32 Weeks

32 weeks? 33 weeks? Who even knows anymore after my last post—I liked commenter Shelly's suggestion that I should just hold up both sets of numbers with a papier-mache question mark between them for all my remaining photos, and also that I'd need a third hand to do so—but one thing I do know is that, either way, I am giving birth next month, as in "the month that comes after this one," as in oh my god, what? 

I apologize if it's tiresome that I keep figuring out that this is real and happening and I'm going to have an actual proper baby at the end of all of it—it does seem like rather a reoccuring theme in my weekly posts, I have to say—but seriously, come on, is there a time when it really does feel real and not just like you're playing a rather elaborate trick on everyone around you? When you go into labor, maybe? When they hand you a squawling bundle at the hospital? When the squawling bundle starts shaving and goes off to college? In some ways, the countdown to my due date reminds me of the period between my engagement and my wedding, when I'd spend the days with a mental tally ticking down in my head—"Three months to go! Two months to go! A week to go! 24 hours to go!"—but the weird thing about pregnancy, I guess, is that even when it's over, it doesn't end there. With a wedding, you have the wedding and then it's over. With a baby, you have the baby and then....you still have the baby. And then you have the baby for the rest of your life. 

Or as my pal Leah reminded me in this post, "the thing about having a baby—and I can't be the first person to have noticed this—is that thereafter you have it."

(Jean Kerr said that, by the way, not Leah. I mean, Leah said that Jean Kerr said it, but....ah, you know what I mean. Wise words either way.) 

The most exciting thing I did at 32 weeks pregnant was attend a daylong writing workshop with Cheryl Strayed, at which I was lucky enough to meet her afterwards—I mean, like, in the book-signing line with everyone else, not during an intimate tete-a-tete at the bar wherein we ate nachos and gossiped about the cute waiter and immediately became lifelong besties (ALAS, ALAS)—and answer her very polite inquiries about my due date. I still haven't worked up the courage to reply "what? I'm not pregnant!" to the oft-repeated "when are you due?" from friendly strangers—which is a shame, really, because it would be particularly hilarious in these later days—but I think we can all agree that if you are going to punk someone with that joke, you shouldn't punk a nationally-acclaimed author whose work and wisdom (and, let's face it, shoes) you admire. So I just smiled and said "Oh, July 27th!" and then entered into a little banter about the weather. 

I guess this is why she didn't write "Will you be my literary protégé and also my best friend?" in either of my books.

The second most exciting thing I did at 32 weeks pregnant was attend a two-part childbirth class, during which I learned things, quite honestly, that I sort of wish I didn't know—I will not be able to WALK OR TALK during contractions? And sometimes these contractions will COME ON TOP OF EACH OTHER with no break inbetween?—and also found myself curiously reassured about labor and delivery, despite the shocking information the teacher quite matter-of-factly doled out, just by dint of being told, step-by-step, exactly what would happen. I am a person who likes to know the plan, you see, and I don't mean "the birth plan," because I am under no illusions that things are going to go the way I want them to go—if the baby comes OUT, I will consider the day a success, no matter what route we need to take to get there—but rather what will happen, physically, on the day itself. This, along with your wonderful comments, has made me feel a lot more laidback about the whole thing, so thank you for all the advice you shared when I asked about it. I can't even tell you how lucky I feel to know—well, "know," I guess—so many people with such excellent expertise. 

Speaking of pain—I mean, that's, like, the general consensus I got from all of you when I asked: yep, it's gonna hurt like a bitch and then it's gonna hurt even more—I have recently added a new pregnancy side-effect to my roster and it is this: in the night, when I am not waking up to pee every three minutes, I am waking up because my back hurts, which is super fun and relaxing, as I'm sure you can imagine, and is not relieved by a) lying on my left side, b) lying on my right side, c) propping a pillow between my legs, which I feel like I maybe read somewhere would help, or d) getting up, making a gin and tonic, and downing it with a handful of Percocet. 

(Okay, I didn't really try D. Are you kidding? A rum and coke would be far more effective.) 

Aside from giving me a useful new opportunity to practice my pain management techniques—find the silver linings where you can!—this middle-of-the-night backache (it never comes back during the day, only when I'm trying to sleep) has thrown into context how generally lucky I've been during this pregnancy so far, and how relatively minor my troubles and tribulations have been. I mean, eh, your back hurts a bit in the night with only a single-digit number of weeks to go? Tell that to the woman who's had to wear a brace for the last couple of months to deal with the pain, who was actually a real woman in my childbirth class, and you know what, on second thought, I won't  tell her that because she might punch me. What I'm saying, I guess, is that I never want my silly complaints about pregnancy to overshadow how totally wonderful and miraculous I've found it so far, or how grateful I am to be experiencing it. And just think, I haven't even got to the very best part.

Jun 07, 2013

The Bradley Method (for birthing) has several exercises in their books that alleviate back pain. The one that worked best for me was down on all fours, release your belly toward the ground, then arch your back and hold it for 5 seconds. It made all the difference.

(For the record, I love the Bradley method and used it for both my births but I found both the books and the instructors unbearably self-satisfied and preachy. Don't actually read the books unless it's something you are genuinely interested in AND you can filter through the self-righteousness.)

Jun 07, 2013

Hi Holly! I'm 26 weeks pregnant, also with a boy and also my first, so I have really enjoyed following along with Hamish's adventures. About 3 weeks ago, I too started waking up in the middle of the night with excruciating back pain. And it lingered, so that I could barely walk the next day. I tried stuffing pillows all around my body, but nothing worked. Eventually, my husband went out and bought one of those expensive pregnant lady pillows, the Snoogle. I was highly skeptical, because why would this particular pillow work when 5 of my own pillows had not? But it did, really and truly. I was also worried since we have a queen bed and not a king, but there's enough room for all of us. So I think you should go out and get one if your back pain continues!

Corri C
Jun 07, 2013

It is reassuring to me that you keep figuring out this is real and there will be a baby at the end. I thought I was the only one.

Jun 07, 2013

My kids are 5 & 4 and sometimes even now when they call me mom, I am jolted with the whole 'what? I am a mom? that one is MINE? how did this happen?" thing. So when considering your disbelief that 'what? this is real? a baby is in there?", I think you fit into the club just fine. :)

Jun 07, 2013

I had this RIDICULOUS sacral pain when my pelvis was widening to accommodate another human being. I begged my husband to stand on my lower back because I was certain that if I could just pop my back I'd feel better... when he declined, my friend gave me a prenatal yoga book. I was skeptical, but when I actually got around to doing it, it was like angels sang from the heavens. It was like suddenly realizing that *someone else* had maybe done this pregnancy thing before and maybe over the past many thousand years, someone figured out how to fix a pregnant sacrum. ;)

Jun 07, 2013

Oh, and also (my, I'm chatty...). I have a one year old and I still have trouble believing I'm a mom... I even gave someone a funny look when they wished me a Happy Mother's Day. I don't think it really hit me that I was ACTUALLY GOING TO HAVE A BABY until the nurse declared that I was fully dilated and ready to push. They suddenly brought out incubators and baby stuff and I stupidly kept repeating, "Really? really? Oh my God, really??"

Jun 07, 2013

I can't wait to see Hamish's wee face!

Jun 07, 2013

Of the 11 pregnant ladies I've become friends with from birthing class - 6 have had their babies. It STILL doesn't seem real to me (I'm 8 in line of due dates), even as I hold their new baby with this one wriggling around inside me. I don't think it will be real until I'm holding my own baby in the hospital room.
As for the back pain, try cat/cow position, sitting butterfly for a few minutes, and then sitting as wide-legged as possible on a yoga ball. I've been doing those for months and it's helped tremendously!

Jun 07, 2013

Hey Holly,

I read Kelle Hampton's blog enjoyingthesmallthings.com and she just posted about this:


She just had a baby boy (her third child) and says this bumpnest was a life saver!

Just wanted to pass it on!


Jun 07, 2013

hey! what a pleasant surprise to be mentioned in your post. thanks!

Jun 07, 2013

Real = the moment you get in the car with the newborn to leave the hospital. We could not believe that they would let two inexperienced doofuses just run off with a baby. Even if I had just birthed it myself.

Jun 07, 2013

Starting at week 30 or so, I started experiencing excruciating pain in my left ribs, radiating in towards my diaphragm. It was painful to the touch, but would also flare up with random movements and of course made sleeping on either side virtually unbearable. It's still tender and mildly uncomfortable but I have been helped enormously by weekly visits to Jason at Psoas--it's not massage. It's "bodywork" and they are really experienced in dealing with pregnant women. I mention this since you are also in SF and it might be worth a shot for a little relief. If nothing else, the 60 minutes you're there will be blissful.

Jun 07, 2013

Yay for the new due date! I'm also due July 21st, I think it's a good date :).

My lower back has likewise been killing me. Have your tried a prenatal massage yet? They are amazing

Jun 07, 2013

Prenatal yoga poses help, like jen said. Extended child's pose (open up your knees so Hamish has a place to go) helps stretch the low back, for example.

For what it's worth (everyone is different, etc.), walking helped me manage the contractions. I took myself to the bathroom at least 30 times while I was in labor, because it was the only place I could be alone. I remember the bathroom better than the actual delivery room, in fact.

Nothing But Bonfires
Jun 07, 2013

Awnie, my due date is still "officially" July 27th -- it had been changed in my records but my doctor decided in the end to change it back -- but the baby's still measuring a week and a half ahead and I just kind of have a FEELING he's going to be a little early anyway...

Jun 07, 2013

Lady, you need an industrial strength body pillow. One that's shaped vaguely like a G and wraps all the way around you. It'll be warm and it'll be a great wall of pillow between you and your husband, but this will be better than the backache, which, not to be too pessimistic, will not improve until after you have the baby.

Jun 07, 2013

I have no children and no advice...HOWEVER my lovely friend gave me the simplest advice I have ever heard for having a baby (for when it finally does happen). Bring GIANT underwear. Comfortable and supportive cottontails. Nothing lacy or glamorous. If you think they could double as a parachute then you have the correct ones...

Jun 07, 2013

1. I spent my entire first pregnancy going, "wait, I'm going to have a baby?" Then, after he was born, it took me a long time to get used to the fact. I had some pretty wild dreams. He just finished high school, yesterday in fact, and I'm pretty used to it now. So you're doing fine.

2. The stretch described by the first commenter is brilliant and really helps. I had lots of back pain too with my first, little charmer that he is.

Jun 10, 2013

I love your commitment to these weekly posts! Quick question, what type of prenatal vitamins are you taking? I am overwhelmed by *those* options, I can't even imagine picking a name or a stroller!

Nothing But Bonfires
Jun 11, 2013

Sarah: I remember doing a lot of research on prenatal vitamins too! I started taking them about a month before I got pregnant and I've taken the same ones ever since and have been very happy with them -- they're a little bulky but they don't make me feel nauseous (which was particularly important in the queasy first trimester) and seem to get the thumbs-up from most people! They're the Rainbow Light Prenatal One multivitamins: http://www.amazon.com/Rainbow-Light-Prenatal-Multivitamin-Tablets/dp/B00...

Hope that helps!

Jun 12, 2013

So helpful! Thanks! Sometimes just normal vitamins make me feel bad if taken on an empty stomach, so really nice to know they don't seem to induce nausea! Also, I can't wait to find out your little guy's name after seeing your instagram nursery project!

Alicia C.
Jun 13, 2013

so yeah. my first baby is going on 6 months now and i still find myself going "wait. i have a baby? what?!?!" that definitely doesn't go away no matter how pregnant you are. even up to the day i went in to labor i was still questioning that it was really happening. hahaha. Btw, I COMPLETELY AGREE with the comment by Lelly about giant underwear. It took me about 6 weeks to get back to my normal hanky panky type thongs. Along with those giant underwear, get the giant pads. I have told you about www.pregnantchicken.com right? she's freakin hysterical and her lists are REALLY useful!

Jun 13, 2013

Oh yes, I was a brace-wearing Mama, but I don't think I would have punched you, I would have gushed (rather frighteningly) about how AWESOME it was and how YOU NEED ONE NO REALLY! (although really, it is quite miserable to be THAT huge...) That, and the giant body pillow that crowds the entire bed. Magical I say. My husband burned the thing after our last baby. I was sad to see it go.

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