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.)