We’re down to the frustrating part. I am past the 37 week mark, so Aaron is full term. It is now October, which was also a milestone I wanted to hit. I have loved being an October baby (my birthday is the 10th), and would love to share that with him as well. Now it is any day, any second really, that he can come.
Everyone knows this, and so I get lots of phone calls, emails, and other communications from people saying “has it happened yet?” Believe me, I want to have him pretty badly at this point. I want to share him with everybody too. I will likely post on Facebook when I am in labor. Or, if I am not by a computer when it happens, I have an email list put together and ready to go so all Chris has to do is attach a picture, type up a sentence or two and hit send. So, I promise I will tell you! (And I love you for caring so much! Please forgive my grumpiness!)
This last week has been a little nerve wracking. Saturday, Chris and I went up to Woodland Park to hang out with my parents. After dinner as we were lying around and hanging out, I started getting contractions regularly. They were light. I could still talk and be normal through them, but they were coming regularly, so I gave the signal to Chris and we came home. Rather than being the trained, prepared and calm Bradley Method parents that we are, we panicked. We didn’t rush off to the hospital or anything, but both of us felt quite a bit of anxiety and frustration over the whole situation. It was late in the evening by the time we got home and settled, so I just went to bed. When I woke up, the contractions were gone.
I have really been trying to examine what I felt and why I felt it. I was anxious because I was technically still 36 weeks, which in the western medical tradition is considered pre-term. I know from my ultrasounds with the midwife that Aaron is of a fine size, but would they ferret him off to the NICU nursery away from me after he was born if he came that night? What other complications would this cause? I also hadn’t had any of the other usual signs of labor coming on, which made me wonder just what the heck my body was doing! It was also still September, and I had really hoped Aaron would come in October. Stupid thing to worry about I know, but it was part of what bugged me.
The big reason that I was so nerved up (Chris too) was that the reality hit around being so close to being handed an infant to care for again. What happens when the nurses hand him off to us and turn around and walk off? Our best instincts failed us last time. We lived the worst case scenario with Noah. This is a really hard responsibility to accept again. Hindsight, it was a blessing to have Saturday night and the contractions that I had because it has given me time to work though this issue (not that I don’t reserve the right to freak out again after Aaron comes!)
The thing that I keep coming back to with this that is comforting is remembering what life was like in the months after Noah died, but before Aaron came long. The word "unfulfilling" doesn’t even cover it. We had set aside all hobbies, interests and activities in favor of dedicating ourselves completely to being parents. We did it joyfully. Caring for Noah fulfilled a deep need that we never knew we had. To go back to our old life pre-kids was so unbelievably empty and depressing. Having Aaron around has rescued us from that life. As hard as it is to face the trauma of our last experience with parenting, it is completely worth it to not have to feel like we did those months.
I have also tried to think of the multiple ways in my life when I didn’t think that I was capable of something, but persevered on anyways. I know that I am capable of a lot more than what I give myself credit for. When I have pushed on despite fears and reservations, the blessings that have followed have been massive. So, as scary as this is, when Aaron is ready I will go to the hospital and push him out and will somehow figure out what comes next. The initial days with him will be scary, but over the long haul of his life, to watch him grow from baby to boy to man will be one of the most amazing blessings of our lives. How can we deny ourselves this gift? No, this must be faced. We will work through it, and every second of it will be worth it.
I have continued to have contractions quite often since. It has been good practice to meditate on this line of thought, and get comfortable with the fears I feel going forward. I have been able to begin to get excited. Ironically, just as I have been working through this and feel good about it all, the contractions have started to taper off! Monday and Tuesday I had about 20 during the course of the day. Wednesday I had around 35! Yesterday things slowed down, and I had about 15. Today I have had a few of them, but haven’t kept track. They are mostly small. Some have caused me to stop and breathe it out, but those don’t come enough to think that this may be it. Either way, I am being careful with myself, resting a lot and keeping life simple as much as I can.
Because of the contractions I keep having, I am keeping life pretty close to home. I am still working. I am pretty grateful for the distraction of my job. I come in, put on my headphones and get sucked into whatever projects I can find. I plan on being here right up until I go into labor. I have cleared this with my office, and they fortunately have no problem with it. When I am not at work, I am beginning to back out of social activities that take me away from home. When the contractions come and are more intense, it makes me anxious if I am out somewhere. I would so much rather be at home close to my comfort measures. Chris is eager to keep an eye on me too, so we are both sticking close to one another and not going anywhere aside from work.
My belly is no longer a smooth sphere. It is bumpy with body parts that are not my own. It is really bizarre. I can feel his movements so much more because he has no room left. Sometimes I can tell that this annoys him. He’ll kick a little harder, or make what feel like frustrated quick shifting around sorts of movements. Or maybe he moves this way because it feels good and it’s fun? Who knows. I am ready for him. My mother reminded me this morning that this is the beginning of a lifetime of waiting for him to do what he needs to do. That has helped me to take a step back and not worry so much. I want to be the kind of mom that gives him plenty of room to be who he is, and see what comes out. This is just the first step!