40 + Weeks Pregnant and T-Minus 3 Days Until Baby

I’M STILL PREGNANT. I officially get text messages and calls every day, checking in to see if the baby has arrived. I’m currently 40 weeks and 2 days preggers. While I am loving all the contact from my favorite people, I really love that I will be able to finally say in a few more days–yes, the baby is here! Because as of this morning, we have a cut off.

Here’s some side by side sweetness of me 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant with Isla (the day she arrived), and then 40 and 2 days with this bambino.

40plusweekspregnant

Last week when I went to the doctor, I was officially told I cannot be induced. Since my last pregnancy resulted in a csection and there is only about 15 months between deliveries, I am not eligible. The midwife I saw also told me if the baby doesn’t come on its own by 41 weeks, it probably won’t without some help. And since that’s not an option, and now that I’m overdue, I had to pick an end date. My options were next Tuesday (41 weeks, 2 days) or this Friday (40 weeks and 5 days). Next week would be a surgery with a doctor I’ve never met and after much discussion with Chris, we chose Friday as our cut off.

This is not a decision I made without a lot of thought, and tears. Since I cannot be induced, if this baby doesn’t come on its own, the end of the line is another csection and I’m trying not to feel guilty about this decision. Ultimately, I think it would be nice to have the “natural” birth experience, but as with all things motherhood, a lot of the decision making is out of our control. You’d think I’d be used to this by now.

Initially the decision of VBAC or csection was made for me. The baby was breech like Isla and I had mentally prepared myself for another surgery. However, when they checked the baby’s position at 34 weeks and told me it was head down, I was disappointed that I now needed to decide. I immediately scheduled a csection just in case the baby moved again. And because I wasn’t prepared to think about a natural delivery at that point.

That csection was supposed to be last Wednesday and I didn’t cancel it until a week before. At that point, the head was way down (it still is), I was starting to efface and dilate. It took me forever to decide, but after making multiple pros and cons lists, I knew I had to at least try for the VBAC for my own peace of mind.

Making this choice, I considered two major parts. The physical side and the emotional side.

Physically, having gone through a csection already, I think it would (maybe) be easier to care for Isla after a VBAC vs. repeat csection. But I know we’ll make it through either way.  My doctor told me weeks ago he thought my recovery would be easier after a repeat csection if I had one. This is because they will be cutting through the same incision site. I also hope this is because I won’t lose as much blood. With my last csection they removed endometriosis they found. I lost a lot more blood than they thought and I went home recovering my iron stores for weeks. This meant I would literally have to sit down at the top of the stairs just because I would start to black out and be out of breath. I wasn’t out of shape. I just didn’t have the iron my body needed.

That being said, even so exhausted, I was doing some slow hiking by 3 weeks postpartum, while baby wearing. So, I can’t really complain. The first two weeks after any kind of birth is tough, but I know I’ll be back to feeling more like myself no matter how this baby arrives. And I have to find solace in that. If this baby is going to come out via surgery, at least it’s the best kind of surgery I can have. The kind that results in a baby. Michele’s reminder: there’s a BABY at the end of the journey!

I know that last part is so obvious (see photo above), but sometimes I seriously forget I’m pregnant. I have Isla keeping me so busy and I often feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. This time around I haven’t had strong pregnancy cravings, I haven’t felt extremely limited physically, and I’ve now had two full term pregnancies in two years–that’s a lot of time that I’ve spent pregnant! I guess some days, it just feels like a new kind of normal to me. Though truth: by the end of every day in the last couple weeks, I normally want to cry because I feel so huge and uncomfortable. Thank you full belly and achy, tired joints, oh–and hormones. Haha. That final look in the mirror while brushing my teeth is a slap in the face reminder screaming, Hello! Yes, you’re pregnant! And then next: I won’t be forever. Sometimes Chris is the one that reminds me of that second part. Initiate eye roll now.

Emotionally, I made this decision for myself with no judgement for the same decision so many other women have had to make. The decision of VBAC or csection is an extremely personal one. When you have a csection you can always opt for another automatic csection. Or, if your doctor okays it, you can try for a vaginal delivery.

In the last several weeks, as I’ve been mulling this over, I feel like I’ve been drafting two blog posts with all of these women in mind. One is titled, “I had a repeat csection, so what?” and the other, “I had a VBAC, so what?”. I know this decision is often a tough one for many moms. After much Googling and talking with other women, I also know it’s a decision a lot of moms are judged for. When I personally tell people I might have a repeat csection, I’ve have actually had people say they’re sorry. Like they feel sorry for me. And people repeatedly tell me they hope I can have a natural birth. On the other side, some moms who have VBACed have told me not to do it while others have told me their experience was blissful. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the subject and I can only say from firsthand experience, it takes a lot of strength and courage to make the decision that is right for yourself and your family. Ultimately, it shouldn’t matter.

After being instructed to pick an end date, I went so far as to say during a family walk around the block this past weekend that I felt like my body is failing me in another way again. First I couldn’t get pregnant on my own for years, then I couldn’t stay pregnant, and now it doesn’t seem to want to deliver babies. Chris literally stopped me in my tracks and told me to look at Isla. He said, “Look at her. Shes’s beautiful. And it doesn’t matter how she got here.” And he’s exactly right. We have this beautiful daughter and it doesn’t matter how she got here. And soon enough we’ll have another baby adding to the joy we experience every day and it doesn’t matter how this baby arrives either. As long as we’re all healthy we are so fortunate to have the ability to deliver these babies using whatever means available. It’s that kind of thinking that’s seeing me through my choice.

So yeah, we’re having a baby by the end of the week! We’re not totally sure how the baby will arrive, but we have an end game plan in place. And I’m finally feeling comfortable with that.

Now that I’ve poured out so much info about VBAC vs. csection, I will share that I’ve still been trying all I can to not be pregnant forever and induce labor naturally. Today’s trick, some “labor inducing cookies.”

cookies-belly

A friend shared this recipe this morning and after dropping Isla off at day care, I bought the few ingredients I didn’t have in my pantry to make a batch. I didn’t even try to health-ify the recipe. Something I definitely do almost 100% of the time. I stuck to the full butter, full sugar, spicy cookies. No stranger to spicy foods (my favorite hot sauce is a habanero hot sauce from Belize and I’ve been eating lots of it lately), who knows if they’ll work, but I will say they’re not too bad. They’re like a gingersnap with a spicy finish. Regardless of the outcome, I think I can safely say I’ve tried every wive’s tale possible. There’s nothing like being 40+ weeks pregnant to make you do lots of desperate and crazy things! If they work, I’ll let you all know. But for now, just hold on for a baby update by sometime next week. WILD!

Have you induced labor naturally before? What are your favorite tips and tricks? Share in the comments below. 

Hospital Bag Checklist

Another week and another post saying I’m still pregnant! Seriously, I’m not at my due date so I guess I should be patient. I just didn’t think I’d go this far past 37 weeks without having a baby, especially with all my symptoms. Alas, I am. So I’m doing my best to keep living every day and making the most of things. It is getting more difficult to do some things (like pick stuff up off the ground), but I know I’m almost done! I can’t be pregnant forever. It’s October and sometime this month we will have another baby.

I find I’m having a mix of good and “bad” days. We went for another big hike over the weekend. Another 2.5 miles on a local favorite with a steep incline at the beginning. As always, the view was worth the work.

hike.jpeg

But, clearly it didn’t help this baby come any faster. The rest of my workouts have been more found exercise, with a couple 20 minute workouts on two days of the week, either first thing in the morning or during naptime. Plus, at least one walk per day.

Generally, keeping up with Isla who is an incredibly active 14 month old is a lot of work and feels like enough of a workout if I’m honest. She has wanted to be carried a lot. Thankfully, prodromal labor seems to have stopped, but carrying Isla around often causes lots of braxton hicks. I have been doing squats while she plays, push ups on the side of the couch, tricep dips, rows, walking lunges around the yard. I’m always moving and trying to make the most of my time. That being said, I do look forward to my stronger workouts once the new baby has settled in and my body is feeling better.

Thinking about having the baby, I’m sharing some info about my hospital bag. I know there are a ton of these hospital bag packing lists on the internet, but having had a baby last year, I’m adding my list to the masses. I used a lot of the lists I had seen on Pinterest and I’ll be honest, I brought way too much stuff! So, I’m putting my short term memory to use (one of the perks of having had a baby 14 months ago) and sharing what I packed in my hospital bag this time around.

I guess I should preface this by saying I am a pretty minimal packer. I like to bring just the essentials, plus maybe a few conveniences. I have a ton of minimal packing lists how-to’s on my Pinterest travel board. A couple years ago, my husband and I backpacked through Europe for two and a half weeks, each with one backpack (mine weighed 19 pounds fully packed, his weighed 40 pounds).

Earlier this year, we traveled as a family of three to California (with our then nine month old) living out of one backpack, a diaper bag and a stroller. Our main bag weighed almost 50 pounds, but it sustained us for a week of enjoyment. I would want to do the same thing for our soon to be family of four too. Even if it means I have to wash some socks in the sink.

So yes, my hospital bag is fairly minimal. Some people include things like comfy towels from home for the shower at the hospital and you won’t find that here. I don’t want to do any more laundry when I get home after having a baby than I have to. So a scratchier hospital grade towel is a-okay in my book. Though if it’s not in yours, that’s okay too.

For baby: 

  1. Little brother/little sister outfit – We don’t know if we’re having a boy or girl, but we want to have a cute photo op when our big girl and the new baby meet. Isla has a sweet big sister outfit to match one of these options.
  2. Hats – Our baby can wear a lot of the hospital supplied onesies for the little time we will spend at the hospital. Again, it makes clean up and laundry at home a ton easier! However, I like to be able to distinguish the baby’s gender with a couple sweet hats. We packed two for a boy and two for a girl.
  3. Formula – When I had Isla, I didn’t bring this item. While I was able to breastfeed, her glucose got very low at one point and I needed to give her a little formula. As a mom who eats a lot of organic food, I was really upset to use a conventional formula from the hospital. So this time, I’m bringing my own, just in case!
  4. Going home outfit – Again, since we don’t know if we’re having a boy or girl, we have a gender neutral going home outfit, complete with a onesie, pants with feeties, and little hat. I know moms say it all the time, but I seriously can’t believe how tiny these clothes are!
  5. Car seat
  6. Pacifier – This is something I want to have just in case. We didn’t use one until Isla was really comfortable breast feeding (after about one week), but that can come at a different time for all babies. So, we’ll have our pacifier with us.
  7. Swaddle blanket – This is great to not only swaddle the baby, but I can use it as a breastfeeding cover up too if I need it. Another gender neutral pattern!

For mom: 

  1. Robe – I love having a comfortable robe for at the hospital. It makes feeding the baby easy and layers easily over my nightgown or other clothes.
  2. Nightgown – since I had a c-section last time, I wanted to make sure I had something that didn’t have a waistband to wear at the hospital. This nightgown has a built in bra top that cuts right under the bust. So, it provides some support for my filling boobs, and it’s not terribly old ladyish. I can actually wear this 9 months pregnant, or normally. Win, win!
  3. Going home outfit – Living in New England, the weather has been cool in the mornings and warm in the afternoons. So, I packed a skirt and tank top to go home in. I can always layer a jacket over this for the ride home (I’ll have one stashed in the car).
  4. Socks – I like to bring two pairs of socks I don’t mind getting dirty and throwing away if need be. Hospitals are clean because they’re hospitals, but how many people have seen white socks turn black? So, I bring a couple pairs of thick Hanes socks and call it a day.
  5. Sweat pants and long sleeved shirt – I like to be comfortable in the hospital. I can also use this as my going home outfit if it’s a cooler or rainy day.
  6. Nursing bras – an essential item!
  7. Depends – This was just more convenient. A recommendation many people made online and I’m glad I followed.
  8. Underwear – Just some inexpensive Hanes granny panties. I pack these, but also take full advantage of the disposable underwear from the hospital. I still have some of those stashed at home from last year too. Isn’t postpartum life so glamorous?
  9. Overnight pads – Eventually I wanted to use pads and I didn’t want to use the ginormous hospital grade ones. Seriously, have they ever updated those?
  10. Special Toiletries – A client gifted this toiletries set to me last year. She said it’s nice to have some nice soaps and shampoos at the hospital and I loved having this last year. This is one of those extra amenities I really enjoyed and made sure to pack again this year.
  11.  Stretch oil – I have been using this stretch oil throughout my entire pregnancy and I know it’s important to also keep my skin hydrated after I have this baby too. I love that I can actually use this oil as a full body oil. It’s light, but hydrating.
  12. Boob butter – I used this after I breastfed every time at the hospital last year and I’m glad I did. Isla was a serious cluster feeder and I felt like this saved my boobs.
  13. The Stick – I didn’t bring this last year, but since I’m trying for a VBAC, I thought this might be a helpful tool if I’m having a lot of back labor. This is one of my favorite tools for self myofascial stretching at home, and it’s also a great massage tool. It might save Chris’s hands.
  14. Belly wrap – This was a life saver at the hospital and when I went home last year. I’m wondering if I’ll be as interested if I have a VBAC, but after a csection, I loved how it helped support my shredded (literally) stomach.

Last, but not least, we pack so many snacks.

snacks

Our hospital food is not very good. It’s full of preservatives and pesticides and when I’m trying to refuel my body either after a surgery or delivery, I’d like to have some tastes from home that are a little more nutritious. I certainly don’t pack the healthiest snacks, but it’s comforting to have food that I know I like. Some of our favorites include beef jerky, veggie sticks (something salty for after labor), Tate’s Bake Shop cookies (something sweet), Kind bars, Annas’s Swedish Thins (I love these with cheese or with tea), some juice boxes, trail mix, gum, and raspberry leaf tea (to help my uterus recover). Also not pictured are some instant oatmeal cups with chia and flax. I love that all I need is some hot water to enjoy this healthier breakfast or snack. And last, but not least, seltzer! It’s nice to have something other than water.

What do you pack in your hospital bag? Share in the comments below.