I am sitting in exactly the way I'm not supposed to for the baby's proper positioning--slouching back on the couch. And it feels so good. Just like the half-caf cup of coffee I have every morning, the sips of Aron's beer or wine, the bite of smoked whitefish on bagel. I am not an angel about pregnancy; I have friends who even foreswore chocolate when they were nursing, just in case it pumped too much of a jolt into the baby's bloodstream. Not me. Baby better just roll with the slightly caffeinated punches, is my outlook. But being pregnant has made me so appreciate those sips and bites of forbidden fruit, which I crave like no pickles-and-ice cream. When I see people ordering lox on a bagel at my favorite cafe haunt, I have to admit my first feeling is a sharp sort of resentment. Like, can't they see me, standing there, pregnant, and not supposed to eat smoked fish? And so obviously wanting to eat it? Maybe it's because I'm a second child, this assumption I have that everyone else's actions are meant to provoke or reflect upon me--poor, downtrodden, second-born me.
Okay, switched positions--now I'm kind of tilted towards my left, where I'm supposed to be. That's even better.
The birth is in the details
Trolling on Craigslist and Ebay for very cheap but very serviceable lamps for both Sylvia and the baby's room should not make me feel as productive as it does. Nor should the fact that we brought home the perfect dresser to fit in the baby's closet from a tag sale for only $25. But as each of these nesting activities gets crossed off my list, I feel like I can breathe a little easier, let the baby come down a little further. I do keep feeling my water could break either any minute, or in four long weeks from now. I like knowing that the baby is almost full-term--37 weeks--for obvious reasons. It's also kind of a shock, for obvious reasons.
What's left? I wrote and printed out all pertinent numbers and instructions for Sylvia's care for the fridge. I designated my first-ups and back-ups for taking care of her while I'm in the hospital. I've made my list for my hospital bag, but I haven't packed it. I checked off the items on the hospital's birth plan, and wrote in some more ("While I don't really want to be hollered at to push, I also don't need the midwife and nursing staff to totally keep quiet about it, since last time it took three whole hours.") I want to make a mix for the iPod, and then burn CDs with the mix, too, in case the battery dies in the iPod. (It went through the wash. Shhh.) We can't move the boxes of books and office stuff out of the nursery until the cabin is polyurethaned and painted (and by "we" I mean "Aron, while I stand around to seem involved and encouraging"), which is hopefully happening in the next week or so. The crib can't be set up until then, etc. etc..
Aren't you glad you asked?
Paperwork and other prep
We took Sylvia to tour the birthing floor at the hospital this past week. I had to go in anyway to fill out all of the paperwork which would otherwise have to be filled out after I checked in (no thank you), and since we have a friend who is a nurse on the floor, it seemed like a great idea to bring Sylvia to see where she was born, see Lily and Georgia's Mama at work, and also the place where Sylvia will come to pick up me and the baby once the baby finally, finally, is ready to "come out." (I keep telling her that she'll have a lifetime to spend with the baby, but whaddya know, that doesn't really speak to Sylvia's 3-year-old mindset. Or mine. I'm getting impatient, too.)
And it was a good idea. Sylvia mostly clung to Aron as we walked around the place, but really perked up when we were outside the room where she was born. (It was occupied, so we couldn't peek in.) There were no babies to coo at in the nursery because they were all with their moms, just like Sylvia was. Most of the visible excitement was over the free fruit in the kitchen. And that's fine.
It was good for me to be back there, too. Walking the hallway brought me back to when I paced back and forth between Aron and Janah--or sometimes, come to think of it, ahead of lollygagging and chit-chatty Aron and Janah--trying to get to the end of the hall with the pretty view of the mountain in time to lean on it for the duration of my next contraction. The room where I was brought after giving birth was pristine, its two twin beds with hospital corners, and I remembered the first, incoherent happy night with Sylvia, the way the room smelled of wine and chocolate and toasted bagels with cream cheese the afternoon after Aron and my parents left. I didn't go into the shower room across the hall, where I first rediscovered my ability to bend over and pick something up off the floor, and also the flabby absurdity of my newly-postpartum body.
And I'll be back there soon enough. How will my experience mirror that hot July night three years ago? And how will it be totally different? I can't know yet. But what I do know--that it made me gnash my teeth at times, cry others, and laugh others--helps me feel ready for it, either way.
Join writer Emily Bloch each week as she chronicles her pregnancy.