After what felt like London's hottest ever summer, autumn has finally arrived. No longer have I been commuting to work in fear of melting or suffocating or feeling the need to change my underwear three times a day (TMI?HA! Welcome to pregnancy!).
It's been quite a ride over the last few months, but I honestly wouldn't change it for the world.
As I am now coming to the end of my pregnancy - at 39 weeks this little guy could now come at any time - I have found myself feeling incredibly emotional about not having him growing inside me anymore. No longer will I feel his kicks, his every movement, or his hiccups. I am in a kind of mourning for the end of this special time that he and I have shared together and beginning to worry that I may well be becoming one of those women who just LOVES being pregnant. But at the same time I am so excited to meet him, and see what he looks like and who he will become.
I feel like the most changes and experiences within my pregnancy have occurred within the 3rd trimester. I feel that as I have grown physically, I have also grown mentally and I am profoundly grateful for the experience. I'm certainly not the same person I was 7 months ago - I am infinitely calmer for a start. I also feel like somehow it has made me kinder.
Granted, not every experience during pregnancy has been 100% pleasant or positive, but it has all contributed to shaping the person I have become, and to preparing me for this next step.
How about some of these spanned out over the course of a few months?
-Pelvic pain - the kind where just looping your leg out of bed feels like you might tear your vagina,
-Back pain that almost has you in tears with discomfort and frustration (thank GOD for finding an amazing masseuse locally, and for having a very willing partner in Lee),
-Rib kicking, front AND back, all day long (in this case thank GOD for birth balls - a great way to bounce a little scamp away from your ribs!)
-The skin on your stomach stretching so much it feels like you've got sunburn, when you havent been in the sun for months.
-Baby deciding that sleeping UNDER you when you can only sleep comfortably on one side is the best place for him to be. (This is where I am grateful for one of my best friends very kindly purchasing me a pregnancy pillow which has ensured I can still get a good night's sleep at this stage - Bells, you are a legend).
-Finding yourself short of breath after struggling up a flight of steps you would previously have run up with ease - thanks bubba for squashing everything including mum's LUNGS leaving me feeling fat, wheezing and middle-aged way before my time. Par for the course though I am told.
-Being asked "Are you sure you don't have two in there?" or told how big you're getting at 34 weeks when actually you really aren't that big and you can be sure you've still got some growing to do. The shock of someone commenting on my body has always left me feeling like I have to defend myself rather than coming back with a witty quip such as 'I'm growing a human, what's your excuse?"
-Running for a train is definitely a thing of the past, (although I was proud to still manage to get to the station in 3 minutes after power walking my way there whilst being kicked in the bladder at 34 weeks). Then when your employer kindly decides to move offices as you hit your last few weeks of work resulting in a 5 (YES, FIVE) train commute, suddenly working life doesn't seem so rosy.
Don't fancy that? That's just a few of the tougher things I've experienced in the third trimester, but I've had in my opinion quite an easy and straightforward pregnancy. I havent gained a huge amount of weight, totally swelled up like a pufferfish or thrown up the whole time, so I actually consider myself super lucky. But in my opinion, that's just a testament to how amazing the female body and mind really is, because the above is still a fair old amount of discomfort and pain to deal with on a daily basis.
On a far more positive note, when I turned 30 weeks at the end of August, Lee and I jetted off to Northern Tenerife for a week in the sun - our last before becoming parents. Not only was the setting perfect, the weather amazing, the food fantastic, but my wonderful man also ensured it was a holiday to remember by proposing to me on our first full day, taking me totally by surprise. The only (amusing) downside to this proposal was that my engagement ring did not fit my finger so had to be worn pimp ring style, on my little finger until we could get home and get it resized. Now that I am 39 weeks I can see that my fingers have swelled again so I am refusing to remove it just in case I can't get it back on! Stupid pregnancy fingers!
Soon after returning from our holiday we began our NCT ante-natal classes course where we met 6 other pregnant ladies and their birth partners. We were incredibly lucky as we ecountered a group of extremely nice and good fun people, and the girls especially have already met up several times since. Although the course isnt super cheap, Lee and I would both seriously recommend it, both as a way of meeting people in your area who are going through the same as you, and by way of educating and preparing yourselves for labour and the early stages of parenthood. Now that two (at the time of writing our third mum to be is in labour) of the NCT babies have arrived it is all getting very real, but it is so nice to be able to share the excitement, nerves and amusing experiences with one another.
So, nesting. Its totally a thing. Now that I am finally done with work, my nesting instinct has been kicked into overdrive. While working from home (which I did more often as my maternity leave approached) I had already done a lot of washing of baby clothes, but since being off, the need to organise the flat and get things ticked off the list has reached whole new levels and has been such a tremendous help to my anxiety. Between work, impending labour and some other personal things going on in my life, I found myself becoming very anxious as I hit 37 weeks. However, since stopping work, picking up the yoga again (along with some hypnobirthing breathing), diffusing some frankincense (AMAZING for anxiety, FYI) and getting on top of my baby to do list, I feel so much more free and relaxed. Of course the nerves about childbirth and the unknown are still there, but they are nowhere near what they were. I have also tried to take the time to get outside and have a stroll in this beautiful autumn weather we are having, and have really treasured the me time whilst doing that in a way I never have before. I really feel that it is a lot to do with not being beholden to a work phone for the first time in 7 years - that has definitely lifted a huge weight from my shoulders.
The kindness of those around me since announcing my pregnancy has been so touching. Lee's sister and mum were kind enough to organise me a lovely baby shower back in September which was a really nice opportunity to see some of my friends prior to baby arriving and just sit and have a chat and some fun together.
Added to that, the support that Lee and I have received from many different directions over the last month or so where things have been challenging for me personally, has meant an awful lot, and been a huge source of comfort. For my part I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been there for us. It has left me feeling not only very loved myself, but also in no doubt of how much love there will be for our little buddy when he arrives.
It's super strange to think that this could be the last blog post I write before I become a mother. Strange, terrifying, exciting and all sorts of other emotions rolled into one. I wonder if sleep-deprived me will even have the mental capacity to write anymore?! Who knows.... I for one can't wait to find out though....