The Pregnancy Diaries: 34 Weeks

ruth crilly baby bump 34 weeks

OK, let’s take a look at what’s been happening with the old bod for the last few weeks. Because man have I been tired. I don’t remember being quite this physically exhausted last time at this stage – and I’m not talking about that hangover-style fatigue that plagues you for the first trimester, I’m talking about the sort of tiredness I’d expect you’d have if you walked a marathon with a five-man tent strapped to your back. I feel heavy – almost too heavy to climb the stairs, sometimes – and my bump feels a lot less robust than it did last time. Perhaps because I’m always having to pick up a toddler and the strain is taking its toll…

Read the diary entry for Pregnancy Week 30…

It has just occurred to me that when I was pregnant with Angelica, we resided in single-storey holiday barns for almost the whole third trimester, so maybe I didn’t notice quite how cumbersome and huge I was? It tends to be going up hills or staircases that really gets me out of breath – I feel so unfit! Just getting dressed after a shower has me short of breath and when I had to hold the Christmas tree lights above my head so that The Decorations Boss could wind them around the tree I could only last thirty seconds or so before having to have a little break. I’m sure that in my last pregnancy I was still speed-walking about at 40+ weeks, because I remember trying to get labour started by sprinting up a hill. Good God, the thought of that now!

ruth crilly baby bump 34 weeks

So yes. Large. Tired. Shooting pains, now and then, down the side of the bump and into the groin area – all very normal, apparently, and nothing to worry about. An almost uncontrollable addiction to sugar, which I did have last time in the end weeks, but actually this time I’m managing to get to grips with it and quell cravings with things like apples and – er – chocolate Yule Log. Ha!

ruth crilly baby bump 34 weeks

Not a lot else to report other than I feel as though I might have made a decision with my VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) dilemma. Though I still have a few ponderous posts to knock out about it because I have done so much reading and thinking and it would be a shame not to share. I went to see a consultant last week who said that (without any kind of measuring of any sort) I wasn’t carrying a big baby (I think he must have x-ray vision) and that I should try for a VBAC. “At least try.” He really got up my nose for many reasons, but mostly for being so very dismissive of all of the (very rational, thoughtful, valid) points that I raised. It actually forced me to think even harder about what I really wanted, and not what I thought I should do because it’s what other people wanted me to do, and I’m almost 100% sure now that it’s an elective section I’ll request. Mainly because the stats for successful VBAC at the hospital are so unconvincing and I’m not overly enamoured with the idea of another emergency situation (“but we would try with forceps before resorting to another c section!” Oh good….) but also because the odds seem very stacked against having a straightforward VBAC. The baby has flipped from breech but is now back-to-back, I carried a very large baby for my size last time, I went two weeks overdue last time… I don’t know. I’ve thought about it for so long now that I can’t tell whether I’m making excuses for myself or genuinely concerned about these things. It’s the most confused I’ve ever been since A Level Chemistry.

Stay tuned for more VBAC thoughts – and, as always, thank you so much for your comments that keep appearing on the previous posts! You can read my ponderings on the VBAC issue here and here.

Read the 34 week diary from my previous pregnancy…

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  1. Faith
    January 1, 2017 / 11:03 pm

    That sounds like such a daunting choice to be faced with! It makes me quite cross when consultants seem to brush off worries, or have a flippant attitude – it’s not as if you’re popping in for a non invasive day case!

    It does sort of read like you’re very much leaning toward the elective – and it makes perfect sense why. Don’t feel you have to excuse your reasoning! I had a friend who’s gone through a very similar situation back in Autumn, but elected for VBAC and ended up emergency section – and was Upset afterward, because she felt like she wasn’t given enough choice or information.

    Whatever you decide, it’ll be the right thing for you and second sprog!

    Take it easy – hope that things go really well x

  2. Happy Mama
    January 1, 2017 / 11:08 pm

    You look wonderful Ruth! Happy New year to you all.
    Sorry to hear you aren’t having an easy time of it with consultants. They can be so clinical (obviously) but when it comes at the expense of bedside manner from a man especially around something so emotive, it really grates. It’s not an easy decision to have to make but it sounds like you’ve given it so much thought, so press on with your wishes for a c section. A planned one will be a totally different (and altogether more relaxed) situation to your emergency c section, and once you’ve made the call just tune out ANYONE who has an opinion different to yours. Stay positive and healthy and look forward to the date bubba arrives!!! Lots of love and luck! Xxx

    • Vanessa
      January 3, 2017 / 6:26 pm

      Hello Ruth,

      I’m also pregnant (25weeks) and decided to go for elective c-section due to issues in last delivery.
      I had a back to back labour and ultimately I failed to progress, dehydrated, baby got in distress….
      I’ve been undecided as to what to do, although my other half has begged me to go for the section as he does not want a situation like last time.
      I just come to realise that if all this time I’ve been insecure just because I’m not ready for a vbac, but I feel I should try.
      I’ve seen a consultant and they have told me that me and baby will have to be monitored all the time, I can’t have hormones to speed up lor induce labour either. Although they said forceps are ok I’m just not prepared for it.
      Last time I recovered well from the c-section and managed to breastfeed. So, I think this time round will go for the elective as I feel gives more peace of mind to mum and dad and after all happy mum, happy baby.

  3. Olivia
    January 2, 2017 / 12:43 am

    Hi Ruth!
    Hope you’re well. If it helps quell any fears you might have, back to back babies can often turn during labour (my daughter was back to back, though I ended up having a section due to her heart rate dropping dramatically, her being back to back didn’t effect my labour’s progression at all).
    I’d be really interested to hear any more thoughts you have on VBACs, as we plan to start trying for another baby fairly soon and it’s flipping impossible to get a straight answer out of any doctor/HV midwife I’ve spoken too!


  4. Elin
    January 2, 2017 / 1:00 am

    I love how truthful and honest you are regarding pregnancy and birth. At the end of the day you must do what feels best for you and the baby whether that by an elective caesarean or VBAC. Very excited to learn the gender of the new baby, will you be sharing the name?

  5. Laura
    January 2, 2017 / 6:23 am

    Pregnancy is definitely harder when you have small children to run around after.
    I remember being as exhausted as you describe, I’d never felt so tired, even after all the sleepless nights with the first baby, I just wanted someone to roll me around like the blueberry kid from willy wonka! There is no rest from the very beginning, what a luxury it when with my first to just go for a nap after work!
    Its all worth it. As you know, hopefully you might get that energy burst in the last few days to get baby moving. X

  6. Meg
    January 2, 2017 / 6:41 am

    Hi Ruth,

    What ever you decide, it will be the right decision. Good luck with the last bit of your pregnancy!

    I’m 8 weeks myself and the nausea and fatigue is doing my head in!


    • Michaela
      January 2, 2017 / 1:41 pm

      Meg, I just want to say that it WILL get better and I know how horrible you feel and it totally sucks, no matter how excited you are for the baby. I’m 22 weeks now and only since last week am I not feeling sick 24/7 but rather experience random nausea throughout the day and it’s like I’m a new person and can enjoy life again.
      If you write a pregnancy journal you’ll see the improvements! X

  7. Clare
    January 2, 2017 / 7:57 am

    Hi Ruth,
    I love reading your posts and wanted to share with you my experience with VBAC and elective as I have had both. I had an emergency c section after my first child then (stupidly) decided that I had missed out on the giving birth bit and had a VBAC for my second bubs. Like you I am small but have big babies (although no doctor ever told me they were big) I had a difficult delivery with ventous and needed surgery afterwards. Had an elective with third child and it was a really good experience. Not as painful healing wise, you haven’t had labour so you feel less exhausted and it was quite a serene experience. I was scared at first as it feels a bit strange to walk in for surgery like you’re having a tooth extracted but overall the whole thing was so short and straightforward. I felt that the pain afterwards was so much better…Maybe because you know what to expect?! Anyway good luck and for me elective was the way forward xx

  8. Kathryn
    January 2, 2017 / 8:05 am

    It’s easy for an outsider to say, but trust your instincts and do what you think is best. Sounds like you’ve done an exhaustive amount of research and decided. Other people might have their opinions, but it’s your body at the end of the day and deep down you probably know what you want/need to do. If it makes you feel better, my sister in law opted for an elective section for her second birth after an emergency section for her first. It all went really well and she was happy with the decision. She said she still felt nervous in the lead up, but the whole process was so much less traumatic than being rushed into it at the last minute. She ended up enjoying the process this time, even though she’s a bit scared of hospitals. Best of luck with it all, no matter what your final decision is! I’ll be thinking of you xox

  9. January 2, 2017 / 8:46 am

    Great post as normal.

    It’s such a hard decision but I am also favouring a elective c section at the moment (I was also told they would try with forceps etc before doing another emergency c section – not an appealing idea before having another emergency c section I agree!)

    I’m trying to trust my instincts but it’s not easy.

    Thinking of you (I’m also huge with a toddler to pick up and chase!)

  10. January 2, 2017 / 11:37 am

    I know I’ve left a comment previously on another post, but I just wanted to reiterate here that this is one of those times where you just have to rely on what you think makes rational sense. Consultants are wonderful but when it comes to making a decision based on your personal circumstance I feel as though they just churn out the textbook responses.

    VBAC is something that everyone seems to be pushing for at the moment but unless it’s for the increased safety of the child then I cannot see the advantage. I know my view is completely and utterly biased, having had an emergency c-section myself and then having to endure my perfect newborn passing away, but I cannot possibly imagine going through another labour with the terror of not knowing whether the baby was as safe as I could make it at any given point. There are a lot of unknowns in childbirth and everyone has a different experience and story to tell, but my own story was not a happy one and no-one can tell me for sure what the reasons were for my baby to die.

    All I can say to you is make a decision that you feel comfortable with in your gut. One that if it all went wrong (heaven forbid), you’d make the same choice all over again. If statistics are telling you that your hospital birthrate for VBAC is low, then use this in your decision-making. If you were to go against these facts and go for a VBAC anyway but it ended in C-section, I can tell you now that you’d be kicking yourself.

    The most important thing is to deliver your baby in the safest way possible. And at least for me, that would mean a controlled c-section rather than an uncontrolled, possibly drug-induced, VBAC.

    • Helen
      January 3, 2017 / 12:14 am

      Lucy, am so very sorry for your loss. Sending light to you for this newest of years x x

    • Clare
      January 4, 2017 / 9:05 am

      Oh Lucy, what a terrible thing to happen. Sending you all the best for the new year.

  11. Gilly
    January 2, 2017 / 11:41 am

    Hi Ruth,
    Love reading your posts , so entertaining …
    My kids are 19 and 17 now so my birth experiences seem so last century(!) but I had an emergency C section with my first ( back to back, foetal distress etc) and pondered for weeks about what to do 2nd time around .
    I chose an elective c section and max was delivered at 39 weeks and it was fantastic- never regretted it . I couldn’t face the uncertainty of a VBAC and also being away from my toddler for any longer than necessary .
    Consultants may take a different view if they were in your shoes !
    Wishing you all the best . X

  12. Louise
    January 2, 2017 / 11:54 am

    I’m envying your first pregnancy as I’m nearly at week 37 and am really starting to feel confined by my big bump and general lack of fitness. Also my legs cramp up if I dare to walk at anything near a normal pace. But it is wonderful to know that there’s a practically “done” baby residing in my belly, so it’s worth the huffs and the puffs.
    Don’t let any comments from others sway you on the VBAC, your body, your baby : your decision!

  13. Francesca
    January 2, 2017 / 2:30 pm

    My first child was born by emergency csec. The whole experience was nothing short of awful. Not because of the hospital (they were great) but because despite all the yoga and mindfulness and preparing I did nothing quite prepared me for the sensation and pain of labour. I was terrified.
    However with my second pregnancy and child I felt much more relaxed. My mindset was that I had already been through my worst scenario and come out of it fine so why not try for a VBAC.
    My consultant was wonderful and very encouraging without being pushy (pardon the pun).
    Anyway to cut a long story short I ended up having an AMAZING natural birth in the hospital. I even managed it without pain relief.
    So having done both I can say that is very possible to have a successful VBAC in a hospital after an emergency csec. I will also say that while there is absolutely nothing wrong with csecs it really is not the same as giving birth yourself.
    Ultimately only you can make the right decision for you. But I just wanted to let you know that it is possible.
    Best of luck whatever you decide x

    • Louise
      January 4, 2017 / 8:52 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing Francesca. I’ve struggled to find any positive or successful stories re VBAC! I had an emergency section with my first and I was terrified. It was meant to be planned anyway due to breach baby but went into labour the day before at 38 weeks and was 7cm by the time I got to hospital. I didn’t enjoy signing the consent form while spaced out on gas and air, awful job of the canular which had to be done 3 times, my monitor flat lined in front of me and I thought I was slipping away (dramatic I know but at the time I was terrified/high) when actually they just switched me to another behind but didn’t tell me that and no skin to skin for 45 minutes while they stitched me up. And I’m now 32 weeks pregnant with my 2nd and don’t want that again. I hated the recovery and was so envious of the mums who had given birth at the same time as me but walking around the ward caring for their newborn while I was groggy, wired/dripped up and unable to sit up by myself. I couldn’t even change his first nappy. I’ve chosen to try naturally this time if this little one doesn’t get stuck (my first baby’s nose was actually squished to the side where he had been tucked under my ribs for so long and took a couple of weeks to straighten out) as I don’t want the same long recovery, 6 weeks no driving, no lifting my toddler and relying so heavily on others. Thanks again, you’ve given me hope! xx

  14. Emma
    January 2, 2017 / 2:32 pm

    What a difficult decision! I’m sure whatever you chose will be for the best! I’ve never had a c section so I can’t comment on recovery afterwards, but I imagine it’s much better planned than emergency. Plus don’t feel like you’re ‘missing out’ on normal labour, I’ve had three and there’s no way around it, it’s **** painful! But keeping your bits intact aside, the mention of forceps is a bit terrifying. At least you know everything would be safe with a planned c section. Also much grr to the consultant (eyes upward emoji) Hope you had a lovely new year Ruth 🙂

  15. Krista Simpson
    January 2, 2017 / 3:14 pm

    Happy New Year!
    I don’t know if you have looked into having a Doula. I know you don’t need anything else to think about right now , but, having a Doula for my birth was the best decision I made during my entire pregnancy. (I NEVER pictured myself having a Doula) A Doula is your 100% on-your-side support no matter how you choose to give birth. They are so knowledgeable and such a nice “constant” to have at a time when few things “feel” in your control. Just a thought.

  16. January 3, 2017 / 11:52 am

    If the dismissive person helped you in making your decision he did at least some good. It is your body and you should do whatever you are most comfortable with.

  17. Abigail
    January 3, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    Ruth, I think you have done all you can, you’ve researched thoroughly, weighed the pro’s and cons, spoken to professionals and in the end, you have to go with your instincts as to what you feel is best for you and baby. Maybe Mr Dismissive Consultant helped you make up your mind, of course he’s going to want you to try for a vaginal birth for various reasons but if you feel it’s not right for you, then it’s not. Go with your instincts Ruth, that’s what they’re there for!

  18. Maille
    January 4, 2017 / 11:23 am

    Hi Ruth, I’ve been following your blog and want to say congrats on such a beautiful daughter and making the time to reflect and share your journey. Sometimes it’s tricky to know what to do especially with a thing like the whole affair of motherhood(!). Perhaps another angle is what’s best for the baby. It really helped me get deep into understanding and accepting what birth will – and could- entail. I armed myself with all the people n resources (including stories from people who have gone through exactly the same thing), and in the end it almost seemed like no other path. Trust yourself. Enjoy your second birth 🙂

  19. Samaya Toma
    January 4, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    Ruth I just want to say thank you for your openess and honesty during this decision making process. I had a planned c-section 2 years ago due to my son being breech, it went extremely well with zero complications and a fast recovery. I had put off trying for another baby because I knew the whole VBAC topic would arise and would almost certainly be pressured into making a decision that wasn’t necessarily right for me. After reading your posts and feeling the exact same way I shall push on trying for another baby. I will keep an open mind and take on board all advice given but will go with my gut instinct at the end of the day.

  20. Hayley
    January 4, 2017 / 9:23 pm

    Ruth, this is a great article on ‘natural c sections’ Check out the bit re the microbiome and how important the bacteria in the birth canal are to the baby – it’s really interesting. I hope it helps make some decisions with your birth plan X

  21. Hayley
    January 4, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    More info here on the microbiome – how c section babies compare in relation to breast fed and bottle fed for example. If you do opt for c section I’d just be hellbent on swabbing so babe gets all that important goodness, I don’t think UK hospitals are that keen but tell them – your birth, your baby!

  22. MJ
    January 4, 2017 / 11:09 pm

    Hi! As a midwife we see loads of cases like this and really it is whatever YOU are comfortable with. At this point when you’ve only had one caesarean (not 2 or more which we would usually suggest elective caesarean) you are in control. You need to be prepared for the long term of going for VBAC, including recovery time etc and the long term for caesarean etc!!! Most important thing to remember is that each and every pregnancy and baby will be different. As long as you are as relaxed as possible you can let your body do its natural process. Hope that helps a tiny bit!! Xxx

  23. shin ae
    January 5, 2017 / 4:44 am

    I imagine there will be something of a feeling of indecision until it’s all done, but what I think I’m seeing here is that you know what you want. Very good! Thank you for sharing the photos and your thoughts; your voice is so enjoyable. And, I’m excited for you! Home stretch! Go Ruth!

  24. Suzy
    January 10, 2017 / 9:56 am

    Hi everyone,

    I am pregnant with baby number 3 and have had two wonderful home births. I used a doula and it made all the difference.
    Your mind is so powerful and directly influences your birth experience. Envision all the positives as the ‘what ifs’ go on forever. No one has a crystal ball and it can become a self fulfilling prophecy focusing on the negative. Each birth is unique and the health of the mum, mentally as much as physically, is just as important as the health of the baby.

    This site has some amazing stories. Births in hospital, at home, c sections and VBACS.

    Wishing you a wonderful experience Ruth and looking forward to hearing your exciting news.

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