38 Weeks

How far along: 38 weeks, completed 09/25/2012.

Weight gain: 1 pound! Up to 151 lbs, for a total pregnancy gain of 18 lbs.

In terms of little Alice, I had that ultrasound to check her growth on Tuesday, and she’s weighing 6 lbs 5oz and looking great! Though her head isn’t engaged yet, she’s “way down there” (according to the tech) and has hair. I saw the fuzz. And I got to see her little face, with her precious mouth opening and closing, which made me burst into tears. She looks so different than the last ultrasound (when she was slightly frightening-looking and skeletal). I’m happy to say that she’s much fatter and baby-like. Her fingers look pudgy, and her face is the most precious thing I’ve ever seen.

Clothes: Though I love the cooler weather, it’s made me realize I don’t really have that many warm maternity clothing options. I have one pair of jeans that fits comfortably at this point, and then it’s mostly tank tops and summer dresses. Ah well. Two or so more weeks of more boring outfit combinations won’t kill me . . . I guess.

Purchases: We have mostly packed the hospital bag, and bought some snacks like beef jerky, Fig Newtons, and trail mix which are in there and ready to go. Gotta keep that husband energized so that he can stick with me however long it takes! I’ve also warned him not to breathe on me with beef jerky breath–that stuff smells nasty.

Body: Nothing terribly new to say here–still feeling good.

Sleep: Great!! I feel like this always happens when the weather turns–I start sleeping even better. There’s something about feeling slightly chilly and then snuggling down under blankets that just makes entering dreamland all the sweeter.

Best moment(s) of the week: Over the weekend, my husband and I worked on a playlist and burned two CDs to bring with us to the hospital. I wanted something rhythmic and meditative, kind of like what my yoga teacher used to play, and I think we have it. Now, I’m practicing relaxation while listening to those tracks so that when the music starts playing my body will recognize the signs “it’s time to let go.” Practicing relaxation has been really enjoyable. I dim the lights, settle back on the bed, press ‘play’ and take myself somewhere else in my mind. I’ve started associating different songs with different mental landscapes–a windy beach. A walk along a rocky coast. A walk along a curving beach with a white town in the distance. There’s a scene I’ve been working on in my mind which involves climbing up a diving board and then jumping into the cool water. I’ve worked out all kinds of textural and sensory details–the feeling of the rough diving board under my feet. Curling my toes around the edge. The feeling of the sun on my shoulders. The smell of the warm breeze (orange groves!). The welcoming glare in my eyes, and that orange warmth on the eyelids when you close your eyes and turn your head towards the sun. I can take myself there easily in this painless state, and I hope that practice will help me go there even when there is pain. I had forgotten how powerful the mind can be, and I’m enjoying exercising my imagination and going to these beautiful, calming places that I can construct into whatever I want.

Movement: Same as usual–stretches and squirms. She still hasn’t dropped, and I’m eagerly awaiting that moment as the next milestone.

Food cravings/aversions: Green bananas–all the time. Sometimes with peanut butter. Around dinner time, I go wild for a banana and a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Wild, I tell you!!

I’ve also been trying to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Especially in preparation for the ultrasound (I didn’t want to risk having low amniotic fluid and having someone suggest induction), I drank so much water it was unbelievable. And good hydration is important for good laboring, so I shouldn’t stop now.

Symptoms: If I have a big lunch, I’m usually not in the mood for much dinner. Quarters seem to be getting a little more cramped, which cuts off the feeling of hunger.

Emotions: So! My youngest sister Heidi had her second baby boy, Liam Peter, one week ago! I’m purloining these pictures of the happy family from facebook, as I don’t think I’d be allowed to pop on a plane to Alaska at this point to photograph them myself . . .

(though with my patented belly disappearing act, maybe I could sneak through security after all?)

I can’t believe James is now an older brother. His expression here could say any number of things . . .

. . . but at least it’s not the outright grimace I had in reaction to my sister Erica’s appearance on the scene.

Heidi was able to have an awesome, drug-free water birth and loved the experience. She called me only an hour or two after delivering and, to my amazement, sounded exactly like herself. Isn’t she supposed to be, you know, all weird and out of it? I wondered. Is it possible to sound so normal and energetic right after giving birth?

Well, apparently that’s the magic of the drug-free shebang. Which I hope I can do . . . but we’ll see.

We skyped with them the next day and “met” the little guy. He has the cutest, scruntchiest little face! And the cutest, scruntchiest little limbs!

I think I want one.

Hopes and dreams: I really hope I’ll be able to get into the mental zone necessary to deal with birth pains. I heard that it helps to think of the contractions as your body tightening into an embrace around your baby. As something good, and not just a trial to get through as quickly as possible. I’m trying to think this way every time I get an uncomfortable or painful Braxton-Hicks contraction, even though I know these are nothing compared to what’s to come.

What I miss: Brie! I could really go for some nice, ripe cheese right now. And don’t even talk to me about baked brie, encased in puff pastry, with some jam . . . But I won’t dwell on it. I must forge ahead, be a good girl, and stick to goat cheese for the time being.

And this is totally not pregnancy related, but I’ve actually been missing our old neighborhood a bit. Okay, not the loiterers and drug deals and gunshots–but the nearness of the lake. Popping downstairs for a spontaneous walk on the beach was wonderful, and now even the 5-7 bus ride it would take to get there makes it feel oh-so-distant.

Husband update: In terms of his impending fatherhood, he seems as even keel as ever. Over the weekend we had a great conversation about what kind of things from our years growing up were important, and which of those lessons we particularly want to make sure Alice learns. It’s been delightful just . . . talking. Our new favorite place for these long and lovely heart-to-hearts is our bedroom, after it gets dark, with the light on the dimmer. We can just lie there in the peaceful, beautiful space and dream out loud for as long as we want. This is exactly what I hoped our bedroom would become before having children: a haven for us, for our marriage, and for our intimate conversations.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

23 thoughts on “38 Weeks

  1. TheKitchenWitch

    It’s amazing how the adrenaline kicks in after giving birth–I remember feeling kind of hyper for DAYS after. 🙂

    Your disappearing belly act is quite remarkable!

    Adorable pics of the new little guy.

    1. Kari

      This is exactly what I was going to describe. I was on a “birth high” for weeks afterward. I had 2 natural hospital births and I felt great afterwards. Equal parts adrenaline, empowerment that I did it, and all out glee at the end result, a beautiful baby!!!! Best of luck on your labor and delivery 🙂

  2. Steve

    Come on Alice!! Can’t wait to meet you! Levi says a high pitched…”gggaaaaaaaa”

    Levi was a week late and was only 6lb 4oz…..so it sounds like Alice is already bigger then he was at birth! We’re so looking forward to Christmas this year where we can all be together, sitting by the fire, enjoying our little ones!

    Ah! Where’s my Sinatra Christmas Vinyl!?? Must listen….

    1. Jenna Post author

      Oh man–you guys have NO IDEA how much I’m looking forward to Christmas, and exactly what you’re saying! Sitting by the fire with our babies is going to be like heaven on earth.

  3. Eve

    Congrats to Heidi’s little guy. It reminds me how Caleb is almost 6 months ago;)
    For my experience the second birth, since the body know how it done. You actual feel much better after labor!! I remembered I lied on the bed and feel relax and weightless. I know you will do great, and I can’t wait to see Alice’s pictures!!;)
    I will pray for you and Adam


  4. Erin

    Many congrats to your sister. That first time holding your little one ~ nothing can capture how simply amazing it is.

    I commented awhile back about seeing your hubby at the L. I saw you both the other morning (Tuesday, I think). You look absolutely radiant. Pregnancy totally agrees with you. I wish you well during these last weeks of it.

  5. Kimby

    Jenna, you look gorgeous in the final stages of pregnancy! (Somehow, I don’t recall looking or feeling that way “back in the day,” ha!) Praying that all goes well. Congrats to your sister’s family on little Liam’s arrival, too… and James still has cheeks! What a cutie.

  6. Tobi

    1) I can’t believe that your belly still does the disappearing act!! Craziness.
    2) I’m interested in knowing what relaxation music you’re listening to. I’m always looking for new relaxation music.
    3) Even though it’s cliche, you are really glowing!
    4) My sister also had a water birth and said that it was by far the best. She also had a two regular vaginal births and one c-section. Are you doing a water birth as well?


    1. Jenna Post author

      Hey Tobi! I don’t remember what music we got off the top of my head–basically I just searched “yoga music” on iTunes, listened to samples, and bought the stuff that appealed to me. And I wish I could have a water birth . . . unfortunately that’s not an option at Swedish (though there is a jacuzzi tub to labor in). Maybe for baby #2 down the road! =)

  7. Amy

    Jenna! Only 18 pounds gained…you’re going to be back in your skinny jeans within days! And how fun that you and your sister will have babies only weeks apart. Love that. You’re so close!!

    1. Jenna Post author

      I hope so!! Because I seriously miss those jeans. It sounds so superficial to say . . . but I’m reminded every day as I see the young thangs of Chicago prance their way to work in their cute little pants.

  8. Suzie

    Jenna you look great! Your still so tiny and that disappearing act just floors me! James’ face is too funny, as was your grimace as well. Cute! Congrats to your sister with baby Liam, so precious. I think you’ll find this whole birthing process to be not that bad at all 🙂

  9. Veronica

    It seems like a while since we’ve seen your hair down and it’s beautiful as always. 🙂 So when you hide Alice, does she have a reaction to it during or after, like does she punch you or anything to tell you to cut it out? I always imagine her kicking you as soon as you let her free again-lol. Heidi’s little boy is adorable and I can’t believe how much older James looks in that photo-looks like he had his first haircut-and his expression is priceless. lol Not to rush you into thinking about it too soon, but I was wondering if you were planning for an epidural or not. I think most women plan not to get one and then change their mind real quick once labor kicks in-lol. Kudos to Heidi-she’s hard core!

    1. Jenna Post author

      Hee hee, she doesn’t protest noticeably when I scrunch her in. I think babies like to be kind of compressed . . . right? Maybe? =) She does protest if I lie too heavily on my stomach when draped across the body pillow, though, poor little thing.
      I’m hoping to go without an epidural, but I’m also not going to beat myself up or consider it any kind of failure if I do get one. We’ll see!!

    1. Jenna Post author

      Yes!! Sadly, Alaska and Illinois aren’t exactly neighboring states, but I hope that in the future we’ll live closer so that they can be the best of playmates.

  10. Kate

    You look amazing Jenna! You’re so beautiful! And you’re doing all the right things. Relaxation practice is great. Think “open” too in your thoughts as you go through each body part as well as the relaxing thoughts like “let go” and “don’t tense.” And don’t forget that your body is providing hormones which makes this all bearable. It’s a slow build. At the time, everything happens just as it should and it all feels right and good – it’s not scary but allows you to feel your womanhood in all its glory. And it is glorious! My gosh, it’s so glorious.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *