That being said, I am happy to be at this stage for a variety of reasons. The first being, I was an emotional mess throughout the whole of my second trimester. Forget the hormones of the first trimester (that is apparently really common), as I didn't really experience that. The second trimester was when my mood starting changing like the British weather and one minute I was crazily doing productive things and feeling exuberant and the next, feeling so low I could barely move. Had the low days lasted longer (as in feeling that low for more than a week at a time), then I would have really started to worry that I had prenatal depression. But, they only lasted a day or two, before my mood changed again and I felt fine and energetic. I didn't experience these mood changes when I was pregnant with Alfred, so it came as a bit of a shock. It was hard on all of us, but together we have come through the other side of it and thankfully, I feel back to normal again.
I say back to normal - I mean I feel like myself and there are no more insane mood swings. I still have the occasional (and very acceptable) pregnant woman wobble. Like, I moan when I feel like my crotch is on fire, sometimes feel fed up when I can't roll over in bed at night and get frustrated when I feel hungry ALL. OF. THE. TIME. But yes, I pretty much have my shit together these days.
I am also really glad to be at this point, as it means we are one step closer to meeting Baby Girl and as each week goes by, I know she is getting stronger and more ready to survive in the outside world. For some reason this pregnancy, I have been way more concerned with whether everything is OK and more anxious before scans and checkups. I think I know more now and I also know what a joy the end result is, because I already have Alfred. I am definitely more aware of what I could lose if something went wrong.
In terms of health, I am currently feeling great. I have mild girdle pain, but apart from that I am very active - I exercise and walk a lot and Alfred keeps me on my toes in between! I even sprinted after him in town the other day, when he tried to make a sneaky escape and people were quite impressed at how fast I suddenly ran!
Everyone has their own opinion on how big or small my bump is ( I've had "wow your huge" comments, as well as "you're so tiny!"). I am happy to say that my midwife measured me the other day and I am growing right on target! She felt the baby and said she wasn't a big baby, so I'm hoping she will weigh similar to Alfred when he was born and be around 6-7lbs.
Baby Girl is currently lying oblique (sideways). At this stage in my pregnancy with Alfred, he was already head down. My midwife says she isn't worried, as second babies often move into the correct position much later and right before labour.
I have an anterior placenta. Again. What are the chances of that?! I was nervous that it would mean the baby would be born in the spine to spine position like Alfred was... but my midwife says that is much more common for that to happen in first pregnancies and that it is less likely to happen again this time, even with an anterior placenta. I really hope so.
The way Alfred was facing when he was born made the labour all in my back and it was very intense and traumatic, right from when my waters broke, without any progression. I think the fact that the ward was understaffed and we were left on our own for long periods of time didn't help either - we were both quite traumatised by it. So much so, that I wasn't sure if I wanted another baby.
I have booked hypnobirthing classes for next month, which is free for me via MEHT, my local NHS (thank you NHS, long may you live!). I am not under any illusions that hypnobirthing is the only method to get through birth, I am seeing it as just one more tool for pain management, along with the gas and air, morphine, birth pool and an epidural.
I had an epidural with Alfred in the end and it was the best decision I ever made. I was only 2 cm after 17 hours of labour (with contractions being every 3 minutes from the beginning). Within half an hour of getting an epidural, I was 8cm! I think I suddenly felt more relaxed and looked after.
With this baby, I am planning on giving birth at the local birthing centre, which means an epidural isn't readily available. The reason why I want to give birth there, is because there is more staff per patient and therefore we will potentially have more guidance and attention (unlike when I gave birth to Alfred). It is on my birth plan, however, that an epidural is still a consideration for me and if I decide to have it, I will get sent straight to the nearest hospital.
In the past couple of weeks, Baby Girl's movements have changed from little kicks to full on jabs, pokes and head butts. She still has a little room to roll around and I keep feeling her do little hiccups, which is the sweetest.
I feel a lot more connected to her than I did with my last pregnancy. I think, again, it is because I already have Alfred so I know what is at the end of this pregnancy. I can visualise her as a real, human baby, rather than this strange abstract idea.
Alfred is aware, in his own way, of what is coming. Even though he won't truly understand until she arrives, we talk daily to him about his little sister, or "baby girl" as he calls her. He knows that babies have something to do with tummies, as a friend put a football up his top the other day and Alfred pointed at it and said, "baby!"
Alfred will every now and again give my belly a little pat or a kiss and has taken to trying to squidge it! I think he is finding my changing shape pretty hilarious... he pokes my belly button and laughs. Thanks dude.
He does get confused though, as sometimes when I talk about his baby sister coming, he leaps up and shouts "WHERE?!" and runs into the living room to look for her. I guess future events are a strange concept to grasp for a two year old!
All in all, difficult stages aside, I have loved being pregnant this time around and have been really embracing my changing shape and all the little kicks and wriggles. I have taken lots of photos to document it and I am getting so excited to meet her.
In the meantime, I am going to absolutely soak up all the one on one time that I have left with Alfred, as there aren't many weeks left. It is bittersweet, but I know that once she is here, she will fit right in and it will be like she was always here.