Foetus at 32 weeks
And so, another week has already passed – time is surely flying faster than I’ve ever known! Another busy week – some good (such as our 5th wedding anniversary), some not so good (I’ve had a throat infection over the past week, which hasn’t greatly enhanced my mood, but other than that everything’s been fine).
Some interesting facts about being 32 weeks pregnant:
- Tadpole will be gaining between 1/3 and 1/2 of his/her body weight during the next seven weeks of gestation (that’s a LOT of growing!)
- Tad now weighs around 3.75lbs and measures about 17 inches from head to foot (that’s an inch of growth in a week!)
- Tad is currently inhaling amniotic fluid to exercise his/her lungs and practice breathing (which explains why The Kid keeps getting hiccups!)
- If Tadpole were to be born today, s/he would have a 95% chance of survival (this won’t change again until we hit 34 weeks)
- There are now just 56 days till our Estimated Due Date!
We had our second antenatal class this week. Unfortunately, Dale was unable to come with me (the first antenatal appointment he’s had to miss so far!) as, due to being a Postie, he works in the morning and this class was at 9.30am. I really wish he’d been able to come along to this one in particular, as we were discussing various methods of relaxation, which included various massage techniques to use in labour. Since I was the only Lone Ranger in the class, I found myself being the one upon whom the demonstration was conducted, which was very relaxing. I’ll have to demonstrate the techniques to Dale this weekend.
As usual, I was full of questions. I’d done a little internet research and discovered that our local maternity hospital has higher-than-the-national-average rates for interventions such as C-sections and inductions, as well as for forceps- and ventouse-assisted births. This worried me a whole lot, as I’d like to go as natural as possible with as little interference or intervention as possible. Fortunately, my fears were allayed – the reason for these higher-than-average figures is two-fold – firstly, it’s a teaching hospital and secondly, it has a very wide catchment area, and any unusual/difficult cases from places as far-flung as Orkney and The Shetland Islands get sent here, hence the numbers are higher for interventions and medical procedures than they might normally be.
I was also heartened to hear that there are a few midwives who are familiar with hypnobirthing, so I’m very likely to give birth surrounded by understanding people who are willing to let me get on with things without being bugged, prodded and poked at too much, which is a major relief!
I’ve made some tiny additions to my Birth Plan as they’ve occurred to me – little things like requesting not to have the staff announce the gender of Tadpole to us – we’d prefer to find out for ourselves; and not cutting the cord immediately – and letting Dale have the choice of doing so (if he wants to). I’ve also decided I want to labour at home for as long as I possibly can. I have this luxury as we literally live a 5-minute pre-pregnancy-walk from the midwife unit, so we can get there very quickly in a car, meaning I can legitimately leave it rather late before making the move from my comfortable home-surroundings. I’d actually consider a home-birth if we had the room for a birthing pool! (There is one girl in our antenatal class who is seriously considering a home-birth with as few drugs as possible – we seem to be on a similar wavelength and I rather like her and her partner).
When I was telling Leni (my sister and second birth-partner) I wanted Tadpole to be birthed in as natural a way as possible she was initially rather horrified – apparently, if it were her, she’d want to be pumped full of drugs. I have no problem with other people wanting that, but my personal feeling towards getting all those chemicals pumped into me is one of abhorrence – I’ve found that I no longer have any fear of the birthing process (which is very strange, as it used to be rather a phobia of mine!) and am pretty much of the opinion that my body knows what it’s doing – after all, it’s what the female body was supposedly created to do in the first place! And I was thinking just he other day – have you ever seen a cat giving birth? She purrs! That’s a happy sound – she quietly purrs as she gives birth! Humans are the only creatures on the planet that make a big deal out of the birthing process and I wonder how much of that is down to fear? If we fear that we’re going to be in pain, are we more likely to experience it, simply because we expect it? So, I’ve been conditioning myself to expect a straight-forward birth with none of the nonsense and kafuffle normally associated with modern childbirth!
On the non-birth side of things, I’ve been getting Braxton Hicks contractions over the last week or so. They don’t hurt at all, but they kind of knock the breath out of me occasionally! It just feels like my belly gets rock-hard – tighter than ever – for a minute or two. I just use my breathing techniques (strangely, the technique that was demonstrated in our antenatal class this week is the one I use when I’m in pain or feeling sick anyway – so I’ve had plenty of practice!) until it passes and carry on with whatever I was doing before it came on.
And our travel system arrived this week – Dale spent a wee while putting it all together and working out how all the bits connect together (it’s a buggy, a carry cot and a car seat all together in one package, and now delights in racing round our small flat with it. I think he’s really going to enjoy pushing Tadpole about in it!
So, things are getting rather exciting – the time is getting closer and closer to when we finally get to met the tiny person who is (right at this very second while I type) kicking like crazy inside me!