Hey guess what guys?
Very likely we'll have a new member of our family join us this month.
And guess what - my body is totally feeling it.
I swear I can feel my hips spreading with every step I take.
Sleep is restless and naps are as plenty as I can make them.
My shirts are working really hard - and mostly failing - at covering my belly.
And my pants won't stay up. It's hard to keep elastic around a beach ball.
Possibly the most annoying- the ligaments (?) that surround my pelvis just ache. Making my upper thighs ache and burn and no amount of stretching releases it.
Snow boots? What are those -- ohhh, you mean shoes with laces. You can forget that right now. I can barely reach my feet to get my socks on. There have been several jokes about my looking like a T-Rex.
So, my answer to these complaints?
1. knit dresses and leggings and clogs.
2. as many naps as i can squeeze in - even if it means settling on my husband's shoulder at the movie theater, making him think i was cuddling when in actuality i was snoring.
3. lots of hot tea. the only ONLY thing that makes late pregnancy in winter worth it.
4. yoga, massage, chiropractic adjustments and reiki treatments whenever i can squeeze them in.
5. ice cream. because it's the answer to everything.
I'm trying really hard not to get whiny this time around because I know that once the baby is in my arms and not my belly I'll be all nostalgic. I love being pregnant. I'm amazed at what my body can do and how there's a set of feet I can almost always find below my right ribs. That these stretch marks are literally marks from where my body grew a human being and expanded to make enough space for a person.
I was unprepared for how keenly I felt the loss of being pregnant after Guthrie's birth. I know a good portion of that was due to our birth experience, but I think that I know this is will only happen a few times in my life. That only a few times will I have this active a role in the universe expanding. That it needs to be cherished and celebrated. I'm so boundlessly grateful for this experience, the aches and pains seem so minor. One of the midwives asked me a month or so ago if I had a general feeling of peace and well being. I think ecstasy and awe are more likely.
Which is not to say I haven't had my moments. That quite possibly John is rolling his eyes because he hears the brunt - if not all - of my complaints. Last night Guthrie asked me to eat dinner with her on the floor. Which is totally fine. I can get on the floor with ease and grace and it's comfortable for me to be able to stretch my legs out.
There was no amount of grace in the grunting and under-the-breath swearing it took for me to get off the floor. None at all. John goes, umm hon are you alright? Umm, yes. Just trying to haul myself up. And he's all, well you sound like you're in labor.
We are getting excited though. It feels almost tangible at this point.
Guthrie plays 'baby in my tummy' frequently and her tiger has been born many times. With much grunting and effort. I try to tell her that it would take less effort if she'd let gravity work for her and not try to birth Roar out of her shirt collar, but to no avail.
She loves watching birthing videos. I mean loves it. We've gathered and borrowed as many books as we could find that talk about newborn care and homebirth and being an older sister that we have to read a lot. Her favorite is definitely "We're Having a Homebirth" but she calls it "stayhome birth" and tells me, "I hold your hand when you have your baby. It be ok, mom. Baby come out of lady parts. Kind of like poop."
So, the details are kind of sketchy but she's mostly got it. As long as she's not expecting me to birth anything out the top of my shirt I think it'll work out.
So, yes, as we approach these last few weeks we're doing well. We're still not sure where all the parts to the carseat are, but I'm sure we'll find them. I'm as prepared for a VBAC as I'll ever be and the excitement I feel at the possibility of being able to birth this baby myself is huge. I'll be honest that I've had almost a physical ache to give birth vaginally since Guthrie was born. And while I don't want to put more pressure on this birth than the desire for my child, myself, and my family to be healthy at the end of it I'd be lying if I said I didn't still feel somehow incomplete because of my c-section. And I'm not talking about this emotional desire for a natural birth or hopes for my labor to somehow go like I 'want' it to. I'm talking about a real physical feeling that there is literally something missing. One of the VBAC books I read- I believe Open Season by Nancy Cohen compares the experience of a woman having a c-section to a man experiencing impotence. At first I was uncertain about this comparison for various reasons but as I've mulled it over since reading it several months ago I've come to appreciate it. It accounts for that real, physical feeling that I've experienced over the past 3 years that my body somehow missed out on something huge. That I took a hit emotionally because I wasn't able to complete this pregnancy experience the way nature intended. I'd be interested in talking to other c-section moms to see if they have experienced this more physical repercussion of their c-sections. It was not one that I was expecting.
And the baby? The baby is doing very well. I'm certain being 2 inches taller would make it more comfortable. Oh well. I love feeling the frequent bouts of hiccups the baby is having. I love knowing that it is practicing breathing. Getting ready for what is to come. The concerns we had about IUGR at the beginning of the pregnancy due to medication I'm on have gone by the wayside and what we thought would be monthly ultrasounds have not needed to occur. In fact, I had more ultrasounds last time around. This week actually is the last week I was pregnant with Guthrie.
I'll be 38 weeks on Thursday and I was induced at 38 weeks and 1 day last time. The amount of tests, blood work, urine samples, non-stress tests, etc. I'd undergone by this point, well, let's just say that this time around feels so different. So incredibly different. And I'm so grateful for that. To be clear, I would have done it all again - in less than a heartbeat. However, not having to has been such a gift.
I've had to process and deal with my last pregnancy and Guthrie's birth emotionally all over again during this pregnancy. Like I was expecting not to? And while I think I'll carry the weight of my experience of her birth with me forever, I have also come to a place where I very much honor our journey. I honor that the toughest experience of my life was the birth of my first child and that, possibly because of that, I have this amazing, precious child with a stubborn streak a mile wide and a tender heart who tells me, it be ok mom, I hold your hand. Whom I love with a ferocity I didn't know possible. Would she have been different if she'd been born in a quiet room, lit dimly with only the people who loved her present? Possibly. Possibly not. But I have no doubt that our relationship is different because of how she was born. Because of that shared experience. And really, I wouldn't trade that for anything because it's incredible.
So, here's to the last weeks of pregnancy in all its body changing glory. And to the last weeks of us being a 3 person family.