I know. It’s not an easy job carrying something the size of a pumpkin around every day. But that’s the size I am, and I’m still happily gaining some chub in my final days. I’m shedding some of that earlier skin to reveal new fresh layers that’ll be that much tender and softer for you to snuggle. Speaking of my skin, it’s probably pretty pale and whitish right now instead of the plump pink shade I’ve been for most of your pregnancy. Even if I’m to have darker skin, my body’s pigmentation hasn’t fully kicked in just yet. Finally, my brain is still developing like crazy – something it’ll keep on doing for the next three years. And to support my brain’s development, my neck muscles are also beefing up – but you’ll still need to support my head after I’m born.
While Braxton Hicks contractions are one thing, many women go into what’s called false labor around this point. These contractions may feel like the real deal – with sharp pains starting in the front of your body – but you’ll know you’re really having me when they start at the top of your uterus and work their way down. And of course, they’ll also be more frequent and regular. Other signs pregnancy is really (at least possibly) coming? If your water breaks, which occurs when membranes are ruptured and the amniotic fluid that’s been keeping me safe and sound leaks out. Or, you might see your mucus plug come out, which is the stuff that’s been keeping your uterus sealed tight. Keep in mind that even if you have one of these things happen, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to go into labor. It does mean you should get in touch with your doctor though.
I know we’ve been really focused on the time leading up to my arrival, but let’s talk about what to expect afterwards. First, you may have something like a period, called ‘lochia’ for anywhere from one to six weeks. Second, you’ll shed some of that baby fat pretty quickly. If you stepped on a scale within the first week, you’ll see you’ve lost up to 20 pounds between my weight, and all of that amniotic fluid and other protective cushioning your body was carrying. That doesn’t mean your body will snap back into its former shape – but at the very least you won’t be tipping the scales anymore. Finally, although mood swings are most closely identified with pregnancy, you might get the baby blues in those first few weeks of insomnia, stress, and a complete overhaul of your former life. Talk it out and lean on your loved ones for a little extra care and support – most women’s emotions center themselves after about three weeks time.
As the days tick by, know you’re closer and closer to meeting me. You can do it! I already know what you’re thinking; “Before you were born I carried you under my heart. From the moment you arrived in this world until the moment I leave it, I will always carry you in my heart.” – Unknown