38 weeks and the side view is striking!
My mom told me that her first child (which happens to be me) was born 15 days early. As I come upon that auspicious milestone in my own pregnancy, my thoughts are anticipatory but anxious. I am so excited to meet this tiny creature who has been kicking and hiccuping up a storm. But I also don't know that I will ever feel completely ready for birth or for the qualitative life changes that parenthood will surely bring.
I do know that my 38 weeks of extra feelings have made me more weepy than usual. I thought I was uncomfortable a few weeks ago but I now believe that I didn't know from uncomfortable. My indigestion and heartburn remain fierce. My desire to clean and organize and take care of business has intensified while my physical agility decreases. My abilities to focus and find the right language on the fly are diminished. Chris jokes that there's no blood left in my brain. Hopefully my students don't notice. I think I manage to be lucid in the classroom but evaluations of lucidity are interpretive. I am doing the best that I can.
As I try to visualize birth, I'm intimidated but hopeful. I want to muster all my confidence and optimism and not allow myself to be crippled with doubt. But it's difficult not to worry. I usually thrive in high pressure circumstances. I pride myself in rising to the occasion. But this will be a situation unlike anything I've experienced! And my mom and husband will be there with me which is reassuring. I just would like for the fetus to keep cooking a bit longer. Even with my discomforts, 15 days early feels like 15 days too early.
I've begun to come to terms with how little control I actually have. Pregnancy has been a series of lessons in surrender (special thanks to wise mom friend, Hillary for that very apt phrase). For someone accustomed to relative control, it hasn't always been easy. There have been numerous peaks and more than a few emotional valleys. But I'm comforted by the knowledge that pregnancy is not an illness. It is not something terribly abnormal. Women have been doing this for centuries. They do it every day all over the world, on a continuum of both more and less privileged/fortunate circumstances than my own.
I have instructed Chris and my mom to remind me of a few truths during the tougher birth moments: 1. She has to come out no matter what. 2. Breathing through pain will bring oxygen to my tensing muscles. Gravity will help me if I let it. 3. And perhaps most importantly: however she emerges my main goal is healthy mom, healthy infant.