Coming soon

During these last several weeks of pregnancy — even as I’ve yearned for the glorious day when my water breaks in the middle of a crowded Wal-Mart, signaling the end of months of back spasms, pelvic pain, ugly fat feet and heartburn — it hasn’t really occurred to me how very close the baby’s arrival is. When I look at the little ticker Chris created for the top of Pele’s website to tell us how many days are left before the wee one’s grand debut, the words “only 23 more days” just don’t really sink in.

As I began packing my labor bag a few days ago, only in the back of my head did the thought lurk that not only was I preparing in case I went into labor early, but that — with just more than three weeks left before my due date — this was something I really did need to get done, and soon!

In fact, as much as I’ve pined for my old flat and nonviolent tummy, painless pelvis and visible feet, until yesterday those dreams of mobility and comfort have seemed like some faraway, fuzzy mirage.

Then I went to my 36-and-a-half-week appointment with Dr. Goncalves.

After he finished the exam (the baby is fabulous as usual, of course), he told me that he’d be out of town for a week and I’d be seeing one of his associates at my next visit.

“I’ll see you in two weeks,” he said as I headed for the door.

“If you’re still pregnant.”

My jaw dropped wide enough to expel a fat, full-term baby.

Of course I know that 37 weeks is considered “term.” But it hadn’t really occurred to me (as much as I’ve wished it to be so) that our little bundle might actually arrive before the 40-week mark. In fact, I’ve been pretty prepared for a 48-hour labor on May 22, when I will be induced because it’s two weeks past the wee one’s due date.

Now that I am beginning to realize that the baby could come, in Dr. G’s words, “any day,” I am feeling just a wee bit panicky.

Will the baby wait until tomorrow’s trip to pick up a hot water bottle, massage oil and daddy’s snacks? Will her arrival precede that of her changing table? Can we hold labor off until our carseat-installation appointment next Wednesday?

In all likelihood, when you consider my family history and general bad luck, we will have had everything ready for a month and I will be suffering from multiple cracked ribs before a big dose of Pitocin and an amniohook collaborate to bring our reluctant, nine-pound offspring into the world.

Hmm. On second thought, if my water should break in Wal-Mart tomorrow, maybe that wouldn’t be so very scary.

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