It’s been a solid two weeks since I sat down to post. It’s not that things aren’t happening or that I don’t have a lot on my mind, but that I don’t have much to say. The last few weeks have brought me closer to full term–three weeks to 37 weeks as of this weekend and safe to go any time after that–and I’ve been acutely feeling the inward pull of preparation. Despite depositing much of my thought-vomit here, I’m a relatively private person and birth is a very private process. For me I think that’s the most appealing part about giving birth at home: though the epidural was spiffy and I’d like to gift-wrap a few to pass out to friends, I’ll happily trade that option for the ability to stay far away from strangers and have this baby in my own little nest. I am not nervous about this as long as I can preserve that feeling of sanctuary.
So in the meantime, I’ve been nesting. With Maggie it was a desire to redecorate the entire house in fresh, bright colors and we ended up doing some significant painting. I assume that’s because I gave birth in the spring. But this time around I’m having a mid-November baby and the pull of millions of years of evolution is undeniable: we must stock up food for winter or we will diiiiiiiiie aaaaaargh!
The baby totally doesn’t care that we live less than a mile from a shopping strip with no fewer than three grocery stores and bakeries, a pizza place and Indian takeout. Oh no. Exhibit A:
This, friends, is the result of two weekend jam canning sessions. The final yield: fifty jars. Strawberry, strawberry vanilla, strawberry black pepper, raspberry vanilla, blackberry, and “summer berry” (a.k.a. the leftover dregs from all three types of berries that we couldn’t make into full batches). Assuming our normal pace–a jar of jam per week–this is just shy of a year’s worth of jam. We’ll have guests and give a few jars away but this should take us straight to next year’s berry season.
And it doesn’t stop there! Oh no! Thanks to the wonders of Pinterest (my God, how I love Pinterest) I’ve marked several make-ahead crock pot recipe sites. They require about three hours to dice, chop, and season in large freezer-safe Ziplocs but the yield is 10-20 large freezable crock pot meals, from which we should get at least a supper and a lunch for all of us. I’ve also been furiously making applesauce for Maggie and saving every last piece of bone and cartilage from the weekly roasts for soup stock.
Would it surprise you to know that I’ve also been haranguing Tom night and day for a separate chest freezer? It wouldn’t? Good. Because this baby thinks it’s being born into the Donner Party in a mountainous deep freeze and it wants to make sure we aren’t eyeing it for an entree.
(Cannibalism jokes about new babies = magically delicious)
The other big nesting project is getting mentally and physically prepped for the birth itself. Since my pantry is pretty well stocked–although that chest freezer wouldn’t go unused, TOM–I’ve been walking more and started seeing a chiropractor. Since I am very observant [cough] I finally noticed one of my legs is demonstrably shorter than the other, suggesting my hips were misaligned. “Self,” I thought. “You maaaaay want to get those hips right before you have this kid.”
Much like Shakira, my hips (and legs!) do not lie: they had become so torqued around that they were starting to look like a Mobius strip rather than a proper pelvic floor. The shortness of breath and feeling like the baby thought it was going to be born via my esophagus? It was because the poor kiddo literally had nowhere to go–the head couldn’t drop any further than it already had.
Imagine trying to give birth to a baby that can’t drop. Yeah. I made that face too. Within 24 hours of my first adjustment–after I relearned to walk on legs that were the same length, having nearly pitched over on my right side after hopping off the table–the baby settled right down low and got out of my ribs. Where before I couldn’t walk up the stairs without gasping, now I can walk 4-5 miles in a day of sightseeing without issue. So! Weekly chiropractor adjustments for me with a doctor who specializes in maternal and pediatric adjustments until the birth and since the office is literally at the end of our block, I’m going to talk to her about popping in for a quick adjustment during labor if I can manage to get there and back.
The other half of this is a mental game; now that I am feeling invincible about my new Hips ‘O Magic, I can get my head around the rest. For me, that means checklists for Tom. “At 5 minutes apart, please make up our bed with the plastic mattress cover and an old fitted sheet” and things of that nature. I decided not to pack an “in case of hospital transfer” bag but I am organizing piles of things I know I’ll want at home all in one spot because I know I won’t want to get up to get them myself and it’s easier to keep directing Tom back to the same few piles. My mental game isn’t totally spot on–I wore my house slippers to preschool pickup just this week. But I try to laugh at stuff like that as much as I can. I laugh at a lot of other things too. Today it’s Maggie modeling her new hat, made by my mom out of fun fur stretchy yarn.
You go ahead and tell me that doesn’t crack you up. Then I’ll tell you you’re a soulless bastard. We’re calling her the Psychedelic Bolshevik.
This week marks 34 weeks. There’s always more that can be done, but I’m just about ready. My pantry, my body, and my brain are locked into self-preservation mode and ready to roll.
Six weeks left. Let’s do this.