Monday, December 6, 2010


Some days I feel so ready to go into labor it's a shock to find myself still pregnant and standing.  Other days I feel so good I imagine I could last forever in this waiting state.  One night I was possessed to pack a bag for my son with clothes and food for the next day.  I told my husband he'd have to be ready to drop him off with his sitter first thing in the morning and meet me at the hospital because I felt the baby was coming sometime that night.  The next morning I woke up feeling fine.  Another night I woke up every few hours and refused to get out of bed to go to the bathroom.  I was certain if I stood, my water would break, and since we didn't have anywhere to take our son until morning, I was determined to remain in bed until then.  Again, the next morning I stood up and walked through the house without incident, feeling better than I had in days.  Every day is different.  If I make it halfway through this month at work, I get a final, full paycheck.  On the bad days, I remind myself of that paycheck.  I envision it like a light at the end of a tunnel.

* * * * *

My husband painted the nursery over the past week.  Walking through our house now, we have color in the kitchen, dining room, one out of two hallways, and both downstairs bedrooms.  Last year at this time we had nothing painted.  It feels like an enormous accomplishment.  Our living room is still stark white, but the paint is in good shape, and I haven't settled on a color scheme for that room yet, so I'm not too concerned.  It's been a whirlwind of activity preparing the house, and I'm glad for so many good days when I can clean for hours, do the stairs and carry laundry, and organize things.  This morning I had to clean a foot of snow off my car, and I realized that three weeks ago, I couldn't have done it.  Today I could.  What a relief!

My Christmas shopping is also almost finished, and I'm so excited to get the house decorated for the season, and spend our first Christmas together at home.  I'm not a shopper at all, but I've had a blast buying gifts for my boy this year, even when I can barely walk around the stores!  Our tree is up, but we're waiting for the branches to dry and settle before we decorate it.  I will miss the tradition my husband and I started years before we had kids, of polishing off a bottle of red wine while decorating the house for the holidays.  I thought kids were supposed to inspire traditions, not put an end to them!  Ah well, I guess the wine can wait until New Year's, and my husband can have more than his fair share since I'll be nursing.

Sitting in our warm house with our two babies, a brightly lit tree, almost every room painted colors of our choosing, and maybe a fire in the fireplace will leave me warmer and probably happy-weepier than half a bottle of wine anyway!

* * * * *

My sister is now a week overdue.  Her midwife recently decided she doesn't feel comfortable waiting 42 weeks, so she'll try acupuncture to induce, and if it doesn't work she may end up with a hospital birth instead of the home birth she's been planning all along.  She's anxious, but so ready to be finished with a difficult pregnancy that I think it will be a relief to give birth regardless of the circumstances.

I, too, find myself less and less concerned about how the birth plays out, the closer it gets.  I'd like my sister to have her baby first, so my mom is available to help her, as well as travel here when I need her without leaving my sister pregnant, overdue, and waiting.  My sister has other family there to support her, and has been generous about saying my mom can come to me, but I'll feel better if she's given birth and had some time to recover first.  

I've also been piecemeal-ing together child care for my son when I go into labor.  If it's daytime he can stay with his sitter, who is available 8-4.  If it's late afternoon or early evening, I'm sure she'd keep him for the 3 hours it will take my mom to get here.  But she lives in another town and drives back there at 4, so even getting him to her if she's already left would be an hour trip, or double that if the driving is bad (schools are closed today because of snow).  I have a friend just 15 minutes away who's willing to come over in the middle of the night if he's asleep, but she works until 10:30pm.  

My worst case scenario is that my husband drops me at the hospital alone for 3 hours while he cares for our son and waits for my mom to arrive.  Last time I went into labor the contractions started off at 5 minutes apart and were 3 minutes apart by the end of the first hour.  I went to the hospital after that first hour and stayed there.  Because we're attempting a VBAC they want me at the hospital as soon as I have regular contractions this time, no matter how far apart.  I'm trying to psyche myself up mentally to spend a few hours alone at the hospital before my husband can come.  Some moments I feel tough, and tell myself I can handle it.  Other moments I want to hide in my bed and cry at the thought

All these difficult logistics make the possibility that she won't arrive by her due date and I'll end up with a scheduled c-section seem awfully convenient.  I could arrange my mom's visit and child care!  I'll make it home before Christmas Eve!  So if she doesn't come early, there are benefits.  The closer I get, the easier it is to simply shrug, and be willing to accept.

* * * * *

After moving the furniture back into the nursery and setting up the bassinet next to our bed (we're going to share the nursery with our daughter for the first few months and then eventually move into the attic and leave it to her.  I don't want to worry about walking the stairs right away after giving birth, and if I'm nursing all night at first anyway it's just easier to stay downstairs.), I lay down in my bed and looked over at the bassinet, remembering setting it up beside our bed in our old apartment when our son was born.  Then remembering waking up to nurse and change diapers every few hours.

And then I realized that I've been so consumed with preparing for my daughter's arrival: for the birth itself with my doctors, for my leave at work with my colleagues, for the house and holidays with my husband, for the arrival of a sibling with my son, for the logistics of child care with my mom and sister and sitter and friend, that I have given next to no thought whatsoever about what it will be like to be the mother of a newborn baby again.  I'm not a woman who puts myself last most of the time.  I'm inherently rather self-centered and have no problem taking care of my own needs, and asking and expecting others to respect them.  But in this case, I have worked very hard to prepare everyone else for this upcoming event, and it suddenly struck me how unprepared I am! 

I spent a few minutes thinking about incessant breastfeeding, and interrupted sleep, and soft skin and fuzzy hair, and remembering to support the head, and the intoxication of every little thing they do.  And then I got up and gave my boy a bath, and tidied his toys, and folded a load of laundry and put it away, and there was no more time for reverie.  But soon enough there will be plenty of time to sit and soak it all in.  For now, we finish our preparations.


  1. i have to admit, i have been wondering if your girl has arrived yet!! i'm so glad to read you've been feeling more energetic and looking forward to the holidays as a sweet new family of four. can't wait to hear about it all!

    i wish you a healthy, calm birth and a sweet outcome to savour the rest of your days.

    love, me.

  2. It's so reassuring to read about you going through exactly the same things! Childcare has also been on my mind. Are you sure your child can't come to the hospital in a pinch? I was told that last year it wasn't allowed in our area, due to H1N1, but now it is. I checked yesterday and while bringing him along would definitely be the worst-case scenario, it seems he could come and stay in the waiting room with dad until someone could come get him.

    Wishing you the best with the preparations, delivery and hopefully, some time for relaxation!