January 01, 2009

38 weeks has arrived and it is kicking my ass

Before I get into everything, a quick update: I lost my mucous plug somewhere in the dark and early hours of Wednesday morning on one of my 500 trips to the bathroom. I don't know if I am any further dilated yet as I do not have my "38 week" appointment until Friday, when I will be 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant.

I have been trying to avoid writing this post. This post where I complain or bemoan my last weeks, or maybe days, of pregnancy - knowing full well, with all my heart how incredibly fortunate I am to even be here to begin with. I have spent the large majority of my pregnancy feeling that gratitude and wonder, knowing at each turn in the road, at each milestone, how very very blessed I am. Blessed to have a fairly textbook and simple pregnancy, blessed to enjoy pregnancy, blessed to be healthy and have a healthy little pepper growing inside of me, blessed all around. Just two weeks ago I was still commenting on how much I simply loved being pregnant, how great I still felt, how I was eager to meet our son but also perfectly content to hang out in my blissfully pregnant state as long as was needed.

I have had a spectacular pregnancy. I have stayed relatively healthy, have not gained a ton of weight, have been fairly active, have deeply enjoyed connecting with our son in utero, have loved my new pregnant curves, have loved how much my husband loved my new pregnant curves. It has been really amazing. So - when others kept warning me I would feel differently the last 2-3 weeks, I really didn't put much stock in it. I felt like I was made for this, made for pregnancy - my body was finally doing all it was meant to, and doing it well. It would not let me down. Ha!

Then 37 weeks hit. That nagging sciatic pain that had come and gone during previous months reared it's head again, but instead of coming and going - it moved in and made its home in the lower right quadrant of my back, my right buttock and my right thigh, reducing me to tears and foul words if I so much as tried to innocently take three steps across the kitchen floor. "Still", I thought, "this is normal pregnancy pain, not so bad - I will be ok - nothing to complain about." But each day the pain has gotten progressively worse, and nothing much seems to help. My chiropractor broke it to me simply: "there's not much I can do to help - you just have to have that baby."

Then, as if the rest of my body had gotten the message now that it was ok to start falling apart on me, other symptoms began to appear: massive lower back pain, pelvic pain, the timely reappearance of nightly acid reflux, complete utter exhaustion, and my new favorite - mind-numbing insomnia. And as each new symptom has appeared I tried very hard to simply take it in without complaint, to accept it as a sign things were moving in the right direction. I kept telling myself how very very lucky I was to even be feeling these things. But they kept coming. Soon, I found myself having to scooch four times to simply roll over in bed, and actually getting out of bed has become an olympic event in and of itself. I no longer feel beautiful and womanly and fertile, but simply huge and bloated and beached like a whale.

Thankfully, I have incredibly understanding and empathetic friends who have assured me that this is all very normal and does not mean I am any less grateful. They have kindly offered to allow me to vent as much as is needed. My doula has assured me that these feelings help prepare a woman to be ready to go through labor. After all, if you feel super-duper why would you willingly walk into something like labor and the ensuing uncertainty to follow? In her words, it almost has to get bad enough to make you willing to endure labor to come out of it. But there's the rub. I do want out. I am begging this child to come, I am eating spicy foods, drinking my tea, getting my daily dose of prostaglandins. And tonight - I feel really strange and guilty about it.

I don't want to end this chapter this way, with a desperate wish to get out of it. I don't want to forget in my haze of hormones and sleep deprivation what a tremendous gift this has been. I don't want my son to sense in any way that I can't wait to evict him just to get some relief. But at times, I have felt or am feeling all of those things and more.

On the other hand, I am also terrifyingly aware that regardless of how I feel, this little boy is coming out sometime. And it may be some time very soon. And then I think, "Holy Shit! How did I get here? It's all gone by so fast!" And I realize with alarming clarity that although I now know how to be pregnant, and have armed myself with all sorts of knowledge about breastfeeding, birthing, and even child-rearing - I know nothing, really, nothing of what motherhood is or will be for me. I don't know who I will be once this little guy makes his appearance, his permanent, life-altering appearance in our lives. I don't know who he will be. I will learn, I have been told. But it is more than a little frightening all the same. Frightening enough to almost make me beg for more time to figure it all out, as if there is such a thing.

So here I sit - half of me wishing desperately in the still dark hours of morning for some relief, and half of me mourning that this season is almost over. Mourning that soon my womb will be empty. That never again will I feel Poblano rolling over or jabbing me with his pointy-parts. That never again will being a mother be so easy, so contained. That once I have let go of him with my body, I will begin the life-long practice of letting go in a million ways, with my heart. And with that ache - the physical complaints I feel now seem no less painful, but maybe just a bit more bearable.

So - yes, I am ready. Ready for him to come. Ready to meet my son. Ready to trade these pains and discomforts for new ones. But I am also holding on just a bit, knowing that this is our last bit of time together like this. Knowing that soon the quiet nighttime wanderings of my anxious mind will be replaced by something altogether less quiet and less easily controlled. Knowing, in the words of one of my favorite poets, David Whyte:

the good news is: "Everything is waiting for you", the bad news is, "EVERYTHING is waiting for you."


mary elizabeth said...

just lovely post. your writing is so descriptive and sensitive. very nice. i hope you'll compile these blogs and save them for your son. i am so excited for you! although i do remember the mind numbing insomnia and hated it--it will pass. hang in there! i am thinking of you and love keeping up with your posts!

annacyclopedia said...

Just a gentle and loving reminder to you, Spicy, to be gentle with yourself in all of this. I know you are, and I know you know. But maybe it is just perfect to be feeling this way right now - just like your doula says. I hope you are not suffering too much in your body, and I hope you are not suffering too much in your heart, either. Wishing you peace in this transition, ready or not. Much love to you.

Denise said...

I think once Poblano is born and you look back at your pregnancy, you will remember all of the wonderful parts of it, not this. And yes, completely normal to feel this way and please, please, please complain to us! I completely agree with the theory that you have to be supremely miserable to WANT to go through labor. For me, the whole experience of labor and becoming a parent was so overwhelming that I couldn't help but let go when I got to it. I couldn't think about it anymore. You just have to make it through this last part and you are so close. There is so comfort to knowing that even if you want time to speed up or slow down at the same time, it will keep moving along at its own pace.

I'm so excited for you to become a mommy! Hang in there and feel free to email every complaint you have if it helps!