Well here we are. 40 weeks. With two previous pregnancies hitting 42+1 and 41+4 respectively I knew in my heart of hearts that I would be here, writing this update in the confident expectation that I’ve got near to a couple of weeks to go, but however much I told myself that there was always a smidgen of hope.
Hope that this time my body would get the message a little sooner, that the baby would arrive naturally and easily in perfect timing without getting me into this final two week wait.
And I know as I’m writing that there are people who would move heaven and earth to be in this position; whose longing for a baby is such that they’d take 42 weeks, an induction, a c-section or any of the rest of the labour horror stories in a heartbeat, and I’m determined not to take any of it for granted. But I think that you can acknowledge that the last two weeks are hard, without diminishing the joy and anticipation I feel about this Little Bump, in a way that perhaps is hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t been there.
For me, the last two weeks are when the worries come sliding back in; is the baby still head down? will he or she be born safely? am I going to need to be induced again? just how big is this baby going to be? is the baby moving enough? is the baby moving too much? what if it gets tangled in its cord? It’s everything you ever wish you hadn’t read on google and everything your subconscious can drag up in the quietness of an empty house all rolled into one.
And you’re big and you’re tired and you don’t sleep very comfortably any more and you can’t pick things up off the floor. It’s pretty much the perfect storm once you add hormones into the mix, no wonder I spent one afternoon hiding under the duvet sulking when I was expecting Kitty.
From a rational point of view I have absolutely nothing to be worrying about; when we saw the midwife last week the baby was doing exactly what it should be doing, with the small exception of lying back to back which whilst unhelpful is not a fundamental problem.
I think the baby tracks my movements; when I wake up in the morning I can feel feet up on my right hand side suggesting that we have a nice head down baby, spine on the left, perfect for early labour, and then as soon as I start getting up and on with the day I think that spine starts to slide around to the back. I’m spending as much time standing or on all fours as I can at the moment but I do have to drive my car, nurse Elma, cuddle Kitty and occasionally it’s even nice to sit down for a while. I’m hoping this will be this baby’s ‘thing’; with Elma she just didn’t engage at all until I was actually in labour but her positioning was pretty good; perhaps the Little Bump has nailed engagement but decided to skip out on the positioning lesson?
I’m still getting plenty of Braxton Hicks contractions, and occasionally a little run of them that makes me think something might be about to happen, but to no avail, and there’s been nothing else to suggest that this Little Bump wants to put in an appearance any time soon. Even two sessions of acupuncture (lovely though they were) and a sweep from the midwife (not even slightly lovely) don’t seem to have done much to get us further forward.
With Elma I gave birth 24 hours after my second acupuncture session and I’ll admit my inner science geek was kind of expecting to repeat the experiment and get the same results, I just have to keep reminding myself that when I was this pregnant with Elma I hadn’t even had one acupuncture session or a sweep or anything, and while I am overdue, I’m not that overdue.
The truth is that I’m ready. I’m ready to take on labour, not exactly to embrace the pain because I’m not quite that crazy, but with each of the stronger Braxton Hicks I remember that I know how to do this, that I can trust myself to do this, and that I want to do this. I’m definitely ready to be done with feeling cumbersome, and fielding ‘helpful’ comments in the supermarket/playground/anywhere outside my house about how I must be really ready to give birth now (yes, yes I really am).
And more than that I’m ready to meet this tiny new person and learn all about them, to welcome them into our family and watch them take the place in our hearts that was always theirs since the stars began.