Thursday, September 29, 2016

20w1d - 50% and scan

Yesterday I was officially halfway through this pregnancy. Sort of crazy! Parts of it have gone fast, then parts have gone slow, now it seems fast again. This morning I put on normal clothes and I didn't feel particularly pregnant. This gave me a mild anxiety about going for my anatomy scan. What if something was wrong?

Of course nothing was wrong, baby girl was bigger than last time. I got to see all new parts of her body including her spine and the four chambers of her heart beating. Looks like she's still above average on size, although not quite as big as the last measurement. My next scan isn't until 34 weeks.

I had them check my ovary while I was at it. They brought in a radiologist who works in the pregnancy clinic but also specializes in female reproductive scanning. She found the ovary and didn't see any unusual growths or that it was any bigger than it should be. So this was also a relief. My mother lost her second ovary during her pregnancy with me, where a cyst grew to be 9lbs. So I was a little bit nervous this could happen to me as well, but so far it seems okay.

First round invitations have gone out for my baby shower which some friends of mine are hosting. We've decided to have it a little early because the idea time would be smack in the middle of December which just doesn't seem like a good time at all. So it was either be early, or late. We opted for early. That's cool though. I'll be more comfortable for it.

I've been interviewing doulas with an eye towards picking one. I have three more to get in touch with, as I've narrowed down to 5. Then I'll meet a shortlist from the 5 in person and then pick someone to go with. The two I've spoken to so far have been really nice and I definitely am enthused about the idea of having one.

So far in the pregnancy I've gained about 5 pounds. That seems okay. At one point I thought I'd gained more, but I think I just ate a lot the day before. I know I will start gaining in the second half of the pregnancy but I'm still conscious of trying not to gain too much seeing as how I already started heavy. So far I feel okay about it. It was good to know that I could fit into my regular jeans today- although they are no where near as comfortable as maternity jeans!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

19w1d - Productive

I had a four-day break up to Manchester this past weekend where I got to see two lovely friends of mine who are both already mothers. It was lovely to see them in general, but it was also great to talk about pregnancy related things; to get advice and stories of first hand experiences. I went shopping with one at the pharmacy where we filled a basket with 'things I'll need straight away' including breast pads, maternity pads, nipple cream, baby butt cream, etc. Sometimes it's very helpful for someone else to say, 'Get this, it works.' where I don't have to get my brain around all the different advice out there. I also went with the other to look at nursing and sleeping bras which was also useful. I think though that I might see if I can find those cheaper when I'm in the States. Although with the drop in the pound, it may not be the case.

I've started wearing some of the maternity clothes I bought which are ridiculously comfortable. I'm starting to show, and maternity clothes seem to make it look worse, but mostly the clothes are still too big as I don't really have a big enough bump to fill them yet. This will change.

I'm still benefiting from various hand-me-downs which is great. I believe I have now scored a newborn car-seat, a bouncy seat, and a highchair. Although the highchair straps are manky and need replacing- but I've called the manufacturer who says they don't have a replacement. They suggested a different harness though so now I need to go to the store and see if that's really feasible or not.

My mother sent me an email last night because she knows a woman who had kids and she sent through a list of her favorite things. Which was fine. However, then my mother continued on to question my choices about what I wanted saying I should use what her friend used. Like I haven't done my research? As though I don't know what I actually want in my house? Or, you know, that I haven't talked to a number (ie, many more than one) of recent parents about all the things they used and put all of the conflicting advice together in my head to sort out what I believe will work best for me? Gr.

I heard back from the first doula I emailed that she would be away during my due date so couldn't offer her services. I've reached out to another that I liked. I have no idea if I'm late or early on the doula search, but I do know it's going to be important to find one I actually like if they're going to be with me in labor. I'm sure I'll find one I like eventually.

One week to my anatomy scan! Looking forward to that. It's been a while since I've seen baby girl, and it will be exciting to see all the bits of her!

Friday, September 16, 2016

18w2d - Ahhhh

After many hot days in England in September, the weather has turned more predictably cold and rainy. This morning I needed to get dressed and jeans were the answer. I decided I would try a pair of the pregnancy jeans to see how they fit and what they were like. Oh my god, so comfortable. I swear I never want to take them off. With a long shirt over the bump band, you can't tell any different. Seriously, where have these been my whole life? It's like wearing jean-pajamas.

My baby wishlist on Amazon is fairly complete now. Gnappies was having a 25% off sale since they are closing down their website/direct shop so I bought some more disposable inserts. This could be a massive mistake, but I'm going to persevere for the first month or so and then see how I feel. Anyway, I've bought them now! I'm thinking that I really need to get some sort of storage unit so I can start washing all the baby clothes I'm getting and putting them in order of age to see what I have. I've got my eye on some IKEA furniture for this purpose, though I might find cheaper in sales and other places. I feel the IKEA set will last longer. I don't need it yet though, maybe when I get back from the States I'll get more serious about starting to buy things.

You could call this 'nesting' but I think it's just practical. I have bin bags full of baby clothes scattered around now (with more on the way likely) and it would really be useful to be able to start sorting things and putting them away. This will also help me tell people what I need and don't need. Right now, I definitely don't need any newborn clothes, and probably not much in the 1-3 month category either. But I just don't know for sure. This is awesome by the way, to get so many things from other people. Nursery furniture and strollers will end up costing a bit, so anything I don't have to buy is great.

I pulled out the Doppler last night, although I can't deny the expanding waistline. It took a while but eventually I found the galloping horse-beat sound. Always amazing, and of course reassuring. Baby girl is really in there!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

17w6d - Popping out

I've been running about and procrastinating less, so less time to catch up. Also, not entirely sure what to catch up on. Pregnancy in the second trimester is so far mostly uneventful. I generally feel fine. Time seems to be a bit slow (it seemed to go so fast to get to 10 weeks, the next 10 not so fast). The biggest news I probably have is that people who know me are 'noticing' the change in my shape. I'm definitely getting the rounded quality that is definitely pregnant and not just fat. I think this is because everything pushes up which rounds out your top bit (say, between the belly button and ribs). It's actually strange for me to 'look' pregnant, like, I keep shocking myself when I see myself in a mirror. I get a bit weirded out though as some women on the pregnancy board ahead of mine say they are only just showing or only haven't put on any weight. Really? Because I think I'm feeling fairly normal, but that makes me feel a bit like a pig.

I haven't weighed myself for a week or two. I'm sure I've put on a couple of pounds but I don't otherwise feel like I've gained too much. My midwife doesn't weigh me which I think is interesting. In fact she just asked my weight at the first meeting we had.  I know in the states a doctor would weigh you every time, and be providing commentary.

In my social network, my mother continues to irritate me by being manipulative and difficult regarding 'what I need' for new baby. This really amounts to what she wants, not what I need. She doesn't ask me what I want or need, makes assumptions, and then gets either grumpy or manipulative to try and get her way if I disagree. My 'best friend' is still not talking to me because I'm pregnant and she can't handle it; which I continue to try to be sensitive to, but actually doesn't change how much her actions hurts me. On the other hand, I've had a very positive talk with a friend about the possibility of them being the legal guardians for my daughter if something were to happen to me. I've also had friends spontaneously offer to throw me a baby shower which was unexpected and very sweet. In fairness the love and positivity I get from my non-frustrating friends & family far outweighs the bad stuff. I should try to focus on that more and on the irritants less.

Anything else of note? In no particular order... With the growing belly comes a more regular feeling of 'fullness' which isn't entirely enjoyable. I know it will only get worse, I'm just waiting for my senses to adapt to the new normal and stop making it feel mildly uncomfortable. The prune project seems to be working, and constipation is not nearly so bad. I've been thinking about starting some letters to my daughter, that I could compile into a little book or something to give her when she's older. Is that tacky? My next scan (the anatomy scan) is in 2 weeks, meeting with obstetrician is in 4, then I go to the States and my next midwife appointment is when I come back. Right now that seems like forever away.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

16w4d - Loss of Plan-A pangs

I don't think very many women set out to be a single mother in life. I believe that most women arrive at the conclusion that being a single mother is an acceptable route to a desired goal when the traditional route to that desired goal fails to materialize, typically by some particular age. Most of the time it doesn't even occur to me that this is unusual or different. This is because I have firstly, thought about it for an exceptionally long time; which has given me time to get used to the idea and have it become my normal. And secondly, because I am on forums and frequent places with many other single mothers all doing the same thing which also helps to normalize my choice. And I do appreciate the voices of those women, although many very different to me in their outlook, beliefs, and person-hood; yet we all share this one thing and it's just... normal.

But sometimes, occasionally, I have worries and doubts - about doing this alone, about being alone. How I think I can only afford (both emotionally and financially) to care for a single child and so I worry about the sort of life I am going to give to my daughter. Sometimes when checking in to social media, I see past lovers with their new partners and I feel a twinge of sorrow for what wasn't. That they found with someone else what they didn't find with me. I admit, it makes me feel a bit sorry for myself. I then progress these thoughts and think of me, the sad spinster with her only daughter. What am I doing??

And then those thoughts pass, and I tell my other self to snap out of it and stop being ridiculous! I have worked very hard to achieve the life I now lead. I don't regret for one instant the personal challenges and growth I have been through to come to a position where my life fulfillment is not dependent on another human being, even baby daughter. I believe this is a healthy reality for me, one that I have embraced, and that has made me into a satisfied adult. But it doesn't mean I'm not still human and don't wish sometimes (or mourn the loss of) the fairy tale and prince charming ending. It's impossible to completely break yourself free of your social conditioning, no matter how much growth you've had.

I don't regret my life choices in any way. And overall, I'm a pretty happy person. I couldn't have said that ten years ago at all. I couldn't have said it consistently five years ago. I have worked hard to shape my life into one I enjoy, that I can be proud of, and that fulfills me. For this, I have no regrets. I am however, only human, and sometimes thoughts of the future are scary. What if I've made some terrible mistake? I don't really think life can be a mistake as such- it's more a series of events and choices; and it's how you deal with them that shapes your outlook. Forgive me my moment of navel gazing.