Week 40: You Made It!
It’s pregnancy week 40, and here’s what’s going on…
You’ve plotted, you’ve planned. You’ve folded onesies even though you know the neat stacks will fall over the first time you open the drawer. But don’t forget the number one rule of planning for your baby’s arrival: plans change. You might have sworn you’d have an unmedicated birth and then find yourself in the kind of pain that makes you beg for drugs. Or you might arrive at the hospital too late to get the epidural you had your heart set on. You might have envisioned a peaceful vaginal delivery with classical music playing softly in the background, only to be wheeled into the operating room for a last-minute C-section. You might have $400 of formula waiting at home, but suddenly decide to give breastfeeding a try.
It’s okay to change your mind. Being flexible will do more to keep you calm and positive during your birth experience than any of your other planning. No matter what happens, you can do this!!
Brace yourself, because soon you’ll be feeling your first contractions of active labor — and we’re not going to lie, they hurt like hell. At first, though, they feel more like intense PMS cramps and might be several minutes apart, so this is the time to get yourself to the hospital or birthing center (or your living room, if you’re having a home birth) while you can still function without screaming obscenities. That’s especially true if this isn’t your first baby; subsequent babies often come surprisingly quickly, since your body already knows the routine.
You’ve spent a lot of time wondering what your baby looks like, but chances are you still won’t be entirely sure after they’re born. That’s because, if you have a vaginal birth, your baby might be a little cone-headed from their journey through the birth canal. If delivery goes especially fast (you lucky little vixen), your baby’s face might be bruised from the journey, as well. Plus there’s all the blood and goop, and the fact that your baby’s eyes are all puffy. But they’ll still look absolutely gorgeous to you, which is widely considered to be the biggest miracle of all in this whole “miracle of birth” business. (And even if you don’t fall in love right away, don’t worry – you will eventually, we promise.)
This is it! By now your home is ready to receive a happy baby, so it’s time for a last-minute checklist. Double-check your hospital go-bag to make sure you have everything you need (see Week 31). Get a ton of groceries to sit in your freezer — you won’t want to do any cooking right after the baby is born. Buy maternity pads for the bloody gush that’s coming. Get ready for the in-laws. And most importantly, get ready for your new, amazing postpartum life! Don’t worry, you’ll be so gaga over your baby you won’t even care that you forgot to get a mobile for the crib (newborns don’t notice mobiles anyway).
And congratulations, you’re about to be a Scary Mommy! Welcome to the club!
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