I had forgotten how the final weeks of pregnancy turn me into the boy who cried wolf. I’m almost 39 weeks along now, and every day I can feel the baby lowering. For a fleeting moment, the lower abdominal pressure can masquerade as a contraction.
I keep telling my husband that labor feels imminent, even though my due date isn’t until Feb. 20 – a date that is earlier than my own estimate, bumped up due to the measurements of a first-trimester ultrasound.
I packed my hospital bag this weekend, which involved laundering a few choice items in Dreft: button-up pajamas (infinitely better than a hospital robe), a nursing tank, the cover of my boppy (so much handier than a slipping stack of pillows) and a coming-home-from-the-hospital outfit for Baby. I opted for a gender-neutral red-and-white size-newborn knit. Nothing fancy but wintry and classic. #lovemesomeknits
Honestly, I have loved not knowing the baby’s gender. To me, it’s so much more fun! Talk about anticipation!
This is a choice my husband and I fully agree on. We appreciate the old-fashioned surprise. And if we had known our firstborn was a girl, everything we would’ve received at our baby showers would’ve been pink. We like drawing from every hue of the rainbow and winding up with products that could work if we end up having a child of the opposite sex.
I have a hunch this baby is a boy. I experienced more nausea in the first trimester than I did with our girls, and I feel like I’m carrying lower.
Maria remarked the other day that our family could use another boy, so we’ll see if that holds true.
Overall, it’s been a great pregnancy. I’m in the camp of women who enjoys being pregnant. I know I’m blessed to be pregnant, and I don’t take that for granted. Being able to bring a new life into the world is an exquisite privilege. I keep pinching myself.
Health-wise, this one has passed rather uneventfully: I don’t have gestational diabetes, Group B strep or pre-eclampsia. The only changes with this pregnancy from my past two were that my hemoglobin tested a bit low, so I’ve been taking a daily iron supplement, and my heartburn is intolerable at night, so I’m taking Zantac. (I get freaked out by the idea of taking anything that starts with a Z while pregnant, but I’ve been assured that this is perfectly safe.) I wonder if that means the baby will come out with a full head of hair, as the theory goes.
I will admit that being super pregnant while trying to strap boots on little ones isn’t easy.
This trimester I made two trips to urgent care. Jane was in rough shape on a recent Saturday and we had her examined and diagnosed with an ear infection. It had made eating and drinking uncomfortable, so the poor thing was really out of it – using her unborn sibling as a pillow at urgent care.
I relished the extra snuggles, especially at night time, rocking her and singing to her – an external prod to savor these final days of her being the baby of our family.
My other trip was more troubling: In late December, Ted slipped and fell on ice, shattering his elbow. He had to have surgery and is now wearing a brace, awaiting formal physical therapy. We’re grateful it wasn’t his dominant arm, but still, it’s been tough to lose the primary lifter when I’m so pregnant. Together, I feel like we’re quite the couple.
I wish so badly he could’ve been spared. But if I had to identify a silver lining to his break, it would be this: It has reminded me to accept help – and to ask for it. And that is great preparation for the imminent adjustment to becoming a family of five.
(For the record, we have gotten tons of help! My parents are tireless.)
Mostly, I can’t wait to meet this new baby.
But every now and then I feel wistful knowing this sweet chapter of our lives – as a little family of four – is about to end. Today was one of those simple, unscheduled days that feels golden. The girls were in the best spirits. We just delighted in each other's presence.
Nothing big. A trip to the grocery store and little treats. A stroll through the neighborhood. Slurping down smoothies together, singing Johnny Appleseed.
The kind of mundane stuff that, from the proper vantage point, feels richer than the special occasions.
This evening, as Maria spread shaving cream across a shower wall, she said, “This is like the funnest day I’ve ever had, Mommy.”
It’s time to bring Baby No. 3 into the fun!
Christina Ries is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and two young girls (and another baby on the way!) in Inver Grove Heights. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.