Still Kicking.

by Alexa on May 2, 2012

I don’t know exactly why it has been so hard for me to post here—truthfully, it has been hard for me to accomplish much of anything—but I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that my emotional state is one that doesn’t bear close examination. I am buoyantly happy, but that happiness is stretched tautly over the surface of something else; I live mostly as though I am going to give birth to a live baby in 40ish days, but much as I want to be, I am not convinced that this will actually happen. It’s not that I think that it WON’T happen, only that I am not confident in its happening, can so easily imagine it Not Happening, and that is enough to be exhausting. The tension seems especially high now, when we are so close. I am trying to savor this last part of my last pregnancy, and mostly succeeding by moving forward as mindlessly as possible, and I suppose there is some willful blindness I have to adopt to do so that is harder to sustain in writing. Does that make sense?

Anyhow, here I am, at 30 and 31 weeks pregnant. respectively.
30Weeks
31Weeks
Both pictures were taken at the foothills of Mt. Laundry, yes, and in front of a streaky mirror, BUT! Our apartment has been painted! You can’t tell from those pictures, because all you really see is the doors and woodwork which are still white (along with the bathroom and kitchen), and also the pictures were taken on a phone, but the main areas (living room, hallway, etc.) are “Sweet Bluette” by Benjamin Moore and the bedrooms are “Sweet Dreams.” Both colors are a vast improvement over the dingy, sallow shade of “Landlord” everything was painted before. We have boxed up the majority of our books for storage, and have lovely new bookcases for the few hundred remaining. Furniture has been discarded, delivered, assembled, and rearranged, and in general the non-baby-related aspects of Operation: NEST! are proceeding apace. I still haven’t gotten up the nerve to purchase the items I need for the actual, you know, B-A-B-Y, but the bassinet is assembled, if mattress-less, so that is something.
I can’t wait until it is all done. I am going to take “After” pictures all over the apartment, like one of those “Pretty Things!” bloggers. I feel that having my home both beautiful and clean is an historic event, like an eclipse, or a shuttle launch, or the discovery of a new species, and demands extensive documentation.

My husband deserves some kind of award for everything he has done during this pregnancy. He has been a prince, and I shudder to think of the state I would be in if not for him. Every household chore? Performed by Scott. Laundry, dishes, cleaning, moving all furniture to the center of the rooms when informed by wife that THE APARTMENT MUST BE PAINTED OR WE WILL ALL DIE AND ALSO THE PAINTERS ARE COMING IN 48 HOURS? Scott, Scott, Scott, and Scott. During the first trimester I was too ill to leave the couch for months, and now I have days where I contract if I dare to be upright for more than a few minutes at a time, and he has waited on me and entertained Simone through all of it without a murmur of complaint; when I stumble out to the living room for my midnight leg and back massage, he has the grace and great good sense to appear happy to see me. We go out for brunch as a family, or lunch just the two of us while Simone is in school, and have so much FUN together—it may not sound earth shattering, but I assure you, the Scott of last year could not, would not, have handled this. Pregnancy aside, it is hard to believe I am married to the same person I was married to a year ago. That is a whole other entry, but trust me when I tell you that it is pretty astounding (inspiring, even) to see another person transform in such a purposeful, dramatic way as an adult. If I’d had the faith required to allow myself higher expectations–both for myself and others–a long time ago, I might have spared everyone a lot of misery and bother, but who knows. The point is: things are good. (And it is probably wise to have that written down for easy reference before New Baby Time, when sleeplessness and hormones are sure to blow everything sky high for a while.)

This will be obvious to those of you who have had third trimesters, but fetii look different on ultrasound at 30-some weeks than they do at, say, 25. Suddenly they’re all fat and smooshy, less like adorable animated skeletons and more like round baby humans. You can see their fat little arms and their fat little cheeks; I’ve probably got three and a half pounds of person in there now. Somehow, though, they still feel as though they are all bone, don’t they? All bone and FERAL, and maybe sharing cramped quarters with another of their kind—their mortal enemy, with whom they are engaged in a fight to the death. (Badger in a sack! I think every time she really gets going, It’s a badger in a sack!)
Twyla is a particularly active baby, which is good, as evidenced by the way I reacted the one day last week when she wasn’t particularly active (attempted to rouse baby, got no response, decided she was dead, was too afraid to use doppler, dressed for L&D while mentally preparing for series of excruciating scenarios helpfully provided by my brain, emerged from bedroom and calmly informed Scott that I had to go to the hospital because baby wasn’t moving, broke into violent torrent of weeping that could not be stopped, but had unexpectedly helpful effect of goading said baby from her nap into series of irritated kicks). However, this boisterous level of activity is not as charmingly painless as one might hope. I have had occasion to Google both “can fetus kick its way out cervix uterine rupture” and “how strong is amniotic sac?” The last time a nurse rattled off her customary “Since your pregnancy began, have you been hit, slapped, kicked, or otherwise physically hurt by anyone?” the question gave me pause, I’ll tell you what.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

It Is What It Is May 2, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Hot damn! It is good to hear from you and to learn that all is well in pregnant lady land.

Congrats on your 1st third trimester and all the rockin’ and rollin’ it has brought.

Looking forward 40ish days for your big reveal.

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sarah May 2, 2012 at 10:23 pm

holy god, you’re adorable. and you’re picking great colors. jewel tones look great on your belly. :)

don’t let anyone tell you how they are in utero doesn’t relate to how they are ex utero… henry kicked the shit out of me in there, and he kicks the shit out of me out here too.

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C May 2, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Thanks for the update.

As you may know, I was exactly 100% sure – in both my pregnancies – that all would end terribly. And here I am, with exactly 3 non-terrible outcomes. I would, luckily enough, make a terrible fortune teller.

Nobody else’s stories ever really alleviate pregnancy-induced anxiety, but time has the nice habit of marching on regardless. 40 days shall come and go, and, I believe, all will be well.

I’m sending extra good thoughts your way, just for added help.

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Alexicographer May 2, 2012 at 10:47 pm

It’s lovely to see you — any chance you might give us the highlights of top ways to improve your adulthood (and those of those around you) someday? Not as a recap, more a how-to? No? Darn … but fair enough.

Right. So. The last sentence of your post made me laugh a good while: too true. My son turned breech around 37 weeks and OMG: the head under the ribs. Not good (and that was even when he was being still).

I hope and trust all will continue smoothly and apace, and I look forward to seeing your updates whenever you’re up to posting them.

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Kimberly May 2, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I am so excited to see an update from you! Hooray for the third trimester! Glad to hear that things are progressing nicely in your corner of the universe. And I have to ask, now that it’s getting closer, is Simone getting more excited?

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Veronica May 2, 2012 at 11:05 pm

I am incredibly glad that you are a) okay and b) still gestating. I’ve been quietly worrying about you.

My second pregnancy was so fraught with issues that I didn’t think that I would be taking home a live baby. It was a bit of a shock when he arrived full term and definitely alive and well, it took me a while to come to terms with it. I was so certain we were in for a bad ending.

Which is to say that I have been there mentally and it’s not a fun place, so be gentle with yourself.

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tracey May 2, 2012 at 11:06 pm

So good to hear from you! Stunning to hear everything is great, well done.

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tree town gal May 2, 2012 at 11:15 pm

I’d be a bit fat liar if I told you I haven’t been checking daily, even your twitter feeds, to make sure you were out there chatting it up, happily still pregnant, and looking fabulous: check check and totally check… so glad to see you here tonight.

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Tamara May 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Would it be weird to tell you I’m jealous of your basketball shape? I feel like I’ve just developed an impressive beer gut that everyone is secretly judging me for, even the people who know I’m pregnant are saying (in their minds) that I have seriously got to cut down on the keg stands. In fact I asked my good friend just the other day if I actually looked pregnant to her or if I looked more like I had discovered beer. She lied and said I looked pregnant not like a college freshman, but I whatever, some people were raised to be polite. Anyway, your basketball baby belly is adorable.

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Genevieve May 2, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I’m so relieved and happy to read your post!! I’ve read everything you’ve ever written on your blog, and I’m so excited about Twyla’s impending arrival. Also: your belly looks *awesome*!

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Sonja May 3, 2012 at 6:44 am

Ah, you have the same model of fetus that I had. Oh yes, when I was getting my customary pre-natal checkups and I was asked if the baby moved regularly I had to laugh and say “He’s never NOT moving!” Not only did he kick the crap out of the doppler every time they touched my belly with it, but he kicked OFF the fetal monitors when I was in labor!

(Warning: He has not, in the 13mos that he has been on the outside, slowed down AT. ALL.)

I also had momentary freak outs if he was too quiet and I know that if my next fetus is a more laid back sort of person that I’ll be freaking out ALL THE TIME about “WHY ISN’T THE BABY MOVING?”

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Heather May 3, 2012 at 7:30 am

It’s great to hear from you. I hope that things continue to go well.

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Leigh May 3, 2012 at 7:32 am

I’m so glad you’re doing well and everything is still as it should be, pregnancy-wise. I do understand what you mean by willful blindness–I’m going through a bit of a rough patch myself and the only way I can get through most days is to actively not think about it.

My younger daughter was quite the kicker when she was in the womb; I was pretty sure she would not be born the usual way but would instead just kick her way right through the birth canal. And she’s still active and lively, ten years later.

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Swistle May 3, 2012 at 7:50 am

Favorite parts:
1. “…the question gave me pause, I’ll tell you what.”
2. “series of excruciating scenarios helpfully provided by my brain”
3. TUM PICS

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MJ May 3, 2012 at 8:14 am

So glad to hear that you’re all doing well. And I’m particularly happy to hear about how happy you and Scott are together. How wonderful for all of you.

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Red Stethoscope May 3, 2012 at 8:18 am

Hi lady! I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing well. And, because everybody loves having a know-it-all medical student reading their blog, no, the baby can’t rupture your uterus and break free. Unfortunately, she can break your ribs. Little monster. The likelihood that she will ACTUALLY do this is small, though, and it’s pretty normal for third trimester babies to be all squirmy and kicky. The first time I saw one in my Ob/Gyn clinic, I used the word “alien,” because I am always super sensitive and empathetic about these things (*sarcasm*).

You’re looking fabulous, though, and I can’t wait to see pictures of the transformed apartment!

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ccr in MA May 3, 2012 at 8:46 am

Look at you! (I’m talking to Twyla, of course.) Doing well, hanging in! Just stop hurting/scaring your mother, okay? It’s not nice.

Yay to Alexa, yay to Scott. Glad you’re doing so reasonably well.

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hayesmary May 3, 2012 at 8:55 am

Sure, you may be feeling some anxiety, I’ll grant you that, but WHAT ABOUT ME? I have to keep worrying and wondering and hitting refresh and mentally calculating how many weeks along you and Twyla are. It’s been tough on me.

Badger in a sack, I like that. With my first daughter, she did this thing that would me speechless and knee-buckled; it felt like she was grinding her head into my cervix. It actually became less of a problem as we headed further into third trimester territory; she got too big to get any real momentum going, so kicks and grinds turned into squirms. When she was a few weeks old, and placed in the crib with her head against the bumper/crib rails, she started that grinding/rubbing her head against the edge, and I found it adorable until I realized that’s what she had been doing to my cervix. It hurt like a mofo.

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SarahB May 3, 2012 at 9:01 am

I love this post for so many reasons: your basket ball belly, those paint colors, the glowing marital report, the lovely animal nickname for Twyla, hearing your writing voice again. Just, all of it. Huzzah!

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Reluctant Grownup May 3, 2012 at 9:25 am

Your belleh is so cute. And the third trimester is lovely to experience, and also INTERMINABLY LONG. They get meaner and meaner to your internal organs as the weeks roll by. You will have to make Baby apologize profusely to your kidneys and liver, once she comes out all squishy and delicious and newborn.

How did Scott’s transformation come about? I’d like an instructional manual to make some changes to our own division of labor, but am not sure how to do it without sounding like a shrew.

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Sonya May 3, 2012 at 9:29 am

Thanks for writing, and I am very glad to hear everything is going well. I keep checking in on you on twitter and thinking things like ‘she must be about 30 weeks now’. As far as active babies go it is unbelievable how much force they can put into their kicks. My older daughter kept wedging her feet under the right side of my ribcage and endlessly kicking there with great force.

To this day I have a numb area there and the intercostal muscle still tends to go into spasms. I hate to tell you she is now almost 19 – so yeah, permanent nerve damage! On the plus side, for both pregnancies I had contractions/very strong braxton hicks from about 30 weeks and still went 41 weeks (she just would NOT come out) and 39 weeks.

Also – love the colours and can’t wait to see the ‘after’ pics.

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Amy May 3, 2012 at 10:06 am

Alexa, I am so happy for you and for Scott. You look adorably preggo. Here’s to the 3rd trimester and ribs being kicked!

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Patti B. May 3, 2012 at 10:32 am

Happy to hear all of the happy things! Enjoy!

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smark May 3, 2012 at 11:22 am

So glad to hear this. Keep us posted! Oh and Twyla, be good to your mum, you hear?

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Christy May 3, 2012 at 11:47 am

You look amazing. And you sound great too. =)

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Cathy May 3, 2012 at 11:56 am

yay. yay for you, yay for scott, yay for the flotsam fam.

you be as willfully mindless as you need to be to get through the remainder — there’s plenty of time for mindful savoring to come.

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ldoo May 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Thanks for the update! I was stalking your twitter making sure all was good. It’s so fantastic to hear that you’re 31 weeks already. I know it’s scary, but it also must be so amazingly comforting!

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Sarah May 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I am over the moon thrilled for you and your Scott (and Simone too). As a woman married to a different Scott, who encountered troubled waters too, I would love to hear how you made such a huge transformation in so little time. We are rounding our own bend but some days I still feel like I need more tools to deal.

You look amazing.

I can imagine how bizarre your internal dialog feels. I had a rough pregnancy (though not nearly as fraught as your previous one). The daily reality was scary and I knew that the outcome wasn’t certain. That messes with your brain. Hang in there. You are almost there.

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Robin May 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Hooray for things going well and being pretty! Er, becoming pretty, as with your house. So so happy that you get a third trimester, even with its assorted pains (jabs to the cervix being particularly memorable…yeesh).

You look amazing! Hope the next 40ish days are uneventful and peaceful (ahem, Alexa’s brain: stop with the scenarios already). (But also, thank you, Alexa’s brain, for your candor and wit.)

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Amanda May 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm

It is good to hear from, and that all is going well. I love the belly shots, and it sound like nesting is proceeding nicely.

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electriclady May 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm

You look fabulous. Glad you are getting some happiness into the third trimester, stretched taut though it may be. And yay for Scott pulling through, too.

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Life of a Doctor's Wife May 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I am so glad to hear of Twyla’s exploits while still in utero. And I think “badger in a sack” is a delightfully evocative way to think about a baby womb-bound. Thinking of you (and your whole clan, badger included) and wishing you all the best for the remainder of your pregnancy!

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Jessica May 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Just like living with a toddler is like being with an abusive spouse, mentally and physically, having a 3rd trimester fetus is violent. And the sad part is that we start to stress out when nothing happens in there for a couple of hours.

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Kirsten May 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Lovely to read your words. And lovelier still that they are filled with such happy developments.

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Allie May 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm

“Badger in a sack.” <— I rolled around laughing at that one. I do so adore your writing voice!

Also, you wear the 3rd trimester very well. Your belly is completely adorable! (But, are the jewel tones covering up Bella-esque baby-inflicted bruises?!)

I will now ritually slap myself for making a Twilight reference. A thousand apologies.

xx

P.S. I'm currently job hunting, and when I saw a posting for the Twin Cities area the other day, my first thought was literally, "Oooh! If I get the job, maybe I'll run into Alexa one day!" I hope that doesn't make me sound /too creepy. Really, I just think that your writing make Minnesota sound attractive.

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Tasha May 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm

So glad things are going reasonably well! I’ve been waiting for an update. I was in fact absolutely positive that something terrible was going to happen while I was pregnant. I refused to use the home doppler alone for feear of *not* hearing heartbeats. My heart pounded terrible as I waited for the ultrasound to start and my blood pressure would sky rocket.

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Anna May 3, 2012 at 9:15 pm

My advice: don’t read Twilight. Good advicein general, but specially with an active baby. And, damn but you have a shapely belly. You look the exact opposite of how you feel.

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Amanda May 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I’m soooo happy to hear from you! Badger in a sack may be the perfect description of what a kicking baby feels like. It’s kind of fun to put something small on your belly and watch her kick it off. (I thought it was, anyway.)

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Amanda May 3, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Oh, and you really have a cute baby bump! The perfect basketball!

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Jeannie May 4, 2012 at 12:54 am

god, such a way with words.

I guffawed, nodded um-hmm as I read about the progress on the apartment, smiled gladly for your marital harmony, admired your badger-bump, and was so pleased to hear that all is very well and to have a laugh before I toggle over to Netflix. Hope to hear from you again before Twyla comes out (such hilarious in-utero descriptions: do your docs and nurses read you?!). I am so happy that your pregnancy rolls on toward full term. If she was born now, though, all would be well!

Please write soon. We love how you do go on… :-)

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Colleen May 4, 2012 at 11:22 am

I was getting worried when I didn’t see a post for a while (though I assumed we’d hear if Twyla decided to make an early appearance). Glad to hear things are going well–especially along the nesting front. I can’t wait to see the pictures of your redone rooms. Kudos to Scott for being such a supportive husband; I know my husband wouldn’t even pretend to be thrilled to see me for a midnight leg rub/massage…

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kathleenicanrah May 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm

oh hooray for all good things! (minus being beat up by your baby. Twyla=fierce, which is the best lady characteristic ever)

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Slim May 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Boy, wait to be 43rd and all the nice things you wanted to say have been stolen by inconsiderate previous commenters.

I shall console myself by re-reading this post a half-dozen times.

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Paula / Hamburg May 24, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Congratulations to your gorgeous husband! You are such a lucky woman. Everything will work out fine, and dont’t forget to care especially for him afterwards. My husband once said: nobody tells you before you create a family, that you come in third or fourth after the birth of a child..(not without a little bitterness). He is still around, our child grown-up meanwhile and he ascended to place 2 (or even 1 sometimes) again in my focus. Good luck for your precious little family.

Paula
PS Your belly looks breath taking!

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