Tuesday, August 13, 2013

39 weeks

Welp, here we are.  Nearing the end, and a big ass belly to show for it.  And a big ass, for that matter.  I laugh thinking about the days even just a couple of months ago where I thought I was "fat". Oh girl, you had no idea.

The last month I have swollen up real nice and become ripe for the picking.  At least it means baby bug is on its way, right?  I literally yearn for the day I can get back in the gym, and work outs don't consist of walking up and down the stairs with the laundry basket along with a walk around the neighborhood.  

It's funny how your body completely changes in pregnancy.  Sometimes you are in completely awe at what it can do, sometimes you feel betrayed and confused.  Yes, it's a magical time.  I've never felt so feminine and strong in my entire life.  There is nothing like knowing you are all a little human needs to thrive.  But I've also never felt so helpless (cue Matt having to help me up from squats, the production it takes to get out of bed, the sickness if you don't eat every few hours).  And it's all for a wrinkly little being, whom I've yet to formally meet.

These past couple of weeks Matt and I have focused on each other.  I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life!  He's always saying something to make me feel better, when he's not pressuring me to move this process along.  Right, babe, because I'm in control.

We've eaten Indian food a total of six times in the last fourteen or so days, though I wish the number were much higher.  We joked last night that this child may come out answering to Sanjay and culturally confused.  

I've consumed two boxes of raspberry tea, and Matt asks me every day if I've had a cup.  Yes, dear, I've had three.  Do you seriously think you're the only one that wants to free this active little bug of its amniotic hell?

And then there are the walks.  I've enjoyed them the most.  In the mornings we take Patton and Pace on every expanding walks, something we all weren't able to do between 30 and 37 weeks, as I had quite a few Braxton Hicks' and decided to take it easy.  They love this time together more than we do!  It brings us such joy to watch them run through the freshly cut wheat fields, slobbering and occasionally finding just enough sheep shit in which to roll around.  Fantastic mutts.

Last night we decided to go on a walk under cloudy skies.  In Germany, it's almost always a little bit cloudy, and not exclusively accompanied by rain.  And if it does rain, it's typically a sprinkle.  Oh no, not last night.  We misjudged the weather (I always blame Matt by default) and ended up in a pretty significant rainstorm.  These were big, fat, COLD drops followed by cutting wind.  And here we are, speed walking trying to out "run" the rain.  We found shelter beneath a bus stop for fifteen minutes, only to be whipped enough by the wind to give up and walk home in the pouring rain.  I would have given anything to have seen us.  Here Matt is, able to run home if he'd like, leisurely walking the speed of his VERY pregnant wife, grunting and giving it all she could to make it up a very modest incline.  At one point he had to stop and tie his shoe, remarking, "Shit!  Don't stop!  Save yourself!"  I nearly peed my pants.  

On our rain-free walks, we spend time talking about what we think the baby will look like, what characteristics, physical and otherwise, it will gain from each of us.  I'm convinced this babe is Matt's twin.  We went to an ultrasound for funsies a couple of weeks ago and got a great shot of the face.  I'm pretty sure it has Matt's nose and my lips, though ultrasounds aren't particularly known for their precision.  We do know, however, that this boo has some pretty long (and STRONG!) legs.  S/he also weighs in at over seven pounds, something that just astounds me.  I thought we'd have a six pound baby, at most.  

The ultrasound was just spectacular and the doctor was amazed by how big (because we're hobbits?) and active the baby was.  And did I say strong?  She suggested we may have a future footballer on our hands; we smiled and agreed.  I think s/he'll be a dancer, too ;)

The regimen has continued as far as weekly visits with Alexa, and I've increased my chiropractor visits to once a week.  Yesterday, Dr. White (chiropractor) suggested my body is up to something (labor?!) because there were very little adjustments.  She also gave me her cell phone number (I'M A CELEBRITY!!!) with instructions to call while if I needed anything while in labor.  Seriously?!  I would have cried if I weren't grinning from ear to ear like a moron.  My exact words: "So, you'd come to my house?  In the middle of the night?"  Oh yes, she said.  And bring a few little tools and do whatever she could to help ease discomfort.  Is this normal???!

I absolutely LOVE the standard of care that we've been provided with here.  I truly don't think we could have it just anywhere.  Matt and I always remark about how lucky we are to have such fantastic providers.  A chiropractor, midwife, and doula that answer our every call.  It's too good to be true!  So let me brag on Alexa and Tara for a minute...

Tara, our midwife, has been a soul sister to me during this time.  She's like a sister figure who answers all my calls and texts, regardless of the time.  Oh yes, she texted me back at four in the morning once.  Granted, she was up nursing, but still.  She is always someone to talk to when I'm nervous or feeling less than enthusiastic, the greatest cheerleader I could ask for (I shall elaborate on this post-birth), a teacher, a mentor, and a nonjudgemental friend.  She has given us so many nappies and taught us all about cloth diapering.  She's even made us a few nappie covers and is giving us pre-folds!!!  An angel, indeed.

Then there is Alexa.  I've called her with the most ridiculous questions of all time.  Never judging or laughing, she has eased any anxiety I've had.  And I love that she's a homeopath.  I've never felt so "clean" in my life!  Not only has she prescribed the most delicious herbal teas and helpful oils, but her commitment to natural living has only accelerated my ever-growing interest.  Though we switched to completely homemade/nontoxic cleaners and detergents over a year ago, Matt and I have spent the last two weeks completely ridding our home of toxins.  All that remain are a tube of toothpaste, Matthew's repulsive cologne, and his special face wash that was much too expensive to throw out.  We're replacing it with our own concoction, as we have everything else :)

But back to Alexa.  The most amazing thing, albeit surprising to one accustomed to the practice of  standard Western medicine, is the communication.  Even with the language barrier, this woman is completely accessible.  Not only that, she calls ME!  That's right, my provider calls in to check on me every few days.  She'll call if she's going to be more than thirty minutes away and ask if it's OK that she go rock climbing with her sister, for example.  Um, HELL YES that's OK!  My midwife's a badass.  Climbing rocks one minute, checking your cervix the next (though she ask for a little extra time for a shower).  I've never known of such access to one's provider, and though my parents were a little reluctant of our care decisions at first, I'm pretty sure this is what won them over.

And last, Alexa has cared for our entire family.  When Pace was spayed, we wanted to ease her pain.  Of course the vet prescribed medication, but Alexa took a look at her and suggested we try a few homeopathic remedies.  When Matt thought he had a kidney infection/UTI, Alexa whipped out one of the sticks I always pee on and checked his results.  She has also suggested a menu herbs to ease every day discomforts.  She also always asks me, "How is your soul?"  I adore this question, and the very fact that she asks it.  How many times have you been asked the state of your soul?  It's such an important part of your wellbeing but no one, especially not a physician, is going to ask about it.   But she can tell before I even answer.  A month ago as I began having anxieties about the birth, she called it before I said anything.  Yes, it is pretty common, but she really cared and talked me through the process.  And it makes me feel like a rockstar when she tells me she trusts me.  It's a two way street, ya know?

To wrap it all up, we're lucky.  We're grateful that we both put in the time to research our options and find the best providers we feel we could.  We're grateful these providers are as spectacular as they are, and we've developed meaningful relationships with all of them.  They trust us just as much as we trust them.  And we're SO grateful that our baby is kicking some serious ass.  Dear haters: vegans grow big, healthy babies, too!  Maybe this will be the last post until the one on our birth story?  Let's hope so!  Until then, here some ditties:

How far along? 39 weeks
Maternity clothes?  Ya
Stretch marks?  Oh yes.  They have made themselves known in the last week.  And yes, I've been doing everything right.  I oil up three times a day after dry brushing, drink plenty of water, and have a pretty good diet considering some of my recent cravings which I eat in moderation.  Stretch marks happen, and I'm beginning to accept that.  There is really no alternative to my body holding a seven pound + baby...
Sleeping?  Eh.  I wake up every half hour to pee, and then I'm usually up by five.  I use that time to snack (usually a banana and glass of soy milk) and peruse the Washington Post, NY Times, and a couple of favorite blogs.  I'll usually fall back asleep around 6:30 for a couple of hours.
Cravings?  BBQ kettle chips, Indian food, and sweet tea.  It is what it is. 
Aversions?  Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Eric Cantor, Rand Paul.  But that's not new...
Other symptoms?  Nesting.  Matt and I have been detoxifying the home (he's been quite the trooper in this endeavor), cleaning, purging, and getting ready for baby.  I've also had dreams about going into labor, along with strange dreams, in general.  A couple of weeks ago my dreams were dominated by tsunamis and tidal waves, something completely normal if you know the meaning.  These dreams mean that you feel overwhelmed or are dealing with a very new experience.  Completely normal, in my book.  Also, there was a dream that the baby was pushing its face and feet up against my belly and I could see every toe and facial feature.  Not as freaky as you'd think, and I'm pretty sure it was about preparing for this baby to make its grand entrance.  And then there was the dream that Harrison Ford was my professor (Indiana Jones??) and gave me two thousand dollars for handing out papers.  I don't even think Carl Jung could sort that one out.  Oddly enough, the next night Raiders of the Lost Ark was on.  That was quite the pleasant surprise :)
Best moment of the week?  Getting stuck in the rain with the love of my life.  It's one of those memories we'll never forget.