By the end of this week, you will be carrying a full-term baby. I know, I know, my due date isn’t for another few weeks, but those last few weeks are really just giving me a little extra time to pile on the pounds and practice all of those essential new baby skills. Because I’m prepping for life in the ‘real world’, I’m getting rid of the last of the downy hair and waxy coating that’s been protecting for the past eight months. Where does that stuff go? I actually swallow it, along with a bunch of other secretions, to form that blackish ‘meconium’ mixture that I’ll pass in my first bowel movement (which sometimes occurs during birth).
At some point during these final weeks, you’ll probably feel me ‘drop’ down so that I’m positioned right by your pelvis in preparation for delivery. Typically speaking moms who’ve already had a baby don’t experience this ‘lightening’, so if you’re on baby #2 (or more), don’t worry if things feel a little different this go-round. Now, as you’ve probably guessed, a change in my position means a change in how you feel. Namely, you may feel more uncomfortable walking or feel some serious pressure in your birth canal. Of course, more pressure in your mid-section means more trips to the bathroom than ever. You also might be feeling those Braxton Hicks contractions more frequently. Remember the signs of a real contraction versus a ‘fake’ one – it’ll save you false alarm trips to the hospital.
This week’s big tip? As much as your life has changed already during pregnancy, it’s about to change even more once I’ve arrived. Schedule some social time with your nearest and dearest now to take your mind off the stresses of pregnancy and enjoy some evenings out that you probably won’t be able to take quite as easily once you’ve got a newborn in the house. Go on a special date night with my dad, enjoy a movie night with your close friends, or even just spend an evening with your own parents talking about their experiences when you were born. Cherish these final evenings, but of course, look forward to your future.
Talking things over – fears, worries, dreams, excitement – with your closest friends and family can be soothing in these final weeks. No matter what, I hope you believe that being a mom and being pregnant is truly a gift. “Babies are bits of stardust from the hand of God. Lucky the woman who knows the pangs of birth for she has held a star.” – Larry Barretto (Author)