Tuesday will mark 36 weeks for baby #2, and I’m definitely feeling like I’m in the home stretch. Nesting has officially kicked in and my perfectly painted nails that I spent so much time on Thursday night are already wearing away from all the scrubbing.
Since Corban made his debut at 36 weeks, 4 days, I feel like I need to be mentally prepared for this baby to come early too. My doctor has said there’s no indication this baby WILL come early, but after being taken by surprise the first time it’s hard to just relax as I approach 36 weeks!
This means I’ve finally made some good progress on all my pregnancy-related to do lists: got a haircut, had maternity photos taken, went shopping for nursing and hospital supplies, packed my hospital bag, got a maternity massage (more on that tomorrow!), completely cleared out our old office (Corban’s soon-to-be big boy bedroom), did some practice labor relaxation exercises with Peter, opened my disability claim at work for maternity leave, unpacked and washed newborn clothes and did lots of cleaning and organizing around the house (although to an outsider it probably looks just as messy as always). That was all in the past week!
I’m also physically feeling like I’m in the home stretch. I have contractions every day and need (like, *need*) to sit down with a glass of water if I’ve been on my feet too much (see above list…). My lower back has started to ache, and it’s just not easy to carry Corban or keep up with his joyful antics like I used to. Getting comfortable in general is not easy. My feet have definitely started to swell, but thankfully it’s not noticeable to anyone else, and they’re nowhere near as hideous as they were with pregnancy #1. I’ll spare you a link back to that picture.
Here’s a pic from almost two weeks ago. I can’t seem to time the photography and blog posting to line up…
I was up 18 pounds at my 35-week checkup. That’s definitely less than I gained at this point with Corban, but comparing photos at 34 weeks, the bump is no smaller. Maybe it was all the foot-swelling last time…
Although we didn’t take a childbirth class with this pregnancy, I’ve thought a lot more about what I would like the labor and delivery to be like this time. I am not at all nervous about childbirth, partially because I’ve been through it before so I know what to expect (in general), but also because I have a better idea of what I can do to make it more comfortable and a more intentional plan for how to make that happen.
I’ve mentioned before that my goal is to have a birth free from medicine or other interventions. The more I read about natural childbirth, the more I realize that Corban’s birth was far from intervention-free, although I felt like it was fairly “natural.” With Corban, I had an IV in the entire time, a tiny bit of pain meds in the IV at the end, an episiotomy and a vacuum-assisted delivery. All of that (except the pain meds) was not by choice, but because I was told it was medically necessary. Of course at the time I wasn’t going to argue with my doctor when she told me the baby was in distress and I would need an episiotomy and vacuum to get him out as quickly as possible. Corban ended up being perfectly healthy, and looking back I have no way of knowing if my doctor was being smart or unnecessarily cautious with those interventions.
This time, I’ve talked with my (new) doctor about episiotomies (she doesn’t do them except in extreme cases where the baby is in distress), IVs, monitors and other interventions. I’ve thought about what was uncomfortable about labor last time, and the IV and hospital gown are at the top of the list of controllable factors. I was super hot and uncomfortable and felt trapped in my jungle of IV cords, contraction monitor and two hospital gowns (why two?!).
The IV was kind of unavoidable last time since my Group B Strep test results weren’t back yet (I had had the test two days prior) so I needed to have antibiotics administered as a precaution. They also told me I was dehydrated and would need fluids through the IV. This time, I got the strep test done at 35 weeks, and I’m in the clear. I’ve also been very diligent about drinking lots of water – and, to be honest, if they tell me I’m dehydrated when I check into the hospital I’ll decline the IV and just chug water. I think this will make everything SO much more comfortable! I mean… considering it’s childbirth.
I also bought a cute, comfy maternity nightgown that I plan to wear instead of the hospital gown. Such a small thing, but I think it will make a big difference.
I borrowed some books from my friend Litzy, who is a natural childbirth guru after having her first baby in May, and talking with her and reading up on the Bradley Method has made me feel more confident about natural labor. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in the book (can someone please write a pregnancy or parenting book that doesn’t spend just as much time bashing people who disagree with their methods as it does explaining what their methods are? I have found this to be the universal annoyance with ALL books on these topics!), but I like how positive the author is that with proper relaxation and pain management techniques you most certainly can have a natural childbirth without a problem. I definitely plan on employing some relaxation tips from the Bradley way of thinking. Peter is not too excited that the book recommends that the husband massage the wife’s lower back for hours on end during labor. He should be thankful that my first labor was way short, which means this one could likely be short too!
I do actually plan on writing a birth plan this time. Not a “this is how my childbirth experience must go!” plan, but more of a “here are my preferences” plan so I don’t forget to communicate something to the nurses.
So, that’s what’s been on my mind this past week or two. Nothing but work (a whole other set of to-do lists!), enjoying summer with Corban and PREGNANCY/CHILDBIRTH.