Well, the due date is now just a few short weeks away and this will probably be the final post before our son arrives, which is not terrifying at all!
M’wife is now “full-term”; 37 weeks into the pregnancy. I don’t know how much the bump has grown recently, but she really is quite massive now and in the few weeks, she has been starting to struggle a bit. She hides it well – and she’s determined to stay active as that is supposed to help in the delivery room – but she’s getting a few more aches and pains, plus she has less energy than she is used to, which is understandably frustrating. I’m doing my best to pick up the slack and to keep her happy and comfortable.
I went to one of her regular midwife appointments, partly out of curiosity but mostly because she was giving me a lift somewhere afterwards. As expected, they mostly involve taking samples, asking routine questions and measuring the bump, though we did get to hear the baby’s heartbeat again. One thing I was surprised to learn was that they measure the bump and the size, in inches, should be roughly the same as the number of weeks (32 at the time). This is a good (if not overly scientific) way to check that everything is coming along normally. I have heard from women who have had to be induced because the baby is too big or too small at this stage but, fortunately, we are OK for now.
Apparently, the baby is currently ‘back-to-back’ with his mother, which means he’s technically the wrong way round, but we’ve been told that there’s nothing to worry about as there’s still plenty of time for him to turn to the correct position. Again, it could be worse; upside down is more of a problem and we know at least one woman who’s baby is currently “breached”. Again, we’ve been very lucky!
We’ve had a few more NCT sessions, though our final meeting has had to be cancelled. This is a shame as we were just getting to know the other couples, but needs must. We’ve been offered online support and they are going to try and schedule some additional sessions over Skype. (If you’re reading this in the future, this is because of Coronavirus. Also, I’m glad to see that the internet is still working and, hopefully, society hasn’t collapsed!).
I’ve heard a lot of negative comments and jokes about NCT; how they are run by ‘hippy-dippy midwives’ who want to keep you away from doctors and want you to have the most ‘natural’ experience possible, but that hasn’t been our experience. <rant> The ‘natural’ argument is bollocks anyway, as yes, we have been giving birth for millions of years, but even in the last 30 the infant mortality rate has halved and in the last century they’ve fallen by a factor of 10, so we’re perfectly happy to be near the drugs, surgical implements and medical professionals! </rant> There have been a few activities where the guys have basically been sent into a corner to play with toys while the ‘grown-ups’ have serious conversations about tearing and perineal massage, but the sessions have all been very useful.
For example, we learned quite a lot in the recent breastfeeding session about how to care for the baby in the first few weeks and how to bond with him, as well as being told about things like the ‘hormone crash’ that apparently occurs like clockwork three days after the birth. It’s definitely good to have this information so that we are ‘prepared to be unprepared’ for baby’s arrival.
The Baby Shower
I’ve known that a baby shower was being planned for some time, but I didn’t mention it so as not to spoil the surprise, but now we’ve had the big day. M’wife got to spend an afternoon/evening with her lady friends and relatives. I don’t think she would have enjoyed a public spectacle, which seems to be fairly common these days, but it ended up being a relatively low-key event at her parent’s house, so she really enjoyed it.
We’d already received lots of generous gifts, but even more amazing stuff was piled on us at the shower; so much that we couldn’t get it all back in one car journey! As I’ve said before, I know how lucky and privileged we are to have this network of support around us and I cannot express how grateful we both are. Going into parenthood is a daunting (and, at times, truly terrifying) task, but knowing that we are not alone and that we don’t have to buy all this stuff ourselves is a genuine load off our minds.
The Baby Bag
One of the other mothers from NCT, who was due around the same time, has already given birth. This, naturally, caused us to panic and finally finish packing the bags that we are taking to the hospital. I’ve been told that the partner should bring plenty of snacks and something to entertain themselves; we don’t have much to actually do after all, other than be there to support our partners (and we have to take some care of ourselves so we can perform that function). The other useful tip is for the mother to sort out everything that she needs and for the partner to do the actually packing, so we know where everything is when our screaming wives demand that we retrieve it for them!
What with work, preparing the nursery and everything else, I haven’t had much time to do as much research and preparation as I was expecting. However, I have been reading a book that was recommended by one of the guys at NCT. It’s called “Dummy” by Matt Coyne; an honest and hilarious commentary on childbirth and parenthood. The preface grabbed me immediately and by the end of the first chapter, I had laughed out loud on the metro. Twice. The book is also full of useful little tips and information, in addition to the sass and angry rants. Hopefully, at least some of it will come in handy. And, if not, at least it’s a good laugh!
Well, this is it. (Probably) my last update before the baby arrives. I’ll do one last ‘pregnancy blog’ to discuss the birth experience, then I plan to keep going with the ‘parenting blog’, talking about what it’s like to live with the little bugger when he arrives. That is, assuming I have the time or energy to do so…