A Real-Life Pregnancy: Week 33
Argh. Birth Stories!
In all the discussion last week about myself, I forgot to mention that I had a doctor’s visit. At this point in pregnancy, you go about every other week just to check in. The visits don’t take very long, and I’m finding it interesting to see what’s happening with my weight. No woman wants to ever, ever see the scale go up that high, but you’re pregnant, you have to gain weight. It’s the one time in your adult life that weight gain is good for you! My goal has been to not gain more weight than I lost prior to getting pregnant—you might remember from way back when that before I got pregnant I lost 30 pounds. Usually a healthy pregnancy has a weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds, and I’ve gained right around 30 to 35 pounds at this point. I’m proud of myself for that!
Along with watching my weight, the doctor told me to pre-register at the hospital around this time and to also make sure to fill out and send in any disability/state forms for my pregnancy leave from work. So make sure you do that around this time too, or at least start thinking about it.
It’s no mystery anymore—people know I’m pregnant. I get lots of sympathetic looks and extra help getting up from chairs and carrying things. I sometimes feel foolish having people offer me these things, but I let them do it—it makes them feel good, and I enjoy it also.
Birth Story Bonanza
Now that I’m so far along it seems like every mom I know wants to tell me her labor story. OK, I’m really happy to have this little baby in me and yes it kicks a lot right now, and it is hard to sleep, and eating sometimes makes me queasy, but I’m still not real excited about thinking about the baby coming out. And even though some moms think it might help me feel more comfortable to hear more birth stories, it still doesn’t make me any more excited about this whole thing. I feel like I have a pretty high threshold for pain, but this is different. Not only am I envisioning the worst pain ever, I’m also panicked about my little baby coming out and being safe and healthy. Big sigh, lots of nerves.
I asked my mom and sister about their experiences with labor and found it all a bit interesting. My mom, who had me 33 years ago and my sister 36 years ago, remembers that her water broke and that my dad wasn’t allowed in the room when my sister was born. I guess I gave her some trouble, but she doesn’t remember if she had an epidural. My sister had C-sections with both of her children, one just two years ago. She explained the process as being like someone reaching into a really small hole and pulling something really big out and it being just a little not right—but she did not recount the memory as though she had been through the most excruciating pain of her entire life. Interesting, hopeful.
Nobody ever points out the pain when they tell me their birth stories. There’s no mention of pain, blood, screaming. Does everyone forget the pain? Is it not as bad as it seems it will be? Am I getting anxious for no reason? A friend of mine gave birth the other day and they sent photos out for everyone to see right after the birth, and there she is smiling in the pictures like nothing ever happened.
I won’t know how childbirth will feel until I get there, and I’m definitely keeping myself open to all options, including an epidural. But I guess I should take comfort in the fact that most moms tell me wonderful things about their births, and I hope that I will be able to do that after mine also. I do hope.
Waist measurement: 43 inches
Weekly weigh-in: 172 pounds
Pregnancy symptoms: Burning skin and some nausea after eating. I’m putting on an extra layer of thick lotion to help the skin and eating smaller portions.
My favorite pregnancy anecdote for the week: “I just don’t remember that much about it, it was a long time ago.” My mother telling me about my birth.
Pregnancy “first” of the week: I learned more about the birthing process from my family and friends. I haven’t wanted to ask too many questions up to this point because I don’t want to fixate on the birthing, but I figure I’m getting close, it’s time to start thinking about it.
Doctor’s visit: Not this week.
About the Photo: The above picture of the author was taken during her 33rd week of pregnancy by Dean Lipoff.
Read the next installment: week 34
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