Composed on 3/1/17
Now that I’m full term, this baby could come any minute! We’re excited and ready and counting down the hours until the unspecified date and time that Freia decides to join us. Meanwhile, here’s what’s going on with me.
As always, everything is still within the normal range
At 37 weeks on the dot I was up 26lbs; at 38 I hadn’t gained another ounce and at my 39 week visit I had lost a little over a pound, bringing the total gain to 24.8 lbs. At full term, the expected gain “should” be between 25 and 35 lbs, so despite my best efforts to not only eat without abandon in terms of calories, but also keep the content highly nutritious, I’m still on the light side. These parameters are quite arbitrary though and all other signs indicate a healthy mama.
She’d been measuring a small fundal height the past few appointments. At our 36 week home visit, she was still measuring small at 31cm. This could be her position or my anatomy, could be a small baby, or low fluid, or a handful of other anxiety inducing causes. At this appointment the prospect of getting an ultrasound to get an more accurate guess of baby’s size and measure the blood flow through the placenta was brought up. Aaron, the midwife, and I discussed this, but decided to give it a week, really up the intake of protein and healthy fats (nuts, avocados, etc) and see where she’s falls at the next visit. Given she’s still so active (and feels to me so strong), and is frequently getting the hiccups we’ve all been reassured by these signs of a healthy babe. At the next visit, just over a week later, fundal height had gained 2cm. This made everyone happy.
I was under 5.5lbs at birth and Aaron was just over 6 – no medical issues for our moms or us, just small babies. Because of this, I’ve been anticipating a small baby for us too since the beginning of pregnancy – it just seems like a genetic predetermination is the most likely explanation. We’re not worried.
Baby’s Position and Movement
Still head down and still a wild thing. It seems like she’s squirming and fidgeting all day and night. My position or activity level makes little different. Aren’t they supposed to sleep at some point?
I’m really admiring what will surely be the height of pregnancy hair, before the anticipated postpartum balding phase. And as of right now I’ve still managed to avoid stretch marks and cat butt belly button. The lack of stretch marks could be attributed to a combination of good nutrition and hydration throughout pregnancy, plus gaining weight slowly, but in reality genetics is most likely the main determinant here. My mom didn’t get them so I’m in the lucky camp here.
Still so many. Any change in position or bump in the road, or bump in the road, will trigger one (please, City of Houston, address the pothole issue). Or just sitting here at the desk, I’ll feel the fabric of my top move slightly against my skin and realize my uterus is once again clamping down. I’ve never practiced for something so much in my life! Given the frequency of them, we cut off my red raspberry tea intake a couple weeks ago. I’d been advised to drink this elixir daily since I first established care with my midwife to help, among other things, to “tone” the uterus. Mine seems to be doing a fine job on it’s own. I’ve pondered if all these practice contractions will make the real ones more efficient and labor quicker, and asked this of the midwife. In her experience, while this seems like the logical conclusion, one does not necessarily lead to the other.
I’ve been nesting a lot – as much as my body will let me while also trying to “take it easy” and spend some time relaxing so baby and and I can get some weight on. Luckily Aaron’s also started to pick up the nesting bug which makes cleaning and organizing the whole house much easier. At 38 weeks pregnant we joined some friends for dinner on Saturday night but declined the offer to continue the night of bar hopping in honor of some in-from-out-of-town friends (as much as we wanted the attention given extremely pregnant women at out at bars, we decided this was the best call). Instead Aaron and I came home early, finished the mobile project we started, lisened as Aaron told stories to Freia through my tummy and just had a really wonderful evening on our own – likely one of the last for a while.
My meals after the increased protein/fats orders looked something like this:
- Breakfast: egg-based, either boiled and eaten on avocado toast, or scrambled with some cottage cheese and probably topped with more avocado or raw pumpkin seeds.
- Lunch: leftovers
- Dinners: turkey spaghetti with red lentil noodles, thai curry with tofu and quinoa, steak and artichokes, and grilled chicken on a walnut and avocado heavy kale salad (- all homemade of course).
- Snacks: fruit, probably with a big dollop of Trader Joe’s peanut butter with flax and chia seeds, or handfuls of raw nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans), perhaps another boiled egg, a cup of cottage cheese, chia pudding, or, in a pinch, a Cliff Bar (I usually can’t stand any type of “bars”).
- Drinks: constantly chugging water, interspersed with glasses of organic whole milk.
Oh my! How my ankles are heavy. When I talk to folks about gaining weight I tell them the 25 lbs so far have mostly been constrained to my uterus and ankles. With the increased blood and fluid volume associated with pregnancy this is a pretty common complaint, and there’s not much that can be done about it. Staying hydrated and spending time in a side lying position are about all you can do. Submerging in water, either in a pool or bath can be helpful as the surrounding outside pressure, helps to force water out of your tissues and back to where it can be recycled. Overall though this isn’t painful or by any means tough to endure, just a bit bothersome and astounding to see when I take my socks off at the end of the day.
I gave up biking to work around 36 weeks. I certainly miss my daily rides, but just became either too uncomfortable pedaling, or too tired, or simply unmotivated. Aaron was accommodating enough to drive me to and from work everyday despite this basically doubling his commute time to an hour and the morning and well above an hour in the afternoon. I love him.
We’ve been doing a lot to prepare for labor and birth and life with a newborn.
As far as labor goes, we’ve assembled all the supplies on the list the midwife gave us to have on hand, organized them, and stashed it all in one place – a wooden a chest in the bedroom. A while ago we also packed a “just in case” hospital bag with essentials for Aaron and I and some baby clothes. Our birth tub was delivered by Waterways Birthing, a small business owned by another local homebirth mama who shares a midwife with me. When the owner Alicia dropped it off she and had her 6-week-old in tow (I got to play with little baby feet and hold her while she assembled the pool – Squee!!)
Aaron and I composed a (somewhat lengthy) letter to the close family and friends who’ve received an open invitation to attend the birth. We don’t know how or when it will play out or who among these folks will be available when it’s go-time but wanted everyone to be on the same page and familiar with our intentions and what to expect. No one wants to explain our hippy/medical rationale for something in the throws of labor. For the delivery, I’ve made the preemptive call to limit the room to Aaron the midwife and myself, but gave some details of what to expect in that arena too in case I decide that more company is what I want for that special time.
Wow! Didn’t realize until I looked at these how much of a transformation it’s been!
As far as preparing for life with baby goes, we’re doing our best. I thoroughly enjoyed washing all the little clothes and other cloth accouterments, we’ve finished a rocking base for the Moses basket we bought and finished restoring a dresser we got on consignment to use as a changing table. The car was cleaned and the carseat installed. We’re also working on tying up any loose ends or projects at work in preparation for both of our departures.
I’ve been assembling and preparing some labor nourishment, in the form of red raspberry tea ice chips, labor aid popsicles, smoothie fixins with a bunch of recipes from green kitchen stories I’ve printed out so my lovely attendants can keep me energized.
I’ve also done a bit of food prep for after the birth. On Sunday I made and froze a large batch each of Pumpkin Soup (no recipe just good quality curry paste, pumpkin, veggies, chicken stock and coconut milk), and Tom kah gai made with bone broth and collard greens from our garden (I pretty much followed this recipe to a T, luckily in Houston the more exotic ingredients are readily available – and folks this turned out soooo good.) I’ve also started stocking shelf stable or frozen smoothie ingredients like frozen fruit, homemade cashew and oat milk, nuts, seeds etc.
Now we just wait!