Janet (j4) wrote,


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. :-)
Tags: baby, pregnancy, work
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