My Third Trimester
Oh the third trimester. Such fun. This hit me in the midst of the English summer and those 2017 heatwaves! It was a particularly busy time for us as we had a million weddings to go to, moved house (from central London to Barnes) and I was studying for my final biomedicine exams at Nutrition College.
They say you know when you've reached the home stretch. They're not wrong. My bump literally expanded overnight and I started waddling around like a drunk duck. My legs chafed, my back ached, I could barely squeeze into the bath, my nipples started leaking colostrum, I was terrified of sneezing (ladies, you know why!) and I was frequently welcomed into the room with what every girl wants to hear...'Oh my God, you're MASSIVE!'
On the plus side, after what felt like being pregnant for ever, I was so excited to meet our baby...and not be pregnant anymore! We started stocking up on loads of ridiculously tiny vests and babygros and, after several trips to Mothercare, Mamas & Papas and John Lewis, finally chose our pram.
* We went for the iCandy Peach.
The most exciting part of all was buying essentials for our hospital bag, including my favourite M&S Percy Pig sweets for quick energy (any excuse) and the all important 'push present' to open after the baby arrives, which I thought was a fabulous idea and made sure my boyfriend, Mikey, knew this was just as essential as the Tena Lady Triple Protection Maxi Pants.
The Birth (Gulp!).
I don't think anything can prepare you for labour. I decided to go down the birthing pool route as I felt this was the most gentle way to bring my baby into the world. However, I was fully prepared to sack it all in for an epidural seeing as my pain threshold is pretty low and just the thought of giving birth naturally put me into a cold sweat. Yet, to my genuine surprise, I somehow managed to stick it out until the end with no painkillers and pulled our beautiful baby out myself after 24 hours of labour.
I still question whether I actually did this. It has definitely made me feel like some sort of superwoman, because that is exactly what we are, ladies, no matter how we give birth! It's impossible to explain that out-of-body-experience pain. Thinking about it now makes my lady regions shudder, but I'm going to refrain from going into too much detail about my birth, mainly because I don't want to put you mummys-to-be off (!), but also because everyone will have different experiences so I don't think there's any need.
What I will tell you is that meeting our beautiful baby was the most surreal, heart-filling, proudest moment of my entire life. I wish I could re-live that day over and over...without the pain! I would also like to dedicate this post to my amazing mum, patient boyfriend and incredibly reassuring midwife who stuck by my side during this crazy 24 hours. There is no way on earth I'd have been able to do it without them.
What I've learnt...
You can go to all the anti-natal and NCT classes you want and write your birth plan over and over again, but when it comes down to it...you've just got to do what feels right to you at the time and of course which route is the safest one for you and your little one.
my hospital bag essentials:
LED tea lights.
We bought lots of these with us and scattered them around the birthing room. The main lights were turned off and the blackout blinds were closed so it felt really intimate and peaceful. You can grab these tea-lights from places like Tiger Tiger and Primark.
I didn't actually spend much time working on my breathing techniques before the birth (slight regret) but there are a lot of great hypnobirthing soundtracks on Spotify which we had on repeat and I have to say it made a huge difference to my stress levels.
Lucozade Sport (and a straw!).
Let's be real. It's impossible to eat when a contraction is blowing your head off, but it's even harder to ride each one with zero energy so the super sugary Lucozade Sport (no fizz!) was a life-saver. Don't forget to bring a straw so your birthing partner or midwife can hold the bottle for you in case you are on all-fours (like me!).
Make it easy for yourself and pack some face wipes as you will most likely be far too exhausted to carry out your normal skincare routine. If you're not then I salute you!
You may be in the hospital for a few days so bring enough (comfy) clothes and lots of underwear!
Olive oil for your baby.
Our little Pia became so, so dry after she was born. Her skin was literally flaking off her hands and feet. I was terrified something was wrong with her but apparently this is perfectly normal and most babies develop a little (or a lot!) of post-natal dryness. As most moisturisers are too strong to use on newborns, we were advised to use coconut or olive oil. It took us quite a long time to locate this it the hospital so I would really recommend you bringing some yourself.
AFTER-CARE TIP - freeze your pads!
Unless you get a C-section, your lady-parts are going to hurt, a lot. You are also going to bleed, a lot so you are going to need some chunky pads! My lovely mid-wife gave me the best tip; stock them all in the freezer. I cannot tell you how amazing this felt when I was particularly sore and I'm convinced it helped reduce the swelling and made me heal faster.
I hope you enjoyed this post and it was helpful for you. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Also, if you had any useful tips to share, feel free to comment below :)