Pregnancy Diary #1- 39 WEEKS 1 DAY: Engaged and ready to go!

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39 weeks

Enjoying a final brunch date before baby

Miss A has dropped. Personally I don’t feel any different (bump looks the same to me, still getting kicked up high etc) but my doctor says she can tell the head is engaged in my pelvis as she can no longer feel it in my lower abdomen via palpation. While it’s no guarantee that labour is round the corner (some women can be engaged for weeks with nothing happening), it’s nevertheless a good sign that things are heading in the right direction.

I do have a feeling that things are happening anyway because I’m getting crampier by the day. My uterus is constantly tightening and it’s especially uncomfortable at night. Miss A is also moving a lot more. She used to be pretty quiet during the night but now I wake up feeling her squirming too so I’m not getting much of a break now!

It may be interesting to note that if I had calculated my due date following my last menstrual period, it would’ve been today. Pregnancy is traditionally counted from the first day of your last period because you obviously can’t say for sure when you ovulated. Counting from your last period gives doctors something concrete to work with. This means that although pregnancy is 40 weeks, you are technically pregnant for 38 weeks. So when a woman says she is “4 weeks pregnant”, it’s actually only been 2 weeks since she ovulated/conceived (which means that most women are at least “4 weeks pregnant” when they get a positive pregnancy test).

The problem with this traditional method of counting your gestational period is that it relies on all women having a 28-day menstrual cycle…which is obviously NOT the case. My menstrual cycle is irregular but is usually about 34-35 days. This means that my baby would’ve been regarded as a week ahead of what it really is had we counted things this way; and had I given birth next week, I would’ve been considered overdue when I’m really not. This makes me think that a lot of first-time mothers don’t REALLY go overdue-  they just have their dates wrong.

How we got our 14 Feb due date was via ultrasound dating. This is pretty accurate if you do it quite early on as babies develop at a rather similar rate in the early weeks (so they are able to see exactly how old the embryo/fetus is by comparing it to average). As the weeks go on though, babies start developing at different rates according to factors such as genetics so it gets less and less accurate (generally considered quite accurate if done below 12 weeks). We did it at what turned out to be just 6 weeks which is quite early and hence, rather accurate. Early ultrasounds (before 12 weeks) aren’t routine though. Many doctors wouldn’t suggest it unless you requested one or there was a medical reason e.g. you have a history of miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies. Our doctor was happy to suggest that we get one done (as it was obvious from my pregnancy blood test that my hormone levels weren’t what they should be for the gestational age calculated via my last menstrual period), but I know not all doctors would bother.

So here we are…with another week to go thanks to my week-behind menstrual cycle. My Mum is down from Malaysia and we’re all now staying in our family home in the suburbs awaiting Miss A’s arrival. We’ve washed her clothes, set up a bathe/change station in the bathroom, put sheets on her bassinette, installed our car baby capsule, packed most of my go bag…and most importantly, I’ve completely psyched myself up for her birth (and the parenting to follow). I have to admit that I did have a bit of a panic attack over the last couple of weeks- mostly about the labour and birth- but I’ve since managed to refocus. I think at this moment, I’m quite prepared mentally and emotionally for what is to come. If she wants to come now, I’m ready for her! I just can’t have any doubt in my mind that it will be anything but amazing. The moment you doubt, that’s when fear creeps in and ultimately, pain. I believe that I can have a supernatural natural birth, free from drugs yet also free from pain. I just have to completely let go and trust God, my body, and my baby. It’s not about me. It’s about bringing Miss A into this world surrounded by all the love, peace, and happiness she deserves.

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