Because of what happened with Peaches, I kind of assumed I was just a 37-weeks-of-pregnancy sort of girl. She was due in February but was born in January. This one is due in August, so I figured he’d arrive in July. But nope…here we are! August it is. At 39 weeks, I’m more pregnant than I’ve ever been in my life, and here I am waiting for baby.
It seems totally strange to just WAIT for something so life-alteringly important. I mean, this could really happen at any time, and in a million different ways, and it’s unsettling (and kind of exciting? Maybe? Sort of?) to not have any control over any of it. It might take forty-five minutes from start to finish, or I might have to endure a days-long labor. I might eventually have to get induced, or my water could break during dinner tonight. What time will everything happen? Who will be around to help me? Will I be able to get an epidural this time? Will I give birth on the side of the road? (Thankfully, the “who will be around” question has been answered by our incredible family. Al’s mom was here for almost three weeks, just in case; as soon as she left, my parents flew in. They’re here now, and the world is semi-right again, even in this place that doesn’t feel like home.)
I never expected P to come three weeks early, so I didn’t experience this “waiting around” feeling with her at all. In fact, by the time I realized I was in labor, I actually felt a little blindsided — and it went so quickly that suddenly everything was over. I never had days or weeks where I woke up every morning feeling like a time bomb, or like I’m starring in my own personal game of Hot Potato. Will this be the event/moment/catalyst when it all begins? Will this? Will THIS?
With Peaches, I also never made it quiiite far enough to get the swollen fingers, or feel any practice contractions, or sport a true Pregnancy Waddle. This time I’ve definitely got all that going on. I somehow fluctuate between two extremes: the need to just GET UP AND MOVE, and the feeling that it’s way, wayyy too much effort to even hoist myself out of a car. It’s exhausting just thinking about it. And damn, is it getting crowded in there, not to mention heavy — rolling over in bed basically requires me to physically lift my belly with my hands and swing it around with me (after I’ve rocked back and forth a few times for some decent momentum).
I never really understood the Facebook statuses that said, “40 weeks! Let’s get this show on the road!” or “Getting impatient! Can’t wait to meet our new little one!” While I was pregnant with P, I was always like, You can’t? You’re about to endure an excruciating level of pain and get zero hours of sleep and never be able to leave the house again without seventy pounds of gear. This baby can stay put as long as it wants. What do you mean you CAN’T WAIT? This time, though, I have to admit: I sort of get it. Watching P grow has been the most incredible thing to witness — seeing her morph from a smooshy newborn to a PERSON with actual opinions and hilarious thoughts has been nothing short of miraculous, and I can’t wait to experience all those stages again with a brand new human. (While we’re at it, I also can’t wait to have room in my stomach for food — spicy, greasy, delicious food that won’t even cause heartburn because my organs are back in the right place. I can’t wait to have a glass of champagne to celebrate. Or maybe an extra-strong martini.) But at the same time, there’s a chance that I may never be pregnant again in my life; and so I want to savor every single nudge and kick before I get to meet this baby boy in person, even if it means a bit of discomfort.
Once I meet him, I know there’s no going back.
Sometimes I pick a moment in my past — a college party, my honeymoon, my first nine years of teaching — and I try REALLY, REALLY hard to remember how it felt before I knew P’s face. It’s the strangest thing: I can’t do it.
And I know she wasn’t there yet. Like, I know she wasn’t at our wedding, but I’m sure I must have been concerned about getting home early-ish so I could tuck her in on time. I know she wasn’t actually in the back seat singing her tiny lungs out as I drove home from work every day, but I can’t put myself back into the silence. For most of my life, I could come and go as I pleased and take long, glorious afternoon naps and stay out until two in the morning, and I know those things to be facts. But I can’t remember the FEELING of not knowing her. Even when I was pregnant with her, she was this mysterious, featureless being in my womb that kept me company all day. And now, she is somehow everywhere, in all my memories, even before she existed.
It’s crazy that the same exact phenomenon is about to happen with my son. Right this very second, I cannot picture his face. He is a several-pound thing that rolls and pushes and makes it very difficult to breathe. He is a grainy black-and-white ultrasound with a vague, blurry profile. He is blue balloons that came streaming out of a decorated cardboard box. But one day soon — maybe tomorrow, maybe next week — I will not be able to remember this moment. I won’t remember what it felt like not to know him; he will become so important that I won’t ever be able to unsee his face.
When? When will this pivotal event occur?
My doctor said “we can start talking about an induction” at my 39-week appointment — which is today — and I have a lot of strong, contradictory feelings about this. On the one hand, it might be nice to just KNOW the day instead of waiting around for something to happen. Maybe Pitocin would make it go slower than last time and I might get to try out that whole epidural thing. On the other hand, I’m nervous it might go TOO slowly — four days of laboring in the hospital sounds miserable, and there’s no guarantee an induction would even work at all. That said, many of my friends and family had wonderful experiences when they were induced.
In general, I tend to be in the Let-My-Body-Do-What-It-Wants camp. But Baby Brother is obviously going to be bigger than Peaches — recent ultrasound head measurements have confirmed this — and I am gradually becoming terrified. I AM TERRIFIED, guys. Really. But unadulterated fear doesn’t seem to be a reasonable justification to induce; so in about an hour, I’ll listen to what Dr. B has to say…and then, knowing me, I’ll probably just continue waiting for baby.