37-38 Weeks: Preparing for a Pandemic Birth

Well I am officially 38 weeks pregnant today, which means I am about 2-3 weeks away from meeting baby. I have basically let go of any expectations for when he will arrive – I recently read this book (Amazon link – I may earn from your purchases) by hypnobirth expert Hollie de Cruz and she called it a “due time” instead of a due date, which I like. He will come sometime in the next few weeks, that’s for sure.

Symptoms

I have not had many pervasive symptoms that really stand out, outside what you expect at the end few weeks of a pregnancy. Increased vaginal discharge is definitely one thing that happens, as your body prepares for baby’s arrival. Pantyliners are a must.

I can’t say I’m starving or not hungry, but deciding what to eat everyday has been exhausting. I can be starving but want nothing. Fruit is always a go to that I know I will eat, but everything else is hit or miss. Nothing really hits the spot. I definitely have developed a slight sweets craving at the tail end of this pregnancy – but again, fruit and yogurt have been a good alternative though I did recently enjoy Sunshine Doughnuts in Burlington for Maggie’s birthday and Cinnaholic from the Bloor St location (so good!).

The past few days I’ve had low back pain and increased pelvic pressure again. Despite stretching, yoga and movement – I think at this point it’s just waiting for baby to come and relive these discomforts. Massage remains the most helpful for dealing with this! I highly recommend prenatal massage for all pregnant women who can access it and/or have insurance coverage. It not only helps with the aches and pains but it’s incredibly relaxing which does also help your body prepare for birth.

I’ve also had more Braxton Hicks than ever before, and some more “real” contractions but no patterns. I’ve been crampy too but again – no patterns. Tylenol helps me sleep if I’m crampy at night and I’ve basically got on a nightly bath or shower schedule to help ease the discomfort.

38 Week Midwife Appointment

My BP remains normal and belly measuring on part with where I am at. Little guys HR was about 135 yesterday – it’s crazy how consistent he is when compared to his sister who was often high!

This week we discussed more about birth – this has been an ongoing topic for the past few visits, but now that I’m close we also checked to make sure baby remained head down (he has) and that he is engaged in the pelvis (which is very much is).

We discussed birth preferences again (for me and also for baby when he is born – informed choices!!) and also post dates. Last pregnancy I was induced at 40+5 weeks because my water broke at 40+4 and I did not go into labor. Because we had to keep going back into the hospital for checks if I didn’t get induced (and we already had our bags packed), I decided to go ahead with the induction.

I have shared my birth story before, but it was not at all a negative experience it just wasn’t exactly the birth experience I had envisioned.

I had hoped to have an unmedicated birth that allowed me to move around – I did get that to start but the contractions on pitocin were too much for me and I decided, after a discussion between contractions with my midwife, to pursue the epidural. No regrets – it was totally worth it and my pushing phase was long-ish but not painful or uncomfortable as a result. Maggie and I were both well after and we were discharged with a home visit the next day after 3 hours (and when I could pee).

This time I really hoped to revisit my original birth vision. Reading Hollie de Cruz’s book (mentioned at top of this post) has really helped me to understand that it’s not about the perfect birth but a positive one. I did get this with Maggie – it was overall a very positive experience with positive outcomes. However, there were ways in which it was certainly challenging and where I was very much working against my body (almost without knowing it). I never thought I’d be a “hypnobirth” person, mostly because I didn’t understand what it was – but it’s really just a more positive way of thinking about birth and a tool kit of ways to cope with surges (contractions) and pressure (pain), and how to encourage your body to do what it should to help baby arrive. I liked the book because it sets no expectations – you can follow hypnobirthing no matter what type of birth you have. That’s actually the magic of it – you teach yourself and your mind to adapt, no matter the way your birth goes. This is to encourage an overall positive experience.

That being said – there are still “goals” or ideas that I’d like in this birth. I have been practicing flexibility though and acceptance for any pathway, but you’re certainly still allowed to have your preferences. For me, this time it’s: no epidural (mostly so I can move!) and no induction. Those are of course open to reassessment – I never say “no” entirely just, I would prefer not to… Medical necessity of course trumps my preferences – and I have other things I can still hold onto if I have to let bigger things go. I will likely talk more about my other informed choices as I complete that series, but my word of advice is not to have a birth plan – but to definitely have written down or have your partner/provider aware of any important preferences you have. Sometimes even when our circumstances change – these things can be supported, so don’t be afraid to share them and advocate (and have your partner do this when you cannot). Your main goal should of course be a safe, healthy birth with a healthy mama of a healthy baby!

Preparing for Birth

I’ve been “preparing” in many ways – one is by reading the book I mentioned and I now have a far more extensive toolkit of coping mechanisms and just guidance for how I think about birth. A few weeks ago I was feeling scared – the past few days I actually feel very zen and just ready to be woman and take on whatever comes my way!

Another way is by nesting – I want my house all ready for baby. We are pretty much there now, just a shelf to hang and some last minute laundry to complete. I have had the nesting urge for a few weeks – but have been trying to spread out my tasks so I don’t physically overdo it and regret it the next day. I shared on IG that I’ve done a diaper/breastfeeding cart and I’ll be sharing that soon with all its details.

I’ve also been doing yoga and/or the Miles Circuit. I’ve really enjoyed this yoga channel the past few weeks – I do it either in the afternoon if I have the energy, or just before bed to help me wind down. I liked the Fiji McAlpine classes on DoYogaWithMe earlier in pregnancy, but find them a bit much now that I’m at the end. If you’re not familiar with the Miles Circuit it can help prepare a baby for birth (engage them in the pelvis, etc) and may also help turn a baby who is OP or “sunny side up”. Keep in mind that most babies do turn anyways either just before birth or during labor, but it can still be helpful to set yourself up for success.

Keeping moving – walking and stairs, is also important to encourage engagement. Cat/cow poses are good for helping position baby too, and things like pelvic tilts as suggested by Spinning Babies (another good option). None of these things are guaranteed – but some people find success in them and if you like this kind of stuff & yoga-like movements, you may enjoy trying them out.

I have prepared for birth in some other ways (because of the pandemic) – but I think I’ll wait till after his arrival to share them. My next update will be at 40 weeks or perhaps before! We shall see.

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