37 Weeks and Counting

I know I haven’t posted on here much, so it would be easy for most of you to not know that I’m pregnant. But I am. Very. In fact, I just passed my 37th week and I am so ready to no longer be pregnant.

I’m 35 years old, so Ivan and I waited a little bit before we decided to start a family. Between traveling, his medical schooling and work, we just weren’t in a comfortable position to have a baby any earlier. And even at 35, I still feel like I’m too young to have a baby… except for the fact that I’m reminded every time I got to the doctor that I am officially Advanced Maternal Age (sigh).

We are both very excited to be parents and this pregnancy was planned and happily anticipated. That being said, I’m going to go on record as saying that I do not like being pregnant. The only part about pregnancy that’s been enjoyable is feeling our daughter move and that nudging reminder that she’s growing and thriving. Aside from that, pregnancy has been a months-long battle of a litany of discomforts.

There are the slight inconveniences. I’d love to have some sushi and a cold beer. But I’m okay with waiting on that. I know I’m going to enjoy my first bite of sashimi, sip of kombucha and glass of IPA after delivery. And abstaining from those few indulgences was something I’d prepared for. It was the unexpected symptoms and side effects of pregnancy that caught me off-guard.

Even some of the expected side effects have been a bit much to handle. The morning sickness was intense, albeit brief and manageable with medication. The lopsidedness and bodily changes have been difficult to work around.

During my first two trimesters, I still fit into my pre-maternity clothing. But by the third trimester, the only pants I fit into have a sash of stretchy fabric that slips over my bulging belly and leaves me looking like I’m shoplifting a bowling ball. I’ve packed away my old bras and am exclusively wearing nursing bras 2 cups larger than my pre-pregnancy wardrobe because at 37 weeks, I resemble a fertility carving in all of its curvy wobbliness.

There are little things that I took for granted before my body turned into a fun house mirror. Those small conveniences that never seemed so valuable until they were gone. How did I never appreciate the freedom of slipping on my sneakers without exhaling like a grumpy wildebeest each time I lunge forward to hook the tip of my finger into the back of the shoe to tug it on? I miss those days when I could be lounging on my back, reading a book and not have to rock side to side like a flipped turtle to sit upright. Once upon a time I only slept on my stomach. And I slept like a dead person who definitely doesn’t get up to pee 12 to 562 times a night. Now I sleep on my left side or my right side with a pillow between my knees and the knowledge that no matter how sleepy I am, I will be awake in about 47 minutes to go pee or to roll over or to wonder if she’s kicking my ribs because she loves me or because she wants me to go back to the couch and binge The Office.

There’s plenty more that goes into the discomforts of pregnancy than the silly complaints I’ve listed here. But so much of it is taboo. And that’s why I wasn’t expecting a lot of the side effects. No one tells you until it happens and you ask your doctor if this is normal. Then you pick up a book and learn about all of the unpleasantness that’s not talked about. Because who wants to hear about nose bleeds and constipation being part of the magical adventure of growing a precious baby?

It’s good to know what’s normal during pregnancy. That way I don’t panic about my crazy dreams, tender gums, insomnia, etc. and can instead focus on taking care of myself and my baby.

Now that I’ve researched all of those nasty symptoms that snuck up on me and am comfortable that they are normal, I still am no fan of pregnancy. The result of the pregnancy will certainly make it all worth the pain and discomfort, but at 37 weeks, I’m looking forward to the end and would embrace a slightly early delivery happily. Many of my mom friends have recommended I take advantage of these last few weeks before the baby is born. But I’ve taken advantage of not having a child for over 35 years and can say from those years of experience that these 3 final weeks in utter discomfort are not the halcyon days of non-motherhood for me. Fortunately, time passes quickly, even when you’re a crampy, bowling ball-thieving fertility carving, and our daughter will be here soon.

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