35 Weeks Pregnant. Holy Crap.

June 27th, 2007

My pregnant body was boding pretty well up until this week. But now I’m 35-weeks pregnant and my body is failing miserably. I can no long walk without losing my breath and the heat is excruciating. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but things are much more difficult than they were last week. And this post is probably going to sound both whiny and graphic.

On Sunday my mucous plug started to break. I use the term started because I hear that for some woman this can go on for weeks leading up to the big day. Had I not known about the mucous before last week, the experience would have totally freaked me out. How is it that people (women) don’t mention such a thing? So, I’m going to put it out there for the entire world to see. The mucous plug is exactly what it sounds like. It sits inside the cervix and protects all the “good stuff” from infection. Sometime during the 9th month, it falls out. This can happen all at once or gradually. Usually it takes place after week 38 – closer to D Day. Mine started to show itself on Sunday. (Gross? Sorry, people!)

In true Michele fashion I panicked at first. I thought I was going to go into labor at any given moment. And then I read the following sentence somewhere: “LOSING YOUR MUCOUS PLUG DOES NOT MEAN LABOR IS IMMINENT.” And I relaxed a bit and let nature take its course. What does the mucous plug look like? Well, like a big chunk of mucous. (If you lose your mucous plug and it’s dark brown or bloody you should call your doctor straight away. That could represent problems.)

I mention the personal stuff because on Sunday I realized that Labor Day is right around the corner. I could have this baby in less than 4 weeks from this very moment. Granted, I could also have this baby as late as 6 weeks from now and that fact scares more of the mucous plug out of me. I would rather he come during the 39th week rather than the 42nd. I’m going to start drinking raspberry leaf tea next week. Raspberry leaf tea doesn’t bring on labor prematurely but it does help strengthen a woman’s pelvic and uterine muscles. Once labor does begin the muscles are more efficient. I recently heard that nipple stimulation can bring on early labor, but I think they’re going to go through enough once the baby is born, so I’m going to let them alone for now. Perhaps, if I get desperate, I’ll stick to the old fashioned way of stimulating labor: spicy food and a little sex.

I’m scared, people. And after last night’s Lamaze class, where we discussed all the various medications given during birth, I’m even more anxious. Last night we went over anesthesia, epidurals, cesareans, clamps, vacuums, narcotics, etc. I’m still leaning toward the epidural but I’m not going to lock myself into anything. I’m also not going to try and be a hero and both my husband and my mother are aware of that fact. If I am screaming for drugs, they’re going to agree to the drugs. If I can handle labor drug and epidural free, then I’ll give that a shot. I do not feel comfortable with a cesarean birth, however. Whoever claims that cesarean births are “easier” was dead wrong in my opinion. I can’t imagine having such a major surgery and then having to care for a baby. And for those women (Melissa) who experience 3 hours of actual pushing before having to go through a cesarean birth, well, they now hold a special place in my heart.

My Braxton Hicks contractions began recently as well. They come and go each and every day. They aren’t so bad. They don’t even compare to what I’ve experience during some periods. The only time they become hard to handle is when I’m out walking and it’s hot as hell. For example, yesterday I decided to check out the funeral being held for the local firefighter who died in Williamsburg last week. (Some pictures here.) It was a block from my apartment so I figured I’d be fine. A half an hour later the Braxton Hicks kicked in and I started to sweat profusely. Then I got dizzy. It was on the walk home that I realized how physically challenged I am right now. I simply cannot do what I once was able. It’s really time to take her easy. As stubborn as I am, I have to rest now. My body has given me no other choice.

Last week, at my doctor’s appointment, we discussed delivery day. I filled out my registration form, talked about pediatricians, and prepared for my 36-week ultrasound when the impending birth hit me. Tobyjoe and I signed up for cord blood storage as well, which seems well worth the cost to me. We owe a thousand dollars up front and 100 bucks a year for the actual storage. (And then hopefully the next president of our great nation won’t let his religious beliefs get in the way of any potentially lifesaving medical procedures.) Gotta tell ya, however, riding the New York City subway home carrying the kit that reads “HUMAN WHOLE BLOOD” on its sides was quite an experience. I got some REALLY strange looks and no one sat next to me. (Really. No one.)

Rant/ Speaking of riding the subway, New York City isn’t very friendly for those of us who have trouble with stairs. Plus, it’s rare someone gives up their seat so that I can sit down. And when that does take place, it’s usually always an African American male. (Second runner up is the 30-something female. White males to date = ZERO.) I ride the 4/5/6, the L Train and the N/R. The L train is where it’s happened most often. The N/R in close second. I have yet to be given a seat while riding the 4/5/6. All that said, if you see a pregnant woman on the subway, for the love of all that is kind, please get up and let them sit down. /End Rant

We finally got the baby’s room in working order. (Photos to come.) By “working order” I mean that it now looks like a baby’s room. The only thing left to do is buy a changing pad for the top of his new dresser, a breast pump for me, (I’m waiting until after my Saturday breast feeding class to do so) and some bed sheets. The organic mattress we ordered is on its way. And TobyJoe picked up a BreathableBaby Bumper pad yesterday. We still need to hang up his curtains and put his clothes away. I think we’re in pretty good shape. Now, all I have to do is prepare some music for birth, buy a robe for my hospital stay, and prepare my suitcase. Oh, and I have to wait. It’s time to wait.

I write this warily. I am filled with 50% excitement and 50% fear. If I didn’t have to go through the actual birthing part, I’d be singing right now. I simply cannot wait to meet my son. I can’t wait to hold him and see what he looks like. I can’t wait to lose sleep because of him, feed him, and take him on walks through the park. But there’s this big wall, you see, a big wall with the word “LABOR” written on it. That wall keeps me from feeling 100% pure joy.

Julie put it well in the comments section on a previous post: I fear what I know nothing about. If I were one for prayer, I’d be on my knees right about now. (Although, getting up from that position is nearly impossible to do these days.)

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28 Comments on “35 Weeks Pregnant. Holy Crap.”

  1. jenblossom said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    Some good friends of ours just had their little guy on Monday – a month early, but he’s perfect. She went into labor around 2 a.m., and they ended up performing a caesarean around 10 p.m. Everyone is doing great, but man… that really gave me pause. I can’t even imagine what it is like to be in your shoes right now. I’d be terrified. Completely terrified. You ladies are freaking heroes.

  2. Ciaochow said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    Can you tell me/us (your faithful readers) about the purpose for the cord blood storage?

  3. mihow said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    One day, I am confident that stem cell technology will lead to treatments and cures for diseases. Given the current political environment, the push for storage and/or education has been put on the back burner. For example, I asked my doctor what percentage of people in the US were storing their baby’s cord blood. She told me around 10%. In her practice alone, however, that number is around 35%. I think those numbers will grow once our political environment changes and that should happen in the next decade.

    Right now, there are treatments that are done using stem cells and cord blood. I believe they are used for leukemia and other cancer patients. In time, there will be more.

    People donate them now. We decided that instead of risking NOT finding a match should something devastating happen to our son, we’d store his stem cells just to make sure there is a match should something happen.

  4. mihow said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    Look at it in terms of health insurance. :]

  5. mihow said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    From the booklet I was given:

    Today, stem cells can:

    Cure red blood cell diseases (Fanconi Anemia)
    Cure white blood cell diseases (e.g. SCID)
    Treat cancers (Leukemia and Neuroblastoma)
    Repair tissue (Heart Tissue)

    (Plus, 40 other diseases not mentioned)

  6. Natasa said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    As one atheist mother to one to be (if that means anything in English) – giving birth is the most liberating experience ever:). Your body reaches its lowest point and you can only go up from there. And I see myself as a happy, cheerful person, but boy, nothings compares to the joy and happiness that you feel when you see your baby for the first time.And this joy gets bigger by the hour… My contractions were induced and I was in labour for 9 hours. I am very short (152 cm/ less than 5 feet, I think) and my daughter was born 57 cm long… It’s not exactly a stroll in the park – but so many women have done it and think of all those poor souls in Africa who still give birth at home… I’m digressing…. What I meant to say is – good luck, don’t worry too much in advance (there will be time later:) – and I really think that your son will have great parents

  7. renmen said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    i’ve been enjoying your pregnancy stories (even though i’ve been jealous of how healthy yours has been, when i’ve been on partial bedrest and stuff for a long time now. sigh) – and the murray stories too…
    wanted to give an amen to your mucous plug comments. soooooo with you on that. why do they not explain just how gross this is in the books? because people. so gross.
    i’m still (amazing!) a few weeks ahead of you, and feel your labor terror as well. although i can say the farther along you get, the more the carrying-a-giant-moving-baby-inside terror overtakes that giving-birth-to-a-giant-baby terror. i’m officially more scared of going over 40 weeks than i am of labor, and that’s saying something. the thought of two more weeks of waiting makes me sort of want to stick a hot poker in my eye…
    and now i’m off to buy some raspberry leaf tea. can’t hurt, right?
    so good luck to you and hope things go smoothly.

  8. Alison said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    Mihow, I have never given birth and am not pregnant, so I’m aware that I don’t have the full fear of labor in me, but my sister (who gave birth naturally) just gave me a tidbit that made me a little less scared of it. In her opinion, and in the informal poll that she has taken among friends, if you’ve ever experienced really terrible cramps on a regular basis, you can deal with childbirth. Given, she was really lucky in that her labor happened to go very fast (about 3 hours), but still. A little hope, maybe?

  9. mihow said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    You know, Alison, and I hesitate to write this (and have for a while now) because i worry about possibly backlash from the birthing community, but that’s the only thing giving me a little bit of hope as of late. I experienced horrible, terrible periods all throughout my teenage years and well into my 20s. I passed out from the pain regularly. It was excruciating and totally without reward. My only hope is that all that horrible pain somehow prepared me for the upcoming birth. I know that Transition is hard, I am prepared to accept the soul of Satan should I experience Transition drug free. But I hope that I’m at least mentally prepared for it.

    Last night, as we watched a video showing some women going through those rough contractions, I remembered all the times my only relief came from lying in the fetal position (and naked) on the cold bathroom floor. I hope that I conjure up all that memory and go into it knowing that this time I’ll get a big, fat poop filled reward in the end. :]

    Thank you, all for leaving such awesome comments and sending such reassuring email. They mean a lot to me.

  10. KidKate said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    Mihow, it’s funny you posted this today b/c I was just thinking this morning about your 30-week update post and wondering how things have progressed since then. I am at 29 weeks now and though my pregnancy has been textbook healthy, I am just really, really uncomfortable (and increasingly terrified of labor; watched one of those stupid shows last night and literally sobbed during the labor scene. ug). My best friend said something about there being a two-week reprieve where you feel better and just nest and stuff but seriously, I have seven weeks of work left (and a long, stressful commute; I hear you on the seats/train thing) and I don’t know how I’m going to do it. Anyway, this is probably not helping at all but just wanted to drop a line and commiserate! And yes, thank you for talking about the mucus plug and all that gross stuff. It’s good to know what’s in store. Think of it as a PSA for pregnant women everywhere!

  11. Wendy said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    Michele, I felt like you in the last month of pregnancy, just ready to have it all over with, and get that baby out please! I ran into another pregnant women who told me it was all wonderful and she was loving this stage, and all I could do was look at her in disgust! ;) Of course she is also the one who lays out her child’s clothing the night before, and picks every single little matching accessory (she has a girl). My poor son was lucky if he was wearing anything other than a onesie for his first few months!

    I’m not going to give you any advice about the pain, as I know everyone has different pain thresholds. If you have had painful things, migraines, terrible cramps etc. in the past, you probably will deal with it better than those of us who have never had any significant pain to compare.

    I just kept saying to myself that it would end eventually, and not hurt forever. And once the baby came out? Well there was virtually no pain left, a bit of achiness/soreness where I was stitched, but really? Nothing even as bad as a headache.

    We talked about cord blood storage with our doctors and the hospital, and they said it is pretty much not done in Canada. Or at least in BC. I think the number was at about 2% of parents do it.

    I think you need to start making your list of things you will look forward to once your baby has arrived. Maybe this will get you more excited to go towards (and past) labour? Let me see…being able to walk more than a block..tie your shoes, paint your toenails, shave your legs…those are all things I gave up in my last trimester. Sleep on your back! Eat rare meat (if you like it) and unpasteurized cheeses.

  12. mihow said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    My poor son was lucky if he was wearing anything other than a onesie for his first few months!

    Sugar, that’s all he’s wearing for the first couple of months as well. it’s entirely too hot for much more.

    I can’t wait to see my vagina again to be perfectly honest. I haven’t seen it in months. I did discover some stretch marks on the underside of my belly today. That made me want a drink. I made a smoothy instead. Damn stretch marks. Spent a billion dollars on Belly Butter for nothing.

  13. Wendy said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    Funny story..my son was born a few weeks before your due date-July 17. We had to take him to the pediatrician when he was four days old, and it was 35 C that day. It was just too hot, so he was only dressed in his teeny diaper. We came down the elevator in the medical building with another couple with a newborn baby, and their baby was wearing a sleeper, hat, mitts, and had a BLANKET over him! I felt a bit like I had a trailer trash baby going around in just his diaper, but it was too hot to put anything on him.

    I was so proud that I had no stretch marks for my entire pregnancy. Even 3 days before I gave birth, my dr. remarked on how amazing it was. After I gave birth, and looked at my lower stomach for the first time in months (withour a mirror), I found that the very act of labour appears to have given me a whole bunch just around my navel. No more bikinis for me! They have faded into invisibility, but the skin just doesn’t lie smooth anymore, you can see the indentation of the stretch marks.

  14. Charlie said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    The stem cells in cord blood are not the same stem cells that the federal gummint is restricting research on. Embryonic stem cells are derived from in vitro fertilized eggs. Embryonic stem cells are believed to be more “flexible” and more useful for research and medical purposes (pluripotent). The cord blood that parents like us save for our children contains stem cells that are “multipotent” (which is to say that they can develop into few types of cells than pluripotent stem cells).

    I do not believe that Bush administration is pushing against stem cells derived from cord blood. Quite the contrary: their argument is that the ban on federal spending on embryonic stem cells is moot in part because stem cells are readily available in cord blood and do not require the destruction of an embryo. But that’s not entirely accurate, since cord blood stem cells are not as useful in the treatment of neural diseases like parkinsons or paralysis from injury.

    However, research on tranforming multipotent stem cells into pluripotent cells would solve two problems: 1) it would give parents like us more oppportunities to help our children should they become sick 2) it would eliminate the ethical debate around harvesting embryonic stem cells.

    BTW, Henry was born at 35 weeks. He was 4lbs 10 ounces (smaller than a bag of sugar), and was healthy enough to be sent home after a week (of course, our crappy healh care at the time discharged him at 48 hours and he was near death from jaundice when the ambulance whisked him back to the hospital).

    ahh, good times.

    Pack your hospital bag now! We were caught completely unprepared and Kerry had to waddle the halls in her hospital gown and winter shit-kicker boots because we didn’t bring slippers. And nipple stimulation? Nah, that didn’t work. Kerry started labor but stopped, so we fought the pitocin dose by suggesting we stimulate her nipples. After an hour of pinching and tickling, we relented.

  15. mihow said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    Charlie, you have to admit that a lot of people are turned off of it because of the huge stigma the Bush Administration created using the media. Most people are unaware of the difference at all. They hear “Cord Blood” and “Stem Cell” and think that babies are being murdered in the name of science.

    Also, the Bush administration hasn’t been exactly kosher with perusing any of it. I still stand by the fact that under a different political environment more folks would hear more about the benefits and get behind it. The more folks behind it, the more resources go into it, etc. etc.

    Sort of related: I wonder, why it is that fertility drugs and a push with science is OK under certain circumstances but the line is drawn (arbitrarily) at using lab created embryos for stem cell research? Instead, aren’t they destroyed? I don’t get it. I might not get any of it, who knows.

    Then again, I just really can’t stand this administration so most of my comments are biased.

  16. mihow said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    I think I will pack my bag now. Thanks for the extra push.

    Also, heard all about pitocin last night. I hope it doesn’t come to that. :/

  17. Charlie said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    Kerry did pitocin twice and still managed to do it without epidural or other drugs. Certainly the contractions are stronger, but when compared to completely natural childbirth (without pitocin), Kerry said both pretty much sucked, but neither is impossible to endure.

  18. melhow said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    I lost my plug about a week before Shep was born. I was so convinced that they were going to send me to the hospital every time I went for a check up that I kept a bag and a camera in the car just in case.

    I didn’t find c-section recovery difficult. I guess I am lucky. I say it is because I don’t have any stomach muscles:) I definitely had more recovery with Simone b/c of pushing for three hours before they did the c-section. You still have the swelling associated with pushing. SIGH! I actually remember the recovery time in the hospital being worse with Shep. Maybe it was because it was a second C. Maybe my docs in VA just gave me better drugs. Who knows!

    My advice is that if you end up with a C-section get either a belly support band or underwear that is made to make your stomach look flat. The pressure helps make standing and sitting easier after a c-section.

  19. Victoria said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    When you are dehydrated you’ll have more/strong braxton hicks and could go into premature labor,so make sure to drink lots of water..even though that makes you have to go pee every 5 minutes.

    We decided to donate our cord blood. If we can help someone else’s kid…I think more people should know about donating or storing cord blood. It’s very simple and can truly save a life.

    I hope you are getting a chance to rest w/your feet up!

  20. Sandi said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    About the mucous plug, it can grow back. If you lose it and your cervix isnt’ starting to change it will grow back.

    I too suffered from extremely painful menstrual cramps and I have to say that my contractions weren’t any worse than those cramps. I was induced with oxytocin. I ended up with the epidural about three hours into my induction so I can’t say what transition feels like. (I was pregnant with twins and the OB strongly recommended the epi just in case she needed to reach in there to get the second baby, which she didn’t have to do.) Before the epi the contraction were very manageable. After the epi was in, I just felt pressure and when I got closer to pushing I just shut everyone out and focused inward.

    I second resting with your feet up and drinking lots of water. Before you know it, you will be at home your son!

  21. mihow said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    I had NO idea it could grow back! Wow.

    Next week I begin my internal exams as well as the 36-week ultrasound to make sure he’s in the right position for birth. I’m pretty sure he is. But we’ll see. I’m also curious to see if I’m at all dilated. I am anxious.

    Got the water thing covered, I think. In fact, I often contemplate moving onto the toilet I pee so much.

    Thanks again, everyone for the valuable information. It’s always reassuring to know that others have been there countless times before. Rest assured, there are probably going to be several more hysterical freak out posts before he arrives. I get worked up entirely too easily. :]

  22. Kari said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    FYI on my experience. My first son who is now 14, I was in labor for 12 hours before they decided I needed a C-section. I didn’t want to do a c-section, but at that point I didn’t care how they got him out of me. My second son, who is now 8 was totally natural. I was in labor for over 24 hours, but the actual pushing part was only 1 hour. I preferred the totally natural birth vs. the c-section, the recovery is so much easier. It is scary to think about going into labor, but once you are there….and go through it…you will be surprised how strong you really are. YOU CAN DO IT!!! Best wishes!

  23. baby names girl said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    It’s best to stay out of the heat. Take these weeks to really rest and gather strength for the labor. How often in your life do you get an excuse to do nothing? I hope you feel better!

  24. autumn said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    i was one of those 6 hours of pushing with no drugs because i’m stubborn like that and then had to go into a c section girls. all i can say is you will be fine, you just go in there & it hits you I HAVE TO DO THIS, NO ONE BUT ME IS GOING TO DO THIS! & somehow you bear through all the pain and any bit of embarrassment escapes you. you are going to do great, i can tell. you’re a tough cookie.

    and by the way, when i lost my mucas plug i had no idea what it was, i had my friend on the phone & she asked me “is it your mucas plug” and i yelled back “DOES IT SAY MUCAS PLUG SOMEWHERE ON HERE???”.

  25. mihow said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    “DOES IT SAY MUCAS PLUG SOMEWHERE ON HERE???”.

    ha!

    yeah, no one mentioned that. I only heard about it during my first Lamaze class which took place two weeks ago.

  26. Amanda said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    I can relate to every single word of this post except the 36 week part. I can’t WAIT to get there.

    You’re going to do just fine with labor. I’m saying a wee prayer for you that it is peaceful and wonderful. I’m so excited for you!

  27. joanna said at 2:03 pm on June 27th, 2007:

    i just wanted to say that it’s ridiculous that more people don’t give you a seat on the subway, and even more ridiculous that white guys try to give me their seats on the subway when i’m all cutely dressed for work, and not to you, a pregnant woman who is about to BRING LIFE INTO THE WORLD.

    seriously, nyers need some etiquette lessons, STAT.

  28. Kerry said at 6:15 pm on May 20th, 2011:

    Hi all. I am 35 weeks prego. Haven’t commented on any site until now. I also ride the trains. True white men don’t give up their seats. I have discovered a loop hole in the seating dilemma. The doble corner seats have a sign posted above them saying “these seats are reserved for persons with disabilities”. I know we don’t like being referred to as “disabled” because we are not, however if you ask someone on those seats to please let you sit, I have found that a seat is readily given. Also, I have heard, if your doctor writes a prescription for a breast pump, insurance will cover it up to $1500. I am going to wait until after I have the kid to purchase my breast pump as they are expensive. The friend who got the doc to write the script was given a Medela electric double pump. CVS carries it, so it was overnighted to her at the hospital. Worth checking out I think. Good luck to all the mommies!! They will be here soon!!


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