-3 months to go. Oh so many things I forgot about from Rory’s pregnancy, especially all the well meaning comments from strangers that I could really do without! How on earth any woman commutes daily on the tube in rush hour in her third trimester I don’t know…but if you’ve done it or have to do it, you are truly my hero. I’m staying as active as I can right now, and am finding there is a sweet spot with me getting just enough exercise that my body stays limber, and too much that I just ache for days. I have a bad habit of over estimating what I can carry home from the shops, and loading myself up like a packhorse with a buggy to push as well. Must stop that, because my back and shoulders is not thanking me for it. More walks in the forest, less carting around a backpack full of shopping.

With around ten weeks or so to go, I’m starting to think about and prepare for the birth and baby’s arrival, researching options for hiring a birth pool (we’re planning a home birth), signing up to pregnancy yoga classes and watching hypno-birthing videos online. I know these next few weeks are going to fly by, and so as much as I am looking forward to not being pregnant any more, I’m hoping this baby holds on for a little while to give me a chance to do everything I need to before she gets here. We’ve been reading Rory this book every night (at her request) and she’s so obsessed with learning everything about what happens during labour and delivery. The illustrations are beautiful, as is the story, and it’s getting me excited to experience this with her, and hopefully in the safety of our own home too. One of the pictures shows the woman naked, leaning forward onto her husband with her arms around his neck. You can just see the baby’s head coming out, and the midwife ready to catch her. It all looks strangely calm yet powerful…Rory asks to look at that page over and over again, and says that she’s sorry she won’t be able to hold my hand or put a hot water bottle on my back during labour because she will be waiting to catch the baby. She says she’s a big girl now, and that will be her job. Oh that kiddo, I love her so.

My nightly baths are my saviour at the moment, as time to myself has become my most precious commodity. There’s no gift greater that anyone can offer me right now than an hour to take a bath or a nap or read a book. Come to my house, take over my parenting duties for a small while, and I will love you forever. My evenings have been cut short with Rory being so much harder to put to bed, sometimes it’s 8.30pm before I get to even think about running those taps. I’ve learnt to value even 30 minutes of calm, where I can soak in the tub, journal out my feelings, read something inspiring or meditate. I can feel my world shrinking, just like those days of early motherhood where things outside your home rarely concern you. My focus is all about keeping us fed, rested, calm and happy, and taking care of my achey body. I feel some anxiety about birth creeping in, too, but that’s all the more reason for me to just focus inward, breathe deep and trust in the process. I think this is why any babies after your first must feel so much easier, because you’ve already made that transition to being a mother, to your time mostly not being your own.

So, at 30 weeks I am doing well, healthy and happy but extremely tired. Mornings and daytimes are easier, by the afternoons and evenings my pelvis and back are sore and walking is harder. The nights are uncomfortable, full of broken sleep as I grow one baby and tend to the other, I am so very restless of mind and body during those hours. The easier I take it, the better I feel, there’s no surprise there and I am trying to be mindful of keeping on the right side of active. Just a few more months to go…