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shadows of echoes of memories of songs
Where we're at
As of today I'm 25 weeks pregnant. I'm terribly bad at remembering how many weeks I'm up to, and recently lots of people have asked me "how many months are you now?" and this has invariably thrown me into a morass of mathematical fail, because I've been trying to count in weeks, and can neither convert that to months nor recalculate fast enough to answer the question. I tend to just tell them that I'm due on April 3rd, they can do their own calculations.

The baby is kicking more and more; I can see little ripples and bounces from the outside now (indepedently verified by addedentry at last!) and they feel like much bigger movements from the inside. It doesn't generally wake me up in the night, but it does sometimes stop me going back to sleep if I wake up anyway and find she's moving about. (It's not always a kicky kind of feeling; sometimes it feels like she's turning somersaults or crawling from one side of the womb to the other. It's weirdly fascinating - I could lie there for ages just feeling her moving and watching my stomach move!)

At the moment I'm waking up several times a night with a rotten cough and cold; I wonder to what extent the baby can feel it when I cough? If my own coughing doesn't keep me awake then addedentry's does; and if my some miracle both of us manage a few hours where breathing is easy enough to sleep, there's always the mice in the loft to wake me up, noisily scurrying around and chewing things above our heads. (Sorry, mouse-lovers, but the council's ratcatcher has already been up there and put poison down.) And if the coughing and the mice don't keep me awake then the wind/indigestion/bloating usually does a fairly good job - it's always uncomfortable and often painful.

What with the cough/cold and the broken nights and the cold weather I'm even tireder than usual - it's an effort to drag myself out to go anywhere. Everybody has told me that the tiredness is far, far worse when the baby's actually out, and frankly that scares me - sleep deprivation makes me more depressed and generally less able to cope with anything. Trying not to dwell on the depression, but it is very much still there; I'm feeling tearful and headachey a lot of the time, and increasingly panicky about work because I'm struggling to keep my head above water and my thoughts in a straight line. At least I've finished work for the year now and I'm hoping that the time off will help get me back on track - lots to do when I get back, things to finish and things to hand over before my leave starts in mid-March. But I don't need to think about that for another three weeks!

The bump is much bigger now (and my belly button is more or less flattened out) but it's still difficult to see under six layers of clothes... I feel the cold badly, but fortunately had the foresight to order more thermal stuff from Millets before all the deliveries stopped working. Unfortunately what with the layers of clothes and the layer of baby I'm carrying so much extra weight that I feel like a total heffalump, and it always seems like a massive effort to drag myself off the sofa. Fortunately cycling still works, and it's about the one thing that makes me feel like I can move freely from A to B. Also, since I bought heated gloves (like these but mine don't have the 'window' for the battery pack) I can even get from A to B with all my fingers still capable of moving! I thoroughly recommend them for fellow Raynaud's sufferers and other cold-fingered cyclists.

I finally managed to get in touch with the people who run the NHS antenatal classes (this has been a bit of a saga of failsome phone numbers); I've already been to one session (billed as a 'mid-pregnancy' class and run by the physio group but actually containing not much physio and more general information) and have a place booked on a proper 'antenatal preparation' class a few weeks before the due date. I'm also supposed to be going to a real physio session on Tuesday (snow permitting) and I've got my 25-week GP appointment tomorrow (not sure what that's for exactly, but will ask the GP about the still-very-minor twinges in the joints). In other admin news, I've handed in my maternity leave request and talked to HR about the possibility of going back part-time when I do go back to work (they're positive about it in principle, but I'll have to apply for that separately a couple of months before coming back, as "flexible working" requests are completely orthogonal to maternity leave anyway). We've also put our names down on the waiting list for the University nurseries (with a waiting list of over 300 people I doubt we'll get a place, but it's worth a try). It seems very unfair that there are so many forms to fill in just at the point where my brain feels like it's slowly turning into mush... almost as unfair as the hospital being at the top of a hill which I'm too out-of-breath to cycle up any more. :-}

I think that's about it for updates. What I really want is a progress bar. 8-) Definitely over halfway now though!

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jvvw From: jvvw Date: December 19th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's a different sort of exhaustion once the baby arrives. You need to feed it at least every three hours so if you are breastfeeding and so can't delegate feeding then your sleep all comes in chunks of two hours tops if that and days and nights run into each other in a relentless sort of way. However you don't have the physical exhaustion of pregnancy and after the first week or so I've always been able to drop off instantly, plus it all feels much more worth it.. A lot will depend on what your baby is like too in terms of sleep etc it seems to vary quite a lot. I know it is a cliche but not sure anything can really prepare you though.
j4 From: j4 Date: December 20th, 2010 09:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I really hope my baby is the sort that sleeps sometimes (though if current levels of movement are any kind of indicator, she only sleeps for a maximum of about 30 minutes at a time!). At the moment if I wake in the middle of the night (as I do at least once every night) it can take me up to an hour to get back to sleep - on that basis it looks as though I will have to literally not sleep at all for several months, & that will actually kill me. :-( :-(
jvvw From: jvvw Date: December 20th, 2010 09:42 am (UTC) (Link)
If it's any reassurance, I always used to take forever to get back to sleep and from a week or two in, I never have any problems getting straight to sleep. I think it helps that
breastfeeding makes both you and the baby sleepy.

One thing I wish I'd done is used the couple of days after the birth better to catch up on the sleep I'd lost while in labour overnight. You're running on adenalin at the time and there are lots of interruptions in hospital so it wouldn't have been easy, but babies are quite sleepy in the first couple of days and didn't take as much advantage of that as I had wished.

The over thing that helped our sanity I think was making the decision to cosleep (with Jon in spare bedroom) when it became apparent that Owen really really didn't want to sleep in either his Moses basket or cot. We spent the first week or so persevering with the Moses basket and it was quite a relief to just give up and do what actually gave us sleep. Likewise with feeding to sleep - I might regret it down the line, but now, getting sleep feels way more important. Also a bit turning point was making the decision that I would give up breastfeeding if it was making me too stressed or driving me insane. I'm still breastfeeding but it's been easier carrying on knowing that I won't feel bad if I do decide to give up or add in formula top-ups.

perdita_fysh From: perdita_fysh Date: December 20th, 2010 09:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm another who used to lie awake for hours if I ever disturbed in the night, and often took hours to get to sleep in the first place. Not so now, I sleep if placed horizontal now pretty much! Although, interestingly, I've had two nights recently of being awake from 4am onwards and unable to get back to sleep. I think there are two things at play there, in both cases she'd not disturbed at all until 4am so I'd slept continuously since 10pm and I'm not used to that; and also I think the new pregnancy has an effect.

Next time I will definitely co-sleep fulltime from the start. We did a part-way thing to begin with last time which was ok, but you just get so much more sleep co-sleeping I wouldn't bother with anything else in future. And in the tough weeks I sent G to sleep in the spare room Mon-Thu so he could function for work, and then he took her away to play from first waking so I got long lie-ins at the weekend.
hairyears From: hairyears Date: December 19th, 2010 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I googled for stretchy t-shirts with a nine-bar progress counter. Found nothing... Yet.
hairyears From: hairyears Date: December 19th, 2010 06:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
That'll do.

Wonder what J4's size is...
cleanskies From: cleanskies Date: December 19th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
as did I
j4 From: j4 Date: December 20th, 2010 08:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Ahahahaha yes! :D Thank you! Too late to put it on my Xmas list now but I may have to buy myself one in the sales...
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: December 19th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Co-sleeping with the new one is something to talk over with Owen now, and revisiting the things you think of as the pregnancy progresses. The main issue, as far as i can tell, is whether you use a duvet or not, as sheets and blankets are easier to move about so as to keep the right temperature for the baba. An alternative is to have a Moses basket (did i offer to loan you ours?) right next to the bed so feeding is less disruptive to your sleep.

It's quite hard, isn't it, when having been an autonomous and intellectual person with a wide range of emotions one is brought to focus on a situation which is so completely and comprehensively out of the classifications of prior experience. And when there are so few viable role-models in the hinterland, so few reference-points of women who openly balance the physical and emotional changes of pregnancy with the demands and interests of a working life which is in the head, and requires so little of the body. it's too easy to beat oneself up over these changes and to feel there's something wrong...

j4 From: j4 Date: December 20th, 2010 09:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for being a good role model & talking sense to me!

Re co-sleeping, I know it's the Done Thing, but I really don't see how we can fit an extra person (even a tiny one!) in the bed -- addedentry and I barely seem to fit comfortably as it is (and he ALWAYS steals all the duvet, he DOES, don't let him try to tell you otherwise!!). A moses basket by the side of the bed is probably the answer (and you did offer, for which many thanks, but we already have two - it's amazing how many of the things seem to be circulating!). But I suspect that even so the tiredness will still be awful.

BTW I think you also said you had a cot which we could borrow a bit later on - if that offer still stands (& we would be very grateful if so!) please could you let me know what size it is? I am trying to work out which bits of furniture we're going to have to get rid of to make room for the baby. :-}
jinty From: jinty Date: December 20th, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Co-sleeping tends to polarize opinion; for many it's quite the reverse of the Done Thing, but we did it for the first month as it worked well for us. It's not that easy to fit all three of you in the bed without feeling like someone's going to fall out - R got less of the bed than A did, I'm sure! But there are advantages if you can manage it.

The advice we got about co-sleeping was in the context of it facilitating breastfeeding, and was in favour; it consisted of the baby needing to sleep nearest the mother rather than the father, because the mother will be most aware of the baby through initial hormonal connections or some such; and the baby wasn't to sleep in between the parents due to risk of overheating. The advice from the SIDS end of things is less in favour of co-sleeping, but to be honest if you are sticking to the main guidelines about amount of clothing / layers for the baby, you avoid smoking & drinking, and you are breast-feeding, then it should be ok. SIDS is all a bit mysterious and scary but the actual figures for it are very low, especially if you are breast-feeding and are not a young mother.
venta From: venta Date: December 20th, 2010 08:57 am (UTC) (Link)
What I really want is a progress bar.

... so long as it's not a Windows progress bar.

Your baby is due in nine months... no, it's due tomorrow... no, it's due in 2014....
j4 From: j4 Date: December 20th, 2010 09:03 am (UTC) (Link)
:D Just so long as I don't have to reinstall and start again!!
sphyg From: sphyg Date: December 20th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
A very good time of year to be born (says the April baby) ;)
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