35 weeks going on 36 weeks….going on 47 weeks

We have only 30 days to go until our baby arrives, but to see me, you wouldn’t know it. Embarassingly enough, I would pop this kid out RIGHT NOW if I knew he would be fully developed, healthy, and ready to meet the brave new world that awaits him outside. But alas, I have 4 weeks until my due date, and another week after that which I could spend lying on the couch and grunting about ways to naturally induce labor.

In the past week, things have just gone downhill for me in a big way – and I’ve hit that part of pregnancy that many women claim convinced them to only have X amount of kids (1, 2, whatever…I’m sure even that Duggar lady hits the late third trimester and swears “I’m stopping now! Nineteen children is enough!). The fatigue, the sense that I am carrying an anvil around on the front of my stomach, headaches, bouts of nausea that are becoming more and more frequent, and just a general malaise about life has set in and, well…it’s as if I was in the first trimester again, except this is the first trimester that I never had. As a matter of fact, it occurred to me around 12 or 13 weeks (back in March) that I was probably going to get smacked with a huge fistful of preggo karma late in the third trimester…after all, I had it SO easy. I was never more than nauseous in the first trimester. And it was nothing that a lemon-lime Gatorade (which I am, once again, sitting here sipping) couldn’t fend off – and my happiness over finally being able to say I was going to be a parent made it all no big deal. The excitement was the best elixir ever to cure all the little inconveniences of early pregnancy – and really, I knew how lucky I was not to have to contend with vomiting, exhaustion, and all the other crud that most of my pals and family have dealt with.

But now I am – in a very big way – getting it all back. So, for all of you out there who swore that you would create a voodoo doll in my image if I didn’t have at least one first-trimester upchuck, rest assured that I am now paying for my good luck with a really grotesque late pregnancy experience. Still no actual vomiting at this point (sorry), but if it’s any consolation, I WISH I could throw up and feel better. This is hanging around way longer than any collegiate hangover I ever had.

But in better news, I had a good doctor’s appointment this morning! Baby Russ is head-down and engaged (i.e. head low in the pelvis) somewhat, the doc said, so all is as it should be for this point in the pregnancy. My weight gain is right at 30 pounds so far, which is smack in the middle of most doctor’s recommendations, so I’m pretty happy with it. My workouts are getting less frequent and less vigorous, but that’s to be expected at this point. I do find that doing a little time on the elliptical helps a lot with swelling, so I’ve been trying to keep that up at least a few times a week – but it is definitely getting tough. I haven’t even bothered to hit the gym the last two days because I just feel so crummy – and that’s fine with me. Russ is healthy and – though I don’t feel like it right now – so am I, so we can’t ask for anything more.

Russ is a very active little guy, and this week has been peppered with countless, walloping kicks to my ribs. In fact, sometimes I get kicks in the pelvis where Russ’s butt is perched up higher on my left side and his legs and feet seem to flop over towards my right – as you can imagine, those are becoming a fast favorite (sigh). But in truth, I’m trying to just chuckle at the hard kicks and punches while they last, because I am really going to miss this time that I’ve had with Russ, just the two of us. The other symptoms, I could do without, but I still enjoy the movements – even the not-so-comfortable ones.

The only thing we really have left to do in preparation for Russ’s arrival is to install the carseats in both vehicles, consider whether to buy a breastpump now or wait until after the birth (we’re leaning on the side of waiting, just to see how things go), and wash the several LOADS worth of baby clothes that we got at last week’s baby shower back home in Conway.

Oh yeah! The baby shower! Have I written about that? Well if not, let me just tell you all what a blessed girl I am. My family – specifically, mom, my older sister, and my younger sister-in-law, threw me a really amazing baby shower last Sunday night and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how everything went. For starters, the cake…O. M. G…the cake. It was an 18-layer (yes! EIGHTEEN!!), chocolate number from a fantastic baker my mom knows. We brought home a few pieces of it and sad to say, they had been laid to rest by Tuesday evening. My only regret is that we didn’t bring home more!

There was a great turnout of family and friends at the baby shower, and I really enjoyed seeing everyone a final time before Russ gets here. We got a ton of super cute clothing – most of which was in larger sizes that Russ can grow into over the next year, which I thought was awesome – as well as diapers, little baby items like a hairbrush, a “snot sucker” (wahoo!) and bath products, an awesome Pack and Play that will be very useful for trips to the lakehouse, and some really precious personalized stuff that had Russ’s initials or name on it.

Though every item was clearly given with a lot of thought and care, there were two gifts that really stood out in my mind simply because they were so unexpected. The first was from my friend Kristen (yes, that’s also the ridiculously great photographer who did my maternity pics). She and her cousin Beth Anna did name pieces to hang in Russ’s room. They’re going up right above the crib this weekend. They were blue canvas squares, each individually painted to match Russ’s nursery theme (blue, brown, and puppies) – and 100% unique, since they were created just for us! We absolutely love them. The other gift that really struck me as “Wow…that is just cool!” was what my sister-in-law’s mother gave. Ms. Kim is a gardening extraordinaire and has spent many years in the landscaping business, so she offered us a truly special and timeless gift – a tree planting in Russ’s honor. She threw out a few ideas, from a Crepe Myrtle to a Magnolia, planted in any location we wanted, but we very quickly decided that an oak tree at the lakehouse would be perfect. The oak, especially to any Southerner, symbolizes strength, longevity, beauty, history, and an awareness of those who came before us – all things that we would like for Russ to have. And while we may not be at this house forever, Lake Marion will be a part of Russ’s upbringing no matter what – so the lakehouse is the only logical place where we could plant the tree. But isn’t that a cool gift? I was so honored that she thought of something so special for our little guy. How cool, decades from now when he has grandchildren of his own and Jonathan and I are long gone, that Russ can take his own family to that same tree and say “This is mine.” Makes me all teary just thinking about it.

So, the week hasn’t been totally smooth, but it sure started off sweetly. I guess I’ll just try to focus on all the good stuff until this period of feeling cruddy either goes away or this kid comes out – whatever happens first!

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