Tomorrow will mark my 39th week of this pregnancy. I feel like I’ve been pregnant for WAY longer than that. Not because I’ve had a bad or difficult pregnancy, just because growing a tiny human seems to take a long time. A long, booze-less, smoked salmon-less, awkwardly chubby time. I’ve written about the weirdness that is pregnancy a couple of times (here & here) but there is a very special brand of crazy that hits once you reach those last couple weeks of pregnancy. I like to think, or maybe pretend is more accurate, that I’m not subject to the wild ups and downs of hormonal fluctuations. Mind over matter…or some crap like that. I consider myself to be a fairly even-keeled person. I think even my close friends and my husband would agree that’s generally the case. Or at least they’d agree that I’m good at keeping my crazy under wraps so I seem level-headed. All that to say, I’m caught off guard by the thoughts and emotions of very late pregnancy EVERY TIME. You want to know what the worst of it is? I have absolutely no idea I’m being crazy until it’s all over. The damage has been done but it all seemed so sensible, so right in the moment.
A classic example of this comes from my first pregnancy. The Hubs and I were planning to order pizza. There was a disagreement regarding what coupon to use. By disagreement I mean a no holds barred, screaming, cursing, locked-myself-in-the-bedroom-and-sobbed-like-an-angsty-teenager fight. The likes of which had never been seen before (or since, for that matter) in our home. I honestly felt like my husband was being completely unreasonable and just plain mean. He wanted to order pizza with a coupon that included a 2 liter bottle of coke. Well, I can’t drink coke, ASSHOLE! Do you see what I was dealing with?! He was clearly trying to lord his caffeine drinking privileges over me while I carried HIS child inside my body. Insensitive prick. It was a relief when he finally came to his senses, stuck his head ever so slightly through our bedroom door and told me to order anything I thought I might want and that he would love it. I mean, I felt a little bad about the utterly traumatized look in his eyes and the way he flinched every time I tried to speak to him throughout the evening but if he hadn’t been so mean in the first place…
My second pregnancy was unique in that I was also raising an infant at the time. Our kids are only 12.5 months apart in age so that first year of fumbling around trying to figure out how to care for my firstborn was also spent being pregnant. Not a combination I’d recommend for the faint of heart but it did result in a pair of wonderful boys who, despite being total opposites, are very close and have so much fun together. I wouldn’t change it for anything but it was incredibly challenging at the time. I only had about 4 months of being not pregnant before I was pregnant all over again and I think that really took its toll on me psychologically. By the time I hit 38 weeks pregnant I was done. Oh so unbelievably DONE. I cried like a baby at each and every midwife appointment until Mason was born. (of course he was nearly a week late.) And by cried I don’t mean shed a little tear or two while talking about my feelings. I mean sat in the chair and ugly-cried insisting that my baby was just “…never ever going to be born.” and that, “I will be the only person in history to stay pregnant forever and I’ll spend the rest of my life fat, ugly and partially baby less…” I’m pretty sure the midwives thought I was completely losing it. I remember one of them staring at me with a slightly wide-eyed look that clearly indicated she would have tranquilized me if that option were available to her. In the end she told me to go home, take a bath and drink a glass of wine. I would have preferred scotch but beggars can’t be choosers so chardonnay it was. And yes, it helped.
This time around things are a little different. I don’t feel that same overwhelming, slightly panicked urge to give birth. Thank god. That was miserable. However I have noticed myself being a little more whimsical and worried about things lately. I know, whimsical and worried, it doesn’t even sound possible. Oh, but it is. I can go from daydreaming about how magical it would be if peaches were in season year-round and I could live in a little cottage nestled among giant trees and read books and eat peaches every day and it never gets above 70 degrees outside and my hair miraculously styles itself and always looks amazing and….yeah. I go from that little mental paradise to worrying that an evil spider is going to break into my house and bite the boys while they’re sleeping and I’ll have no idea and when I wake up and check on them they’re already in some sort of coma and the doctors can’t do anything and I’ve essentially just lost both of my boys in one fell swoop. Which is a horrible thing to think about but what makes it worse is that I don’t dismiss this idea as obviously outlandish. I dwell on it and worry about it and wonder what the actual chances are of it happening and is there anything I can do to prevent it and on and on and on. I can be happily thinking about having a baby girl and wondering what she will look like and all those sweet little things you think about when you’re having a baby. Then in the next moment I find myself worrying that she’ll be born sick or with some sort of devastating incurable issue and I’ll feel sick to my stomach over it and use all my will power to keep myself from laying down and sobbing on the floor for an hour. I’ve, more than once, considered ordering Les Miserables on demand so that I can sit and cry for a few hours without being questioned. And the fact that this seems like a good idea just drives home the point that I’ve truly lost my mind. But then I’ll remember how delicious chocolate milk is and suddenly things are looking a little brighter. I wish I could say this was all exaggerated but it’s not. The upside is that since most of this craziness is in my head I’m not tormenting my husband or my midwives with it. The downside is that my mind is a mess. I need to have this baby so I can move on to being too sleep deprived to worry about anything.
In the meantime, I plan to take a lot of deep breaths, enjoy the more lighthearted side of my imagination and happily look forward to meeting my baby girl.
Also, I will probably eat far too many donuts. There are some perks to being hugely pregnant and a little bit crazy.