On Thursday I hit the 37 week mark. It is such a relief! 37 weeks is considered Full Term when the lungs are fully developed and she can survive well outside the womb without needing extra medical attention. Certainly if she had been born a little earlier it would not likely have been life threatening. But 37 to 42 weeks is the low risk window that I had to make it into in order to give birth at the birth center. And we MADE IT!!!!
It was a bumpy ride the last few weeks as Caitlyn fully dropped quite early and my cervix was definitely starting to ripen. I also have what is apparently an extremely active uterus. I've been having braxton hicks contractions daily for nearly a month now and a few times they have gotten carried away. BH contractions by themselves are not an indication of labor but they do prepare your body for labor and if they start to become more rhythmic and close together they can lead into labor. I learned at the advice of my caregivers that the best way to control these if they feel like they are headed in that direction is to take a warm bath along with having a few ounces of wine. I had to resort to this a couple of times and happily it worked like a charm.
It's so nice to be able to relax now and not worry about what is going on with the contractions or where they are headed. Yesterday was my 37 week check up and I had contractions for several hours leading up to the appointment. I started to think how amusing it would be if I went to my appointment and it turned out I was actually in labor. Eventually my amusement turned into, "Holy $#!}," there is a remote chance this could actually happen today. So I started to get some nervous excitement and little waves of anxiety that I could feel physically manifesting in my body. I told my midwife about it at the appointment and she asked if I was scared about the labor and I said No! The anxiety was not about the labor, it was the realization that OMG, I could actually have a daughter by the end of the day! Anyway, lest you worry, blood pressure and everything was fine.
But it is starting to hit home that any day now this thing is really going to happen. I spend lots of time these days thinking about it. I imagine that moment right after birth when she is laid on my chest for the first time, and bringing her home, and nursing her, and introducing her to the dogs, trying to figure out how to eat and sleep and bath while still meeting her needs. Of course it's all highly romanticized in my head but who has time to spend worrying about labor when there are so many more important things to focus on.