Pregnancy – Week 33

Feeling so tired right now. I’ve been feeling overall okay though since my last update, but we had to get up super early this morning for my appointment at the hospital. I went in to monitor baby’s activity for about an hour. Everything went fine. His heart rate goes up and down a lot, which is apparently a good thing. It goes up when he’s moving around, just like our pulse increases when we’re walking or running. And it also seems to go up when he hears strange noises or voices he’s not familiar with, which is kind of funny. The midwife explained that when he hears my voice, or Gert’s voice, or probably even our parents, it sounds familiar to him so he’s relaxed and his heart rate reflects it. But when he hears a stranger’s voice, he becomes more alert and his heart starts beating faster. How weird, right? She said it’s an excellent sign that indicates everything is well in there, so hopefully it will stay that way. Apparently they’d be worried if his heart rate was too consistent, with no signs of activity or reaction to anything. Now I FINALLY understand why they keep saying that a fluctuating heart beat is a good thing. It only took the right person to finally explain things properly!

The doctor came in and offered us to do an extra ultrasound for our own peace of mind. For once, we declined. We felt like it was unnecessary, and we have a very detailed ultrasound scheduled next week anyway. So it would feel like overkill at this point. I wouldn’t have that kind of confidence if I wasn’t keeping track of all his movements from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. Every.Single.Day. My agenda looks like it belongs to a crazy person …

Every blue cross marks a movement. I also write down what I eat, what I feel, when he hiccups, and when I get Braxton Hicks contractions.

Speaking of which, I experienced my very first labor scare on Monday evening. Practice contractions are a normal thing at this point in pregnancy. They’re not regular, they’re not painful, and they’re harmless. But on Monday evening, at 10PM, things got scary … it suddenly started pretty heavily with back pain and everything and they were extremely regular; exactly 2:30min apart. I thought “SHIT. My hospital bag isn’t even ready yet. It’s also too soon; his lungs aren’t fully developed yet.” I was praying they would stop, but they didn’t. So I went ahead and called the maternity ward and asked them what I needed to do. I didn’t know if I was supposed to come in or give it a bit more time or what. The answer I got was pretty useless: “If you’re worried, come in. If you wish to wait it out a bit first, that’s fine.” Basically, I was still clueless. I decided I was too panicked and stressed out to drive there right that moment, and felt like it would be better for me to lay down on the bed for about 15 min, and basically allow myself to calm down first, and also to give things an extra chance to fade. Eventually, the contractions stopped, I calmed down, and I basically fell asleep soon after. Poor Gert was clearly feeling helpless about the whole thing and was ready to drive to the hospital on a Monday night lol I’m glad I made the right decision in the end.

As for the rest: my blood pressure is low, but that’s just how I’m made. I’ve never had high blood pressure in my life, and it does easily go on the low side. This could actually explain why I’ve been feeling dizzy every now and then. They said it was excellent and that they’d rather see me with low blood pressure than high blood pressure. Personally though, I wasn’t so thrilled about it. I read an article a while ago about how they’re starting to study the correlation between low blood pressure and a higher rate of stillbirth. But, no proof just yet. There’s so little effort being made about stillbirth; it’s mind boggling.

Anyway, my sugar was perfect this time. Thank God. They had already assured me previously that it couldn’t possibly be gestational diabetes, since I passed the test about 10 weeks ago or so and the results were fine. But it still worried me a bit. I’ve been avoiding desserts like the plague ever since. Not that I indulge on a daily basis, but I do like to treat myself once or twice a week after lunch. And as far as beverages are concerned: I’ve been drinking water only for the past 9 months. It was so hard at first, but I’m so used to it now that I think I might stick to this after I’ve given birth. I’d like a cup of a tea or a glass of white wine every now and then (after he’s born, obviously), but the added bonus of water containing zero calories seems to really be helping in terms of weight. I’m still a bit annoyed at the comment I got last time when the doctor said I should stop gaining weight. Seriously?? I’m 1m75 … I’ve gained 12 kilos by now; that’s nothing extreme. I’ve only got 4.5 weeks to go. Most likely I’ll only have 3 or 4 kilos left to lose after birth, which is nothing. Another pregnant lady stepped on the scale this morning. She was about my height, and she weighed 96 kilos. I would have loved to hear that one doctor’s opinion about it! Heh. Quite frankly, I don’t know where she hid her weight though, because she didn’t even look particularly big. It’s so strange how differently people can carry weight. Goes to show that numbers are sometimes a bit meaningless.


Anyway, Baby’s doing fine. Even though his name is 90% set, I notice that we still tend to go back and forth a little bit. At this point I can’t help but laugh about the whole thing. What a saga this name picking has been so far! I’ve also been extremely laid back about any birth preparations. I still need to figure out the birth announcements and little knick-knacks. People are so focussed on that crap. It all seems so meaningless to me after everything we’ve been through. I don’t even care if they get a birth announcement one month late. I do need to get myself in gear though. This baby will be here next month and I’ve barely prepared the nursery for his arrival. Of course it’s still complete from before Sam was stillborn. But, I need to make a clear inventory of what we have and then figure out if we’re missing anything crucial. We were missing so much stuff before Sam arrived. If he had been born alive and well, there would have been a ton of emergency trips to all kinds of stores. I kind of want to avoid that now. There’s also still some of my own clutter that needs to move out of the baby’s room. It’s such a weird state of mind to be in right now. I notice Gert seems to be in the same funk. It’s like, we’re eagerly awaiting this baby’s safe arrival, yet we can’t really seem to prepare properly like he’s REALLY going to be here soon. I guess because our only experience is preparing for nothing, so now we’re sort of in this thing now where we feel like we’ll deal with it when we actually really get there. It still seems like an impossible goal right now. Yet it seems so obvious to everybody else around us that things will go well. There’s no way we will ever be that confident about it.

There have also been some more difficult moments recently. Like when we went to a maternity clothing store and the cashier asked full of enthusiasm if this was our first … Oh that damned question. There it was. Right in my face with no warning whatsoever. I quickly mumbled, no, it’s our second. And prayed to God that she wouldn’t comment any further or ask any other question. Strangely, she seemed to have picked up on the fact that something was off and she didn’t insist. I hate that question so much. People ask it so freely without ever thinking that it could break someone’s heart into a million pieces. And at the same time, I just can’t lie about it. I could NEVER pretend that this is our first. It feels so wrong.

Anyway, I’m sorry this blog is turning into a pregnancy log. I actually meant to blog more this past week, but then Gert’s dad handed me his camera so I could get a copy of all the videos he’s been filming this year so far. He loves filming! He takes his camera everywhere and films every single family occasion there is. It’s something I’d like to start doing more myself. But yeah, it does take a lot of time. I basically spent several days putting all the footage together into nice little movies with intros and some music. Not something we’d watch on a regular basis, but it’s still lovely to have. He’s been documenting their entire lives like that since the 70’s. I’m always so impressed with his collection of family movies. I’ve been doing the same for years with photographs, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be taking over the video part of it as well soon. Especially with this baby coming next month. I can’t wait to start gathering all kinds of random family footage. Fingers crossed that things go well this time though … It seems like every time I make positive plans, it ends up crashing into a big nightmare.

Anyway, this blog post is becoming way too long now. I’ll stop right here. Only one more month to go!

Pregnancy – Week 32

Feeling a bit defeated right now, and I think it shows. I went to yet another prenatal appointment yesterday. All I can say at this point is: I can’t wait for all this to be over. It was one of the shittiest appointments so far. For the first time ever, my tests came back indicating that my sugar level was above normal. I’ve never had this in my entire life. Of course they brushed it off and basically went like “no big deal, we’ll just keep an eye on it.” And then the doctor randomly decided to discuss my weight, which was never brought up before. She subtly implied that I need to stop gaining weight now because I’m kind of on the high end of the weight gain chart. Are you kidding me? I don’t even think that she took note of my height into her equation. I’m pretty tall. And I’ve gained less this time than when I was expecting Sam! I don’t even eat that much. Nor do I stuff myself with sugary treats. I eat pretty healthy and stick to normal portions. I’ve only gained 12 kilos so far. When Sam was born, I instantly lost 10kg from giving birth alone. You’re not just losing the weight of the baby; there’s the placenta, amniotic fluid, umbilical cord and all sorts of lovely things. I stepped on a scale 2 hours after he was born, and I was already 10 kilos lighter. If it’s the same this time, I will only have a few kilos left to lose, which isn’t that hard. So yeah. **major eye roll** 😒

Then I got to meet one of the two doctors who will be following me up from now on, since the professor who took care of me decided to move abroad at the worst possible time. Just my luck, right? Now that I’ve met one of the two, I’m not exactly reassured. He came in and tried to sell me his spiel about how this is a totally different pregnancy, and how the odds of things going wrong twice in a row are very low and that we should basically stop monitoring things so closely because it could cause more anxiety than if we let things run their course. The fact alone that he suggested to cancel next week’s monitoring almost gave me a panic attack! Those appointments are exactly what helps me stay calm! I completely closed up. I let him finish his speech without answering a word, then thanked him and said goodbye. As soon as he walked out the door, I booked my appointment for next week! Silly man.

I also want a full blood test next time. I often feel dizzy since last week, and now with my sugar being higher than normal, I just want to make sure that everything’s okay. I was low on iron during my first pregnancy. So I also want to make sure that this isn’t the case again. And if they don’t want to do it, then I’ll just go to my family doctor. Pffft. They were so cautious during the first and second trimester. Why are they suddenly trying to play things down now like it’s no big deal when we’re right in the final weeks? This is exactly when things went completely wrong the first time! 😡

lilypie pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 32 thirty two weeks baby evolution fetus pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 32 thirty two weeks baby evolution fetus

Anyway, Baby’s doing fine. He’s still very active during the day and spends peaceful quiet nights. Here’s hoping this pattern remains after birth lol I can’t wait to meet our little man. We’ve finally made up our minds about his name! We went back and forth a lot, and then eventually just kept going back to this one, which started to feel more and more right as weeks went by. At this point we’re used to calling him that, so there’s no changing it anymore. It was about time! I’m only 6 weeks away from giving birth. I was starting to worry that this baby would be born without a name. I really don’t care what gender we have next. But if we end up having boys only, I do worry about future names … Boy names are difficult! Hah!

38 more days until I get induced. I’m getting so impatient. It’s almost to the point where I’m annoying myself. I get so frustrated when I can’t do certain things, and I can’t be as physically active as I’m used to, and I can’t eat or drink certain things. Ugh. So sick of it. I know this probably sounds shallow when obviously my main priority is having this baby alive and well. But I’ve gone through such horrible, frustrating years so far. It feels like my whole life has been on hold and that I’ve been holding my breath ever since I got pregnant in January 2014. I can’t wait to move forward and breathe again. Six more weeks … sounds like nothing, but it feels like an eternity right now.

A little bit of sunshine

Everything is so green all of a sudden! Wow. All it took was 2 weeks of fantastic weather and we went from seeing naked trees to having full and buzzing nature all around. It’s so much nicer this way.

I’m kind of glad this week is over though. Things have been so busy here. I feel like I haven’t had much time to rest and I was starting to feel it all catch up with me. Third trimesters are so hardcore. I can’t wait for it all to be behind us. There is so much I want to do, and I just physically can’t. Oh well, everything in due time I guess. I’m definitely planning to take it easy this weekend and will shamelessly take an afternoon nap if I feel I need it!

We’re planning to watch the Eurovision contest on TV tonight (if we don’t fall asleep before the votes are cast). Gert and I both love anything kitsch and we have a ball each year laughing at all the ridiculous songs and outfits! 😂 We’re also hoping that our country makes it to the top 4. It’s one of the best performances this year, if I may say so myself. 😜 Go Belgium! 🇧🇪 Woot Woot! I also love the Dutch guy and his country inspired song.

A cozy evening at home with some finger food in perspective … Looking forward to that!

Pregnancy – Week 31

I’m so exhausted right now. I don’t know if it shows in my picture, but I definitely feel it. I practically didn’t sleep last night due to painful hips and we had to be at the hospital at 8AM this morning to monitor Baby’s activity for an hour. I had never done this before, so this was a first. They basically put 2 straps around my belly and I had to lay on my left side. The midwife explained the basics of what we could see on the monitor and in which case we’d have to call her right away. There were two other pregnant ladies hooked up to a monitor in that same room. I only briefly saw them as I walked by, because the whole appointment was spent behind closed curtains. Gert was so involved. It was cute. 😄 💕

Baby was kicking those monitor straps like it was really bugging him. He had hiccups, practiced breathing, turned around several times and showed a perfect heart rate. All was looking perfect. Thank God.

At one point, one of the other pregnant women a little further away started crying. I couldn’t see her as we were basically in a little closed cubicle, but she cried nonstop for a solid 40 minutes. I have no idea what was going on. One doctor came in, her husband went to get her some water, and she basically sobbed the entire time. Part of me wanted to ask the midwife about it – since my mind naturally jumps to the conclusion “dead baby”. But then I figured maybe her case wasn’t nearly as tragic as what we’ve been through so far, and it’s already been emotional enough for me, so I didn’t feel the strength to put myself in a vulnerable position. I’m not sure if most of us who go there are dealing with a pregnancy after a loss. In any case, I noticed that none of us acted like the average pregnant woman. There was no enthusiastic talk about baby’s growth and activity, no fun chatter about future plans … only worries. It was definitely a weird vibe.

When all that was done, they decided to do an ultrasound so we could see Baby and check things visually. They said this was mainly to reassure me. It was nice. But I have to be honest: I wasn’t really worried at that particular point. But at least this gave me a chance to ask them to check the umbilical cord. I wanted to know if it was anywhere near his neck. Luckily, it’s not. If it had been, I would have had to pay closer attention to possible distress signs from now on, such as increased hiccuping. I write it all down anyway. But it’s reassuring to know that – right now – the umbilical cord is fine.

My next appointment is next Wednesday, and then most likely we’ll go back in to monitor the baby the week after that.

lilypie pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 31 thirty one weeks baby evolution fetus pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 31 thirty one weeks baby evolution fetus

While last week was one of my best weeks so far in terms of how I felt physically, I can’t really say the same about this week. I’m getting more and more tired and my hips are hurting so bad at night. I feel dizzy quite often, but the only plausible reason seems to be my lack of sleep. Household chores have become quite difficult. I gave the dog a bath yesterday and then had to lie down on the bed because it had triggered some mild Braxton Hicks contractions. Not pleasant at all! Although perfectly normal at this point in pregnancy.

We thought we had found his name last week, and now we don’t again … lol I swear this is hard! I’m usually not like that at all. I’m generally the kind of person who quickly figures out a few options and then makes up her mind about it fairly quickly. Now I keep going back and forth and I feel so indecisive. It’s annoying. Bless Gert for being so easy going and patient. He’s already found enough names for 10 more boys. Haha!!! I’m just not convinced about any of them. I still have my top 4, which he likes, but, I just can’t decide. Sometimes I feel like it would be easier once I meet him and see what he looks like. The weird thing is that I never felt like that with Sam. It was so easy with him. Everything was easy. It all felt so right. Maybe it would be easy again if Sam hadn’t died. Now it feels like extra pressure and extra insecurities. Part of me keeps thinking: “If this baby dies too, then basically, which name that I love am I going to sacrifice? Because then it would never actively be used.” Just like with Sam. It kills me that the only times I ever speak out his name, it’s because we’re talking about something sad. And it’s never on a daily basis like I imagined I would during that pregnancy. Once we had decided about “Sam”, I could imagine baby Sam, toddler Sam, teenage Sam, groom Sam … the older handsome Sam who’d be holding my hand at the hospital at the end of my life. That whole future was gone in the snap of a finger before it even started. I don’t think anyone can imagine what it does to a person, unless they’ve experienced it too.

Right now, I just know that I’m expecting a baby boy and that’s pretty much it. What will he look like? What will his name be? What will our future basically look like? No idea! It’s all so abstract. I just know that I want him alive and well so we can go on instead of being stuck in limbo … I can’t wait for D-day! Only 45 days left.


Black & White Purchases

I’ve been keeping an eye out for bargains lately and it paid off. I got 3 dresses + 1 pair of ankle booties for less than 50€ total! How crazy is that? I’d never find such good deals at local stores. My new favorite web store is New Look; that’s where I got 3 out of the 4 items I bought. Now, I was looking over my orders and realized that they are all black and white … This was definitely not intentional. I guess I happened to be in a black & white kind of mood! In any case, I’ve vowed myself that any future purchase will include more color, before my wardrobe turns into a black & white fest. But I have to admit there’s something about this contrasting combination that I love. Now, I’m almost 8 months pregnant so there’s obviously no chance in Hell I could fit into these right now, but I can’t wait!!! The floral dress will be my main motivation to get that belly flat again! The model is shorter than me, so the dress should actually hit right above my knees, which is the perfect length.

black and white contrast clothing fashion purchases newlook new look asos dress striped floral pattern knit knee length ankle booties
-1- New Look Black Grid Check Pleated Dress- Was 29.99€ / Bought for 9€
-2- ASOS Club L Wrap Front Midi Dress in Bold Mono Floral- Was 16.90€ / Bought for 14.08€
-3- New Look Black Quilted Panel Ankle Boots- Was 29.99€ / Bought for 15€
-4- New Look Black Textured Stripe Cap Sleeve Shift Dress- Was 34.99€ / Bought for 10.50€

Here’s a useful tip if you find an awesome sale on New Look but then realize that it’s out of stock: bookmark that page! Sometimes those items do sporadically get back in stock for a brief moment at the same discounted price that they were before they sold out. This is how I managed to get dress #4. My size was no longer available and within one day all sizes were completely sold out. I kept an eye on it, and less than one week later, my size was suddenly back in stock. I’m guessing this happens when a customer returns an item back to them, because as soon as I completed my order, the dress was listed out of stock again. So I’m assuming the available quantity was just one lol I’ve seen this happen with other items that I didn’t end up buying but had kept an eye on as well. It pays off to refresh that page several times a day for a week or more. Sounds slightly obsessive, but hey, if I can get a pretty dress for 10 euros or less, I don’t mind! 😛

By the way, if you don’t follow me on Pinterest yet, please do: I pin a ton of items all the time and some of them are great finds that I end up buying myself.