Thursday, December 8, 2016

How To: The Last Month of a Pregnancy

As I write I'm 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant or 2 weeks and 4 days until my due date, which I will tell you means absolutely nothing! But, when one is this far along one tends to count the days.

If it's been a hard one (or is currently hard) this is for you. If it's been a joy and you feel ok letting baby stay put as long as their little heart desires... happy day... keep reading too!

A little about me...
I am about to have my 7th baby... yep.
#1 was 13 days overdue
#2 was adopted at the age of 5
#3 was born on his due date (what a considerate child!)
#4 was 9 days overdue
#5 was adopted at the age of 1
#6 was 4 days overdue

... and we will just see what happens this time around. But, as you can see I've had my share of days (and "extra days") in late pregnancy. I've learned to cope... and when I haven't coped well, I learned things then too. Like ugly crying is totally ok. Just tell your children, "Mama is having a hard day, don't worry, I'll feel better after I am done." And you will.

My current status:
I am dog tired. I was up from 3:30 to 6 am with very strong Braxton Hicks contractions, a wiggly baby who wouldn't be settled and general discomfort. My pelvis feels like it's splitting in two every time I walk, and I have heartburn all hours of the day. Plus, (and maybe most of all) I just want to hold my baby and see who he/she is. And... I still have several (likely) weeks ahead of me and that is really discouraging me right now.

So without further delay, here's my list of ideas of ...
How To: The Last Month of Pregnancy!

Don't Focus on your Due Date... and tell anyone who is (including care providers) to step off...

Here's some pretty undeniable facts about why due dates are a load of bologna. The fact is you're likely to safely deliver the two weeks before or the two weeks after any date you or a care provider determine is a "due date", and typically, when a baby chooses to come on it's own is going to be the healthiest and easiest way to deliver them... not a forced induction your body isn't ready for or capable of (of course there are reasons and exceptions to this). If inductions need to be scheduled realize you can always call your provider and ask for a few more days... or make a "deal" with them. It's your body.

If people keep asking "Have you had that baby yet???" Send them this.

A watched pot never boils, as they say. With that in mind, let's move on...

Consider all the things you can be doing... while you wait.

The last month of pregnancy is best spent doing the following...

- Resting. Sleep in girl! Sleep til' noon, if you can. If you can't then move down the list...
- Prepping for baby... get your house spotless and savor the beautiful order. But, don't over do it.
- Enjoying time with your mate. Go on a date... or 4.
- See a movie... or 4.
- Read a book, because your hands will soon be full and holding a book and a baby is harder than you think.
- Stock up on supplies so you don't have to go shopping after baby arrives.
- Practicing a pain management technique. Even if you think you'll get that epidural... don't be fooled, you will be in pain... prepare yourself.
- Take a walk.
- Eat dates.
- Do squats.
- Make some freezer meals and stock up on easy prep food for postpartum.
- Make "Padsicles".
- Go to a La Leche League meeting... nursing might be difficult and getting support will help.
- Read some good, positive birth stories... HERE.
- Make some birth "affirmation" cards to post in your birthing space.
- Go see a chiropractor.
- Get a pre natal massage.
- Do yoga.
- Make sure your camera is in working order and learn how to take better photos.
- Make something, knit, sew, craft, write... be creative.

One of the most overlooked parts of the last month is making a plan for postpartum self-care...

The finish line isn't birth and getting your baby out... while that's important. The goal is overall wellness and your birth (baby's) and yours as a mama.

How are you going to take care of yourself? Learn about "lying in". Consider this plan...
3 days in/around your bed or room
3 days in/around your couch
3 days in/around your house

Investing in concentrated healing will help you SOOOO much in the long run. You need to realize the overall big picture of healing and restoring your body and the sacredness of time you have to set aside with your baby and family as you all adjust.

Set yourself up for postpartum before hand.

It's ok to rest, take it easy and not be "super woman" postpartum, you don't need to prove anything to anyone ... you have a literal gaping wound on your insides... and you and your little one need to adjust to life. Give this time what is required of it.

Give yourself GRACE!

This is my motto these days. I feel like I'm failing everyone and being a huge flop... relationally, physically and mentally. I'm just out of whack. But, the reality of my situation is that I'm exhausted, hurting, mentally preoccupied and sort of all focused relationally (emotionally) on this baby. I am in the last days of growing a HUMAN BEING! While 255 babies are born each minute around the world, that doesn't mean that we should dismiss the personal impact of such a sacred and wonderful act.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world!" - John 16:20-22
If it's hard take care of yourself and realize this wonderful truth... they always come out. Each minute there are 255 new human beings to prove it! One way or another.  Rest in grace and let it be what guides you through this season of time!

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