On Wednesday, I had my 34 week appointment.
This is it – the last appointment before I begin weekly appointments. The last big ultrasound. The last time I will enter this office without someone sticking their hand up my….let’s just say it’s getting close to the end. That’s all you need to know.
I started with an ultrasound. It’s been 4 weeks since I last watched Max via ultrasound. The good news: he's still in there.
The technician measures the fluid. Then takes snapshots of vital organs. She measures his femurs (little bones on the screen – so cute!). She keep struggling to get a clear shot of his head. That is because at this point he has migrated south. Very far south. In fact, she kept commenting how far down his head is right now.
He looks like he’s ready to go.
What do you know….all of this telepathic – GET OUT OF ME – bullshit is working!
She tries to measure his brain but tells me he’s in an awkward position, too far down, not turning, not moving.
He’s not cooperating.
Let me assure you of this: his brain is large. He’s gonna be smarts one day. And I apologize, on his behalf, that he does not want to cooperate with you. I guess defiance to authority starts at a young age.
She measures his abdomen to estimate his weight. He measures right on schedule and comes in at a whopping 4 pounds 12 ounces which puts him in the 44th percentile. Everything else measures right on schedule except…his head. His head is a full two weeks ahead of him. This kid has a big noggin. My cervix shudders. Pushing that head out is not going to be the fun part.
Then again, none of it will be the fun part until…how soon until he is 18? Better yet – 21?
Next I meet with the doctor. She asks if the technician gave me the scoop about my ultrasound.
You are on track to have a baby that is 7 pounds and 0 ounces.
AMEN! That is the best news my cervix and I have heard in a long time. I was scared that I might be cranking out a 10 pound kid because in case no one else has noticed I’ve gained OVER THIRTY POUNDS! Can someone please tell me where it all is because it obviously is NOT in the 4 pound kid.
She then tells me there is a 20 percent margin of error but their ultrasound technician is usually pretty good at making predictions. Ok, whatever that means, but 20 percent could mean he weighs 8 ½ pounds or 5 ½ pounds. So what you’re saying is all you can guarantee is that I will have a baby.
The doctor gets ready to measure me and says that I look like a runner type. I am! Well, I used to be. I will be again! I actually did run the other day. I was on the treadmill walking and got in a cumulative 20 minutes of running at…wait for this…a 15:00 per mile pace. No, I didn’t run 15 miles, I ran FIFTEEN MINUTE MILES.
Yes, you can still run at that pace.
The doctor wraps things up by warning me that only 5 percent of women deliver on their due date. It’s like a moving finish line. Imagine two people standing across the road holding a finish line tape. And they keep moving it forward, back, what if they move it up the road 2 miles when you’re already spent and ready to be done. What then?
It’s safe to say that if I have not yet given birth, no one should communicate with me between July 29 and August 11.
And that closes the chapter of 34 weeks. Here I go into week 35. I know, I’m almost there! I can’t say that I’m tapering yet (mustn’t start the taper too soon lest I peak too early) but I assume that at week 36 I will start tapering. And like any good taper, I will probably start feeling really fat and sassy then. When I say tapering, I mean doing taper things like putting things in baggies, nesting, making lists. All that crazy shit you do when tapering for Ironman. I’m guessing that tapering for the due date is the same. I’ll put together my special needs bag for the hospital and probably bring along some Power Bars in case they don’t have any on the course. As for other quirky tapering behavior, to be determined. But I remember finding my husband in the kitchen, naked, looking for shower cleaner so he could clean the showers when he was tapering for Ironman so who knows...
If you see me naked in the kitchen after week 36, you are warned to cover your eyes.
Workouts continue. When I tell people I am still working out, they look at me like I am crazy or brave. I am neither. I am just doing what feels good and normal to me. I didn’t say comfortable because as pregnancy moves along you start feeling less and less comfortable. Especially now that my bladder has turned completely against me. The other day on a walk, I stopped to pee 4 times in the first 25 minutes. Then every 20 minutes from there. You think I’m kidding. The side of the road of a local park knows I am not. I have watered every tree out there. And you know what – I’m not the only one. I ducked behind a tree to pee and realized there was an old dude a little bit ahead of me sprinkling on a tree. We were like kindred spirits out there. His creaky prostate, my pregnant bladder.
A few days later, I wanted to ride my bike so I put all of my gear into the car and drove to the forest preserve. I got there and realized I had everything but…my bike. A few hours later, I tried again, this time putting the bike in the car. I got half way to the forest preserve and realized I forgot my helmet. I read about pregnancy brain but didn’t believe it until I started finding myself upstairs looking blankly at the closet/mirror/bedroom thinking to myself….what the hell am I up here for?
I made a third attempt at riding that day, this time with my bike and helmet. And sure enough 20 minutes into the ride I had to pee. So, I rode down an offshoot of the path to find a shady spot to take what had to be the best pee ever (note that every pee you take when pregnant is the BEST pee).
No sooner do I stand up to pull up my shorts than a man starts riding towards me.
It’s not that I felt embarrassed. Heck, I’ve crapped and pissed all over the woods of DuPage County. I just felt sorry for the man. Picture this: ridiculous man-sized Ironman finisher bike jersey covering a very pregnant belly, helmet, tri shorts that I probably should have retired 30 pounds ago. Disturbing, I agree. If you’ve ever tried to pull up your shorts on your sweaty pregnant body, you know that it’s not easy and it takes some time. I’m pretty sure I was standing there ass naked for a good 20 seconds before I got the shorts in place. And he comes buzzing along. I wanted to say to him, listen, I’m 35 weeks pregnant and I cannot be held responsible for whatever you just saw because I haven’t seen it in over 12 weeks.
I wanted to apologize for violating him but instead I stood there frozen and all I could say was: I really had to go.
I find myself counting down now. Five more Saturdays of eating bagels and drinking coffee with just Chris and me, five more Mondays swimming in the quarry where I don’t have to worry about getting engorged, five more weeks until life changes forever.
Are we ready? Well, heck, if you aren’t ready after spending over 35 weeks waiting, thinking and preparing then you probably never will be. So, we’re about as ready as we’re going to be.