Saturday, September 21, 2013
Pregnant Woman Learns a Lesson
Yesterday was a busy day. It was Juliana's third birthday, which was filled with balloons, Minnie Mouse cake, cards and packages in the mail, birthday pizza, party hats, and presents - all of which were greeted with immense excitement. In China it was Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the major holidays of the year. Almost as important in certain sectors of society, it was International Talk Like a Pirate Day. And not so widely noted but certainly memorable to me - it was my due date.
I know, I know. A due date truly has about as much meaning as an imaginary line on the horizon, and only about 5% of babies are born on their due date. I wasn't expecting the baby to come on her due date; I was sure she would already be born. Juliana was born four days early, so it seemed reasonable to believe this baby would come early too. That's pretty much what I've been thinking the whole pregnancy, and most of the past month I really felt like she could come any day. I don't know how many times I've thought, "She will SURELY come before ___!" (see lesson #3 below.) It's been a long month.
And now I have passed over the imaginary invisible line into the land of "overdue." I know, I know. A baby isn't truly overdue until a couple of weeks past the due date, and it's just as normal for a baby to be born a week "late" as a week "early." But somehow it's hard to convince yourself of that, particularly in our induction-happy culture.
The uncertainty of these last few weeks have been especially difficult to handle. I've had frequent, increasingly intense contractions for weeks (see lesson #4 below) and a couple of times when it seemed like labor was really starting. Then there are all the normal annoyances and discomforts of being 9 months pregnant, summed up in the general feeling that your body is slowly self-destructing.
I could handle all those better if I could just sleep. I usually wake up about a dozen times a night. Not that I actually count, but I really don't think I'm exaggerating. I doubt I ever sleep longer than an hour, sometimes much less. If I don't wake up as many times it's usually because the fifth or sixth time I just stayed awake for hours. In other words, I sleep like a baby. So the idea of resting up before the baby comes sounds nice, but it's just not going to happen (see lesson #5 below). I do remember the exhausting newborn (and not-so-newborn) days, and I know what I'm in for, but the possibility of 2hrs sleep in a row sounds kind of nice right now.
I may have mentioned once or forty times that I haven't had the most fun with this pregnancy. Perhaps that's why I thought it would end early - it only seemed fair. Besides, first babies are supposed to be late, not second babies, right? And we all know that pregnancy and life operate on strict principles of fairness (see lesson #1 below).
I was reminded the other day that 40 is one of those significant numbers in the Bible. 40 days of rain on the ark. 40 years wandering in the wilderness. 40 days being tested in the desert. All periods of trial and tribulation. Some people apparently thrive on those 40 weeks of pregnancy, but trial and tribulation seems a more fitting description for me. Everybody knows you're supposed to learn something from all that trial ("what doesn't kill you" and all...), and apparently I need some extra time to learn my lesson.
Here are a few of the lessons I have learned recently.
1. Your mom was right. Life isn't fair.
2. The powers of my wishful thinking are shockingly ineffective.
3. Never make assumptions about anything because life rejoices in proving you wrong.
4. Whoever said Braxton-Hicks contractions are painless was either a man or a woman going through transition in labor.
5. Helpful advice like, "Enjoy this time of pregnancy!" and "Get rest while you can!" are about as helpful as racial slurs or bashing on a person with disabilities and may get you a similar response.
6. Oh yeah, I'm not in control.
7. It's possible that I don't know everything like the best time for this baby to come.
8. I can either drive myself crazy with angst and impatience or let go and let it happen when it happens.
9. Apparently no one has been pregnant forever.
So I'm waiting and trying to breathe and be patient. (No honestly, this is me trying.) This baby will come sometime like tomorrow or next week and defintely not any later than 2 weeks (when they would induce). (Which, by the way, would be October and completely unacceptable.) This eternal pregnancy will actually end and I'll finally get to meet that baby I've been waiting for. It's going to be great.