Well, this is part 2 of the pregnancy diaries. I figured I'd better get around to it, or else there was only ever going to be a part 1 (as Jon keeps teasing me that my water will break at 5 pm on Friday, as I leave work for the final time).
I'm actually going to put a disclaimer here at the top of this post. Weirdly. But it's just that I feel like I need to explain a little part of myself.
Over the last couple of years, I have cried myself into fits while reading other women's blogs about their pregnancies and children. I'm not saying it was right or wrong, but it happened. And so I know that on a subconscious level the reason I have only written the one pregnancy blog post at Week 21, to announce the pregnancy/gender, is because of those painful experiences I had while reading other women's blogs. I never wanted to make anyone cry. And so I have let the blog kind of die over the last few months, posting nothing of importance or meaning and sticking only to updating my photo blog (for only close friends and family).
In addition to thoughts of hurting those close to me, I can admit that I have also been at a loss for what to say. Do I talk about how happy I am, even knowing it could make others unhappy? Or do I talk about doctor details and factual updates on my cervix and steer clear of emotion? Or do I take the attitude of "Don't resent me, I've been there, I deserve this". Well, clearly I haven't come up with a good answer to any of those questions-- I just stopped blogging.
But here I am at the end of this journey. And it has made me tender. And it has made me emotional. And I do want to write about it.
So, if you want to read further, that's ok. If you think it's not for you, that's just fine too. But I needed to write about this experience, before it was completely over. It has been a truly magnificent journey.
How far along?
37 weeks! The time has flown by and I cannot believe I am full term (yes, that feels like a very bold statement). It really went so fast and I know that has been because I haven't wanted it to end. But I am experiencing a wonderful sense of relief and freedom knowing that I can go into labor at any time now without Henry having a mandatory stay in the NICU.
Emotionally, I'm not ready for this pregnancy to end. It sounds silly to admit it in writing, as the main motivation for getting pregnant is to have a baby at the end. However, being pregnant has been one of the most powerful things I have ever done. I feel divine, beautiful-- blessed. It's not to say I will not love my baby when he is outside of me; but when I feel him stretch and kick and hiccup in my belly, I sense the love of an entire world inside me. It fills my whole body with contentment. And I become overwhelmed that there is an as-yet-undiscovered-new-human-
being in there.
Morning sickness overlooked me in the first trimester and the complaints of the third trimester have been as equally trivial. I have heartburn, lower back pain, charlie-horses and acne. None of these are constant, they vary week to week. During week 33 I had near-constant bile in the back of my throat and I thought it was here to stay, but then it decided to disappear with no cause whatsoever. Generally, it is hard to get comfortable in any position and sleep is less restful than it was before pregnancy-- but I only wake up once, maybe twice, a night and never have any trouble getting back to sleep until the alarm goes off (which I've gathered is not common). The charlie horses have been the worst problem, but I've figured out how to manage them, see below.
Related to the "physical ailments" section, I have a few essentials that have gotten me through the pregnancy with luxury.
1. First, compression stockings. I was waking up 6-7 times a night with a charlie horse that I'd have to stretch. Then I started wearing compression stockings. They do wonders for my poor fatigued calves. I have also found heat soothing, so I stick on a couple of those adhesive-backed foot-warmers to the calf portion of the socks and drift right off to sleep.
2. Heartburn mints. They are awesome. I don't like chewing tums (hate it, in fact). When I started feeling heartburn for the first time I sent Jon out to the store and demanded he find me an alternative to chewing chalk or else. He delivered. They taste just like regular old mints and the heartburn subsides within minutes of when I pop one in. Magic.
3. Support belt. I haven't worn this in many weeks, but when I was standing all day, every day, at work in the second trimester my back was in bad shape. The support belt was worth every penny for the comfort it was able to provide me during those working hours. I consider it an essential if you work on your feet at all while pregnant.
Ice. Ice. And more ice. It's been about 6 weeks strong now, perhaps my longest craving. I. can't. stop. chewing. ice. And like many addictions that people have, if a genie came up to me and said "I can make you stop chewing ice with a snap of my fingers" I'd say "FORGET IT-- I LOVE IT TOO MUCH!!!!"
[Just today, in fact, my boss told me I had to stop chewing ice because it bugged him. He almost lost his face. Because I almost scratched it off.]
I keep forgetting to ask what my grand total is at each appointment. All she's told me is that I gained 1.5 pounds from the week before Thanksgiving to the first week in January; she was pretty impressed. So I took that as a good indicator of my progress. Then two weeks ago she acted concerned by my weight "gain", only to be baffled this week because I'd "lost" 3 pounds. I just giggled and had to remind her that I was wearing GIANT SNOW BOOTS two weeks ago. Geesh.
Still in. I had one cavernous belly button, I don't think it's going to make it out by the end...
Like I said, the cramps in my calves were bad and gave me a run for my money for a while. But I think I have the mischief managed now! Also, Jon was causing major problems with his snoring, but we got him some nose strips that have gone the extra distance on behalf of my sanity. I get up about once to twice a night to pee. And I never want to wake up to my alarm. I've had to start showering at night, after a stinky 5 day "I'll do it tomorrow" bout of non-showering snoozing.
Stretch marks are ugly. Before I got pregnant I thought, "Well, if they're going to happen they're going to happen". And guess what? They happened. All 116 of them (yes I counted... curiosity got the best of me). They're sure ugly, but they're not the end of the world. The bushy ape-man belly fur caused from all this extra testosterone is actually just as much of an eye-sore as the bright red rail-road tracks strutting across my abdomen.
I have one cool dude in my belly. He rolls around in there like he's surfing the waves of my amniotic fluid. His kicks are always so magical, I will never get tired of them. I become sad when I think about being empty again; sad to no longer have this very intimate, awe-inspiring connection to my child. In fact, the only times I have even felt sad during this pregnancy are when I have sat and pondered too long on what I will feel like when I am no longer growing something, attached to me. I hope that his sweet sighs and snuggles are just as wonderful as his kicks. Even though I know on a deep level that it will be better than I can even imagine, it is hard to give up something you already know makes you so satisfied for some enigma in the future.
What I've missed most?
Breathing normally. I really miss having my full lung capacity. Glad I never smoked because lungs are awesome and breathing comfortably (and deep!) is a gift.
Not a one.
Mild, occasional, pinching back pain.
...And one isolated incident that seemed like maybe something promising... until it wasn't.... Until it was gas. Yes, gas. Elegant.
Thoughts on labor?
I refuse to give in to fear about labor. I know it is going to be hard, I don't think I am being naive or evasive. I just refuse to think self-defeating thoughts; like it's something I cannot do. What a horrible disenfranchisement of my powerful spirit. Women are designed to do this--have been doing it for millennia-- and I tell myself that every day (really, I do... it's my mantra). I envision labor as a sacred place; in which I will call upon those reserves I never knew I had, start an entirely new chapter in the relationship with my husband, and bring a new life into our family. It will be.
Things I’ve enjoyed?
Everything. Every. Little. Thing.
I've enjoyed the size of my belly in recent weeks, now that it's become obvious enough that strangers it's a baby bump. I've also enjoyed not working on my feet since Christmas. What a truly wonderful and unexpected blessing it's been to transition to a sitting position; I didn't have that expectation but am so glad that it worked out that way. I've also enjoyed chewing ice, a lot (see above, but it needed a second mention).
Best Moment of the week?
Jon related, of course. This week we got to talkin', as we're wont to do with a child on the way. And I just love that this experience has taken our relationship to another level. Surprisingly, it has made us sweeter toward one another (which I was not expecting from the sound of some of those pregnancy forums where wives throw hot tea in their husbands faces, apparently). So... we were talking. About all these stupid Pinterest blogs about "how to prepare for baby". And I was shocked by how many of them were directed at wives, telling them ways to make their husbands feel "more manly" and "valued" and "not forgotten" when the baby arrives. I shared these blog ideas on marriage with Jon and asked his opinion. He 'pffffed' and said "Tricia, we're best friends. I don't know who these other people are married to, but I don't have any doubt that two best friends will do just fine raising a baby together." Best. moment. ever.
Looking most forward to...?
I'm looking forward to the unexpected places the future will take us. I am afraid to give up the perfection of the status quo, but I'm looking forward to the constant hope that the future will be better than the past.
I am also very much looking forward to settling in and nesting over the next 3 weeks. I am very excited to be done with work and focus on nothing but this baby. Simply, nothing else is important.
And that's all I can think of that anyone, including the most curious person on earth (you know who you are...), could want to know.
This baby is a'comin' straight away.
Maybe it's best not to get any hopes up for any further blog updates for another 4 months. :)