Well, baby girl, week 35 was an eventful week to say the least. For eight months I’ve talked incessantly about how grateful I am that this pregnancy has been so uneventful. We’ve had no scares, incidents, or bad news and I find myself thanking God daily for how fortunate we’ve been.
And then last week, you decided to take a nice long snooze. This would not be a concern except for the fact that you’re typically a very busy little girl and this close to D-Day, you shouldn’t be so still (or so I’ve been told). I resisted the urge to panic and spent the day paying close attention to your lack of movement and waiting for any little thing that could possibly be interpreted as a kick or jab. And there were a few – they just weren’t what I was used to feeling so they threw me off a bit. That night, we had our breastfeeding class and I sat patiently for three hours while all of the other husbands had their hands on the wife’s bellies enjoying the familiar baby rolls and tumbles. By the time I crawled into bed with a chicken wrap and a bottle of water I was exhausted and figured we both needed a good night sleep. But sure enough, the next morning was more of the same. Slight movements but nothing abrupt or jerking like I was expecting.
So, we talked. Your dad asked if I wanted to go to the doctor. I felt strongly that I didn’t want to make a mountain out of a mole hill and I sent him on his way to work. I got ready and started on my commute with the music up loud – always a sure-fire way to get you dancing – but still, there was nothing. So, I pulled the car over and laid my hands on my belly and I said a prayer. I asked God to give me the strength and clarity to know what to do next and just like that, I knew. I needed to go to the doctor. So, I turned the car around and not two seconds later, your dad called. I had no intention of telling him that I was going in – I figured why worry us both when I could handle it (for which I got seriously reprimanded later) – but somehow he just knew. And after hearing the tears welling up in the back of my throat he was out the door and on his way back home to accompany me to the doctor.
Upon arrival, they took incredible care of us – even though we didn’t call ahead and apparently, were supposed to go straight to the hospital for this sort of thing (who knew?). They did a non-stress test and your heartbeat was perfect. They did an ultrasound and again, everything was perfect but you were relatively still. Dr. P. felt confident that you were just feeling lazy but to be perfectly sure she sent us over to a high-risk doctor for a more in depth ultrasound.
Again, you scored perfectly in every way. All of your organs were functioning exactly as they should. Your breathing was normal, heart rate was strong, position was good, amniotic fluid aplenty, etc. etc. He did some stimulation to wake you up and you finally kicked that little foot out hard – yet I didn’t feel it. The final conclusion was twofold – either the position you were in – head down but with one leg all the way up near your head (seriously?) wasn’t allowing me to feel your movements as strongly or that I was doing too much too quickly and we were both suffering from exhaustion. He felt confident that you’d roll around soon enough and all would be back to normal. But, I was given strict orders to reduce my stress, activity, and exercise a bit – read: cut out all extraneous activities and spend as much time with my feet up since I’m unwilling to quit work so soon.
So, I did something that’s hard for me to do. I skipped work for the rest of the day. I went home, put on my jams, and crawled into bed with Lola. And sure enough, by that evening when your daddy got home, you were moving again. And then, by the next day, you were back to your old self and now, nearly a week later, you’re practicing your high kicks like the dancer I know you are!
Side view – eyes are on the right and little lips are on the left
The one good thing to come from that experience was that we got a really amazing shot of your face. We also got a 4-D ultrasound which we never expected to have since they freak us both out a bit but the high-risk doctor did it without telling us. And yes, even though it’s our own baby, it still looks like claymation and I’m still not a fan and decided not to post it here. In any case, you have some serious apple cheeks, just like I did as a baby. You are beautiful, little girl!
And then I got a horrible case of the stomach flu and spent two days hugging the toilet with a high fever and chills. It was like I was being punished for not having morning sickness in the first trimester. No need for additional details but I’m happy to report, that has passed and I’m now eating and drinking normally and with a clean bill of health from Dr. P. Sorry for any confusion or pain all this excitement has caused you.
The events of the last week were anything but fun – more like really scary and emotionally and physically draining. But, they did shed some light on this whole thing we’re doing here. It’s so easy to get caught up in the things that really don’t matter – in pregnancy and life – and lose perspective. Suddenly, I don’t care that we haven’t ordered our stroller yet, that you are measuring exceptionally large and everyone is telling me that I’m going to need an epidural to get you out, that we haven’t applied the finishing touches on the nursery, or gone to the movies in months. I don’t care about how much weight I’m gaining or not gaining, that it’s taken a week longer for your cloth diapers to arrive because USPS is a royal shit-show, or that our birth plan isn’t written, phone tree hasn’t been shared with Jen, or hospital bags packed. And it really doesn’t matter in the least that your “going home from the hospital” outfit hasn’t been selected or that every blanket or onesie hasn’t been washed in dreft (which really smells bad if you ask me).
I don’t care about anything except you – your health and safety.
While a natural, drug-free birth, is still my goal, how you arrive matters so much less to me today than it did a week ago. I will say, hypnobirthing, the methods I’ve learned and the meditations I’ve practiced, were an incredible benefit to me during this stressful week and I’m still a total believer. My view of labor and delivery has changed dramatically over the past couple of months and I owe that all to practice and self-hypnosis. And, it’s really reassuring to see that I can call on those techniques during other stressful times and they’ll continue to work for me. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to learn this new way to handle anxiety and nerves.
I’m sorry for getting so distracted these past few months and for losing sight of what really matters. And, I’m sorry for pushing myself (and you) harder than I should – you’ll be happy to know that with your dad and the doctor’s encouragement, I’ve decided to quit work a full two weeks earlier than my due date and I went today and emptied my gym locker so now it’s only yoga and stretching from here on out.
Thank you for your resilience, patience, and stamina little girl. With only a week left of work, I’m finally at a place where I’m looking forward to kicking back with my feet up while I patiently await your arrival. Take your time, settle in, and enjoy these last few precious moments of comfort and safety. I promise you we’ll do all we can to keep you safe after you make your way into the world but I know it’ll be a big adjustment for you so go ahead and soak up every last bit of our shared space while you can.
I love you dearly and look forward to relishing these final few weeks as one.