Two or three weeks ago, after listening to me complain about yet another crappy night of sleep, my husband asked if I wanted one of those big full-body pregnancy pillows. I said no. They’re too hot, our bed is too small, I had one before and didn’t really think it did anything a regular old pillow shoved between my legs couldn’t have done just as well. They’re a scam! Slap “maternity” onto anything and instantly charge $49.99 for it! shakes frugal fist in direction of baby store
My husband is away on business this week, and in equal parts celebration of having the entire bed to myself and total sleep-deprived desperation, I went out and bought a Snoogle. (GEDDIT? It’s a noodle that you snuggle with. Oh, barf.) Unlike the pillow I had last time (which was promptly claimed as a bed by my dog while I was off giving birth), which WAS hot and way too easy to kick away in my sleep, this one actually stays put and is pretty darn satisfying to cuddle up to. I still woke up quite a few times during the night due to baby kicks and bladder calls, but I found it was MUCH easier to re-curl myself around the pillow and fall instantly back to sleep than with a regular pillow (which involved blindly digging around the covers for it, shoving it back into place, changing my mind and rolling over, then fluffing the pillows under my head and readjusting everything one last time — right before realizing that I was already wide awake.).
The other persistent Husband Question I’ve been getting is the viability one. “When can the baby make it? If you were to go into labor right now, would the baby survive?” I don’t know where this flavor of paranoia comes from, but it’s clearly at the forefront of his mind — pregnancy is all me, all mine. He gets to stand by helplessly and supply the ice cream and scoop the litter box while I’m a ticking time bomb of mystery. I think he’s looking forward to the birth just to get the baby away from my incompetent, coffee-chugging hands. (The fact that his brother’s wife went into premature labor at 33 weeks earlier this year probably doesn’t help much either, even though our niece was ultimately just fine.)
So he was happy to hear that we’ve sailed past 24 weeks and that with every week that ticks by, our baby’s chances improve in case something goes wrong. That said, I’m still gonna make y’all listen to the signs of early labor and symptoms you should absolutely NOT ignore at this point:
1: An increase or change in your vaginal discharge, especially if it becomes watery or tinged with blood (even just the slightest bit of pink or brown).
2: Abdominal pain or menstrual-like cramps.
3: More than four uterine contractions in an hour, even if they don’t hurt or aren’t timed regularly.
4: Sudden pressure in your pelvic area — like your baby is bearing down on your cervix — or intense pain in your lower back (especially if you haven’t had any pain there).
5: Decrease in fetal movement. I’m not a fan of the set kick counts — I know MY babies don’t preform on cue or on any sort of set schedule, but at this point, if your baby does have established patterns (active at night, or after meals) that it suddenly deviates from OR you go about 24 hours without feeling any kicks, call your doctor or midwife immediately.
6: A high fever of 100 degrees or higher, or sudden vomiting that is also accompanied by pain or fever.
7: Blurred vision, severe headaches and dizziness.
8: Sudden swelling of your face, hands, legs or ankles, or suddenly gaining more than four pounds in a week.
These are annoying, I know, since so many of them can actually be completely normal. (I get headaches. I still have to occasionally bolt to the toilet to puke. And let’s not even DISCUSS the many shades and textures of weirdness that is Normal Pregnancy Vaginal Discharge.) But even if everything ultimately turns out to be perfectly okay, no one is going to think you’re an idiot for calling the doctor or getting checked out at Labor & Delivery. (I ended up there last time over Suspicious Watery Fluids and Decreased Fetal Movement. We spent the night listening to our suddenly wide-awake child kick the hell out of me over the monitors while the Ph testing strips consistently came up negative for amniotic fluid. But I’m still glad we went.)