It’s official – I'm full term.
I’ve lasted 37 weeks. That’s over 9 months in pregnancy. Which means I’ve been pregnant for almost an entire year. With no end in sight.
In the past week nothing has changed. I haven’t felt any contractions. No change in energy level. And all that bullshit about weight gain slowing down or losing weight in the final weeks of pregnancy? Bullshit. I’m still gaining weight.
And now that I’ve passed the 140.6 pound mark, all bets are off. I’m crying uncle. About the heat, the humidity, the weight gain, the fact that I am still pregnant. All of it! I know I said I would only allow myself to be miserable after July 29. But due to extenuating circumstances, I’m bumping that date up.
On Wednesday, I had the weekly appointment. Another ultrasound.
I bet you didn’t think your stomach could stretch any bigger, the technician said to me.
Oh humor me, sister, are you going to tell me that I’m bigger or that I look great.
It looks bigger than last week.
Thanks. But can I get a “you look great?” Anyone…ANYONE!?!
Max is still in there. According to the technician, his head is smashed up against my pelvis. Sounds comfortable. Sounds like a great reason to hang out in my uterus FOR ANOTHER THREE WEEKS.
Next up, the weekly pee in a cup. Actually this time I peed on the cup. Hey, in my defense, I can barely get my hand and the cup under my belly let alone take good aim! Weight (going up), blood pressure (going up) and then a trip to the comfy chair.
Max is quiet today. He doesn’t move for at least the first few minutes. There is also very little uterine movement. And then I get a few massive earthquakes of uterine movement that rock the lines on the chart but still…I don’t feel a thing. Max has a few accelerations. The nurse comes in and asks if I’m feeling that stuff (medical term that she throws out while wagging her finger around the contractions).
Not feeling a thing.
Next up I wait for the doctor. Sitting on the table, covered in a paper sheet. Usually the doctor is very quick to see me but this time I wait well over 20 minutes. Which is kind of a long time when you are pregnant (falls into that I am going to need to pee timeframe) and wearing a paper sheet half naked (seriously can't they come up with something better than this!?!). Trying to get comfortable I twist and turn in the paper sheet until I make about a dozen tears in it. I’ll tell you one thing – if this doctor doesn’t get in here soon I’m going to have nothing left of this sheet but a square napkin!
There are four doctors and one nurse midwife in the practice. Each visit, I see someone different so I am familiar with all of them. On delivery day, you get whomever is on call. In this visit I see one of the doctors that I haven’t seen much. She reminds me of a woman that I used to know growing up who always smelled like doughnuts. The doctor doesn’t smell like doughnuts but I just can’t shake that memory.
You KNOW she’s going to be the one on call the day Max is born and I’m going to barf if I ever see a doughnut again.
Today she seems to be in a hurry, all scattered wearing scrubs which tells me she probably has already delivered 10 babies today and I’m just another thing on her must-do list. She tells me that everything looks normal then gets ready for the exam. Ever get the sense that your doctor is in a bad mood? Like you hit jackpot with the unlucky appointment after maybe she’s been up all night or just got into a scuffle with someone’s doula. Let me tell you, the last thing you want to see when your doctor is in a bad mood is a view of a gloved hand that is coming straight between your legs.
Remember, my cervix did nothing wrong to you! You chose obstetrics and gynecology! What were you thinking? Of course you’re having a bad day! You stare at vagina all day long and deliver babies at all hours. That is NOT my fault!
Her bad day gets shoved so far up my cervix that I feel like I just might see a gloved hand pop out of my mouth.
No change from last week. You’re not going to have this baby tomorrow.
I didn’t think that but now that you mention it I would not have minded it either.
Let’s hope you start having more contractions to get that cervix ready.
Therein lies the problem with seeing 5 different medical professionals. Last week the doctor talked to me as if I lasted another week it would be a miracle. This week, this doctor has me convinced I will be the first woman to ever be pregnant FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR.
Switching topics: Have you thought about pain management during labor?
Thought about it? Are there women out there who haven’t thought about it every day since the day they got pregnant? I’m not scared of it but I’ve definitely thought about it. I’ve heard a lot of things from – it doesn’t hurt that bad to its unlike anything you’ve ever felt before. Dozens of women – athletes and nonathletes – have given me their opinion about the pain. And the only thing in common is that…it’s different for everybody. Fit, unfit, big, small, young, old – there are no similarities. It’s kind of like racing. One person’s epic holy shit it was so hot out there and uphill both ways day is another person’s yeah, it was a little warm out there on the hills.
And so, I’m undecided about pain management. Actually, I’d like to leave it open to decide when I’m in the moment. I have no idea how I will react to the pain and would like to give my body the opportunity to tell me what to do. Maybe that is wishful thinking. Maybe I trust my instincts. I’ll know the right thing to do when I’m there, feeling it. And I don’t think you are any better or worse for the decision you make. It’s your pain, your experience.
That is a good attitude to have, she says.
I know. And when I’m crying in pain and crapping myself will you please remind me of that.
She tells me that I’m done and then leaves me there to get up. This is perhaps the most evil thing you can do to a pregnant woman. Leave her lying on her back and challenge her to get up with no assist. Ever flipped a turtle on to its shell? I’m all limbs with no core! Eventually I’m up, the sheet is torn again and at this point I might as well be naked. I hope I get a little more than a paper sheet to wear during delivery!
I set another appointment for next week. For when I will be 38 weeks. By the way, there are 40 weeks in pregnancy. And if your baby so desires, they’ll let you go all the way to 42. Which means I might have to live like this FOR ANOTHER FIVE WEEKS.
(Aren’t there certain tribes that put really pregnant women in pregnancy huts? I’m starting to think that isn’t such a bad idea and my husband might want to put a tent up in the backyard and lock me in it)
The next day I had a meltdown. I needed to stop working. I needed to move. I wanted to leave the house for a break but every time I opened the door, I was greeted with an oven of heat and humidity. It’s been hotter than hell here. Since April. Normally I don’t mind the heat. But normally I am not wrapped in 35 extra pounds and carrying a small mammalian heater inside of me.
Chris got home from work and could sense my discomfort, my pent up I need to get out of this house but it’s also too damn hot to leave it. He walked up to me and said you look like you need a hug.
To which I replied, I don’t need a hug, I just need to give birth already.
Shortly thereafter I broke down in tears. I know I need to just last it out a little bit longer and I know that I’M ALMOST THERE. But I’ve got to be honest with you. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done. And I’m not even at the hard part yet! I felt weak for crying but at the same time, it’s kind of like in Ironman training when you find yourself stopped in your long run, 30 minutes away from the end, crying because you’re hurting, because it’s hot, because you know, dammit, that there will be no more relief for another 30 minutes because there is still work to be done. You know you’re going to get back out there, finish up the last 30 minutes and suffer because that’s who you are. You don’t give up. And when you’re pregnant, giving up is not even a choice.
There is no DNF.
Like in training, you’ve got to let yourself hit rock bottom, bounce back and prove to yourself, ok I can do this. I can last it out a little longer, I can push a human out of me, I can take care of that human for life. And the scary thing is that if I can do all of that I know…I can do anything.
This is why women come back to sport stronger after birth. Trust me.
I pulled myself together, put on my walking shoes, running shorts and a top that is now a midriff top (safe to say that my entire wardrobe is now midriff style), got into the car to so I could head out out to the lake for a walk. As for the heat, fuck it. As for being too large to walk faster than a 20-minute mile, fuck that too. As for 19 (and possibly 33) more days of being pregnant, no comment.
Chris came to the door of the car.
Next time we’ll get you pregnant so you finish in the winter.
Next time. NEXT TIME!? If you so much as drop your pants in front of me for the next 5 years I will run out of the room screaming with my eyes closed! And, may I add, that woman who has the 19 kids – there is something not right with her. She is not normal! No one should go through this 19 times!
So, to recap my experience at 37 weeks:
1 – Still pregnant.
2 – Still hot in the Midwest, has been so since…April.
3 – Still sassy but starting to cross the line into surly.
4 – Considering relocation to pregnancy hut.
5 – Still gaining weight.
6 – Still pregnant, did I already mention that?
7 – Still clearly not remembering things.