With less than four weeks to go until my due date, I’m really starting to feel like I’m on the home straight!
We recently bought all the newborn essentials, baby clothes and bits of equipment, which are currently sitting in cardboard boxes waiting to be put in their place. I feel quite emotional looking at it all, especially the clothes and imagining the little person that’s going to be filling them soon.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been feeling much more hormonal and emotional than usual, and I seem to have a severe case of hugging my children a LOT! Physically I’m doing fine – moving around slower than before, but actually feeling better than I have done in a while.
We have chosen to have our baby at UCLH, and one of the perks of the hospital is that everyone is offered a scan at 36 weeks. We had ours a few days ago and it was a real thrill to see our little girl and know everything is going well. We were told she’s rather large – an estimated 6lbs 11ozs at the moment, so if she arrives on or past her due date she’ll be over 8lbs.
I know I don’t have much of a bump (you can read about my weird pregnancy body here), but I’m feeling heavy and can see and feel the changes to my shape almost everyday. The baby’s movements have changed too – the kicks and squirms are more widely spread across my abdomen now and more intense, making it easier to visualise the newborn-shaped bundle inside.
At the scan we were told that the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck – it sounds a bit scary but apparently it’s very common and nothing to worry about. Once her head has been born, the midwife will loosen the cord so that her shoulders can pass through, or she’ll slip the cord over her head.
Both of my children were born at UCLH and I was really happy with the hospital each time. However, I have a word of warning to those early on in their UCLH experience: the admin surrounding your routine pregnancy appointments can be very poor.
I have heard of women having to wait over 3 hours for their scheduled appointment and, when I arrived for mine the other day, I had 40 minutes of waiting before the receptionist realised my appointment wasn’t on their system and they couldn’t see me that day (even though I had received a letter confirming the details).
There were other people in the waiting room at their wits end – one couple had been waiting for an hour and a half because the receptionist had forgotten they’d arrived.
So come with a cool head and be prepared for a long wait, or a short wait – there is no pattern!
As far as I can tell, the inefficiencies have nothing to do with the midwives, radiologists or the rest of the team, who in my experience are lovely and doing a brilliant job.
At Bump and Baby Club we often get asked for hospital recommendations and, the truth is, we’ve heard good and bad things about all hospitals near the locations where we run our classes. Generally, the positive experiences heavily outweigh the negative ones and many of our clients have been blown away by the amazing level of care they’ve received throughout their pregnancy, birth and afterwards. Personally, I feel very fortunate that we have some of the best hospitals in the country on our doorstep.
With the NHS there is of course a degree of luck involved in which midwives and/or doctor will be with you during your labour and birth. So I think it’s helpful to have a birth partner who’s ready to be assertive and make sure your questions and requests are heard on the day, so you can stay as relaxed as possible.
So I have just 4 weeks to go and I’m hoping the baby doesn’t arrive early as there’s still quite a lot I’d like to do. Here are some of the things on my list…
1) Organise my hospital bag
I left this stupidly late with my second baby and ended up scrambling around for the bits and bobs I needed whilst in the throws of labour. In all the commotion, my husband and I couldn’t find an actual bag to put everything in, so we resorted to using a bin-liner! (It was either that or a fully-sized suitcase, which seemed the more embarrassing option)
2) Get fitted for a nursing bra.
Around 37 weeks is a good time to do this – they’ll measure you and estimate the size you’re going to be when your milk comes in.
3) Spend some time one-on-one with each of my kids.
I have promised them each a special day out my mummy before the baby arrives.
4) Odd jobs that will be easier to do without a newborn in tow.
e.g., taking the car for an MOT, taking my kids to the dentist. Exciting times!
5) Squeezing in a few more date nights with my husband.
Our date nights are definitely numbered, so we’re trying to making the most of them while we still can!