Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Almost full term

Gestation: 39 weeks and 5 days
Days to EDD: 2
Weight gain: 14kg
Number of chocolates eaten today: Four home-baked chocolate chip cookies (yikes!).

Current ailments:
  • Lots and lots of pressure down low, which can be a bit uncomfortable at times, and results in frequent trips to the loo.
  • Lower back pain, which has been fairly constant when I've been vertical over the last few days. I have addressed this by spending as much time lounging on my new sofa as possible.
  • Tiredness, at times almost like the first trimester again, and which seems to be worse in the morning.
  • Slight nausea on and off over the last few days, which could be caused by the tiredness.
  • A pulling twinge in my groin, which is probably my ligament stretching in preparation for pulling the pubic bones apart (sounds much worse than it is). Strangely though, this only happens on the right hand side.
  • A few niggles around my belly but nothing like this Braxton Hicks thing I keep hearing about.
  • Very few of my clothes fitting.

Well, we're definitely on the home stretch now. I saw Dr Stokes this afternoon for what we hope is the last time until the birth. I have another appointment next Thursday during which he'll strap me up to a CTG and monitor the baby's heartbeat. But the general consensus seems to be we won't get to that point.

Dr Stokes asked if I'd like him to perform an internal examination to see how ready my cervix is so I said, why not! He said he'd try not to hurt me but it might be a bit uncomfortable especially as there seemed to be a bit of pressure on my bowel. Well, compared to the movements and pressure I've been getting from the baby I could barely feel the doctor. The baby's head was so low he could feel it. He said my cervix was nice and soft and about 1cm dilated so it really could happen any time now.

He then gave me the option of booking into hospital to have my waters broken. When I asked what the procedure would be, that is, would I end up needing a syntocinon (artificial oxytocin which is the labour hormone) injection if labour wasn't established in a certain time period his answer was that nothing is certain but he's extremely confident that it wouldn't come to that. He said that I'm ready for labour but might just need a little push in the right direction. He also said he would choose that option because it's more known than just waiting. I think some of that might be coming from the fact that he isn't currently on call so if the baby comes at night or over the weekend he won't be delivering it. He has also said to me a couple of times that he wouldn't like a baby growing in his belly for various reasons so I think he is probably of a mindset where he likes to be in control and to know what's happening. Personally, I gave up control of my body and my life 9 months ago so he couldn't really give me a good enough reason to do it. Although I would like Dr Stokes to deliver the baby, I would rather labour at home than in hospital and if I'm only 1cm dilated I'm not sure how long it would take to get to 10cm. As I haven't even reached the due date I'm going to defer the decision for now. I will have a rethink on Monday. Until then I will let nature and fate run their course.

As well as being physically ready I'm mentally ready too. The pram arrived yesterday and I spent a bit of time getting to know it. On Friday Karen brought around the cradle swing that they had for their girls that has been doing the rounds of family and friends for the past few years. It has certainly been well used and it's the midwives' secret recipe in hospital when parents need sleep and ask them to take their crying babies to the nursery. I have put that up and washed the fabric insert. I have also washed a couple of sheepskins for the baby to lie on on the floor. Today a friend dropped around a baby bath and stand and that needs to be cleaned up a bit but I'll leave that for another day otherwise I'll have nothing to do if the baby doesn't come soon. Clare sent me a manual breast pump so another job is to read the instructions on that and give it a good clean as I imagine it has been sitting in the box for quite a while.

I am the last left to birth out of our little January/February group in yoga. Sasha cheated and jumped ahead of me. She was due this Saturday but had a little girl yesterday afternoon. I think Saturday will be my last yoga session, if I make it. I don't fancy driving up on my own on Tuesdays any more and can't see me making it through to next Saturday. Dr Stokes and his staff don't even think I'll make my appointment next Thursday.

I have made my labour bracelet and I'm now wearing it in anticipation. I told Sherry my story of trekking in Nepal today and finding the internal strength to go on and she said that sounds exactly like the transition phase of labour so I'll definitely draw on that wisdom. Let's face it, if I can trek 13km a day for 21 days carrying 12kg or whatever it was, suffering sore ankles, hips, shoulders, feet etc. I think I can handle labour. Sure, you don't get much of a break once you've started but at least it'll only last a day or two at the most. I'll take my picture of birth as a journey up a mountain to look at and remind me of what is at the top of the mountain... a lovely little baby.

Anyway, if my mother's experiences are anything to go by I won't have time to think about all of this. We had a chat about mine and my sister's births the other night. Mam had no pre-labour signs, which makes me feel better about the lack of Braxton Hicks. With me her contractions progressed to two minutes apart very quickly. We didn't have a phone or a car so when Dad said he'd pop out to the phone box to call an ambulance (via the all-night garage to get some smokes) Mam said "finish your hot chocolate first". Well, the contractions intensified in the ambulance and the paramedics (did they have paramedics then or just ambulance drivers?) freaked out and switched on the siren. All in all labour was about 4 hours. With Clare it was even shorter and they nearly didn't make it to hospital in time. My mother in law had similar experiences with painless labours lasting only a couple of hours. Jeff nearly missed Toby's birth because he was parking the car. So, if genetics play a part in any of this we should be alright.

I still have a bit of work to do on the baby's quilt square and the pantry could still do with a good clean and a sort but really, I'm pretty much ready for this baby to come and I'm feeling quite organised. I just need to do a check of the hospital bag and make sure that everything that can go in at this stage is in there. And keep the house tidy so it's nice to come back to.

I have uploaded more photos to the Baby Clewett album. Click on the slideshow to the right to get to them.

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