The weekly appointment has come and gone.
And…for those dying to know…I’m still pregnant.
I arrived to find the nurse who isn’t always the nicest nurse. Great. Is she going to scold me for too much pee in the cup again? Or, tell me that taking off my shoes won’t make a damn bit of difference in my weight? Because I’m not in the mood. It’s 8 am and I couldn’t sleep last night. Plus I’m 38 weeks pregnant and it’s going to be 93 degrees today. Tread lightly, Ratched. LIGHT-LY.
First up, the scale. MUST we go through this every week. At this point can’t we just agree that I am bigger, does it really matter how much? Oh? I’ve gained two more pounds. Would someone explain how I gained another two pounds IN ONE WEEK!
Then she takes my blood pressure and, drumroll please, NEW PERSONAL BEST! 82 over 50!
Wait a minute…
Am I dead?
That seems really low for someone doing the work for two people. She then asks me if I workout.
I can tell by your blood pressure but really I can tell by your veins.
Thanks! I do have great veins, don’t I? I totally missed a career in Hollywood stardom and heroin addiction. Maybe in the next lifetime.
I have veins too, she says while showing me her veins.
I’m not sure what to make of this. People don’t usually go around showing other people their veins.
Oh, me too! We start talking about swimming and finally – a connection with Nurse Ratched! She then lifts her sleeve to reveal her bicep, flexes it and says:
That’s from swimming. I’m 62 years old and I will never have those flabby arms that women get. I swim 3 days a week and will keep swimming.
Next she puts me on the nonstress test machine. I’m in the comfy chair. The machine starts taking data and it’s clear that Max is going to be quiet today with a low heart rate. He doesn’t move much. The heart beat is quiet, too. Meanwhile, my uterus is contracting all over the place.
About 15 minutes later, the nurse checks on me.
Somebody’s sleeping, she says. Not me! I don’t sleep at all lately. She asks if I feel Max moving. Not really. He’s quiet! It’s early. Let’s not wake him. But the whole point is to see him moving. She brings something towards my belly.
This will wake him up.
WHAT IS THAT!? She shocks my belly with a vibrating wand and he moves. Then leaves me on the machine to give him more time.
Another 15 minutes pass. One acceleration. They’re looking for two. Numbers…NUMBERS! Come on, just let the kid sleep! In a few weeks I’ll be dying for quiet like this. I’ve been sitting here for 45 minutes. I’m uncomfortable in the comfy chair. LET ME OUT!
The doctor comes in to talk with me. She asks how I’m feeling, any contractions. She looks over at the machine.
Wow, are you feeling that? There’s a doozy of a contraction right now.
A mountain of a contraction makes a giant valley in the data. It looks scary. The earth might have moved. I’m approaching 8 on the Richter Scale! And I feel nothing.
She then pulls out the vibrating wand to wake Max up. I get a little jolt in the belly and…he’s awake! His heart rate starts accelerating and now I have a kick machine in my belly. THANKS!
Then she asks a series of questions.
Any leakage of fluid?
You’re asking a 38-week pregnant woman if she has any leakage of fluid? If I laugh any harder I’m going to piss right here! Yesterday, I got off the treadmill to go and got close – so close – but not close enough. I may or may not have leaked on the floor. Oh sure, laugh at me! Come on – I’ve got 35 pounds of fluid, tissue and baby on my bladder. Holding it in is not easy! But if you’re asking if I’m leaking amniotic fluid – negative.
We head to the ultrasound machine next. Time to check the fluid. She starts looking around and shows me all of the cord in the pockets of fluid around Max. The fluid is normal. I see his heart beating. I see his little hands.
Do you know what you’re having?
Doctors, nurses and technicians ask you this all of the time. Because damned if they will to be the one to let it slip when you don’t know want to know. Well, I’ve known since week 16 and I’m happy to say it’s a boy.
It’s a boy?
She says it with a hesitation in her voice that makes me think I have spent the last 22 weeks of my pregnancy in a lie, decorated an entire room in monkeys and named a child Max when really it should be Maxine.
They told me it was a boy?
She doesn’t say anything but keeps looking around. Meanwhile, I’m now convinced that I am not having a boy. I’m having either a girl or a Chihuahua. What if it is a girl. What if I’ve got a whole room full of blue stuff and it’s a girl. What then? WHAT THEN!?!
THERE’S THE SCROTUM!
Sweet Jesus! I’ve never been so happy to see a scrotum.
Wow, we don’t usually get a great view like that. Look at those testicles!
One thing is clear: my boy’s got great balls!
Time for the exam next. I’m seeing the nice doctor today so she wipes all of the goop off my belly with the paper sheet and then, in a very awkward moment, takes the sheet away to get a new one. Uh, excuse me, EXCUSE ME? I am laying on the table here. Half naked. A little privacy please? But then I realize this is all part of the preparation. If I can’t lay here half naked with one doctor in the room, how will I handle a nurse, a doctor, my husband, an entire circus of people and machines.
I should probably sit around naked for the next two weeks just to prepare.
She does the exam next. I’ve been waiting all week for this! A little strange, yes, but at this point I just want confirmation that this baby is getting ready to get out of me. She tells me I am a good 2 centimeters dilated now. Which means in the past 2 weeks I have gained – 1 centimeter.
You have to be at 10 centimeters to give birth, some quick calculations and at this rate, I will give birth in 16 weeks.
But at least it’s progress. I know, I know, labor is not linear nor logical. It progresses at its own unpredictable rate. I suspect I’m going to have to wait a little longer. Max still has not lodged his head into my pelvis. His head is “ballottable” which means it is still floating and not engaged. He needs to take a nose dive into my pelvis and just stay there before he’s ready to come out.
Exam over. Legs closed. Come again next week.
Whatever you’ve been doing, keep it up. And, stay active, says the doctor while pumping her arms.
I ask her, out of curiosity, what happens if I go past my due date. She explains that they continue to let you go. We don’t like to induce and there’s no reason with you, you’re too healthy. Too healthy? DAMMIT! What about old. Doesn’t that count for anything? I was hoping to pull the geriatric pregnancy card and demand evacuation on July 28th but it looks like if he wants to stay, he can stay. So, I might lose my mind on July 29th but stay pregnant until August 11th.
August 11th – THE HORROR! I grab the therapy ball when I get home, sit on top of it and start bouncing away on it like a mad woman. I will bounce this baby out. Just you wait!
Later that day, the rest of Max’s furniture arrived. FINALLY! It’s been nearly 5 months since we ordered it. I finished assembling his room, putting the onesies in the onesie drawer, putting the washcloths in the bath time drawer, putting the….all you need to know is that with everything in its place, it feels complete.
So I say to him: Max, we are now ready for you (psst, that’s your cue to ARRIVE NOW!)
That evening, I walked on the treadmill. I had many strange pains and irregular contractions. Such is late pregnancy. And there’s nothing you can do but keep waiting. Wait until contractions are less 5 minutes apart for 2 hours straight and then head to the hospital to attempt to give birth. All I have to do is wait for that moment to happen in the next 4 weeks.
I can do anything for another 4 weeks, right? RIGHT!??!?
Where’s that therapy ball?