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pregnant

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37 Weeks

        

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. 

Thank you.

        

37 weeks. See you soon, baby.

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Oh My

I just discovered Pregnant Husband….and I think I love him.

Example:

When my pregnant wife wants a snack and I suggest having fruit, she’s like:

Modern Family gif

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36 Weeks

        

I am so happy to be writing this post, so grateful that we have gotten here- Internets, we are NINE days away! Single digits!

Wow! Wow. Not going to lie, I’m freaking out just a tiny bit over here. I thought I had all of this time left and somehow it has just dissolved and left me here with this small handful of days, this giant list of things to do, and a heart that keeps thudding like it’s going to rip out of my chest and run far, far away. 

In the face of this, Adam has become even more laid back and optimistic. It’s like we are morphing into extreme versions of ourselves. I am ratcheting up the OCD and the anxiety to never before seen levels, while Adam is becoming less and less worried the closer we get – it’s as though he literally does not have a care in the world, he keeps talking about how excited he is to have a baby, to become a dad.

It’s adorable, and endearing, and heartwarming – or would be if I wasn’t too busy suffocating under the weight of my own neuroses to notice.

“I don’t think we’re ready for this” I whispered last night as we lay in bed, listening to music and feeling the baby squirm around inside my belly. Adam turned to me and grinned, “Of course we are!” he exclaimed, “It’s going to be great! Aren’t you excited?”

And I mean yes- yes! Of course I’m excited. But excitement is just one of about fifty-seven other complex emotions that I’m feeling- emotions that also include fear, stress, incomprehension, hope, terror, gas, etc.

I’m glad I have him here, without his naive optimism I think I would be reduced to a shivering puddle, compulsively folding and re-folding baby blankets with only the rodents for company (oh yeah, p.s. the rodents are back. I don’t want to talk about it)

     

Physically, I think that 36 weeks was the week I became ginormous. Upon seeing me yesterday, my midwife exclaimed, “Woah Madeleine! Your belly has arrived!”. Walking past a man in the parking lot the other day, he did a triple take and the look on his face can only be summed up as abject terror.

For my baby shower I searched for three days to find a dress, finally at the last minute stumbling upon a simple sheath with a pattern that looked like water. It was down to the wire, it fit and the decision was made. In retrospect however, I think it was one of those things where it looked great when I found it (possibly because my only other option was to wear the same long tank top/leggings combination I’ve been rocking daily these past few weeks), on the day of, however, I just wasn’t feeling it.

My hair wasn’t cooperating, my makeup was wonky, and when I looked in the mirror, suddenly the water pattern seemed to woefully echo the way I felt – like a large ocean mammal. A whale perhaps – or more in keeping with my skin tone, a manatee.

I know it’s not just me that is noticing the, ahem, largesse. At the shower we played a game where everyone cut a piece of string estimating the circumference of my belly, and my god, MY GOD, barring two or three kind souls, every. single. guess. came out about two feet too long.

     

                                               Me: Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

It makes sense though, the tech at my ultrasound on Friday said that she’d estimate the baby’s weight at 8lbs. Eight pounds at 36 weeks! (According to my friend google, the norm is about 6.5lbs. Yeah.)

I’m starting to think that perhaps this c-section is a good thing for my delicate ladybits.

Of course Adam was as proud as punch when he heard that our “little” demon was measuring in the 90th percentile for weight and height, but the tech was obviously not as impressed with my ability to gestate humongous human beings. She kept shaking her head and muttering in a thick Hungarian accent, “Oh dear, ohhhhh dear. Iss gonna be a beeeeeeg baby.”

Well big baby or no, we’ll find out in nine days!

I currently weigh 139lbs, and everything is going swimmingly for being 9 months pregnant. I’m sleeping well (and lots), eating well, generally feeling great (aside from the over-thinking and the generalized anxiety)

And, now a special gift to commemorate reaching the nine month mark. In case you think (as some have alleged recently) that this whole pregnancy has been a hoax – a desperate attempt to get more page views, or attention, or goat cheese, and I am not in fact pregnant but instead, smuggling a mixing bowl or a basketball or even a pumpkin- BEHOLD!

        

Yes. This shit is fo REAL. That is my belly. In all of its strangely flushed glory.

I have been fortunate enough to avoid stretch marks for now, but I’m still sort of confused about where exactly all of this extra skin came from? And, perhaps more pressingly, where it will go after all is said and done.

It’s bewildering, but I’ll keep you posted.

In closing Internets, just to drive home how we are NINE DAYS away, this is my second-last weekly update, my second last belly picture. I only have to don this long-suffering dress one more time, tape up those numbers once more. And then we’re done.

And what’s inside of the that ginormous mound of belly, will be outside. And I think despite my anxiety, I have to agree with Adam after all- it IS exciting, it WILL be great!

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35 Weeks

It occurred to me today that out of all the time I’ve spent thinking about how I have “only two and a half weeks until the baby comes” (and trust me, there has been a LOT of thinking along those lines), I haven’t even considered the flip side – I have only two and a half week left of being pregnant.

That feels so strange to wrap my head around, it’s such a bittersweet realization. Of course pregnancy is just the journey, the means to an end- but it’s also just such a delight.

Truly.

The world, in my limited experience at least, adores pregnant ladies. Pregnant ladies make people smile, they look at me, down to my belly, then back to my face, as a grin creeps over their features. There’s a strange sort of kinship with other women with kids, especially young babies. A look gets exchanged where you just know that she’s looking at your big belly and swollen feet and waddling gait and thinking, “I used to be there – that was me, just six months ago.” and in exchange you are peering at the face of her baby, its perfect features and also how utterly comfortable the woman looks with her child, and you’re trying to wrap your head around the fact that “This will be me in six months.”

I haven’t experienced any of the judgement or inopportune belly touching or pushy advice that I’ve long heard pregnant women lament about. Instead, Adam and I both have been incredibly lucky to be on the receiving end of a thousand-thousand well wishes, good luck’s and congratulations. Adam has customers who have given us baby gifts, knitted us blankets. My neighbour is insisting on cooking for us in the days after we arrive home from the hospital, and it goes without saying that our families have been incredibly excited and supportive. I think they are almost more eager to meet this new little person than we are.

So. Letting go of all of that – the excitement and planning and anticipation, it’s bittersweet.

        

Of course I’m looking forward to the “after”. The actual holding of this baby, the naming and knowing and seeing Adam become a father. But a small part of me is a little sad to be saying goodbye to this closeness, these wicked thumps and bumps and the sense of being more than one.

Part of it, I’m not ashamed to admit, is fear. Fear of the surgery, and the pain, and the recovery. Fear of everything that can go wrong between the first cut and the last stitch. Fear that we won’t know what to do. Fear that I won’t be a good mother – and then simultaneously, fear that I will, but that it will change me in some irrevocable way. Fear that it will change Us, in some irrevocable way.

Another part selfishly mourns the loss of this “special” feeling, this privileged status. It’s been so nice to be taken care of, treated with kid gloves. It’s been a treat to have people open doors for me and offer their place in line for the bathroom.

Finally, a large part of this wistful feeling is just sheer incomprehension. I do not know how to put into words how little I can do to wrap my head around the fact that in 16 days a little human being that looks sort of like Adam and sort of like me will be pulled out into this world from an incision in my belly. What’s more, I will be in charge of feeding this creature with milk that I somehow produce in my body, and then after a few days we will be allowed to leave with this little being. No questions asked.

Boom.

Just like that.

Sixteen days.

A son or a daughter. A name. A face. And for Adam and I, new identities. A new slant to each other after ten years as partners – parents.

Last week I was done. This week I realize how close I am and I’m trying to claw those words back – done? I’m not done! I’m just getting started! I’m finding myself fantasizing about arriving at my last ultrasound (taking place Friday morning) and having the nurse tell me that WOW! My placenta has somehow miraculously moved and I can go full term after all!

(I know this won’t happen.)

(But a girl can dream.)

In less esoteric ramblings: the stats! I’m wavering between 137-140 lbs, which takes me 22-25lbs  up from where I started. I still feel good, I’m sleeping well, eating well, I’m happy.

I still have a few posts I’d like to do before baby, (so, in the next 16 days) (have I mentioned it’s 16 days away? 16 days. But who’s counting?) including what changes we’re making to prepare our first baby – the hairy, slobbery 180lb one – for the new family member; a detailed breakdown of how much moolah we have spent on baby stuff (because this is something I always wondered about – how much all of that stuff would really cost us); and an overall reflection on pregnancy, the unexpected, the strange, the stuff I would have wanted to know prior to seeing that little pink line.

In closing, of course, we must once again give proper thanks to the Pregnancy Goddesses for seeing that I made it here, to 35 weeks.

And we mustn’t forget to say a  fervent sort of prayer that we make it through each and every one of the next 16 days without incident.

35 Weeks!

    

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Copyright

         

I have a genius idea for a new reality show, titled simply, “Nesters”.

The show would feature exclusively women in their last trimester as they attempt all manner of inane cleaning and organizing projects, despite the chaos these endeavors wreak on their swollen bodies, their pets and most of all, their marriages.

I would be happy to take one for the team and be featured on the premiere. My episode would include footage of the following events:

  • Me at 11:30pm last night, wearing one of Adam’s shirts (because none of mine fit) and his boxers too (see previous) furiously scrubbing down our bathtub and shower because I noticed while peeing that the tiles didn’t look “shiny” enough.
  • A time-lapse montage of my laundry basket, which now never has more than 10-15 items of clothing in it any any time before I whisk it away to be washed. The new drying rack has only served to exacerbate this issue because beforehand these transformations from serene 8 months pregnant lady to possessed-laundress were at least confined to whenever it was sunny enough to hang our clothes. Now that I can conveniently hang my laundry inside, at any time day or night, shit’s gotten a bit ridiculous. 
  • Twenty minutes ago when I was vacuuming and went to vacuum the couch (What? You don’t vacuum your couch? Ridiculous!) but there was a rather large 32 year old man in my way trying to watch a movie after a long day of work. But rather than decide to do this strange task later, I shrieked at him unintelligibly until he reluctantly contorted himself into all sorts of strange positions so that I could vacuum under him. Then, still not satisfied, I forcibly ripped off his socks despite his protests, because they were covered in dog hair. Then I washed them. (Obviously.)
  • The fact that I’ve cooked more in the past week than…ever. I made a lasagna, froze it, then made another one and froze that too. Then I made and froze several jars of broccoli cheese soup. Then I whipped up 24 sweet potato and black bean burritos and wedged them in between the aforementioned lasagnas and jars of soup. Then I made chocolate chip cookies and froze the dough in ready-bake balls so that when I don’t have goddamn diabeetus anymore I can cook a few at a time to enjoy with a big glass of almond milk.

While I was typing out this ridiculousness you see above, (which is only a partial list, you guys) I realized something: Nesting is entirely about control. 

Did you know this already? I feel like people knew this and I’m just figuring it out now but please bear with me as I process this discovery.

My nesting is being kicked to extremes because I have lost more and more control with each passing week and although I’m doing my best to adjust, my god do I loathe it. In a last futile attempt to reclaim that control I am doing what I do best, I’m cleaning. And planning. And preparing. 

Like a boss.

It’s like in my head it makes perfect sense that although I no longer have any say in what I eat, when the baby comes, or even what part of my body the baby is coming out of, these things can somehow be balanced out by the fact that the cupboard under my bathroom sink is now meticulously organized into pretty baskets by category (hair care, nail care, first aid etc).

Or the fact that in the past week I have purchased approximately 48 microfiber cloths and stashed them in strategic locations throughout my house and/or car, in the event that anything needs emergency dusting.

Emergency. Dusting.

I’m sure this is all very reassuring to our fetus. “Hey, Baby! I may not be able to grow a placenta in the right place, or even properly regulate my blood sugars, and lord knows I leak electrolytes like a sieve, but rest assured that you will not be coming home to a place where the tupperware is all tossed haphazardly together into a drawer! NOT ON MY WATCH! No, in THIS house it’s neatly stacked and organized by size and function!”

Don’t worry Demon Baby, I got this.

Anyway please don’t steal my idea for “Nesters”, I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my pitch video (editing out all of my huffing and puffing is taking longer than expected.)

And, if you come to my house in the next three and a half weeks, please don’t be insulted if I hover around you with a lint roller and a spray bottle of vinegar before ripping the half-eaten chocolate bar out of your hand and freezing it.

(Also if you’re looking for your coat, it’s being washed.)