Yes, I’m still a gestating machine, a freak of nature who can walk around “ripe” and ready to burst without any bursting for a month. I’m now 4 cm dilated and fully effaced. Baby’s head remains engaged. I’m also experiencing nausea again and have low blood pressure and dizziness, which my midwife thinks is the result of me carrying the baby so low.
And, yet, we wait.
I’m not in active labor. “Any more contractions?” I’m asked, and I don’t really know the answer. Twinges, tightening, and cramping, yes, but certainly nothing unbearable, or obvious as in “This is definitely the real thing.”
I try to remind myself of what I vaguely remember learning in my Bradley class I took more than four years ago with my first that this should be the easiest possible labor, that most women have to work to make it this far, that I should just be content to let nature take its course. But the truth is for all my spouting off the benefits of natural childbirth and not wanting to rush the birth process, I admit I’m becoming emotionally antsy, wondering if it’s really going to be “any day now” (they didn’t even bother making me another prenatal appointment) or if I’ll hold out another few weeks. After all, I wasn’t expected to make it past March 15th, and here we are.
It’s tough to not wonder when Baby’s birthday will be here and to keep myself from looking too far ahead. I’m eager to be a mom to this baby instead of an interminable incubator.
Meanwhile, the season of spring beckons me to be fully present – not just physically present but mentally and emotionally aware of the changing world. After my appointment today the girls and I went on a walk and they reminded me to keep my eyes open to the birds hopping about, the delicate shoots of green emerging from the landscape, and the flower buds bursting with color. Everywhere we turned they saw something new and lovely. Then we sat on our front stoop and licked homemade Popsicles together (made with strawberries, yogurt, and OJ) as we watched the white clouds drift lazily across the sky.
Soon Rachel Marie noticed a bird perched in the one tree adjacent to our driveway.
“Bird!” she pointed out.
I saw that it held a twig in its beak and told the girls that maybe it was looking to build a nest in our yard.
“I hope so,” Madeline said. “Then maybe it will lay eggs for us to see.”
The bird ended up dropping the twig and flying away in response to a squeal from Rachel Marie, but that was okay. We’d enjoyed watching it ruffle its feathers in the spring sunshine. There’s nothing wrong with a little wishful thinking, especially when you’re a child who can so easily let flights of fancies go.
Earlier in the day Rachel Marie plunged her hands into an empty flower pot. Her poking around in the soil had no reasonable purpose, but she did it anyway because the dirt was there and it was fun.
I grumbled at the mess she made, but now I’m wishing I’d suggested we all make mud pies instead of fretting over the dirt trail she’d left in her path.
In fact, I’m tired of worrying about things from dirty front steps to when labor will begin – especially things like babies that I can’t control. You can’t make a bird build a nest in your tree. You can’t tell a toddler to not play in the dirt, explaining that she’ll get, well, dirty (That’s the whole point, Mommy!). You can’t force the flowers to blossom or the grass to green.
Some things happen regardless of when you want (or even if you want). When it comes to nature, including babies, it’s often best to let them come in their own (or in God’s) due time.
And so all I can do is be patient and to try my best to view this puttering, tick-tocking gestating as something like a prologue to a revelatory spring where new life abounds.