Things are getting very interesting around here. At the end of week 34, I started noticing a significant increase in uterine activity. I've been living with Braxton Hicks contractions since about 16 weeks, so I hardly even notice them anymore. But lately I've been having some that make me pause... still not painful, but definitely intensifying. Cool! I like knowing that things are gearing up for the project at hand. :-) One night this week, I was also having some lower back twinges and feelings of menstrual crampiness, but that was fleeting and not really a pattern. I think I pegged it when I decided it was from the strange position baby was in; maybe hitting a nerve or something. No more of that today, thankfully.
I would be more nervous/excited about this, but it seems very like a pattern similar to what I experienced at the end of my pregnancy with Hannah Mac. In a way, it's a bummer because the last couple of weeks those contractions got kind of painful, but weren't "real" labor. But it makes me realize how close I'm getting and that's exciting! And since I've had this happen before, I know not to hold my breath that the baby will come anytime before his/her due date just because the contractions started so far in advance of it ;-). On the other hand, should baby decide s/he is ready around 38-39 weeks, I would be happy to be proven wrong.
ALSO -- and this is so cool -- since we started taking the childbirth ed refresher class last week, Tony is a changed man. It's like he needed the validation that his wife isn't the only one moaning around with pregnancy and that we aren't the only ones in the world planning a birth at home, etc. He's always been supportive, but in a distant, whatever-you-say-dear kind of way. I wasn't worried that this would carry on indefinitely... I know how intensely attached he gets to his newborn babies once they are here, but I did wonder if he'd get interested in the birth at all, aside from the last exciting moments.
Since that class, however, he's become more solicitious of me and much more excited and passionate about both the birth itself and in the whole childbirth philosophy angle than he has ever been, even counting the last two times. Yesterday he even said to me, "I'm going to do everything I can to make these last several weeks as comfortable and easy as possible for you." (Who IS this man?!?!) I'm loving it!
He is not a reader, but lately he has been willing to let me read to him certain important chapters from Birthing From Within. This is a huge step! I can't believe the class made such a huge difference. And we almost didn't take it because of the time and driving it involved. I'm so glad we did, though... looks like he really needed to hear some of this stuff from someone other than just me.
One good example: we were watching a video at the first class which featured several waterbirths. I thought that would be over the top for him... I totally know how he is. Or so I thought. We didn't talk about it immediately afterwards, but the next evening, out-of-the-blue, he mentioned what an impression that made on him. How he had never realized how peaceful, calm and quiet the moment of birth can be. He found it very reassuring and it apparently soothed some unspoken (probably even unexplored within himself) anxieties he was having about this birth. Since then, I've even heard him, very passionately, sharing with others why he thinks home birth is a good decision for us. I can't imagine what a zealot he'll be once we can say we've actually had one!
The work of worry
Uh-oh. Neurotic pregnant hormones kicking in. What a mess I was the other night :-P. I recently read an article about umbilical cord accidents. Apparently there is a study showing a correlation (a CORRELATION, not CAUSATION, as they say) between frequent fetal hiccups (3+ episodes per day) in late pregnancy and interrupted blood flow to the baby via the cord.
For some reason this little tidbit preyed on my mind for a past week! It's a total correlation and my rational mind knows that I'm insane to even think that much about it, but the other night I had a horrible thought as I was trying to go to sleep and this baby got the hiccups for the 4th or 5th time that day... maybe the reason s/he hiccups so much is because there is a knot in the cord! Maybe it's a true knot! After an hour of tossing and turning, I had myself completely worked up... worried that every contraction I had or would have would pull the knot tighter. I finally drifted off to sleep. And woke up a couple hours later because baby had the hiccups again! They last forever, too. Like up to 15-20 minutes sometimes.
Finally, I just had to get out of bed, turn on the light and do positive visualizations of blood flowing freely through a strong cord with no knots. I was a wreck. I even sent a hiccup poll to my pregnant moms list. And I mentioned it during our childbirth class. This class is led by one of my midwives, but one of the other couples is a woman and her mother (her husband is in the military). The mother is a labor and delivery nurse at one of the city's biggest hospitals (and she HATES it... she is very noninterventionist in her childbirth philosophy and she is thrilled that her daughter is planning a home waterbirth. But I digress...). Probably the most reassuring thing I heard about the hiccup thing is that both the midwife and the L&D nurse have seen quite a few babies born with true knots who were never even in any distress.
The big snip
We've been talking about the vasectomy that is planned after the baby is born. Tony negotiated this procedure before the actual conception of this baby and has even started making inquiries with local urologists. But I must admit that as much as I don't want to have any more children... the finality of getting this done really does bother me. Maybe it's the legacy from five years of infertility problems, but it's really hard for me, emotionally, to think of (ahem) cutting off our fertility permanently. We're still pretty young! Maybe later, like 10 years from now, we'd want just one more. Still, intellectually, I do believe the Big V is the best move for us. But wahhh.
See, the thing is, I know ALL of our resources are going to be stretched to the maximum with three kids. Three kids is quite enough for us. But *babies*... oh man, I could just have dozens of those. I love love love love babies and they just don't stay babies very long :-P.