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Life at the Patch – 36 weeks

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Photo taken at 34 (?) weeks… impossible to imagine I'm even bigger now!!

Sorry for the lack of regular posting of late. I am just feeling so tired and uncomfortable that finding the time to sit and write up any of the million things going through my mind is just too much like hard work some days. I'm sure you'll understand!

I'm now 36 weeks (and 2 days, to be precise). Which means that come Sunday I shall be classed as "full-term" and I only have 26 days until my actual due date. Doesn't sound like much, does it? And yet these past couple of weeks have dragged by so slowly that it feels like far longer to go.

I'm tired, I'm grumpy, and I'm ready for the nightmare of (my) pregnancy to be over. I always expected to love every moment of being pregnant but instead I have hated almost everything about it: the sickness, the pain, the sleeplessness… did I mention the sickness?

I've been feeling sick a lot lately. Not that I've had a single day since about the beginning of week 5 when I didn't feel nauseated. But I did have a blessed couple of months between weeks 24 and 30 when the nausea was almost forgetable. I even began to think that time would actually whizz by and I'd enjoy the latter part of my pregnancy. Oh how naive I can be!

Add to that the fact that I am getting cramps almost daily now, and some pretty intense stabbing pains and you'll see why I am ready for it to be over and my little man to finally be here. I know we have been utterly blessed to fall pregnant naturally and carry to term (well we're close enough now!) and I'll never underestimate how lucky we have been. But it has been a very long, hard journey for us both and we're more than ready for it to be over and for our new journey as parents to begin. 

It's going to be hard. There are going to be days when I doubt myself. There are going to be days when Tim gets home from work and the first thing I do is thrust the baby at him and say tearfully, "here, you take him, he hasn't stopped crying all day, I'm going for a bath!!" And there will be days when I wonder why on earth I was so desperate to have a newborn. But there will be just as many days when I hope to be utterly transfixed by the beauty of the life we created and the bonds we are building with him. And I cannot wait for those to start, no matter how hard the rest of it may be.

We're almost there, and yet it feels so far away still. So please excuse me if I don't blog as much as normal. I'm sure I'll have plenty to tell you once little man is born, but for now I just want to focus on getting through the coming days and weeks until he is here. 

Maternity Photos

Warning: this post contains several pregnancy photos, so if you find those difficult to look at, please do come back tomorrow when a new post will be showing at the top of the screen!

Yesterday was a very strange day here at the Patch. Despite being very excited for the photoshoot I had planned with my "official photographer" Dawn, the day started off with first a sleepless night thanks to nightmares and then a phonecall with some very shocking and sad news. I'm not going to go into details right now as it doesn't feel right at the present moment, but with the entire family trying to get their heads round what had happened, it felt strange to be carrying on as normal, almost like time should have stopped for a while.

Have you ever felt excited about one thing and sad at another at exactly the same time? It's a strange mixture of emotions and for a few moments I wondered whether perhaps I should cancel the shoot and reschedule it for another day. But I'm glad I didn't, because it brought my focus back to the joy in our lives right now. And it was a lot of fun.

Dawn and I have been discussing a new series for the Patch based around photography and one of the thoughts we had was to take photos of certain topics that Dawn could then write about, giving hints and tips to people who want to have a go at it themselves. Obviously, the first photoshoot we planned was a maternity one and I cannot wait to share Dawn's tips with you once she has had chance to write that article, because I'm sure there are many ladies like me who want to capture this special time in their lives but do not want to or have the funds to have a professional shoot. 

You may remember that we didn't have a professional photographer on our wedding day, but chose to let 3 of our friends take as many photos as they felt like. Dawn was one of those three and has recently been dubbed "my official photographer" as she knows just how to grab those shots that show our personalities so well. I like to think it's because she's a quirky as we are, or we're as quirky as she is, and so we don't really need to plan photos as such, just take a lot of shots as we enjoy ourselves.

Which is how the following photos came out. I'm going to share a small selection, however as is usual when working with someone like Dawn, there are far too many good shots to include in one post. So I'm planning on setting up some photo galleries here on the blog so that you can see the work that Dawn has done and I can link back to them when her articles go live. 

But for now, here are some of my favourites from the day!

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Tim started off by being artistic and painting flowers on my bump (can I just say I always forget just how big my bump is as I never see it from this kind of angle!)

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But he then went slightly mad and we ended up with this piece of art, which Tim quickly named "Storm in a Lawnmower". 

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So we wiped it off and let Dawn get to it. Dawn is an awesome painter of dragons (I have several dragon birthday cards and a glorious painting she made us for our wedding which I really must share with you sometime). Having her paint them on my bump was funny, and little man did a whole lot of wriggling, so we're guessing he likes dragons and dinosaurs as much as she does!

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I then decided to get changed so that we could take some more "serious" shots. I don't really do serious, but I did know I wanted to catch a few more intimate shots to keep. We had fun playing with light and shadow…

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And we even took a few outside. However, being as overcast as it was and having washing on the line, we kept the outdoor shots to a minimum. Well, the outdoor shots of me anyway: Dawn had a lot of fun taking photos of our flowers and veggies, but who can blame her? I'll share some of those photos later in the week.

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It didn't take long before Tim was up to his old tricks however. I'm not sure that I ever did share his impression of "Psycho" from the photos of us cutting the wedding cake. But if you've been following this blog for any length of time I'm sure you've seen many photos with Tim messing around in them. I'm not sure messing around with my top while I was cutting the vegetables for dinner was the best idea, you know pregnant lady with a sharp knife and all that! But what can I say? The boy makes me laugh, daily. 

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Case in point. What started as a "couple" shot, ended up with Tim playing a vampire. 

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I may sometimes "look" irritated momentarily…

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But I quickly get my own back!

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And Tim is always up for a laugh, even if it does mean looking a bit ridiculous!

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Of course we had to take a photo to prove that yes I have actually overtaken Tim on the belly front and that compared to my bump, he looks rather svelte indeed! Have I mentioned how practically all of the weight I have gained has gone directly onto my bump? I am one solid lump out front, but still relatively small everywhere else. And I haven't a stretchmark in sight, much to the annoyance of my friend. I thank my mum for her excellent genes when it comes to the skin… thanks mum!

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Finally, we couldn't forget to get a shot of daddy talking to his son. Tim finds real joy in shouting into my bump and then laying his head against it to see if he can get a reply. Just the other day I was concerned that little man hadn't moved much at all (he is usually on the go all day long) and Tim's response was to blow a massive raspberry on my belly. I think the resulting kick he got in the face was just priceless. Who says daddy and son can't have fun even before birth? 

I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of these photos. As I say, my plan is to get a section on the site for photo galleries so I can upload these and other photos into categories that are easy to search and look through. So keep your eyes peeled for that new addition.

And come back tomorrow to meet yet another guest blogger. I feel so honoured that so many people have taken up my offer to host guest posts here at the Patch and hope that several more of you might consider it in the future too. 

Life at the Patch – 28 weeks

Before I begin today's post I would like to take a moment to thank all of you who took the time to read and leave your comments on my previous post. They were all very much appreciated and I have read over them several times this weekend and will surely return to them again in future. One of the true blessings of blogging is that of reading the responses of your readers and gaining an insight into the thoughts and feelings of others. So thank you all.

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It is hard to believe, but I am now entering my third trimester. Or at least I think I am. Depending on which source you look at, the third trimester seems to begin anywhere between 26 and 29 weeks, with 28 being the most common figure quoted. So I'm sticking with that!

That means I only have 12 weeks until my due date, and we truly are on the "final countdown" now. Twelve weeks feels like such a long time still: even thinking of the 3 weeks I have left at work before the summer holidays makes me sigh with exhaustion. But, each week really does take us closer to September and the date I sometimes felt I might never reach. 

I'm finding it more and more difficult to move around these days, as the bump grows increasingly larger and the pain in my hips, back and lower abdomen increases with the added pressure. I am also finding it harder and harder to get anything done as my brain feels like fuzz most days at the moment. I have things I want to do, ideas to turn into action, and even more things that I really ought to do over the coming weeks. And yet doing them seems like so much hard work. I honestly don't know how anyone survives pregnancy whilst still working full-time or raising older siblings come this point of the journey. 

I do have my bursts of activity, and things are slowly being sorted, but more often than not I find myself thinking and daydreaming rather than actually doing. This has, of course, left me with even more ideas I wish to bring into being, making the decision of where to start even harder!

Which is why impromtptu wanderings by the side of poppy fields discovered when driving down a previously unexplored country road are all the more exciting, because I don't have time to think "this is going to take a lot more energy than I feel I have right now" but rather find myself being swept away by the beauty of the place. Moments like this need to be treasured and I am glad we had the camera to hand as it meant we could grab a few shots, before taking shelter from the sudden downpour of rain in the nearby woods.

Times like this are made even more special because of the very fact that a newborn baby is going to make the sudden urge to "go for a walk" a thing of the past for quite some time to come. And although I generally find the suggestion to "enjoy things while you still can" very annoying when enjoying most things is made ten times more difficult during pregnancy, I do know that this is one activity that is well worth the effort.