Timeline: 37 weeks, 5 days
Size: 5lbs 4
Baby: Our little cub is just incredible, I cannot begin to explain how proud I feel of him every single day. Looking back to 10 weeks ago when at only 27 weeks old we were faced with the reality that he may have to be delivered early and then waiting every week to watch his progress and praying he wouldn’t start to get distressed. He’s a teeny tiny little man, just measuring on the 5th centile (about 4 weeks behind his growth milestones) and has given us a few frights over the past month with a succession of bleeds and then decreased movements, but he has defied all the predictions and happily wiggled and bounced in his little bubble oblivious to it all and if mummy is ever in any doubt that he is OK, he will give her a great big loving kick in the ribs.
Symptoms: Swollen ankles, broken blood vessels, heartburn, braxton hicks, leaking nipples, irritable, wind, a bladder the size of a pea and crazy dreams … I wouldn’t change a single thing!
Bump: Dropped!! Rewind one week ago to where if being honest I was feeling a little smug that I wasn’t experiencing any overwhelming urgency to wee or the infamous pregnancy swagger (waddle) it seemed that I was going to get away with it …. wrong!!! Fast forward to Tuesday morning, whilst walking to my yoga class I felt a sudden jolt like baby’s head was going to fall out, clenching my pelvis and thighs to keep him in and plodding on rolling my hips i so began the walk of a very uncomfortable preggo. Making it to class I managed about 30 mins of transitioning from pose to pose. each minute getting harder to co ordinate legs, bump, pelvis and all with the desperate feeling that at any moment I was going to have an “oops” moment … and from that moment on it hasn’t got any better! Little man is now as the midwife termed it “corkscrewing” his head into my pelvis and goodness don’t i know about it, as my walk is now something for the Monty Python ministry!
Body: I LOVE it, I truly do, every broken capillary, bulging vein, swollen ankle, puffy hand but most of all this great big belly bump, its all just amazing and I can honestly say that I have never felt so big, swollen, slow and heavy … but more beautiful in my life.
Missing: Cocktails … always the same thing, but the promise land is not so far away now!
Scariest Moment: Strangely enough last weeks bleed was the biggest yet and although I had the initial feeling of panic I felt positive that he was OK and confident that the amazing team at the hospital would look after us, which as usual and although under stress and busy they did, making me feel safe and reassured. It makes me smile to think that at the beginning of this pregnancy we were so amendment we wanted our baby boy at home without clinical intervention and now I wouldn’t want to be without the amazing team of doctors and midwifes we have come to know so well, we are so blessed with the level of ante natal care we receive in this country and I couldn’t imagine living in a place where the resources aren’t available to make sure you and your baby are kept safe, we are so lucky and I am so grateful everyday for all the NHS do and have done for us and the little man.
Happiest Moment: Again, so many wonderful little things that I want to wrap up and keep in a memory box. These last few weeks more than ever I am cherishing every moment I have with the bump, especially now he is so responsive to the outside world, noises, music and even his daddy’s voice, on which hearing he bounds excitedly around.
There are two moments this last week that really stand out though, the first was having my belly painted in henna, an ancient and significant pregnancy ritual that I have been really looking forward to. The painting of the belly is rich in symbolism and meaning and is similar to a blessing, with the designs and symbols offering protection for the mother and the baby, keeping them both safe. It is based on the Indian concept of “Shringar” – meaning the beauty of a woman’s creativity. It is also something that I had done for our wedding day and so for me it feels like a sacred and loving act that marks precious life events … we have also hidden our little cubs name within the design, which is very exciting.
The other thing for me this week has been designing a very special babygrow for our cub, one that in just over a month he will wear at an event that started as a tribute to his very special uncle. One of the last conversations I had with my brother before he died was discussing my happiness and what I wanted in life, at the time I was a little wayward and flighty and Ben (being very much of the same disposition!) had complete trust in my direction and told me to always just be myself and I would be happy, well 5 years on from then I will be at this years Big Busk festival with the two loves of my life, my soul mate and our baby boy and my brother would be over the moon to see his little sister had found her “happy days”
Looking forward to: So this is it … there is one main event that I have been looking forward to from the day I sat between Mark’s legs watching the sunset and knew I wanted to create a life from our love … this week I will give birth to our baby.
At 4pm on Wednesday 22nd February we shall be checking into the “baby hotel”, otherwise known at the consultant ante natal unit to be induced. The little cub will be 38 weeks exactly (36 weeks from the day his little life started inside a petri dish). I have never felt so excited about anything in my life, it is going to be the biggest challenge I have ever faced, there will be pain and there will be scary moments I’m sure, we don’t know how it will go, whether I will need interventions or whether it will end up as an emergency c section but I can quite honestly say that I’m not scared or worried and have complete and utter trust in my body and what will happen in order to deliver our little man earth side happy and healthy. We have written a birth plan as there are certain things that ideally we want and don’t want, the most recent being the placenta encapsulation, which I am very excited for. We have electric tea lights, a birth playlist, tens machine, affirmations and techniques we have practised … but at the end of the day, we have each other! I have the man with me who’s soul is the same as mine and is the only person I would want to share this journey with, my heart swells with love everyday for the incredible soul he is, knowing that in just a few days i get to give him the most precious gift, his son.
So here we are hand in hand coming to the end of this part of our journey and ready to make the jump into the next one. We have never been alone and have been surrounded by love, support and encouragement with every step we took. It has been the most beautiful adventure, full of learning, connections, peaks and lows. We have grown together through this magical time and it makes me so happy to have shared it all with you. There are no words for feelings I have when I think of all the kindness are loving energy that surrounds this life inside me. I feel blessed and whole … and so very very happy!
With love & Light
Annie, Mark & Bump x x x