Well Beanie can come at almost any moment now. I am going into the preparation zone. A little distraction with my teeth first. Good news, bad news there. The hygienist was hugely impressed - my flossing efforts have paid off, and I have no sign of pregnancy gingivitis (or bleeding gums) so no problems there. Then disaster struck, my Mum's teeth turned to mush when she had us and mine seem similarly inconsiderate and hence a painful session of root canal work.
I recovered quickly from the tooth pain but my hormones were raging and so I had to find something to worry about. It could have been the recent statistics correlating age and incidence of Downs Syndrome in babies, but no, I have been pointlessly focusing on pre-eclampsia. At this stage last time around I skipped along my 34 week midwife's appointment feeling fine and ended up in hospital hooked up to all kinds of machines, my blood pressure shooting through the roof and my feet looking like Shrek's (while all the time I still felt curiously well). This time in the days leading up to my 34 week appointment I did not know whether to sob or decapitate everyone I came into contact with; so while I needed to keep my blood pressure down my paranoia was more likely to be forcing it up. Help I'm a liability to myself!
Woohoo - blood pressure and urine is fine! Sure, anything could happen now it is still great to have overcome that hurdle. The rest of the midwife's appointment seemed to go really well - but it was not exactly pleasant having to take the swabs for the Strep B testing (fortunately from the throat and nose not the more intimate areas) and there were yet more blood tests as apparently they forgot some at the last blood letting.
The baby preparation list that I wrote is proving really useful. I heard from a friend, who is only 34 weeks pregnant, and her waters have broken and so is just hoping that they can hold on for as long as possible - perhaps I should make sure that we have a few more things ready! Poor M, in hospital and has not even got a cot, but she is in great hands and we look forward to hearing great news from her in about a month's time. In the meantime I have packed a hospital bag even if I don't have a cot ready and have not washed Pickle's newborn clothes ready for Beanie.
I am also thinking about the birth. I am actually feeling really excited about it (have I mentioned that I am the eternal optimist?). The consultant has told me that I am not allowed to go over term - and last time I found that being induced is not the way to usher in the ideal birth. I seem to spend a whole heap of time finding out about old wives tales and wishful thinking that 'could' help Beanie arrive on time, but there is very little science* about how to ensure that your baby does not arrive late except the via the direct medical route of sweeps and induction.
As I was researching my birth plan I came across the section about whether or not to give Beanie the Vitamin K jab on birth to help his blood to clot. This same vitamin is still really useful if are planning to breastfeed - so maybe it is the right time to start eating my 'Special' Vitamin K. I have been eating loads of green leafy vegetables, cantaloupe melon, cauliflower, green beans, wholemeal bread and pasta - and other key ingredients are fresh parsley and even chickpeas.
What Beanie is up to?
He is a big boy now, over 45cm long and my bump was bang on the expected 34 inches when measured by the midwife. He is so big that he is finding it hard to move so the kicking seems less exaggerated now. Thinking of kicks there is a relatively new charity called Count the Kicks that you may like to read about- I will let them introduce themselves in their own words "COUNT THE KICKS™ wants to empower Mums with knowledge and confidence during their pregnancy. We want to raise awareness of the risks surrounding later stages of pregnancy and also to teach Mums to take responsibility of their own health and care and that of their unborn babies."
From now on his head may start to engage - and to be sure am starting to remember to keep my knees below my hips and I'm sleeping on my left to try to ensure that he gets in the best possible position for labour. This is called Optimum Foetal Positioning - that link that seems to go into all kinds of detail or here are loads of other OFP links. There is no medical evidence* that it works, but it does not present a hardship so I may as well take heed, besides it sounds better then an External Cephalic Version procedure that doctors perform if they think that Beanie is breech. The other preparatory exercise that has no basis in science* is perineal massage in an attempt to avoid tearing - our NCT trainer seems very keen and gave us a hand out to encourage us to give it a go - and the inevitable reminder to keep up the pelvic floors.
Beanie's digestive and intestinal systems are now ready and working - I am strangely freaked out to read that he can wee up to a pint into the amniotic fluid. The better news is that even if he is born now he should be absolutely fine,
Have I mentioned heartburn recently? WOW - pill popping the antacids.There seems to be no space left for me anymore, as I am constantly dashing to the loo, get full after half portions and struggle to find my breath. I'm not complaining as Beanie may over hear so it is more fun just to go with the process and enjoy chattering to the Bump happily.
*I have made a few comments about actions and beliefs that are not substantiated by science. I am not blinkered by science, there is a place for faith and trust. I just like to have a read and look at evidence, balance of probability, potential side effects and benefits. I seriously do not share the consultant's opinion that an elective caesarian would be the only effective way to ensure that there are no complications!
What I have been eating?
Well, we have all been snacking on fruit salads of strawberries and cantaloupe melon - fortunately the Pickle shares my yearning for melon and it is both seasonal and is great to eat now it is so hot. I have also been having avocado salad sandwiches in wholemeal pitta - but that is now what I have been craving - I want my chickpea pancakes!
This is quick and easy and totally yummy! Just remember to cook the beetroot in advance.
Wash but don't peel three beetroots then wrap in foil and bake at 180' for about an hour or until they feel soft. Once cooled to a reasonable temperature rub off the skins, ideally with clean latex or rubber gloves (otherwise you can do a mean Lady Macbeth impersonation).
Take a tin of cooked chickpeas and blitz in a food processor, add one egg, two dessert spoons of plain floor and a teaspoon of baking powder and season with pepper and a small handful of chopped parsley and a teaspoon of cumin. Add a splash of milk so that all binds down into a thick, spoonable mixture. Heat a frying pan and add a little oil and spoon in tablespoons of the mixture - after a a few mins carefully turn the pancakes. Cook until they are firm in the middle, this is about 5 mins on each side - if the oven is still hot you can finish them off in the oven to make sure the egg in the centre is cooked.
If you want to add extra vitamin K cook up some spinach.
Layer up a chickpea pancake, a slice of beetroot, crumble on some feta cheese (and mix in the chopped, cooked spinach if using) and if you can find it sprinkle on some dukkah (a Moroccan spice mix with dried chickpeas). Add a lovely green salad.