Monday, January 10, 2011


We are officially FULL TERM! Baby could be born now and be considered fully baked-not premature or high risk or anything! Wahoooooooooooooo! I know there's probably not a huge difference between yesterday and today, but having it "official" is just so COOL!

Matthew and I had another fight last night over who was going to get to occupy/control my back. Thankfully, it wasn't as intense or long-lived as the first episode, and it wasn't also accompanied by front contractions.

This is such a weird time. On the one hand, I'm just ITCHING for him to get here. On the other hand, I'm so overwhelmed by the thought of it that I think I could take another 9 months just wrapping my head around it! (Though to be clear, I never want to be pregnant for 18 consecutive months! Did you know that elephants are pregnant for 24 months?? I'm glad I'm not an elephant!)

It's the same thing with birth. After those two episodes, I was really proud of how much I was able to remember about pain management techniques, different positions, relaxation, focus, etc, even while in the heat of the moment and screaming in pain. And DH was a champ, making suggestions, doing anything I asked or needed, staying up with me, etc. And after the fact, I got a little bolster of self-confidence--"I can do this!" But on the other hand, while it was happening, it hurt so, so, SO badly, and it wasn't even the real thing. In the heat of the moment I was definitely thinking, "I can't do this!! Make it stop! Give me drugs!" So that overwhelms me a little. I'm trying to not think about it because it scares me. Do you ever get to a point before the first time where you're not afraid of birth?

I printed out a ton of scriptures on papers to tape around the wall in the hospital room during labor. I'm trying to focus on them now--I don't need to be trapped by this fear! Women do this every day and God designed our bodies for it...I don't know why it overwhelms me as much as it does!

These are the verses I printed out. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

“I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.
~Philippians 4:13

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”
~Psalm 91:2

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
~Psalm 118:1

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
~Exodus 33:14

In my anguish I cried to the Lord and he answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
~Psalm 118:5-6

May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
~Psalm 20:4

I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise...
~Psalm 18:1-3

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.
~1 Samuel 1: 27-28

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
~John 16:21

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
~Matthew 11:28

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generation. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.”
~Psalm 89:1-2

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
~2 Corinthians 12:9

Be still, and know that I am God.
~Psalm 46:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
~Isaiah 41:10

I sought the Lord, and He answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
~Psalm 34:4

He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.
~Psalm 113:9

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
~Psalm 139:13-14

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
~Psalm 61:1-4

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
~Isaiah 40:28-29, 31

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart…”
~Jeremiah 1:5

Listen to this… stop and consider God’s wonders.
~Job 37:14

We have a praise on DH. He's finally starting to feel better. He still has no energy at all, but the violent coughing he was experiencing has mostly subsided, so he rests better, breaths better, and isn't so sore. He was able to work for a few hours today, which was a blessing because he's self-employed and he was starting to stress about all the weeks of work he's missed.

I'm partially packed for the hospital. Again, I keep going back and forth between "Oh my goodness, I have to get this done NOW" and "eh, I've got time." And I don't want to be THAT woman who bring EVERYTHING, but I also don't want to be "man, I really wish I had _________" either.

This is what's in my bag for labor. Do you have any additional suggestions?
Birthing Tub with pump
Cord Blood Kit
Birthing Ball (hospital said to bring your own because they don't have enough)
Camera with extra memory, and battery charger
Massage Aides with extra batteries
Spare Cell Charger
Corn Bag (bag full of corn kernels-you microwave the whole thing for heat)
Scriptures and scotch tape
Warm Socks (I hate cold feet!)
Flip Flops for Shower
Bra/Bikini Top to labor in
Bathing Suit for DH
Ipod with charger and little speaker
Baby Book to stamp his footprints and handprints in
My pillow
Water bottle for contraband water
Battery operated fan (I'm always hot!)
Disposable camera
ETA: Snacks (I had this on my list but forgot to type it)

For post-partum I have:
My meds, DH's meds
My own pjs, undergarments, etc
PJs and change of clothes for DH
Clothes for Matthew
Going home clothes for me and Matthew
Scrapbook paper for hospital visitors to sign
Receiving blanket
Phone numbers to call (in case we forget our cells)

Not much else is new here--trying to nest as I have energy, which is not much these days. We do have Matthew's room mostly done! Want to see?

Disclaimer--all the furniture is brown, though some of it looks black

His dresser will go on the far right wall, perpendicular to the window and will double as a changing table. When we are able, we'll buy his bedding set and the quilt will hang on the wall over the dresser until he's old enough to use it. We have a recliner that will actually replace that chair, but right now the recliner lives in our room and will until Matthew starts sleeping in his crib at night. I can't wait to sit in that corner with him and read to him, nurse him, snuggle him in our comfy chair.

His little toy/book shelf. It's just so happy! (Disclaimer, I know to take the plastic off the lampshade! We're just not sure if we're keeping it or not)

This is the bedding we chose. Isn't it cute?

We need to leave for class soon so I have to sign off so I'll just close by embarrassing myself:
37 weeks and a snapshot of how we spend most Sunday afternoons during football season:

And, I may regret or posting this for all the interwebs to see, but here we are in all our goofiness. Yes, I do wear my cheesehead IRL when we're going somewhere to watch the game. And my friend gave me that baby cheesehead for Matthew (though I don't actually wear it strapped to my belly). :D I wanted a picture of our silliness. Matthew better come out holding a "Go, Pack, Go!" sign! Last week, DH and my mom caught me singing to him in the bathtub. I didn't realize they could hear me. It normally wouldn't be so bad...I was singing "Jesus Loves Me" and "You are my Sunshine" and "Skittamarinkeedinkeydink" and "Arky Arky" but then I proceeded to sing him the NFL Song. I think that's when they lost it. Hey, what can I say. Like every other true Packer fan, I take my football seriously! So, without further ado, enjoy a laugh at my expense....Nobody send that to that uncomfortable family photos site!

I embarrass my dog, too.

Last but not least, the 37 week synopsis!

It’s the calm before the storm. Changes in your baby's weight have leveled off with only a few ounces of fat added this week. At this point your baby should weigh in at around 6.3 lbs and 19 inches (with boys somewhat heavier and longer than girls). Happily, as far as internal organs go, they are now developed enough to function in the outside world although the oh-so-important immune system is still developing and will continue to do so after birth. With a large boost of antibodies provided by breast milk when nursing begins. Fighting infection and staying healthy should be well within their physical capacity when your little fighter is born.



  1. RE: hospital list: you might want a card game or handicrafts or something. Labor (when you're not having contractions) is kind of boring. When it picks up at the end, sure, you're busy, but if you have a slow-starting labor, you're going to have all these five-ten minute periods of NOTHING TO DO in between the pain. I worked on my son's baby blanket during his labor. And, during my daughter's, which was longer and, until the very end, harder, my husband and mom read to me while I rested with my eyes closed. That was nice and (somewhat) distracting.

    Plus, you might want your labor support to have something to do - your husband'll probably want a book or something; you might too.

    Also, your husband/labor support should make sure to bring a jacket or sweatshirt. Hospital rooms are often cold, and you'll have lovely hot blankets, but he/they won't.

    Snacks for the labor support (or money to buy them down in the hospital cafeteria). Snacks for YOU for afterwards (hospital food can be wonderful or terrible, and it just depends - it's lovely to have what you want to eat after you give birth - I've never had a better burger than the Carl's Jr. one my dad brought me right after my first birth - even if I only could finish half of it).

    Oh, and if your husband is going to be getting wet, make sure he brings towels or a bathrobe or something. Generally linens in the hospital are for patients, and patients only.

  2. The nursery looks great! Congrats on making 37 weeks. I can't wait to see his first picture. Praying for you all during this exciting time!

  3. Umm, corn bag? What's a corn bag?
    Love all your verses! You can do it!!
    The room looks great~ can't wait to see baby Matthew in it!

  4. My husband is the proud owner of a cheesehead too!

  5. Hi, Jen!

    I would suggest snacks! Lots of snacks! For you, for Todd, for your doula, and, for extra credit, your nurses (make friends and influence people!).

    Also, drinks! Especially juice or Gatorade for you, and a container that has a straw (easier for drinking during labor). Having juice/Gatorade really helped me keep my energy levels up during labor, and doulas are great at offering it every couple of minutes.

    I might also suggest a bikini top for you if you prefer that for water labor. With #1 I labored completely naked in the tub, but with #2 my chest had changed so much that that was no longer comfortable, and I wanted a bikini top. *Sigh*. Relish your first-baby bosom as long as you can! (TMI, I know!!!!)

    One thing I would also bring if I were birthing in-hospital would be a reading lamp so that I could turn off the room lights. I found laboring in a darkened room to be essential for concentration. Perhaps hospital rooms already have those, though - I don't know! And that's a personal preference thing.

    Essential oils? Some mamas really like aromatherapy. Your doula might have those in her kit.

    I assume by corn bag you mean a heat pack? Definitely a plus!!!!! Especially for postpartum!!

    Tennis balls? Good for back labor, but your doula probably has those in her pack too.

    I never got to a place where I didn't fear labor. I think it's a natural part of pregnancy! But you are going to do awesome, and I can't wait to hear about your adventures and see your precious little one. Congrats on full-terming it!!!! Love you!!

  6. I personally found my second birth at least as frightening as my first, but that was because I never got to finish the first. The third was a whole different experience, because I knew what to expect (but I'd also had two bad experiences, which tended to color the anticipation). But...fear? I don't remember being afraid of labor when I was pregnant with Josiah - it was more like resignation: "this is coming, and it's hard, and eventually it will be over and there will be joy in the morning." :)

    Overall I think that the first is the "scariest" just because it is entirely unknown. No matter how much you read and how much you prepare, you just don't know what it will be like.

    But you can do it. :)

  7. Oh my goodness Jen, I can't believe the time is almost here!!!!! Maybe Matthew will make his debut on Amelia's 3rd birthday, 1/12 (Wednesday).

    Can't remember if you listed this, but have you thought about music? I remember listening to Chris Tomlin during labor. Very inspiring and uplifting, not to mention I have fond memories every time I hear "How Great is Our God!"

  8. I know the unknowns of birth can be a bit daunting, but you'll do great mama! Ya know why? Because you've educated yourself about the process, you know all about positions, breathing, relaxation and what your body needs to do, and in the end you know that you'll do whatever it takes for Matthew to get here happy and healthy. I can't wait to hear the whole story and see his little face!

    As for the list--I really don't have anything to add. We lived so close to the hospital for my first that it really wasn't a big deal if we didn't have everything. I didn't go to the hospital until I was 7 cm and she was out only a few hours later.

    But, for my second it was an hour drive and I tried to have everything, but the hospital ended up providing more than I realized. I prefer quiet while laboring and slept between contractions, so I never really used much of the stuff I brought, and it was a pit induced labor so it only lasted 5 hours anyway. I think I stayed there for 3 days (baby was in the NICU for 16 days, though) and I only wished that I had more of my own regular clothes. Hospital gowns are terrible and I got tired of wearing the same PJ's.

    You can do it :)

  9. I wasn't really afraid either time, not that I was excited either.

    Here's the thinking that helped me not be afraid...

    1. Your brain can and will only process so much pain. It can not get infinitely worse forever.
    2. I am more likely to die in a car crash than in labor and delivery because medical professionals know what to do if something goes wrong.
    3. If the pain ever gets so bad due to exhaustion or fear that I can't take it anymore, then there are also medical interventions available.
    4. During each pregnancy, I got miserable enough that I was willing to do whatever it took for it to be over, including labor.
    5. Contractions are hellish, but only last for a few minutes at a time and then you get a break. With #2, I actually felt rather normal between contractions, with #1 I had erratic labor where active labor meant one contraction ran right into the next without completely relaxing, but even that was bearable pain in between. I decided I would only think about one contraction at a time.
    6. Labor and delivery will only last 24 hours or so, hopefully less, so again it won't last forever.

    Early labor is the hardest in some ways because you are still in your right mind and can contemplate your suffering and work yourself up. Once it gets bad it is both the worst pain and the easiest pain to deal with because you don't really have the energy to be afraid and your brain starts working differently to protect you. I can't really explain it, it just does. Plus, at least for me, even though I was in agony, I felt a little crazy because you don't really have any strongly visible indication that you should be in that much pain until the baby starts to crown.

    My best suggestion is to keep yourself as distracted and living as normally as possible during early labor, between contractions and what-not, and try to do as much of early labor as you can at home. This is the time you are most likely to psych yourself out.

    I have done drug free labor and I know there are reasons that is attractive, but leaving that door open for drugs helped me not be afraid because I felt I had options. Really, the goal is that both mom and baby are healthy at the end of the day. That is a successful labor and delivery!

    As for your list, I think that's great! Try not to worry about forgetting anything. It's a long story but I had nothing that I wanted in the hospital room with #1, not even my camera. And, I just had to let go of my expectations once again and he was born without incident. The most important thing to have is really your coach.

    Oh, but make your husband bring gum, mints or a toothbrush and toothpaste to the labor, in case his breath after one of those yummy snacks makes you want to vomit. It wasn't bad breath but I couldn't handle the smell of food and my focal point was having him about two inches from my face. I sent him packing until he remedied the situation... and I was in active labor! ;)

  10. I love the idea of taking Scripture with you to put in your room - you seem uber-prepared - good luck with everything!

  11. Cute nursery. I couldn't have lived without my 2 designer, comfy gowns. ALSO some crystal light or other hard candy to suck! You're getting CLOSE!

  12. Sounds like you're ready Jen! You will never be totally ready, but you're prepared. I'm a wimp for pain and if I can do it, anyone can(I cry when I stub my toe)


    Do you have a video camera or can you borrow one? I love the videos that Steve took right after birth and during our stay in the hospital, I still cry when I watch them.

    OH- and I looooved apple juice when I was in labor, I thought for sure Adam would come out as applesauce!

    I'll be praying for you! If you get a chance to put up a quick post in early labor, that would be awesome...I promise to be there with you in spirit and I can't wait to see your little Matthew!

  13. 1. Nursery is ADORABLE!
    2. HOORAY dh is feeling better!
    3. You so cracked me up with the cheesehead pics! love it!
    4. I agree with bringing to the hospital: a thick sweatshirt for dh, magazines or something for him (there will be down time for him), snacks, power bars for him. I even had him sneak me some of his food/drink when the nurses were out of the room. Cards were great for us. I could concentrate on playing cards to distract, bring a variety of music on your ipod. I though I wanted to listen to one thing, but wished I had brought something else instead. Bring your nursing bras. I wanted mine RIGHT away! I liked a rice bag better than the corn bag, but that's just me. I snuck in emergen-C packets to mix in water bottles that dh was "drinking" ha! It really gave me the 'umph' to get through the labor. Don't forget your phone's land charger & your camera battery charger. I would take pictures of the baby when it was just the 2 of us--say around 4a.m. and I just sat staring at them! : )
    5. Yes, #1 is the toughest b/c you have no idea, but after you are through with number one, you'll know what to expect : )
    6. I love you verses and several of those are ones I used. I had Rhea read Scripture to me. Funny narratives that I could follow as a story helped me as I was needing distractions to focus on.

    Okay...enough of my book of a reply!! I am so excited for you Jen!!

  14. The one thing I wanted during labor was ice and drinks of water. I worked up quite a sweat and was parched like I'd been running a marathon. I was too weak near the end to even talk, so couldn't communicate my need. I'd run that thought by look for signs of thirst and have ice/water at the ready.

    Oh, and yes, you will get to the point of wanting that baby out no matter what it takes. Take it from someone who was overdue by a week. As soon as you see that baby's face and hold him, you'll know it was all worth it and somehow, you forget about the pain. Birth is magical that way :-).