Hey there, friends! I am still trying to compose myself after the shock the third episode of The Undoing left me with last night, hah! If you haven’t started watching it, I cannot recommend it enough. Other than that, we are getting things all festive and cozy for the holiday season over here as we enter our second week of the second lockdown we’re currently in. We’re keeping busy and doing our best to stay positive! I’m not going to lie — this house needs so much help in terms of decor and organization so I have been shopping for those types of things in the evening more than baby stuff, hah! But, baby boy is still growing strong and will be here before we know it. This bumpdate was actually supposed to be next week, as I’m trying to keep them four weeks apart [last one I shared is here] but, with all of the holiday content we had planned, some posts just really needed to go up next week so I shifted this one up a bit! So, what’s the latest? I had y’all send in questions to help me know what you’d like some insight into!
How far along: 23 weeks and one day!
1st trimester vs. 2nd trimester: Some of y’all wanted some insight into how my 2nd trimester is going, especially after being so open about the struggles I had during my first trimester [also a Q&A here]. Honestly, for me, the second trimester is night-and-day different to the first. I’m not nearly as tired and I’m not nearly as lethargic and low-energy as I was. I am motivated most days – unless I’ve physically pushed myself quite a bit, in which case I tend to need a day to take it easy. Sleeping isn’t as comfortable as it once was and neither is getting dressed, hah, but I’d easily take second trimester over first any day!
Overall ‘how are you feeling’: I really cannot complain. I love that, for the most part, I have about as much energy as I do when I’m not pregnant and am able to feel useful and like I’m contributing around the house and able to get things done. Over the last week or so, I have grown quite a bit more uncomfortable. My back aches really bad at night. Sometimes putting my feet on pillows when I’m laying down helps, but other times it takes John rubbing my back. Sleeping has become increasingly uncomfortable. I tried using a pregnancy pillow and it’s great but I haven’t been using it lately because it kind of makes me feel like I have even less space. I’m learning I love to sleep spread out, ha .. which is really hard to do with our current bed situation! The top of my bump has felt a little sore and I think it’s from getting up from laying down by flexing my stomach versus rolling over and getting up from my side. So, definitely more aches and pains but … I’m grateful baby boy is moving like crazy. His kicks are feeling stronger everyday.
Cravings: I still literally don’t have ANY cravings but I do find fruit to taste EVEN. BETTER. than it did when I wasn’t pregnant. Personally loving pineapple and strawberry these days!
What I’m Looking Forward To: I’m most looking forward to transitioning my antenatal care over to a private midwife. We have officially hired one last week and we meet with her for the first time on Friday. Many of you wanted some insight into why we decided to do that so I’ll share what I shared with my Ask Alyson Haley newsletter community below for anyone who is curious. Midwives lead maternity care here in the UK more so than OB’s, although an OB is typically assigned to women here who are considered high-risk. I’m also excited to learn more about home birth and if that is something I may want to do for future childbirth’s. My midwife isn’t offering home birth services at the moment due to Covid [I’m pretty sure; going to confirm that with her on Friday as home birth wasn’t really on my radar when we initially spoke during our interview] but I read this blog post by Rosie Londoner and it has truly opened my eyes to the potential to opt for that as a part of my birth plan in the future. I ordered this book to read in order to gain more insight. I already got a message with a horror story about home birth and I realize there is always risk involved with any decision you make. Just know I will make an informed decision when the time comes and I ask that that be respected, even if it’s not the decision you would make.
What I’m Least Excited About: Growing discomfort, ha! It is such a gift to bring new life into the world so I will do my best to stay positive!
What Have You Purchased: Guys … we have purchased literally NOTHING other than this bear suit a few weeks back, ha … oh! And a chest of drawers. I really really need to get a move on just in case things take awhile to ship but, for now, I am focusing on getting the house organized and decorated for Christmas. Maybe waiting will benefit me in the long run thanks to Black Friday sales, who knows! [ #fingerscrossed ] If you’re curious about what I have my eye on when it comes to clothing and furniture for baby boy, I did a blog post rounding up a few things I’ve saved online!
Movement: In the last bumpdate, I’m pretty sure I shared that we just started identifying his movements when we were in the Cotswolds. It felt like gas bubbles moving or popping in your belly [didn’t know how else to explain it] but, now, it definitely feels like there’s something doing little flips in your stomach. It’s like he can never get comfortable sometimes because, for like five minutes, he will just flip around, hah! This week has been fun because, not only am I feeling his movements more, but he has become strong enough for me to see my bump moving when he does. It’s so fun!
Weight Gain: Some people ask this but I have to underline how important it is to NOT compare. Everyone is different. I’m 113 right now so I haven’t been gaining as much over the past three weeks as I did throughout my first trimester. I actually did tell John that I don’t feel like I eat enough so we are going to try to buy more than we normally do just so I can have an extra breakfast or an extra lunch just so I’m getting extra calories in for baby boy. I’m going to talk about this with my midwife on Friday, as well.
Why A Private Midwife? Everything about being pregnant and giving birth in a different country with a different healthcare system has felt really overwhelming for me. Here’s what I can tell you about how things are run here [and I cannot underline enough how it’s not BAD, it’s just different and that can feel uncomfortable when you had different expectations]:
The UK has a free healthcare service, called the NHS in which maternity services are led by midwives, and women can opt to use the NHS to deliver their babies free of charge. [There are OB physicians that work at these hospitals and can be called in during birth or even during the antenatal period, if needed, especially in high risk pregnancy situations.] While I have every confidence in the NHS, and know MANY women have had amazing experiences with the NHS, I am afraid that what they are currently able to provide pregnant women feels as if you are on your own. My personal experience has not been as personalized, helpful, educational, supportive, and ‘warm’ as I’d like for it to be, especially being that this is my first pregnancy.
As many of you know, in America, you give birth with an OB that you see throughout your entire pregnancy — and often that you’ve known for years to get your annual pap smears — so you either already have or are able to build up that rapport, connection and trust in the person who will be there with you when you’re ready to give birth. If they can’t guarantee they will be there, you’ve also had time to get to know their colleagues who might be. The NHS has been extremely stressed thanks to Covid this year and, for me, it was unnerving that I wasn’t going to be building a relationship with the midwife or midwives that would be there the day I give birth throughout my pregnancy. As I’ve come to understand why and how the system works, I do understand why that’s not possible and I know they’re doing the best they can. However, I can’t help that I want a little more than they can currently provide. I really feel like I want care and support from someone that I trust and know.
So, we interviewed a few different midwife companies all of whom, due to Covid, offer different things at the moment. I’m actually really intrigued by giving birth at home but, there’s more research I want to do on that and it’s not something the midwife we hired offers at this time. She offers antenatal services throughout pregnancy so she will replace my NHS care and come to our home for all visits leading up to birth. She will also care for me after birth during the postpartum period for four weeks. She’ll come by everyday for the first week to weigh baby boy, check on me, help me with breastfeeding, assist with nutrition, etc. and check in periodically after that. The NHS typically does one home visit after birth. For me, I just didn’t feel like trying to figure out who to hire to come help me with breastfeeding when I’m barely getting any sleep so I wanted to sort out the support after birth now, while I have the energy for it.
You can typically opt for your midwife to be with your during birth but, due to Covid, mine will not and I completely respect why. Hospital are dirty and full of infection — even when you’re being as careful as possible — and, since she’s caring for multiple mom’s-to-be, she felt like she would be able to serve everyone best by not putting herself at risk in the hospital. While I would have preferred to know who was delivering baby boy, I think the support she will provide leading up to birth will give me the confidence, education and understanding that I think every woman needs before going in the deliver so that she and her significant other can advocate for themselves throughout the process. So, we’ll focus very much on education and coming up with a birth plan I feel comfortable with and John will assist with advocating for me at the hospital. I know how hospitals work and I really do not want to be rushed to push and get the baby out quickly, which is another reason why I will likely consider a home birth in the future.
If you’ve ever had a home birth, please let me know how it went by emailing me! Would love to hear!
Would you consider a home birth if you were in the US? Honestly, probably not. But that’s just because the culture in the US doesn’t really invite women to think that there are other options outside just having your baby in a hospital. This isn’t me trying to insult how things are done in the US. It’s just a fact. MOST women give birth in the hospital and I understand why that is attractive to many but, getting curious about having your baby at home has been really eye-opening and insightful. As I learn more, I’d love to share some of that insight with you all so you understand why there are people who do opt to have a home birth. It’s not as ‘hippy dippy’ as I always thought it seemed. The reasoning why people do it actually makes a lot of sense.
Maternity Clothing I’m Loving: I was honestly so excited to be pregnant during the colder weather season. Sadly, our lockdown has almost forced me into everyday loungewear, which is honestly the most comfortable for me right now, but I do hope to share more pregnancy looks in December! Fingers crossed the lockdown isn’t extended. I will say …. this sweater dress will likely get a lot more use once the lockdown lifts [see it styled in tomorrow’s blog post] and these fleece-lined leggings are super comfortable to wear around the house!
Alright, that about does it for this bump date! I hope to have more of an update on things I have purchased for baby boy because I know some of you momma’s to be are wanting some help with things like that so I promise — I’ll work on it! Hope you guys are doing well! Let me know what else you’d like to see in these bump dates! xo.
I’m 22 weeks pregnant too with my first – a boy as well! I’m in London too and really enjoying following your pregnancy journey.
If you’re interested in Home Birth in the UK – the Instagrammer Rebecca @rvkloves shared a really positive story on her blog with her first baby: http://www.rosesandrolltops.co.uk/2019/08/freyas-positive-home-birth-story-part.html
This is probably not an option for me personally (partly due to lack of space at home), but reading this makes me seriously tempted!
Also, I’ve really enjoyed the book “How to Grow a Baby and Push it Out” by Clemmie Hooper, who is a midwife over here – there are a couple of home birth stories in there too, and she generally gives a good oversight of how ante- and post-natal care works in the UK as it’s structured around your normal midwife schedule.
Take care! 🙂
Thank you, Chloe! I purchased the book by Clemmie Hooper a few weeks back and am still meaning to get into it. There are so many, ha! Best wishes to you! xx
Omg, after birth home visits sound like a dream. So smart!! My son is seven months old… born in the middle of the craziness and I would have LOVED some help. Next baby for sure!
So excited to continue to follow you along on this beautiful journey. It only gets better ❤️
Definitely look into it and do your research. There are, of course, risks to opting for a home birth and they are regulated differently in the US than in the UK. Also, if you’re in the US, ensure your midwife is a CNM because there are many people who can advertise themselves as midwives without that indication so you want to make sure you’re in the best hands! xx
My only thoughts are that Covid has changed everything. As a news reporter, I have witnessed and reported on home births in the US and have to say I would not do it myself. That is after me watching several, I could not do it… Maybe I am chicken. The midwives are completely capable but proximity to the hospital would be important to me.
Any type of complication, you want to be close to a hospital in case of a change in plan as in cesarean. You look very pretty.
Dont forget to get the baby shusher…it works.
Prayers for great pregnancy and delivery.
This is excellent advice – you never know how things are going to go *especially* with your first. Proximity to a hospital is essential if someone’s considering this. Emergencies happen, fast and without warning.
Absolutely. I think it’s important to DO YOUR RESEARCH and weigh the pro’s and con’s to your birth location options. Most women don’t even look into home births but, if you do, we need to believe that women who DO opt for them have weighed all of the risk and safety concerns against their pregnancy up until the point of giving birth and definitely consider how close they are to a hospital if they do in fact need to be transferred in. It’s also worth noting that home births are regulated very differently in the States than the UK so that is also something to look into.
You’re completely entitled to your own opinion. The US, from what I understand and continuing to learn, regulates home births VERY differently than the UK in that there aren’t as many regulations at all. In the UK, it’s highly regulated and considered much safer but … of course .. there are risks and you would need to weigh those.
I would never have a home birth… My baby boy almost died – he had shoulder dystocia (ie. got stuck) and was born unconscious. He had to be resuscitated for 3 minutes which still haunts me to this day. It was completely unexpected (even though I had more scans than anyone I know – around 20+ scans throughout my pregnancy due to other unrelated issues) and was only apparent right at the last moment. I’m not saying this to be scary but I wouldn’t want anyone to be in the position we found ourselves in but not have the option for medical assistance. Great news on having the private midwife btw… it will be so beneficial and reassuring – especially in the crazy and overwhelming weeks after you become parents! Sending the best of wishes.
Your experience is certainly one that no one would want to happen to them during a home birth. Of course, there are always things that can go wrong but, it’s also worth remembering that there are MANY women who have no complications at home and deliver very healthy babies. It’s important to see both sides of the coin and make informed decisions about these things. Proximity to the hospital is obviously something you’d consider when making your decision.
Love the bump date! This is such an uncertain time to be pregnant but in the end it will all be worth it! I have a 4 month old and pregnancy during COVID was scary!! The blessing in the end is beyond worth it! Prayers for you! 💪🏼🙏🏼
Congratulations on your upcoming arrival! In the US more free standing birth centers have been popping up (they are not connected to a hospital). We had a water birth with our first son at a birth center, and will be returning in January to birth our second. If I can’t deliver there because of covid, I’ll most likely be having a home birth. The set up in the UK is so interesting! I’m sending positive thoughts for a healthy and happy delivery, regardless of where you actually meet your baby!
Hi Caitlin! Thanks for sharing! In the UK, they have birth centers at the hospital next to the labor wards so, if anything were to happen or you decided you DO want a particular intervention, like an epidural, then you can be moved across the hall to the labor ward. I’d love to see that happen in the States just to provide some added security for those ‘just in case’ situations. But I’m so glad to hear you had a great experience so much so that you are wanting to go back! 🙂 xo.
I found sleeping with a pregnancy wedge pillow took up so much less space, but provided really great support. I used this one and it worked so well: Hiccapop Pregnancy Pillow Wedge. It also folds up into a roll for easy travel and storage (it comes with a bag).
Beautiful photos! I’m sure you will treasure them. 🙂