Wednesday, May 25, 2016

38 Weeks (or, almost. Just let me round up, ok?)

I'm now 37.5 weeks pregnant, but when anyone asks I round up to 38. I've been doing this since 37 weeks and 1 day because we all need to find our coping mechanisms and this is mine. Well, this and donuts. I came in from grocery shopping today and Zoe's sweet little voice yells out "Mama, you're home! Did you gots donuts?!" and I'm all "sweetie, Mama doesn't get donuts every time she leaves the house; here have these organic, non-GMO, locally-sourced blueberries and act like it's your usual snack " (when in reality the true answer should have been "sweetie, that's only on Wednesdays. Today is Tuesday." and we could share a moment of silent disappointment over this before unloading the donut-less groceries).

Anyways, I just keep getting more pregnant, a fact that continues to fascinate and agitate me with each passing day. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled this little one continues to cook, but I'm also like "whoa, I'm huge". This invites a lot of comments from strangers, and if there's anything I like less than interacting with strangers, it's interacting with strangers regarding my physical appearance. Wal-Mart brought the greeters back, did you know this? So I go to get my cart today and this elderly gentleman in a blue vest juts his chin out towards my belly and says "What'd you go and do that for?" and I'm still not actually sure how to answer him or how I did answer him because I was furiously penning an angry complaint to Customer Service in my mind, complete with phrases like "way outside of his parameters" and "gross misstep beyond customer/employee relationship boundaries" and "highly offended at the price of fresh pineapple". I really lost momentum after that though and never got around to addressing this method of "greeting" me, but let me just go ahead and say that the ONLY thing that's ok to say to someone who is 9 months pregnant is "Wow, you look lovely." Alternatively, you could say "can I buy you some donuts?" if you feel like you cannot in good conscience lie about the loveliness of someone who is breaking out in a sweat while leaning over the produce bins reaching for an avocado. That's up to you. 

I keep looking for signs that labor is imminent and thus far I am lacking in nearly all areas that Google assures me means I will actually have a baby: nesting, burst of energy, baby dropping, blah blah. Aside from being 2 (2.5, whatever) weeks from my due date, I usually just accept the fact that I will be pregnant forever. In the meantime, Zach has really started nesting hard and I both appreciate and resent this about him. He's over there on a ladder washing our 2nd story foyer and great room windows, getting cobwebs out of the ceiling corners, and replacing the wonky screws on our shower drain (no ladder for this task, just felt like that needed to be clear) and I'm all "my gosh, I love that man, look at him go!" but also "is he trying to make me feel bad for sitting here? Is he passive-aggressively highlighting my LACK of accomplishing anything?" (the answer to those two questions is definitely NO because that is not at all how Z operates, but pregnancy hormones, youknow?) and so I bounce a little more vigorously on my exercise ball as if to say "Look, I AM doing something, I'm working on going into labor. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE LATELY, I'M GROWING A BABY! Step up your game, man." 

In the meantime, Zoe continues to be very interested and concerned about this baby and when she will be here and what she's doing and how I'm doing. I've started taking daily brisk walks (let's use those three words loosely, ok) with Olive to try to encourage progress. Before I leave for these walks, Z or I will usually explain to Zoe that I'm going to "walk that baby out" and she needs to stay home with daddy so I can walk quickly and with a purpose. So at least once a day Zoe comes over to me, places her two precious hands, one over the other, on my belly and asks "You gonna walk that baby, Mama?" She's very perceptive and this is both adorable and alarming, especially since she has started repeating things we say, which has caused me to think twice about the fact that every time I sneeze, Z will say "bless you" to which I respond with a triumphant announcement of "DID NOT PEE!" because my pregnancy app has gotten progressively more discouraging about the symptoms I may or should be experiencing at this point in pregnancy and matter-of-factly stated that sneezing, laughing, coughing, etc. is likely to cause small amounts of urine to leak out as pregnancy progresses. The miracle of life, you guys. So I have to take these small wins wherever I can get them. Anyways, I realized that it's just a matter of time before I sneeze and hear her sweet little voice call out "did you pee, Mama?" or she sneezes and exclaims "did not pee, Mama!" and while this is hilarious to consider, it's also potentially mortifying to think about where and around whom this could occur. We all need to be on our toes over here, for a lot of reasons. 

I keep reminding myself that the end of this season is near (hopefully very, very near) but in the meantime, it's not all so bad. In fact, our current situation is borderline luxurious for me. Zach is on a break from school and I am extremely spoiled to have him around so much and sharing the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. It is immensely helpful in all areas and I don't take it for granted for one second. I get a nice long nap nearly every afternoon. He lets me sleep in when I've had hours of insomnia the night before. He cooks and cleans and runs errands and plays with Zoe and sympathetically listens to my pregnancy woes and he does all this without expecting the encouragement and praise that I am so needy for these days. He makes dinner like it's no big deal, whereas I ride that wave of personal accomplishment for DAYS. Like, yeah, maybe today I didn't actually leave the house or do anything, but I made dinner a few nights ago, remember that? How incredible! How do I do it? How do I manage it all while being SO PREGNANT? And while staying so humble...

He's going to be so happy when this baby arrives. For many, many reasons.

Oh, at my last appointment my doctor casually mentioned she's going on vacation one day after my due date. In reality, this isn't a big deal. I remind myself I had our first baby 5 weeks early in a foreign country with a doctor that spoke no English and that I had never laid eyes on. But I had sort of latched on to the comfort of knowing and trusting the doctor who would deliver this little one, so here's hoping she comes sooner rather than later. I'm going to keep staying strong. One day at a time. This baby WILL be born soon, one way or another. And tomorrow is Wednesday. Donut day. We can do this. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

35 weeks: Then and Now

I just hit 35 weeks in this pregnancy and it feels sort of momentous, even though I really haven't had all that much to do with it (aside from consenting to weekly progesterone shots to ensure this one doesn't plan a sneak-attack early arrival like her sister). So here we are.

I am approximately 23% bigger (no idea if that's accurate, just going on feeling here) (<--- that should actually be the title of this blog, amiright?!) this time around but equally uncomfortable and possibly (probably) whinier. People who know Zoe's birth story have asked how I'm feeling about hitting 35 weeks and honestly, I feel calm...and also nervous. (another good blog title. Killing it today.) Mostly, I feel like any new pain or twitch or sensation is impending labor, so I'm lots of fun to be around right now.

At 35 weeks with Zoe, I was feeling like I couldn't possibly be pregnant for even one more day, let alone 5 more weeks, but I was in it for the long haul. I knew a lot of first pregnancies go past the arbitrary due date and I was prepared for that possibility (and not at all expecting a baby any earlier than 40 weeks). I was completely laid back in the sense that I felt no real urgency to "nest" or prepare because I had PLENTY of time. My maternity leave had just gone into effect the week before (shout out to Germany for the most incredible maternity policies) so I wasn't working and I felt like I had all the time in the world to finish the birthing books and do things like get the nursery into even mildly functioning condition.

And then my water broke and my midwife said "you're having a baby this weekend" and the panic set in. I wasn't ready. We weren't ready. The baby surely wasn't ready. THE NURSERY WASN'T READY. Also, I hadn't finished the baby books (which was truly alarming to me at the time. I'm rational.) Oh, and our parents weren't set to arrive for another month or so. This realization...knowing we would bring our newborn home and my mom would be thousands of miles away...it still makes my heart sink to just think about it. But then Zoe arrived, scowling and pink and chubby and fine. And we survived. And Zoe is truly the greatest.

So this time, as I hit 35 weeks, I feel at peace. Sure, I'd love this little girl to stay put a smidge longer (and she probably will)...but I'm excited and nervous, just like the first time. Except this time, the nursery is ready (I did feel the sense of urgency this time around). The baby books are still not totally read, but we did ok the first time around so I'm not as twitchy and panicky about that small detail. Our parents are a mere phone call and few hours-drive away (this makes all the difference). Also, we know what's on the other side this time, in terms of what it's like to meet your new baby and the immense joy that erases all of the pain and angst the precedes their arrival. This is immensely helpful...

We don't know how the labor and delivery will go. We don't know if this little sweetie will be ok from her first breath or if she will need NICU time. We don't know a lot, but we do know these things: We know we can do this! We know at the end of it all, our sweet girl will be in our arms. We know that the nurses and doctors will speak English (hallelujah, amen). We know I will not be pregnant forever! (We do know this, right? I'm not always so sure.)

So we carry on...and look forward to our newest arrival! Come on, baby girl. We already love you so much; there's a spot in our family that only you can fill.