Today I begin the fortieth week of my pregnancy. When I was pregnant with E, I knew in my heart he would come well after 40 weeks (though I never imagined I'd still be pregnant at 43 weeks!), but this pregnancy has been different. The further along I got, the more sure I was this baby would come in a more timely manner, though I'm still trying to prepare myself for another week or two of pregnancy.
As I greet the morning of my 280th day of pregnancy, I look around at all the preparations we've made to welcome this spirit into our lives. My birth kit has been assembled for weeks, and the birth environment is complete. The team is ready, the food is ready. To-do lists have been completed, and the "I'm in Labor" to-do list is printed.
Very few people actually know I'm in my fortieth week now - my midwife and birth team, DH of course, my sister, and a close friend who just had a baby. To everyone else, I'm "due" at the end of January, so as to avoid quite so many pressing "Is baby here yet?" inquiries on Facebook and in person.
I have accomplished so much at the end of this pregnancy, much more than with my last. I've prepared for the birth as much as I can, and I've managed to keep the house in some sort of order for weeks now. Today's tasks include a light cleaning of the whole house, catching up on a load or two of laundry, finishing out some sewing projects I started, and lots of time bouncing and rolling on the birth ball. I also want to give a final address to some emotional pieces that had me very worried earlier in pregnancy.
Tonight we are planning spicy Thai for dinner, followed by a labor encouraging smoothie recipe, and then some other, more private, labor encouraging activities. I'm hoping my body is ready enough to receive this encouragement, and that in a few days we may have a baby in our arms.
I expect to update this post throughout the week, since it likely won't go live until after baby arrives. Although I have two ESTIMATED due dates, both are earlier than the dates I tell people when they ask, and due dates don't seem to mean much to my babies. I'm sure my emotional state will get to the place that I don't need others asking me about baby's arrival yet.
40w, 3 days
It only took a few days to come around on my first melt down. I'm tired and anxious, and the rest of my family is the same. We are all stuck in a place of limbo, where no one is sleeping well, everyone is ready for the baby's arrival, and I think some of us are starting to resent my lack of lap and ability to move in an agile way. I cried today, and DH lovingly reminded me that he understands and he knows I've been here before, and that I also need to savor these last few days - I likely won't feel a baby move under my hands again. I probably won't have the privilege of getting to know another little spirit in such an intimate way as he or she grows. It's not written in stone, but already our family feels complete with two children. He reminded me to focus on the positive, but it's hard when I'm so ready to have this baby in my arms.
40w, 5 days
A woman in my Due Date Club posted this today, and it was a wonderful reminder of the purpose of these last few days/weeks of pregnancy. Our family is standing on the edge of a new journey, waiting to greet our little person, and starting to say goodbye to our habits as a family of three. I find this time especially challenging because I am a planner, a list maker, a punctual person. I'm dealing with some real fears about this pregnancy extending a few more weeks. I remember being an emotional wreck at the end of pregnancy with E, and I sometimes wonder how that played into my labor and birth experience.
In fact, I've been mulling over a lot about my labor and birth experience with E. I wonder how the storm that was beginning to brew affected us, and how the birth trauma affected the storm. I still wonder how we could have done things differently, but now I wonder how different our lives would be if our birth experience, and the trauma of it, hadn't both driven a wedge and been a propelling factor in our recovery.
40w, 6 days
The longest week is nearly over, and I've been back and forth with my emotions. I've been in this place before, where my feelings are all over the board, and I swing wildly between "baby will come when it's time," and "Oh dear God come out already!" Our midwife reminded me at our recent appointment - we will have a baby in the next two weeks.
Babies don't stay in forever (although I remember suspecting that E might), they are always born. They wait for their birth day, and then they come out. They are wise and perfect and come when they are ready to greet the world, and when the world is ready to greet them.
Today I sat down and wrote about the worries and wonders that have been filling my mind recently. It seems that releasing my thoughts to the page has always been my therapy of choice - I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't journal. Being able to be completely honest on the page is so comforting to me, and when I put my thoughts on paper, they seem to leave my mind for a long time.
Goodbye, 40 weeks
As I close the door on my fortieth week of pregnancy and greet week forty-one, it seems my body is actually makes moves toward getting labor started. I spent most of last night wiggling to get comfortable in bed, with crampiness that progressed to true contractions after an hour or so. I was a little afraid I may not get any rest, but I was finally able to fall asleep, and string together a few hours throughout the night. This morning most of the discomfort is gone, but I suspect I'll see the ball really start rolling in the next few days.