37 weeks today at 36 years old with baby number 3, gender TBD... It feels like it's taken an eternity to get to this point and flown by at the same time, how is that possible?! As soon as I got pregnant with this baby I started hearing everyone say that the 3rd baby is the wildcard. So far this has been very true for this little one. We were surprised with our little "Valentine" (the name I gave him/her on my pregnancy app for obvious reasons...Thank you mom for the overnight date night btw) the same month I weaned my 2-year-old nursling. Our heads are still spinning at the realization that we will soon be outnumbered but we are so excited nonetheless!!
The day after we got our positive pregnancy test I started spotting, which is something I'd never experienced before except in an early miscarriage I had 2 months prior. None of my other pregnancies have ever been marked by much fear or worry but has been something I've battled a lot throughout this pregnancy. It has opened my eyes to how deeply miscarriage can affect a mother, regardless of how far along in the process the loss occurs. I got bloodwork done which indicated low levels of progesterone which led us to the decision of starting a progesterone supplement as a preventative measure. I've had spotting on and off throughout this pregnancy which we have monitored and been able to manage (my midwife has been wonderful in guiding us through all of this), but has been scary nonetheless, so you can imagine the joy we have felt making it to this point in the pregnancy. We are at term!!
In addition to the spotting, I have battled mild SPD (Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction) which has completely changed my activity level during this pregnancy. Being a super active person, runner, gym-goer, this has been a huge adjustment. I'm so thankful for my Webster certified chiropractor whom I have seen 2 times a week since around 20 weeks and my Birth Boot Camp core exercises (which I teach in my Food and Fitness for the Childbearing Year workshop) that have allowed at least some level of activity. The program is developed for pregnancy and can be tailored to almost any level on the days when I can barely move.
I've decided to spend a little time each day for the remainder of this pregnancy documenting the things I'm experiencing since we are in the home stretch. As many of you know, these last couple of weeks from term to due date to delivery, the "place of in between" as one of my favorite pregnancy blogs has termed it, can be really trying on an expecting mother's patience. I knew I needed something to keep my mind in a positive place and, as an outward processor, writing has always been therapeutic for me. So this blog post is mostly for me, but I'm so thankful for anyone who wants to follow along. And it would be a huge bonus for me to get to encourage any other mamas in this same place with me!
I'm hurting everywhere, especially in my back and hips, baby's head, which thankfully has been in the vertex or head-first position for a while now, feels like it's constantly squashing my bladder, sleep feels like something I used to do in a past life, and I've been experiencing tons of Braxton Hicks contractions (the noticeable, some even uncomfortable, feels-like-the-real-thing kind) for 2 weeks now.
Impatience, something I've never experienced this early on, is definitely something I'm battling these days but this morning I woke up with a different resolve. I'm determined to finish this season out well. I'm going to enjoy every bit of these last couple of weeks of my last pregnancy, enjoy every bit of time with my two boys (ages 2 and 5), and take every moment in. I'm going to stay busy, plan things that are enjoyable for me, rest, eat well, write this blog and try not to complain! You guys feel free to hold me to that not complaining part!
We've decided to try for our first homebirth after two birth center births and I have a wonderful midwife who has been so patient with me as I've worked through all of the ups and downs and my fears about this pregnancy. My birth kit has arrived and my baby room is done after a huge nesting urge hit this past week, and now we are actively waiting. I pulled out all of my boy clothes since that's what I had and, if a little girl decides to grace us (or shock us) with her presence, I've got 2 sisters and tons of friends who have recently had baby girls that I know would help a girl out. Waiting to find out the gender has been so much fun and surprisingly easy for my type A personality. I always heard it helps in labor having that exciting anticipation and any little thing that can help in labor, I'm game! That's pretty much it for now. Thanks again for following along!
Just heard from my midwife that my Group B Strep test, which is usually drawn around 36 weeks, came back negative!!! This is always great news to hear because I was GBS positive with my first baby and it definitely made going into labor feel a little more concerning because of the risks to the baby. I have learned a lot about GBS over the years and honestly believe there are ways to help prevent GBS colonization through diet and promoting good gut health with pre and probiotic supplementation. So thankful for this good report!!
Had my 37 week appointment today. Everything looks good and baby is doing well. She estimated his/her weight to be around 6.5 lbs at this point. I got my birth pool that I rented so that I can labor in water if I need to. We talked about some hormonal highs and lows I’ve been having this week and started talking about options for dealing with postpartum depression which is something I battled after my 2nd baby. I’m thankful she’s being proactive to already discuss this with me so I can be prepared. As part of my prevention plan, I’m thinking about encapsulating my placenta to have on hand just in case. I encapsulated my placenta with my first baby and had substantially less hormonal issues than with my second so, again, just wanting to utilize as many tools as possible to prevent PPD which should never be taken lightly!
I taught a Comfort Measures workshop this morning to two other couples who are due within days of my due date. Last night, while I was prepping for the class, I went over a lot of the information with my husband as he will be using many of the strategies we cover in this class. We practiced the double hip squeeze again and options for providing counter pressure, different ways that I'd like him to use the Rebozo, and different methods of communication that I have found helpful in the past. We also went over different labor positions again just so that he can help me stay moving and active in order to make labor as productive as possible. The workshop was really wonderful and, with baby due any day now, I felt like I was soaking in the information along with my couples.
My sweet friend and babysitter offered to watch my boys this weekend as a baby gift for us so, after the workshop, my husband and I got away to Houston for a little "baby moon" where we were able to get a nice hotel, eat a LOT, shop a LOT, and explore some of the parks while we were there. I'm feeling more of a need to keep busy and active to help keep my mind off of the labor that is NOT happening yet, and this weekend away with my honey was just what I needed!
Crazy nesting energy has hit me today. I did a million loads of laundry, scrubbed the outside of my cabinets and kitchen walls, cleaned out my bathroom cabinets and rearranged my silverware drawer. I also refolded all the towels in my linen closet. The starter button on my dryer broke halfway through my last load and I almost had a panic attack but instead focused my energy on Youtubing and attempting to fix the dang piece which I was haphazardly able to do, at least enough to finish my last load. We'll see how long my fix job lasts but I'm feeling very accomplished (and quite sore) after this day.
Today, one of our local hospitals was having a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the renovation of their labor and delivery suite. This particular hospital has recently made a lot of changes towards providing more low-intervention birth options for expecting families so I was happy to go support the event. I also wanted to get a tour of the L&D floor as this will be my backup birth place should a transport become necessary. I always encourage my students who are birthing at home or in a birth center to have their back-up plan in place because birth is unpredictable and can take a turn of events that might be different than what we planned. I just wanted to get a good picture in my mind of what this might look like to help alleviate the fear of the unknown. I was so impressed with the facilities and with the incredible staff. I'm very excited about birthing my baby in the comfort of my own home, and am extremely confident in my midwife's capabilities to help facilitate a safe and healthy delivery but, if a transport does become necessary, I know I will be in very good hands.
I had my 38 week appointment this morning and, apart from needing to drink a bit more water, everything is looking great! My midwife is estimating baby's weight to be around 7.5 lbs at this point. I had my appointment at my mom's house where my boys and I are staying while my husband is working this week. I love staying with my mom who spoils all of us way too much. I'm continuing to try and stay busy and active so we took a trip into Corpus to do some shopping and grab some lunch at a delicious local deli.
I'm having a really hard time sleeping the past couple of nights because of chest tightness that I only notice when I'm lying down. My midwife and I are monitoring things but feel like it's either a baby position thing or anxiety related (or a little of both) but today at my chiropractor I picked up a magnesium supplement that I will take right before bed. This mama needs some sleep!
The magnesium really seemed to help because I had a really good night's sleep last night. David is off today for the start of his 7 days off!!! We took the boys to a pumkin patch this morning and lunch at Peter Piper Pizza. David made dinner because after being out and on my feet all morning/afternoon I can barely move this evening.
Today I am officially 39 weeks!! I celebrated by going to get a much needed prenatal massage and then wobbled around the grocery store by myself for an hour! I feel like it will be another week before baby decides to come but we will see! The boys want football snacks for this evening so we are having a fun family night in! Oh, my water heater started going out a while ago which was NOT an option for me because I plan on trying for a water birth, or at least laboring in the water, so David hired a guy to come help replace that today. My hero!!
Church this morning, and I can only make it to the Worship service instead of Sunday School AND Worship. It's way too much sitting at this point. It's a huge ordeal to get ready for church these days and I'm down to 2 outfits I can wear comfortably but I'm glad we went. I'm needing constant reminders to trust that God is in control.
One of the hardest things about having to wait for baby right now, because we are having baby at home, is my tendency lately to be super OCD about the cleanliness of my house and feeling like it can't seem to get clean enough for me to have a baby here. Something I didn't anticipate when we were thinking about where to give birth. I'm so thankful my husband is off this week because he has been such a huge help in helping to get my to-do lists done and keeping things clean but I know I haven't been the most pleasant person to live with lately. I feel like one might feel when their house is on the market but they still live in it so have to constantly be ready for a showing. With two young boys who would live in mud if they could, even better if they were cohabitating with frogs and lizards, you can imagine how hard it is for me to feel like ANYTHING in my life stays clean for long. I literally have deep cleaned my house, including sweeping and mopping, each night after they are asleep for several days now. I'm really starting to think the chest tightness I've been having is probably related somehow and being caused by my own self-induced anxiety.
In an effort to "get out of my head" and stop freaking out about my home and whatever else I'm feeling anxious about subconsciously, we decided to take a little mini road trip to spend the night at my mom and dad's today. We met them for lunch in Corpus and they took my boys home with them so my husband and I could go do some shopping. I was only able to make it through two stores before I was worn out but it was fun being alone together. I was able to pick out our outfits for a family newborn photo session which is another check off my checklist.
We had a lovely morning at my parents and then headed back home just in time to meet my midwife at our house for my 39 week appointment. Everything looked good and I feel so much better after our time away and after talking with her and hearing my sweet baby's heart beat.
Today was a really fun day, although I woke up super grumpy that I was still pregnant. My youngest sister came down from Dallas yesterday with her baby girl because she wants to be here for the birth and I've asked her to be my birth photographer. My other sister (who lives here in town) and I have a Thursday morning routine of meeting for coffee with our littles and going to library time but it was fun having all three of us together with our kiddos today. The library was having a Fire Safety Day outside and it was very enjoyable with the cold front that blew in this morning. I'm enjoying the cooler days so much. After library time, we went to Chick Filet and had lunch and then I took my family home for naps. A sweet friend made dinner for us and we just enjoyed a quiet evening at home and I savored not having to cook dinner. My husband pulled out his guitar and we had a little worship and prayer time which I'm needing so much these days.
My midwife recommended taking some magnesium (I've been forgetting to take it lately) to help me sleep and I had a really good night's rest last night. I still woke up frustrated that I didn't have any signs of labor in the night but I'm just going with it and trying to stay positive. We had a slow morning, I did some (what they call) "school" with my boys while my husband paid bills and then we headed to the park nature trail with the boys' bikes. I haven't been able to walk much for a while now because of my SPD but today I was able to make it almost 2.5 miles, very slowly, but was amazed at how good it felt. I had a chiropractic adjustment yesterday (I've been having two a week for a while now) and have been on my birth ball a lot lately so I'm wondering if baby has shifted and is not putting as much restriction on my pelvis causing the hip pain. Whatever it is, I'm thankful to have gotten the exercise. After lunch, I put my boys to sleep and sat down to watch Dan in Real Life (one of my favorite "I'm needing comfort" movies) and do some blogging and I started noticing that I was having pretty regular contractions. I've been having contractions on and off for about 3 weeks now but these felt different and more real for some reason. I just decided to pull out my contraction timer app and time a few. There's a really uneven pattern to them but they are definitely coming on more frequently and more patterned than they have all along. Just going to monitor them and see if they change. Not going to get super worked up about it. It could just be the walk that has brought them on stronger. My husband goes back to work tonight for 4 nights and I called my babysitter so I could go out with my mom and sisters for manicures and dinner this evening and so far, I'm going to keep with that plan, and hopefully these things will turn into something real.
Tonight I went out with my mom and sisters to get mani/pedi's and to eat Mexican food where I binged on way too many chips and queso! My contractions (or Braxton Hicks, still not sure) continued every 10-15 minutes throughout the night but didn't stop us from having fun. On the way home from dinner, my mom suggested I give my midwife a call and just give her a heads up even though I felt pretty confident things weren't going anywhere anytime soon. She suggested I go home and try to get a good night's sleep so that's what I plan to do. My due date is tomorrow and I have been telling people, with two other babies who came on their due date, I can't imagine it happening again because of how rare that is. But we will see and it would be very cool if it happened again!
We made it to our due date!!! I woke up at 5 am with a sharp contraction and went to the bathroom and realized I was losing my mucus plug (sorry if that's TMI. To me, the first sign of my mucus plug has always signaled that labor would be starting within an hour or two so, it was a big deal to me, especially since it was happening on my due date AGAIN and, needless to say, an important detail to my story). My husband got home from his nightshift around 5:45 and I told him the news and told him he better get some sleep because we would probably be having the baby before the day was over. The contractions continued throughout breakfast but nothing I couldn't handle and, as I always like to do in early labor, I decided we would go about our day.
A Zoo Date on our Due Date
When I was pregnant with my first baby, we started the tradition of going to the zoo on our due date. I called up my sisters and talked them into taking all 6 of our kids and my elephant-sized baby bump to the zoo, not realizing the big Halloween "Zoo Boo" event was happening that day and everyone in town would be present, in costume, AND hyped up on candy. On the way to the zoo, my mom mentioned calling some family members and letting them know that the baby would be here soon so that they could be praying for a safe delivery. Sounds harmless right? Not to this type A, tries to control everything including my births, labors like a bear in a cave, mama in (very early) labor. One of the main reasons I try to stay so busy in early labor is because I know how my crazy, anxious mind works and I know that I can get way to in my head, way too in my fears, and I was afraid that if people started expecting the baby to be born in a certain time frame, and then wasn't, that I would feel that pressure...pressure that I didn't want to take into my birth. Looking back, it seems so silly, but at the time it was a HUGE deal to me that I get into a good labor groove before letting people know. It's funny how small things can seem so huge when you're in labor. In Birth Boot Camp we teach that labor is 90% in your head. This sounds crazy at first because we hear so much about the physical component of birth but, after 3 babies, and seeing every single one of my labors ebb and flow based on how I'm feeling and what I'm thinking at the time, this has been so true for me. Mom ended up not sending the text to tell anyone anything but I worked myself into such a tizzy that my contractions almost completely fizzled out.
We went on to the zoo and I was feeling pretty rough, tons of pressure, having to pee constantly, so heavy and tired, but pressed on and tried to enjoy what would probably be my last outing with my two boys before baby would arrived. We made it through our tiny zoo (which felt more like the San Diego Zoo at the time) and headed home to rest. When I got home, I called my midwife close to tears because I was so tired and not handling my emotions well, and so frustrated that labor wasn't progressing quicker than it was. She gave me a pep talk and I honestly have no idea what she said, but whatever it was it did wonders for my anxiety and emotions. Shortly after we got off the phone, contractions picked up again (talk about mind over labor!).
The rest of the night was a bit of a blur. I told my husband I didn't think I could handle him going back to work that night so he called in. My mom made a huge pot of my requested Goulash and garlic bread and my dad and sisters came over to have dinner and attempt to help keep me distracted. I ate dinner sitting on my birth ball kind of thinking contractions were getting a bit stronger and secretly timing them on my phone but not saying anything to anyone. Shortly after dinner, I decided to tell everyone good night and my husband and I went to my room and gave my midwife one more call before bed. I told her I was done making decisions and I was done with this day and I was done with being pregnant....I was just done, period. She had some more magical midwife encouragement and also suggested I take half a Benadryl and try to get some rest and that she would be on stand-by. Happy due date to me, but this baby was NOT going to make this day his or her birthday!
The Benadryl and chat with my midwife worked wonders because I was able to get a really deep 3 hours of sleep. Low and behold, I woke up at one o'clock in the morning to an extremely intense contraction, one that took my breath away. Another one very shortly after, and then another and I very quickly realized "this is it"! I mentioned before how many times I had heard "the third baby is the wildcard." Wow, has this been true of this baby in so many ways! Stay tuned for a more detailed version of our sweet baby's birth story and for the big gender reveal. Thank you so much for reading this far! If you are currently pregnant and have read this far, I strongly recommend journaling (or blogging) about your pregnancy. This blog post has been so good and therapeutic for me and I know that these memories will be a treasure for me to read and reflect back on for years to come!