Surviving The Final Weeks of Pregnancy
As I am typing this out this morning, I am bouncing on an exercise ball while listening to Salsa music. Thankfully, my husband is at work or he might officially think I am losing my mind. It's a final resort to the never-ending labor inducing techniques I've tried over the past 3+ weeks. Pineapple, spicy food, sex, sucking on lollypops, membrane sweeps, walking up hills, hiking, taking steps 2 at a time--the list is pages long. Any twitch, strange feeling or unusual thought and I'm immediately on the internet looking up to see if it's a sign of impending labor.
On Due Dates:
Through our weeks of Bradley Method classes, our birth instructor constantly reminded us that the average first time mom has her baby 8 days after the estimated due date. The very first day of class, she asked us what our due dates were and immediately told us to add 8. Not us. I had this feeling all along that our little one would be early. His/her dad is early for everything. We had the crib set up months before our due date. We started packing our hospital bags around 30 weeks. We scheduled the baby's Christening back in December. And when February 22nd came and went so did the build up of 9+ months of excitement.
It sounds so silly and selfish to even complain about making it to our due date. Logically I know there are millions of people that wish they would have made it to 40 weeks, but illogically my mind could not handle the waiting game. Week 40 was a rough one. Tears flowed like a river. Each morning I woke up disappointed that I was still pregnant. I turned negative. I felt depressed and stressed. I convinced myself I was going to be pregnant forever. I got frustrated with the whole process. When I had gone through 40 weeks of being pregnant how could 2 weeks feel like such an eternity?
On Being Overdue:
On one particularly rough day around the 40.5 week mark, my husband and I went out for our usual walk to see if we could get any labor progress. In the middle of the walk, I broke down. Ugly sobs and crocodile tears. I finally shared what I was feeling with him. He immediately called his work and let them know he wouldn't be in that day. He made me put on some real clothes and we left the house for the entire day. It changed everything. That day got me through the next days that came and went without baby joining us. Also, all the sweet instagram moms who left me the kindest words of encouragement on that day helped me realize the prize at the end was still there waiting for me and it would just be that much more special with the extra days we would wait.
For any other moms going through the same thing, I wanted to share with you what has helped me over the past few weeks. Whether you are starting your third trimester and just feeling done or 42 weeks and facing the longest days you've ever experienced, I hope some of these tips will help bring the baby excitement back.
8 Tips for Coping with the Last Weeks of Pregnancy:
- Go Shopping for Baby Clothes: Searching the aisles for cute baby clothes and supplies is an instant mood lifter. We bought a cute pair of little shorts with suspenders and I couldn't help but imagine our little one wearing them in a few months. The thought put an immediate smile on my face.
- Make a Gratitude List: I finally sat down this weekend a wrote out a list of everything I was grateful for. Seeing it on paper, I was blown away by how many things are going my way, despite the end of the pregnancy being different than expected. Even making note of the little things, like the sunny weather and a clean house can be a mood lifter.
- Plan an Extra Special Date Night with Your Husband: Coming to the realization that a late baby meant a little more one on one time with just my husband is another positive of having a late baby. We went to all of our favorite restaurants, hiked at our favorite spot multiple times and enjoyed our time alone together over the past few weeks. I'm sure these will be moments in the coming months that I look back on and am so grateful for.
- Take a Nap: A few extra zzz's will give you the energy to get through the day. Plus, it's sometimes the only way to give your mind a break from all of the labor thoughts. When you wake up, give yourself a fresh start to the day. Let any emotions and negativity from earlier in the day pass and start over.
- Look at Pictures of 1 Week Old Babies: Grab your phone, go to instagram and search the hashtag #1weekold. Your heart will melt with all of the cute baby pictures. It will be impossible for you to not immediately get excited to meet your little one in just a few days.
- Leave Your house (Often!): Week 39 and 40, I spent mopping around the house certain that labor would begin at any moment. This was a terrible plan. I lived in spandex pants and t-shirts, I made a million excuses to stay inside, and I just got more anxious and stressed as each day passed. Lately, I've been making a point of getting out of the house multiple times a day (even if it means walking around Target for the 4th time in a week). Plus, as someone pointed out on Instagram, it's kind of fun when someone asks you when you're due and you can reply with "2 weeks ago!".
- Make a Plan B and Embrace It: The hardest part of being overdue has been accepting that our birth plan and vision of how beautifully everything was going to go was suddenly thrown out of the window. We never thought of a Plan B. What would happen if we needed to be induced? What if I ended up having to have a C-Section? etc. These thoughts were something we avoided. When talk of induction came up at our 39 week appointment, I freaked. I had blocked all of these thoughts from coming to mind, assuming that if I didn't think about it, it wouldn't happen. But now we're facing an induction. It has always sounded so scary to me and opposite of the birth experience I pictured. But through research, talking to our doctor, and accepting that it is our best option for a healthy baby (which is ultimately all that matters), I'm finally feeling better about it. I wish I would have prepared myself more for the possibility of an induction earlier in pregnancy. It would have alleviated some of the anxiety and helped me be more open minded. If you don't have a plan B for your birth plan, go make one now. If you don't need it, awesome! But if you do, when you find out things are going a little differently than expected, you will be a lot calmer and avoid some of the crazy feelings I had.
- Spoil Yourself: Pedicures, manicures, hair cuts, a new dress-they all sound so superficial, but they are an instant mood lifter. When you're not feeling like yourself, a little TLC goes a long way. I promised myself I wouldn't be the person who does their hair and packs bags of make-up for the hospital. Again, never say never. At this point, a great hair day and some freshly painted nails are something I am so looking forward to. The afternoon before our scheduled induction you will find me at the salon getting my hair primped.
We're off to our final OB appointment. One last shot at membrane stripping then Wednesday morning we'll be in the hospital getting ready to be induced. It's crazy to think that we are finally a matter of hours away from becoming a family of three. The excitement is back. The happiness and gratitude are back. The calm is back. What feels like the end is really just the beginning.