The Baby Bean Blog

Monday, August 01, 2005

I've Done Enough

Here we are, August 1st. I've finally made it to the month of my due date (August 20). And I have to admit, I feel like I've done enough.

I started lurking on a board for women who are due in August. There's at least 200 participants on this board. As of last week, 40 of them had given birth. And it wasn't even August yet. At first, this worried me, and I held onto my tummy and said to my baby, "You have to stay put until at least 35 weeks. Longer would be better." At 35 weeks, there's a 99% chance that a baby born then would not have any major complications. 35 weeks came and went, and I felt relieved. I waited for 36 weeks to come, because then things were even better--a shorter stay in the NICU if the baby came then or maybe no stay at all. I made it to 36 weeks. My mother threw me a baby shower, and I got just about everything needed for the arrival of the baby. At last, I was set. More or less ready. Although a part of me still enjoyed having the baby in my tummy, safe, sound, and protected.

Then, last week, things started to change. Two days after my shower, I woke up to an incredible pain in my lower right abdomen. It wouldn't go away, no matter what I did, and the pain was intense enough that I couldn't sleep. The pain didn't feel like contractions. It didn't come and go, but rather was sharp and constant. It started around 2am. Around 7am, I called my midwife. She said that it sounded like round ligament pain.

Of course I had heard about round ligament pain, but I had no idea it could be this bad. Basically, there are ligaments that attach the top of the uterus to the pelvic bones to hold it in place. As the uterus grows, these ligaments can get stretched and then cause pain--usually a dull, muscle ache type of pain. Apparently, my right round ligament was spasming, probably because the baby was dropping and putting sudden pressure on it (the baby is almost always hanging out on the right side of my uterus).

The next night, as I lay in bed in pain, unable to sleep, unable to do anything to make it better, for the first time I thought, "I just can't do this anymore. There's no way I can make it three and a half more weeks." The midwife had told me that the ligament should stretch and heal in a few days, but I had a hard time believing her. Luckily for me, she turned out to be right. After three days, the sharp pain had dwindled to muscle soreness.

Around that time, I noticed something new going on inside my body. With the baby's head settled down in my pelvis, I noticed that when s/he moved around, sometimes a shooting pain would go down one of my legs. Yes, the baby had found my sciatic nerve and was rubbing against it. Thank god the baby doesn't rest on it constantly the way some babies do, but it happens enough, trust me.

I hit 37 weeks this past weekend, and even though pregnancy is 40 weeks, a baby is considered full term at 37 weeks. This means that chances are that if I were to go into labor right this second, the baby would be 100% okay and come home with me right away. And realizing that, this new feeling has come over me: I've done enough. It's been 37 weeks. I've housed, and nurtured, and taken care of this little one to the best of my ability. I feel him or her move around inside me, and instead of that warm, fuzzy feeling I used to get, I think, "You seem quite big and strong, kid. Maybe it's time for you to come out, eh?" Right now, the baby is moving through its paces: punching my stomach out, cramming down on my bladder, and occassionally hitting my sciatic nerve. I love the baby and all that jazz, but let's face it. There's not enough room in there anymore.

August 20. In some respect, that's not that far away. In others, it seems like a damn long time. Especially when you can't sleep, so now you're counting the daytime hours and the nighttime hours as well. And far worse than the idea of August 20 is the idea that the baby most probably will not arrive by then. I'll probably go a week late, maybe two. Now we're not talking about three weeks anymore. We're talking about four or five more weeks.

I know that I can do it. I know that I will do it. But the fact of the matter is, I don't want to do it. Really, I honestly feel at this point that I've done enough.

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