41 weeks and counting. I am really hoping this is my last post as a pregnant person. For the last few weeks, there has been this constant tantalizing knowledge that it could (and should) happen any second. You never know when your body is going to decide to go into labor, so you just make as many preparations as you can and try to limit your exposure to the public to avoid the risk of having your water break all over the produce section of Trader Joe’s. I have done every project imaginable that involves sitting with my feet up – even finally constructed my wedding album AND baby shower album. A piece of advice to other moms-to-be: save up all that crap you’ve been procrastinating doing for the last two weeks of pregnancy. You want busy work, but nothing you have to focus too heavily on since you are brain-damaged at that point.
So we went to the doctor today for the third time post-due date to confirm that yes, the wee babe is still fine in there, yes, he still has enough fluid to wriggle around in, yes, the placenta is still functioning properly, etc. But today (our one-year anniversary, BTW) is when it starts getting dicey. I am not dilating or really having any labor signs other than some irregular contractions, and you have to weigh the risks of waiting against the benefits of letting the little feller cook on his own schedule. In my case, according to the doc, it is becoming clear that waiting much longer means adding more bulk and heft to an already larger-than-average baby. This would raise the likelihood that he could get stuck in the birth canal and necessitate an emergency C-section, something I REALLY do not want. All this sitting around being incapacitated and 50 lbs overweight is making me crazy enough without adding the prospect of six weeks of recovering from major abdominal surgery. Not to mention the benefits of the vaginal birth: The fluid gets squeezed out of the lungs on his way through the birth canal; the milk production hormones get released, etc. It’s just the way I feel the birthing process should go for me.
So . . . we come home and wait some more. But we decided to only wait two more days if my body hasn’t started the labor process on its own by then, and then we'll go in to induce. It’s not as exciting as just letting nature take its course and having the fun surprise of “Honey, it’s time!” but there is some relief in knowing the grand prize is in sight. I know a lot of women in my position would, at this point, be losing their minds and screaming for the baby to be taken out by any means necessary, but I really haven’t gotten to that point. Yes, I am huge and really uncomfortable. My feet are so puffy and swollen, they look like little hams with sausage toes. My low back hurts if I stand for any length of time. When I do have contractions, they aren’t necessarily painful, but the way the baby is positioned makes it feel like there is a lead weight squishing my bladder for about a minute. This doesn’t feel good. I would love to walk, but the nearly 100-degree heat is making that prospect really unattractive. As it is, I sweat like a pig just by sitting in the easy chair and doing this.
So physically, I think I’m handling it fine. It’s my mental state that is getting icky. I think it’s a combination of things. The waiting around does get to be excruciating. The hormones are kicking the emotions into overdrive. The lack of sleep and the constant interruptions to sleep due to my enormous size and frequent bathroom visits are enough to make anyone batty since I have had no REM sleep for months now. And yes, I am WELL AWARE due to constant reminders from about a bajillion people that there will be sleep shortages after the baby arrives, but dammit, at least I will get to sleep fairly comfortably whenever he sleeps (which is often for newborns) and feel some measure of energy from having a ton of baby and fluid lifted off my person. Besides, I started sleeping through the night my first night home from the hospital and Derek did at two weeks old. I can’t help but think some of that might rub off on our offspring, maybe? I don’t know, call me crazy. Because I am starting to feel that way.
But at least the time is drawing close and of course I take a lot of comfort in the knowledge that my little boy is still kicking ass in there and is coming out soon into a world full of such incredibly loving family and friends that already love him and can’t wait to meet him. That is the prize I have to keep my eye on. Meanwhile, I wait. And wait. And wait.