(And SCOTUS gave me a present! Thank you, Chief Justice Roberts! You really should have, though I did not at all expect it. :))
So I turn 38 today. It's a weird thing, somehow. I was not looking forward to this birthday at all. Partially because there was no way for me to know what the day would bring. We could've had a live baby by now. We could've had a dead baby by now. Hell, we can still have either today-- it's only 1pm here*.
I am also 38 weeks today. And have an induction date scheduled for next Thursday morning. Dr. Best, with a mischievous gleam in his eyes, tried to schedule us for the evening of the 4th, since most rooms on the L&D floor have an excellent view of the city's big fireworks. Sadly for him and JD, this plan was shut down by the scheduling powers that be. I am ok with it-- the 5th was always the date I had in the back of my mind as the longest we'd go, though given how my pregnancy with the Cub went, I really didn't think we'd get there (or even here, for that matter). When Nurse Kind said that she'd rather get the spot for the morning of the 5th before that one goes and we have to look at further dates, I felt myself starting to get panicky-- not so sure I could get my head to stay on even a day past the 39 weeks mark.
It is strange to be here, at 38 weeks. I did really well for a long time in this pregnancy not having assumptions or expectations. Or almost not having them. I sort of expected pre-term contractions. And those did start, and earlier than last time. At which point I sort of began expecting to have this pregnancy continue to follow the script of the Cub's, to include a high number of L&D visits, some amount of bed rest and, eventually, an early-ish delivery. So up until about two weeks ago I didn't think I would ever be this pregnant again. JD keeps commenting on how vast I look. But the truth is, I look good. I haven't looked this good or felt this good in pregnancies with either of my boys. Last time I was this pregnant, it was Monkey on the inside, and I was more than ten years younger. But that pregnancy included a few hospitalizations too and some amount of modified bed rest, for partial placenta previa. And, as I recall, some amount of foot swelling towards the end. This time? I keep shaking my head because at this point while I need to wear wrist supports to drive and I do get tired somewhat easily, and I am not getting much sleep, and I waddle, I feel good. I move, I get things done, and I don't even have stretch marks. I know-- shoot me.
Honestly, I like that I am feeling this good. (The only explanation I have is the workout program I did last summer. I mean I still have definition in the arms, so that's something. That, and I think we've gotten luckier with infections this time, in that I haven't had any.) But it's a mindfuck. I told my doctor, the first time I saw him this go-round, that I wanted the world's most boring pregnancy. It hasn't been that, but it has been probably as close as I was going to get. And I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop. At the end of last week's appointment, after Nurse Kind booked our induction date, I went out to the reception area and booked the rest of my appointments up to then-- two remaining BPPs, two remaining NSTs, two remaining doctor visits. It was so very surreal to not only actually expect to still make every one of those, but also to know that if this baby lives, these will be my very last ones at this office ever, except for the 6 week follow up. My last BPP is tomorrow morning, and they will estimate her size again-- last time she dropped into the 30th percentile, you know, plus/minus a full pound, from the 50th where she'd resided since they'd started measuring her. Is that where the shoe is hiding? Probably not, since, you know, it's plus/minus a full pound on the estimate, but I am also not about to whistle a happy tune.
Even now it is easier for me to imagine something going wrong than everything going right. I used to have "getting to the labor floor with a live baby inside" as a sort of a finish line in mind. Not that I've never known things to go bad after that point, but it really was a sort of a testament to how my previous labors have gone, as well as to the faith I had in how my particular hospital does things in L&D. But last week a careless remark from someone who should really know better (ahem, husband) had me suddenly coming up with all kinds of scenarios where things go south. Because why the hell not, right?
Yesterday, walking to my sister's house, I was trying to figure out what it would mean if she died on my birthday or if she died the day before and was born on my birthday. It's a thing I've been doing for a while-- thinking through the what ifs of baby death occurring on other significant family dates. With the Cub, I was most worried about him possibly dying before or the day my sister was getting married. This time, we've already made it past JD's 40th, complete with a party shared with a friend, and the back-to-back anniversaries, my sister's and ours. In the longer-past event horizon, we made it past Monkey's tenth birthday (and A's due date the day after). What I figured out is that I tend to just hold my breath on these days and hope we make it through. It's not that it would be less horrible if my daughter died on a different day. It would just be less loaded of a day, and hey-- there's enough shit in grieving without having to take it as that specific kind of a cocktail, you know? After today, there's only one significant date between here and the induction-- my sister turns 30 on Tuesday (yes, my family really does pack it in there-- and you should see the rest of our July). Monkey, therefore, thinks it would be an excellent day for her sister to be born. When she says it, I mentally add "alive"-- it really would be a pretty good day for her to be born alive.
So I am 38. I turn the number in my head, and on my tongue. It's not doing anything new, really. Many friends have been turning 40 this year, and I think in my head I've been "almost 40" since that wave started up in earnest in the fall. I wonder whether that feeling might change over the next year, whether it might become important to me, perhaps around the time I turn 39, that I am in fact not yet
*Clearly, it takes me forever to write a post. In my defense, it wasn't all in one sitting. Damned errands. And dinner. :)