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Nine-ten-eight months pregnant.

June 17, 2013

Note: this post is very, very long. I’m choosing not to cut it down, or make it a “click to read more” post, because it’s really important to me, and I don’t want it to be shortchanged. As an incentive to read through, I’ll tell you: there are pictures at the bottom! You’re also allowed to skip straight to the photos – I mean, hey, you’re on your own computer. What am I gonna do about it?

So I haven’t been posting, not because I haven’t had time (unemployment, while lacking in money, is full of free time), but because I haven’t been able to synthesize what I’m feeling into words that will make sense here. That, and the baby seems to eat quite a bit of brain matter these days.

But, here we are, I’m 37.5 weeks pregnant, and I thought: hey! This could potentially be my last post as not-a-mom! I should write some words.

As I’m sitting on the couch, tailor-style to improve stretchiness of my ligaments, between doing my 200 daily Kegel exercises, and 180 daily pelvic rocks, I’m a little amazed at the fact that we’re here. Partly I’m amazed at the giant belly that’s making it difficult to type (I cannot IMAGINE trying to type at a regular desk at this point), but mainly I’m amazed at the fact that 9 months has gone by so freakin’ quickly.

    1. Statistics

A few weeks ago, my dad and I got into a debate about what constitutes a full term pregnancy. The doctor tells you it’s 40 weeks, which, divided by the standard 4 weeks-per-month equals 10 months of pregnancy. But, as Dad pointed out, the average month is 4.5 weeks, not 4 weeks. So, when divided by this average, pregnancy is 8.89 months long. Added to this the confusing fact that your 40 weeks starts before you are actually pregnant, and there’s a window of 2-3 weeks of question mark.

At 37.5 weeks pregnant, I am either 9.37 months pregnant (call it almost 10?), 8.33 months pregnant (call it 8?) or by calendar months (September 27th to present day), 8 months and 10 days pregnant. Let’s just call it nine-ten-eight months pregnant.

Confused yet? That’s not even the least confusing thing about pregnancy.

    2. Hormones

Last Thursday, I turned on What to Expect When You’re Expecting. (The movie, not the iPhone app I use to track baby Q’s growth and development). During the opening credits, which do not include anything emotional, I started to tear up as the words “What to Expect” shone on the screen. I think I was crying because I was pregnant, and watching a movie about being pregnant? Unclear. All I know is, there was zero logical reason for any sort of tears.

    3. Nesting

I have cleaned the entire house, repeatedly. Baby’s bed is assembled, arranged, and ready to go. We have first aid equipment, two options for baby-wearing, two options for co-sleeping, a million cloth diapers in both newborn and post-newborn sizes, toys, books, tons of blankets, nursing pillows, a glider and ottoman, a carseat, a convertible stroller frame for said carseat, a diaper bag, and all the other “baby support equipment” necessary to successfully not injure/damage/lose track of a newborn.

Matt has gone on a cooking binge, cooking and assembling casseroles aplenty for storage in the freezer, to be unwrapped and baked when we are zonked out of our minds on lack of sleep.

The dogs have become weirdly nurturing and quiet lately, either because it’s so freaking hot outside (hello, 97 degree June) or because they somehow know they’re gonna need their rest.

We’ve got the baby’s first outfits, diapers, and blankies packed in the diaper bag, and my “go bag,” the stuff I need to take to the birth center with us, is almost totally packed.

    4. Side effects

Um. Wow. I have been very, very lucky throughout this whole pregnancy. I had some morning sickness at the beginning, enough to call for a few days off from work, and a few visits to the OB, but throughout the rest, I’ve been blissfully comfortable. At least, blissfully comfortable relative to how I feel now, with a watermelon for a stomach and ridiculous heartburn. I’m lucky in that a big chunk of my not-shabby weight gain (35 lbs. and counting) seems to have gone directly to the belly, but that leaves me feeling like I’m carrying a bowling ball around everywhere. Have you ever tried sticking a bowling ball in your stomach? I don’t recommend it.

I’m also having nightmares and dreams about the baby now…and anxiety about our impending parenthood.

I guess how I’m really feeling is like this: I absolutely cannot wait to meet our little girl. Seeing my friends who have already had their babies cuddle and snuggle and sniff baby heads (it’s a thing, trust me), I am super-duper jealous. I want to see our little one all dressed up in her new clothes, cuddled in a blanket, and see what her face looks like. I am so anxious to meet this little person, and so amazed that there IS a whole new life coming soon, that I can barely stand it.

I’m also scared totally, and completely, stock stiff. I am terrified of being solely (well, with Matt, obviously) responsible for the life, growth, teaching, and molding of a whole person. At first, I start thinking, “Um…what in the name of sausages were we thinking?!? We’re not old enough/mature enough/figured out enough to do this!” But then I think some more…who really is old enough/mature enough/figured out enough to do this the first time around? Surely this feeling of horror and anticipation are normal…right?

I am equal parts excited and scared, some days 98% excited, 2% scared, other days 98% scared, 2% excited. And I don’t expect that to ever change.

Being responsible for another human is the most awesome and weighty experience a person can have (well, I suppose being responsible for several humans, like maybe a whole country or army’s worth would be more awesome and weighty), at least, it feels that way from where I’m sitting.

I can’t say I’m ready to have a baby – I don’t think anyone truly is. There’s no way to prepare yourself for the selflessness and struggle, the sleepless nights, and the constant worry, that will last until…no, not her 18th birthday, not her wedding, not her first child, but for the rest of your entire life. When I look at my parents, I realize: they have worried about me every day of my life. And it isn’t about to stop.

Is anyone truly prepared for that when they decide to become parents? Or decide to try to become parents? I don’t think you can be. I think it takes us all by surprise, no matter how many books we read, or classes we attend. I thank God that He created pregnancy to last 9 months (or ten, or whatever) – this slow introduction to abdicating control of your body and schedule is so useful in at least breaking some of the selfish habits you’ve created over the years. But it’s still scary thinking that after she’s born, we will, forever, have a daughter following us around. Needing to be fed, changed, cuddled, bathed, fed again, and loved.

I think about how baby will look at her senior graduation, dressed up in a cap and gown, ready to start her own life. Or how she’ll look at her first birthday party, cake-smeared and cranky from a sugar overdose and overdue naptime (she’ll be 1, come on). I think about Matt dancing with her at her wedding (oh good LORD the tears), assuming she decides to get married, which is TOTALLY HER CHOICE. I think about celebrating with her as she receives her PhD, or her master apprenticeship at a Parisian bakery, or her first child.

I think about all these things, and find myself terrified at the seemingly insurmountable task set before me in getting baby Q from diapers to diplomas. I’m barely put together myself – Matt can vouch for my imperfections (and hopefully some positive things too!), and there are so many more things I wanted to have accomplished before being responsible for raising a WOMAN. Goodness. I should be a published author, or Nobel laureate, or mad scientist by now…not a self-doubting, confused almost-mom who still isn’t sure what she wants to be when she grows up.

In the midst of all this insecurity, however, I do have a rock-solid belief in the following: No one, on the face of this Earth, is as well-equipped to love this baby as I am. Aside from the biologically designed hormonal structure that exists to keep we primates taking care of our young until they’re ready to live life solo, I personally know without a doubt that I was put on this Earth to love. And to love well.

There will never be a day in this child’s life where she doubts how I feel about her. She will never have to wonder if doing something bad will make Mommy stop loving her, or worry that work will be more important than she is. I will be there for every scraped knee, every argument with a best friend, every less-than perfect grade (I’m sure these will be few and far between, right?), every heartbreak, and every tear. I will also be there for every triumph, every A+, every soccer game win, or FFA buckle attained (ok, ok, maybe 4H … we’ll just have to see!), every successful speech or beautiful work of art, fingerpaints included.

Even if I’m not physically present for each of these events, baby girl will know for a fact that I am thinking of her, and willing positivity into her life. I will pray for her daily, and thank God for the chance to know her. And I know Matt feels exactly the same way.

So: while I’m terrified beyond belief of screwing everything up, I do know that as long as, as the Beatles say, all you need is love, I think we’re going to do just fine. But ask me again in 6 weeks.

Kick, baby girl!

Kick, baby girl!

Big hands, little baby.

Big hands, little baby.

BELLY!

BELLY!

Love.

Love.

These pictures were a baby gift from a family friend, taken by Sarah Giles of Butterfly Chaser Photography. Sarah is a tremendous photographer, and SUPER easy to work with. I highly recommend you use her, if you’re in the Bryan/College Station area.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 17, 2013 10:53 pm

    TOTALLY HER CHOICE. If I yell my sincerity is secure 😉 lol. You make me laugh Lisa… if only because I see myself in you. Someday. Beautiful!

  2. christy permalink
    June 18, 2013 10:17 am

    love it! great thoughts. also, lovely pics! the colors are fabulous and you both look so happy. what a sweet keepsake for your baby!

  3. jkotinek permalink
    June 19, 2013 12:18 am

    So fun to read this Lisa! I completely agree about not ever being ready. There is always something more to do, another book to read, or some other way I might improve myself…but it’s something that you can’t really know until you’re in it.

    I love that you’ve shared this and that we got to be part of your preparation!

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