ValerieOK, so I'm officially in that place I consider "the home stretch." There are about five weeks left of this pregnancy...

OK, so I'm officially in that place I consider "the home stretch." There are about five weeks left of this pregnancy (+/- 2 weeks) and I'm feeling more and more ready as each day passes.

I've been in a really negative place lately, partly caused by the hormones of late pregnancy. I am emotional, grouchy, and all around not much fun to be with these days. I can remember feeling this way in my first pregnancy and I find myself wondering if it's possible I could be carrying another female inside my body. With my boys I distinctly remember feeling know, full of testosterone. My first pregnancy was our first girl, and I remember being weepy, moody, sensitive, much like I am now. I can't, for the life of me, remember HOW I was feeling when pregnant with our second girl. Oh well, I guess time will tell.

Maybe it's wishful thinking, entertaining the thought of having another girl. It would be nice to even things up in this household. And to be honest, I would really have a ball dressing a little girl again. It has been 5.5 years since our last girl entered the family and it would be nice to have a little estrogen floating around in this sea of testosterone.

That's not to say I'd be disappointed in having another boy. I see how close our last two boys are, and it's such a joy to know they have such a bond. Another boy would also mean not having to add much, if anything, to the wardrobe...there are certainly plenty of hand-me-downs (not so for a girl). Still, a sweet little's familiar emotional territory for me...familiar potty training, no worries about pee splashing beyond the bowl because someone's not paying attention!

Besides being hormonal all the time, I'm also to that point where I'm just plain big and uncomfortable. Do I waddle? I don't know...I like to think I'm not waddling most of the time, unless my right hip is bothering me. Do I care? Yes and no. I like to think I'm the appearance of well-adjusted and healthy late in my pregnancy, rather than big and cumbersome and miserable, but that sometimes takes considerable energy.

I'm having lots of braxton hicks contractions, though they aren't bothering me yet. I've started drinking lots of red raspberry leaf tea in the hope that it will help make for a more pleasant birth. I drank it a lot when pregnant with our second, and I had a fairly pleasant labor with our maybe this will be a repeat. Still, it doesn't help me to sleep that well (not that it is supposed to). I don't think anything could help me to sleep that well at this point. I have to roll over several times a night to keep either side from going numb or getting sore; I have to rise to empty my bladder at least twice a night; and we still have our youngest sharing our bed with us, and, frankly, he's the crappiest sleeper I've ever known. I should just go ahead and move him in with the other boys. I mean, since I'm up a few times at night anyway, what difference would it make if he's next to me or down the hall? It's not like he's nursing anymore...

That thought leads me to my theory that late pregnancy discomforts are a way of preparing the new mother for life with a new baby, a training ground to prime her for giving up her own needs in place of someone who is needier than she is. All the late night rising to urinate, all the tossing and turning in that last month prepares the way for tending to the new baby in the wee hours.

Now, there are some wonderful tricks I've learned over the years that help me to get the most out of my night's sleep with a newborn. The biggest one is co-sleeping with the baby so night nursing is easily facilitated. This is one thing my mother has never I manage to sleep fairly well with a new baby in the house. She never had the benefit of breastfeeding me, and co-sleeping was something only hippies did back in the late sixties and early seventies. What a blessing nursing and co-sleeping are, though. By sleeping with or very close to your new baby, you need not fully awake to tend to his or her needs. The hormones released by breastfeeding make it extremely easy for mom to relax and fall back to sleep rather quickly. It has been my experience that this hormonal response is much greater earlier in the postpartum period and is probably nature's way of ensuring that the new mom gets the rest she needs so desperately to recuperate from a long pregnancy and birthing.

Anyway, I've just about prepared the things we need to be ready for this birth. I purchased the famous "fishy pool" for $11 at our local supermarket last weekend and spent the better part of an hour blowing it up today with the bike pump. I wanted to be sure to have enough time to inflate it, let it air outside to get rid of the plastic fumes, and try it out empty to see which spaces in our home in which it would fit. It just fits in our master bathroom. If anyone else wants to be witness to the birth, they would have to pick a seat on the toilet or in the bathtub! It also fits in the den, which is where I blew it up. Naturally it fits in the larger space of our living room. If I move the desk out of our bedroom, it will also fit in there near the bed. Of course, it all depends on what time of day it will be when it's close to birthing time and what people, if any, will be around.

My mother-in-law has already informed us that she will be dropping everything at work the minute she hears from us, even though we haven't formally invited her to help out. We figure we'll call if we feel like we need help with the kids and told her that if it's the middle of the night there is no sense in rattling everyone's cage. Thankfully DH and I are on the same page.

We're in the midst of Little League tournamets right now, which means we will likely be running around to games for the next week or so. Our oldest son, the baseball player, will also be involved in a baseball camp during the mornings next week, so that should help the time pass quickly as well.

Then we'll be heading off for our extended weekend camping trip with DH's sister and her family over the 4th of July holiday. DH will have to take an overnight trip to Washington, DC a couple of days after we get back. So, before I know it, I'll be arriving at 38 weeks!

I'm feeling pretty peaceful about the birth itself, trusting that it will unfold the way it needs to unfold. While I feel overwhelmed at times with the idea of adding another person into this mix we call family, I really am looking forward to meeting this new hold, to cuddle, to smell, to nurse. Ah, just thinking about it makes a smile come to my face (and warmth to my heart), knowing that all I'm going through right now will be rewarded abundantly. All in good time...

Until next time,

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