The most fun thing about being in the late stages of pregnancy is the look on people’s faces when you respond to their question of when you are due. “Tomorrow!” I would gleefully announce, and the color from their faces would drain as they reckoned with the possibility that I might go into labor and they’d be obligated to help in the delivery. Still, it’s not all fun and games in your ninth month. Some of the things no one tells you about the week before your due date represent the less glamorous (ha) side of pregnancy.
I remember a sense of urgency in my last few weeks before my babies were born, as if I had to get all the things done before they arrived. With my first kid, I was pretty prepared in terms of baby gear and arranging for my maternity leave. With my second, however, I sort of winged it. I had a toddler who did not care that I was gestating a new life that was about to enter the world and, as a result, would demand my care and attention. My 2 year old needed her snacks and she needed them now.
In hindsight, I wish I knew more of what to expect in the days right before my due date, but since nothing ever really prepares you for motherhood, I’m not sure how much it would have helped me. So, for what it’s worth, here are some things no one tells you about the week before your due date that totally happened to me:
You Should Keep Working
With my first kid, I worked from home starting the week before my due date, just in case. Yeah, I got bored. Yes, I was working, but I was so distracted by all the baby paraphernalia around me in my home, too. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that labor could start any second. I was more nervous than relaxed so, essentially, my plan backfired.
With my second baby, I worked through the last days of my pregnancy. On my due date, when I showed up at the office, my boss was so nervous for me. He asked me to please work from home as of the next day. Three days later, my son was born.
You Won’t Be Able To Sleep
The combination of nerves and discomfort when made for more than a few restless nights. I had the air conditioner and a huge fan blowing on me, while my husband shivered under three blankets, and I still couldn’t get comfortable. I started to really resent being pregnant at this point. Wasn’t I supposed to be banking sleeping before the baby came?
You Will Be Bored
The baby furniture was assembled. The newborn clothes and blankets were washed and put away. The breast pump was at the ready. We were stocked with diapers and wipes. What more was there to do?
You Will Fold And Re-fold The Same Onesies
Over and over. When I was working from home the week before my due date, I felt compelled to touch the newborn clothes, tucked into the dresser drawer, every day. It was as if I needed to connect myself to this idea of a baby in order to get myself in the mindset that sh*t was about to get very real.
You’ll Think You’ll Give Birth Any Second
I woke up every morning of that last week thinking, “This is it.” It wasn’t. With my first baby, I intuited nothing about when I’d start going into labor. As it turned out, she was 10 days late, so that’s probably why I wasn’t picking up on any signals. With my son, who came only three days past my due date, and I remember feeling something the morning on the day before he was born. It wasn’t a physical sensation, but more of a spiritual one. Everything seemed a little different. That evening, I went into labor.
You Start Putting Towels Down Everywhere You Sit
I was paranoid my water would break and, since the only exposure to that event had been via grossly inaccurate depictions of childbirth in the media, I was sure I would gush a river of amniotic fluid when it finally happened. Well, it never happened. With my first baby, I was induced, and by the time my water had broke I was in bed and numb from my epidural. With my second baby, I started contractions and got to the hospital before my water broke, but ended up being induced with him as well.
You’re So Over Being Pregnant
I felt this way by my ninth month, and it just gets worse in the remaining weeks of pregnancy. Like, does the kid really need to be in there this long? It just feels rude.
That Whole Baby Dropping Thing Is A Myth
It was for me, at least. Everyone kept looking at me, cocking their heads, and wondering aloud, “So did the baby drop yet?” I had no idea. I heard rumors of this magical signifier of the last days of pregnancy, when the baby starts the process of moving through the birth canal, it’s head slipping lower. Supposedly this a sign that contractions may be imminent. It also, theoretically, would provide some relief to the pregnant mother, as the lowering of the baby’s head takes some pressure off the bladder. However, I wouldn’t know from this phenomenon. My kids stayed parked on my internal organs the whole time.
You Might Start To Panic
I won’t deny it: I was scared sh*tless that I was going to have to push a fully formed human out of my body. I kept telling myself that billions of women have been doing that for millions of generations. The pep talks helped, but fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. I had no idea what to expect during childbirth, since I hadn’t experienced it before. The second time around, I didn’t worry as much, but with my first kid I definitely flirted with anxiety pretty regularly in the last days of my pregnancy.