By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (I'm pretty sure my baby weighs more than that--have you seen my belly?) (pick up a large jicama--I should know what this is, but I don't) and is about 16.7 inches long (that explains the simultaneous sharp pains at the bottom of my pelvis with the poking in my ribs), taking up a lot of space in your uterus (thank you, captain obvious!). You're gaining about a pound a week (is this supposed to be new information? Doesn't the writer know I've been forced to step on a scale once a month (and now twice a month) for the last seven months?) and roughly half of that goes right to your baby (Um, where did it go before?). In fact, she'll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb (again, I'm pretty sure these weight and size estimates are way off--this child has been eating like a horse since day one. There's no way he/she is less than four pounds seven months later and not already cute and pudgy). She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable (respectable?!) peach fuzz) (I've heard lots of hair equals lots of heartburn. That wasn't true with my first baby, but this baby certainly has me addicted to Tums. Maybe he/she has a ton of hair too?). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth (That's nice, but again I wonder, what was it like before this week).
The more I think about this email, the more disturbing it sounds. Seriously, I used to think that these updates were cute and fascinating, but I'm beginning to wonder what it is they're leaving out. Notice they all focus on the cute stuff that is just now happening, but they tend to leave out the strange, unfamiliar details about what happened before. And, for the record, I have NO faith in these emails' estimates nor any doctor's estimates on baby size. I've seen baby sizes wrongly predicted over and over and over. I believe all babies are different and all grow differently. No one knows anything for sure until that baby pops out and is in our arms.
Which leads me to my thoughts for this week. My 34-week ultrasound is coming up. My midwife insists we measure the baby to determine if he/she's bigger than normal. While I appreciate the idea of delivering a baby that's less than 8 pounds (first baby weighed in at a shocking 8 lbs 13 oz--I had been told two days before that she looked like a 6-7 pound baby), I'm not really convinced that measuring the baby at 34 weeks is going to be helpful at all. First of all, I don't trust the measurements or "norms" that doctors tout. There are always exceptions. Number two, I'm planning on going drug free, which includes induction drugs. I trust that my body and God will know when this baby needs to come out. That's really all the assurance I need that I'll be able to deliver a healthy baby.
So, while I'm excited to see the baby again via ultrasound, and I'm especially excited to see a baby this advanced (the latest ultrasound we took for my first was at 20 weeks), I'm really not putting much weight in the measurements (no pun intended). I believe strongly in the power of words. Last time I said throughout the pregnancy that I would go into labor on a certain day, and even though I had a checkup that morning and was only half of a centimeter, I still went into labor that night. Granted, I learned a lot from that first delivery--for example, I had said when I would go into labor, but I never specified when I'd actually deliver the baby. Forty-five hours later . . . (that's not a typo), I learned my lesson. This time I'm specifying both when I'll go into labor, and when I'll have the baby--hint, they'll both be on the same day ;-)
So, back to the ultrasound, I'll go for the ultrasound, enjoy seeing my cutie pie's developing body, take with a grain of salt what my midwife says about ideal delivery dates, and pick a day that factors my midwife's recommendations in with my calendar of to-do items. I really expect to go full-term 40 weeks, but maybe I'll change my tune when this baby picks up even more pounds than he/she already has. Time will tell. I'll keep you posted.
On a side note, thanks so much for sharing your epidural stories. I've decided epidurals leading to c-sections are not necessarily regional. It seems to be the same story no matter where you live in the States. I am curious if it changes if you deliver in other countries, but who knows?
I signed up for my just-in-case epidural this week, and reading all the warnings and disclaimers (including the part that says, "this pamphlet does not list all of the warnings and risks associated with epidurals), I'm again fueled in my attempts to go drug free. It just gives me the heebie jeebies to sign off on something that has so many unknowns attached to it when I can physically handle the delivery without it. My hubby and I have also decided to go doula-less. Since my doula's not available for this pregnancy and the other doulas I know charge double her price, we've decided we can do this on our own. My hubby really is stellar--he should've been a nurse; his bedside manner is incredible. I'm feeling really confident about our decision. In the meantime, we're going to study up on pain-management techniques, and I'm going to read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth to pump me up and prepare me for the delivery. I'm so excited to be able to share a stellar birth story with you in less than two months!