The Waiting Game

I wrote this post approximately 36 hours before my water broke in the comfort of my own home. Baby is here and healthy and my birth story will be posted in due time. In the meantime I'd like to share my thoughts on the end of pregnancy, and how it felt to go past my due date.  DSC_9407

photo credit: Jessica May Photography

There's a reason so many women become batty towards the end of their pregnancy.

The waiting is hard. The waiting can siphon away your energy like a leech drinking blood, a leech you can't rip off until he's gotten enough. The waiting can keep you home all day and awake at night. The waiting can send you to google for every strange sensation. The waiting can consume you.

When you're waiting for a baby it's easy for the rest of the world to fall away. It could happen any minute. It could start today or in a week. Your universe hinges on the baby's arrival.

There you hang. By the thread that holds baby inside. Stretching thinner with every passing second.

For me, the waiting is harder the second time around. I am completely aware of all the ways my life is about to change. I know the pain and the power and the ultimate joy to be found in birth. I know how it feels for a baby to descend through the birth canal and widen my pelvic bones and latch onto my breast for the first time. I know the flood of oxytocin and the bliss of life with a newborn.

I can't wait and yet I must. I can't wait and yet I want to. Life in the womb is perfect and whole, fleeting and full. I am full of baby and I love it. Once she comes out, there's no going back. I will miss her being inside, submerged in the fluid of life, submerged in me.

Still, I can't help but feel like everything is on hold. It's like depression in that all of my usual interests do not hold the same appeal. In the mornings I don't want to work out. In the evenings I don't want to write. I stopped wearing makeup and (maternity) jeans. Come 3 AM you can find me in the kitchen eating yogurt or reading a novel. I go to the bathroom four or five times or more per night. In order to get a decent night's sleep I have to be in bed for at least 10 hours because I spend so much time awake, waiting for slumber, listening for the pop. Literally. Giovanna's arrival started with an early morning pop that woke me from my slumber, the breaking of my waters that brought the immediate onset of contractions.

And I'm most likely waiting for the wrong thing. Each birth is as unique as each person. There's no use in trying to predict when or how she will come. Just like birth will necessitate a profound letting go, enjoying these last few days (hours? weeks?) of pregnancy requires that I let go of my agenda, my predictions and especially my fears.

I've been told by more than one person close to me that I seem very calm about my pregnancy and birth. I took this sentiment as the utmost of compliments. Because this is how I want to bring my child into this world: peacefully. Upon a billow of faith.

Yes, I am calm. I trust my baby to choose the right moment and I trust my body to do the work.

As long as my water doesn't break in this Starbucks.

Expansion

"There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle." 

Albert Einstein 

34 week bump

Too many times to count, I have accidentally woken my daughter because I like to watch her sleep.

And she is a light sleeper. One creak of the century-old floors and she stirs.

I have never learned my lesson.

When she was a baby, my check-ins were like a compulsion fueled by nerves and the settling of a very heavy love across my heart.

Getting her back to sleep was a slow process then, as it is now. My precious few minutes of uninterrupted time interrupted by my own anxiety and addiction.

I am addicted to her sweetness. To Giovanna in still life, my daughter at rest, her skin shining with fleeting purity. Perfect innocence eventually and inevitably covered by years on this planet.

By the grace of the universe, I am going to have another baby soon. A delicate and helpless creature sent from the heavens. The ultimate responsibility and joy. The reality of it squeezes my heart and sometimes my throat.

I've spent the last several months preparing. Today I am less than six weeks from my due date. I have entered the homestretch of pregnancy. The intensity mounts along with the downward pressure of a tiny human rooting herself into this earth.

I can feel her. A person living between my heart and my pelvis. She elbows me in the hips and kicks me in the ribs and wedges herself into awkward positions, small but sturdy bones prodding my side body. Bones knit from my own flesh and blood.

She rests in water, folded and floating. She fills me with warmth, with the truth of who I am and the miracles happening within me, the miracles happening every day.

I wonder how I will be with this next one. Will I be so desperate for a break that I will let her sleep? Will I chill out and trust in the universe? Will I have as much energy as I did with my first? If I don't have the energy, will I look until I find it?

I can feel my heart expanding. Exploding. Life growing, family growing, love growing.

The best part? My people, my husband and my stepson and my daughter, could not be more excited. And it makes me feel good and special that our baby lives within the context of my body. That they tickle my belly when they want to tickle the baby and they kiss me when they want to kiss her.

Oh, Motherhood. My challenge, my privilege. You're about to change my life again. Bring it on.

Big Brother's Wish for Baby

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Dear Baby,

I hope you learn the abc.

I hope you aren't afraid of the [dark].

I hope you love your family.

I hope you get good at games.

I hope you laugh at your mom and dad.

I hope you never forget your friends and family.

I hope you ignore mean kids.

I hope you become a [great builder].

I hope you respect [true] love.

I hope you grow to [be a tall girl].

Love,

Emile

Your Brother