I'm sure you want to know...

Today's peek at ye olde cervix revealed pretty much nothing of interest. Quote of the day: "This baby could hang out for another week." However, this was the same doctor who, at my 36 week appointment, predicted "a couple more weeks" and got me in a tizzy about not being ready in time. She has pretty much used up her ability to get me excited one way or another.

I guess this is the stage where a lot of people start to fear they will be pregnant forever. And it has crossed my mind that this is not a baby but some sort of rare abdominal tumor (With a heartbeat. And feet.), but mostly I am confident that eventually I will go into labor and a baby will come out. And beyond some heartburn, I'm not really so uncomfortable. My chief problems are the heat (how I would love to walk and walk and walk, but it is so hot out there's just no way) and boredom. Which is silly because I'm pretty much doing all the things I normally do in a week (besides work). I guess my usual activities just seem more boring when I'm thinking something else should be going on instead.

Fortunately, Dr. Poor Prognosticator was not at all jumpy about induction (though she seemed surprised when I said I'd prefer to wait if all looks fine with the baby). I have an appointment a week from today for a non-stress test, and if the baby still looks healthy and I still want to wait for things to happen on their own, she's fine with going a few more days from there. I hope we don't make it that far.


40 Weeks, 3 Days

I don’t know about where you are, but here it's the hottest week of the summer, more or less. On the radio last week, someone called it “deep summer,” and I’d never heard that term before but it seems exactly right.

The garden drinks everything we give it and wants more. Every day, a handful of cherry tomatoes turns red enough to pick. One of our two pear trees drops its hard, stunted fruit for lack of water. In front of our house, kids scuff by in flip-flops on their way to the pool at the park, towels over their shoulders.

A was diagnosed with Lyme disease this weekend—which isn’t as bad as it sounds, as they caught it before the painful and unpleasant symptoms emerged, but still feels like another sign that everything’s langorous and perched between ripeness and rot.

My belly is big and low and hangs out indecently from under all but the most giant, uncomfortable shirts. I walk very, very slowly, and my hands are so swollen my wedding ring is cutting a neat circle into my ring finger. The baby moves all the time, but more and more gently, running out of room. I eat raw almonds and drink ice water, willing down the heartburn.

Ingrid sits in what’s left of my lap, her head on my shoulder and her arm on top of my belly. I can feel the baby moving. I think that’s the foot. And that’s Mama’s belly button. It’s so big and squishy!

We're all just waiting. I’m done with work. I was so convinced the baby would come early, I didn’t make many plans for these days. We walk to the river, visit a waterfall, soak in the wading pool in the backyard. We make predictions, all wrong so far: It’ll happen on the full moon. The day after my due date. After a spicy meal. The night the doctor who delivered Ingrid is on call. We reconsider our name decision, add a whole new girl name right at the top of the list. I knit. I parse potential early labor signs: Irritability? Increased ear wax production? Carbohydrate cravings? The phone rings again and again. Not yet. We’ll let you know.



Ingrid has been cautious, always. A year ago, while other kids her age—newer to walking than she was—careened around, drawn to pointy corners and sharp edges, Ingrid took one slow step at a time. While other toddlers charged through the sand at the playground, Ingrid, intimidated by the uneven surface, sat still and examined the sand. She's still nothing like a daredevil; she hesitates, even at physical tasks I know she can do, and asks for help, and I remind her again and again to try on her own.

In the past month, though, she's accumulated a record number of injuries.

First came a goose egg earned from the corner of a dining table at a suburban Red Lobster during Great Grandma's birthday dinner. Then a scrape on the top of her big toe from tripping as she "ran laps" on the concrete path in our backyard. The same scrape, re-opened in an identical fall a day later, required a band-aid—something so new and alarming for Ingrid that A ended up wearing a band-aid on his own uninjured big toe for an evening to reassure her. And, most impressively, last weekend, a fat lip—with some blood, even—from banging her face on the edge of the bathroom counter when her step stool tipped over.

Last summer I know I'd have been alarmed by all the bumps and bruises she'd have gotten had she been more physically adventuresome. I am inclined to anxiety, especially when it comes to my darling's unblemished flesh. But now, somehow, the main thing I feel about this is a strange sort of pride. She is starting to push herself physically, figure out on her own what she can do without getting hurt, and I love watching that.

Several weeks ago we ate dinner out with A's mom and siblings at a lively restaurant. Near our table was a wide and fairly steep stone stairway. As the meal wound down, Ingrid started looking for fun outside the bounds of our table and found the stairs. For a good 15 minutes, she worked on climbing them—far from the railing, one step at a time, up and down. First she went up two steps and back to the bottom. Then up three and back down. And on like that.

Everyone else at the table—most loudly, my mother in law—sucked in their breath as they watched. The table hummed with variations on This is not going to end well. My brother in law, a rock climber and whitewater kayaker, perched on the edge of the chair closest to the stairway, ready to leap up and catch Ingrid if needed. My mother in law and sister in law huddled together, on occasion screening their view of Ingrid with their hands. A even said to me under his breath, Do you think this is ok?

And what I said was Yes. It did look scary. I can't say that my heart wasn't beating a little fast, and I can't tell you I couldn't feel the blood rushing through my veins just like in any other situation where physical harm to my daughter seems possible. But Ingrid was being, at the same time, characteristically methodical and newly brave, and I wanted to let her do that. It seemed very unlikely that she would fall. I was almost certain that if she did fall, she would not die from her injuries. I was even pretty sure that she wouldn't even need stiches.

I was riled up enough by the whole mothering-as-spectator-sport scene (the horrified glances went from Ingrid to me to Ingrid. Isn't she going to do something?) that I could not be articulate or graceful about explaining to the gawking in-laws that this was a good thing, a really good thing, and that by letting her do this I was not neglecting her, I was being a good mom, a really good mom. So I just sat there, fuming about the judgment implied by their horror, and also proud as could be of the little girl on the stairs learning what she could do.

And she didn't fall. She kept going up and down, arms out, adding one step up on each attempt, until she reached the landing eight steps up, then walked back down, grinning, unsupported.

On Saturday after Ingrid got the fat lip in the bathroom, I held her while she cried, and blotted at her lip with toilet paper, and then we went back downstairs to rejoin A and a few friends barbecuing in the backyard. Ingrid peered out the dining room window and called out to them in her most chipper little voice: I bonked myself right here, pointing to her lip, still oozing a little blood. I cried and cried!

It feels great that we are both learning at the same time that she can push herself physically, that she can get a little bump or bruise and end up ok.

No Further Effacement...

...physical or figurative. I went to my appointment all set to apologize to the receptionist for my part in our tense conversation yesterday, and she wasn't there. Hmm. And apparently there is also no significant change on the cervical front. Which...whatever. My mom arrived this evening, and it's a relief to have that last piece of our labor & delivery scenario in place, but I'm still in no rush.


The Shuffle

I showed up at my OB appointment today to find out that the doctor I was supposed to see is "in surgery", as are a number of other doctors in the practice, and the next time someone can see me is 2:45 tomorrow. This same thing happened last week, only that time they called me in the morning to reschedule and I was able to get in that afternoon after all. But today I'd been away from the phone all day (I am the only person on earth without a cell phone, it seems), so hadn't gotten their message.

It is pretty irrational to be all disappointed about this, as all I would have done is pee in a cup, have my blood pressure checked, and get a quick poke to the cervix and the latest reading of the tea leaves about when the baby will arrive. But it makes me uneasy to be shuffled around and especially to hear "in surgery" thrown around like it's not disturbing. I'd be much more cheerful about it if they'd just let me believe the missing OBs are busy catching healthy, uncomplicated babies as they emerge in the healthy, uncomplicated, traditional fashion.

What made it worse was the yucky and botched conversation I had with the receptionist about it. I think she took my basic lack of perkiness as meanness, and my weird attempt at humor as some kind of criticism of her, and reacted defensively, which to me looked like bad behavior and felt rotten, so I reacted by being abrupt, and, ack. I hope it didn't wreck her day as much as it did mine.

There are a thousand very good arguments to use to talk myself out of this, but for now I feel vulnerable and mad and uncared for and worried about bad omens and labor in the hospital and bureaucratic messes and being one small patient of one pretty big (though really good, I still believe) obstetric practice, one who may get crunched up by forces beyond her control.

There is a mama bear in me, still, who says, I am not at their mercy, I am going to get this baby out into the world the way I need to and the bureaucracy and the hospital smell will just be there, standing by on the outside. But oooooh, she is a tired and bloated mama bear, one who'd be much less growly and grumpy if things, even little things, would just go according to her plans.



Wednesday I went to the grocery store to get food for the week and for a dinner I was making for a friend who stayed with us last night. Rather than follow my usual, well-worn path through the store, I overlooked and had to loop back to find no fewer than five items. I visited the baking aisle three times (and I’m not even baking anything). And I still came home without bread (I eat a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast pretty much every morning), milk (my calcium obsession is in full swing), or couscous. (The dinner for that friend in town? A couscous dish.)

I haven’t felt so spacy any time that I can remember. If it hadn’t already been going on for three days I’d swear I was in very early labor. But this week’s peek at the cervix turned up no significant change from last week, and I remain, a good deal of the time, unable to connect one sentence (mine or anyone else’s) with the last, so I guess this part of the preparation is strictly mental and, if you want to get all lofty about it, spiritual.

I’m enjoying these strange, liminal days. I make plans, but know I might not be keeping them, so nothing is too weighty. Each thing I accomplish feels like a bonus. There’s plenty to fear and worry about, but not much to be done about any of it, and besides I’m so sleepy it all just drifts over me, along with, like, everything else I’m sort of marginally trying to pay attention to. It’s like my brain is floating on its back in a pool of estrogen, reading chick lit and sipping a progesterone martini. Mmmmm.


The milk's in me.

A month or so before Ingrid was born, I attended my first La Leche League meeting. A couple of women there were pregnant and also nursing toddlers. I’d been comfortable for a long time with the idea of nursing kids well into toddlerhood, but this was the first time I’d known of people nursing while pregnant or nursing two kids at once. What kind of insane martyr types are they? I thought. Why don’t they just stop? I felt like being pregnant took up every cell of my body and every calorie I could consume. What kind of nut would add to that the nutritional and emotional burden of nursing?

Well. Heh. You can probably guess where this is going. Here I am, almost 39 weeks pregnant, and here Ingrid is, still nursing anywhere between zero and three times per day.

It’s not a secret, exactly, but it’s also not something I talk about a lot. We haven’t nursed in public in at least six months, and, conveniently, nursing a kid over two, even without being pregnant, is so far off the map that most people don’t even think to ask about it. And, even though each step that’s gotten us here has felt completely right, I’m aware enough of how it probably looks (weird, perhaps unhealthy, possibly overzealous, and definitely a little nuts), even to reasonably well-informed other people, that I usually don’t bring it up. So, how did we get here, and how can I convince you that I’m neither a fanatic nor a doormat?

Last November, holding that unexpected positive pregnancy test in my hand, a whole marching band of worries trampled over me, and I believe the tuba player was wearing a jersey that said, on the front You’ll have to wean Ingrid and, on the back, or your bones will crumble.

Ingrid was 18 months old and still nursing a minimum of six times per day. She was going through a period, which I’ve since learned is common around that age, of “nursing like a newborn”—suddenly wanting to nurse more than she had been, and being more demanding about it and less willing to accept other forms of comfort. I felt overextended by her increased nursing already, and the thought of adding the exhaustion of pregnancy was overwhelming to the point of, at that moment, seeming impossible.

At the same time, it was clear that Ingrid was less ready for weaning than ever. Any effort I made to cut back on nursing, or even to limit it to certain times and places, just seemed to make her more clingy and unhappy. Maybe, A suggested, with more seriousness than you might guess, we can just give this baby formula from the get-go, and Ingrid can keep on nursing 'til she's four.

Looking for a more realistic solution, I naturally turned straight to the internet. Kellymom has some really comprehensive and reassuring info on this and makes it clear that, for well-nourished moms who aren’t otherwise at risk for pre-term labor, there’s no demonstrated health risk—for mom, baby, or toddler—associated with nursing through pregnancy.

I talked to a La Leche League leader about it, too. Actually, I called her on the phone, choked out my story, then sobbed while she told me that I was doing great, that I could choose what to do, and that Ingrid and the baby would be fine whatever I decided. She also told me how she herself had nursed kids born less than a year apart. (I have called LLL leaders on the phone two times and both times I have ended up sobbing. Something about calling a relative stranger out of the blue and having them tell me I am doing just fine...it undoes me every time.)

And I decided, for the moment, to take it one day at a time. To look for and respond to any signs from Ingrid that she was ready to cut back, and to stop offering nursing to her, but not to do anything right away to rush the weaning process. She had recently night weaned (a fact that had precipitated—in (ahem) more ways than one—my getting pregnant again in the first place), and that in itself had been a huge step. I was terrified of finding myself, this summer, nursing her in public with my giant belly hanging out, but I went with the thought that nine months is a really long time (it is!) and that a lot would change just on its own. And it did.

The first couple of months of pregnancy were hard; I was exhausted and very nauseated, and we all three got flattened by the Norwalk virus for a week in mid-December. It’s hard to say whether nursing made that time easier or harder. Sometimes I felt like nursing was wearing me out. Other times I was grateful to have that option as a way to comfort Ingrid when I had little energy to offer her. And while she was so sick with the stomach virus she took in nothing but breast milk; I have a hunch that nursing saved us from a hospital stay or a much sicker little girl.

Over the next couple of months, the “nursing like a newborn” phase passed, and Ingrid’s nursing settled into a pattern. We only nursed at home, and only at certain times, mostly associated with sleep and with separation.

And then, gradually, most of those nursing sessions just fell away. One day I’d come home from work and, rather than immediately attacking my boob demanding moke, she’d want to tell me something about her day first, and some days she’d forget about that nursing session entirely.

Now we are down to three nursing times: right after waking up in the morning, before going down for nap, and before bedtime. She’s starting to lose the morning one, and we’re trying to encourage that by not letting her see me lying down with my bra off. The naptime and bedtime nursing sessions are getting shorter, but she still gets pretty pissed off when I gently suggest we skip that step of the bedtime routine. But all of these nursing sessions are now optional. When I’m not around at naptime or at bedtime, she goes to sleep and gets up just fine without nursing.

But we’ve kept on doing it. Through the winter months when my milk began to taste different and caused Ingrid some crankiness and clinginess. Through the spring when the milk dried up entirely. Through last week when I started to notice Ingrid swallowing again as she nursed, and those weird yellow drops of colostrum oozing out.

Which I guess gets us to the question I asked two and a half years ago about those crazy La Leche League women: Why don’t they just stop? And my best answer is, Why would we stop? Things are fine how they are. The baby and I, by all measures, are totally big and healthy. Ingrid will not nurse forever; she’s on the road to weaning on her own. She’ll be fine being put to bed by someone else when I’m busy with the baby. And the nursing we have left is a sweet little part of our routine.

It’s also my ace in the hole, one I’ve used two times I can think of in the past six months, when she somehow gets worked into a serious tantrum and all other calming methods have failed for longer than I can stand. A little moke can really help.

My one worry is that after the baby comes and my milk returns to being sweet and plentiful, Ingrid will want to nurse more again. I know that's common, and I know I don’t want to let it happen, no matter how hard it is for both of us when I have to say no.

For the most part, I like nursing. I find it super convenient and easy, it feels healthy, I am fascinated and proud that my body can produce great baby food, and Ingrid and I have been very lucky to have had no significant problems nursing, pretty much from day 1 to day (gulp) 800. The only thing about it that gets me down is that only I can do it. There’s no delegating this task, and, with two kids, there’s no way I want to add anything more than necessary to the list of things caro must do.

So we'll keep going, keep taking it one day at a time. And if all goes well Ingrid will have to get used to the fact that she's not the only one in the family who loves the moke.


The Spheres

I keep thinking if I knew more about nineteenth century theories of astronomy I’d have a really good metaphor to describe what it’s like living with Ingrid, age 2. Isn’t there something about concentric spheres getting in harmony and creating sublime music, then falling out of alignment and causing havoc and devastation?

On Wednesday Ingrid and I went on an outing (a field trip to the hospital where the baby will be born) that was about as pleasant as could be. We parked a block and a half away to avoid paying for parking, and we walked there slowly, holding hands, stopping (literally, I swear) to smell the flowers, name the ones we knew and make up names for the ones we didn’t. After a week of stifling heat, it was a gentle, warm day with sunshine and breeze, and there we were, toddling and waddling along, holding hands, looking for all the world like a mom and daughter who were totally content with just about everything.

Back home, I sat at the table while Ingrid ate her lunch. I don’t remember what set us off laughing, but we both kind of broke out into giggles together, feeding each other's laughter, and giggled right into each other's eyes for a good long time. As we both wound down, Ingrid, still grinning at me, exclaimed, We’re twins! Stunning.

And then there was Thursday: unprecedented, long, inconsolable tantrums at every turn. And whining. Oh, the whining. Whining that no amount of ignoring, correcting, or cajoling could stem. How many times that day did I say You need to ask for what you want in a big voice and say please? How totally ineffective was it? By the time A got home at 6 it was all I could do to grit my teeth and say Please take her to the park for a while.

And then, yesterday, totally pleasant again. She looked at books and ran around the yard while I watered plants. We spent a sweet half hour playing with a big bucket full of styrofoam peanuts. She occupied herself for a half hour at the bulk mail station finding tiny scraps of paper on the floor to throw in the trash while I finished organizing my mailing for work.

The advantage to the roller coaster: Either I'm terrified I’ll never be able to pull off caring for two kids at once, or I'm sad at having the lovely mother-daughter dyad changed forever. But I’m never just one of those things for very long at a stretch.


If you don't love birth stories, just skip this one.

Not that birth story ... not yet. This is Ingrid's. Forgive me; two years later, I still can't part with enough of it to get it down to a decent length. (This is the short version.) But here it is, for posterity and for your crazy birth-story-loving selves, if any.

This weird little work-around (back-dating the post and putting a link to it here) is the only way I can figure out to keep the whole huge thing from appearing on page one. All the official Blogger options I can find involve a stupid "read more" link at the bottom of every post, regardless of length. Is this why people switch to Typepad?



Or, as Ingrid would say, Ready-dode! (She has a fabulous habit of adding suffixes to words. Greens are greensongers. Dinner is dinnerdond, A is Daddy-dode or sometimes Datty-dotey, I am Mama-sama or Mampa-ninta. I love this. My smart, smart girl! She already gets that language is here for us to embellish and enjoy.)

Anyway, despite some recent wrenches thrown into our plans, we are all about as ready-dode as we can be for this baby.

Over the weekend, A took Ingrid to Grandma’s house and I had an amazing, dream-like 36 hours of doing whatever I wanted. I cleaned things up and they stayed clean. I moved from room to room with total lack of drama. I had whole thoughts, lots of them, from beginning to end, without being interrupted. I sorted clothes, cleaned baby items, culled toys, washed and folded tiny onesies, made lists, read, wrote, ate, shopped for nursing bras. I also purchased, in almost insane disregard for our always tight and now even tighter household budget, these swaddling blankets. And, in the last four hours or so before A and Ingrid arrived home, I sat on the couch, watched terrible TV, and worked on knitting a sweet little light blue cotton kimono sweater.

Many, many things are crossed off the list, and I’d love it if the baby held off until my mom arrives in town and our doula gets back from vacation and we’ve sorted out the name question and I’ve had more time to hand off various duties at work, but if it happened today, I’d no longer feel so unprepared.

The wrenches all got thrown into the works yesterday: I tested positive for group B strep, which means I’ll need to be at the hospital for probably most of my labor, to get IV antibiotics. The aforementioned vacationing doula (who gets back Sunday) called to say that her backup doula is swamped because three of her clients are overdue, so there’s a chance we will need to go to backup doula number two, who is only available nights and weekends. And the dear family member who had agreed to be the main, number one Ingrid care person during the baby’s arrival was kind enough to cc us, yesterday afternoon, on a breezy e-mail giving the details of her upcoming road trip—of which we had previously been unaware—this Thursday through Sunday

Oh, and also the baby is at -1 to 0 station, and I am maybe 60% effaced and a fingertip dilated.

It sort of sounds like the perfect storm, doesn’t it? It all made me pretty teary yesterday. But, having had some time to make backup plans, I feel more optimistic. We now have some good backup child care arrangements in place, and I seriously doubt we will fall through the cracks of this whole metropolitan area’s doula network; someone will be able to be with us.

The strep thing, though, is really a bummer. I know there must be people who decide not to, but I'm risk averse enough to want to follow my OB’s advice on this one. And I had really hoped not to spend much time at the hospital. All mature discussions of the relative importance of birth vs. the whole rest of a child’s life aside, it is pretty important to me that the birth part go well, and I am both unhappy that I won’t get to labor in the comfort of home again and worried that more time in the hospital will lead to unnecessary interventions.

But it looks like this is the way it’s got to be, so I'm going to work hard at building my own little comfortable (mental) labor world to take with me into that hospital room and hope that when the time comes there’s a doula around to help guard the edges of it.

Oh, and I found out my mom was four centimeters dilated for two weeks before my brother (her second baby) was born. So maybe we’ll make it past the doula / child care black hole and most of this will be irrelevant.

Ingrid is ready-dode, too, but this has gotten long, so that part will have to wait.


Same river?

As I waddle my way through that to-do list, I try to get a handle on what happened when Ingrid was an infant, why it was so hard and what I can do to make it better this time.

I’ve been keeping a journal, off and on, for a long time. (It made me shriek a little, just now, when I did the math to figure out how many years: 19.) The main result of this is a lot of heavy boxes full of notebooks with not much of interest in them. But once in a while I read back and find something I’m glad I wrote down. Like this, from the month after Ingrid was born:

She already seems so BIG. A and E from work came to visit Friday and went on about how tiny and delicate she seems. And people I meet on errands and walks say the same. But to me she already seems so much bigger and stronger than when she was born. Her face is stronger, is already losing that absolutely peaceful newborn softness and taking on more personality, becoming more a person’s face than a little spirit’s.

The pace of change is almost violent—both what I’ve seen already and what I anticipate. I remember feeling this especially strongly the day my mom left—thinking, two weeks ago I was a giant pregnant lady with no children. Then I was in labor. Then I was in the hospital gazing at a sweet newborn. Then there was this time when everyone was around taking care of me, and now they’ve all left and I am really a mother and she! She is a pound bigger than when she was born and look how much she’s already changed.

It’s like being a parent requires you to be able to roll with lightning-paced change, to love someone who again and again rips you open with her newness. It’s like every day you have to say goodbye to someone you love and welcome in someone entirely different. It’s a new kind of love. The other loves in our lives—romantic partners, parents, even friends—part of the deal is that they are relatively constant. They do change, and part of the challenge of love is to let them change, to let yourself change within it. But in almost every case the pace of change is slow—from one year to the next the difference is small. But Ingrid—this baby—a year from now she will be walking, probably, and beginning to say things, and will have a whole set of needs and preferences and qualities that I can’t even imagine today, and my sweet three-and-a-half week old, with that particular full-of-milk look, that certain way of smiling, those tiny hands and that little munchkin face—she will be long-gone, replaced by a succession of little Ingrids, each of whom I love heartbreakingly much. It is a different kind of love, a painful kind of love, to love someone who grows and grows and grows like this. I can’t imagine anything else that could stretch my heart this way.

Everyone knows parents get sentimental about how fast they grow up. Printed on one of the tiny onesies I unboxed this afternoon: If they could just stay little.

But it still surprises me how intensely I experienced growth, her growth, as loss. I remember the sadness of it, still, vividly.

I still feel these things: Grief when I notice she’s left something behind; intense love for who she is each week, each day, and excitement about what comes next. In a way I’m glad to have the chance to feel those extraordinary, opposite emotions at once. How vital, how thrilling, to be in this. But in those first months, it felt, as did so many other things, like too much. The volume of those emotions was turned up so high it was all I could do to hear anything else at all. What will happen when I go, again, into the storm of life with a newborn—a newborn who will be, barring a major rearrangement of priorities or major birth control failure—our last baby? I hope I’ll be able to take it all in, this time, without being too overwhelmed to see the arc of joy over it all.


But then...

...I actually am kind of excited. We met with our doula, and the concreteness of talking about plans for the birth reminded me that we’re really going to be meeting a new little human being. And that little person will have really soft skin and tiny fingers and those silly newborn facial expressions and, in all likelihood, gods willing, will spent its first few days zonked out in milk-drunk bliss in our arms. That I can get excited about.

Also, we are closing in on good names. We’ve had a short list for each sex for months now, but I’m starting to be able to imagine us actually agreeing on one of each kind.

There are issues with the names: Many of the ones we like have Scandinavian origins, yet we have the feeling if we go too Swedish with this one we’ll end up looking like we’re running a little Scandinavian farm. (And that’s not even my background!) The girl name we both are most drawn to is possibly too uncommon to be bearable with our somewhat difficult last name. And our favorite boy name is unfortunately also the name of our neighbors’ often loudly reprimanded weiner dog. But still, we’re figuring it out. I think we have three good ones of each kind now, and maybe we’ll have to wait and meet this baby before choosing one.

Still, there are a zillion things to be done before the babe arrives.

Many of them, I am realizing as I think about the possibility of a somewhat early arrival, are actually not so necessary. The scuzziness of the inside of the fridge, the organizational status of Ingrid’s outgrown clothes, the drifts of stale rice cake crumbs and (yes) petrified rounds of string cheese on the floor of our car...these things will not have direct bearing on the health and happiness of a newborn.

Other items on the to do list are actually kind of important. It is pretty important that I finish these projects at work. It’s also pretty important that I sit and think about what’s about to happen and write rambling paragraphs about it. Those are my two top priorities, really. Not necessarily in that order. (The file I need to be working on is open. That counts, right?)

This weekend, A is taking Ingrid to Grandma’s house, leaving me here for my first night alone since she was born and close to two whole uninterrupted days to tackle some of this stuff. I think I am now comfortable amending my wish for four more weeks of pregnancy to a hope that the baby stays in through the weekend. After that, I’m all set.


Gestational Update


At 36 weeks, this pregnancy has reached the status of Spectacle. No sneaking into a room for me. I am giiiinormous, and feeling sort of beautiful about it.

The drawback to such conspicuous largeness: the need to discuss my due date with every passing stranger and appropriately answer the question, “Are you excited? You must be getting so excited!” many times a day. (See Emotional).


The OB du jour, this morning, said the baby’s head is down and is “pretty low,” and that my cervix is “soft, but not open yet.”

Then she said, “I think you have a couple more weeks.”


A couple more weeks?! Didn’t she look at my chart? I am 36 weeks now. I get four more weeks. FOUR! I need those weeks! I need them to unearth newborn paraphernalia and send poems out to be published and mail birthday gifts and savor being pregnant and get a little bit farther over my last post-partum period. I need those weeks, if nothing else, to finish the big, big projects at work that I am at this very moment procrastinating about. Gaah!

I know babies will come when they come, and OBs will say what they will, but Ack! And also Aaaghh! Baby? Coming? In two weeks? Not ready. Not. Ready.

The doctor seemed surprised that I was hoping to go longer. Could I really be the only patient she’s ever seen who, given the option, would gladly gestate Junior until, like, his or her first birthday?