Due date. I know it's just a guess and having my baby a little early or late doesn't bother me as long as she's in my arms by Christmas. At least, that's how I use to feel. Tuesday I went to see my midwife and I finally let her check my cervix and all the joy that comes with that. She's been asking for about three weeks now if I wanted her to do it, and I repeatedly turned down the chance. However, I was getting pretty close to my due date so I caved. She excitedly put on a rubber glove, told me it was about to feel cold, and there might be some pressure. He. . . he. . .
She was surprised to find me three centimeters dilated and 80% effaced, and she said my cervix was really soft. We went ahead and made an appointment for me to come in on Monday (the day after my due date) just in case I didn't deliver over the weekend, but my midwife said she thought I'd have the baby by then. I was stunned at her prediction. I hadn't washed baby clothes yet or even packed the hospital bag because delivery had seemed so far away. I went home-- I called my mom. I told my mother-in-law. I scared my husband. Something was sinking into me.
Up to that point the reality of my circumstance hadn't hit me, but like a bucket of ice water splashed in my face, I was now confronting the fact that I wouldn't be pregnant for the rest of my life. Tuesday morning giving birth seemed like some abstract idea from an episode of a sci-fi thriller; Tuesday afternoon it became reality and it was knocking at my door. Wednesday I panicked and began final preparations. During my first class I started feel contractions that came at regular intervals but died down by noon. Thursday I walked and walked and walked. I avoided sitting down, I crawled when at all possible hoping my baby would turn around so I could avoid back labor. I did three loads of laundry, packed the overnight bag, nearly finished the baby quilt, and hiked two or three miles on campus.
At about three o'clock contractions started again and continued to come every ten minutes. While they weren't especially painful, just uncomfortable, all the activity was wearing me down. My stomach got more achy and tense as the evening passed. It was like someone was standing behind me pulling the strings to an invisible corset and every ten minutes they gave an extra strong pull. I was excited, nervous, and confused. Excited because I could feel things happening in my body, nervous because I didn't know what to expect next, and confused because I didn't know if it was real labor or something else. I decided to sleep on it. If it persisted through out the night and intensified I would wake up my wheezing husband and give him the famous line I'd see in all the movies: "It's time!"
I woke up three times in the night from abdominal discomfort. The contractions were slowing down considerably, and by the time the sun peeked over the mountains. . . That's a beautiful image, but it was actually rainy and dark. . . by the time my phone alarm started beeping at seven the contractions were all but gone. It is Friday evening; they have not persisted much today.
Five days ago I was patient, oblivious to the fact that I'd ever deliver. But I've since been plagued with the realization that any moment could be the moment. It has been my ruin. This is why I waited for so long to get my cervix checked. I knew myself and I knew that it would effect me intensely. This afternoon I have sat alone stewing in my own thoughts and trying not to cry. I wish I wasn't here alone. I wish Paul was home. I made him soup. At four. I was too restless to wait 'til eight, which is his expected time of arrival. And I made him a pie too. . . that I've had to wrestle my sorry self away from all day.
As I sat at the counter this afternoon studying for finals, my little baby played a round of Dance Dance Revolution on my rib cage. My stomach rolled and squirmed with her movements and I began talking to her, which admittedly I haven't done a lot thus far. I told her I loved her and I promised to take care of her. I told her that she was miraculous and how happy she's made me in the few short months she's been apart of me. And I let her know, as awesome as I am, she has a daddy and some grandparents who would like me to share her. Just sayin'
We'll see if that conversation does any good.