So, so tired. What am I supposed to be doing here? Putting words together?
It's July and Westley is already talking about Christmas: what we'll leave for Santa (avocado maki and gingerbread boys), what Santa will bring him (candy), and how we'll have a snowball fight in the front yard.
"Mommy, I'm sorry but you won't be able to have a snowball fight. You can have a snowball fight when you're not growing a baby."
"I won't be growing a baby at Christmastime, buddy. I'll be carrying a baby on the outside."
My non-specific panic has been replaced by Very Specific Panic. It is feasible that said baby will be born this month! I really don't think she will be, but she and I are cleared for a home birth any time after the 26th. When I mentioned this to Rob yesterday morning, he looked scared. Not just making-my-eyes-wide-to-be-funny-scared, but genuinely scared.
Scared seems like the right response. Shit is getting real, real fast. I can't help but recall Westley's new-baby weeks and how depressed I was then. I know there is a strong possibility that I will feel as depressed again, if not more so. Fortunately, Rob can take a longer paternity leave this time (oh, the perks of being with a job for four years as opposed to six weeks!), but when his normal schedule resumes I'll be totally on my own.
All the resources I've read about postpartum depression recently have done nothing but depress me. Every single one stresses the importance of relying on friends for support. Suggestions like, "Meet a friend for coffee,""Have a friend come over and watch the baby while you take a nap," and "Arrange for friends to bring you meals or help out with household chores" make me feel inadequate for not having even one local friend while also making me miss my girlfriends so much it's a little hard to breathe. (Or maybe that's just my giant uterus pressing on my lungs.) One book suggested leaving the baby with a neighbor while you make a quick trip to the store. I don't even know my neighbors' names. I'm not sure I've ever seen some of them.
Convincing myself that I will rock the postpartum period solo has become my new full-time mind-project. It's reassuring to remember that there are plenty of new mothers who have no friends or family close to them—no one to call when the baby won't sleep and they think they might do something regrettable—and they survive. I'm also reassured by the presence of a very supportive, patient, understanding partner. There are plenty of new mothers who don't have that, and they also survive. They even manage to breastfeed, keep up with the laundry, and lose all their baby weight. (Shhh. Yes, they do!)
Speaking of weight, I still insist on playing "mood roulette" with the scale every morning—though I've mostly given up on the notion that I can control how much I gain. I've also started to think of this pregnant body as normal, which makes pictures of myself from last summer seem like they're of someone else.
What continues to astonish me when I look in the mirror is that I'm not done yet! My skin is already stretched to what I feel must be its limit, but the baby still has lots of growing to do. My last ultrasound estimated her weight at just under 5 pounds. If she puts on a half a pound a week, she'll come out at about 8-1/2 pounds. I just have no idea where she's going to grow to. When I press the top of my belly, I feel a pointy little butt pressing back. My pregnancy with Westley resulted in one new stretch mark—one!—but I don't think I'll be as lucky this time.
The same hormones that make it possible for me to do this very female thing of stretching into a new shape while growing a baby with my insides also seem to be making me more manly. As in, I'm growing a beard. I've always had a lot of peach fuzz, and it's very pale blond and therefore not terribly noticeable (I hope). But suddenly there's a whole lot more of it. Enough that I can pinch it away from my face along the side of my jaw. I'd really like to wax it, but I've gotten extremely gun-shy about hair-removal since attempting to wax my eyebrows recently.
A few weeks ago I got completely fed up with my wild eyebrows and decided to wax them. I've done this before, with mixed results. Most people's brows are "sisters, not twins," but I'm not sure mine are even related. In any case, I usually wax them with these nifty little pre-shaped strips that I discovered in college. They're wonderfully convenient and make my eyebrows look almost normal. I love them. And I will never use them again. At least, not while pregnant. After shaping my wild, monkey brows, I was left with bright red, hot, stingy, itchy skin covered in tiny white...welts? Hives? I have no idea. I'm blaming it all on the hormones.
I still have a handful of projects I want to complete before the baby is born. Most of them will probably never get done. But a few have been bumped up to High priority status this week, since they relate to the birth itself. For instance, I'd like the option of using the birth pool again, but I need to find the thing first and see if it still inflates 4-1/2 years later. If it does, I will be very tempted to spend the next month floating in it.