The Pressure’s On: You Might Be Nine Months Pregnant If…

I'm sorry for this morbid photo. But it's my proof that pregnancy gets a little rough sometimes.
I’m sorry for this morbid photo. But it’s my proof that pregnancy gets a little rough sometimes.

The swollen feet, the achy back, the Braxton Hicks (who said they aren’t painful?!) are not funny anymore, but I’d like to laugh at myself today, just so I can forget how easy it is to cry right now.

Yesterday we showed ourselves to be those rookie expectant parents when we ended up unscheduled at the doctor’s office for a checkup—I was barely dilated past my point of last week—and later, in the Labor and Delivery Unit—once again, no change. The good news is we now know exactly where to go when the real deal comes.

I guess it was just one of those days. I woke up after a night of fitful sleep and some tears (those Braxton Hicks really can hurt like a mother) to chaos in my kitchen. The puppies, whom we’d trusted with an extra room open overnight (we thought they were coming along so well), had torn up my favorite kitchen rug, plus they had mangled the laptop charging cord. When I got done cleaning up, a message was waiting for me on my phone from a certain relative: “So you’re at the hospital now, right? Cuz you’re not answering your phone! Let us know! We can’t wait!”

Yes, it was my mother-in-law. Again. Every day she’s been calling to ask: “How are you feeling?” “Any change?” “Are you ready to go to the hospital yet?” This is just her personality. She is beyond punctual, calling us several times at least when we are on our way to any family event to ask, “Where are you at?” “Are you on the way?” Waiting for this baby to arrive has been no different. She loves him so much already, and just wants to meet him. It’s really sweet actually. I know she’s just showing her love. And I do appreciate the intent. But I’m at the point where my nerves are shot; I need to get my mind off the thing, lest I end up at the doctor’s office again, blubbering because I feel so pressured to deliver this baby.

I knew it probably wasn’t labor yesterday. But after my hubby urged me to “call the doctor!” (he’d seen and heard the pain from my practice contractions), I made the appointment out of passive aggression to say to everyone: “See? See? He’s not ready to come! Now leave me alone!” Actually, we missed my husband’s birthday dinner to be told what I already knew: “You’re not in labor yet.” At least I had a witness. Everyone wanted baby Sam to come on Buc’s birthday. We even asked to be induced (see, Mom, I tried!), but they are re-flooring the L and D unit and there was no room in the inn—at least, not for women who weren’t already in labor.

So, we headed home last night, me sore from being probed twice in one day, both of us dejected and hungry. I was embarrassed by the day’s events, but maybe they were for the best. I don’t know if I could have faced the whole family last night and their questions (however well-meaning they are), without crying. All day I had felt SO MUCH PRESSURE. Mentally and physically.

I’m glad I got a relatively good night’s sleep last night and both pressures have subsided. I was annoyed yesterday at Buc for “pressuring” me into the hospital visits, but now I think it was sweet. He held my hand the whole time, cracked jokes to make me laugh, and was so loving. I realized that he was just worried about me, and he was doing what he could to protect his wife. He said he didn’t like to see me in pain. I am even thankful for the persistent mother-in-law calls, which tell me that my baby and I are going to be so loved and well taken care of in the coming days and months.

Today, I have a much better outlook, and I feel ready to do something productive, like tackle writing my final post in my blog series and get my office cleaned up. I’ve discovered it’s not healthy to over-focus on this baby at this point, not until he comes, because I’ve done all I can do for now. And to my loving family and friends (and I really do love you all), if you want to call or text me, I love the calls and texts! Just…can we talk about something other than the baby today?

Waiting for Baby, and a Blog Anniversary

Baby Sam's 3D Sonogram from October 31, 2013
Baby Sam’s 3D Sonogram from October 31, 2013

I am interrupting my rebirth series to record these moments: waiting to go into labor and, as WordPress has informed me, my blog’s one-year anniversary.

I haven’t blogged much about my pregnancy. I’ve kind of gone underground in the last month on the whole thing, here and on Facebook. I keep getting text messages asking, “Is he coming yet?” I have some very anxious family members who “can’t wait” until he’s here. In fact, judging by my lack of comment on the topic, they seem even more excited than I am. What gives?

Fear

One thing that has kept me from writing on the topic is fear. Baby Sam is not here yet, and labor and delivery is a risky thing. Not to mention that newborns are pretty fragile. When I used to talk about having kids, as I prefer to do with most things, I focused on cerebral concepts (parenting philosophies), not materialistic details (car seats, breast pumps, umbilical cord care, ec.). Now, with my due date less than a week away, all I can think of is the details—and I feel overwhelmed.

Yes, I’ve read a good deal on pregnancy and newborn care, and I’ve been working every day to ready my house—“nesting,” I think it’s called—but these activities have not really made me feel better. Every day lately I have been faced with the fact that I lack practice and know-how for the material details of life. I feel suddenly estranged from those things that have recently defined me—teaching, writing, leading (various church groups)—and it’s a scary feeling. Rather than burden the blogosphere with my worries, like the Virgin Mary, I decided to ponder these things in my heart. (I wonder if she worried about breaking her baby?)

Respect

Another reason I’ve avoided too much “baby talk” is out of respect for the women I know who are struggling with infertility. It seems unfair that I get to have this experience and they don’t. I feel like it’s even more unfair because I haven’t always wanted children. Some women know their entire lives that they want children, while I spent most of my twenties denying the desire. Shouldn’t the women who’ve always wanted kids be entitled to them, first? On the other hand, is it because my heart was so hard in this area that God decided I needed them (and the other ladies could go without)? (Or another thought: Was I formerly in denial?)

It’s probably not a comfort to the ladies struggling with this issue, but I make sense of their infertility like this: these ladies are already healthy in this area, this natural desire to nurture. I wasn’t. Maybe those hard-hearted of us (and overly cerebral, egg-head-ish types) need children more than the already well-adjusted, family types. I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’ve debated posting that hypothesis, scared I would offend or minimize someone’s pain. I’d be curious to get your thoughts in the comments. I don’t understand God’s ways, except I believe he allows bad things (like infertility) to happen, he doesn’t cause them.

Exhaustion

A final reason for not blogging about baby is that I’m exhausted right now. My body is exhausted from carrying the little dude, and my mind is exhausted trying to wrap itself around how my life is going to change when he comes. With limited energy, it seemed smart to use the little I had to get things ready as much as possible during these last days, materially speaking.

In Conclusion…

The Three of Us
The Three of Us

I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I am very excited for baby Sam to arrive! I recently had my first “good” dream of his birth: he was cute, had a full head of hair, and he looked like my hubby—all things I expect, after seeing our 3D sonogram. I’ve imagined holding him in my arms and I want to cry for happiness. I smile at the thought of the three of us becoming a family. I long to inhale his baby scent and feel his smooth skin. I look forward to slowing down and becoming less mechanical and more of a person. I praise God for blessing me with a baby—and I will strive to be a good steward of what God has given me.

Perhaps the most comforting thought amidst these last-minute hormones and unknowns is the knowledge that Sam isn’t really mine—he is a gift on loan from God—and God is the only one who can sustain him. It’s not up to me to be a perfect mother; I’ll just do my best to follow God’s lead.

On that note, it should be an interesting second year on this blog, full of many firsts and, I’m sure, many mistakes—but always lots of learning and growth. Here’s to one good year behind me, and an exciting year ahead!