38 Weeks – The Waiting Game

“Full term” in pregnancy is widely accepted to be between 37 and 42 weeks.  So here I am – I know my baby is developed enough to survive on the outside world, and now it’s just a matter of waiting to see when she feels like joining us.

Imagine something HUGE is about to happen to you.  Firstly, something completely uncontrollable is about to happen to your body that you have never experienced before and you have no idea what it will feel like or what will happen or how it will go.  Secondly, once that is over, your life will be forever changed.  You, bookworm and tea drinker and lounger in the sun, will suddenly become slave to the multitude of needs of another dependant human being for god knows how long – years and years and lets face it, a mother is never going to completely stop worrying for the rest of her life.

Now imagine that this thing could start happening in the next hour… or it may not happen for the next five weeks.  And you have absolutely no control over it.  And what if something goes wrong or what if it just never happens and you’re pregnant FOREVER… ARGH!!

Welcome to the last few weeks of pregnancy, yet another of those fun-filled emotional rollercoasters pregnancy likes to present you with.  It’s frustrating, draining, tiring and above all… uncertain.

It’s the uncertainty that gets to me.  I am an incredibly impatient person and I don’t like things being out of my control – so I’m sure this is all just a good early lesson in motherhood.  But I feel that if I knew I was going to go into labour on X date in three weeks, I would be perfectly fine with that and would be able to just relax and enjoy my last few weeks.  It’s the not knowing, not knowing when, how, if… it’s the uncertainty, the feeling of living in limbo that drives you nuts.

Having said all that, I am not one of those pregnant women who is like “just get it out now!”  I know that my body and baby know best and that I will go into labour when my baby is ready to come and not before.  I know logically that I won’t be pregnant forever, and I won’t be choosing medical induction unless my baby were in distress.  Pregnancies can safely go to 43 or 44 weeks – as long as the baby is being monitored and both mum and baby are well, I don’t see reason to evict the baby before the baby is ready to come (obviously there are medically necessary exceptions to this!).  Beware the assumption that being one day over 40 weeks means someone is “overdue” – even medically, a “post-dates” baby is only classed as such beyond 42 weeks (not 40).

While we’re on the topic, please also beware of hounding a pregnant woman with IS THE BABY HERE YET? messages the moment she hits 40 weeks.  Trust me, if anyone wants the baby to be here yet, it’s her!  The waiting period is frustrating and uncertain and being reminded fifty times a day that the baby isn’t here yet is NOT helpful.  It is surprisingly common for women to turn off their phones and disable their Facebook profiles for a few weeks between reaching “full term” and having the baby, just to avoid the “are you still around?” bombardment.  In my case, you can be pretty sure the whole world will know the moment my baby is here!

The past couple of days I have been feeling increasingly impatient, a weird mixture of fatigued and restless, a huge sense of frustration at the fact that I didn’t know when it was all going to happen.  I think a lot of the frustration for me lies in the fact that I really want a homebirth and I really don’t want medical induction, so I was terrified of going too far beyond my “due date” (which we all know is really an estimate at best).  However, this morning I stumbled across a page about going overdue on this website which really gave me a better perspective on it all.  If I’m not in labour yet, it may be that the baby isn’t quite in the right position or isn’t quite ready.  Even natural induction methods may force a baby out that isn’t ready to come, lead to a more difficult labour, a false labour, or all kinds of other issues.  It seems there is a sizeable proportion of women who spontaneously go into labour at 43 weeks.  As much as I don’t really want to wait that long, I feel I have come to a new acceptance today that my baby will come when she is ready and I just need to sit back and be patient.


A lot of sources talk about nesting in the late stages of pregnancy…. well, I have collected a lot of things for my birth and baby, but I don’t think I’m going to be one of those women up all night cleaning out the cupboards.  I think the domestic gene pretty much missed me altogether and being pregnant isn’t about to change it.  I made some attempts at nesting, but really it was more because things needed to be done than any great drive to spend my day washing and cleaning.

Necessary Nesting – about the only time you’ll see me fold clothes.

I have to admit though, washing and folding all those tiny little clothes did make me clucky as hell!

I still feel great physically, no aches or pains or really any complaints all all.  I think that maybe sometimes I get Braxton Hicks but I don’t perceive them – I only notice if I put my hand on my belly and realise that it’s harder than normal.  Some days I feel like I could sleep all day.  But in general, I feel really healthy, normal and good!

Now I just have to set up the birth pool and we’ll be good to go!!  Birth is so unpredictable… I just hope I can acheive some semblance of the birth I want… but at the end of the day, I just can’t wait to have my little girl healthy and safe in my arms 🙂

37 weeks
38 weeks

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