So the countdown on the blog says that there are 30 days left until Simba is due. In some ways this makes sense, given that I have already been pregnant for 9 calendar months as of Saturday** and that I am increasingly filled with joy and tears when I think about finally delivering Simba into the world. In other ways, it seems like, "What?! Holy shit?! Only 30 days left in my life to not be a parent?! How will I ever fit in everything I ever wanted to do before having children into only 30 days?!"
In honor of this moment, I've decided to make two lists.
First, here are some of the things that I have really liked about being pregnant:
1. Experiencing the baby growing and feeling the baby move - hands down my favorite! It is a cliche for a reason - pregnancy is a true miracle!
2. Not feeling self-conscious about my body because I am supposed to be big! I have even liked wearing a two piece bathing suit for the first time in my life b/c it looks awesome with a big belly that is supposed to be there!
3. Talking to/emailing with other women about their pregnancy and delivery experiences - I will be standing on the shoulders of giants when i join the "club". Also, making friends with other pregnant women (online and here in Nairobi) has been great.
4. Making plans with Kristoffer for all the things we want to do and be as parents, our hopes and expectations for our child, the values we want him/her to know from day 1, etc.
5. Writing letters to Simba for him/her to read way in the future.
6. Planning and organizing for the baby to come.
7. Closely examining our own parents and how they raised us, plus how we see other friends and family raising their kids. This is not to judge at all, but rather to see what tips and strategies we want to pick up and definitely use in raising Simba or what things we think won't work so well for us.
8. Having an excuse not to lift things or bend over or go up and down the stairs a million times or sit in the back seat of the car.
9. Reading pregnancy/parenting books.
10. Feeling overly protective of and unconditional love for a person I have never even met yet!
11. Counting time in weeks :)
Next, here is a list of some things that I will not really miss when I am no longer pregnant:
1. Skin acne.
2. Having to go to the bathroom every hour or even more frequently than that!
3. Receiving unsolicited opinions and advice from strangers on everything from how I look to what I should eat to how I should deliver, etc.
4. Acid reflux.
5. Having a finicky/unpredictable/terrible appetite and not enjoying eating food almost at all in addition to having several foods that I used to like ruined for me forever (except for dessert foods like ice cream and chocolate chip cake...those things were never ruined for me - phew. But avocados? Forget about it.).
6. Waddling (although Kristoffer insists that I waddled long before i was pregnant).
7. Kristoffer singing, "I like big bellies and I cannot lie...you other brother's can't deny..." (instead of "I like big butts and I cannot lie..." from the hip-hop song "Baby Got Back").
8. Being more forgetful than usual and a little bit more moody/sensitive than usual too.
I would attempt to make a list of all those things that I wanted to do in my life before becoming a parent, except I can't think of that many! Most of the ones I can think of - like climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, for example - are things that I can still accomplish at some point later in life or are things that I really do need to accomplish before the baby gets here, like find a gosh-darn changing table pad!
At our Lamaze class on Tuesday night, we practiced all kinds of coping mechanisms for labor including using a birthing ball (just one of this big inflatable exercise balls), a stool for squatting, massage, breathing techniques, etc. This was useful...assuming we remember any of it during the actual labor experience, which is questionable. We also watched "THE video" of a few live births. They were really graphic! As I told my mother, I am sure that we will think our baby is beautiful and incredible and an amazing miracle when s/he comes out, but boy did those other babies look gross!
On Tuesday night after the Lamaze class when I went to sleep, I dreamed about my labor and delivery and in this dream (as opposed to a dream I had around Christmas when we were in the US), Simba was most definitely a girl! She had a thick head of dark hair and she was plump and pink and beautiful and we even named her something different than the girl's name we have chosen (which might cause us to rethink if the baby is really a girl!). Kristoffer says that the dream doesn't mean anything because in the first dream I ever had about the baby Simba was a boy and so that is the dream that counts. We'll see, Kristoffer...
When I am 36 full weeks on Saturday I will have Kristoffer take the usual monthly picture and post it. I haven't gained much (or any?) weight in the last few weeks but I do look a little bigger I think. According to books and websites, Simba will not get any longer in this last month but should continue to put on fat. We have an ultrasound tomorrow afternoon to check if Simba is still breech or has assumed the correct position yet...I can tell you right now that s/he is still breech but maybe by tomorrow s/he will move. And if not, s/he still has 30 days!
**36 weeks = 9 calendar months but only 8 pregnancy months because pregnancy months are calculated by the baby's development. I have found this to be very annoying for the entire pregnancy...40 weeks clearly does not divide evenly by 3 trimesters or 9 months and I would have much preferred to have pregnancy "quarters" instead of "trimesters" anyway. The bottom line is that pregnancy is 10 months if you go to full term and I am sure that any woman who has been pregnant for 40 weeks knows this all too well.**