Week 31 ~ February 2, 2004
~ Changed Due Date
I'm actually writing this one week after my last entry, but my due date has been officially changed to be more in line with when I believe I conceived, so I just magically gained a week! It's a bit scary to know that the baby could arrive in as few as six weeks and still be considered full-term.
I had yet another midwife appointment this week with yet another ultrasound (my third and hopefully final). Once again, everything measured big. The good news is that my fluid level is now only slightly elevated, and I measured only three weeks ahead instead of four or five. My weight gain continues to be excellent, with a total gain of 21 pounds so far. Much better than the 42 lbs I managed to put on with my daughter!
The ultrasound once again showed the baby being quite large, with an estimated weight of 4 lbs 9 ozs. More worrisome, his head circumference is measuring the same as the average 35 week baby. I know that ultrasound weight measurements are very dubious and shouldn't be relied on, and so does my midwife, but she felt that coupled with how large I've been measuring and my own belief that this baby is bigger than my last, we need to be prepared for the possibility of a 9-10 pound baby. She said she would be much more concerned if this were my first baby, but since she knows that I've already successfully delivered one 9+ lb baby, she feels confident that we can manage another one. Her only concern right now is that I might go overdue, giving the baby time to grow up to some absurd weight. She is not a fan of inducing labor, but she did say that we should keep an open mind about some natural induction methods like stripping the membranes and nipple stimulation if I get close to my due date and my cervix appears favorable. We both agreed on no pitocin unless it's a true emergency. I do not want to have a medical induction just because an ultrasound indicates my baby may be a little large, as medical inductions often lead straight to c-sections and we can't know the baby's true size or my ability to deliver him until after the birth.
For now, she suggested I continue with my yoga, do lots of squats and if I have a birth ball, sit on it a little each day to help prepare my body for the possibility of a large baby. There are birth balls available at the hospital for labor, but I don't have one myself. I may go ahead and order my own, but I know that my daughter will fight me for possession of a large, colorful ball you can sit on!
We talked again about how tired I've been and how many Braxton Hicks I've been having, and she reassured me that this was normal and nothing to be concerned about. We talked a bit about having Susanna attend the birth, hospital procedures and what to do if I suspect I'm in labor. She knows that I'm planning to stay home throughout early labor and was very supportive of that decision. I have the number of the maternity care coordinator and have to schedule an appointment to fill out paperwork. I'm hoping to learn more about the hospital and its policies on newborn procedures then. I've already been told a bit about them by the midwife, but I'd like the reassurance of hearing everything again from the hospital personnel. We can also schedule a tour and if we like, enroll Susanna in a sibling class. I would like to, but only if I can attend with her. She has never been in a classroom environment (we're homeschoolers) and I doubt she would understand how to behave. Since she's extremely energetic and enthusiastic, she might well be too disruptive to a group of older kids who have already been in daycare and school for years.
This pregnancy seems to be progressing so much faster than my first! I need to really start preparing myself mentally and emotionally for the birth and labor. I'm not nearly as nervous about it as I was my daughter. Even though my labor with her was very long and I ended up agreeing to more interventions than I wanted, I feel like it has prepared me for this one. I know that each labor is different, but I also know what labor will feel like, I have a better sense of how to pace myself through it and I have more ideas on how to cope with labor pains and exhaustion. I just hope that all this knowledge doesn't foresake me in the heat of the moment!