38 weeks for me started with a midwife appointment on Valentines’ Day! This time, I met a different midwife to the one I’ve been seeing throughout as my usual midwife was away on training. There were a few things a little bit different about this appointment – first of all, baby’s heart rate was a little bit fast, possibly because she was feeling pretty wriggly in there (potentially because the appointment was at 11am rather than 9am – she’s obviously not a morning person!), but the midwife also reassured me that it might be because I naturally have a fast heart rate too – it’s been checked time and time again, and is just one of those things!
We also found out that her head was engaged – 3/5, eek! Apparently this doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot as they can be engaged for weeks, but it meant she was in the right position and on the right track, so it was encouraging.
Then there was the bit that made me a little more nervous – my bump measured the same this week as it had 2 weeks before, meaning the midwife wanted me booked in for a growth scan. I’ve been measuring on track – ie. 34cm at 34 weeks etc. – all the way through, but this appointment had me at 36cm at 38 weeks, same as 36 weeks. Luckily I’ve been informed enough that I knew this measurement in itself isn’t an issue as she was still within the guidelines for my size chart, but it meant the bump measurement had strayed off the projected line it had been on all along.
I’ve got to be honest, I think this might be more to do with the change in midwives than anything else! I’ve also wondered whether my usual midwife is somewhat…lax with measuring as she tends to hold the tape measure at the measurement it should be (ie. 36cm at 36 weeks) then place it on me, whereas the new midwife spent a good few minutes pressing around to properly find the top of my uterus which didn’t feel quite as high up as before. In addition to that, it could also have been to do with the head being engaged as she’s dropped away from my ribcage a little bit.
What I’m saying is, it wasn’t at all a cause for concern, but even so, it still did cause me a little bit of anxiety having to be booked in for a growth scan at this late stage. But I kept my spirits up by thinking about how we’d get to see her again!
And that evening, Ben arrived home with the above for me! We’d specifically agreed no gifts! We don’t do Valentines – never have done. We usually get either one of the special meal deals from a supermarket or we cook something special ourselves, but often on the weekend near Valentines. That was our plan this year, and I’d asked him the night before, just to be sure, “We’re not doing gifts, are we?” He’d emphatically said no, before turning up with this! I mean, I could hardly be angry at flowers and a box of Lindors, but he made me look like a terrible wife for our first married Valentines day!
Friday was a bit of a random one. There wasn’t a whole lot I needed to do, so I popped down to York for a couple of things from Tesco and also called in at a local brewery that only seems to open during the day time. It’s pretty fun to be able to do these sort of things while on maternity leave that I wouldn’t normally be able to. I definitely got a funny look going into a brewery at 38 weeks, but I bought a few fancy beers for Ben and left.
That afternoon, I had an exciting delivery – baby clothes, and lots of them! These have been gifted by Belles & Babes. I mentioned their service here, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this box since then. I’ll do a full review at some point – when I can photograph baby in some of the clothes! – but as a quick overview, look how cute! And how wonderful is this service?! You pay £40 for a one-off box, or £36 if you sign up to the subscription service, and receive a delivery with 18 pieces of organic baby clothing essentials in your choice of size. The owner also liaises directly with you to arrange whether you want girl, boy or gender neutral clothing. Once baby has outgrown the clothes, you simply send them back!
I was absolutely delighted with the clothes we received. There’s an excellent selection of different basics and all suit our style very much. I asked for a delivery for a girl, but not very girly, so I’m pleased we’ve got a range of colours including some blue and green. In addition to this, they’re all wonderful organic brands including Kite and Pigeon. You can see how it’s easily worth the money – we approximated around £400 worth of clothing in the box – and I love that it’s being reused to reduce waste. Baby clothes get so little wear! Anyway, like I said, full review to come in future!
That evening, I had a very strange, not at all fun, symptom. I’m still not entirely sure it was pregnancy that caused it – if anyone has any clues as to what it is, I’d appreciate knowing! Basically, I was sat on the sofa after tea and thought two of my fingers felt strangely tingly. After about 10 minutes of this, I decided to go wash my hands, thinking I just had some lemon juice on a small cut from prepping tea. But no, this didn’t help.
Half an hour later and the fingers were stinging as well as tingling. Another half an hour and they were burning. I’d washed them a couple of times, thinking it might be some strange chemical burn or something, but by the time we went to bed, the only way to ease the pain was constantly holding ice on my fingers. By the time we needed to go to sleep, I couldn’t hold that hand still – it felt as though I was holding hot hair curlers directly on the skin and they were actively burning through it – my instinct was to snatch my hand away…from nothing! By this point I was starting to get really quite worried, and Ben started to take my strange complaint seriously – but we could hardly go to the hospital or something with “tingly fingers”! On top of that, I was worried that any medical professional would hear “38 weeks pregnant” and “tingly fingers” and think pre-eclampsia, when in reality it was burning skin on my fingers!
Anyway, I was crying, Ben was Googling. Then he came across an article which said it could be a symptom of anxiety. I was very skeptical – how could anxiety (which I wasn’t even aware I was feeling at the time!) manifest in such an active physical pain?! But I was willing to try anything by this point, so Ben made me sit still and counted through some breaths with me while I held ice on it. And lo and behold, slowly the burning started to ease. I slept with my hand next to ice and elevated all night, and the next morning, it was like nothing had happened.
It was the weirdest thing. Honestly, I hadn’t felt active pain like that since having my gallbladder removed, but for absolutely no apparent reason! All we can think is that it was some weird anxiety thing that my brain confused with pain in my fingers. The one good thing to come out of it was that the breathing seemed to help, so has given me more hope for getting through birth!
On Saturday morning, we had a good breakfast of chocolate orange danishes, then tidied and sorted house, as usual!
That afternoon we met Ben’s family for his sister’s birthday, then they came back to our house for an evening of board games. This was very fun, as always, and we made a bit of a dinner party out of it with sharing plates of peri peri chicken, potato wedges, spiced rice, salad and corn.
Sunday was another family oriented day, this time with my side! We met them, along with the dog at a local pub (here I go again with that!) and had a good meal, before coming home for a bath.
I hadn’t felt all that great on Sunday night and woke up on Monday still feeling kind of rubbish. My brain was telling me that maybe it was something to do with the start of labour, or otherwise it was definitely pre-eclampsia since my hands and feet have been increasingly swelling – I jump to conclusions a lot! – but in reality it was probably likely due to me overthinking the growth scan and why they hadn’t arranged a day for it yet, and was it getting too late, and what if something’s wrong…But I had a call from the hospital asking me to come for the growth scan in just less than 2 hours, so I had to pull myself together quickly!
Unfortunately, this only served to make me more anxious because Ben was working at his work’s other location which is half an hour further away from home, and he’d also taken my car in for a service that day. This meant that all I had was his car (a BMW, so pretty low to the ground!) and we weren’t sure how he could get to the hospital. I’d tried to stay calm and say that I would go alone, but in reality, I really wanted him there, just in case they picked something up, or since it was such a late date – nearly 39 weeks – in case they wanted to induce me. One of the big things we took away from hypnobirthing was about making decisions, but I really felt I wanted him there to help me make those decisions.
Anyway, I ended up stressing myself to the point of crying my contact lenses out. I literally can’t remember the last time I cried before this week which is pretty unusual for me as I cry a lot anyway, but apparently I cry less with pregnancy?! But this week just really did that to me! As it turned out, I needn’t have worried – Ben’s boss lent him her car and he met me at the hospital. The only issue I ended up having at this point was getting the ticket out of the machine at the hospital car park – whose idea was it to put ticket machines that you have to lean out of a window to get in a hospital car park?!
Luckily all went very well at the scan – in fact, it was kind of awesome! She’s measuring right on track – around 7lb 2oz, give or take 500g apparently – and looked very healthy. Her head tucked so far down into my pelvis that they actually couldn’t properly measure it, but they got good measurements of her femur and abdomen to get her overall measurements – as she’s now too big fit on the screen! I have to admit though, this scan did give me hope that, since she’s a lovely weight and her head was so well engaged, that I might end up in labour in a matter of days. In fact, we’re over a week later and nothing yet!
Tuesday ended up being a bit of a rest day for me – I know, every day is a rest day now! – as I was a bit worn out following the stress of the day before. On Wednesday though, I felt a bit more myself and filmed a hospital bag video which you may have already seen, but I’ll copy it below just in case!
And finally, this was the week where sleep really became horrendous! While it hasn’t been great for a while, I’ve been coping alright and not feeling too tired, but this week, I started feeling really tired in the evenings so thought I would sleep well – not likely! I’ve been waking hourly to wee for a good month or two now, but usually I’d fall back to sleep fairly quickly. This week, I was lying awake for hours in the night, just wide awake for no reason! Luckily I’m still coping alright at not feeling too tired the rest of the time, but I would quite like to get some sleep before baby makes her appearance!