This past Sunday, I reached a milestone - 34 weeks! By this point, baby's lungs are pretty much fully developed, so if she were to make her arrival now, in all likelihood she'd be just fine! Next milestone - 37 weeks when she'll be considered full term! That's just 2 1/2 weeks away - wow!!
Since we've managed to reach this point and things have been so stable recently, I felt like it would be OK to do some nursery prep this weekend. Sharyn (Chris' mom) helped me do a whackload of laundry on Friday - baby clothes, blankets, covers from various baby paraphernalia, etc. On Sunday, I put the items back together and started organizing the clothes into Baby's dresser. Then I spent quite a while researching more gear, and ended up making substantial changes to the registry. I can get a tad obsessive about this stuff ;) One of these days I'd like to blog on the choices we made for key baby gear - let's see if I can drum up the motivation for this one!
I also perused natural childbirth and baby-related books on Amazon for quite awhile this past Saturday. I've already learned a fair amount about natural childbirth through our prenatal classes and various books. The best book I've read on this topic (by far) is Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. It convinced me via detailed descriptions & compelling statistics that natural is the way to go (if possible), and that a woman's body is truly designed to give birth! As I read, I felt any fear I'd previously had about childbirth melt away and be replaced with a sense of calm and direction. The book also contains dozens of inspiring birth stories. Highly recommended reading for any woman considering a natural childbirth (or simply wanting to learn more about it!)
That said, although I found the tips from class helpful and thoroughly enjoyed Ina May's book, I thought I would benefit from learning more comprehensive labour management preparation techniques. I decided on the following two books:
Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally - focuses on physical labour management - effective positions, massage, etc. - and teaches women how to follow their own instincts and take control of their birthing experience.
HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method - focuses on inward aspects of labour management - relaxation, imagery and meditation. Also includes a birth exercise CD. For awhile I was undecided on hypnobirthing vs. the Bradley method (as support on discussion forums appeared to be pretty equally divided) but opted for hypnobirthing thanks to YouTube's plethora of videos showing women coping extremely well during transition while employing this method.
I also grabbed the following three books on baby care & development:
The Mother of All Baby Books: An All-Canadian Guide to Baby's First Year - I've already read through most of this (borrowed from library) and it's a great reference for baby care fundamentals - breast feeding, bathing, medical information, solids, etc. I'd imagine most of this will quickly become second nature once Baby is here, however it should prove helpful during the early days when we're fumbling through everything. :) That said, the medical chapter and a few others should have more longevity, plus the fact that it's geared to Canadians is a bonus!
Bright from the Start - Information on nurturing little one's intellectual potential, including scientific data and age-appropriate games and activities to play with her. (I've said at least a couple times in the past that if/when I had kids I looked forward to "doing experiments" on them - while that specific phrasing now sounds cold and clinical, I'm definitely excited to observe our child learning and discovering new skills, both as a result of engaging with people and self-exploration.)
I attempted to order Baby Hearts as well (which discusses emotional development in babies and toddlers and has great reviews), however it was listed with a much later shipping date so I'll pick it up later.
I love immersing myself in this whole new world of learning and knowledge! In an odd way, I'm actually looking forward to the experience of labour, and I get super excited and emotional thinking about the moment when we get to meet our little one for the first time. :D :D What an exciting journey!!