[Just a warning before you start reading: this is long and disorganized, but I needed to get some thoughts out of my head.]
So, as most of you already know, I missed my due date. Yesterday was really, really stressful for me, for a lot of reasons, and I want to try to talk about why, as a way of processing all of these emotions.
On some level, I’d been utterly convinced that he was going to be born on Sept. 9, even though I knew, intellectually, how statistically unlikely that was. But everything else about this pregnancy (okay, except for the crash, but even that turned out just fine) has been charmed, and it was the most beautiful due date I could possibly have asked for, so of course he would be born then.
I felt pretty panicked when I woke up yesterday, and the panic never quite went away all day. It got stronger or weaker, and I was scared of different things at different times, but I never did manage to relax.
At first, of course, I was afraid I’d go into labor at any moment. Mostly, as far as that goes, I’m afraid that Dan won’t make it home in time. I know that’s probably silly, that I’ll likely have much more than an hour and a half between starting labor and delivering the baby, but it scares me anyway to have him so far away. That’s why I’d been hoping to wake up with contractions in the middle of the night. When that hadn’t happened, I got worried.
I tried my best to relax. I skipped out on work, took a hot shower, and decided I would feel better if I was outside, so I went for a walk. I also figured that couldn’t hurt my goal of getting labor started. I pushed myself too far, though, and all I ended up with was a blister and sore hips. I have to admit, I felt calmer afterwards, though.
In the afternoon I had to deal with more fears about labor itself. Those aren’t going to go away until this is all over, but they’re usually at the back of my mind.
Anyway, as it got later and later, I started to realize that this baby was probably not going to be born before midnight, especially since the closest contractions I’d had all day were 20 minutes apart, and that was only about three of them. The rest were almost entirely random, and not very strong at all.
So all of a sudden I’m hugely conflicted about what I want. First, I’m incredibly anxious to meet this little boy, and I was so sure that this was going to be the day. And I’m physically very tired from hauling this unbalanced weight around. My joints hurt, I can’t sleep well, there are so many things I can’t do for myself. Besides, I’m really, really looking forward to being a mom. I’m so excited about having a new baby in the house and watching him grow. I’m excited to teach him, and play with him, and see who he becomes. I want to take him places, show him things, sing to him, read to him, watch him play games with his dad. I’m ready to start this new part of my life.
But I’m afraid of the actual process of labor, I’m afraid Dan won’t be there yet when I need him, I’m afraid something could go wrong. I’m afraid I won’t know what to do with him once he’s here. I’m afraid I’ll forget something important, or do something wrong, or that he’ll cry all the time, or that I will, and any number of other things.
And then there’s the fact that I am loving being pregnant. Like I mentioned earlier, this has been an utterly charmed pregnancy. A Christmas conception, no morning sickness to speak of, no extra weight gain (as a matter of fact, I’m slimmer everywhere except in the belly and the bust), no heartburn or breathing problems or blood pressure issues or sugar issues or anything at all. I’ve napped nearly every day for the past nine months, but beyond the fatigue and some joint and back pain, I’ve had almost none of the standard pregnancy complaints. I’ve loved watching my belly grow, I’ve loved feeling him wiggle around, I’ve loved the attention, I’ve loved all of the preparations. I’m going to be very sad for this time to be over.
I’ve always loved periods of preparation. Lent and Advent are my very favorite seasons of the church year, just as autumn and spring are my favorite seasons of the calendar year. Sure, I enjoy Easter and Christmas, but I enjoy the anticipation and reflection even more. I enjoy marking off the progress towards a special event. Instead of four weeks of Advent, or 40 days of Lent, I got to have 40 weeks – 40 weeks! – of pregnancy to count down. And sure, some of the appeal of these things are the fact that they’re temporary. Every moment needs to be enjoyed, because before you know it, they’ll be gone.
But those other things – Lent, Advent, fall, spring – they come back again every year. I may well never be pregnant again. And even if we do decide to have a second child – and it really is an if – that will certainly be the last time.
So here I am, anxious to move on with the next stage, and hesitant to leave this one behind. Swinging wildly between these two places, and feeling completely helpless and out of control. (The crazy hormones aren’t helping anything, either.) I know that it’s only a matter of days, but I don’t know how many days. All I can do is wait, but I’m not even sure exactly what it is I’m waiting for. I feel like I’m treading water, and I have no other options. Should I be going to work? Am I wasting my precious time off for nothing? Or am I right to take these last couple of days for myself? I’ve been concerned, since my wreck on Aug. 10, that he would come early, but now all of a sudden I’m concerned he’ll be so late that I have to be induced. I don’t want that! But on the other hand, at least then I’d have a date set and wouldn’t feel quite so adrift.
I guess, in the end, after all my talk of loving transition seasons and anticipation, I have to admit that it is at least in part because I’m not a big fan of surprises. I want to know what’s going to happen next and when – and with this, I don’t know either of those things. That’s a lot of why I’m so stressed, and why I’m so disappointed that my due date was not my delivery date. So to cope, I’m just trying to take it one day – sometimes, one hour – at a time. I can’t make any real plans, but the few, tentative ones I have made have helped. I had lunch with Mom today after my OB appointment, and we decided that tomorrow either I’ll have the baby or we’ll go to the movies. And on Saturday, either I’ll have the baby or we’ll go to her house and help her with some computer stuff. It’s not ideal, as far as I’m concerned, but it’s better than nothing.
And in the mean time, I’ll wait.