Identity changes as delivery nears


As with anything lasting for months on end, it’s realistic to expect hard moments, easy moments, dull moments, anxious moments and everything in between.

With pregnancy, it’s no different. It just has a bit of predictability to it—if you can even call it that. You start with the excitement, possibly followed (and in my case, definitely followed) by a few days of panic. You move to the tired/sick phase. Gradually you work out of that for a few weeks of rest. Then the third trimester comes, and with it more fatigue, panic and excitement.

But nothing seems worse during pregnancy than the last month. During that month, you find yourself analyzing every new ache. You find yourself exhausted but with a huge to-do list. You’re irritable and impatient. Your mind is consumed by thoughts of impending labor.

It’s a pain. I mean, this is my third full-term pregnancy. You’d think I would be secure in my ability to determine the real deal. And yet, here I am, second-guessing, Googling, over-thinking.

And these final weeks also brought a new experience for my husband and me: a 2 a.m. run to Newton so I could be monitored for a couple hours. What a crazy thing. In my defense, I’ve never had as bad of stomach pains as that night. Add to that consistent contractions…there was nothing false about it!

But ever since then, I’ve been especially on edge. I don’t want to make another mistaken trip to the hospital, nor do I want to have this baby at home. So I’ve been doing some reading on early labor signs.

Most contain typical information attempting to explain what “real” contractions feel like. Others are annoying and not helpful in any way, shape or form: “You will just know.” Really? Considering every pregnancy is different, I’m not sure you can always count on that.

But one website list of six early signs of labor was simply hilarious! (To read the list in its entirety, go to http://parentables.howstuffworks.com/self/early-signs-labor-humor.html).

My favorite was No. 4, misplaced identity: “You truly cannot recognize your own reflection in the mirror. When walking past shop windows you catch yourself training your best pitying smile on the massive mutant pod person walking next to you, only to realize that the reflected mutant is you.”

The best part, the morning before I found this website, I had taken the girls on a short walk downtown. In the process of waddling home, I caught myself looking at my reflection in the huge, mirror-like windows of Emprise Bank.

“Yikes,” I thought. “That can’t be me! My T-shirt barely comes below my low-setting watermelon stomach. Am I really presenting myself like this in public? OK Baby, it’s time!”

Unfortunately, it’s not time, though. I still have about 31?2 weeks until my actual due date of Sept. 8. And in pregnancy terms, that’s an eternity. (As I told you before, the last weeks are the worst. Not only are you large and monumentally sore, you are also a bit crazy.)

I promise, I really don’t want our baby to be here before he’s ready. I want him to be born healthy and strong. But after lying in the hospital bed thinking we could have this baby any time, I’ve been dying to hold my little one for the first time.

So as I wait, I will not dwell on 31?2 weeks. Instead I will console myself with the fact that 37 weeks is considered full-term, so really, I could hold my sweet baby anytime in the next 0.5 to 3.5 weeks. That’s a little better.

And maybe Emprise will cover its windows with a large tarp for the next few weeks….


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