I’ve spent the past 10 minutes staring at a baby swing. It spent the last few months tucked away in the nursery, and this morning I decided it was time to put it out in our family room, where it now takes up approximately half of the livable space. It’s okay though- the swing needs to stay. It’s visible proof that a baby is coming, and soon.
I have hit a major point of denial in this pregnancy, and with reflection I see now that it started with those two pink lines almost 9 months ago and never quite went away. Denial is a spectrum of emotions, and while it was quite severe in the very beginning, and then strong in the second trimester when I didn’t really even feel pregnant half the time, now at 35 weeks it has reached a whole new level of intensity. I am having a baby, apparently.
In my head, I know this is the case. I am super pregnant right now, physically. I’m huge, for starters. My belly has swelled in the past week, and is now something I have to work around. 10 days ago I was laughing while telling my husband about a post I read on a pregnancy forum, where a woman timed how long it took her to roll from one side to the other in bed. “Two minutes!,” I exclaimed. “I mean, it takes me a few seconds, but two minutes?” 10 days later, and guess what? Last night it took me more than an entire minute to roll over in bed. It used to be a simple 11-step process:
- Wake up
- Realize I need to turn over
- Analyze how much longer I can stand lying on same side to avoid the hassle
- Brace myself for the popping sounds of pelvis and sacrum
- While grunting, turn 1/4
- Turn the other 1/4 onto my back while propping myself up with my arms
- Turn another quarter
- Turn all the way to the other side
- Rearrange in-between-knees pillow and resituate under head pillows
- Realize I have to pee
- Curse profusely
Now it’s an entire 2 minute saga with all of my former 1/4 turns consisting of mini turns and inches, all of which radiate pain throughout my pelvis and back, which stiffen even in the short 1-2 hour increments of time between rollings-over. I am definitely pregnant.
Life during the day is full of constant reminders of pregnancy also- my waddle, the many sneeze-n-pees that are seemingly unavoidable no matter how many Kegels I do, the 40 lbs of baby I haul everywhere, my big, round belly which always finds its way out of my shirt to be on display, my severe dislike of all items just out of reach (which seem to be, well, everything these days). Now when I drop my bar of soap in the shower, I just stare at it for what seems like an eternity while I justify rinsing and ending my bathing right then and there: “Well, let’s see. I showered late yesterday at around 2. I don’t think I sweat much… did I? Americans over-shower, anyway. I’ll just wash my bangs and call it a day.”
I’m definitely really, really pregnant right now, and yet I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that this jabby, squirmy little creature inside of me will soon be on the outside, and in my arms. I tried to explain my denial to my midwife, and told her I basically need permission to start getting really excited and to do all of the little things we still need to do to get ready for this child. I believe she said something along the lines of “Val- you’re having a baby. And soon. I just had two first-time mamas go into labor at 37 weeks. It’s time to get ready.” Then a look of worry crossed her face. “Have you, you know, looked at the homebirth supply list yet? The one I gave you when we first met??”
Over the weekend we had a big yard sale and were finally able to clean out our front hallway, which had been filling for the past year with boxes and bags of crap that I’ve been collecting to get rid of. We made a few dollars, which was great, but more importantly everything that was not sold was bagged and delivered to Goodwill yesterday afternoon. Our hallway is now clear of debris and I feel like I can breathe a bit more. Okay, that was the last big to-do. The baby can come now.
Except, the baby can’t really come now, because it’s way too early and nothing else in the house is ready. All of her things have been kept in her room, hidden from sight, and I think this has played a part in my denial. So out came the swing to the main room we live in, and there it will stay. I don’t know if we will ever use it, or if Babby will even enjoy it, but it’s staying there until she comes so her mother can stare at it every day and hopefully realize that soon there will be a tiny person in this house that will fit in it.
Her bath-time basket, filled with tiny towels and her little octopus thermometer and bath accoutrements has been placed in the bathroom. This afternoon I am dedicating a shelf in one of our kitchen cabinets to sippy cups, breast milk storage bags, etc. I moved some lightweight furniture around today to get our room (which will be her room for the first 1-2 years) storage and pack-n-play ready. Her family room changing-station basket will be completed today and placed next to the couch. Her car seat will be installed this week. We tour our top pediatrician’s office in a few days.
I can be in denial forever, but that is not going to change the fact that this kid is coming out in the next few weeks. All of my nesting, all of the cleaning, the painting, the furniture assembling, the clothes washing, the reorganizing, the learning, the reading, the phone calls, the planning, it’s all for a reason- though the past few weeks it has all felt like busy work, like I’m playing house.
When will it feel real? When the first pangs of labor begin? When she’s on my chest, covered in vernix and blood and my tears? After days and nights of watching her breathe and counting her fingers and toes? It doesn’t feel real now, but I can say that I am anxious for the arrival of this tiny stranger, and to get this party started (but also completely not ready for a newborn. Life is hilarious!)