The Countdown Begins

We’re less than a week away from my due date, which as any smart person will tell you (also known as my doula), your due date is an approximation of when you can expect your body to begin what it needs to do for labor, not an expiration date for a baby.

I think it’s funny how Americans treat due dates now, especially when the circumstances don’t at all warrant medical intervention. In 1976, I was due April 3. I didn’t show up until April 20. Somehow I managed to not only turn out fine, but was not a gigantor baby. I’m not saying I want our girl hanging out in my uterus for an extended stay, or that I totally disagree with the decision that at two weeks past that date that some people need intervention,  just that I find it amusing how due dates are one more thing we’ve accepted as gospel, and it tends to drive pregnant ladies crazy.

As uncomfortable as I am, my girl can come when she’s good and ready.

Which she really can, by the way. My bile salt levels are perfectly normal, so there is no need to induce. I could not be happier about this, but of course it doesn’t show. I’m still sick, still in pain, so it’s hard to do the dance of joy I’d like to do. I can’t extol the virtues of my workplace enough, by the way. There is probably no better group of people to have your back, especially considering how uncomfortable and sick I’ve been, and so of course it makes me want to be at work more. I went in on Thursday and, no kidding, got choked up I was greeted so warmly and enthusiastically by my coworkers. Plus? Plenty of work to do!

(On Wednesday I told Scott I wanted to go into work. He said, “Really?” I said, “Yes, I’m bored.” He said, “Can’t you just rent a movie?”)

But I can feel my personal expiration date fast approaching, no matter how antsy I am. And with this cold, I’m pretty sure it’s wise that I continue to hole myself up in the house, work from home, sleeping and trying not to trip over Glinny.

(Right now she’s asleep at my feet, which has been her thing as of late. I also think she enjoys the crusts from the peanut butter toast that have become part of my late-night, early-morning routine and doesn’t want to miss her chance.)

I continue to have moments in what I know are these final days of the pregnancy where I want to be more introspective, but to be honest I’m really filled with more OMFG moments than anything else. And of course it’s over shit I’ve long since reconciled, such as I will no longer be a person with a schedule unencumbered, and by schedule I mean, “Able to get in the shower for 15 minutes whenever I damn well please.” It is this sort of lack of freedom that takes the childless by their throats and makes them gasp for air.

It certainly does me, but it’s a little late for all of that. I’m convinced, of course, that this is all just as well as I want my daughter here with us more than I want a long hot shower but this is from the mouth of a woman who still has that luxury. Which reminds me – I’m officially convinced that taking a shower will be completely doable and I’ll be honest with you: I am of the ilk that if my girl sitting in her bouncy chair, miserable for five minutes, while I’m in the shower is the trade-off for me getting the chance to get clean and happy every day, I’ll gladly take it. Life is hard, and unfair, and I hope I won’t ruin her psyche because of it.

Though let’s be honest: She’s going to be the child of a long-time blogger who has been documenting her exploits online since she was 23. It’s not beyond the realm that I’m going to ruin her psyche for myriad other reasons.

I have other thoughts, of course. I am at that stage where it has dawned on me that part of my identity has now become being pregnant and very soon that’ll be the end of that. Granted, the mom part will pick up where the pregnant lady left off but still. I suppose I won’t miss the commentary on my appearance. Shockingly, at least for me, is that no one, strangers included, have comments on how big I am. I was totally prepared for that but no. That doesn’t mean that they don’t comment, of course. Last weekend at the grocery store, three checkout lanes worth of people all weighed in on me and pregnancy in one shape or another. People look at my belly and tell me the sex of my baby – all have been right so far, byt the way. Women feel especially compelled now to share with me their own experiences – and apropos to my previous comment, I get that. You invest a lot of yourself, quite literally, into growing this human being for weeks on end and then its done. Surely a pregnant woman won’t mind you indulging a bit into those memories.

And it’s true. I really don’t mind. Even with those women who share with me some pretty terrifying stories. I wish I could tell you that I’m scared of labor but I’m not. Of all of my OMFG moments, the pain of labor is not one of them. I’m anxious, I’m curious, but mostly I’m realistic. As so many of you have mentioned to me, it’s much like long-distance running, and having had years of experience in that practice, I feel even more secure in what labor will be like for me.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in this pregnancy, the one thing I will actually share unsolicited, it’s that if you are pregnant, get thee to a childbirthing class pronto, no matter what your ideal birth looks like.

I’m not kidding. It will be the best gift you give to yourself and your partner, to say nothing of your kid, and it will take away the negative associations that you may have given to the experience before it’s happened. I’m not saying that it doesn’t make labor not painful – I wouldn’t know that, of course – but not getting my panties in a bunch over it all in the meantime has been empowering and calming. Most importantly? It’s made me INFORMED. Getting yourself wicked smart about labor and delivery, and learning about all of your options, is powerful. Burying your head in the sand and sticking your fingers in your ears because OH MY GOD THE PAIN MY VAGINA WILL FEEL will not actually make there be less pain in your vagina. Taking the bull by the horns and understanding that, well, NO, it’s not like an infection or root canal, and there are options for coping with it, drugs or otherwise, will leave your brain cells free to focus on important things, such as whether or not you have enough onesies or how many times you can straighten the blankets draping the crib just so.

Honest to Pete, ladies. Don’t give up the power you have in this experience to a bunch of myths and stereotypes and fear-mongering perpetuated by others. Your experience gets to be your experience, and it might be painful but then again it might also be something more. Don’t psyche yourself out. Get yourself some real, weeks-long childbirthing classes.


This weekend is, like last weekend’s, another freebie. We have no plans and oh how wonderful that is. We already had our big dinner out a couple of weeks ago, so like last weekend, we’re staying in and hanging out around the house. There may be some Trivial Pursuit Wii. I’m going to try and get in another massage. There will most likely be cheese tonight. And sleeping. My parents are coming over on Monday to see the nursery. I will try my best not to add arbitrary shit to our already-done to-do list. I keep inventing things we need.

I went to Whole Foods today and stocked up on mini coconut milk-based ice cream sandwiches. Because of course no maternity leave is complete without them. I went from anyone barely knowing we’re bringing a kid into this house from the looks of it to stocking up the refrigerators as though this bungalow was a WWII bunker. And they’ll sit there, by God, until I’m not pregnant anymore, much like everything else that has been purchased for the sole purpose of being sustenance for after I’ve had the baby.

I need my nesty little head examined, I know. When Cynthia, my midwife, mentioned whether or not I’d have the time to finish things up around the house, I looked at her and said, “Oh no. I’ve gotten everything done. There is absolutely nothing else on my list that needs completing.” She is one of the sweetest, most compassionate, kind women I’ve ever met, and you could tell it took everything in her being not to roll her eyes and then stare back at me as if I were an alien being. Seriously. How could I be expected to push a baby out of my nether regions if I didn’t have meatloaf in the freezer?

My life will never again be this clean and organized. I’m rolling around in it, people, for as long as I can.