A is for Archie: How to Grow a Baby #2
I was so nervous for that 12 week scan - I think everyone is - just so eager to find out if the baby is happy, safe & healthy and thankfully, I had nothing to worry about. All of the measurements were great, I found out I had a posterior placenta (increasing the chance of feeling baby early) and we found out that my due date had been moved from December 16th to December 20th; making the event of a Christmas Day baby even more likely, but what were the chances of that happening? Hmm..
A few weeks later, I had an appointment with the consultant because my BMI was borderline low at the beginning of my pregnancy. He asked a few questions, felt my tummy and told me I'd start to feel movement within the next few days. I have no idea how he knew, but he was absolutely right. Only a couple of days later I started to feel flurries on my right-hand side (exactly where I had found baby's heartbeat on the doppler) at only 16 weeks + 6 days - so unexpected that early on.
Movement increased rapidly in strength & frequency from that moment on so that we were seeing tiny kicks from the outside by around 19 weeks. Every Mummy will tell you, it's the best feeling in the world, feeling your baby wriggling around all day (and night!) long, telling you that they're in there and they're okay, I've never felt less alone in my life - carrying a child is incredible and worth every second of pain that comes at the end.
Alongside all of that, we were also looking for a new home! We eventually found a house 12 doors away from my parents and moved in when I was 5 months pregnant. It was pretty stressful and definitely not something I'd like to do again at that stage of pregnancy, but at least we had more room to fit in our new person (the space he managed to take up was incredible, before he'd even arrived!)
Around this time, I started thinking about how I wanted to document my pregnancy. I knew the end game was to create a blog where I could log all of our newfound parenting adventures but that seemed way off in the distance. With a full-time job, I just couldn't find the time to get started on something so huge, so I started working on a small mini-site instead, somewhere I could quickly jot down the milestones throughout the pregnancy and a countdown to the big day (which now shows Archie's exact age). It was so much fun to design, you can visit 'The Baby Project' by clicking the button below.
At 21 and 23 weeks, we had our anomaly scans; yep, we needed two in the end because baby was being extremely stubborn and wouldn't move out of his comfy position so the tech could get all of the measurements. We were there for over an hour the first time - walking up & down the stairs, jumping, eating chocolate (the sonographer claimed it would get him moving) - but to no avail. We did get a sneaky look between the legs though and we discovered we were having a little boy! Honestly though, I wish we'd never discovered the gender and next time around I don't think we will; it would be so much more amazing to find out right at the end, and I'm hoping in the future it'll give me an even bigger push (literally) to get through labour quicker!
The second trimester had been wonderful for me, the nausea ebbed, my skin (which I'd been having trouble with for over a year) completely cleared up, my hair was growing fast and thick, I really do feel as if I looked better in pregnancy than at any other time. I hugely enjoyed myself, had hardly any negative symptoms, and enjoyed feeling the tumbles and roly-polys in my belly. The third trimester was where it started to get a little trickier..
In early November, I had a baby shower and it was amazing. I had no idea how many people would turn up, but the room was completely packed! I'm so grateful to everyone who came to celebrate with me and for all the beautiful gifts for A, it's a day I'll remember for a very long time. I was lucky enough to have a company called Down From Town catering (a favour, as I'd done some design work for them in the past) and they did an amazing job! We had afternoon tea, cakes and even a pic'n'mix cart to dig into, which was a huge hit.
My bump was growing bigger by the day (or so it seemed); I had a growth scan at 35 weeks to check that the baby was putting on weight (due to my low BMI) but all was well and he was estimated at being around 5Ibs. Every week my fundal measurement had been spot on, but at 36 weeks, we found out I'd have to have a test because there'd been glucose in my urine on more than 2 occasions.
I felt as if it was a huge setback and I cried my eyes out in the midwive's office! I was just getting to the point where I could be signed over from consultant-led to midwife-led care (meaning I could have my baby in the birthing centre and have a water birth). It was so important to me that I be able to use the birthing centre, though looking back now, I should've known that having a baby doesn't always go to plan - at the time it seemed like the only control I had over what was going to happen.
My midwife was great, she reassured me and recommended that I finish work a little earlier than planned. I had a 35 minute commute (which was starting to become uncomfortable with that huge bump) and she didn't think I'd had time to process what was happening and really prepare after I told her I hadn't packed my hospital bag yet, so 2 days later, I started maternity leave for 10 months.
I had my glucose test the following week and passed, so thankfully nothing was wrong. It was odd to go from having a growth scan to check baby was big enough to worrying about him being too big. I always worried I'd have a big baby as my brother and I were 8Ibs and 9Ibs at birth!
In the weeks leading to the end of my pregnancy, I remember feeling excited and extremely bored. I had 4/5 weeks off before A decided to arrive so I was sat at home twiddling my thumbs. I spent alot of time at the local Starbucks reading and lots of time preparing the house and my bag for A's arrival. Christmas was around the corner which made things even more exciting, not for a second did I think I'd be spending it in the hospital. I had absolutely zero symptoms of labour beforehand, no braxton hicks, no mucus plug, nada, so I knew this baby wasn't coming easily!
I physically began to struggle near the end, my nausea returned and I started to get pain in my left leg after walking too far. I walked for miles trying to nudge this little baby out of his comfortable position but he wouldn't have any of it. I drank endless cups of raspberry leaf tea and I even tried taking evening primrose oil as I'd heard it could naturally induce labour, I had no luck though!
The movements became incredibly intense towards the end, I could feel and see every limb pushing it's way out of my belly, and he'd always push his bum right out causing my stomach to look distorted; it sounds disgusting but it was amazing. A was engaged and ready to go for a few weeks before my due date, but that day came and went with no signs at all. I finally had a sweep on Christmas Eve (thinking it wouldn't work!) and you'll never guess what happened next..
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