Wednesday, January 31, 2018

weeks 33 - 35 start of maternity leave #pregnancyDiary

Week 33

At the start of week 33 I had another doctor's appointment. It had been a month since the previous one and from this point on they will be every two weeks. Hubby was able to come with me which was nice. It was pretty much the usual. I arrive, check in, am told to go hand in a pee sample, then wait to be called. After which I go into a room where the nurse weighs me and then they use the CTG machine to measure any contractions and check the heartbeat. My blood pressure is also checked and they usually take blood to check for toxmoposis. That takes around 40 mins altogether. Then I go back to wait until the doctor is ready.

One of the women from my birth preparation course was in the waiting room this time and I started chatting to her. She's really nice. Her baby is due three weeks before mine. I'm definitely going to try to arrange a meetup with the women from my group. I think I mentioned before I could do with more german friends plus it would be nice to have people to meet with babies around the same age. Hopefully we'll get on well and have things in common. She's planning to give birth at the same hospital as me too and already registered there. She told me how friendly the staff were.

Once we were called in to the doctor, we had a chat with him about how I'm doing. He told me that there won't be any more ultrasounds at this stage! Unless I want to pay extra for one. I discussed it with hubby and we decided that it's ok, we can probably do without any more. I felt a little sad for a moment but I think I can wait now to meet the baby in real life! The doctor checked my cervix which is still closed and commented that he could feel the baby's head! She's still in the birth position which is a relief.

I asked whether he had any indication whether the baby might arrive early or on time or late but he laughed and explained how there is no way of knowing. He's had women come in with a closed cervix and the baby far up in the uterus who have gone into labour two hours later and others with already opening cervixes who still take a few more weeks. I tend to be the sort of person who likes to plan everything and know what I'm doing so the thought of having no idea when the baby will arrive is somewhat strange and a little unnerving! I'll just try to get as much done as possible over the next few weeks just in case. Hubby and I went for a nice lunch date together after our appointment at a local hamburger place.

I also finished up at work at the end of week 33. In Germany maternity leave starts 6 weeks before your due date. I've a long list of things I'd like to accomplish during the time but we'll see how many things I get too! It felt quite surreal going into to work on my last day knowing I wouldn't be back for around half a year. I was quite busy the last few days finishing up things and doing a handover so I ended up working late. The time really flew the last few weeks.

Week 34

Well my first week of maternity leave has been nice! I've kept busy. I met up with friends a few times, sorted through a bunch of baby stuff so that now the nursery is coming along, caught up on my reading, started getting my hospital bag ready (still need to wash and pack a few more things but it's more or less done), and spent time with hubby. I even cooked pumpkin risotto and froze a bunch of leftovers. I haven't been productive every day though! I have a long to do list and a whole bunch of things I'd like to get done but there has been days when I'm just too tired and then I've just taken it easy. I am trying to get to as much as possible ideally at the start of my maternity leave when I have a little energy and then towards the end I can focus more on resting and preparing for the birth. Of course I've no idea when the actual birth might be, whether she will arrive early, on time or late!

My Dad and sister are so excited they already booked their flights over in March to visit. They are due to come around 8 days after my due date. I'm a little worried that the baby might end up being overdue as that would be disappointing if they arrived and I was still pregnant and waiting! However the other weekends in March didn't suit them as much and they know the risks I guess. Most likely though the baby won't go more than a week overdue.. I think. In Germany they induce you if you go ten days over your expected date.

I'm still feeling pretty good in general. More tired which is to be expected and I'm not as mobile anymore. Sometimes my hips hurt when I walk around. I went for a pregnancy massage, this time to a different place recommend by a friend and it was really good. Some parts hurt when the masseuse was trying to get rid of shoulder tension for instance but it was also really nice and relaxing. I'll try to go again. I've been considering getting acupuncture as it's meant to help with the labour pain but my experiences with acupuncture in the past haven't been great so I'm not sure if it's for me or not! They have pregnancy gymnastics and meditation at the center where my Hebamme (midwife/doula) works and I would like to try it out but this past week I was just too lazy!

I attempted to organize a meetup with the girls from my birth preperation group. Only one girl responded which was disappointing. However in the end I met up with her, as well as two others from the group who don't have whatsapp so I sent an old fashioned SMS too and the four of us ended up having a really nice lunch. We are all due within about two weeks of each other. It's a good way for me to practice my German too! We got on well and they all thanked me for arranging it. I even opened up to them about our struggles to have a baby and IVF. I had to explain what's involved in IVF as they didn't really know. They were all really supportive and delighted for us that it worked. One of the girls is older and said she had been considering going to the clinic to get checked out however then it happened for them eventually without needing to but she said it's very common these days for couples to need help. Don't I know it! There's a whole world of couples out there struggling trying to build a family, and I also know it often doesn't work out sadly for various reasons.

Week 35

I'm still enjoying being pregnant and loving feeling the movement. In terms of symptoms I notice my hips hurt sometimes when I walk, I get heartburn on and off still and it can be quite bad and I wake up around 1-3 times in the night to pee. But really nothing so bad and I am grateful that I'm still feeling relatively good! It's strange having all this time off. On the one hand I have a list of things I could be doing and each day I wonder how productive I should be but on the other hand it's so nice to have the time to relax and just catch up on my reading! I'm doing a mixture I would say. When I have bursts of energy I try to take advantage of it by meeting up with people or catching up on housework, preparing the baby room etc and when I am tired then I give into it and relax! I've been watching lots of Pretty Little Liars on netflix. I used to think it was a very teen centered show and wasn't so into it the first one or two seasons but then I started to really enjoy it. At this stage our baby will probably recognize the opening music haha!

This has been a nice week. We got a new changing table from IKEA and it's all set up now. I never thought I would be so excited about a changing table! The room is coming together really nicely. Since a lot of progress has been made recently I don't feel that same stress that things won't be ready in time. I have a bunch more clothes to sort through but overall the room is more or less almost set up at this stage.

We are buying a co-sleeper bed from friends. Just like any baby product I've heard some mixed things. People have mainly been positive about it though one or two have said that their baby didn't like being even as far away as that and wanted to sleep right next to them. Or some babies outgrew it by around nine months instead of 18 months like it says on the website of the brand we are going for. I think it can depend on how fast your baby grows and whether they start to crawl around a lot or stay in the co-sleeper at night. We've been having trouble making our minds up about what sort of buggy to get. We have a whole selection of babywearing carriers now which we are hoping to mainly use, if the baby likes them that is. So we might not even need to use a buggy that much at the beginning. Or maybe it would be handy to have one for walks and for day time naps.

My Dad has booked flights to visit me next week. He suggested coming over during my maternity leave to keep me company before the baby arrives. Such a nice idea! It will be lovely to have some quality time before the baby arrives and things are more hectic.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

weeks 30 - 32 Christmas #pregnancyDiary

Week 30

I almost can't believe I've made it to 30 weeks! There are only about ten weeks left till we meet our little one. I've been enjoying the buildup to Christmas. I put up our tree the first day of December already and hubby and I often play Christmas songs at home. This year my family did Secret santa, so we instead of having to buy for loads of different people we would all just have to focus on one person with one bigger gift. That made things a lot easier. We've gotten the presents for hubby's side too so I'm feeling fairly organized.I sent out my first batch of Christmas cards but I still have a bunch more to send.

We'll be spending this Christmas with my husband's side. It's always different being away from your own family at Christmas time and experiencing different traditions but it should still be a lovely time. I've only a few more weeks of work left until my maternity leave starts!

This week we had our final birth preparation course day. It was good. Newborn care was the focus. Such as how to bathe the babies, baby wearing, more about breastfeeding etc. At the end of the course I got some of the girls numbers and said I'd set up a whatsapp group so we can meet up sometime.

My appetite has definitely increased lately! I went out for lunch on Saturday with friends and ordered a lasagna, realised after I was still starving then ordered a large starter of bruschetta! The next morning I woke up at five am feeling hungry and couldn't get back to sleep so got up and had some porridge after which I managed to sleep a few more hours. Baby must be going through a growth spurt. My bump is definitely much bigger but it is still small in general for 7 months. A few people have commented. At my last doctor's appointment he noticed my iron count is low so I've been trying to eat more iron rich foods.

Week 31

This week is Christmas and my birthday. Last year we had a lovely Christmas with my family but it was still tinged with sadness wondering if we would ever be able to have children. I was in the middle of the two week wait after our third IVF cycle which ultimately failed. I remember testing on Stephen's day morning thinking for sure it would be positive and the horrible feeling of shock and sadness when it wasn't. It was a hard way to start into 2017. It is so different to how things are now with our baby on board and feeling hopeful.

I often think of all the couples who are still in the trenches and finding this time of year particularly hard. Christmas can be very kid centered! It can also be very hard when you have lost loved ones. It was just before Christmas that my Mum lost her battle with cancer years ago and so it can bring up a lot of hard memories. I also have been thinking recently how sad it is that she won't get to meet her grandchild. I just hope she is in heaven living on in some way. I think I have to believe that.

We had a nice Christmas with my husband's family this year. There isn't enough room at his parent's place and we just found it easier to stay at a hotel in town for a few nights but that worked out well. It was a lovely few days. Lots of eating! My mother in law served fish with Sauerkraut on the 24th and on the 25th we had roast duck. They don't traditionally eat turkey for Christmas like we would in Ireland. We also caught up with one of my husband's friends from his hometown which was fun.

I also had my 36th birthday! It was a quiet one, but there was yummy chocolate cake. Of course it felt special to be pregnant on my birthday after hoping and praying for so long for this. Hubby bought me a pretty rose gold bracelet and necklace with butterflies.

Week 32

Both my husband and I had some time off the days after Christmas and around New Year's. We met up with some friends but also spent a lot of time hanging out just the two of us and relaxing. Sometimes we'd stay in our pajamas till late morning when we didn't have anywhere to be. I bought Inda May's Childbirth book and I'm finding it really good so far. It's full of positive tales of how birth can be and it's nice to fill my head with those sort of stories to help me feel less nervous about the birth.

I've noticed a lot more aches and pains in general now. It's getting harder to move around and I'm much slower walking. I'm going to try to keep up going for walks when I can even if they are short and maybe go swimming a few times once I'm on my maternity leave. I also find I often wake up once or twice in the night to pee now. In general I feel more tired and get exhausted more easily, however I also have these random bursts of energy and then just feel really motivated to get stuff done! Hubby and I spent two days organizing things around the house and that felt great. Maybe it's "nesting", haha! I wish I had taken before and after pictures but we made some good progress clearing out one of the rooms in our basement.

New Year's Eve we just had a quiet evening for two! I had said to hubby that probably in the future it will be hard to go out on new year's eve with a child so now is our chance to do something if we want but he prefered to just spend it at home. Part of me felt a little like maybe we should be doing something, like going out for dinner at least but I was also happier just staying in! We made a yummy mushroom, corn and tomato cheesy pizza together, drank alcohol free prosecco and then watched the neighbourhood fireworks.

I only have one more week to work before my maternity leave starts. In Germany it's six weeks before the birth. To be honest I feel ready to stop. Although the idea of not being in the office for so long is a strange one! I'm looking forward to this time to get as much ready for the baby as possible and also catch up with friends and have time to relax. I've always been the sort of person who likes to plan things and know what I'm doing. So it seems strange to me the idea that the baby could choose to come at any moment! I hope she will stay in there until at least week 36 which is considered full term anyway but also ideally not go too far overdue past 40 weeks. I started packing my hospital bag already just in case.

One day of the Christmas holidays when we were over with my husband's family I thought I hadn't felt the baby move so much that day and started to get a little nervous. But then later that evening I felt her as usual and since then a lot. I think I'm getting used to the movement patterns. Like mornings and when I'm lying in bed I'll feel lots of kicks and often in the evenings watching tv. Or whenever I haven't moved around for awhile. She gets hiccups a lot too which is funny!

Sometimes I am reminded that this could very likely be the last time I am pregnant (since it was so hard to get to this stage in the first place and hubby and I have decided we wouldn't want to go through IVF again), and then I feel like I don't want this time to end and I'm in no rush! But at other moments I feel ready and excited to finally meet our little one. I have another doctor's appointment this week and then from now on it'll be every two weeks!

I'm a bit late posting this but Happy New Year to you all!