I'll be 37 weeks this Monday. With my prior pregnancies, that would be considered 'full term' although they have recently changed the guidelines and now it's considered 'early term.'
As I sat in the OB's office with Jon yesterday, we were discussing the fact that Edith would be two in eight days. "We could have a baby in 8 days," Jon said to me in awe. "No. Don't say that," was my response.
I'm pretty sure I was mentally ready by 32 weeks with Elden and Edith. Obviously I wanted them to stay put until they would have been more 'term,' but the thought of welcoming them didn't give me any semblance of anxiety. I was excited and curious and more than ready to meet them.
It has not been the same experience with this pregnancy.
I think there are a few factors. The first is the daunting thought of being outnumbered. "You'll have to switch to zone defense" is what friends with 3+ kids have told me. I have all these insecurities that I just won't be able to devote enough attention and love to all three kids. As it is now, Elden and Edith vie for my attention and I feel like I'm doing a pretty subpar job of navigating that. Now I'll be adding a third little life to the mix and how is that fair to any of them? Then there's the sleep deprivation aspect. Labor/delivery--and even the looming recovery--don't really bother me. It's the exhaustion that freaks me out. With the other kids, Jon had gotten up with me for the middle of the night breastfeeding sessions as moral support. This time around I think I'm going to try to go it solo so he can rest and therefore tend to the bigger kids during the day so I can (hopefully) nap some of the times the baby (hopefully) naps. Except I know our kids - they will rage if they know I'm just upstairs and they aren't getting to spend time with me. And even though I haven't given it much thought, I'm sure the notion of this being my last pregnancy is factoring in. This pregnancy was overall easier than with the other two kids and the thought of never being pregnant again goes against every biological instinct I have. Despite the insistence of some of my friends that they don't think we will be done after this baby - I feel ready to close the door on my baby-having days. I was blessed to experience what I have with these pregnancies and I don't want to discount that, but the reality is I am getting older and pregnancy is not particularly kind to my body.
Finally, I think I just generally feel unprepared. With my other pregnancies we had so much to do - make Elden's nursery / move Elden to a new room and redo the nursery for Edith. Neither one of those tasks was a small commitment. With this pregnancy and the new house, we didn't have to do nearly the amount of work as we did on the old one. As for purchases, we only really had to purchase a handful of items thanks to holding onto what we had from the other kids. I guess I just don't feel like I've done enough. Notice a theme? There's a drastic amount of feeling like I am not / have not / cannot do enough, ever. This runs deeper than just with raising kids and I'm sure many women can relate to that feeling of inadequacy.
The good news? At my appointment my cervix was nice and high and firmly closed, so as of yesterday there is no sign of an impending arrival. This coupled with the fact that both of the other kids were born on their due dates strictly as a result of induction leads me to believe that I have a heck of a lot more than 8 days to snap out of my mental funk. My goals are (1) to make it to November 1 at the earliest (I really want to be there for trick or treat with the older kids) and (2) to go on my own this time. I really want to experience the excitement of "this is it! This baby is coming!" That being said, it would be nice if I delivered no later than my due date because my company shuts down from December 23 through the new year and 6 weeks of maternity leave would bring me back December 19th - which gives me enough time to establish that I am no longer on leave and can earn my full benefits pay over the holidays instead of the 50% I'll be receiving on FMLA.