39 weeks and counting

Yesterday was my 39 week doctor's appointment and it went uneventfully, as all of my appointments have. Well, I mean, there was that one. About a month ago. When I gained four pounds in the span of one week, and sat there, looking incredulously at the doctor asking "But how...how could this happen," and she smiled, and told me "Hey, it happens," and that it was probably fluid buildup and I didn't need to worry at all, and I suppressed yet another one of those pregnancy thoughts that I've been having over the last nine months, that go something like "Yeah, ha! It's no big deal! FOR YOU IT ISN'T." (I ended up losing that four pounds, thus confirming the fluid buildup theory and therefore remaining sane.)

I saw the midwife I'd seen in the first 28 weeks of my pregnancy yesterday, who I love, and who was the fourth practitioner to tell me I'm probably going to have a big baby, and when we got in the car to leave it was all I really wanted to talk about - this big baby situation. I could have talked about it all day, except that J kept reminding me I was having this totally normal, healthy, wonderful pregnancy, and I needed to calm down, which is when I explained to him - calmly - that if he were going to have a baby come out of his vagina, he might be very interested in the fact that a good number of medical experts are using the word "big" to describe it, too.

Honestly, though? While my life at present, and the pregnancy in general, have been full of periods of my asking J, obsessively, truly annoying and unnecessary questions like, "But do you think I'm eating enough fruit?" the gig as a whole has been so easy and yes - truly - fun for me that I've got no right, no right in the world, to complain, or question or worry.

Except for the one right, the right of every woman who is pregnant for the first time, who is trying to navigate this totally mysterious and unknown bodily state, which cannot be explained by all the books in the world, certainly not by the Internet and not even by the doctors. You just have to learn.

Which brings me to 39 weeks. 39 weeks, and the three or four weeks before this, all leading to the end, have been distinguished by a general sense of calm as I'm winding down and realizing that I sort of, finally, get this. Where I'm actually welcoming the various aches and pains because I understand they're bringing me closer to labor. Where I've decided not to look things up in books or ask anyone what's "normal." Where I finally (and for the love of God, I apologize for using a term like this, a term I'd normally leave to the yoga instructors and meditation experts) trust my body.

I feel calm about the upcoming waiting game, even. Calm knowing that I cannot know when this baby will choose to make her entrance and that it could be any minute now. It could be a week, it could be...weeks.

But despite this calm (because, come on, I'm nine-plus months pregnant, you didn't think it was all roses, did you?) I am carrying around a lot of weight and there are practical issues that sometimes get in the way of an all-around pleasant demeanor.

Last night I decided to go to the grocery store. I love getting out of the house now that I work at home and I was very much looking forward to this grocery store trip, as pathetic as that may sound. Things started off well in the produce section, got a little trickier as I nearly rammed my shopping cart into people in the cramped aisles (qualities I never possessed while not pregnant, such as gracefulness, have eluded me further the bigger I have become) and by the time I realized, while in the dairy aisle, that I had forgotten to pick up salsa, and that salsa was all the way on the other side of the store, and was thinking do we really need salsa for tacos, I was undeniably grumpy. So when I finally found the salsa and saw that the kind I wanted was on the bottom shelf, and that required bending way over which was a) not easy for me physically and b) undoubtedly an unattractive position for a person in my current state, I was thinking, "You know what? WHAT AM I EVEN DOING HERE AND WHY DOES EVERYONE HATE ME?"

Having finished my shopping I was overjoyed to get out of there, but while waiting to pay in the checkout line, both the cashier and bagger began talking to me. I stiffened for a second, as though it might be possible to physically repel their advances with my unwilling body and mind, because couldn't they see I wanted - needed - to go home? But before I knew it I was smiling and happily telling them that it was a girl and that, yes, it was my first and that I was due in one week, to which they replied "One week!" and wished me the very best of luck.

And just like that, the world was a joyful place again. I'm used to my emotions flip-flopping so much as of late. Setting off for a long walk, for instance, because I feel amazing and hopeful and good and then, half-way through, coming to grips with the fact that my suddenly exhausted body is sometimes difficult to manage, and wondering how much more of this I can take. Luckily, those moments are fleeting and something like my talk with the grocery store employees or relaxing in our cozy house with a good book, because I'm pregnant, and you are certainly allowed to relax, restores my sense of calm.

When I left the store I stepped out into the cool air, loaded my bags into the trunk and upon getting into the driver's seat realized that J had installed a base for our car seat in the back of my Hyundai and somehow I hadn't noticed it until now. That, I thought, is where the baby will go. She is coming soon, and I can wait. I will happily continue struggling to bend over, rolling onto all fours when I need to get myself out of bed to waddle to the bathroom three or four times a night and I will go through 3,000 hours of labor and do whatever the doctors tell me to do, so that we can meet her.