Ok, we’re now 33 weeks into the pregnancy with around 7 weeks left until the due date. The last month has been fairly uneventful, but quite a lot has happened in the last week-or-so; we’ve been to our first NCT class, received some important deliveries and started making final preparations for our little boy’s arrival.
The baby is (according to the app) now the size of a pineapple; 43cm long and weighing approximately 2kg. The bump isn’t noticeably bigger, but it is now possible to see some movement from the outside from time to time. It’s also easier than ever to feel the wriggling, though I still don’t feel like I’ve had that ‘magic moment’ yet. It also seems like the tiredness from the first trimester is back with a vengeance; m’wife very rarely stays up past 9pm any more and I’ve completely given up on trying to watch films with her in the evenings!
We’ve had a pretty big delivery this week; the pram – complete with car seat etc. – has arrived. We spent the day unboxing all the various components, setting them up and finding out how it all works, so it will be second nature to us when we bring the little bugger home from the hospital.
I think the reality is starting to sink in. There’s something about seeing his baby seat physically sitting on the sofa and realising “there’s going to be a little person in that in a few weeks time” that makes things start to crystalise in your mind.
She’s also ordered a yoga ball, following advice from our first NCT session (more on that later). This apparently helps with her aches and pains (as well as terrifying our pet basset hound!). It’s a little odd, but she finds it comfortable and it helps with the pain in her hips and lower back, so that’s a definite recommendation (and a relatively cheap way) to keep your pregnant missus happy!
Finally, we’ve been making some progress on the nursery. We’ve done most of the painting, ordered a new carpet and bought some blinds, decorations and gadgets. We’ve also got some donated furniture on the way. The baby, of course, won’t be staying in there for a while, but we figure that we aren’t going to have the time or energy to do the work after he has arrived, so we’re cracking on with it now.
The first NCT (National Childcare Trust) antenatal class was interesting. We sat in a circle with seven other couples, who were all around our age and from seemingly similar backgrounds. People do say “these guys are going to be your best friends and support network for the rest of your life”, which is a lot of pressure, but hopefully we’ll get to know them more as time goes on.
The instructor seems nice too, plus she seems well-prepared and very knowledgeable. She opened by saying that “no one is ever prepared, but I can prepare you to be unprepared”, which I quite like as a philosophy. Obviously, she has to cater for a range of people with different plans, so we will be told about home births, water births and other alternatives that don’t appeal to us (my wife, to my relief, wants to be near the drugs, the sharp things and the medical professionals), but it’s nice to have all the information.
We did have pay for this course and it wasn’t exactly cheap. I understand there are other options available including free classes offered by the NHS. We chose this based on recommendations from friends, in the hope that we would meet similar people that we could become baby-friends with.
Either way, I’m already glad we signed up – I’d hate to have gone into the maternity ward without knowing even the stuff from just the first session. We were thrown into the deep end with a series of very graphic images showing an angry-looking baby ‘making its way into the world’, step-by-step. We also learned that, despite what you see in film and movies, lying on your back is not the best way to deliver a baby (apparently there are some bones around the coccyx that move to give the baby more room to wriggle out, which obviously can’t happen if the woman is sitting on them). We also learned that only 4% of babies are actually born on their due date and it’s much better to think in terms of the ‘due month’ (+/- 2 weeks from the due date). This is the kind of stuff I didn’t know going in, despite my (admittedly limited) research so far, and, as I said, that’s just from the first session!
Speaking of research, I’ve found a few other useful resources – albeit aimed at mothers or parents in general, rather than being aimed specifically at dads. It’s surprising how much stuff is out there that could be considered ‘misinformation’ or even dangerous. Personally, I’m more inclined to trust the advice of doctors and specialist researchers, which is why I am glad that videos like this one exist.
I didn’t know, for example, that giving honey to a baby risks making them seriously ill or that water is unadvisable for newborns. This is one of the things that causes me some anxiety, as it seems that there is so much you have to learn to keep your baby safe and healthy. But every bit of knowledge helps!
We’re definitely in the endgame now. I can highly recommend the NCT/antenatal classes to help you ‘prepare to be unprepared’ for your baby’s arrival, and the yoga ball for keeping your missus happy and comfortable. I will report back on how the rest of the NCT sessions go and I’ll do a review of the pram, car seat and other accessories once we’ve had a chance to use them.
Until then, ciao for now!