She’s curled up on the couch, waiting, a ball of baby and emotions. A scrambled pile of books on pregnancy, labor, baby names, breastfeeding … not one more word can be absorbed. The birth supplies are loaded in a laundry basket, ready for action. The freezer is filled with meals, the car seat installed, the camera charged. It’s time to hurry up and wait. Not a comfortable place to be, but wholly necessary. - The Last Days of Pregnancy (read it; it's good)
Yup, that's where I'm at.
The writer, Zana Studelska, uses the German word "Zwischen" or "between" to write about the last days of pregnancy, i.e. waiting for baby.
What is it with due dates, anyway? The stats say that only 5% of babies arrive on their due date. I suppose it is medically necessary, as this article says, to set one so that doctors can monitor baby's growth and tests can be performed at about the right times. And having that future date seemed quite convenient, in terms to talking about the pregnancy with others, until it came and went. The people around me are very respectful and considerate: I've heard awful stories of friends and family members who call or text multiple times a day asking "Are you in labour yet?" Nobody is doing that to me (and they'd be in big do-do if they tried). But still, now that the due date is in the past, I find myself wishing somehow that I didn't have this date in my head.
For example, when I was teaching, I didn't like to share too many details with my students. When they asked about when baby was coming, I would say things like "sometime in October" or "in a few weeks - it's one of the great mysteries of life, and I don't really get to choose." That was my way of maintaining boundaries, but now I kind of wish I'd used that same line with more people - not because I care much what they think or know, but so I'd be used to the idea too.
I also hate to think of Ember as "overdue," as if she is a library book. (Random Turtle trivia: a major reason I let my library card lapse was because I am terrible about returning items, especially since online renewal. I would deal with due dates by renewing materials for weeks and weeks instead of taking them in, which can totally work until you forget to renew on time, and then (at least with some libraries) you start to accumulate fines anyway, sometimes with interest. See another reason I don't like due dates? They come with penalties if you miss them. Bleah, I say!)
What's going on now?
Well, at my check-up today the doctor was unable to feel my cervix, which is posterior (i.e. behind the baby's head). So, obviously there was no sweep of the membranes, either. She didn't make any big deal out of it, emphasizing that none of these tests actually predict anything about labour. I am scheduled for a follow-up ultrasound next Tuesday (41 weeks) and the Friday after that. Apparently standard procedure is ultrasounds every 3 days after 41 weeks. I do hope I give birth before I have all that monitoring, since I know that increased monitoring = increased anxiety for me, and if there's anything I would like to keep away from, it's anxietyanxietyanxiety. The only other advice I got was to keep monitoring baby's movements as movement is evidence of continued placental health. After 41 weeks they can induce, but doctor emphasized "that's not something we need to talk about right now." And then she said she hoped she sees me this weekend, as she's on call at the hospital.
Of course upon getting home I googled "posterior cervix at 40 weeks" (IknowIshouldn'tbutIdo). Naturally I didn't find out anything new, just anecdotes and more opinion. Some people claim that a posterior cervix means labour is not imminent, or that labour won't progress because baby's head is not pushing on cervix, or even that it means induction will fail and Caesarean birth will be prescribed! Then there are tons of stories of women in similar situation as me who went into labour a few hours or days later, no problem. So I might as well listen to the doctor and not make it a big deal.
As for other symptoms....I continue to have frequent Braxton-Hicks, especially in the evening. Sometimes I will feel bloated or heavy, like before a period, but it goes away when I change position or move around. I've also felt mild cramping or backache on occasion. Sometimes I'll feel sudden pressure or even pain low down, but like everything else, it's fleeting. Sometimes mild nausea - the same. All things considered I have very few late pregnancy discomforts.
So, what do I do with myself? I've gotten quite a few things done around the house. I know walking is considered good exercise, and I would love to; the problem is that after my fall in September I've gotten wary about walking long distances on my own. Even with very good, flat footwear, I can still roll my ankles. It hasn't caused me to lose my balance again, but it does stress me out. When Mr. Turtle is walking with me I don't worry so much because I figure he can catch me if I start to go down, but it does worry me when I'm alone. The weather has been so beautiful though, I might try some short walks at least.
Time for some lunch now. I'll end with some more thoughts from the article on Zwischen, which I hope will continue to be calm, productive, and......short.
I believe that this is more than biological. It is spiritual. To give birth, whether at home in a birth tub with candles and family or in a surgical suite with machines and a neonatal team, a woman must go to the place between this world and the next, to that thin membrane between here and there. To the place where life comes from, to the mystery, in order to reach over to bring forth the child that is hers. The heroic tales of Odysseus are with us, each ordinary day. This round woman is not going into battle, but she is going to the edge of her being where every resource she has will be called on to assist in this journey.