At nearly 31 weeks, I’m in the homestretch and looking down a very short path to motherhood. I feel much differently. I’m well past the first few weeks of morning sickness, which made me feel like I was slightly hung over for about 3-4 solid weeks. Good news – due to years (if not decades) of intense practice, I’m highly functional at this state. Of course, I’ve done all the testing to monitor the health of my baby and myself. Those tests can be quite stressful, and aren’t much fun for the mommy-to-be – you have to draw my blood how many times over the course of 3 hours?!?
I’m through the months where I’m showing enough that people know I’m pregnant and express this knowledge with confidence, but not showing enough to feel totally uncomfortable. I didn’t even feel pregnant during those months, but people’s random comments definitely reminded me. My favorite comments tended to be something like, ‘I can’t believe how big you are’ (when I’m only 4 mos along), or ‘Wow, you look like you’re going to have one BIG baby’, or ‘I don’t think you can get any bigger’. I know people have good intentions, but one piece of advice – when succumbing to the urge to comment on the physique of a pregnant woman, less is better. Just tell her she looks great. Don’t say anything else. Nothing. Not a word more.
And, now…well, I’m showing a LOT and feeling very, very pregnant! Yes, I’m at the point where some days are much better than others, but either way I still can’t get off the couch without using all 4 limbs with full force. Yesterday, at the grocery store a very nice, and extremely concerned West Indian man told me that I shouldn’t be pushing around a cart “in my condition”. I replied with a smile, and reassured him that, ‘I’m fine’, all the while thinking that I was going to be pushing a hell of a lot harder than this in the coming weeks.
|Paddle Boarding at 30 Weeks Pregnant in Maho Bay, St. John|
Yup, I’m now facing the ultimate hurdle in any pregnancy – delivery. At this point I’m transitioning my thoughts from managing my pregnancy, to managing the delivery of an infant and the infant itself. AH! By far and away, this is the scariest phase of my pregnancy – not the baby so much as the delivery. Although, I am a little terrified of the baby, too. The other night I was awake in bed, unable to sleep because my hip had gone numb from sleeping on my side and the baby was moving non-stop, and I started scaring myself senseless with thoughts of having to deliver this baby. I realized that there was no turning back. That I am in this all the way, and no one else can do this for me. There’s only one way out of this situation, and it’s probably not going to be pleasant. I kind of feel like I’m slowly going up the hill of a huge roller coaster. Anxiety and excitement are building and building as I’m approaching the peak, after which all chaos will break loose beyond my control as I scream at the top of my lungs towards the end.
So, while I breathlessly waddle around in the tropical heat of this island - trying to stay active, yet still maintaining a state of comfort - I am frantically juggling between reading books on how to prepare for the delivery of little Baby O’Neil, and books on helping an infant adapt to his/her new environment without losing my sanity. Did you know that eating 6 dates per day helps ease your delivery and that dehydration is the number one cause of premature labor? Folks, this is the shit I’m reading about these days.
Meanwhile, thanks to the endless support of all of my wonderful friends and family, there are boxes and boxes of baby items, that only a few months ago I never knew existed, piling up in our house. In fact, I recently found out that there are wipes made specifically for a baby’s crusty nose vs a baby’s butt. Who knew!? Curiously, I still don’t seem to have enough baby stuff to be fully prepared, so yesterday I ordered the remaining items that we’ll need. I just can’t wait to try out my new breast pump and nursing bras!
All joking and fears aside, when I truly think about what this pregnancy and this baby entails, ultimately I wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, I am eternally grateful to have been able to go through this experience with my husband, who could not be more supportive and does not care that I’m carry around a 25 lb belly right now. I consider myself extremely lucky to have conceived without any issues and to have had a smooth and healthy pregnancy thus far. And, I’m happy that I chose this time in my life to go through with this process, a time when I feel like I am capable and ready to take on this next chapter.
So, for the next couple of months I’m going to try to enjoy the end of this ride – every last kick to the ribs and craving for a cookie. And, I’ll continue to relish in the wonder of what this baby will look like, be like and feel like when it enters this world and I meet it for the first time.