38 weeks | Baby #4

Last possible comparison of all four pregnancies, since Truman was born right at 38w0d (because of induction with pre-eclampsia)!


So, this photo comparison really stressed me out for awhile today.  I ended up tossing the original, and took the above current picture tonight instead of using the one I took this morning. It just seemed like my belly looked SO SMALL and I started feeling a little panicky, like, 'Maybe everyone is right, I'm really too small and this baby is having a growth restriction or something.' Which is ridiculous and not at all 'zen' like I'm intending to be, but still. It was a very real concern for me this morning. Now the above picture doesn't seem so starkly different this time compared to the others. I mean, I'm carrying differently all four times (I actually think this belly looks more like Cecelia's than anything!) but I certainly don't think this baby is 5 pounds while my others were 7-8, you know? Just goes to show that my belly is definitely bigger in the evenings, or he's settled down lower as the day goes on.

It also goes to show that I'm a head case, in case you weren't already keenly aware of this fact. Yes, the end of pregnancy 'crazies' have entered. Watch out.


I've also been a little bit obsessed with birth stories this past week, listening to The Birth Hour podcast every day, and looking up 'positive' stories online. I also watched The Business Of Being Born again, on Netflix, knowing that it really knocks hospital births and also features a birth go 'wrong', with a breech baby coming at 34 weeks and needing a C-section. That baby had a growth restriction, which is probably why I was concerned with that issue today, I guess. I've come to realize that no matter how many 'positive' birth stories I read/hear, there are still going to be scary things that happen along the way. One of the stories on the podcast was great, but even just having her mention that she knew of two full-term babies dying in utero 'from being overdue' was enough to make me panicky. Yes, horrible things can happen at the end of pregnancy, during birth, and immediately after...and beyond. But I still get to choose my thoughts and have to let go of the fears. Deep breaths.

Despite all of that mumbo jumbo, my Hypnobabies tracks have been super helpful and I really like the Fear Clearing Session the best, plus the Visualizing Your Birth track is amazing. It's still incredibly challenging to stay awake during the tracks but it is possible;) Aside from some heavy worries creeping into my mind, I'm mostly feeling super excited for labor and delivery. The sense of dread that arrives, knowing what I'm up against, hasn't hit me yet. Perspective can be a beautiful thing when it comes to motherhood---subsequent children have reaped the benefits of me being more laid back, more 'this too shall pass,' and less 'OMG, is it going to be this hard FOREVER?' But aside from perspective on motherhood, I now have perspective on birth itself. I haven't had 'bad' births by any means, but they have all been fairly riddled with anxiety and worries over what could go wrong. When the first killer contraction hit with subsequent labors, I vividly remember being like, 'Nope, I hate this, I cannot do it again.' This time I want to hold onto the perspective that I can and I will have to do it again. The intensity of labor will be a microsecond in the big picture of my life. Temporary and worth it.

I can't control how or when it all goes down but I can absolutely control my thoughts. I will tell myself that it's going to be a beautiful, peaceful, quick birth. And that I deserve that! It really is one of the most magical moments imaginable, isn't it? As mothers, we get to bring another human being into this world, from inside our bodies. It's seriously indescribable and gets me all emotional just thinking about it....yes, even the fourth time around. What a privilege. Man, it's hard to wrap my head around giving birth SO FREAKING SOON.

Veins are out of control.

Anyway. OB appointment on Friday went well. Baby measures on track (but again, I'm wondering if the uterus measurement is really that accurate), I'm up two more pounds, BP is good, and I'm still 1cm dilated but now 70% effaced. Looking back at other pregnancies, I was totally closed and not effaced with Truman's induction, was closed but 50% effaced two days before Cecelia was born, and was 1.5-2 cm and 50% effaced with Porter the week before he was finally born. I wasn't even going to have her check me on Friday but figured, 'what the heck?'. Internals don't really bother me and I don't think it means much either way, but it's nice to know SOMETHING is happening down there.

Side note: I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about how I should do an excel spreadsheet comparing my four pregnancies in various categories. #Loser

This is how my belly looks when I wake up in the morning. CRAZY compact and lumpy, and yes I've been sleeping in a sports bra and shorts lately. I'm a heater, can't help it.

We had a good discussion about induction this time: I told my OB I really want to avoid Pitocin if at all possible. She didn't bat an eye and said, 'Of course, that's not a problem, as long as you aren't more than one week overdue.' She said if I hit my due date we will discuss a date for induction a week later, and honestly---as much as I hate Pitocin, I think going past 41 weeks with my fourth baby sounds just as horrible;) I feel like if I DO surpass my due date, I could probably convince my OB to just break my water instead of using pit to start an induction. I mean, both breaking my water and starting Pitocin are game-changers for me. Once my water breaks (happened naturally, pretty early on in labor for both Truman and CC, my OB broke it for Porter at around 4cm) the contractions get crazy intense. And of course, Pitocin with both boys meant that the contractions were right on top of each other, very intense, and sometimes would piggy back without a break. If I have any shot of remaining calm, peaceful, and in control it has to be without Pitocin, it just has to! So I'm visualizing a birth similar to Cecelia: no pitocin needed, no artificial breaking of my waters, really pretty quick overall (I went from a 2-10cm in 3 hours). BUT, I want less anxiety and want to remain mentally in control the entire time, without the pivotal freak-out moment.

And as far as the epidural goes, the more I contemplate, the more I think I can probably convince myself to just forgo the wretched 'waiting' period from the time when I decide I need it and the time I actually get it. Not to mention sitting still while the anesthesiologist places the gigantic needle is THE WORST, and the last two of three epidurals I've had really did not help that much. I just read back over my birth stories for Cecelia and Porter and noted that by the time I got both of those epidurals, I was already at an 8cm and really didn't think they helped with pain management all that much. SO AGAIN, perhaps I can just skip the agonizing wait, sitting still, and then being disappointed by the continued pain of labor with an epidural and go without? The key here is time: if I can progress quickly, I have confidence I can just plow through without the drugs. If things are happening slowly (please, God, no!) then I know it will be really rough to stay focused.

Lots of rambling in this post already, huh? It's like a stream of consciousness, 100% focused on birth. Yay? Yikes.

This week at work I noticed myself wrapping things up, to prepare for maternity leave. I still plan to work until my due date (at least?) but it's nice to know that as I walk out of the building, everything is pretty much in order in case I'm not back there until October. Having typical thoughts about my water breaking at work (the horror!), or as I'm driving home for the day. It's wild to think I will be there maybe ten more days, max!

Nesting is in FULL FORCE this week. I am super proud to say that the basement is now officially organized and everything for the baby has been sorted/washed/set out and ready to go. The attic is also completely bare, ready for one more haul to the dumpster or recycling. I found a Mamaroo swing on Craigslist and picked it up this week, which is something that's been on my list since....forever? Really wish I didn't sell ours but I'm glad I found another one online;) The baby's adorable coming home outfit arrived, my mom sent me a new mother's necklace with all four names on it (!!) and my hospital bag is basically ready to go.

Taking it to the next level, I scrubbed our shower tile while listening to a podcast this week. I cleaned toilets and our kitchen sink, which I tend to label as 'semi-deep cleaning' and something that I definitely don't do every week. I'm definitely feeling like this baby cannot come home to a filthy house and also, I have a feeling my standards for what 'clean' really is will change vastly after this child arrives. It will have to change or I might go crazy, so might as well get everything up to par now while I can!


ALSO, we officially broke ground on the house construction this week. We are now have two giant holes in the backyard with the beginnings of 'footings' for cement and soon-to-be support poles. Also a digger and a Bobcat are hanging out in our backyard, which means the kids are in heaven (one nearly three-year-old in particular). It's been fun to watch the transformation happen and we are pumped that it's finally a real thing: we are doing a big addition on our house! It's going to be wild and we cannot wait.



Overall, I'd say that I'm feeling 'too good' for being 38 weeks pregnant. But I have great energy until about 5pm when I just cash out. Then my patience for the children's shenanigans is at an all time low. We are also just adjusting to their summer schedules and different dynamics now that all three are home, and it's been fine but a little bit brutal. The whining and the arguing and the lack of listening (all past 5pm, mind you) has me near my breaking point many evenings. Nate was gone for bedtime a few times this past week and so Saturday I declared I needed some mommy alone time. I got a manicure and pedicure all alone and it was glorious! I plan to do a pre-natal massage next weekend and really really want to chop off my hair, but I know my stylist will try to talk me out of it right now.

I've been eating ice cream almost every night and fully enjoying it, but otherwise food is pretty meh. Baby loves ice cream, though, and who am I to say 'no'? He's super active after I eat and mostly in the evenings, but I'm also having a lot more BH contractions throughout the day. Nothing painful but definitely noticeable several times every day. I'm thinking one of these evenings the BH will turn into the real deal and we will have a baby with us by morning, but I know it could theoretically happen during the day, too.


My gut tells me I have a few more weeks of being pregnant and could very well be overdue again. I'm not sure why I think that, Nate is totally adamant that I won't go past my due date but we will see. I'm feeling all of the feels though, you guys. Truman is just ecstatic and keeps kissing my belly, saying he cannot wait to meet his baby brother, and is predicting that I will have him early just because he's so impatient to meet this kid. Cecelia is extra sensitive lately, too, saying she loves me and loves the baby, and can't wait to hold him. Porter has been sweet in his own way, speaking to my belly and asking if today is the day he's going to come out.



We are soaking in as much family time as we can! It's such a special time in our lives and I know it's the calm before the storm in a way. I don't feel like I've hit the wall with this pregnancy and can't really let myself think about it being the LAST last time I'll feel a baby kicking inside of me. It's all so surreal and bittersweet, but mostly sweet;)

End of rambling! Longest weekly post ever.


  1. I can't believe how soon this baby will be joining you guys! Crazy!! Everyone else's pregnancy just flies by, lol.

    I actually saw the original comparison pictures on Flickr and did notice that you looked smaller this time around, but it never even entered my mind that that was problematic. I just figured you were carrying different. But man, pregnancy neurosis can do a number on you, right? I totally get those crazy thoughts.

    If you are planning to go without the epi, I'm going to throw out a few suggestions of what works well for me. Obvi, ignore me if this is annoying, but hopefully something works for you. First, music. Music in my ears - LOUD - during contractions is absolutely vital for me. It helps me stay in the zone, helps me stay relaxed, and gives me something to focus on other than the pain. Second, I know everyone says to picture your contraction like a wave, but mine are totally hills. I think of myself climbing up the hill as the contraction peaks and then gliding down them as they back off. It's way easier for me to make it through them when I can focus on just making it to the "top". Third, deep, steady breaths, especially if you are feeling anxious. It actually triggers your mind to calm down, so deep breaths may be your number one help. Last, do not lay down. Stay on the ball, leaning on Nate, or leaning against a wall/bed. Laying down will make the contractions worse. (OK wait, that's not last. Last is this - you can totally do this Julia. If you've made it to 8 cm before, there is no question you can do it all the way to the end. You will feel like you can't, you will almost assuredly even say that you can't, but you absolutely can. If you get an epi, it is NOT a failure, but don't ever let yourself convince you that you can't do it. Because you totally can.)

    Well, you are officially to the point where I start stalking IG, checking in that you are indeed still pregnant. Will stalk gladly for the next 3 weeks if needed. :)

    1. I like the hills comparison better than waves already, especially being from MO and picturing some killer hills while running! ;) Thank you for this, mama. Your comment made me smile and feel capable.

  2. So excited for you guys and the entire family!! I always look forward to reading the blog and I know it likely takes time and energy that is in short order, so thank you <3 Thoughts and prayers for healthy momma, healthy baby and a calm, peaceful expedient delivery!!

    1. Thank you, Annie!! It does take time to blog but it's still (somehow) worth it to me. ;)

  3. I've loved following along with pregnancy #4! I'm just a few weeks behind you with #3 - also completely unexpected. I've had 2 pretty fast, non-epidural births. If you do need to be induced, and Pitocin is required, see if they can turn it off once you get into a good labor pattern - I was able to do that with my first and I think it was the only way I was able to go without an epidural! I did get a shot of something near the end, but now I think I was in transition and didn't realize it. Remember - if you get to the point of no return & a crazy-out-of-control mental state, you're almost done! So excited to follow along the next few weeks!

    1. I've wondered about turning off the Pit once things start regulating, will have to ask about that again if it happens! And congrats on #3!

  4. Read my birth story with Drew if you want a positive one without drugs. Ha. I have always hated internal exams because NOTHING ever happens. At 41w3d with Paige I was 1-2 cm and 50% effaced. In another comment on your blog I said something about delivering her at 39w6d and I feel the need to correct that, I went 2 weeks overdue and was still 1-2, had to get pitocin and have my water broken. She wanted to stay IN!! I totally agree that the pitocin is the game changer (in a bad way). So I really hope you can avoid it to make your delivery goals come true. Praying for you guys - I am just beyond excited for y'all and can't wait to 'meet' this little guy!!!

    1. Will gladly read any and all positive birth stories right now. Porter was the same way as Paige, just wanted to hang in there forever (induced at 40w3) and yes, Pit really does blow so hard. Ugh. Thanks, lady!

  5. So exciting!!! You can totally do it without an epidural. I believe in you! :) It really helped me to have two words that Robert spoke over me during contractions. My two words that came to mind at the end of pregnancy were Peace and Strength. I didn't do Hypnobabies (but sounds interesting!), but repeating those two words really helped me focus and stay grounded. Maybe that could help you too. :) Can't wait to see your handsome baby boy!

    1. You should def listen to the hypnobabies tracks next time, you are right on with the word 'peace'---that is one they promote big time!! And thanks, cousin! ;)

  6. My first I was induced but she came hard and fast (went from a 2-10 in about an hour) and in the middle of that I told my mom there was no way I could do it without drugs. Well, 4 years later and I wasn't convinced to get an epidural. I knew the pain of birth was a 10! but I also knew it was short term. I was checked on a thursday and was 1cm 70% and he came on Monday. My water broke when I got up for work and when we got to the hospital, I was 4cm! Another fast labor with awful pain. But short lived. Both times they gave me iv meds which I think did nothing but give me the illusion of lighter pain. I listened to 2-3 tracks of hypnobabies and would zonk out each time but I do think even that helped me with my breathing and control through the pain. Birth story 1 here http://pieceofourlife.blogspot.com/2011/05/birth-story.html, second here http://pieceofourlife.blogspot.com/2015/05/sams-birthday.html.

    I can't wait to see his face and hear his name. I love following pregnant people and birth stories. You can do this!!! Epidural or no epidural. Whatever you choose will be the right decision for you at that time. You've done your homework. I could see where music would be helpful but I was so anxious I couldn't have focused on anything I don't think. I was just texting people and trolling facebook for a couple of hours while I stood and walked around my room. Can't believe it's almost almost time!

  7. Oh how exciting. Giving birth is the most powerful, magical experience! So excited for you that you get to do it again soon. I am 99.9999% sure we are done with two kids (I have a 9 month old who is currently waking almost hourly throughout the night with teething... so maybe I'll change my tune in a couple years? Maybe? Doubtful.) So I'm pretty sure I've birthed my last child but, oh, what I'd give to experience just the childbirth part one more time. I had epidural with both my kids. No regrets but I'd love another chance to try and take on childbirth naturally, without the mental fear and physical tension that those intense contractions brought out in me. Go you, doing your hypnobabies and preparing yourself mentally for the upcoming task. The human body is so amazing. So excited for your family!

  8. Just to give you another positive Hypnobabies story: I had both of my girls using Hypnobabies and the births were both amazing. The first one was that slow, peaceful, no-pushing type of birth that you hear about. Not painless, but not bad at all, as long I focused on relaxing every muscle during contractions. Labor was about 12 hours, start to finish.

    With my second, labor was only about 3 hours, and my daughter was born ten minutes after walking into the hospital. I started the morning listening to HB tracks and really felt like I had time until my water broke. The nurses were in no rush at all (based on how I was acting) until they checked me, and then out she came! Again not painless, and a little harder to relax like I wanted in all the rush, but still very, very doable.

    It sounds like you've been practicing a lot, and it will pay off even if things don't go exactly as planned. You'll do great!


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