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36 Weeks!

I'm still feeling pretty great! This was a fun week for me as I anticipated a growth scan ultrasound and some other tests at my appointment on Thursday. Thankfully we are pretty busy here at camp, so the week has flown by. I'm feeling great, though tired. I do get backaches occasionally and Braxton-Hicks contractions are sometimes longer and take my breath away. Those are annoying. I have resumed drinking my morning cup of coffee, and the daily swelling in my ankles (and the crazy water-weight gain) has gone away completely. My weight has normalized once again.

These images are taken from the Ovia Pregnancy app. It's a cute update for me to look forward to each week.

My ultrasound was first yesterday. Baby was very active and wiggly. The biophysical profile part of the ultrasound looks for 4 factors: practice breathing, large movement, small movement, and amniotic fluid. We saw almost all of these within the first few minutes. She said that the practice breathing can be the hardest one to catch. Before too long though, we noticed Selah's little abdomen rising and falling in a regular rhythm. She has a lot of fluid around her--AFI 26.5--perhaps slightly above what is considered "normal", but that has happened with some of my other pregnancies too. The surprising thing was that in spite of all this fluid (which normally makes baby more "floaty"), Selah has moved head-down into my pelvis fairly well, and is facing the right direction! (Yay for doing some squats and pelvic tilts!). Some more good news is that my placenta is Grade 1. What this means is that I may be old, but the baby's placenta isn't showing signs of aging yet. ;) An aging placenta shows signs of calcification and means that the amount of nourishment the baby is receiving may be decreased. It was not difficult to get a "large movement" since she was squirming all over. The "small movement" we noted was her grasping and releasing the cord with her fingers.

As for her estimated size, Selah overall measured about 35 weeks 6 days, which is within the very wide margin of error (she was 36 weeks 3 days based on the earliest ultrasounds). Her estimated weight was 6 lbs 4 oz, which is the 42% and can be off by as much as a pound (heavier or lighter). Estimating size at this late gestation can be extremely difficult and its use is highly criticized. Her head was difficult to measure since it was so low in my pelvis. I watched as the sonographer tried to adjust the measurement of the head, and it was wild how much a tiny adjustment in the little circle would change the estimated gestation. I think the most important takeaway for me from these estimates is that the ratios between head, abdomen, and legs, were all within normal ranges. And I have at least a shred of hope that she won't be a 9-pounder!

One of the most fun parts of the ultrasound was seeing a little bit of fuzzy hair floating around in the amniotic fluid, her huge Theis feet huddled up by my ribs, and her sweet round face and cheeks. She has adorable pouty lips, and I can't wait to see them!

{This is a nose and lips picture if you are able to interpret it.}

At my doctor's appointment later, I started my visit with a non-stress test. For this test, the nurse places the same monitors on your belly that they use during labor. One is placed at the top of the fundus and can measure contractions. The other is used to track baby's heart rate. Then I was given a button to push every time she moved. Well, the baby who never sleeps decided this was the perfect time for a catnap! The doctor came in and poked around and rubbed my belly trying to get her to wake up. It did cause a ginormous contraction. :) Finally, I turned on some music on my cell phone and she started moving around. So she passed that test too. 

Since I got the swelling problem under control, it looks like I lost 4 pounds in the past two weeks. Unfortunately, it does mean that I haven't gained more than half a pound overall in the past 8 weeks. But what have I been doing? Oh yeah, we moved to camp, where I love to take walks and be more active in general. Nevermind the whole moving part...

The doctor also did the Group B strep test, which came back negative. That is a huge stress reliever for me. She checked my cervix and baby's position. She confirmed that Selah's head is nice and low, and my cervix is right where it should be and is softening. 

I have my hospital bag mostly packed (besides those few things I can't grab until the last minute). I also have an emergency birth kit packed that I now take everywhere with me. My biggest stress factor at this point is what will the kids do while I'm in the hospital. I'm sure we can get an adult or adults to watch them while I'm giving birth. But what if I go into labor in the middle of the night? How long will it take to wake everyone up and load up? Do I need to have an overnight bag with a change of clothes packed for each of them? Will they spend the night(s) in St. Cloud, or will Mitch drive them back to camp? Also, the baby typically sees the doctor within a day or two after being discharged from the hospital. So will I stay in St. Cloud an extra night after I am released? I've had a lot of babies who had jaundice and had to have their bilirubin checked every day for several days. What will I do if that is the case for Selah? These are things that are more difficult to prepare for. Maybe I will just pack a suitcase for the rest of the family for one night and have it ready to go. Hmmm...something to think about anyway. 

Otherwise, I feel so full of joy and I'm relishing each of these last days of pregnancy as much as I can. I have been quite the complainer in the past, and this time I just don't feel like complaining (though I do mention to the kids that they need to pick things up off the floor so I don't have to). My doctor always likes to say at the end, "Babies are easier in than out. You will feel better when they're out, but then they're more work." I admit that I didn't want to hear that during some of my pregnancies. But this time I've been appreciating it a little more. It is a lot easier to get us ready to go for a walk or go down to the lake to swim now than it will be when the baby comes. (That's not to say that it's easy by any stretch of the word...sometimes I feel like we spend more time getting ready and cleaning up after than we do on the actual activity). I am enjoying living in the moment and I'm learning to surrender more and more to how God is leading our lives. 

If you think of us, please pray for us during the next few weeks! 


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