What else have I been doing in these final days and nights before the little one arrives?
Well, a few days ago, I was standing in the kitchen, crying and telling my husband that I was worried I would never have this baby. I was worried that I would be pregnant for so long that, instead of giving birth, my body would just start to fail.
Perhaps that worry sounds "irrational" to some people. Especially people who are aware that with proper prenatal care, a woman in this country is not likely to go for too long past her due date. But I think the key word there was "fail." Each day that goes by feels like a day when I have failed to provide the right circumstances for labor to start.
Great question. I have asked the internet several versions of that question. Foolish and futile but true. In the last ten days, I have Googled the following:
- "early labor signs"
- "signs of pre-labor"
- "signs early labor"
- "helping baby's head engage"
- "weak abdominal wall possibly preventing labor"
- "encouraging baby engage"
- "encouraging labor"
- "when will labor start"
There were some contradictory bits of advice like: "Relax! Enjoy these last days of your pregnancy! Put your feet up! Get off the couch! Do not lean back or lie down! Stay as active as possible!!"
But all I really want is to lie down. All damn day.
And that feeling, that exhaustion, might be a result of the fact that I can no longer sleep for more than about three hours at night. And I wake up each morning around 5 or 5:30.
Some people have said and written that all of this night waking at the end of pregnancy is Nature's way of preparing mommas for the schedule we will be on with our newborns.
Or perhaps it is Evolutionary Biology's way of making sure we cannot form long-term memories in these last weeks so that we are excited to have another baby in the future, if we are so blessed.
All of which brings me to the other thing I do day and night - I try to encourage this little one to make her arrival. I give her pep talks about how many people already love her and cannot wait to meet her and snuggle her.
And so, as I write this post, which is mostly a long complaint about the end of pregnancy, I feel guilty. A momma who is tired, stressed, and frustrated is not exactly the warm welcome committee I keep describing to baby as I try to coax her out.
Plus, the internet told me not to be stressed because, aside from making me a hypocrite to my unborn child, it can also prevent labor.
My dear, little baby, please know that I do love you and cannot wait to meet you on the outside. I mean every word of my pep talks. But I am also tired and a little anxious.
So there you have it - your first life lesson from your momma: life is complicated.
Now let's do this. Plenty more brilliant lessons where that came from, and plenty more brilliant teachers for you to meet.
(sooner rather than later, if you can)