Pregnancy Diary #1- 38 WEEKS 1 DAY: It’s Miss A’s Month!

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It’s February and V has finally finished work! I’m so excited to have him home with me now…as is Taz who literally mopes at the door when he is gone. My Mum will also be here tomorrow night and will stay with me until Miss A is 1 month old. With slightly less than 2 weeks to go now, I can now say that Miss A is due “the following Thurs!” Oh how scary.

38 Weeks

Strangely, I’m feeling slightly better this week compared to last. Having a little less pains and a little less trouble sleeping now. I’ve been trying to keep moving by joining V and Taz for slow walks at night. I feel like I’m now starting to gain a little bit more weight due to my increased appetite and decreased movement…but am just trying my best. Some movement is better than none at all!

And while my movements are now limited, Miss A’s movements have definitely stepped up a notch (didn’t think that was possible, but apparently it is). No lack of space will get in the way of this girl’s squirming! She is most active during the evenings and sometimes it feels like she’s literally trying to break free from my tummy. V has a lot of sympathy for me when he puts his hands on my tummy and feels how hard she is moving. She literally KNEADS me nonstop for hours as if I was bread dough. Sometimes it feels as bad as a practice contraction!

And speaking about practice contractions, I find that they have changed a bit for me. They have gone from being long, mild, and lingering (constant ebbs for about 10-15 minutes) at the beginning of my 3rd trimester to now being very intense but short (about 30 seconds). So intense it takes my breath away. I figure real labour isn’t going to be much different in terms of not being able to talk or move when it happens so V and I have agreed on a hand sign which I will indicate to him to let him know I’m having a contraction. It’s good practice for the real moment.

Some women experience “lightening” during the last few weeks of pregnancy. This is when the baby moves downwards into your pelvis. It’s also referred to as “dropping” or “engaging”. Of course, it is also normal for your baby to only drop during labour. I’m pretty sure it has not happened for me because I can still feel her up in my ribs.

Something I also just recently learned is that your cervix can start dilating and effacing (thinning) a few weeks before delivery. It’s also possible to slowly lose your mucus plug beforehand too! So apparently it’s possible to walk around a few centimeters dilated and not know it…and it also doesn’t seem to determine when you have your baby (judging by what women say on forums regarding when they delivered)! You could be completely non-dilated and non-effaced during the day and have your baby that night…or be a few centimeters dilated a couple weeks before your due date and still go over! Bottom line is: sometimes you just can’t tell when your baby will come…they will come when they’re ready! For this reason, some doctors don’t bother checking at all. My doctor is one of them so I wouldn’t know if things are happening down there! And definitely no signs of losing my plug either…but I’m not worried. I have faith that she will come on time 🙂

This week, V picked up our car baby capsule which we hired from the council. You only need a baby capsule for 6 months so it is worth hiring instead of buying if your council offers the service. It’s quite exciting seeing it in the car. As for my “go bag”, I am someone who doesn’t like packing beforehand (because I don’t have a lot of spare things to set aside) so it is only half-packed for now with the things I definitely don’t need now e.g baby clothes and diapers. With the other stuff like my clothes and toiletries though, I will toss it in at the last minute. Rest assured, I have a very detailed list on hand and I am not the type to panic so I’m sure all I need is 5 minutes to get out the door. It’s how I’ve always rolled! It’s very likely we will have plenty of time anyway (since you’re meant to only go into the hospital when your contractions are 5 minutes apart, lasting about a minute each), but even in the case where we’d need to be out the door immediately (i.e. if my water breaks before my contractions start or reach 5 minutes apart), I know I’ll be fine.

My Dad recently asked me all about the birthing procedures e.g when do you go into the hospital and what the hospital procedures are. I found it nice that he was interested. Birthing has definitely changed a bit from 20 years ago…at least in Australian public hospitals. I know my hospital is very open to letting you labour and birth in whatever position you want and highly encourage you to move around. In movies, you always see women giving birth lying on their backs with their legs up. In real life, it really is the worst position to be in though as gravity is against you (your pelvis curves upwards when you’re in this position). Things are likely to be more painful and difficult in this position, and you’re more likely to tear (pressure is downward on your perineum). I think though that this position became “the norm” because in the past they used to heavily drug women for childbirth- whether you wanted to be or not. Obviously if they knock you out or you have an epidural, you’re going to have to be in this position because you will be hooked up to lines and you won’t be able to feel your legs.

Ideally though, the best positions for childbirth are standing, squatting, or being on your hands and knees (works with gravity, shortens and widens the birth canal, reduces risk of tearing because there is equal pressure all around on the perineum etc). Think about how animals give birth! I’m planning on having an unmedicated birth and am going to try my best to stay upright the whole time during labour or sit up on the birth ball. I plan to stand or squat for the birth. For this reason, only V will be in the room with me. No such thing as “stand by my head” here! These days, the baby is also put immediately onto the mother (skin-to-skin contact) after birth to bond and breastfeed straight away (babies tend to attach better and obviously be a lot happier and calmer when allowed to bond first as compared to whisking them off immediately to be bathed, weighed and measured). So you obviously wouldn’t want anyone else in the room for that! I do like that V and I will get some nice time to bond with Miss A alone first before the rest of our family see her.

Besides all that, these days pain relief is no longer forced upon you if you don’t want it, and episiotomies (cutting the perineum) will only be performed in emergencies (when they need to get the baby out very quickly) and is not done routinely (it is also a myth that a “clean cut” heals better than a natural tear). It is also not standard practice to put in an IV line “just in case”.

Most importantly, baby and mother are no longer separated during the hospital stay. After the baby gets cleaned up, weighed, and measured, they will return your baby to you to remain by your side for the whole time. No such thing as nurseries for perfectly healthy babies these days. In a nutshell, they seem very focused on doing what’s best for the baby and mother now. Gone are the days where medical staff used to force their opinion on you and tell you what you need to do instead of listening to you…at least in public hospitals anyway. I know some people find that in the private system they still get bullied into induction or C-sections out of convenience for the doctor (not saying all, just some).

Anyway, V and I are extremely happy with our hospital and their practices/policies. We decided to go with the public system because we personally felt they met our needs better…and they have so far. I trust my hospital and the midwives there and am looking forward to a happy, calm, natural birth. Not long to go now!

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