36 weeks pregnant: Why it’s different having a third baby and how I’ll cope
I was going to write a 36 week pregnancy update today. Yes, that’s right – 36 weeks! But then I realised not a lot has changed since my 27 week pregnancy update which, weirdly, feels like about 3 days ago.
One update I do have is that I’m all booked in for my cesarean. I’ve already had two cesareans so it was recommended I just elected for a third (which I’m happy with). With elective sections you’re booked in when you’re 39 weeks pregnant which means Baby will be coming on my birthday week. I’ve requested to have her the day after my birthday, mostly because this was my grandma’s birthday so it’s a very special date in my family. It also means I won’t be in hospital on my birthday and I’m hoping Sam and I can have a nice day together.
I also have a scan today to check the growth of the baby. Joseph was a small baby so I’m being closely monitored this time. If the baby’s growth suddenly tails off at any point then they’ll probably whip her out – but so far she’s doing fine!
Physically, I feel fine. My back can be achy in the evenings and it’s getting more difficult to bend and pick things up, but I’ve managed to master the gorgeously ungraceful ‘pregnant lady bend’ which basically involves squatting to pick up anything below knee height.
The only real thing I suffer with is tiredness and this turns to frustration. I know I shouldn’t get mad at myself for being tired but I do. I’m a do-er, I like to be busy and pregnancy slows me down and stops me doing half the things I have planned each day.
The tiredness also makes me naggy and short-tempered, which obviously isn’t ideal with a two year old around.
I’m a firm believer that the only thing you really need to be a good parent is a truck-load of patience…and that’s just not something I have right now!
Just this morning I asked Joseph if he could run upstairs and get mummy’s jumper while I packed our bags to go out for the day. We live in a three-story house and having two energetic little boys usually comes in very handy when it comes to fetching things from the top floor!
Joseph thought for a second and then looked up at me from where he was playing on the floor and said, ‘No, you get it.’
Of course, George perked up at this point and turned on his Angelic Button.
‘It’s OK Mummy,’ he smiled sweetly, too sweetly. ‘I’ll get it for you!’ He smirked at Joseph and ran past him, but not fast enough because Joseph grabbed his ankle and brought him down like a sack of potatoes.
‘No, I’ll get it!’ Joseph screamed while clambering over his brother.
Before I knew it they were wrestling on the kitchen floor like two drunks in a pub brawl. Then the dog got involved and thought it was all very exciting so there were claws and a great, big slobbery tongue involved.
I should add that the kitchen floor is slate so it’s literally as hard as rock and currently filthy because it’s open to the building work (see my Instagram story highlights for that!) and I gave up on mopping it weeks ago because everyone just flipping well walks all over it with dirty shoes anyway!
I stared at the mess unfolding at my feet. I stared at the tears and the screams and the dust and the fur and half of me was so furious that something so simple turned into such a mess! I knew that if I wasn’t pregnant I would have dealt with it swiftly and sorted it out before the tears began (the boy’s tears, not mine!) but I just didn’t have the energy. The other half of me just didn’t give a shit. I stepped over them as they fought on the floor and I slowly walked upstairs to get my jumper and I waited there until they followed me up with tears and snot and dust all over them.
Annoyingly, it turned out to be a really warm day and I didn’t even need the flipping jumper.
Anyway, I digress. Being 36 weeks pregnant while looking after a two year old and a four year old is tough, even the simplest of little tasks can be so difficult, so the actual pregnancy part feels like a breeze! I can deal with an achy back and frequent trips to the toilet in comparison to dealing with two little boys!
Having a third baby does feel very different to having a first or second.
I think it’s partly because I finally feel like I know what I’m doing, but also because I’m 100% certain this will be our last baby.
The confidence of a third time mum
I once heard a mum of three say the one gift she’d love to give to a first-time parent is the confidence of a third-time mum. And it’s true, this confidence is absolutely priceless.
It’s not that I think it’ll be any easier and just because I’ve done it twice before doesn’t mean the third time will be a breeze.
I know this baby will be different to George and Joseph (who have been chalk and cheese since the day they were born!) so I’m not expecting anything to be the same. But this time I don’t have any of the self-doubt I had with the boys. I was never quite sure I was doing it right. I felt like I was winging it and I was sure someone would eventually notice and pull me up on my lack of parenting skills!
But I’ve somehow managed to raise two little boys. Two funny, healthy, happy, energetic little boys who might not be perfect, but they’re as perfect as any other little boy I know!
They’re obsessed with bums and farts and burps. They can’t play anything without it getting a little too boisterous and we currently can’t walk through a gift shop without a tantrum (the whole ‘exit through the gift shop’ thing should be illegal!) and they don’t understand the concept of an ‘indoor voice’. But, on the whole, they’re pretty good and I’m not afraid to give myself a quick pat on the back and acknowledge that Sam and I have done alright and I’m sure we’ll do alright with another baby!
Our last baby
I’m sure this will be our last baby. I know I said that last time but I really mean it this time! It definitely will be and that makes me want to soak it all up and enjoy every moment in a way I didn’t with the boys. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it with George and Joseph, but I didn’t appreciate a lot of it.
Those sleep deprived newborn days are exhausting so I didn’t 100% appreciate how special they are. That phase when they’re starting to toddle and they’re into everything is tough, but they’re so damn cute at that phase I just want to enjoy it. Who cares if they’re taking every single pan out of the cupboard AGAIN, as long as no one is getting hurt it doesn’t matter!
Babies are HARD!
Another thing that will be different with this baby is that I’m happy to acknowledge how hard it is. I didn’t used to like talking about difficult parenthood can be because I was worried it was just me.
What if it’s hard because I’m actually just a bit shit at it? What if everyone else knows something I don’t know and there’s a secret trick I’m missing?
Somehow acknowledging that parenting is hard makes it so much easier. You don’t feel like you’re failing when you’ve had a hard day and you can prepare yourself for the tough times.
The part where I give some advice: How to get organised and prepared
I’m not naturally an organised person. I’m messy and scatty. I lose my keys and I forget my handbag. I say I’ll be ready in five minutes and four days later I still haven’t left.
It’s taken me a long time to get the hang of adulting but, at the age of 31 after having two children and running a business for six years, I can finally say I have my shit together and I’m good at being prepared and organised.
Here are a couple of things that have helped me get organised as a parent
#1. Marie Kondo’ing the house
It’s simple but if your house isn’t full of clutter and junk then it doesn’t get messy. I don’t know why it took a book and a Netflix show to make me realise this!
And all the kid’s clutter? I have three words: IKEA Kallax shelves.
#2. List making
Honestly, if I don’t have a to-do list I don’t do anything. Nothing.
#3. Using a timer
Set a timer to get things done. It stops you getting distracted half way through and keeps you focussed when the end is in sight – especially for those jobs that could take you all day but if you put your mind to it you could get it done in an hour.
#4. A calendar
A good old fashioned family calendar – in a place where the whole family can see and use it.
#5. Outsource the stuff you hate
Whether it’s cleaning, gardening, ironing or washing the car. Whatever it is, it probably isn’t as expensive as you’d imagine to get someone else to do it.
For me it’s cooking.
I hate cooking. My family hate me cooking. Really, no one likes me cooking. I also find it stressful and it’s a big time suck and takes a lot of thought and organisation on my part. Unfortunately, Sam is equally shit at cooking! So I order most of our meals on cookfood.net which basically sells posh frozen ready meals. The kind of meals I’d batch cook and freeze…if I could cook. This saves me so much time and energy and generally makes our house a happier place at dinner time.
#6. Don’t put it off
If you can do it now, do it. Don’t put it off. I’ve learned that if I don’t do something immediately it never gets done. Ever.
#7. Watch YouTube organising videos
There is something weirdly therapeutic about watching someone organise their kitchen cupboards! I also love Emily Norris’ Mum Hacks videos.
#8. Less is more
In every sense of the word.
Buy less. Do less. Work less. And, weirdly, you get more.
So much of my chaoticness came from trying to do ALL THE THINGS and have ALL THE THINGS and trying to cram ALL THE THINGS into my house.
#9. Have a routine
I think routines happen naturally when you have kids, especially when they start school because your day has to revolve around the 9-3 routine.
I used to hate the idea of doing the same thing everyday but I actually love the rhythm of it.
#10. Sleep! All the sleep!
I’m sure all parents have something they find most difficult about parenting and it’ll be different for everyone, but for me, it’s tiredness.
When I’ve slept well I can conquer the world. I can do anything. I’m invincible.
When I haven’t slept well…I’m a wet lettuce and I’m useless. Completely and utterly useless. I need to sleep. A lot.
And that’s exactly what I plan to do with this baby. Sometimes that will mean going to bed at 7pm and I am absolutely OK with that!
Settling into family life
When I had George I thought I could carry on with my life as normal and slot this new baby around the life of a typical 28 year old. And to be honest, on the most part I did. My mum and dad helped a lot and Sam and I took turns to do anything that wasn’t baby-friendly.
Having one child was a breeze because caring for one child alone is relatively easy in comparison to caring for two!
When Joseph came along it wasn’t as easy. Babysitters are harder to find and neither Sam or I wanted to be left alone with two kids under two while the other one sauntered off for a night out.
This was when life changed and I feel like we became a proper family unit. We couldn’t carry on like we had before because we were a family. Sam and I weren’t just taking it in turns to parent, we were parenting together and became a proper team. It took some adjusting but we’ve got the hang of it now and I’m pretty confident a third baby will slot into our family life.