Teresha: My apologies if the picture grosses you out, but I wanted to give you an illustration of what I mean by literally being in the home stretch. I'm 36 weeks, and my belly looks like an over-inflated balloon. I don't think it has the capacity to grow any farther. Throughout my pregnancy, people have commented on how tiny I look. I just think I seem small because the bump grew entirely outward giving the deceptive impression that I'm not pregnant from the front or back views. From my profile, there is no denying that there is a bun in the oven, especially now! In the past two weeks it feels like my abdomen has been stretched to the limit. Even my belly button, which has stayed hidden this entire time, has popped out. Oh, and I found two stretch marks while doing my weekly belly inspection in the mirror! So much for the old wives belief in cocoa butter and vitamin E oil. I also developed a "pregnancy" rash and started itching beyond belief. Thank goodness for Standard Process USF ointment. It has lanolin and other good stuff that took care of that bit of unpleasantness. Ready for more TMI? I have struggled during the last week to pay my taxes to the porcelain king. Every day is an exercise in pain, strain, and little gain. If you don't get it, let me just add that I now own stock in Metamucil.
In other news about stretching, I have been obsessing about not tearing down there. My holistic doctor back in Atlanta advised that I begin perineal massage at 35 weeks. He swears by it (well his wife does...she delivered two babies naturally without an episiotomy and didn't need any stitches). So, I sat down last week with my olive oil and gave it a try. It felt too weird. I haven't done it again. I really want to avoid tearing though, so I asked my midwife if I should resume the massage or any other preventative measure. She shook her head and said she doesn't believe the massage makes a difference. What she does advise is in the form of postpartum perineal care by pre-freezing kotex pads (whic can be soaked in soothing, antiseptic herbs). I also read that a sitz bath is really helpful in the days after giving birth.
Marlie is almost here, so I am dedicating this week to the final preparations, including making sure the birthing and diaper bags are packed and ready to go! I have a two-foot to-do list, but it is impossible to get it all done. So I have priortized tasks by things that will be disappointments (getting a small water fountain to listen to during labor) or disasters (installing car seat, hello hubby!) if we don't get around to doing them. I have a feeling that she will come way before my August 20 due date. I can feel it in my soul. I have been dreaming of her every night for a week. Plus she has already dropped and is head down. She is ahead of schedule and following nature's directions, just like her mommy before her.