I can do anything for 28 more days but I wouldn’t mind cutting the course right about now.
Still I find comfort in knowing that no woman can be pregnant forever. The time will pass, it always does. Yet I also have to wonder: has any one actually checked that no woman has been pregnant forever?
Is anyone actually sure of this?
The final month of pregnancy is here. I’d say it’s hard to believe only because it’s like when people come up to us, look at Max and say doesn’t it go by fast? Are you kidding me? Have you ever spent a day with a 4 year old? It’s like time stands still only to make trips to the potty, eat snacks, clean up messes, wait out assorted meltdowns to finally look at the clock and think HOW IS IT ONLY 10 AM?
To answer your question, it doesn’t go by fast. In either case.
But there’s only 4 weeks to go and ready it or not I will have a baby in my arms by August 28th.
I keep waiting for a sign that the tide is turning and labor is imminent. Thus far I’ve gotten nothing but some on and off nausea and vivid dreams. No contractions, cramps, fatigue or backache. And, believe it or not, I am not nearly grumpy enough to be anywhere near birth. Last time my mood dipped so far south that I suspected an intervention from my family if I didn’t give birth by my due date.
Lucky for them, Max arrived 5 days early.
The other day I had my 36 week appointment. Because those appointments aren’t fun enough, I had to bring my 4 year old along. That was 2 hours of fun, thank you. When he’s in kindergarten, his teacher can thank me and this experience for enriching his vocabulary with important words like cervix and ultrasound and amniotic fluid.
Best part, while getting dressed mommy, the baby’s food is sticking out. What would I do without him? Better yet, WHO taught him that? And, as long as we’re on the topic, this might be the first time ever in my life that I’ve been able to say that this morning I lost a baby aspirin IN MY CLEAVAGE.
Back to the 36 week appointment. Like every other, this appointment started in the bathroom where Max grew envious of me getting to pee in a cup. This only means that I will find him, at some point in the near future, in one of our bathrooms peeing in a cup. Mommy, I’ve never seen pee that yellow before. Prenatal vitamins, kid. Next, I got weighed. I’ve resumed my pound a week weight gain. PHEW. Then, a trip to ultrasound to measure the baby. She’s currently 6 pounds 3 ounces and they predict she’ll be 7 pounds 11 ounces before she arrives. Of course, they could be off – in either direction – by a pound. That’s about assuring as the daily weather forecast. Baby is happily kicking, drinking and breathing in there. I saw her little face and feet. She looks cramped but I assure you the lack of space has not slowed her down. She’s kicking more than ever, harder than ever.
The technician walked us to the room with the big comfy chair. For us elderly women, 36 weeks means the start of the weekly fetal nonstress test. Two belts are secured around your belly, one to measure fetal heart rate, the other to measure contractions. Max laments that he wants a belt around his belly. There isn’t enough Caillou you can load on to an iPad to quiet a kid at an OB/GYN office. Trust me, I tried.
My task for the next 30 minutes was to “relax” in the big comfy chair while the machine recorded what was going on with baby. I settle in with my feet up, a book and the soundtrack of Caillou when I realize over the next 10 minutes baby is doing nothing. Absolutely NO-THING. Clearly entered a sleep cycle.
This is not good. Of course, I know she’s in there and she’s ok but in terms of getting this test done and over with quickly, they are looking for 2 accelerations in heart rate that last 15+ seconds. My baby is spitting out a flat line with limited variability. It’s like the best bike power file I’ve ever seen. VI of 1.00! But unfortunately the worst test result. The nurse comes in and says – time to wake your baby up. She gives me stomach a jolt with a weird vibrating thing and shouts WAKE UP BABY!
Between that and Caillou I’d like to know HOW this experience qualifies as relaxing.
5 minutes later – nothing. Baby spitefully lays still though I know – I KNOW – just 30 minutes earlier in the waiting room she was like a kickboxer in my belly. The nurse tells me she’s going to bring in the big guns: juice and chocolate. SUGAR! The irony: I’m at the doctor’s office being told to eat candy. All of a sudden, this doesn’t seem too bad. I suspect people actually live like this – big comfy chair, eating chocolate while kid watches TV.
The sugar worked almost instantly. Her baseline HR of 140 shoots up in the 160s and she starts squiggling around. This continues on and off for the next 15 minutes. Glad it worked but if I have to go through this every week I might give myself gestational diabetes.
In which case some of my friends will revel in the opportunity to do their best Wilfred Brimley di-bee-tus! for me.
Then something interesting happens. It feels like baby is jumping on my bladder and lightning is shooting up into me. I’m on the edge of needing to pee myself when I realize a giant mountain is appearing on the print out sheet. Could it be? CONTRACTION! But sadly I had only one in the entire 45 minutes. Baby is nowhere near ready to come out. This means only one thing: I just might be pregnant: FOREVER.
Next we see the doctor. Max is concerned with all of the tools she has, more specifically the goopy jelly.
Is that going to hurt my mommy?
Not a bit, the doctor says.
But I know better. Of the four doctors in this practice, this one is my least favorite because she simply cannot do a manual check without getting elbow deep into my you know what. One of these days, I’ll see her hand coming out of my mouth.
THAT FAR up in me.
This time around is no different. It was the most awkward, uncomfortable pressure. Almost as awkward as the Strep B test. All of the moms understand what I mean about that test. The rest of you? It will be one of those SURPRISE (!) moments of pregnancy.
The doctor looks at me.
You are not ready to have this baby.
And she has just secured her position as least favorite doctor FOR ALL ETERNITY.
Can I stomp around the office, tantrum, throw myself on the ground and work up some fake tears about this? It’s your lucky day, I’ll get my kid to join me and collectively we will get you to reach back in there and PULL THAT BABY OUT! Know why? Because I’m uncomfortable. I’m large and according to the rest of the world so large they feel the need to comment EVERY SINGLE DAY and remind me. Whoa, you’re BIG! I am tired because I can’t just lay around being large, I have to take care of this 4 year old and run my business. I’m also running out of clothes and refuse to buy a single article more of large clothing. I CANNOT AFFORD ANY MORE PREGNANCY in so many ways!
Your cervix is hard. Nothing is happening. You need a lot more contractions to get things going.
That was not the news I wanted to hear. I wanted to be one of those lucky pregnant woman who goes early and gets to miss out on the last few weeks of calf cramps (nightly), trips to the bathroom (every 10 minutes when running), nausea (just in case I forgot I was pregnant!) and the inability to sleep for more than 4 hours (I know it’s good practice but…I’m TIRED!). I mean, aren’t these last 4 weeks just bonus weeks? Character builders?
Not in my case. It’s like the last 10K of Ironman. I know the end is in sight but until then, I just want to crawl into my pain cave, take inventory of the assorted aches and pains and move forward. Slowly. I walked out of the office slightly defeated knowing that between now and next week I will need to bounce on a ball for 12 hours a day to get this kid out of me.
In other news, I am still swimming, still biking, still running and in case you haven’t heard: still pregnant.
I’ve slowed way down in swimming – but so has my motivation. It’s tough to put on a suit that you barely fit into or commit to buying a new suit when you only have a few weeks left. I apologize for anything that is showing, sticking out or obscene. As long as you don’t look down when you’re near me and you’ll be fine. The other day I went to the pool to find every lane full. I asked a guy if I could share his lane. He looked at me and very quickly said no. I thought to myself he’s probably expecting me to aquacize and get in his way. So I hopped in the lane next to him and lapped him 3 times in a 500. And, yes, every time I lapped him, I pushed off the wall a little harder.
Biking is my go to – on the trainer or outside on the path. I’m so big that I only fit into one of my husband’s size large jerseys. That happens to be the one that reads ILLINOIS STATE CHAMPION. You can’t understand the pleasure I get from passing people going 10 mph while wearing that jersey. The other day on the path, a new PR: 6 potty stops in 90 minutes. On the trainer, it takes two towels and a TP Quad Roller on top of my aero bars to ride comfortably. Hey, I asked my husband for more spacers, he said no more room, Liz. So I said screw aerodynamics, I'm going for comfort.
Running – is hit or miss but this week, a total hit. Last week I had to take off from running because my feet felt weird. I did some ellipticizing which is a special kind of inferno of boredom for the pregnant woman. Especially when the old man who whispers about you finally gets ballsy enough to approach you and say we’re keeping our eye on you. Oh yeah? Safe to say, I’m not keeping my eyes on you if you keep insisting on working out in those sweatpants.
For the most part, I do two workouts a day because it is the only time I feel good and normal. But fear not, to the chagrin of most of the gym population and the general public, you cannot exercise a baby out of you. At times, I feel like I might be better off walking around 9 months pregnant with a beer and a cigarette because it just might go over better than exercising by someone with my belly.
As of now, we have everything ready for this baby: crib, diapers, breast pump, bottles and sleep sacks. For all new mothers, that is pretty much all that you need. You can register for $1000000000000 of other stuff at BuyBuyBaby but it’s not necessary. Anything else that we need or don’t know, we’ll be winging it. Thus far, except for a few minor incidents with my son (case in point: he is missing a front tooth, he goes to bed at 9 pm and knows how to say jackass), we have been successful parents.
Not perfect, just mostly successful.
We're excited for her arrival yet I know the hard part still lies ahead. The 6 months where I'll probably be woken up every 1 to 3 hours throughout the day. That doesn't even include labor. And by the way, one of my athletes asked me to send him my labor race plan. Working on it. I need to think a few things through, read the athlete guide and put some salt tabs into baggies.