Thirty-six plus five

Well, the holidays are over! I took my last trip of the pregnancy last week. My family went skiing in southern Vermont, while I hung out with the dog and ate cookies. It was nice for them to get a ski trip in before the baby comes, but I have to be honest — I am ok with the fact that there isn’t another 4 hour car trip in my near future. I never knew how exhausting sitting in a car could be.

I feel like the last few months of this pregnancy have slipped by in a haze of chores and work, work and more work. Suddenly, here I am, a week and 2 days away from being “full term.” I am big. I have a rock-hard basketball appended to the front of my body. I can still shave my legs and tie my shoes, but both require bending in not-so-graceful ways. I tried a couple of prenatal yoga podcasts, and while the stretching felt great, anyone who recommends half-moon for a 37-weeks pregnant lady better put a net out, because the weight of the baby pulled me over every time. Sleep is elusive and my pelvis is uncomfortable.

And yet, I am so grateful to be here. Lots of my friends have made it to this point having dealt with “complicated” pregnancies — gestational diabetes, horrible morning sickness, and the like. Others have not made it to this point at all, being unable to get pregnant or carry their little ones to term. When I think of these ladies, I want to complain just a little less and be just a touch more grateful. And yet, there is someone regularly kicking me in the cervix.

The benefit to being kicked, jabbed, and head-butted in the cervix is that I learned today I am a centimeter dilated. The baby is really coming, it turns out, and soon, in relative terms. At my OB appointment this morning, we talked about labor and what it feels like and when to call. My doctor encouraged me to labor at home as long as I can, both to be more comfortable and to allow the labor to progress without undue monitoring as long as possible. And also so I can eat. I like all of these points.

The centimeter of dilation has made this real in a way that being huge and watching the weeks tick by has not. Suddenly, we find ourselves on the brink of delivery without a car seat, or a birth plan, or a tour of the hospital, or having taken a birthing class, or a crib and with a too-small stash of diapers and clothes. Oops. Time to get real, I guess. We will tour the labor and delivery floor of our hospital on Wednesday night and stock up the nursery a bit this weekend.

We also need to talk to the kids about the reality of the baby. In much the same way it has not seemed real to me, I am confident that it’s not quite real to them. We talk about the baby in the vaguest of terms, but that does not mean they appreciate that there could literally be a baby here tomorrow. We need to talk logistics, and also let them know what to expect with a new baby in the house. They have heard me say “January 28” to so many strangers that I am sure they have not entertained the idea that baby could be early, or late. And I expect that if I go into labor when they are around, it will be a bit scary, especially so since I have had such an easy pregnancy and thus there has not been much focus on the physical changes I have been going through.

All of this is to say that, now that I have emerged from the fog that is work and the holidays and my ever-traveling lifestyle, it’s time to get ready for a baby!

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