Tuesday, September 27, 2011

39 weeks

For most people, 39 weeks has little significance.  After all, who counts anything in weeks?  People expecting babies...that's who.  Today marks one week until my due date.  And for the past 35 or so weeks, we've been counting down to this baby's arrival.  We wanted to put life in fast forward, especially during the middle weeks, when it seemed like this baby would never be here.  Now, we want to slow these last days down.  It's strange to have an idea of what's in store for the days ahead (just a little thing I like to call, labor) but to have absolutely no idea when it's going to happen.  Who knows?  Maybe this time I'll have some warning, but since I only have my experience with Lilly to go on, I'm expecting it to happen pretty suddenly.  At my doctor's appointment yesterday, she told me "I've still got time."  Famous last words.  I heard them on Lilly's due date at 3pm when we talked about inducing a week later, and was in labor later that night.  But in my head, even though I know there's the possibility that this baby may come early, I'm not expecting his or her arrival until Tuesday--my due date.

The unknown is one of the most amazing aspects of having a baby, which is why Jim and I love waiting until the baby is born to find out whether it's a boy or a girl.  Everything can be planned these days.  In many cases, giving birth is planned.  My doctor offered to induce me today, so that we could have more control over labor and slow things down a bit.  And as amazing as it would be to plan for a specific day, when given the choice, we're choosing to let this little one make his or her arrival when he or she is ready.

The days and nights leading up to the baby's arrival are very similar to the days and nights leading up to an Ironman.  As Dad said before Lilly was born, "you just don't know when the starting gun is going to go off."  Aside from having a baby, training and racing in an Ironman was the biggest challenge I've had in my life.  And, given that these races tend to dominate a big part of my family, it's natural that I compare the two, especially when talking to the boys in my family.  Last night, while I was out tutoring, my phone was more active than usual.  Edward called to check in and see how things are going.  We didn't get a chance to talk because he was at work by the time I finished tutoring.  Joseph left a message that only Joseph could leave, telling me that the fourth quarter was winding down and the only question that remained was if I was going to go into overtime or if there was going to be a 2 minute drill at the end.  Given my affinity (or lack thereof) for sports, I just shook my head and smiled.  When we were chatting later in the evening, Joseph kept telling me how excited he is, and said he obviously has no idea what I'm feeling like these days, and asked if it was like the lead up to an Ironman.  It most definitely is.

It's something we've been preparing for for months now.  We think we've done all we possibly can to be ready for this baby's arrival (well, except for choosing a name, which we still haven't done...)  I go through moments of being incredibly excited for the baby's arrival followed by moments when I'm nervous about how he or she is going to enter the world.  Just like the Ironman, there are times when I wish the hard part was over, and I had my medal (or in this case, our baby) in hand.  Jim has been giving me these funny looks over the past few days.  And doing a lot of staring.  He looks at me like I'm a ticking time bomb, which I guess in reality, I am.  When we woke up this morning, Jim told me he had about 6 different dreams last night that I was in labor.  And each time, he woke up, realized I was still asleep, breathed a sigh of relief, and started the dream all over again.  I can't imagine the feelings Jim experiences in these last few days and during labor.  While I'm not exactly in control of the situation, I'm the one who is physically experiencing having this baby, so I don't feel powerless.  I have moments where I question my desire for a natural birth and then I read some more, or call my good friend who is about to have her fourth child, and we talk about all the amazing things that come out of having a baby naturally.  I know that at the moment, Jim feels powerless.  As much as he wants to, he can't do anything for me, and that goes entirely against Jim's nature.  I understand that, which is why when I catch him giving me a funny look, or staring at my stomach like it's about to explode, I smile at him and give him an extra hug.  I tell him I'm going to be fine and that I can't wait for us to be parents again.  I would never be able to do any of this without him--he is just as important a part of labor as I am and having him by my side reassures me that everything is going to be okay.  Just as I had my best ever 2k erg test in crew when I knew Jim was behind me cheering, the same is true for having a baby.  Only this time, there's a little more support, a little less cheering, and at the end, we get a baby...not just a score.

I need an updated picture of my stomach, which I don't have yet.  But we'll take one before the baby is born so that I can look back in disbelief, just as I do at the pictures before Lilly's arrival.  I'm going to miss being pregnant, because I do love it.  But I'm at the point where I'm ready to feel like myself again.  I'm not really uncomfortable and I'm still sleeping well so I can't complain.  But I can't bend over easily to pick up toys.  I don't have a lap for Lilly to sit on when we read books.  I can't paint my toe nails.  Putting lotion on my legs is an athletic achievement.  I'm sick of people bumping into my stomach and strangers touching my stomach without asking.  I'm ready to stop going to the doctor every week and looking forward to having a beer or a glass of wine with dinner again.  That being said, Jim and I are enjoying every day leading up to this baby's arrival.  We're giving Lilly extra hugs, as she definitely senses that something is going on.  And we can't wait to have some exciting news to share in the days ahead!

Just testing out the baby's toys.  Revisiting her favorite bouncy chair and discovering that the papasan chair is rather comfortable, especially when the mirror is positioned so that she can see herself!

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