So. I am 35 weeks pregnant today. Holy cow.
Everyone keeps asking "Are you excited?" and "Are you ready?"
The answer to the former is, Yes of course I am, but I am also a bit terrified and overwhelmed at the BIG change about to come into our lives. And honestly, I am grieving being so close to the end as well. I almost burst into tears at my last OB appt. This time has literally flown by and there are still so many things I *meant* to do to commemorate it. And although it has been a hard time in some ways, and certainly a time of reflection and growth and assessment - it has been really, truly, sweet. I love my pregnant body. I love the way my husband looks at my giant growing belly and smiles. I love dreaming about our child together. I love feeling him move and knowing he is safe and sound. I love the feeling of strength and beauty I have knowing I am carrying this life inside of me. And no, I won't miss not sleeping, or having massive acid reflux every night, or feeling like someone kicked me in my vagina - but I will miss pregnancy as a whole. I know, I know, ask me again in 3 weeks and see how I feel, right?
The answer to the latter question is pretty much, "Hell no" - we are so far from "ready" (whatever that means). My "to do" list is more than a page long and I will have to accomplish more than one thing on it per day to ensure we are all set for our Poblano. I have washed some of the baby clothes and erected the co-sleeper (it still needs bedding washed and to be attached to the bed) - I have ordered diapers (cloth) and some other items we are missing - but other than that? Yeah, total slacker. Which is no surprise really. I am a renowned procrastinator. I am the queen of getting things done at the last possible hour. I think I actually work better under that stress some times. But in this case, I am working against a really vague deadline. He could come weeks early, or weeks late, or anywhere in between. Doesn't give me a whole lot to work with there. We aren't setting up a nursery right away though, which saves me some work. He will be staying in our room with us for probably the first 6 months or so. We have a dresser for him and a co-sleeper. There's a changing table in our bathroom and we have a couple swings, bouncy seats, etc. that will reside upstairs and downstairs. So, shouldn't be too difficult, right?
Why does everything seem to take so much more time and effort than I could have imagined though? Take our search for a doula for example. We went to a "Meet the Doulas" night. It was good. Lots of good info. Met 4 doulas. No one really jumped out at us. We interviewed another doula at our home. She was really experienced and knowledgeable and would have done a great job, I am sure - but we just didn't "click" with her the way we hoped to. Then, I spent day after day emailing or calling doulas, only to get no response or to find out they aren't practicing any more or are already booked. FINALLY, this weekend we interviewed another doula and she really rocked. She isn't as experienced as some of the others we've looked at, but she has so many qualities that are such a good fit for us and she seems very knowledgeable and supportive. We connected right away and I felt really safe with her discussing some of my concerns and issues around the birth and preparing for it on a spiritual, psychological, emotional, and physical level. She also has a decade of experience as a counselor working with pregnant and postpartum women and is very familiar with post-partum depression. So, she will be very comfortable supporting me in assessing where I am at and getting the resources I will need if that becomes an issue for me. So, that is finally resolved - which is a huge relief - but gosh it seemed to take forever! Now I need to find a pediatrician. Yeah. I am not looking forward to that so much at all. But I have to have one by the time our Poblano arrives - so I better get on it.
Lots has happened in the last few weeks.
- We finished with our birthing classes. We took the Birthing From Within classes. It was a really great series. We met in the instructor's home, with only 2 other couples. It was small and intimate, and creative, and informative, and empowering. It gave us so much to work with - practical aspects like pain management practices and information about birth, emotional aspects like facing our fears and looking at our attitudes and beliefs about birth and about family, and spiritual aspects like making symbols and birth art, and thinking about how we want to welcome our child into the world.
- I had my baby shower this weekend. Two friends of mine hosted a sweet, intimate, meaningful, and fun shower for me. About 12 other women attended. We had great food (all of it was gluten-free, which is a sure-fire way to tell me you love me!) and each of the women said a blessing or wish for this new season coming upon us, or for our birth. And then there was the present opening. I could not have asked for a better shower. I felt so loved and cared for. But it was also really hard having all that attention on me in such an intense way. I had to literally keep coaching myself to stay calm and to keep my ears and my heart open to receive it all. By the end I was full, and completely exhausted.
- I met with my OB at 34 weeks and addressed with her my concerns about her maybe not being available for the birth and also about my wishes and hopes for our birth. It was an incredible conversation. I have sometimes been hesitant to advocate for myself so obviously - so it felt really good to speak up. She took lots of time with me and was really reassuring about everything. It would take volumes to report back all that we talked about and all that she said. But suffice to say I felt really heard and empowered and supported by the time I left her office and I feel so much more confident that our birth is something we will be active, educated participants in. Dr. Honey has been really consistent in addressing my concerns, fears, and questions with respect and compassion and without making me feel rushed or like the worry-wart I sometimes feel that I am. I pretty much adore her for that. In fact, this visit I again mentioned my worry that Poblano isn't moving quite as much as I would expect and without skipping a beat both she and the medical assistant offered to do another NST just to ease my worries. Of course he was just fine, and he did somersaults the entire testing time just to reassure me - but both of them just continued to tell me not to feel weird or embarrassed about asking to come in for this any time I might be afraid. After talking with others who have had to fight with their Dr.s to even be seen at times - I feel really fortunate to have ended up where I have.
And last but not least......I did manage to take a 34 week belly photo, although I am posting it a week late - here is my belly in all its glory! (sorry about the lack of clothing - I can't stand wearing clothes right now any more than I have to)