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!)