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Book vs real life: 39 weeks pregnant

February 23, 2017


Yes. Still pregnant. It’s a funny feeling, knowing that the baby could arrive at any moment, and indeed that if things were different, she could have been with us for weeks, thriving on the outside.


As it happens, she’s thriving on the inside eg getting bigger and bigger, which is a good thing, as babies are infinitely easier to look after when they get food via the placenta rather than boobs. I say this from experience.


I am, however, enjoying the look of absolute horror on people’s faces when I tell them that I was due yesterday! They pretty much take a step back, as if my water might break all over their shoes. I went to a conference earlier in the week that required ‘business attire’, so I chose my least faded stretchy black outfit and spent the morning talking about the pregnancy rather than anything related to work, which was frustrating, like I wasn’t qualified to discuss a non-baby topic. Being bloody enormous is a good ice-breaker and conversation starter, but I certainly won’t miss feeling like a giant… carrier.


I’m part of a Facebook group for other women due around the same time as me, and almost every day someone announces the arrival of their beautiful baby. Then subsequently posts about troubles with feeding, and sleeping, and poo. In a way, this is the stage I should be relishing – work has (pretty much) wound down, Phoebe is back at nursery and I’m free to spend my mornings eating pineapple and getting reflexology before resuming mum duties. But I’m kind of not.


Everyone keeps telling me to nap, and rest, and cook, and read, but I’m feeling oddly deflated and listless after what I thought were contractions disappeared as soon as I was hooked up to the CTG monitor at the clinic. The lovely Louise from Mum of Boys put it beautifully, saying I’ll never have such a lovely reason to rest. So I’m trying.


I guess she’ll come when she’s ready, and on the bright side I’ve pretty much cleared my calendar so can do lots of nice things with Phoebe. We went to the Beach Canteen at Sunset Beach yesterday (part of the Dubai Food Festival), which combined a stroll with eating, plus lots of kiddie-friendly activities like a petting zoo and play space. They’re also showing free movies every evening, which I’d totally be up for if I didn’t go to bed at 9pm. More info over on my Facebook page, and it’s running until March 11. No doubt you’ll see me waddling around there again soon, either with or without the new bubs.


So what do the experts say about this weird limbo stage? This week I chose to compare my thoughts with the chat over on Fit Pregnancy because I’ve just eaten French toast and am feeling very unfit. So, you know, contrast.


The book says…

You’re in the home stretch! After nine months of growth and development, your baby is ready to be born, or nearly so. At week 39, your baby is fully developed and anywhere from 17-23 inches long and weighs 6-10 pounds. Don’t be frightened if your OB-GYN says your baby is large: It’s extremely difficult to judge a baby’s weight accurately from the outside.


I say…

Every time I have a scan (now weekly) the doctor tells me that “This baby is bigger than the last one.” Not so helpful. She’s measuring at 3.7kg, which isn’t monstrous, but considerably larger than Phoebe was. My husband takes great delight in asking for the head circumference then miming it with his hands and looking faux horrified. Hilaaaaaarious.


The book says…

Your baby is adding neural connections and growing hair and still gaining weight. Researchers have theorized that when babies are ready to be born, they send a chemical signal of androgens to the placenta, which increases the production of estrogen and leads to labor. If so, it’s proof of the old saying that “only a baby knows when it’s ready to be born.”


I say…

Arghhhhhh. BUT WHEN?!!!!! Every morning I get dressed and wonder if this is what I’ll wear when I go into labour, and I’ve packed all my good makeup in my hospital bag, so am scratting around with crappy concealer and foundation that lasts about 20 minutes. It’s the little things that are pissing me off. Well, that and the giant head that’s pressing on my cervix.


The book says…

Don’t be surprised if you get discouraged now. Relatives may be calling regularly to find out if labor has started. Ignore them and make plans every day to see a movie, take a walk, read or simply lounge around at home. Relish this peaceful time while it lasts! To get some relief from your weight and aches, do plenty of hands-and-knees cat stretches and pelvic tilts. Soak in a warm bath, swim, or just float in the pool to take a break from gravity.


I say…

I’m officially discouraged. There’s nothing on at the cinema. If anyone has some good book recommendations send them my way (nothing baby-related please), and ditto TV that won’t make me cry. I’ve seen a beefy reflexologist called Arlene two days in a row, and may have to ask her to move in with me to massage my feet at all times.


In conclusion…

I thought I was just having a contraction but my jeans/knicker elastic was just a bit tight. FFS.


You might also enjoy… In praise of the babymoon

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