Thursday, August 29, 2013

Full Term

Tomorrow I will be full term, 37 weeks pregnant.  Finally, the end is in sight.  My body is gearing up and progressing well (4cm).  I'm glad to know all the contractions I've been having day and night, which have become increasingly more uncomfortable the past few weeks, have actually been doing something!  Unfortunately I know from last time that the progress doesn't necessarily mean much for either early delivery or fast labor.  37 weeks may only be the beginning of full term, but I'd still like to think I don't actually have three more weeks! And surely it couldn't be more.

Actually the end has been a little more tolerable this second time, I think because the whole rest of the pregnancy was more miserable.  But I wouldn't be at all sad if baby was a bit (weeks) early.  I may have mentioned before that I don't exactly love being pregnant.  Unfortunately, general intolerance with being pregnant doesn't seem to make baby in more of a hurry to come.  Just ask my cousin who has been miserably sick for the past 39 weeks.  I'm just super glad to not still be nauseous and throwing up all the time!  I'll take an awful lot of back aches, sleeplessness, heartburn, contractions, fatigue, and general aches and pains over being sick.  Still, there are times in life when three weeks seems like a very long time.

My cool belly henna
I have had a couple of wildly productive weeks in which I accomplished all five of the items I mentioned in my last post: got henna, borrowed baby items, bought cloth diapers, wrote newsletter, and ate more guacamole.  I even did a few other things as well, like made cloth wipes, packed a hospital bag, bought a big sister present for Juliana,  painted a big sister shirt and little sister onesie, and hung out with my very pregnant friend and very pregnant cousin, speculating how much longer pregnancy would really last.

In preparation for labor, I have been re-reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and contemplating how cool it would be to meet Ina May (a legendary midwife).  I also created a birth plan, which wasn't too hard since it was very similar to my last one.  The term "birth plan" still seems a little off, since the years in China have left me skeptical of plans in general - how often do things actually go like we expect?  I appreciate the idea though - an opportunity to contemplate and discuss your childbirth goals and ideals. 

Everything didn't go exactly as I imagined when Juliana was born (she was face-up so I had a lot of painful back labor, there was meconium in the fluid so they had to check her out and I didn't get to hold her immediately), but in general I was still able to have the kind of birth I desired.  Before having Juliana, I really hadn't thought much about childbirth until meeting with my midwives and taking a course geared toward natural childbirth.  Since then, childbirth has become a topic of particular fascination for me.  I love learning about the ways our bodies are created for birth and hearing positive birth stories.  I have come to view childbirth not just as something to get through with as little pain as possible but as an important, powerful experience in itself which results in a beautiful new baby.  Not to mention the end of being pregnant!

This time I already know one "hitch" in my plans beforehand.  I tested positive for group B strep (a bacteria up to 30% of women carry off and on, without actually being sick), which mainly means I will need to go to the hospital soon after labor starts to receive antibiotics.  I would have preferred to labor at home for a while before going to the hospital, but it shouldn't make a huge difference.  I should be able to create a comfortable laboring environment, and I feel confident in my midwife not pressing for unnecessary interventions.  I'm also not excited about being hooked up to an IV while receiving the antibiotics, since it will be harder to move around, but I'm glad it won't have to be the whole time.  Fortunately the baby's odds of receiving the infection are very small, 1 in 4000 when the mother receives antibiotics.

Aunt Becky's hand-sewn quilt with animal pictures she drew (she made a similar one for Juliana with pictures from children's books)
I still have a few more projects to keep me occupied as I wait for baby, but all of the vital things have been accomplished.  We have a car seat to take baby home from the hospital.  We have a baby sleeping basket in case baby actually sleeps on her own sometimes, and we have a bed rail for co-sleeping.  I have washed all our newborn clothes and blankets.  Baby also has a couple of really cute new blankets from Grandma Yaya and Aunt Becky.   I have a bunch of washed newborn diapers and some cloth wipes made.  I am working on a cloth book with pictures Juliana has drawn for baby, things like "babies with lots of tails" and "roads with tape."  It's supposed to be a present Juliana can give the baby, even though it will take a while for the baby to care.  We already have a big sister present for Juliana which is the important one.   So anytime baby wants to come she can just come right ahead.  Anytime baby, anytime.
Grandma Yaya crocheted this Noah's Ark afghan


Nate and Molly said...

Hmm, well I had a nice comment and it got deleted before it posted! let me try again..

4cm!!! that's a lot! I've never heard or more than 3 before labor started. We arrived at the hospital between 4-5 and I thought I was dying. I know it doesn't really mean much (I was at 0 and then had a baby 2 days later), but still...exciting! You sound ready to me from your post. I am excited for you that you are now full term. I know what a relief that is. And don't worry, I won't be one of those annoying people who says "sleep while you can!" because let's face it, you can't store up sleep! But seriously I am praying for you in this area. I am glad you'll be with family longer this time so that you can hopefully catch some naps during the day while baby is up. Love you! Can't wait to hear news! Oh, and praying for a smooth, natural delivery.

Anna said...

Yeah, so I read this when you first posted it, but I'm reading again and would just like to say - don't let an IV hamper your moving around. They are really quite transportable (you can always force someone else to push it around for you - after all, they're not in labour), and not nearly as bad as you would expect. I promise. And in labour and delivery rooms, your IV pole may actually fit inside of the bathroom.