31 weeks

I had my latest scan today but not done by my consultant as she’s on holiday.  One of the hospital’s sonographers whisked me away to the blessedly air conditioned examination rooms.  Healthy baby is healthy, she’s turned during the week so is now head down, I think she must have done so yesterday as I could feel her moving about, in an alien about to burst out of my belly sort of way.  The doppers were good, nice shape and boringly average for this stage of gestation.  As the sonographer said, we like boringly average.  The AFI* though was down, last week it was about 11cm today it was approximately 8cm.  Still within limits, just, for 31 weeks gestation but the sonographer was not unduly worried as the baby has enough fluid to kick her heels in and had a full bladder, once she has done a wee the levels should perk up a bit.  Yep amniotic fluid is basically baby wee with added skin cells and discarded hair and the baby drinks it – no wonder Tom prefers the taste of water once he’s had a chance to “bathe” in it.

The sonographer wasn’t worried, so I shouldn’t be, even if the levels drop down lower next week, they may not take action as I don’t seem to be leaking fluid, therefore no tear in the membranes so we’re at a low risk of infection, and the baby isn’t showing distress.  However I’m glad that I had decided to pack up a bag of baby stuff.  No preemie nappies or clothes as I’m reluctant to spend money on stuff we hopefully won’t need, but I’ve collected up a bright toy for her to look at, a crocheted cotton blanket, baby bath towel and the smallest newborn clothes I could find, some stuff Tom never wore as he never fitted into them.

So how has the last week gone? As I’m getting bigger, the more I’m feeling this pregnancy.  Heartburn is my almost constant companion, Gaviscon is my closest bosom pal.  I’ve got a mild touch of SPD which makes walking and turning over in bed painful.  I seem to be affected by the humidity more than I am by the heat.  Last night according to the Weather Pro app the humidity levels were up in the 90s yet it wasn’t that hot, only 15C, Simon was happily comfortable but I felt like I was in a Turkish Bathing House.  Today it’s pleasantly warm, 21C feeling like 23C but as the humidity level is a more civilised 55% I’m far more comfortable.  The swelling of feet and ankles is getting more pronounced, but that’s just part of pregnancy for me.  My boobs haven’t really changed this time, well as far as I can tell, they didn’t suddenly get bigger when I got pregnant and they quickly conceded the fight to be the first thing in the room to my belly.  I have a feeling that they’ll turn into comedy balloons after the baby is born, might be worth holding off getting nursing bras until the last minute I think.

The hormones seemed to have found the tear ducts.  Until a few days ago, I was quietly pleased that I could read sad news items and watch cynically manipulative TV ads without howling my eyes out, not any longer, the other day the flood gates opened.  Since then I’ve stayed away from items about kittens, babies or brave doggies trekking across Africa to find their masters.

I find it very hard not to worry about the pregnancy.  From Thursday to Saturday evening the baby was very quiet, even though I could count 10 kicks within one hour, I worried.  They were feeble kicks, why was that Braxton Hicks really painful, what if it wasn’t a BH but a real contraction.  Even when everything seems to be going well there is a low grade constant worry, grumbling away.

I haven’t enjoyed this pregnancy, I’m not excited by it either, the worry has been too great.  I’m torn between wanting the baby here now, even as a preemie.  Because at least that way she’ll be in the caring hands of the NICU with dependable machines to help take care of her rather than relying on a placenta that may start failing at any moment.  The more rational part of me thinks no, right now she’s best off where she is, the placenta isn’t failing at the moment, she’s growing well, the longer she stays in the womb the better her long term chances are.  The faff of trying to be with a preemie in NICU, caring for toddler at home, recovering from a C-section, while in the throws of moving house in late August would be horrific.  Far better to be still pregnant and able to do more stuff, even if it’s limited to packing the occasional box and entertaining Tom with books.

The end of this nightmare feels in sight.  We’ve got a roughly 5 more weeks of this at the most.  If all is well at the 33 week scan, we will ask about setting a date for the c-section around the start of week 37, roughly 19th August.

*AFI – Amniotic Fluid Index – the amount of amniotic fluid around a foetus.  Not a precise measurement but calculated by measuring the depth of 4 pools of fluid around the baby.  The pools have to be clear of arms, toes, umbilical cord.  The result is given as a depth in cm rather than as a volume (cm cubed), calculating the volume could well be an assumption too far.  The absolute limits are between 5cm and 25cm but  there are relative limits which relate to the gestational age.

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