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Nearly half a million babies (1 in 10) are born premature in the US each year which is higher than that of most other developed nations. This is the journeys of our first born son, Finnegan, who was born 14 weeks early and weighed only 1 pound 15 ounces at birth. Of our daugher, Korrigan, who was born a healthy 7 pounds, 7 ounces at 37 weeks. And of our second son, MacKeegan, who was also born at 37 weeks at a whopping 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Our continued adventures reminds us daily how good God is.

Friday, January 21

36 weeks - Yay!

How your baby's growing: Your baby is still packing on the pounds — at the rate of about an ounce a day. She is now more than 18 1/2 inches long and weighs almost 6 pounds (like a crenshaw melon).

She's shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered her body as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that covered and protected her skin during her nine-month amniotic bath. Your baby swallows both of these substances, along with other secretions, resulting in a blackish mixture, called meconium, will form the contents of her first bowel movement.

At the end of this week, your baby will be considered full-term. (Full-term is 37 to 42 weeks; babies born before 37 weeks are pre-term and those born after 42 are post-term.) Most likely she's in a head-down position [thankfully, yes!]. But if she isn't, your practitioner may suggest scheduling an "external cephalic version," which is a fancy way of saying she'll try to coax your baby into a head-down position by manipulating her from the outside of your belly.

How your life's changing: Now that your baby is taking up so much room, you may have trouble eating a normal-size meal [a big meal brings on contractions, so I try to eat small meals instead]. Smaller, more frequent meals are often easier to handle at this point. On the other hand, you may have less heartburn and have an easier time breathing when your baby starts to "drop" down into your pelvis. This process — called lightening — often happens a few weeks before labor if this is your first baby. (If you've given birth before, it probably won't happen before labor starts.) If your baby drops, you may also feel increased pressure in your lower abdomen, which may make walking increasingly uncomfortable, and you'll probably find that you have to pee even more frequently. If your baby is very low, you may feel lots of vaginal pressure and discomfort as well. Some women say it feels as though they're carrying a bowling ball between their legs!

You might also notice that your Braxton Hicks contractions are more frequent now. Be sure to review the signs of labor with your practitioner and find out when she wants to hear from you. As a general rule, if you're full-term, your pregnancy is uncomplicated, and your water hasn't broken, she'll probably have you wait to come in until you've been having contractions that last for about a minute each, coming every five minutes for an hour. Of course, you'll want to call right away if you notice a decrease in your baby's activity or think you're leaking amniotic fluid, or if you have any vaginal bleeding, fever, a severe or persistent headache, constant abdominal pain, or vision changes.

Even if you're enjoying an uncomplicated pregnancy, it's best to avoid flying (or any travel far from home) during your final month because you can go into labor at any time. In fact, some airlines won't let women on board who are due to deliver within 30 days of the flight.

Wow, 36 weeks! So happy to have gotten this far. I know it has been a rollercoaster ride, especially for the last two and a half weeks and it has taken its toll on us, but now we can breath a little easier, even though "full term" isn't technically until next Friday. Contractions seems to be slowing a bit and hardly any pain associated with them. Now I say that and labor will start! Ha.

Thank you to everybody for helping get baby's room ready, but especially thank you to auntie Becca for helping FINISH it last night (and vacuum and take all the boxes to the garage)! All the painting is done. And if you've ever been pregnant and nesting or know somebody who has, you will know how good that feels. Now we just need to get furniture in and it will be completely ready for baby. I hope uncle John knows what's in store for him this weekend ;) Pictures to follow when complete.

1 comment:

Lisa Q said...

woo hoo!!