Third trimester - weeks 29-40
29 & 30 weeks pregnant
I begin the week with a midwife appointment. All is still well both with me and the baby, who is currently lying across my tummy, and they are happy with our preference to have a homebirth. My next appointment isn’t until 34 weeks which will be a home visit to check our home’s suitability for a homebirth.
I am needing to wee so frequently in the night at the moment and that coupled with another full-on working week, this time dropping our toddler Isla with various local friends for childcare, I am utterly exhausted. I make a mental note that I must sort out my maternity allowance application soon.
31 & 32 weeks pregnant
This baby is so wriggly! During my auditions she is jigging around so merrily that several actors comment on it. I can now distinguish a foot occasionally jutting out and zooming across my tummy. My braxton hicks definitely ramp up as the day progresses, I guess this is because I’m tired, rushing about as I ferry and fetch Isla from childcare at the start and end of each day. In the evenings I have also been experiencing heartburn, accompanied by headaches and neck aches. Not the ideal recipe for a good night’s sleep, which is what I’m desperately in need of. At the end of the week, I am treated to a Weleda pregnancy massage which has come just at the right time.
Natalie comes to the house on Sunday morning. Being so far into the pregnancy now it’s important not to lie on your back for any length of time as the uterus can press on a nerve making you feel sick and potentially affect the blood supply to your baby. Therefore, the massage is done with me lying on my side supported by pillows. Just before lying down, Natalie puts my feet into a hot tub of water with Weleda Wild Rose Cream Bath and gently dries them with a towel. Once on the massage table, she uses a lavender compress. Both of these things are to encourage relaxation - something I am not famously good at. Natalie uses a mixture of Weleda’s Stretch Mark Massage Oil and Lavender Oil to massage my shoulders, back, legs, feet, arms and hands and then massages my neck and head a little before bringing the treatment to an end by applying a Lemon compress to my forehead to awaken me. The massage is marvellous and now I feel rejuvenated for the final week-and-a-half of work ahead of me.
33 & 34 weeks pregnant
What a relief! The main bulk of my work has now finished and my husband Kyle has just broken up for the school holidays. However, we have scheduled a new kitchen to be fitted, which means that the next couple of weeks are somewhat chaotic. Due to this, we have decided to house-sit for friends who are away. It’s a really special couple of weeks. Although we are only a 15 minute drive from home, we feel much further away and are able to slip into holiday mode and relax. The house has a bath (we only have a shower in our flat), so I enjoy some quality time soaking my bump and using the Weleda Wild Rose Cream Bath. Now that Kyle is on holiday, I also try and nap whilst Isla naps and go to bed at a sensible time.
I note that my skin is now spot free and the pregnancy “glow” has begun. A very faint linea nigra has appeared along the length of my tummy, not everyone gets one and it is certainly lighter this time than with my first pregnancy. With this new appearance on my tummy, I worry a little that the prurigo gestationis I had in the final weeks of my first pregnancy may return – a skin rash that appears as red, itchy dots and mainly affects the arms, legs and torso, nothing that can do harm to either mother or baby but is just incredibly uncomfortable, particularly at night time.
At the end of week 34, the midwife comes to do a home visit. However, with the madness going on with the new kitchen, I can’t find my pregnancy notes anywhere. The midwife, whom I’ve not met previously, listens to the baby’s heart and does the standard checks on me. However, without my notes, she says that she can’t do the proper homebirth check nor write me a “fit to fly” letter. I panic a little as we go on holiday in just under a week and my next midwife appointment isn’t until I’m 37 weeks pregnant. I find my notes 5 minutes after she leaves, in a new section of the filing cabinet I created only a week ago - maybe the baby-brain has set in already. The following day, Kyle and I have some holiday related errands to run and then in the afternoon I manage to get an appointment to see the GP about the ‘fit to fly’ letter. The GP is relatively new to the practice and is a little reluctant to do the note, as we are not due to fly back from Croatia until I am 36 weeks + 4 days pregnant, which is obviously very close to the official 37 weeks cut off. She says that she wants to consult her colleagues and should hopefully have the note on Monday. We fly on Tuesday morning... Fingers crossed!
We move back home at the end of the week, to our bed and pillows which I’ve missed, and to a brand spanking new kitchen which has been fitted beautifully.
35 & 36 weeks pregnant
Fortunately the ‘fit to fly’ letter was issued by the GP and so we set off on our first proper family holiday abroad. Normally culture vultures, we decided instead to book an all-inclusive holiday in Croatia that caters for toddlers and very pregnant ladies alike. Fortunately, Isla happily sits on Kyle’s lap during the flight and I manage to nap. Despite our 4am start, at midnight I was busy enlisting Kyle’s help to apply hair removal cream on legs and bikini line, as my bump is too big to see! What a hero. My bump feels massive and the signature pregnant lady waddle has begun.
Most frustratingly, a few small stretch marks have appeared towards the bottom of my bump. I curse myself for not being so diligent with applying the Stretch Mark Oil over the past week and am now applying it as much as I can in a damage limitation effort. I wear my bump with pride and enjoy being able to feel weightless in the water as we spend the majority of our day swimming in the various hotel pools and the sea. At the end of the day, I also treat my limbs to a good slathering of Weleda Skin Food which is an amazing moisturiser and smells divine.
On the whole, I’m managing fairly well in the heat. Being right next to the coast, the breeze is helpful. However, we go through 3 or 4 days where it’s 37/38 degrees. Being so enormously pregnant, lying flat on my back in the sun isn’t an option and nor does our toddler want to stay put for any great length of time. We enjoy the opportunity of Isla’s naptime after lunch and take it in turns to either have a nap in our room with her, go for a solo swim or find a shady spot to read a book - both things I love to do but have become less easy to achieve since becoming a parent. We travel to Venice for a day and the heat is stifling. For the first time I experience swollen feet.
The holiday has been much needed and we enjoy our final few days as a family of three, creating happy, precious memories. On our final night I’m convinced that the baby has done a somersault. She’s been wriggling a fair amount of late but this feels substantial; a good 2 hours of movement, some of it really quite vigorous. I spend the night getting up and down, trying to get the baby to settle in a position that means some sleep might be possible.
37 & 38 weeks pregnant
Back at home and the baby now old enough to not be classed as premature if I go into labour, we realise that we might actually need to buy some essentials and pack an emergency hospital bag. We do an online shop that includes newborn nappies, sanitary towels, maternity knickers, breast pads and most importantly nipple cream. This week also marks the start of perineum massages (using Weleda’s Perineum Massage Oil) to hopefully stretch the perineum to avoid tearing during labour. It is possible to do this yourself but involving your partner is, I find, easier and in a way good preparation for labour.
I have my 37 week midwife appointment, all is on track. I’m reassured that the baby isn’t breach and that the wriggling may have been the baby getting herself into a position where she could start to engage her head into my pelvis. This may also explain why I am now getting a bit of hip pain at night, as well as occasional shooting pains in my left hip as I walk about/go up the stairs. The baby is now measuring at 39cm. This is either an indication that the baby is on the larger side or more likely to come earlier than 40 weeks date in our diary. Perhaps we’ve not got long until this one’s arrival.
The midwife comes to our house the following day to talk through where I plan to have the baby (ideally I want to deliver the baby in the birthing pool in our living room), and talk through the eventualities in which I’d most likely be taken to hospital to deliver. The midwife’s name is Sam and she says she’s due to be on quite a few call shifts over the next couple of weeks and therefore I may well get her. We get on really well so I hope that may be the case.
In week 38, I risk going out a few evenings in a row, to take a three-hour casting workshop in central London, attend a press night of a production I have cast in Richmond, and join friends for a barbeque in Essex. Kyle also starts back at school for the new term at the end of the week after the luxury of having him at home for the past 5 weeks.
As much as I’d like the baby to arrive now it would be ideal if she stayed put for at least another week, firstly, so that Kyle is able to settle in with his new class before his paternity leave begins and also so that we can enjoy Isla’s birthday at the weekend - she’s requested a “hat party” and several local friends and their children have been invited. However, everything is signalling that the baby will arrive soon - my Braxton Hicks are full on now, I’m needing to empty my bladder much more frequently and my bump has visibly dropped.
39 weeks pregnant
Isla arrived at 39 weeks and 4 days and I feel certain that this baby will also make her arrival this week. I have my 39 week midwife appointment and the midwife says that the baby is now properly engaged and it’s highly unlikely I’ll be seeing them next week. I spend the remainder of the day nesting. Towards the end of my first pregnancy, I never had any urges to do any crazy sort of cleaning but this time I throw myself into sorting clothes, taking unwanted bits and pieces to the charity shop, cleaning the fridge, arranging a last minute hair cut and cooking batch-meals of macaroni cheese, soup and chicken casserole to store in the freezer. Kyle arrives home from work, we eat as a family and put Isla to bed. Kyle hits the sack shortly afterwards, shattered from a demanding day at work.
At roughly 10pm I feel what I think is a contraction whilst sitting in front of the TV. I look at my phone when another comes about 7 minutes later. Am I going into labour tonight? The contractions continue but don’t seem to be getting any stronger or closer together. I finally head up to bed at about 2.30am thinking that sleep is important if it’s going to be a long labour. I manage to drop off (still having contractions) at 4.30am. I wake up at 6am when Kyle’s alarm goes off and notice that the contractions have completely vanished. Kyle is taking his class on a school trip to Westminster and we are now both slightly nervous about what will happen if the contractions start again whilst he’s there. Would he make it back in time?Read about my home birth »