Ramblings: The Waiting Game

 The feeling of carrying a bowling ball in one's stomach...

So it’s been the waiting game for the past 5 days now… Will she arrive suddenly, will she take her own, sweet time making an entrance into this world, basically when she feels ready for it? I wonder what it feels like to be all squished up in there, with so little room to move nowadays. How can that be comfortable? Doesn’t she want to stretch her arms and legs out and open those eyes and see daylight? 

For 9+ months you go every day hoping you won’t see any signs of labour, no early contractions, no cramps, no waters breaking; and then you hit your due date and all you want to see is all of those combined so that you know that things have started and that you are finally going to be able to cuddle your child within a matter of hours or days.  April 1st passed by and although I’ve been having Braxton Hicks, or “practice” contractions for a while, I have not had any signs of labour at all. So I was scheduled for a non-stress test at the hospital and everything looked fine. I got to see my daughter make kissy faces on the sonogram and was sent home with another appointment for the Friday morning (unless I gave birth before). The clinic where I have been going for pre-natal visits and the hospital are in Fort Greene. It was annoying enough when I had to get there from Bushwick, but now that it takes me ages to walk (waddle) anywhere AND we live in Flushing I literally have to leave with a 2 hour window, just in case. 

So on Friday I was overjoyed when I started feeling what seemed to be contractions at 5am. Regular contractions that weren’t unbearable but were definitely not painless. And even though I moved around, drank water, walked, ate something, they still didn’t go away. I had my last doctor’s visit where they scheduled me to be induced (on Tuesday), but there I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to wait until then because labour had started. Off to the hospital we went (poor C. hadn’t slept a wink as he had worked late, but came with me anyway just in case I had to stay in the hospital) – another non-stress test, another sonogram, both revealing that I was having contractions (so at least I wasn’t making that up). The sonogram technician said that everything looked fine, but if I wanted to go home without worrying I would need to come back in a few hours I should go to Labour & Delivery to get checked. An hour later and I was sent packing from the hospital (in the nicest way possible) with the advice to “walk a lot” and hopefully I would give birth before I was to be induced.

So back home we went, hoping that it would be hours and not days… No such luck, it’s now Sunday, I still have those contractions on and off, but no other signs, no intense pain or anything else… Obviously my daughter is quite happy being shy and stubborn and just waiting for HER time. I’m not really worried about it; I just want to finally hold her in my arms after all this time!! And there was I, worried earlier on in my pregnancy that she would decide to make a rapid entrance, waters breaking dramatically on the subway, ambulances and all that. I think it will just end up with me being induced on Tuesday and her arriving peacefully in the hospital the next day. So let’s see what happens! Apparently I was just the same with my mum, not in any rush whatsoever!

There is one thing that I never really thought about before I got pregnant, and that is that the only time I have been in a hospital as a patient was when I was born. And even then, it was a tiny maternity ward in a tiny hospital. I have absolutely no idea what a patient is supposed to do when they go to hospital, what they need to bring, how they are supposed to act and what on earth the order of all the different doctor roles are. For someone who loves hospital shows I am absolutely clueless about the seniority in interns, residents, attendings, doctors etc etc. All I can say after Friday’s visit in L&D Triage is that the nurses are always the nicest and kindest people, and I will be more than happy to just have nurses deliver my baby – especially if they are gentler than the residents! If everything goes according to plan then I won’t need a doctor anyway – just a midwife and nurses. Fingers crossed! And then hopefully that will yet again be my last visit to a hospital until I have another child. 

So in the meantime, I have been pottering around at home, putting butterfly decals up, watching more series on Hulu and Netflix (I’ve now learned all I could from Call The Midwife on Netflix) and rested (even though I still feel exhausted).  Mum got here last night which is wonderful, and I know that even if Munchie doesn’t feel like coming out just yet, she will have to by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest. It’s pretty amazing to me that between me, my siblings, and now my daughter, we were (will be) all born between the last days of March and the first days of May. Spring babies! And all late too!

The next post may not be for a while… And it may just be random words forming somewhat of a sentence surrounded by photos. Let’s see how tired I really am going to get!

Ramblings: 38 Weeks and Still Growing...

It’s hard to accept the fact that you are allowed to be tired, that you are allowed to actually not really do anything all day except for watch that TV series that everyone has been telling you to watch for the past year. It’s hard for me, because most of the times in my life when I feel this tired it’s entirely my fault (out partying, up all night writing, stress-related insomnia), so I am so used to pushing myself through it that I feel guilty just letting go and just being tired.

Yesterday I woke up at 3am and couldn’t get back to sleep again for a lot of different reasons. I had to be up at 6am anyway due to an early doctor’s appointment. So I waddled my 38 week pregnant belly to the subway and went to the clinic in Fort Greene to get everything checked up. I guess I am now the one nearest her due date so everyone is very excited for me (they actually were all a lot more excited than I was, it took me enough energy to muster the courage to keep my eyes open during the appointment). I could give birth any day! I waddled back to the subway in the gorgeous sunshine, trying not to burst into tears until I got home.

And then I did what I have never done before, I asked my boss if she had anything important for me to do, because if not I was just going to rest. And guess what?! She told me to rest! Yes, Jade… There IS a reason you are working from home now, and this is because you are supposed to be resting! So for 10 minutes I tried to work, but numbers and words kept flying in front of my face and I couldn’t do anything correctly so I grabbed a cup of tea and went to the couch. Where I stayed until just after 8pm. And from the couch I graduated to the bed, and fell asleep, sleeping about 12 hours of interrupted sleep until this morning. You can’t be too demanding – there is no way on earth I can sleep more than 2 or 3 hours without having to get up. Bathroom trips, water drinking breaks and of course, a cheesecake eating break at 3am when C. got home. I still feel tired today, but more able to function. I think this is the new golden rule… No fighting the fatigue or the sleep: naps and bed whenever my body wants it.

So now the waiting game has begun. Any day now little Munchie could decide that she wants this to be her birthday and she will start making that journey towards daylight. While I would like her to wait until her due date of April 1st, I have now accepted the fact that she might want to come early, or that she might want to come late too. And that’s absolutely fine. I think I am ready to cope. Everything is pretty much ready (apart from all of her little baby clothes need to go to the laundry and I don’t know why we are procrastinating about that); she has a bed and a bouncy chair thing and blankets and clothes for every occasion and diapers and wipes and even heart-shaped sunglasses to match her mummy. She also has a hopefully endless supply of food that my body will provide for her (the alternative is not an option right now, so I really, really hope everything will work properly). And, so important, she has so much love waiting for her here, all that love that we hope we have projected into my womb over the past 9 months, and much, much more. So many people are waiting for her arrival and to finally meet her. Not the least her parents of course!

To be honest I think I have had a wonderful pregnancy, and I have been very lucky that up until a few weeks ago I really didn’t feel uncomfortable or too heavy. I’m not super huge, my weight gain stabilized in the third trimester (so much that I have actually lost a few pounds even though Munchie has gained quite a few); I’ve had a few aches and pains but nothing major. My feet only started swelling this week, after I started to work from home (so now I need to go for little walks every few hours so as not to sit at the table all day without really moving). I just recently had to develop an elaborate roll to get out of bed and that can only be done in at least 3 steps, and I don’t remember what it was like to jump out of bed in a spritely manner! Actually, I don’t remember what “normal” feels like anymore. What actually WAS “normal”?? I don’t really think I care, because that “normal” has gone, and will be replaced by another “normal”, one that I am more than ready to embrace. My main issue other than not being able to walk fast anymore (and I mean SLOW), is a burning pain I began to feel last month at the top of my belly on one side, that has now graduated towards the other side too. I realised that it’s basically from the skin stretching so much, but it wasn’t until I did some research on the web last night and read people describing it as just like a sunburn, without the redness (and without the sun, because that big golden orb has been on another planet for the past 3 months). Aloe Vera! Luckily I always have a big bottle of aloe in the cupboard as I spend enough time on the beach in the summer, and it really helps relive the soreness! Better than any other lotion that I have already tried. Who would have known that all you really need (outside of a good doctor or midwife) is a large bottle of aloe, a large bottle of Tums, a comfy body pillow and a healthy diet to get through these 9 (I mean 10) months? And yes, my iron level is STILL normal, even though I was anemic as a teen and I am a vegetarian. I guess I did something right by listening to my body. 

And I will continue listening to my body after Munchie is born. I’m not too worried about losing the extra weight immediately – it will happen naturally. My body has never been one to put on weight too fast, and if I make sure I get enough exercise I will be fine. I’m honestly looking forward to evening runs in Flushing, and using them to discover new places to go and new parks to take Munchie to in the summer.

Oh summer… I am looking forward to you. Showing my little daughter all of the things that I love about life: sunsets on the beach, waves, walking barefoot in the sand, listening to The Cure while dancing in the living room (not just for summer of course), and reading on a warm park bench under the trees… So much to be excited about!!! In the meantime I will continue to wait at home, not feel guilty about resting anymore, and watch as our cat follows me everywhere I go, just so that he knows that I am OK. Maybe the next post will be one with newborn pictures, or maybe it won’t – now that I am at home I have a little more time and energy to devote to catching up on writing. I say “a little” because a lot of that energy is put into making sure I am happy with how our apartment is set up. And catching up on TV shows. And thinking about making food, and then ordering salads from the delicious diner down the street.

That said, does anyone know where there is a regular supermarket in Flushing? One that isn’t Chinese and that sells an array of Western goods? I was so excited that we had a supermarket within walking distance, but it really doesn’t have a good selection of non-Chinese goods, and I need a little more for my palate!

(On a side note we are EXTREMELY grateful to everyone who has helped us out and given us gifts over the past few months. This alone deserves its own blog post and everyone will receive their own personal thanks, I promise, I am just a little slow at getting round to doing things these days. Without you all we would be having a much harder time getting through this, and the amount of love that we feel around us is extraordinary!). <3>