Wednesday, 22 March 2017

35 weeks pregnant: Time for myself

I'm pleased (and relieved) to report that I've had a few perky days in the last week or so, and I'm putting that down mostly to the fact that I've had three days pretty much to myself where Joseph's been at nursery or at his Granny's. I've been struggling to cope with his tantrums recently, and they have a real affect on my mood. If they're in the evening before bed then I'm often too emotionally drained to do anything. They're nothing new - they've been going on for the last year or so - but I think pregnancy has heightened their affect on me and my ability to be patient. Having the luxury of being on maternity leave and Joseph in childcare for a few days a week has really allowed my brain to have a bit of space, and it really was feeling cluttered. 

Here's what I've been up to...

I've been taking more photos on my 'proper' camera; though I've not got the hang of how on earth to edit them on my Mac - so instead I just have a million massive photos (in terms of file size) that I intend to use for blog posts eventually that are just sitting on my memory card. I've downloaded the free trial of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, but I'm pretty overwhelmed by it all and need to dedicate my next slice of me-time to that. Managing photos is probably the biggest stress I have regarding being 'creative', aside from the part where I don't feel in any way creative at all but it seems to be what I want to be. Most days I go back to thinking 'why am I even bothering' - with writing and photographing. And I debate deleting my Instagram and Twitter accounts completely and going back to not writing at all as it feels like too much. But then there's that feeling of accomplishment that comes from finally having written a post, even if it is just a brain dump for me and not of interest to anyone else... Although I do eventually want to be able to write with confidence things that other people might want to actually read. And that's what has kept me going... albeit sporadically so far.

An iPhone photo; the ones I took on my DSLR are yet to be edited.

I went to see Beauty and the Beast with two of my friends from work on Sunday. I cried. Though I think my tears were because Joseph had been so well behaved all day so I was feeling particularly love-y, and then Chip strangely reminded me a bit of Joseph. So when him and his mum turned into a normal teapot and cup, before the spell had been lifted, it broke my heart a little bit. See what I mean about pregnancy hormones just being completely batshit?

I went to the dentist for the first time in over two years. I found a dentist who was actually taking on NHS patients and I got an appointment the next day. I had a check up and a scale + polish FOR FREE because of my maternity exemption card. It slightly made up for the fact I had to pay for a root canal privately during my last maternity leave. It was painful in more ways than one, and clearly I'm still bitter.

I've been listening to a hypnobirthing home study audiobook for the last few days. I don't know why, but I'd been putting off birth preparation. It's a bit like my brain couldn't handle it. Though now I'm feeling like I've left it too late. All I've wanted was a water birth with gas and air if need be. I've always imagined it being in a hospital too, rather than at home. I didn't go to NCT classes or anything similar whilst pregnant with Joseph so I didn't do anything this time round either, as I figured I've done it before. I did go to about number of 'breathe, stretch and relax' classes whilst pregnant with Joseph and, at the time, I wasn't sure if I was getting anything out of them - but having not done any sort of stretching or exercise this time around and feeling remarkably more achey than I remember being with Joseph, I now think that maybe they did do something and that now for having not done them I'll have an awful birth. 
One of the things that the hypnobirthing course has said to do is write down all your fears about birth, so I'm going to do that tonight. Right now I can't help but feel I've set myself for a bad experience, but I really don't want that to be a self fulfilling prophecy. Joseph's birth, whilst not ideal (induced, labour ward, whacked out on Pethidine- you can read the birth story here), was manageable pain-wise, so I have another fear of this one having to be extra horrific to make up for the 'ok' one last time. As I'm writing this, I'm realising I have quite a few birth fears, but most are related to me being unprepared and labelling myself an idiot for being unprepared. [Though I have just googled whether it's too late, and a hypnobirthing forum has said that it's not and that it's actually a good time as it's close enough to the birth that motivation to practise will be high.]

I've been drawing from a kids book. This probably deserves its own post in fact. Now, I can't draw for shit but this has been so much fun to copy from. It was only £5 from The Book People who came to my work on my last day before maternity leave and I've since bought the dinosaur one too. I've tried mindful colouring in the past but couldn't help but feel that nagging feeling of it being a waste of time, whereas with this I feel mindful, in that I'm focussed on what I'm doing, and I feel like I'm learning skills that will score me some mum points with Joseph... and his brother, eventually.

I've also been cleaning. A lot. Not even a deep clean, but it feels like I spend a lot of time cleaning just to keep the house at a base level of clean. Ruari has mentioned getting a cleaner, but maternity finances really aren't brilliant and I feel like they'd need to be in every day to keep on top of it all!
Speaking of maternity finances. I had some good news yesterday as my workplace announced a change to their maternity benefits. Rather than statutory maternity pay, mothers and adoptive mothers will now get 8 weeks at full pay followed by 18 weeks at half pay; then the remaining 13 weeks will be statutory allowance. I'm yet to find out what I'll actually receive and what I'll still have to still pay; tax, national insurance, pension contributions, student loan; and I'll still be paying for childcare vouchers etc, but I *think* it should work out a bit better. Certainly for the first 8 weeks at least, and it means I should be able to pay towards the mortgage and bills. I'm also happy about it as I usually miss out on things like that; at my last workplace I hadn't been there long enough to get enhanced maternity pay, and where Joseph has an April birthday he just misses out on the cut off for the funded childcare hours so we have to wait 'til September for those. So it feels like a win.

I boiled an egg. I'd written myself off as someone who can't even boil and egg last week after two failed attempts (one cracked and the other only half boiled where I'd not put in enough water), but third time was a success. I put my inability partly down to the fact I never usually eat eggs, but I guess I've been craving them a little bit lately. 

So that has basically been my week. I am having a scan on Friday, as ordered by my consultant, but all being well I'm hoping to go back to normal care and enjoying being low risk this time around. 

(This blog post was sponsored by Joseph actually having a nap in the house rather than in the car. I love it when that happens; it's seriously rare!)

Hope you're having a good week x

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Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. It really means a lot! Nicki x