One Week Countdown to My Child's Birth

Kelsey Bonilla Health Guide
  • Pregnancy Tracker: 38 weeks, 2 days

    Size of the Baby: Over 7 pounds... we think!

    Biggest Obstacle: Patience.


    In precisely one week I will be in the hospital having this baby! Unless, of course, Baby Bonilla decides to arrive before my scheduled induction. It's surreal to think that we'll be bringing home our baby in just a few days.


    Dennis and I have been busying ourselves with getting the final baby arrangements in order. This weekend, we figured out how to properly install the car seat, practiced taking and downloading pictures with our new digital camera, hung the curtains in the nursery, and washed the remaining baby clothes and blankets. As far as the gear goes, we're as ready as we're going to be.

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    Physically, both the baby and I are ready for this pregnancy to end! The baby's kicks and movements are increasing. It seems like he or she is trying to break out! Sometimes the movements hurt a little, but mostly it's just uncomfortable. It's also incredibly amazing. My mom spent several hours on Christmas Day with her hand on my belly, feeling her grandchild kick and squirm!


    As we're counting down the days until induction, I'm continuing weekly doctor's appointment and bi-weekly non-stress tests. These bi-weekly tests have taught me a lot about my pregnancy and the baby's condition. One part of the test is an ultrasound, where they basically just measure amniotic fluid levels. Mine have remained normal.


    The other part of the test involves three components: a heart rate monitor for the baby, a contraction monitor for mom, and fetal movement tracking which is achieved by my pressing a button whenever I feel a kick or movement. These three aspects are then looked at together to see how the baby's heart rate responds to uterine contractions and stimulus from their own movements. Additionally, during the test they want to see the baby move at least ten times and have at least two instances where the baby's heart rate accelerates for several seconds. They like to see a solid heart rate baseline with variability.


    Since our little one is quite active, it never takes long (less than fifteen minutes) for me to feel ten distinct movements. Typically, the baby's heart rate hovers around 135 to 140 beats per minute for most of the test and then climbs a bit, usually in correlation with some ferocious movement. At last Friday's test, something new happened: we measured several contractions!


    For first time mothers-to-be, we tend to feel these early contractions as the baby arching or pushing their backs against us. According to the nurses, this type of movement is nearly impossible for the baby. The pressure and tightness is actually a contraction. I started watching the contraction monitor carefully and practiced breathing as the number grew from under 10 to over 40! I also kept an eye on the baby's heart rate during the contractions. The nurses explained that a baby with good oxygen supply (indicating a strong placenta) will keep a steady heart rate through the contractions, which are considered stressful for the baby.


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    When the nurse came to check the print-out (which shows the baby's heart rate line, a tracking of my contractions, and marks when I indicated that the baby moved) she was pleased to see that the baby maintained its heart rate in a nice, steady line throughout several contractions. In fact, she commented that I had so many contractions within a given period of time; the test could actually have been considered a stress test for the baby! Stress tests are usually done by giving the mom pitocin to initiate uterine contractions while monitoring the baby to see how it reacts. It was cool to see that the baby is doing so well, without having to actually go in to the hospital for a stress test. All of this testing is actually quite reassuring.


    So, now we wait. I'm finishing up my last few days of work and hoping to relax this weekend. I'll probably go for a swim, make sure our groceries are stocked up, put away the Christmas decorations, and finish packing for the hospital. I haven't done much sitting around with my feet up during this pregnancy, so I doubt that'll start now! Staying active has made the time go by quickly and kept me in shape, which I hope pays off during labor!


    I will rest more during these final days at home, since I know rest will be at a premium with a newborn in the house!


Published On: December 27, 2007