Hey you. We fought a lot this week. And I just need to tell you…
It’s not you, it’s me.
And I know you know that I’m pregnant and that it’s hard. But as I went to bed at 9PM, angry, huffing, frustrated…I felt unsure if you understood just what these last few weeks are like.
I’m gearing up for what will be one of the biggest events of my life. Hard…like a marathon, or even harder. Emotionally draining. Exhausting. Life-changing.
And I don’t know when this event will start. How it will start. Or how long it will last. Or how well I will handle it.
I’ve been training. But there’s still so much uncertainty. Do I have what it takes? Will the baby cooperate? Will I make the right decisions? Will it be traumatic? Will I make it to the hospital on time? Or make the mistake of arriving too early? Will I look back on this experience with regret or empowerment? Am I strong enough to advocate for myself? What if I get a nurse who’s a bully? How will I handle it if something bad happens to me or our baby?
It’s sort of like gearing up for your deployments. You knew some stuff. But you didn’t know when you’d actually ship out. What your base would be like. Or if you would even survive. And you had bags to pack and lists to check off and nitpicking sergeants to deal with.
I’m thinking about birth plans and packing lists and the things that still need to go into Ezra’s go bag. I’m thinking about bottles that need washed. I’m wondering what will happen if I go into labor during Ezra’s first week of school, which is when I’m due. I’m thinking about planning his birthday party now so that when I’m in birth or postpartum fog, he doesn’t get forgotten. I’m mulling over messages of encouragement from my doula and stand-in-the-gap birth friends. And I’m trying to remember if I packed pants, or just shirts, in my postpartum bag.
It’s a lot of mental overload…gearing up for labor and birth. There’s excitement and joy. There’s CAN THIS BE OVER ALREADY? And there’s that nagging voice that also tells me that I should be enjoying these last few weeks, or at least be grateful for them.
Because it doesn’t stop there. I actually have to bring this baby home. And give myself wholly, fully, and with abandon to him 24/7. Just like I’m already doing with our five year old.
Five years is a long time to go between having kids. I know what it’s going to be like, but just because you know a wave is coming doesn’t mean that the first time you get back in the ocean and that wave kicks you under you aren’t overwhelmed.
And I’m afraid. Really afraid, that the waves will come and it will be like a rough day at the beach – the kind where you just keep getting the crap kicked out of you over and over and over. But you can’t get out of the water. You just have to survive somehow.
Everytime I get up to pee at night and crawl back into bed next to you I’m imagining a crying baby at our bedside…pacing around the house…nursing in the nursery.
More than that…I’m imagining not sleeping. At all. Ever.
When our son calls out for me at 5:15 AM, I’m wondering how I’ll drag myself out of bed a month from now to tend for his needs after being up every hour or two with his Little Brother.
I’m wondering how I’ll logistically accomplish things like cooking meals, our morning routines of packing lunches, grocery shopping, outings to the park, and getting ready for church – with a nursing newborn hanging around, needing me. When everyone else already needs me all the time. What I will do when Ezra’s throwing a fit and the baby needs nursed…at the same time…and you aren’t here?
I’m wondering how I’ll make it out the door on time, ever.
And so, when I feel like I just want to go into labor already because I’m tired of being pregnant, I think of all of this and am overwhelmed and just want to wait a little bit longer. Until the next pang of wanting to meet my baby hit and the cycle starts all over again.
And when people tell me they think the baby is coming early part of me is thrilled at the possibility and the other part of me is freaking the heck out because I don’t think I’m ready.
It’s a constant balance – of staying active, yet conserving energy for the marathon and aftermath to come. Of keeping busy enough to get through each day but not being so busy that if I go into labor tonight I’m not depleted of the energy I’ll need to have a baby. Of staying distracted to pass the time, yet focused and centered on the tasks ahead that will demand all of my mental fortitude.
And it’s dealing with all of this in my head, all the time, every moment, day and night.
Because it’s not just like I can forget about it – not when my uterus hardens multiple times an hour, every time I make a sudden movement, or have to pee, or after I pee…which means, pretty much, all the time.
And when the baby doesn’t go an hour without moving.
No, there is no forgetting. There is no real distraction from the thoughts that swirl, the visualization of what’s to come. The wondering, the questions, the fears, the doubts.
So, my sweet husband who tries so desperately to help, understand, and care…
When I don’t seem interested in Vine, or your gaming stuff…or get mad when you want me to help you with your computer questions when I’m watching TV…or when I get mad that you knocked on the door twice instead of once because it took me a second to get up…or when I sigh too much…or seem distracted… or seem frustrated or just not in a good head space…
Or when I just call it quits and go to bed in a huff…
Or get mad when you come to bed an hour or two after I do and wake me up…
It’s not you, it’s me.
Me and everything that it means to be 36 weeks pregnant.