I’m towards the end of my 37th week of pregnancy. According to BabyCentre (yes, the UK version), at 37 weeks I’m technically considered full-term. Which means (I guess) that it would be OK for me to give birth. Which means the baby could come any day now.
Now that I’m on the brink of delivering, I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time obsessing over the symptoms of this pregnancy and have neglected to give full, serious thought to the very real consideration that a HUMAN BEING IS GOING TO COME RIPPING OUT OF MY FLESH.
I’m panicking because I’m pretty sure I haven’t done enough pelvic floor exercises/Kegels because a.) I was never sure I was doing them correctly; and b.) so I pretty much didn’t do them. Unfortunately, pretty much everyone and their mother say they are pretty much key to a better delivery and recovery.
I’m also on the fence about getting an epidural. According to the American Pregnancy Association, some studies suggest that an epidural may cause a baby to experience respiratory depression and a decreased fetal heart rate, and have trouble getting into position for delivery, thus increasing the need for forceps, vacuum, cesarean deliveries and episiotomies.
Also, an epidural can cause labor to slow down and make contractions weaker. Consequently, the medicine Pitocin (which makes contractions stronger) may be given to help speed up labor. To me, this sounds like a bad Catch-22: You get an epidural to decrease the pain, but it causes a decrease in the strength of contractions, so you’re given Pitocin to increase the strength of contractions, but that also increases your pain, so you up the dosage of your epidural, but that means you also need more Pitocin…
On the other hand, I’m a big fan of “not being in pain,” so we’ll see.
Now that the end is so near, people have been asking me how I feel. Babycentre assures me that it’s normal to feel fed up with being pregnant and impatient to deliver. I, however, am suddenly realizing just how good I’ve had it. While the baby is inside me, I don’t have to deal with the possibility of cracked (!) nipples from breastfeeding, projectile poop, incessant crying, vomiting, seemingly endless diaper changes, becoming delusional from lack of sleep, or crushing self-doubt about parenting skills (or lack therof), While she’s inside me, all her needs are being met.
But that doesn’t stop the worry, of course. While she’s inside me, I worry about whether she’s moving enough, if she’s moving too much, if she’s getting enough nutrients, if they’re the right nutrients, if she’s gained enough weight, if her heart rate is too fast/slow, if she’s in the proper position—the list goes on.
Right now I’m mostly freaking out about her movements, especially as everything I’m reading keeps harping about how bad it is to have decreased movement during these last few weeks. My problem: I haven’t been very good at detecting her patterns. Every day she seems to change when she decides to be active. This has led to more than a few moments of me turning to Bjorn with the big-eyes-of-fear-and-doom, asking him to lay hands on my belly and see if he can feel her moving. I’ve got to hand it to him, though; he seems to know just what to do. He sings to her and more often than not she responds by giving his hands a High 5. What can I say? She’s already a daddy’s girl.
I am excited to see her, though. I am constantly imagining what she’ll look like (I’m guessing lots of brown hair, slightly curly, with Asian eyes and chubby). I can’t wait to snuffle/hug/squeeze/cuddle her.
But apparently, it won’t be this week. My doctor said she wasn’t in the right position at our appointment last week, although she does seem to really enjoy snuggling into and using my bladder as her favorite pillow.
So the wait continues. And I’m OK with that.