39 Weeks

How far along: 39 weeks, completed 10/2/2012. And by the time this post is published, we are looking at a due date that is only 6 days away!


Yes. 6 days away. Holy cramoley.

Weight gain: My appointment with the midwives was Tuesday morning, and I’m up one more pound from last week, at 152 (for a total gain of 19 lbs).

Clothes: I’ve definitely got my money’s worth out of the 4 or so maternity tank tops that I’ve purchased over the last few months. They are the best and most versatile pregnancy-wear ever! I’ve been mostly sticking to tanks with little cardigans or sweaters over top, and skirts with soft waistbands over leggings.

I’d encourage anyone out there who’s pregnant and starting to show to go hog wild on the tank tops, but to WAIT on the maternity pants until you absolutely need them . . . because if you get them too early on you may run into the problem I’ve had and realize your butt doesn’t stay the same size throughout the 40 weeks of baby-growing. You’d think I’d have realized this . . . but I didn’t.

Purchases: Based on my sister Heidi’s recommendation, I decided to bring a tube-top style dress to the hospital with me. Heidi explained that if your newborn feels any fabric at all against her face, she can get confused about where your breast is, so it’s easiest to wear something that you can pull down completely during that first leg of breastfeeding. I needed no further encouragement to take myself on a little shopping trip to Plato’s Closet, where I found a great, comfortable dress that fits those requirements.

Body: Alice’s hiccups are so strong these days that sometimes she jolts my whole upper body when she’s in the throes of a series. I love it! And I can’t believe that my time feeling her move inside is running out so quickly.

And I had contractions Monday night! My Braxton Hicks contractions had felt a little more intense on Sunday and during the day on Monday, but Monday night was a whole different experience. There I was, hanging out in our bedroom around 8:30pm, and I started getting what felt like painful period cramps extending from my lower back into my uterus. Unlike the Braxton Hicks contractions (during which I can keep walking and moving around, albeit a little more slowly), if I tried to move during these, the result was stabbing pains. I put on my yoga music CD and practiced relaxing, and then my husband read me some Sherlock Holmes stories out loud, until we turned the lights off at 10:30. The contractions continued off and on until I finally dozed off around midnight. My midwife said these may start happening every night, but that I’ll be able to tell when real labor starts because then I’ll really have to work then.

I don’t know, man . . . I feel like I was already having to work through these. Hmmmm.

But all that said, Tuesday morning I woke up looking forward to going through it again and building up some practice, some stamina, and some mental tools for coping. The thing is, they didn’t happen Tuesday night–I only remember having about 3 of them around 2am that I incorporated into a dream and was only semi-conscious of.

What does it all mean? Why contractions one night but not so much the next?

I have no idea. I guess I’ll just let my body do it’s thing and try not to expect anything in particular.

Sleep: Still going great! I’m out like a rock by 10:30 every night (except for Monday).

Best moment of the week: Hands down, it was a “virtual breakfast” with Sarah and Vessie, two of my best friends. Thanks to the marvels of Google +, we were able to have a 3-way video chat over breakfast Saturday morning that was the next best thing to actually having breakfast together (which would have been a little difficult since Texas, Virginia and Illinois aren’t exactly close together). These ladies . . . these ladies. I love ’em. We’ve been friends since our semester abroad in Paris, which was an unbelievable 8 years ago.

My other favorite thing this week was connecting with some of the new moms and pregnant women at my church. Two of them had their first babies in August, I’m about due now, and three more women are due in March/April. Yup, it’s a baby explosion in our congregation! (which is pretty amazing considering the small size of our church) I’m so grateful to be going through this surrounded by other women who are experiencing the same things. Little did I know when I met these women about 3 years ago that baby-time would hit almost simultaneously for all of us. What a blessing! I’m really looking forward to meeting with them over the fall and winter, and supporting each other.

Movement: Big stretches, powerful hiccups, feet poking out of my right side–the same as usual.

Food cravings/aversions: I’m definitely still on a kick with bananas. The greener the better, and when slathered with both peanut butter and Nutella they make a fantabulous dessert.

Symptoms: Contractions! And that sums up the new developments in this area.

Emotions: It’s the same old swing that I’ve been feeling for last week or two between joyful expectancy and the feeling of “oh crap–what have we done??” But more intense than ever before. Both my husband and I are going back and forth. Her due date is staring at us from the calendar–next week!–and there doesn’t seem to be a “DELAY THIS WHOLE THING” button I can press to slow things down.

Sometimes I cry, sometimes I hug myself with joy.

We assembled the Pak N’ Play in our bedroom on Tuesday, which is where Alice will spend the first few weeks of her life. It has a bassinet insert that’s pretty much at the level of our bed, and we think that will facilitate night time nursing since I won’t even have to get up to gather the wee one when she’s hungry. Now, every time I go into our bedroom there’s a little reminder that we’re about to gain a tiny (and permanent) roommate.

Hopes and dreams: I hope she’s snuggly! And ever since the ultrasound tech last week told me that she has hair, I have been fantasizing about touching her fuzzy little head and stroking the oh-so-soft nape of her neck. Baby heads–they’re just screaming to be caressed and sniffed constantly, aren’t they?

What I miss: At the moment, I miss having what felt like plenty of time before me until motherhood was going to hit. The closer it gets, the more emotional I feel, for better and for worse. I’m trying to trust, to relax, to take each day as it comes–but the tears always seem to be right there, ready to start flowing at any moment.

What I’m looking forward to: In a weird way, labor. We’ve put thought into it, heard so many peoples’ stories, and know it’s coming–so I’m looking forward to having the experience. To grappling with the struggles, forging through the lows and riding the highs.

Just don’t fling these words back at me when I’m in the middle of a big contraction. Deal?

Husband update: Like I said earlier, the emotions are getting more intense and are much more up and down than ever before. One moment, we’re both standing at the door to Alice’s room, gazing at the crib and feeling exuberantly happy, with “I can’t wait!” expressions on our faces. The next moment, I’m in tears and we’re asking ourselves, “Can we actually handle this? Is our life just going to become full of uncontrollable chaos? Will our life still be peaceful? Will we still look forward to coming home?”

I just need to keep going back to God and his promises. The fruits of the Spirit–which include joy and peace–don’t disappear when you have kids. They are for everyone, for every time in our lives–even for new parents with colicky newborns who are up at all hours of the night. With God, there’s a way to live even that dreaded experience in fullness of joy and peace. Unbelievable, right?

Have a good weekend everyone! We’ll be over here, trying to stay centered on the truth as the emotions ebb and flow.

17 thoughts on “39 Weeks

  1. Becky

    It’s great you are looking forward to labor. Labor is super hard and takes all the endurance you can muster and then some, but I loved it both times and babbled the labor stories to whoever would listen. It sounds like you are very prepared mentally and that is half the battle, I think. You got this, Jenna! Actually God’s got this and you sit in the palm of his hand through it all. 🙂

  2. Amy W

    Wow, it’s hard to believe that this time next week you could be a mummy! : ) It’s funny how one day it’s just you and your husband, and the next day a new person has appeared, tehee!

    I hope everything goes well for you during labour, and I can’t wait to see pictures of little Alice! : )

    On another point entirely – how do you manage to plait your hair so neatly?!

    1. Jenna Post author

      I know–it’s crazy to think that there’s about to be another person in our family, one that we don’t know at all yet!
      And as far as plaiting my hair, I just practiced a lot, and now it takes about 30 seconds to do. The summer was so hot here in CHicago that I had to find a way to get my hair out of my face, and this was a quick way I found.

      1. Amy W

        It looks lovely. : ) I’m so rubbish at doing things with my hair, but I think I just need more practice! I wish I could say we had a hot summer here in Scotland… The only upside is that I didn’t need to buy any new summer clothes this year, because I hardly needed any!

  3. thekitchwitch

    You gained exactly what I did with Miss M. Those pounds are going to melt right off!

    And baby heads? You absolutely cannot stop burying your nose in them. It’s Mommy Crack.

    So close!

  4. queenie

    wow – I’m getting emotional just READING this! sheesh. . . . I have really enjoyed following along and reading this over your shoulder. I can imagine that one day, Alice will, too. Can you imagine giving her a copy of this journal of yours, hardbound, maybe during her first pregnancy?! (to zoom into a ferocious fast-forward. . . .) OK. Back to the present – and a due date in. six. days. . . . Much love and my prayers.

  5. Megan

    Wow! It’s so close now. Kyle was born at 39 weeks, but I had cramps and other strange pains that gave me a clue I wasn’t going to make it to my due date. I think it might be best to try to keep yourself as busy as possible so you’re not thinking too much about labor, then one day it’ll just hit you and bam…you’ll be ready.

    I’ll be praying for you. God will give you the grace and strength to face the difficulty of labor the day you go through it, not before. And you know even though labor is intense, most women still repeat the process, sometimes many times. Because it’s totally worth it! Here I am getting ready to go through it again in a few months. How crazy is that?!

    Anyway, I’m sure you’ve heard all that before, but I hope it’s encouraging to you.

  6. Erica

    Kiddo! Dave and I are praying for you guys- we are so excited to become aunt and uncle again, and so excited to see how God carries out His plan for you in labor, delivery, and parenthood. I love you!!!! Call me! I miss you!

  7. Layla

    When I read where you said your little girl has hair, I immediately thought of your blog entry about your husbands ‘fro!!
    I can’t WAIT until you post pictures!
    You will love taking care of her, I thought nothing could be better than pregnant because it’s like already being a mom, yet you get treated like a princess since you’re pregnant, and it’s easier to tote the baby around while pregnant than in car seats, with bulky baby bags, or so I thought… but then I had the baby and BAM did I realize I was wrong, it’s fun fun fun, also they aren’t too hard in the beginning, and you still get a few months of time to yourself since they sleep a lot, I was surprised how they sometimes (as newborns) even sleep through people passing them around and holding them. Though it’s true it’s lots of waking up for feedings.

  8. Kimby

    Jenna, I looked at the title of your post in my inbox and thought, “Can it really be 39 weeks already?!” Seems like it just flew by (or at least it did to me — I’m sure it was different for you!) Hugs and prayers and blessings on you & your hubby & Alice!

  9. Veronica

    I can’t believe the time is so near either-weren’t you just telling us you were pregnant? I can recall that post like it was yesterday! I love your dress so much! So pretty! And since you’re about to run out of time, hurry up and make the hair style video tutorial! 🙂 Pleeeeease?

  10. Kathryn

    I’ve so loved reading along with your weekly pregnancy updates! And now baby Alice is almost here! Yay!
    And I really can’t wait to read all about her birth story – they’re my favorite: the excitement, the pain, the utter joy – how plans changed and then what it was like to finally meet each other!
    Anyway, I wanted to let you know that you’ve been on my heart a lot recently, and I’m praying for you and your little family. For your big day of labor, but also for the change and adjusting that will come afterwards. For peace and calmness to accompany the excitement.
    Also, I’m a little bummed I live so far away. I have a feeling our little girls would grow up to be great friends! 🙂

  11. Courtney B

    Oh my gosh… you look incredibly amazing! HOT mama 😉
    And seriously. I wish someone would have warned me about my butt growing along with everything else during pregnancy! I had a little panic attack when I put on a pair of maternity skinny jeans I bought a month ago that are super tight now. Oops, ha ha! I guess I’ve been in denial until this point that my butt is growing as well 🙁

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