35 Weeks Pregnant

The past week or two have been a mixed bag. On one hand, the nausea remains at bay and baby is sitting a bit lower so I can breathe easier. On the other hand, the sciatica, lower back stiffness and pain, tightness and pain in my hips have all been at peak levels. In addition to that, I’ve developed restless leg syndrome with this pregnancy, which has been keeping me awake until one or two in the morning a lot of nights. As if third trimester pregnancy isn’t exhausting enough, right?

The icing on the cake was some prodromal labor this past week. I had three or four days of frequent, strong contractions. I tried resting, drinking lots of water and basically getting nothing done except keeping my other children alive, but the contractions still kept coming, night and day. On Thursday evening I soaked in a hot bath to help ease the contractions and then had Zach give me a nice long leg massage before falling asleep for the night and I was able to get my first decent night of sleep in days.

We did get some good news at our last prenatal checkup though; the baby is officially head-down like it’s supposed to be! I had suspected as much for a week or two, but baby was still frequently flipping around – sometimes multiple times a day – so it was hard to keep track. Now it seems we have reached the point where baby is too big for flipping because it has been in the same head-down position for about two weeks. It kicks less, too, preferring now to stretch it’s legs out straight and test the elastic limits of my body. It also occasionally will spin on it’s head like a top.

Speaking of getting bigger: I’ve managed to gain a few pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight as well. I’ve suddenly been ravenously hungry all the time and wanting all the carbs. The biggest cravings of this pregnancy remain carbonated sodas and potato chips, though. With the occasional cheeseburger and fries thrown in for good measure.

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A grainy glimpse of the belly-shelf

The past two or three days have seen a return to normal Braxton-Hicks contractions, rather than the prodromal labor, as long as I don’t push myself too hard. All those contractions did motivate me to finally get everything ready for the baby though. I washed all the cloth diapers and stocked up the changing table, which Zach moved out of Alden’s room and into our room. He also put the mini-crib together. It’s a beautiful antique “nine month crib” that my great-aunt and uncle sent to us when we were expecting Eleanor. We had a custom mattress made for it, and I sewed a sheet out of one of our old bedsheets. It’s just beautiful, white with pink and blue pinstripes that my great-uncle hand painted on it.

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I also washed and put together the bouncy seat, pack and play, and rock n’ play, and got out all the baby toys (which Alden has been having a field day with). The hospital bag is mostly packed, and we bought a special “going home” outfit to bring baby home from the hospital in. We’ve narrowed down our list of possible names and have it tucked into the bag to take to the hospital as well. On Tuesday we’ll tour the hospital we think we’ll be giving birth at, and then I think I’ll finally feel like we’re ready.

It’s hard to wrap our heads around the idea that we’ll have a baby again in just a few short weeks. I’ve felt very disconnected from the baby this pregnancy, probably because of being so sick for so long and just running on pure survival mode. Doing all this preparation for the coming newest member of our family has helped me to connect with him or her a bit. I’m finally starting to anticipate wanting to have and hold our little newborn. To remember how wonderful it is to sit and nurse such a tiny, floppy, squishy little human being. It helps that the kids are getting excited about the baby being here soon, too. Alden will sporadically tell me, “I like the baby” and give my belly a kiss. Eleanor hugs and kisses my belly as well, and takes pride in believing that her ordering the baby to turn head-down is what did the trick. Now we just need to patiently wait out the next few weeks as I desperately try to avoid germs and get some rest so that I don’t go into labor sick and exhausted. Here’s hoping!

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