Well, we made it. I administered my final Makena injection, thirty seven weeks of gestation have been completed, and on Tuesday, I’ll take the final final exam for my graduate certificate in clinical trial management. I finally met my manager, and he expressed no concerns about my impending need for maternity leave. I even think it’s safe to say that the worst of winter is behind us.
February ended up being the coldest and snowiest February on record for Worcester, with 53.4 inches of snow and an average temperature of 14.2 degrees. Granted, it really wasn’t that cold in comparison to some of the winters I spent in Minnesota, but the bottom line is that the 100 inches of snow that fell in January and February really didn’t get a chance to start melting until a few days ago. And of course, when it did start melting, our roof started leaking. Thankfully, the leak promptly stopped after we hired someone to remove the snow and ice dams from our roof. Lesson learned: roof rakes are probably worth their weight in gold.
We celebrated Tết on February 19th with the traditional foods: bánh chưng, bánh tét, and mứt tết. That weekend, we attended the New Year’s festival at the pagoda in Worcester. Peter was averse to the loud lion dancing, but he enjoyed the play performed by local Vietnamese youth, and I was impressed by the lunch that the pagoda served. Peter and I also decided that we’re fond of bánh cam.
So it’s safe to say that baby Sparkler will be born in the year of the goat (or the year of the sheep, by some East Asian traditions). I, of course, can’t help noting how appropriate that is: March did come in like a lion, and it will almost certainly go out with a lamb. Or a kid, per Vietnamese tradition.
Peter seems to be the most impatient of all of us. He insists that the baby is too big now and should come out. After I explained to him why we have belly buttons and that his sister is attached to me via an umbilical cord, he proposed that we cut it now. I wasn’t too impressed by that proposal, but I did think it was cute when he told me, “I want to go inside you with my baby sister so that I can hug her.”
I was also amused by the following conversation:
Me: Peter, if you were to choose a present for your baby sister, what would you pick for her? What do you think she would like?
Peter: A pillow with a warning label on it.
Me: [trying to figure out whether the Safe to Sleep campaigners would accept that response] …
I couldn’t be happier with how well this pregnancy has progressed. Prenatal appointments have been completely boring, and pregnancy-related aches and pains have been minimal. Sure, I get the occasional muscle spasm in my calves, and my mucous membranes are experiencing typical third trimester dryness in conjunction with the dry air of winter, and food must be consumed in small portions throughout the day as the baby presses against my diaphragm. But all things considered, I’m more comfortable with a baby attached to my uterus than a breast pump attached to my mammary glands, and I’m much, much happier going to work at 37 weeks pregnant than going to visit my baby in the NICU at 37 weeks gestational age.
I will say, though, that our pet fish is almost giving me an inferiority complex. She has managed to give birth four times since December, adding 5 fries to our aquatic family. I’m afraid that I may not be able to pop out my baby as efficiently as she popped out a set of twins last week.
Lots of changes in store for the remainder of the month: I’ll be transitioning into my role as a laboratory logistics specialist this week; the newest member of our family will arrive some time this month (I still have my eye on the Ides of March and St. Patrick’s Day); spring is coming; and we have our fingers crossed that Son will get a job offer from a company that he interviewed with last month.