The countdown is on. Ten more weeks to go. When compared to 40 weeks, it seems like nothing. When compared to the amount of time that I take to train for an Olympic distance triathlon (.9 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 6 mile run), it’s exactly the same. Ten weeks to train and prepare seems just right when I think about it.
Now it’s time to start ramping up my reading of sleep and breastfeeding books, to paint the baby’s room, and to do as many kegels and squats as I can every day. As a side note, a kegel is an exercise that is basically a simulation of stopping your pee midstream. However, to be more crude about it, the image that comes to my mind is one from a story I heard about someone who saw exotic dancers in Thailand. They can shoot ping pong balls out of the birth canal…this requires some incredible kegel strength! Can you imagine?!! Apologies if this is offensive to you. Whenever I think about kegels, I do them. But I’m not getting anywhere close to the Bradley method recommended 300. And absolutely not close enough to shoot a ping pong ball anywhere.
Through the Bradley method course J and I are taking, I’m learning relaxation and birthing techniques that I really need to get started on practicing. My doula has a recommended relaxation mp3 that I’ve downloaded and listened to once. Now I’ve got to get my act together and try to listen at least three times a week. She said that people who did it at least that much were able to really relax during the breaks between contractions…so that’s my goal. Sitting still for anywhere between 10 and 25 minutes is not a great strength of mine. I’ve got the time. I’ve got to stop making excuses.
Getting in shape aside, the baby’s activity is much more noticeable now. Where before I felt little taps, nudges and the occasional jab, now there are very few taps and many more jabs. If she stretches, her feet push up one side of my belly while her arm or head or whatever other body part pushes down on my bladder, on my side, or the other side of my belly. I’ve watched her movements ripple across my belly. And sometimes, whatever it is that she is doing really hurts!
Coercing J to watch the baby/belly in action always takes a couple of minutes. At first he was skeptical that he would see anything happen. His thinking was that since I feel it, it’s easy for me to see it, and because he couldn’t feel it, it would be much harder. He’s probably right! But now that he’s seen the baby’s body parts push up my belly, he is much more game to check it out again. Our evening TV time has turned into a belly watching time, at least for a while. He obliges me with some belly watching and then sticks his hand on my tummy, which I think might be more satisfying in the end. Every once in a while we poke the belly, and more often than not, we get a healthy sized response. Then we proceed to our story line fixations.
We’ve wondered what is going on in that little head of hers. She really likes when there are many people around. The most she’s ever moved was when I was sitting in a group of ten people all busy sharing ideas. It was as if she wanted to join in on the conversation. Her movements screamed, “I’m here, too! Listen to me!”
I’m getting more and more anxious to meet this squirming being, and I’m starting to understand why my friends with babies have told me to enjoy pregnancy. There are very few times that a person will experience anything like this ten month long incubation. This is the closest I will be with my baby, at least physically. And when she’s out in the real world, I’ll have to start working on letting her go little by little. Right now, she’s all mine. Soon enough, she’ll face love, loss, heartache and joy all in her own way.
I’ll take these ten weeks and try to make the most of them, though the discomfort grows. I may be crying “mercy” sooner than I think. It’s a lot like triathlon training. There will be pain, but I’ll be so happy I did it.