~ Feeling awful but feeling great!
Physically I am really starting to feel, well, like doggy-do! LOL! I am in pain a lot of the time, huge and uncomfortable, my feet and hands are so swollen you wouldn't believe, I even feel nauseous a fair bit of the time, and I've also managed to come down with another cold . . . and yet - I feel GREAT! I am just so happy to have made it this far, and am incredibly excited that soon I will be holding my precious little one! All the pain and discomforts in the world can't take away from that, and I can definitely hang in there a few more weeks! (On an amusing note, when I was commenting one day to Thomas how swollen my feet were, he said, "Gee, Mummy, your bottom is very swollen too!". Out of the mouths of babes . . .)
The first afternoon of this week was quite interesting! I started having frequent, painful contractions. They started to have some "bite" to them, to the point where I needed to breathe through them and even use my birth ball to roll and do little bounces to help with the pain (the ball was FANTASTIC by the way!). After this had been going on for about four hours, and I was getting the pains every five minutes or so, I ended up calling the labour ward to see what they suggested I do. I didn't really believe I was actually in labour (just had a feeling that this was NOT it), but wanted to have some guidelines as to when they would want to check on me. My OB's fill-in doctor was actually there at the time and the midwife asked him what he advised. He said he would be very happy for me to come in, but that if I wanted to, I could take a couple of Panadeine and try to get some sleep. I opted for the second choice, minus the pain killers! Thankfully things did eventually die down, although I got a whole series of similar painful contractions again the next day too and have been getting lots since. At least I know my uterus is getting in lots of training for the "big day"!
Part of me believes that when it really is "time" I will just KNOW. I guess it is true that I would eventually realise I was in proper labour anyway, because at some point the pains would get to a level where there would be no doubt left in my mind at all! LOL! (Either that, or a head would appear! Yikes!) The other part of me is worried that I won't realise until it is too late to get to the hospital. We are a good 45 minutes away, maybe even more in peak hour traffic. I don't fancy the idea of having an unplanned home birth or a car birth! With Thomas, my waters broke first off, so there was no doubting at all that I would need to go to the hospital (they wanted me to come in whether the contractions started or not - they did start straight away anyway).
I had a bit of a down day on Saturday. It was stinking hot, Thomas was as grumpy as anything because he had some coldy-type virus (that I now have), Andrew had to go in to work, and I was feeling sick and in SO much pain. Oh boy - I was just not feeling up to dealing with everything! Thankfully I managed to convince Thomas to lie down on the bed with me in front of the air conditioner and to watch a video. That gave me a semi-rest and certainly lifted my spirits. Thomas's behaviour has actually been really tough to cope with all week. I think that with him not feeling 100%, me in pain, huge, hot, sick too etc, things just combine to make things difficult. I feel deeply ashamed that I have even shouted at him a couple of times - my normal coping strategies for dealing with difficult behaviour just don't seem to be there at the moment. One lovely thing though was that at night he has been letting me hold him in my arms as he drifts off to sleep (normally he just likes to lie next to me), and I have been able to feel his precious little body go limp, hear his little sighs . . . Parenting would have to be the hardest job imaginable, but it is also the most amazing and wonderful!
On Tuesday I had another scan to check on Baby Katelyn's "growth and well-being". This was done due to the fact that Thomas was a 36-weeker and when he came, the placenta was, shall we say, past its use-by date. It was disgusting! Also, given what happened last December, my OB thought some additional reassurance would be a good idea at this stage. It went great! Katelyn is doing just fine--right on the 50th percentile in almost everything, except her little arms and legs which were a bit on the short side (I was laughing about that - you should see Andrew and me: there is no way we could ever have a long-limbed baby!) They estimate she is 2.5 kg, which is 5 1/2 pounds. I was 34 weeks and 4 days on the day of the scan and basically she is growing right on schedule. (If I get to 40 weeks, they are predicting she will be somewhere around 7 1/2 pounds.)
They (both a female U/S tech and a male U/S OBGYN doctor) checked the cord, the fluid level and the placenta (as much as they can check a placenta), I saw her little lips making sucky movements, and heard the heartbeat (145 BPM). The U/S doctor commented what a wriggly baby she is and that was no revelation to me, I can tell you, as she has been managing to keep up lots of movement even in her cramped home! In some ways things weren't as clear as the last scan as she is getting so big now, but in other ways it was astounding how much detail could be seen. We could even see some little fuzz on her head! I asked to have another look between her legs because when she was pronounced to be a girl at the last scan I never really got to see why. I saw VERY clear "girl parts" so all those cute little pink things I've bought don't need to be returned!
The whole thing was very reassuring! I have been so incredibly fortunate that every test or scan I have had done has given me nothing but good news! Apart from the spotting that I had on and off for a few weeks in the first trimester, there has never been any suggestion of something going wrong. I have had a lot of pregnancy discomforts of course, and the inevitable worry that accompanies a pregnancy after a loss, but boy am I grateful how well things have been progressing. I am very lucky indeed! I must admit to still being quite nervous about the remaining time of the pregnancy and the birth, as I know that there are still things that could go wrong. However, I am simply not letting myself dwell on those issues: instead I am enjoying lots of baby daydreams!
This week we did the remaining few preparations so I think I can now pronounce us READY when Katelyn is! Andrew had the car serviced, we moved Thomas's booster seat and harness across and have installed the baby capsule, I made up some chicken/vegetable/brown rice casserole (now the freezer is full!) . . . After last Friday's "scare", Andrew has been sending me SMS messages each day on my mobile phone to ask if Katelyn has arrived yet (as a joke of course!). He is so "thoughtful" that he suggested if I do need to give birth at home, I do so over the tiled floors so that *I* will have an easier time cleaning up afterwards! LOL! I love a bit of light relief and humour!
Well, all I need to do now is to hang in there, get whatever rest I can, eat as well as I can, and keep on praying! Not too much longer now!