Monday, July 16, 2012

The Waiting Game...

I'm due in a week!
The countdown is on!
My doctor says I may go late.
My Mom "has a feeling" I'm going to be early.
I just hope baby's on time.
You can never predict these things. Baby will come when she's good and ready.
I've done my best to prepare. Crossed off the checklists -- hospital bags packed, nursery ready, carseat installed, etc. Now it's just a waiting game...

I've been seeing my doctor every week for a while now. At my latest appointment she checked to see if there were any signs of impending labour. There apparently weren't (though she qualified that by saying that after examining one pregnant woman and telling her there was at least another week to go, the baby surprised them all and she went into labour the next day. So one never knows...) My blood pressure was normal. The baby's heartbeat was good and strong. The baby must be really low because when Doc examined me internally to see what was doing down there she was even able to touch the baby's head from inside (which frankly, freaked me out!) Doc said that I wasn't dilated but that my cervix had thinned out at least. Making it the only part of my body that has!

I've gained a LOT of weight. I'm bloated beyond belief. It felt like my belly had gotten much bigger, even since my baby shower three weeks ago so I decided to check it out. I had kept the winning piece of measuring tape from the "What Size Is the New Mommy's Tummy?" game. I wrapped it around my belly and sure enough, I've gained a couple more inches since then. I step on the scale and am in disbelief. Can this really be me? Of course some of it is the baby. Some of it (my ballooned up legs and feet) is swelling from blood pooling and water weight gain. So some of it may be gone (hopefully) immediately after birth. I have this fantasy of giving birth and my body instantly going back to normal. Sure. It could happen! Well the reality is I probably have to wait 6-8 weeks after delivery before I can begin exercising and then after several months of hard work I may get close to my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm planning to return to The 30 Day Shred and yoga which worked for me in the past. Though I've never had this much weight to lose. How much exactly? Oh, around 60 POUNDS!!! Not that it's a mystery how I've gained so much. They say you should gain about 35 lbs anyway, including changes to the body, extra blood and water, extra nutrients for the baby etc. Then you factor in the not exercising like you used to, not being able to move around as much. Add to that the pregnancy cravings (Oreo McFlurries), eating for two, figuring what the heck, I'm already big, might as well indulge and enjoy myself while this lasts!

I've heard from people who said by the time they reached this stage, they felt like they could go into labour any minute. Each day they thought, this is it! I haven't really had a moment like that although I have had some weird new stuff going on physically...

I'm getting more of the Braxton-Hicks contractions. They're more frequent, last longer and hurt a little more. Baby definitely feels lower. She's putting a lot of pressure on my bladder and colon. And every so often there's a pain, really low that feels like the baby or something is about to come out. One day while I was driving I suddenly had to go to the bathroom so badly it was excruciating. My lower back was aching, my stomach felt like lead, my head was spinning. I was almost going to pull over to the side of the road and go in the bushes (unfortunately I had to go #1 and #2! So it would not have been pretty!) To my relief I managed to make it to a Tim Hortons (good old Tims!) and waddle as fast as I could past a congregation of bikers in the parking lot and a long line-up of customers inside and made it to the bathroom just in the nick of time. Aside from the urination and colonic volcano, I passed a little blob of something. I figured it might be a bit of the mucus plug? Which I hadn't seen any sign of before that unless my sinuses count. (I often wake up with my nose all stuffed up for some reason.)

Another day I had a particularly ugly bathroom moment. One of the lowest points of my life. I was on the toilet already with a bad set of the runs (Sorry. This is way TMI!) when suddenly I felt nauseous. "You've got to be kidding me!" I thought. "No. This can't be happening!" But it was. I couldn't stop what was already going on in the toilet. Now the wave of nausea came over me and there was no stopping it. I wound up throwing up on myself. My leg, more specifically. It's a moment I won't soon forget. I've heard of burning the candle at both ends but exploding at both ends is even worse! So after I showered off and had a good cry I tried to calm myself down and figure out what was up, besides lunch. Did baby not like what I'd eaten? Did I have food poisoning or the flu? I researched online and found out that this late in the game it's actually common to have diarrhea and nausea. How lovely of them to show up at the same time! Note to self: keep a barf bag by the toilet, just in case.

My feet are more swollen than ever. Supposedly if you elevate them it brings down the swelling but how often can I do that? I decided as an experiment to hold my foot in the air as long as I could and see if it would shrink a bit. My toes started to feel more like toes and less like overstuffed sausages but it took quite a while and the difference in my foot (about a millimetre) was negligible. Perhaps for those who have a loving partner to do things for them, they can sit with their feet up while hubby does things around the house (theoretically, but how many hubbies are helpful, even if they're around? Me cynical? Oh, a tad!) and give their tortured tootsies a rest. For those on their own, like me, the chores don't do themselves and I never get to sit down for very long. I can always think of something else I could/should be doing.

During the waiting game I like to keep busy. We'd had so many hot days that when the weather cooled down a bit I decided to take the opportunity to do some gardening, specifically weeding. I can't be too fussy anymore. So I limit myself to just pulling the biggest, ugliest monster weeds. It is more and more difficult bending over the bigger I get but there's no one else to do it and I don't want my plants and flowers bullied and overrun entirely. While I'm out pulling weeds I suddenly feel a sharp pain, like a needle through my hand. A bee (or something) stung me! Right through my garden glove. It hurt like a mo-fo! Gheesh. I've gone my entire life without being stung by a bee and then I get stung while I'm pregnant?! Like I'm not going through enough?! (Note, the bee in the photo is innocent. That's just a pic I took in the garden previously.) I didn't get a look at the suspect who stung me. I was worried it might be dangerous to the baby. Could the poison affect her? And what if  I was allergic? My Mom is deathly allergic to bee stings. I didn't know if I was or not because I'd never been stung. I had a bump just a bit bigger than a mosquito bite but I put some ice on it and it all but disappeared. The glove probably protected me a lot. I figured I mustn't be allergic or my whole hand would have blown up or I would have died or something. And I read that the poison is localized so there was no harm to baby. That was a relief. If I'd been stung in my foot I wouldn't have been able to tell if I was getting swollen or not because my feet are already huge.


I love that the nursery is done. I go in at night and sit in the rocker and recite Goodnight Moon (I started reading it to my baby every night since February and eventually had it memorized so now I just say it) and sing lullabies to my baby. I love puttering around in the room. I can't wait for baby to see it, though I know she wouldn't really be able to appreciate it for a while. I made a new little seashore themed shadowbox for the room. I had a seahorse and some shells I'd gotten in Florida. I'd always planned to make a shadowbox with them someday. I couldn't have dreamed that it would wind up being for my baby's nursery!

I got a great deal on a cabinet for the nursery as well ($20!) which I found online. It's the same wood as the rest of the furniture and even has glass doors with fish etched onto it!

I've never seen anything like it. It's perfect. Had to make a bit of a trek to get it but  I was in the mood for a road trip and my friend and I made a day of it. I had my hospital bag in the car just in case. Any time I make a long trip now I figure it's better to be safe than sorry. (It's partly my Mom's doing as well because it was in the news that some pregnant woman was on a roadtrip and gave birth in the car and my Mom hasn't stopped going on and on about it.)

It wound up being a nice drive and a nice day. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant in a subway car which was pretty cool. After my "super" burger I was super stuffed! It's fun stopping at random places to eat when you're driving. We were starving and actually looking for a McDonalds but then we stumbled upon this quaint little burger joint instead. I can't say that I've ever eaten in a subway car before!

Despite what the doctor says about me going late, My Mom is paranoid I'm going to be caught off guard and go into labour early, unexpectedly. She doesn't really want me to go anywhere or do anything. I guess I'm just supposed to sit and wait for baby's arrival. No way. There's still too much to do and I'm going to take advantage of my bursts of energy while I have them (the energy itself is supposed to be a sign of impending labour.)

My Mom tends to be (more than) a little neurotic. She calls me twice a day to make sure I'm OK and that nothing has "happened." She's having sympathy pains in her stomach and sympathy dreams (that she's pregnant too -- which given her age and the fact that she's had a hysterectomy is quite impossible!) She's so afraid I'm going to go into labour and have to drive myself to the hospital. I do have a friend nearby who can drive me in a pinch but from the sounds of it labour takes a day to get through and the beginning stages should be mild enough to function through. I've talked to people who were in the mall shopping and felt some cramping but ignored it. Then they finally went to the hospital several hours later and were 10 centimetres dilated! So who knows? I always imagined contractions being so unbearable but now I've had a number of people say that they're much like menstrual cramps and I'm an old pro at those after 30 years of suffering from severe cramps every 3 weeks and 3 days. I guess contractions would only be a shock to the lucky girls who never suffered from menstrual cramps before. I know that when I have random pains or Braxton-Hicks that it's not actual labour because they don't come in any sort of pattern and don't last long. I read that there's a formula 4-1-1 to tell when it's the real deal -- if you have contractions that are FOUR minutes apart, lasting ONE minute and this goes on for ONE hour -- get yourself to the hospital. Easy to remember. I'm not too panicked about going into labour all of a sudden. I trust my doctor's expertise a little more than my mom's intuition. Though I really hope I don't go late! I am done with this pregnant stuff! Enough already! Plus, I'm excited to meet my little girl.
I try to take it easy some of the time -- read and relax on my garden swing, watch a movie, surf the net but I also try to take advantage and get things done when I have the energy.

When it's too hot I escape the heat by going for a drive (at least my car is air conditioned) and shopping (stores are always an air conditioned haven). There was a sale on baby dresses and I couldn't resist picking up a couple. Is there anything cuter than tiny dresses?! My friend commented how lucky my baby is and how well dressed she'll be. I'm fortunate to have gotten donations, gifts and picked up a few bargains myself to add to her wardrobe. They've all been washed in baby detergent and are organized in her closet and dresser.

I also visit with friends and family. I'm very close to my Mom and sister and usually see them once a week. We went to the beach the other day. Last year I practically lived on beaches but it's quite different this year. Carrying all this weight it's hard to be out in the heat too much. And I'm less enthusiastic about appearing in a swimsuit with my big ole belly and elephantine swollen legs and feet. I went from size small or medium string bikinis to an XL tankini and it's still tight. I'm hoping I will get my bikini body back at least by next summer. And I hope the stretch marks don't show. Until recently I was hoping I might escape stretch marks. I've been slathering on a variety of anti-stretch mark creams (coca butter, vitamin E etc) for months. But with how big I've gotten now I guess there was no escape.

At the beach last year
At the beach this year

My belly has changed from a big round beach ball to more of an egg shape now with baby's head down at the bottom bringing it to a point. I feel a lot more pressure lower so when nature calls it's much more urgent. I also get more pains there. Another side effect of my skin stretching so far is that it's itchy as Hell! My belly, legs and feet itch like there's no tomorrow. An arsenal of anti-itching creams and lotions (from zinc oxide powder to cream to calomine to aloe to vitamin E) hasn't really helped. The only thing that helps temporarily is scratching them like a rabid cat. It feels great while I'm scratching the itch. Unfortunately when I finish, my skin is sore and itchier than ever. I guess it's all the blood in the area making my nerve endings more active than ever. I'm hoping these symptoms will disappear instantly after I give birth. I spoke to one woman who said her entire body (even her hands and face) swelled up and that the swelling disappeared immediately after giving birth. So here's hoping!
At least I'm feeling happy and energetic these days which makes everything easier to deal with. I still haven't felt the urge to clean per se though I did begin to tackle the basement and cold cellar which really need to be organized. It's just something else to keep me busy and hanging out downstairs makes sense when it's hot. (Not having air conditioning, the basement is the coolest place to be.) I was proud of myself that I even figured out how to hook up a TV and DVD player downstairs so I can hang out down there and watch movies when it's too hot upstairs. I'm not much of a techie and always had someone (the guy in my life at the time, whoever it happened to be) to set up my electronics for me. Now alone to navigate the back of the TV and DVD player, I realized I had no idea where the wires went but I just kept trying them in different spots until something appeared on the screen! When there's no one around to help, you have to figure these things out on your own. And it is empowering when you realize you can do it all by yourself!

I'm excited. I still can't believe my due date is just seven days away! I was worried if I did go late that I'd have a really big baby but I talked to someone who said she went more than a week past her due date and still had a relatively normal sized (7 pound) baby. So you never know. 

I guess the due date is really just a guess anyway. They can't know the exact date. All they do is go by your last period. They don't know when you actually conceived. I don't know when I conceived. I try not to think about it! It could have been anytime in late October-early November. I still can't believe it happened. But it was Fate. Everything that happened last year was for a reason. Every event, every triumph, every setback, every meeting were all leading me to this. The universe placed M on my path so that I could have this little girl. Though he was the most unlikely source, he was meant to give me the greatest gift, the greatest love of my lifetime. If I hadn't met him for coffee, if I hadn't let myself fall for him too hard, too fast, too soon, she wouldn't exist.

You're my destiny, baby! I can't wait to meet you. I'm ready when you are! No pressure. As long as you're healthy, you come out when you feel like it. (Just try not to make me wait too long!) And if you could please give Mama some advance notice/warning signs. I'll be watching for them!


  1. You really are in the home stretch (no pun intended, lol)!! It's really good that you're focusing on all the positive ways labour & delivery can go rather than worrying about how bad it could could go either way & no amount of worry can change it.

    As for labour pains, expect them to be at least 10x worse than the worst menstral cramps you've ever had...I experienced seriously painful periods so thought labour would be the same & it was 100x worse plus add the incredible discomfort which I hadn't expected...but all of this is a slow build so it's not like one minute you're fine & the next it's excruciating, you build up to it. I don't tell you this to scare you just so you have an idea. I think you'll do great because you have such a positive attitude.

  2. Yes I am trying to remain positive. I've heard so many conflicting stories about how bad it is/isn't that it seems it's very different for each individual. I will just hope for the best and know that no matter what, the end result is worth it -- The pain will end and I will have a beautiful baby girl that I love more than life itself! :)