My goodness, what a busy few weeks it's been. I spent my days and nights cramming books into my brain as fast as I could in preparation for last Friday's big qualifying exam. It was exhausting and everything else--blogging, baby prep, socializing--went on hold until I finished.
Everything, that it, except my baby shower. Doctor Lady and her mother hosted it at her family's shore house the weekend before the exam. About 25 friends and family attended and it was utterly wonderful. I felt happy and loved and so very content. And, to make matters even lovelier, my dear bloggie friend Stef B. conspired with Doctor Lady to create some absolutely BEAUTIFUL bring-a-book-theme appropriate additions to the shower in my nursery colors of grey and yellow. She made crepe-paper poufs to hang from the lights; grey-and-white drinking straws with yellow flags bearing Lawyer Guy's (and Smudgie's) surname initial; favor bookmarks; and the most incredible library cards and sleeves for guests to fill out and affix to the books that they brought for Smudgie, listing the title, their name, and a little note about their hopes and wishes for him or her. I wish I could share the pictures of her amazing work, but they have LG's rather distinctive surname on them, so you'll just have to use your imaginations.
I kept my emotions together all day until the end, when I opened the gift Stef had sent after most of the guests had left. It's a framed quote from "Just Haven't Met You Yet" that she designed in the grey and yellow motif with which she decorated all the projects. I had to struggle to keep from bawling, remembering listening to that song last spring and summer and forcing myself to be hopeful and happy when all I wanted to do was sink into a hole in the ground and never come out (or rip the heads of small, defenseless creatures). I feel so blessed to be where I am today instead.
Then, five days later I took my exam. And for those who aren't down with the academic lingo, the first part of my post title means "All But Dissertation," which is what I am right now, which means I passed! And not only that, I passed with distinction! I am proud, relieved, and so happy to have time to think about other things. I'm also intellectually ready to put together my dissertation proposal, so the exam process definitely worked. In fact, I could probably bang out a draft this month, but I won't because of the second part of my title: ABB, or All But Baby.
I studied hard to get myself into the best position academically that I could before taking time off. Now I need to get myself and my house ready for Smudgie's arrival. LG and I spent the weekend working on that, stocking up on Saturday on necessary items (like the car seat and changing tray for the dresser) that we didn't receive at the shower. And then yesterday we took an all-day intensive birthing class. We had no time this summer to sign up for the weekly ones, so the 9-5:30 class it was. It was overwhelming but helpful to learn the admissions procedures at our hospitals and to get a sense of where we will be and how it might go. And after that class, meeting with our doula, reading some books, and speaking to our docs, I think the phrase "5-1-1" is tattooed on my brain. Contractions every 5 minutes, lasting 1 minute each, for an hour. Got it.
This morning we had our first biophysical profile and 36-week check-up. No growth scan (that's next week), so we don't know Smudgie's size estimate. But the bebe is still head-down (awesome) and got a perfect 8/8 in no time at all in terms of fetal movement, tone, and all the other things they look for. Everyone said he or she looks great which is beautiful for a still-too anxious mama-to-be to hear.
So, where does that leave us? We have all our weekly appointments scheduled through 40 weeks. I'm tackling a host of organizational projects around the house. I think I'm going to make myself cut the tags off the baby clothes and wash them once we hit 37 weeks on Friday. I'm going to finish knitting my baby's blanket, take a ton of prenatal yoga, walk with my husband, go out to dinner, see a movie (I don't care which one, I want to see something), have lunch with friends, and try to convince my stubborn brain, as much as possible, that this is actually going to happen and we are actually going to bring home a baby sometime in early- to mid-October.
All in all, a pretty wonderful month lies ahead.