Wow, it’s hard to believe I’m so close to the end already! I think it’s all hitting me at once for a couple of reasons, but the biggest one being that I’m letting myself think about it.
Let me back up.
Over the past several weeks (and really probably the past few months), I’ve been thinking about labor and birth and the baby actually *being here* only in an abstract sort of way. I’ve been so focused on getting through the end of the term that I haven’t let myself really think about (or even believe) that the actual event of childbirth is getting so close. This is how I get when I’m in school– I triage. I take care of whatever is the most immediate, the thing that is due soonest, before I worry about the things that come after. This is because if I think about all the things I have to do, I get bogged down in anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed, feelings that I can’t actually handle it all. So, since baby isn’t due until after school is out, I dealt with immediate pregnancy things but didn’t let myself think about birth or postpartum prep too much. This, of course, is not really the way to do things. I was basically leaving myself anywhere from no time (since 37 weeks is the last day of finals week) to 5 weeks tops to prepare for everything.
The issue came to a head on Tuesday at my prenatal appointment. I had just been talking to my midwife about how proud I was that I had avoided gestational diabetes, and then when I did the urinalysis that we do at every appointment, all was normal except my glucose– which was as dark as it could possibly be. I found out later that indicated a CBG (circulating blood glucose) level of over 500! This crushed me, of course, and concerned the hell out of my midwife. We didn’t talk about it much during that appointment, I think because she didn’t want to make the whole appointment about diet and exercise but also because it was the first visit with a new assistant midwife (a story for another post) and we wanted to go over stuff about my birth plan (such as it is, given the aforementioned lack of planning) etc.
The midwife called me the next day, though, and we talked about it a little more. It’s possible, she said, that it’s just a fluke. Urine tests can’t tell us all that much, they’re just a screening tool. So let’s go back to blood tests for a few days and see what we find. In the meantime, tighten up on sugar/simple carbs again, and get more exercise. I agreed, and tried not to fret too much, but the anxiety was overwhelming. I spent a good part of the afternoon crying, feeling like I didn’t have the time or energy to get the exercise I need to keep my blood sugar under control, and I started to realize the extent to which I have been ignoring the signals my body and emotional state have been trying to send me. After a conversation with Rachel and another one with my very good friend and doula, they convinced me to take an incomplete in my Human Evolution class. It is the last class I have to worry about this term, since my Reproductive Justice class only met on Mondays (meaning no class next week due to the holiday) and we had a short paper and presentation as our final, which I had completed last week.
As soon as I sent the email to my Evo professor asking for the incomplete, I began to feel the anxiety lifting. It quickly became crystal clear just how much stress the term has put on me, and despite feeling a little silly ‘quitting’ with less than 2 weeks left (yes, I know, I didn’t *actually* quit, but that’s what it felt like), I realized that I was now free to really focus on myself and my baby. I sent a quick text to my midwife (who is also my major professor) telling her of my decision, and I could practically hear the relief through her response text:
“Yes! Great! It is time to turn inward and give little Bee your focus. Acknowledging that she plays a role in how she is born, I want you to feel that, for your part, you did all within your power. I feel like we are on track for that now. So yay! And go team Baby Bee!”
So I am finally in a place where I am feeling like I can give the energy I need (and my baby needs) to this pregnancy, since I don’t have to worry about any classwork (besides grading the stuff from the class I teach, and that’s *totally* manageable). This means I can start to really prepare both mentally and physically for labor and birth. I’ve been tracking my fasting and postprandial CBGs for the past two days, and they have been within normal limits. I also pulled out one of the books I read as part of my doula training (and that I recommend to my clients and pregnant friends, but have not pulled out during my own pregnancy at all), Birthing From Within, at the recommendation of my midwife. I started looking through it yesterday while Darwin and her buddy N were playing quietly, and couldn’t stop myself from crying through a good bit of it. This just served to show me that it was really hitting some kind of spot that I need to pay attention to, so I’ll be focusing on it more closely. There are some good exercises in there that I think I will start working through in writing, so I’ll be using this blog as a place to do that. Other things I’ll be aiming for are 30 minutes of elevated heart rate (which translates into maybe 45 minutes of exercise) at least 5 times a week, and eating mostly protein and vegetables. And maybe some sort of birth plan. 😛
I’m feeling good, hopeful, and for the first time even a little bit confident.
Also here’s a belly pic!