How far along: 42 weeks, completed 10/24/12. And since my very first pregnancy pictures at 12 weeks were in a bandeau top and shorts, I figured I’d go out the same way (and for the full progression of pictures you can go to this handy little page).
Weight gain: On Friday the scale said I’d lost a pound, but then that pound was back on Monday. So I’m holding steady at 154, with a total pregnancy weight gain of 21 lbs.
Clothes: Considering this is the last day of my “normal” pregnant life, it’s a little unbelievable that soon I’ll be fitting into all the old favorites (at least . . . I hope).
Purchases: None! We’ve been set with baby stuff for quite awhile.
Body: What to say . . . well, first: I still feel pretty darn good. In the mornings I’m usually feeling fairly normal, and I’ve been staying active. I went to a women’s ministry gathering Saturday morning, church and then Bible study on Sunday, Dr’s appointments on Friday and Monday (after which I did a ton of walking to try to induce myself–with no success), and work until the past few business days. In the evenings I start getting much more uncomfortable. Basically, achy and heavy, with considerable grunting needed to get myself from prone to upright.
And as for the belly disappearing act, let’s see what’s happening in this very final week, and on this very final day . . .
Sleep: Magical as always! I’ve chosen not to go into the office this week, but make myself available by phone or email through my Blackberry. So I’ve been sleeping extra in the mornings and loving it. In my mind, I’m building my strength for whatever is going to happen today . . . because it could be a long road.
Best moment(s) of the week: I enjoyed hearing my little one’s strong heartbeat during my nonstress tests both Friday and Monday (which she passed with flying colors). When she’s sleeping, it’s a nice, quiet, steady 128-130 beats per minute. But when she starts moving, watch out! That heartbeat starts galloping along in the high 170s. While I was lying there watching her move about and kick at the monitors strapped to my belly and listening to the thunder of her heartbeat, a nurse came in from the hallway and was like “What’s going on? It sounds like there’s a racehorse in here!”
That’s my little Alice.
Movement: In the evenings, Alice’s movements can feel a little violent. Especially in the past 10 days or so, when I lie down she has a good hour of partying it up–and it hurts me! It no longer produces a fuzzy, warm feeling in my heart of “awwwww . . . how cute!”, but of “ouch! Holy crap! Please stop!”
I think she’s hitting a good number of nerves down there, because it feels like she has a metal claw that is about to poke a hole at the bottom of the uterus or something. I’ve seriously thought, “oh my gosh, I think she’s about to break my water,” many times, because it feels so strong.
Food cravings/aversions: I was hit–twice–with the most severe craving EVER for ice cream. And not just any ice cream, but the Dulce de Leche Safeway brand that we happen to have in our freezer. I know I’m off cow dairy products, but guys, this was some kind of intense existential urge the likes of which I don’t remember ever feeling before. Both times, I ate two spoonfuls to scratch the itch and then put it back. And I am so glad I didn’t resist my impulse. It was an almost spiritual experience to down those creamy, cold bites of ice cream.
Symptoms: Contractions which start but, after a couple hours, stop. And yes, this can mess with my emotions. I start getting excited, willfully tell myself not to think too much about the timing of them and how evenly they are spaced, but it’s just plain disappointing when they stop.
Emotions: The first half of this final week I was doing fine. I’ve been happy Alice didn’t come early or on the official due date, because it’s allowed things to get settled again at the office to the point where I’ve been able to let go again. It’s given me some time to pamper myself (I got my first manicure and second pedicure ever–decadent!), clean the house, journal, and generally get rested. But Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday have been hard, guys. The deadline is approaching, and if nothing happens this morning or afternoon, at 8pm tonight I’ll be checking into the birthing center to be induced. Monday it really hit me that despite our preparation for natural childbirth, that may not happen. I am not in control. I can learn all I like about what normally happens and ways I might find helpful to cope in different scenarios, but the mysteries of my own body ultimately aren’t mine to unlock. We’ve tried every natural induction method in the book except for acupuncture, with no results. And it’s humbling.
Even though I’m glad that the nonstress tests and ultrasound showed that Alice is thriving and doing so well in there (over 7 lbs and with a crown of fuzzy hair!), part of me wonders if maybe she’s doing a little too well, and consequently has no desire to join us out here. But that’s crazy talk. “Too well”?? I need to be grateful for that. It is good that she is thriving in there. It is good that I’ve had such a comfortable, easy time with pregnancy. It’s good that there’s plenty of amniotic fluid and that she has a heart like a racehorse. I can’t let my mind turn a good thing into a bad thing, know what I’m saying?
Hopes and dreams: At this point, though I should be thinking beyond labor and delivery, I feel pretty caught up in what the birth experience is going to be like, especially now that induction is staring me in the eye. The point is, I don’t know what to expect, how I’m going to handle it, how my body is going to respond to the drugs, or anything. I’ve been praying like crazy that labor would start naturally and for some reason, God has answered with “no.” I don’t know what he’s up to. I’m still called to trust that his plan is good. His plan is best. But honestly, at the moment, his “no” doesn’t make any sense to me. Which is where faith comes in . . . it may never make sense to me, and I’m still called to rest in his goodness and sovereignty.
“I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:13-14)
Pray for me, friends! My prayer request at Bible study on Sunday was that whatever birth experience we have, God will be at the center of that story, and that he will be glorified when we tell it. So I don’t want to even go into the hospital tonight feeling hurt, like “God, why are you ignoring me?” He’s not ignoring me . . . but I have to remind myself of this, because that’s what it feels like.
I’ve been singing the words to this song for a few days that has really helped me: “Creator, giver of all things; all I have is yours.” The chorus just repeats “All I have . . . all I have . . . all I have is yours.” It’s been a sweet reminder to myself that my body is God’s, Alice is God’s, and even my story belongs to him. It’s for him to write, not for me to write.
What I miss: Nothing at the moment even comes to mind, probably because I’m so focused on what’s about the happen.
What I’m looking forward to: Getting through labor, and staying as close to God as I can possibly be through whatever happens.
Husband update: As he puts it, he doesn’t tend to sweat the big stuff–he tends to sweat the small stuff more (I’m the opposite, which is a big help in encouraging each other away from anxiety in our areas of struggle). So he’s more tempted to be anxious about driving safely to the hospital than actually having a baby. Basically: he’s not worried. He’s trusting God. I really feel that I can lean on him emotionally during this whole birthing process no matter what happens, which is such a comfort.
Well friends, one thing I can say for sure: there will be no week 43 update! Because this is it. It all starts happening today, whether naturally or otherwise. Pray for us, and I’ll be back with an actual, real baby (!??!) in a day or two. Back at home, that is . . . not necessarily back and blogging.
Love you all!