Somehow, I’m 85% done with this pregnancy. I’m not sure how that happened; time went SO slowly during the fall and winter, and it feels strange to be so close to the end…with still quite a ways to go. I’m now getting comments from strangers – in elevators, at the sandwich shop, even undergrads – which catches me off guard, even though it’s kind of hard to ignore this sizable basketball belly. (I said to Dan over the weekend, “Look at this basketball! Isn’t that crazy?” and he said, “Ummm that’s definitely bigger than a basketball.” And he’s not wrong.)
I am still feeling physically great. The epic heartburn continues, to be sure, and they’ve even confirmed on ultrasounds that the baby does, in fact, have a bunch of hair already. (Apparently heartburn = baby hair is one of the only old wives tales that is true.) I’m starting to get tired again, and my back hurts if I do too much in a day, but all things considered, if I didn’t have this hilariously large belly containing someone who kicks me with enthusiasm at regular intervals, I might be able to forget that I’m pregnant.
We’ve made amazing progress on the baby’s room, too. I’m finalizing some art for the walls, and we still want to go buy some gutters to turn into bookshelves. I’m also saving some projects for maternity leave: setting up a baby album (oh man I can’t wait to share my plans for that!) and making a simple mobile. But we have furniture and a rug and a little lamp and it all looks so great. We’ve had the bassinet set up in our room for a while, and I’m almost used to seeing it there. I’m nearing the finish line with the blanket I’m crocheting. And even more awesomely, my baby shower this past weekend meant many generous gifts (and so! many! books! eeee!) for this little one from our friends and family. It’s overwhelming, really, and it makes me so excited that so many people are so pumped to meet this kid.
The other stuff? Is harder. Working toward my maternity leave has meant work has been extremely busy and stressful, with no signs of it letting up until my last day on May 2. My commute has been worse than ever. Five and a half weeks after my diagnosis of GD, I’m feeling like I have a handle on things. I wasn’t able to manage my blood sugar with just diet, so I’ve been on medication to help manage it. They tell me that it will get harder to manage the later into pregnancy I get, and that does seem to be true. But starting at such a low dose means I have a lot of wiggle room. I’ve figured out what to eat, mostly. I try not to sneer when we walk past the candy aisle at the grocery store. Sure, I miss candy and drinking things other than water and unsweetened iced tea. But my weight has leveled off, which is great. And I haven’t ever eaten this healthfully.
I’m now going in twice a week for monitoring – once a week, I have an ultrasound, and twice a week, I have non-stress tests. Seeing the baby and hearing his or her heartbeat that often is really awesome, I have to say. Less awesome? When it feels like at every other appointment, there’s something new to worry about/try not to google. My blood pressure is trending high, and I have polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid, which is common in people with GD). It feels like the doctors are constantly telling me “the baby looks great! I don’t want you to worry, BUT…” and then I’m supposed to … not worry? Have they met me?
So it’s a lot, emotionally. I feel like there isn’t much room left in my head to worry about normal things like “will I be an okay mom?” and “I sure hope breastfeeding works out” and “will we want to kill each other when we’re both sleep-deprived?” and “do we have enough tiny socks?” and “will the kitten hate us?”. Instead, I’m trying not to google things, and worrying about whether all of this means this baby will show up early on its own, or I’ll need to be induced because one of these conditions gets worse (and instructing my belly daily that baby needs to stay put until May). Somehow, it’s even harder to deal with all of this because I feel so great physically, if that makes any sense. In all the years I imagined what it would be like to be pregnant, I knew to expect nausea and puking and discomfort and aches and not sleeping. I expected headaches and stretch marks and hitting numbers on the scale I’d never seen before. But I didn’t expect all of these “might be a big deal but maybe it’s totally fine” complications. I wonder, sometimes, if this happens to other people, but they just don’t talk about it, and I’m weird because I AM talking about it.
People keep telling me that I exude this aura of calmness and “dude, I’ve totally got this” serenity. And I sort of just stare at them open-mouthed. Inside my head, I don’t often feel like I’ve got this. I feel totally overwhelmed a lot of the time. And then other times, I remember that the doctors say that the baby looks great and I’m doing wonderfully and that I shouldn’t worry. I know Dan and I will get through whatever we need to get through, do whatever we need to do to make sure both the baby and I stay healthy. I suppose the back and forth between “stealthy raving lunatic inside my own head” and “zen mother-to-be gently placing her hand on her belly” is part of this whole pregnancy deal. Or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself. And still, despite it all, in the end, I get to meet this little baby in a month or so. And that’s a wondrous thing.