I have now reached the point where the baby would no longer be considered premature if it was born now. It's all fair game at this point. I am nearing the finish line and who knows when the baby will actually make it's appearance. It's exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. I still have things I want to finish up...knitting the baby blanket, picking out middle names for the baby, putting away the last few items in the baby's room, putting up shelves in the baby's room and getting the cube organizer for it, practicing my natural child birthing techniques more...and just having some time to breathe and think about the baby coming. *sigh*
Physically, not much seems to have changed. The baby is pretty low inside and head down, so there are many times when the baby's head pushes on sensitive/sore areas and it's hard to walk...sometimes there are sharp stabbing pains. The baby also pushes it's feet (or maybe knees) against my belly, somewhere above my belly button, and while it's cute, it often hurts. I am being abused. And even though the baby is dropped lower and supposedly I should be able to breathe easier, I still get out of breath pretty quickly...some days are worse than others. And of course, I have to use the bathroom pretty darn often. At least at night it's not so bad...usually one, maybe two, trips. One woman in my prenatal yoga class is apparently up about 7 times a night...sheesh!
Mentally...well, depends on what you focus on. As I said above, I feel like I am running out of time to get things done before this baby comes, and I am not quite mentally ready for the big changes the baby will bring. I want some time to get things settled and be able to just chill for a bit. But, I guess with only 2-4 weeks to go, I don't really have much time for that. *sigh*
Regarding labor itself, I am doing much better. Matt and I had someone come over to our house for two one-on-one natural child birthing classes, and those did a world of good for me. I have been worried about how this labor experience would go, given that my first one went so badly (don't ever let yourself get induced unless it really is medically necessary and you get a second opinion). I was worried that things would just go downhill again, and I would end up with another c-section. But thanks to the classes, I have been able to let go of a lot of that fear and worry and to get excited about this upcoming birth. And confident that I can have the labor/delivery experience I am hoping for.
For those not familiar, my first experience was to be induced a week early due to worries about Liam's skull fusing together too soon (which it wasn't, and CHOP confirmed that there was no reason I should have been induced over that, so it was completely unnecessary). My body wasn't really ready, so progress was slow, and eventually I was running out of energy and the doctor convinced me to go for the epidural, which I gave in to (and was upset about)...and then Liam's heart rate went up, which is one of the things that can happen. And that resulted in a c-section, which is something epidurals are known to lead to. I am very bitter about the whole thing and feel like I was cheated of a great natural experience.
So, this time around, I am doing VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and planning to go natural again. And before you say to yourself "wow, she is crazy", ask yourself why they heck you feel you aren't capable of handling a normal birth yourself (well, if you are a female...obviously males don't need to deal with it the same). I am not trying to "be brave" or prove anything. I am trying to experience birth the way it was meant to and in the safest way. So many cultures are not afraid of childbirth, but ours has become one that is. Most women having a baby for the first time have never witnessed someone else having a baby and so all they have to go on are TV shows and movies, and the horror stories that other women seem to like to tell. So childbirth is the big, unknown, scary thing to them by the time they are pregnant. So they go into labor expecting it to hurt worse than anything, and they want to avoid that, so they are all ready to go for the drugs, without really caring much about the consequences or taking time to think if they could really just do it on their own. I believe ALL women are strong and capable of handling natural childbirth. And read up on epidurals and the like...there are still way too many negatives with them...they really should just be used when you really can't stand things anymore, or if medically necessary (needing a c-section). To me, the lessening of pain in that manner is not worth the risks it involves...not when I can use natural methods to lessen pain almost just as effectively. Go ahead, watch some you-tube videos of natural births, especially those using techniques like hypnobirthing, and see how amazing they are. Woman aren't writhing in pain or screaming bloody murder, they do quite fine, and some even seem to be in a trance-like state (deep relaxation, and they only feel intense sensations, not pain). And when they have the baby, they are so much more aware and happy and fulfilled. I am really looking forward to that, and being able to add my personal accounts to birthing stories.
Anyway, don't want to get carried away. Just want people to think about it more, instead of just assuming or jumping to conclusions. Just about everyone I meet thinks I am weird or crazy for wanting a natural birth, and that just doesn't make much sense to me, since "I" am the one doing the normal, natural thing. Heh.
So...enough for now...here's the official baby info.
Your Baby This Week
Baby's weight continues to increase, reaching around 6.5 pounds (3.2 kg) now. While baby is about 21 inches (53 cm) long, his limbs and tummy are all growing rounder and chubbier every day. His skin is less wrinkly now, and most of the redness has turned to a hue that reflects your baby's ethnic heritage.
By this time, most babies descend down into your pelvis, head first, getting ready for birth. In about 3% of pregnancies, babies turn in the other direction, a situation known as a breech presentation. If this is the case for your baby, don't worry as this often changes--sometimes just hours before labor!
Your Body This Week
You are probably not seeing much change in the size of your tummy now, and your weight should be close to the maximum that your health care provider predicted or recommended. You can expect your caregiver to perform a pelvic exam around this time to help determine the progress of your pregnancy and better judge your due date.
Your due date is so close that you could easily deliver at any time! Chances are very good that delivering from this week on, your baby will be healthy. Take a deep breath. Labor, delivery and motherhood will all be amazing and wonderful experiences!