The day of my 36 week visit was interesting, to say the least. I started my day at around 6:30. I tried to get my sleep as my stomach contacted over and over again. I went to work and all day my stomach continued to contract. It wasn’t painful. It was more annoying than anything. Focusing on work felt impossible. Even walking down the hallway, I could feel my stomach tighten with each step. It felt like I was involuntarily trying to suck my stomach in. I felt short of breath and hot all day.
At the appointment, the nurse strapped me to the NST monitor and right away I saw a contraction appear on the printout. The nurse stared at the test. Instead of the normal, “ok, the doctor will check on you in about 20 minutes.” I got the, “I’ll be right back.”, which instantly annoyed and scared me (what could possibly be wrong now?!). The doctor came in the room, which, by the way, was not the same doctor I was supposed to see that day. While the doctor looked at the printout, I just could imagine in my head the nurse running out the door and grabbing whichever doctor she saw first. The baby’s heart rate was too high. My heart rate was too high. And contractions were registering. The doctor kept me hooked up and the baby settled.
After 30 minutes, the doctor explained that everything was fine because the both the baby and I were at normal levels. However, I did have 6 contractions register, so I would have to be checked for dilation.
Not dilated. No pain with contractions. False alarm.
Then lucky me, I needed a spur of the moment ultrasound to measure baby’s growth. She was measuring ahead. However, when it got time to do the breathing test (where the baby has to practice breathing for 30 straight seconds), the baby wasn’t doing that great. Apparently, you only get 15 minutes to pass this part of the test.
Five minutes passed.
The ultrasound technician looked uncomfortable as she announced, “only one more minute…”. Then suddenly, the baby started breathing… for exactly thirty seconds. The tech sounded relieved as she started putting the equipment away. “She could have done that, I don’t know, maybe fifteen minutes ago.”
“What would have happened if she hadn’t made the deadline?”
“You would have gotten to take a trip to the hospital for extra testing. But everything is fine. I’ll go get the doctor.”
Needless to say, I even though the doctor says she thinks I’ll go full term. I don’t know if I fully believe her. I feel like it will be soon. But what do I know? I’m not a doctor. I’ve never had a baby. So until I feel those Braxton Hicks turn into labor contractions, I’m packing my hospital bag and tucking it safely away in the car. I will continue to drink water like it’s my job and try not to focus on my body but on what’s going on.
37 weeks. 1 day. (taken from Instagram // 37 Weeks. 1 Day.)
Today has been, by far, the most physically and mentally challenging day of my pregnancy. When I sat up this morning, the shifting of weight felt like all of my organs and bones were being crushed. Sitting, standing, and walking didn’t provide any relief & the pain increased with every hour (makes for a miserable 9 hour work day). I truly struggled to get through the day. Every Braxton Hicks contraction proved to be more powerful than the last and some even took my breath away. Trying to focus on work and the endless amount of responsibilities was a challenge in itself.
I have 2 weeks left of Addison’s pregnancy. The countdown has begun. “Any day now!” I hear from people saying to me as I waddle past.
Initially, at the 37 week mark, I wanted to have Addison that very day. I’m full term so everything is good to go, right? I’ve done my waiting duties. I’ve waited for 38 weeks for goodness sakes! But a few days ago I watched a video of a woman who was pregnant with her third child and was in her final stretch of pregnancy giving advice on how to soak up the last bit of pregnancy you have left. She went on about things I’ve heard before, “you’ll miss the kicks!” or “you’ll never be as close to your child as you are now!” I tried not to tune it out and put my brain on autopilot. I focused on listening to her.
It’s not that I’ve had a bad pregnancy, actually, my pregnancy has been spectacular and I’ve actually enjoyed carrying Miss Addison. Except for my seemly excessive amount of doctor’s visits (I’ve gone to 23 doctors visits so far. yes. 23.) and my ONE day of excruciating pain, pregnancy has been great.
Anyways, the one thing that caught my ear that she said was, “what if this is you last pregnancy?” Now for her, that could be very likely. Tons of couples stop having children after they reach 3. But for me, that thought scared me. This is my first baby! What if something were to happen that my pregnancy with Addison would be the last pregnancy I would ever experience?
I would never again see my body morph into the giant incubator it is now. I wouldn’t be on first name basis with the awesome nurses at the OBGYN. I wouldn’t feel a tiny baby butt/back press up against the side of my stomach. I would never see another ultrasound of a growing baby. I would never again be able to tell Chris, “We’re going to have a baby!”
What if this was it for me and my baby-making career?
Ever since I heard that, I’ve been trying to be present with my last attached time with Addison. When she moves, I press my hands against myself to better feel her movements. I embrace Braxton Hicks and focus on breathing through the pressure. The little pains don’t seem so annoying anymore.
Pregnancy has taught me so many things about myself and life. I’ve been exposed to areas in my life that have been dead and lifeless. I have seen a strength in me I didn’t realize I had. I have learned more about God and His wisdom and knowledge that surpasses my own.
But one thing that I hope to remember from this day forward is to be present, truly 100% present with everyone and every experience.
One day my dogs will be old and won’t be able to bounce up on the bed. One day my husband won’t be able to pick me up into his arms. One day I won’t be able to do everything I can do now. One day my baby will be grown and will move away.
I need to be present. I need to listen to my husband when he goes on about things that don’t really interest me. I need walk and play with my dogs while they’re puppies. I need to enjoy the Florida sunshine even when I’d rather be inside scrolling through my Facebook feed. I need to listen for God’s whispers in the morning and not rush through my devotions.
So yes, even though I want to meet Addison so bad, I will wait for as long as I need to. When the time comes, I will be present with her with every contraction and every push. And I will soak in every moment because never again will I give birth to that child and never again will I share those first moments with my husband.