It’s week 36 and everything I’ve been experiencing is becoming intensified.
To put this into context, domestically I am not a motivated person. I have spent many a Saturday in bed watching Netflix and ordering pizza from Hungry House so I don’t have to go into the kitchen to make food or face chores.
Last week I had a surge of crazy nesting activity for about 8 hours. Some kind of force took over my body and I spent the whole day in a maniacal whirlwind, cleaning and what I’m calling ‘effort proofing’ the flat.
It entailed analysing each room and adapting it for minimum effort, sanitation and maintenance. I removed cushions that we had in the living room which shed feathers, I threw away material bath mats (which need to be washed every couple of weeks) to be replaced with wooden ones. I ran around Kingston buying cork boards to pin up the baby’s weekly activities and a ‘Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…’ organisational board to put on the wall. I cleaned out all the kitchen cupboards and organised the contents. I washed all the baby’s clothes and bedding in mild hypoallergenic washing powder, bought new soap dispensers and made a concoction of non paraben, non-perfumed liquid soap mixed with pure coconut oil. I wiped down the inside of the fridge and I cleared all surfaces of objects and clutter so they can be easily polished.
My eye seems to home in on dust and fluff on the floor like an eagle on a field mouse. I’m forever squirting loads of bleach into the toilets and my sense of smell is heightened, based on the fact I now seem to be able to smell everyone’s breath on the train and what the neighbours are cooking for dinner when I walk down the hall.
The next day I was exhausted, my legs and arms ached as though I’d been for a long run.
A positive development is that, since we went through all the stages of labour at NCT, my fear of it has diminished somewhat and been replaced with sheer excitement. Labour means she’s coming, she’s actually coming. Yes, it will hurt – beyond belief probably, but I’m ready for the pain to come. What even is pain? It isn’t going to kill me.
Fear is frequent and significant. A list of fears is building daily, here are some of the most prevalent:
- The baby will be placed on the floor somehow and someone will tread on her.
- The baby will fall asleep and simply never wake up.
- I will fall asleep holding the baby and when I wake up I will have smothered her.
- Guests will come round, pass germs onto her and make her ill.
- She will overheat (we bought a thermometer for her room and it’s currently about 26 degrees C in there, 6 degrees hotter than it should be).
- She will just degenerate like the spider plant I’ve just chucked in the bin – and like every plant I’ve ever had.
- And perhaps the most ridiculous: a wild animal like a kestrel or a fox will fly in or jump onto the balcony, snatch her and run/fly away, while I scream in anguish as I watch her move further and further into the distance until she is just a dot on the horizon.
4. Sentimentality and emotional instability
Can’t see anything bad, can’t watch anything bad. Can’t read the paper, can’t hear the news. Can’t acknowledge the horrors in the world because my baby is coming into it.
I’ve developed Carpal Tunnel syndrome (when you fingers and hands become stiff and painful). This is most horrible in the mornings – my hands become stuck in a position as though they are bandaged up. It eases a bit throughout the day. The midwife says it should go after the baby is born.
I am becoming clumsy due to fatigue and the added weight. I tried to tread over my birthing ball last week and ended up treading on it, rolling over it and hitting the floor, which gave Jake and I a fright, but the baby is fine.
Baby brain (which has so far been a little difficult to distinguish from my natural scattiness) is now magnified to an almost Alzheimers degree. I’ve been getting on the wrong buses and tubes, moving things around the flat and leaving them in odd places, throwing valuable things in the bin – and most awfully, blaming poor Jake (initially), because I just couldn’t comprehend how it could have been me.
I’m breathless and need to sit or lie in specific positions in order to be able to breathe properly.
There is an increasing pressure on my pelvic floor, currently feels like there is the weight of a bowling ball bearing down on it. When I sit on the loo I feel a fleeting concern that everything may just drop out in a terrible and gruesome, freak prolapse situation.
Lastly, and most gratefully, the baby (who is getting powerful but sluggish) has turned around from her previously transverse position and is now – according to what the midwife has written in my folder: ‘ceph’, which means she is head down and ready to engage. She is a petite little pixie, measuring a week smaller than her gestational age at the moment – but still within normal range.