How far along? Thirty-nine weeks. You have NO IDEA how happy I am to be posting this tonight, especially as everything kicked up a notch today in terms of cramping, backache, Braxton Hicks, generally feeling weird, etc. But I have felt pretty much the same all day and nothing has really changed, so I am going to cross my fingers that nothing will happen tonight and I can wake up tomorrow with labmonkey in the city and my primary midwife back on call. And then if we could still not have the baby for a couple more days, that would be ideal. Tomorrow I’m planning to record two weeks’ worth of lectures to really get myself ahead. I’m four weeks ahead in terms of what I’ve written, but I’m at the stage now where taking a day to record and edit is probably more important.
Conversation with Q. about thirty minutes ago:
Me: “Well, if we don’t have the baby tomorrow, I have enough PowerPoints finished that I can record three lectures and get two weeks ahead.”
Q.: “Surely even if things get started tomorrow you can record the lectures anyway in the early stages and just edit out the contractions!”
Vital stats? I saw my backup midwife on Tuesday when I was 38+2. Fundal height was 37. BP was 92/64. P’s heartbeat was a solid 140. Back on my left side (although s/he’s right in the middle as I’m typing). P. is still head down, with head “dipping” in and out of the pelvis. Unfortunately, as my midwives keep telling me, that’s no indication of when labour will start this time around, as second babies don’t have to engage to get things moving.
How am I feeling physically? I will say this now: I will be really surprised if we see our due date. I’ll be very happy to get there (we never did with E.), but I find it hard to believe that I can feel like I currently do and still have another week to go. P. is getting so squished in there that most movements (and s/he does persist in trying to keep wiggling around) are uncomfortable and some are downright painful. I was driving on Friday and realized I need to stop driving because if the baby is awake it’s extremely distracting and I’m probably not as safe on the roads as I should be.
The cramping (until today) was far worse in the evening and peaked right before we went to bed, which meant I’ve spent this entire past week wondering every night if I’m about to go into labour. And then I wake up in the morning and feel fine and P. is usually asleep until after breakfast and the whole thing starts again.
It’s cooled right down, but my ankles are still a bit swollen. I think that’s them for the duration now.
I get a lot of pain in my hips and pelvis if I stand up the wrong way or walk too quickly- the midwives said it’s the relaxin stretching everything out. It’s probably the most annoying side effect at this stage because I like walking and I’m not feeling bad otherwise but I have to stop quite frequently to recover when the pains strike.
I’m still weeding. I can still pick things up off the floor with no trouble.
I feel as big as a house.
How am I feeling emotionally? I think I’m doing a bit better than I was last week, largely because the baby has stayed put for another week and I did manage to get almost all of the work done I had planned. I’ve prepped the next two rounds of assessment. I missed writing one lecture, but it was a conscious decision because I had a lot of marking to do and I didn’t feel like I should assume I had the weekend to do the marking. I finished all the marking. And then I spent my work time this weekend making PowerPoints so I could spend tomorrow recording. This was largely Q.’s suggestion because, as he pointed out, if I end up having a C-section, I’m not going to want to have to sit up in front of the computer to get lectures recorded. Better to get a few extra done now.
I am still hideously stressed about the E. management side of things, largely because it’s a movable feast depending on when we need help and for how long, and these are things I cannot know in advance. This must be the case for most people with second and subsequent children, unless they have retired parents in the city who are happy to be on call 24/7 for as long as it takes. I am sure it eats at me more than at most people because a) it is really bothering E. and I don’t like him worrying about it, and b) I am not good with NOT KNOWING THE PLAN.
I can see why some people like scheduled C-sections so much.
I think I am moving from resignation to acceptance. I honestly think I will be much less stressed once labour starts and I know E. is looked after. But that is also because I’m assuming I will have a labour like E’s was. I’m not sure I’m mentally prepped for something out of the ordinary, but right now I have no reason to expect it- baby is head down and my midwives feel that I’m most likely to just do what I did with E., only faster.
On that note, someone on my birth club had a baby the other day in an ambulance 30 minutes after her water broke (which was when she was sure she was in labour)- her doula, her midwife, and her husband all missed the birth and the ambulance had to pull over on a major road when it was clear she wasn’t going to make it to the hospital.
As I said to my backup midwife at the appointment on Tuesday when she asked, “My only birth plan is: do not give birth in the car.”
Movement: P. has been SO busy this week. Still regular patterns- asleep at breakfast, large protest party when hungry before lunch, dance party in the evenings- but I guess s/he is so big now that all the movements feel huge. I stole a few minutes on Thursday when I was marking and took a video of my belly shifting and wiggling. We didn’t have a camera that took video with E. and I suddenly realized I wanted to be able to remember this. Fewer hiccups this week. Lots and lots of “let’s bounce my head on the cervix and see what happens”. S/he seems to like (or at least likes to react to) the classical music station we play in the car.
How does it compare with E.’s pregnancy? At thirty-nine weeks, here’s what I was thinking about sleep:
Bump’s change in position is definitely affecting the bladder as I’m now up to at least two trips to the loo per night, and sometimes three (usually at 12.30, 2.30 and 4.00). Other than that I’m sleeping pretty well, although I am waking up for good most mornings a touch before 6.00, which seems excessive.
That has been the biggest change with this pregnancy. I’ve carried so high the entire way along (and am still carrying high now) that the ‘loo trips in the middle of the night have never been an issue. I have had some early morning wakeups, but those are usually because Q. has woken up and I wake up as soon as he does no matter how much he tries to be quiet. (Notable exception: this morning, but that was probably because E. was up for two hours in the night, which is not like him at all.)
It just seems insane to be saying this, but I am still feeling generally fantastic. I know people say that first-time mums need to reach the stage in the pregnancy where they are so uncomfortable they just want the baby to come out, and that means they’re not worried anymore about labour and the birth. I have totally NOT hit that stage… Yesterday I walked all the way down to a lunch date and then most of the way home again, which was probably a good six kilometres or so. And today I walked the forty minutes to my midwife appointment and then home again.
I’m still happy enough being pregnant (and I cannot believe the number of people who have made comments to me along the lines of “You must be so sick of it now and ready to get that baby out!” starting from around 37 weeks- I’m not even at my due date), but I do miss that ease of walking. The hip/pelvis pain is new to this pregnancy, and I’m not much enjoying it.
There are signs that things are gearing up. The cramping is becoming much stronger and more consistent and is especially bad in the early evening and at night. It’s strong enough now that sometimes I catch my breath and have to stop what I’m doing to concentrate on it. I was getting frustrated with the cramping until my mucous plug started coming out on Tuesday, and then I decided it’s obviously accomplishing something. I figure anything now makes actual labour easier!
This is one of the reasons why I’m so glad I recorded everything on this blog. I posted on my birth club that I was quite sure I’d had no real warning signs that labour was approaching with E., and then I went back and read this and realized I had just forgotten. I posted this on a Thursday, so my mucous plug would have started coming out at 38+5 (E. was born at 39+3). No signs of that happening yet, but again, my midwives keep telling me that these sorts of things don’t mean as much when you’ve already had one baby because your body doesn’t need the lead time.
My fundal height at 39+0 with E. was 36 cm because he’d already dropped. I suspect I’m still measuring larger than that, since with E. I was measuring 35 cm at 38 weeks, and with P. I was measuring 37 cm at 38+2.
On my mind? I haven’t stripped the diapers yet. I did get the last load of baby washing finished, so all the carriers are ready to be used, as is the bouncy seat and the breast-feeding pillow. I have what I need to strip the diapers but it always seems like too large a task to get started in the morning before getting E. off to school. If I don’t have the baby tomorrow I might make time to get it done on Tuesday.
I have made my peace with the fact that this baby will not have a nursery until s/he is ready to go into his/her own room at the six month mark. The bookcase is working perfectly well at the moment and there’s a part of me that is happy to have a chance to get to know our baby before making decisions about the room.
Best moment? Not pregnancy related, but on Friday I took E. to buy his first real bike (he has had a balance bike for a couple of years now and he really “got” it last spring). Saturday we went over to the school and E. demonstrated quite quickly that we’re not going to need to put the training wheels on. His major issue is confidence- he gets worried when he starts to go “too fast” (i.e. fast enough that the bike is not in danger of tipping over from lack of momentum), but I can see he’s going to figure it out. I’m really proud of him- the bike is big and heavy compared to his balance bike and now he has pedals and brakes (coaster and a hand brake) to think about. He is not a naturally courageous child, and the bike did tip on him almost as soon as he first tried to get on it, but he picked himself up and kept going.
As for the pregnancy, I am just glad to be here at 39 weeks with a baby who spends a great deal of time announcing that s/he is feeling just fine, no need to worry, Mum.
And here’s a belly pic, at 38+3.
For comparison, here is my last belly pic with E., which was also taken at exactly 38+3: