And so it has started.
The dreams about childbirth.
It was bound to happen and finally in week 33, as the countdown begins, I am dreaming about birthing. Like any dream, it was a random clutter of images that made absolutely no sense. The worst part – it included communal birthing. Which is about as disturbing to dream as it is to say.
Only 7 weeks left. Though at this point it is hard to imagine not being pregnant. Somewhere around week 20 you start to feel like you’ve been pregnant forever and with 20 weeks left you still have forever to go. Now as I near the end, I can’t imagine life not being pregnant. I’ve made adaptations. From walking differently to exiting the car differently, sleeping on my side to propping my feet up to tie my shoes. I rest my hands on my belly. I take a deep breath when I walk up the stairs. I can’t imagine going through life now without having to do all of that. You mean…I get to return to…normal? I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m convinced I will stay this way forever.
Last night I realized I could start reading the chapters about labor and delivery in the pregnancy book. I read about the baby dropping. It usually occurs 2 to 4 weeks before labor starts in first time mothers. It is the point at which the baby descends into the pelvis. Wait…so, where is the baby right now? You’d think after 8 months of this I’d have a better idea of where the baby is at and my own anatomy. Though considering I can longer see about 50% of my anatomy, I feel like my ignorance is legitimate.
Today I had another appointment with the doctor. Prior to it, I went to masters.
Would you have that baby already, Tugboat Tom says. Ah, it’s good to be back. Masters was on break for about 2 weeks and in those 2 weeks, I got more pregnant and Tom got more sassy. I remind him that in about 8 weeks I will be back. Maybe a few more but sure enough by the end of summer I will be back in the lane getting things on track again. No more generous intervals, slacking off or chit chatting between sets. I’m not really a big fan of more than 10 seconds rest or talking at the wall. Long rest and chit chat is what the hot tub is for.
I swam a little harder than usual. We were doing 50s on an interval which is something I haven’t done in while. I got a little discouraged when I was only making the interval on 5 seconds rest but realized it was only 5 seconds slower than my usual interval so all things considered – like, 27 pounds of weight gain, hauling around another human being and having no lung capacity – I’d say I’m keeping up pretty well.
After masters I did some weight training. I absolutely love being the grotesquely pregnant woman in the weight room. Holding a weighted bar on a Bosu ball while over 8 months pregnant is power. There is nothing namby pamby about my strength training. One thing I learned to detest early on was the delicate flower bullshit that everyone seems to push at you when you enter pregnancy. It’s not a disability, it’s a stage in life that women have gone through for thousands of years. You can do more than jump around in water lifting a foam weight. You can do more than chair aerobics.
After all of this, I walked into the doctor’s office to be greeted with the usual.
Bathroom on the right, leave us urine. The greeting between pregnant woman and nurse is kind of like dogs at the dog park – they walk up to each other, sniff respective poopers which is kind of weird but also totally normal. Next up, the blood pressure. I set an all new personal best as far as blood pressure goes: 86 over 54! It’s like saying I added 5 watts to my functional threshold. I can’t resist getting excited about numbers. It’s the athlete in me.
I’m bending over to untie my shoes when the nurse says to me with just the slightest hint of snarky:
So you’re taking off the running shoes because they weigh 10 pounds?
And I’ll just be filing that under Stupid Shit People Have Said To Me While Pregnant.
No, I’m just trying to be consistent. I take them off at every visit.
I read somewhere that you should try to wear the same thing when you get weighed at the doctor’s office so you can more accurately keep track of your weight gain.
I hop on the scale.
She looks over at my shoes. Well, I guess running shoes probably do weigh about 2 pounds.
Actually, the Asics 2140s weigh about 12 ounces, nearly a pound, which is why I don’t race in my training shoes. The extra weight could tack on at least 2 seconds per 400 which adds up to 8 seconds per mile. Over the course of a half marathon that’s nearly 2 minutes of wasted time and energy.
Now that I’ve gained 27 pounds, I have to laugh at the former version of myself who actually used to rationalize wearing racing flats in order to save about 6 ounces or 8 seconds per mile on my feet.
But back to the scale. The moment of truth. Tell me, dear nurse, what is the weight gain damage…
Oh god. That bad? I mean…I’ll admit that I spent an entire weekend eating the remnants of BOTH of the cakes from my shower and then the following weekend may or may not have lived off a bag of Swedish fish but really…it’s that bad?
You’ve lost a pound.
AMEN! Wait…that’s not a good thing. But I’ve got to be honest with you - after doing nothing but gaining pounds for the last 32 weeks, it’s a little refreshing to hear that I’ve lost something.
The doctor comes in to visit with me. She looks over my chart. She the peppy doctor in the practice with the short blond hair that screams all business no pleasure. She doesn’t say boo about losing a pound. I've also heard that you can lose pounds late in pregnancy or stop gaining. Anyways, she confirms everything with me. That I’ve registered for classes (done), that I’ve found a pediatrician (done), that I’ve taken the blood glucose test (done). Every time it’s the same thing – me telling them that we’ve done all of that, months ago and all we have left to do is HAVE THE DARN BABY ALREADY. Can you help me out with that? Speed things up a bit?
I lift up my shirt so she can measure me.
Oh you just have the cutest belly!
Oh my gosh, I LOVE YOU! That’s about the nicest thing someone has said to me all day. Because everyone else has made me feel like a big tub of boobs, baby and .. all that other stuff in there that I’m going to have to deliver after birth. Even the ladies at the gym entrance desk were asking me haven’t you had that baby already. I tell them I still have 7 weeks to which they say – you still have a long way!
My uterus has now risen a full 31 centimeters. That would be 12.2 inches for my non-Canadian friends. We listen to Max’s heart beat and then she tells me she has nothing to yell at me about.
I ask her question about the hiccups. Max gets the hiccups about 2 to 3 times a day. Sometimes I’m laying in bed at midnight and he starts hiccupping. It feels like someone is knocking on the door of my pooper. Yes, I just said pooper. And if you are or plan to get pregnant, be prepared – strange things happen to your pooper. I’ll just leave it at that.
The doctor tells me that the hiccups are a sign that the baby is functioning properly neurologically. In other words, everything is in working order. Hiccups are good!
She tells me to come back in 2 weeks. And 2 weeks after that, the non-stress tests. Because you are of advanced maternal age.
Thank you for reminding me.
And that is that. I head up to the front desk where the receptionist asks if I’ve made my next visit. I honestly don’t know. I may have. Like everything else right now, I cannot remember. Forget the weight gain, I’d just like my memory back! Sometimes I walk upstairs forgetting what I went up there for. Sometimes verbalizing a coherent sentence is taxing. It’s true – what they say about pregnancy fog in the brain – TRUE! Like a thick blanket laying over the Golden Gate, my head is filled with fog. Or, more likely, a bunch of progesterone and baby things.
Speaking of baby things, here is the baby...
...inside the latest belly picture taken on Monday! Inside that big belly is a little person weighing about 4 ½ pounds and measuring about 19 inches long. That’s like something the size of my dog (but half his weight) in my belly.
Let’s hope that the kid isn’t as furry as my dog. But then again, this kid is part Waterstraat and part Italian. He definitely won’t be a furless breed.