Several friends and acquaintances asked me this weekend how I was feeling this late in my pregnancy.
“Eh, ok,” I replied over and over.
“That’s not true,” JB interjected each time. “You’re in a lot of pain. Tell them how you really feel.”
The truth is, I feel like shit. I’m struggling physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Let me break it down for you.
Physically… I’ve had Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks, if not months, but now they’re more intense. My sciatica is getting worse (I literally could not walk the other day), and I have terrible hip cramps from sleeping on my side. (Not that I’m sleeping very well, though.) Occasionally, I have groin and lady-parts pain.
Then there’s the waddling. I operate on one speed these days: slow. From getting out of bed and standing up from the couch to walking up the stairs and getting into the car, I exert a ridiculous amount of energy on such simple physical tasks.
I’m also tired. So very, very tired, in fact, that I took a two hour nap in the middle of writing this post — and didn’t realize I had fallen asleep.
Mentally… My mind is foggy. Pregnancy brain is interfering with everything. In just the past week, my creativity and attention span have decreased significantly, making it harder and harder to do my work (blogging and freelance writing). Just forming complete sentences is a challenge. Like, I know what I want to say, but I can’t figure out how to write it.
Making decisions has also been harder than usual. As I mentioned on Facebook yesterday, I’m kicking myself for not getting the baby’s room and Levi’s big boy room decorated and organized months ago. Now I’m struggling to figure out what we need and where it should all go. Does the changing pad cover have to match the crib sheet? Do we have enough burp cloths? Where is the My BrestFriend cover? What will the baby wear coming home from the hospital?
And let’s not even talk about finalizing a name (and a Hebrew name!) for this baby.
Emotionally… I’m not sure whether it’s a final surge of pregnancy hormones or because I’m feeling so overwhelmed, but I now find myself spontaneously bursting into tears several times a day. And as exciting as it will be for Levi to have a baby brother, it’s bittersweet knowing that soon Levi won’t have our undivided attention anymore. (Though to be fair, we do give the dog his fair share of attention.)
Levi and I don’t spend the whole day together (he’s at preschool in the morning), and he’s not always on his best behavior when it is just the two of us, but he’s my buddy. I’m anxious about how our relationship is going to change with another sibling added to the mix.
Knowing I’m nearing the end of pregnancy (38 weeks) doesn’t make the physical pain or anxiety any more tolerable because, before I reach the light at the end of the tunnel, I have to give birth. And I’m terrified about labor and delivery.
I know what you’re thinking: This is your second baby, PJ. Don’t you remember what giving birth was like the first time around?
And that’s just the problem. I do remember. I had a ridiculously easy delivery with Levi; I wasn’t even in labor when we checked into the hospital.
At my morning OB/GYN appointment on the day that Levi was born, my doctor and I decided I would be induced that afternoon for medical reasons. In the two hours between her breaking my waters and when I received an epidural (I was already dilated 5-6cm when I arrived), I only had one painful contraction. And I can barely recall what it felt like.
I’m terrified of going into labor at home. Or worse, in public. What if I don’t recognize my contractions for what they are and end up having this baby in the restroom at Target? What if JB is at work when they start and doesn’t make it to the hospital in time? What if the contractions are just too unbearable?
Thankfully, my mom arrived from New Jersey on Saturday and is staying to help us out for the next month or so. Which is good because, between the physical pain and my mental haze, I’ve become pretty much useless to JB and Levi.
Over lunch yesterday we started talking about what to do with Levi when I go into labor. Assuming JB takes me to the hospital, does my mom bring Levi separately and wait with him while I’m in labor? Do they visit me in the delivery room or wait several hours until I’m moved into recovery?
The answer is, I’m sure, “wait and see.” It’s the standard answer to just about everything having to do with giving birth.
I hate that answer.
(Baby bump photo taken at 37 weeks. Ultrasound photo taken at 15 weeks.)