I’m the type of person who really believes that, in most cases, babies come when they are ready and that every day inside the womb is important and helpful for fetal development.
With my first pregnancy, I went past 41 weeks and had a terrific OOH (out of hospital) water birth. Did I mope and whine and get really sick of being pregnant once my due date came and sailed away? I’ll be honest, yes. But when my child came out still covered in vernix, I was reminded that estimated due dates are just that, estimates. She had none of the signs of an overdue baby.
When I got pregnant with my second child, I made a decision to be better mentally prepared (for everyone’s sake). I didn’t even tell people my due date. I just settled in for the long haul and tried to make the best of every moment with my eldest child before it was no longer just she and I. I’m sure you can image how surprised I was when my second daughter came at 39 weeks. Again, another lovely OOH water birth.
Cut to baby #3, our son, whom I am currently incubating. Feeling like this is my last pregnancy, I wanted to cherish every minute of the miracle of growing new life. This pregnancy has been sooooo much different than my first two, just one health hiccup after another. Luckily, he has been perfectly healthy every step of the way, but I, on the other hand, have gone from issue to issue. We have decided it is Male Poisoning. At 31 weeks, I realized that my Braxton Hicks were timeable and painful. After talking to my midwife, I went to the ER. Once I was at the hospital and hooked up to the monitors, they realized my contractions were coming every 2-5 minutes, and I was given 2 shots of Terbutaline to stop them in order to avoid pre-term labor. This experience gave me a false sense of reality, and, from that point on, I felt like he could come at any moment.
Here I am today at 38 weeks, almost in shock that I’m still pregnant and dreading the fact that I could have a whole month before he makes his sweet arrival. So these are the 6 things I plan to do to stay sane while I wait for him to choose his BIRTHday.
Once your baby arrives, the house turns upside down. Wash all your newborn gear, cook freezer meals, install the car seat and go to town on all the things in your house you have been putting off. Staying busy is crucial in keeping your head in the game.
2. Stay mindful of your body
Proper fetal positioning makes a big difference in labor, so stretching, yoga and getting on your birth ball is very helpful for getting your baby into a good anterior position. It’s tempting to get on the couch and stay there once you get to the end and every part of your body hurts, but that is not good for your body or your mind.
3. Pamper yourself
For me, this means taking an Epsom Salt bath and eating (not one but two of) my favorite popsicles. Self-care time is extremely limited once your baby arrives. Soak it up while you still can!
4. Make the most of your bump
It makes a great perch for drinks and food, and I can assure you that you will miss it and the sweet baby kicks you have become accustomed to (at 3am when you are trying to sleep…). Here I am with my red raspberry tea and ill-fitting tank top (because I refuse to buy new clothes at 9 months pregnant).
5. Work on your birth plan
I recently went out and bought ingredients for my mom to bake a BIRTHday cake with my daughters while I am in labor. I thought this would help them pass the time and would be a fun activity for them to feel like they are a part of the birth team. Think of fun things for your spouse, children or birth attendees to do while you are in early labor, but, more importantly, make sure that you have a birth plan and that everyone is up-to-speed on it.
6. Spend quality time with your loved ones
I have been going on dates with my hubby, having spontaneous parties with my daughters and have even gone on a trip with some girlfriends. Quality time with everyone evaporates for the first few months postpartum. You are focused (rightly so) on your baby’s needs, bonding and learning what your “New Norm” looks like with this freshly added family member. Pencil in dates with all of the people who you love for two reasons: 1. To stay sane and 2. To let them know how much you love them.