OK, so, now that we have the bedroom floor fixed, and the house back to normal, I think I can safely say – AGAIN – that, barring any further random acts of stupidity on our part, we are, once again, ready for this baby to make his appearance.

This is good, because, as of today, I’m now 38 weeks pregnant, and this time next week – assuming I don’t go into labour before then – I’ll be at the hospital, being measured for a fetching pair of surgical stockings, and given some final checks before my c-section the next day.

*GULP*

Yeah, I’m terrified.

Like, ABSOLUTELY OUT-OF-MY-MIND terrified.

Unfortunately, I think the word ‘TERRIFIED’ (And note, not just “terrified”, but ALL-CAPS TERRIFIED) pretty much sums up week 37 of the pregnancy for me. I really wish I could tell you that, once the house was back in order, I managed to totally relax and just enjoy these last few days as a family of two, but, well, you all know me better than that by now, don’t you?

week 37 pregnancy diaryThe truth is, almost as soon as the final plank went down on the new floor, my brain instantly switched from stressing over the state of the house, to stressing over the prospect of surgery. It’s really all I can think about at this stage: well, that and how awful my life is about to be, obviously, because it seems the imminent end of the pregnancy has brought with it a dramatic increase in the number of people ready to tell me that I won’t be able to cope, that I’m never going to sleep again, and to just generally assure me that if I thought pregnancy was tough, JUST WAIT until I try parenthood, LOL!

Earlier this week, for instance, I posted a photo of a haircut I was thinking of getting on Instagram Stories, and almost immediately got a flurry of messages urging me to THINK ABOUT THE BABY and warning me that I just won’t be able to handle a haircut AND a baby. Like, no one has ever been able to do that, apparently.

Now, this was a really simple haircut we’re talking about: it’s one I’ve had before a few times now and it seriously isn’t any more maintenance than my hair is now. NOPE, though: from what I’m told, this cut would be way, WAY too ambitious for me, and I can either have slightly different hair OR a baby, but definitely not both, because that’s just crazy talk, isn’t it?

(Aside: I really need to learn my lesson to NEVER ASK THE INTERNET FOR ADVICE ABOUT HAIR. Seriously, Amber, WHEN WILL YOU LEARN?!)

(Yeah, it’s been an ALL-CAPS kinda week in general, really.)

So, this kind of thing is pretty daunting to read, really, because while the comments were, ostensibly, about hair, the message is pretty clear, and the message I took from it all, was, “Amber, you are not going to cope with this. Seriously, you’re not even going to be able to style your hair in a couple of weeks time, because THAT’s how tired you’re going to be, and THAT’S how much you’re going to struggle.”

Which…yeah. Add to this, all of the “better sleep now!” and “JUST YOU WAIT!” comments, and, to be honest, I almost feel like people are setting me up to fail, you know? I can’t help but wonder how much of all of this becomes self-fulfilling prophecy, too: I mean, if people keep on telling me I’m not going to be able to cope, and I therefore go into it with that expectation, then will that make it harder for me to cope? Because, right now, all of the doom-mongering has made me feel like Terry and I are about to disappear into some kind of black hole for the next few months, during which we will be basically unable to function, or do even the simplest of things. I’ve tried my best to plan ahead as much as possible for this, but I have to admit, I’m pretty damn scared by it, and have had more than a couple of moments this week where I’ve read yet another, “Your body will never be the same again!” or “You just don’t know what exhaustion really is, but you will soon!” comment, and  have genuinely wondered what the hell I’ve let myself in for.

Of course, there’s really not much I can say to any of this. I mean, it’s not like I can change my mind now, or decide not to go ahead with the birth: one way or another, this baby is going to have go get out of there, so I’m doing my best to ignore the doom-laden comments and just try to focus on getting through this surreal, limbo-like time before the birth, day by day. One of those days will be Christmas, obviously, which is both a blessing and a curse: it’s a blessing in that it will, at least, provide a bit of a distraction, but honestly, I’m so focused on next Friday (and everything that will come after it) that I can’t bring myself to even THINK about Christmas right now. Or, you know, ANYTHING other than the fact that, this time next week, I’ll be less than 24 hours away from meeting my baby boy for the first time.

I’m excited about that obviously – hopefully that goes without saying – but, of course, pregnancy after loss, or when you’re dealing with severe anxiety,  plus a generous dose of hospital phobia, is a pretty hard thing to get through, and, in my case, I think the only way I’ve been able to get to this stage has been by living in a kind of denial that “this stage” would ever come, and now that it has, it’s made everything feel incredibly surreal. I just can’t seem to get my head around the fact that I’m actually going to have a BABY next week – and I’m still too scared to be able to trust that it’ll actually happen, without something going catastrophically wrong. Unfortunately for me, my brain has no shortage of catastrophic scenarios it’s willing to present me with, so while week 37 hasn’t really been any different from week 36 (or, indeed, the rest of the third trimester: I think I’ve been REALLY lucky to have had a pretty straightforward time of it, really, although I’m obviously now terrified that I’ve just tempted fate by saying that…) in terms of symptoms etc, it has been a challenging one mentally – and I don’t think week 38 is going to be any easier, really.

Still, one thing I know for sure, is that week 38 – however it pans out – will definitely be the last week of this pregnancy, which is just… WOW. I feel like I should have something profound and moving to say about this, but, honestly, at this point it’s a miracle that I can still express myself AT ALL, let alone say something even remotely eloquent. Instead, then, I’ll just say this:

8 MORE DAYS TO GO.

OMG.

(Oh, and yes, I DID get the haircut – or a version of it, anyway: pray for me…)

26 Comments
  1. Hi Amber, I have followed your story throughout the past year or so and just wanted to send very best wishes to you for the arrival of your baby boy. Its been lovely to follow your journey to this stage. I am so pleased for you. As mother of three now adult children I remember very well the apprehension about the first arrival and wondering how I’d cope as a mother but you definitely do. Please don’t listen to the gloom mongers. You’ll do fine and also you will have great support from your husband and parents. And no doubt you’ll do it all with lovely hair too! Wishing you joy and happiness ahead with your little boy. Xx

  2. Don’t listen to anyone, Amber! James didn’t even open his eyes for the first 6 weeks, he was a super sleepy baby (although he did make up for that when he turned 1!) sending lots of love to you and Terry, excited to meet your boy ❤️

  3. Why do people do that? Being a parent is of course tough and a huge life adjustment, but you know the overriding thing it is every single day (even on the days where my toddler runs me ragged) JOY. We have never known so much joy and love. The toughest thing about being a new parent wasn’t being exhausted, hormones actually help with that weirdly. It was the constant questioning going on in my head, is this right, what do I do, am I bad etc etc. So the only thing I would say is just go with it, trust your instincts and ultimately all the baby needs is food, warmth, clean nappies and love. I’ll certainly try and give myself an easier time if we decide to have another baby.

    Oh and all those doom mongerers, out of the 8 babies born around the same time as my cherub most slept through the night around 3 months. My child has taken after her father and still has some sleep issues at 19 months but on the whole most of the parents I know managed to function perfectly well. I don’t style my hair everyday because well I never have but I do still go for my daily shower.

  4. You know, throughout your pregnancy you’ve mentioned all those scaremongerers (and I’ve seen some of them both here and on Instagram), and I’ve always thought what a load of bull**** all their comments were, but found there were enough people commenting here telling you not to worry about all that, that I didn’t feel I had much to add.

    But at this point, when you are so close, and have so much to deal with in terms of your health anxiety, hospital phobia, and the worries from your past experience with trying to get pregnant, I think being told again and again by people how your life is about to end and to look forward to many years of hell is really unkind and the last bloody thing you need.

    I don’t know if my few words here will make a difference, but I hope they can redress the balance even in a small way.

    Yes, having a baby is going to be life-changing – but only to the extent that you will have a new person in your family. It is an ADDITION to the life that you and Terry have built for yourselves, not a DELETION of it and the start of something unknown and scary.

    Yes, the first few weeks or months are going to require some quick learning, making things up along the way, and generally adjusting to having a tiny human being who is dependent on the loving adults around him for every little need. But…. DUH. As if you didn’t know this already? EVERYONE knows this about babies, and yet human kind has managed to keep churning them out and figuring out how to live fulfilling lives while at it. You and Terry will too, because, guess what? You’re not delusional idiots and you have been planning for this for a while.

    Yes …………….. But I can think of a whole list of reasons why you
    1. You and Terry decided to have a child once in your 40s (I am assuming Terry is roughly your age, but pardon me if I’m wrong!). This is older than many people first have children, and I think, as a result, you both are simply better prepared, both mentally and in terms of lifestyle, for having a child than most people are. You have both already dealt with a lot of “adult” issues, built a life that you love together, and generally have had your s*it together for longer than people in their 20s or 30s. And so, what is all this nonsense about you guys having no idea what you’re getting yourselves into? As if you would have gone ahead with this without having planned for it properly and considered all factors.

    2. From having witnessed how my siblings and close family members have dealt with having their first babies, the single biggest factor in how easy or difficult it is for the new parents to deal with the new baby in their lives is what their support system is like. First of all, you and Terry have each other for support, and you will both want to care for your baby boy as much as possible. Also, having read your blog for so long, I can’t imagine Terry will be any less than the most supportive and incredible partner when you need that extra help while you recover from the c-section. Also, as if your parents will miss any opportunity to dote over their grandson, and they live so near by. Without knowing of who else in your and Terry’s circle of family and friends are available to help when required, I think you already have enough support to make sure you will get some rest and, dare I say, have a shower, wash your hair and put on some make up on a regular basis once the baby is here.

    3. It is in your nature to just plan for EVERYTHING. OCD is no doubt a great burden on the people who suffer from it, but that’s not to say that there are no benefits from it. I did read an article some time ago about how scientists thought the reason OCD has made its way to modern day DNA is because, from an evolutionary perspective, it was beneficial to the tribe to have someone/people who were obsessive about particular things. In your case, it means that you generally tend to be “over-prepared” for any anticipated experience that makes you worry, and when it comes to having a child, is there such thing as over-preparation? There is a woman I read about who proudly spoke about how she read 40 books related to pregnancy, child-raising and parenting during her pregnancy, because that’s how important she took the responsibility of bringing a child to this world. Between your and Terry’s internet-researching skills, and maturity and intelligence in knowing what to prepare for, I think it is more than fair to say that you guys have GOT THIS.

    I did mean to go on, but I’ve just realised how very long this comment is, so I will try to end it here. The point I was just trying to get across is that bringing a child into this world is nothing new, so you guys have centuries of human experience to read about and help you prepare for it. You are successful, intelligent, well-established adults with a very strong support system. There is no reason why this experience should be especially difficult for you to deal with – you are more than capable of figuring out a plan that ensures you get some sleep when you need.

    There will be some tough times, but let’s all just remember for a second that what we’re talking about here is the introduction of a gorgeous baby boy to your family. There is so much love, joy and incredible life lessons that come with that – the initial lack of sleep and adjustment to having a new baby is a small, incidental part of a generally positive experience.

    tl;dr YOU. WILL. BE FINE.

  5. Haha! Noooooooo! The haircut will change evereerythiiiiing! You can’t have HAIR and a baby, and you got a HAIRCUT?!

    As someone from the internet that only knows you from your blog (so I’m an expert in your life, obviously!) I believe you will do just fine! The hospital will probably be hard for you but parenthood? You’ll be great! Probably you won’t really feel that way but you’ll be an exceptionally good parent that can have life aside from baby (maybe even a
    haircut!).

    I have a lot of friends that really deal well with still being human beings while being parents – and I have a feeling you’re the same type 😊

  6. There seems to be a mindset among many that if you don’t subsume your entire life into being a parent then you are doing it wrong. I don’t see why that is necessary. I like the earlier comment that said bringing a baby home is an addition not a deletion. You will still be Amber. You will enjoy clothes and makeup and (oh the horror!) getting a haircut. You will just do all that with the added joy of another person in your life. A sometimes very demanding other person but that will be fine because in an amazingly short time you will know exactly how to take care of him. Life is full of changes and stresses–new jobs, illnesses, marriage, moving–but only with one of the most joyous, having a baby, do we feel free to tell people they won’t be able to cope. There is something wrong with that. Because you will cope. The human race has been muddling through the new baby stage for thousands of years.

    So get the haircut. Buy the new clothes. Continue to be you. It will all be fine and you will be amazing.

  7. Basically, to echo everything all the other sensible people have said, OF COURSE you’ll cope just fine – you’re clearly a high achiever, you’ve coped with a lot recently, and you’ll ace this. I’m not sure why everyone wants to share their doom stories, but the way I see it is that there wouldn’t be 7 billion people in the world if having a baby was that much of a nightmare! Don’t let the doom-mongers drag you down! X

  8. Amber I Have been reading Forever Amber actually for many years. Thank you for sharing all different parts of your life. I think what is boils down to is that you will find your “new normal” when this baby comes. Each persons new normal looks different. Go into with preparation (which you have) and grace for yourselves to adjust and the expectation that it will be like no one else’s exact experience. You will figure it out. looking forward to reading the arrival of the little guy.

  9. What’s wrong with people trying to make you feel guilty about getting a haircut, BEFORE the baby is even born? Like, seriously? A 1 hr haircut means you’re deemed a bad mother now because you have to think about the baby 24/7 (what does this even mean, you have to ask your baby permission to cut your hair now? Follow his taste)? This is so rude: accusing a mother of neglecting her newborn because she took one hr appointment to cut her hair. I will never understand people…

    1. No, that’s not what happened! I posted a photo of a haircut I was thinking of getting, and people told me I shouldn’t do it, because it would be too high maintenance for me to cope with after having a baby. No one accused me of neglecting him, or said I couldn’t have a hair appointment – I must have worded this really badly!

  10. My sister is pregnant and due in January and frankly, I have an 11 yr old boy that I had while I was 19 yrs old. The first few weeks are rough but you have friends and family and internet support when it’s hard: it’s not that bad though, you’ll develop a routine and be fine. People like to scare other people but really only the first week or two is hard and then you figure it out and it’s not so bad. If I can do it at 19 when I was barely an adult and could barely take care of myself you can do it now. People keep telling my sister how hard it will be and honestly it’s not that bad it’s just a matter of finding your space. And working that out.
    And if you need someone to talk to that will be honest and reasonable or just support I added my blog and you can email me there or if you can see my personal email you can email me there because it’s not so hard. And you can do this and you’ll Ben a hell of a great mom.

  11. Get the haircut if you like it, and enjoy bring fabulous. All of the things that worry you now will soon pass as you recover. You have all the support you need and Terry will be glad when you want to have a shower because he will get a chance to cuddle his boy, or just watch him sleep (that is pure joy by the way).

    The joy a child brings into a life is profound and will sustain you through any teething difficulties you might experience when learning about your little boy, and very soon you will be the expert on him. It’s a fact – mothers are just awesome, and so are dads. Can’t wait to see this little boy.

  12. You will be fine. Looking after a puppy is not that different from a newborn baby and you’ve already done that!!
    You will be tired, you will be challenged, you may even spend some days in your pj’s but you will get through it.
    Good luck and enjoy your baby!

  13. Wow! One week!!

    Good luck Amber, you really will be fine. And if that sounds too simplistic a thing to say it’s only because I keep telling myself the same. Because on the same day I have to go into hospital myself for an op (a minor one – I am totally fine though) under general anesthetic which I am so not looking forward to 🙁. And it came as a bit of a surprise. Anyway, my thoughts will be with you that day as you’ll be in hospital for an altogether nicer reason. X

  14. Haha I’m gad you went an got the haircut, I’m sure you’ll be fine! If you can cope with flooded houses at 37 weeks pregnant, I’m sure there’s nothing much worse that being a parent can throw at you! And at least you won’t have the impending birth hanging over you anymore either.

    Just as a side note – are you planning on making a baby announcement on your blog, or just on social media, or not at all? I’m really hoping for blog (or both) – not that I want to pressure you into writing a post the minute your baby’s born, but I don’t do social media, and I really can’t wait to see your little boy!

    1. I think I’ll just have to play that one by ear, to be honest – I don’t know how I’ll be feeling after surgery, or how practical it’ll be to blog from hospital, so I don’t really have a plan!

  15. Amber, I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and just wanted to say best of luck with the new baby!

    You have amazing support from Terry and both of your families, which is sooo very important and because of that you will be fine! I promise xoxo

  16. Good for you for getting the haircut and white furniture and whatnot. Keeping a hold on your life might make everything that much easier with the baby, or it might not, but you are you with your hopes and preferences.

    People seem to forget what kind of people we were before pregnancy. I was told countless of times how I can’t go to bars anymore, or at least on a whim, I can’t travel, I can’t drink or party. The thing is though – I didn’t do any of those things to begin with. I had a good cleaning and cooking system with my husband, which didn’t much change when my son was born. Why would it have, there were two of us taking care of the house and the baby? I still went to museums and cafes when it was possible – with the baby. Often it wasn’t, and it was OK. A good haircut made life easier and me feel better, not harder. Some days I wore dresses, some days we slept all day long in little intervals and it was OK too. Eight years later I still wonder if people knew me at all with their warnings about bars and recklessness and messes and pretty clothes and hair.

    I hope you get to meet your son in peace without these parenthood vultures, and build a life that suits him and both of you.

  17. Ugh, PEOPLE. You can totally do this. You could do it in a traditional set up where Terry went out to work all day and you can extra definitely do it given that you’re both at home a lot of the time. Babies nap. You make the most of that, whether that’s sleeping or cleaning or blogging or DOING YOUR DAMN HAIR. You’ve got this.

  18. Evening Amber,

    Just a quick one to say that I’ve followed your blog for several years and was so excited when you announced your pregnancy. I’ve followed your blog over the past months and I just wanted to say good luck for next week! Everything will be absolutely fine and I can’t wait to meet the new addition to your little family! Will be sending you positive thoughts over the next week! xxx

  19. I just wanted to say that for me being pregnant was SO much harder than having the baby! I hated being pregnant – I was so anxious all the time and also there’s essentially nothing you can do to improve the chances of things turning out well. You just have to wait it out while getting progressively more uncomfortable. I really don’t see many good sides too it and I’ve done it twice!

    Having the baby is a totally different thing. It’s hard work and I’m definitely part of the very sleep deprived army but you have your baby! It’s this amazing human being. I loved each of my children when they were born but they don’t tell you that you love them so much more as time goes on, as you get to know them as a person and your life becomes inextricably entwined. And you have agency in a way you don’t when you’re pregnant! Your baby cries and you CAN do something to help – you want to have a glass of wine or go for a walk just on your own, that’s possible as long as someone else is there to hold the baby! I’ve had some really hard times with mine, but it’s always balanced out by the fact that they’re there in front of me, they’re beautiful and always growing and changing. It’s exciting and fascinating every day. I am not a sentimental person, but it honestly is really cool. I didn’t have that in pregnancy when I could hardly let myself believe they were going to be real.

    I think people feel the need to ‘prepare’ you because they weren’t prepared and went into shock after the birth. I don’t honestly think, as someone with anxiety, that you’ll have that problem. There’s not really anything you can do to prepare – I hated that ‘sleep while you can’ advice, it’s not like you can bank it! (I really wish you could.) People don’t want to lie to you, I think, and the struggle can be intense – I’m at 3 years with very little sleep and it’s real torture sometimes. But the positives do outweigh it – I can handle it in a way I wouldn’t have imagined because there are other things boosting me up that weren’t there before, reserves of strength that I didn’t previously imagine I had, and I’m a much stronger and more capable person than I ever was before.

    Basically, get through that surgery, get your baby, and then you can do anything. You’re almost there! And for anything you need once you have the baby, there’s always Google. (I definitely did ‘how to bath a baby’ and ‘how to burp a baby’, it’s all there.) Newborn babies are all-consuming but they are really simple, and they sleep a lot, even if it’s not at night. They get progressively more complicated – but every time they add a layer, you’ve learned the previous one, so it’s just one new step at a time. You’re going to do great.

  20. Yes of course I am praying for you! I’d also like to reassure you that when I had my baby I still managed to put on mascara before leaving the house. I’m very shallow, so that was very important. Baby survived my love of make up and is grown up man with children of his own.

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