39 weeks

 

I’m 39 weeks pregnant today. I don’t expect to be writing about this again after this week, both for obvious reasons (i.e. the end is near) and because I too am thoroughly sick of it. Maybe more childbirth-y things, or “what is my mother-in-law doing here” things that are related but not specifically pregnancy things. If I stop and think about it, there’s quite a lot of wtf sort of things in the near future, or so it seems. Maybe that’s the RAGE speaking, though.

Shortly after giving birth to my son, I remember thinking how I would better appreciate pregnancy if I went through it again. That if seemed a lot bigger at that point, so I told myself I would worry less and enjoy it more. Announce the whole endeavor on Facebook. Take bump pictures, though probably not for posting on Facebook. Savor all the little kicks. Try to appreciate the complicated feat my body was undertaking in growing a baby inside me.

This isn’t happening, except for maybe the kicks part. Even then, it’s less savoring and more confirming she’s still alive because it turns out I haven’t been able to turn off the worrying part really. Mostly, though, I’m over this feeling of having had my body taken over. I know it will be no picnic when she’s on the outside, but I want my brain, body, self back please.

Usual disclaimer about being grateful, I know not everyone’s this lucky and I feel bad, I’m very glad I avoided the fertility treatments a second time, etc.

Currently, I feel a near constant PMS-like irritation at just about everyone and everything. I know, intellectually, that a lot of my frustration is at trivial things but trivializing the frustration itself just makes me angrier. Random parts of my body hurt no matter what position I’m in – my back, my butt, my legs, my ribs, my hips. I get heartburn, especially if whatever I’ve consumed has onions, which turn out to be in far more dishes than you might expect, or if I have some combination of chocolate and coffee, the two greatest things in this world. I’m tired all the time, exacerbated greatly by the fact I’m having trouble sleeping. I need to pee all the time and, in a FUN new development, I appear to have developed pregnancy hemorrhoids and descended to a whole new level of discomfort as a result. Also, my appetite generally is kind of shot.

On the baby front… well, she’s doing well. She’s not just caught up now, she’s measuring at least a week ahead on all the growth charts and kicking away happily. I know I’m complaining a lot now, but I am looking forward to meeting her.

On a more medical front, my sense of being fed up is apparently mitigating the stress of prenatal appointments because my blood pressure is actually doing well lately. I get the midwife equivalent of being patted on the head for not putting on too much weight and even losing some between my last two appointments, which should feel gratifying but actually just feels irritating because OF COURSE no one gains weight in a linear fashion and racial differences and what is this arbitrary 10 kilogram limit that they try to enforce anyway? I keep getting protein in my pee, but not enough to set off any pre-eclampsia alerts and also because, as I said above, the blood pressure isn’t doing anything exciting and body part swelling must be one of the few things I haven’t checked off on the symptom list. Instead, I keep getting various vague suggestions as to how to deal with/explain this – drink more water, have less salt, perhaps I have a cold…

Being 39 weeks, everyone is now also on high alert for the baby’s exit. If she is still on the inside at my next prenatal appointment, I believe they’re going to want me to schedule an induction. I was going to attempt to explain that one in a paragraph but really, it warrants a whole post and yes, I’m angry about that too.

So, in conclusion, I’m 39 weeks pregnant and pissed off.

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Let the pregnant ladies sit down

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Image from TOKYOITE

Since Mr K was born, I’ve had the pleasant experience of people falling over themselves to help me when I go out in public with him. They hold doors open for us, clear paths for us, and spring up from their seats to offer them to me. I even had an elderly lady help me haul the pram (and the grumpy baby therein) onto the bus today. It’s great!

I can’t help but feel a little frustrated on behalf of my former self, though. When I was pregnant, it was a different story completely. I had a grand total of two people offer me seats during the whole forty weeks (and two days), and both of them (a mother with a baby and a very old lady) were in need of seats themselves. There’s nothing like catching the bus on what is supposed to be your due date and STILL not being able to get a seat.

While the pram can be a bit of a pain to lug around, doors present a strange new challenge and I feel even more anxious about taking up too much space in petite Japan than I usually do, I am physically fine. Yes, I’m tired – sometimes very tired – but I otherwise feel pretty much like myself. I wouldn’t say managing Mr. K in public is necessarily easy, but it’s something I feel capable of doing.

When I was pregnant, though? I felt crap almost from the outset. It was nine months of extreme fatigue, physically and mentally, not to mention the morning sickness and aching body. I might not have felt utterly incapable of getting myself around, but it frequently meant summoning reserves of energy and exerting extra effort.

I know it can be hard to tell if someone’s pregnant or not sometimes and there’s a risk of awkwardness (Japan doesn’t have that excuse, by the way – pregnant women have been getting the above-pictured tags issued by their cities for their bags, which clearly state the woman is pregnant, since 2007). While I’m not ungrateful and I don’t wish to sound it, if I could choose between getting those little acts of kindness right now and back then, I would be choosing pregnancy.

 

Journal

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I’m not 100% sure, but I strongly suspect the notebook itself was a gift from my younger sister

I like to keep journals. It helps me to scrawl out whatever inane thoughts I’m having onto paper and just process things. I’ve tried not doing it, or finding some means of carrying it out electronically instead to reduce the risk of other people reading them. Much of what I write is just me getting things out of my system and not necessarily fair, and I don’t think there’s much that’s profoundly interesting in them to make up for it, and thus the idea of anyone else sitting down and reading them is quite horrifying.

Still, I find it the easiest way for me personally to write about the minutiae of my life, and it’s interesting for me, at least, to come back to them later and look back. Thus, I keep writing anyway.

I finished off the above-pictured notebook this week and figured I’d share some selected… highlights… from it.

Life events of interest:

  • Sleepwalked through the final trimester of my pregnancy with Mr. K
  • Worried over premature labour
  • Worried over and tried to avoid an induction, failed
  • Gave birth to Mr. K
  • Mr. K’s first and second months
  • Christmas 2015 and New Year 2016
  • WINTER (there are so many variations of “omg it’s so cold” as opening sentences)
  • Mr. K’s third month

Selected quotes:

Feeling quite accomplished currently in contrast to yesterday afternoon… I did go to Hard-Off and I did buy stuff I wanted. I got a mobile and a baby carrier!
– 15th October 2015, buying baby stuff at the secondhand store

… went to Babies R Us. R thought I called it “Baby’s Arse” because… katakana?!
– 
1st November 2015 (re: 28th October, day before Mr. K was born). The joys of Japanese.

I felt this horrible tugging inside me, and a drop, as though something critical had pulled away… bad, it was bad…
– 1st November 2015 (it was a long entry). Regarding childbirth.

May be coming out of the maternity blues hole now, but the crying still isn’t just his.
– 
28th November 2015

… it’s my fault for not “reading the atmosphere”. Between him (R) and his mother, the atmosphere can go **** itself.
– 16th January 2016. Clashes with my mother-in-law and general adjustment to life with a baby have caused some friction.

 

Bicycle!

It’s not particularly fancy, it’s dirty after being exposed to six months of the elements, both of its tyres were flat and the chain is rusted, but that is my bicycle and I’m thrilled to have it working again.

Along with deli meats, sashimi and my usual dose of caffeine, one of the things I was expected to give up when I found out I was pregnant was cycling. Like some of the other things on that above list, the reasoning behind it was a bit questionable and mainly erred on the side of the caution – if I fell, I could have a miscarriage.

I found it a bit exasperating because I had almost never fallen off my bicycle and so continued to ride it quietly for the first seven or eight weeks, just because it was so much easier to get around on it even when I was feeling queasy. I was nine weeks pregnant when I took a plummet down the apartment building stairs and after that, even though the baby was fine and the probable reasons for the fall were the slipperiness of the stairs and me being distracted, I couldn’t entirely discount the fact my balance might be off.

So, for the next ten months, I stopped cycling and that was quite hard. Cycling wasn’t just exercise or a hobby for me; it’s the key way in which I got around, particularly for work, and I felt extremely limited without it.

Now, two months after giving birth, I’m quite ready to start cycling again, though, even if it won’t be anywhere near as often what with having a baby to lug around. Those first few moments when I rode off after getting my bicycle serviced were pure glee, and I can’t wait until R’s off work for the day and I can go for a longer ride.