“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
A morning prayer:
First off, prayers of thanksgiving are in store. We have made it to 36 weeks and our little miracle is still tucked safely away inside of my womb. Second, I heard from my parents and Papa’s memorial Mass was a touching tribute and a healing experience. The priest apparently gave an amazing Homily and even mentioned our baby during the Prayers of the Faithful.
Now for a petition. I had another prenatal appointment yesterday morning. After a week of taking it easy, I’ve dilated to 4 cm. My cervix is 100 percent effaced and the baby is at a station of 2. Early last evening I started having regular contractions that were more intense than they had been. This went on for a little more than two hours. Then – POOF! – just like that, they vanished.
Now since 4 a.m., I have been suffering from insomnia, wondering when I’ll meet our little miracle. I am experiencing conflicting emotions. There’s a part of me that just wants to have our baby, to hold her, to nurse her, to introduce her to her eager big sister and all the other people waiting for her imminent arrival. Then there’s the side of me that wants our bun to stay in the oven a bit longer, at least until I’m considered full-term (next Wednesday) to help ensure she’s healthy and strong. But admittedly, the waiting is killing me. Every tightening of my belly, each time I feel an odd pins and needles sensation deep in my cervix, I wonder if I am getting closer to meeting her or if it’s another false alarm.
Above all, I hate not being in control. I know this is a recurring theme in my life – something I continuously seek your aid with. I keep telling myself I’m getting better at just letting go and putting things into your hands. Pregnancy and motherhood have certainly helped to teach me that we can plan all we want but that there are some – no many – things that we have absolutely no jurisdiction over (when babies decide they’re ready to leave their cozy first home being a major one). Yet, here I am so anxious and eager to know WHEN our baby is going to make her big debut and IF she will be healthy and strong that I can’t even succumb to sleep despite being smashed with fatigue. While I’m a firm believer in letting babies come naturally and in their own due time, now that I’m walking around with a heavy bundle pushing on my cervix and on the verge of coming into the world but not quite ready to reveal herself, it’s driving me crazy.
So today I implore you: Please help me to relinquish control. Help me to stop obsessing when I’ll go into labor and just let it happen. Replace my worries about our little wonder’s health with trust in you and your goodness. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” Remind me that this child, already precious in his sight, will arrive when she’s ready and no matter what package she comes in, she is a child of God.
Finally, help me to concentrate on being the best mommy I can to Madeline right now. Soon our intimate twosome will become a threesome. I want to enjoy our time together instead of skulking about, fretting over whether that most recent twinge or tightening is a precursor to true labor or nothing at all.
After my vaginal exam that showed how eager my body (and baby?) were for labor, Diane (my Catholic and amazing certified nurse midwife) encouraged me to go home and just enjoy being a mom to Madeline – thank you for bringing this wise, faithful woman into my life! I embraced her advice yesterday afternoon. I took Madeline out to lunch. I ate a big salad from Whole Foods strewn with tofu chunks, spinach, feta, a lump of lemon-dill tuna salad, cucumbers, edamame, bright orange carrot slivers and doused in a Greek dressing. Madeline shared bites of spinach and feta (Mommy scores! Maddy eats spinach!) and also had about half a slice of cheese pizza. For dessert we split a vegan chocolate chip cookie. Then it was off to Target where she picked out a gift for her baby sister – a package of pacifiers, which I explained she wouldn’t be able to use right away – and a book all about dogs. I told Madeline she could read it to her baby sister. To which she replied, “I can’t read. Show her pictures.” When we returned home, we had quiet time together. Neither one of us could sleep, but we snuggled up next to each other and all my worries, anxieties and wondering when this baby was going to come slipped from my mind.
Today, I ask you to help me take Diane’s advice once again and to focus on being Madeline’s Mommy instead of fixating on when I’m going to have this baby. Depsite the challenges, embracing my mommy role is when I’m the happiest, even during the times I’m not in control and Madeline refuses to eat her spinach, kiwi or bell pepper slices or when she boycotts sleep or scrambles away from a new diaper and me, a rebellious, bare-bottomed, diaper-less despot. It’s in this God-given vocation when I feel competent (most of the time anyway) and happy. I know it will be no different with our newest addition, once she’s in my arms and I can really start being a mom – instead of just an oversized incubator – to her.
Thank you for my fertility. Thank you for all the self-sacrifices pregnancy and motherhood demand of me – these help me to be a better and less self-seeking Christian. Thank you for the gift of labor – a concrete way for me to become closer to Christ through personal suffering that results in the purest of joys. I can’t wait to meet our beautiful baby. Thank you for calling me to be a mom and for being Dave and my co-creator and giving us new life! We are so blessed!