Over the last nine months we have been sharing India’s pregnancy diary which you can read here and here. Today she is back with the final instalment of her third trimester although I think we will be having a birth story soon as they welcomed a gorgeous little boy, Eric, on the 25th August. I’ll hand over to India to tell you all about how she was feeling before the birth.

I feel as though the third trimester has gone faster than any other part of my pregnancy. I may well regret saying that if I end up two weeks overdue in a heatwave (major respect to all mamas who have summer babies, it is hot work!), but at just over 39 weeks time seems to still be flying by, and thankfully there doesn’t seem to be a UK heatwave forecast just yet!

Because it has been zooming past, everything seemed to get very real very quickly when at 33 weeks we had our kitchen ripped out, and I suddenly realised we really needed this baby not to arrive yet. I think I am probably like a lot of first time mamas in that I was convinced baby would surprise us and arrive early, but with only four days to go until due date it’s clear he isn’t going to be that early.

At 36 weeks we still had a front patio filled with bags of rubbish (mainly old flooring board) and were awaiting tiling and new carpets. I had a major panic that we may not have enough time to get everything sorted before I had the baby! I know we aren’t alone in tackling major DIY at this stage, it all sounds so much simpler on paper than it ends up being in reality, doesn’t it?

In general I have been feeling really well, I am still counting my lucky stars that I am still relatively active and am just taking it day by day. I am slower than before but still feeling energetic most days, though others are a bit of a struggle with feeling tired now. My bump is getting bigger, it’s measuring pretty high on the curve, so part of me is terrified I am growing a giant baby, but the other part is happy he seems to be doing so well in there.

This trimester the preparation for the little one’s arrival seems to have ramped up, which I suppose is natural. There seem to have been lots of midwife appointments, alot of online shopping, and we also went on the NHS antenatal class. We chose the full day option, which was a Sunday on a pretty warm July day in a room with no windows, which isn’t the best start, but we did learn a few things. It mostly just confirmed in my mind things I had heard or read elsewhere, and it did give me a strange kind of confidence that we are perhaps better prepared (as prepared as you can be for the newborn chaos!) than we think. I’m sure I will be eating my words once baby has actually arrived.

In an effort to prepare for needing mum friends/friends who aren’t at work all day (sorry friends who work full time, I promise I will still love you/see you when baby arrives!) I have made a conscious attempt to meet up with colleagues who are pregnant, to talk to my neighbour who has a newborn, and to chat with my friends who will be just returning to work after maternity leave or working part time. So I know I have people I can call and arrange meet ups with once I can leave the house, or who can pop round to help break up full days at home alone.

I’ve also made a list of baby groups and events happening nearby and across the city, so that if and when I get to a point where I would quite like to leave the house and take part in some kind of semi-structured activity, I don’t have to start googling with one hand whilst holding baby with the other. Some things I really hope I can make it to include the local baby sensory class and the Kino Bambino sessions at our independent cinema which sound fantastic.

Other key milestones during this trimester have included my midwife home visit at 34 weeks. I hope I’m not alone in having this weird fear about having an NHS professional in my home, essentially judging if it’s fit for me to bring my baby home to! I found the lead up to it quite stressful, even though I knew I shouldn’t. In the end the midwife walked into the kitchen renovation in full flow, the contents of our kitchen in the living room, and didn’t even bat an eyelid. I also had nowhere for the baby to sleep at that point and she was calm as anything about that as well, so nowhere near as scary or judgey as I was imagining.

Also at this visit I suddenly realised that despite painting the nursery at 22 weeks, and buying a few bits and pieces and chucking them in that room, we were really nowhere near ready for baby to actually arrive. At 36 weeks I hadn’t had a washing machine for three weeks, and suddenly realised I needed to get on with washing baby’s clothes so I could finish packing his hospital bag. Thankfully we are now on the road to having everything set up and ready for him. Well, as ready as you can be, anyway!

Our hospital bags (mine and his) are packed, though I have surely forgotten something. On that front, one of my main concerns has been what on earth to pack for myself to wear during labour. It really brought home to me how unsure everything is when I was thinking about what to pack for the various possibilities. What to wear during labour is hard as well, there are so many mixed messages out there, any tips you have based on your experiences would be very welcome at this stage. I know that when it comes down to it I probably won’t care, and lots of people have told me they basically ended up naked most of the time, but I think it helps me to feel prepared to know I have options that I’ve thought through.

So far I have packed a couple of oversized cotton nighties from Asda in a dark colour, they have spaghetti straps for coolness and can be pulled down at the front for skin to skin. I also bought a lightweight dressing gown from Primark for covering up whatever modesty I have left at that stage. For after the birth I’ve got a button down PJ top for nursing and some shorts because the hospitals seem to be a million degrees. In case of a c-section and not wanting to irritate the wound I’ve also packed a nightie, though I imagine I would start off in a hospital gown in that scenario.

At home we have his bedside crib, sleepyhead pillow and a couple of cellular blankets all set up. On the advice of the comments from my last post I have bought an ergopouch which looks fab (am I the only one who has gone to town on the sleep aids?!).

We also have his carseat and base fitted in the car, plus his second hand pram is all ready to go complete with new carrycot mattress and liner. I’ve got the toiletries (is that what you call them for babies?) side of things sorted, alongside a few packs of wipes and nappies, and some muslins and swaddle cloths ready to go.

When it comes to what happens next, yes I am scared of labour, and I may well think differently once I am in the throes of it, but for now my focus is getting to meet my little boy. Whatever I need to do and however he ends up arriving, my main aim is to get him here safely. Ideally I would like minimal damage to my body as well, but his health 100% comes first.

I am also trying to remind myself that my body is designed to do this. I have spoken before about how amazed I have been at my body’s ability to make, grow and carry our baby, and that it just knows how to do that effectively. My thinking is that my body has got me and the little one this far, so I should probably have some level of trust that it can handle what comes next, regardless of whether that culminates in a natural, assisted or surgical delivery.

Most of all, we have been trying really hard to make the most of the time my husband and I have as a twosome; to see friends we might not manage to get out to see for a little while once the baby is here; and to appreciate things like having a lie in and drinking hot cups of tea. I can’t wait to meet this little person and get to know him, but I know at the same time however much we prepare we have absolutely no idea what is about to hit us. I am nervous and equally excited to find out how we handle the crazy rollercoaster challenge of parenthood, any tips you have for those first few days and weeks I would love to read in the comments.

Image by For The Love Photography