This week started with a family day out. Thankfully it wasn't anything like the Griswolds would have had (we have been watching those National Lampoons movies most nights this week!). It was a really pleasant day! We drove up north a bit to Bribie Island and took Thomas to an aquatic centre there. He had a ball and Andrew and I also liked cooling off in the water. We then drove to the waters' edge and had some sandwiches for lunch and Thomas had some fun on the playground there. I was hoping to see some dolphins, as they apparently frequently are seen in that area, but had no such luck. We had another outing on Sunday, to see the movie Monsters Inc. - it was GREAT! It has been so nice having some time with Andrew!
I have been doing a LOT of daydreaming again. The funny thing is that I can PICTURE everything - the labour, birth, holding little Katelyn in my arms, nursing her, bringing her home.. And yet, it still just doesn't seem REAL. It's like it is just too good to be true, if that makes any sense. It seems more a dream than something that is really going to happen. I guess I have been wanting it for SO long that I find it hard to believe it really will happen at all. If it DOES actually happen, I think I will be pinching myself to make sure I am awake and lucid!
I have been getting extremely excited but also incredibly anxious about the birth! My main anxiety is the pain. This time I really want to do it without drugs, especially an epidural, and I am just not sure if I can do it. I should probably explain that I have nothing against epidurals per se, but I found with Thomas's labour that once I had one the whole scenario changed. It was near the beginning of a whole cascade of interventions (the beginning was having some gel inserted to speed things up for some reason unknown to me), none of which I would like to have this time (eg. needing continuous fetal monitoring, being bedridden, the IV, catheter, needing pitocin because the epidural slowed things down, having a baby in distress because of the pitocin, not being able to push properly and needing forceps, which in turn necessitated a huge episiotomy.. You probably get the picture!) I want, if at all possible, to be able to move around, use the birthing balls, beanbag, hot shower, give birth in an upright position, push my baby out all on my own, and to avoid being cut unless it is absolutely necessary. My OB and the midwives at the hospital (they do most of the care during the labour, rubbing backs, suggesting positioning etc) are excellent and very supportive of a natural labour and birth so hopefully with them to help me I will be okay! At least I know that if I do end up having an epidural, it will be only as a last resort and I will know what I am getting myself in for!
I have been so clumsy lately! Normally, I am hardly Little Miss Coordination, but these days it seems if there is something that would hurt to walk into, I will hit it HARD. I have bruises and cuts on my knees, ankles, you name it! Just as well we have ice packs readily available! I have a lovely purple and black right knee that matches the varicose veins on the back of my left knee so nicely . . . LOL!
I think I am coping pretty well physically, given that I am so far along now, although I must say I am getting quite uncomfortable. My rib pain is quite intense, especially if I have been on my feet for a while, but I am thankfully able to sleep okay despite the pain. I have found that if I lie on my left side, supported by pillows, and stretch my right arm up over my head, the ribs feel so much better. I actually have the sleeping thing down pat now - despite the fact that I almost need a forklift to get up or to switch sides, once I am lying down, my pillow placement is such that I can get to sleep quite comfortably and quickly. Just as well it doesn't take me too long to fall asleep, as I am still needing to visit the toilet VERY frequently during the night. My feet and hands are very swollen, due partly I imagine to the heat, and I haven't been able to wear my rings for some time now nor my usual shoes. The problem is that even the sandals I bought in a bigger size are getting pretty uncomfortable now! Thomas told me the other day that I had big, fat ugly feet! (A real charmer, isn't he?) Oh well, at least they should get back to more or less normal a little while after the birth.
I have had this strange sensation during the week. It's like I am about to get my period - I feel that mild, crampy sort of feeling. I have also had diarrhea, lower back pain and LOTS of Braxton Hicks contractions, some of which have some real bite to them. I haven't been panicking, although these symptoms have had me a bit concerned about going into premature labour. I figured though that if I were to actually go into labour, things would have to intensify at some point. Let's face it - I highly doubt this level of discomfort would be sufficient to cause full dilatation. I am keeping an eye on things and if things escalate I will obviously make a phone call or two. If I can hang on for another four weeks or so I will be very happy!
On Tuesday and Wednesday I was feeling quite down and emotional. Wednesday was the day Andrew had to go back to work, and on Tuesday just the anticipation of that was enough to be upsetting. We managed just fine though and I put my energies into getting my bag packed! How exciting!! I have a bag packed for the hospital, which includes some stuff for use during labour (such as music, lollipops etc), and a change of clothes for Andrew; I also packed a little bag for Thomas, in case he needs to stay overnight at my parents' place. That thought scares me a bit, as he has actually never been without me overnight, let alone without Andrew as well. I know that my parents think it is silly that Thomas still sleeps with us, and I'm not so sure that they will be very sympathetic if Thomas gets upset at night. Oh well, we will cross that bridge if we come to it I guess. Hopefully I will go into labour early one morning and will have given birth well before bedtime! LOL!
So now I am pretty much ready to go! I even have a list of last minute things I need to add to my bag (such as my hairbrush and glasses I use for reading). Next week I will start making a few meals for the freezer. Basically I just need to get through the days now as best I can, knowing that each one gets me closer to the prize. And what a prize!! The excitement, anticipation, and yes the fear too, are all building up. I think I must have more adrenalin running around my body right now than Steve Irwin does when he is chasing some dreadfully venomous snake up a tree or wrestling one of those huge crocodiles! Deep breaths . . .