Weeks 28-31 – Prepare for Battle!
These weeks felt like a constant battle plan, prepare, prepare, prepare! Now that I knew I had been a bit ambitious to think that I would be able to teach for another 10 weeks (yeah right!), I decided to chop it down to just the 6 weeks. That in mind, I finally had a maternity leave date – or as near as, so I spent most of my life in these weeks applying for various benefits and chasing the applications through. Also, I had to make sure all the current students had a plan for their lesson structure too – make sure I helped them perfect what they were currently working on, and give them a load more stuff to work on whilst I would be away. I spent a lot of time sat on my arse, writing articles for the site for my girls to use whilst I was off. They turned out really nice, you can see them HERE.
The home was another battleground – I was full-on into the ‘Nesting Phase‘ now and went round each room in the house getting rid of any junk that we don’t use and cleaning every square inch of it.
Millie’s room was stripped, painted, newly carpeted, kitted out with everything a baby could possibly need and was looking plush!
I also had to come up with a battle plan for MYSELF too, so taking meds and vits became a daily regime, as did moisturising the bump to avoid stretch marks (I used Dermalogica Body Hydrating Cream – cheapest place to buy that is HERE, also Bio Oil which you can buy pretty much anywhere), I started using Mothercare’s Perfect Delivery Perineal Gel to ‘help improve elasticity and soften the skin in preparation for labour’ – that’s as descriptive as I am prepared to go on that subject!
Because I was still considered a ‘high risk’ pregnancy, I was able to have another scan at 28 weeks pregnant. So here she is again, 28 weeks old.
I have tilted this picture so you can clearly see a side profile of her little face. You can clearly see her forehead, a pretty little eye, button nose, rounded cheek, tiny mouth and chin. The ‘item’ by her chin is a tiny fist – she was just sucking her thumb as the picture was taken!
I was still suffering from aches at this point, but it had shifted from my lower back to my whole pelvic area. Sometimes I literally had to climb the stairs on all fours to get up them! The rest of the time I hobbled around like a little old lady! Not a cool look. SO the fella took some initiative (rare but welcome occurrence) and booked me in for some ‘Floatation Therapy’ at Cherry Floatation in Hawarden (a village just down the road from where I live).
MY GOD IT WAS BRILLIANT! I felt so well rested after it, aches had completely dissipated I didn’t feel limited any more and I even felt like my usual bodyweight was back (at this point I had put on 2 stone!) and I was feeling ready to cope with anything!
BUT… in all sensibility, it was time to start admitting defeat and so I pretty much HAD TO stop inverting now, I was finding it very difficult and the lump just got in the way – it seemed to be going through a growth spurt and got bigger every other day!
Body & Baby info
Weeks 32-35 – OMG is it over yet?!
I had grown HUGE practically overnight, apparently us preggo’s gain about a pound a week round about now! the extra weight meant that I had now developed serious SPD as well, which was KILLING me! Now I HAVE actually cracked a rib doing pole before (stupidly repeating the same move over and over until I hurt!) and it never felt as painful as this.
What is SPD? Hmmm…. well, it’s a lovely pregnancy symptom that only 1 in 5 women get. Here’s a brief description of what it is:
The two halves of your pelvis are connected at the front by a stiff joint called the symphysis pubis. This joint is strengthened by a network of tough, flexible ligaments. To help your baby pass through your pelvis as easily as possible, your body produces relaxin, which softens the ligaments. As a result, these joints move more during and just after pregnancy, causing inflammation and pain.
A related condition is DSP, in which the gap in the pubic joint widens too far. The average gap between the bones in a non-pregnant woman is between 4 and 5mm, during pregnancy it’s normal for this gap to widen by 2 or 3mm. If the gap is 10mm or more, DSP is diagnosed. It’s rare, and can only be identified by X-ray.
All this meant that my pole ability was reduced to strictly beginner level now, so spins were ok, but I simply couldn’t do much running around or anything that required a lot of legwork. Thank god my I was on my last 2 weeks of teaching my last course at this stage – my body was giving me all the signals I needed….it was time to QUIT!
Now lessons had finished, I got those old guilty prangs and feelings of withdrawal, so I decided to do some very simple, very safe freeweight exercises whilst sat on a gym ball to support the bump. The last thing I wanted was to come out of this with all of my pole strength completely diminished, but it was the only exercise I felt safe to do now. As it turned out, I found the exercises very effective and useful for ANYONE wanting to use freeweights in the gym to strengthen up for pole.
But soon after, things started to get real uncomfortable, my boobs leaked ever so slightly (about a drip’s worth every few hours), I had a bizarre skin breakout on my face from all the hormonal changes, I had to roll over onto my side, then on my hands and knees to get up off my back, the dreaded nausea came back again (oh joy) but this time it teamed up with some lovely acid reflux too (double joy), for this – I recommend the assorted fruit flavoured TUMS! sleeping became impossible, and not being able to pole any more meant that I was feeling very fat, sluggish and useless.
I really felt by now that I had been pregnant forever and started to wish it over. BUT at 34 weeks I was allowed yet another scan which was the only thing cheering me up! that and being waited on hand and foot by my wonderful fiancée. So here is Millie at 34 weeks old.
Like all the other new Mum’s I had met recently, I was getting increasingly worried about the birth, but very excited about meeting her.
Millie’s movements had become VERY forceful now, and even painful. I could feel the moment when her head engaged – it was like a weird ‘monthly pain’ sensation which lasted a few hours….not painful enough or regular enough to be labour but certainly noticeable!
Since then, her head and all the extra weight right on the pelvis made my SPD go CRAZY! I became a bit of an emotional rollercoaster to be with in these weeks and I felt like my independence and health deteriorated overnight! I now relied on my fiancée to do pretty much EVERYTHING for me. I ended up having a hissy fit one night because I couldn’t even put my own knickers on without something hurting or feeling crushed.
Body & Baby Info
Weeks 36 – Birth
Again, due to being in the ‘High Risk’ category, the professionals decided that before they would make any rash decisions to induce me early (to avoid further complications for her and minimise my discomfort), they would monitor us both VERY closely over week 35 & 36. So I spent every OTHER day at hospital.
In this time I was able to get to know the labour ward pretty well. When I first heard of people having ‘tours’ of the labour ward at the beginning of my pregnancy I thought this was a bit of a stupid process to be honest but now I realise it isn’t as each time I was admitted for monitoring I noticed just how weird life is in there without all the home comforts I am used to!
It wasn’t an unpleasant place, but you definitely need your own distractions to keep your mind occupied, so I was able to pack my hospital bag really well whenever I WAS home! This would include anything I had thought about with regards to prep-ping for labour.
My best tip is…. ‘If it makes you feel better, then it helps!’
To explain what I mean, I’ll tell you about some eccentric, over the top stuff I included in my packing, none of which are necessary really but every-time I went into hospital – I just felt like – ok, no problem, I have everything I need. SO, things that I took that probably most sane folk wouldn’t is…. my laptop! and a selection of DVD’s to watch. Movies really take me away with the fairies so I figured I would be most likely be able to pipe down and forget about stuff if I had a film to watch!
I bought a TENS machine, a head massager, anyone who knows me should also know how important it is to me to have an abundance of ‘special snacks’ around me if I am to sit anywhere for a length of time….so I collected a bag full of my favourite foods, loads of eccentric stuff again like Thorntons choccies and strawberries! I felt ready to cope with ANYTHING…..even if I did look like a complete fruit cake!
But this was all ON TOP of the normal stuff AND the stuff you mustn’t forget – phone charger & phone, little bit of money for the shop, a bag for new baby, clothes & pants etc, lots of pads…for all purposes! Baby wipes for everything else! etc…
Another benefit of this stage of the pregnancy is that people could see that things were becoming a total struggle for me and started to chip in! Mum and my fiancee helped drive me to the appointments left right and centre, and kept me fed and watered, helped with housework and washing etc… my fiancee’s folks bought me presents or were bringing me things… my friends were buying little presents for Millie and my students were either doing the same or just showing me their un faltering support, my sister splurged on some beauty treatments for me ready for the ‘Bump Shoot’, which was especially brilliant considering how freakish I was feeling! It was a really nice time.
We had also had this Bump Shoot planned for sometime and the dates kept changing as first I was too small for it (I wanted to be at my hugest in the pics!) and then we moved it forward in case I was going to be induced! But the day finally came and Andrew did a fantastic job! I have used his images throughout this blog and for various other projects, and despite the fact that I could NOT POSSIBLY have felt LESS attractive at the time, I am super glad I had it done anyway as we now have our very first family portrait shots on the walls at home and a very first photo album.
So that was it. I felt ready to pretty much get Millie out, show her the world, and start our new lives all together.
Return of the Blood Pressure & OMG BIRTH!
No sooner had I had the bump shoot, that on that very night I went for my usual check up and guess what….. the blood pressure was sky high! So high that apparently I could have had a stroke from it at any given moment.
Pregnancy does normally push your blood pressure up a bit but honestly, mine was scary No one knows WHY it was so bad, I had cut out the stresses, it has nothing to do with pole dance, my liver, lungs and kidneys were all tested and were fine, bloods and sugars were fine, I was not diabetic, overweight, old, or intolerant to anything and my cholesterol levels were spot on. There was literally no explanation for it. So they tried to control it with drugs for 2 days and gave up – they made the decision to induce me! Just 2 days after the photo shoot.
To cut a long story short, there were some complications – things like my veins not being big enough, blood pressure mis-behaving, the epidural didn’t work, my back was too arched, I had to stay in bed for the whole process coz I was attached to TWO drips at once etc….. The labour bit was fine, painful – but I was feeling very motivated and was eager to push her out when the moment came.
And then, Millie was here!
My hard work had paid off – not a single stretch mark, and no stitches! Brilliant!
So, because she was obviously premature, she weighed only 4lbs2 – which is good for a prem baby. She (like most prem babies) had trouble breathing on her own at first, but was able to do it after a day. She also had feeding issues at the beginning and was sent to SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit). Those guys did a FANTASTIC job. They cared for her so well and got her strong and healthy as quickly as possible.
And here she is a few days later with some of our Candy & Chrome pole birds…
Because she was in special care, I decided the best thing I could do for her now was to breast feed, so I gave up the fags, ate fruit & veg a lot more, kept my fluids up and gave it a shot. Since she has been on the feeds, she has been able to keep it all down herself and increase the amount gradually. This is what she looked like just a few days later…
*Prepare, Prepare, Prepare – and prepare early!
*Know your rights & what you are entitled to
*Moisturise lots – including down there!
*Relax – try a alternative therapy, like the Cherry float
*KNOW YOUR LIMITS, and when to quit
*Fruit flavoured TUMS
*Pack your bags early and remember – ‘If it makes you feel better, then it HELPS!’
*Be brave, get a bump shoot done, even if you think you look like crap, you won’t regret it! Hire a professional like Andrew Dobell for this.
*If you look like crap, get clip in hair extensions, beauty treatments, good make-up, good lighting etc….it’ll be fine.
*Breastfeed if you can – it’s super juice for babies! And good for you too.