39 Week Update

Argh! This is the first time I've ever failed to publish a pregnancy update on a Monday! I'd like to think I can be forgiven though, with a mixture of feeling very pregnant, needing an extra rest here and there, and having loads to do before Baby arrives, my blog schedule has gone a little to pot!
The great news though is that going in to what may well be my last week of pregnancy, I am still feeling fabulous. I actually have a reasonable amount of energy; all things considered; and am trying to spend time with friends, and with Seb, before we're consumed temporarily by all things baby. I'm looking forward to a couple of family meals this coming week, some last minute shopping, healthy, quick and simple home cooking, and plenty of tea and sunshine with girlfriends!
For the first time in ages I've got really stuck in to reading a novel. I've been reading a lot to prepare me for birth over the last few months, tending to read lots of non-fiction focusing on natural birthing approaches from around the world, and less for leisure. I've borrowed The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson from the library, and am really enjoying reading for pleasure. I'm hoping to do more of this once baby arrives and I find myself breastfeeding a lot of the time!
So; this week. My swollen feet have got about a million times worse, and there have been days when I've been physically unable to walk. I can't begin to explain how enormous and puffy they are (though if you follow me on Instagram you'll have an idea!) and painful too. What's worse is the frustration at not being able to be as active as I'd really like to be. As I said earlier, I still have bags of energy, and my nesting instinct has really kicked in, so I just want to be doing stuff - but on a daily basis now, by the afternoon, I'm unable to do very much at all due to my feet and ankles. Thankfully, Boyfriend doesn't have exceptionally large feet for a man, he wears size 8 shoes, and as I'm usually a size 6, a pair of his flip flops are seeing me through at the moment - although even they are tight!
My Braxton Hicks contractions are also growing in intensity. I've had these regularly for months now, but these days they're incredibly powerful, though not at all painful - at times they can certainly take my breath away though! I'm just hoping that all of this practice stands me in good stead for an efficient labour - I ought to have a womb of iron by now!
We finally ordered our pushchair and car seat this weekend. Talk about last minute, but as I said before, I wasn't particularly fussed if Baby had arrived before either piece of kit, as we have no intention of using either from Day 1. As planned, we opted for the O'Baby Zezu Pramette in purple quilt as our pushchair, and the Pampero Cherub in black as a baby seat for the van.
We also gave the birthing pool a practice inflation - which may well have been my pregnancy highlight of the week! Turns out, our Eco Regular Pool from Birth Pool in a Box (which we rented from Water Baby Birth Pool Hire)  is fully inflated in less than five minutes! The pump is pretty noisy (unimpressed cats) but it's great to know that we won't be waiting around for long before we can start filling the pool, and this means we can leave it in it's box until the time comes, rather than feeling the need to inflate it ahead of time. Both Boyfriend and I got in and lounged around for a while (without any water) and I can confirm that there is plenty of space in there for two (even when one of the two is slightly whale shaped!)
On a medical (ish) note, I went along to the hospital on Friday for my final growth scan at 38 weeks. I'd agreed to the scan as a final check on Baby's progress - for my own peace of mind, I wanted to know that my placenta was still performing well and that Baby was in the ideal position for birth - both get a big tick. From the hospital's point of view though, this appointment was to satisfy their ongoing concern about the size of Baby - we'd been told since 20 weeks that Baby was measuring "too big". Well - I'm so glad I stuck to my guns and insisted that I was certain baby was absolutely fine, because at this final scan, the sonographer revealed that baby is in fact a very typical, average size. In fact, compared to his/her brother, Seb, he/she is looking quite small! It seems we must have caught Baby at the height of a growth spurt in the past, but his/her growth has now settled right down and from the ultrasound alone they're estimating his/her weight at 7lbs3ozs (which I think of as a little baby!)
I also saw my midwife, Kelly, at the hospital on Sunday. This gave us an opportunity to look at the rooms on the midwife lead unit, where I may give birth if for any reason I need to transfer from home to hospital. The meeting has only made me hope all the more that I'm able to birth at home! I don't suffer from a hospital fear at all, I just find them depressing, clinical, and... uninspiring. Not words that I want to attribute to my birthing environment! Even on the midwife lead unit, which is an improvement on the labour ward next door, the hospital bed is, well, a hospital bed, the sofa is made of wipe-clean plastic, and the d├ęcor is typically impersonal. Don't get me started on the decidedly non-relaxing bathroom! I'd certainly rather bring my baby in to the world surrounded by photographs of his/her family, plants that I've nurtured myself, cushions that I chose, and my own candles. Sorry hospital!
The appointment itself went well though. Kelly confirmed that Baby's head is down, and just resting at the brim of my pelvis. It's unusual for second and subsequent babies to engage before labour, as they have a lot more room to move in and out of the pelvis, so tend to bounce up and down in and out of engagement rather than getting themselves settled. This accounts for the ouchie sensations I've been experiencing - Baby's head banging against my cervix as he/she moves in and out of my pelvis - no fun!
My blood pressure, which has been low throughout pregnancy, sometimes dangerously so, has now crept up in to the perfectly normal range, which is probably why I feel so good in myself and able to take on the world!
The only thing left to do now though, is wait. I have another appointment booked in on my due date next week. I've been offered a membrane sweep at this appointment, which I've already declined, so it'll just end up being a routine antenatal check if I make it to the other side of this weekend without giving birth. Baby could come any day though - how exciting!

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