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.

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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.

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