Ahhhhhh it's the final pregnancy diary! I can't believe that, by the time this post goes live, I'll have had my baby! At the time of starting this blog post, I'm 28 weeks pregnant. Nobody ever tells you how fast your pregnancy goes, and I'm a little bit sad that it's almost over! I've been lucky so far to have a relatively easy pregnancy, so I've actually enjoyed being pregnant (and having everything done for me).
I'm really glad that I've stuck to writing these little updates every week, even though I haven't been as good at taking photos every week! I'm so excited for our baby girl to finally be here and to start the next chapter of our lives. So, without further ado, here is my last pregnancy diary:
For these posts, I've been writing notes in my phone and then typing them up as actual blog posts at a later date. For week 28, all I've written is 'heartburn - OUCH!' This was the week where Gaviscon became my best friend - even though I personally think it tastes vile and the consistency alone makes me want to vom! I also started with acid reflux and often had to run to the bathroom to spit out whatever was in my mouth... gosh, I bet you're so glad you clicked on this post!
My mum started washing all of the baby clothes for us this week, as the nursery furniture is being delivered next week! I can't wait for baby girl's nursery to be all decorated and ready, but also it does make me panic slightly...
This week I've developed a really sore pelvis/hips. Apparently, this is due to your pelvic bones softening to make delivery easier (which makes my toes curl to think about!) I've been struggling with getting out of bed, getting out of the car and generally walking. My friend Alice described my walk as 'waddling' the other day! I'm going to mention it to the midwife when I see her next week, but until then I've been trying to improve my posture when I'm sitting/standing and trying to keep my legs together when I'm getting up, but it's hard.
Baby's furniture arrived! My mum, dad, sister, her fiancé and B spent a full day putting it all together. It feels SO real now and so exciting! I feel a lot calmer now that her room is organised and the baby clothes are all folded. My sister even made up the cot, even though the baby won't sleep in it until she's at least 6 months old!
Only 10 weeks left?! WHERE is the time going? This week has probably been the craziest of my whole pregnancy. As well as dealing with my sore pelvis, I've also developed a really sore throat and cough this week. I really thought I might have caught COVID again, but thankfully all of the LFTs I've taken have been negative!
I had a midwife appointment where I mentioned my sore pelvis/hips, to which she said she would refer me for physio. She then measured baby (they feel around for a bit and then measure your bump) and plotted it on my growth chart. This shows baby's measurements against percentiles, showing whether baby is on track or measuring too small/big. The midwife said that baby was measuring slightly big, so I would need to go for an emergency growth scan. This made me worry, as I know there can be complications if baby is measuring big, especially so early. They said they would ring me the next day and try to get me in on the same day, so at least I wouldn't have to worry about it for too long.
She said that I was also showing signs of an infection so need to take some antibiotics. There was glucose present in my urine test, so I will also be booked in for a gestational diabetes test soon just to check, which, again, made me worry! The midwife asked some more questions, including whether or not baby's movements had been normal. I said that, actually, she hadn't been moving as much that day as she normally did, so we (B & I) were then sent upstairs in the hospital to be monitored on the maternity triage ward for reduced movements. I lay down on a (very comfortable!) hospital bed whilst a midwife strapped monitors to my stomach. She gave me a button to press for every time I felt baby move whilst the monitor picked up baby's movements. We sat there for around 40 minutes being monitored, and it turns out baby was moving pretty much constantly! Perhaps I was being a little paranoid from feeling poorly anyway, but it's always good to get checked out for peace of mind. We were sent home and, whilst baby's movements were fine, I still felt rubbish and worried about baby measuring big, the growth scan and my gestational diabetes test. I felt (and still feel!) awful, like I'd done something wrong or caused harm to my baby.
The next day (Friday), I didn't go into work as I needed to pick up my antibiotics and have my growth scan. Also, my pelvis/hips were so sore that I could barely walk, so driving my hour commute to work would have been very painful! The hospital rang me quite early and said that I could go in at 12pm for my growth scan. My mum came with me again as B couldn't come. I was only waiting for around 2 minutes before they called me in! After a couple of minutes (which felt like ages!), the sonographer finally turned the screen around so we could see baby. I couldn't believe how big she was now - she was taking up the whole screen and we couldn't see all of her at once! She told us that baby's measurement was normal and showed me it on the growth chart, and it was exactly where it needed to be. She explained that measuring your bump is not always the most accurate, as it depends where they measure you from and how baby is positioned. It was such a relief! Even though baby now isn't measuring big, the midwife has recommended that I still go for my GD test in a few weeks just to be on the safe side.
When I got home, baby girl was more than making up for the 'reduced movements' from the day before! She was moving more than she'd ever moved before, and I even managed to film her crazy movements. You can see the video on my Instagram in my pregnancy highlights.
This week I finally wrote my lists for my hospital bag and baby's hospital bag. I've started buying little bits here and there (like the My Expert Midwife 'Spritz for Bits' which has been highly recommended by all of my friends!) and it weirdly feels like shopping for a holiday. Speaking of holidays, the heat in the UK at the moment is intense! One day I was wearing tights and Doc Martens to school, the next I was sweating in a midi dress and sandals. As someone who is usually cold 80% of the year, I'm not used to being too hot and am finding it difficult to cope! Thankfully, I've bought myself a fan and it will remain next to my side of the bed for as long as I need it.
It’s still VERY hot in the UK! Usually I would be the last person complaining, but being pregnant in a heatwave is not fun. I’m currently typing this section of the blog post whilst I’m sat in the hospital waiting for my second round of bloods for my glucose tolerance test!
When the midwife thought baby was measuring big, she booked me in for a test to check for gestational diabetes. They test people with BMIs over 30, and as mine was below 30 at the time of my booking appointment, I wasn’t scheduled to need one. Even though baby was measuring normally at the scan, I decided to still have the test just to check and be on the safe side.
I had to fast for 8-10 hours before my appointment (which thankfully was at 9:25am this morning!) and then have my first round of bloods done. I then had to drink a sugary drink (which was actually quite nice - I was dreading it!) and then wait in the waiting room for 2 hours (which has quite possibly been the longest 2 hours of my life). I’m currently waiting for my next set of bloods so that I can have some lunch - I’m starving!
I’m nervous for the results of this test, as I’m not sure what the effects would/could be on baby, and whether this would change my pregnancy to high risk. I’m also not the best with needles (even though midwives treat you like a pin-cushion when you’re pregnant!) so I would be scared to inject myself with insulin if I needed it. Of course, my main concern is that baby is happy and healthy.
Okay, so... I've been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I'm absolutely gutted and terrified for what this means for baby. I am now classed as 'high risk' and have been told I need to test my blood sugars 4 times a day. I haven't been told much information yet, but I've been told that it's not my fault and there's nothing I could do to stop it, as it's just how some people's bodies react to being pregnant. I was terrified that it was all my fault! I still feel incredibly guilty though...
This week I also had a maternity photoshoot! I decided to do one because I wanted some nice photos to remember these moments. I’m going to write a whole separate blog post about preparing for a maternity photoshoot and what to take with you, but it was such a fun day and I can’t wait to see the photos at a viewing session next week!
This week I have learnt a LOT about gestational diabetes (GD), as I've had several appointments with midwives, doctors and consultants. I now have a specific named midwife who is a diabetic specialist (as before, I just saw anyone and everyone and hadn't seen the same midwife twice!) I've started testing my blood sugars 4 times a day (once before breakfast, and then once an hour after every meal). I have to try to completely cut out sugar as much as possible and reduce my carb intake. If anyone reading this has also been diagnosed with GD, then I would highly recommend the GDUK website and Facebook group, as they have helped me so much with knowing what to eat!
It's quite overwhelming and scary to go from having such a chilled, 'easy' pregnancy suddenly turn high-risk and with many possible complications so quickly. I felt quite scared after leaving the hospital after my GD appointments, just because they have to go through every possible risk and worst-case scenario with you to prepare you. I've been told I will need to be induced as they don't want me to go past my due date. This week, my blood sugars have been all over the place as I try to figure out what I can/can't eat and how much of things I can tolerate.
This week I also viewed and chose the photos I wanted from my maternity shoot! There are some really lovely photos that I can’t wait to share and treasure.
This week, my GD tolerances seem to be a lot better and my blood sugar seems more under control now, which is great because I want to remain diet controlled till the end! Like I said in an earlier post, I am terrified of needles so I don't want to have to inject myself with insulin! Pricking my fingers 4 times a day is bad enough for me.
This week we had a growth scan (which I need to have every 2 weeks now just to check on baby's growth, as GD babies can be too big/too small), and thankfully baby girl is still growing perfectly! She's just slightly above the 50th percentile and weighing in at approximately 5.68lbs. On the scan, the sonographer told us she has lots of hair already and she was even sucking her thumb on the screen.
I also had a midwife appointment this week, where she checked my blood pressure, urine and listened to baby's heartbeat. Again, thankfully, everything is fine! As long as I remain diet controlled, I can go to 39/40 weeks before being induced, but I will be offered a 'sweep and stretch' (which I can imagine is just as horrific as it sounds!) at my 38 week appointment to try and start labour naturally. I think, by that point, I will be a woman on a mission trying to start natural labour without needing to be induced!
This week, baby feels lower down and my bump feels a lot harder. She's also been moving around a lot (and quite quickly!) so my stomach appears to have a mind of its own!
In terms of my GD, I've mostly kept it under control, until I had a terrible day at work where I just felt really overwhelmed and anxious. My anxiety hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be during my pregnancy, until now. I had a panic attack on the way to work, then had several throughout that night. I was just worrying and overthinking everything imaginable - from work stuff to baby's health to birth, you name it, I was worrying about it! Because of this, my blood sugars went all over the place, which also didn't help my anxiety. I had a phone appointment with my diabetic team, where I expressed my concerns. I felt like an absolute failure. She reassured me that, as my levels were generally good, this was considered a blip and baby would be fine. She assured me that my levels weren't too far over the target and that I needed to try and relax (easier said than done!) She said that they would review me in another 3 weeks, and that was it! I took the next day off work to try and relax, as I was terrified of having more panic attacks and causing damage to baby with my blood sugar levels. Thankfully, they were all within range, which just goes to show the effect that anxiety can have!
We've also had a delightful heatwave this week, which is especially not fun when you're heavily pregnant! This week is sponsored by my fan (which I'm so glad I bought!), cooling spray and the occasional sit down in front of the open freezer. Teaching in this weather has not been fun!
It's here! My last week of work before maternity leave starts, which coincides with the last week of school (definitely didn't plan it!) I feel really weird and surreal about only having a few days left of work. Usually I'm so excited this time of year, but this year I feel quite anxious and unsure! As you can probably tell from the other entries in this diary, I'm feeling quite nervous and overwhelmed about labour. The closer it gets to my due date, the more fearful I am! I think it's mostly fear of the unknown, and I'm really trying to think positively and relax, but as an anxious, overthinking mess at the best of times it's really hard!
This week I've had a few Braxton Hicks contractions, which haven't been painful at all. They're just like dull period cramps, and they don't last for very long. I'm worried that I won't believe I'm really in labour when the real ones start (although I'm assuming they'll be more painful than these ones are!) This week my feet have also felt really numb!
I've also been really scared about my waters breaking for some reason? I keep having nightmares that they'll either go when I'm in the bath and I don't realise, or that it'll be in the middle of the night and really freak me out! I'm not sure why I'm so worried about it happening, but thought I would mention it here as it's something I've been really aware of this week.
Baby has been having regular dance parties, suddenly lurching in all sorts of directions which, to any onlookers, makes my stomach look like a scene from The Exorcist. I've also finally packed my hospital bag and baby's hospital bag, which I have written blog posts about in the hopes that it helps someone else (or in case you're nosy, like me!)
We've finally finished baby's nursery wall which has taken me weeks to finish. When you see it, will hopefully make sense as to why it's taken so long! I'm going to write a whole blog post about the nursery and share all of the little details. Even though she won't be sleeping in her room for around 6 months, I still wanted it to be finished before she arrived.
Week 37 is here, and for some reason this has been my milestone for quite a while. 37 weeks is classed as full term, so I really wanted to get to this point to give baby the best start to life. Today we had what should be our last growth scan before baby arrives! Although they're quite anxiety-inducing (as any massive changes in growth signify problems), it's been lovely to see baby regularly and to just get that reassurance that she is okay.
The sonographer measured everything she needed to and then showed us baby - we could see her chubby little cheeks and she was sticking her tongue out at us! The sonographer said that everything was measuring slightly bigger and that baby is now just above the 90th percentile - a big change from the last scan 3 weeks ago - and she is now measuring at approximately 7lbs 8oz! Because of this, we had to go into the antenatal clinic and wait to be seen by the obstetrician to decide what to do next. B kept joking that they were going to keep me in and induce me there and then, which made me panic a little bit!
The obstetrician said that she wasn't particularly worried about baby's growth spurt, as although she was now measuring above the 90th percentile, this was because every measurement (head, tummy, femur) was measuring slightly bigger, which had pushed up her overall growth. She checked my sugar readings and said that they couldn't ask me to manage my gestational diabetes any better, which was a massive relief to hear! It definitely hasn't been easy, so it's reassuring to hear that I'm doing everything I possibly can to protect baby. She also said that, as I'm already booked in for a sweep next week, they wouldn't need to do anything else as plan A is still for me to go into labour naturally. However, as baby's growth is increasing, they would need to book me in for induction at 39 weeks! So I'm now booked in for an induction at 2pm on 11th August.
Can you believe it’s week 38 already?! Nope, me neither. I’ve said it so many times but I wasn’t expecting how fast pregnancy would go. I thought it would feel like forever!
This week I’ve had not one, but two sweeps, which (I’m not gonna lie) were incredibly painful! It actually shocked me how badly I coped with the pain, so now I’m even more terrified for labour. The second one wasn’t as bad as the first, though, so either it’s because I knew what to expect or because the first one helped a little bit! They haven’t done anything though (excellent), except for some mild cramping after sweep #1, and both times the midwife said I was only 1cm dilated.
On Wednesday, I developed a weird rash all over my body - my hands, legs, feet, stomach - which freaked me out! It looks like tiny nettle sting spots which are ridiculously itchy. I went to see my GP who said it looked like some sort of viral infection, so he prescribed me some calamine cream and anti-histamines (which, to be honest, haven’t really helped).
I then felt like baby’s movements were reduced, so we headed up to the hospital to be checked over. Of course, as soon as we got there, baby girl started moving all over the place (always the way!) but they also got a doctor to check my rash. She diagnosed me with PUPPP, which is some sort of rash that can develop in pregnancy, and the only way to get rid of it is to give birth!
So I’ve been out and finally bought a birthing ball (which I was loving until B decided to have a go and popped it!) and I’m doing everything I can to try and get baby out - partly just to get rid of this rash!
This week I’ve also picked up the photos from my maternity shoot! There are some really lovely ones. I decided to get digital copies as well as physical prints.
This is it! On Thursday 11th August, I went into hospital to be induced. I was SO scared and nervous - I had no idea what to expect, other than that they said I would likely be in for a few days as the induction process is long.
I went in at 2pm and had my blood pressure checked, was given a hospital wristband and monitors were placed on my bump to check baby’s movements. I also had to do 2 COVID tests, which thankfully were negative. The midwife came in to examine me and give me another sweep before giving me the gel to start induction. By this point, I was still only 1cm dilated. She said that she was going to pull my cervix forward (which, let me tell you, is every bit as painful as it sounds) but then looked really panicked. She called for a doctor to check me over and said that I had started bleeding, more than was normal. This obviously made me start panicking.
They decided to monitor me, baby and the blood loss for a while before starting induction. My evening meal arrived at 5pm and I sent B home to get some food, feed our cat and pick up some bits that we’d forgotten. They’d said they were just going to monitor me for now, so I thought he would have plenty of time.
Then I was assessed again, and they found I was still bleeding. They said that they were going to take me up to the delivery suite to reassess me and possibly break my waters. I rang B in a panic to find that he’d only just got home. He left again almost immediately, but I headed up to delivery alone, worrying about the bleeding and baby.
Once I got into my room, a midwife inserted a cannula into my hand, which really stung! I used gas and air for this, which was advised by the midwife, and I’m so glad she let me have it. She then left me alone (still attached to monitors) for a while.
When B came back, I was reassessed by a midwife and she decided that they weren’t going to start my induction process as there were quite a few emergencies in delivery suite at that time and because everything now seemed stable. By now it was around 7pm, and my contractions started on their own! I was reassessed by a doctor and they, again, said that they didn’t want to induce me any more and that they were going to let me labour naturally. The lovely midwife ran me a bath, which was lovely and really helped me to breathe through those first few contractions. B and I then spent the rest of the evening playing Dobble and watching Friends on my laptop, with me being regularly observed and assessed by the midwife…
And that’s where I’m going to leave it! I’m going to write a whole separate post about my labour and birth story, as reading other people’s experiences really helped me during my pregnancy. I found it really useful to read about all of the different things that can happen and mentally prepare myself for every eventuality, which, looking back now, definitely helped me to stay calm during labour!