During weeks 32 and 33, we made some serious headway on our remaining baby related to-do items. In week 32, we got a crib, courtesy of one of Paulus’ colleagues and his family (a big thank you to them!). It happens that when this crib is set on the tallest setting, it is exactly the same height as our bed, which is exactly how I wanted it to be.
We also got a stroller. After trawling through craigslist ads on countless occasions, we finally found a stroller of the type we wanted that wasn’t already sold when we contacted the seller. Thus, we’re now the proud owners of a used Uppababy stroller. It’s the kind of stroller that let’s you click a car seat into the frame, so you don’t have to move the baby in an out of the car seat when you’re out and about. It also comes with a bassinet so the baby can have a good long nap on the go. And it has a very large basket-thing on the bottom, which I think will allow me to do some grocery shopping on foot with the baby in tow. Although I have become a much more confident driver in recent months, I’m by no means fully converted, and I would like to have the option of running errands without the car.
One of our wonderful interpreters in the lab gifted me a bag of maternity clothes that I was excited to begin using. Hopefully future pictures during the remainder of the pregnancy will reflect this, as it was starting to look like I only had this one dress in all of my wardrobe.
It felt like my belly got really, really big all of a sudden, although strangely, it didn’t coincide with any weight-gain. My weight had a bit of stagnation for about two weeks, which was odd. But I don’t think the baby stopped growing. On the contrary, it feels like there’s hardly any room for it in the belly any longer. It still moves, but it doesn’t really kick anymore, as much as swipe and poke. And put pressure on my bladder. That seems to be its favorite thing, judging from frequency anyway. At this point, any type of movement I make is risky. Going biking? Hope you peed first, because baby’s gonna go squeeze your bladder while you bike. Oh, you’re walking instead? Never mind, baby has already positioned itself and the bladder is so comfortably squishy. Really, it currently feels like I might pee at any given point. It’s weird. I haven’t peed anywhere inappropriate yet, though, just in case you were wondering…
Daylight savings ended on the weekend during week 33. While I was happy to have an extra hour (I finally got some blogging done because of it), it really messed with my sleep rhythm. I’m sure my sleep quality was bound to deteriorate as a function of pregnancy progression, regardless of Daylight savings, but it honestly feels like I haven’t had a good night’s rest since. I wake up every few hours, either because I have to pee, because I’m having a Braxton-Hicks contraction, or just because I’m generally uncomfortable.
On that note, I’m still figuring out whether I can take some kind of pregnancy leave from some of my work duties. It would be wonderful not to have to work all the way up to the due date, as I am definitely beginning to feel the effects of the last trimester (and not only on sleep) on my everyday activities: walking and biking leaves me out of breath, sitting hurts my tailbone and back, and eating big meals creates this weird sensation in the back of my ribcage. I have to discuss this with my midwife when we see her this week. Keeping my fingers crossed for some pre-due date leave.
Paulus and I also made the final decision to hire a doula. Having a doula at your birthing is correlated with faster labors and lower intervention rates. We also really like how they can provide a model for the birth partner and help them find their role in the birthing process. We were hesitant about hiring a doula at first, because of the cost (in our area doula ‘packages’ range from $600-1700), which will make it the single most expensive part of our baby’s birth. Our hospital offers free-of-charge volunteer doulas, which is a great service, but we like the idea of getting to know the doula in advance and being able to have her with us for the early part of labor, when we will still be at home. With a volunteer doula, you only get to ask for them once you arrived at the birth center. And since they are volunteers, there is no guarantee that someone will be available. We’re a bit late to the party, so a number of the doulas we contacted were already fully booked in December. We heard back from a few, and we’re meeting with one this week, and another next week. Hopefully one of them will be a good fit for us.
This week, I finally finished emptying the freezer, with the exception of a few minor items. Now I can begin making shopping lists and procuring all the items I will need for the post-partum freezer meals. I’m unduly excited about this…
The final thing on our agendas this week was figuring out how to ensure that the baby can become a citizen of our native countries. For Denmark, this appears to be relatively unproblematic, and might only require us to bring the birth certificate to a Danish consulate. I’m not sure what the Dutch requirements are yet – not my area of research, you see. But just to be safe, we are going to register our marriage in both countries as well, which requires all kinds of fun like getting local municipalities to print our birth certificates in English and coordinating with family members to pick them up and get them to us. We’re lucky to have supportive families!