26 Weeks

chip-greece I was meant to write this post on the flight home from our trip to Greece, but as has been the case quite often lately, I was too lazy. So here is my 26 weeks post, a little late.

It turns out, in fact, that 26 weeks is actually six months after all. You'd think, with an A in Maths GCSE that I might have been able to work that one out before, (52 weeks in a year, 26 weeks being half of 52 - DUH) but clearly I read somewhere that 24 weeks was six months' pregnant and got muddled again. In my defence, I reckon no one actually knows what the hell is going on with pregnancy dating, so you can make it up as you go along if you like. Cos apparently 24 weeks is 'in your sixth month', if not six months exactly. Or something.


Anyway, here I am, having been carrying around Chip (as we have nicknamed the baby) for exactly half a year. I know, my bump looks still piddling doesn't it? I'm not entirely sure it's growing at all, but have been measuring its circumference with a tape measure weekly (not sure how scientific that is) and can confirm that something in there is getting bigger! My new refrain to Oli in the mornings is 'do I look pregnant today or fat?' and he's mostly answered 'pregnant' recently so I feel somewhat reassured.

Apart from my lovely holiday, which was beset by a strange sort of grieving process whereby a voice in my head kept saying things like 'this is the last time we'll get on a plane just the two of us', 'this is the last time we'll go out for dinner on holiday alone', 'this is the last time we'll doze by the pool', life has been pretty awful lately. For reasons I can't go into, but that have involved lots of serious grown-up meetings and questions about the future. The stress of this situation actually resulted in my blood pressure going through the roof, and so at my 24 week check up, I was told by the GP that, seeing as my bump was also measuring small for my dates, I should go and have an emergency scan straight away to check everything was OK.


Thankfully, everything was OK. The baby measured perfectly for the dates and was bouncing around quite happily in my apparently diminutive bump, seemingly oblivious to my woes. The baby was even 'practising breathing' as we watched. Who knew they did this?! They 'breathe' in amniotic fluid and blow bubbles as they exhale it - as you can see in the pic. Very cool.

Unfortunately, the baby still has my nose, but you know, you can't have everything. It was a relief that he/she was healthy, but I have been advised to minimise stress (not particularly easy, I have to say) and so I'm trying really hard to take it easy. Thank god for all the bank holidays in May.

In other pregnancy whinges, I have some new symptoms to report. First off, my feet. I should have known, because even pre-up-the-duff my feet used to swell up on aeroplanes, but my feet at the moment (two days post-flight) are huge. Huge and puffy and hot and throbbing. Yesterday I wore normal shoes to work and by the end of the day apparently my feet had decided to go up an entire size, making my shoes unbearably painful. Today I'm in flip-flops and my feet are covered with blisters from yesterday. My mum says this will only get worse (she had my sister in August) as the weather warms up, so that's something to look forward to *prays for a washout summer*. I never imagined I would lie in bed moaning and whimpering about how painfully HOT my feet were - tis a new one, and a weird one.

The other final symptom has been somewhat disturbing. Upon removing my bra while in Greece, I noticed two tiny yellow stains in the middle of each cup. Yep, I am officially morphing into a human cow. Yet again, who knew? There's no baby yet, why is there stuff coming out of my nipples already? And also, where the hell does it actually come from? I still don't exactly understand where the holes are in nipples.

And these are the things that, pre-pregnancy, you never have to even THINK about. Oh those blissful days...

24 Weeks - also known as six months!

24-weeks I've realised that every pregnancy blog/vlog/diary/updated I've ever read starts 95% of the time with someone saying 'I can't BELIEVE I'm XX weeks pregnant'. So I vowed not to do that, yet here I am, falling into the cliche, because I really can't believe I'm 24 weeks - or more shockingly SIX MONTHS' pregnant today. At six months, I thought I would be gigantic, yet my bump, although an inch bigger than a week ago, is still relatively small and manageable. I don't really feel six months' pregnant at all. I actually feel instead that this is the first week where I feel actually properly pregnant finally, in that it's definitely on my mind all the time now. And turning over in bed has started to get a bit weird as my body moves and my stomach sort of follows a few nanoseconds later.

Physically, not much has happened this week, but I have been thinking a lot about mental health in pregnancy. The other night, after a particularly long and stressful week and a sleepless night the night before (I woke up at 4.30am and lay there till 6, before getting up and working through some emails), I had my second pregnancy 'hallucination'.

My first had been sometime late in the first trimester; I can't remember when exactly now. But I had woken up terrified because I heard someone open the front door, climb the stairs and open the door to my bedroom. I lay there for several seconds in the pitch black, not moving, before deciding I had to confront whoever it was. Finally I sat up in bed and turned on the light. It was 4am. There was no one there.

I was so confused at the time as I had been sure of what I'd heard, and sure that the door to my room would be open. I had heard it open! I even went into the hallway to check, but there was nothing and nobody there, and the front door was locked tight.

My second hallucination came last week and was altogether worse, albeit really bizarre. I woke up because beside me in the bed (Oli has been away on tour so I've mostly been sleeping alone) a man pushed the duvet onto me as he sat up next to me. He was naked from the waist up, and his face was in shadow, but he had a cushion balanced on his head (this is the bit that's just WEIRD). I screamed 'Get the fuck out of my room!', ran out of the bed and opened the door. And then suddenly stopped. And realised that he had disappeared.

Both of these episodes, I've decided, boil down to one thing: feeling vulnerable. I don't feel vulnerable very often. I'm an independent person, used to living alone (have done for nearly eight years, before Oli moved in last year) and have very rarely felt exposed or worried about my safety. But being pregnant is the most vulnerable state you can really get, because, as I've said before, so much of what's going to happen to you is outside your control. And it really affects your mental health and your sense of self-identity.

I hate being a needy person, but now I find myself asking Oli to carry the washing basket for me, because honestly bending down to pick it up makes me worry I might throw up (that lovely acid reflux again). I'm aware more than ever that I MUST sleep well and eat well because it's not just my health at stake, but that of my baby too. I don't want to travel on the tube in rush hour because I'm scared of getting ill and somehow impacting my baby. I don't want to go to noisy bars and stand there making conversation with people all the while knowing I must eat because my low blood sugar level is making me feel nauseous and panicky. And all this has made me feel uncomfortable, and pathetic, and vulnerable, and dependent.

Pregnancy is incredible, and insane. Hormonally, it's like puberty in many ways, with the bodily changes and the mood swings, but even more intense, and concentrated into a shorter period of time. I actually think I'm lucky in that I've not found my mood has changed that much - apart from crying at everything in the first trimester, and feeling less tolerant of people and things in general. I haven't been depressed, or particularly anxious, or deliriously happy either. But I have felt desperate to prove that pregnancy won't change me, or my independent lifestyle. To my detriment.

Personally, I don't think enough is talked about of your mental health and wellbeing during pregnancy. We're told a lot about nutrition and exercise but little is said about our own personal emotional care. Not much is said, for example, about the crazy dreams you get, of which I've had too many to blog about. But these are just as common a side effect as morning sickness and thicker hair, and I think even more important.

Something I've found of interest is Tommy's Wellbeing Plan - and this is the sort of thing that I think should be included in NHS pregnancy literature from the outset.

So, the moral of this ramble is: from now on I'm going to sleep better, ask for help without beating myself up about it, and stop doing things I don't want to do because I don't want people to see me as a pregnant wimp.

I am a pregnant wimp, and I don't care anymore.

PS I'll be on holiday next week so won't do a 25 week post! Enjoy your week off - I'll be back boring you with more thrilling updates before you can say 'third trimester'.