Well friends, we have reached the end of our journey.
This sweet child of ours will be born at 37 weeks and three days gestational age. In less than 72 hours these bony knees and exploring hands will be held and kissed, their every minute detail marveled over. This funny little being we have come to know and love in a fierce, abstract way, will be here, in our arms.
When I first wrote about my pregnancy, about seeing that second pink line, I said:
Within that single defining moment, life didn’t simply go on, it expanded, exploded - pulled apart our cozy little circle of two and insisted that we make room for a third. A teeny, tiny third.
I was more right than I ever could have known. Pregnancy has been a constant process of splitting and tearing open, stretching a life that fit two in order to gradually, week by week, make room for more. Each experience has pulled apart pieces of ourselves and stitched us together closer, tighter.
I have seen glimpses of Adam as a father, a strange secret tender side that he doesn’t talk about, doesn’t feel the need to explore and tease apart and share like I do, but one that has slowly emerged nonetheless.
The way he made it a priority to sit beside me in all of those waiting rooms for all of those appointments (no small feat considering I have seen midwives, geneticists, maternal fetal medicine specialists, obstetricians, nephrologists…the list goes on).
He supported every decision, helped me through each small molehill made mountainous by my fixations. And every so often he would fall silent and I’d find him just looking at me, a strange, quiet contemplative stare.
And that look said it all.
Not this look…this look is saying “Hey! Look what I did!”
Physically, my body has earned my eternal respect and devotion. I joke a lot about my physical failings and all of the ways my body lets me down -I have zero hand-eye coordination, horrible eyesight, my kidneys don’t work- and this pregnancy has brought on many more of the same jokes -my disobedient placenta, lazy insulin receptors- but still,my god, despite all of that, LOOK:
How is this possible? It really is incredible. I have gained 26 pounds, 13.5 inches. My belly has swelled, my breasts filled. My tears spill more easily and my tastes have changed from craving all things savoury to desiring everything sweet.
Physically there will be almost no part of me left untouched by this experience, yet from day one I have felt blessed (a terrible, simpering word. But yes, blessed). I’ve been buoyant, happy - I haven’t been uncomfortable or in pain. I have had an easy pregnancy, I’m swelled with gratitude for this.
I’m grateful that I made it to 37 weeks, full term. Thankful for no emergencies, middle of the night panicking phone calls, I’m grateful that this little baby has always been so active - I’ve never had to worry about feeling that eerie stillness, the ominous absence of movement.
So. Here we stand, this is the last week of updates, the last photo of me crammed into this pink dress (and honestly, that’s probably a good thing because as this gargantuan belly grows out, the dress goes up, and I don’t know what these pictures would have looked like in another 3 weeks.)
I didn’t know where to begin writing this last post, I put it off all day yesterday, sorting through words in my head. I feel inadequately equipped to describe this, to offer the sort of reflection I would have liked to read.
I was reluctant to tape up those numbers, I didn’t want to to sit here and write an ending (because despite the fact that it is truly a beginning, it sometimes doesn’t feel that way from this side of things, with the future such an unknown.)
I feel like I should be able to offer some poignant, overarching reflection on pregnancy. But as I sit and search for words, (which, in a surprising turn of events, seem to be eluding me) I am just swamped by memories, overwhelmed by how quickly the past few months have passed, how many firsts have been crammed into these two hundred and forty nine days. How can I even begin to sum it up?
The first time we heard the heartbeat, the first time we saw the baby’s sweet profile. The first kick, the first hiccup. These 37 weeks have been filled with some of the most incredible moments of my life, and I say that with unabashed awareness of how syrupy I sound, how cheesy.
I can’t avoid it, won’t apologize for it.
I have been laid flat by this experience. When I think about what has happened, when I think about building a child within myself, when I imagine Adam holding that tiny pink bundle in his arms, I have no excuses anymore. I’m stripped bare and my snark disappears, my sass hides its sharp edges. I am left soft, tears streaming down my face, a heart aching with love and happiness and a fierce desire to thank someone,anyone, for being allowed to do this, feel this.
It’s all I’ve ever wanted.
I guess here is also where I tell you that I’m not sure I’ll share the baby’s birth story. Not in the way that many bloggers do anyway, where each stage of the process is described and recorded and written about in detail.
I know that I approach a situation differently if I plan to write about it. I notice different things, feel pressure to record and document and inevitably I end up approaching it from a place where I am reporting, rather than experiencing.
What’s more, if I’m actually part of the situation I’m writing about I really can’t be sure that my own actions aren’t being affected by the need to have a good story, develop a good narrative. I don’t want to go into this experience needing to take pictures for the blog, remember times and details simply so I can write about them later.
I don’t know that I have the words to write about something that feels this big. I wouldn’t know where to begin, I don’t know that I’m capable.
Basically, I don’t know how it’s going to go and despite how much I have shared about this pregnancy, I want to leave open the possibility that I won’t write about it at all.
I suppose the final thing to do here, at 37 weeks, is to express my appreciation for everyone who has followed along through all of this - the pictures and the panics, the decorating and the crises of conscience big and small.
It’s been amazing to have so many people - both in “real life” and through this blog- supporting me, offering advice and feedback and a sense of community.
I’m going to continue writing after baby is born -it’s a form of release for me, rather than a chore- and it’s amazing to know that as I write these words, there’s people (real, live people!) reading them.
37 weeks. See you soon, baby.
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About Time, by Kimberly Dow on Etsy
New mothers, busy people and my future self are all going to loathe me and want to throw things in my general direction for what I am about to say, but here goes: I’m bored.
Seriously, it’s too much waiting. I’ve done all of my to-do’s and must-do’s and what remains is a small list of things that I sort of have to leave until Thursday - washing our sheets, giving myself a pedicure, packing and loading our hospital bags, getting Gus set up for our lovely dog sitter etc.
In the meantime, it feels like I’m just….waiting. I’ve been asking around to other moms, google searches etc about what I should be doing with these last childless days of mine. The answers are predictable : “SLEEP!” everyone urges in unison, but really, how many hours in a day can I sleep?
"Go for coffee by yourself" another lady told me, "And just sit there and revel in the silence."
Yet another woman said that if she could go back, she would spend the week before kids just leaving the house spontaneously - no diaper bag, children to wrangle, pee-breaks, tantrums etc.
"It used to take ten seconds" she mused wistfully.
I know that these suggestions are well-intentioned, and I really appreciate them sharing (especially since I asked), but I also find myself getting frustrated. It’s tough being here, on the other side of that dividing line.
I’ve spent 15 years being that autonomous, independent. I’ve spent decades sleeping and getting up when I wanted, leaving the house as I pleased.
Right now (and I feel like I may be kicking myself for this in a week’s time but nonetheless…) right now I just want to meet my baby. I want to see these feet and hands and that face that will seem so familiar but so new.
I’m grateful that I have had so much time to wrap my head around this c-section, to plan and prepare and get my life in order. But it’s also a really strange experience, counting down the days to such an absolute like this.
We’re in limbo. Waiting…waiting.
Yesterday a friend of ours, Saren, generously offered to come and take some maternity pictures (NOT the cheesy kind. Swear.) and we spent a few hours traipsing through the woods with Gus.
Between the goofy antics of Gus and Adam, I’ll be surprised if we get three decent pictures from the whole thing - while we were taking one picture, Saren started laughing uncontrollably and as we turned around to see why, we saw what she did: Gus taking a massive poop center stage in the background.
I think we found this year’s Christmas card!
This morning I took the car in to be serviced, I have to drive down to the hospital for pre-surgery bloodwork tomorrow. That takes us to Wednesday at least.
Help me out - If you were in my shoes, what would you be doing?
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I can’t believe I’m posting about this, because every time I hear the phrase “Birth Plan”, I am reminded of this fabulous article by McSweeney’s.
Dear Hospital Staff:
Thank you and congratulations for being on shift for the birth of our child. The following sets forth our wishes for our stay. If a medical emergency requires you to deviate from this plan, please refer to “Jamie and Jeff’s Emergency Birth Plan.” (Tab J) Please note: Jamie is RH Negative and BPA-free.
While we do not have a traditional “philosophy” of “childbirth,” we have been heavily influenced by orthodox Wholefoodism and the “(d)well baby/good design” movement. We believe strongly in the power of the female body and a long-term night nurse. We are opposed to torture/gluten. In the event you are ever unsure how to proceed today, please ask yourself, “What Would Gwyneth Do?”
Anyway, the basics of my birth plan are as follows: Have a healthy baby. Period.
However, our midwife suggested that I might want to be a little more specific, so (hopefully) without heading into McSweeney’s territory, here is our birth plan for little Baby G:
- I would like Adam to be present during the cesarean section surgery
- I would like the surgical drape dropped so that I can see my baby being born
- I would prefer for Adam to announce the sex of our baby
- I would like Adam to go with the baby for any checks, tests, or baths given by any medical staff
- If all is well with the baby, I would like skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after birth
- We would like the baby to recieve antibiotic eye ointment and Vitamin K shots
- Please delay heel-prick testing until we are in recovery
- No formula/supplementation/bottle feeding without our consent please.
- (Adam’s addendum: We would like “Eye of the Tiger” playing as the baby is brought into the world. Please hold the baby aloft like Simba in the Lion King for the duration of the song.)