November and December
Wednesday, November 2—35 weeks, 1 day
I think the chiropractor cut down on my waddling. Also some combination of acupuncture/moxa, chiropractor/Webster’s, Hypnobabies/“Turn, Baby, Turn,” and generally talking to this baby, envisioning her head down, and just generally using gravity to help did turn baby over, so we now have a beautiful, healthy, head-down baby again. Kelley was here over the weekend (just before a random October snowstorm—oh, baby, who knows what natural disasters you’ll live through!) and said everything looks good, and I might want now to do some squats and birth-ball bounces, etc., to encourage baby to descend into my pelvis and nestle down a bit more, since s/he is still fairly high.
Life is busy, and I’m wishing I had a bit more time to slow down and enjoy these last few weeks instead of pushing through everyday, but with Robert’s grandmother in the hospital again and mid-semester papers to grade, there’s not a lot of relaxation on the horizon for me until Thanksgiving. Part of my busy-ness is another round of nesting--see exhibit A at right, in which I reorganized the changing table and shelves in--I guess I have to say it--the kids' room.
Sunday, November 6--35 weeks, 5 days
I had my blessingway yesterday, which was really lovely. Here's my hennaed belly, first immediately after the artist finished, then as I was brushing off the dried bits of henna four hours or so later, and then the next day (today) as it darkened a little overnight.
Tuesday, November 15th—37 weeks
We had a nice weekend this weekend—Robert was away at his sister’s wedding in Florida, and while Marcus and I missed him, it was nice having my parents (who came up to make sure I wasn’t alone) take care of me this weekend. My father needs to learn how to use our remote controls before the birth, and he needs to remember to bring knee pads up with him for playing with Marcus on the floor. My mother reaquainted herself with our washing machine and expressed discontent with the state of our cooking knives and my crowded refrigerator. Just like old times!
I’ve been feeling well, overall, but boy, days when I’m teaching really take a lot out of me. By my third class, I can feel my fingers and feet starting to tingle and swell—I just can’t eat very well on school days because of the rush, and I can’t drink very much because as it is I have to run to the bathroom both before and after a 50-minute class. So, just a handful of days more until Thanksgiving Break, thank goodness, and then I’ll see how I feel and maybe have someone sub for me after that.
But I’m full-term—baby could come at any moment and Kelley would be okay with that. Right now the baby flipped around, still head down, but with the head on my right side and back along my back. It’s not the most ideal position, but Kelley said it’s okay especially since I’m a second-time mom and my pelvis has already opened to let a head through once. Still, I’ve been doing some hands-knees positioning and some forward leaning to try to get baby to rotate a bit. My blood pressure was also very slightly elevated, but I didn’t have any swelling at all when Kelley was here—and generally I don’t unless, like I said, I’ve been standing or sitting at a desk all day.
At home I’ve been sitting on my exercise/birth ball—wow, the difference that makes is huge to my well-being!
Meanwhile, things are getting pretty close, and I’m getting really excited. I can’t wait to meet this baby!
Wednesday, November 23rd—38 weeks, 1 day
I'm officially done with teaching for this semester! Everyone was very understanding when I broached the subject of not quite finishing out the semester and assured me that the university has policies in place to deal with this; they found three colleagues each willing to teach the last two weeks of one of my classes (and even grade my students' final papers) and are compensating them for it, so last week I got my papers in order and handed off packets to each sub. My students were a little shell-shocked, I think, even though I'd been trying to drop hints for awhile: there was the moment in September, during a heatwave, when I got a fan moved into one ultra-warm classroom and when the students asked, told them I had practically assaulted a maintenance man and told him "I'm seven months pregnant and I NEED a fan!"; there was the time a student asked me where I would be going for Thanksgiving and I answered that I wasn't going to travel anymore, but rather my parents were going to come and stay with me to help out with the baby; there was the time during registration for the spring that a student asked if I would be teaching such-and-such a class in the spring, and I said no, that I wouldn't be teaching any classes in the spring, but would actually be on maternity leave. Yet apparently such words as "pregnant," "baby," and "maternity leave" left little if no actual impression, because last Friday, when I told them that after Thanksgiving they would be in the able hands of one of my colleagues, So-and-So, they all just sat and stared at me.
"But where are you going?" one of them asked.
"Where am I going?" I repeated incredulously. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to have a baby. Soon."
Another student came up to me after class last week to tell me I should have told them all sooner, "because, Professor, some of us may not have understood you--we may just have thought you were very, very fat and not liked you, but now we understand you!" Uh, okay. I'll file that one away for next time.
In any case, it's a huge load of mental stress and physical stress off me at this point; Marcus took this week off from daycare, but I think he'll be going back the Monday after Thanksgiving, both because my parents will be here and can drive him in, and so that he has a bit of normalcy and social interaction. The past few days I've been nesting, I suppose--doing all sorts of small random tasks around the house: putting down peppermint oil in corners of the kitchen against mice; cleaning out the crisper drawers in the fridge and re-lining them; organizing all of Marcus's winter sweatshirts, hats, jackets, snowpants, and boots; finishing up some annoying computer upgrade/maintenance tasks that needed to be done; taking care of some online banking loose ends that actually involved making phone calls to real live people; reorganizing the pantry cabinets and refilling all our pantry staples (rice, olive oil, salt, soy sauce) from the larger jugs/bins into the daily-use containers; etc.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and my parents are driving up in the morning and staying, as my mother put it, "for the duration." I can't wait until they're here!
Had a nice appointment with Kelley on Saturday, and I've been feeling really good--sleeping well, just a bit stiff when I get up in the morning or overnight to use the bathroom; maybe a shade of swelling on my ankles at the end of the days--but am excited to get back to the chiropractor next Monday and also have a bit more help with meals and laundry and things.
Thursday, December 1st—39 weeks, 2 days
Nope, haven't had the baby yet--for the record, I don't think any pregnant woman likes getting calls or emails like that! I was personally always planning on having a December baby, and s/he might arrive tomorrow or in two and a half weeks. Who knows? Kelley's best guess, when she was here on Monday, was that I had at least a week left, based on position of the baby (not dropped at all, head not even close to engaged on my cervix) and texture of my cervix. Robert seems shocked that we haven't had the baby yet--I don't know whose plan he was consulting!
Meanwhile, I've been having a lovely week enjoying my parents' visit. They've been driving me around everywhere--chiro on Monday, elementary school preview visits and information sessions Tuesday and Wednesday, dropping Marcus at daycare and picking him up with me, taking me food shopping and running random errands around campus (returning books, papers, getting forms) and town (Bed, Bath and Beyond, etc.). It's really nice having them here--I've gotten to take a nap or at least rest every day, and Marcus is enjoying some quality grandparent time.
I've also just been savoring all the time I have with Marcus. Every time I wear him--on Tuesday we walked to a library event with him on my back--and every time I wake up with him sleeping in bed beside me, I feel like it might be the last time that it's just him. It won't be exactly the same, obviously, with NewBaby here. And besides, he looks so huge! How was he once this tiny tiny baby in my belly too? It doesn't compute at all for me.
I feel great--mimimal waddling, no backaches or other aches and pains, no heartburn unless I eat oranges/orange juice and/or lie down immediately after eating or drinking without my precautionary handful of raw almonds (seriously, they ward off positional heartburn like magic!), no complaints, really. There's still a bit of faded henna on my belly, though I wonder if it'll last until the baby arrives.
Marcus seems to have forgotten entirely how to latch and suck. He still asks to wa-wa every couple days, but he just can't figure it out. Stubborn little boy, though--he says yes, he's still drinking milk there, even though I know he's not. Robert has recently started teasing/nagging him about nursing--Marcus said, looking at a picture, "That's my friend Garrison. He likes milk," and Robert asked, "Really? Don't you like milk?" and Marcus said, "No, I like water, but I get milk from Mommy's wa-was and I like that milk." Then yesterday Robert was trying to convince Marcus to eat something pudding-like, and he said, "Here, this tastes like milk--like Mommy's milk," and Marcus looked at him skeptically. He ran over to me, climbed into my lap, asked to nurse, "latched" on (not really, though), and then popped off and said, "Nope! Mommy's milk is better!" Robert rolled his eyes and threw in the towel. So, this is all to say that while Marcus might no longer really be nursing--as in actually getting milk at the breast--he is still very attached to the idea of it. We'll see what happens in a few weeks.
Tuesday, December 6th—40 weeks
"Any news?" is the standard thing people say when we call them these days. Uh, yeah, I had the baby a week ago and wasn't planning on saying anything--is that what they expect to hear? Seriously, we'll tell you when NewBaby arrives. For the record, texts asking me the same thing are even less welcome.
Still going to the chiropractor, both for Webster's and for general adjustments. Sometime between weeks 35 and 39, this baby flipped again and went back to the breech position. Kelley has attended a lot of breech births, though, so we feel comfortable with the birth whether baby rotates again (still possible--s/he's a very flippy kid, apparently) or stays breech through labor, either way. We did have an ultrasound last week to confirm position and presenting parts and make sure the placenta is well out of the way (it is, nicely posterior and quite far from my cervix), and then Kelley came over a few days ago to talk about best positions for birthing a breech baby and how a water birth might work with a breech delivery, etc. I've been doing the Hypnobabies script every night and some hands-and-knees walking, and I'm definitely getting lots of movement, so we'll see what position NewBaby is in for the birth after all.
Robert is going on a business trip today, overnight to St. Louis, and next week, overnight to Detroit. He is of course panicking that NewBaby will arrive while he's gone. Kelley will be back on Saturday--when he heard that, too, he panicked: "So long??" he asked. I pointed out that it was a standard once-a-week thing at this point, unless I call her before. Every morning when I wake up, he asks, "How do you feel?" which seems to be his code for "Are you in labor yet?" even though I told him that even if I were thinking I was in labor at that moment, I probably wouldn't tell him--I would wait awhile, wait until I was 110% sure. Anyway, whenever the baby comes, s/he comes. It's kind of funny when people ask when I'm due and I say, "Any day now," really meaning it literally.
The henna is 95% worn off of my belly by now--it was so much fun while I had it, and I'm really glad I did it. Above right you can see essentially my 40-week picture (taken Sunday, though): Marcus was being silly and refusing to look at the camera, but he had wanted to go up (he and I both have a cold and cough, and he was definitely feeling under the weather, hot and sniffly) so I put him up on my back and we danced around the living room to a random mostly-oldies playlist (some Beatles, some Dusty Springfield, some Dixie Cups) while Robert made crepes for dinner, my mother looked on askance, and my father predicted that NewBaby comes out dancing. Maybe s/he will--I feel good, and every day is kind of relaxing and exciting all at once, meanwhile.
Monday, December 12th—40 weeks, 6 days
Lots of school visits this past week—checking out Boston Public Schools kindergarten preview times for Marcus for next year. It’s great going on these tours and watching people’s jaws drop when I answer their inevitable, “Oh, when are you due?” question calmly.
I feel great pregnancy-wise, but I got a terrible cold this week and have been blowing my nose and coughing and coughing all week. I think it’s finally starting to get better—maybe the baby was just waiting for that! Marcus got it too, and he’s got the tiniest lingering cough left, and Robert had a light version of it for just a day or two, but my parents seem to have escaped it.
I’ve been nesting, and my parents have been enabling that: we cleaned out my entire refrigerator and freezers, all of my kitchen cabinets, my linen closet, my rag area, my container area, the area over my kitchen cabinets, and possibly something else that I’m forgetting. We got rid of many many bags of trash and also made a trip to Goodwill with some random kitchen things.
Kelley and Jenna (her apprentice) came by Friday—said it could be any day, or it could be next week, which is pretty much what I knew. I’ve been re-reading the birth stories in Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May and also the Phyllis Chesler memoir about pregnancy and birth and motherhood that I love so much. Both are so delightfully 70s-ish. I’ve been taking a nap almost every afternoon this week, while Marcus is at school, and really just trying to fight this cold off.
Plus I’ve been talking to the baby, saying that I really do want the baby for who she is, that our family and home will welcome the baby and love her, and telling her all the things I can think of that are exciting for me about this. Marcus came up while I was talking to the baby a couple days ago and wanted to join in, so he started listing all the reasons baby should come out:
“We will love you and hold you and wrap you up in a blanket REALLY REALLY tightly because some babies like that and I will hold you and you can ride in my old carseat and you can share my wa-was [uh, my breasts] and you can wa-wa on THAT side and I will wa-wa on THIS side and then you can ride in a sling on mommy's front [he has always preferred front carries, so this is big for him].”
Anyway, I hope that between the two of us we presented somewhat of a compelling case. It was a far cry from yesterday when he apparently decided to sing morbid songs about the baby—all afternoon he was walking around singing, at the top of his preschooler lungs, this lovely ditty he (presumably) created especially for the occasion:
“ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A BABY
STILL IN MY MOMMY'S BELLY
AND A BIG BAD GUY WANTED TO EAT IT ALL UP
AND THE BIG ROBOT DIDN'T LET HIM
SO. . . ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A BABY. . .” [repeat]
I like (?) that the word “still” is in there. I like that robots are forces of good. But, uh, yeah, it weirds me out to think of “a big bad guy” trying to eat up the baby in my belly. Shudder. We chose the “ignore it and maybe it’ll go away” strategy, and after only forty minutes of singing, it did.
NewBaby, we are ready for you—come out whenever you want and you will be loved! (And protected by robots. . . )
Meanwhile, how are there actually people in this world who bluntly text or email and say, “Are you still pregnant?” How do they exist? I’ve been thinking that the end of pregnancy is weirdly like the beginning of it. I mean in the very beginning, even before you get that positive test, if you’re trying to conceive, you're always hyper-aware, analyzing and overanalyzing every single cramp and twinge, etc., running them in your mind against a checklist of pregnancy symptoms, though of course they could be just coincidence. Well, the same thing happens now, just against a mental checklist of labor signs, though of course again they could be just coincidence. It’s a strange state to be in.
I told Robert that all he needs to tell people who ask is this simple three-part mantra: "Christina's fine, the baby's fine, and we'll let you know when the baby arrives." That's true, and that's all there is, really.
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Created: 6/5/11. Last Modified: 12/12/11.