I can’t believe I’m typing this, but it’s just four weeks until D-Day… Due Day that is, although of odds of me going into spontaneous labour on my due date are slim at best.
Still, it’s this imagined finish line you have in your mind, a date to work towards and the end of the world’s biggest, baddest and toughest endurance test. Yes you heard me. You can keep your Iron Man’s, your endurance triathlons, ultra-marathons, even climbing bloody Everest doesn’t compare to the trials and tribulations of pregnancy.
Honestly, looking back on this pregnancy I have to admit, I’ve found it much tougher this time around. From the physical side effects, like nausea, fatigue, indigestion, back pain, the heat and now PUPPPs rash, to the sheer bloody exhaustion of being pregnant with a toddler in tow, it’s been a tough eight months, tougher than I ever imagined.
But this time, what really made things different for me, was the bombshell I got at my 20 week scan. The unpronounceable placenta issue that had me holding my breath for most of the second trimester.
Thankfully, after my excruciating wait for a follow up scan, I was told that things were progressing normally and not to worry. Always easier said than done, but with each scan I have tried to worry less and less, confining that niggling anxiety away in the back of my mind with all the other bad things I don’t want in my life and yet somehow they trickle out of your brain at 3am while you’re lying there with pregnancy insomnia.
And then there is the elephant in the room.
I’ve written before about how getting pregnant for the second time was a huge decision for me personally… And even now, this far in, I still wonder whether it’s been a brave or stupid thing to do, taking that leap into the unknown once more, considering what I went through the first time.
But what I do know for sure is that as my due date gets closer and closer, this time around I’m filled with a sense of excitement and happiness. It’s a sort of giddy, childlike Christmas Eve feeling. It’s hard to put into words. I’m genuinely feeling joy in anticipation of meeting my baby, whereas last time especially in this final few weeks, most of what I was feeling was a hidden sense of fear, anxiety and panic at the thoughts of becoming a mum.
Also this time, I’m looking forward to those moments after labour… that special moment when your baby is thrust up onto your chest, that moment that was ultimately robbed from me thanks to me fears, my anxiety and a horrendous panic attack that saw me shake from head to toe terrified by my baby. All of it fuelled by my lack of understanding that the ‘instant bond’ is often a myth. This time around, while I know I may or may not feel that instant gush of life-altering love in that special moment, I’m still ready to re-claim it as a special moment of joy, not fear.
In many ways, this has been a quick pregnancy. It doesn’t feel that long ago that I was looking down at the pregnancy test, going into my 12 week scan and feeling my baby’s movements for the first time.
In other ways, it’s been the longest few months of my life. The exhaustion and worry have at times, been overwhelming, but it’s also shown me that I’m stronger than I think.
My thoughts now turn to the practicalities of having a newborn and toddler in the house, how I’ll cope, how I’ll feel, how my little dude will take to these changes. Trying to split myself in two to ensure he doesn’t feel left out, while giving my newborn all the attention I can.
I won’t lie, I’ve still got worries and anxieties, but I feel much more prepared this time around and as these last week’s go by in a blur, I’m ready to take that leap into the unknown again, albeit this time with more of a sense of direction than I had last time.