The glorious final stretch after hitting the 36 weeks pregnant mark is here for me! And many of us moms, who’ve been through pregnancy, know this stretch oh so well. Unfortunately, hitting this milestone is shockingly like switching into v e r y s l o w m o t i o n... time stops, and you’re standing there with a belly that is blowing up and days that are never ending. The big day is so close, yet so far away! You want so badly to meet your little angel, yet you can’t get there, like everything around you is full of lead and you were placed in an alternate reality where everyone moves at a normal pace ― but you. As the feeling of molasses pours over you’re body, you realize you are SO DONE BEING PREGNANT. Here are the six signs I KNOW mean I am done and ready for that baby to make their way out.
1. You stop dressing the bump: The cute maternity outfits, flowy dresses and selfies just are not working. Your underwear is feeling off, pants just feel sticky and too tight, and all you want to do is where loose t-shirts and sweats. All maternity shopping stops. What’s the point? You only have a few more weeks, you’re no longer a cute pregnant person, but a big ball waddling around, and you’re tired of caring. The looming thought of your water breaking anywhere, anytime also decreases the desire to wear nice pants. Eww. So, you start to pick a couple favorite shirts and baggy pants to rotate through each day, and pretend no one will notice that it seems you have no female clothes because the only clothes you’re now sporting are baby daddy’s.
2. Everything is a contraction: Searching and waiting for those “special” feelings to start and not stop becomes obsessive. Side ache walking through Costco? Totally the beginning of labor. Baby kicking around? Must be him moving down into position! Wait, was that a cramp I felt for .23 seconds?! Let’s see if another one comes! I know I start noticing and feeling everything as time gets closer. Wait, did I just go a little, or is my water breaking?! I’ve had two different experiences with my labors. The first, my water broke and contractions started a few hours later. The second, contractions started quickly, and my water broke just before the baby came. So now, I look for any sign that either is happening! Sadly, I’ve never gone into labor early, so I really don’t have much hope that I’m feeling anything at this point, but I still egg myself on. A lot of mom’s do at this stage because you are hitting a wall and ready to move forward with your baby in your arms, not your belly.
3. Eating everything and nothing: The baby is now taking up all the space. There is no room for anything. You’re headed to the bathroom every minute because there’s no room on that end, and you’re eating very little every 7 minutes because your stomach has no room. I’m constantly putting a few bites of anything in, then getting full, then repeating. I really need to just camp out between the bathroom and the kitchen. Maybe put a mattress or something in the middle, so I can snack like a little mouse, lay down and rest while I see if there are any contractions coming, then get up for the toilet, and walk straight back to the kitchen to start again. At this point, it’s like my meals are 7 goldfish, a couple gulps of water and the crust if peanut butter and jelly sandwich, where I then have to lay down because I’m so full. Healthy and substantial. :( I was cooking healthy meals, enjoying big smoothies and eating meals like a normal human being up to this point. Now, I just live in the kitchen on a full/empty Roller-coaster ride.
4. Reading all the birthing stories: I’ve been through two pregnancies and two births, and still this time around I want to read or hear other’s stories. I think it’s a weird form of living vicariously through the stories because I wish my next birth story was starting. I especially like the ones where the baby unexpectedly arrives early and quick. Just what I’m hoping for. I find myself passing the time at night in between rolling from side to side and going to the bathroom with these stories. I’d rather be in someone else’s reality than my own at this point. Birthing stories really are all so unique and individual, they actually make for great reading, and I recommend it! Its simple to find the style of story you might like as well. If you’re interested on a home birth, natural hospital birth, VBAC, twin birth etc., its all available and shared. I go for more encouraging stories, which most are, and it gets you feeling strong for when your day does come!
5. Entering zombie land: Sleep is gone. Even if my back isn’t hurting, or I find a comfortable position, I’m still like awake all night. I swear, I am half sleeping or something. I go to the bathroom at least once, have a hard time falling asleep to begin with, then find myself just awake... and I think, “what’s going on? Why am I awake?” Then I turn over and fall back asleep (maybe?) And then I’m awake again, and it’s still dark, I should still be sleeping, but I’m turning over again, even though I wasn’t that uncomfortable... then, morning comes, and I’m awake! I get up and have some coffee (yes I drink some while pregnant, you would too with my two little ones), and begin a zomby-like day where I think of all the things I want to do, then forget to do any of them. I get excited to accomplish everything, then I start one project, get tired and let my mind wander into the black hole of space until before I know it, the day is over, I have to try to go to sleep again, and I never got to all the things I enthusiastically was going to do...but now I can’t even remember what they were?
6. You can’t imagine getting any bigger: It’s not possible. My stomach will not move any farther. My skin has no more stretch, my lungs can no longer breathe, and I can not walk upright with a larger belly. It’s just not physically possible to allow the baby to grow bigger for more weeks. Nope. No more... oh, but there is more room and there are more weeks. I am here, at this point. My belly feels so huge - swollen with veins and tight, that it can’t possibly grow more. The baby must come out or my skin will explode! This is definitely a sign you’re totally over it. It’s not the, “Oh look at my little basketball belly now!” Stage anymore. It’s the, “I’m an over-full water balloon, dangerously expanding more and more each day, when will it stop?!” Stage. And the time ticks and ticks, skin stretches and stretches and the baby grows and grows, and we are forced to accept that we aren’t done yet.
Isn’t this the truth of being a mom? We are stretched, pulled, asked to give more and more, woken up, surprised and on-call all the time. Hitting the wall is easy to do, and completely normal, yet we aren’t even given a chance to feel the wall there before something happens and we’re forced to keep going. Our babies need us when we’re most tired. We think everyone is asleep, and we can finally breathe when someone is thirsty. We want to hide in the bathroom when the chaos doesn’t stop, and we come out one minute later to push on. The final weeks of pregnancy, when we’re so done, yet so far from done, is the reality of being a mother. Sometimes we surrender and accept defeat. Then something happens. A baby is born. A toddler is potty trained, a preschooler heads to their first day of school, the baby starts walking, someone says, “I love you mama,” and we are renewed, strengthened, restarted and revved up to push on and triumph. From pregnancy on, we are warriors, fighting to care for ourselves and our families despite how stretched thin we get, we find more pull, more stretch and become stronger. We are continually growing with our children on the inside, suffering similar growing pains and becoming so much more than we were.