I couldn’t think of a title for this week’s post (Other than the highly imaginative “Week 21 Pregnancy Diary,” obviously), because, the fact is, I’ve reached a totally unanticipated point in my pregnancy where I’ve almost lost track of which stage I’m at.

Seriously, I did not see this coming. In the first trimester,  you (And by “you” I mean “me”) track your progress in days as well as weeks: sometimes even in hours, if I’m honest. After that, I calmed down a little, and just started thinking of myself as being “14 weeks”, say, rather than, “14 weeks, 3 days and 11 hours.” Now, though? Now I’m having to pause for a second whenever someone asks me how far along I am, so I can go, “20 weeks… oh no, wait! 21 weeks… I think!”

I AM still counting in weeks, rather than months, though, obviously.  Before I was pregnant, I used to inwardly eye-roll a bit when I’d ask someone how old their kid was, and they’d go, “He’s 172 weeks!” I mean, COME ON, people, give me a number that actually means something to me, here! Now, though, I have learned the error of my ways: there may not be a huge difference from week to week right now, but each one is still a major milestone for me… even when I forget to count them.

week 21 pregnancy diaryWeek 21 Pregnancy Highlights:

Speaking of milestones, we had a pretty good one this week:

Terry got to feel the baby move!

I was sitting on the couch on Sunday night when I started to feel him (the baby, I mean, not Terry…) move around a bit, so I quickly grabbed Terry’s hand, placed it on my belly, and within a few seconds he’d felt a little… “kick” seems like too strong a word for what I’m feeling at the moment, so I’m going to go with “nudge” instead. So, he felt a nudge. It was a nice nudge, though, and he’s had another one since then, as has my mum, who found it a little bit awkward having to essentially put her hand down my jeans (Well, the baby was pretty low that night, and those maternity waistbands are hiiiiigh…) to feel it, but who tells me it was totally worth it.

As for me, meanwhile, I’m also being nudged on a regular basis, although the baby still seems to be stuck in that pattern where he moves loads one day, and then hardly at all the next, which means I’m still spending every second day in a mess of anxiety – fun for all the family, really!

The other highlight of the week was getting to hear the baby’s heartbeat again at my latest appointment with the midwife. I asked Terry to record the audio on my phone, so we could let our parents hear it, but instead he decided to film a video of me looking like a very sweaty, anxious, Jabba the Hut – one for the memory book, for sure!

Other than that, the appointment was uneventful: thankfully the midwife reassured me that the on/off pattern of movement I’ve been having is totally normal at this stage, which helped reassure me a bit, especially as the appointment came right after a day of high anxiety, in which I’d hardly felt anything until I went to bed, at which point he’d decided that NOW was the time to be gettin’ busy in there. (Not complaining at all by the way: he can kick me as much as he likes, if that’s what it takes to let me know he’s still there!)

Week 20 Pregnancy Symptoms

This week I once again welcomed a small crop of zits to my left cheek, but other than that? Not much, really, although I HAVE noticed I’ve been particularly clumsy lately. That’s not AT ALL unusual for me, mind you (It would be more unusual if I WASN’T clumsy, tbh…), but it IS a bit annoying, as a selection of maternity tops have been the unfortunate victims of of this clumsiness, and have picked up a bunch of Mystery Marks, some of which didn’t budge, no matter what I tried. Good job Gap had a sale on this week, huh?

Week 20 Pregnancy Cravings

Does this dress count?  I mean, I know it has absolutely nothing to do with pregnancy, and there’s approximately zero chance of me fitting into it right now, but GOD, I crave that dress. Crave it.

(Other than that? Nothing. Interesting update, this one, isn’t it?)

Week 20 Pregnancy Purchases / Preparations

No major baby-related purchases to report this week (Well. I did buy a pair of maternity trousers, and, OK, also a sweater, as well as picking up a few more basics in the Gap sale, but I AM NOT ON TRIAL HERE, PEOPLE. GOD.), but I have started to freak out a bit (Like, a really, really BIG bit….) about everything we need to do/buy for the house before the baby arrives. I know first babies rarely arrive early (or even on time, for that matter. I myself was 10 days late, for instance. Well, I always have enjoyed a lie in…), but I actually know quite a few people whose first babies DID arrive very early, so this week I got into a bit of a panic, which was only stopped in its tracks when Terry agreed to sit down with me and write a list of Very Important Things That Absolutely Need to Be Done, And Need to Be Done NOW. God, I love a list. I feel like just HAVING a list makes you feel instantly productive, you know?

Writing that list, however, only calmed me down for a little while, so on Tuesday afternoon, I started the dull-but-necessary task of clearing out the closet in what will eventually be the nursery, and attempting to find new homes for everything in it. I know that Terry will want me to point out here that “everything in it” belongs to ME, so, yup, guilty as charged: that closet is where I keep all of my coats, jackets, and a really quite extraordinarily large collection of hats, all of which had to be re-homed.

I managed it eventually (Well, the coats and jackets, anyway: the rest is having to wait until Terry can put some new shelves up in one of the other closets in the house), but I DID feel a bit like the universe was trying to tell me something, the “something” being, “AMBER, YOU HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF! CALM THE HELL DOWN WITH THE SHOPPING, WOMAN!”

Well, OK, universe, message received: I know I’m going to have to, er, streamline things a bit in order to make way for the new arrival, so I’m using it as an excuse to have a clear-out of pretty much everything in the house. As you know, I have no life, so clear-outs are one of my hobbies: even so, I’m feeling pretty daunted by the task at hand, because, just to to give you some context – and I can’t believe I’m about to share this with the internet – here’s the current state of the “nursery”:

So, there’s a lot to do. A LOT to do. And yes, I know, I know: once the baby’s here, he’ll be sleeping in our room at first, and he won’t need THAT much stuff, but honestly, I just need to get everything ready for the sake of my own mental health. Speaking of which…

Week 21 Pregnancy Fears

Despite nothing of note happening this week, pregnancy-wise, it’s actually been a pretty bad one in terms of anxiety. No particular reason for this (other than that on/off pattern of movement): I just find that, the more time goes on, the more I obsess over all the things that could go wrong, so my anxiety has been sky-high this week, even although I know I SHOULD be feeling pretty calm. Even just writing this post makes me feel oddly guilty, because I keep thinking, “Why I am I writing about nurseries and buying maternity trousers, when something could be about to go wrong at ANY second?” I know that’s not rational, but neither is health anxiety, and it’s really had me in its grips this week. The swine.

Actually, having said there’s “no particular reason” for it: there IS one reason, and it’s still that bloody press release I got last week. (Recap for anyone who can’t be bothered clicking the link: a PR company sent me a press release about a product designed to help prevent a “serious pregnancy complication”. I’m not going to tell you what it was, because I don’t want to trigger anyone else with it, but suffice  to say, I pretty much lost my tiny mind with fear as soon as I read about it…) The nature of health anxiety/OCD is to obsess over things that other people would probably be able to rationalise and then dismiss, and oh wow, have I ever been obsessing over this one. Note to self: stop opening press releases that have the word “pregnancy” in the subject line…

The good(ish) news here is that I have an appointment with my consultant in a couple of weeks: this is mostly to discuss my fears about childbirth and hospitalisation, but the midwife has referred me for perinatal counselling (That link is all about London, for some reason, but I’m assuming it’ll be much the same kind of thing here), and is also arranging for me to speak to someone about hypnobirthing.  This actually kind of worries me as my issues are all about control, and the word “hypnosis” kind of implies the complete opposite of that, although I’m assured it’s nothing like what I’m imagining (Me on a stage being told to dance like a chicken or something, and being unable to stop myself blindly obeying, basically…), and could actually help me feel MORE in control.

I’m not generally a fan of any kind of mindfulness/meditation type stuff because I find I’m just far too impatient to actually get through it (Yoga, for instance, is always really stressful for me, because I find it so boring my mind just starts racing through all of the things it thinks it SHOULD be doing instead. With mindfulness, meanwhile, I’ve yet to finish reading a full page about it, because my non-mindful mind just starts wandering. It wandered while I was writing that sentence, actually: what was I talking about again?), but I’m more than happy to hear what they have to say about it, and will keep an open mind (probably SO open that every thought will leave as fast as it arrived, knowing me, but I can but try…(:  as I said to the midwife, anything that can help make all of this easier for me is very welcome right now!

[My Pregnancy Diary]

12 Comments
  1. Hypnobirthing mum here – I even partly trained to teach it, so much do I credit it with helping me, so fire any questions you like whenever you like at me. It is absolutely the opposite of surrendering control (in fact, you generally feel much more empowered) so the worst that can happen is that you decide it’s not for you — and that’s fine too!

  2. What a chore to find alternative homes for all that stuff although on the bright side it seems like a few large things, rather than Howard’s of little things which are a nightmare to rehouse. You’ll love doing the nursery. My daughter was given the advice of using bright colours and patterns, which she thought was crazy as she wanted her baby to sleep in there, rather than be stimulated, so she did the neutral pale colours (not that he was a great sleeper in their early days lol).

    Glad your midwife gave you the same advice I did about the baby’s movements being erratic at this stage, and also that Terry has felt his son move, and your mum.

    A consultant appointment re your anxiety sounds like a good idea. I’m sure reading about mindfulness is not a good way of doing it. I can give you some references to great meditation tapes which are bound to be better, although being physically present with a meditation guide would be even better.
    Hypnosis in childbirth sounds interesting but I think you might need to try it first and really trust the hypnotist.

  3. I hear you! We had to have the flat rewired and the baby’s (Matilda’s – not current pregnancy) room emptied and decorated and carpeted in the few months before the birth and I HATED the length of our to do list and the waiting around for other people to get things done.

    As for hypnobirthing, there’s no hypnosis involved! Honestly, there were bits of it which were REALLY not for me (I’m not into affirmations or visualisation), but the rest of it was really useful – I felt much more in control because of it. Our class was run by a very experienced midwife so she talked a lot about how it was applicable, regardless of the sort of birth we ended up having – I felt like I could cope with whatever happened on the day; it helped me focus on the end goal instead of what my body was doing right at that moment in time. There was even a woman in our class who was in active labour and still managing to smile and chat with the rest of us! Fingers crossed you find it as useful as I did.

    1. Ah, I know it’s not actual hypnosis, it’s the affirmations and visualisation bit I hate the sound of – it’s just SO not me, and I also didn’t realise you had to go to classes, which I would also hate! I’ll see what the woman has to say, though: nothing to lose!

      1. There are plenty of books, DVDs, YouTube videos etc, if you don’t want to go to classes. We did a class because it was on the NHS, but I’d opt for a book over spending a small fortune on a private course!

        1. From what the midwife said, I think they’re looking at some kind of one-on-one coaching via the NHS (definitely can’t afford a private course!), which would probably be best for me: I just know that, left to my own devices with books/DVDs etc, I’d just never get around to reading/watching them 😳

  4. Hello Amber! I’m so glad Terry got to feel the baby “nudge”! I was so frustrated with the gymnastics my babies started the minute I tried to sleep, but then my doctor explained that when I was walking around all day, I was basically rocking the baby to sleep! When I finally stopped moving, the babies would stop being rocked and would wake up to play! We’ve been on opposite schedules since before birth, apparently. I have to wonder if this is why babies are often awake at night right after they are born. We always say they have their days and nights mixed up, which makes total sense when you think about it!

    I hope your anxiety is helped by the counseling and that the weeks fly by for you!

  5. Another hypnobirthing mum here. Your description of how your mind works could be me. I’m not into anything like mindfulness and whenever I’ve tried yoga I’ve got the giggles. I tried it on baby no 1 pretty much for the same reasons as you, but only found I was open to engage with it in the final trimester. I listened to the MP3s in bed and was nearly always asleep before the end and as a crap sleeper that alone made it a worthwhile endeavour. I went on to have a very quick labour with just gas and air and my TENS machine. I had plans to ask for an epidural but never did. Like the commenter above, I’m not into affirmations either but there is definitely something in hypnobirthing that relaxes the mind, something I generally struggle to do. Good luck anyway.

  6. They say once your baby is born, your heart goes walking around outside of you. Also, some days it helps to remember that you and Terry are the best parents your baby will ever have. Best wishes!

  7. A good approach to mindfulness for you might be the Headspace app. You get a ten day free trial and the sessions are quite short – just 10 minutes – so hopefully not long enough to get too bored! I’ve had issues with anxiety and with just having floods of thoughts racing through my mind. I don’t think mindfulness is any kind of quick fix, but over time I think that it does help you to not get carried away by your thoughts and to just be a bit more present.

  8. Hi Amber, I’m a hypnotherapist – I’m not hypnobirthing trained though. It’s a licensed product so you need to be trained in it to practice it. I did want to say that as a fellow control freak, I always make a point of telling clients that in hypnosis it is you the client who is in control. As the hypnotherapist I’m merely the facilitator, and you decide how deep or not you go into trance. You’ll do whatever is right for you to do in the session. It doesn’t matter if your conscious mind wanders during it to think about shoes or cake or whatever :), your unconscious mind is listening at a different level. I’ve done some pre-birth sessions with clients to help with anxiety and it can be very useful as part of your preparations. It’s great that you’re being offered counselling and hypnobirthing as part of your care.

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