With only one week to go until baby day, I had my final doctor's appointment today. I've also been helping Misterpie with the classroom all week and finding myself slower and slower, as I seem to be winding down. Perhaps work was keeping me going? Perhaps it's just that I'm getting that much more large and awkward and tired. Whatever the case, I'm feeling like there are certain things that I am really looking forward to about not being pregnant now that the end is in sight (though I still haven't quite wrapped my head around the baby part of this...).
Tonight at dinner, for example. I was eating a rather messy pasta dish - the type where you like to have your mouth as close to the edge of the table as possible. Which is not all that close when you have a massive watermelon of a belly between you and the table, and end of sort of hunching awkwardly over the bump, knowing that anything that drips will be landing smack on that belly, anyhow. Nice. Overall, it is just in the way. I can't tell you how often I have bumped, nudged, and scratched or scraped it. It will be nice to some day be able to bend over and pick something up, though it will take a bit to get there after recovery.
This final appointment and the impending end, though, have got me thinking a bit about this pregnancy and what I've liked about it, what I have not liked about it, and how it compared to the last one.
I was definitely more angst-filled from the start, knowing as now I do people who have had various surprises and challenges along the way, knowing how many women lose pregnancies, knowing more about the possibilities. I waited much longer to tell people because of this and the combination of a new workplace with new people who I didn't know as well. We also waited quite a long time to tell Pumpkinpie, until we knew that everything was as okay as we could know about and the sex of the baby.
I was sicker this time, too. Last time, I was able to keep it down to liveable with the application of crackers and arrowroot cookies, and by about week 12 or 13, it had disappeared nicely. This time, I cried uncle and took Diclectin until five months, when it slowly over a month or so became liveable and then faded away. So tougher on me for a while, tougher to try to keep going, as I prefer to do.
Of course, all those crackers translated into a fifteen-pound weight gain over the first trimester last time, helping me reach that 50-pound mark I hit by the end. This time, at this last weigh-in, I'm at 36 pounds. I was hoping for something in the 35-40-pound range, thinking it would be easier to take off and that I might even be able to push down below the weight I've been settled at for many years now if I follow the same daily walk routine that took off the 50 for me last time. We'll see.
I've also, since the nausea passed, had more energy this time around than last, and felt more capable of keeping on. Which is good, since I've been busier. Last time we bought a house and packed to move, waiting through a long closing and finally actually moving when Pumpkinpie was about three months. Which sounds a bit stupid and ambitious to me now, though I know tons of people who have done it. But I think this renovation business is going to look even stupider a year or two down the road, because it has been a major pain in the ass. Still, it's been good to feel more active and able this time, and I always love the sense of accomplishment that comes with these things.
For all that feeling healthier and more active, though, there has been more "watch your intake of..." warnings. Water retention started way earlier, but my being careful and limiting salt and making a point of drinking water seems to have worked, because while I was fighting it a little bit all along this time, last time I blew up in the last month with water, and this time, with one week to go, I still have ankles. Not totally slender ones, but not that swollen, either, most days. For all that, this time my feet have grown already, whereas last time, they waited until after Pumpkinpie was born, oddly enough. I'm hoping they are done, since at this point, I have some shoes I could keep, including my most beloved embroidered Fluevog Mary Janes.
My sleeping habits have been way weirder. I blame this partly on having to share our bedroom with the living room, since often enough, we have fallen asleep in front of the television, waking to the endless loop of news or something decidedly weird populating the airwaves in the middle of the night. I also put some of the blame on blogging, since once I'm up, I am not tired enough to go right back to bed, but instead find myself up for two hours reading, commenting, and so on. Like, er, right now... However, while my hips atill grow uncomfy with one position for two long, while I still deeply miss sleeping on my back, I may be slightly more comfy in bed, since I seem to be making do with only one body pillow this time. Which I'm sure Misterpie appreciates, since last time he was basically clinging to the edge with his fingernails. The cramped conditions in our bedroom, though, are making getting out of bed at this point way harder, so I totally can't wait for the furniture move - should be this weekend? Please?
It has been a bit smoother this time, too, in that I haven't had any scares. Last time I had a bleed at one point, and fell down my ice-coated front stairs, literally flying through the air and landing on my back on a frosty February morning. I'm happy to have avoided those, though I am on high alert for signs of a fever with this listeriosis business. You see, it can show up anywhere from 3 to 90 days after eating the product, but apparently, as long as I show no signs, The Bun is okay, too. So I am to take my temperature every day and monitor myself. At this point, I suppose if I do start to show some sign of illness, they could remove Bun in a hurry, as we are into full-term here. Not what I want, but good to know.
This baby, too, is making things different. He is way more active and squirmy that Pumpkinpie ever was. Pumpkinpie would stretch in a leisurely fashion, a large, unidentifiable bump morphing my tummy to one side or the other - always the sides - and then receding a few minutes later. This one has been a mover and shaker, with smaller knee- or elbow-shaped bumps moving and shifting as well as pushing outwards or into my body in all different directions. Pumpkinpie never took my breath away by stretching up into my ribcage as The Bun does. It scares me, this greater level of activity, but is also oddly fascinating, as I watch the surface of my belly heaving and rippling over this creature more intent on making his presence known. Int he same vein, Pumpkinpie never had hiccups. I had heard about this from a friend of a friend, but only when Bun hit about 7 months or so did I feel that strange, rhythmic bumping that felt as if I had minor hiccups myself. It's making me laugh, the hiccuping.
I am, in many ways, less prepared for this baby. Work and house stuff and classroom setup have conspired to keep me from my checklist. I have bought way less, having some left over, but really need to get to he business of sitting down and figuring out what I have and where the gaps are, and then filling those. I guess I can be more relaxed, knowing I am pretty sure to have at least the basics. I am, in fact, far more relaxed now, thought the house is not finished, just knowing that there is now a room for the baby that is not finished and perfect, but has a ceiling, paint, and curtains, and is now clean and dust-free. So in a pinch, I could send Misterpie out on a few errands and have a place to sleep with the baby for now, until things get settled.
I think the fact that I am not totally prepared is part of being, in general, more relaxed, more experienced, more prepared, even though it feels like I am less prepared. I have not, for example, cracked a book this pregnancy. I've looked up one or two specific things online or in one book, but have not consumed information in quantities or agonized over any of it. Part of which may come down to being too busy, but I think I have, in some says, more trust, even as I worried abut some things more. The things I have been careful to prepare about are mostly things that might help make this a bit easier, I hope. Things like a cosleeper, a sling, and comfier nursing bras, all of which I hope work out to make this just a little bit less tough in the first six months or so. Things like a nice new nightie and slippers to make me feel just a little more human and comfy, too - small luxuries can make a big difference some days.
My preparations have centered as much around Pumpkinpie as myself, too. I have taken care to prepare her for her stay at her grandparents, to talk about what babies are like so her expectations might be more realistic, to ensure she has some fun new goodies to take with her for her stay, to buy her a baby doll of her own so that she can mother alongside me, as she tends to do with her doggie babies already. I have taken care not to put too much emphasis on doing things because she's "big" now, hoping to avoid some of the regression that is common among new siblings and not wanting to push her too hard on that point just now, with both the baby and the start of school coming. She has big changes ahead, and both are going to call for big-girl behaviour, but I am trying to hard to focus on the behaviour, not on her being big, so that she doesn't just decide that being big isn't worth it. I will already have one baby on my hands...
With all that, even though in many ways I feel like this pregnancy has been in many ways a better experience for me, it has certainly had it's rougher patches, too, and I can't say I'm sorry I wont' be doing this again. Instead, I am finding that I am trying to get mentally ready to not be able to accomplish anything for the next few months except for getting through the next few months, and moving into the rest of forever, with this final look back. Knowing it can be a rough, tired road, I'm glad Misterpie will be at a closer school, glad Pumpkinpie is in a daycare she loves with good friends, glad I have all of you, so I may be a little less alone in my days and my complaints.
I think I might just be ready by next Friday. Or close enough.