A couple of months ago, I blogged about some of the crazy ideas that kept me awake at night, and a friend recently asked if ‘baby brain had calmed down…’ HA! No my friend, there has definitely not been a decline in the madness. I have however felt much calmer in the last few weeks now that I know our baby could somewhat safely be born even if she was born at an early stage, it’s one fear that has abated and it’s meant that despite other things, I think I have enjoyed the third trimester more than the other two.
But when it comes to crazy, well, let me keep you, dear reader, also in the loop…!
1) I spoke before about my worry that my previously ‘inny’ belly button would pop out into an ‘outy’…well, I have kept a keen eye on it since and it is what can only be described as ‘dangerously level.’ No more do I have the cavernous space I have grown up with, it is worrying close to becoming positively protruding. Let me reiterate, there is nothing at all wrong with naturally outy belly buttoned people (‘outers’…?! Is there a word for that particular sector of society?! A secret handshake perhaps to identify with? Is there an entire belly button underground world I am yet to stumble upon?!) HOWEVER, I am used to mine the way it is and just don’t want to change camps at this stage of life. There are 4/5 weeks left of my pregnancy and the observation continues…
2) I also spoke before about my crazy fear that my baby would suddenly burst out, a la the scene in the film ‘Alien,’ and perhaps when I was reading the last blog post on the matter aloud, my baby heard me and has a tricksy sense of humour because since then she has kept her head towards the top and when moving about, tends to just stick her head out as if she is trying for a mistake. I have a bicornuate uterus (my uterus is separated in the middle so there is effectively a double chamber) which in turn means my poor little one has less space than normal. As she has grown, the space has become tighter so according to the medical professionals, the protruding head is quite normal and easy to explain rationally. I, however am a first time Mother with the flair for the dramatic so I have of course settled on my original diagnosis…alien-esque escape attempt!
3) Due to the unusual uterus, the fact that baby is breech and the additional fact that I am back on medication after my old friend epilepsy made a rather unwelcome but not totally unexpected return during pregnancy; I am going to be having a c-section. At first, I was very upset by the news, I wanted to give birth to my baby, not have somebody else remove her from me. After thinking that way for a ridiculous and rather petulant 15 minutes, I realised that with my circumstances, I am incredibly lucky to have conceived in the first place. Likewise, the health and safety of my baby is absolutely my priority and therefore if that means a c-section, that us exactly what will happen. Fear of a safe birth is hardly irrational, but once I’d got a bit more information, that’s not why this passage is included in my compendium of crazy. No, this particular entry is much more crazy than that…
…after a c-section, you are left with a scar across your lower tummy. I’m not a shallow girl and the aesthetic aspect of that doesn’t bother me at all. However I have had a dream that the familiar smile shape of the c-section incision (that usually make most women feel better about it) will take on some sinister character and my tummy will somehow become it’s own entity. Is this my fears of the operation manifesting itself in strange ways? I certainly hope so or else it might be time for a psychiatric assessment!!
4) There is a common fear for some Mothers that they won’t feel close to their baby or bond as they feel they should, this fear especially common for Mothers who have a c-section. My particular brand of fear is slightly different. What if my baby doesn’t bond with me?! What if on some as yet un-understood level, I am a disappointment to my newborn?! It may seem daft but I can feel that our baby is an absolute Daddies girl already, when we go and watch him teach a class or his voice rings out above others in a room or he comes home after a couple of days or more away with work, she gets really excited! Kicks a plenty, wriggling about, the absolute love she has for her Father is measurable. He has an incredibly cool job and is an incredibly talented writer, director, stage combat teacher and fight director so growing up, he was always going to be her hero but already her favourite..? Give me a chance! Saying that, he’s the obvious choice as favourite; he’s also my hero, and I have provided so far – a uterus with so little wriggle room, at her 34 week scans she had a foot up next to her face, quite a lot of crying, and she must hear me moaning about being in pain and think, ‘for crying out loud Mother, I’m trying to grow into a mini human in these conditions?!’ She also has two sets of incredibly doting Grandparents and although I wouldn’t tell them to their face (little brothers aren’t supposed to be given too many compliments by older siblings!) I know she will have so much fun with both her Uncles. And as crazy as it may seem, part of me worries that I’ll be desperate to bond with her and she’ll have no need for a clearly slightly unhinged Mother! I am more than happy not to be the favourite, in fact one thing I am especially excited to see is that special light in her eyes everytime she sees her Daddy because it’ll be the same light I have when I look at my husband. But I am hoping to be at least up there and that on her day of birth she doesn’t look up at me with an expression that says…’really…this woman?! Do I have any choice in this?’
5) If all things allow, I would like to breastfeed. I’ve been warned that when hearing a baby cry, my breasts will leak somewhat of their own accord and to therefore to stock up on breast pads! I know that it can get painful and there can be problems with blockages and other associated issues, but none of that keeps me up at night. The thoughts that live in my dreams is that I will, once home, start to breastfeed and then for some reason, it won’t stop, like a tap with no means to turn it off. I have a horrendous image of my husband coming home to find his wife and daughter in a foot of breast milk, tears from both whilst our belongings start to float around in the uncontrollable torrent. I know what you’re thinking, ‘what the hell has she been smoking?!’ I only wish I could tell you there’s something chemical behind these thoughts – there’s not, this is in fact what goes on in this brain with no prior prompting or man made substance help.
And the breast milk tsunami is perhaps an appropriate place to leave it for now comrades! We all need a break and it only gets stranger! Sadly I have been assured by several Mum friends that baby brain not only doesn’t get any better, but simply takes a firmer hold. Which is a shame because I used to be considered quite smart, a reputation I can probably kiss goodbye to. My only hope now is that I can avoid getting to the stage where I get some sandbags in the garage just in case…!
The best piece of advice I’ve received during pregnancy is just to go with it, relax as much as possible and let it all happen. I’ve been relatively rubbish at following this advice and have managed to worry at every corner and internally convince myself of the worst even when it outwardly even seems like quite the accomplishment to have found the negative! My compromise has been to keep good humoured about it. I have been a nightmare for my poor husband who has admirably and patiently let me rant on about how the lack of uterus space will probably mean our baby hates me as she’ll remember that cramped feeling for life! But I am aware that I’m being unreasonable, which at least is something, so a decent amount of ribbing is definitely called for!
A couple of months ago I wrote about feeling slightly crazy with worries that seemed unnecessary compared to the big things, by the last stretch I assumed I’d be more concentrated on the more impending, practical issues. But it seems my brain is happy at this particular station and after much discussion with others, I am apparently not alone. So although I’d imagine your middle of the night irrational thoughts will be different (and probably a bit less dramatic!) than mine, we can all take comfort that even though as first time Mothers, we have no real idea what we’re doing or what we can expect – we WILL all find a way. Our brains are perhaps distracting us with thoughts of outy belly buttons whilst they start working on a deeper level to get us through things we couldn’t necessarily do on a more conscious level. Our new arrivals are the most important thing to any first time Mother and instinctively we will do whatever we can to succeed at our new role. So as we all get to the same crazy town station, we may as well let our brains do their thing and take in the sights! Climb aboard ladies and let’s continue to enjoy the ride!