Week 25: The brain is a funny thing…

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“While listening to music, you might notice she moves “rhythmically” in response to the sounds. She weighs about one and half pounds now (750g) and is about 35.6cm long. The little brain is beginning a period of growth and over 50% of your baby’s energy will be used for this purpose. The lungs are developing air sacks (alveoli) and the membrane that allows for the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen is now thin enough to let her take a breath by the end of this week. Even though her skin is loose and wrinkly at this point, it will fill with fat during the third trimester. Her eyes are completely developed and her brain is able to register various stimuli such as sound and light.

By now it’s likely that other people can feel your baby kicking. Simple daily activities are now becoming difficult, due to the size of your belly, such as tying shoe laces and driving. Back pain (if you’re experiencing it) is not going to get any better, so it’s becoming important to find the most comfortable position.  Your body retains more water in the afternoon making you feel bloated in the evening. This is also the time where you might be feeling extra tired. Naps can helpful if you can schedule one.”

Today, (Monday 10th March) I am 26 weeks pregnant- time is going quickly and I’m thankful for this. I’ve always been very aware of trying not to give any negative, stressful vibes to Baby Wood but I think I’m failing dismally at this. I’m alternating between not worrying at all and worrying sick… this last week seems to have been a more “worried sick” week. I’ve mentioned before in another post that I never truly understood what people meant by “worried sick” before. It was a term I threw around with ease whenever I felt like exaggerating something. Now I realise it’s a lot more extreme than simply being worried.

My brain is a funny thing. It can be completely obsessed and fixated one thing or one problem at a time. I can think of nothing else except this problem and it spirals and spirals and spirals until it consumes me completely. Sometimes this can work to my benefit- when I’m reading a book for example, I can plough through a whole novel in a day, or when I’m drawing or designing something I can picture the end result perfectly with loads of detail- like when I’m planning what the nursery will look like. But most of the time this works to my detriment.

All it takes is for one teeny tiny negative feeling or one teeny tiny comment from someone that doesn’t sit right with me and I’m off and I can’t be stopped. I get hot, I get uncomfortable, fidgety, I start to sweat, I get nauseous, my palms get clammy, I get heart palpitations, my stomach ties itself in knots and I regularly get that horrible swooping sensation that I’ve missed a step going down the stairs. Then, my IBS style cramps start. I get hotter, my stomach knots and swoops gets worse, the nausea builds, my mouth waters, and before I know it I’m hunched over a toilet bowl. I don’t even need to wretch; it’s projectile. TMI I know…
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All is calm, for all of 5 minutes and it starts again, ending only when I’ve fallen asleep out of sheer exhaustion (usually just to start again when I open my eyes) or when I’m 100% confident in the moment that everything (for the time being) is fine. This can usually only be achieved by a medical professional examining me and assuring me that everything’s fine. Obviously I do not have the luxury of a full time medical pro at my constant beck and call, available at any moment to drop everything and come to my aid to reassure me these worries are unnecessary.

My consultant told me that any time I feel worried I can pop up to the day assessment centre in the maternity ward and be checked over. This is great news and very comforting but for someone who reacts so poorly to a trip to the maternity ward (last time I went to the maternity ward I had a full blown panic attack) it isn’t something I really want to do on a regular basis. It only serves to make the stress and panic worse and build to an unbearable level whilst I wait my turn to be examined and reassured.

Occasionally I can calm myself down, deep breathing helps immensely as does cool, fresh air. Distraction is a good way too, although it has to be something pretty big and special to tear me out of the panic spiral and not a lot of things like this exist. The best bet is to keep me so distracted I don’t have the chance to think about the worst. Mr. W is good at distracting me and through him I’ve realized if I don’t give myself a chance to think about the worst, I can keep this fear at bay for a time.

So that’s my life at the moment, constantly trying to cram my brain with fun and positive projects to keep the nightmares at bay. Sounds brilliant and fun- which it is- but it’s also exhausting and it doesn’t always work. Before I fall asleep, for example, seems to be the magic time I let my guard down and some wicked thought slips in and buries into my brain never to leave.

As I get further along, weirdly, this gets worse instead of getting better as I initially thought it would. Every time I think about going into labor I think about last time and how horrible is was. I haven’t forgotten and I don’t think I ever will. It’s not really the pain that scares me, giving birth is natural and there’s pain relief there if needed, it’s just how terribly out of control the whole situation was and how it ended so unbearably and how I hated hospitals to start with let alone now I have that awful memory to put me off even more.

I can’t be the only one to feel this way? If anyone has any tips of de-stressing it would be greatly received! I’m already trying breathing techniques before bed and I’m starting up yoga soon. I was going to start this earlier in the pregnancy but was advised to wait until the 3rd tri before committing to any exercise, given my history, as we were unsure (and still are!) of the cause of my previous prem birth. Not that exercise causes premature labour just to clarify! I don’t want to worry other pregnant ladies! They were just unsure whether I had a weak cervix or not and if that was the case it would be wise to lay off the exercise.

Aside from the panic, not much has been happening this week. Plans for the re-vamping of the flat continue and I now have a huge list of jobs which I have allocated to certain weekends/days off for me and Andy to complete. The deadline for everything to be complete is the 30th May although as Andy says even then I probably won’t be happy and will want to change something else a few weeks later. He might be right but he humors me and goes along with everything.

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I had my 25 week doctor’s appointment last week which went well. The doctor is pleased with my progression and my fundal height is bang on target. The fundal height (a measurement from the pelvic bone to the top of the uterus) should be a cm for every week along you are and mine was 25 exactly so he was very happy with that.

Next week, for the first time in a long time, I have a week of no appointments which will be very odd! I just hope it doesn’t encourage another round of fear nausea which I’m becoming so used to! Princess wriggles and kicks A LOT now, which I love. It’s like she’s the one reassuring me which is strange! Mr W loves to feel her kick too and his second sentence of the day to me, after a day at work, is always “Has she been kicking and wriggling a lot today?”

Symptom wise I’m still pretty lucky, my PDP is still there but it’s more of a mild irritant than a massive pain at the moment. I’m still tired but that’s nothing new and I still have an aversion to boiled eggs and cheese and onion crisps (see previous post!) One thing I have started to notice though is that I get a numb bum and numb legs when I lie on one side for more than 45mins at a time. Not great when the majority of the info I get is “Don’t lie on your back!” “Lying on your left side gives the baby more room, therefore you should aim to lie on that side”.

I’m not a quick fall-to-sleeper. I tend to watch tele in bed for an hour or two before drifting off to sleep so I’ve started to notice this more. It can’t be the mattress- it’s hardly old and it’s a memory foam mattress that I’ve always found very comfortable. I can only imagine its due to the added weight of my bump pressing down on my nerves in my legs? I’m going to try a pregnancy pillow but if anyone has any suggestions on how to relieve this it would be greatly received as I’ve started waking up in the night from the numbness/achiness, and us pregnant ladies don’t really another reason to be woken in the night!

Apologies for the extra long ranty post this week! Thanks for reading.

Highlight of the week? New sofa received and princesses room is starting to take shape! 🙂
Low of the week? Vomiting through fear, panic attacks and a numb bum! 😦

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