It’s the Sunday before I go back to work following two weeks off over Christmas. And it has been bliss. Well, except for the horrendous cold I got, which has left me feeling incredibly under the weather. However, what it’s forced me to do is relax. As much as I can relax, that is…
When I say relax, I suppose I mean pottering around. I’ve spent several days cleaning, tidying and sorting. I guess you could say I’m trying to get my house in order (literally) before the baby arrives. I’ve put a load of clothes on eBay, I’ve polished boots, washing-machined trainers, I’ve cleared out cupboards, I’ve dusted down shelves, I’ve put up pictures, I’ve taken stuff to charity… and I’ve been happy like a pig in shit, really. I’ve also been slightly active, albeit in a gentle way.
Swimming and pregnancy yoga
I decided it was time to go swimming, so a couple of days ago I went to my local leisure centre. And I was expecting it to be fully rubbish, as I’ve been spoilt over the years by nice gyms with private members’ pools. But it was actually fine. The water was a lovely temperature, there was barely anyone there (this was 2 January as well – I thought it was going to be full of New Year’s keenos) and I enjoyed 50 minutes of gentle breaststroke in relative peace and quiet.
I also booked onto a pregnancy yoga class, and recently had my first session. It definitely wasn’t energetic (there were three women there very close or even past their due dates) but it was lovely to meet other moms-to-be. I realised by going how wound up and anxious I am at the moment, despite my two-week break. We went round the room to introduce ourselves at the beginning, and I basically said: ‘Hi, I’m 23 weeks pregnant and I’m worried my baby isn’t moving enough.’
All the women there were so lovely and reassuring, though. One, who’s 24 weeks, said she only started feeling movement a week prior, and only around four times a day. Another said how often the babies sleep, and someone also mentioned how they had to remind themselves on the weekend (when she’s less busy) that her baby wasn’t just going to move for her because she had a bit of spare time on her hands! So that made me feel a bit better. I still wish I was feeling more movement, though.
The yoga itself was really relaxing. As well as stretching, there was a section at the end where we laid down, covered in blanket, listening to some positive birth affirmations, which I loved. Afterwards, I felt energised. It was a big step for me – going to a class specifically for women who are pregnant. Up until recently, I’ve kind of not believed it’s true, as well as being terrified of it all going wrong. I’ve also been keeping my pregnancy a secret, really. Covering it up as best I can. Now I can’t hide it as easily, it’s all becoming a bit more real.
A sober Christmas
I do wonder if I’m so wound up because I’m not drinking. Yes, I know this makes me sound like an alcoholic, but it’s been hard watching everyone else enjoy glass after glass of prosecco this Christmas while I sit there with yet another glass of water. I did allow myself a glass of fizz a couple of times over the holidays, but it’s not the same as properly letting your hair down. Drinking is my way of unwinding – of getting into the mood – and I really resented at times being offered a J20 (who drinks that?!) while my husband enjoyed yet another beer. A couple of times I had to give him a glaring look, as I don’t know why I should remain stone cold sober while he enjoys himself. But hey. It’s Dry January now, so he can suffer like me for a bit.
Pregnancy reading (and listening)
This Christmas I’ve also been doing a bit of pregnancy reading, which has been eye-opening! Never before had I dared read about the birth bit, but I’ve started venturing into it now. I recommend Bumpology, by Linda Geddes, which is written in short chapters that aim to myth-bust different parts of pregnancy based on scientific studies. We were also given Your no guilt pregnancy plan, by Rebecca Schiller (who happened to be my sister-in-law’s doula!), which is excellent. I’m also loving my latest podcast obsession, Happy Mum, Happy Baby by Giovanna Fletcher. Highly recommended!
So what’s next?
Tomorrow I’m back at work, and I’m going to have to break the news that I’m pregnant. I’m bloody dreading it. It’s so weird, because with my first pregnancy (that resulted in a missed miscarriage) I was ready to reveal it the day of my 12-week scan. I remember I scheduled a call in with a colleague that afternoon with the entire purpose of telling him. And then I had to cancel last minute, obviously. This time, when I tell people, I know there’s no going back. I keep thinking: what if it all goes wrong again, like last time? But then I have to reason with myself that if it does, it does.
I’m hoping that once people at work know, a weight will lift off my shoulders. I won’t need to hide under big scarves and layers of shirts and wafty cardigans. Perhaps I can start embracing the bump a bit more, like I did one day over Christmas when me and my husband went for a meal. (I had decided to wear this lovely maternity dress I got as part of a bargainous maternity bundle I bought off eBay, which really accentuated the bump. And it was lovely. My husband honestly beamed with pride.) Maybe I’ll start enjoying it a bit more then, rather than fearing the worst all the time.
The next milestone is getting to 24 weeks, in five days’ time. It’s then that I hope to feel a bit of relief as that’s when a baby is considered ‘viable’. Survival rates of a baby being born at 24 weeks are 20-35%, which increases to 50-70% at 25 weeks (incredible, no?) and then 90% at 26 and 27 weeks. I also have a midwife appointment in less than two weeks, so not long to wait for another heartbeat check. Other than that, I read today that the baby will double in size in the next four weeks. I can’t fathom this at all (maybe then it’ll feel real)! Does that mean I’ll be twice as big at 27 weeks (end of trimester two) as now?! It’s really quite exciting, but I can’t imagine it. I’ll keep you posted!