one week to go*
I don't even know how to start writing this. As you can see from the subject, my due date is in exactly one week. SEVEN DAYS.
Now, of course, baby may not make her appearance on her due date (only about 4 percent of babies do). But still, January 19th is the number we've had in our heads since we first found out I was pregnant. It's circled and bolded on every calendar we own. I know that it's the last day of Capricorn and that one of my favorite gymnasts, Shawn Johnson, was born on this day in 1992 (and Jodie Sweetin! But not in 1992.).
So, regardless of when baby Lewin decides it's her birthday, we are getting damn close to D-Day. What might that "D" stand for? Due date, obviously. Delivery also works. Devastation (to my lady garden). But, as I mentioned in the last post, we're keeping a POSITIVE attitude here. So, let's go with delight. Or, daughter (!).
In other positive news, we are definitely in birth preparation mode. We have packed our "go bags," printed out our birth plan and Mike has the list of all the numbers he needs to call when I go into labor. To help everything run smoothly, I'm also taking a few homeopathic remedies, which you can see in the photo above. Now, all of you who are doctors: I can see your eye roll through the computer. But hey, if these herbs and oils have worked for midwives for centuries, I see no reason why they can't help me too.
Here's my arsenal:
Red raspberry leaf tea: This herbal blend is recommended for use in the second and third trimester. Benefits can include helping to reduce leg cramps, insomnia and nausea. There is also anecdotal evidence that drinking it regularly can help you during labor to have more effective (read: stronger) contractions, thus shortening a woman's overall labor time. As with everything else on this list, I guess we'll see when it all goes down. You can buy it here or in most health food stores.
Probiotics (Saccharomyces Boulardii): Unfortunately for me, I tested GBS positive, so I already know lots of antibiotics are in store for me once we get to the hospital. You can read more about what that means in this article. Luckily, in this country, we now test all pregnant women for it, so the chance of infecting an infant is very, very low, as long as you take the precautionary antibiotics once you're in labor. But, in an effort to lessen the effects of those drugs on my (and baby's) gut flora, I started taking this type of probiotics after we got the test results. I'll continue to take them after she's born for a few days/weeks and the hope is that we'll both avoid any nasty antibiotic-related side effects (thrush, stomach issues, etc). This specific type of probiotic was recommended to me by the excellent staff at Life Thyme because it can survive in the stomach even when you're taking antibiotics. You can buy it here, also.
Evening primrose oil: These capsules, made from the flower of the same name, are supposed to help dilate and efface your ... you know what. Basically, your body turns substances within the capsules into prostaglandins, a lipid compound which helps to stimulate labor. If you want to get all technical about it, you can start with this article. Available here.
Prenatal vitamins: I've been taking these since last January and have had no side effects with them at all, so I definitely recommend this brand.
As mentioned earlier, we're using Ina May Gaskin's and The Bradley Method books as our rough childbirth guides. The Bradley book especially has a lot of exercises you can do (both alone and with a partner) to help stretch your joints and ligaments in preparation for labor. We also bought an exercise ball (I got this one) that I try and sit on while we're watching TV. This late in pregnancy, it definitely feels great to do hip circles on it or even lightly (key word) bounce.
Do I think labor is imminent? Not exactly. I haven't really been experiencing any of the classic symptoms, yet. The most uncomfortable part about being 39 weeks pregnant for me is that my ribs are KILLING me. Everyone says that lessens once the baby "drops," so to speak, so we'll see if that makes a difference.
If you've been down this road before, what did you do to prepare?