Post 37 weeks is an odd stage of pregnancy.  Officially the baby is term, some studies even suggest that some potential problems can be avoided if labour is induced at 37 weeks.  Other studies are very clear on the fact that the baby’s intellectual development will greatly benefit from at least two more weeks, the baby may be term but it is early term, you won’t be full term until 39 weeks.

This ambiguity continues through your interactions with other people.  To many, you are fit to burst from 35 weeks and they will say as much.  The thought that you may go into labour at any time from 37 weeks is not an uncommon one.  When, exactly, the most likely time to go into labour actually is, is, once again, open to interpretation.  Some people will argue that the figures suggest that most women will go into labour during week 39.  Others argue that the spike in deliveries during week 39 is compelled by planned caesarians and inductions due to health problems and that the majority of women who go into labour naturally will do so at 41 weeks.  Later deliveries are becoming more common apparently, particularly for first time mothers and for older mothers.  I am both.

Some midwives argue that whether a woman will give birth early or late is connected with her menstrual cycle.  If you run short, you will be early,  if you run long, you will be late.  Only those on an exact 28 day cycle will deliver on or near their due date.  Which is nearly no one.  The truth is however that most women are not blessed with such a regimented cycle.  I was, 24 days, right up until the time when Pete and I started seriously trying and then it could be anything from 24 to 31.  If you don’t have a perfectly regimented cycle, when you deliver is anyone’s guess.  Of course if we were to work from my short cycles as a predictor,  I should have lost four days every month which would have meant that I would have gone into labour about a month ago.  Somehow I suspect that this argument is rather flawed.  Especially as most science suggest that the one to initiate labour is not the mother but the baby.

In the past we used to believe that it was the size of the female pelvis which compelled birth weight and length of gestation.  Human females and their upright gait had narrower hips and, as our brain capacity increased, our big headed babies had be born at an increasingly vulnerable age.  Therefore babies were born at the stage when they would physically fit through the pelvis.  The increase in unusually large babies due to obesity and increases in the number of women suffering with diabetes has proven that that is not the case.  Women are perfectly capable of carrying babies that their pelvises are in a poor position to be able to deliver and an oversized baby can call for a caesarian.  Now scientists believe that it is the mother’s capacity to support her child’s increasing metabolic requirements that compels when birth takes place.  Babies are born when staying in the womb would result in starvation.

None of this, of course, will help to predict when my baby will be born.  My instinct tells me that it is not imminent.  I don’t feel as if I’m about to give birth.  I have no compulsion to make last minute plans.  In fact what I do find myself desperate for is some kind of a distraction.  As much as logic may tell me that the birth is a good month off and that I need to just relax and enjoy the opportunity to lie in and do what I like all day,  it’s quite hard to stop thinking about the life changing event that is about to take place.  I read multiple articles about symptoms of impending labour and methods for predicting when labour is about to begin learning absolutely nothing new.  There is simply no way to know, so I am in pregnancy limbo.

The nursery is organised.  We have 75 assorted baby grows provided by my mother in law.  Obviously we don’t know how many we’ll need of each size because we’ve never done this before so we may need more or we may have more than enough.  Equally we want to be able to purchase some of our own choosing as we go along, we’ve picked up a few little baby outfits of our own.  We are sure to buy some more.  We have 25 bibs,  various muslins, scratch mits and socks.  We have an awful lot of hand knitted cardigans and blankets.  We have towels, baby baths, packs upon packs of nappies and wet wipes and nappy disposal bags.  We have baby lotion and baby powder and nappy rash cream and bottom butter.  We have baby hair brushes and baby nail scissors.  We have a baby thermometer.  We have two changing mats.  A changing box that can be moved from room to room so that the baby can be changed anywhere.  We have a cot in the nursery waiting for the baby to reach six months.  We have a different cot in our room for the first six months.  We have a moses basket downstairs in the office so that I can put the baby down opposite the bathroom but behind a stairgate so that I can have a shower without worrying about unsupervised dog and baby interactions.  We have a travel system and two car seat bases, one for each car.  We have two baby carriers.  We have bottles in case breast feeding proves a problem or to store breast milk if it works well but we want Pete to have the opportunity to take a feed or two when he is home in the evening.  We have sterilising fluid and a bottle steriliser.  A blender just for baby food.  A whole host of unmentionables to cater for my less pleasant needs after the birth and hospital bags have been packed for myself and the baby.  All we have left to do is to buy drinks and snacks for labour and a breast pump.

So with so much already done,  all there is left for me is to count kicks and wait.  Pregnancy limbo.

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