The end is near – 36 weeks pregnant

At 36 weeks pregnant, I have about a month left until my due date and according to the doctor and midwife, bébé could show up any day now. Not that there are any particular signs pointing it happening like, tomorrow, but I thought I’d do one more big update on how the pregnancy has been going, just in case . . .

Weekly bump photos 2

(compare to the first 20 weeks)

I’ve still been fairly active, though obviously as I get bigger, certain things are hurting more. Sudden shooting pain in my hips and pelvis is all sorts of fun. So swimming has been great, even though in my grey swimsuit I definitely feel a bit like an elephant/whale! My weight gain has accelerated a bit. It’s still within the normal range, but at the higher end of the range, so my doctor wants me to stay away from the sweets (not that he was encouraging them before), especially since I’m walking less because of the hip pain. Heartburn is a frequent problem, though thankfully never at the same time as the hip pain.

Things have gotten more “real” since 20 weeks, maybe because of how much he moves around, or because I’ve had more time to think about it, or because now we know it’s a boy and have a name picked out and everything. I really really wanted a girl, so I was dealing with some strong feelings of gender disappointment for awhile. And still am a little bit, since we are (almost) totally sure we only want one kid (and even if we wanted more, it doesn’t mean the second is automatically a girl as pretty much everyone likes to tell me! Apparently Mendel is unknown in France, lol). Basically, you picture your life one way, and then it takes some time to adjust when turns out to be totally different that what you expected . . . But expats are used to lots of lingering “what ifs” while still loving the life they have. I definitely would have been slightly less nervous about a girl, since I’d know what to expect a little better, but my husband is so excited about all the things he wants to do and share with our little garçon, his enthusiasm has been rubbing off. Plus, French boys just adore their moms!

Preparations are well under way: we have a crib, a changing table, a stroller, and a car seat! And lots and lots of clothes . . . There are still other things I want to get, but if he comes tomorrow, he’ll have a place to sleep and something to wear, which is the important stuff. I’m pretty sure he won’t care if the rug on the floor matches his sheets, but I’d still like to have as much in place as possible before, since we definitely won’t have time after.

Preparing our cat has been a long process. Since he’s used to sleeping in our room, we started closing the door every other night a few months ago. Now it’s every night, and he still doesn’t seem to get it, and meows a lot. He’s a very affectionate cat, and I also stopped him sleeping on my lap a while ago. It’s hard to see him “ignored” but I know it’ll be easier for him later if he can get used to it now. Having the baby stuff around is supposed to help too, and so far he doesn’t seem the least bit interested in it, which is a relief. I’d much rather have him ignore the baby than fight with him to sleep in the rocker . . . He’s much more interested in the boxes the stuff comes in, so if keeping him happy means having empty boxes all over the apartment for a few weeks, I can live with that. I’ve also read that bringing something from the hospital with baby’s scent will help, so we’ll definitely try that.

For my own preparations, I’ve had 7 birthing classes over the past three weeks, from a practice of freelance midwives who are close to my apartment, rather than at the hospital which is 30 minutes away (or 20 if you drive really fast like I think my husband probably will do on the big day!). These are the same ladies who will come over once I’m home from the hospital to help us with any questions we may have, and who will do my pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation therapy. While it’s reimbursed here, I don’t think they do this in the states, and I had never heard of it before, so I get very embarrassed talking about it and will probably never mention it again!

In the classes, it was just three of us with due dates in the same week, but I never learned more about them. Maybe we were all just shy, but I feel like in the states you’d be gabbing away, sharing advice or asking about the nursery decoration. The five minutes before class started were always so awkward, just sitting there staring into space. At least I avoided any crazy “mompetition” like “Oh, I’ve only gained three pounds so far” or “The doctor said he’s the strongest baby he’s ever seen” . . . We had classes on when to leave for the hospital, how to breathe, how to push, one with the fathers to practice breathing/pushing together, one on breastfeeding, one on what to expect once we get home, and we visited the hospital. The only official thing left to do is complete my file with the hospital and meet with the anaesthesiologist, both of which I’m doing this week. Then he’s allowed to show up whenever he wants, since I’ll be “ready”!

Like I’ve mentioned several times before, overall this really has been a normal, boring pregnancy. And I’m very happy about that! Notice I don’t say it’s been “easy” because sleepless nights and heartburn and needing to rest every three steps is not exactly my idea of a good time. But it all falls into the normal range of things to expect. Physically everything is as it should be, administratively as well, so I’m crossing my fingers for a delivery that goes just as smoothly!

6 thoughts on “The end is near – 36 weeks pregnant”

  1. I worry about not having a girl too. But I’m sure once the baby comes everything will change. Maybe watch some movies where there are only sons!
    Good luck with the final weeks! Hope the heartburn doesn’t get too bad.

    1. “Say Anything” made me excited to have a son who would grow up to be sweet and adorable and not like the lame French hooligans I see around town. Also husband’s new haircut makes him look like young John Cusack, swoooon. Looking at pictures and reading blogs of “boy moms” has actually been helping a lot too. It really is so much about not being able to imagine what it will be like, after spending so much time picturing a girl, and I am all about the visual aids.

  2. Wow! So close!

    Even though we have no plans for a baby in the near future, I like reading your posts – especially on what to expect while in France!

    1. It’s hard reading what I’m “supposed” to do on American websites/books, since sometimes it’s totally different here! Though it’s mostly admin stuff that changes, the general outline stays the same: lots of doctor’s appointments, lots of things you can’t do/eat, figuring out time off work, getting paperwork sorted . . . other stuff is personal choices no matter the country (breastfeeding, swaddling, co-sleeping, vaccines, etc.) so I’m sure there could be greater “cultural” differences between certain states than there are between France and my USA!

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