Here I am at 38 weeks!
I am really excited to be in my final weeks of pregnancy- to experience the wonder, joy, and surrealness of meeting the little boy in my belly. It is still not fully registering that there is a 7 lb baby in there! (according to statistical averages). I definitely feel like there is no room in my torso, especially when I’m sitting down. The baby is also moving around all the time. When I watch birth videos, I still feel shocked when I see what the baby looks like when it comes out.
Exercise Lately: Mostly Wahoo KICKR, 1 Outside Ride, and Swimming
I got to mountain bike OUTSIDE yesterday which is something I didn’t think I would get to do until I was recovered post-partum. Usually, we aren’t on trails again until mid-March due to snow. (and it IS snowing again today!) I will say that 99% of the trails are still mud or snow-covered, but due to a few warm and even sunny days, there are a few kms of trail that are rideable. I admit that the last few weeks have been a total slog to ride the trainer in the garage. The trainer is challenging to begin with (something I usually like), but if you aren’t feeling all that great, even a 120W ride can feel difficult. I am still committed to showing up because it’s what feels right to me, even when I ride for 30-45 minutes at a low wattage. Most of my rides are 90 minutes or less and I physically don’t feel fresh to push at all. Up until around 34 weeks, I was able to do some structured tempo work on the trainer. When I felt like I couldn’t anymore, it just felt like deep fatigue that I couldn’t push through. It’s like when your body is telling you “let’s do a recovery ride today.” I’m trying to explain because “just listen to your body” might be specific enough for some people. I’m not complaining, but I want to be transparent for those reading this about my experience. I don’t want it to look like I’m crushing hard workouts, putting out a lot of power, and that my body’s ability is close to what it was pre-pregnancy. I still look like myself (except for my torso) and am happy I look healthy and strong- but I think I look stronger than I am on the bike! My body did just grow an extra organ (placenta) and now a full-size baby human, all while still pedaling almost every day so that IS something! Some days are easier than others, but I enjoy having a goal- to show up and try.
Another new thing I did was I added in swimming 2 weeks ago. It’s something I’ve been wanting to add in for awhile, but I was making excuses. We also have just one car right now so it just takes additional planning. I’ve never been a big swimmer. I don’t really enjoy the water unless I’m playing in the ocean. The only time in my life I’ve swam for exercise was when I was 18 or 19 for a month or two before I became a cyclist. I was dabbling with the idea of doing an Ironman Triathlon (never happened b/c I found the dirt!). It was funny to go to the store to buy a swim cap and goggles. I felt like an imposter and I actually asked the salesperson if you had to “be serious to wear a swim cap.” He informed me that it’s just to keep your hair from getting destroyed from the chlorine. It’s funny how what we wear can make us feel like an imposter in a sport and it is fun to feel like a total newbie. The first day at the pool was also funny because I didn’t quite know the rules of how swim lane etiquette worked and asked the lifeguard.
I’ve been swimming 2x a week for the last 2 weeks and will keep it up at least until baby comes. I’ve been swimming around 1000-2200m which is in the 30min- 1 hour realm and add on more each time. I still don’t love swimming, but it feels good to do a sport where I have zero expectation or benchmark. I don’t even know what time is considered “fast” even though I doo know I’m nowhere near the fast category. It’s nice to not put any pressure on myself other than to physically drive to the pool and get in the water. The water feels good although I get nervous when the swim lane gets crowded, and usually there are 3-4 people in the lane! I am proud that I’m swimming longer each week and it’s fun to see my swim endurance improve quickly. The other interesting thing is that my swim pace is the same almost to the second no matter how long I swim. I do like to keep track of how long and how far with my watch. I also am so impressed when I see the swimmers in the fast lane. I know swimming is a lot of technique and I can see how it would be fun to work on that.
My pubic symphysis has improved a lot (from snow shoveling back in January) and my diastasis is still sore, but not like before. It still hurts sometimes, but I’ve accepted it. I feel like a stuffed turkey! I can’t imagine how people that have twins do it- it seems there is no more room! In other good news, baby is in good position and is very readily engaged and far down in my pelvis. I also was nervous about the Group B Strep screening since 25% of women have it and the consequence is an IV with antibiotics after your water breaks for the duration of your labor. I hate needles and it would have made it harder for me to “relax” for birth if I knew I had to have an IV. We finished our Hypnobirthing classes. I’m glad I did it and it definitely gave me a positive mindset and visualizations for birth, but it was hard to go 6 weeks in a row for 3 hours…and the time of night was hard too. It was one of those things where I dreaded going, but when I was there I would enjoy it for the concentrated attention, the planning on how to go about giving birth, the community aspect of being around other expecting couples, and I liked my instructor.
The hardest thing I do is actually putting my socks on. I have to put my ankle up on my knee, and even leaning forward squishes the baby into my diaphragm. I’ve been wearing my clogs everywhere so that’s been nice and easy. I’ve been afraid of my clogs since I broke my foot on them last year (the heel was worn, the bricks I was walking on were uneven and the clog rolled over super hard and I broke a bone on the side of my foot. It sucked! See- walking is more dangerous than the mtb for me!).
How I Feel About Impending Birth!
So BIRTH. Yes! I have mixed emotions about the whole thing. Mostly, I’m excited about it like I’d be excited for an A Race. I’ve done my prep, 10 months pregnant is FOREVER, I’m ready to get it done. I’m still very fit, I’m super healthy, my baby is really healthy. Everything has gone perfectly so far. My self-talk around birth is that I’m up for the challenge and excited to see what it’s like, that I KNOW my body can do it, and that BILLIONS of women have given birth. I do have some anxiety about it because you can’t really make your body do anything, you have to LET your body do it which is foreign to me. I also understand that birth feels different for everyone and is even different between babies for the same person. I hope everything goes the way I want it to. I have moments of doubt and worry, but I just focus on what I want to have happen when doubt comes up. It’s hard because I like to try to control things, but I know that in this case there isn’t much I can control other than my mindset and my breathing- and I know I’m good at that already! I’m a little worried that something will change as it does for a lot of people and that I’ll decide I want drugs. I can’t help but feel like I’m letting myself down or letting Matt down if I decide I actually can’t do it naturally. I know that’s normal and that I shouldn’t worry about it- that is just one of those self-doubting moments. I know there are also silly stigmas and judgments about how women give birth. Truly, it’s a personal choice and there is no right or wrong way. The best outcome is a healthy baby and a healthy me, however it happens. It’s like having your race plan, but things happen on race day you can’t control. Some races work out great and some are wrought with issues and mechanicals. Either way, you show up to the start line prepared as best as you can with visualizations of what you want to have happen and do your best to execute. I really have all positive visualizations in my head and my gut tells me everything is going to be awesome. It’s also weird to think that it could happen at any moment. Most first time moms give birth in the 40-41 week realm, but I’m now considered “full term.” I wouldn’t mind if we came before 40 weeks!
Things I’m Doing to Help Prep My Body
I’m drinking a few cups of Raspberry Leaf Tea every day, Perineal Massage a couple times a week although I admit it’s hard for me to properly reach, acupuncture for cervical ripening weekly starting at 37 weeks, trying to stay in bed longer than I want in the morning because it’s my last chance for awhile, one last chiro appt (already had it) to make sure everything is aligned, and trying too reduce stress as much as possible and do less so my body can be in a relaxed state to go into labor. I am really thankful for all the benefits of my plant-based diet to shepherd me through what most would consider a very easy pregnancy (it still hasn’t felt easy). My blood pressure has not changed at all, still no swelling, and I still feel very healthy. If you missed my post on vegan pregnancy, here it is!
We Are Ready!
Our baby room is ready. We are ready. We’ve read several books on how to take care of a baby, I’ve read several books on breastfeeding and know where to get help if I need it. I’ve read a book on Conscious Parenting. Food is cooked and in the freezer. We’ve done everything we can to prepare ourselves to drop a newborn baby boy into our lives. I know we have an entire dimension that we can’t imagine or even plan for that’s about to happen. I feel confident in my midwives, doula, Matt and also important- confidence in myself. And all I have to say – LET’S DO THIS!