In Belgium only a few scans are considered medically necessary during pregnancy. If you want any more peeks at your baby or if you would ever like to see anything in 3D, you have to arrange it outside of a hospital and pay for it yourself. We weren’t sure whether it was worth it to do that. Jo feels 3D scans are sort of creepy-looking, but I was a sucker for the idea of getting to see at least something of baby Sunshine’s face, so we gave in and booked one *g*

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Seeing as how I’ve never wanted to be pregnant I hadn’t really expected to end up in a birthing class of all places.

I’m nervous as I walk into the building with Nele at my side. It’s a yoga studio, five blue mats for five expectant couples are laid out on the floor. No chairs in sight. I’m not looking forward to two hours sitting on the floor and I’m not even pregnant!

Our midwife greets us at the door, tells us we’re the first to arrive. Nele heads for the bathroom while I make a beeline for the cushions piled up by the wall. Three look comfortable – the rest not so much.  I can’t in good conscience make a pregnant woman be even more uncomfortable so I take a plush cushion for Nele and a normal one for myself.

The next couple arrive, a heavily pregnant woman and a man. He takes the last comfy cushion and I judge him quietly. If I was in the UK maybe I’d try to joke about it, to gently make the point that someone carrying a baby might like a bit of extra cushioning, but we’re in Belgium and my Dutch is basic so I say nothing at all.

The other couples trickle in, we smile at each other awkwardly when eye contact is made.

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I am officially in the third trimester – already!

The middle part of this pregnancy has flown by, probably because it has been very good to me. After the sheer misery of the first three months, it was a deep relief to be able to eat again and have no nausea. To get up out of bed without dizziness. To just live, and not feel ill and miserable every second of every day. I have been SO lucky to feel better.

This has also been the time we got to know baby a lot more, we found out it’s a healthy girl, and there was the awesome fun of getting to feel her move for the first time as well. It’s something that still gives me so much security and joy – it’s hard to worry about her when she’s kicking the hell out of my stomach!

On the physical side, this has been a lot more doable as well. If I walk too much or stand for a long time the underside of my belly starts aching, and I’ll occasionally have a bit of round ligament pain in my hips, but that’s it. Really I would never have believed this when I was a wreck at seven weeks along, but now at twenty-seven weeks there are times where I can forget entirely that I’m pregnant at all!

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When I think about pushing out this baby, I don’t see myself doing it in a hospital at all. It was never really even a question for me: I want a home birth.

I am aware that first children don’t always make a speedy entrance into the world, and that there can be complications that make it necessary to go to a hospital. I’m not going to be naïve about that – if I have to, I will definitely go. But as long as this pregnancy continues healthily, as long as baby Sunshine is happy in there… I am planning to give birth at home, with Jo next to me, and the cats, in my bathtub or on my bed. I can’t imagine a birth any better way!

So knowing that, we had to find really good midwives who do home births, who we feel we can trust fully.

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Dear baby, if you were born today you might live.

You would be the tiniest doll-like thing, and you’d spend months behind glass in the hospital being more wires and machines than baby, but it’s possible. You are officially grown enough now to have a chance even if the worst happens.  

Luckily, there is no reason to believe that you’re coming out any time soon. In fact, you seem to be very comfortable in my ever-growing belly. Your kicks feel stronger by the day, and you’re always stretching and turning and moving about as if to tell me that I shouldn’t be silly, you are perfectly fine, and you’re only coming out when you’re good and ready!  

But still I felt a little sigh of relief on crossing this date. The first threshold, the magic number that turns ‘nothing to be done’ into ‘here is your baby’. Every week more makes the maybe of you into a reality, and that’s something to be celebrated.

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