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IMG_1818Doctors didn’t think we would make it to this day. Friends and family prayed that we would not be induced at 28-29 weeks pregnant. Our goal at that point was 32 weeks. As my specialist exclaimed when she saw my swollen ankles and growing belly at a recent appointment, “Oh, I can’t even tell you how I excited I am that you are miserably pregnant. I didn’t think you would get that chance!

Indeed. A miracle. To be big pregnant. Nearly full term.

36 weeks, 2 days today. In five days, we will be induced.

This should be my last post from my pregnant state. The last belly update. The final reflection while still carrying Abby inside.

It is strange to have a “day.” I’m not waiting to “go into labor.” I’m not waiting for the middle-of-the-night contractions to hit, and to wake David in his groggy state to rush me to the hospital. Rather, we will arrive around 7 a.m. this Friday. We will leisurely answer admission questions and situate ourselves in a hospital room. One last NST (heart rate test) will be administered to make sure that Abby is still doing well, and then medication will be given to me to begin to ready my body for contractions. It could be at least 12 hours before anything happens. Eventually, medication will be given to start contractions if they don’t start on their own. The process will be easier or harder, shorter or longer depending on how my body plays along and how Abby responds to contractions. So many prayers are wrapped up in this coming weekend.

By this point next week, I will be holding a baby. Abigail Nichelle. No longer pregnant, but brimming over with something so much better: motherhood. Abby will be born in the same month that marks four long years of no birth control medication. I have in no way forgotten or recovered from the bumpy, painful road that is infertility. Even now I am aware that growing our family may take a similar painful journey once again. Still, in THIS season, God is giving my heart healing. Rest. A chance to nest. A chance to wrap my arms around Abby. Hold her. Cuddle her. Watch her snuggle with David. And, find a balm for my heart.

This past week was one of the hardest of my pregnancy. Aside from pregnancy symptoms themselves, I was dealing with some relational issues that hurt me deeply. On top of that, “Spring Break” allowed me to pour my energy into cleaning the basement and moving into the emptied rooms. Honestly, I ran myself ragged. I spent several days crying off and on. I was a mess. My prayer for the coming days is that I can embrace the emotions – good and bad – that this week brings and allow my body the peace it needs to begin to dilate and efface BEFORE medication is started. I’m going to try nearly every old wife’s tale in the book for inducing labor naturally: massage, acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic adjustment, sex (oh, yes), pedicure, walking, bouncing on a birth ball. Although I’m working Monday and Tuesday, I will have two days off before induction to welcome arriving family and accomplish last-minute to-dos. I can’t even imagine how I’m going to focus this week. Excitement is building…

Although I don’t plan on connecting much with social media for a while during or after Abby’s birth, I will make sure to post a quick update to let everyone know when she arrives and how we are doing. Your prayers are much appreciated!

~~~

How far along? 36 weeks, 2 days

Total weight gain: No completely sure, as I lost weight this past week with all of the emotional and physical stress. My midwife will probably be very upset tomorrow.

Maternity clothes? Yes, and even they are uncomfortable. I’m pretty sure that I am not in the technical bounds of my school’s dress code, but I don’t have money or energy to shop.

Stretch marks?  I don’t think so, but I have some older ones that are becoming more apparent on my hips. Interestingly, I definitely have the linea nigra or “dark line” that runs vertically up and down a pregnant belly. It is becoming more obvious, as is my VERY out belly button.

Sleep: It is harder and harder to get and stay comfortable. I swell during the night and my hands fall asleep very easily.

Best moments of the past week(s): (1) “Finishing” the nursery, (2) Wrapping thank-you gifts for my midwife and doula, baking cookies for my specialist’s office, and preparing a “waiting room snack/entertainment” bag for all of the out-of-town family that will not be in the delivery room with us, (3) Sharing moments of awe with David, as the reality of Abby’s birth have begun to sink in, (4) Holding one of my dearest friend’s babies in the hospital this morning, and (5) Watching God do miracles on our behalf. IMG_1812IMG_1813IMG_1809

Miss Anything? Running. Skin that doesn’t itch. Afternoons spent NOT at doctors’ offices.

Movement: Yes! She pushes her body from side to side and finds ways to make it feel as though her feet are in my ribs. She is also a fan of grinding her head on several painful nerves in my pelvis.

Food cravings: Not really. My goal is to eat a very high-fiber diet this week to help prepare for my recovery from birth.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Heartburn and acid reflux are getting worse. Even a slightly empty stomach makes the symptoms worse. Tight clothing also makes me feel yucky.

Labor Signs: Braxton Hicks started at 33 weeks, 1 day and have been becoming a more regular occurrence. I have to modify my activities even more to give my body a chance to adjust to this new phase of pregnancy. At my 35 week appointment, my cervix had a “dimple” in it (not actually dilated), and it was soft (not effaced). I’ll be interested to see what we find out at the midwife’s office tomorrow.

Symptoms: Severe swelling in my feet. I’m down to one pair of flip-flops that I can wear. Exhaustion. Insomnia. Hormonal swings.

Belly Button in or out?  Very out. 🙂

Looking forward to: Meeting Abby!

Next appointment:  Monday with my midwife. Induction appointment is on Friday, April 4.

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