Foetus at 34 weeks
We really are on the home stretch now, with only 6 weeks till our Estimated Due Date…
Some interesting facts about being 34 weeks pregnant:
- Tadpole now weighs about 4.7lbs, and measures about 18 inches top to toe (which is a total gain of 0.5lbs and an entire inch in one week!)
- Tad is definitely head-down and, although not fully engaged (which we wouldn’t really have expected), is in the first stage of engagement (the midwife mentioned Tad was in the perfect position and didn’t look like s/he would be moving the other way up again now)
- Tadpole’s hearing is now almost fully developed (so no doubt s/he can hear all the banging from our noisy upstairs neighbours too!)
- The lungs are now fully developed, meaning that if Tadpole were born today, s/he would have very few, if any, problems breathing for him/herself
- If Tad were to be born today, s/he would have a 98% chance of survival (terrific news!)
- There are now just 42 days till our Estimated Due Date!
It’s been an incredibly busy and interesting week. It started with Tadpole doing MAJOR acrobatics on Sunday morning – my belly looked like a scene from The Perfect Storm, undulating all over the place. This went on for little over half an hour and was very uncomfortable (although not painful) and I came to the conclusion that Tadpole was turning. Turns out I was right – at our midwife appointment later in the week, we were told that Tad was in the perfect position for being born and didn’t look like s/he would be moving out of position again. The head is also in the first stage of engagement (1/5th engaged), with the back curving round my right side and the feet over to the left (where I’ve been getting most of the kicks for a little while now!). Apparently, all the walking I do has been perfect for helping Tadpole get into the right position. Well done, me!
Strangely, when the midwife measured my bump, it wasn’t at the expected 34 inches – instead I measured 36 inches, but I suspect the bottom end of the tape measure was slightly too low (it certainly felt that way) and that we can probably knock an inch off that. She also assured me that the achy pain I’ve been feeling in my pelvic bones is due to the hormone, Relaxin, letting the bones move into a wider position to facilitate the birth, so I feel a little better about it knowing that.
We had our final antenatal class this week too (although Dale couldn’t quite make it due to being held up at work). Home-Birth-Blondie wasn’t there this time, but whether that was due to the fact that she didn’t need the tour of the midwifery unit and labour ward, or because she’d had her baby two weeks early, we don’t know. It’s a bit of a shame, because I had planned on swapping contact details with her – she was really nice. I did, however, swap details with another member of the class (the Redhead who lives near us, but who will shortly be moving to Edinburgh), as she is very nice too. Her due date is just three days after ours, so there’s a good chance we could end up being on the maternity ward together too. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to go for a coffee a few times before she moves away.
The tour of the wards was, for me, a little disappointing. My fist crushing blow was the birthing pool – Aberdeen Maternity Hospital covers a very wide area (right up to the Shetlands!) and yet only has a single birthing pool which is tucked away in a tiny, poky room (which is like being in an oven too!). As use of the pool is on a first-come, first-served basis, the chances of getting to use the pool are very slim. And the turnaround on use for the next person waiting is long too – it has to be cleaned and sit for an hour in between uses. The labour ward (where you have to go if you have an epidural or have any complications at all) felt very clinical and very hot. The rooms were not very encouraging of relaxation at all, but we were assured that the Midwife Unit rooms were far more homely and comfy-looking. Imagine my surprise when we got there and realised the only major difference between the labour ward rooms and those in the Midwifery Unit was that the rack where the gas and air comes through is hidden by a curtain across the wall! Still very clinical-looking and – yes, you’ve guessed it – roasting hot. Now, I know the rooms have to be kept warm for the newborn babies, who come out wet and lose body heat very easily, but it was like a sauna in there! For someone who overheats easily at the best of times (i.e. me!) this wasn’t very comfortable.
I have now resolved that I am staying home as long as is humanly possible. If that means I get to the hospital at 8cm dilation, then so be it, because if I can hold out that long, it’ll mean less time spent in that place, and at least I can guarantee use of my own bath in my bathroom which is only fractionally smaller than the room with the birthing pool! We’re very fortunate in that we live only a 5-minute pre-pregnancy walk from the hospital, so we can get there very quickly if need be. That’s some consolation, at least.
Yesterday, I had the day off work, so I headed into town to pick up a few things in readiness for my trip into hospital. I didn’t really have a toiletry bag that was big enough without being huge, so I bought a cheap one and filled it with miniatures of toothpaste, deodorant, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and a mini hairbrush. I’ll also be decanting small amounts of my cosmetics into tiny containers – I don’t want to have to take anything full-size with me that will take up too much of the limited space in my bag, as I have to have things for Tadpole in there too. I still have a few things to get, like maternity/nursing bras (which I’m supposed to wait to get in week 36/37, so my boobs are at their fullest) and a front-opening nightie for feeding in the hospital (I don’t tend to wear clothing in bed, so I don’t really have anything remotely suitable!), which I’ll get over the next few weeks. I think we have most things pretty much covered…
And finally, on a non-baby-related point, I had my job interview on Wednesday (I mentioned it in last week’s post). Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job, but as it was two pay-grades above my own, rather than just stepping up one, I wasn’t hugely surprised. However, I was told I interviewed extremely well and the Chief gave me a glowing reference – the other candidate just had more experience (which would be expected as she was about 10-15 years older than me). Ah well, there’s always next time, and at least I’m still in a job I love!
My 34-week bump!