We’re at 37 weeks now! Baby is now considered full term.
I can’t believe we’re here… Every day I am amazed at how big and strong baby feels inside me. My belly is absolutely HUGE – it sticks straight out and is so perfectly round that it looks like I’ve stuffed a beach ball under my shirt. Both M and I sometimes can’t help ourselves and let out a breathless “woah” when we notice how big it is.
I’m lucky that the weather has been mostly co-operative this summer. There have definitely been days when it’s awfully hot, but for the most part I’ve been able to cope quite well. My office is air conditioned and we have plenty of fans in our house. We also bought this amazing stacker tower fan, which is two fans stacked on top of each other. It’s been a life save. We keep it at the foot of the bed and just point it right at me to keep me cool on the hotter nights. I don’t think I would have made it without it! It’s getting hotter again now, though, just as I’m going to be biggest and heaviest.
I only have a week left at work before I go on mat leave. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I’ve been awfully tired lately. I don’t sleep well at night because I’m too uncomfortable, even with my trusty Snoogle. Baby seems to kick a lot just as I first lay down, so it’s tough to fall asleep. Then, I usually wake up 3-4 times through the night because I have to pee. I’ve noticed in the past week or so that I’ll be woken up by some pretty serious Braxton Hicks contractions. They’re strong enough to pull me out of my sleep, and the way I’ve gotten them to go away is to get out of bed and do a bathroom run. Because this always happens at night, I sort of get the feeling that I’ll go into labour at night. I know it’s really not a good indicator at all, but that’s just the feeling that I get.
At my now-weekly exam, the doctor told me today that the baby has started to drop. Very exciting stuff! It’s still not fully dropped into my pelvis, but apparently baby is lower than it was last week. So – things are starting to happen. I think I really freaked M out a couple of days ago because he came downstairs and found me sort of hunched over holding up my belly. It was just so heavy and I could feel a lot of pressure from the baby pushing down. I’m guessing that that’s when baby started it’s descent lower into my pelvis. M said that there seemed to be a lot of grunting and other noises coming out of me that night!
Next week, we’ll do a pelvic exam and check my dilation and effacement. I am really starting to wonder when the baby is going to come!
I have a job that I love at a great company. I’m not a high powered executive, but I am proud of my career at a fairly young age. I’m especially proud that I’ve accomplished what I have without having completed a degree, although I did attend a few years of university. I’ve achieved what I have because the CEO of my company recognized my natural talent and drive, and gave me the opportunity to take on more responsibility. From there, I’ve taken on a lot on my own, and have continued to progress in my role within the organization. I love that I’ve got a corner office with a nice view. I take pride in my work and my achievements. So – it was a bit disturbing when I saw the job postings for people to take over for while I am on mat leave. Two positions are being filled to cover for me while I’m gone.
I know there will be work for me when I come off maternity leave. Legally, of course, I am entitled to my job (or something similar) with the same level of seniority and pay. I get a year of maternity leave, plus I still accrue vacation time while I’m off, so I will actually have a year and 5 weeks before I go back to work. That takes me to the end of September, 2011. With the way my company is growing, it’s very unlikely that things will be the same when I come back at that time, so it was decided that I would discuss what opportunities exist and what I would be interested in so that we could decide what my job will entail. I am satisfied with that arrangement and have no real worries that I’ll be able to take on a role that I’ll be happy with. But still – seeing my job being posted on job sites, being talked about on Twitter and on LinkedIn – it’s strange and unsettling. I feel oddly protective of my job, like I don’t want anyone else to have it because I like what I do. What if they don’t do it as well as I did, or even just the way that I think it should be done? I am definitely the type of person who likes things to be in order, to be done in a particular way. It bothers me when things are unorganized, if items are missed because they weren’t thought through, and I especially hate it when things fail or need additional work or re-work. Sometimes I can’t help but wish that I had been consulted so that my feedback could have been considered and maybe some of those missed items would have been planned for and avoided.
We have now hired for both positions that will be covering my areas. It might sound impressive that we’ve hired two people to do one person’s job, but it’s not really like that. The two areas I manage are very different from each other, and honestly it’s not something one person would usually do. We’re taking each half of what I do an expanding each to cover more. It makes sense to split them up. I’ve been training one person for a few weeks now, and will start training the other person next week. Looking at my work calendar, I don’t have a lot of time left to make sure they are both ready. I plan on starting maternity leave in 5 to 6 weeks, but I want to fully hand off all of my duties to these new people in 3 weeks. This will allow them time to have full ownership while I am still available to consult and help with any issues that arise when they really sink their teeth into things. Plus, who knows how I will feel as I approach my due date.
Although I’ve felt really good, things may change, I may be too tired or too uncomfortable to work. Maybe the heat will get to me. Maybe I’ll be at risk for preterm delivery and I’ll need to go on bedrest. I do hope to have at least a couple of weeks off before the baby comes to relax and have some time to myself. I plan to work until either August 13 or 19, and I’m due September 2nd. That leaves me with 2-3 weeks off before the baby, assuming baby is on time. I hope to stretch it to the 19th, as I’d much rather have the time off afterwards than before. Besides, I have a feeling baby may be late anyway.
First off, everything is OK. I wanted to get that out of the way immediately so no one panicked.
A few days ago, we had a terrible scare. I was just about to head home from work but had to make a pit stop in the bathroom. To my surprise, when I looked down, there was a spot of red in the toilet. Now – because I had discovered that hemmoroids are very common during pregnancy, and I had already had a run in with this problem, I was not too panicked about it. But, when I went to wipe up, I discovered the blood was not coming from my behind. I checked again and to my horror, it was coming from the place I dreaded. There was a lot of blood, but less after each check with the tissue.
oh my god oh my god oh my god, was all I could say, over and over again. Thankfully, there was no one else in the bathroom to hear me. I tried desperately to stay calm, but all I could think about was that this couldn’t be happening again. We had just told everyone. I couldn’t bear to go through what I had already endured – publicly this time.
I managed to hold myself together for long enough to get down to the car and call M. “I’m scared.” I said, and then burst into tears. He tried to keep me calm and get me to explain what had happened. He asked if I was sure that the bleeding was coming from up front and I said yes, that I was positive. He told me to come home and begged me to drive carefully and try to stay calm while on the road.
It felt like such a long drive home. I bawled the entire time. I considered just cheating and driving in the carpool lane, but I didn’t want to chance having to delay getting home or explain my situation if I got pulled over. I rehearsed what I would say in my head:
Please let me go home. I think I’m having a miscarriage. I’m bleeding. Please.
Surely, no police officer would give me a ticket in my situation. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it, and just drove along slowly and miserably in the traffic. When I pulled into the garage, I broke down again. I was scared to go inside. I was scared to have to check again and possibly find more blood. I dragged myself out of the car though, and trudged into the house. M was there immediately to take me into his arms, and I just sobbed into his shirt. We tried to decide if we should go to the hospital. I was lost. I didn’t want to go, but I didn’t want to stay. I went to the bathroom and checked again. There was a tiny bit of blood, but nothing like what was there before. We decided we would call the clinic and ask them what we should do. Of course, it was closed, and the messaging service person told us that the doctor on call would call us back within 15 minutes. 15 minutes was a lifetime to wait.
When we got the call, I couldn’t take it – I had to get M to explain what happened. They asked how far along I was, if I had had any cramping (no), if we had sex recently (no). We also told them that we had gone in just over a week ago and had heard the heartbeat. They asked if the bleeding was getting worse (no, it was almost gone).
It turns out that it was caused by a polyp on my cervix. Completely non-urgent. Completely not a threat to the pregnancy. Basically just a skin tab that is prone to bleeding, especially after sex or exerting yourself in the bathroom. They are commonly developed during pregnancy due to…you guessed it… hormones! The reason they’re so prone to bleeding is because of all the extra blood volume women have during pregnancy. I’m going to have it removed next week. Apparently, it’s nearly pain free and extremely quick to get rid of. No more pain or discomfort than your pap exam.
I can speak of this now calmly, but that night we were in agony. We were both terrified that it was happening again. I was shaking with fear, saying I didn’t think I could live through another miscarriage. This time would be even worse because now I had 13 weeks to connect with our baby instead of just 8. It would be worse because now everyone knew. It would be worse because then I would be a failure again. It would be worse because I would wonder if we could ever have a child.
That night, we fell asleep holding hands, thankful to know that our baby is still safe in there. But, please, no more scares. I would love to just be able to get through the rest of this pregnancy with no more panic. I am so jealous of women who get to enjoy their entire pregnancy. I wondered aloud to M if he thought I would ever be able to just enjoy being pregnant instead of being scared all the time and he said no. I agree, I don’t think it’s in the cards for us. But as long as we have a happy, healthy baby at the end of it, it’s all worth it.
Please, baby, stay with us.
Now that we had gotten the OK from the doc to start telling people about our pregnancy, it was time to take that big, big step – telling my work. There have actually been a LOT of babies in my office in the past two years. Last year, there must have been 10 new babies, which is a ton considering we have a staff of about 150 people. I suppose we are all just sort of getting to that age, so I figured that the news would get a good reception.
Telling the boss that you’re pregnant can be a pretty intimidating thing. I wasn’t too worried about it, but I still wanted to make sure that I was well prepared. I decided that I would speak to my HR rep first, then to a co-worker in my department who recently came back from maternity leave so I could see what her experience was like, then tell my boss the following day. It turned out that my HR person was only available later in the day, and I definitely wanted to speak to my co-worker the same day so I would not have to delay telling my boss. So, I strongly suggested to her that we needed to go for lunch together so that I could talk to her alone.
As we were headed to pick up some food, we started talking about her baby, and how it was lots of work to have to go out anywhere now since they had to deal with packing up the stroller and having all of thier just-in-case supplies ready to go, and I thought that was a good lead in. When I told her I was pregnant, she started SCREAMING! Like full on screaming, to the point that I was actually a bit scared to keep driving! She was so excited for me and gave me a big hug. It was helpful to talk to her about how she told her boss at the time, and what sorts of questions they asked. Next up was talking to HR, which went quite smoothly – ie., no screaming – and she gave me the run down on what my benefits would be while I was off, and some advice on what I should talk to my boss about when I told him. She advised that I should let him know when my due date is, and how far in advance I was planning on going on leave. She also suggested I let him know if I was planning on coming back or if that was to be decided later on, and that he would likely also appreciate knowing if he should keep the news mum, or if it was now open knowledge.
The next day, I told my boss. I was emailing M to get his opinion on whether I should do the “pop-in” or schedule an appointment. We agreed that the pop in would be more appropriate as it’s more casual. He also changed my mind about leaving it until the end of the day and suggested that I do it mid-day- more confident/assertive instead of giving him the news and then taking off for the day. I had not really considered that an end of day meeting might leave that kind of impression, so I decided to go for the mid-day chat. It was nice to get M’s input on this since he is a manager and has had to deal with women letting him know that they are pregnant. Anyhow, the chat went extremely well. To my surprise, he told me that he had a feeling about a month and a half ago that I might be pregnant. And here I thought I was hiding it so well! He congratulated me and was very supportive. When I told him my plan was definitely to come back, he laughed and said he had little doubt about that 🙂
So – now the news is out there. I told more co-workers at the end of the day that day, and then this morning, I was sort of put on the spot to announce it to the larger management group in our morning meeting. A VP (who knew I was pregnant) announced that a co-worker had given birth to her baby girl, and then asked if there were “any other highlights” while looking at me. Everyone else in the room who already knew were also also staring at me expectantly so I had to say “Ok, Ok, I’m next!” Everyone cheered and congratulated me. Other than the embarrasment of being the center of attention (and thus turning beet red), it was a wonderful moment.
It’s sort of strange now that it’s completely out there after trying to hide it for so long. In a way, it’s exciting because everyone is so happy for us. It might even make it seem a bit more real since now it’s public knowledge. But in an odd sense, it’s scary. I know the chances of having another miscarriage is very low at this point, but anything can happen. When we went through our miscarriage, it was just us, we clung to each other for dear life, but no one else knew what we were going through. Now that we’ve made our announcements, it would be so terrible to have everyone know about it.
I have to keep telling myself that it should be OK now, that we are going to have our baby, but I think that fear will always be there. Right up until I’m holding baby in my arms…. And then I can worry for the next 18 years rest of my life!