Half way through. Whoa.
The 20 week mark snuck up on me both times. I think partly because you generally don't know your pregnant for the first month or so, and partly because I was so focused on getting past the sickness and tiredness, and also getting through the first half of pregnancy wth my sanity, marriage and this time, my relationship with Frankie, in tact, that I wasn't really focussing on having an actual baby.
But half way through I am.
We found out at the 20 week scan that we are having a boy! So I can say now that HE is wriggling around in my tummy constantly, and I have felt his movements much earlier- from 11 weeks this time, and it's pretty wonderful.
I have felt quite sick, and it' still sort of here- at 21 bloody weeks- due to slightly low blood pressure, and me constantly forgetting to eat. My nausea is nothing like my friends who've had hyperemesis (which sounds utterly horrendous). But i've been juggling quite a lot of work so it's been in no way easy. I also have pretty painful lower back pain. I had the same pain last time but not until 30 ish weeks. It's been here since week 8! I am seeing an osteo although i'm not seeing much improvement, and it's debilitating and annoying.
On the plus side I am delighted to be pregnant, Every. Day. It took us a while to conceive which meant when I did finally get a positive test we totally cherished it.
Like last time I feel generally 'up'; a bit giddy in fact. I also feel a lot more 'zen' than usual, and am able to deal with stressful things in a more philosophical way. I seem to respond well to pregnancy hormones!
We haven't done much prep or even much thinking about this baby yet, but I did book in private hypnobirthing classes with my sister in law who runs Kent Hypnobirthing, and book a local doula too, Lucy the Doula. Heres why....
In short, my last labour was a bit hideous. I developed preeclampsia and was induced at 37 weeks. The resulting labour started well; I responded to the pessary first time and started labouring gently. But then they broke my waters and gave me syntocinon, I thought I was going to drown in pain, then it ended with an emergency vontouse birth. Frankie was also very small, the result of the preeclampsia, and we had to stay in the hospital for a few days for monitoring. All in all, not the calm birth centre birth I had planned.
So, along with the cherishing and excitement, I am approaching this birth with a whole lot of fear too. Hypnobirthing is nothing like what many of us think of when we hear the word 'hypnosis'. It's about retraining your brain to expect more positive outcomes (no clucking like a chicken here!) It's about simply understanding how our bodies work; the power of our minds, and more specifically, the impact of fear. That way you are less fearful of birth and all the delicate hormones can do their work in helping your body give birth to your baby the way it knows how. I knew I needed to 'deal' with some shit early on in the pregnancy so requested the first hynobirthjng session to start earlier than usual.
In the first session we talked about the last birth in detail (quite healing in itself) as well as our hopes for this birth and also our fears too. The main task we are taking away with us is to create, then fiercely protect, a birth bubble. Block out the negative and surround myself with positive, healing stories and affirmations; an antidote to the very loud voice of fear and doubt in my mind.
I have a slightly higher risk of getting preeclampsia again so I'm not pinning my hopes on a home birth at all. I am however claiming an entirely different experience. Wherever I give birth I will feel a whole lot more empowered, less fearful and more confident in my bodies ability to birth my baby.
Why a Doula?
I also chose to hire a doula this time too after hearing some lovely things from friends who had had one at their births. A doula is basically a birth partner (in addition to your actual parter if you so wish). She supports you as you find your way with your choices up to the birth and beyond, and is experienced in facilitating an atmosphere conducive to your perfect birth. They bring a wealth of birth experience, but don't support you medically. During labour, they attend you with a "servant heart"- supporting you (and your family), in emotional support, words of encouragement at the right time, massage (if you want it), helping you keep the atmosphere of your 'birth cave' sacred, feeding you, clearing up if at home etc. You have sessions before hand and afterwards, and they go on call for you in the last few weeks of your pregnancy so they can be with you whenever you go into labour, which means you can pretty much ensure continuity of care, something that the NHS midwives cannot do. Sounds perfect, right?
So yes. I have mostly been focussing on creating the most positive, empowering birth situation possible, but I am slowly starting to think about the rest; preparing Frankie-Rose for big sisterhood, finishing house projects, figuring out how I'm going to work, thinking about names, sleeping arrangements, dealing with the gazillions of bags of baby stuff in the loft, and I've started daydreaming about buying a few new bits of tiny tiny clothing for the new babe too.
So, rather stereotypically, I am harbouring many, sometimes opposing, feelings and emotions about this little boy baby. But mostly i'm thrilled, and feel utterly privileged, to experience this miraculous thing again; I'm growing a human! In my belly! This never fails to overwhelm me with amazingness/weirdness! And I love that we're adding to our our little family too. I will keep you all posted afterwards too.
Links and further info:
More info about Hypnobirthing here
Lucy from Lucy the Doula is my doula. Based in Faversham but travels a bit further too.
Ray, my sister-in-law, runs Kent Hypnobirthing. I am doing both private classes and some of the group classes too- There is a 2 week group class starting THIS Sunday in Margate, and there are more 2 week group classes in November and December, also in Margate. There's a second set of 2 week group classes throughout October, November and December in Faversham, at Macknades too. For full details and dates see here.