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Book vs real life: 36 weeks pregnant

February 2, 2017



I’m not quite at the ‘get this baby out of me NOW’ stage, but at 36 weeks pregnant I’m not far off. Soon I’ll be 37 weeks, and the baby will be fully cooked, which will put my mind at ease somewhat, even though that means I actually have to give birth and become a mum of two. This sounds… old to me. “Helen Farmer, mum of two.” Nope, I don’t like it yet. I’m still in denial about having one child and driving her around in my mum-mobile, instead of being 25 years old and cruising around in the ancient Pajero that my then-boss nicknamed The Vaginero.


Anyway, I’m not feeling winning, it has to be said. Or looking it, for that matter. There’s no glow, and my default expression is decidedly fed up. My skin has gone haywire. I’m not sleeping due to an excruciating combination of toddler and Braxton Hicks (which, despite what the experts say, bloody well ARE painful).


I’m huge, too. With a big belly and permanently hard nipples I feel like some kind of vulgar fertility statue, but instead of being carved from wood, I’m sculpted from a sandwich bag filled with porridge.


I can’t help but thinking there has been an appalling mix up with my due date.


After the latest scan – where the doctor thankfully didn’t say how big the baby is, so maybe she’s normalising? – it seems there is no mix up with my due date. When I wailed about the pelvic pain I’m having whenever I walk or stand for too long (it feels like being repeatedly punched in the groin) he said “Only three more weeks – you can cope” and received a pretty vicious death stare.


We’re at the weekly doctor appointment stage. The home stretch. Time to get the vile raspberry leaf tea out and book in some reflexology soon…


So what are the experts at What To Expect… saying about this stage of pregnancy? And what does this bloated, angry woman say?


The book says…

Forget your aching back (and everything else!) by trying to focus on your baby, who is now about six pounds and 18 to 19 inches long. Growth will slow down in the coming weeks, both so your baby will be able to fit through the narrow passageway to the outside and so she can store up all the energy needed for delivery.


I say…

Forget it? How, exactly? The baby is just dandy in there, having a lovely time being fed and watered, while I’m here on outside moaning and groaning, and staggering around. Good news about growth slowing down though. I’ll take that bit.


The book says…

When you’re 36 weeks pregnant, your baby’s skull bones are not fused together yet so the head can easily (well, relatively easily) maneuver through the birth canal. And your baby’s skull isn’t the only soft structure in her little body. Most of her bones and cartilage are quite soft as well, allowing for an easier journey into the world during delivery.


I say…

I don’t like the sassy tone of those brackets.



The book says…

By 36 weeks pregnant you’re doing the penguin waddle many third trimester moms-to-be adopt. That new walk is not in your imagination; it’s in your connective tissue, which those hormones are loosening and softening. And that’s particularly important now that you’re nearing D-day. Your baby — who’s grown quite large by this point — needs to fit through your pelvic bones, so it’s good that they’re more flexible at this stage. It’s your body’s way of getting ready to squeeze a big baby out of a small space.


I say…

After heaving myself up, it’s a waddle then a stagger then time to have a nice sit down. Again, though, who wrote this book? Is it supposed to be reassuring? Because ‘big baby out of a small space’ are not comforting words.



The book says…

The downside to all this joint flexibility is pelvic pain. Add the pressure from your baby’s head burrowing deeper and deeper into your pelvis and your heavier uterus weighing you down, and it’s no wonder it’s a pain to walk around these days. To relieve the discomfort, relax with your hips elevated, do some pelvic exercises, take warm baths, apply warm compresses, get a massage or try some complementary and alternative therapies. A belly sling may be helpful too.


I say…

‘Burrowing deeper’ makes me think of maggots. Shudder. I’m booked in for some reiki next week (hey, it’s worth a shot) and think my husband should treat me to another massage. Yes darling, that’s a hint.


In conclusion…

This has been a busy old week. We celebrated Phoebe’s second birthday with a really lovely party in the park (read about it here), which was great fun but not exactly relaxing. I also spent two mornings at a pediatric first aid course – highly recommended – and seem to have a LOT of work on at the moment. This is good, however, as it means I can afford to take some more time off once the baby arrives.


My solution? The magical power of napping. Because I certainly won’t be able to do that in a few weeks. The daily routine has been working in the mornings, picking up Phoebe from nursery, then having a sleep when she does.


Here’s my recipe for a good daytime sleep:

Be 36 weeks pregnant + pjs + no air-conditioning + boring book (I’m reading a collection of Nora Ephron essays, some of which are brilliant while others are about US politics in the 1970s… Zzz…) = snoozeville.


Then Phoebe will wake me up via the monitor when she wakes up, and we have a late lunch together.


I’ve been feeling a bit emotionally delicate this week, and a bit tearful about Phoebe becoming a big sister. You can read my letter to her here. There might have been crying at the traffic lights. Maybe. But at least the rage has departed. My husband is grateful for that.


Anyone else feeling cumbersome, spotty and tearful? Let’s start a support group…


You might also like… Why we need to start talking about prenatal anxiety.

One response to “Book vs real life: 36 weeks pregnant”

  1. Mafaza says:

    Hope all be fine and am sure you will be a very happy mother of 2. According to me the books don’t work. Its all an experience for each one in a different way. Not everyone is same so does it differ in pregnancy. An on my 2nd trimester with baby no 3 so I feel you helen. Take care

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