Several nights ago, I dreamed I was running through an old beach town toward the water. When I reached the the sand, it was covered with spiky red sea urchins. I slowed to a walk (to keep from slicing open my bare feet) and continued out to the end of a long sandbar. I paused, breathing in the salty air for a moment. Then I turned around to head back to town. That's when I saw the mountain lions.
There were five of them standing between me and safety. Well, I thought. That's it. I'm going to die. But it seemed foolish not to at least attempt to make a run for it. Perhaps, by some miracle of dream-science, I'd manage a burst of speed fast enough to pass them. But I'd only taken a few strides before the mountain lions lunged at me from both sides, teeth and claws sinking into my body.
It's not the only anxiety dream I've had this pregnancy, but it's certainly the most vivid. I mean, I died in it. That's pretty heavy stuff! On a different morning, I woke up not remembering any dreams, but shaking and in tears, afraid of something I couldn't identify. It was upsetting, but also unsurprising, as last week was a pretty anxiety-ridden one—for no reason other than anxiety seems to be part of the work of gestating.
I had another cervical-check ultrasound on Friday. Those usually soothe the fear away. But after weeks of things being right, I was suddenly afraid that this time, something would be wrong. Everything was still fine. (The baby's fist has been right on top of my cervix, which I actually got to see on the ultrasound image. Very cool, four little fingers and a thumb covering the internal os, but not comfortable. I'm hoping baby girl doesn't decide to come out with her hand up by her head.) There's still plenty of amniotic fluid, and my cervix is ever-so-slightly shorter than it was two weeks ago—3.1 cm, down from 3.8 cm—but it should begin to shorten at this point. Baby girl is head down, lying on her left side inside my left side, all four limbs on my right. All is perfectly normal. But the anxiety didn't let up after the scan.
Dr. K. totally called me on it.
"You look worried."
"Yeah, well..." And I mentioned that the baby seems to be slowing down. "I still feel her every day, but she doesn't pommel me so hard any more."
Dr. K. gently reminded me that as babies get bigger, they don't have as much room for kickboxing. Oh. Of course. Why didn't I remember that? She also recommended I start doing formal daily kick-counts, which have become my go-to technique for putting myself to sleep.
Now if I could just do something about the nightmares.
* * *
I retired several more pieces of clothing to the "postpartum" box this week. Amazingly, this wrap dress still works. Non-maternity clothes have been the heroes of my maternity wardrobe.
Let's take it back three seasons and 26 pounds!
My pregnancy fashion advice, especially to those of you who will be at your pregnantest during warmer months, is really just one word: dresses. I've been pleasantly surprised by how well my non-maternity dresses have adapted to pregnancy. I love me some jeans (oh, how I miss you, skinny jeans tucked into boots!), but mamas, skip the maternity pants and get yourself some stretchy dresses! Easy, breezy, belly-ful.
It's so strange to think that there really aren't that many weeks left. Just nine, and perhaps as few as six. Either way, we're down to single digits. And then I get to meet this little girl.
"What do you do with a baby?" I asked Rob the other night.
He laughed, but I was totally serious.
"I remember nursing Westley and changing his diapers, but what else?"
Rob shrugged. "I think that's about it, in the beginning."
That fits with my foggy memories of Westley's early weeks. And then what? I try to imagine how this baby will fit into our family. Will she just blend right in, like she's always been here, strapped to my chest in the Ergo as we go on our usual adventures? Will she throw us all off balance entirely? I wonder what things will have to give, and what (if anything) will be a natural fit right from the start.
I may be carrying this baby around inside my body for the time being, but she is much bigger than I am. As much as I think I know her from movements and pictures and my own strange intuition about who she might be, she remains enormous unknown.
I can't wait to unravel the mystery.