Sunday, March 7, 2010

Counting down the days...

The baby is due in 40 days. John is convinced we won't have to wait that long. I partly hope he's right -- I just hope it's not too soon. When I told the doctor how many contractions I was having, he said, "Uh-oh, don't do that, the baby is too little to come out yet!" (His prescription of plenty of water and a rest when I get them seems to be working fine ... no worries!)

Part of me is convinced I'm in a final countdown. I have a limited number of days; isn't there something I should be doing? I should get the last baby shopping done -- I had better do all the things I won't be able to do with a baby -- but what do I want to do that I can't do with a baby? That baking project, I guess. It'll be awhile before I get to that, if I don't do it now. And I ought to spend time with my husband -- but that's the problem: I don't have much time these days to spend with my husband. For that matter, I don't have much time or energy to bake bread, either. It makes me hope the baby lets me have those two weeks between my last day at work and my due date. On the other hand, though, I would much rather be holding a baby right now than baking bread anyway.

The other part of me is telling the first part to calm down. "You have six weeks to wait! Don't get all excited now. Take things one day at a time -- there is a lot of time between then and now." The problem is that I don't know whether this is true or not. Babies come when they're ready, not when we are or when we predict them. I might have only three weeks. I might have eight (I hope not!). This is harder than counting down for my wedding day was!

Then there's the mixture of excitement and fear when it comes to the actual fact of having this baby. I imagine holding the baby for the first time, looking into its eyes, seeing its little fingers, and so forth, and I am so excited. I simply can't wait. I really really want to get to this! On the other hand, one doesn't just show up to the hospital and get handed a baby. It's rather more difficult than that, and it will be a challenge completely unlike any that I have faced before. I find myself wondering how I will handle it. Will I have the natural birth I dream of, or will I find myself screaming for an epidural after half an hour? And then, of course, there's the possibility of something going wrong. A little bit wrong -- what if they don't let me hold the baby right away? Or a lot wrong -- what if I have to have a c-section? I would really rather not. Or the worst -- severe sickness, death. I try not to think about these things. Instead I remind myself frequently that God will give me the strength to bear the crosses He actually gives me -- until the crosses and the strength are both given to me, I am only going to frighten myself by thinking of them.

Overall, I'm doing very well. I'm tired, but not that level of wiped-out exhaustion I had a month ago. When moms at school ask me how I'm feeling, I don't feel like it's lie or give a laundry list of complaints. I just say, "Well, I can't wait, but I'm holding up so far!" And I feel much better emotionally than I did awhile ago too. I think the sunshine is helping, as I knew it would. Back pain is holding more or less steady -- perhaps a little worse in the mornings, but I am staying off my feet better. Contractions are uncomfortable but not unbearable. And I have no other symptoms most of the time.

I am finding a fault in myself, however. In the past, I always thought of myself as a pretty sympathetic person. Now, I have this attitude of "No one could possibly be suffering as much as me," and I tend to have no sympathy for the problems of others. John has a cold right now, and I find I actually resent him for daring to be sick -- like it's MY prerogative to have physical issues, and he really ought to be focused on those. It doesn't help that it has been a long time since I've had a cold and I don't really remember what it's like. And if he comes home from work and says his back hurts, I find myself wanting to say, "Yeah, well, mine hurt when I left for work. Hurts a lot more now!" Or when the kids hold up a bloody knee or a paper cut and say that they can't do what I ask because it hurts "so much," I want to sneer at them and say, "Look, this job isn't exactly a piece of cake for me right now either!" I really need to remember that the things I go through are not unique -- that other people have backaches and heartburn too, and that seven-year-olds have a much lower pain threshold than I have. No one made me the center of the universe just because I'm having a baby! So, I need to work on this.

The center of my universe, though, is the baby. Seems like a dozen times a day, John asks what I'm thinking about. "The baby." "The baby." "Labor." "The baby." "Baby clothes." "I wonder when this baby will be born." I just can't seem to focus on anything else! It's just baby, baby, baby, all the time. I am utterly obsessed. I do research constantly on pregnancy, labor, and infancy, not because there is anything particular I want to know, but because it's the only thing that holds my interest. And I pretty much guarantee I'll be worse about it once I have an actual baby to look at all day. It'll be "the baby did this today," "the baby did that," "the baby weighs this many pounds," "shall I put this onesie or that one on the baby?" And then baby pictures, if ever I manage to put down the baby to pick up a camera. I am in love with this kid now, how's it going to be when it's actually here?

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