The Waiting Game

Still pregnant….

Last Thursday we had our 39-week doctor’s appointment which, for those of you who haven’t gone through this rigamarole, consists of peeing in a cup, getting weighed and measured, listening to baby’s heart, and having gloved fingers stuck up inside you for a let’s-see. I was essentially unchanged from the previous Thursday: 2 cm dilated, 80% effaced, “very soft”. Baby heartrate 120bpm, fundal height 40cm. Blood pressure still “perfect” and weight holding steady. Carrying on my hereditary tradition of defying “what most people do,” I haven’t gained any weight in this last month of pregnancy despite eating fairly high-calorie food pretty heartily. Like my mom before me, I gained whatever weight I was going to gain in the first part of pregnancy and then pretty much stalled out. Baby is gaining weight appropriately, but sans baby I am, if anything, losing a little.

On Thursday, the doctor mentioned inducement (induction?) for the first time. He said that if we went a week past the due date — which, btw, he randomly changed to April 24 and says has always been the 24th, despite having said it was the 25th for the past nine months, weird — that we might induce, and that he could postpone that up until two weeks overdue with heavy monitoring. I really, really, really don’t want to go down that road if it’s possible to avoid it, so if nothing else, I hope the little guy — or my body, or whomever/whatever it is that is ultimately responsible for this sort of thing — takes care of business the old-fashioned way, and on the doctor’s timeline.

So if I’m due the 24th, we’re at T-minus 48 hours. No contractions, no broken water, no apparent plug loss. Old wives’ tales would be encouraged by the fact that I had a few days of high energy, and that my digestive system has gone a bit haywire. Other than really beginning to feel the muscle strain of lugging around GigantoBelly, and the associated discomfort at night (and hourly trips to the bathroom), I don’t feel much different than I did a week ago.

I think, in general, I could be okay with playing the waiting game for a little bit longer, if it were just up to me. These are my last few days as Not-Mom, of being able to (hypothetically) sleep when I want to, or get into the car and go somewhere without worrying about car seats and diaper bags and breast milk. Even though I’m not entirely “just me” — The Bump certainly qualifies as a separate entity at this point, if only in terms of sheer square footage — I can still sit here in the house, in near perfect quiet, and be something akin to alone. At this point in time, no one and nothing is so dependent on me that I couldn’t walk away for several hours.

It is hard to patiently wait, though, when surrounded by impatience! 🙂 Ryan, in particular, is very eager to get this show on the road. He keeps threatening to start at the top of my torso and squeeze me like a tube of toothpaste to get the little guy to come out. I become anxious for the baby to arrive more for R’s sake than for mine….

There’s a certain amount of… well, I’m not sure what to call it. It’s a variation on dread, I guess, although nothing so very bleak and scary. Everything is going to be very different, and I don’t know what that’s all going to be like. There is certainly a very loud and confident part of me that embraces the impending change, knowing that this is exactly what I wanted and how important it all is to me. This part of me says that it will be tough but good, that I will figure it all out, that I will transition into my new life just fine.

But there are quieter voices, too: voices who have doubts, voices who wonder what in the world I’ve gotten myself into, even selfish little voices that want to keep leading a carefree child-free life.

I am not afraid of what will happen at the hospital. But part of me is afraid of what happens when we come back home.

I suppose that’s probably normal.

On a sillier note, I do wish [REDACTED] would go ahead and show up, because I have several things on the calendar that I’m bound to miss if he keeps dragging his feet! I’ve got two events next weekend, and things the following weekend as well, that I’d really like to be able to attend if only momentarily… I mean, obviously I’m being goofy here, but I stand a chance of being able to swing by (for example) a baby shower if I’m several days post-partum, whereas if I’m in labor I am probably going to miss that one! 😉

Enjoy It Now!

If I fuss, I’m not fussing at you. Unless I am, in which case, you might deserve it. But I fuss because I love. Or because I’m hungry and hormonal. One of those things.

I’m eager to join the Sorority of Motherhood, but a great deal about it mystifies me. Among the many things I wish I understood: Why do parents want to make expectant parents believe that parenthood is so awful?

I’m not talking about people who didn’t want kids, either. I’m talking about people who wanted and love their children. People who are happy for you when they find out you’re going to have one of your own.

People who are delighted to point out that YOUR LIFE IS OVER! Mwa ha ha!

Let me give you some examples.

Me: “We go to movies at the dollar theater about once a week.”

Other Parent:

You mean, you USED TO go to movies!

Okay, so obviously, I am about to hit a stage in my life when my evening entertainment options are going to be sharply curtailed. No impromptu nights at the ballet for me for a few years! But will having a baby really mean that I can’t join the other parents-of-babies in the back row of the DOLLAR THEATER once a week or so? I mean, it’s a buck. If I have to go out into the lobby, so be it. Oh, and it’s not as if I don’t have family and friends in town — not to mention a growing network of teenagers and young adults — who couldn’t watch Pablo for a couple of hours. 

Here’s another one:

Me: “I have a really busy weekend: class all day Saturday, and two different performances.”

Other Parent:

Ha! You don't even know what a busy weekend looks like yet!

You’re right. I’ve never had a busy weekend before. Quick, someone call early 2000s me and let me know how easy I’ve got it. Yes, of course I know that my life is going to get busier and busier as Pablo grows up, joins activities, and gains siblings. Heaven help me if he decides he wants to do soccer or ballet or something; I don’t think those parents ever see the insides of their homes. But given the wee tyke’s genetic makeup, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if those busy weekends consist of long trips to the library and occasional mathalons… which, trust me, will seem downright relaxing compared to this past weekend or to just about any weekend I ever had throughout college.

A standard theme:

Me: “I found a cute shirt on sale the other day.”

Other Parent:

You'll never buy clothes for yourself again -- enjoy it now!

Dude. I shop at Ross, thrift stores, and clearance racks. Yeah, I’m a little bit enamored of the Tiny Clothes Section, and I know he’ll grow out of every thing the minute I put it on him. But somehow I don’t think I’ll magically lose the ability to clothe myself just because I’m a mom… and even if I do put my clothing-purchasing energies into kiddy clothes, that’s okay because I’m still enjoying myself. Right?

Here’s a recent favorite:

Me: “I’m enjoying the fact that I just got my car washed and vacuumed.”

Other Parent:

Your car will never be clean again!!!

Okay, so, really? I’m not a neat freak (as my mom reads this, she is probably laughing out loud) and I’ve never really prioritized having a spotless car. Heck, I’m one of those teachers who basically lives out of her car during the school year. Yesterday, as a gift/payment for some help I gave Ryan with his student council stuff (hey, I’m not above being bribed) I got my car washed and lightly detailed. It’s the first time that it’s been really clean since we bought it, and you know how much time it took? Half an hour. Do I know that kids stain upholstery and stuff Cheerios and pacifiers in places that you didn’t even know your car had? Of course I do! But do you know how many ooooold homework assignments, flattened granola bars, lost (unopened) cans of Coke, and forgotten thrift store book purchases you can find between the seat cushions on a car that has NEVER had a child in it? Because I do. And besides, just because there’s a car seat back there doesn’t mean that anyone is going to tell me:

you shall not wash your car

I guess it’s just kind of getting to the point where I feel like people really want to make sure I know that

being a parent sucks

which is weird, because I know none of them actually believe that. Quite the opposite, actually. So maybe they’re just trying to tell me that

being a parent is hard and different

Nevertheless, it’s kind of off-putting. I’d been warned to expect horror stories about childbirth (which I don’t mind, actually, but which I haven’t really encountered) but not really about the onslaught of ENJOY IT NOW comments.

The thing is… I’m 32 years old, which I guess isn’t very old, but I’ve been married for almost nine years and have wanted to have a baby for several of those. We put it off for reasons of finances/job stability/insurance. Then, when we felt like our life situation had caught up with our desire to expand our family, we began trying — and had no luck. We went to doctors, did invasive tests, took medicine that made me very ill, injected hormones into my stomach, had to make split-second decisions about risky interventions. We spent surreptitious moments investigating the costs and logistics of adoption. We watched, sick at heart, while people we knew got pregnant with babies they didn’t want and, in some cases, didn’t have. We fought back feelings of bitterness and jealousy when we wanted to be congratulatory and happy for friends. We rode the neverending roller coaster of hope, results, and despair. Then we got pregnant, and then we had a miscarriage. And it was horrible. And then we got pregnant again, and this time it stuck.

God in heaven, we are ready for a little bit of stinky, fussy, time-consuming inconvenience in our lives. We are ready to not just be Ryan-and-Kate. We are ready to stop falling through the crack between “young singles” and “married with kids”; we’re ready to be able to put up family photos and to not be thoughtlessly scolded by students and relatives who want to know if we aren’t getting a little old to have not had any kids yet. We are ready for milk stains, soggy Cheerios, dirty diapers, soccer practices, ballet recitals, all-night barfing marathons, Chuck E Cheese…

Will I go on Facebook and exclaim at how different — how hard — how busy — my new life is? Almost certainly.

Will I complain sometimes? Probably — especially if there’s vomit involved. Or poop-painting. That’s gonna be “fun”.

But I wanted this. I want this.

So bring on the interrupted and skipped movies, busy weekends, outdated wardrobes, and dirty cars. I am more than ready.

My life isn’t over. My life — the life where I get to grow old surrounded by my children and grandchildren, the life where I get to do the one thing that seems truly important to me — is just beginning.