Wednesday, October 28, 2009

38 Weeks -- "Full Term" and the henna

Estimated due dates are just that--estimates. For years a baby has still been considered "on time" if it was born anywhere between 38-42 weeks. The formulas uses to estimate due dates are not always reliable, and some babies just seem to need a little longer in the oven than others. ☺ In more recent years, some providers have begun to consider 37 weeks as full term, or at least close enough to full-term that the baby will not likely have complications as a result of prematurity, however 38 weeks is still pretty standard, at least in my book.
So, today makes me full term.


And just as a note, the third trimester (particularly this last month) is the one time in my life when I don't feel like a large-busted lady...somehow the belly manages to overwhelm even my generous endowment for a few weeks. Of course, as soon as the kiddo arrives my belly will shrink and my milk will come in and I will be more top-heavy than ever. Ahh the irony!
It’s the calm before the storm. Changes in your baby's weight have leveled off with only a few ounces of fat added this week. At this point your baby should weigh in at around 7 lbs and 20 inches (with boys somewhat heavier and longer than girls). Happily, as far as internal organs go, they are now developed enough to function in the outside world although the oh-so-important immune system is still developing and will continue to do so after birth. With a large boost of antibodies provided by breast milk when nursing begins. Fighting infection and staying healthy should be well within their physical capacity when your little fighter is born.

Your health care provider will assess the likelihood of where you are relative to your upcoming birthing process—seeing as you’ve now arrived at that waiting phase that could turn into labor at any time. Various charming indicators such as loose stools, expelling your mucus plus (along with the bloody show), a dilated cervix and increased Braxton-Hicks contractions are all signs that labor is only a few days away. The infamous water breaking may or may not be your first true indicator that labor has commenced. However, water breaks for only 15% of mothers and despite what Hollywood would have us believe, is more frequently just a slow leak rather than a large gush.

(But I have a plastic sheet on my bed under the sheet just in case, so that I don't ruin our new mattress!! ☺)
Yesterday I saw my midwife and asked her if she'd do an internal check (she doesn't do them until ~39 weeks unless the mother asks). The baby's head is at a -2 station (2 cm above the pelvic bone) and I'm 1 cm dilated but very very soft. That means that once he comes down enough to engage (put pressure on my cervix) things will probably move right along, but for the moment nothing much is going on. I've had a few pretty good contractions (Sunday night I had several strong ones quite close together and started to wonder if labor was starting) but they have never continued more than half an hour. So I know we're getting close, but 'close' could mean two days or two weeks. It's normal to dilate a cm or two (or four) in the weeks preceding labor, and it doesn't mean that labor is imminent.
Be patient: if labor doesn’t start this week, or even next, keep in mind that only 4-5% of women actual deliver on their predicted due date. What’s more if this is your first pregnancy, you can expect to be anywhere from two days to two weeks late. You can distract yourself by keeping track of fetal movements, mostly to reassure yourself that all is well with your little miracle. In the off chance that movements do start to decrease substantially, try not to freak out and instead, call your doctor of midwife and discuss it with them.
If you're having trouble sleeping (which about 100% of women in this phase of pregnancy are), try to take little catnaps during the day, get one of those neato full-body pregnancy pillows, or at least lots of pillows that you can shove between your legs and under your belly to support your awkward shape more comfortably. Also, if you're feeling weird electrical tingles in your legs and inside your vagina, this would be none other than your not-so-little baby hitting various nerves as they settle into the pelvic area.

Last weekend I gathered some women in my home and we put henna on my belly. Some of you may remember that I did this last time I was pregnant, but I am much happier with the results this time--I like the design better, and the stain is much darker and should last better as well.
(Yes, I have managed to acquire a few new stretch marks this time--they didn't start coming out until these last couple of weeks, but all along the top there is a new little row...yet another reason for me to think that Eagle is bigger than his brother Bear was...)

(with the paste on--including the glitter dust)

Here's a short breakdown of the reasons behind the design:
The spiral is a symbol of eternity (significant in that this baby is being born into an eternal family)
The sunburst is a symbol of birth or new beginnings
Each of the little symbols within the spiral were either drawn by my friends/family who attended, or represent those that could not attend.
♥Dragon (lower left) is Hubby
♥Car (center) drawn by Bear (he made some little circles then told me it was a car and asked me to "fix it better" so I did)
♥Mountains (lower right) drawn by Wolf. He said they weren't very good (applying henna takes a little practice) but I can see mountains, can't you?
♥Flower (bottom center), pink butterfly (just above flower), and baby with aura (upper left) were drawn by my friends who attended.
♥Forget-Me-Not (blue flower--upper right) is for my mother. Horseshoe, (purple) celtic knot, and the heart are for my sisters.
♥The leaf (for new life), the concentric circles (for birthing), and star (for light) round out the design, with a few little artistic dot trios to fill in the empty spaces.
(after the paste was off--the actual stain of the henna)

I love this picture...we used glitter dust on parts of the wet henna, and the boys were blowing off the excess so we could take the photos...


JennyMac said...

I have never seen henna on a pregnant tummy. Looks fantastic!

Sanity said...

I love henna tats.... I think that's one of the things I'm going to do when we conceive.

Nicawest said...

Hee hee. It makes me chuckle every time I read weight averages on pregnancy calendars. 7 lbs at 38 weeks. My son was born before 38 weeks and was 9lbs 13oz! Even my 36 weeker was 7lbs 13oz.
(I recognize that everyone is different and the sizes are just averages to give moms an idea. It's just funny to me...I'm so *different*! ;D )

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