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I’m pretty sure it’ll be the 9th inning of some imploding Mets game when Lu kicks the Labor Party into action. Listening to her shout at the TV last night makes me especially nervous about our trip to Shea next Friday. But her family will all be there that so that’ll be helpful. And Shea isn’t a bad name, really.
Pelfrey pitches tonight. I doubt he knows how much is at stake.
Lu’s aunt Trix is visiting today. She is a professional photographer and today they are capturing images of my wife’s wonderous womb.
It is a sight to behold.
Lu is reading. I am up wondering if the baby is awake. I can’t wait until we meet. But I will.
Sirens on the street. Time to sleep.
The vortex is upon us. The belly bulges and kicks with life. Every time my phone rings and it’s Lu at the other end I wait for the words that send me flying into action. She has been having Braxton-Hicks contractions often every day now. Her body is practicing for the actual birth but at some point this ‘false labor’ will become real.
“Chris!” she said when she called the other day. “WHAT?” I demanded, my heartrate rising. “What do you want for dinner?” she asked placidly. I sat down heavy and relived and caught my breath before responding, softly, “Whatever you want. Whatever you want is fine.”
Tuesday is the test run. The tech rehearsal. Midwives will be in the house and everyone that will be here for the birth should be coming over. They want to see where the tub will go and how it will all play out when the big day comes. The energy. The logistics. The physical shape of the things we can control for that day.
Lu is over it. Over being pregnant. Over the watermelon’s weight around her midsection. The wrist pain has not let up despite acupuncture and wrist braces. She sits upright on the bed with those black wristguards on like a commander of an intergalactic battleship. Between her and the cats there’s barely room for me. Add the baby finally out of the womb and it’s definitely couch-time for me for a while.
Where will we be when it begins? Hopefully it will be late at night/early in the AM when I’m still around and we can begin to assemble the pieces calmly and coolly together. Chances are though I’ll be in some far-flung section of the state and I will have to force myself to drive sanely down the highway to be by her side for everything else that there is to come.
(Oh and btw, from here on out I’m going to be giving quick daily updates so stop by often.)
Sausage feet. That’s what Lu has taken to calling herself. I try to help as much as I can, but this is such a physically personal event that there’s only so much I can do. Can’t make the wrists stop hurting or reduce the swelling of her feet and ankles but hopefully acupuncture tomorrow will. One thing I found interesting is how when Lu tells other women about the carpal tunnel they suddenly remember that they had that side effect, too. Apparently once the baby is born, women somehow forget some of the unpleasantness of being pregnant. I’m sure it’s a chemical thing their bodies are wired to do. Otherwise we’d all be only kids.
And it’s really not all fun and games. Lu has been a bit surprised that she hasn’t enjoyed this quite as much as she anticipated. She thought she would take to pregnancy and really love the whole experience, but that was not exactly the case. It’s hard work. Every day, all day, her body is working in a brand new way, pushing itself to new extremes, and into new shapes.
What a shape it is. Her belly is… prodigious. It is impressive. It looks as though she has taken a watermelon and hidden it under her shirt. There’s no more lifting or bending. She can’t even twist around when seated to look behind her. I think the physical limitations of pregnancy has been a bit of a shock to her. Since her job and her life is to move and exercise and to be in tune with her finely toned body this transformation has been difficult. Suddenly her body is acting and reacting in ways she cannot control or even fully understand. There has to be a certain feeling of powerlessness, that once started this is an experience she must see to a rather wild and crazy end. How a choice made months ago is still having such profound repercussions on every moment of her life and the entire forseeable future. I feel that on some level, but it is still an intellectual exercise for me. Lu is living within it constantly.
The crazy thing is just how powerful she is. She is magic manifest and it has been absolutely awe-filled to be with her every day since this began. So I gladly rub her sausage feet and massage her wrists and arms. I tell her every day how beautiful she looks and I insist–because I believe it–that she is doing an incredible job creating this new person for planet Earth.
I’m hoping we’re in our second to last side-effect of pregnancy. That’s what I’m looking for, here. This current side-effect of pregnancy: carpal tunnel and then the last side-effect of pregnancy: labor. We need to get this done with and move on to the next phase of things.
Phase: Baby. I’m ready, she’s ready, the apartment isn’t ready and the baby isn’t either but it’s clear that the time is approaching fast. Right? Please? And no more weird extra bonus experiences. Waking up to Lu nearly crying in pain because of her wrists is quite horrible.
Maybe it’s an automatic defense mechanism, though. Maybe the body is teaching her a bit about pain. Maybe the achy wrists are a tactic by her body to draw attention away from the astounding growth of life in her midsection. Or maybe the pressure on her median nerve has increased because pregnancy causes everything to swell.
My wife is not a large person and there is not much space left to go. She’s gone for the night visiting friends in Jersey, but when she gets back I’m certain there will be a visible difference. I know she can do anything she needs to until that baby is ready for this world. However, I can’t help but blink when I see what is going on beneath the tattooed flower around her belly’s button.
A baby grows there and we don’t know if it’s a boy or girl. We don’t know what kind of person this child will be. I have no idea what unfathomable series of events this baby will encounter. I can only hope that they will be as amazing, as beautiful, as challenging and as so damn much fun as my life has been so far. I hope the pain is less but always instructive. I hope the anguish is less sharp but equally transformative. I hope for so much.
Right now more than anything, I hope that Lu’s arms stop hurting and that crazy insane side-effects of pregnancy just back off and let her do the rest of this in peace.
Because after this, peacefulness falls into beautiful chaos. Chaos is a side-effect of baby, obviously, but the biggest side-effect of a baby is that everything is changed utterly.
Lu doesn’t give herself enough credit. She thinks she’s complaining a lot, but I don’t. I’m impressed with how hard she has been working and how much she’s been able to do despite apparently swallowing a basketball.
It has been an amazing three months. Lu has been able to work, got her appetite back, kicked her cough and even got in a few good nights of sleep. It has been a dramatic change from the uncomfortable weirdness of the first few months of her pregnancy. The party is coming to an end, though. 2 months out, 32 weeks in and Lu is really starting to feel it.
The kicks are stronger, the weight is greater and the space is limited. Some evenings her belly is taut with the very real presence of the child within. For the last few weeks Lu has had trouble catching her breath after walking or stairs, but recently that has subsided. We think it’s because the baby is riding lower within her, beginning to drop into position.
Lately Lu has awoken with an arm fast asleep. Turns out numbness and carpal tunnel are sometimes symptoms of pregnancy. Really what I’ve learned is that basically anything can be just a normal symptom of pregnancy as long as it doesn’t happen too much and become a problem.
We can feel the baby often, now. Elbows, feet, the strong, tiny back and even the bottom have been identified through the skin of Lu’s womb. It is surreal and wonderful and more than a little scary. Good scary sure, but so extremely real and life-altering that it’s almost like staring at the sun.
I look at Lu’s belly and see the next two months collapsing into a series of very brief vignettes of the daily rhythm of our lives falling into one another nearly identically (just her belly grows) until some unknown day in the future where sight collapses.
Imagination falters and fades. There is only Lu and her belly and the birth and a baby boy or girl screeching into our lives.
Then chaos as all our gears shift.
Then we will settle into a new life and new rhythms will grow until we cannot imagine how we ever lived without the child in our lives. I can almost see what that all will be like and I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to being an active participant instead of just watching and waiting and wondering from out here.
And Lu is ready for the babe-in-arms stage, too. She cannot move like she usually does, and carrying that much weight is no easy task. Insanely, leading up to delivery the baby will gain a pound a week. Frankly, I cannot imagine where that is going to go. Lu has her doubts, as well. Very quickly now we are going to be starting on the Crazy Stage where anything can happen at a moment’s notice.
I believe that Lu will take the baby to full-term. She’s extremely thorough in everything she does. But getting there is going to be wild.