It has been (almost) three months since we moved house and the builders started work.
Three months of living elsewhere. Three months of spending four hours a day in the car doing the school and preschool run.
During this time, Sam has been on four work trips. Four weeks away from home.
I am 34 weeks pregnant, and although I’ve given up on having a date in mind for when we will ACTUALLY move into our new house, I now know it won’t be until 36 weeks at the earliest.
I’ve neglected to do any sort of pregnancy update for a good while. And because this pregnancy has been so closely connected with our house renovations and life in general, I thought I’d just roll it all into one update.
Things were all plodding along nicely with this pregnancy up until very recently. We had ages of time to go, I had no symptoms to complain about. But as soon as I hit 31 weeks, the good days of the second trimester disappeared and I was hit all of a sudden with a swathe of symptoms to complain about.
Heartburn arrived with a vengeance (something that I experienced with Arlo, but not at all with Rory). The niggling rib that plagued me in my first pregnancy reappeared. Along with an onset of intense pressure down below, which quickly developed into a chronic pain that has still not disappeared.
Google tells me that I seem to be suffering from SPD, or what is now called PGP. It feels like I’ve pulled a muscle in my groin, except it’s not getting better day by day as a muscle strain naturally would, and at times feels like something is trying it’s best to split me into two. It is painful to raise one leg (getting shoes, socks and trousers on is SO NOT FUN), and to turn over in bed. I hobble when I walk, especially after the long school runs in the car – my pelvis does NOT seem to like that position much. The other day, I got stuck on the floor in the boys room as I was reading them their bedtime story – whichever way it moved, it was going to be excruciatingly painful. All I can say is thank BLEEP this is the only pregnancy I’ve experienced this in so far, as it can be really quite debilitating.
One thing that has alleviated is the intense breathlessness I was experiencing towards the second half of the second trimester. Walking up flights of stairs was bad, but sometimes I’d even find myself breathless when stationary, or sitting in the car. The breathlessness disappeared overnight at the same time the pressure down below began, so although I have yet to have this confirmed with my midwife, I think baby 3 might have turned head down. (Update: midwife has confirmed the head is definitely down).
This is the first pregnancy that I’ve really had much to write about in the way of symptoms, especially in these later stages. I don’t know whether it’s because I am a bit older now, or perhaps because I’m heavier than I’ve ever been with any pregnancy, or maybe because in between spending four hours in the car each day doing the school run, and not having access to my own bed or house to gain any downtime back during the day, life is busier, days are more strenuous, and perhaps it’s taking it’s toll.
I can’t explain how badly I am itching to get into our new house and start making it our home. I was OK up until about a week ago, and then our schedule got put back by another week. That week’s delay unfortunately clashes with Sam’s next work trip, and there’s just no way we could have everything ready to move in before then, even if the builder’s magically manage to finish all the remaining work on schedule by the end of this weekend.
It means waiting another week and a bit until the next free weekend after Sam is back before we can move in, I will be 36 weeks by then. I usually try to have everything ready for a new arrival by the time I hit 37 weeks. So, that’s one week to clean and ready all the baby equipment and clothes, in the midst of cleaning and unpacking a whole house. Plus sourcing all the stuff needed for a home birth, as I’m still undecided on where I will actually want to give birth this time round.
All our possessions have been boxed up for the last three months. There isn’t one room in the house that is completely finished, so we’ve not been able to unpack bit by bit, room by room.
If you have ever done house renovations before, you will know what I mean about the dust being EVERYWHERE. There is no point cleaning it as we go along, because it just returns when the builders do their next bit of work. So, we have to wait until they are 100% done before we can blitz it. The builders have yet to fashion us a loft hatch, so there is a constant procession of soot from our chimney breast removal floating down from the loft into the rest of the house. I refuse to get any baby stuff out until we reach the stage where the work is 99% finished.
I’m a bit worried about bringing newborn lungs into a dusty environment (people keep telling me that the dust hangs around for weeks afterwards), and I can’t alleviate this worry until I can get in there and start a daily dust-clearing routine.
To be honest, I’m finding it hard to visualise the point when we will be actually living in our house with it not resembling a building site. My nesting instincts are not quite sure what to make of these mixed signals, so I just end up flapping and worrying about it, even though I know it will probably all pan out in the end, just in time.
So far, this time, I’m feeling the least prepared out of every pregnancy. Not just with the house stuff and lack of baby stuff ready and waiting, but on top of that, I’ve dedicated absolutely no time to mentally preparing myself, for labour or for having a new baby. I feel like these weeks are zooming by, and all of a sudden we’ll go from no baby to baby, without any time to reflect or adjust to this massive change. But then, I guess it’s a bit like that every time you add a baby to your family, there’s no way of being 100% prepared.
Sam is off on a work reward trip to Mexico, as he has had an extremely successful year. The trip was only announced a month or so ago. Partners are invited, but even if I did think I could handle a 10 hour flight at 34 weeks pregnant, there are very few or perhaps no travel insurers willing to cover pregnancy complications or early labour after 34 weeks. So, I’m staying at home. Sam totally deserves this bit of downtime, so I’m very pleased for him, whilst also being slightly sad at the timing because I’m DESPERATE to get our house sorted. And I’m also lamenting the missed opportunity as we only ever managed one holiday alone together before children happened. That being said, we have just spent a week together in New York without the kids, and I know there will be time for all of this again at some point in the future, so I can’t complain.
I’m finding it a bit sad to have him away at this point in time when I’m feeling a little bit extra emotional and stressed. When you have a partner that works away frequently, it can feel like you spend most of your time planning around their next trip, and then waiting for them to come back. It shapes the structure of our entire family life, and creates a lot of logistical planning problems. Never before have we felt the brunt of this as much as during the last few months whilst our house renovations have been going on – it’s been challenging to manage everything without Sam around, and it has added delays to what has already been a rather delayed house move and build.
Back to baby stuff. I wrote before that we were going to find out the gender, and I have had a fair few people ask if this little one is going to be a he or a she.
This is the first time we’ve found out before the birth, and honestly, it has felt like quite a personal detail to know at this stage. We have divulged to a few friends and family when we’ve felt like doing so, but really we just want to meet our little person for ourselves before we tell everyone else and ‘the Internet.’ It was kind of a big relief once I realised that just because we did find out this time, it doesn’t mean I have to tell if I am not feeling like it.
So, I have a few posts on the subject of finding out the gender stored up that I will hopefully get around to publishing once baby 3 is here. I definitely have quite a bit to say on the subject! But that can wait.
The name thing is starting to feel like a pressing issue. Another complication that arises with not being in our own house for three months, in addition to not being able to discuss names in front of our existing blabbermouth children, is that we are never alone to have conversations (heated debates) about our favourite name choices. We literally haven’t discussed names at all so far. Sam resolutely refuses to commit to a name before our babies are here, so it usually takes us a few days at least to name a child, perhaps this time we will break our record and it might end up being a few weeks before we decide.
This post has just ended up being a messy brain-dump. With so many things uncertain at the moment, my head is swimming with to-do lists and jumbled thoughts. This is the most hectic part of pregnancy, and house renovations. The part where I can almost see the finish line, but there are a few last moment hurdles to jump before I get there. Once I iron out a few thoughts in my head, and a few house issues, life will start to feel calmer once more. Just a matter of riding it out until then.