Full Term!

Today was the first day of week 37, which is full term.  The baby could be born healthy any day.  My wife went to the clinic today to do some tests and check on the baby.  We were hoping to be able to set a date when the baby would be born, too.  However, that’s not how it turned out.

The baby hasn’t descended yet, and there’s no dilation at all.  The pain she’s been feeling could either be her pelvic bones spreading to prepare for birth or Braxton-Hicks contractions.  She also found out she has a low iron level, so she needs to take some iron pills.

My wife has to do a lot of exercise.  This includes walking up hills and stairs, doing squats, and yoga.  This is to help the baby lower herself to get ready for birth, and to help the cervix dilate.  If this doesn’t happen by next week, the baby may have to be born by Caesarian section, as she’s a bit bigger than average.  The birth may still happen next week, but we don’t know yet.

Week 36

In less than 6 hours, the pregnancy will be at full term!  That’s right, the baby could come at any time and not be premature.  There was no visit to the clinic during these past 7 days, but there will be one tomorrow.  This will involve a lot of tests.  We’ll also be scheduling the birth.  Our clinic specialises in scheduled births with painkillers.  It’s not common to use painkillers during birth in Japan, as it’s believed by many superstitious people that it’ll result in feeling distant from the baby.  The mother and baby can’t bond because she’s not writhing in agony.  Of course, we both think that’s a load of BS.  So, the birth date will either be next week or the week after.  We’ll be seeing her soon!

My wife has been having plenty of pain in the pubic area, most likely due to dilation of her cervix and pressure from the baby.  She says that she has a lot of problems breathing because of pressure from the baby on her diaphragm and lungs.  She finds it difficult to sleep, as well.  Her bellybutton has popped out quite a bit, too.  She feels that it’s hard to eat large meals, as well.  Some common signs in pregnant women are extra body hair, stretch marks and varicose veins.  Luckily, she hasn’t had stretch marks or varicose veins!  Just the extra hair that I understand pretty much every woman gets when pregnant.  Yes, she has a hairy belly from the pregnancy.  But it should fall out in a few months.

How’s the baby doing?  Well, she continues to be quite active, moving a lot.  She hiccups a lot, too.  From what I’ve read, at week 36, the fine hair and waxy substance covering her skin will fall off, and she’ll swallow much of it.  That’ll result in her first bowel movement after birth being slimy and black.  I’m guessing she’s over 2700 grams now.

I’ll probably have some more news tomorrow about the scheduling and the checkup.

Strong pain

Well, my wife is now experiencing some pretty strong pain in the pelvic or pubic area.  She has no idea what it may be.  The baby could be pushing down.  She thinks the baby may have turned around yet again, and may be kicking down.  But after some investigating, it may actually be her cervix dilating.  This can happen weeks, days or hours before birth.  She is full term next Tuesday, so we should expect anything to happen now.

Week 33

This week was a bit unusual.  Because of the baby’s incorrect position last week, we had to go back to the clinic today to check on her position.  We were told to come between 2 and 4 pm, but we got a call from the clinic at 10:50 am, and they asked us to come to the clinic by 11:30.  We had only 40 minutes, and we were still in bed!  I’ve been fighting a cold for the past week and just wanted to sleep, while my wife has trouble sleeping at night and wanted to sleep more.  Well, we quickly got ready and left the apartment.  We walked much faster than usual and arrived at the clinic at 11:31.  Well, after about a 20 minute wait, she was called in to have the baby checked.  It was only supposed to be a brief check, but I was later called to come in.  I was slightly worried, actually.  But it was just to see the ultrasound.  The baby was back in the head down position!  Great news!

What we saw on the ultrasound was our healthy baby girl, only about a month away from birth.  She’s still average size, slightly long legs and her nose looks a bit like mine.  We also saw her open and close her mouth several times, as if she were chewing.  She’s now 2102 grams, closing in on the minimum 2500 grams for full term birth.  Her bones should be hardening, while her skull will remain flexible for the birth.  She looks like a newborn baby by now.

Mom is feeling the kicks and punches a lot these days.  She can now sleep on either side, the doctor said.  Her sleeping habits continue to be unusual, but that’s thanks to the baby keeping her awake.  She has a hard time sitting up from bed, so needs to roll over and try push herself up.  She easily gets out of breath from walking uphill.

With only about a month to go, we’re getting pretty excited to see our baby girl.  Here’s the ultrasound picture we received today.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a good 4D picture, as her arms were obscuring her face.

This is 33 weeks, 6 days. At the top is her full face, though both of her arms are slightly blocking the view. Below is another view of her chin, lips and nose.

Week 32

It’s been another week, and this one came with a surprise.  Not a pleasant surprise, though.  The baby has flipped again, and is now head up.  This is a bit of a concern because the baby should be settling into the birth position by now.  If she doesn’t flip back over to the head down position, then a Caesarean section is likely.  This is something we don’t want, as that is a major surgery that can have an effect on the health of my wife and a second child.  Recovery is a lot longer than a vaginal birth.

Anyway, other than the position of the baby, she’s very healthy.  She’s now 1895 grams, only 600 grams away from minimum healthy birth weight.  She’s a bit chubby, too.  Her legs are also a bit long, so it makes me wonder if we’ll have a tall daughter.  Her toenails, fingernails and hair are all there now.  She’s been filling out her loose skin, so she should look like a normal baby now.  In fact, she could be born at any time now, and be healthy.

Mom is still feeling pain from the baby’s kicks, as well as the rapid growth of the baby.  Due to the baby’s new position, the doctor advised my wife to sleep on her right side now, instead of her left.  She’s had many sleepless nights lately due to the baby moving.

We’ve now bought everything required for a hospital survival kit (actually, it’s just the things my wife needs for a week at the clinic) for when she goes into labour.  As it’s getting so close to the birth, we have to be fully prepared.  We’ve made plenty of decisions recently, like where the baby will sleep (in the living room) and where my wife’s mother will sleep (in the bedroom with us, but on a rental bed).  We also decided on using cloth diapers, which can be washed, and will save us money in the long run.  The doctor has no information about when he thinks the baby will be born.  It’s going to be a surprise.  Because of the baby’s position, we have another appointment with the clinic next week, just to check if she’s flipped over again.  Hopefully, she’ll be back to the head down position.

Here are the ultrasound pictures.  They weren’t supposed to be done this week, but due to the baby’s incorrect position, the doctor had to take a look.

The top shows her full face at 32 weeks, 6 days. At the bottom is her nose (very clearly), lips and chin.

This 4D image shows her face. Not as clear as the one from 6 weeks ago.

Week 31

Week 31 is coming to a close now, and it was an eventful week for mom.

The baby is growing pretty quickly.  She’s as active as ever, and not only does she kick and punch, but when she slides her feet or hands along the walls of the uterus, my wife said it feels “kimoi” or a weird sick feeling.  She’s getting heavier as fat fills out her skin, and she’s about to go into a big growth spurt.

As I said, mom feels “kimoi” sometimes, and she does feel sick quite often.  This past week, she had a pretty strong dizzy spell that caused her eyesight to start blacking out.  Low blood pressure is most likely to blame, but she said it seems to run in her family.  She still can’t eat much at one sitting, so needs to spread out the food over the day.  She’s always hurting and feeling sick with the baby growing and her abdomen stretching, pressing into her stomach, and her pelvis preparing for birth.

Full term is only 5 weeks away!

Week 30

It’s only 6 weeks now until full term.  Today was the last day of week 30, and it included an ultrasound.  What was different this time was that my wife’s mother was present during the ultrasound.

The baby’s doing great.  She’s back to the correct head down position, which is very important for the birth.  She’s now 1651 grams.  The doctor said that she’s slightly above average in weight, so she seems more like she’s at the end of 31 weeks.  Her head is slightly below average size due to me.  While her head isn’t actually small, the Caucasian head is longer and narrower than an Asian person’s head.  Her heart is strong and healthy and her spine is straight.  We got some great views of her face during the ultrasound, but the picture wasn’t taken at that time.  Her eyesight is developing, though not so great yet.  As always, she’s very active, and making it very uncomfortable for her mother.

As for the mom, she’s feeling bad sometimes.  She feels sick occasionally, and she often feels pain in the lower part of her abdomen.  The doctor says this is normal, and should feel better if she takes a rest.  Walking uphill is getting more and more difficult now.

So, here’s what you’ve been waiting for, the pictures!

On the left is the full face, while on the right is the chin, mouth and nose.

She likes to hide behind her arm, which is on the right. On the left is the umbilical cord.

The next visit to the clinic is in 2 weeks, but without ultrasound.