Hey, everyone. Sit back. Relax. Looks like we're going to be here for a while. Don't let the 38 Week Mile Marker fool you. This baby seems intent on hanging on until she's evicted. It's an impulse I understand. Back in my more festive days, I liked nothing more than to suck the marrow from a party. Arrive home around the time tots were lining up on corners for the school bus. Find a newspaper waiting on the front steps.
Who am I kidding. She's doing her part. She's in position and ready to rumble. Pelvis helmet secure. As for me: Nothing inside my body indicates that it is any more ready to release this girl into the world than it was last week. It is only a fingertip-width more ready to release this girl into the world than it was five years ago when there was no little girl and my entire reproductive system was just a bit of abstract art that made me appreciate Lillith Fair.
"What do you expect?" the doctor said after one of those uncomfortable white coat vs. preggo moments. "It's been sealed shut for 37 years."
"Like an ancient crypt," I nodded.
I understand our birth stories become these sort of prophesies. A line is always, always drawn between some part of how we came into the world and what we are like in the present tense. Me, I was face down. This means:
"You always did like to do things your own way," Ma Pista might say, for instance.
And so, as I sit here, 38 weeks pregnant -- but maybe even four weeks from giving birth -- it's starting to look we'll say this to her: "You've always been ready to do things before we are ready to let you."
This whole appointment had me in the dumps. I thought we would get to see our moon baby in the next two weeks. But her space shuttle might have flight delays. Not to mention that I was feeling so close to a good old fashioned stomach-sleep that I could almost taste it.
Meanwhile, my headaches have returned. It's like the greatest hits montage at the end of the movie. Revisiting the phases of the pregnancy. This time it might be worse:
1. Tylenol takes an hour to work;
2. It only lasts two hours;
3. I can only take it every six hours.
I'd discovered during months 1-12 that I could lie on my back with a washcloth on my forehead to ease the pain. This doesn't work anymore because when I lie on my back, I'm conscious that every organ located in my torso is getting bulldozed by a mini person and her weighty bubble of protective fluid. Also, this makes her encasement shrink and she revolts by trying to kickbox her way through my skin, sometimes getting a foot wedged into my rib cage.
I told my doctor about my headaches.
"Did you take anything?" he asked.
"Tylenol," I said.
"Try eating dinner outside," he suggested.
"You think I'm just stressed?"
"I just know it's relaxing to eat dinner outside," he said.
The only thing I've found that works: Doing laps around my block. I'm not sure why, but walking makes me feel better.
I will say this for being 38 Weeks Pregnant: The aesthetic is amazing. My stomach has dropped so there is huge, fake-looking orb at waste level. It's hilarious. In fact, someone this week said it looked like a watermelon. That's good comedy.