The Last Few Weeks of Pregnancy
BLOG NOTE 1: TRIGGER WARNING! I’m going to briefly touch on infant and child loss in this post. I know a lot of us are raw from what happened with Mo’s Nadav, so please proceed accordingly. If you don’t want to read this post, the summary is as follows: I was pregnant. I was in pain. The End. This is a pretty boring infodump post.
BLOG NOTE 2: I started this post weeks and weeks ago. I didn’t hit publish. Somehow I couldn’t bring myself to. I’m in this weird limbo place between being an infertile and being a mother, and I’m still trying to find the middle ground: that nice sunny patch in the garden of Mother Who Is Infertile. Zucchini, mulberries and gooseberries grow there. Butterflies flit through the warm summer air, under canopied oak trees. Ryan Gosling* is weeding the sweetpea with his shirt off.
However, it is silly not to blog. I started this blog to make sense of my infertility. I’m still trying to do that. Hence, I should still be blogging. I know you guys missed my cutting wit and debonair banter. Plus, pictures!
Since the Crumb is now officially over two weeks old**, I figure it’s time to update my blog. I’m going to do this in a few shifts, the first being about the last few weeks of pregnancy.
Like I mentioned in a previous post, I started prelabour pretty early (32 weeks). My mucous plug was slowly dropping out in gross gloobs of yucky (the scientific term), my back was killing me, my hips were killing me and I was starting to get actual contractions, not just Braxton Hicks. By around week 34 my midwife took a look at my list of symptoms and decided to warn me about going into labour at any time. She talked to me about steroid shots and how narrow my window was to get them. Eeep! We had the hospital bag packed and in the car, along with all our paperwork. Of course, it was around the holiday season, so we had a lot of traveling to do.
Around week 36, I had a day of regular contractions. Every 45 minutes apart, lasting about a minute, but the pain was very mild. I started to get excited. Yes, we were early, but it felt like all the uncomfortable symptoms meant that something was happening. I started watching Youtube videos of babies born at 36 weeks. WARNING: Don’t do this. It’s a recipe for having a nervous breakdown, because for every “this is our son Matteo who was born at 36 weeks and now is a happy five year old” there will be a video in remembrance of little Estelle who didn’t make it. If you really feel the need to put yourself through pain, self-flagellation with a rusty cat-o’-nine-tails is more humane. YouTube comments are a kiddie pool filled with the worst of humanity, but those videos made me want to wade in and reach out to those parents.
After a full day of contractions, I took some Tylenol, and went to bed, only to wake up the following morning without a single contraction. They had just stopped. Week 36 rolled onto Week 37. No more contractions. Occasionally, the Child-Like Empress would flip around, causing me intense back pain, but if I twisted myself into a pretzel, I could get her back into the correct position.
Christmas Day, I was 37 weeks along. We were at my in-law’s for the weekend, when I got a text message from my sister saying her son had been born that morning. Kid is going to get ripped off for presents. I’m guessing he’ll have to start a snow globe collection, and will have to learn to wear novelty sweaters featuring reindeer with good grace and panache.
At 38 weeks, my midwife finally felt okay about checking my cervix. She warned me that it might trigger labour, but I needed to know that something was happening. I was fully effaced (paper-thin) and 2cm dilated. The Time Lord was nice and low, and perfectly positioned for birth. Still, nothing happened from the examination, except even more discomfort. I spent a lot of time bouncing on my exercise ball as that was pretty much the only way to ease some of the pain in my pelvis and lower back.
I have to say that I’m thankful for the pain I experienced in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. It gave me focus. Somewhere along the line, I stopped freaking out. I stopped worrying about going into labour and giving birth and whether or not the Dragonborn would be fine, and instead I started to trust my body. It was preparing for this huge event, whether or not I was mentally or emotionally ready for it, so I might as well let go and let my body do what it knew to do, without my input. I figured after all that waiting and wishing, all those long hard months of not knowing whether or not I would ever get pregnant, it was just a matter of waiting few more weeks.
My midwife set my induction date, just in case.
*”Hey, girl. If I plow your south field, we could plant some watercress and fight the patriarchy while knitting a scarf.”
**The Crumb is now over seven weeks old. Old blog post is old.