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Week 38

Oct08

by

pregnancy calendar
Your Baby:

  • Is officially a little chunkin, at well over six pounds and 19 1/2 inches long.
  • Is also officially considered “full term.” In other words, he or she is STRAIGHT UP FREELOADING from here on out.
  • Is practicing making fists and fetal breathing in anticipation of life outside the womb.

You:

  • Have probably had enough of this magical special time, thank you very much.
  • Backaches, joint aches, heartburn, indigestion, constipation, Braxton-Hicks contractions, painful kicks, bladder pressure, stretch marks, itchy skin, swollen ankles, fatigue, dry mouth, mood swings, did I miss anything else in this cavalcade of late-pregnancy hilarity?
  • Are alternating between crazy excitement about finally meeting your baby and crazy panic about oh my God, you’re finally going to meet your baby and they’re going to expect that you take it home and like, keep it alive and stuff.

This week we turned our bedroom into a photography studio. I only have a handful of “real” photographs from my pregnancies (beyond the disembodied self-portraits of my belly that I’ve taken every week), and I was determined to remedy this. Not determined enough, apparently, to remember to find and book an actual maternity portrait session with an actual maternity photographer, but surprisingly, I’m really happy with the results.
We draped a couple sheets over our bed and tacked them up on the wall (with Scotch tape, for we are Classy), covered two cheap clamp lights (available at any hardware or art supply store) with tissue paper and attached them to the ceiling fan, set up the camera and the tripod and ta da! Do-it-yourself maternity portraits.

Now, I HATE having my picture taken. I HATE IT. But I also hate not having any decent photos of myself. So I agreed to suck it up and go along with my husband’s posing instructions, despite feeling like a giant, squishy, stretch-marked whale. We looked online at what the professionals do (HUSBAND, WHILE GOOGLING: Please God, don’t let a ton of porn show up.) for ideas, and then sort of improvised based on our half-assed set-up and photography abilities. I wore a bra and some stretch pants, then even got brave enough to shed my clothes (tastefully, I swear), and we used the camera’s timer to let my husband get in a few shots.

Crappy color was fixed by switching to black-and-white or sepia afterwards, and my admittedly rudimentary Photoshop skills were enough to fix any other complaints (namely, armpit boob, what the hell?). I’m still annoyed that I didn’t have my act together enough to book a “real” photo session, but if money is tight or you’re really shy about the idea of getting maternity photos taken, I encourage you to try your own session at home. Once my husband showed me a couple of the photos he’d taken, I went from that squashy beached whale feeling to a wonderful feeling of…well, this is corny as hell but true…BEAUTY. Look at what my body is DOING! Look at the curves and the bump and the BABY! Only a couple of them are anything I’d consider framing or showing people, but I think they’re all beautiful and I’m so happy I’ll have them to remember this pregnancy by.

The whole night ended up being a really great little celebration of the baby and the last days of pregnancy. We were taking my photo but it was really about him, and after we put the camera away we came to an immediate and easy agreement about his name — which was a freaking MIRACLE, believe me.
In addition to maternity photography, there are other ways you can celebrate and preserve the Final Days of the Belly. A couple other ideas:

  • Make a cast of your belly. You can buy special kits or hit the local craft store for plaster mixes, or just do old school paper mache. I think most women like the IDEA of these casts but are always a little creeped out by the idea of hanging them on the wall afterwards. But if you’re artistically inclined, though, they certainly do make a cool canvas to paint and decorate afterwards.

  • Skip the plaster and just decorate your actual belly. Linda got a gorgeous henna design and THEN set up her own at-home photo shoot, which was also gorgeous. If you’ve got older kids, buy some face or body paint and let them each have a go at your belly, creating their own little message and painting for the baby, then take photos. (I’m picturing a side-by-side collage frame of a series of little fingerpainted masterpieces hanging in the nursery and totally loving it.)
  • Finished with the Pregnancy Calendar and want more? Visit Amalah’s postpartum weekly column, Bounce Back. Bounce Back is about the postpartum experience — the good, the bad and the gory.

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    About the author

    Amalah

    http://www.amalah.com
    Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

    If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

    Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

    Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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    6 Responses to “Week 38”

    1. WabiSabiLife Oct 08 at 8:26 am Reply Reply

      I am on the same timetable as Amalah (I’m 38w, and some days). Last night was my last photography session *while* pregnant. I’ve done 11 so far. I found someone at the local Community College (a real adult, not an 18y.o.) who is a photography major and he has been doing an independant study project of me. I approached him last March, actually, because I wanted free photos, but it’s worked out for both of us. We’ll probably do some more after The Dude is here.

    2. Tiffiny Oct 12 at 1:38 pm Reply Reply

      Well, I too am 38 weeks. And, I too, do not have any photos of my belly. Wait, I have one set taken about half way through. I keep wanting to book a session, but it’s sooo stinkin expensive. I guess I should do something though, cuse soon this baby will be out and my belly will go back to being just fat. I’d like to remember what it was like while being full of another human. I basically just want proof of this whole experience.

    3. charlotte Oct 15 at 4:43 pm Reply Reply

      Hon, you forgot the swollen HANDS. As in, being unable to bend fingers in the morning, or use an opposable thumb all day without major tooth gnashing (as in http://theatricalmilestones.blogspot.com/2008/10/beauty-of-opposable-thumbs.html)
      Anyway, that photoshoot, oh yes, I’d like to do it. But man, if I could only find a maternity photographer here in this sad little town who doesn’t get squicked out by, you know, teh belleh …

    4. lawgirl1982 Oct 08 at 8:49 am Reply Reply

      We did our maternity portraits at, wait for it, JCPenny and with all of the prints in differnt sizes (with coupons that are in all the baby magazines and sunday paper) our grand total was $76.00 and some change. Now, they won’t be arty in the sense that you could get naked. But if you wanted some awesome shots in leggings and a tight white shirt, or jeans with your husbands shirt unbuttoned to show your belly etc (rip off some celebrity shots, thats what we did and our photographer thought it was great). I also took shots with the hubby and got wallets to put in thank you notes for my huge, huge family. Very cost effective :)
      I was shocked at how well they turned out, and now I am so excited to have some professional type shots of the pregnancy. I feel ya though on not spending 700 dollars. I have way better things to spend money on at this point :)
      So in sum, JcPenney. Give it a shot!

    5. Eva Jun 27 at 6:15 pm Reply Reply

      Of course, don’t wait too long for those photos. I went into labor and delivered at 38 weeks the night before we planned to take photos of my roundness. Whoops!

    6. Lace Nov 03 at 8:48 pm Reply Reply

      We had maternity pics done 2 weeks ago, there are a ton of independent photographers around here, and the one we used was actually an ex-coworker so it was someone I knew and was comfortable around, and she is a totally fun person, it was at the park by the river and the session was so fun and laid-back and the pics turned out great! We didn’t spend a ton, we went for the option of just having her email us the pics with full printing rights so we don’t have to spend a ton on prints. Awesome experience and I’m thinking I would have regretted not documenting this part of our lives, my husband was even cooperative and had fun! 

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