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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

36-Week Update

It's hard to believe that I'm in the home stretch of my pregnancy. It feels like just yesterday when I was bowled over by the news that I was expecting.

Brian and I have had a lot of fun over the past nine months, planning and preparing for our family to grow. Just married in March, we've celebrated a lot of firsts as a married couple and lasts as a childless couple. It's been a great time all around.

Now that I'm officially nine months pregnant, there's a collective sense of relief in our home. Though we both hope Baby Kubo holds out until his/her expected arrival date of Jan. 22, we know that s/he can safely enter the world at any point now.

Our twice-weekly doctor visits have been going well, with lots of visible movement and good variation of heart rate. We had a mild contraction during our last visit, according to the monitor. I didn't feel a thing, but the fetal monitor picked it up. If I could figure out how to make it through labor without noticing my contractions, I think I might have it made.

The most exciting thing for me, however, has been the improvement in my lab results. In just one month, my hemoglobin has jumped from 8.5 to 10.5 -- proof that my anemia was caused by both iron and B12 deficiencies.

It's amazing that it's taken almost five years after having gastric-bypass surgery for me to find a doctor willing to give me B12 injections, but I'm glad I have. Those weekly B12 shots have really turned things around for me, increasing my stamina and energy, in addition to raising my hemoglobin. Double-digit hemoglobin is important. Anemics aren't just at risk for pre-term labor, but many require blood transfusions after childbirth. Not a procedure I'm interested in if I can avoid it.

What is "Ready"?

People keep asking Brian and me if we're ready for the baby yet. We're definitely ready to meet the baby, to learn his/her personality and to have the reality of parenthood fully confront us. But I find that most people aren't really curious about the emotional side of parental readiness. When they ask that question, what they really want to know is whether the nursery is in order and if we have all the baby's stuff washed and ready for action.

The answer to that is short and sweet: Nope. Not even close.

There's a lot we'd love to do in the house before Baby Kubo makes his/her debut. There are a few things we'd still like to buy. But we also know that babies are very simple creatures with simple needs for the first few months of life. They don't need skillfully decorated nurseries or perfectly arranged outfits when they come home from the hospital. They need love, attention, food and warmth. That we have covered -- everything else is just icing on the cake, so to speak.

So from now on, when people ask if we're ready, I think my answer will be short and to the point. We're as ready as we'll ever be -- and we'll adjust as needed. Baby Kubo probably won't know the difference between ready and not, and I'm pretty sure s/he won't remember much about the first year. I think we can safely relax, knowing that as long as we cover the basic needs, we're doing everything Baby Kubo expects and requires.