This past Tuesday I had what might be considered a monumental midwives’ appointment.
It’s interesting because at this point in my other pregnancies I felt like I had finally reached the third trimester, like I had been pregnant for such a long time, and I was just so ready to enter the home stretch. Ben (my husband) had come with me to most or all of the appointments and our whole “birthing team” was well-versed in what was happening. We were immersed in the pregnancy.
Not so this time.
Tuesday was my 28-week appointment, yes. But it was only my fifth visit for the pregnancy and the very first time that Ben joined me. He flat-out refused to go with me earlier in the pregnancy, not because he didn’t want to be there, but because he said if we had to take all the kids that he would just spend the whole time trying to get them to be quiet and he wouldn’t be able to pay attention anyway. Which was probably true. He preferred to keep them home so I could just go and have an actual conversation. (Still I did take them all once by myself!)
It was nice because this time we had a babysitter so we both got to actually pay attention. I also had a finger stick (blah) to check for anemia. In my second pregnancy I was slightly anemic and was given spirulina pills to try to raise my iron levels. I couldn’t handle more than 4 per day, despite that they had wanted me to start at 6 and move up closer to 20 (which was what many women took). I tend to be very sensitive to everything and tiny doses make a big difference for me, so 4 ended up being enough. Thankfully, once we started eating grass-fed beef, I was not anemic in my third pregnancy and did not have to mess with this.
This time, I was also not anemic. They read the machine as “at least 12” which is what they wanted to see. Now that’s no concern. The reason that anemia is a concern is because it can lead to excessive bleeding and possibly hemorrhage during birth, and that’s not something the midwives want to deal with at home. Women who are and remain anemic (they do retest several weeks later to see) will be “risked out” and have to deliver in a hospital. Interestingly, when they did the test for me, it took them a minute of having me relax and squeezing to get me to bleed at all!
We also talked through Jacob’s birth since it was my most recent, so they could get an idea of how it went and what to expect this time. I let them know that it’s in my head that the baby won’t show up until between Mar. 21 – 25 (although baby is technically due almost two weeks earlier) and that labor, from the first strong contraction (the “I-have-to-focus-only-on-this”) will be only 40 minutes. I had the feeling with Jacob’s birth it would be 3 hours from that point…and I was right. They took me seriously, just in case it does turn out that way. And it could, especially with a fourth baby.
Now we just have two more appointments — at 32 and 35 weeks — and then my home visit at 37 weeks, then weekly 1/2 hour appointments until the baby arrives! That is going to go by so fast.
Today (Thursday) we went to get our Christmas pictures done! And while we were there, we went ahead and got a few maternity shots. First time we’ve ever done that. It was pretty cool. Here are a few shots from it (and the one at the top is one too):
It was so fun because I like getting pictures taken, and I was able to get the Christmas shots of family, the individual kids, the kids together, plus I was able to get the maternity shots and even some headshots to use professionally. It was definitely a kill-multiple-birds-with-one-stone kind of afternoon. The kids were pretty good, although my oldest has never liked cameras and still doesn’t. She frowned and even cried through most of it! The boys loved the camera and smiled and posed. My youngest (16 months) did have a bit of trouble sitting still, but not as much as I would have thought.
Now there are just 5 days left until Christmas, I’m totally not ready, and I need to get moving!