Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Running out of time

Beginnings of a baby blanket
A few months ago, I began knitting a baby blanket. I stopped at a craft store, picked out the yarn, and began working on a blanket for this baby.

Only, things kept getting in the way. Extreme exhaustion. Really good shows on TV. Naps. Other commitments. So now, with around two months or less left, I find myself with about four inches of baby blanket, which probably won't do much good.

In a way though, this baby blanket is a metaphor for how quickly this pregnancy has gone. There have been times I felt like I'd be pregnant forever - and thus have plenty of time for this blanket, and it really does seem like just yesterday I was making a run to the drugstore for more pregnancy tests. But last week, a trip to the doctor reminded me just how quickly I will be bringing home a baby.

I had an early appointment - it was the 28 week visit, and time for the dreaded glucose test that helps diagnose gestational diabetes. Even at 28 weeks, I felt like I had plenty of time, and fiddled with my iPhone while in the waiting room instead of picking up my knitting. I drank a chilled orange drink that tasted an awful lot like a sports drink, and then was called back. Even the first half of the visit seemed routine - belly check, listening to the baby's heartbeat, checking my blood pressure. But then the doctor said something that made me sit up (metaphorically - have you ever seen a pregnant woman try to sit up quickly after laying on her back? Not. Happening.).

"I think we need to talk," she said. "This baby is consistently measuring big. Right now, you're at 28 weeks, but you're measuring at 32 weeks. And you're all baby. This baby? It's going to be big."

So big, she said, that if I carried it a full 40 weeks, it would be too big to birth the old fashioned way. In fact, she said, I wouldn't be going past 39 weeks. At that point, she had a C-section in mind.

In fact, she added, she'd like to go ahead and schedule that C-section.


So, in a daze, I went to the lab to get blood drawn for the glucose test. I made my way down to the car, and called my husband. And, for the first time in my entire pregnancy, I burst into incoherent, completely irrational tears. After scaring my poor husband to death, I was able to explain what was up. And as we talked, I calmed down. After all, the end goal was a baby - and a healthy mom, too. And I could always go into labor early, and maybe get to try to avoid a C-section. And we picked this doctor because we trusted her and her expertise, and had done our homework prior. But mostly, it wasn't the end of the world - it was a baby.

But now that I feel I'm on an accelerated schedule, I feel even more antsy about getting things done. The nursery? I'd like it done yesterday. Completely unrealistic, I know, since we only just now picked up paint samples and this week the bathroom is in shambles as the contractor works feverishly to remodel it. I've settled for checking things off my list that are doable: The appointment to interview a pediatrician, buying postage for some packages that need to be mailed in the next couple of months, getting my hospital bag together, and organizing other rooms of the house are things I've been able to start checking off.

So now, when I look at the calendar that is filling up with baby showers, prepared childbirth classes and doctor's visits (not to mention working every day), I know that the other things on my list will get done before the baby is born, but this blanket may stay at 4 inches for quite some time. Maybe I'll finish it by the time the baby is six months old. Maybe a year. Or maybe it's destined for this baby's brother or sister someday.

Or maybe my grandchild would like a blanket. Because that's probably the next time I'll have time to finish it.

So when did you start feeling like you were running out of time before the baby came? Any words of advice for this last six weeks to two months?

Bethany Erickson is 29 weeks pregnant and the wife of Texas Health Resources web editor Tom Erickson.

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