In October 2022 my husband and I first discussed having another baby. The universe must have listened because maybe a week later I was pregnant with our beautiful daughter Leah. We obviously didn’t think it would be that fast, and you can imagine as parents there aren’t many “baby-making” moments. It was definitely destiny.
So, the following weeks after conception, I started becoming a bit nauseous at night and very tired during the day. I didn’t think much of it, but Andy knew immediately. He was the one who insisted I’d take a pregnancy test. Wow were we both surprised it was positive though.
It was quite early still, so we waited a couple of weeks before the first sonogram and before telling anyone. We first told our families on my birthday in November. I must have been not more than 8 weeks pregnant. Our eldest daughter Mia was in charge of giving everyone the print of our sonogram as a surprise. It was very emotional. We decided to tell everyone early, to share our happiness. Usually, people wait till the second trimester, as the chances of pregnancy loss in the first trimester are still high. But I believe that If I would have had a natural abortion, I would want to share my grief with the people closest to me and receive the support I would need. I don’t support the taboo of pregnancy loss. This is not something we should hide. In difficult moments is when you need your family and friends the most.
Anyway, moving forward. The first trimester for me is always exhausting. Thank God I didn’t have too much nausea this time, but oh my, I was tired all the time! The second trimester came along with a fresh with of energy. My belly started popping, my skin looked radiant, and it was fresh springtime. I started planning my home birth immediately. I knew that this was the time I would have the birth experience I dreamed of. I contacted the two best midwives on the island, who are usually pretty booked up. I was so happy they had time, and from then they would come once a month for a 2-hour meet-up to get to know each other better and to give me and my husband some pregnancy tips and exercises. We also contacted around this time a doula who would prepare our placenta medicine after birth.
I had to do some check-ups at the local medical center with a midwife, but it was always very quick. I did my last sonogram in the second trimester to see if all was ok. We also found out she was a girl as my husband thought. He also guessed right with Mia. He says he only creates girls and is quite happy about it. A boy would have also been welcome obviously. Up to that moment, we didn’t have a name, but as soon as we knew she was a girl, the name just fell out of the sky. We found the name Leah the same day and agreed that it was definitely her name. Mia was so excited she was getting a little sister. Every time she saw two sisters she would say; “look, me and Leah”! She would put oils on my belly and talk to little Leah. It was so cute. Andy massaged my belly and legs at night when we had a little hour to ourselves. This nightly ritual really created the connection we needed for labor. I associated his touch with love and pleasure. Both things you need to create oxytocin and to feel supported and taken care of.
Personally, I decided to not have more sonograms in the third trimester, as they usually have a pretty big error rate and only add stress. Except for one blood test, I didn’t have any more tests or scans in the entire last trimester. It was so blissful. No stress, no pressure. Leah was moving a lot, and I felt great. I also had a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions. Therefore, I personally didn’t find it necessary. (Not saying you shouldn’t. Just saying to always follow your motherly intuition and make informed decisions about your body and your baby).
I stopped working during the last month of pregnancy. Up to that point, I was still going daily to visit pregnant couples for doula and hypnobirthing sessions, breastfeeding consultations, and postpartum support. I still have contact with all these beautiful mamas, and they know they can always contact me about anything they need. My midwives came from the 37th week on a weekly basis to check up. They were so lovely. They gave us tips and emotional support. They gave us a list of things they needed and we would need for the big day. I have a home birth checklist on my website. My husband and I had a deeper conversation about how we imagined the start and development of the laboring process, and we agreed we definitely needed some doula support. I don’t know why we didn’t think about it before. My dear friend and amazing doula Alba was my first option, but she herself had a baby just 8 months before. I was so surprised when she offered to be our doula at the birth. Of course, we would be super flexible with her times, and she couldn’t stay the entire time as she was also still breastfeeding.
Our days were busy with buying supplies, and we would go every Monday or Tuesday to do a big shopping to fill the fridge and do some batch cooking for the postpartum. During the week we would eat it all, and the whole shopping spree would repeat. It was just too funny labor started on a Monday with an empty fridge. Spoiler for next week’s blog post about my amazing homebirth experience.
I had been having more intense contractions for weeks, but they were very sporadic. My uterus was obviously training and preparing. I would take the opportunity to do some hypnobirthing breathing. This is the best tool you can use during contractions. More oxygen equals more blood flow to the uterus and baby and less pain. Breathe and release tension. Some nights I would wake up because they would get very intense, and my hubby would hug me and calm me down. Usually, stress makes these test contractions much heavier. This is why we should slow down in the last trimester and try to relax as much as possible.
I was already a couple of days past my improbable due date, which wasn’t a surprise and didn’t make me nervous at all. My babies tend to stay in at least 10 days longer. Which is completely normal. I felt pretty good and we would go out daily to the beach or do some other fun activity. I did start losing my mucus plug, which was a sign the end of my pregnancy was nearing. I had double feelings about it. Glad to meet my baby soon, and sad I wouldn’t feel her inside of me anymore. I think more moms experience this.
The day before the birthing process started, we had the most amazing beach day. We went to the north, had a nice lunch, napped under a big tree, and played with Mia in the water. It was like Leah knew we needed this before her arrival. It was total bliss. The next day I woke up completely exhausted and was releasing the last part of the mucus plug. We asked my mom to pick up Mia in the afternoon so we could relax a bit. This was great, as we didn’t even know the energy, we needed later that evening. We went out for a small walk before our daughter came back home. Labor started that night after bringing Mia to bed, but this I will reveal in more detail in my next blog post… 🙂
Here is my last pregnancy photo on the same day.