Tick tock… tick tock… I’m 37 weeks and 4 days pregnant and I’m ready to give birth. But babies don’t quite work that way. They don’t come when you want just because you want them to. They do their own thing. After my loss, I never thought I’d say I was ready to be done with pregnancy, but because I now find myself in a “safe zone” (a baby is basically full-term between 37-40 weeks), I am more ready than ever to just birth and meet him.
Being this pregnant is like studying all semester for an important final exam, but the date keeps getting pushed back. Your professor is suddenly sick. Then they have to go out of town. You finally show up when the TA is going to give the test instead, but then there’s a problem with the printer so the test is cancelled yet again. You wake up another morning, ready to go, but realize it’s Sunday. Then for some reason, the school has to shut down for a week. And so on, and so forth.
Every day, I wake up wondering if today is the day. Sometimes I wake up with contractions and wonder if they’ll continue, but they don’t. I know it’s still early and I technically have another 2.5 weeks to go till my estimated due date, but it’s difficult to keep going on with my regular life when I have a baby looming over my head (and pressing down on my bladder, and making it difficult to do much or move much). It’s a real exercise in patience, which I suppose is a good precursor for, well, parenthood and the rest of my life.
I haven’t really been much of a writer these past few weeks. I was feeling pretty ambitious after NaNoWriMo about finishing my first draft of my book before the baby came, but didn’t quite account for how badly pregnancy brain would take over. It’s been nearly impossible for me to think about anything except the baby (and my doctor’s appointments, and what hospital to deliver at, and what ways I can prepare my body for the big day, and all the things we need for the baby before he gets here, and what to name the baby, and what are the best positions for labor, and getting a doula and then switching doulas, and the safest diaper brands, and the least toxic baby products, and how to breastfeed properly, and and and you get the point). It may be that some moms don’t experience this as much because they are doing other things and/or they’re not the research junky that I am. I’m actually putting all my college research experience to use in finding out everything I feel I need to know to be prepared for this baby (while simultaneously realizing I won’t ever be 100% ready). The research does help ease some of the anxieties, though.
As far as doing anything else but spacing out on social media and reading baby books, my body is becoming less and less cooperative the bigger this belly gets. It’s more and more difficult to sit in any position comfortably for more than 5 minutes. It’s hard to walk around sometimes, and then not bumping into things is also a challenge. I can’t really bend over anymore (I can sometimes squat down to pick things up, but by this point I usually ask someone else or say fuck it and leave it where it is). My back hurts, my sides hurt, and everything else kinda hurts, too. My feet and ankles are finally beginning to swell up, which is strange for me as I’ve always had very slender feet. My belly is finally beginning to develop a few of those stretch marks everyone talks about, which wouldn’t be quite so bad were they not so damn itchy.
And did I mention I have to pee every three seconds and sometimes have to return to the bathroom two or three or four times after I’ve gone just to finish emptying the rest of my bladder? And how sometimes I’ll go and try but then the baby will move, easing the pressure off my bladder so I no longer have to go, only to jump back on my bladder once I’ve walked a far enough distance away from the bathroom to think twice about returning?
Because I’m currently unemployed, I don’t see many people these days. I miss my friends. I miss hearing about their lives. Pregnancy, and especially the end of pregnancy, kind of disconnects you from all that, and it seems it’s especially true between yourself and your non-childbearing friends. People end up asking you about the pregnancy and the baby and how you’re feeling and it’s all great, but sometimes you just want to hear a funny story about how your friend got drunk at a bar and proceeded to make an ass out of themselves karaoke-style or something, but this whole pregnancy brain thing just ends up making you talk about the baby and the pregnancy anyway and there goes that. Plus you realize it’s been months since you had a good beer and how it’ll be months before you really get to enjoy another one on your own terms (and not just between feedings, sipping a half-pint of Guinness silently in a corner of the house, hoping it’s out of your system before it’s time to feed the baby again… at least, I assume that’s how my first beer-drinking moment will probably go).
But that’s okay. I mean, for all my complaints about these final days/weeks, it’s been a wild adventure. I’m more excited than ever about pregnancy and childbirth, to the point that I’m even considering becoming a doula in the future (or becoming some kind of childbirth advocate/activist). I’ve even begun thinking about going to grad school for a WGS degree and focusing on pregnancy and childbirth. What was once kind of scary and gross to me is insanely fascinating to me now. And you know I can’t wait to sink my teeth into some feminist parenting books. I’ve already begun meeting lots of feminist and natural parenting folks online and it’s made me super excited to find people who share my interests and don’t subscribe to the same kind of parenting ideologies and attitudes I seem to find around me here.
For now, though, I wait. And wait and wait and wait.
And while I do feel like this little one in the mornings as I attempt to rock and roll out of bed:
It could always be worse: