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End-of-term - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
End-of-term
36 weeks today; 4 weeks to my due date, 2 more weeks of work to go, 1 more week until Sprocket is officially at term (not to be confused with 'term' in the Oxford sense, though I think it is 8th week) -- any time before 37 weeks she'd be considered 'premature'.

My bump looks comically big, I feel exhausted from lugging it around with me, and everything aches a lot of the time. Unfortunately I can't find any comfortable positions to rest/sleep in, no matter how I configure the nest of pillows; I'm trying to sleep on my left side to try to encourage the baby into the right position, but this means I often end up in a position that makes my shoulder ache. Still waking up at least once a night. Last week I had new fun and games when I was woken up by excruciating cramp in my leg, bad enough that the leg/foot was visibly twisted, and the rest of my body apparently forgot that it was aching and just shot out of bed to try to stand up & force the cramp out. The muscle was still aching a couple of days later and my foot was feeling pins-and-needles-ish, so (having got myself a bit worried about possible thrombosis) I phoned NHS Direct, who said it wasn't urgent and said they'd phone me back at some point in the next 12 hours (they didn't). The pins-and-needles went away and the muscle ache faded, so I guess nothing to worry about after all. Legs still feel crampy, but I gather this is quite normal in late pregnancy (though nobody seems to know quite why). Still cycling (it's less effort than walking, it doesn't hurt, and may even be helping) and still no swelling of legs/ankles as far as I can see, so it's not all bad, but my goodness I'm knackered.

We're slowly ticking off the things we have to find/buy for labour/birth/baby: this week I've ordered new mattresses for the moses baskets and waterproof sheets for the bed/sofa, and next week the Nappy Lady is coming round to sell us all the nappies we'll ever need, hurrah. I've even got most of my hospital bag packed (not actually following that specific list... but then most of the lists are provided by people who are trying to make you buy everything from them, so it's hard to get a sensible list of the things you might actually need!) -- I'm hoping not to have to go to hospital, but having useful things in one bag seems like a sensible strategy anyway. We're also trying to sort out furniture: getting bookshelves fitted next weekend (which will leave us with at least two surplus bookcases, if anybody's interested...) to make more space, and slowly trying to move baby-furniture into what will become baby's room.

The thing we don't have yet is a car seat, but it sounds like there's simply no way to have a baby without one -- the midwife says if I do end up in hospital they won't let me leave without a car seat, even if I'm not planning to go in a car -- so we're going to have to try to borrow one. I honestly don't think she'd ever met anybody who was planning to give birth without owning a car before. :-/

I had an Intergrowth scan on Wednesday, which may be the last one (I've got another scan scheduled for March 30th, but given that's only 4 days before my due date it's possible that baby will have already appeared by then). They gave me my 'presents' this time anyway -- a huge shopping bag with the Intergrowth logo and the slogan "21st century mum", and a tiny tshirt for baby with the Intergrowth logo and "Class of 2010" on the back -- I didn't even realise they did this, I didn't do it for the freebies, but they're both really nice gifts! Taking part in the study has been a huge win all round for me -- reassurance, more pics, a chance to see all sorts of bits of baby's insides (!), and another midwife's opinion on all sorts of things -- and it's nice to know I've done something useful for medical science.

This time they also calculated baby's approximate weight -- last time they mentioned this she seemed to be a bit on the small side, but it seems she shot up into somewhere around the 80th percentile while I wasn't looking, and is now approx 6lb 6oz. Apparently she'll gain between a quarter- and a half-pound a week between now and birth, so she's going to be much bigger at birth than I thought -- some of the tiny newborn clothes we've acquired may never fit her! They also said she was the right way round (her spine towards my left, not back-to-back), but frankly she's such a little wriggler that I suspect she'll change position a dozen more times before birth.

I also had my last SPRINT checkup on the same day, but they just took some more blood, gave me a biscuit, and thanked me for taking part in the study. When it finishes I'll find out the results (and whether I was actually taking selenium or just a placebo), but that won't be for about two years, so I'll probably have forgotten all about it by then!

On Thursday my midwife came round to see if our house was suitable for a home birth. We'd done our best to make the house look like a proper grown-ups' house (it now even has CURTAINS in the bedroom, thanks to timscience's kind help and his monster drill!) but I was still really worried that she'd take one look at it and say "You can't POSSIBLY have a baby here!" In the event though she said it was all fine, and she's still positive about me staying at home provided the iron levels in my blood don't get any lower. She went through a long information-dump of everything I might possibly need to know about, from aromatherapy to ventouse; I was glad I'd read most of it beforehand so I wasn't worrying too much about remembering everything! She even mentioned homeopathic pain relief as a possibility ("but only if carried out by a qualified practitioner") but didn't look too offended when I said "it's OK, we have water on tap". The choice of placebos available to pregnant women is really amazing (and I do get tired of being told "it can't be a placebo because it worked for me"). But in case you think I'm turning into some kind of boring crusader against hippy remedies, I'll confess that I did buy some clary sage massage oil (not because I think it has any magic powers but because it smells wake-up-ish) -- to be honest I'm not generally that keen on massage but it does seem to help the backache at the moment and I suspect it'll help in labour.

Work is getting frantic as I'm realising just how little time I have left to do all the things I said I'd do before going on leave; there are major updates to the course booking system which I can't release yet because the people I'm doing the work for are still testing (which is good, just a bit last-minute) and still coming up with new suggestions for (grahh), and the underlying database is being upgraded some time next week; I was hoping to release it a month before leaving, to give things time to bed in, but too late now. I've written heaps of documentation, and they're freezing active development on this stuff while I'm away, so whoever has to maintain it in my absence (probably not my maternity cover) will be in a much better position than I was 4 years ago when I got handed a heap of Perl/XSP and told "make it work better". (Four years! I can't believe I've been there that long.) Things I have to fit in before I leave: releasing the aforementioned code; giving a presentation to the rest of the team about how the course booking system works; hacking some nasty javascript (zoomable images, pop-up AJAXy things) for another project; attending a half-day "developer day" for the department's coders/designers (brainchild of a very young and enthusiastic member of staff who wants the department to be a bit more like a hip Silicon Valley startup and a bit less like part of an 800-year-old university...); having my Annual Review (we're not going to set objectives for next year, but it's a chance to look back at the previous year, to talk about how we might use my 'Keeping in Touch' days, and to discuss plans for returning to work after maternity leave). I've also got to fill in the Head of Department's survey about how we think the structure of the department should be reorganised (resisting the temptation to sound like I'm pleading "please save a place for me in the new structure"). I feel like I'm going to miss a lot of interesting changes while I'm away; I'm hoping that (given the university's normal pace of change) there will still be fun opportunities to be had when I get back. (Everybody's told me that I won't even give any of this stuff a moment's thought once I'm at home with the baby; I know my priorities will change, but I really can't imagine all my other interests in life being switched off at the mains like that. OK, I can imagine being too tired to think anything at all, but surely not for a whole year.)

I think that's about it for now... and baby is furiously kicking me (seriously, my bump looks like a badger in a bag) to remind me that it's lunchtime. :-)

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Comments
ghoti From: ghoti Date: March 6th, 2011 01:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mmm, I'd forgotten most of the really fun bits of pregnancy, so it's nice of you to remind me - cramps, random aches, nosebleeds (are you having nosebleeds?), braxton hicks, one foot lodged under the rib cage for hours at a time, less sleep than you get with a newborn...

(It is 8th week and I know this only because we're seeing Jon on friday)

Incidentally, I never did tell you my name idea (about as serious as unsolicited advice should be); you know how McK names for girls are really trendy right now? McKinley, McKenna, McKayla, McKenzie and so on. Well, you could name her McKnight. Throw in daddy's Batchelor name and she'll sound like not just one lawyer but a whole firm!
ghoti From: ghoti Date: March 6th, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
More usefully, we have a car seat of the right sort which we're not using, and can lend you. I can leave it with Jon at the weekend, if that's helpful for you.
rmc28 From: rmc28 Date: March 6th, 2011 01:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
All really interesting, thank you for the update.

As You Know, I did not lose all interest in work or things other than baby once it had arrived, despite what "everyone" told me (oh how annoyed I got with "you might change your mind" ... because obviously everyone else knew my personality better than I did, oh wait no they didn't). So I support you in your scepticism :-)

I can speak for the quiet relief on adjusting to having to go to hospital that at least I didn't have to pack too, because The Bag was packed and ready in the bedroom, just in case. Clothes (mine and baby's), pyjamas, toiletries, nappies, wipes, favourite old paperback, emergency money. The one thing I forgot was a camera, but Tony brought me mine later, along with the sequels to my paperback.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: March 6th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tee hee. I had some massage oil I'd made up which turned out to be useful both for massage and oiling the hinge on the mum-next-door's door. It was driving her insane and getting staff to deal with it would have taken weeks...
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: March 6th, 2011 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
The thing we don't have yet is a car seat, but it sounds like there's simply no way to have a baby without one -- the midwife says if I do end up in hospital they won't let me leave without a car seat, even if I'm not planning to go in a car -- so we're going to have to try to borrow one.

I know I shouldn't be, but I am absolutely staggered by this. I think it's the most ridiculous thing I've heard all year.

I also don't see how it fits with the whole "kick you out as soon as possible" ethos.
jinty From: jinty Date: March 6th, 2011 03:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Don't quite see how it doesn't fit with the "kick you out as soon as possible" ethos? But in any case it seems to vary from place to place - R reminds me that his friends in South London took their first baby home in a bus without a car seat. Also, we weren't officially checked for car-seat-havingness before being allowed out of the JR, but then as she *was* in a car seat they might have just looked and not asked. It might yet be the case that we could have got away with it, we don't know.
(Deleted comment)
tortipede From: tortipede Date: March 6th, 2011 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think you'll find that 37 weeks is Term, but 40 is Full Term ;)

You'll be welcome to borrow our car seat if needed, although if you go more than a week or so overdue we might have to just leave it with you just in case (we'll be off on our hols).
j4 From: j4 Date: March 7th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! ... I have now been offered three car seats though! Can I keep your offer in reserve & give you a shout if we decide we do want to borrow it? You've already been very generous with your baby equipment anyway! :-)
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: March 6th, 2011 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
We have our old one we can just give you. If you travel in a car, even a taxi, you must have baby in a proper car seat, rear-facing. Body weight times velocity = smushy ba. This is undesireable.

Baby bicycling horror sighted on Woodstock Rd a few years ago: Chinese dada on bike, on the back of which, tied with lots of twine, wobbled a cheap moulded plastic garden chair of child size, in which was bungee corded a smallish baby without a helmet.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 7th, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you really don't need your car seat any more that'd be fab -- thank you so much! I definitely owe you lots of nice dinners or similar -- you've been incredibly kind & generous & I hope I can repay you in some way.

Can we arrange a car-seat-and-furniture handover some time soonish (I don't want to sound demanding when you're being so lovely, but I am starting to get twitchy about Having Things To Hand)? Also, if you're interested in taking our surplus bookcases off our hands (or getting the name of our shelving chap -- though you may want to wait & see how well he does ours ;-) then let me know & I'll give you the measurements.

Point taken about the car seat -- it's just depressing to find that society really is set up so that everybody has to have a car (or at least behave as if they have a car). :-/ And part of me thinks "well if they're going to put me in the hospital against my will then they can damn well supply the means to get me & baby home again safely". That's just the grumpy badger talking, though -- I don't want to fight with them. But I do want to stay in my sett if I can! :-}
naath From: naath Date: March 6th, 2011 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
car seat
WTF; surely you only need one if you were planning to, um, take a car? I guess maybe a lot of non-car-having people get a cab? Is there no bus (surely you don't use a car seat on a bus? I see loads of people with prams on the bus)?
jinty From: jinty Date: March 6th, 2011 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the idea is that you do take the newborn in a carseat even in the bus, as being safer than carrying her in your arms - yes, you do see people with prams in buses, but a newborn needs to go in a carrycot style pram bit which doesn't secure her in case of accident. To be honest, though, a sling will hold a baby just as well as a car seat, if not better IMHO.
camellia_uk From: camellia_uk Date: March 6th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad to hear everything's going ok! I'll try to knit a bigger hat for you ;-)
With that many pics taken I'm shocked baby doesn't already have her own facebook or flickr page... (or does she?!) :-)
j4 From: j4 Date: March 7th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're not allowed a facebook account until you're over 13! Anyway by the time she's old enough to care about it facebook will be in the "Omigod, mum, you're so embarrassing, nobody uses that stuff any more" category. ;-) ("Yes dear, I know, but all my other boring grown-up friends still use it. Now don't forget to charge your jetpack.")

I should scan in the pics and put them up on flickr, though.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: March 6th, 2011 09:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Clary sage is contraindicated in pregnancy. Organic chemicals are complex and cross the placental barrier. Wakey-upish safe in pregnancy will be orange, lemon, mandarin, or grapefruit.
perdita_fysh From: perdita_fysh Date: March 7th, 2011 09:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I thought it was supposed to be good for labour though?
brrm From: brrm Date: March 7th, 2011 10:52 am (UTC) (Link)
getting bookshelves fitted next weekend (which will leave us with at least two surplus bookcases, if anybody's interested...)

I may be in the market for a bookshelf or two soon (depending suitability etc), but not until the end of this month - which I suspect is too late for you.

And hope all goes well with the bag-badger, too :-)

Edited at 2011-03-07 10:53 am (UTC)
j4 From: j4 Date: March 7th, 2011 08:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, I'm due on 3rd April, so at the end of the month I may still be sitting around twiddling my thumbs. :-} Someone else has expressed an interest in the bookcases too (again depending on suitability etc) but if they don't want them & I'm still online/awake/etc when you do want them, I'll let you know!
julietk From: julietk Date: March 7th, 2011 11:56 am (UTC) (Link)
The Intergrowth thing does sound kind of cool.

Re waterproof sheets: I read a useful-sounding tip for homebirth the other day, which is to make up the bed with a clean set of sheets for post-birth, then put the waterproof stuff on the top, then the (presumably not yr best) sheets over that for during birth. Then once labour is over, the midwives can get rid of the dirty sheets & leave you with nice clean ones without actually having to turf you out of bed to remake the bed (you can just scootch over a bit to one side then the other as they take the dirty ones off).

Although now I am unsure as to whether the idea is that one does this at 37 weeks & just leaves the sheets there until labour, or to get whoever's with you to make up the bed during the v early stages of labour, when there's plenty of time between contractions. Anyway.

"it can't be a placebo because it worked for me"

Since, after all, even when you *know* it's a placebo it can still work, never mind if you think it's not.
From: scat0324 Date: March 7th, 2011 05:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
The many layered sheet tip is also good for night-time toilet training in a few years!
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