Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I'm officially 9 months pregnant (or 39 weeks and 4 days to be precise) and due in three days time. Other than the sheer surreal quality of being in this position, I am pretty certain that there is no way I'll be delivering this baby in the next week or so. That gut feeling was seconded by my doctor's considerably more professional opinion yesterday. Granted there is no way to tell for sure, but this baby seems small, healthy and happy where he is. I am happy to keep him there too--as I am still teaching and under the inevitable end of semester pressures and constraints, I haven't had the time I'd like to prepare fully for this new arrival, and I'd like him to be more comfortably over 7 lbs when he's born. Last week he was 6 lbs, 9 oz, which is fine but a lot below average and I worry about his low birth weight.

Granted I had nine months to prepare, but superstition and maybe caution prevented me from fully splurging on all those infant needs in case this dream ended in tragedy (and I still fear having nothing to bring home). I also want to be ecologically sound and not fall into too many consumerist traps (nice as so many baby items are, they grow fast and the money is perhaps best invested elsewhere in their future). As a result, I have no baby monitor (we live in an apt), no cot, no moses basket/bassinet, no nappy/diaper bag as I thought many of these could either wait or were unnecessary extravagances. It appears I may have been wrong on several fronts, based on advice from friends and family, so it looks like  I really will have to place some of those Babies R Us orders, keep my fingers crossed that they get here stat and that baby stays where he is evidently so comfortable until we at least get our pushchair (the kind with its own car seat as we live in a world where non-car owners like us still have to have them so we can get home from the hospital--part of me thinks hospitals should just rent them out but I can imagine that could get really complicated fast).

As for me, I selfishly want him to stay where he is. I dearly hope he'll have a sister in the not too distant future (plan is to try to wean him late summer so I can get on the expensive, stressful and generally yucky IVF/FET roundabout again), but I'm aware this might be it. And as tough as this pregnancy was for the first 6 or so months, the last trimester hasn't been that bad, even with gestational diabetes limiting my diet and making me hungry, crabby, hormonal, sad and frustrated for the first 6 weeks of very restrictive eating and regular finger prick blood sugar checks. As of yesterday, when I weighed in at the doctors 2 lbs lighter than the week before, I've put on 11 lbs--that is, 11 lbs on my post-IVF bloated body--of which around 7 lbs is the baby (then there's the placenta, extra blood, etc). But even as I feel like a beached whale who can't roll over in bed or get off the floor or couch, touch my toes properly, put on tights/leggings/jeans without some strange bending manoeuvres or fasten my shoes without contorting myself, I kind of want this pregnancy to go on a little longer to look after this boy, have him close (even when he kicks me under the ribcage or makes me short of breath) and experience this unique sensation just a little longer. I'm even slightly envious of those women who are in their first trimester as I know they will have this special time for months. So even with all the vomiting, the sickness and other difficulties I've encountered, I want to do this again. In all honesty, I'd start sooner but I need time for this baby and for my body to recover, be rested and ready to take on this hard work again.

I never thought I'd feel this way as this has not been an easy pregnancy--nausea, vomiting, major food aversions (basically I could only barely stomach scones, potatoes, fruit and homemade lemonade for about 15 weeks) dogged me from early April to late August. In conjunction with the exhaustion I was left wondering how people do this and work--or even survive. And, yes, the third trimester has been relatively easy but I assumed I'd want this to be over especially given my breathlessness, diabetes (which, might I add, is also expensive with supplies, doctor's appointments and the very limited and pricey food I have ended up eating) and the odd discomforts and pains that it brings with it. Granted being relatively small makes it easier to sleep and I am also intimidated by what will come next, but I do want to keep this baby this close for a little longer.

I also don't have a clue what I'll do--we'll do--when he arrives other than muddle through and work something out like every parent before us. I cannot believe that he will need the smallish pile of clothing we've already amassed, nor that he'll be sleeping in our room in a few weeks or maybe a few days. I have no idea what labour will feel like, if/when it will start, how far away I'll be from home and the pile of stuff that needs to go to the hospital with me (from cord blood kit to my shampoo--that bag is still not packed but the pile of stuff is getting bigger). Friends have teased me with the cliches of bad comedies, but part of me fears either waking up in agony at 3 am and not being able to get a car service to the hospital because I'm in labour and they don't want their seats ruined, or having my labour start in front of my class or on the subway with all my necessary stuff (especially the cord blood kit) back in my apt and Evan being unreachable. My amazing doctor will also be away next week so I just hope everything holds off until he is back. But that comes with a price--less time postpartum with this child before I return to teach in late January, and a near Christmas day birthday for the poor infant (I guess at this point, that's beyond completely unavoidable).

When I embarked on this journey too many years ago, I knew what I wanted and what I thought I'd get--a girl born in the summer. When I was a child, I had that gut feeling that I'd have girls and only girls. As I matured and learned the facts of reproduction (or at least the selected few they bothered to teach at my very strict all girls school, replete with their own ideological scare tactics), I discovered that women did not control the sex of their offspring. But somehow it was a shock to discover that this baby was not the girl we all thought she'd be (the sickness, the symptoms all conformed to what I already knew to be old wives tales about girl pregnancies), putting me in the process of further recalibrating what maternity and mothering might mean. I also did not want a child to be born close to Christmas--my grandfather and several very close friends were born around this time of year and all agreed it was far from ideal, especially as a child. And as someone whose birthday is as far away from Christmas as it's possible to get, I was always very pleased and proud of an achievement that was entirely not mine. At the moment, it seems a distinct possibility that he could be a Christmas baby, so I think I've already started the process of realizing that motherhood is not about careful planning, our desires, and long term wishes but something entirely new that requires constant adaptation and going with the flow while still providing the necessary nurturing, guidance and structure. I've been surprised at least twice--surprised that I was indeed pregnant, surprised that our baby was not the little girl whose names we'd begun to pick--and now I'll be surprised whenever he arrives and whomever he turns out to be.


Quinn said...

I'm so excited for you. You're about to embark on a huge adventure! My friend called parenthood "an eruption of chaos" in your life or something like that. That idea always stuck with me, and I think it's true.

As for what you need and what you think you need, I found that it's hard to be perfectly prepared. For myself, what ended up being essential those first few months: an Ergo (or any baby carrier/wrap) and swaddling blankets (splurge on the Aden and Anais, they're big enough and stretchy), and a bouncy seat. I've heard great things about the Rock and Play napper. With a do-over, I might have gotten that. Anyway, notice how those essentials all have to do with getting the baby to sleep? haha.

I hope this advice isn't unwanted. You're getting a lot of unsolicited advice, I'm certain. Congrats again!

Moya said...

Quinn--the advice is more than welcome. Thank you so much! Sleep is definitely a priority and I've registered for two sets of the Aiden and Anais swaddling blankets afrer hearing both my sisters-in-law rave about them. We have a Baby Bjorn and will have some slings made by a dear friend. All advice is welcome. Thank you so much.

Quinn said...

I also wanted to say that those new-mama fears are common, too. I had them with Maizie. It was hard to believe it was really happening, and so I had some sort of superstition that it wasn't going to.

Aniko said...

Moya!!! I found this blog and then realized it's you! I emailed you on your gmail about a month ago when I saw Lisa Parks and she told me your AMAZING news! I was giddy with excitement. Then never heard from you. Recently resent to your NYU address and when I didn't hear back, got nervous and just emaled Lisa for news. And then found this blog -- and got your latest news. So thrilled, so excited, so happy for you and Evan!!!!!!! We have to talk!

I know exactly how you are feeling about wanting to keep the baby inside, safe and sound. On the day before Aviva came, I remembered feeling like I could not get any more preggers than I was. Also, labour does not come on suddenly. You might not even be sure you are in labour for a while. Lisa mentioned that you were likely to have a c-section because of the gestational diabetes. Not the case?

So much want to talk to you!

Lots of love,


Moya said...

Aniko! So sorry I haven't written--I'm so swamped with school and baby stuff. No I won't be getting a c-section--I have no idea why Lisa thought I might as that's about the one thing we know, unless labour takes a bad turn. More soon, xoxo.

Jocy said...

This is a lovely post. Congratulations to you.

joyce said...

good luck, moya! tons of my friends are pregnant or recently had babies. for better or worse (more often better), it seems things often don't go as planned, which results in a lot of happy chaos.

erica said...

oh moya i'm so happy for you! there were a few times this summer when i wondered, but then i thought it was just the new house...this is just to say that yes it's chaotic!

it's hard not to worry, but at a point you need to surrender to the specifics of your child. leon was just under 7lbs at 40 weeks, still a small kid, and doesn't sleep. elias is the complete opposite (except for the sleep). it is what it is.

don't worry about having everything ready. there is no magical solution or product. i learned the hard way to keep my expectations low. try to borrow as much baby stuff as possible!

Moya said...

Thanks so much, Erica. I appreciate your advice too--I'm trying to keep expectations low (at the moment I know I am clueless and behind on all kinds of preparation). I think Evan is actually more on top of things than I am but I suppose he's not experiencing the physical changes--nausea and tiredness--that limit the amount of preparation I can do.

Marti said...

Moya the labor and all of that is not as bad or dramatic as it seems in the movies. And don't worry about weight. When max was born he was 6 pounds and very healthy. I assume you are breastfeeding. my one piece of advice is to rent a hospital grade breast pump from Bigelow. Its like $2 a day and worth it (you buy all the pieces like suctions etc.) Also not sure if you have a pediatrician but Dr Russolo on west 11th (West 11th Street Pediatrics)is amazing. As is dr zullo (same practice). I cant wait to see his photos