5 weeks to go so it's time to get the birth plan ready

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And yes there will be plenty of pain relief on the menu thank you very much...

Polly Walker's last workshop session given standing up before maternity leave
A lot of things have been going on this month, health wise, and I've been struggling to feel in control of it all. After two weeks lying in hospital with a mask on my face, the doctors seem to still be a little confused as to why I have suddenly developed such severe asthma, especially when I had never been diagnosed with it before pregnancy. A combination of flu, chest infections, and a beautiful swollen abscess on my eyelid confirmed for me the fact of reduced immunity during pregnancy. The best advice is don't get sick at all, as it can be a case of 'one thing after another', especially rough at 34 weeks when you are exhausted. Hospital was fairly grim, although I got to know all the midwives and everyone was very nice. Also I won't be forgetting to stuff my hospital bag with healthy, tasty snacks for the labour room.

After hospital my mother came to look after me, ushering me into bed and confiscating my laptop, force-feeding me with raw broccoli and lentil soup. She also did a lot of worthy things like cleaning the house and de-moulding the bathroom. I might be somewhat divided over letting someone look after me, but once I relinquished control, it was really nice. After all, I am huge now. I find it hard to imagine getting any bigger. The baby is right up under my lungs and I can feel constant kicks pushing into my rib cage. I've had some other visitors recently - my nephews who are 7 and 9 years old, and full of energy. The first time the saw the bump they screamed and ran away! I did my best to try to keep up with them over the Easter holidays, but there's no denying that I'm running out of energy now.

The Pregnancy Diaries blogger Polly Walker entertaining nephews for Easter weekend.

Aunt Polly entertaining nephews for Easter week

So, the time is coming up to start birth plan writing! Its only 5 weeks to go until she comes out and there's still a lot of think about. I've read various books and pre-packed my hospital bag, but for the birth plan, I don't see a need to make the plan complicated. Most women will deviate from their birth plan anyway, so I'm not going to be too fancy or inflexible with mine. Hospital delivery is the best way to go for me, given it's my first baby and that I have been struggling with my health recently. There is also nowhere to put a giant birthing pool in my teeny weeny ex-council flat.

Pain relief? Abso-flipping-lutely! Much as I appreciate the value of natural child birth, I am not a believer in divine martyrdom to pain. Women seem to be putting a lot of pressure on themselves to go without pain relief, convinced they will lessen the experience or be less of a 'real woman'. My main concern is stress during labour, as I've suffered with a post viral syndrome for the last 3 years and stress is a major trigger. For me, the worst birth outcome would be having to spend the first few months needing to sleep 15 hours a night and being too exhausted to play with my baby. So my plan is for early epidural, lots of relaxing music and my mother's ever-calming presence to get me through. Everything else, I will leave to good luck, and the medical staff to decide.

Two weeks today till maternity leave starts, and it cannot be too soon, please please take my advice and plan to be off work from 32 weeks! The last bit is just like a hellish bad dream of sleepless nights, leg cramps, exhaustion and obsessive cleaning instincts. Towards the end of pregnancy you will find it hard to battle the urge to douse everything in Dettol. Even me, who has spent plenty of time in sweaty tropical dust covered places, eating and drinking all sorts of weird things. I've started spotting dust from ten paces and everything makes me feel strange and skin crawly urge to clean and disinfect. All I really want right now is to quit work so that I can get down and scrub the skirting boards!

Polly is 34 years old and is pregnant for the first time.

Follow Polly's progress on The Pregnancy Diaries.

For more information on pregnancy health and advice go to www.nhs.uk/Start4Life

We're expecting too! Check out handbag.com/babybag
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