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.
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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