After nine months of uncertainty and periodically wavering faith, it appears that we’ve done it. & and I have managed to conceive, evade a second miscarriage, dodge the dangers of fetal anomalies and maternal ailments and premature labor, and, mirabile dictu, make it all the way to full term. Achieving a successful pregnancy was subject to so many conditions; so much could have gone wrong, at any point in the past 37 weeks; and yet nothing did. We made it. All that’s left is for Mayhem to decide she’s ready to be born, which could happen any minute now (or, perhaps more likely, next month) to no ill effect.
As if on cue, things have started to get uncomfortable. I suppose it’s about time: I’ve had nine months of the easiest, most wonderful pregnancy imaginable. No morning sickness. No food aversions. No aches and pains. No diabetes, anemia, high blood pressure, plumbing problems or medical conditions worth mentioning. Aside from my first-trimester narcolepsy, periodic episodes of low blood pressure (usually while singing), cankles and goofy persistent stuffy nose, I could almost forget that I was pregnant. (Aside from my ever-expanding girth, of course. And Mayhem’s affinity for gymnastics. And, of course, the fact that I couldn’t stop thinking about being pregnant long enough to shut up, let alone forget, about it.)
No longer. I have grown so huge that maternity wear barely covers my Pregnant Tummeh, which has achieved dimensions so prodigious that people instantly guess, correctly, how far along I am. (“How many months, nine?” “Yup.”) My “prow” now protrudes so far forward that it completely obscures the digital readout on my obstetrician’s scale. Which is fine by me.
My lower back is not thrilled with this development, however, and my hips like it even less. Rolling over in bed became impossible several weeks ago; I now must sit up, pivot, lie back down on the other side, and then rearrange all the buckwheat pillows that support my bulk. I creak and groan like an octogenarian every time I get up at night to visit the loo. My pelvis — a part of my body to which I never paid much attention previously — now reminds me of its presence with alarming frequency. Like, whenever I attempt to walk. Or, heaven forfend, run, even just the last few feet to the bus stop before the bus pulls away. Owwww.
Make no mistake: I’m not complaining. I’ve been gobsmacking lucky for pretty much this entire pregnancy, for which I am unceasingly grateful, and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. Not even the sore and achy endgame.
It’s just that the next three weeks feel like they’re going to last about a year. Everything, it seems, has slowed down. Walking anywhere takes forever. Getting anything done at the office is a monumental effort. I’m winded after speaking scant sentences. Even sleeping seems to demand more focus and practice than it ever has before.
At my weekly (weekly!) prenatal OB appointment this past Wednesday, Dr. B gave my bump a good palpating and guessed that Mayhem already weighed a good six pounds or so. Then she gave me an internal exam and announced that my cervix (another body part I don’t routinely think about) was “good and soft,” roughly 25% effaced, and … that’s it. That’s all the news from my plumbing. No dilation. No contractions. No signs of imminent labor. No baby is likely to emerge from me until the way opens up for her, and as of yet, it hasn’t.
“So we’re going to be doing this into December, huh?” I asked the doctor.
“Yup,” she replied.
I like the idea of a December baby. I’d be particularly thrilled if Mayhem arrived on December 1, a personal holiday for me. But that’s almost a month away, and boy, it’s hard to see that far ahead from here.
That’s OK, though. The longer the home stretch, the more time I have to internalize that this wondrous life-inversion thing is actually going to happen.