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This time the public pool near the apartment. Carefully using previous attempts at actual swimming as a guideline, I got a kickboard and mostly did laps kicking, a few with breaststroke + flutter kick (still can't make the frog kick work) and a few side stroke. Then some crawl. None of which made my back hurt, and after a half mile plus a bit I had the sense to call a halt and get out before exhausting myself or potentially hurting my shoulders (which I've done before swimming too much when I haven't been in a while).

Changing in the dressing room after, several very little girls (oldest could not have been much older than 6) could not stop staring, which made me a little nervous. As soon as I got my dress on, they all complimented me on the pretty dress and immediately launched into the standard array of questions: are you going to have a baby, is it going to be twins, is it a boy or a girl, is it your first baby. Gack! So cute, and yet so scary (anyone who thinks kids this age haven't been thoroughly acculturated or socialized or whatever is _not_ paying attention). R. suggests that it's quite possible (despite them all having younger siblings, and remembering their moms being pregnant -- I asked) they've never seen a naked pregnant lady before (or at least not a naked 39 weeks pregnant lady). Which stopped me cold, but I think he might be right.

I'm going to try to go tomorrow. My feet and arms were way swollen before I swam and they aren't (as much) now and I'm not hurting. So I figure why wait until after the kid is here to get back in the swim, er, swing of things physically. Just cause I can't walk doesn't mean I can't exercise.
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The pool helped a lot yesterday (thank you thank you thank you thank you).
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I figure I'll just keep using this subject line.

So I've blown through one of my predictions (for those keeping track, the other two are, it's a girl, and the first thing it'll do after birth is pee all over us). We went to see the midwife today for our usual weekly appointment. The wee one dropped last Friday, but continues to swivel around a lot and we'd all be a lot happier if it were OA, instead of back to the right, which is what it was today at the appointment, and has been the last few nights when it wasn't OA. Blood pressure continues to be low normal, the swelling is about what one might expect and my arm is not getting worse and there's no sugar or protein coming out so despite the massive weight gain, no one is the least bit worried. Kinda cool. I asked R. today if the baby would be born today and his response was "I don't know". Heh. Of course, nobody does.

If nothing happens this afternoon, I get to go to the pool again. Yum.
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The weird, short, hard contractions happened again early this morning, but, once again, desisted. After one of them, I had this truly bizarre expanding feeling of complete euphoria. Like a bubble of pure, perfect, glowing, physical happiness that started in my very huge belly and expanded out beyond me. Then it sort of popped, but there was no feeling of let down; I just felt normal again (well, to the extent that I ever feel normal these days). If you could package that particular feeling as a drug, I'd be hooked the first time I tried it. It's probably too much to expect that to happen during labor, but boy, it'd sure be cool if it did.

It's a little toasty today, so I pulled the rocker into the second bedroom/office (where the computer and the new portable AC are), moved the small TV from the bedroom and got a pan with an ice pack and water to soak my feet in. It is quite nice in here. If I'm totally wrong on my prediction, I think I could stay pregnant right through 42 weeks without completely losing it. Of course, moving the dresser so I could get at the cable connect was a bit arduous, but I won't have to do that again.

In addition to the aches and pains already mentioned, my right arm is just annoying the hell out of me. R. says the shoulder muscles that lift the arm were full of knots and felt warm to the touch. Let this be a lesson to me. Sitting around all day holding a book up is not a healthy way to live. The constant pins-and-needles feeling is really annoying.
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Friday morning I had a very small number of quite short contractions. Next thing I noticed, the kid was definitely lower down. This is both good and bad (less reflux, more pressure on bladder and sphincters). Saturday and Sunday night I had no monkey labor to speak of (which is good, because the previous couple of nights were really, really, really annoying). I ate earlier in the evening, and did less later in the evening, which may have helped.

Saturday I was double booked at a party and a wedding, overlapping with a play I had committed to first that I thought was on Friday. I went to the play and blew the rest off since sitting down is Just Better these days. Sunday we ran errands; there is now a portable air conditioner in the room with the computer (and to which room I can easily drag the glider rocker). Yay.

Other than that, no particular news. I've been predicting three things for several weeks now. That the baby will be a girl, arrive on July 26th, and pee all over us first thing. Tomorrow we will find out the truth of at least one of these statements.
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And a very nice person is coming over to cook for R. and me tonight. The plan was for this to start after the birth, but after some discussion we decided that getting the details works out in practice ahead of time would be good. It sure took a lot of arm twisting, let me tell you. ;-)

I wish I had a picture of the look on my midwife's face when I told her how much I weigh these days. They don't care (well, they probably would care if I didn't gain anything and they noticed) what I weigh or when I gain it, as long as fundal height, blood pressure, pee-on-a-stick and other general indications look good (they cared a lot about hematocrit). But the last few weeks made me nervous, when I not only broke 200, but hit 215. Eeeek. I'm hoping some of this is water and will just pee out after the birth. So I tell M. this number, and she just didn't believe me at first, then added she would have guessed me at 160. I retorted that that's where _I started_ from. She did not, however, seem at all perturbed by the 50+ pound gain. Honestly, I'm over the panic, too, especially since both midwives are unconcerned about the size of the baby. M. thinks about 8 pounds, maybe a bit more. I figure as long as it isn't more than 11, I'll deal.

It is bizarre to be a shade under 5'8" and weigh 215, and still have pretty good muscle definition. Really, really, really bizarre. Especially the obliques (I think that's what they are) where they curve around the side of the belly and eventually attach to the spine. They are f-ing huge.
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No, I have not had the baby yet. Contractions continue to increase (in terms of how many throughout the day, intensity, decreasing time between, etc. Extremely tiny amounts of cranberry juice are helping with the swelling (maybe I'll take up homeopathy instead of Christian Science). Other than that (oh, and swimming on Sunday was incredible. Thank you thank you thank you thank you!), no news is good news presumably.
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This is great. Thursday was my last class in the current German course. The instructor and three fellow students sound okay with the idea of me bringing the wee one into class should I return not for the next round but some later round. We'll see about that when I know more about the character and habits of our wee one. RHI evenings are Not Good for fresh babies.

The baby is no longer technically preterm from here on in, which is lovely. If it holds off a few more days, I should be able to get enough cooking done so we can eat off the results for a couple of weeks or longer. If it holds off a weekish, I'll get through the current tentative social commitments (a wedding, a play and a couple parties). I have been clear that no one should count on this happening. No particular news other than, of course, the sciatica, slow moving and contractions. The contractions are getting profoundly interesting. Over and above the monkey labor (regular contractions basically every night starting at dusk and continuing for at least a couple hours, each lasting a minuteish and about five or six minutes apart) every day, and the ones dispersed throughout the day, some of them are really noticeably stronger (as in, R. can tell the difference by touching my belly). Plus an assortment of interesting other pains that if I have to guess I'd say were in the general vicinity of my cervix. Anyone wondering how many centimeters I might already be dilated should just know that asking that question will not be getting an answer any time soon. I figure if I can get through pregnancy without an ultrasound (not counting doppler stethoscope), I may be able to sneak through the birth without anyone digitally examining my cervix (thank you very much).

Blood pressure continues to be low normal. I'm still eating. Cranberry juice (diluted in other juice and in water) has helped with the swollen feet a lot. The child has gotten so strong that it can now push my arm up when I rest it on my belly, when it feels so inclined. This morning, R. came up with a way to lightly tap rhythmically in a way that gets the wee one to quit stretching and curl back up again. Whew. And as of last night I'm starting to have dreams of having the baby. Kinda weird. Not bad weird. Just weird. The theme so far is that I never make it to the birth center. And they have such a nice big tub. I hope I make it there. I really do.

I'm currently reading _Medical Nemesis_ by Ivan Illich. I love Illich, altho sometimes reading him frightens me, because he can pretty much take any bit of received wisdom I believe in (public schools are good, say) and cause me to not only change my mind about it, but push me so far off the deep end I find the resulting political stance extremely absurd (which, of course, does nothing to convince me he's wrong). I was startled to discover he was suckered by five-year survival rate improvements. He should have caught that one. The good news is, I'm pretty sure this particular analysis will inoculate me against the risk of inadvertently becoming a Christian Scientist. Whew.
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M. visited for the long weekend and we all had a lovely time, if somewhat exhausting. R. and M. went bicycling twice. We all went paddling on Lake Union once. We spent part of the 4th on Whidbey Island at the beach house of a co-worker of R.'s. I think I used that man's graph coloring algorithm to implement a register allocator at DEC back in the day. He is such a geek he wrote a program to figure out where he wanted tiles placed in his downstairs shower so there would be no pattern and no matching neighbors. His wife showed me the output printout. Nice people. Nice place. Relaxing day. I think some of the women there were a little frightened that I was visiting when so far along. Someone said something about not breathing on me, I might go into labor.

We visited Bottleworks for beer and chocolate. We went to Salty's and Wild Ginger (still itching from the lemongrass in the Seven Flavor Beef, but it is so worth it) and a variety of other good restaurants. They walked me around Green Lake (it took two hours and we stopped at almost every bench, which I'm here to tell you is a lot of benches). It was a lot of fun, but R. is now way behind on sleep, because he couldn't decamp to the couch when I was restless as it was already occupied.

No particularly interesting developments. I'm still insanely slow, have sciatica when I stand or walk faster than a crawl or further than a block or three, and the contractions continue. My feet are a lot more swollen, which is annoying. I'm going to see if eating more veg and eating out less helps.

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