I had a prenatal appointment this morning, and all the prayers are working. I have not progressed any further. That’s the good news and the only news that really matters.
The bad news is my midwife wants me to stick to at least another week of bed rest. I’ll be considered full-term next week according to her calendar, but she believes the baby is on the small side and needs some more time to grow and develop in utero.
This is all déjà vu for me. With Rachel Marie (my second) I started dilating around 33 to 34 weeks, but that time I was only put on modified bed rest and was told to resume my normal activities at 36 weeks. This time I’m having to follow some stricter mandates. A lot of my mom friends tell me to enjoy this respite before I go from two to three kids, and I’m trying to do just that. In fact, I’ve had moments where I feel very much at peace with everything.
Yesterday was not one of them.
I found out some frustrating news about where I’ll most likely be delivering (boring insurance stuff I won’t get into) and then my little one just started breaking down. She’d had enough of Mommy not being able to hold her. She crawled beside me with tear-stained cheeks and said, “Miss Mommy.” I felt like I was splitting in two. I wanted to be the one to scoop her up in my arms.
Madeline has been a real trouper and has seemed so old all of a sudden. She’s been helping her Gaba and has been great about coloring, doing crafts, and keeping herself occupied. Still, at bedtime she tends to fall apart, too. Tired and frustrated, she cries out for me and fights going to bed even worse than normal (which is saying a lot for our little sleep-boycotting tyrant). Again, I want to be there for her, but I can’t, not completely anyway.
Then there’s my impatience with having to explain where this goes and where that goes or which sippy cup Rae likes the best or how Madeline prefers her apple to be served (sliced and dusted with cinnamon).
“Just let me do it!” I want to shout.
But I can’t – scream like a banshee or get up and do it myself.
My mom was laughing at me the other day because she needed some tape to fix a mishap with some Lincoln Log directions (Rachel Scissorshands had gotten a hold of them).
“They’re right there. Open the cabinet. Use the knob,” I directed.
My mom smiled. “I think I know I have to open the cabinet first.”
I wasn’t trying to be a smart you-know-what. Cross my heart.
But all in all we’re doing just fine, and I know a healthy baby is worth all of this and a lot more.
Moreover, I just went back and read my journal and old blog posts from when we were facing a very similar situation with baby number two, and it made me chuckle a bit because I was dealing with a lot of the same emotions and frustrations and could clearly see that bed rest is an opportunity for me to detach myself from a lot of my “repeat offenses” – like wanting to be in control and worrying too much. I’ve had several friends tell me that perhaps I should really look at my bed rest as my Lenten penance and allow it to transform me.
Perhaps I put too much stock in this advice because today I devoured a large slice of cake laced with peanut butter cups when I’m supposed to be swearing off sweet stuff during Lent. To be fair (or to justify my total lack of discipline), my midwife did tell me to start eating more to fatten this baby up.
Since I’m clearly blathering here, I’ll share some thoughts I had during my previous pregnancy and call it a day:
Now since 4 a.m., I’ve 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 tad longer, at least until I’m considered full-term 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. I keep telling myself I’m getting better at just letting go and putting things in God’s hands. 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.
I’m a firm believer in letting babies come naturally and in their own due time; however, now that I’m walking around [I was no longer on bed rest at this point] with a heavy bundle pushing on my cervix and on the verge of coming into the world, it’s driving me crazy.
I’m really a rather lousy preggo. While other women embrace their fecundity, bask in that so-called glow of pregnancy, and seem to enjoy all the uncertainties and mysteries of carrying a child, I’ve got skin that’s more dry than luminous and frankly, I just want to fast-forward to the mothering part or even the labor and delivery step. I was good at that with Madeline. Her birth was spiritual for me – a concrete experience of suffering bringing forth the purest of joys.
After an emotional last few weeks of pregnancy, during labor I transformed into a woman who was not only in control of her feelings but also of her body. I remember the instant I felt Madeline’s head pushing its way into the birth canal. “She’s here,” I announced.
About 30 minutes later my body had pushed her out and she was resting on my chest while I cried, “My baby, my baby. Thank you, God. My baby…”
I know I can trust my body this time to do what it needs to do, but right now I’m doubting my ability to even recognize true labor.
Even worse, when I’m pregnant, I feel like if anything goes wrong it’s because I did or didn’t eat something or I pushed myself too hard or forgot to take a prenatal vitamin one day or I exposed myself to some hazard that surely gave my baby that slightly crooked nose (no, Madeline’s nose is perfectly straight, but I banned coffee from my diet and there have been plenty of mornings this go-round when I have swigged a cup of joe after dealing with another sleepless night and knowing an energetic toddler needs me at the top of my mothering game, so what if caffeine causes crooked noses? What does that mean for this babe?).
Yet, once I become a mother, I’m better able to cut myself some slack (not that I don’t still have to regularly overcome mom guilt). There are extenuating circumstances, after all. For example, I can blame bumblebees on Madeline’s nightmares (our toddler insists she has nightmares about bees even though she delights in seeing them hover above our flowers during the daytime and has never been stung), not the fact that I lost my patience with her.
Or, maybe it was when she was under the grandparents’ watch that she didn’t eat enough fruits and veggies and became constipated. All the blame can’t fall on me, not like when the baby is incubating inside my one and only uterus.
Even now I fear that if the baby comes tonight, for instance, and she’s on the small side, the color of Mellow Yellow from jaundice or reluctant to start nursing, it will be because I somehow willed her to be born out of my selfishness, out of my longing to not be pregnant anymore. Then again, if she comes out bigger than average at this early stage, then I suspect I’ll think it was because I ate too much or didn’t exercise enough.
After my vaginal exam that showed how eager my body (and baby?) were for labor, Diane [my midwife then and now] encouraged me to go home and just enjoy being a mom to Madeline. And I did. I took her out to lunch. 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 will take Diane’s advice again and focus on being Madeline’s Mommy. That’s when I’m the happiest, even when I’m not in control and Madeline refuses to eat her veggies or go to sleep. It’s in my mothering role when I feel competent (most of the time anyway) and happy. I know it will be no different with this little love once she’s in my arms and I can really start being a mom – instead of just an over-sized incubator – to her.
Until then I’ve got to say good-bye to the control freak within, quiet my restless heart, accept help from others just as Jesus desired the disciples to wash his feet (funny that Christ actually calls us to not only serve others but to humble ourselves and to allow others to serve us as well), and to stop asking when (as in when will the baby come?) but instead how can I use this period of waiting to grow spiritually?