Monday, 16 May 2016

Finally…maternity leave!

I feel like I'm blooming. For the whole of my pregnancy I have felt tired, run down, stressed with work and generally under the weather. However this turned around as I entered the 30s weeks, as for some reason I have found myself with more energy, I have been happier, calmer, and have absolutely fallen in love with my ever expanding bump. I guess the fact I was on countdown to maternity leave really helped me feel positive too.

So to be admitted to hospital shortly after turning 32 weeks, and then to be told I was going to stay in until the birth of our baby was really not the news I wanted to hear. But, we made it as lovely as we could. Sarah visited every day, our friends and family visited frequently, we tried to do as much baby stuff as we could from my hospital room, and planned for Sarah to decorate the nursery, order the pram and visit the Baby Show with various members of our family. Then, on Friday 13th May, to be told that the Consultant was happy for me to be discharged and be seen as an outpatient was like a dream come true - I wanted to kiss her! She said that although the condition, pre-eclampsia hasn't gone away, and won't until he's here, they now have a very good clinical picture of where this is going, and so far everything looks to be very stable. So the plan for now is every other day midwife visits, and twice weekly hospital visits to see the Consultant again. I am also checking my blood pressure 4 times a day at home, with strict instructions to go straight back to hospital if it rises over 140/90.

But amongst all of this - I can finally finally say, I am on maternity leave! Not maternity leave sitting in a hospital bed having every part of me monitored and waiting to be told they need to deliver him, but actual, at home, resting on the sofa maternity leave! Of course no-one knows how long me being able to stay at home will last, or how much longer the pregnancy will last. But since the day I was discharged home things seem to be continuing to be nice and stable, which means that we have been able to begin to work through our list of things we wanted to do on my maternity leave. We are both just so happy to be able to spend some time together at home to prepare for our baby's arrival, and are happy to take it one day at a time. These are a few things we have started to do, and plan to do more of in the next couple of weeks:

  • Finish off the nursery. Sarah and her family spent the weekend before last decorating , and the result is absolutely gorgeous. This weekend my family came over to help Sarah assemble all of the furniture. It was completely unexpected that I was able to be here, but it was wonderful! I erm, 'supervised' the furniture being assembled, made cups of tea, and we had a big family lunch outside in the garden to reward our efforts! The only things left to do now is to buy the finishing touches like curtains, storage boxes and a mobile etc. 
  • Finish shopping. As we wrote about in the last post, we visited the Baby Show last weekend and bought a lot of things that were still on our to-do list. We now have his pram, a bath, a breast pump, a steriliser and bottles, some reusable nappies to trial and a baby monitor thanks to a very successful shopping trip. We are now nearing the end of our 'things to buy before he arrives' list but just want to make sure we have enough clothes, and smaller items like muslin clothes, nappies etc. The idea that our baby could have come much earlier made us feel quite panicked as we were so unprepared, but now feel ready for his arrival, whenever that may be!
  • Wash everything in preparation. One of those tiny milestones that is ridiculously exciting for no real reason. We need to make sure everything he will need to begin with, clothes, blankets etc are washed and ready for him. 
  • Pack the labour bags. We will write a separate post about what we are taking to the hospital for both me and him, which due to our baby nearly arriving much sooner than planned, are mostly ready now!
  • Take some pictures. We considered the idea of a maternity shoot, having seen some lovely ones, and some not so lovely! Ultimately we decided not to risk a lot of money on something we may not be happy with, and as the photogrpaher we liked would have involved a lengthy car journey and over night stay, it was ruled out anyway.  But we want some pictures to remember this incredible time in our lives, so plan to take a few pictures ourselves to create memories that will last forever. 
  • Go on a date. Or two. Or three. Who knows when the next time we will want to go out just the two of us will be. My wife is my best friend, but she is also the most beautiful human on the planet. I love dating her, and I don't think that will ever change. But I want to be able to go out with her a few more times and enjoy being a couple before we become a family. 
  • Cook some freezer meals. I know we will be too tired to think about cooking proper meals, at least for the first two weeks or so. So I want to be able to take out some freezer meals that I have prepared in advance, and not have to think about much more than putting them in the oven. Otherwise we will just order takeaways, and end up four times the size!
  • Prepare for labour. As much as it's possible to do that. We don't have a birth plan as such, but know we want a play list of 'our' music playing, I know I want to rely on breathing and visualisation techniques more than pharmacological pain relief, we want to practise some elements of hypnobirthing, so all of this requires practise now.
  • Relax! I plan to practise pregnancy yoga daily, use mindfulness and meditation, read books, walk with Willow in the beautiful sunshine, relax with my wife in the garden, wander round shops together, watch films in each others arms, do lots of baking, have long lie ins, and generally just enjoy this time as much as possible, before chaos hits and we have a newborn baby to contend with!
Here's to the final countdown!

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