37 weeks – full term!

I can’t believe it’s already Thursday. I’m really slacking on my updates. I meant to write this earlier, but then I thought I’d wait until my doctor appointment today, in hopes of having more to report. As of Sunday I was 37 weeks pregnant, AKA full term, meaning baby can come at any time. I would prefer to keep him baking until 39 weeks since there’s been a bunch of research showing that babies aren’t fully developed until then. But it’s still comforting to know that if he were born now that he wouldn’t need NICU time and the doctors likely wouldn’t do anything to stop labor. Home stretch.

At 37 weeks…

Baby is probably about as long as he’s going to be at birth and is just plumping up now. He’ll put on about a half a pound of chub every week from now until delivery. He is head down, VERY low and likes to cause me to walk like an old woman now. At my appointment today, the doctor guessed his weight is around 7 lbs., and thankfully said he wasn’t on track to be a 10 pounder like his dad! He is still moving quite a bit, and likes to stretch out frequently, making my belly contort into very odd shapes. Every once in a while he’ll flail about almost violently, reminding me of that scene from Christmas Vacation where Aunt Bethany wraps up her cat (below, at about the 1:47 mark).

Mama is really feeling it now. Weight gain for the week was a respectable .6 lbs. for a total gain now of 25 even. Funny, last week I was feeling surprisingly good. Now I’m just achy and crampy all the time. I’m getting a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions, with some downright painful contractions thrown in every once in a while too. After being told at my last doctor appointment that I was 1 centimeter dilated, I was feeling pretty optimistic that I wouldn’t go past my due date. In fact, the OB told me, “I don’t think you’ll go late.” I just had another appointment this afternoon and despite all my cramping and contracting, I have had no change since last week, and the OB today (a different OB), told me, “I don’t think you’ll go early.” So which is it? Sure, all along I’ve wanted baby to come on time, but I know that’s not a realistic expectation either (less than 5% of babies are born on their due dates), which just leaves me with a lot of ambiguity still. Giving up control is really hard for someone like me, and I hate that I can’t really make plans with anyone right now or even plan out what projects I take on at work. I’m simultaneously feeling the pressure to get things done, while also feeling like I’ll be pregnant forever at this point. I have dreams almost every night about my water breaking and/or going into labor, only to wake up dry and labor-free.

If I’m honest, I’m feeling a little cranky today about the whole thing. I thought for sure after all the cramping and contracting I’ve been doing all week that I’d be more dilated by now. And even though I know dilation isn’t that reliable of an indicator of when I’ll go into labor, it still made me feel good knowing we were making progress. But with no progress this week, it worries me that I might not progress as fast as I’d like during labor.

As I’ve mentioned before, I had a LEEP procedure done about 10 years ago due to some pre-cancerous cells that were found during a routine PAP. One of the earlier concerns with the LEEP was that it had the potential to cause incompetent cervix, making me more susceptible to a second trimester loss. Because of that, I was closely monitored at each doctor appointment, and thankfully, my cervix has held up this entire pregnancy. Unfortunately, one of the other possible complications of a LEEP (and the more common one, according to my doctor), is that it can cause some scar tissue within the cervix, causing it to not dilate easily. So I could end up having painful contractions without making progress once I go into labor. My doctor said if that were to happen, they’d actually make a small cut on my cervix to essentially release the scar tissue so that I can continue to dilate. She said it would hurt, but only takes a few seconds. Great. Not that I expected labor to be all fun and games, but I’m a little worried about the pain and frustration of failing to progress and the idea of being cut in order to do so. Let’s just hope that turns out not to be an issue.

Photo taken yesterday at 37 weeks, 3 days. I look about as tired as I feel!

Photo taken yesterday at 37 weeks, 3 days. I look about as tired as I feel!

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