I know I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog and on social media, trying to update as much as I can bring myself to. As any Mama whose gone past 40 weeks will tell you, it comes with all kinds of emotions up and down, and because the emotions are ever-changing, it’s difficult to describe. Which is how I got the idea for this post.
This is now my third time being 40 weeks plus. I thought it would get easier, that expecting it would make it easier, but guess what? Nope.
My first baby, I had zero signs of labor (no contractions, no dilation, nothing) until I couldn’t take it anymore and was “electively” induced at 40 + 6 days.
My second baby, I had very, very marginal signs of labor, losing my mucus plus as early as 37 weeks, only to be dilated only 1.5cm at my 40-week appointment. Two weeks of membrane sweeps in a row, and I thankfully walked into the hospital 4 hours before my scheduled induction time. I was admitted without being checked because they figured my doctor wouldn’t send me home.
Now I’m waiting for the arrival of my third baby, currently 40 weeks and 2 days. I’ve been having weeks of intense prodromal (“false”) labor contractions, just strong enough to keep me awake every night but not strong enough to go to the hospital. On Friday, I was still only 1cm, but this time 80% effaced (up from 60% the week before.) I had my second membrane sweep, which seemed to have little to no effect except making me nauseous. My next appointment is Thursday, at which I will likely receive another sweep and induction appointment (I’m guessing for Monday). As much as I do not want an induction, I’m willing to cut my losses and likely agree to the induction. My last baby was 9lbs 7 ounces at 41 weeks. I don’t need to test my limits for bigger than that, haha.
(Closest to a bump picture I have! A picture with our Chipotle catering order that doubles as meal prep for this week! My face says it all – I’m excited about Chipotle but not about being pregnant still. haha)
So what do you do when you are 40 weeks + pregnant to pass the time and keep from losing your mind? I’ve found the possibility of losing your mind is high, no matter whether you have zero signs of impending labor or you’ve been having signs for weeks. Either way, 40 weeks pregnant plus isn’t fun. A swollen, stretched-out belly, aches and pains, excitement, nervousness, and more time than you would like to review the possibilities of labor going wrong in your head. Plus, everyone is looking at you like you’ve failed some kind of test of life. I don’t care how many times you read or hear that anytime between 37-42 weeks is normal. Being over 40 weeks still feels like “overdue,” even when we all know it’s totally normal. I think it’s because everyone knows that the baby is likely to be totally fine if it comes out, so why doesn’t it just come out already? Therefore, being over 40 weeks is still a mental game that you have no choice but to play.
So, today I thought I’d share some of my tried and true distraction techniques that I’m leaning into this week….. yet again. Hope it helps someone else out there! One veteran overdue Mama to another!
1. Dive Into A Good Book
I always love to read, but I don’t always get the time. For some reason, TV doesn’t quite cut the “I’m waiting on edge” quite like a good book. Every time I’ve been 40+ weeks pregnant, I’ve flown through at least 2-4 really good novels and never regretted that. Source book ideas from friends, kindle recommended reading, or wherever. I highly highly recommend non-fiction that you can get lost in and sucked into. And have several lined up because you might get through more than one book.
So far, in the last two weeks, I’ve read Carrie Soto is Back, Cilka’s Journey, Where the Crawdads Sing, and The Nightengale.
And some favorites from my last two pregnancies were:
- Tattooist of Auschwitz
- In Five Years
- The Rose Code
- Daisy Jones and The Six
- City of Bones (Mortal Instrument Book Series – I read the first four) …. yes, this is a teenage heart throb vampire drama, and it’s amazing… I just realized they put out two more books, so you can guess what I’ll be reading next.
I also highly recommend:
- The Good Sister (my favorite book I read last year.)
- The Girl On The Train
2. Make a Labor Playlist
I had no labor list for the first child. Boo, I could have at least tried some sort of playlist. I had plenty of time, days 40 to 40+6 lol
The second playlist I made early in pregnancy, I hated it and didn’t use it.
This time, I’ve spent the last couple of days making a playlist now. I hope I finally have down what I would like at that time, but if not, at least it was a good distraction the last couple of days. This go-around playlist is full of pump-up songs to listen to when I can’t stay calm for hypnobirthing tapes anymore. haha, Don’t forget to have someone else download the playlist, too, in case your phone dies.
3. Get Out Of The House Every Day
I find an excuse to leave the house without my other kids at least once a day. With my last two pregnancies, I did a lot of walking (it didn’t help induce labor), but this pregnancy, I’ve had a lot of pelvic pain, limiting my exercise for the last few weeks. So, while I’m not walking, I’m leaving the house every day. Trip to Target, the store to get just two things, and today for a nail appointment. I mean, I love the lists online that say to go get your nails done or get a massage. How many times can you do that in one week? Also, a massage sounds like a form of torture to me right now, haha. That being said, I find some excuse to leave the house, even if it’s a short trip with little purpose. I get out of the house. I know that I’m about to be a Mom of three, I will likely not leave the house again alone for at least a few months, and when I do, it will be for work, and that’s it.
I still have my childcare here. I am working, not as much as I was a few weeks ago, but I am working. Blog updates behind the scenes, finishing up grading, etc. Working helps keep my mind off the fact that I’m still pregnant, too, haha. But, for those of you who are maybe SAHM or have let go of childcare in anticipation of the baby coming who isn’t here yet, I see you. If you can, please still try to get out of the house every day. I promise you won’t regret hiring that babysitter, even if it’s an hour a day this week, so you can get out solo.
4. Make Solo Dates
I actually just got this suggestion from a friend right before I was about to publish this post, and I knew I had to include it. She suggested I take each of my boys on a solo date. Now, I can’t go far or be gone too long because of all the pelvic and hernia pain I’ve had this pregnancy. But, in the next two days, I plan to take my older son to Target to pick out a new toy and maybe get a froyo after. The next day, if I’m STILL pregnant, I’ll take my two-year-old somewhere. The two-year-old is a bit more intimidating. He’s fast, less likely to listen, and built like a baby Hulk. But, if I’m still pregnant, I’m taking him somewhere, just me and him. I want to take him to build a bear since it’s his birthday month, but I know that’s probably past my current ability level. Maybe just Target for a toy or something like that! Either way, I’m actually looking forward to the next two days making core solo memories with each of my boys! Before, I can no longer call myself a “boy mom” only.
No kids yet? Set up coffee and lunch dates for the whole week. Your friends will understand if you can’t make it, but you’ll be happy with the daily distraction. Go to dinner, just you and your hubby, every night if you can afford it (easier said than done with a new baby.) But, I really wish instead of ordering takeout when I was pregnant with our first that, I had put on real clothes and gone out to dinner. It would be a long while till I had that kind of freedom again (like 18 years.) haha
5. Break the Rules
Try to take lots of pictures of the kiddos as they are now before their new sibling gets here. Spend as much time as you can “soaking up” the moments you can soak up. And the rest of the time, when everything hurts, and your patience is thin, turn on that TV, give snacks freely, and lean into being the “fun” mom. You and the kids deserve it. Serve kid food on repeat for every meal so you don’t have to hear them complain about dinner. Put them to bed earlier than normal so you can binge a show or book. All those things you normally try to avoid, lean into them. It’s fine. It’s temporary, and YOU DESERVE IT. I’m doing this even though I have childcare during the day.
If this is your first baby, I’m sure you can find some legal rules to break as well. You just might need to be more creative, haha.
6. Handle The Aggravating Texts
Try some of these response texts to the “No Baby Yet?” Texts.
Thankfully, I don’t get many “No Baby Yet?” texts. I do get a lot of “How Are You Feeling?” which I appreciate, but most of the time, I respond, “Feeling very, very very pregnant.” This abruptly ends the conversation, which is preferable to me because focusing on the fact that I have NOT had a baby yet is not my jam. Some of my friends who I am super close to, I straight up tell them. Text me with all the distractions, tell me your juicy gossip, tell me about your life, send me videos of your kids doing stupid and/or cute stuff, and tell me anything to distract me. And they all jump into it like white on rice, and honestly, it’s amazing.
Now, when my friends are overdue or getting close, I text them more about random current events, clothes, fashion, home decor, kid updates, and ANYTHING to DISTRACT them. I think we can all assume that if someone is 40 weeks + or pregnant, they are feeling uncomfortable, anxious, and impatient. You don’t need to remind them by asking them every five seconds. Instead, distract the hell out of your 40 weeks-plus pregnant friends or family members.
7. Rewatch a TV or Movie Series
My husband and I still remember re-watching all the Harry Potter movies before our first son was born. Harry Potter was literally the perfect seven-movie series distraction. They are long. They are engaging. And there was nothing about babies to remind me about waiting for a baby.
Need more ideas? Here is an epic list of movie series to re-watch. Um, Fast and Furious is on the list, and I’m not gonna lie. I just might start it tonight.
TV series I’ve gotten way into watching or re-watching while waiting for a baby are Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Working Moms, New Girl, and Big Bang Theory. In most cases, I started those in the third trimester and was done by 39 weeks, leaving me a show for the last two torturous weeks, hence the movie trilogy idea.
8. A Nighttime Routine
I do a lot of reading, playing wordsearch on my phone, and sometimes watching shows with my hubby. But, the thing I do absolutely every night is listen to this prayer on Youtube. Bedtime is one of the hardest times when you are 40 weeks plus pregnant because sometimes you may be having contractions (I try to ignore those with all my might), and you’re wondering if tonight is THE night. You are, after all, 40 weeks pregnant. Why couldn’t tonight be the night? And then, you wake up pregnant once again. After a few nights of that, the anxiety can kind of build, especially if you throw some contractions that lead nowhere or insomnia into that scenario.
Listening to that prayer and sometimes journaling helps me center myself. If tonight is not THE night, if I wake up pregnant again tomorrow, it will be okay. A) I can’t control this outcome anyways. B) I have things scheduled to look forward to. C) I won’t be pregnant forever. (Mantras are also helpful as well before bed.)
That’s all I can think of for now! I hope that list is more helpful than some of the ones I read online, which are like don’t worry, be patient. Your body is a temple and all that. I agree, but I’m also impatient. So for anyone else who is super impatient, I hope this list helps! Leave a comment if you have anything to add to help another Mama out there!
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