34 Weeks

Today is my last day of being 34 weeks pregnant—the above photo was taken a little earlier in the week during our trip to Palm Springs, where a too-tight long-sleeved black shirt is exactly what you want to be wearing in 105-degree sunshine, and I think my pained expression conveys it—which means that I really only have five weeks left, give or take, of being pregnant. This is assuming Hamish doesn't come early or late, of course, both of which are entirely possible scenarios considering that one's due date, as far as I can tell, is basically just your doctor's equivalent of a shrug and a pair of raised eyebrows. My own doctor told me to be ready—car seat installed, hospital bag packed—from 36 weeks on, and given that this milestone is now only a week and a day away, I think we can all agree that I should probably start trying to root out a suitcase or something. Also a carseat. 

Side note on my doctor: I already knew that I loved her so much that I'd want to be gal pals with her were the circumstances of us knowing each other—i.e.: her frequently seeing me in nothing more than a paper gown—not prohibitively awkward, but last week I decided I loved her that much more when we were discussing labor and the weird shaming thing some women try to do with other women when it comes to the topic of epidurals. I asked her if she'd had one when she gave birth, figuring I'd just get all the cards out there on the table, and she put down the doppler she'd been about to wave over my midsection so she could answer me with the appropriate gravitas required of the situation. "Hell, yes!" she exclaimed as emphatically as if I'd asked her if she'd like me to pop out and get her a pint of Ben & Jerry's and then bring it back with a side order of George Clooney (shirtless). "It's fucking painful." 

(Also she whispered the swear word part as though someone in the exam room—the smiling woman on the cover of Parenting magazine? The disembodied uterus in the poster for a Mirena IUD?—was going to judge her for using it. Too bad it would be super weird to bring one half of a "Best Friends" necklace to my next appointment, right?) (Would it?) 

Apart from feeling otherwise perfectly fine, 34 weeks pregnant has been characterized mainly by the debilitating lower back pain I've been waking up with at night, which I think I mentioned started around 32 weeks, and which has only got progressively more heinous since. I swear to god, I am now sleeping in 45 minute increments—the longest I seem to be able to go without my eyes popping open from the pain—and I am starting to think that night feedings and diaper changes, numerous as they will be, are going to be a goddamn cake walk in comparison to this. I have tried, with no success: a Boppy pregnancy wedge (totally useless, despite the rave reviews on Amazon), tucking a million regular pillows about my person (one between my legs, one under my belly, one behind my back etcetera), a lot of dedicated repositioning to make sure I'm really aligning my hips, and a full-length body pillow that I bought on a whim in IKEA, which maybe made the tiniest bit of difference, but probably only because I was willing it to, my next resort being a a declaration to just sleep in the backyard hammock. (Still not entirely off the table.) 

Today at work, a very kind co-worker, who I am confident does not have bed bugs, loaned me her Snoogle—Sean insists on calling it a Snooki, whether because he genuinely doesn't remember its real name or because he's trying to be funny I'm not sure—and I am holding out hope that this, finally, will be the silver bullet that lets me sleep a couple of hours in a row (just a couple of hours! That's all I want!) without waking up, teary and frustrated, in back-and-hip agony. Pregnant ladies of the world, I will report back. *

Do you think this is because my baby has an abnormally large butt, by the way? Because he does have an abnormally large butt, a fact I surmised from my doctor's shocked expression at last week's appointment, when she was trying to show me where all his bits and pieces were. "Here's his head," she said, pressing down lightly on my lower abdomen, "and his arms, and his legs, and.....wow, here's his butt. Whoa, that is definitely his butt. No mistaking that butt."  

Are you saying my baby has a big ass, lady? Hmm, I guess that's exactly what you're saying. 

It wasn't exactly surprising, though, since the men in my immediate family tend to have surprisingly large bums for, well, men, and my brothers Luke and Tom—both tall and otherwise fairly lean—have long dreaded jeans shopping because of what we have come to affectionately refer to as The Burns Bottom, so I guess it was actually kind of comforting to learn that my own baby has most likely inherited a little junk in the trunk too. Aw, welcome to the family, Hamish! We'll cue up the Sir Mix-a-Lot for your arrival.

(Still working on my pumpkin pie version, by the way. I'm sorry, but sometimes true poetry takes a while.) 

* (EDITED TO ADD: The Snoogle worked. I repeat: the Snoogle worked! Finally, for the first time in weeks, I slept a relatively comfortable sleep and only woke up THREE times as opposed to TEN, but those times were to pee and not to consider throwing myself off the roof because of how much my back hurt, so I WILL TAKE IT. The Snoogle is large and cumbersome and totally not in keeping with my carefully curated bedroom decor, but I would still like to french kiss the inventor of it all the same. Hurrah for sleeping!) 


Jun 21, 2013

Have you tried a chiropractor? I went to one near the end of my first pregnancy and it did wonders. Didn't need her for my second, but now 16 weeks with my third and I'm already thinking of going back...

Jun 21, 2013

I sadly spent the last few weeks of pregnancy getting my best sleep in our (hideous, I hate it) recliner that I swore my husband would have to throw out when we got married. It is being tossed soon (baby is 4.5 months old, a pretty new chair is coming to replace it) and I'm now a little sad. That chair got me my best 3rd trimester sleep and I'll always be a little grateful.

Jun 21, 2013

I second the vote for seeing a chiropractor. Also maybe an acupuncturist. And finally: buy yourself a package of prenatal massage sessions. If there's one thing I'm glad I've done it's splurge on self-care during pregnancy. I'm not ashamed to admit that I've been getting a weekly massage since week 32 and it's done wonders for all the aches & pains that come along with this stage.

Jun 21, 2013

I third the chiro vote. I had chronic (non pregnant) back pain for a year and went to an amazing chiro who was so gentle and so amazing. I haven't had any pain in the 7 months since. Dr Christine Cantwell at Thriving Life Wellness, on Waller and Potomac in the Lower Haight. She specializes in pregnancy, too.

Pretzel Thief
Jun 21, 2013

Crud! Damn back pain.

Sorry to hear it's so scheisse, Holly. I, unfortunately, have no advice, on account of never having been pregnant (I recently turned 28 so I'm still happy to not have kids, heh heh, but God willing we'll be able to one day) but hope the "Snooki" (hee!) or a chiro appointment helps.

Also, that's too cute that Hamish has a rather plump posterior like his maternal gramps and uncles, heh heh.

Jun 21, 2013

Recliner with a small, squishy pillow shoved under my lower back. Best pregnancy sleep I had.

Jun 21, 2013

This was the exact moment I knew I needed to be friends with my doctor:

"Look, if you're going to have a glass of wine, at least make sure you're drinking the good stuff"

(ditto sushi: "Sushi's fine. Just not cheap sushi")

Jun 21, 2013

In the latter stages of pregnancy, I could only get comfortable at night by using my husband as a body pillow. He had to lay on his side and then I would prop my knee on his hip. And he had to be completely up on his side. If he started to list forward or back it was too low. He tried to mildly object once that he didn't really like laying on his side and also I kept waking him up if he fell forward... Something in my eyes must have shut him up though because he didn't really finish the thought. :)

Jun 21, 2013

At one of our last ultrasound appointments we asked the tech to ale sure we were having a girl. She waved the wand around a bit and finally said, "Still a girl. There's the labia, nice and plump."

Jun 21, 2013

Does the snoogle make you so hot? I have one (which a friend gave to me) and it just makes me an oven. I mean, i already am, but this is so much worse. I have moved onto constructing a fort around me, made of pillows. It kind of helps.

Also, I discovered that if I soak my feet in ice cold water (or just run the water from the faucet over my feet for about 3-5 mins.), I feel like a new woman. I really must love this baby to be ok with being pregnant ALL SUMMER LONG.

Jun 21, 2013

Yes to the Snoogle! It is a miracle! My son is 2 months and I still use it.

Nothing But Bonfires
Jun 21, 2013

Elysabeth: Luckily, San Francisco never gets that hot -- our "summer" is more in September and October, and even then the nights are always nice and cool. I've only used the Snoogle once, but it didn't make me feel hot, thank goodness! I'd probably still keep using it even if it did, since nothing else has worked!

Jun 21, 2013

Chiro! For sure. Look up More Mojo in SF. It'll pay off during labor, as well.
I slept on a thick sheepskin rug for my second pregnancy. My hips were numb with pain it was so bad. I swear by it now! You can pick one up at IKEA, usually.

I generally don't give a fig about pregnancy stories and my coworkers all know this and think I'm weird. What can I say? I never got my "girl" card. But your writing is so funny and real that I actually ENJOY reading the pregnancy stuff!

Jun 21, 2013

It stands to reason that something so awesomely named The Snoogle would have to work. Glad you got some relief.

I remember at 36 weeks when my doctor told me, "Well, if labor starts now, we won't do anything to stop it," it was both the scariest and most exciting thing anyone had ever said to me. I only wish I'd known that my firstborn would wait until 41 weeks to make her appearance, as it would have saved me from five weeks of anxiety. (That, and five weeks of disappointing my coworkers, who groaned louder with each passing day (in sympathy? I think?) when I waddled in to the office, still pregnant. Alas.)

Jun 21, 2013

The Snoogle!!! I used one and it was the only way I could sleep relatively comfortably when I was pregnant. I had pelvic instability and had to wear a band around my waist during most of my pregnancy. It is not a very attractive "body pillow", but it made up for that with the comfort it gave me. Just a few more weeks for you guys......I've really enjoyed reading about your progress. :)

Jun 21, 2013

I too have a friendship-crush on my GYN. I've long secretly wished that we could be friends (even though oh man weird), and was thrilled one appointment when she said she was sorry she didn't get to see me more frequently - although happy that that meant I'm in good health! Ha.

Jun 23, 2013

Loved my OB/GYN too! So sad she was on vacation when I delivered, but her replacement was cool too (just not my BFF).

I had about 20 ultrasounds during my pregnancy and each ultrasound tech became known by how they referred to the baby. I don't remember any of their names, but the one that said "bits and pieces" in references to our baby was the best. My husband usually came with to the appointments, but when he didn't he'd ask me "did you get to see bits and pieces today" (referring to the ultrasound tech, not the baby).

Jun 23, 2013

I knew my OB/GYN personally--I used to nanny for him in my college days, which sounds like it would be awkward but wasn't, esp as he didn't charge me. I remember going over to his house when I was about 38 weeks pg with my first, and he handed me a glass of his home-made (alcoholic) ginger beer and told me to drink up! I was mildly shocked, but he said I was far enough along that it'd be fine, and it was. We weren't exactly BFFs but he's an awesome dr!

Jun 23, 2013

Leave it to the one reader who has no kids to bring up the wacky question... I Googled "Snoogle" and "Boppy" and to me they look identical. Explain how one noodle-shaped pillow can suck and another noodle-shaped pillow can be awesome. Is it the material in the stuffing? The firmness? The length of the noodle? (Let's get Freudian, why don't we?) Inquiring minds want to know!

Jun 23, 2013

Indeed, your doctor is a Goddess -- if only because she didn't cop out with the usual euphemism about "discomfort" (ie: that which you will perhaps feel during labor)

Really glad to hear you found some relief with the "Snooki" -- here's hoping it continues to work lest poor Sean find himself in the situation Karlei so hilariously described above ;-)

Nothing But Bonfires
Jun 23, 2013

Marcheline: I think there's a Boppy pregnancy pillow—which is probably a lot like the Snoogle, kind of large and S-shaped, which you wrap yourself around—but the one I'd bought was the Boppy pregnancy wedge, which was this ridiculously tiny, flat piece of foam that you tuck underneath your belly in the hope that it will "support" you. Which it does not.

Jun 24, 2013

The snoogle is amazing!! I just got one a couple weeks ago at 22 weeks pregnant because I was already experiencing lower back pain. I'd recommend one to anyone. You feel like you're cuddled in your own little nest!

Jun 24, 2013

Psoas. I'm telling you. Get thyself there (and ask for Jason)! At least consider it if the back pain is still debilitating.

Can I be nosy and ask (feel free to message me privately) who your OB is? Mine is fine. My husband calls her the slow talker. She's laid back and easy going which is great but I don't feel any real attachment to her, though I have a few friends who RAVE about how wonderful she is during delivery. I just figured it really doesn't matter all that much and you never know who'll you even have do the delivery given how practices work anyway.

Jun 25, 2013

I loooooooooove my Snoogle so much! Glad it worked for you. The order of love priority in my house is as follows:

- my two boys
-chocolate/Ice cream
-my iPhone
-maybe my husband?


Jun 26, 2013

Thanks, Holly. Because I know you really have nothing more important to do than explain to me the difference between one pregnancy pillow and the next. HA! Yes, the wedge would be totally different from the noodle. I see that now. In cases like this one must remain grateful that ones noodle didn't get wedged, I suppose.

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