Sunday, October 20, 2013

40 weeks

Looks like Baby Mila held out for one more weekly photo.  Will there be a 41 week belly shot like Avery had? There's no telling! But in the mean time, let's take a trip down memory lane and see all the bi-weekly belly shots...

Wow! What a journey this pregnancy has been. It cracks me up to see what I looked like back at nine weeks pregnant, I don't even remember looking like that. Guess I've just been pregnant so long, it kind of feels like this (the way I look now at 40 weeks) is just how I'm going to look from now on, even though I know that's not the case. Overall it's been so fun to plan and take all these bi-weekly pictures around my town, I have a feeling that even once Mila's born, I'll still be on the lookout for cool photo locations!

This week's photo background: For this week's photo I retunred to good ol' Unity Village, which I'm pretty sure I've used for 3-4 of my photo locations, but who's counting right? This time we ventured to the back side of Unity for this cool, layered stone wall.

The signifigance behind this wall is that we had our pregnancy announcment family pictures taken right literally a few yards away and across the street...

Clearly things were a little greener this time around, but I thought it was kind of fun to return to the place where this pregnancy's "photo journey" all began.

Now just as I've been doing some growing over these past 40 weeks, so has Avery! Check out how old she looks as she does a practice belly shot with me. I think it's safe to say she's seen me do a lot of these photos throughout this pregnancy and now it's a new pose she takes on...

Rockin' that belly shot.

Daddy on the other hand just got fun and smiles!

Questions of the week:

1. How big is the baby (with Avery's help)?

As we hit the end of this baby food size journey too, we had to break out the big guns, or shall I say, big "fruit" with this week's food: a watermelon!  Being as it's almost the end of October, I thought it was doubtful that I'd be able to find a watermelon at any grocery store other than those tiny mini-watermelons. But my local health food store came through for me with this big one.

Although Avery was a little bummed that she couldn't throw, hold, carry, or swing with it since it was just so heavy, she did manage to give it some love.

"I love Baby Mila," she said.
Now although it seemed like a pretty massive food size to end with, I think it was right on the money with the size of Mila right now as you'll see below...

Now it's only right to take another trip down memory lane to see how the food size has changed as this pregnancy went on. My favorite part though, is seeing how much Avery has changed as well...okay and her faces during some of these photo shoots are pretty entertaining too!

Thanks for your help these past 9 months Avery! Sometimes it took a little bribery, but you were one great helper and I know you will continue to be when your REAL baby sister gets here.

2. How am I feeling...
So that's pretty much the number one question I've been asked these days, as my due date has been approaching (and is now here) and the truth is that I feel great! I have "practice contractions"daily as I call them, sometimes they're right after I eat lunch or for some reason around 4:00 PM when my day at work is almost ending, but they usually settle down after a few minutes (once I sit down and just chill out) and then fade away again. Also, I've been feeling lots of what my midwife and I call, "crotch zingers" sorry for TMI, but it's the truth and apparently a sign of "effacement" or the thinning of the cervical tissue that occurs in the weeks/days before labor.

Other times I just feel Mila moving, growing, and kicking around in there and as I get later into this pregnancy the bigger and STRONGER she feels!  So sometimes her just moving around causes me to have a light contraction or sometimes a light contraction causes her to start moving all around. Either way, I take comfort in those mild contractions because I know it's my uterus' way of strengthening itself for labor (kind of like doing reps at the gym), so when the day comes it will be strong and ready.

"How long will your midwife let you go?" This is the second most common question I get these days in reference to how far over my "due date" I will go, and given the fact that Avery was 11 days late, my midwife and I are in no rush to speed things along or induce labor in anyway. I get weekly checks from her at this point, just to make sure everything is okay with Mila and I, so I know I'm in good hands, and I truly feel content if Mila just wants to stay in there and "cook for a while longer". It served Avery well, and it helped build trust in my body's ability to start labor when the time is right, not on someone else's clock.

I know for some people the end of pregnancy can be an exhausting time, but as I said before, I feel pretty good. I'm still working out daily for close to 45 minutes, and I'm still going to work. My big belly makes it a bit harder to maneuver around, and I occasionally causes me some lovely lower back pain, but sitting on a stability ball, using my grounding mat (as I'll share more about below), and getting weekly adjustments at the chiropractor, all have been helpful in keeping this pregnant mama feeling good.

3. What I'm eating...
Spaghetti, spaghetti, and more spaghetti...that's clearly my favorite food right now. I've always loved spaghetti, and especially during the early weeks of this pregnancy and Avery's, spaghetti was my top craving. Now as reach the final weeks/days of this pregnancy, spaghetti is the main food I'm turning to. Now to keep from boring the other members of my house with spaghetti for dinner every night, I forgo my usual leftovers and just take dry spaghetti and a jar of spaghetti sauce to school for lunch and make that fresh instead, and boy does it hit the spot!

Spaghetti has been my go-to dish these past few weeks.
These gluten-free, vegan, "Pumpkin Chia Muffins" from the blog: Hail Merry, have been hitting the spot too given the season upon us...

P. S. I added 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips to the recipe!

4. Best moment of the week:
Wish I had a sentimental moment to share about, but really my favorite moment of the past week has just been taking naps! I think that it took me being this far along in my pregnancy to really stop and say, "Hey you're 39/40 weeks pregnant and tired...take a nap!" I was a napping pro during Avery's pregnancy, but this time around, life is a bit busier and I often choose crossing things off my to-do list rather than slowing down, stopping, and taking time to rest.

Now when I talk about naps, I'm not talking about 2-3 hour sleep sessions, simply 30 minutes is all I really need (okay well sometimes an hour on an especially tiresome day).  And even then my point of the nap isn't necessarily to sleep, but instead just rest my body, relax, and prepare for labor. See I even like to multi-task while napping!  But seriously though, while napping I listen to tracks from my Hypnobirthing days by Aaron Aldridge from the CD, "Gentle Surge". 

There are two tracks on this CD, one with a guided relaxation and visualization, and the other is just a music track. I find the first guided track best to practice during pregnancy, and the music track is what I used to get me though Avery's labor.  Truly, these tracks give me practice relaxing my body and visualizing the birth of Baby Mila. I try hard when listening to them to make my body "loose, limp, and heavy" as the guided imagery track states and I know I will take this with me into labor because I remember during Avery's labor that I felt tense, tight and a little scared because I had never been in labor before and I wasn't sure what everything would feel like or how long labor would go on.  

So, this time around, my "mental action plan" is to refer back to these tracks, focus on taking deep breaths, and relaxing any muscles that feel tight. I guess you can say I've been conditioning myself over these past few weeks and days to turn to these tracks and "relaxing thoughts" because I have a whole routine I do with this nap, from the way my pillows are placed, to the things I smell (like essential oils).  So, when the time comes, you'll probably find me in my bed, listening to these tracks, and smelling my oils...or at least that's where I might start out. We'll see if I end up using it or if I throw it out the whole thing out the window and try something completely different...ahh the beauty of labor, right?

Another key aspect of my naps is my "grounding mat" which I shared about in this post, not only does this help me to relax, but it also gives me energy and reduces aches and pains. I couldn't have gotten through this pregnancy without it!

Well that's my 40 week post, we'll see if I see you for a 41 week post or if I've got an exciting Baby Mila announcement!  Thanks to all of you who have followed the pregnancy journey of mine, your support and kind comments have been greatly appreciated!  ( :

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