Just in case

Week 38: 9/24/07


Just back from my midwife appointment, and I thought I'd take a minute to write the blog now. Just in case, you know, labor happens between now and when the blog is due. It turns out that I'm 1 cm dilated, 50% effaced (thinned out), and "very soft and ready" seeming.


I mean, I know that I could now walk around like this for a couple of weeks, right up to my due date. And that "feeling" ready, the way I do, is not necessarily an indication of "about to go into active labor." But. You know, but. One centimeter is more than no centimeters, which is what I was when my water broke to ring in my labor with Sylvia. What I learned that night is that labor will go from "not happening" to "happening." Maybe this labor will be different, and my water won't break, and I'll have more of a warning. But even then, it will just start at some moment in the next couple of weeks, and it's important to be as psyched up for that as possible.

I'm kind of existing in this realm of both completely freaking out, and feeling totally calm, all at the same time.

What has been a little eye-opening has been my calls to the various people on my list who need to know when I go into labor. My Sylvia care people (a friend and my mother-in-law), my labor assistant (friend), my mom (just because). None of them picked up the phone when I first called. These are people who have been warned that I might be calling, starting around now. But each of them was truly surprised when I did call that this was why. I think "October 4" always sounded so far away, so next season, so "when it's cold and dark out" when we first started talking about these plans back when it was steamy August. In other words, it's not just me that feels a little caught off-guard by the reality of my due date being only two weeks away. It's the whole wide world.

The motivation game

I have a couple of friends who work from home who periodically call each other to play the "motivation game," which is basically creating rewards for completing tasks. I generally am not a good player of the motivation game, because just like in my dreaming life, I can often remember that actually, it's only a game, and actually, I'm the one in charge here, and if I feel like procrastinating away an afternoon? Who's going to stop me?

What I really should have been doing all of those afternoons is getting pregnant with a second baby, and then being dilated 1 centimeter. Because I have gotten more done today--while staying hydrated, well-fed, and rested, just like the midwife said to--than I have in weeks. Assignments being handed in left and right, confirmatory emails, my inbox down to a mere 20 messages, baby's clothes washed and folded and even put away in the new dresser. And here I am, 9:30 at night, and still working, while staying--yes--hydrated, well-fed, and rested. Just in case I go into labor.

Feeling sentimental

As if on cue, Sylvia was crazy hopped-up when she came home from daycare today. Bouncing off the walls. And talking about the baby a mile a minute. We received an infant car seat from a friend today (thank you, Jackie!), and Aron installed it while Sylvia watched. She has been waiting for this car seat basically since she realized I was pregnant. I always knew that when it was finally in the car, sitting there just a seat away, rear facing and empty and waiting, was when Sylvia would really start the countdown to baby.

And what do you know? The same night she's giggling like a madwoman about the baby sitting next to her in the car seat and hollers NO MAMA NO YOU CAN'T PUT A CAP IN THE NEW CAR SEAT THE NEW CAR SEAT IS FOR THE BABY MAMA IT'S NOT FUNNY when I innocently placed a baseball cap in the seat, would be the same night she jabbed me with her finger for emphasis in saying NO and kicked me in the shin, the same night she'd have a crying fit about leaving the car, the same night she'd see ("Damn!" I thought to myself) some baby clothes in our room and say, "Are these pants for the baby? What's this, Mama? These the babies' slippers?", the same night she'd want to pretend to be a baby and lie in my lap and "nurse" through my shirt? That poor kid was so wound up by the time I was lying in bed with her, the only thing left to do was just stroke her back, and say, "I know, honey, I know, Mama's here, Mama's here. We feel so many things sometimes."

Like me. I am so excited myself, yet also feel a distinct sensation of wanting to tread water just a little longer, get a few more of my i's dotted and t's crossed, savor these moments with my first baby who needs me, and with my husband on whom I'm about to lean like crazy. But yet, but yet... I want to meet this baby. I want to stop anticipating labor and just do it. I want the new chapter to begin.

Join writer Emily Bloch each week as she chronicles her pregnancy.