31 Weeks


This is me standing in front of Hamish's closet, which I cleaned out and organized last weekend. It remains the only thing I have done towards preparing the nursery, unless you count buying a rug for 65% off during a Memorial Day sale. Yeah, you do. 

This morning I went to see my doctor for a routine visit, and in the middle of chatting about something or other, she said "well, now that you're 32 weeks pregnant, we can--"

"Wait," I said. "32 weeks? No, I'm still only 31 weeks." 

"Hmm," she said, looking down at my chart. "Nope. You're 32 weeks, 1 day. Due date of July 24th."

"No, due date of July 27th," I countered. "It's always been July 27th." 

"Ooh, and here," she said, still scanning my chart. "It says July 21st!"

"Oh my god," I said slowly, the color draining from my face. "So I actually have six fewer days than I thought?" 

Once we'd figured out that my due date had been changed—unbeknownst to either of us—after my 19-week ultrasound and then again when the practice switched their electronic medical records, I started to feel a little calmer, particularly since my doctor said she actually wanted to keep it as the original July 27th. The relief was short-lived, however, when she measured the baby and found he was measuring ahead. Like, a whole week and two days ahead. Like, the size of a baby who is 33 weeks. 

"Well," she said, raising an eyebrow. "Either he will be coming a little earlier than we expected or he's just going to be a really big guy." 

Neither option, I have to admit, filled me with particular joy. One of them made me think shit! and the other one made me think OUCH.

Anyway, now that I've hit 31 weeks—I think? 32? 33? SHOULD I EVEN COUNT ANYMORE—two distinct things have happened. First, I have graduated from seeing the doctor every four weeks to seeing her every two, which seems to signify that things are heading into "whoaaaaaa, here it comes!" territory—totally technical term—and second, I am now grunting when I get up from a reclining position on the couch.

Yes, while I seem to have—so far, knock on wood—dodged the cankles bullet, the varicose veins bullet, and the feet-grew-a-whole-size-overnight bullet (watch as all three of those things happen in unison next week as punishment for jinxing myself), I have recently been hit hard by that other glamorous hallmark of pregnancy: the inability to rise from a supine position without emitting a rousing heeeeugghhhhhhhh as I heft myself up to standing.

(It's supremely attractive and ladylike, I assure you. Every time it happens, I wonder aloud why I haven't been invited to audition for the New York Ballet.)

In related news of the pregnancy-makes-you-feel-like-a-Mack-truck variety, I have also found that I have recently been losing my balance a little, probably because I am now tipped off center by my enormous belly and haven't yet figured out how to adjust. This has led to several instances of stumbling or swaying in public places, one of which, unfortunately, was in the Trader Joe's parking lot right after I'd bought a six-pack of beer. Didn't look good for me, is what I'm saying. 

In fact, I seem to find myself buying alcohol a lot lately—for parties, for Sean, for those underage kids on the corner (JUST KIDDING, don't call the cops)—and feeling increasingly self-conscious while doing so. I've perfected a sort of hybrid sheepish/reassuring "don't worry, it's not for me" face while gazing intently at a wall of IPAs and trying to remember which one I was supposd to get, and I am also probably on some sort of neighborhood watch list somewhere, because I have recently said to three different cashiers at three different grocery stores "Hahaha! It's not mine, obviously! I'm not going to drink it!" while paying for some form of booze. All of them have responded with mild bemusement, to the point where I am beginning to suspect that I am actually drawing attention to myself by even making this joke. Ah, the lady doth protest too much! Clearly she is going to take this six-pack of Sierra Nevada home and chug it, bottle by bottle, over the sink! 

(I do have to say that I never seem to get carded anymore, though. Apparently they figure if you're old enough to get knocked up, you're old enough to buy beer.)

Another thing that's happened this week—and you may be beginning to sense a theme here—is that I experienced, for the very first time, the inability to tie my own shoes. It wasn't that it was impossible to lean over and lace up my sneakers, you understand, more just that it was really kind of uncomfortable to reach them on my own terms. Whichever way I tried to bend, you see, the unwavering bulk of my belly kept getting in the way. It was a strange, helpless sensation—wait, hang on, I can't....reach one of my body parts?—and eventually Sean took pity on me and laced them up for me, which I guess was probably in his marriage vows somewhere, and also good practice for having a toddler. 

Finally, the only other thing of note this week—apart from the fact that I am now waking up, like clockwork, at 12:45am, 2am, 3:15am, 4:30am, and 5:50am to pee, which I guess is useful conditioning for infanthood but is also sort of creepily punctual—is that the baby has turned into the wriggliest little wrigglemonster in the world as of late, and has been kicking and punching and somersaulting up a storm. We're even pretty sure he headbutted Sean's hand the other day, an action that caused Sean to jump back two feet in alarm as though he were about to break through the skin, Alien-style. My hypnobirthing book—which I have finally started reading, just so I can get it off my to-do list—is very big on making sure that the baby "feels that all of his movements are welcomed with love and joy," and while I am mostly pretty good at this, I have definitely been having to make a slightly more concerted effort lately. Just a hunch, but something tells me that shrieking GODDAMNIT THAT WAS MY PANCREAS isn't quite what they had in mind. 

1
Liz
May 31, 2013

I can't believe you are already in the 30-something weeks. Pregnancy really seems to fly by when it's not happening to me! :) I nested like crazy with my two older ones but didn't have the time or desire when my little caboose came along. Glad you are feeling good!

2
Victoria
May 31, 2013

My daughter was measuring 2-3 weeks ahead from 20 weeks on. I got lots of reassuring comments from my midwife like "Wow, this is going to be a big one!" and "Oooh, she's either going to come three weeks early or be huuuuge!".

Oh. Thanks.

Anyway, she ended up being two weeks late and a not-enormous (although, not exactly tiny) 8lb 10oz.

I think what I'm trying to say is, it'll be fine!

3
Sara
May 31, 2013

I was 37 weeks pregnant when we went to my husband's 20th high school class reunion. Because the bar at the venue was a very busy place indeed, my beloved would get 4 drinks at once: 1 for him to drink, 1 for him to hold in reserve, and 2 for me to hold in reserve for him, relieving the necessity to make frequent trips to the bar. (It sounds like he has a problem, doesn't it? I can assure you, those drinks were teeny tiny!) I walked around his reunion speaking to both acquaintances and complete strangers, reassuring them that I was merely holding them for him. I absolutely looked like a poster child for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Also? I've never seen fuzzier math than when it comes to pregnancy math. It's all going to work out brilliantly for you and Hamish will be well met whenever he arrives.

4
arv
May 31, 2013

This is mostly unrelated, but I had my first baby in January (a week late) and was pretty much zero prepared - had a few onesies and blankets and a place for her to sleep. The one thing I REALLY wished I had was a giant pack of big overnight style pads. I didn't realize how much stuff would still be leaking (this was information it seems I ignored), and describing which pads you want to your husband is impossible. He was great at getting diapers and nipple cream, but an entire aisle of a million shapes and sizes was too much! So stock up now! Meanwhile, it's June and the nursery still isn't done...

5
Melissa
May 31, 2013

Like arv, the things I had to have my husband pick up after the first baby that I most certainly did myself prior to having the second:

The biggest, hugest, most absorbant pads ever
Stool Softeners
Those pads you can spread out on the mattress (leaky breastmilk, baby spit up) and just toss - no washing
disposable breast pads

As someone who had one daughter at 36 wks, and one at 35 wks, 5 days, may I suggest installing the carseat (no one likes to come downstairs with their "it's time" bag and see their husband squinting at instructions with the pieces spread out everywhere on the couch)? Also, perhaps at least buying and beginning to pile up stuff you want in the hospital (pj's, nursing bra, travel toiletry kit, outfit home for you and baby) - even if you don't put it in the suitcase!

6
Sarah
May 31, 2013

You actually want a big baby. Having had both a 5 lb-er and a 10 lb-er, I can tell you it all feels the same coming out. It's nice in those early days to have a baby with some fat on them because they lose weight in that first week, and so there is very little panicking etc. when it happens on a big baby versus the little baby. They also feel more solid and a tiny less fragile than the small baby. None of this may be reassuring, but I always find myself wanting to tell people to wish for the big baby.

7
Becky
May 31, 2013

I've never commented before so this feels kind of creepy? But I just had my first baby in October (holy crap she's seven months old) and have loved following all your pregnancy posts. It's like fun nostalgia, without actually experiencing the accompanying uncomfortableness!

Anyway, I wouldn't worry too much about your measurements being ahead. By the time you're into 30 weeks those benchmarks are notoriously inaccurate. It can vary based on how the baby is positioned, how bloated you are etc. So don't stress about that!

8
Ashley
May 31, 2013

The exact opposite happened to my friend. Never got carded but as soon as she got pregnant they wouldn't not card her. So of course we made her buy us all the booze just to torture her.

9
cursingmama
May 31, 2013

No matter what you do, prepared is something you'll never really be. Something(s) will come up, be missing, go unchecked on the magic list of things to do. Babies are the great equalizer between the procrastinators and the preppers.

10
Christina
May 31, 2013

They really know absolutely nothing; it's all just probability and a bunch of guesses at this point. That is to say, it will happen when it happens and what will be, will be. And you'll be great!

11
Auburn
May 31, 2013

Are you finding that your bump, against all odds, photographs smaller (at least with iphone) than it appears in real life? I feel huge and I am pretty sure I look huge (I had a sales clerk ask if I was due next week; needless to say I promptly left without making a purchase), but when I take belly pics to send to friends and family it's totally anti-climatic. Anyway...
I hear you on the nursery, though I have to say that after doing NOTHING, other than bemoaning the fact that the pale, dove grey I picked for the wall paint was, once on the walls, a pale periwinkle blue, for months, it all came together rather quickly. I agonized over cribs for eons and then just gave up and ordered one that was on sale from PB Kids. It had a matching dresser/changing topper so that was easy. The glider was a bit of a fiasco and revealed all sorts of neuroses I have about furniture shopping and the need to comparison shop even AFTER making a purchase, to my husband's chagrin, but we ended up going with a rather mod one from Gus that I love. We are working with a small space so my options were sorta limited.
And I totally hear you on the movements--I was just recounting this. I thought they moved less now because space is tight but the past week has been the most movement ever--some jabs, some thumps, some belly quakes but mostly lots and lots of rolling and turning that makes parts of my belly hilariously hard. Yesterday at work I wore a dress with a long necklace and just sat there and laughed to myself watching my necklace move around my belly because of Danger's movements. Such a fun time!
One final thought: I agree with other commenters--unless they are doing an ultrasound to measure head size (which I think is pretty accurate), anything else about size is just a guess and from what I've heard, is rarely accurate. I don't know why they like to scare moms with the "oh, he/she is gonna be a big one!" It is what it is, right? Plus, I agree that you want a big baby. I'm hoping for a fat 9 pounder, myself. They sleep and eat better.

12
Jen
May 31, 2013

When my doctor told me that my baby was going to be huge, a kind friend told me "You want a big baby. Big babies eat better and they sleep better." And you know, it was absolutely true.

Be prepared for the early baby. My first came at 37 weeks and my second two at 39.

13
caroline
May 31, 2013

Last week during my 30th week, while I was driving, Baby decided to shift suddenly and stick his elbow so much into my belly that I actually could feel that it was definitely his elbow. He then thought this was a wonderful position and decided to leave it there for another five painful minutes. That movement was most definitely not welcomed with love and joy.
I feel your pain.

14
jen
May 31, 2013

If it makes you feel better, I have been consistently measuring small. As in at my 36 week, I was only measuring at 33-34. This led to my envisioning labor/delivery happening 2 weeks later than I anticipated. When I had to have an unexpected ultrasound this week, they found that the baby was measuring right at 37 weeks and already 6.5 lbs. I'm good with that, it's all a crap shoot anyway with those dates.
I found that if I can prop my leg up high enough, I can get the belly out of the way and tie my own shoes. Somehow this seemed important to me until this week when I decided to just forget wearing shoes that laced and switch to Keen slip-ons. Best decision ever.
Looking great!

15
georgie
May 31, 2013

Your 31 week old bump, bladder and my 5 month old baby boy seem to be in cahoots - those are my son's preferred wake-up times. Yes, all of them.

16
Jessica
May 31, 2013

Pregnancy goes by much faster when I am not the one pregnant!

Baby kicks and rolls are my favorite part of being pregnant, however, when things got a little too rough in there, the baby and I had some words!

17
Jaclyn
May 31, 2013

I'm convinced their measurements are little more than guesswork, accuracy-wise. I consistently measured one week behind my stated due date when looking at fundal height and was told the baby would be a little small, but that since I am quite tiny myself this was a good thing for delivery. An estimated at maaaaybe 7lbs baby came out not only over 8 but also VERY LONG. Where was she hiding? No one knows.

And so, for my next pregnancy, I will consider their measurements only to be marking growth and not actually correlating to any true size.

18
B
May 31, 2013

Tomorrow is my due date. I planned, as everyone warned, for an early baby. My mom had me early, her mother had her early, etc. And yet, here I am at 40 weeks, twiddling my thumbs and passing time by googling "signs of labor" and then "lesser known signs of labor". It sucks. If for no other reason, bank on the furthest due date so that you don't end up like me (angsty and impatiently waiting).

I, too, had thought that I dodged the cankle/swelling curse. It was a surprising and over night surprise during week 38 that led to a panicked visit to Dr Google (Pre-E!?) and then a reassuring visit to my OB (totally normal). Damn it. Of course, as fate would have it, I needed to wear dress shoes at the end of my 38th week and nothing (NOTHING!) would fit. I cried in DSW as my husband attempted to shove my misshapen foot into a sensible flat. I ended up purchasing expandable ballet flat crocs that are ugly (ugly, ugly, ugly), but quite comfortable. I am fearfully anticipating my post-baby body - feet included. Here's hoping that you dodge the expanding/swollen extremities bullet. But if you don't, embrace the ugly shoes. I assure you they feel and look better than the Kim Kardashian clear heels with cankle muffin top look.

19
Jenn Amano
Jun 01, 2013

What I kept telling myself to avoid a freakout: labor is one day. ONE. I am a huge planner but just keeping my top three wishes in mind and reiterating them to my husband made all the difference.
wishes:
1. no pitocin/induction
2. epidural, please
3. no c-section (see #1)

The whole size in the womb thing is a lie. I am convinced at OB rotations, the docs are told to start scaring the shit out of moms at the 30+week appointments by telling them their babies are measuring ahead. They did the same to me and my girl was born at 39 weeks, 4 days at 6lbs, 2 oz.
Breathe in, breathe out.

20
Carroll
Jun 01, 2013

Oh Holly -- Even though my last experience in this realm was fully 36 years ago (How is that even possible? My baby is a daddy himself now!) your stories are making me remember every single nuance. You will have an entirely wonderful baby, and he will come whenever he is darn sure good and ready, whether you and Sean are or not. Those tips up there about laying in a supply of high-density pads, and disposable sheet protectors? Excellent advice! My daughter-in-law looked quite askance at me when I gifted her with a box of the latter, but boy was she glad to have them on hand later on!

21
Misty
Jun 02, 2013

When my pregnancy had progressed and I couldn't "bend" over to tie my shoes anymore, I would cross my leg and tie my shoes. I thought "all right, I got this", and then when I stood up, my little bows looked like they were falling off the side of my shoe. That worked for a while until I found something comfy I could just slip on. Soooo much better!!!

22
Anne
Jun 03, 2013

The baby will be baby-sized! I have realised over the years that these predictions appear to be a load of tosh - and you almost always get the opposite of what the docs say or just normal-sized. Definitely get all your kit together in a pile just in case :)
I remember just before I had my daughter (got taken in one week earlier straight from a routine appointment -"hey I was going to make lasagne this evening!")I bought 24 bottles of wine as a thank you for 2 friends who had given us practically everything you might need for a little one's arrival and I could barely reach the shopping trolley to place it all in - I could see people watching me furtively in the queue to pay!
All good fun.. enjoy your last few weeks. The best thing EVER is about to happen, including the birth part, it's so amazing!! :)

23
Marcheline
Jun 03, 2013

You know what I love? Hamish has a closet! And clothes! And he isn't even here yet! How amazing is that?

24
shelly
Jun 04, 2013

Please tell me somewhere there is a picture of you holding up the numbers 31 and 32 and maybe a question mark for effect. although you'd probably need a third hand for that.

25
nonsoccermom
Jun 04, 2013

Eh, those measurements aren't all that accurate in my experience. But I can imagine that it was rather alarming to suddenly lose almost a week of baby-free prep time!

I was very off-balance toward the end too. And we shall not speak of my very un-ladylike grunting when attempting to get up. Or sit down. Or do anything at all, really.

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