I now feature a built-in end table.
I'm at 37 weeks, which means I could give birth to a healthy baby any time now! It could be tomorrow or it could be in five weeks. Since I have no idea how often I'll be able to write during that time (or the next couple months, years, etc.), I figure this is a good moment to tie up a few loose thoughts and observations, one last pause at the threshold of a new life.
Little physical things I will no longer take for granted post-pregnancy
Sleeping on my back and belly.Doing any of the following without a "plan" - clipping my toenails, putting on socks, picking up anything I dropped on the floor, getting in an out of the car.Not crying every time I laugh or smile. I've sad-cried only once in recent months (after a truly awful experience with a customer at work), but in the last few weeks my eyes have turned to faucets any time I feel the slightest joy. I mean, it's better than being bummed, but it's a little embarrassing.Unswollen fingers and feet. Regarding the former, I feel pregnancy has given me some small notion of how arthritis must feel, and you know what? It really sucks! Also, I miss my wedding ring. As for the latter, I've come to accept that I have one, sometimes two pairs of shoes that fit these days. That's okay in the short-term. More than anything, I miss the way walking used to feel, when I didn't really think about it.
Speaking of swollen feet, where did those pools of blood come from anyway?
Definitely from my head. The vessels expanded and the blood that once powered my better-than-average brain crashed to my lower extremities. As a result, I have experienced moments of startling stupidity during this pregnancy. But what happened last week was the worst...
I'd just dropped Dan off at work and was heading down Amnicola Highway toward downtown Chattanooga. A quarter mile ahead, a long line of cars with hazard lights flashing come off of Dupont Parkway. They were getting into my lane (on the left). My immediate thought, based on I-don't-know-what, was, "Hmm. They must be from the new Volkswagen plant and going to an auto show." (???) Since that didn't strike me as being altogether urgent, I made no effort to move out of the left lane, but just fell in the middle of the pack. When I stopped at the next traffic light, a driver behind me honked - a barely audible, mere tap of the horn. Was that intended for me? Well, what was I going to do, run a red light just to get out of their cool kids' caravan? These VW dudes sure are clique-ish.
Well, I wasn't going to ruin their party. When the light changed, I moved to the right lane, which was delightfully empty. Amnicola was usually a mess that time of day, but there was just the merest dot of a car visible in the rearview mirror and absolutely no one ahead of me. I'd never driven down this road with such ease! Those suckers in the left lane were all slowed down and I felt like I was flying, even observing the speed limit. Occasionally I'd hear a couple of blippy little honks as I passed the long line of cars. Geez, do these guys think they own the road or what? At some point I noticed that none of the vehicles were VWs or particularly new or particularly alike, which didn't jibe with my auto show theory. Hmm, that's funny. It's almost like a funeral procession, but they don't have the little flags, so it can't be that (have I mentioned that I've been a licensed driver for only two years?). Whatever. Aww, yeah - Andy Gibb's "Shadow Dancing" came on the radio. What a jam! I rolled down the window and cranked the volume as I merrily cruised toward the green light at Wilcox Avenue.
And then, in the left turn lane, I saw the long white hearse. No doubt it was heading toward the National Military Cemetery, for the burial of an extremely popular veteran whose beloved memory I had just dishonored with my asshole joy ride down Amnicola. I wanted to die. I was just so grateful that I didn't get caught at that light. My immediate reaction was paranoid Yankee fear. Oh god, what if one of them comes after me? I will totally fake early labor. Then I recalled the gentle honking and realized that most people around here are too polite to exact revenge in the midst of such a solemn affair. Once the fear passed, I was left only with my immense mortification.
I now understand that my mind and my instincts and my normally acute sensitivity are all tied together and without enough blood powering the brain, I am sometimes an utter jackass. I also understand that my body has reallocated its fuel for the sake of the placenta and I'm cool with that. But forget the swollen feet and the big belly and the nausea and sleepless nights. As far as I'm concerned, brain function is a pregnant woman's greatest sacrifice.
Contrary to some of the sentiments expressed in this blog series, I don't have a lot of complaints about pregnancy. If anything, being preggo has only proven to me how great my life is. I got knocked up really fast, with no effort beyond old fashioned, unprotected sex. I haven't experienced complications or medical issues of any kind. My husband is kind, considerate, smart and supportive, and has a good job that provides us with health insurance. I've worked part-time most of this pregnancy - just enough so I can bring in a little extra cash and not die of boredom, but not enough to really wear me out. We found a gem of a house rental in a beautiful neighborhood. I enjoy the resources that come with good friends and family, from thoughtful advice to gifts to kind words of encouragement when I feel overwhelmed. We have this super nice, calm doula who is going to assist us through the birth, and every interaction with her gets me more excited for it. And for those and many other reasons, I feel really good. Even though it's getting harder to move around and I ache more easily, I still feel pretty damn good.
I don't know why I get to have this awesome life when so many other people struggle in ways that I haven't, but I sure do appreciate it. I guess I can take some credit for my mental and physical health, but mostly I think I've just been lucky. I just hope the streak lasts long after Peanut's arrival. Of course, she'll gets to enjoy all the aforementioned bennies. And to the extent that our good fortune has contributed to the creation of a warm, love-filled nest, I think she's set up for success. So I continue to trust in the alright-ness of our affairs, as only a lucky bastard would.