Four Things I Wish I Could Tell My > 40 Week Pregnant Self

Waiting on baby….
advice for the final days


Birthday cake, invitations, party décor, food and drinks…. A lot of planning goes into the birthday party of a soon-to-be One year old.

The birthdate of my daughter will be something forever etched into my brain and the month and the corresponding numbers will always hold special meaning.  As the one year mark approaches, I can’t help but remember how I felt on this day a year back.

Another day that held important significance. 

A year ago, this was arguably the most important date since our wedding day…. Our daughter’s due date.

A countdown to this day, January 30th, began when we were just over 4 weeks pregnant. I remember reaching important milestones throughout the entire pregnancy….not just first trimester, second trimester and so on…but also 200 days to go, 100 days to go, less than 50 days to go.

As time went on, we eventually got into single digits. And then finally, it was here. We hit zero. The big day.

Yet nothing happened. I remained pregnant.

Now, I know that many pregnant women are well prepared for the fact that they could very well go past their due date.

As a birth doula, I am fully prepared to attend a women’s birth from 37 weeks to 42 weeks…an entire month and more that is considered a normal range!

Although I knew this, going past 40 weeks was hard. I remember getting ice cream one day in Jacksonville shortly after and a group of older ladies asking when I was due. “Two days ago,” I replied as I continued eating my ice cream.

The truth is, many first time moms will go past 40 weeks if there are no health complications that would suggest the need for an induction.  One study showed that first time mothers delivered an average of 8 days after their due dates, aka 41 weeks and 1 day.

pregnancy jacksonville
9 months pregnant

Still, all these things are great information for a rational, clear headed person. What about a severely tired, emotional, hormonal pregnant mom who has 35 lbs of extra body weight to carry around and is already an impatient person?

There was no sting quite like still waiting after my due date…however, I did go on to birth a beautiful healthy girl, and If I had to do it over, this is what I would tell myself.

  1. Stop trying to Read Every Little Sign… Google Does not Know if you are going into labor!


Birth is full of uncertainty, but it is not full of fear. There is beauty in not knowing. Embrace the darkness that will soon become light.

Courtney

Maybe this behavior started well before 40 weeks, but once I made it to my due date, EVERYTHING was a possible sign of labor.  One day I woke up and felt really sleepy and tired all day. ‘Must be that I’m about to go into labor’ I thought.  The next day I had an unusual amount of energy….still wasn’t it.

Feet were more swollen one day. Labor. Feet were suprinsingly not swollen like usual. Labor. Everytime I felt slightly nauseous, everytime I found myself going to the bathroom more, everytime I felt the urge to clean, or sleep, or cry, or eat….I overanalyzed everything to try and figure out when my baby was going to come.

My google history looked like “Is ____________ an early sign of labor” over and over again.

If I could do it over, I would tell myself what everyone says, but for good reason.  YOU WILL KNOW. Seriously, for the majority of women, true labor will not be mistakeable.

Secondly, I would remind myself that this habit of needing to know and figure out what was happening was not helping my body prepare for the peace and mindfulness it would need soon.

Birth is full of uncertainty, but it is not full of fear. There is beauty in not knowing. Embrace the darkness that will soon become light.

2. Take more pictures

My due date was January 30th and I gave birth on February 3rd.  I only have three pictures of myself pregnant between those dates.  Although there may not have been big physical changes, I wish I had more pictures of myself in those final days of being pregnant. 

day after my due date, nine months pregnant jacksonville

When you are in the later stages of pregnancy, you are going to have days where you feel exhausted and not pretty.  It’s crazy, because there will arguably never be a time when you are more beautiful than when you are carrying your baby. 

Take the pictures. Take selfies, have your partner take pictures, or take some of those fun labor dance videos. Have fun with it!

Get dressed up and put on some makeup, or stay in your sweats (or better yet, your husband’s sweats!).

You will be so thankful you have pictures to look back on during those final days.

3. Finalize Birth Plans and Take care of the Extra Details (If you want to 😊)

If you are 9 months pregnant, it is still not too late to form a small birth plan to bring to the hospital/birth center with you.

In my own birth, I loved my care providers and felt very comfortable with a lot of the choices I knew I wanted to make and knew that most of them they would full support me on.

Looking back, I realized I did myself and my husband a disservice by not writing these things down.

If you yourself have a long labor, the last thing you want to do after giving birth to baby is answering questions about different preferences.

Furthermore, if you are in active labor, a misunderstanding or lack of communication about birth wishes can throw things off for you and your partner.

A birth plan does not have to be a long, complicated thing.

A simple list of some requests is a great way to communicate with hospital staff about what you desire.

Plus, if you are giving birth in a hospital, you do not want to have to re-explain stuff everytime the nurses switch shifts.

In your final days of pregnancy, make sure you have a couple copies of your birth plan printed out.  The extra days of pregnancy can also be a great opportunity to maybe get small gifts or thank you notes ahead of time for your birth staff, or simply add some final touches to your birth bag.

If you have a doula, she can help you write a birth plan. You may also have some local workshops in your area that help pregnant women or you can use template on the internet. If you are in the Jacksonville area, check out our classes page to find out when are next Bumps and Bagels Workshop is. You can also subscribe to our newsletter and get sent a free birth plan template to use at your own birth!

My biggest advice is just don’t save anything to do for after baby is born. I know you are tired now, but you are going to be incredibly pre-occupied with taking care of a newborn and/or trying to get some sleep yourself.

4. Enjoy it. Enjoy Yourself. You will Miss it….I promise

nine months pregnant jacksonville florida


Time may seem slow, but maybe it is meant to be that way. You will spend the rest of you life wishing for time to slow down. Embrace it.

It’s cliché, but only because it’s true. When you are 40 weeks pregnant, you think to yourself, I never want to be pregnant again. How could anyone miss this. Then, just as everyone said you would, you miss that time.  Maybe it’s a year later and maybe it’s 5 years.  You will look back and miss the amazing miracle that pregnancy is and the time that you were able to be apart of it.

If this is your first baby, you will miss the time that you had by yourself, but more overwhelmingly, you will how close you were to your baby.

You will miss how easy it was to keep them safe, to make their choices for them and protect them from harm.

If you are past your due date and waiting for your sweet baby, slow down today. Take the nap.  Get a pedicure. Take a bath.

It’s okay if you are anxious to meet your sweet little one.  As mothers we have all been there, when the hours and days melt into what seems like forever.

We all share the same secret that as hard as waiting is, the ones before us were right when they said we would look back on our pregnancies with some longing to be there again.

Time may seem slow, but maybe it is meant to be that way. You will spend the rest of you life wishing for time to slow down. Embrace it.

As my daughter celebrates her first birthday this weekend, I am already wondering where all the time went.

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