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« Week 39 | Main | A year in review: 2012 »

Winding down, getting nervous

Still sitting pretty. I'll be 39 weeks tomorrow. I went into the office today for the first time in nearly two weeks (holidays, vacation days, work from home days...) and made some order out of things there. Left it in a way that I won't have to worry about if I happen to not go back. I've been nesting at home for several weeks now, but there was always my messy messy office to worry about. Now that that's done, maybe my body will sense that I'm ready. Of course, it could still easily be another three weeks. I'm torn about my preference.

On the one hand, the later the better:

  1. That would mean less time I have to find temporary daycare before our permanent solution is available.
  2. I get more time to relax in the final days as a non-parent.
  3. I'm still feeling quite comfortable. I'm getting less and less sleep each night, and my pelvis and sciatica and rib are quite painful. But overall, I still can't really complain.


On the other hand, I wouldn't be terribly upset if this happened soon:


  1. I'm mentally checked out of work, but I don't want to start leave before the baby comes. Getting through 2-3 more weeks of work would be tough at this point.
  2. I'm starting to get nervous. The longer I have to wait knowing it could be any second, the more anxious I get. I don't need to work myself up over this for the next couple weeks!


38 weeks, 1 day

Speaking of getting nervous, all of a sudden I'm doubting my ability to do this. Lately I've heard nothing but unpleasant birth stories. Not that any experience is expected to be enjoyable, but there seems to be something going on lately. All the recent births I know of have involved really long and difficult labors. If you have a "good" first baby birth story, please share. I need to counteract some of the scary stories!

I don't even look pregnant from the front.

Oh there it is! 38 weeks, 2 days

A lot of people have said to me that there is no shame in getting an epidural (or other medical relief), and that nobody expects me to be a hero. Which, I'm learning, is why most people think I'm not going in with an automatic request for an epidural. But I assure you, I have no delusions that one way of giving birth is any better or more impressive or honorable than any other. It has never been about shame or weakness for me. 

My ultimate objective has never been to have a natural birth. My primary goal is a safe and healthy birth. In close second is to have a birth experience I feel good about. I know a lot of women end up regretting this or that, and a lot of times that boils down to feeling out of control or misinformed. My goal is to make educated choices that are right for me.

In theory, I don't like the idea of being tied down by or hooked up to anything, be it an IV, an epidural, a fetal monitor. It makes me feel claustrophobic and panicky just thinking about it. Those things, I imagine, can drastically change the birth experience. But at some point, the desire for pain relief may totally trump my issues with being tied down and hooked up, and that's fine. I will feel no shame if I find myself begging for the drugs. And either way, I'll be birthing a baby, and that makes me a hero in my book!

38 weeks, 4 days

We spent New Year's Eve at my dad's. It was a Christmas/NYE celebration, and I laughed so hard all night, I thought I might laugh myself into labor. Alas, no New Year baby for me. I heard this morning that the first baby in my city was born at 12:04 after a mere two hours of labor. Her first contractions started at 10pm! The baby's name is Shakira, which, yeah.

Belly present

Totally chillin'

I was using the coffee table as a foot rest, so my lap had to serve as the snack tray.

And just to wrap this up, here's where we parked the other day at the library:

Actually, we had just dropped some books off at the drive-thru drop box, but we needed to look up directions to our next destination, so Mike swung into the nearest spot. For a second he felt guilty, even though we'd only be there a few minutes, but then he realized it was totally legit. Not only am I expectant mother, but Mike is a senior citizen... or at least acts like one!

I've only gotten to use the expectant mother parking once (the time Mike swore up a storm, the post about which I now can't find). Every other time they've either been full or nonexistent.

38 weeks, 6 days

That is me today. I've gotten increasingly bad at taking mirror self-portraits. Please ignore my face.

Reader Comments (4)

I had an uneventful (so "good") birth with my first. If you want details, just let me know. Highlights: broken water at home, labor from 8 pm-noon the next day, epidural (I carry Group B, so I had to have the antibiotics, no biggie to me), 2.5 hours of pushing (went fast), vacuumed him out (again, no biggie, still had a perfect head), baby born at 11:58 am.

Overall, yeah, don't want to do that every day. But, it also means this time around I'm not afraid of labor like i was then. So score! I mostly rested overnight, lights off, with the epidural while I labored down, the nurses were awesome, pushing wasn't as hard as I thought it would be - even with an epidural, I could feel when to push - and the aftermath stuff (a couple stitches, etc) I just tried to ignore while holding the baby.

Honestly, the recovery part is the part that lasts longer and can be more, um, annoying. The bleeding and hurting to pee and soreness gets old quick, especially when you have to care for a newborn at the same time. That part I'm not looking forward too again. Pro tip: Two 10 minute baths every day until you're healed. Seriously, I didn't do it at first, but once I started, I healed that much faster. That and witch hazel pads. God sends.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterA.

I won't share all of the details of my labor here. (I'd be happy to share details with you via email if you'd like.) But I'll just say that it is possible to have a very long labor and still have an overall positive experience. My labor with my daughter was 42 hours from water breaking to birth. So it was long, but it was also relaxed. The hardest part (no, really) was the waiting. My husband and I watched many episodes of The Office during that labor. I did a lot of walking and a lot of laughing, both of which helped, I think. (My labor with my son was 4 hours long from the first contraction to delivery, so there's that. All labors are different, and you just never know.) Also, you CAN do it.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKira

If you haven't already, ask if your hospital's labor and delivery unit has wireless fetal monitoring -- this is a great option since you can have the monitoring without being tied to the machine. I loved, loved, loved my epidural ... once it kicked in, I smiled and enjoyed the excitement of the labor process, feeling sensations, but no more pain ... I felt more in control of the labor process once I experienced complete pain relief because I felt more like myself again and I was better able to communicate and focus on aspects of the process that I was most interested in (as opposed to my pain) ... and once the epidural came out, I was up and walking with no trouble as soon as I wanted to be (within an hour).

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Sorry, I'm just catching up on your blog posts.

So, although my birth story wasn't what I wanted, it definitely wasn't full of long and hard labor. I spent the whole day at home watching the Golden Girls and writing down my contractions. They just felt like period cramps, and I don't think I'm one to have a high pain tolerance. Looking over that sheet, I think I could have gone to the hospital much sooner. :) Anyway, so I arrived and was examined at 7.5 inches dilated. It hurt by this time, but I thought- hey, I can do this, I'm almost there! And although I had an unexpected c-section (they told me she was head down the whole time too, but apparently this was not the case), Ronia was out within 45 min of me being in the hospital. Not too shabby.

You mentioned not wanting to be hooked up to stuff. I wasn't even aware when I was, and didn't think I had a choice regardless. I remember them saying they put a catheter in, and me thinking that's gross, but honestly I didn't care, and was delighted I didn't have to get out of that bed! I think I was on an IV the whole time in the hospital, but have always thought I looked tougher with an IV. Makes it look like I must be going through something significant. :)

One thing I did learn, was to tell them a higher pain level then I thought necessary. I always thought that a 10 meant someone ripping off my arm with no pain killers. After about a day, I realized if I was uncomfortable, I needed to tell them at least a pain level 7, or I would be REALLY uncomfortable and in a lot of pain.

Then in a few years you forget about it all anyway. Oh yeah, and remember, my sister also delivered really fast and naturally (although NOT her choice to do so). :) You got this!

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErica Reed

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