7 – It’s Squishy Squashy Time

Time is racing by as each day merges with the other, and before you know it, Ducky is one week older in her cosy intra-uterine environment. Lots of changes are happening too and it is becoming more and more exciting.

We have reached the latter half of the third trimester and it feels like I’ve run the 100m sprint whenever I climb up the stairs or even just bend down. As Ducky continues to grow by leaps and bounds, my lungs are happily getting squashed now.

I love that Ducky is growing so much that my stomach is squeezed in too. Gastric regurgitation and nausea are my favourite evening companions and there are days when no remedy other than time works. Ducky is just ensuring that I don’t forget the origin of her name, from the morning sickness I had in the first trimester. A difference from those initial months, is that Ducky’s movements are now strong enough to be felt and they add to the discomfort. However having her move around lets me know that she is doing well, hence I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is also a reminder that the third trimester is moving along in full glory.

The other day, I bent over my 2 year old nephew to flick an ant off his leg, and I got such a bad cramp in my leg. It took over half an hour for it to settle down and ease. Ducky is just reminding me of her presence and the fact that she does not appreciate being further crammed in when I go into certain positions. Thankfully I am able to still comfortably sit cross legged on the ground. It is really unbelievable how much of our body and it’s functioning we take for granted.

Hunger pangs are now like the BBC News report – on the hour every hour. The internal biological clock is very prompt and the stomach goes ding ding ding at just the right time. Chaplu papa (my nickname for Ducku) is growing so fast that she gets hungry about every 3 hours in the night too and wakes me up. With the last of her depleting energy resources, she tries to kick and punch around, but they come across as gentle rolling movements. That’s my cue to eat something immediately. Food enters her system and she lets me know that she is energised with her now powerful and accurate kicks and jabs. She spends a few minutes practicing her various skills and showing them off to me. And every 2 hours or so, the tap dance show on my bladder starts, ensuring that I wake up again to go running to the loo. Looks like Ducky has an excellent long term plan to ensure that I gently get used to this routine, and am not suddenly shocked to be awake every couple of hours post delivery.

 

Well, with all of this food that I am eating, I have finally started putting on weight. I love what a friend of mine recently said – “Get fat and fit. This is the best time to being an all rounder”.  After months of impatiently waiting and measuring myself, I am becoming the nicely rounded person I imagined I would be when pregnant. Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m truly loving every bit of weight that I’m putting on now.

Recently Chaplu papa has taken things to the next level. Her disapproval of food I’ve eaten that doesn’t meet her energy requirements is quite clear. Total silence. When the snack I’ve had meets her needs, it is met with energetic kicks and victorious jabs. It is truly astonishing how clear her communication with me (in certain areas) already is. I am floored by how this miraculous little being inside me is already so complex.

I’m usually a very patient person. However over the last few weeks, it feels like my patience is hanging off a thin rope, fraying in the middle as time passes by. I get irritated over the smallest of things and sadly, the family is bearing the brunt of this character change (I really hope it is short term and temporary).

One of the symptoms of polycystic ovaries in me is that I have male pattern baldness and hirsutism – where I have sparse hair on my head but lots of hair on my arms and legs. A most unexpected development with this pregnancy is that when I shaved the hair from my legs about a month ago, hardly anything grew back. I keep checking my legs everyday and there are just a few hair on it. I also have more hair growing on my head. And all this is happening because the hormones in my body are now in balance. Truly unbelievable. Even if I get back to my normal status post the delivery, I am enjoying every bit of this of this well balanced stage. I can’t say it enough times – our body and what it can do is incredible and mind boggling.

The other day I had to apply a cold pack to my chest a few times. It didn’t strike me initially that Chaplu papa was noticing the cold from the ice pack and kicking / punching exactly where the cold hit her. But when I made the connection, I was mesmerised. I positioned the cold pack such that it did not fall on my abdomen and she settled down completely. Wow!!! Differences in temperature and light are already being experience by this little one through all the layers of skin and fat. Her movements are strong enough to be felt by others, and there are some occasions where she moves around when others are around. So I ask them (mainly my parents, Prasanna and grandmother) to feel it at that point. Amazingly, Chaplu papa seems to be sensitive enough to notice when the hands on my abdomen are not mine, and the performance stops. A few seconds after they remove their hands and I put my hands on my belly, she starts her acrobatics. So thrilling and magical how she moves (sometimes exclusively) for me. Wow!! Wow!!Wow!! What subtleties are already being noticed by Ducky.

The other fascinating thing that is happening is that certain routines that made me comfortable earlier, don’t work at all now. The body is changing so very rapidly. No wonder my mother calls pregnancy a truly miraculous phenomenon.

I’ve got to tell you all about the weirdest happening in the last few days which I call the ‘froggie orchestra’. The frequency at which I eat means that invariably there are times when I lie down immediately after eating something. I now sleep on a mound of pillows to help me keep the heartburn to a minimum and to be able to breathe easily. Less than a minute or so after I lie down, croaking sounds emerge from me. Of varying tones and tenors, these croaks sound just like a group of frogs outside our house. There is no discomfort at all from these croaks, it just sounds so strange and funny. The first few times that I heard them, I laughed and that only made the croaks louder and they lasted longer….And all this is happening because the digestive system is getting further squashed. Absolutely hilarious!!!

Preparation for Ducky’s arrival home are in full swing. One of our ways of being eco-friendly is by using pre-loved clothes. We are really lucky to have friends and family giving us excellent quality stuff from their babies. Clothes and goodies (including feeding bottles, breast pump, feeding pillow, rubber sheets) are arriving from all corners of not just Bangalore, but also from Mumbai and Pune. Ducky’s things are all washed and ready, categorised and kept in my cupboard. These are now officially Ducky’s shelves. We have also gotten cloth nappies stitched in a user-friendly pattern as given to us by our friend Hamsa (who incidentally is also our match-maker). Waterproof reusable diapers are the only item that I have bought so far for Chaplu papa. It’s been such fun going through all the stuff, marvelling at how small the clothes and nappies are and generally getting ready for our +1. I have also seen some photos of babies who are around the same weight as Chaplu papa is predicted to be inside me now. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that a tiny human being like that is inside my expanding belly.

As the date of delivery comes closer, checkups with my obstetrician are happening more often too. Seeing the baby on the scan monitor is awe-inspiring and even though I have had multiple scans through all these months, it is still an incredible feeling to see Chaplu papa on the screen. When the doctor says that “the baby is happy inside you”, it’s such an amazing and joyous feeling. At the end of the day, as parents we want our baby to be happy right? And to be told this, even when the baby is in-utero feels like an achievement and that we are on the right track.  It’s wonderful motivation to continue doing everything that we are doing for Ducky’s growth and development. 

And with that I come to the end of this update. From struggling to get pregnant for years to having this wonderful opportunity, I’ve got to say that going through the pregnancy with Ducky has been an invaluable treasure. I am ever so thankful that I have gotten to experience this miracle. I am feeling equal parts of sadness that this journey is coming to an end in a few weeks, and equal parts of excitement to see Chaplu papa in person soon.

So cherio for now. Take care and stay safe as the pandemic rages on. Ducky and I will send you our next update soon.

p.s. – A reminder that I use the feminine form of address for my foetus – as he is within the word she. We won’t know the sex of our baby until it’s birth

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