here we are, beginning the 37th week of this amazing journey. i can hardly believe how far we've come, how quickly the time has passed. if spruitje came today, i would look in disbelief at adam and ask, "is it time already?" i feel like i've been pregnant forever, and at the same time, i've only just discovered this new life growing within me.
the holidays seemed like just another distraction this year -- normally i count down the days until christmas and shake all my boxes of gifts, trying to guess what's inside, just like when i was a little kid. but guessing what lies inside me is such a better surprise -- boy or girl? will she look like adam or me? is sprouty happy and healthy? what kinds of sounds will she like to hear? talk about the ultimate present! i don't even know what day she will get here -- but i know it is soon! yay for surprises!!! it's understandable, then, that this year i felt like christmas was just another day to mark the progression of the pregnancy: december 25 is just exactly one month before my due date. it's the time when i can say, "i'm 8 months along now," instead of "happy hoidays."
we have both progressed from feeling nervous and uncertain and scared of all of this, to now feeling excited and hopeful and thrilled to pieces about welcoming spruitje into the world. adam says he can't wait for the baby to be born so they can play together. i can't wait for the baby to be born so i can hold him or her and smell his baby skin and wrap his little fingers around mine. we've been waiting, in our own season of advent, quietly and patiently for his arrival, and the time has almost come!
we've been very blessed over the past 8 months with an extremely easy and healthy pregnancy. i can still touch my toes (though for some reason, putting on socks is difficult -- go figure), i can still go on fairly long walks, i do my yoga a few times a week, and my massage business is still going strong. i've been noticeably more tired and STARVING in the last few weeks, and i'm starting to incorporate a nap into my schedule most days. i've also been having more and more warm-up contractions. in dutch, those braxton-hicks contractions are called "oefenweeen." yes, that's right: THREE e's in a row. uh huh. the contractions have been a lot more intense in the past few weeks, and last night i had one so strong that by the time it was over i looked over at adam and his eyes were about as big as the moon. but really, i feel awesome. i sincerely have no complaints. even the three-times-a-night peeing schedule and feeling hot ALL THE TIME is nothing to be sad about. if this is the worst it gets, i've been lucky.
i have been praying more and more for an easy and fast delivery. and mary seems to be answering my prayers by blessing us with a slightly-smaller-than-average baby. we've had to go to the hospital a few times (until now we've seen only the midwives here and they're all incredibly awesome and skilled and amazing) to get some ultrasounds, to make sure that spruitje is small just because that's how he's made, and not because my placenta is detaching or because i have preeclampsia or anything. and so far, everything seems totally normal. he's just smaller than the average baby, which is totally fine with me -- i'd rather push out a 7 pound baby than an 8.5 pound one. (and besides, spruitje is definitely going to be smaller than the average DUTCH baby! these people are giants out here!)
if spruitje can wait one more week, we'll be able to deliver at home, like we've been hoping for. i've put up thicker curtains in the bedroom, decorated my altar, and starting tomorrow i'll be buying fresh flowers from the market every week to keep them by my bedside. i've already put plastic sheets down under the fitted sheet to protect the mattress should my water break in the night. we're all ready to go, now we just wait. it's our season of advent.