For all the close calls and near misses that we’ve had in this pregnancy, not one single less-than-stellar thing that’s happened so far has been something I anticipated or feared ahead of time. Don’t get me wrong, I have PLENTY of fears, but I never for a second was afraid of placenta accreta, or getting the flu while away from my husband, or falling off a curb in my 35th week. Dealing with each little stumbling block— and to be clear, we’ve been very, very lucky this pregnancy, as mom and baby are both healthy and whole— has been an exercise in who we are and how we cope. The day after I fell, I was all sunshine and rainbows until I walked into the bathroom to get dressed to go home (and eat after 36 hours, hooray!) and I burst into tears, finally admitting to myself that I had been scared beyond belief by the fall and the subsequent contractions, that I had been afraid for my baby, and simultaneously felt guilty that a tiny part of me actually just couldn’t wait to meet her.
There were good parts, too, of course— we discovered that our hospital team is truly fantastic, that Michael and I work well together in that environment and that we’re on the same page even when in a stressful situation, that Michael’s actually been reading the Birth Partner and not just slipping the New Yorker in behind the cover, that I won’t start eating him if I can’t have food for 36 hours. We learned that our hospital team shares our birth philosophy, that they will explain absolutely everything along the way, and that they will ask first thing if I plan to have an epidural, and when I saw, no, I don’t think so, they won’t raise their eyebrows and tell me it’s going to be worse than I think it is.
At our first childbirth class, our instructor asked us to share what we were most afraid of. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any fears, of course— I had plenty of fears about the pregnancy— but I had been so focused on preparing for the birth that I hadn’t stopped to think about what I was supposed to be afraid of, only what I was supposed to know and do. ”I…. I… um… I haven’t figured out what to be scared of yet,” I stammered. And it was true! In the subsequent weeks, I grappled with a number of fears, most notably induction, now looking like a real possibility as the days past my EDD tick by— but none of them has overwhelmed my intense desire, bordering on an almost reckless giddiness, to just DO THIS.
I can’t wait. I can’t wait to meet my daughter. I can’t wait to see her father with his daughter in his arms for the first time. I can’t wait to be her mother. I can’t wait to watch my body do crazy and really, truly, actual-meaning-of-the-word awesome things. I can’t wait to hit a wall of difficulty and come out on the other side, with my family. I know the scary stuff hasn’t even begun, that I’m looking at a lifetime of gasps and worries, but I just can’t get over how much love we’re going to get and give over the years to come.
On a side note, do you think they’ll let me play The Final Countdown in the delivery room?