Hallelujah, I made it past 36 weeks and 5 days without having the baby and now we can all breathe a sigh of relief. What was 36 weeks and 5 days, you ask? Some important developmental milestone past which I needed to progress to ensure that Hamish would be born healthy, adore broccoli, and one day deliver the graduation speech at Harvard? Nope, 36 weeks and 5 days was July 4th, otherwise known as Independence Day, otherwise known as Sean's birthday, and I was determined not to have a baby that day because damn it, Sean already has to share his birthday with America, I didn't want him to have to share it with his son as well.
Also, too much pressure to throw an adorable founding fathers—get it? FATHERS?—party every year, you know? Too many presents to buy. Too many cakes to make. You just stay in there for July 4th, Hamish, and we'll make sure you have your own special day instead.
(He did, thank goodness, so we took my 36-week picture in front of the old star-spangled banner, which I'd like to think will make a great back cover photo for that presidential memoir he's going to write. Or a pretty strange one if he becomes the prime minister of the UK instead.) (Choices! He has choices!)
36 weeks has brought with it a wealth of Braxton-Hicks contractions, which I can actually feel that I'm having now—exciting!—and which tend to come about if I do anything even vaguely strenuous, like sweep the backyard, meaning I have to keep reminding myself not to do such strenuous things, which is tricky because otherwise I feel pretty much fine. Well, pretty much fine apart from this debilitating nighttime back pain, of course, which still hasn't got much better, despite the various wedges and pillows I've thrown at it, and despite the fact that I went to see a chiropractor last week, which was its own special experience, because wow, I did not know a chiropractor visit would be like that. Have you been to the chiropractor? I feel like somebody needs to tell you what it's like to go to the chiropractor before you go to the chiropractor, man—like, maybe there should be government-sponsored PSAs about it or something—because, well, it is kind of.....intense. Kind of....physical. Kind of.....wow, there is a strange man practically lying on top of me and I only just met him five minutes ago.
I suppose I thought going to the chiropractor would be like a souped-up deep tissue massage, but it is actually not like that at all. It's more like physical therapy, I guess, or maybe some intense partner-assisted yoga, or maybe a really rousing game of Twister with a few of your joints clicking for good measure. I'm not sure one session made a huge amount of difference to my nighttime pain, but it was fairly satisfying all the same and I'm hoping to go back a few more times over the next couple of weeks, particularly now that I know what to expect and will be a little better at making polite conversation about the weather with my left leg bent behind my right ear and the chiropractor pushing on my extended calf.
In other news, last week's shift from June to July became particularly momentous when I realized I was most likely going to have a baby this month and could start telling people my due date was "the 27th," no qualifier, which was fairly weird. My amazing co-workers also threw me a baby shower at work, where it became pretty much guaranteed that no-one is going to stop calling this baby Hamish once he's born and has a different name, so we might as well just christen him that anyway.
Cutest cupcakes ever? Cutest cupcakes ever.
I am now feeling mostly prepared, gear-wise, for Hamish/Not Hamish's impending arrival—thank you all so much for your diaper advice, by the way; I bought one package of the newborn size and plan to raid the hospital room before my departure, then order whatever we need from diapers.com or Amazon Mom as soon as we get home—and only have a few minor things to do in the nursery before I can officially call it done.
In all other areas, however—i.e.: emotional—I am not nearly as prepared and am finding it increasingly hard to wrap my head around the fact that in a few short weeks, I will be somebody's mother. Forever. Which, yes, I realize is sort of what I've been saying ad nauseam for the last 36 weeks—I know, I know, my incredulity at impending parenthood is probably wearing thin; WE GET IT, HOLLY, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A BABY AND IT FEELS WEIRD—but it seems to be even more mindblowing the closer we get, when you'd think it would actually start to be less surreal. Is that normal, do you think? To be anxious because your entire life is about to change in ways you can't even fully comprehend yet? I hope it's normal, and in fact I hope it just means that I get that my life is about to change in ways I can't even fully comprehend, because I think it's probably better to be expecting that than to be caught completely off guard.
But still. There's so much to worry about. Will my labor be okay? Will the baby be okay? Will he walk and talk and teethe and crawl on schedule? What if he doesn't want to sleep or eat? What if he gets some horrible childhood illness? What if he's the only little boy in his class who doesn't get invited to someone's birthday party or he fails an exam he worked hard for or he gets in a car with someone who's been drinking? Sometimes it feels like parenthood is just this vast buffet of worry, with thousands and thousands of different options, and you can just keep choosing whatever you want from it to worry about and it never, ever ends. It never ends. And yet we sign ourselves up for it, don't we, from the moment we first decide it's what we're ready for. So it must be worth it, I guess. Something must really make it worth it.