Pregnancy journal: Waiting

Last I checked in here, about a week ago, I wrote that pre-labor symptoms were making themselves felt, but that they didn’t necessarily mean Pudding would be here anytime soon. Well, after I posted that, I went five days without anything in particular happening, leading me to think things had come to a temporary halt. And now, again, today, the cramps are back and stronger than they were last week. So who knows?!

Here’s how I’ve been entertaining myself in the meantime.

I went to Manifesta for my last pre-Pudding haircut. I really love my salon, as you may know from previous posts. I do portraits there, I’m there monthly for hair upkeep, and they are — to put it succinctly and colloquially — so much more woke than you might expect from a beauty shop. Moreover, my stylist, KC, is one of the very first people I told about my pregnancy, and since I’ve needed more frequent cuts and trims thanks to my hormones, she’s the non-family person I’ve seen most often during this whole process! It felt pleasantly full circle to go for this haircut and know that the next time I see KC it will probably be with Pudding in tow.

Lisa haircut outdoors

Lisa haircut in profile

The day after my cut, my mom, sister, and nephew came to visit, as they did the week before as well. Throughout my pregnancy I was spending two days a week with them in San Jose, but for this last month I’ve been staying in Oakland (and close to the hospital!) — so it’s been really lovely to welcome them here instead. We don’t get to see as much of each other as when I go to them, but it’s enough.

Two sisters and a little boy

Lyapa was not happy at Teddy’s visit. Let’s hope she likes Pudding better!Lyapa hiding her head under the bassinet

The day after that, we saw our doctor for one of our now-weekly routine visits. She said everything looked great, and then remarked that her gut feeling was Pudding wouldn’t be emerging for at least a week. Leaving the office, Erik and I joked that she tells everyone this in the later stages to get them to relax. Certainly, though I wouldn’t have said that I felt tense, I did feel a kind of lightening after that — as if I had time to get more done! We went out for breakfast and I ate quite a lot (comparatively; my stomach capacity is still very limited).

Mushroom omelet, chicken sausage, and everything bagel with cream cheese, from Beauty's Bagels in Oakland

That afternoon, I baked a sweet potato cake, using mashed sweet potato I had in the freezer. It seems that every 2-3 days I bake another cake or batch of cookies. It isn’t a deliberate choice so much as this is just what I do when I don’t have other plans… but it’s not a bad pastime; it keeps me in healthyish snacks and is one of the few non-sedentary activities I feel up to these days!

The next day was Saturday, and my parents and my other sister came for a visit, bearing flowers. We walked around the corner to lunch, and then returned to the apartment for a very chill afternoon — my dad and sister settled into our two squishy chairs for naps, and Erik and I chatted with my mom. She had very easy labors with all three of us. I hope I take after her!

On Sunday we made a trial run to the hospital in Berkeley (ten minutes away with no traffic), followed by stops to have lunch and browse the children’s section at an Asian American bookstore. These should have been easy errands but I ended up having a bout of the intense breathlessness and fatigue that have been hitting me every now and then (most notably, one of the recent times this happened, I had to sit out about ten minutes of my prenatal yoga class, to stave off light-headedness). I felt a bit better after lunch, but we returned home soon after. I rested all afternoon, then for dinner Erik helped me do something I’ve wanted to try for a long time: homemade tonkatsu.

Counter with breading station for making tonkatsuBreaded tonkatsu awaiting fryingTonkatsu fryingFried tonkatsu drainingFinished tonkatsu

The next day we used the leftover tonkatsu to make katsu donburi, one of my favorite dishes ever. Yum.

Katsu donburi

I also finally cleared out our last container of butternut squash from the freezer — a true triumph, given how many squashes our CSA gives us every fall/winter! — by making a nineteenth-century Italian dessert. It came out a bit strange but oh well, there’s more freezer space now! My plan all along has been to use up our frozen ingredients to make room for meals and snacks to sustain us postpartum, and with the elimination of this squash, that process is pretty much complete. It’s very gratifying.

That evening we took a very slow walk to the produce market for more bananas. (I’ve been meaning to make banana bread, but every time we buy bananas — and I keep deliberately buying more than I think we need — we eat them all!!) The market is only 0.3 miles from home, but that distance has gotten longer and longer as Pudding has gotten bigger. Actually, I felt so tired and heavy I didn’t think I’d make it all the way there, but it turned out to be fine, and I was glad afterward for the small bit of exercise.

And that brings us up to today. Last night I decided to try counting how many times I got up during the night to pee: seven or eight, and that felt like less than usual! Every morning that I wake up without having gone into labor, I feel a sense of relief that there’s yet another day to get through those last small to-dos… and every evening that I don’t go into labor, I’m disappointed — the end of the day is nearly always harder, physically speaking. Thankfully, I’m still more often comfortable than not! The intense breathlessness is not fun at all (and prompted me to skip yoga this week for the second week in a row), nor do I appreciate the evenings when all I want to do is curl up and read but there’s no position that feels easeful. But I’m so lucky to have avoided the worst of the miserable late-pregnancy afflictions. The yuckiest thing that happened to me this week is I had a few days of a weirdly dry mouth and throat, but fortunately that seems to be getting better.

Today I baked a batch of cookies, took a shower, and walked across the street to the library to pick up a couple of books I’d requested. I cleared half the clean dishes in the dishwasher (the upper rack — not the lower one requiring bending!), put away the first delivery from the compostable diaper service we’ve chosen for Pudding… and basically every moment that I wasn’t doing one of these things (or eating… or cramping), I’ve just been sitting around playing iPad games and checking Facebook.

Whole wheat oatmeal chocolate chip cookies cooling on a rack

And this is how we wait.