Week 32 is a special one. Your gynecologist will likely schedule you to visit a lab for an in-depth ultrasound somewhere between weeks 31 and 33. It’s a scary and amazing time because, if all checks out well, this could be the last ultrasound or major test you’ll have to endure. You’ll also find out how much your baby weighs and whether you are on schedule to meet your estimated delivery date. It honestly feels like you’re taking a final exam you didn’t study for after a year (more or less) of constant learning and discovery.
But I’m jumping ahead of myself. Days before my ultrasound was scheduled, I began feeling really strange. My doctor had warned me at my last appointment that my baby had yet to turn around and get into birth position, but I thought she was jumping the gun a bit. Did all babies flip this far in advance? Surely I had little to worry about. And then she mentioned that there was a certain “procedure” she could do in-office if my baby remained breech at 35 weeks. She didn’t explain. I didn’t ask for details. But you can bet I went home and stood on my head for 10 minutes the next day because I’d read it could help the baby turn.
In addition to battling all kinds of anxiety over the potential of having to have a C-section, or worse, experience whatever crazy plan my doctor had in store to make my baby magically flip, I’ve begun getting a series of aches in my tummy at random times during the day. They mostly occur at night and will sometimes wake me up at 3 or 4 a.m. I wouldn’t describe them as painful, exactly—they feel more like someone has clenched his fist around my abdomen and refuses to let go for what feels like hours (but is really only seconds) at a time.
The morning after I first felt these crazy pangs, I called my doctor the minute her office opened. “Hmm..they sound like Braxton Hicks contractions,” she told me. “But I know your 32-week ultrasound is coming up, so unless you are spotting heavily, let’s wait and see what happens.”
I’m not the kind of person who waits and sees what happens. I Google. I Google for hours. I Google at 3 a.m., which every pregnant woman knows is the worst time to Google anything because no one is awake to talk you off a ledge when you suspect your cramps actually mean you are dying a slow death.
I didn’t have Braxton Hicks contractions with my first child. I honestly didn’t even experience contractions because I was induced and then received an epidural shortly thereafter. This is uncharted territory for me and it has taken me a few days to get used to the sporadic contractions and not want to run for the hospital as soon as they start.
As usual, my doctor knew best. At my 32-week appointment, I reclined in a comfortable chair and relaxed as the ultrasound technician spent nearly 20 minutes passing the equipment over various parts of my belly. “He turned,” was like music to my ears and explained why I now feel teeny kicks around my ribs. I can’t say I know exactly what the technician was looking for, but her assurances that everything was fine were all I needed to hear. After the ultrasound, she strapped a heart monitor and some other harness around my belly and tracked my baby’s heartbeat and number of kicks. It was neat to hear his tiny punches translate as huge thumps on the monitor. Oh, and my little guy weighs 4.5 pounds—yet still has another 7 weeks to bake and grow inside of me. So, I’m guessing this means he’s going to weigh 11 pounds at birth?!
But I refuse to worry about a single additional thing this week. My baby seems healthy, I am healthy, and I think this means I “passed” my final 32-week exam. Whew!