Last week, I hit 39 weeks, which is full term. That means the baby is basically done cooking, and now we are just waiting for it to decide that the confines of my body are not enough anymore. I can't imagine how that decision hasn't already been made, as I can feel little parts pushing outward, often at two different points, like someone stretching at the beginning of the day. I wonder if maybe the baby is trying to burst out, not knowing that the gate is down.
Before 39 weeks, the baby was coming soon, and now it's coming at any time. I hate open-ended plans, where a punctual person like me is ready at the earliest possible point, and then is forced to kill time in such a way that doesn't mess up the existing preparations nor causes me to be too involved that I can't just drop everything. Baby is not yet late, so the fact that the crib is still in pieces is fine. Lateness in this case is not even accurate, as due dates are not an exact science, and really, Baby comes when Baby is ready. But I can't help thinking that when Baby shows up in relation to the due date will be the first test of whether it is his mother or his father's child.
I am in limbo. I am ready to not be pregnant anymore. I am tired of sleeping with a pillow between my knees and having to do a 20-point turn just to roll over. I'm tired of being limited to my five maternity outfits. I am tired of getting out of breath from putting on my shoes. I'm ready for something else now.
Ready to not be pregnant, but ready to be formerly pregnant, i.e. a parent? After the birth is a horizon I can't see over. I can't imagine it. The most I can muster is to picture my life as it is now, but there's a baby hanging out in the corner. I don't think that's accurate. Maybe that's why it feels like time has stopped. Before, there was a clear distance before the horizon, where I had time: time to get supplies, time to go to San Francisco, time to read books on birth and raising children. Now there is just that horizon, suddenly very close, and then nothing, like what flat-earthers must picture coming to the edge of the world must be like.
Every night I go to bed and think, well, it wasn't today. And then I wake up in the morning and wonder if today is the first day of the rest of my life. Or rather, I wonder if it's the opposite, the last day of the first part of my life. I had a teacher in high school who talked about life changes as the death of the person you were before. Graduation is the death of your grade school selves, marriage is the death of your single self, etc. My non-parent self is dying, along with my husband's non-parent self. Is this the last time we'll hit the snooze button to get nine more minutes of quiet snuggling?
My mother-in-law tells me to treasure this time, but she is the type to say that about every period of life. Her advice is really about awareness and gratitude. I'm aware, but I'm not sure I'm grateful. I appreciate these last few days, just the two of us, but without being able to picture what comes next, I'm scared and even a little bitter that it has to end. My non-parent self does not want to die, though she is on the verge of killing my pregnant self.
This is melancholy, I know, and no one wants to hear a monologue on dying selves when they ask if I'm excited to have a baby. It's just the waiting. I just need to get past this horizon.