When I was pregnant with Alex, we were very diligent about taking pictures of my growing belly every four weeks or so. I am embarrassed to admit that just last week, we took our second round of belly shots. At this rate, we'll be lucky to have three sets of pictures to document this pregnancy.
In the picture below (taken on Valentine's Day), I am just over 32 weeks pregnant. I am now almost 34 weeks, and I feel HUGE! It's hard to believe I still have a few weeks of growing to do. My doctor, however, tells me that I am measuring small, but it's not anything she is overly concerned about. It's kind of funny because when I was pregnant in Japan, I measured ahead of schedule pretty much the entire time... but I chalked that up to the difference between Japanese babies and Western babies. My weight gain so far has been pretty consistent with what I gained with Alex -- less than 25 pounds as of last week's checkup.
This pregnancy has progressed uneventfully so far, and for that we are thankful. I must confess, though, that I am enjoying the experience of being pregnant less than I did the first time around. I still marvel at the miracle that is growing within, but the usual aches and pains seem to be more pronounced, diminishing the enjoyment factor somewhat. I am also experiencing some pregnancy symptoms that I escaped the first time around -- like painful varicose veins in one leg, UGH. Also, Baby Dois seems much more active in utero than I ever remember Alex being, making me wonder just what we are in for with this child!
As far as birth plans, God has blessed us with a really great doctor. She is a family friend and a member at the Livonia church. She seems totally on board with my desire to have a natural birth with as few interventions as possible. So, although I toyed with the idea of trying to find a midwife and checking out a couple of birthing centers in the area, I have decided to stay with her, which means I will be delivering at a hospital. The labor and delivery unit at this particular hospital is pretty much brand new (in fact, it hasn't even opened yet), with labor tubs in every room -- yay!
Rusty and I have also been taking Bradley Method childbirth classes, which have been so informative and helpful. Most people look at me kind of funny when I tell them we are taking childbirth classes -- kind of like, "It's your second baby. Didn't you learn everything you needed to know the first time around?" But since we were living in Japan, we didn't have the opportunity to take classes (in English), and there are a lot of things that I wish we would have known (like some of the relaxation techniques and coaching methods) that I feel like would have made a real difference in my long and difficult labor. My doctor keeps telling me that this second labor will go so fast and be so easy. I hope she is right. Of course, as I've stated before, fast and easy are relative terms in my book!