At 37 weeks pregnant, I am officially ‘full term’.
I am pregnant with my third baby: I have a four-year-old daughter and a stillborn son.
I breezed through my first pregnancy, working full-time until 38 weeks and carrying on with all my normal life activities: work, exercise, singing and knitting. I travelled, visited friends and family and enjoyed many ‘date nights’ with my husband. I went into labour on my due date and my beautiful daughter was born early the next morning.
This third pregnancy has been hard: emotionally and physically draining. I hid it from the world for as long as possible, eventually disclosing at about 18 weeks, when my clothes would no longer fit. I’ve had many hospital and midwife appointments and been scanned every four weeks since 20 weeks, which has been very reassuring. I have shunned social engagements and taken care not to do anything strenuous and to eat and drink as healthily as I can. I have attended only a few singing rehearsals since May. I do some gentle swimming and walking but the separation of my tummy muscles (a legacy of previous pregnancies) causes me to tire easily and the large tubi-grip given to me by a physiotherapist just can’t relieve the strain.
We have tried to make things different this time and, despite our anxiety, enjoy the pregnancy as much as possible. I have spent hours listening for baby’s twitches and movements and counting the weeks/days/hours from one appointment to the next. We have encouraged our daughter to talk to the bump and to ask questions about becoming a ‘proper’ big sister. I started maternity leave three weeks ago but didn’t get any baby paraphernalia out of storage until a week later. Our house now looks like we are expecting a baby, yet we still can’t quite believe that it is actually happening.
I don’t feel comfortable talking about this pregnancy. Well-meaning people who have approached me have been rebuffed with one-word answers. I just can’t tell the world how I feel - the heady mix of emotions and hormones inside me confuses my perspective - and people don’t expect you to disclose a loss. Even those who know about Monty and say that ‘it will be OK’ don’t really help. I feel under immense pressure to ‘get it right’ this time and deliver a healthy, living baby.
In a week’s time, I will be going into hospital for induction of labour. I feel as if this pregnancy still has a long way to go.
I won’t feel able to relax until I hold my baby safely in my arms.