This is good, because, as of today, I’m now 38 weeks pregnant, and this time next week – assuming I don’t go into labour before then – I’ll be at the hospital, being measured for a fetching pair of surgical stockings, and given some final checks before my c-section the next day.
Yeah, I’m terrified.
Like, ABSOLUTELY OUT-OF-MY-MIND terrified.
Unfortunately, I think the word ‘TERRIFIED’ (And note, not just “terrified”, but ALL-CAPS TERRIFIED) pretty much sums up week 37 of the pregnancy for me. I really wish I could tell you that, once the house was back in order, I managed to totally relax and just enjoy these last few days as a family of two, but, well, you all know me better than that by now, don’t you?
The truth is, almost as soon as the final plank went down on the new floor, my brain instantly switched from stressing over the state of the house, to stressing over the prospect of surgery. It’s really all I can think about at this stage: well, that and how awful my life is about to be, obviously, because it seems the imminent end of the pregnancy has brought with it a dramatic increase in the number of people ready to tell me that I won’t be able to cope, that I’m never going to sleep again, and to just generally assure me that if I thought pregnancy was tough, JUST WAIT until I try parenthood, LOL!
Earlier this week, for instance, I posted a photo of a haircut I was thinking of getting on Instagram Stories, and almost immediately got a flurry of messages urging me to THINK ABOUT THE BABY and warning me that I just won’t be able to handle a haircut AND a baby. Like, no one has ever been able to do that, apparently.
Now, this was a really simple haircut we’re talking about: it’s one I’ve had before a few times now and it seriously isn’t any more maintenance than my hair is now. NOPE, though: from what I’m told, this cut would be way, WAY too ambitious for me, and I can either have slightly different hair OR a baby, but definitely not both, because that’s just crazy talk, isn’t it?
(Aside: I really need to learn my lesson to NEVER ASK THE INTERNET FOR ADVICE ABOUT HAIR. Seriously, Amber, WHEN WILL YOU LEARN?!)
(Yeah, it’s been an ALL-CAPS kinda week in general, really.)
So, this kind of thing is pretty daunting to read, really, because while the comments were, ostensibly, about hair, the message is pretty clear, and the message I took from it all, was, “Amber, you are not going to cope with this. Seriously, you’re not even going to be able to style your hair in a couple of weeks time, because THAT’s how tired you’re going to be, and THAT’S how much you’re going to struggle.”
Which…yeah. Add to this, all of the “better sleep now!” and “JUST YOU WAIT!” comments, and, to be honest, I almost feel like people are setting me up to fail, you know? I can’t help but wonder how much of all of this becomes self-fulfilling prophecy, too: I mean, if people keep on telling me I’m not going to be able to cope, and I therefore go into it with that expectation, then will that make it harder for me to cope? Because, right now, all of the doom-mongering has made me feel like Terry and I are about to disappear into some kind of black hole for the next few months, during which we will be basically unable to function, or do even the simplest of things. I’ve tried my best to plan ahead as much as possible for this, but I have to admit, I’m pretty damn scared by it, and have had more than a couple of moments this week where I’ve read yet another, “Your body will never be the same again!” or “You just don’t know what exhaustion really is, but you will soon!” comment, and have genuinely wondered what the hell I’ve let myself in for.
Of course, there’s really not much I can say to any of this. I mean, it’s not like I can change my mind now, or decide not to go ahead with the birth: one way or another, this baby is going to have go get out of there, so I’m doing my best to ignore the doom-laden comments and just try to focus on getting through this surreal, limbo-like time before the birth, day by day. One of those days will be Christmas, obviously, which is both a blessing and a curse: it’s a blessing in that it will, at least, provide a bit of a distraction, but honestly, I’m so focused on next Friday (and everything that will come after it) that I can’t bring myself to even THINK about Christmas right now. Or, you know, ANYTHING other than the fact that, this time next week, I’ll be less than 24 hours away from meeting my baby boy for the first time.
I’m excited about that obviously – hopefully that goes without saying – but, of course, pregnancy after loss, or when you’re dealing with severe anxiety, plus a generous dose of hospital phobia, is a pretty hard thing to get through, and, in my case, I think the only way I’ve been able to get to this stage has been by living in a kind of denial that “this stage” would ever come, and now that it has, it’s made everything feel incredibly surreal. I just can’t seem to get my head around the fact that I’m actually going to have a BABY next week – and I’m still too scared to be able to trust that it’ll actually happen, without something going catastrophically wrong. Unfortunately for me, my brain has no shortage of catastrophic scenarios it’s willing to present me with, so while week 37 hasn’t really been any different from week 36 (or, indeed, the rest of the third trimester: I think I’ve been REALLY lucky to have had a pretty straightforward time of it, really, although I’m obviously now terrified that I’ve just tempted fate by saying that…) in terms of symptoms etc, it has been a challenging one mentally – and I don’t think week 38 is going to be any easier, really.
Still, one thing I know for sure, is that week 38 – however it pans out – will definitely be the last week of this pregnancy, which is just… WOW. I feel like I should have something profound and moving to say about this, but, honestly, at this point it’s a miracle that I can still express myself AT ALL, let alone say something even remotely eloquent. Instead, then, I’ll just say this:
8 MORE DAYS TO GO.
(Oh, and yes, I DID get the haircut – or a version of it, anyway: pray for me…)