Dear 41 weeks pregnant mamas—how you doing?

I feel duped at this point. The doctors, blogs and baby books were all very clear–this pregnancy business will last 40weeks. And yet, here I am, exactly at 41weeks today with no signs of labor. My belly is still painfully swollen and the baby continues to stretch and arch without any seeming interest in ever moving out.

My google search history alternates exclusively between “natural ways to induce labor” and “earliest signs of labor”. The “what-ifs” and “what will be’s” rolling through my brain like the world’s worst broken record. Honestly, the longer I have to wait, the worse my anxiety gets. The longer he/she stays in there, the more I think about all the things that could go wrong….what if the times comes and I’m pushing but the baby is too big for me to deliver vaginally and then have to do an emergency C-section?

Although I have already set a date to be induced, I honestly want everything to happen naturally because this is my first pregnancy. But this baby is as stubborn as I am and does not show any signs of wanting to come out just yet. Let me just say the past few days my anxiety has been through the roof!

Dear first-time mama who is waiting on labor to start…

I feel you and I’m with you. I’m still here waiting too. 40 weeks and 2 days past due date now. I’m so eager to hold my baby in my arms but I have been told to put on my patience hat and wait upon the Lord.. So I’m here to tell you the same. “Put on your patient hat Mama!

I’m experiencing it and as a first-time mama, the last few days of pregnancy are an exciting time. But when your due date has passed, waiting for labor to start can be stressful too. I know it’s only been 2 days overdue but still, I want him/her out so badly!

I feel you when some well meaning friends and family members check on you since you had told them about your estimated due date. “Has the baby arrived yet?” “Has the labor come yet?” Don’t feel like you have to answer every single message. You don’t need to update them with every contraction or movement.

I feel you on googling ‘labor signs‘. Not wanting to be out of the house for too long because of the fear that the pains might come when you are picking out groceries in a supermarket. I feel you on googling ‘past my due date’ just to know what’s going on.

You know what mama, I have learned that every pregnancy is different. Some babies want to stay in there longer than others. And due date calculations are NOT an exact science. In my case, I feel my due date could have been calculated incorrectly, possibly due to confusion over the exact date of the start of my last menstrual period. And I went in for my first ultrasound at 18 weeks. I hear most women do it at 12 weeks.

I’ve also learned that this journey is like the weather really. Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished! It requires us to surrender and give up control in a society where we are always scheduling, planning and needing to know the beginning and end. It takes trust and so much patience just to wait.

If you’re like me, a little past due date, let’s enjoy this last bit of time being pregnant, savour the time, your bump, the ‘twin heartedness’ that is unique to pregnancy.

My body knows how and when to birth my baby. I just need to relax into it and trust my baby and my body. And I suggest you do the same mamas.

Pregnancy has reminded me a lot of puberty…

And that hormones are a hell of a thing!

“Yay, I’m pregnant!” that’s what I thought after seeing that blessed double line on my pregnancy test. And even though I never experienced morning sickness hits (yeah me), my emotions and moods have been all over the map during this journey.

As soon as you realize there’s a baby brewing in your belly, you can ride a roller coaster of emotions: excitement, fear, delight, worry.

I have had what I call ‘the 10-minute meltdown‘. All the stress in my life would merge, and I’d sob hysterically for 10 minutes. Then it was over, and I’d happily go on with my day.

I have also had what I call, ‘moments of excessive annoyance‘ almost as soon as I peed on the stick. But the rage didn’t fully blossom until the beginning of the second trimester. I couldn’t tolerate being in public because I couldn’t hold my tongue–I couldn’t stop my eyes from giving away how dumb I thought everyone was.

I had a couple of disagreements with my colleagues at work and mostly my partner. I’m not usually like this. I was just possessed. But not by the Spawn of Satan, just by the hormones from hell–and a few other pregnancy demons.

Also the change that my body has amazingly done, gives me some feels. Whenever I catch my reflection in the mirror, I do a double take and register that the pregnant woman staring at me is in fact me. Each week I googled a new symptom to see if it’s correlated to the baby’s development.

This experience is unlike anything I’ve ever imagined. It truly is a time of transition and it’s nuts to think that I’m in the last stretch of this. How has it been 9 months already? #40 weeks. Not sure how postpartum me will be but, let’s all just cross our fingers, shall we?

I quit smoking cigarettes when I learned I was pregnant…

Almost 9 months ago, I quit smoking cigarettes. And I’m grateful for the human inside of me. I’ve always wanted to quit but I had many failed attempts.

I was a smoker for most of my life and in more recent years, I smoked hard. I really didn’t know myself without a cigarrette. Smoking provided a form of constant when everything else around was crazy; it gave me a moment to relax and I smoked for every occasion; happy, sad, angry, hungry, full, celebration, stress, grief, excitement etc.

I had NO idea the grasp that addiction had over me until I learned that I was pregnant and I knew I had to quit, no matter what. So I went cold turkey. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life and if you have ever broke any addiction, you will understand. I fought really, really hard!

I won’t lie, my anxiety level was so high during my first trimester that quitting almost seemed impossible. The cravings were really bad, and it was a real struggle to keep myself from panicking and running to the store to buy a pack. But the commitment of the idea of being a mom outweighed the urges of nicotine. I had to redefine who I thought I was in so many ways because it was wrapped up in so many parts of my life.

Most people do not realize it but nicotine addiction is one of the hardest drugs to kick. I have seen some of my friends, who quit smoking during pregnancy take the habit back again few months after giving birth. Their reasons was, having and caring for a new born can be stressful. Especially the sleepless nights.

I do not want to get back into it after the baby comes. I gave my unborn baby a gift when I quit smoking during pregnancy. I want to make that gift permanent. And that will require extra will power than ever before because life is unbelievably good without cigarettes.

For now, I want to give the 9 month ago, ME, a hug and tell her, so far so good. I want to tell her it’s surreal how far we’ve come. I want to tell her, that we are finally free. We are free from the shackles of needing to know where the closest cigarrette store is. We are free of the smell and stains. We are free of early death. And we are free to spend more quality time with those we love. Especially this little soul about to join the family.

I am terrified to give birth…

And worried. And excited. And overjoyed. And unsure. And a big tangled web of all of those things. I can’t wait to meet whoever this little soul is on the 22nd July 2021! Boy or girl, I know I’m blessed.

I’ve been told that every woman holds different fears about birth in her heart. Some women fear the health risks, some women fear for their baby, especially if they have experienced loss. Some women worry about the pain of actually giving birth. And at the moment, I’m all the women!

I’m not a fan of pain and the idea of vaginal birth, which is my birth plan, terrifies me. When I mentioned this to my mom, she reminded me that my body was made to do this, pain and all. That once labor is in full swing, my endorphins will kick into high gear and for the most part, my body will take over like I’ve probably never seen before.

“It’s actually kind of awesome.” She said.

“kind of awesome!!! mooooooom, why are you lying?!”

I’m terrified of being in labor forever! I hear these horror stories of women laboring for hours upon hours…and some for almost a day! I just don’t know how I will handle that. Then on top of that, tearing like crazy..(Yes, ouch). I am horrified to think of my private parts being all mangled.

And then there’s the thought of having a c-section caused by unforeseen delivery complications and I’m determined I will not have one. My heart is set on delivering vaginally. C-section will be the absolute last-resort. Fingers crossed and every day, I meditate and pray, envisioning an uncomplicated birth.

Then there’s the thought of dying in childbirth. I know how crazy that sounds. But during this pregnancy period, I’ve come across stories, seen one TV show and one movie that all included a woman dying in childbirth. It was only mentioned in passing, but I’ve become obsessed with thinking about it.

So while it’s pretty easy to keep battling around all the “what ifs” in mind when pregnant, I try to do my baby a favour and at least ease my worries for now. My nurse told me that the baby feels a lot of the stress that I do, so I try to keep it to a minimal as much as possible.

Picking out a name for my first baby..

My baby is coming in the next 4 days – estimated day of delivery, 22nd July 2021 – and I still don’t know what to name him/her. My partner and I decided on a gender surprise at birth which has contributed to choosing baby names even harder. He’s hoping we get a girl and I’m hoping for a boy. We decided to split the task, he looks for girls names and I look for boys names.

I’d hoped that moving into my third trimester, I’d have built up a solid list of names, but the only thing I have built up is a lot of pee and a great deal of the hardest decision to make.

I once was asked by a woman at work what names I was considering. Then she responded with, ‘Ew, no, you really should consider…,’ and then proceeded to tell all the names she loved. “After all, the name you give your little one will be an everlasting part of your child’s identity that he/she’ll carry with from their hospital I.D bracelet to the days on the play ground and beyond!” She said. No pressure!

I’m not looking for the celebrity unique naming that will bring my child too much unwanted attention. If it’s a boy, I just don’t want my child to remind me of an ex-boyfriend or a weird uncle, or, for that matter, a senator, out-of-this-world superhero, or my old youth-group leader. Or after some days I look at him and think: He should have been a Ben! Or choose a name that other people will mess up in spelling/pronoucing. Or have the same name with other 6 boys in his class.

I just want a name that presents itself well on a CV when he/she is older.

Am I putting too much thought in this? My partner says I am. But having a baby is daunting. You have to do a million things even before the little nugget arrives.

I think you have the power to give your child a positive, supportive and empowering inner voice. And it all starts with a good name. So I’m hoping with the few names we’ve come up with, we’ll choose the right name for the little one.

What’s in my hospital bag👶 | LABOR AND DELIVERY 2021

Countdown 6 DAYS to go! Here we are. On 22nd July 2021, I will meet my baby. Even though it’s been my perfect first pregnancy, at this point, the waiting and uncertainty is the hardest part. I’m not scared of birth itself, but of the unknown. Every day, I meditate and pray, envisioning an uncomplicated birth.

I’ve read countless blogs and websites since my first month, asked friends to share their experiences, seeked advice from my mom & doctors during antenantal clinical check-ups and done shopping for the baby. So, technically I feel ready. But I’m not sure you can ever quite be ready for this experience, because births rarely go as planned.

In the meantime, I’m trying my best to follow the serenity prayer, doing what I can and letting go of the rest. Last weekend, that included packing my hospital bags, giving me at least a semblance of control.

So let’s get to it. Though, I won’t lie, reading through packing checklists I found online, I was overwhelmed. But here’s what I have packed. God willing, if all goes well, they will only keep us there for 24 hours, so I’ve taken a more minimal approach (with the below in mind).

For baby

  1. 3 onesies, 3 heavy rompers, 2 hats, 2 pair of socks, 2 mittens
  2. Receiving blankets, swaddle & a warm blanket (for the ride home)
  3. New born diapers, wet wipes (most hospitals offer these but I just felt like packing my own), baby bathing soap
  4. A car seat

For me

  1. Hospital birth plan book, NHIF Card, some money
  2. Phone charger & camera (my phone)
  3. 2 long comfortable dresses, nursing bra, pyjama, slippers & socks, crocs for going home
  4. Unsented vaseline for my nipples since I am planning to breastfeed
  5. Adult diapers – the hospital will hook you up with pads and those mesh underwear but a liltle more wouldn’t hurt, especially with the brand you feel comfortable with.
  6. Toiletries – Toothpaste & Toothbrush, Lotion
  7. Towel: Hospital towels are known to be very tiny, so if you want your own, bring one
  8. Reusable water bottle
  9. Earphones and netflix installed on my phone–sometimes labour takes a while. Having some form of entertainment, in the form of movies or music, could help take away boredom.

That’s it. My partner and I live literally 10minute-walk away from the hospital that I’ll be giving birth in, so we didn’t need a (for my partner bag). He will make countless trips if need be, to get what’s needed or forgotten.

The moment you realize you have to push out a baby in one week

Realizing it’s all fun and games until you are 1 week from pushing out a baby. Yikes! It’s moments like these you really appreciate all that your body has gone through the last 9 months.

Everything is about to change but we are totally ready for it! Hello Parenthood. Here We Come! We are eager to meet you and already love you so much. Hard to believe how much you can love someone without even meeting them yet!

“At 39 weeks now, here to share my pregnancy experience – first baby!”

I cannot believe I’m at 39 weeks now! To be honest, I thank the kind of woman I am now. A wonder woman. Period! I didn’t know what a woman’s body could do until i found out I was pregnant. I did love my body before but pregnancy made me love my body even more. I spoke to my body every single day and that made me fall in love with myself as a woman..more and more everyday!

I had a some-what smooth-ride with my pregnancy. Few rough patches but mostly smooth. I never experienced any morning sickness. No vomiting. No loss of appetite. No widly cravings. No swollen feet. No stretch marks, yet… and I added only 5kgs from my last hospital check-up.

The rough patches came in with my hormonal changes or is it hormonal imbalance? I got a UTI/yeast infection and I was in and out of hospital for the most part of first-triemester. I read that most women become the horniest when pregnant but this was not the case for me at first. It was the most annoying period. I had to inform my partner to understand that women are not the same because I’m sur!

It’s different now in my third-trimester, so maybe ‘most women get the horniest when pregnant BUT not throughout the 9 months!

Another rough moment are the heartburns and turning in bed at night on this third trimester. Oh my, I don’t even know where to start with the heartburns. There’s no cure to this, you just have to deal with it. As for the turning in bed, when my partner feels my movements, he just automatically wakes up and helps me do what I have to do. He’d pull me up from bed when I have to go pee, rub my back when the backpains are intense and helps me pile up pillows to help raise my head to moderate the heart burns.

Nonetheless, so far so good. According to my last ultrasound, the baby has turned well ready to pop-out. Heartbeat of the baby is really strong. Vigorous kick in my ribs everyday. I am glad I’m almost done with this journey. A little scared of the labour pains but praying and hoping for a safe delivery in this cold weather of July in Nairobi, Kenya.

Whoever will read this.. At what month are you mama? Are you enjoying your journey?

Dear Souls Like Mine

What’s in that heart of yours that dare not speak? That you’ve been told to ignore it. To pretend it’s not there. But ignoring it is like choosing a lighter sword.

And what comes from turning our back on the heaviness inside? It destroys us.

You have to face it. You have to face the heaviness. Because the heaviness is what’s keeping you from being who you really are.

Embrace it. Look into your heart with clear eye and move with it.

Let out the girl you are inside. The girl who we’ve never known. The girl who’s never dare step into the light. Face the heaviness that’s stopping that girl and NAME IT!

It’s not the pain that ruins us. It’s the things we do to avoid the pain.

“I fear it might break me” we think it!

Then break. Break! Let it crack you open. Let yourself be forged in the vessel of your own agony. Transformed into the most perfect instrument of destiny. For that’s what I sense your are.

The dots may not all connect right away, and your path may look a lot more like a spider web than a line, but you are still growing and you are still moving forward even when life is hard. Even when still you’ve got that heaviness inside.

On the hard days, it’s okay if you can’t show up. It’s okay if you can’t fully share your heart with the world. Some days are for looking inward and for coping. And that’s okay.

If you can embrace the fullness of your pain. Your source of the heaviness. You can embrace the fullness of that energy, that power and know who you truly are. What you truly want in life.

Maybe we can use this #quarantine period to name it..name them..write down if possible…all the things that you feel have gotten your heart so heavy through the years. Maybe just having them named and written down, could be a start of soul search.

#liveandlearn #staysafe #havefaith #weareallinthistogether