I'm 39 weeks today, and finally everything is ready. The birth pool arrived and has been tested. It's so relaxing I didn't want to get out! The midwife will bring gas and air, and I've got an electric TENS machine to use in the early stages (obviously not in the water). Apart from that, I'll be relying on the breathing and relaxation techniques from my "hypnobirthing" dvds, which I eventually started listening to.
All the clothes, blankets and toys we've very generously been given are washed and put away. Now it's just playing the waiting game. I've started drinking raspberry leaf tea - meant to tone the uterus - and I'm sniffing clary sage essential oil, as I've read it may encourage labour. There's no actual evidence for this, but it's funny what you'll try when the alternative is doing nothing!
The women in my antenatal group are beginning to have their babies now. One had to be booked in for a caesarean as her baby was breech. Many, but not all hospitals have a policy of elective caesarean at 38 weeks for breech babies. It depends on the area. A 2000 study found caesarean is safer than vaginal delivery for breech babies, but there is still some debate.
Another friend has just had her little boy at 11 days overdue. She was not looking forward to a possible induction. Again, hospital policies vary, but induction is usually offered between 41 and 42 weeks. Most commonly it's a membrane sweep, followed by a prostaglandin tablet, gel or pessary, and if those don't do the trick, an intravenous drip of syntocinon, a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin.
Luckily it wasn't necessary in this case, but it's a possibility for the rest of us, as it's needed by one in five women. We'll see how it goes...