37 weeks: Reviewing previous births {pregnancy update}

With just 3 weeks (?!?!?) until my duedate and so many contractions lately, labor is very much on my mind.  This week Perry and I were talking about this baby’s fast-approaching arrival, and I found myself reviewing my last several deliveries.  Working backward, they went something like this:

Parker was born posterior.  It was not a bad labor, but the end was very intense and a posterior presentation requires the mother to dilate much more than a normal face down presentation.

At the moment I was pushing Bethany out, the midwife who delivered her insisted that I needed to be flipped around from an upright squatting position to hands and knees, or vice versa.  While the baby’s head was hanging out.  Not fun.  I remember being very angry at the time, and I still have no idea why it was necessary.

 Perry Boy has an enormous head.  The kid looked like Charlie Brown right from day 1.  I don’t remember how big his noggin was at birth, but I do remember that for the first year of his life he was entirely off the charts.  According to the standard growth charts, out of 100 baby boys, his head was bigger than 105.  Ouch.

Rachael was a nuchal presentation, born with her arm over her head.  When the midwife measured her head, I objected.  “Oh, no!  Put her arm up, just like it was.  I want full credit!”  She thought I was joking, but I wasn’t.

Sarah was born silent.  Not a difficult labor, but no happy hormones at the end to create that warm fuzzy feeling of forgetfulness.

All of my recent labors have had some sort of extenuating circumstances.  And that brings us all the way back to Becca, #6.  I’ve been waiting for another labor and delivery like hers.  I’ve been waiting a long, long time.  I’m facing down my 12th labor and delivery now, and I’m hoping and praying that God will be pleased to give me a simple, straightforward, not-very-intensely-painful labor and delivery this time around.  I want to say that I deserve an easy one every now and then, but I know that’s not true.  None of us deserves anything good.  But our Heavenly Father likes to give us good gifts nonetheless, and I’d be very thankful to receive the gift of an easy labor if He was pleased to wrap one up for me.

In other news, I’m pretty sure I’ve started nesting this week.  It could have something to do with the fact that we hope to move in a few weeks, but it could also have a lot to do with the fact that only 3 weeks lie between me and this baby’s duedate.  In the last few days I have disassembled and completely cleaned the freezer; cleaned, organized and inventoried the pantry; moved one child’s clothes from my bedroom and closet into the little girls’ room; thinned, organized and rearranged the clothes of the 3 youngest children which are still kept in my bedroom and closet; done dishes and laundry alone more times than in the past 6 months; dug out the car seat and baby bed (ok, I had the kids do it); cleaned under all the sofa cushions and vacuumed said cushions before replacing them; cleaned under the sofa; created and instituted a new chore list & weekly menu…I’m sure there’s more.  I’m beginning to think that the last month of pregnancy is the perfect time to prepare for a move!

Belly pic:


Baby at 37 weeks:

  • Typically, baby now measures 19.5 inches (50 cm) from the head to the heel.  [I had one that measured 23.75.”  What was your longest?]
  • Baby weighs up to 7 lbs, and is gaining about an ounce/day.
  • more
I read something amazing last week in a book about unborn babies, In the Womb: throughout the pregnancy, a baby’s heart basically functions as a two-chambered heart, largely bypassing the pulmonary system.  There is a hole between the left and right atria that allows the blood to skip the lungs.  At the baby’s first breath a valve snaps shuts, instantly converting the heart to full four-chambered operation.  Over the next 6-8 weeks fibers grow and seal the valve in place, making the change permanent.
Incredible, no?  Would you have thought to design a process like that?  I didn’t think so.
Your turn:
How are you and your little one this week?  What’s new?  Do you have any amazing facts to share about birth or fetal development?
Previous pregnancy updates:


  1. I do hope you have a wonderful labor and birth.

    The PDA valve is an amazing thing. My granddaughter was born with HLHS, a condition where the left half of her heart basically did not develop. Because the valve is open before birth, babies with HLHS survive up until birth without any problems. Allie was 6 days old when she was diagnosed, and her PDA valve was still open. Between that and an extra blood vessel that she had running from her heart, she was able to survive until her heart transplant at 2 1/2 months old. The doctors couldn’t explain the extra vessel but we could. Our God is an Awesome God! 🙂

  2. How fun to read about your pregnancy, and to read through the comments and see so many woman that are so close to giving birth themselves! I’m also 37 weeks, and while I would love to go early, history tells me not to get my hopes up about that. 🙂 This is #5 for me and not one has come early.

  3. It’s been fun to follow your pregnancy updates. All the best with the delivery, whenever it may come!
    I saw your question on facebook re birthing ball. Having only been pregnant once, I’m no expert, but I found it wonderful & relaxing (if that’s possible in labour!) and would definitely use it again…

  4. Just want to thank you for sharing the wonder of your pregnancy week by week. This is the first one I have followed the whole way through! Bless you, and I’ll be looking closely for updates in these next few weeks!

  5. I actually did know about the heart thing. My #6 child (isn’t it funny how we mom’s-of-many say the number our child is, instead of “my son” or “my daughter”?) had Pulmonary Hypertension, which is when the valve in the lungs doesn’t close up and the lungs can’t work like they are supposed to. That, in turn, causes the pressure in the lungs to be higher then in the rest of the body and the blood starts to pump backwards. Just 10 or so years ago, babies with this problem either died or had sever brain damage. I thank the Lord for modern medicine! She is doing fine, with no side effects!

  6. I just delivered my 5th baby 4 months ago, and it was my only “normal,” complication-free birth. My first was premature. I broke my tailbone while pushing number 2. With my 3rd, I had to transfer to the hospital for a c-section. (Who knew a recently-broken tailbone would have calcium deposits that would keep it from moving so the baby could drop?) The birth went well for my 4th, but then I started bleeding so hard my doctor could hear the blood pouring out. She had to manually scrape my placenta off my uterus for about 15 minutes before it resolved. Praise God that He had led me to get an epidural during labor, or I might have died waiting for anesthesia so the doctor could work! My blood pressure was 50/30 after bleeding that hard for just 15 minutes.

    I prayed many times with this last baby that I’d just have a baby, nice and normally. And God graciously granted it to me. I did have an epidural at the request of my husband because there aren’t any statistics on whether the complication I had last time, placenta accreta, was likely to be repeated. (Most of the women who have it die or have a hysterectomy to stop the bleeding.) But the birth was fantastic. In fact, the doctor came in to check me, and I told her I didn’t want her to because I didn’t feel pushy. My water had broken, and I wanted to keep germs out. She insisted, but then she didn’t end up having to actually check. As soon as she looked, she said, “Oh, he’s right here. You can have him in the next contraction or two.” So I pushed through one contraction, and then on the next contraction I didn’t even do a full push before she was telling me to stop for the head to rotate. He just came out, then my placenta came out, and that was that. It had been 8:30 when the doctor came in to check on me, and by 9:05, it was just my husband, baby, and me in the room by ourselves.

    I’m praying that you’ll have a wonderful, easy birth!

  7. I so enjoyed reading your weekly posts to keep up on my daughter’s status / progress with her first. This week is the first one that didn’t apply as she delivered last Wednesday 4 weeks early. All is well and mom and son are both home…

  8. I’m 41 weeks, 2 days with #3 and scheduled to be induced on Thursday. I’m having very mixed feelings about that.

  9. I delivered #2 5 days ago. DD (#1) was slightly less than 6 hours but over two were pushing and she arrived with her hand by her face – not the smallest way out. #2 decided to make a big entrance. He waited until I was 5 days past “due” but then came in 45 minutes! My husband had to catch with phone instructions from the midwife who was racing down the highway to us. I’m not sure it was an easier birth than my first but it is a more exciting story 🙂 Hope your labor is uneventful (well, except for the new addition to the family part 🙂

  10. I am 39 weeks and counting with baby #5. Just yesterday, at my prenatal visit, my midwife said that the baby turned from anterior, to transverse, to posterior. I am quite concerned about the prospect of a posterior birth, but am hoping for the best! I am so grateful for having a great midwife! Praying for you and the last few weeks of your pregnancy.

    • My #8 kept flipping around in there and was posterior at the beginning of labor. It was my easiest and fastest labor (1 hour!). I was on hands and knees and doing pelvic rocks and praying he’d turn. A few minutes before he was born I decided to sit on the toilet and lift my belly (belly lift rec. in Back Labor No More~highly recommend!!). I felt instant serious pressure and didn’t make it into the water. I delivered him on the floor on hands and knees with almost no pain and only very light pushing. I couldn’t believe the head was out and had to check. Total opposite of #7 (hours of back labor even though he had also turned into the right position). I was feeling old and tired (46 yo) and was sooooo grateful God gave me this experience, which I had prayed for!

  11. 11 days ago, I delivered #5. It was by FAR our most exciting birth! (I’m a bleeder, so home birth really isn’t a viable option for me. I deliver at a hospital, with midwives.)

    My babies are usually born at 39 weeks. At 40 weeks, my blood pressure was becoming an issue, so I went to the hospital to be induced. They tried. For two days. Nothing. We took our toys and went home.

    By 41 weeks, I was resigned to being pregnant forever.

    Sometime after 5pm on the 14th, I had a contraction. I had been having one-off contractions for weeks, so I didn’t tell anyone, and didn’t think much of it. Five minutes later I had another one. Three minutes after that, another one. Suddenly they were constant, one on top of another. At this point, I was officially in denial. Even though I was clearly in labor, I was certain that if I moved, it would stop. So I sat on the couch, pretending to read my book for 45 minutes, keeping my contractions a secret. Still not sure what I was thinking!!

    Amazingly, my husband came home from work earlier than usual, and got home at 6pm. As soon as he walked in the room, I told him to put the suitcase in the car, and I called the midwife’s answering service. I gave them my cell phone number, told them I was on my way, and they put me ON HOLD. Ha!! I handed the phone to my mother, and headed out to the car, hoping to make it before another contraction hit. I didn’t.

    We live 35-40 minutes from the hospital. 10 minutes out, the midwife called, and said NOT to come, because there were NO BEDS!! WHAT?? They re-routed us to a hospital in the city, at least another half hour away.

    By this point, I was very uncertain that we would get there in time. I started giving my husband instructions on what he would need to know and do if the baby arrived en route. Having had four other children before this, he knows the noises I make when I get to the end, and he was scared to death that the baby would come in the car.

    We made it to the hospital, and I told him to RUN into the ER. He’s a very polite, rule-following type guy, but I told him there was no time for that. True to form, he rushed in, shouted that his wife was in HEAVY labor and needed a wheelchair! lol An orderly came out and told me that he needed me to breathe through my nose. I wanted to punch him. At that moment, my midwife showed up. They put me in a wheelchair and took me upstairs while my husband parked the car.

    They got me in a bed, and my water broke immediately. The doctor said I was 6 centimeters. At that point I freaked out. The pain was so intense at 6, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like in transition. I told the midwife I might need an epidural (I’ve never had pain meds in labor before), because there was no way I could endure two more hours of this. The midwife said she didn’t believe I was 6cms, and that she was sure I was already in transition. I proceeded to argue with her, lol. The doctor had SAID I was 6cm! In the midst of trying to explain to her that I couldn’t POSSIBLY be in transition, I realized…the baby was crowning! Whoops, I guess the midwife was right, lol!

    Two pushes, and she was here! I’ve never had a fast labor before, though I’ve never had to push much. Fast labor rocks! Intense, but over and done! I hope my next one is exactly the same, minus the drama of almost delivering in a car. 🙂

  12. I’m 32 weeks..and also thinking about labor/delivery. Number 5 was my easiest…and I have had a couple of posterior deliveries as well. My last was difficult at the the end. Her head was cocked to the side, so it was quite painful bringing her down.

    I have had some hemorrhaging issues, so I’m nervous about the post-delivery. This is why I must be in the hospital this time. Lots on my mind regarding this birth. Lots of prayer for peace and safety as we draw nearer to meeting this sweet one.

    Look forward to hearing of your delivery soon!

  13. I too have really been thinking about the labor and delivery process with only a week to go. You aren’t giving me much hope here that I will have another glorious delivery. 🙁 People act like the more you have the easier they will be. Guess not, huh? Here is my post for this week if you are interested (37 weeks as well)…. http://www.thestraightenedpath.com/2012/09/makingbabiesgiveaway.html

    • Blair,
      Don’t let me discourage you. Even with my “complications,” my later labors overall have been far easier than my earlier ones. After all, I delivered a posterior baby in one push! I’m just hoping that I can reap the *full* benefits of my laboring experience this time.

      • Ok good. Whew! 🙂 My first 2/3 were 24 hour labors (and a section) and just hard. #4 was 5 hours and arrived 30 minutes after I made it to the hospital. I never had any of those, “I don’t know if I can do this” moments with him. To think of a hard 24 hour labor again after that is, well, you can imagine.

  14. Perhaps with Bethany’s birth the midwife was afraid that your baby’s shoulders were stuck. Flipping over to the hands and knees position is called the Gaskin maneuver and opens everything to the greatest degree preventing shoulder displasia ( I think it is called.) I delivered my number 3 on my hands and knees and I didn’t even have to push much; he just fell out almost before the doctor was ready for him. Got it on video…quite comical.

  15. My Beka was #6 too, but my hardest labor/delivery. (med free, in hospital)
    I will admit I decided against med free labors after her. :-/

    Praying you get a relatively easy labor!

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