Wednesday, October 13, 2010

fully baked

Well, here I am at 38 weeks + 5 days.

Yes, I am counting the days.

Elan was born at 38 weeks on the dot. Which means this baby is already asserting that he/she is a different personality than big brother. Elan came much earlier than we expected, and Mikhail and I often joke that we've been playing catch-up ever since. I rarely in my parenting life have the experience of being "one step ahead" of my strong-willed and big-personalitied little fellow. I never really feel prepared; I always feel like I'm winging it. Of course, much of that can be chalked up to the first child. Every new stage is a surprise; every few months I repeat to myself the refrain "I am a new mother" because for every new stage, I am.

I already feel like this baby is so different in personality. Who knows what you can intuit about the personality of a baby when they're still surrounded by amniotic fluid (some might say nothing), but I have certainly noticed that this baby tends to lie still all night long and into the morning. Sometimes it's even freaked me out in the middle of the night, as I've made yet another bathroom run or ponderous flip in bed without even a flicker of motion from the belly. And then Elan will be up at 5:40 a.m., crying in the hallway or chattering in our bed, and from the little one -- nada. Not even a kick, until some more sane hour.

For the record, Elan woke me up at 5 in the morning nearly every day of my pregnancy. Early on, I didn't know why I was so wakeful, but then later, it was quite clear: early-morning trampoline hour.

Is this just wishful thinking on my part, willing the baby to stay still so I can get my badly-needed and elusive sleep? Maybe. But I'm okay with that.

The idea of a radically different child with a very different personality is thrilling, and intimidating too. What new tricks will this one have up his or her cute little sleeve? How will we relate to each other, what will be the challenges, the particular joys of that child?

Right now, I am sincerely hoping that this baby is: 1) healthy; 2) comes out smoothly; and 3) does not choose to set me a new challenge right off the bat by coming late. Let's be honest. On-time will feel late to me. I tried to not set myself the expectation that the baby would come at 38 weeks, but I also wanted to be prepared in case my gestational oven was always set to quick-bake. And of course, it was inevitable -- preparing for 38 weeks did make me think I'd be having a baby at 38 weeks. On Friday, I wondered what to do with myself: it appears I'm not having a baby, how about a trip to the chiropractor instead? I have officially entered the waiting game, which I never played with Elan, and have no desire to play for any real length of time.

September into early October was fairly comfortable, compared to the general course of events for this pregnancy, in which standards for comfort have not been high. But now I am full up with baby. I am baby down to my knees, baby up to my throat. Not literally of course, that's just what it feels like. Going up the stairs leaves me breathless; leaning over to buckle Elan into his carseat is an Olympic event. I am a rather complainy and moany person. Just ask my husband.

As I walk waddle around town, my enormous belly invites comments. EVERYONE has something to say. I tell myself that the miracle of human life so bowls people over that they are compelled to comment. But sometimes I think that if one more person says "Looks like you're ready to pop" I will walk over and pee on their shoes. "Oops, guess I just popped!" I imagine saying with a shrug of my shoulders, and then strolling away unconcernedly.

Wouldn't that be fabulous?

Or am I just spending too much time with a potty-obsessed 3.5-year-old?

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