What does a due date really mean anyway? I read that only 5% of babies are born on their due dates. In fact, my close friend gave birth to her first-born son two weeks and two days after the due date. With 14 days left till my estimated due date I realized last night that if I give birth at the same point in my pregnancy that she gave birth I'll still have another month to go!
My pregnancy has been a real combination of highs and lows. I have battled nausea through the past nine months. I have had heartburn, constipation, restlessness, appetite problems and just about every symptom you can imagine. I have also had the true fortune of feeling a life grow inside of me. I have seen my body grow and change with such rapidity that I don't recognize myself in the mirror every morning. I have just entered my 38th week of pregnancy and I am feeling so heavy, hot and tired.
With everything I do I can't help but think, "the next time I do this I could be a mother." It might not be smart to think that way, but, again, I can't help it. I try not to focus on the due date, but at this point, I really just want the baby out. I'm excited by the prospect of labor and delivery. I have been doing targeted exercises throughout the pregnancy to prepare my body. I have read a tremendous amount about the science of labor and delivery and I feel very prepared so that I will not be surprised by what will happen. We have also hired a doula, labor support coach, to help us through the whole thing from start to finish. I aim to deliver this baby naturally and I truly believe I have done everything possible to prepare myself. Science has proven that women who deliver naturally have an easier time achieving the first latch and babies who are born naturally have an easier time initiating nursing.
I'd like to think that I am doing as much as I can to get this baby started on the right foot. I believe that a natural delivery will give this baby the best start possible. Of course, I understand that anything can happen and I am more than prepared to deal with whatever might come up, but in an ideal world, this baby and I will both be alert and excited to meet each other when the moment comes. Our doula is also a certified lactation consultant. We had a breastfeeding meeting with her last week and it was so interesting. We learned about the process of achieving the correct latch, we learned about the hormones involved with breastfeeding and we learned about the emotions that both my husband and I are likely to feel. My doula is encouraged that I will have a good start with breastfeeding because my breasts are already leaking. On the one hand I get excited when I see the colostrum at my nipples, but I also get a little freaked out. It is so strange to see my body behaving like this!
From all the reading I have done and all the people I have spoken to, with all of this education under my belt I feel ready to get this baby out and at my breast. The heavier he gets inside of me, the hotter it gets outside (high of 98 today!), the more anxious I am to meet this child. Who will he be? What will he look like? How will he sound? It is weird to have spent so long so close to this developing person and to realize that he is still just a stranger. I really can't wait to meet him.