38 Weeks, 6 Days: Labor is Closer!

December 9, just 10 days from our due date!  Everything is so exciting now because I know that birth can happen any time and that the more time goes on, the closer we are to meeting our baby.  🙂  My sister and her boyfriend were here for the weekend, so that was really fun!  It also pushed us to go ahead and finish up all the big stuff we had to do before Baby is born.  We still have some little things we wouldn’t mind finishing, but I think both my husband and I feel pretty relaxed now and ok with the baby coming at any time.  I would like for my mom and sister to be here, mostly because I know that they really want to be.  I’m sure that I’ll really appreciate their support as well when the time comes, but the thought of it just being me and my husband doesn’t bother me at all.  Our midwife talked to me at her visit last Wednesday about when to call her and that she wouldn’t want us to be panicking that she wouldn’t get there in time…. Yeah, that doesn’t worry me at all.  I would almost feel fine about no one but my husband being there, but because I’ve never had a baby before or even seen a birth I feel that it’s smart to have someone there to know what’s normal and what’s not.  Our midwife will also know what to do in case something is not normal.  But I definitely don’t worry about her not arriving in time (such as if I had a crazy fast birth or something, not that I expect that at all).

The midwife also told me that she doesn’t expect this baby to be born much past the due date (she knocked on wood as she said it, lol).  Her reasons for thinking this are that that baby is in a great position and already very low, I’ve been contracting for months now, and I’m not a large person (I guess that makes babies more likely to want to be born so they can start getting some milk and keep growing 🙂 ).  I don’t have a whole lot of water, she said, but the baby has a very reactive heartbeat (it goes up every time he moves) and is still moving around a ton, both signs that Baby is doing just fine.  I’ve been feeling a bit paranoid about my water levels, and I’m really trying to drink enough water every day.

For a few nights, Baby was kicking me so brutally that it was becoming an extremely painful experience!  I was getting clobbered in the ribs, belly button, round ligament, sciatic nerve, bladder, and cervix- sometimes all at once.  I kinda dreaded going to bed because I knew I’d be attacked from the inside again as soon as I lay down.  One night it was so awful and I was so frustrated that I finally just sat up in bed and cried.  My midwife suggested not eating late (and indeed, I had eaten a whole plate of food right before bed the night it was really bad).  I tried her suggestion, and I think it might have helped some.  Either that or baby is finally accepting the lack of space and settling down a bit.  I’m still getting plenty of movement, night and day, but it has felt a little gentler lately.  Whew.

I keep feeling like the baby may be early, but we are getting so close to the end of “early”, so maybe not.  Still, there are some new things happening that I feel signal labor is closer.  Yesterday morning we had sex and afterward I had some quite crampy contractions all during church and lunch.  Braxton Hicks have been feeling lower down and crampier at times for the past week ever since I really noticed how much Baby has dropped, but yesterday’s were just a little bit stronger and more noticeable.  We had a choir concert for church and I really loved it when the crescendo of the voices matched the peak of my contraction- makes me wish I could have a choir sing to my labor- ha!  😀  By last night, however, most of the crampiness was gone.  I feel like I have a tough time telling whether I’m having cramps because something is happening with my cervix or because I need to poop (yeah, we’re going to talk about that).  Pooping is feeling a little different lately, and sometimes quite painful, probably because the baby’s head is so far down in my pelvis that he is totally crowding all my vaginal and rectal space.   Silly baby 🙂

This morning after breakfast we watched a little TV with my sis and her boyfriend and the whole time (a couple of hours) I had rather painful Braxton-Hicks-like contractions, but it only hurt on my right side.  I assumed it was my right round ligament being all tight, or maybe the baby was in a position that pressed against my ligament during a contraction.  Either way, I felt a little distracted from the TV by what I was feeling.  I sat on my exercise ball and moved my hips in circles for a long time.  I experienced this same feeling last Wednesday night while I was trying to go to sleep- every Braxton Hicks (and I was having a lot of them) made my right side hurt like a fire poker.  I finally got up from bed, walked around the house, did hip circles while sitting on my exercise ball (and I feel super tired in an almost drugged way the whole time, which was weird), the cat pose exercises my chiropractor gave me to do, and finally was able to get to sleep.  I assumed that was my round ligament too, but who knows.  I love for these cramps and pains to be a sign that something is happening with my cervix!  I’ve done some self-checks lately, but while I’m able to feel the baby’s head with no effort at all, I can only just barely reach what I think is the very edge of my cervix.  I can tell that it’s extremely soft, but I can’t get to the middle of it to see if I’m dilated at all.  Oh well.  That will happen when it will.  I think as soon as my family is all here we’ll start having as much sex as we can to help my cervix soften up really well.  It’s tempting to start doing stuff like that now, but I really have no reason to rush the start of labor (as if I could), so I’ll just wait.

My nipples are really leaky tonight too.

One thing I’ve found strange lately has been the lack of cervical mucus.  I thought I’d have TONS of it at this point in pregnancy, but I’ve had even less than I did earlier.  So weird.  I’m hoping at least that will make it really easy to tell if I lose my mucus plug.

I put plastic under the sheets on our bed (just a simple shower curtain), a towel beside the bed, and have begun sitting on a towel in my car- all ready in case my water breaks in a gush!  I kinda down expect it to, though, because my mom’s never broke before labor.  Hers never broke spontaneously, actually, because during both her births they ruptured it in the hospital.  It will be interesting to see when mine breaks.  I wouldn’t mind it staying intact during the first part of labor if it will make things a little easier on me.

I feel that I’ve done just about as much preparing for birth as I can do.  I’m still reading Birthing From Within, so that would probably be a good book to finish, but even if I don’t it’s ok.  I’ve also ordered a belly mold kit that I’d like to be able to do, but there will hopefully be another baby if we don’t get the chance.  I think my husband and I are both starting to feel pretty ready to give birth so we can see our baby…. bring it on, labor!

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Chiropractic Care and Pregnancy

I spent most of the last two weeks dealing with some persistent, and pretty severe at times, hip pain.  From my oh-so-proficient Googling, I’d figured out it was originating from my right sacroiliac joint, but after icing and staying off my feet for several days didn’t seem to work very well, I was getting frustrated and discouraged, afraid I’d struggle with this until the birth and be unable to even walk around the house to carry out simple chores (do you KNOW how frustrating that is in the middle of out-of-control nesting?!?)  😛

Then, like so many times during this pregnancy, God answered my prayers and sent me to just the right place to find help.  Both our doula and one of my friends recommended Dr. Dan, a chiropractor in our Metro Detroit area.  He is experienced in the Webster technique, which is used to correct any imbalance in the pelvis and is very successful in pregnancy for giving breech babies room to turn (86%) and for giving all babies room to get into an optimal position for birth.  I spoke to this Dr. on the phone when making my appointment and almost cried because he was SO nice and SO helpful even during that short phone call.  He described what he does, and I knew immediately that he could help me with my pain.  I think even just knowing that relief was in sight helped me to begin feeling a little better that night.

I had my first appointment with him the next day (Wednesday of last week, and my sweet husband left work early to drive me since I was not feeling well).  The visit was GREAT- he was very personable, even said hello to Baby, explained everything very thoroughly, took care to make sure I was comfortable, and gave us extra information and goodies about natural birth (his 4 children were born at home many years ago!).  He found that I had a “right Webster” in both front and back.   So that was the right sacroiliac joint and the right round ligament (maybe that’s why all my ligament pain has been on the right side this whole time??) not moving as freely as they should.  After his treatment, I felt better right away- still sore, but without the shooting pains I’d been experiencing with every step!  I was soooooo happy.

Thursday I felt even better. 😀

Friday, I went in for my second appointment to see how my body was handling the adjustment, and was already feeling almost as good as I had before this problem began.  He said there was still some interference and worked on me again.  I’m just so happy that #1 I feel SO much better and that #2 if he can get my pelvic joints all moving freely in the next few weeks, the birth should be faster and easier- maybe even less painful since I’m less likely to have a posterior baby and back labor if there is plenty of room in my pelvis and uterus.

I have my next appointment later today.

I found this fantastic article about chiropractic care and pregnancy written by a chiropractor in Burleson, Texas who frequently works with pregnant women (even during their labors) and has had great success.  It’s an excellent read, and I’d now really encourage anyone who’s pregnant to see a chiropractor!

While in Dr. Dan’s waiting room on Friday, another pregnant mom was in there (2 days until her due date!) and she told us the story of how her baby had been breech and then ended up turning after she got her pelvis adjusted- FANTASTIC!  😀  Stories like that make me feel so excited because #1 that’s another avoided cesarean section and #2 people are taking advantage of non-invasive treatments that work on the natural principles of the way our bodies function.  I am all about that. 

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