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pregnancy: week 39

June 27, 2011

We started this week on a better note than the last — Jason now has (some) Friday afternoons off, and we decided to go on “one last” just-the-two-of-us date to the beach!  (I say “one last” in quotations, because, in my mind, at this point, just about everything we do might be “one last” time that we’re just the two of us.  It’s ridiculous, and dramatic, I know.)

We headed up to Holland, MI, and had lunch at a the New Holland Brewery.  After lunch, we spent a minute trying to find a nearby cloth diapering store, and the sign directing us to the “natural parenting” store resulted in a few jokes… I mean, are any of you parents out there practicing “unnatural parenting?”  Or “artificial parenting?”  🙂  I know that by “natural parenting” they’re referring to the cloth-diapering, baby-wearing, breast-feeding, co-sleeping, organic-food-eating, etc, etc crowd, but putting such a label on it seems silly.

JT and I hit up the beach, although we chose to sit in the shade, off to the side (this big mama was hot! and unwilling to sport a swimsuit; you’re welcome MI beachgoers).  It was fun to just hang out and chitchat, people watch, and daydream.  On the way out, we snagged some ice cream, and as the final piece de resistance, we stopped at Chipotle so that J could snag a burrito before heading home for the evening.

In fun new pregnancy symptoms, this week I’ve developed a little numbness/tingling in my hands and slightly swollen feet/ankles.  I think the hand-tingling is mostly a result of sleeping funny on my shoulders, but since any position other than sleeping on my side is uncomfortable in my belly region, I’m not sure there’s a good alternative.  I mean, I’ve already got 4 pillows strategically lined up below my head, belly, knees, and ankles.  Rolling over in the middle of the night has pretty much become a feat of epic proportions, involving grunting, maybe a little moaning, and readjusting every pillow on the bed.  (As a side note: Jezebel will occasionally wake up in the middle of the night, whine a teeny little whine, scratch at her little bed in what appears to be an attempt to get more comfortable, and then she’ll curl up and go right back to sleep.  And I think now that I am doing the same.)

The feet swelling seems to happen only when the temps are high and I’m on my feet a lot, and for the most part, it goes away after putting my feet up.  Still, it’s not awful, and if this (and a slew of new stretch marks) is what it takes for Rico to finish his in-the-belly developing, then so be it.

The doc reports that not-a-whole-lot is going on re: prepping for the baby.  This news from the doctor was perhaps unsurprising given that I’ve not really felt much going on in the abdomen, and was received with mixed feelings from yours truly.  I am both excited and terrified to meet this little person who has been sharing (destroying!) my body for the last 37 weeks (you know, 39 minus the two that they randomly tack on at the beginning).  It’s like we’ve hopped on a roller coaster and are slowly ascending to the top… we’re prepared and excited for the ride, but there’s still a moment where I can’t help thinking, “what have we done!?”

Still, as the days pass, I’m getting more anxious to get this little guy out, if only to avoid labor-inducing drugs.  COME ON, RICO!  We want to meet you!  It’s time, let’s do this thing!

15 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2011 7:38 am

    I know some people swear by it, but two “natural parenting” practices that I’ve seen soooo many moms run into trouble with on my mommy list serve –

    (1) Baby wearing. I’ve seen so many people have the baby just get too heavy to wear (but be addicted to being “worn” by mom) OR they have a sibling and can’t wear both kids and it causes intense jealousy. I also nannyed a baby who was worn a lot and would fall asleep for naps in the carrier. Once she got too big to get good quality sleep and long naps that way, wow, did we all (me, the mom, and the other nannies) have MAJOR naptime problems and a cranky, sleep-deprived girl on our hands! She didn’t know how to put herself to sleep in a crib for naps. Nightmare (no pun intended).

    (2) Co-sleeping. I love the idea, I really do. But I’ve seen sooooo many moms posting to my list serve about babies who are now a year old but can’t sleep on their own in a crib, in large part because they’re still, at a year, nursing several times a night in bed with mom.

    I followed “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby” by Weissbluth and I have an awesome sleeper and a happy, easy babe. He’s only cranky if he’s hungry or tired and if tired, he goes to sleep easily in his crib and sleeps the two longer naps he should be having at his age. I don’t think I’d have achieved it had I baby-worn or co-slept, based on my experience as a nanny, what I’ve read on my list serve for the 1 yr + I’ve followed it, and confirming these general thoughts with my dad, a pediatrician, who sees the same issues in his office and doesn’t recommend baby-wearing or co-sleeping. I’m not saying it can never work, or never be a really wonderful thing… it can. But it’s risky. And remember that denying your baby sleep is denying it a nutrient like food, and giving it “junk sleep” (catnaps) is like giving it junk food.

    • June 27, 2011 10:36 am

      Thanks for the tips, Lisa! I’m not sure we’ll be doing the co-sleeping thing… mostly because I don’t think any of us would sleep as well with a baby in the bed. I’m sure this kiddo will get worn/held a ton – especially for the first few weeks when we don’t have anything to do other than stare at it! But I do think you’re right – it’s really important for both of us that the baby is able to fall asleep on his own (ie not in my arms!).

      I really appreciate your thoughts/advice on this… I’ve heard horror stories about babies not sleeping and then being crazy cranky (and I’ve read that too little sleep can really mess with their development). I’m hoping ours will be a good sleeper…

      • June 27, 2011 1:09 pm

        Jen, I cannot possibly recommend “Health Sleep Habits, Happy Child” enough. The baby I nannyed for basically ran the gamut of sleep issues and once her mom and I discovered this book, it was a night and day difference. Suddenly our cranky girl who couldn’t be put down – even at my feet while I used the toilet, she’d *scream* – was so much happier. In fact, wearing her around may well have been fine if we’d have made sure she didn’t actually sleep in the carrier.

        Basically HSH,HC explains that motion sleep (in a stroller, car, or baby carrier) is addictive. Motion relaxes human brainwaves and that’s why you get so sleepy on planes and in cars when there’s no way you could nap in a similarly uncomfortable chair that was stationary. At the same time, motion sleep does not allow for a true, deep sleep and that’s the type of sleep that babies need (that’s also why you never feel that great after napping in a car or on a plane). Babies who are constantly falling asleep to motion (say the caretaker refuses to organize the caretaker’s life around a healthy nap schedule so the baby is constantly cat-napping in a stroller or car) develop difficulty putting themselves to sleep without the help of the motion relaxing their brainwaves. Their naps are shorter and not high-quality and then even when they are home in their crib, it’s hard for them to fall sleep.

        The book instructs that flat-on-your-back sleeping without motion is the truest, deepest sleep. We cheated a little with the cradle swing but we only used the motion when absolutely necessary, say, middle of the night after a feeding if he didn’t go back down. I then turned it off a few minutes after he was asleep again. That way he never got addicted to the motion sleeping. The cradle swing wasn’t totally flat, so after 3 months we started giving him naps in the crib and then transferred all his sleep to the crib. It was great. He was a champion at putting himself to sleep, so the transition was no problem.

        The most important thing in that book, in my opinion, is the idea that your baby can NEVER have too much sleep. It is SO important for them. And the very best way to make sure they get their sleep is to watch for tired “cues” and get them to a dark, quiet, flat crib as soon as you can for a high-quality nap or bedtime. Once your child becomes fussy from being tired, it is too late. The fussiness is a result of their body producing adrenaline to keep them awake through their sleepiness. The adrenaline makes it harder (or impossible for the time being) for them to fall asleep, even though their body needs sleep. AND it stays in their system while they sleep, resulting in shorter naps.

        I went to a baby shower where everybody had to give their one best piece of advice to the new mom. The one on repeat with veteran moms was this: “A lot of the time when your baby cries, it’s not hunger; it’s fatigue.” You will be truly shocked at how much sleep a newborn needs. Even having read the book and nannyed, I still caught myself feeding too frequently instead of napping. It felt like he had just woken up… and he had… but what he needed was even more sleep!

        The book is an easy reference – I’ve never read it all the way through. I’ve referred back to it at countless stages; it’s divided up by age. I couldn’t live without it. When I find out a friend is pg for the first time, I usually send a copy of this book from Amazon right away.

        Good luck! Not every baby *can* be a good sleeper, but most of them can at least after the colick stage. Protect your baby’s sleep as best you can. When you protect their sleep you protect your relationship with them, your confidence as a parent, eeeeverything. People take classes on nursing but not on baby sleep, which is too bad! The sleep is JUST as important and it’s the only thing I’ve found with parenting that truly is counter-intuitive.

      • June 27, 2011 1:16 pm

        Also, although it’s true you can’t do much more than stare at newborns, you may find you prefer being able to stare *at* the newborn rather than carrying it around in a carrier… it’s nice to be able to see the baby’s face. And although all the sleeping they do makes it seem like you’ll have a ton of free time on your hands, you actually TOTALLY won’t! The first few months I felt like there was only exactly enough time in the day to do everything that needed to be done, so “projects” – like mopping the kitchen floor – were impossible. Part of it is that you’ll be taking pictures of the baby, and videos, and gazing at them, and posting them, and talking to friends. Part of it is that learning to breastfeed (if you plan to) often takes a TON of effort and you’ll be googling things, going to support groups, calling hotlines. Part of it is all the laundry you’ll go through. Part of it is that you’ll most likely need to spend time on your own physical healing. But the days will FLY by. You will LOVE them but they will FLY!

  2. June 27, 2011 7:39 am

    Enjoy every moment, it may be the last! HAHAHA it actually gets better when baby is born. It is so much fun to celebrate all the “firsts”. Soon enough “baby” will be here.

  3. Debbie permalink
    June 27, 2011 7:55 am

    Put those feet up as often as you can!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. June 27, 2011 10:01 am

    Come on Rico!!!!!!

  5. June 27, 2011 10:12 am

    I know you don’t need advice from a Great Grandmother but can I just say I whole heartedly agree with the first comment by Lisa!!!! If baby doesn’t get good sleep Mom doesn’t either. I found sleep was even more important than food 🙂

  6. Emily permalink
    June 27, 2011 1:19 pm

    I found my way to your blog a few months ago and have enjoyed your writing. Just wanted to say I’m praying for your family of 3 to be happy and healthy, and good sleepers too 🙂

  7. June 27, 2011 5:13 pm

    Love your reflection in Jason’s sunglasses!

    Hope your wait is not TOO much longer.

    Irish hugs,


  8. Marilyn Short permalink
    June 27, 2011 11:48 pm

    I continue to thoroughly enjoy your writing. I have learned a lot about sleeping from your friends comments. My babies are now 34 and 39. I wonder and hope that they got enough sleep as little ones. May “Rico” arrive sooner than later and I pray all goes well with Mom, Dad and Baby.

  9. Courtney permalink
    June 28, 2011 4:38 pm

    when do we get to see pictures of your completed nursery? (it is completed … right?)

    • June 28, 2011 6:03 pm

      It’s not quite completed… still trying to figure out what to do about a crib skirt. But maybe I’ll go take pictures of it anyways! 🙂

  10. June 29, 2011 8:29 pm

    My fingers got numb and tingled too, and my doctor said that pregnancy can bring on symptoms of carpal tunnel because of the swelling. The tingling finally went away in the last couple of weeks, so I’m hoping it stays away… and I’m hoping yours goes away as soon as you have precious Rico! 🙂

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