Thirty-Six Weeks, Five Days ~ November 4, 2004
~ Patience and Joy...
This is so much like waiting for Christmas...
First, there's patience.
Having patience is an odd thing. If I am trying to be patient, it is because I really am not feeling patient at all. Even 'being patient' can be just an attempt to handle the inner impatience, more of a behavioral mask than a true feeling of patience. But then, there is genuinely being patient, being wholly willing to wait it out, having no angst over the timing.
That's where I am. Don't ask me how I got here, I'm not entirely sure. There was of course a lot of letting go in the last few weeks - the release of fear, in particular. And the surrendering to the outcomes that I cannot command. Yet I still retain the 'I want you two to have a vaginal birth', and that's definitely present. I'm not surrendered entirely to the process, but ... But I'm patient. I can wait for it to start. I can wait for the babies to be where they are supposed to be. I can wait for the time when they are supposed to be born.
It is very much like waiting for Christmas. All the impatience in the world will not move the date any closer. Excitement about its arrival? Absolutely. Curiosity, enthusiasm, even giddiness... two babies, after all! Even one is enough to get me excited, but TWO! So cool. Just like Christmas morning. But here I am being patient to my core, because being impatient waiting for the earth to turn is kind of silly, or pointless, and at the moment, is just not relevant. No way to make it go faster, and I certainly wouldn't have Christmas a few days early, just to have it sooner. Heck, I don't even peek at my gifts in advance. I like the surprise to be on the day of surprises, though I suppose that's largely because I haven't had loads of disappointment with the process (most of the present peekers I know have had huge disappointments over and over, and peek in part to prepare themselves for it).
And then there is the joy. I swear, my jaws ache from the smiling I've been doing lately. It just feels SO GOOD to be here, to be pregnant still, to have big healthy babies still bumping around in there, and to be as ready as I can be for their arrival.
Adding into that is the joy I get from others about being here, too. Enthusiasm, encouragement, and even praise (though part of it is the babies' doing, not mine)... from various quarters - family, friends, strangers, professionals. I have a good team, I have backup if my entire team isn't available or just isn't enough, even. And they're all excited, too. Even the ones who won't be involved in the big event directly, like the ultrasound technician and the Perinatologist.
I saw the Perinatologist the day before yesterday. He literally couldn't stop grinning at me. I think seeing two healthy, strong, functionally full-term, big, growth concordant (same size) twins in there just made his day. I don't suppose he sees that every day. They're doing perfectly, from all they can see. They're on the big side for singletons at this age (they don't seem to have slowed down their growth the way most twins do by now), the upper one (B) is (as usual, take the estimate with a big grain of salt) 6 lbs 5 oz, and the lower one (A) is 6 lbs 9 oz. Just about as close as you can get to the same size, especially given ultrasound estimating.
The only thing even remotely 'interesting' about them is that baby A (the one who was flat transverse two days ago) has a bit of extra amniotic fluid in its sac. Enough to bump it from 'normal' to 'verging on polyhydramnios' - but with zero signs that there's any reason for it, and with it showing up pretty much at term (just the way it did with Brendan), it is a 'no big deal' item. I noticed it, during the exam, the Peri didn't bring it up to me at all. Really no big deal, he repeated. Except one thing - it IS a big deal for me, because it means that baby A has a really good chance of being able to turn any way it needs to, to be vertex. YAY! Baby B is vertex already, nearly perfectly set. But neither of them was over my cervix. No biggie, again - I'm a perfect candidate for 'let's see what happens when you go into labor' rather than 'ack! schedule a c-section!'
I left the level-2 ultrasound with a grin that didn't fade away. Perfectly healthy babies, no signs of placental failure, healthy, BIG... I chuckled all day over the Perinatologist saying (rather dryly), 'well, you're CONSISTENT!' when I told him how big my previous babies had been. These two, at 36.5 weeks, are hitting the average numbers for babies at 38 weeks gestation. Singletons, that is. Not twins. Yeah, I grow them big. Not too big, just big. That just made me feel really happy. Add in that the Peri also said that while he offers no guarantees, the odds of my babies needing ANY time in the NICU are very slim. These are the kind of babies that go home with the mom. Yeah, that's a grin-inducer, too.
Then, last night, baby A spent a lot of time in motion. It went from transverse to I'm pretty sure total vertex. At least, when I got up to pee in the middle of the night, it felt like I had two hard round fists pressing down into my pelvis. I'll repeat on the HARD part. Kinda owie, especially on a full bladder... but hey, again, I'll take it! By morning, I was sure that baby A had flipped again, to breech (but still on one side, not flat across the front as the day before), but ... well, hard to tell. Especially with the extra fluid in there, you can't just press around and identify everything easily - there's too much float room.
My OB thinks that at least when he checked heartbeats, baby A was vertex. And so was baby B. The hearts were where he'd expect for vertex/vertex, at least, though he couldn't identify parts any better than I could by palpation. And nobody was anywhere NEAR my pelvis. He seemed bemused by that, when he checked me for progress (still 3 cm, no change)... ain't nobody in my pelvis, or anywhere near! I laughed and said I could have told him that. I definitely remember what it feels like to have someone sitting (or head-down) on my cervix, engaged and ready to go. Nope, neither of them is there. Sitting ON my pelvis, yes - on the bones. Not in it.
And that's okay. They can take their time, get the last of their growing done, finish up whatever spiritual homework they might need to do before they leave their safe and comfortable home for the more stimulating and probably more alarming outside world.
I am definitely feeling patient. Not just fudging it because I have no choice, but genuinely, joyfully willing to wait for things to happen. Yes, I get eye strain from spending too much time on the computer (and it doesn't take much to get to 'too much'), yes, I get dehydrated if I'm not drinking CONSTANTLY, yes, I have to pee a lot, yes, my hands and feet are swelling more often, and I have contractions anywhere between once every few hours to every 15 minutes, around the clock (the perinatologist says that's not labor, that's a physiological reaction to the muscles being so stretched... he even said he felt sorry for my poor uterus, should the babies go over 7 lbs, which isn't entirely unlikely at this point).
I'm uncomfortable, yes. But I can live with uncomfortable, and do so without it fading the joy. I really can't complain - this has been a boringly perfect pregnancy in many ways. Full of ups and down, as well. There have been many seasons of change in my body, heart, mind, and soul - I re-read the early weeks of my journal and reminded myself how utterly miserable the morning sickness was... and dealing with the loss issues, and the twin issues, and the diet, and my marriage, and my sons, and my job, and ... well, it has been a lot of work. A LOT of work. But it has all come out okay. My effort, plus the babies being set up well, and a hearty dose of luck, and a lot of positive thoughts and prayers and encouragement from every quarter... I really cannot complain.
Humbling, being given these precious gifts. I think that just brings it closer to the feeling of Christmas - nobody has to love me, nobody has to spend their hard-earned money on me, nobody has to put effort or time or thought into the holiday for me. But they do. Even with many gifts, not everyone gets joy for the season. A lot of twin pregnancies that are equally loved and welcomed and cared for don't progress this smoothly. For that, I am again humbled, and grateful that I have been treated to a really positive twin pregnancy. Gratitude resurfaces, along with the humility. I think that feeds back into the joy, as well. All of it together is possibly the reason for the patience I feel, the peace with where I am.
Hi, babies! I can feel you pressing and pushing around in there right now. Getting ready. I'm ready, too. I'm sure you will let me know when you're all set.
My own personal Christmas is coming. It will be here when it gets here... until then, I'll grin, and grin, and enjoy the last moments of my last pregnancy. I can wait.