How I'm Spending my 40th Week of Pregnancy
This Wednesday I will officially be 40 weeks pregnant. Yes-- full term! I honestly can't believe how quickly it all flew by but at the same time, these last few weeks have been dragging a little. I'm not sure if its a good thing (because hey, ME time-- and beginning today I am officially home from work for my maternity leave of absence) or if it will drag on forever. Also I've been feeling more on high alert lately wondering if every sensation in my body means this is IT! My husband Brett is especially on high alert and his car is packed with the installed carseat, our hospital bag, and my birthing ball. We are so exited and so nervous to get to meet our baby boy very soon!
I have been getting a ton of questions about how I'm feeling, on whether or not I'm ready to have this baby already, and if I am still at work. To be honest, I am fortunate to be feeling pretty damn good! My first trimester experience was a little rough with feeling nauseous much of the time, to having some intense food aversions and heartburn but once I hit 13-14 weeks, this pregnancy has been pretty darn amazing. Right now my biggest problems are my swollen, feet, fingers, and ankles-- which I hear is to be expected. Literally two pairs of my shoes still fit me and I actually bought Crocs sandals a couple of weeks ago (something I thought I would never do--sorry nothing against Crocs, they were just never my thing but they're so comfy!) I also literally have to roll out of bed to pee every couple of hours in the middle of the night and I get tired by mid to late afternoon each day. Other than that, I feel good!
Am I ready to have this baby? Of course. I can't wait to meet my son to see what he's like, to hold him, kiss him, nurture him and to be his mom. Am I scared? Yes. To be honest, I am a free spirit by nature and so is Brett. When we got married in 2013 we decided to wait to have kids since we wanted to do a lot of traveling and exploring. We both loved the idea of waking up each morning and deciding exactly how we wanted to spend our day together and what adventure we wanted to take on next. When we throw kids into the mix, it becomes more challenging. Of course I am not saying the fun stops once baby arrives but it certainly changes things a lot. Having kids was something we both really wanted to feel ready for since we both really value our freedom. That definition of freedom will now change a bit. We both got a taste of that when we adopted our puppy Chip last September. We both realized while we love our dog and wouldn't trade him in for the world, it is more challenging to just get up and go anywhere we wanted to. The days of taking out our bikes to ride downtown are over unless we plan ahead. When we want to go on vacations, we have to plan out who will care for him while we're away. I imagine this to only get more challenging when baby arrives! But we are ready and I digress.....I imagine it will be different AND wonderful at the same time so its something we are both looking forward to. I AM cherishing the last days of "me" and "us" time before he's here.
My last day at work was Friday. While I want to use as much of my maternity leave for AFTER baby arrives, I am enjoying the time to myself a lot and therefore I'm glad I stopped working when I did. That way I am home and comfortable (hopefully) when I go into labor. Here are some of the things I've been doing and what I plan to do during my 40th week of pregnancy:
Prepare for Labor
First of all, let me preface by saying I understand every labor is different, beautiful, messy, and unique. Being someone that has never been through labor or has had a baby, I can't say I know anything about it but I am also someone that likes to have all of the information and possibilities going into it. One of the things I've been focusing on lately is mindfulness. How am I feeling right now? Is this urgent? Is it an emergency? If not, I go back to my breath and the sensations I am feeling in my body. I also let go of all expectations when it comes to giving birth a certain way. My birth plan is to have an unmedicated water birth at the hospital with my midwife, my doula, and of course Brett by my side. I do plan to use nitrous oxide to take the edge off, massage, my birthing ball, and the peanut ball. However, I don't live with my head in the sand either and I am not opposed to using medication if I need it or if I am exhausted. I've literally visualized every possibility-- an unmedicated birth in the water, an unmedicated birth on the bed or in different positions out of the water, a birth with an epidural/narcotics, a c-section, an emergency c-section, and more. Mindfulness is just being open and accepting of whatever happens or needs to happen within that moment. I won't know until I am in labor so I let go of all expectations I have before that time. I've been listening to the audiobook, "Mindful Birthing" by Nancy Bardacke which has been helping me understand this concept more.
I've also been sitting on my birthing ball just rolling on it and opening up my hips and pelvis. I purchased this one here. I've also been doing lots of squatting down and walking. I considered myself a very active person pre-pregnancy so this has been easy for me but I can also get more challenging since I now have a baby growing inside of me too so its nice to keep at it as much as I can. My midwife also said providing everything is progressing naturally and baby and I are both in good shape during labor that I am allowed to eat snacks. I've packed goldfish, granola bars, bananas, and electrolyte ice cubes to stay hydrated. Of course I don't intend on eating a gourmet meal when I am in labor in case I do throw up (that would be interesting) but I figured light snacks and ice cubes will be good for me to stay at least semi nourished. For the electrolyte ice cubes, I simply poured some Powerade in a couple of ice cube trays and will have Brett pack it in a cooler to bring with us to the hospital. We also had an in home birthing 101 class last month where I doula taught Brett how to administer a low back pressure point massage and use the rebozo blanket on me to alleviate any pressure the baby is bringing on during labor. We've both been practicing these techniques together in the last few weeks. Hopefully these tools come in handy for us during labor!
Scheduling "ME" Time
Considering I am a busy body, taking "me" time can look different depending on the day. Here are some of the things I've been doing and plan on doing this week:
- Taking plenty of walks and light biking (with or without Chip)
- Putting my feet up, relaxing on our backyard patio
- Taking warm epsom salt baths with bath bombs
- Getting a manicure/pedicure
- Going for weekly massages/adjustments with my chiropractor (thank you insurance!)
- Sipping iced red raspberry leaf tea with a dash of lemonade (recipe here)
- Visiting Starbucks
- Lunch dates with friends
- Watching HGTV
- Cleaning the house so its ready for baby
It could be any day our baby arrives and we are more than ready to meet him but again, having the time to relax before that is huge for me!