37 Weeks | The Count Down Begins

37WEEKS

37WEEKSB

37 weeks means that, according to statistics, I can pretty much birth a thriving baby at any point starting now. So it could happen later today. Or it could be 3 weeks from now. Even as I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable, I’ve also found myself at times feeling surprisingly patient for the arrival. I’m ready / not ready. I’ve found myself with spurts of energy to get the house in order* and parenting books read – only to be coupled with a dose of denial and procrastination (What? I need a hospital bag? And a printed & signed birth plan?).

I also am very aware of each meal possibly being my last before baby. I ask myself “Will this obscene amount of caramel corn I’m eating give me the energy I need to push a baby out?” I’ve been battling the Christmastime sugar demons with eggs & oats in the morning and salmon and veggies in the evening. I also have been cautious about what color to paint my nails – I’m just not sure I want to bring our baby into this world with disco glitter nails. (Or maybe I do!?) Important decisions to be made, my friends.

Field Notes & Other Observations
• The baby has dropped and is in prime position to be born. His head is right where my pubic bone is. My midwife spent a lot of time with me yesterday showing me where all of his body parts were. It’s so cool to know where to pat his little bottom when I can feel him with hiccups.
• The baby is measuring on target – everything is progressing as it should.
• I don’t spend much time talking to the baby at all. I’m constantly thinking about him and rubbing on my belly or responding to his movements but I don’t read to him, talk to him, or put headphones on my belly. (I’m also not one to talk to my cats or to myself when I’m alone).
• I’ve been getting nauseated and super crampy in the evenings. The cramps feel like period cramps that start low in my abdomen and wrap around my back. I’ve been soaking in Epsom salt baths every evening and that seems to alleviate any discomfort.
• So, the more I read (and hear) about breastfeeding the more complicated and confusing it seems. I feel like the attitude towards having birth preferences is to remain flexible to whatever can happen but the attitude toward breastfeeding is that you better keep trying and stick with it no matter what happens or your baby will grow up to be an undernourished sociopath. That said, I’ve decided to hope for the best and remain flexible.
• Right now the baby is still moving around like a champ. Though, his sharp jabs have begun to feel a little more like rolls.
• He still doesn’t have a name. I think people think we’re keeping it a secret, but truly we just have no idea. Again, we have a short list of about 5 names that we’re seriously considering (Spike included). But again, I can’t even decide what color to paint my nails right now, much less name a baby. So we’re going to wait to greet him into this world before we commit to anything.

*Note: Jeremy is actually the one getting the house in order. He’s been amazing at getting stuff done around here.

 Anatomy of an Outfit:
• Vest – Patagonia
• Flannel – JCP
• Tee – BCBG
• Leggings – GAP (Maternity)
• Boots – UGGS

P.S. As of right now I’m more like 38 weeks pregnant. Which is significant when it comes to the count down.

 

  1. Kayla

    I keep obsessively checking back here as if we’re going to see a live birth or something! Ha ha. But seriously even this post got me excited. I can’t wait for the latest update. :)

  2. Kristin

    Picking a name is hard! A huge responsibility because they are stuck with it for life! With my first we waited to meet him and he remained nameless until the SS lady hounded us on the day we were leaving the hospital. We named him Henry, and 2 hours later called her back to change it to Cole because Henry didnt seem right. 18 months later we had a second boy and minutes after birth he was named Henry…and still is :) Good luck!

  3. Hailey

    Kathleen,

    I have been avidly following your blog (what’s new?) for years but even more since you’ve been pregnant and thinking of you so often throughout my days. You think like I do about this whole thing (or what I at least THINK I’d be thinking if I were pregnant.) With SO many women around me pregnant right now I definitely have baby fever. I already think you and Jeremy are some of the raddest people I know, so I just know, without a doubt, you’ll be some of the best parents.

    love xoxoxoxox
    Hailey

  4. Is it weird that while reading this post, I kept singing “The Final Countdown” to myself?

    Maybe I need to cut back on watching so much Arrested Development.

    Congrats on making it full-term, and I can’t wait to meet (via the internet, of course) your little guy…whatever his name will be!

    Oh, and I’m fully on board with the glitter polish idea. Sounds like an event that deserves some celebratory glitter!

  5. I was all procrastination! We had our baby last week (she was six days past her due date), and I’d only gotten the hospital bag packed the day AFTER she was due. Procrastination didn’t seem to cost us much … There is so little we’ve absolutely needed to take care I this tiny bit.

    And let’s hear it for wonderful husbands … Mine has kept me nourished the past week, and he.’a worn the baby when she’s not feeding so I can get rest.

    You’re in for a thrilling few weeks, and then forever!

  6. Ravyn

    Any day now!!! Wishing you the best labor & birth … Hoping it’s exactly what is best for your little family.

    Amen to the last meal thing: I had Taco Bell last night (not a shining food moment), and wondered if that was the wisest choice at 39 weeks.

  7. Oh, go with glitter polish!

    I’ll never forget all the pressure to breastfeed my friend got fm the hospital staff 13 years ago. Unreal to the point of inferring she was being inhumane. Sheesh.

    She called me in tears. Explained that breastfeeding wasn’t her gig & did that make her a horrible person? Well, of course it didn’t. And she had tried.

    At the time I was a corporate type in healthcare with no fear of hospital staff or physicians – male or female. I was hell bent in protecting my friend & her rights.

    Once I got to the hospital I got the whole story fm her … list of the breastfeeding enforcers. We had a circle of trust moment together … baby & all. We agreed to go at the enforcers with a united front.

    I can’t recall all the details, but the first person to come in waving the “lets breastfeed flag” got a stern No Thank You from the new mom, wrapped up with a “document it in the medical chart” from me followed with a — broadcast this to all staff & don’t ask again, from both of us.

    Pretty cool to see my friend find her confidence in the first step of a long dance with motherhood. She was back to happy.

    After that we were brought formula. We looked at each other horrified that neither of us had a clue as how to feed a newborn. I had no kids & this was her first.

    Our savior came in a very unusual looking nurse in her early 40’s. She had 70s bright blue eyeshadow, thick black mascara on her lashes & 6 feet tall with long blonde permed hair. Whoa! One who wasn’t concerned with breastfeeding or not. She taught us both how to feed that kid, who immediately tossed up all the formula. We freaked out & almost cried. She told us it was perfectly normal & to just give her more.

    To this day, we still talk about that nurse with huge respect !

    To breastfeed or not, whatever. : )

    Very excited for y’all.
    Seems like yesterday the “magic” was made.

    • I will say that from a purely hormonal / biological place I’d love to have a baby on my boob. In fact, I’d say that that’s how I knew I was perhaps ready to have a baby at all! I will absolutely try to breastfeed for the first 8 weeks (while I’m on my maternity leave) and go from there. I’m just trying to remain open to whatever happens – whether that’s technical difficulties or temperament (from me or baby).

      I’m horrified that the hospital wasn’t more helpful or accommodating to your friend. I get the whole “breast is best” gig but women’s rights and feelings shouldn’t go ignored. You sound like such a good friend! XO

  8. Erin

    You are SO right about the prevailing sentiments around how tied women can/should be to their birth preferences versus their feeding preferences.

    I can not tell you how completely ambivalent I was about breastfeeding while I was pregnant. I figured I’d give it a shot, but often felt very resentful of the expectation that OF COURSE I was going to nurse, as if it were a foregone conclusion. I pushed back on that by being incredibly non-commital about it, like a big middle-finger to the lactivist types.

    Having seen many, many, many friends become parents before me, I’ve been regaled with stories of babies with no latch, bad latch, poor latch, aggressive latch, flat nipples, inverted nipples, cracked nipples, bleeding nipples, cluster feeding, lack of supply, over supply, overactive let down and everything else that can and so often does make breastfeeding a whole lot of “work.”

    So I was prepared. I expected it to be really, really, REALLY hard. So hard. Harder than almost anything I’ve ever done before.

    But it wasn’t.

    In the end, I did give it a shot, and aside from the initial learning curve, wherein the 2 of us were figuring one another out (how do I hold his head AND my boob at the same time?), nursing has been exceptionally easy for me. Which is a good thing, because considering how I felt while pregnant, I’m not sure I’m the kind of woman who would have stuck it out, cracked, bleeding nipples and all.

    My son is a little over 7 months now, and I breastfed him exclusively for 6 months, which honestly surprises me, considering the fact that I never set any goal at all regarding duration. Due to some hormonal wackiness that is affecting my supply, I’ve been supplementing with formula for about a month now. Never, ever, ever have I bought into the idea that children who are formula fed are at some kind of measurable disadvantage in life, and I support any woman’s right to formula feed, no matter what her reasons are, even if they are purely “selfish.” (UGH. I hate even typing that, because I don’t believe it is selfish for a woman to choose formula over breast milk for any reason. It’s her prerogative, pure and simple).

    BUT.

    With ALL THAT SAID, I’m so, so happy that I did decide to breastfeed and while I’m still nursing several times a day, I DO feel a bit sad about the fact that we’re clearly on the slow slide toward full-on weaning, given my hormones’ refusal to cooperate. As it turns out…breastfeeding was MY CHOICE, and the fact that NOT breastfeeding (exclusively, anyway), is something I’ve essentially been forced to do by nature and the luck of the draw is definitely a bummer.

    Whatever happens, whatever you decide, whatever nature and your body and your son’s temperament and yada yada yada…whatever ALL THOSE THINGS have in mind as far as how your son will be nourished…be strong and have faith. He’s going to be great regardless, and you will too. :)

    PS: LOVE the name Spike. I tried desperately to convince my husband to name our son Rocco and he just wasn’t having it.

    • When I got pregnant I assumed it was no big deal! I mean baby + boobies. It seemed like a natural combination and not a problem. I’m hoping my experience is like yours and it indeed is no big deal! But I’m also glad to know there is so much awareness and help out there for women who do want to breastfeed their babies and are having a hard time with it.

      I look forward to giving it a shot and going with the flow (heh). Sending you some good vibes through this weaning process. Thank you for sharing your experience with me!

      P.S. I love the name Rocco! If my in-laws didn’t have a dog named Rocco I would seriously consider it.

  9. Allison

    I thought breastfeeding would be a breeze, and I was totally committed to it (not, of course, know what “it” would entail). We had a host of issues and my baby wasn’t gaining weight as he should. The internal and external pressure to breastfeed was overwhelming, and I was an incredibly anxious and sad mess for the first couple of months of my son’s life. I ended up pumping/bottle-feeding and supplementing, and it was fine. I just wish I had been kinder to myself during those months… I had NO idea breastfeeding could be so difficult. I’m glad you have more awareness about it, and I hope that it works well for you. Either way, you will both be ok.

  10. SusanA

    I’ve been checking in often, sometimes even more than once a day, in anticipation of a birth announcement. I can’t wait to “meet” your wee one. And I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve done with the nursery too.

    You are going to be great! You already are!

  11. Everybody on this planet should be birthed into this world by a disco glitter-lacquered mama. Seriously. I mean, when is it more appropriate? “This is really hurting like hell and I know it will end totally amazingly, but DAMN IF MY NAILS AREN’T SPARKLY AS SHIT.”

    And you’ll know his name when you see him. And if you don’t, it’s totally fine. He can be the nameless wonder for a little bit :-)

    You’ll rock it. Can’t wait to see his squishy face!!!

    • Kathleen

      You make a really great case for the disco nails! DONE! ;)

  12. I feel just like you! Nail color is hugely important to me before birth lol! (I’m trying to decide between black, red or light pink?) And you are so smart by remaining flexible with birth AND breastfeeding. If you can keep that flexible outlook, you really can’t lose no matter what happens! (Chances are really great that breastfeeding will work beautifully for you and the baby, but if it doesn’t it really isn’t the end of the world.) I’m so excited for you. It’s all going to be beautiful :)

  13. Christy

    Congratulations Kathleen!

    I discovered Braid Creative about the same time that you announced your pregnancy and I’ve enjoyed following along with your blog posts. It’s been especially exciting because I was also pregnant at the time and gave birth to my beautiful daughter on November 7th.

    I’m a graphic designer and prenatal yoga teacher, so you can imagine I had many ideas about having a natural birth experience. In the end I was induced 3 weeks early with preeclampsia. In short, my birth was not at all what I had envisioned but because of the amazing support I received as well as all the preparation I had done I felt very empowered through the process and have no regrets. It was a great adventure!

    My baby girl spent a week in the NICU being treated for jaundice because our blood types are incompatible. She was formula fed while I waited for my milk to come in, again, not at all what I had hoped for. Since we got her home 7 weeks ago I’ve been able to breast feed her, working through our challenges with the help of a lactation consultant. Since then I’ve felt compelled to assemble a short list of some resources that have been very helpful to me. I thought I’d share them here in case you and your readers also find them useful. Breastfeeding truly does have a big learning curve, and I think there is something to be said for sticking through the tough times because in my experience it can really change on a dime and suddenly become much easier and less painful. I think you have a great attitude, and your go with the flow approach will serve you well as a mom. Can’t wait to see baby boy and I look forward to lots more posts!

    Here are some helpful breastfeeding products and resources:

    Lactation Consultant – highly recommend working with someone who can support you in the transition, it made a huge difference for me!

    Breast Pump – consider renting a medical grade pump for the first couple of months, they are more efficient at expressing the milk.

    Nipple Cream & Fenugreek Herbs – motherlove.com has great natural products, I’ve been taking their More Milk pills.

    Hands free pumping bra – Looks totally crazy but has been a lifesaver, it’s really nice to be able to type with two hands! I will also use it once I go back to work. simplewishes.com was recommended to me by my lactation consultant.

    Slow Flow nipples and bottles – babies love to suck down that precious breast milk you just worked so hard to pump out, these with SLOW them down! I use playtex drop in nursers

    Video on “really good drinking” – this video from nbci.ca was a total game changer for me, it only took 30 seconds for me to see what a baby looks like when they are getting a good healthy drink. Before seeing this I felt very in the dark about weather or not my baby was drinking effectively.

    http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=6&Itemid=13

    Breastfeeding support groups – I’ve been to a few and I have to say it was very powerful to sit in a room with other new moms breastfeeding and hanging out. Everyone had similar challenges and questions and it felt great to know that I wasn’t alone, I highly recommend finding one!

    • Kathleen

      Wow, Christy! Thank you for being so generous with your resources. Super helpful!

  14. Margie

    Those Breast Nazis! I shake my fist at you!
    They push it so hard that my kid’s failure to latch on, thus resorting to pumping and supplementing with formula, added to my PPD. You remain flexible, Kathleen. And as for formula, it’s not rat poison and it’s come a long way since we were kids so if you need to use it, do it.

    You keep rocking this shit.

    • Kathleen

      Jeremy and I were both bottle fed and we’re fine! (Though, that may be questionable to some). Again, I’ll give it a good shot for sure, especially while on maternity leave. I hope it’s something that comes easily for me and the baby but my number one priority is that my baby is fed. No matter what that ends up looking like.

  15. Kristin

    Obscene amounts of carmel corn can give you the energy to do anything.

  16. Glenda

    I love your positive, flexible attitude. That will definitely make things smoother for you and baby. Both of mine were bottle fed and they are just fine :) I think the pressure about “breast is best” is making some mothers so anxious that they are not enjoying the lil bundle the first few months. Just do what you feel is right for baby and you.

    Best to you during your labor process and can’t wait to see pics of your lil man.
    I’d vote on the glitter nails… rock them!

  17. beth

    Bfing is hard at the start. Complicated by exhaustion and hormones and omfg I am being sent home with this tiny creature I amsupposed to keep alive. Engorgement when your milk comes in is the singlemosg painful uncomfortable experience~ there are no words to describe it. But my daughter isnow 15 months old and I can’t quite give up the connection it has brought us (I swore I would be done at 12 months.) Advice~ prepare for the awfulness of 24 hrs of having rock hard insanely painful alien boobs attached to your chest, ask your doula and/or midwife for the name of a good lactation consultant (I was lucky enough to have an amazing neighbor who is also a lc ~ she talked/texted me through the panic and engorgement). I gave myself a 24 hr break & used the formula freebies I had been given~ then cameback to offering the boob. Follow your own heart/mind/boobies/body. If it isn’t working for you or your little guy,don’t beat yourself up. He will be amazing no matter what form the nutritional nourishment takes.

  18. Alissa

    Breast feeding… blah blah advice blah blah… You are so wonderfully in tune with your body, and will be amazed at how you will be just as connected and in tune with your sweet babe. For all the gloss of being people, we are still animals… Stick with your finely honed instincts and things like breast feeding will be natural. Congrats!

  19. Katie

    I’m so enjoying following along with your posts and can’t wait to see your little bundle soon. This is random, but I thought I’d throw it out there if you do end up BFing and pumping. Don’t pay $40 for one of those hands-free bottle bra holders. Cut holes in an old, cheap sports bra. Right before buying one, a woman at the store told me about it, and it works so well and saves money.
    Best of luck with birthing, and have fun!

  20. Deb Charlap

    Hey there lady, I’m just checking in and getting so excited for you. You’re in my thoughts a lot!

    Breastfeeding was super duper important to me and did not go smoothly at all. We had a crazy preemie emergency (etc.) birth experience, but my take home was that while birth takes a day or so, the beautiful connection of breastfeeding can go on for months or years.

    I learned a few things about how it works (physically, emotionally, psychologically). I also got top notch lactation coaching. It was such a powerful reversal from my normal stance of ‘if it doesn’t go naturally, it isn’t meant to go’ that I seriously considered becoming a lactation consultant!

    I also learned that the lifelong benefits of coating your newborn’s digestive tract with breast milk (anyone’s breast milk!) are not to be ignored. So even if you use formula for the long haul, get a bottle or two of breast milk in there first :) A couple hundred bucks and you can get clean donor milk.

    So, not to be the crazy lactivist here, just wanting to share!

    Wishing you all a happy, healthy birth!!! ~*

  21. Becca

    I exclusively breastfed for 5.5 months (kills me I can’t say 6!) and worked hard at the beginning to make it work. But then Helena started sleeping through the night, I went on a business trip, and started working full time again and now things are starting to slow down. She’s 7.5 months old and I only bf once a day and it’s more for comfort than nourishment. I def thought I would bf until she was a year but life happened, as it often does. Any breast milk is fine, none is fine, it’s all fine. I think I am saying as much to myself as to you :-) I love her to pieces though, and that’s really what a baby needs.

  22. Renee

    Watermelon colored Polish is what I wore for both births. Nothing like a bit of tutti-frutti to look at and brighten the moment. Though glitter does sound quite disco! Good luck and remember the only way to be a parent is your way!

  23. Sarah

    Of all the stuff I read about breastfeeding, the one big standout that haunted me is that “if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong”. That statement seems to be everywhere and was unequivocally wrong in my case. I was assured that we were champs in the hospital – excellent latch by baby, organized mom, etc. But, it hurt like a mother-sucker (ha, ha) and continued to for 2 months. I would stay up late looking on line at latch videos, reading web chats and articles for help. I finally got to the point where I was going to hire a lactation consultant and then magically, it just got better. I think the ole boobises needed more time to adjust. Also, I was missing the info where you pinch the nipple as you insert and then let go, filling baby’s mouth. That seemed to help a lot. I’m so glad I hung in there. My baby’s about to go on some solids and I’m already feeling sad that she won’t need me for everything anymore.

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