Shae, an expectant first time Mum on the Haakaa team, shares her thoughts on her pregnancy journey so far.
This will be the last blog I get to write for a while; I finish up work today to start my long-awaited maternity leave! I think, all in all, it's been a pretty easy pregnancy, although, without any other experiences of my own to compare to, I think "easy" is pretty subjective. That being said, I've heard about the experiences of many other women and count myself lucky. Thankfully I've been rid of a lot of morning sickness for the last few weeks, with only the occasional gag/dry heaving while brushing my teeth – which is still unpleasant, but hey, I'll take it!
I'm now 38 weeks, and the most uncomfortable thing for me now (apart from tiny little jabs to my ribs, hips and bladder at any time of the day) is acid reflux, which is fun! I throw back Quick-Eze so frequently that I may as well invest in shares in the company to make it worth my while. The reflux has paired up with insomnia too, so they skip along hand in hand, keeping me up at night, with hip pain making a regular guest appearance too. I guess this is good preparation for the lack of sleep that I'm warned about when the baby actually arrives…can you call that a silver lining?? Again, I think my pregnancy has been pretty mild, so I'm trying to stay thankful, although I am definitely looking forward to putting on socks without having to take a deep breath and hoping for the best.
Being closer to my due date hasn't really impacted my mental state as I thought it might – I don't feel any more nervous than I previously did. Maybe that will change once I'm actually in the throes of labour, but at this point, I just look at it as something I can't stop or have a lot of control over – sure, I can request pain relief, breathe through the contractions and "push away the pain", but for the most part my body is going to do what it needs to do, and I'm just there for the ride. By focussing on the baby at the end of it all (and the salmon sushi, of course) then, I'm hoping that's enough of a light at the end of the tunnel to help me through. If things don't go to plan, then at least I'm in a safe place with medical professionals – which is why I opted for a hospital birth over home birth for my first time. Again though… we'll see. I have a wonderful midwife and a brilliantly supportive husband, friends and family who have made this journey a lot easier than I imagine it is for some women. For that, I'm incredibly grateful.
I think the other thing that is helping me remain calm is the fact that I feel pretty prepared in terms of having everything ready to go at home – my bags are packed (ish), the nursery is pretty much done bar a few nonessentials, the house is clean, I've practised installing the car seat, and I've stocked up on "easy meals" for once the baby is here, and we inevitably don't feel like cooking. I think the best bit of advice I was given was to buy things each payday from fairly early on (around 12 weeks or so), so that the list of baby items needed never felt overwhelming. If you're someone who loves a good shopping spree, then maybe going nuts over the space of a weekend is the better way to go, but if you're like me and prefer to plan and take things in smaller chunks, then I found this a helpful way to go about it. For me, having things lined up and ready to go has given me a great sense of relief (especially once I'd deep cleaned the house) because I know that if he comes early, it's all taken care of. But if you're someone who doesn't need to plan things out or who is okay with last-minute organisation, then do that! In fairness, I only deep cleaned the house by accident after getting carried away while I was "just going to quickly vacuum the lounge." Five hours later, I was hyper-focussing on cleaning tiny spots on the walls upstairs…but hey, at least the house is clean!
I don't have any major tips on how to manage pregnancy or the imminent arrival of your baby, sorry. In fact, I still feel like a bit of an imposter – despite feeling kicks and rolls frequently, I struggle to grasp the fact that there's going to be a BABY here soon! I guess my only piece of advice would be to just do what you want (obviously within reason) and don't listen to anyone else because their experiences are going to be different to yours – or at least take what they say with a grain of salt. The person I listen to first and foremost is my midwife since she's the one with the medical experience and years of knowledge. I try to ignore the negativity that comes from otherwise well-meaning people, it gets a bit exhausting when you're just trying to enjoy the journey, and someone brings you down by saying whatever you're doing won't work or is a waste of time. Let me find out on my own! I get the sense that because I've never done this before, others feel the need to "guide" me and explain to me the things that I can just find out by myself along the way. Just because something didn't work for them doesn't mean it won't work for you (and vice versa). If you want to try those age-old tips and tricks, go for it! If you don't, then don't – that's fine!
Just don't ever feel like you have to do everything "right" because, for the most part, everyone is winging it.