Saturday, November 30

36 Weeks Pregnant

Today I am 36 weeks pregnant.  I realized that I don't have much written down about this pregnancy (poor neglected child, already) so I thought I'd come by, dust the cobwebs off my blog, and let y'all know what's been going on.

26 weeks pregnant... Outgrowing my shirts.
I knew it was time to update y'all after I had the first "breakdown" last night.  It wasn't a big one, but it's a sign for me that I'm getting close to the end.  And thank goodness... Let me explain.

I conceived this little one almost immediately after my second miscarriage, which means I would have been due with the baby we named Veronica right about now.  It's been a little surreal thinking about that as I look at my swollen belly, but I have to make sure to include her on this journey because I know she and her big brother Samuel have been praying for us during this pregnancy.  I've been healthy but in a private way, a nervous wreck.  Once I could feel the baby kicking, things got a little better.  It took a little longer for me to feel this baby move, but one night, when I was 18 weeks and 6 days pregnant, s/he started kicking and hasn't stopped since!  Now of course the movements I feel (and you can likely see) are more like slow rolls that I feel in several places at once.  Just today Ryan was watching a little elbow poke out and disappear in again, over and over again.  It weirds him out but I like that he can see a little bit of what I feel all over!

The big babies feeling the little baby roll around

So it's reassuring to feel the baby move every day, and when I notice I haven't felt him/her in awhile I can easily wake him/her up with a little effleurage on my tummy.  I am certain this child switches positions on a daily basis- head down always but s/he rolls from posterior to anterior constantly.  I'm hoping that s/he decides to come when s/he is lined up correctly!

I've made myself not do anything baby-related until about this point.  It's too early and although I've been nesting the past two weeks, there's not much I can do now.  I'm not setting up a nursery, I don't know which clothes to pull out, I'm not ready to install a car seat or pack a bag for the birthing center.  I have been working on my postpartum support plan, which is something new for me this time.  It's just a simple letter and list of what I expect and what others should expect from me during the first few months of baby's life.  It's something I've learned a lot about recently, as a doula, and since it's something I teach to clients I decided I should practice what I preach! 

All of my midwife appointments at our birthing center have gone well, nice and easy and generally pretty quick.  Since they're uneventful, I count that as a positive!

I feel like I've been more healthy this pregnancy, mostly because we have become more focused on our diets in the past 3 years.  I don't eat a lot of junk- and when I do indulge, I generally feel awful because of it, so it hasn't been worth it.  I've had a few food aversions but I am trying to focus on protein and my iron intake, since that is always low for me.  I haven't been as good as I'd like to be about exercising, but I am staying mobile and limber by stretching and doing yoga at home.  I have learned that I have to have generally two periods of my day for laying down in order to keep my lower back pain-free.  Too much standing and sitting really make my back ache after awhile, and laying down is the only thing that helps, so I try to lie down for about 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes before I start cooking dinner in the evening.  This has only been possible because my kids are older this time around... I mean, Jack is almost 3.5.  That's a huge difference from my last pregnancy, when Luke was 20 months old!

31 weeks- the day of Luke's 5th birthday party

Because of that fact (that Jack is so much older), I have been pretty optimistic during this pregnancy that my recovery will go smoother.  Physically I've always recovered pretty easily, but mentally and emotionally it's been hard.  But, then I had babies when I gave birth- now I have big kids.  Still, I'm preparing for my postpartum recovery by setting up "nursing stations" around the house (making sure I have a soft place to sit to nurse, and a basket with all my nursing accessories, and a place to put my glass of water), creating an easy to-do list for anyone who wants to come over and help for 20 minutes, hiring some cleaning help at least once a month,  preparing some new games/books for the kids to play with when they get bored and I'm stuck nursing, filling my freezer with already-cooked meals, and perhaps the ickiest thing of all- I'm encapsulating my placenta!  Yes, it means what you think- someone is going to prepare it for me by drying it, grinding it, and putting it into little pills for me to ingest.  Yummy! ;-)  I am also considering running/walking a 5K in March- nothing huge but just enough of a small goal to get my up and exercising as soon as my body is ready.

I had my last doula client about a month ago, and my next client should be in May/June.  In the mean time, business is on hold, which is sort of sad but of course a necessary and good thing for me!  Everyone is asking me if I'm hiring a doula.  It's tricky.  I know and of course I fully believe in everything that I do as a doula.  I spoil mamas during labor and they love it- at least this is what they tell me!  I know how awesome that would be for me and I want that- I really do!  BUT.  My last labor was 4 hours long, and I didn't want ANYONE to touch or talk to me.  I've said before that it was painless up until the pushing part.  So for me, I am not sure that I want to hire someone (and frankly, I am really not sure who I'd hire) to maybe be a part of my birth experience. That being said, I do have a sweet friend who has offered to come be my doula if I go into labor and change my mind for whatever reason.  Which is possible- I know that not all labors are the same, and if the baby is malpositioned or there's something else going on, I realize it could very easily be a long and painful experience.  I am thankful to have her sort of on-call for me to help in case I need it, though I do feel like I'm perhaps not "practicing what I preach" by not hiring a doula!  But at this point, I'm comfortable with my decision- it's very possible I'll chicken out in a week or two and scramble to frantically hire someone!

I have been nesting the past couple of weeks, accomplishing more in a week than I previously had accomplished in a month.  For example, in only one day last week, I deep-cleaned my bedroom and organized my closet, pulled out my sewing machine and made a Christmas pillowcase, did 4 loads of laundry (and folded it and put it away), and deep-cleaned that pantry (which included organizing the games and craft supplies)- all this in addition to resting, praying, reading a fiction book for pleasure, schooling, and cooking.  My whole week was like that!  Talk about feeling accomplished!

I did manage to catch a cold last week.  Probably the same crud everyone else has right now- a dry, hacking cough that makes my head hurt each time I cough.  That cough, in addition to the baby being so big and pushing up on my lungs, meant I could hardly breath last night, and I just wanted to collapse in tears, but I knew crying certainly wouldn't help clear out my nose!  It was the start of an anxiety-filled emotional breakdown, and I had a hard time catching my breath and getting control of it.  I need to shake this cough fast- not being able to breath because you're pregnant is one thing- but not being able to breath because you're sick AND pregnant is a whole 'nother feeling!

So baby has a few more weeks to finish growing, and I'm praying this one decides to come early before the due date.  I would love to have the baby before Christmas, to put some distance between his/her birthday and Beth's birthday.  Also I'd love to not birth another almost 10-pound baby, though I certainly know my body can do it. ;-) 

Today- 36 weeks

Being pregnant during Advent add another element of solemnness to the season.  We don't celebrate Christmas yet- we're waiting for Jesus to come.  I walked the journey with Mary seven years ago when I was pregnant with Bethany, and the Lord has decided that I should walk with her again this year.  All of the Advent hymns about "waiting"... They mean something a little different when you're about to burst with child.

All-in-all I am not about to complain about anything during this pregnancy. It's been pretty textbook perfect, and although there are aches and pains here and there I am just beyond thankful and so blessed to be carrying another child into this world!!!
 
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