Yes, today I've completed 39 weeks of pregnancy. This is what my "Pregnancy Stages" email newsletter had to say for this week:
Many women suddenly get an overwhelming urge to clean and
straighten absolutely everything around this time -- especially
during the slow waiting game at the end of pregnancy. This
nesting instinct is actually a biological drive, so as long as you
don't go crazy (no dusting from atop a high ladder, for example)
go with it!
This kid is ready to go! All of his systems are up and running, and
his brain is functioning better every day. Your fully developed
baby is now biding his time, getting in some R&R during his final
days in the womb.
Nesting's great and all, but make sure it doesn't get out of control --
you're not superwoman, remember? Don't push yourself too far;
your baby certainly won't know whether you've taken a toothbrush
to the grout in the bathroom. Best to save up some of that energy
-- you're gonna need it for labor!
Well, the nesting instinct has been very strong, especially since we're planning a homebirth and all the activity will happen here. I feel this overwhelming urge to make sure everything is in order at all times!!! It's the only time I can remember vacuuming more than once a day (usually it's somewhere around once a week!) and doing tiny loads of laundry all the time ("Aaugh! There's three dirty socks and a dishtowel in the hamper! Must do laundry!!" And this coming from the woman who normally finds the most ingenious ways to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the time between loads of laundry, as in "just sponge off the front of that shirt and it will be fine to wear again.") Also, why do I feel the need to wash the baseboards in the kitchen? I'm usually good if I get the sticky handprints washed off the front of the fridge. The upside is that being on hands and knees can help turn a posterior baby, if this one should happen to be so. Anyway, I've folded and refolded the baby clothes multiple times, repacked the tub of birth supplies, and put 3 dozen muffins in the freezer. Never know when you'll want a muffin. So I think I'm ready. If only no one had to LIVE here until the baby is born!
On the other side of things, I feel really content being pregnant still. It's a precious time that I have with my baby and I don't want to wish it away. I remember the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy with Matthias being TORTURE because I was so anxious for it to be over and to be holding my baby. Then afterwards I wished I would have treasured each of those days with him inside me while he was still alive. I felt like I cheated myself out of time with my baby by wishing it away. And then with Moses, I again was discontent at the end of my pregnancy, feeling that I had waited SO LONG to hold a baby in my arms that I just couldn't wait for the pregnancy to be over. Two nine-month pregnancies back-to-back seemed like too long to wait to have a living baby. That lead to a 38-week induction, which I wish I would have passed on and just waited for labor to happen naturally. I'm glad there has been grace for me in all these shortcomings.
So here I am, one week from my due date. Baby has "dropped" (leaving me feeling less cramped for space internally, but with a strange sensation that the baby is going to fall out if I stand for too long) and I've had plenty of "warm-up" signs like strong, irregular contractions, cramping and a dull lower-back ache. None of this means that I'll deliver imminently, but that yes, it will happen eventually. Could be more than a week. My midwife offered to do a "stretch and sweep" at my appointment next week if I haven't delivered by then, to help get labor going. But I think I'll decline. I am (mostly, usually) content in this moment, hugely pregnant with a baby I love dearly, feeling those violent hiccups and cramped stretches. One of the lessons and the blessings God taught me through losing Matthias is to be content, joyful, thankful, at peace, right here, right now. I'm certainly NOT those things all the time, or even most of the time. But more than I used to be.
"Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things." Ecclesiastes 11:5