“And sure enough, even waiting will end…if you can just wait long enough.” ~William Faulkner
During this pregnancy I have done everything I could to get ready for the baby. The co-sleeper is set up next to my bed. Baby clothes are washed, folded, and sorted by size. Baby blankets, diapers, burp cloths, nursing pillow, board books, toys, and an assortment of equipment from a playmat to a bouncy seat are all pulled out from the basement stash of baby gear and ready for action. I spent a lot of time thinking about and planning for labor and pain management and have worked really hard at finding an inner peace with the task ahead of me. All of my friends, family, and neighbors are on alert and are ready to lend a helping hand with the boys if needed.
And then I watched my baby girl’s due date come and go with no baby to hold in my arms.
The one thing I devoted zero time to preparing for was remaining pregnant past my baby’s due date. My midwife actually hates the term due date and always puts it in air quotes when she even utters the words. She would much prefer women to think of it as a guess date because it’s such a reliably unreliable day to count on. Early in this pregnancy when we would discuss the guess date of my baby she would occasionally mention little girl could end up being an April baby instead of a March baby. I would politely nod when she said such things, but in my mind I was saying, “No way. That’s not how I birth babies.” With both of my previous babies I was like clockwork and went into labor on their due dates. Granted, they each took their own amount of time actually joining the world, but the action got going on the day they were suppose to. And so, in my world of experience, that’s how it goes. I never had the slightest doubt in that process.
But as parenting proves to me time and time again….just when you think you know how things will go, kids throw you a curve ball. They are so good at constantly testing your limits of patience.
Now here I sit, 41 weeks pregnant and no baby in sight. I realize from an outsider’s perspective I am a mere 7 days past the day I expected to meet my baby. Just 7 days. That’s not so bad, right? But any fellow pregnant woman can tell you that an added 7 days to one of the most physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging times in a woman’s life is the equivalent to 7 decades. This week has been extremely difficult to manage. My emotions are through the roof and I found myself breaking down multiple times a day. Yes, I was that extremely large pregnant woman sobbing at Starbucks the other day. I was so unprepared for this.
Every morning I wake up and try to fight the feelings of depression and to face another day of an aching pelvic bone, a slow, slow waddle of a walk and extreme limitations in how I can move my body. Not to mention, no baby to hold in my arms. Each morning I go through the same thoughts in my head which include:
- Damn it! I’m going to be pregnant the rest of my life.
- Recite that day’s date to see how that feels on my tongue as my baby’s birthday.
- Decide, yes. This date has the perfect ring to it…today must be the day.
And then I proceed through the day anxiously waiting to feel that feeling. My body has tricked me numerous times. I even went so far as to have three hours of consistent, countable contractions that fizzled and left me hanging.
I also have this conflicting, mixed emotion of extreme gratitude and annoyance that there are so many loving, caring people in my life who want to check on me and know how things are going every. single. day. How loved I feel to receive so many words of encouragement, advice on speeding things along, and suggestions to distract me and brighten my days as I wait. On one hand, I feel so wrapped in love that so many people are thinking of me but on the other hand, it is so hard to answer the same questions of “How are you? Any news? Where’s the baby?” multiple times a day, every single day. (Dear loving, sweet friends and family…don’t feel bad if this is you and please don’t stop reaching out. Even though it’s hard to have the conversation over and over, deep down it does lift me up to have your support. Much love xoxo)
Moving forward I am preparing myself to come to terms with the idea that this can and may go on much, much longer. A week from now I may be in the same place I am now. I still plan for a home birth, which means as long as baby girl continues to show signs of being happy and healthy in there (which she does) there will be no medical intervention to push things along. Even though it is so hard to hear, my midwife reassures me daily that babies come when they’re ready. In the mean time I’m trying to find some projects to dive into such as finishing last year’s family photo album or taking advantage of all this “free time” to make some art or crochet a new, fun something. My husband & I are going on lots of dates, since we have my mother-in-law here (who was suppose to be helping with a newborn…). A positive spin on this is that I’m given this gift of time to do all the last minute things that I will not have time for when the baby comes.
For now, it’s deep breaths and remembering I will not be the world’s first woman to be pregnant for the rest of my life. And when it does end, I will have a beautiful baby to love. No matter what, this story has a happy ending.