39 Weeks | A Waiting Game



You guys. I really didn’t think I would be writing a 39 week update. I legit thought the baby would be here by now. Mostly because my mom and sister both delivered two weeks early with their firsts. So while I’m feeling a bit impatient (I can’t wait to see his little face! And butt! And feet! And knees! And! And! And!) I’m also trying to remind myself that it hasn’t even been 40 weeks yet. And if this guy needs a little more time to cook, develop his lungs, practice blinking – whatever it is he needs – that’s cool too. Pregnant Kathleen is all “Let’s get this show on the road!” but Momma Kathleen is all “You take the time you need, little baby. I’m here for you.”

So for now it’s just a waiting game. The day before yesterday I was having back cramps, period like cramps, lots of “practice contractions”. It was enough that Jeremy had me text our doula to let her know things were maybe progressing a little. Then in the middle of the night I had a legit contraction. It felt like a wave starting from the lower part of my uterus and growing up into my entire abdomen. My whole stomach became rock hard and misshapen with the contraction. And you guys, it was kind of awesome. I stayed awake waiting for the next one but it never happened. But then yesterday… I hardly felt pregnant. I felt like I was wearing a fake belly on top of my old body and found myself in denial that I will have a baby in the matter of days. And while everyone promised that things would get progressively uncomfortable I’m finding my ability to eat, breathe, sleep, and stand up are about the same as they have been for a few weeks now. In fact, the most discomfort I’m experiencing is mental. It’s a waiting game that opens up space for excitement and anxiety alike. It can be easy to partner with fear, but I’m trying to remain disciplined in visualizing exactly how I want everything to go down (orgasmic birth, please). And I lean on my dream team – my midwife, my doula, and my husband to keep me grounded, positive, and brave.

In these last couple of weeks I’ve learned to really trust my baby in this process. The last 9 months have been all about me, me, me. But this birth… it’s not really about me. It’s about my baby. So I imagine him in my belly trying to gather his courage too. He’s waiting for the moment when he’s feeling like a warrior who is ready to take on his birth day. We’re in it, and waiting it out, together – and that gives me a lot of comfort and courage.

Field Notes & Other Observations
• Vital stats: I haven’t gained any weight in the last two weeks but the baby (and my belly) is growing at a steady rate. Also my blood pressure is good.
• Speaking of weight… so far I’ve gained a total of maybe 25-30 lbs. I didn’t weigh myself for years pre-pregnancy so I’m not too sure. But I will say – I gained immediately and rapidly in that first trimester (before I was even showing). Then in this last half of my pregnancy the weight gain has slowed down significantly. I’m not sure if this is common but just thought I’d share in case anyone else has experienced this.
• Navigating pregnancy hasn’t been the most comfortable thing in the whole world but really I am beyond grateful that it has been so uncomplicated and healthy.
• I was asked yesterday at my midwife checkup if I’d like to be checked to see how dilated / effaced I am. For those of you who aren’t all up in the baby / pregnancy world dilated is how open your cervix is. As in the hole for the baby to come out of. 10cm dilated is where you want to be when you push the baby out, but you can start to dilate before going into labor. Effaced is how thin your cervix is … so not only does the cervix open but the cervix thins out to facilitate in that opening and allow the baby to come out. Anyway, I declined. I have friends who were at 0cm with no uterus thinning only to give birth later that day. And I’ve had friends who were 4cm dilated and 100% effaced only to give birth weeks later. So I figure knowing the status of my uterus right this second isn’t terribly relevant. But perhaps when I’m in labor I’ll want more regular checks to see how I’m progressing. The cool thing about going with midwives is that their pretty hands-off and only care to check upon request.
• As I get closer to the due date I am mindful of how each meal may be fuel for labor.
• You may have seen on my Instagram the birthing tub we got. So obviously lots of people are asking if I’ll be having a water birth – and the truth is I don’t know! I’ve never given birth before and I’m sure there are lots of variables involved. I’m open to having a water birth but am not attached to the idea. Just like I’m not attached to any sort of birth plan because I know anything can happen.
• We still don’t have a name for the baby! In fact, the short list is now growing the closer we get to the due date.
• I had a dream last night that I was holding the baby. He had just been born and was so little! I can’t wait.
• I’ve been asked who will be present for the birth. Pretty much just the dream team – my midwife, doula, and Jeremy. And probably my very talented photographer friend, Greer, who has generously offered to document the event.
• On a more emotional note… I’ve learned through sharing this pregnancy week-by-week that the whole ordeal is so personal. And it’s easy to take someone else’s birth plan, preferences, and stories personal. But there is no right or wrong way to move through pregnancy and birth a baby. Whether it’s at home, in a field, at a hospital, medicated, natural, emergency c-section, elected c-section … it’s all personal and none of it is right or wrong. At the same time – I’ve found myself taking other people’s opinions, questions, and stories personal too. I’ve never done this before so I feel challenged and defensive when questioned why I’m making the choices I am (or why my midwife is making the choices she is) – even when the questioning is coming from a place of genuine curiosity! Everything from flu shots, to vaccines, to pain medication, to internal checks and monitoring. I had no idea how personal it was prior to getting pregnant… So that’s my one big disclaimer for everything I’ve shared in these posts. I will most likely be re-evaluating my sharing boundaries once the baby is born.

  1. brigzorn

    My pre-natal yoga instructor always had us repeat during class… “Baby, we will accept you when and however you choose to come.” I remember really focusing on that phrase during the last weeks of pregnancy and even during labor. It helped my anxiety a lot. Sending you well wishes during these final days/weeks. xoxo.

  2. I love how, truly, accepting you are to all types of birthing plans. And thank you for letting your readers get all up in your biz, because we really are genuinely curious. My obsession with birth lately is getting weird…I think it’s because my eldest batch of friends are having their firsts, and my mother was (almost) pregnant with me at the age I am right now. It awakens all these weird feelings & questions I have about birthing & parenting. I have loved following along!

    Now poop that baby out so we can see how handsome he is.

    • I was just like you! Probably when I was around 26 I started becoming really interested in pregnancy, cloth diapers, birth stories, etc. I think it helped to soak up as much information as I could WAY prior to ever getting pregnant (I got pregnant right at 31). Thinking about what kind of pregnancy and parent you want to be in advance is good! XO

  3. My husband and I don’t think we want babies at the moment. We are young and poor and in love, and just have so much career/travel/self-indulgening left to do! But, I have loved reading along and thinking ‘that’s how I would to do it!’ So open minded and observant and accepting. I hope you’ll keep sharing post-bebe 🙂 Lots of happy and healthy thoughts your way.

    • Take your time! Jeremy and I never found ourselves out of the young, in love, and having fun phase (which is a good thing). So eventually we just pulled the trigger. I’m going to do a post soon about how I still plan to self-indulge, grow my career, and travel – just as a threesome now! And I do hope to document those family adventures here to show how we (and others) can define the kind of family dynamic we want to have.

      Thanks for the good vibes, Nikki! XO

  4. AwesomeMargie

    Yes to the whole thing suddenly becoming personal. I tried not to overshare, even now, though it’s hard to not want to share your baby. I posted a pic of my son, who has super curly hair (like me) and a co-worker asked, like several others have, when I was cutting his hair. The more people ask, the more I want to never cut it. Well, co-worker proceeded to tell me my son looks like a girl. WTF? Makes me want to stop sharing a pic of him.

    But, if you decided to pull back, I wouldn’t be mad. I get it. You do what is best for you and Jeremy and bebe.

    Sending you strong and happy vibes for the birth!

    • This is a PERFECT example! Maybe it’s not even so much questions that make me feel challenged but also assumptions and clear projections. But I only have control over how I react… I’m trying to stay mindful of that.

      It’s in my nature to want to share – I just have to navigate boundaries more carefully when it comes to a little person who has no say in how much I post here. 😉

  5. Ashley

    I declined checks, too, during pregnancy – I didn’t want to get my expectations up (“the baby is coming soon!!”) for no reason. I was anxious and stressed enough about when it would all go down! Plus, there’s no definite timeline they can give you since every body and birth progresses differently.

    ANYWAY. I relate to the disclaimer. I am pretty psyched I had a med-free water birth, but in no way does that mean I care about whether other people do it, you know? Sometimes I think saying you’re passionate about something makes people assume that you are then going to judge THEM about what THEY are doing. We’re all a little sensitive sometimes. 🙂

  6. Alien Mind Girl

    Your journey is fascinating.
    I am very thankful for your sharing.

  7. Heather

    I think you bring up one of the most important things about birth (and pregnancy and parenting) – it is very personal, and it’s hard not to feel judged at times. I’d say get used to it, but that sounds harsh too… unfortunately, though, you’re going to run into all sorts and there is always going to be someone who will judge you about the way you gave birth and how you’re going to parent. It’s definitely not easy, and like you, there are some things I don’t even bring up to people because I know they’re hot topic parenting issues and while I’m okay with my decisions, I really don’t want to listen to someone else tell me I made a mistake. Do what’s right for you, and don’t let anyone else tell you you’ve made the wrong choice because as long as your baby is loved and happy and healthy… I don’t really think there are any wrong choices.

    • I think the key here is “feeling judged” vs. “being judged”. I have to be careful not to feel judged when I’ve got well-meaning people asking me questions about why I’m doing what I’m doing (especially when they know me in the context of being an open-book and over-sharer).

      And if I’m straight up being judged, criticized, attacked, whatever… I have to remember that it really has nothing to do with me at all.

      It really is about cultivating confidence AND compassion, huh?

  8. Angie

    I’ve never posted on here before but I love your blog and your style! I keep finding myself refreshing your blog & Instagram page to see if little dude has finally made his grand entrance!
    I’m currently 27 weeks and I use your bebe posts as a guideline! I’m also having a boy and I’m so excited for the 13 weeks ahead! I know it’s going to be tough to stay patient but at least I’ll have your posts to look at!! Now go eat something spicy so we can get this show on the road!! 😉
    Positive vibes and good thoughts sent your way…

    • Ah, congrats to you Angie! I’m not sure my posts make a good guideline but I do hope they give you whatever it is you need as you navigate the journey that is pregnancy. Thank you for the sweet words. I’m going to go order some curry now. 😉

  9. bethany

    I’ve always wanted to be a mom, but in the last few years that desire has taken a bit of an “I’m not ready” detour – my husband and I got married kinda young and have really struggled through our finances and getting onto definitive career paths, and I’ve always wanted those things to be firmly in place before we jump aboard the baby train. And then my mom died of cancer two years ago, and that really gave me second thoughts about whether I could be a mom without her around, and whether I could be a mom knowing that life doesn’t always go as planned. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster to say the least, especially this year as I’ve turned 26 (the age I thought I’d be ready to start having kids.)

    All of that to say, following along with your journey into motherhood has been a huge comfort to me. I can honestly say that while a lot of other bloggers have only added to my aversion to think about motherhood, somehow you managed to do the opposite. Maybe it’s your no-pressure “it’ll happen how it happens” tone in talking through the process, or maybe it’s your “I’ve never done this before either” attitude, but you’ve really helped me not be so anxious about the point someday in my future when I decide that I’m ready to be a mom. Thank you. You and little bebe are in my thoughts and prayers as he makes his way here.

    • Oh Bethany, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. Sending you some love.

      I was very on the fence about having kids. Totally 50/50. I actually got an email from a reader the other day who was really struggling with the decision to become a mom and what that means. I’m going to share my response to her as a post soon. I obviously don’t have the experience of having a kid quite yet but I do believe that it is what you make it. You have the opportunity to define what motherhood looks like to you.

      Be kind to yourself as you navigate the decision for yourself. Or maybe give yourself time and space to not have to decide for a while. (Though, I know from personal experience it’s easier said than done.)

  10. Carrie

    At 33, a lot if not most of my female friends have kids now. I keep waiting for that urge, but its just not there. I love love love getting a peek into motherhood through friends that do share it all- the sweetness and the struggle. It is such a beautiful thing that I admire and respect immensely even if it is a thing I may never do. (I’m loving being an aunt)

    I am wishing you and Jeremy and the little one joy and health and keeping you in my thoughts daily!

  11. Steph

    Will you be sharing more details (maybe once the baby is born) about what you ate during the pregnancy and your thoughts about food and pregnancy?

    • Hey Steph! Yeah, I’d be happy to! I’m going to add it to my running list of topics to post about. I can say now that I eat mostly like I did before – though, probably a little less strictly Paleo. But I do think having done a couple of Whole30s before getting pregnant allowed me to really listen to my body when it came to cravings + aversions. A typical day right now looks like: oats + eggs for breakfast, a green smoothie post workout (kale, banana, Organic Jarrow 100% Whey Protein, celery, almond butter), and then fish and veggies for lunch and dinner. Oh and a few squares of dark chocolate for dessert. And that’s pretty much what I’ll probably continue to eat post pregnancy too!

      • steph

        Sounds healthy, delicious and balanced. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Megan

    Kathleen, thanks so much for sharing your journey with us! It has been fun to read and reflect on my own pregnancy and delivery (Babe is 7 months now). I so hope you opened some minds about nutrition, fitness and mental fortitude through your posts. Wishing you and Jeremy all the best and sending warrior vibes your way. Excited for you!

    PS. I also gained most of my weight in the first trimester. I wonder if that’s common with women who adhere to paleo? All I could stomach was bagels and grilled cheese those first few weeks.

    • Thank you, Megan for your kind words and warrior-momma vibes! I’ll take ’em. 🙂

      ME TOO with the grilled cheese and bagels in the first trimester! I needed some serious comfort in the form of BREAD and GLUTEN. In fact, my brother brought me some bagels from Brooklyn at Christmas time. I froze three of them and broke into one the other day. I think I’m going to save the other two for the beginning of labor and the first meal after birth. Ha. Then it’s back on the bandwagon.

      I think it’s so good to give into cravings and let your body tell you what it needs. Maybe we needed some fast fuel in the form of glucose that simple carbs could give us. But at the same time, I wouldn’t have known how to listen to my body without my paleo foundation.

      • Olivia

        ME TOO! And I was STRICT paleo before I got pregnant, I was paleo for about the first month and then I got serious food aversions to anything NOT rice or bread…and I gained a TON of weight. I stopped gaining weight (myself) about 7 months in…and I felt awesome (AWESOME!) until I gave birth. Totally cute and preggo and like myself (just the constant peeing drove me NUTS!).

        I love all of your posts…and it is a hard line to figure out with the sharing. I didn’t share my pregnancy ONCE on Facebook (and my family had strict instructions to NOT), but I did with my internet friends! Funny, right? People on FB were shocked when I posted he was born! I figure, Weston is going to have an internet presence, as all kids his generation will…so let me choose how it begins. I NEVER post any photos of him with anything but all clothing on, and I only share on FB, IG, and my blog. But, he’s cute, I wanna share! I don’t post too many PERSONAL details, but I do think the internet is a wonderful place to share fears and happiness–as we are all so so excited for you!! I feel like my friend is due to give birth any day!!!!

  13. Monica

    I completely agree with the idea that pregnancy/birth/babies etc. are very individual and personal. I have had two babies in the past 20 months. The main thing it has taught me is that there is no “right” way for any of it. My theory is that if mama is healthy and happy and baby is healthy and happy, that is the right way for you. I don’t think I was judgmental before and have always respected various ways to do things, but I am even more adamant now that each individual and family needs to discover what works best for them. I have loved watching your journey and am so excited for you to meet your little man. It is crazy how much you can love someone who is so helpless and dependent. I didn’t have my first until I was 40 and they are everything I ever dreamed they would be. I believe that our attitude has so much to do with our outcomes so I have full confidence that your birth experience will be incredible – tough, but absolutely amazing. Best wishes, Monica

  14. Glenda

    I love that you are following your instinct when it comes to what to eat and how to react to pregnancy and your near future delivery. Listening to your body. I feel too many women are so stressed out during pregnancy nowadays. It’s a journey and it’s life. There’s no handbook to follow because everyone is so different. It’s something we as women can not predict how it is going to go and especially the birth. You can plan all you want, but it necessarily will not go that way. OR you can fear the birth process and it may be a quick delivery. We just don’t know!

    For my first I didn’t gain weight until I hit 5 mos. and the first 3 mos I cut out all sweets. 28 lbs total I gained.

    For my second I gained along the pregnancy and my last 4 weeks I lost 1 lb and didn’t gain any more. 25 total I gained. Totally different for both.

    I love this paragraph… beautifully written…

    “In these last couple of weeks I’ve learned to really trust my baby in this process. The last 9 months have been all about me, me, me. But this birth… it’s not really about me. It’s about my baby. So I imagine him in my belly trying to gather his courage too. He’s waiting for the moment when he’s feeling like a warrior who is ready to take on his birth day. We’re in it, and waiting it out, together – and that gives me a lot of comfort and courage. “

  15. melissa

    my favourite pregnancy post yet… by anyone! i love how much you talked about this being the baby’s experience too, and how you haven’t planned this thing out too much. I love your go-with-flow attitude. good luck warrior mamma.

  16. emily hassman

    I have so enjoyed reading about your pregnancy each week. Your personal sharing boundaries are entirely yours to consider and reconsider, for sure… but I just wanted to mention that I have enjoyed each and every post. I hope to get pregnant this year and reading your honest and unique account of your pregnancy makes it seem more real and more possible.

    Sending good juju your way. I hope your little dude is ready to meet you soon 🙂

  17. Kai

    I have loved reading these posts. As someone who is going to be trying very soon and therefore reading anything I can get my hands on, your honesty and humor has been wholly refreshing and comforting. Over these past months, following your journey has helped dissolve a ton of my fears and anxieties about the whole process. I am so grateful for what you have shared, and anything you are willing and comfortable sharing in the future.
    Here’s to a healthy birth and baby. <3

  18. Vanessa

    I had no idea babies blinked in utero until you mentioned it in you post and I googled it. I had always figured they kept their eyes closed until they were born because of the fluid and darkness. Cool!

    • Crazy, right?! I have a little app on my phone that tells me how the baby is progressing week-by-week and it includes fun tidbits like that. Though, I still imagine the baby coming out like a blind little baby mouse. I do think there is quite an adjustment period going from dark womb to a bright world.

  19. Joanna

    You know when I was waiting for my first (she ended up being 10 days late, crazy kid) all I wanted was for that baby to get here but when DD came and my water broke I freaked out and did not want to give birth at all. Gotta love those pregnancy emotions!
    My baby girl is 4 this year and I can still recall every minute of that night. Soak it all in.
    I’m not one of those “every moment was beautiful” kinda gals, truly for me it wall downright embarrassing and rather grose (fer real, you poop on people…just say’n) but being handed that little baby thats been growing inside you for 9mo and that unconditional love that flows from you is the beautiful part. Soak it all in!

  20. Cyndi

    I haven’t commented here very often, but I do read your blog all the time. I was compelled to comment today to simply tell you thank you for these weekly update posts. I’m nowhere near having a baby, but I’m closer than I’ve ever been to thinking about it and talking about it with my partner. And reading this has been so insightful and informative and honestly, fascinating, too. I know that mostly it’s because of how personal it is. It’s a huge thing to share – your field notes, and all of your innermost thoughts on this process. If you choose not to share as much when the baby is here, all your readers – including me – will love reading just as much. But thank you for all you’ve shared so far. It has been so exciting to go on this journey “with” you. Congratulations to your beautiful family!

    • Oh, thank you Cyndi! Comments like this definitely make it all worth sharing. I was recently talking to Jeremy about it and he encourages me to continue to put it all out there and just own it (in regards to parenting style / decisions / etc.). I think it’s just going to be a matter of gut checks and constantly drawing and re-drawing my boundary lines when it comes to what I share about our little guy once he’s here.

      Thank you for your comment! I really do appreciate it.

  21. Waiting was the hardest! I started to think, really illogically, that obviously I would be the first woman in history who would just never give birth; that the baby was just gonna hang out in my body FOREVER. And then she came! And I forgot that I’d been waiting. It just suddenly WAS.

    And my doc was very midwifey, very hands-off. He never checked, and it was the best thing for me. I definitely didn’t want to know numbers that might not mean anything. We carried that into labor — I contracted for however long, and I was settling in for what I assumed was several more hours when suddenly I was showing signs that it was time to push. Again, for me it was great to be out of touch with numbers and just focus on each moment.

    And very lastly, I have definitely found myself doing more polite head-nodding in these past couple of months than ever before. A few cordial “thank yous” instead of what I was thinking (“why did you think I wanted your opinion??”). I’m guessing I’ll be doing even more of this as King gets older and we continue to make decisions for her that others might not have. It’s been an interesting test of my convictions. It’s awkward and sometimes exceedingly uncomfortable, but in a way I’m grateful for it — I feel like I’m being asked to know who I am more clearly.

    Enjoy these last moments, however many more of them you have! Rub that belly and push back on those little feet. And get super excited, because that little bit is gonna be so warm and squishy and wonderful. Much luck!

  22. Aileen

    So excited for baby to come. I don’t have children, but I dream of it all the time. It’s been fun watching your pregnancy progress and I love all the fieldnotes! And of course, you will do whatever is best for you and the baby when it comes to sharing. I’ve seen a lot of people step back and a lot of people continue on (or even share more!). It’s all about your comfort level (and time restraints!).

  23. Regarding your last comment/disclaimer… I gotta say, I’m so grateful for your openness and willingness to share your experiences, fears, thoughts and opinions. It takes tremendous courage to put it out there, knowing that there will always be someone that will disagree, some of whom will let you know of their disapproval. But just know that, on the contrary, there are probably more people out there (me included) who silently read and appreciate your courage and willingness to share because it helps them feel just a little more normal… and courageous too.

    So… do what you need to do, but know that you’re loved from afar. Even if it’s not always verbalized.

    Also – wishing you strength and bravery in the upcoming birth of your son!

  24. Karma


    Am currently in same state at 39 weeks and counting. I truly think your mindset and approach towards your birth of your son is beautiful. I am also doing this for the first time in my life. I am praying and hoping for a smooth ride though things can get rough, am also preparing for that. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts. I also plan to go with the flow. ✌️

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