Monday, October 1, 2012

Pregnancy: 37 Weeks

Two words: FULL TERM! I can't believe it. All the anxieties that pregnancy brings, and now we find ourselves finally at the end. What a miracle carrying a baby to full term is. Still three more weeks until our due date, but LB's lungs have likely matured enough to make her entrance any day. Mark my words: My gut says that she's on her way. Or, at least, I don't think she's going to be late.

For the sake of transparency, I have to admit that I began to experience quite a mental shift last week. Totally unexpected. I'm actually starting to get really overwhelmed by all the changes that are about to happen. I think it's a mix of a bit of labor fears, postpartum nervousness, and feeling unprepared around our home (if she were to come in the next week or so).

I was explaining my new mental state to my Thursday yoga class and my instructor came back with a really apt analogy. She explained my feelings back to me in terms of looking at a roller coaster. Until now I've been looking at it from far away. It looked do-able and not too huge and maybe even a bit of a thrill. But now that I'm much closer, I'm staring up at it and able to feel the reality of its bigness. I actually have to get on the roller coaster. It's not just an idea anymore.

She also reminded me that I don't have to take it all in at once. I don't need to think about "later", but rather, I can choose to focus moment by moment. If I'm three centimeters dilated, then that's what I need to work on managing at that moment. Maybe three centimeters is painful, but I don't need to focus on what the pain is going to be like at seven centimeters. My mind can find rest in taking it step by step, moment by moment. At yoga the focus is on centering yourself inward for balance and strength, but I will be focusing outward on the Lord's power, mercy and goodness for my strength throughout labor. I will be asking for Him to fill me with with truth and peace through the Holy Spirit.

I remember being at a women's prayer event at my church a couple years back and having the opportunity to participate in a breakout session offered by a godly woman named Rose Johnson who led the room in a scripture centered relaxation exercise. I never forgot about the experience. I really enjoyed the way I was able to meditate on the bible while maintaining an incredibly relaxed posture (she had us laying on the floor, on chairs, wherever we could get relaxed). Rose has a DVD with her routine available here. But I figured we could come up with our own set of verses and Arthur can calmly read them to me with soothing music in the background. I think this will be a great way for him to participate in labor and lead me spiritually through the pain...or rushes, as Ina May calls them.

So we've began gathering verses and bookmarking them on Arthur's YouVersion bible app. The night that we finally made time to start looking, he initiated by saying that Phillipians 4:13 was on his mind:

"I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me" 

A bit thrown off, I told him that this was exactly the verse God had already given me and that I've been replaying over and over in my head for months. We decided this would be our cornerstone verse. My hope is to have a bank of maybe 100 or so short sections of scripture for Arthur to read out loud.

How my body is changing

Physically my body is continuing to progress. Last week was all about my hips loosening, while this week is totally about LB "engaging" as it's called. The baby becomes engaged when their head drops down into the pelvis. Arthur says this totally freaks him out and is amazed that babies don't get claustrophobic. I don't get any cervical exams prior to labor, so I won't know how she's progressing, but I can feel a lot more of the dropping sensation than I expected to.

My belly feels a bit like a sack of potatoes sitting low, and there is a lot less pressure on my ribs, but much more on my cervix. I've read that the Braxton Hicks practice contractions push the baby's head against my cervix and ripen it for labor. Really though, I can feel her head on my cervix all the time now.

Apologies for all the cervix talk...


I'm also feeling a lot less baby movement now that her head is engaged. The baby updates say that she's acting as a typical newborn would at this point, so she is having long periods of sleep with a bit of wiggling in between. Not to mention she's so snug in there and kind of stuck in the pelvis, so there isn't really anywhere to go. I still feel her limbs moving around though which is certainly reassuring.

What we've been up to

On Monday I went to my first La Leche League meeting. It seems like we have a pretty active group in West Seattle, so I was really excited to go. Unfortunately, I woke up incredibly nauseous that morning and almost didn't end up going because I was so close to tossing my cookies—amazing how those hormones can come rushing right back. But holy cow am I glad I went! The experience was invaluable. I was able to watch a room full of mamas nursing their babies that were anywhere from 15 days old to maybe 3 years old. There were moments where almost everyone in the room was nursing. I was totally in awe and soaking it all up. I was also surprised to find out that my Thursday yoga instructor is one of the LLL leaders. I really enjoy her, so it was nice to see a friendly face when I walked in! She was also the only other pregnant mama in the room, which was comforting. They told me that if I'm still pregnant by next month's meeting they'll rub babies all over me (to release oxytocin, maybe?) and that should put me right into labor. The next meeting is right on my due date. 

Mid-week we had our second to last Centering group. My belly is measuring right on track, maybe a little ahead, and I gained just about two pounds since last time which puts me at 32 pounds. It was a lot of fun reflecting with everyone on how far we've come since our first group. We are the latest due date, so many of the mamas were getting really close. And we even learned over the weekend that one of the girls had her baby! So exciting and surreal! The midwives encouraged any couples who have babies before next class to still come and bring them along, so we'll see who shows up. I don't have any notes since we talked mostly about contraceptive options. Nothing new and not of much concern to us. I also took my Group B Strep test, which came back negative—woohoo for dodging an IV.

The weekend was a complete win for productivity. We accomplished leaps and bounds around the house and Papa K has officially deemed himself in nesting mode now too. We started the weekend off right with our couples labor class at my yoga studio on Friday night. It was an excellent date night and so much fun to introduce Arthur to the studio and environment I've been enjoying for the past few months. We went over things like deep breathing and a few light yoga moves. Our instructor also left the guys with four key points that they needed to remember for labor: 1. Protect her space (so she feels secure and safe) 2. Get her on her hands and knees 3. Hydrate with coconut water 4. Pee often—a hydrated uterus is an efficient uterus! We even had some oxytocin-inducing skin-to-skin time. It was actually quite intimate despite being packed in the room with seven other duos of soon-to-be parents.

Saturday morning we attended the long awaited cloth diapering class. There is far too much amazing information to even touch on here, but I will say that this class (through Parent Trust) was a 10/10 and extremely informative. Arthur left feeling really confident in our choice to cloth diaper and also totally equipped on how they work and the different varieties. We BOTH recommend this class to anyone who is a first time CD'er. The woman that taught it is the owner of a local cloth diaper boutique called Punkernoodle Baby and has successfully cloth diapered her two daughters from birth to potty training. I absolutely feel prepared now to start cloth diapering whenever the time seems right.

Sunday I did a whole lotta this to keep my antsy self occupied. A double batch of veggie chili. Half for this week, half to freeze.

We also had the infamous carseat lady come to our house Sunday afternoon. It seems that everyone in Seattle has heard of her! While she was checking the seat, our neighbor was outside and I mentioned we were getting our carseat checked. Trying to be helpful, he started to tell me about "this lady that comes to your house..." I laughed and said, "This is her!" Really, she's famous around these parts. We are so glad we had her come for an inspection. She even told Arthur that he had the best carseat install she's ever seen. Quite the compliment, I'd say. Not only did she check the baby seat, but she also made sure we were properly positioned in the front seats and gave us some excellent tips on traveling with a baby. She doesn't charge anything for coming out to your house, but does accept tips. Be warned that the lady is totally cooky, but she knows it and owns it well.

A bit of a lengthy post, but that's to be expected now that it's crunch time. I can't believe this is my last week of work and that we're getting so close to having everything prepared. Here's hoping we have at least one more week left!

Need to catch up?

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