The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I feel like I need to be singing the Tom Petty tune right now…

39 weeks pregnant now, everything is ready.  Our fridge is full of food and drinks (gatorade, coconut water) for the birth. The birth tub has been inflated and set up close to the bathroom, ready to be filled. I’ve prepped postpartum pads with witch-hazel and stashed them in the freezer so they’ll be nice and icy-cold for sore postpartum perineums.  The diaper changing area and co-sleeper are set up and waiting. The birth kit is in the corner, with its attendant sheets/ towels/ washcloths/ plastic drapes/ shower curtains etc.  We have a birth ball.  And a rocking chair.  A moby, a baby bjorn, newborn clothes washed and folded and tucked away in dresser drawers.  We have everything except actual contractions…

It’s the strangest thing, this state of limbo.  I stopped working last week, at 38 weeks, which was a relief because work was becoming very difficult.  Two weeks ago, at 37 weeks, I attended a birth with a four-hour push at the end of it, and although I never doubted that the woman would be able to push her baby out, I did doubt if I would have the strength to get through it, heavily-pregnant and tired as I was. In the end, another midwife from our practice came in and helped assist during the last hour or so of the pushing, because my energy was really flagging.  And at some point, as a pregnant woman, you begin to want to focus all of your energy inward, on yourself and your baby, and it feels very hard to take that energy and give it to other women in labor.  Not that I’m being selfish about my energy, but I have reached the point where my own pregnancy is becoming paramount, and taking up more space in my head and heart than my midwife-self.   At which point I’m not much of a service to other women in labor anymore.  The time has come to be just a pregnant woman now.

And these last few days which have been given to me are wonderful. Days when I can still lounge around, stop by the nail salon and get a pedicure just because I have the time and the inclination.  Nights where I can sleep as long as I like (broken only by getting up to pee 3-4x/night).  Nights which I can spend with my husband, going out for dinner or watching movies together, cherishing these last few moments when it’s just the two of us, before it becomes the three of us.

I have told myself throughout my pregnancy that I will carry my baby to term.  It’s been a mantra of sorts, because I know many nurses and midwives who’ve had issues with preterm contractions and preterm births, predicaments which are certainly not helped along by their jobs.  While at work I was always very careful to hydrate myself constantly, and to sit whenever possible, and to try to leave the heavy-lifting to others during births.  But maybe so much of my mental focus was spent telling my body to keep the baby in, that now that I am finally full term, my body is having a hard time letting the baby go.  Or maybe I am just hyper-analyzing this.  First babies tend to come late, past the due date, and this is a first baby.

I am trying to not be too impatient, just because I am so eager to finally meet this little one!  I trust my body, and I trust the timing of my body and baby.  And really, my baby will come at the right time, when he is ready.  In the meantime…I can catch up on my blogging. 😉

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