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I took this self-portrait last week, at 39 weeks and 4 days. I’m now 40 weeks and 3 days, and waiting, waiting, waiting. It seems like time is moving very slowly. I’m sure every mama-to-be has this thought, but it sure does seem as if labor will never start. Also, it’s hard to trust my intuition and my body when every day at work people say to me, “you’re still here?” Do your pregnant friends a favor: when it gets to the end, don’t imply that the baby is late, or that labor should have started already. Instead, tell them they look beautiful, wish them lots of time for restorative rest, wish them calm before the storm, bring them a readymade dinner. It will mean all the world to them, not to face yet another person counting down the days when it’s so much more relaxing to let go and just let things happen.

As promised, here is a picture of the 100-year old cradle, first slept in by my grandfather and his sisters on Blue Hills Avenue in early 1900s Connecticut, later reused and water-stained and poorly repaired, even later disassembled and stored in various basements belonging to my parents, and this year restored to glory by my dad and me  (but mostly by my dad) so that my grandfather’s great-granddaughter can be rocked to sleep in it:

Our little one will be arriving any day now, and when she is laid down in this cradle (if we can bear to not hold her for one second!) she will be the fourth generation to be rocked to sleep there.

I agonized a little bit about how to make it comfortable, since crib standards have been updated a bit (!) since its manufacture; they are no longer built quite this low or this narrow, so there were no pre-made mattresses we could buy for it. Short of having a ridiculously expensive custom mattress made (which anyway would take many weeks), I bought a 3’x3′ section of 1-inch thick upholstery foam, a yard of pre-quilted cotton for padding, and a yard of the most beautiful, soft, 100% wool to go on top.

I brought all this home thinking I would have to do some tricky cutting of the foam, and sewing the quilted cotton and wool together so it all fits inside nicely, but good old Dad came up with a better solution. When he delivered the crib the other night, he spied the foam, folded it in half, and pushed it down into the crib. Voila, no cutting needed, because the slight extra inches on either side hold it nice and snug between the rails. Then my husband and I simply wrapped the cotton and wool layers around the foam, and voila, no sewing needed! It’s not perfect, but this way the layers can be washed individually if needed. Most importantly, I’m not beholden to whatever naive sewing mistakes I might have made if  I’d tried to sew all this stuff with only one week left before my due date and an awful lot of napping to catch up on.

Anyway, our house feels nearly complete now. We have everything ready for the homebirth, and almost everything ready for the baby herself. I’m just waiting, waiting, for labor to start, going on my walks and drinking my raspberry leaf tea. Hopefully there will be news soon!

Oh dear, once again I have let weeks and weeks pass by without writing anything here. I am at 38 weeks, so ridiculously close to the end of this journey. I keep waiting for some Moment to come that will signal to my brain that it’s time to write — candidates for The Moment include: finishing the baby’s room, baking something new and inspired and sugarfree, coming to some profound and meaningful insight, etc. Not to mention the biggest impending Moment of all, the one where I give birth to a wee snuggly girl and start life as a mother.

But instead, life has been filled with ordering lots of stuff through the mail. Or you know, the internet, whatever. It comes in the mail. Every day when I pull into the driveway, returning for work, I have to strategically slow down and peek at the front porch for packages, or wait for my bus-commuting-hero husband to find them and bring them inside. Babies need a lot of stuff, yo. Plus for the couple weeks around my baby shower, more lovely packages would arrive.  I have been totally overwhelmed by the generosity of friends and family, who through their gifts have graced us with enough onesies to weather any upcoming plagues of Onesie Blight (bad tomato joke, sorry), and all the basic and not-so-basic things necessary for our upcoming ordeal little one.

One amazing gift was that my dad finished restoring my grandfather’s cradle, a project which I gamely started way back in April (at a now-distant 18 weeks pregnant), and slowly became too preoccupied to finish. I will have to wait to share pictures of the amazing finished cradle, since he has one finished touch remaining, but it is essentially done, and I am amazed. And humbled, again, by his talents and generosity, devoting such time to a project when he has been working away from home for 4 days each week. Is there anything better than an awesome dad?

I’ll just share one picture here in closing, of the beautiful sunflowers given to me at my shower. They contain every bright drop of late-summer sun, something I know I’ll savor when the crisp autumn nights and Oregon rains come back to us very, very soon, though I know with that chilly weather we’ll have one very excellent reason to stay inside and snuggly warm…

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