Pregnancy Diary Week 39: Maternity Leave

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Week 39

I had a pedicure this morning, then a two hour nap. I am now eating a BBQ beef Hula Hoops sandwich — officially winning at maternity leave. I finished work on Friday after a rather frenzied scrabble to get everything I wanted done but have now made it to that dream state where you book in doing bugger all, allow yourself treats and pampering and put your feet up. Cue champagne corks popping, OK well, Shloer screw caps opening. I wasn’t sure I’d make it this far, particularly after feeling the baby’s head drop down around week 31 and ever since then walking like John Wayne, needing to pee pretty much every ten minutes, and being certain the birth was imminent. Jesus, that’s eight whole weeks ago. I have needed a piss for eight weeks, I’ve bloody earnt this. I am therefore feeling blissfully happy to have some time to myself to enjoy. I’m also feeling very lucky, not because I don’t fully deserve it, but just because many women don’t get this time. As well as enabling me to be as indulgent as I like, it’s also rather helpful to have some space to get my head around this whole birth thing, which feels quite different second time round. There is something quite comforting about blissful ignorance, which I unfortunately no longer have, and so am finding that I need to develop strategies to stop myself feeling panicked or overwhelmed and to remind myself that I’ve got this. I’ve so got this. This is all the more reason to treat myself to a few nice things, eat well, look after myself and make time to get in the right headspace for birth, whenever that happens. So as well as today’s pedicure I have also been able to do some shopping, meet up with friends for coffee (and cake of course), and have a haircut and a lash and brow tint — “what a beautiful mummy” my baby will think as he is cradled peacefully in my arms after a serene and magical delivery under flattering lighting. Well, one can hope. During my first labour and birth I looked like something from the exorcist, which surely was part of the reason for my baby’s initial excessive crying: “Who the hell are you? Let me back in!” I have also had a pregnancy massage and booked in for another in a few days’ time (thank you very much two for one introductory offer), as well as a pregnancy reflexology session. Middle class mat leave to the max. I hadn’t found time for a professional pregnancy massage before now but can definitely recommend it. There are lots of places that offer specialist pregnancy massage treatments and it’s good to ask around and get a recommendation if you can. Mine was so incredible that I spent a good part of the hour (I know, a whole bloody hour!) trying not to make inappropriate sex noises. But hey, if you’re less inhibited than me go for it, as I’m sure they’ve heard it all before. Occupational hazard of the masseuse. The pregnancy reflexology sounds equally brilliant and has been recommended as a way to get labour started, which once you reach 39 weeks seems to be all anyone talks to you about: “Feeling ready to pop, are we?”. This along with helpful suggestions to try trampolining and eating a pineapple curry while you rub your nipples, ideally until climax, is fairly standard. Actually, no I haven’t tried any of those things as I am mostly having an awesome time enjoying my maternity leave, thanks very much. The desperation hasn’t yet kicked in for me, lucky bitch. So you can shove your pineapple up your… Anyway, the reflexology seems like a good option if I start to feel really uncomfortable or when I get closer to the point when the pressure for medical induction usually ramps up. Reflexology is likely to be nice and relaxing even if it does bugger all else, so feels like a positive and natural thing to do at that stage. For now, I am happy for this bad boy to cook for as long as he needs and to come when he’s good and ready. In the meantime I plan to continue to make the most of this very precious time.